Monday, May 2, 2016

Blogging Through the Alphabet -- Week 26 {Letter Z}




Welcome to Blogging Through the Alphabet! 

This is Week 26 of this series, so everyone is sharing posts themed about the letter "Z".  We can't wait to see what everyone has written about!

Thank you to everyone who has partied with us.   Bloggers who joined the link for all 26 weeks are eligible for a Mystery Gift Giveaway! We will be posting the winner on May 9!

This is a few- rules link up!  Our requests?

1.  Follow your hosts.

Through the Calm and Through the Storm




Adventures with Jude


2.  Please link back to this page in your post, so others can find the party!

3.  Visit others linked up -- what's a party without mingling?





Zaxby's, Where? {Years Ago}

It was shortly after we moved to Arkansas that Addison started attending youth group activities at church. While we were excited to see her forming friendships, it took us a while to get used to her having activities that didn't include us.

I found this picture from one of her first youth group activities -- a photo/video scavenger hunt:


If I remember correctly, Tim was helping drive their team to various locations and therefore had Brennan with them. He wasn't old enough for youth group activities until we moved to Arizona.

Anyway, we hadn't been in Arkansas for very long when the teens decided to go out to eat at Zaxby's after church one Sunday night. Addison was able to get a ride with another family, and we just needed to pick her up an hour or so later.

Tim drove to the only Zaxby's we knew and the parking lot was empty. He called Addison to make sure he had gone to the right Zaxby's. She assured him that she was sitting in Zaxby's with a bunch of other people from church. He asked if it was "our regular" Zaxby's. She said yes, of course, she was certain it was the Zaxby's we had been to before (even though she hadn't really paid attention to where she had gone).

Eventually, we found out that while we always ate at a Zaxby's restaurant that was relatively close to our house, she was actually at a Zaxby's much closer to church.

After that mix-up, we started asking for more specific details for our taxi service.


As I finish my fifth complete round of blogging through the alphabet (and one partial round in there), I find myself struggling to come up with new thoughts and stories to share. I owe Addison a special thank you for reminding me of this story so that I'd be able to finish strong.


This week is the last week in our Blogging Through the Alphabet challenge -- letter Z. Congratulations to everyone who has stuck with us for the past twenty-six weeks!

Click the button below for this week's linky. It will open at 9:00 Eastern Time on Monday and stay open through next Sunday evening.



©2009-2016 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Greemu {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

Greemu Devonian Review

Dry skin has plagued our entire family this winter. Even though it was dry in Arizona, the dryness in the mountains of Colorado is so much worse. I was excited to try the new GREEMU oil from Devonian.

Greemu Devonian Review

A year ago, Addison and I tried Pure Emu Oil from Koru Naturals. At that time, I called it "the new workhorse in my beauty routine" because it worked as a hand cream, body lotion, and hair conditioner. GREEMU promises all the benefits of emu oil in a product that doesn't come from animals.

GREEMU is made up of macadamia oil, palm oil, shea butter, sunflower seed oil, and rice bran oil. Each of these oils has particularly properties that help skin in specific ways, and the combination of them matches the composition of emu oil.

When I put GREEMU oil to the test, I was surprised to see that I love it even a bit more than emu oil. It doesn't have to be shaken before I use it. (I know that's a little thing, but some days leave me hunting for time-saving things wherever I can find them.) The GREEMU is completely scent-free. Although I never objected to the slight smell of emu oil, it is nice to have an unscented option.

Like emu oil, GREEMU soaks quickly into my skin when I step out of the shower. I can put on skinny jeans almost immediately, and I don't have to worry about lotion making my pants stick to my legs. More importantly, my legs no longer shed dry skin all over the inside my black running tights.

I also tried GREEMU as a face cream. I would use it again in a pinch, but I generally prefer using a specialized face lotion. I also had a few breakouts when I was using the GREEMU oil, probably coincidental but I'm superstitious about having more.

My all-time favorite use is to use GREEMU as a cuticle treatment. I keep my bottle near the sink so that I can reapply often throughout the day. It soaks in quickly and has helped my cuticles look less scraggly and torn.

A four-ounce bottle of GREEMU costs $10.80 from Koru Naturals (my favorite company for beauty products) or from Amazon.

Greemu Devonian Review

Crew Disclaimer

©2009-2016 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

YWAM Heroes of History {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

Over the years, our family has developed a rather short list of favorite companies. One of them is YWAM Publishing. I remember reading a Christian Heroes book about George Mueller when Addison was first grader, and I doubt there have been many years since then that we haven't read at least one of their books.

