The “Summer’s Flying By Reading Challenge” Winner


Thank you Karen Blaha for the use of your photo.

Well, I totally missed announcing the winner last Friday because I was wrapped up with my granddaughter’s birth! We got the call Thursday at noonish, packed quickly, and drove the five hours to be with her. She labored all that night, and little Brooklyn arrived at 7:32 Friday morning…after about 33 hours of labor. I felt like a truck had dragged me along the street, then ran over me a couple of times. I imagine my daughter and her husband felt about like that, too. I crashed early Friday night.

And then house hunting began…because we are moving near here. Everything surrounding the move has been rather sudden, and we are hoping to move in January if we can find a place by then.

I also didn’t have internet for the first few days here. We were supposed to head home today, but the weather turned nasty, and we can’t make the five hour drive through ice and snow safely. Wiser to stay.

But now I have a chance to announce the winner! So, I’m writing the two names on paper, swirling them around and having one of my kids draw the name. Drumroll…

Well, that took a few minutes because two of them wrestled for the opportunity. I had them pick a number, and finally got my draw-er. So without further ado, our winner is…

winner

Congratulations, Kym!! Watch for an email from me verifying your email address.

Thank you everyone for participating, and for your patience over a couple of bumps along the way.

Main The “Summer’s Flying By” Reading Challenge post.

Previous Mini-Challenges (can be done at any time):
Mini-Challenge #1: It Begins With SUMMER
Mini-Challenge #2: Not Your Typical Genre
Mini-Challenge #3: A Reader Is Born
Mini-Challenge #4: Summer TITLE Waves
Mini-Challenge #5: What’s In A Name?
Mini-Challenge #6: Have We Met?
Mini-Challenge #7: A Little Bit Of Summer
Mini-Challenge #8: Down Memory Lane

Snake Oil – Party Potion (A Review)

Out of the Box Games Review

Out of the Box Games provided our family with their Snake Oil Party Potion game for review. The game is aimed at players aged 8 on up to adult and anywhere from 3-6 players can join in the fun. Younger players can also play if they are good readers. The games are quick averaging about 20-30 minutes each. The game comes with 112 word cards and 14 customer cards containing a customer on each side for a total of 28 possible customer types. It also comes with a tray for the cards and directions. You can even learn a little history about snake oil.

Out of the Box Games Review

So what are the word cards and customer cards all about? I’m glad you asked. Basically, each player draws six word cards. If a young child doesn’t know what one of their words are, they can switch it out for another card. One player is chosen to be the customer for that round, and he or she draws one customer card, chooses which customer to be, and then tells everyone “who” they are for that round. The other players select two word cards from their hands and combine them to form a “product” to pitch to the customer. Everyone has a chance to quickly pitch their ideas and the customer picks the one they like best. The player who wins that round is given the customer card. The game ends when everyone has had a chance to be the customer. The player with the most customer cards wins. If the game ends in a tie, a special tie breaker round happens per instructions.

snake oil

What We Think

I’m skipping the How We Used It section I normally include on the TOS reviews because, well, we played it. Per instructions. As a family. And the kids really enjoyed it. My husband and I also enjoyed the game.

As soon as the package arrived, my kids were immediately curious about the game. They each examined it and decided we needed to play it soon. Smiles abounded as we gathered around to play. Snake Oil Party Potion is simple to learn, and relatively quick to play. It’s neat to see what they come up with for their products and pitches. It takes imagination and creativity to sell the weirdest items. There are definitely laughs to be had with this game. It’s great family fun, easy to take with you, and doesn’t require much time if you happen to be in short supply of it. Even our adult kids found it fun to play when their younger siblings introduced the game to them.

One neat thing about this game is you can combine it with the other Snake Oil games for even more card combinations. You could probably even add more players this way although the game would last a little longer depending on how many you add. I definitely recommend this game . . . and guess what? Christmas is coming…

Pricing and More Information

Snake Oil Party Potion has a suggested retail price of $14.99. Out of the Box has a variety of other games on their site, too.

You can find Out of the Box Games on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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*Pricing and information is accurate to the best of my knowledge at time of posting.

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Purposeful Design (A Review)

Purposeful Design Review

Purposeful Design sent us their book Purposeful Design Understanding the Creation by Jay Schabacker for review. This hardcover book has approximately 91 pages and is designed to appeal to readers of all ages. The book is full of colorful photographs as well as several charts and illustrations. The book starts out with an introduction and then each chapter corresponds with one day in creation…so chapter one covers creation of the heavens and the earth which lays a foundation for the rest of creation. In the Epilogue, Jay makes a case for Purposeful Design rather than the well known Intelligent Design using a cookie analogy. I won’t give that away as he words it so well. The back of the book contains a Bibliography and Recommended Reading list.

There is a lot of science packed into these pages. Chapter one mentions Albert Einstein who believed in Intelligent Design and talks about the earth’s and the moon’s orbits. Chapter two delves into rain cycles and how much of earth’s surface is covered by water. . . and what a perfect balance that is. Chapter three gets into how important plants are for a variety of things such as food, medicine and more. It also talks specifically about the apple.

Purposeful Design Review

Chapter four discusses how the earth’s tilt creates our seasons, and goes into the specifics of the different seasons. It also talks about sunrises and sunsets and how their schedule shows how the earth’s speed remains constant, how it keeps the same distance from the sun, and how it’s angle never changes. And what would happen if the tilt was 0 or 50? Jay talks about that, too. You will learn about Stonehenge, England, phases of the moon, ocean tides, stars, and more all in chapter four.

Chapter fives covers the birds and the fish and how man has learned to use what it observes in creation to create things like submarines. You will learn why ice floats, and how God must have a sense of humor to create things like the Piglet Squid. Chapter six discusses domestic animals, the camel, cattle, and human beings. You’ll learn about blood clotting, the cell, the brain, and more. Finally, chapter seven shares about the need to give thanks to the creator and the need to rest at least one day on a weekly basis.

purposeful design

Jay has also created a Purposeful Design Young Explorer’s Club workbook that goes along with the book. You’ll find thought provoking questions, questions related to the material learned and some verses for reflection. Then there are more exercises plus activities such as sketching or a crossword puzzle. The questions are fill in the blank or multiple choice. Plus, there is an answer key for the teacher.

How We Used It

I read the book out loud to the kids and showed them the pictures as I went along. Due to some crazy events that caused us to travel quite a bit unexpectedly, we didn’t get to use the curriculum really. But all you’d need to do is print a copy for each kid and have them work through it at the end of each chapter. If you wanted to, this book would make it easy to plan some in depth learning based on each chapter by getting more resources to add to the various subjects covered. This isn’t necessary to get a lot from the book and workbook, but it is another possibility.

purposeful design read

What We Think

The pictures are gorgeous! The kids and I loved the scriptures overlaying the photography. The book layout is pleasing to the eye and the content is great. We found the charts and illustrations useful and interesting. Simply put, we all loved this book, and it is nice enough to leave sitting on the coffee table.

The workbook is also easy to use and has some really good questions to make students think more deeply about this amazing creation. And, of course, the answer key is very handy although some answers will vary based on the type of question asked.

Pricing and More Information

Purposeful Design Understanding the Creation is available for $18.95. The curriculum is provided free on their site.

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Jay can also be found on his blog, Facebook and Twitter.

*Pricing and information is accurate to the best of my knowledge at time of posting.

Crew Disclaimer

If He Had Not Come (A Review)

David Nicholson sent our family a copy of If He Had Not Come. The story was originally written by Nan F. Weeks and David Nicholson fell in love with it when his own children were young. He shared it with his family for 30 years, and now wants to make it available for others. The story is suitable for ages 6 and up.

If He Had Not Come has a hard cover and is about 40 pages long making it a quick read. It’s about a boy named Bobby who is eager to get to bed because Christmas comes the next morning. His dad reads a scripture to him before he goes to sleep and the words swirl around in his mind. He falls asleep with the words “If He had not come.” echoing through his head and wakes up to find a world…where Jesus had never come. He discovers key things missing like the hospital, homeless shelter, children’s home and the church. No one has heard of Christmas.

Christmas Book Review

He wakes up to find it has all been a dream, but the message of what Christmas is really about lingers in his heart. The best Christmas gift ever . . . is Jesus.

Not only is the story itself thought provoking, but there are six discussion questions in the back of the book you can use to get the family talking a bit. These are suggestions to get conversation flowing, and maybe the kids will have questions to add to them. Next is a Digging Deeper section with four questions designed to get your family into the Bible to find out what it says about the birth of Jesus. Following that, you will find the gospel message including a prayer you can lead your family in if they have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Finally, the kids are invited to draw a picture of a Christmas tree while you share with them different things they can add to their picture and what they signify.

christmasbook1

What We Think

The story is indeed one to make you ponder a world without Jesus. Thoughts that make you appreciate His birth all the more. The pictures are charming and I love how the artist, Charles Jaskiewicz, used color to great effect. The parts of the book where Christmas is present are shown with bright colors and the middle of the book showcasing a world without Jesus is done in muted color tones. Such a neat contrast.