Earlier this year, we read our first Heroes of History book (Ben Carson: A Chance at Life). We enjoyed it so much that I was eager to review Heroes of History- Christopher Columbus: Across the Ocean Sea by Janet & Geoff Benge. We also received the corresponding Unit Study Curriculum Guide as a set of pdf files to download.

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

The Heroes of History series covers American History from the first voyages of Christopher Columbus all the way up through modern days (Ronald Reagan, Billy Graham, Ben Carson, and others). The bonus materials on the Curriculum Guide gives a sample schedule so that these books can be used as either a one-year or two-year American History course for upper elementary students.

Christopher Columbus: Across the Ocean Sea is a 190 page paperback book detailing his life from his early days in Genoa through his death. I found a lot of the story to be absolutely fascinating. I learned things that I've never heard before. For instance, I knew that Columbus approached the king and queen of Spain several times before they agreed to sponsor his expedition, but I didn't realize that a lot of their hesitation was due to the political climate of the time (they were preoccupied with driving the Moors from Spain). I also found it interesting to hear the details about the expeditions and see him persevere in spite of grim circumstances like having his crew turn against him time and time again. Sadly, I also learned how Columbus's adventures ended with him marooned on Jamesque for over a year and barely making it home to Italy. He was once proud to be called Admiral of the Ocean Sea but was buried without any public recognition.

Lauren says that her favorite parts were learning about Christopher Columbus's family. She had studied Columbus in her American History course, but she hadn't ever stopped to think about him having a mom, dad, and siblings. His younger brother Bartholomew heard of Christopher's discoveries and voyaged to Hispaniola to meet him there. Lauren also enjoyed learning about Christopher Columbus's wife and children.

The Unit Study Curriculum Guide is 75 pages long and provides enough activities and materials to turn this book into a complete unit study. If a child is reading the book independently, the chapter questions would be a good way to check to make sure they are grasping the important events in the story. These questions range from simple vocabulary or fact based questions to more complex questions that require the student to form an educated option. At the conclusion of the book, the student could be assigned one of several essay or hands-on project relating to Christopher Columbus's journeys. Some of my favorite features in the Curriculum Guide were the maps, timeline, and notebooking page to print. The notebooking pages for each famous American would be a great way to keep a record of what your child learns over the course of a school year (or even longer).

After seeing how much Lauren enjoyed hearing me read Ben Carson last semester, I was ready to set forth on a path of American History studies via YWAM biographies. I knew the books were intended for ages ten and up, and I also realized that Lauren's reading skills are not strong enough to read the books on her own. Lauren loved hearing Ben Carson so I just assumed she would do okay if I read the Heroes of History- Christopher Columbus to her. Unfortunately, I found out that Lauren's listening comprehension skills are not strong enough to allow her to grasp much from these books. I was fooled by how well she did learning about Ben Carson. The difference lies in the fact that she brought a lot of medical background knowledge to that study and is fascinated by anything medical. She doesn't have the same amount of interest in the stories of Columbus's sailing expeditions and got lost rather quickly.

The Heroes of History books would be a good way for a proficient reader to study American History and would thrill any history lover. Each book in the series costs $7.50 for a paperback copy. Digital versions are also available for Kindle, Nook, and directly from YWAM.


Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

Crew Disclaimer

©2009-2016 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Monday, April 25, 2016

Blogging Through the Alphabet -- Week 25 (Letter Y)



Welcome to Blogging Through the Alphabet! 

This is Week 25 of this series, so everyone is sharing posts themed about the letter "Y".  We can't wait to see what everyone has written about!

Only two more weeks after this! Don't forget that any bloggers who link up for all 26 weeks will be eligible for a Mystery Gift Giveaway at the end of the series!

This is a few- rules link up!  Our requests?

1.  Follow your hosts.


Through the Calm and Through the Storm



Adventures with Jude


2.  Please link back to this page in your post, so others can find the party!

3.  Visit others linked up -- what's a party without mingling?





Yellow Baby Clothes {Years Ago}

For some reason, I've never been a big fan of pastel pink clothes for baby girls. It might have something to do with the fact that my husband often described pink baby clothes as looking like Pepto Bismol. When Addison was a baby, many of her clothes were primary colored.


When Lauren was born, I found it very difficult to find cute preemie-sized clothes that weren't pastel. (And oddly, I found a lot of preemie clothes that were in neutral colors/patterns so that they could be worn by either a girl of a boy. I thought it strange because there's really no need to buy preemie clothes if the baby hasn't been born yet.)

She had a few pastel pink or purple outfits, but for some reason my favorites were all yellow.


Yes, for some reason, I wore pastel pink to her baby dedication and dressed her in yellow. (I should point out that one reason it was my favorite outfit on her was that it was one of the few outfits that fit her well when she was still under 5 pounds.) The other favorite yellow outfit had also been worn by Addison and Brennan. Besides, what's not to love about a sleeper that has a duck on the backside?


The only problem is that Lauren was more than just a little bit jaundiced when she came home from the hospital and for weeks to follow. I didn't necessarily see it at the time, but I look back at the pictures and wonder how it was that I didn't see how yellow she was.


At one of her many doctors' appointments, the GI nurse finally asked me if I would please stop dressing her in yellow when I brought her to the clinic. She suggested that I try blue or even pink so that her jaundice would be less shocking. (Apparently I took the advice with a pink outfit in the picture above, but let her keep the yellow pacifier.)

Of course, a few months later I had trouble convincing an ER nurse that my baby in a blue dress was actually a girl. She just couldn't wrap her mind around a baby girl wearing a blue flowered dress.




This week is the twenty-fifth week in our Blogging Through the Alphabet challenge -- letter Y. Only one more week left to go!

Click the button below for this week's linky. It will open at 9:00 Eastern Time on Monday and stay open through next Sunday evening.



©2009-2016 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A+ Interactive Math {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}

I've often heard of A+ Interactive Math, but I haven't wanted to switch Lauren's complete math instruction to a computer based option. Recently, though, A+ Interactive Math introduced a series of Math Mini-Courses designed to address learning gaps in specific math areas.

There are twenty Math Mini-Courses that cover such topics as place value, time, money, fractions, probability and statistics, geometry, and elementary algebra.

Our regular math curriculum follows a different scope and sequence than many elementary math programs. Because of that, Lauren has a few gaps in her math skills when compared to other students her age. I chose to enroll her in both the Measurements and Conversions course and the Tables, Charts, and Graphs course.


Both of the Mini-Courses follow the same general format. The student logs into their account, selects the course, and then picks the appropriate lesson. The lesson starts with an interactive multi-media teaching session. It's not exactly a video, but rather more like a narrated set of slides on a whiteboard.


We started with the Measurements and Conversions course. Lauren has done some measuring around the house, but we haven't formally studied it. The course started with a general discussion of the U.S. System of Measurement and the Metric System. I thought that the explanations were clear, but Lauren didn't seem to follow along or grasp what was being taught.


Following the multi-media lesson, the student completes a series of interactive review questions. Unfortunately, Lauren figured out that she could go back and reattempt the question if she didn't answer it correctly the first time. After she finished a few lessons, I realized that her "perfect" scores did not necessarily mean that she had understood the materials.

Each lesson then offers a worksheet that can be done online or printed. I printed one of the worksheets for Lauren and found that she couldn't answer even half of the questions correctly. We reviewed the answers on the printed worksheet, and then I had her do the online version. Unfortunately, the worksheet had the exact same questions, just in a different order. While having identical questions could serve as a review, I think it would be more beneficial if the questions varied somewhat -- even if they only varied the numbers in the problems. Lauren simply remembered which questions needed to be answered "all of the above" and that 4 metric tons equals 4000 kg; she hadn't actually learned the materials or how to do the calculations.

Since she was struggling with the lesson, I took a closer look at the materials. Although I can understand the way the program teaches conversions, it was presented in a way that is far too advanced for Lauren to grasp.




I decided to take a break from the Measurements and Conversions course to see how Lauren would do with the Tables, Charts, and Graphs course.

Lauren is doing a bit better with this course, perhaps because the material is more concrete and easier to understand. She particularly liked the lessons about picture graphs, especially when she got to create her own.


I sometimes found the interactive review questions to be a bit difficult to read, but Lauren doesn't seem to have a problem.


Lauren enjoys the Tables, Charts, and Graphs course and is looking forward to finishing all seventeen of the lessons.


I'd say our experience with A+ Interactive Math Mini-Courses was mixed. They could be a good way to fill in math learning gaps, but I had a hard time determining which Mini-Courses would be too difficult for my daughter.

Each Math Mini-Courses costs between $9.99 and $19.99 for a one-year access to the materials. There are different options for all ages of elementary students.

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}

Crew Disclaimer

©2009-2016 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

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