The kids and I love the story, and it is definitely joining our Christmas book collection. We read it first as a family read aloud and enjoyed all the questions in the back. When we get closer to Christmas, we will be adding in the drawing activity, too. For now, the book is available for them to grab and enjoy before I wrap it for Christmas. We are going to wrap several of our Christmas books this year (new for us) and unwrap/read one at a time from December 1st up to Christmas Eve where we will read a couple as is our normal tradition along with drinking Eggnog.

christmasbook2
And the cat moved.

Pricing and Other Information

If He Had Not Come is available for $18.95 for the hardcover and $3.99 for the eBook.

You can find If He Had Not Come on Facebook, too.

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*Pricing and information is accurate to the best of my knowledge at time of posting.

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Fascinating Chemistry (A Review)

Fascinating Education Review

Fascinating Education gave us access to their Fascinating Chemistry course for reviewing purposes. The courses are presented through a slideshow format great for audio and visual learners. Along with the slideshow presentation, each lesson also includes a text version of the lesson and an online test. The courses cover topics one would find in a high school science course, but some middle schoolers have taken the courses, too. It’s even suggested as a review for college students.

Dr. Margulies, a retired neurologist, was originally asked to help a school whose students weren’t passing biology, and after much success with that endeavor, he wanted to make these available for more students. His desire is to help students learn how the world works through his courses. He does this by using everyday observations and showing students how the material applies to their own lives. He assumes the students have no prior knowledge of the material and strives to take it slow and make it clear so they easily understand the lessons. The testing throughout is designed to help the students master the knowledge they are acquiring.

Fascinating Education Review

Fascinating Chemistry has 18 lessons each with the lesson (slideshow presentation), text PDF of the lesson, and the online test. There are also some PDF versions if you choose to administer the tests yourself along with answer keys for you to use. They are also adding labs to supplement the course with, and all of these are available with a separate password. Here are the lesson titles to give you an idea of what your student would be learning:

Lesson 1: The Intramolecular Bond
Lesson 2: The Ionic Bond
Lesson 3: The Covalent Bond
Lesson 4: The Polar Covalent Bond
Lesson 5: The Metallic Bond, Part 1
Lesson 6: The Metallic Bond, Part 2
Lesson 7: Heat
Lesson 8: Air Pressure
Lesson 9: Properties of Water
Lesson 10: The Mole
Lesson 11: Gases
Lesson 12: Solutions
Lesson 13: Chemical Reactions
Lesson 14: Orbitals
Lesson 15: Electrochemistry
Lesson 16: Polymers
Lesson 17: The Nucleus
Lesson 18: Final Problems

Each lesson is broken down into multiple parts and covers a lot of information. Each lesson presentation is approximately 45 minutes long plus add in time for the test which could bring you to an hour and a half per lesson. More if you add in the labs for chemistry which should take about another hour to complete. There are currently 12 labs available, and I don’t know if more will be added or not. Lessons can be done at the students pace. They can take a week per lesson or do one a day. They can even spread lessons out over two days. Really, it is up to them on how much they can take in as the lessons are full of information.

Fascinating Education Review

How We Use It

Christian logs into his account, and clicks on his next lesson. First, he skims the text PDF, and then he dives into the slideshow lesson. Once he completes that, he takes his test. The tests are multiple choice and he gets a grade as soon as he finishes. You have to get 80% or above to pass. This course is self-led and really requires nothing from the parent unless you want to administer the tests yourself or decide to use the labs. Parental guidance is recommended for the labs and additional supplies will be needed to perform the experiments.

What We Thought

Christian found the lessons interesting, but watching the entire thing in one go proved to be a bit much. He suggests breaking each lesson in half with the test taken on the second day. If you choose to do the labs, you will most likely want to take an additional day to complete them. As far as the information, he found a lot of it to be familiar already. That being said, he did learn some new things as well. He also didn’t find anything questionable in the lessons thus far.

I have to agree with Christian’s suggestion. It seems like a lot of things are presented in each lesson, and I think dividing them up over two – three days would help the student retain the information better, and get the most out of each lesson.

Fascinating Education Review

Pricing and Other Information

Fascinating Chemistry is available for $79 which gives you access for one year. There are discounts for multiple course purchases.

You can view sample lessons and introductions online to get a better idea of what to expect. You can also see a Scope and Sequence chart on the Chemistry page.

At this point, Fascinating Science is not on social media although they plan to be soon along with adding a blog to the website.

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*Pricing and information is accurate to the best of my knowledge at time of posting.

Crew Disclaimer