Friday, August 31, 2012

Bryan Cohen Third Grade Writing Prompts for the Holidays Review

Third Grade Writing Prompts for Holidays: A Creative Writing Workbook 

I was given the opportunity to review several books written by Bryan Cohen.  They are all writing workbooks to help prompt kids in their writing.  I got to review first through fourth grade this month, but I am going to do this post on the 3rd grade one as that is the one that has helped my kids a lot.  These workbooks have story starters in them which are meant to help spur on the imagination and writing skills of the children in these grade levels.  This particular book covers most of the holidays. 

As a former homeschooler, I felt these would work great as a supplement to my children's classroom experience or as a rainy day activity or school break activity.  I have four children ages 13, 11, 7 and 4.  The 4 year old isn't writing yet and the 13 year old writes beautifully.  So with those two aside...I have my 2nd grader and my 6th grader.  My 2nd grader writes above her level, so this was perfect for her.  My 6th grader REALLY struggles in writing, so this book was INCREDIBLE for him to use to help him in that area.  One of the writing prompts is:

1. While Labor Day originally centered on workers' rights and labor
unions, it is now more focused on vacations and enjoying time with family. Do you think this was a positive shift? Why or why not?

This not only gave my 6th grader something to write about...but he also had to do a little bit of research on his own to come to a good conclusion!  I was thrilled to say the least.  He has always disliked writing, but thanks to these books, he kinda enjoys it now!  Here is another great example:

27. In many foreign cultures, Halloween is taken less as a time for
candy and more to remember ancestors. Who is your most memorable ancestor? Why has he or she made such a mark on your family?

My 2nd grader really liked this question because she LOVES to talk about her family and how much she loves them!

I am totally excited about these books and what they have done for my children!  I would HIGHLY recommend them!  Even if just to take out for those particular holidays during the school break or weekend!  They actually can be tons of fun if you do it with your kids! 

"I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review"

Touch Magic from Leap Frog!

Recently I was given the opportunity to have a Leap Frog Rock and Learn party!  We got to review the Leap Frog Touch Magic Rockin' Guitars and Touch Magic Learning Bus.  We had a ton of fun!  We had a very diverse group!  Mostly 2-4 year olds, but we had a couple younger than 2 and a couple older than 4 also!  Even the oldest of the kids (11) enjoyed playing with these very neat educational toys!

The guitar brings musical fun and develops preschool skills with every little touch.  Kids can choose to play solo without a backup, play along with a band, or select electric or acoustic guitar to songs including the Alphabet Song, Rockin' Robin, Itsy Bitsy Spider, If You're Happy and You Know It and Pop Goes the Weasel.  Plus they can customize their play experience, by adding guitar riffs, silly sounds and drums.

The Bus is also very neat!  The ABC's are a key step in developing early reading skills.  The Touch Magic Learning Bus takes kids on a musical journey filled with educational discovery and games.  With a simple touch, preschoolers can use six piano keys and two drum pads to play along with songs that include Wheels on the Bus, ABC Song and an original Rockin' School Bus.  The interactive surface with glossy, smooth graphics encourages exploration and features more than 40 touch points that allow kids to play their way through core learning skills.

As  you can see....we all had a great time!  Thanks to BSM Media (Mom Select) and Leap Frog for allowing me this opportunity and giving me great party ideas and games!  

*Disclosure:  I was given no monetary compensation for my post.  Mom Select and Leap Frog sent me the items to review and great party ideas in exchange for my honest review of the products.*

“Touch Magic Rockin’ Guitar” Contest between now and November 30th, 2012 for a chance to win a $500 gift card! Visit and upload a video of your kid jamming & learning with Touch Magic™ Rockin’ Guitar or your own play guitar that you can create out of your own materials. Please see the handout in your party kit or visit for more detailed contest information and contest rules.

We played games like Leapin' Chairs, Sound-a-Long Songs, I am going on a Bus Trip, and I Spy ABC's.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms by Cindy Woodsmall

I recently had the extraordinary honor of reviewing "The Scent of Cherry Blossoms" by Cindy Woodsmall.

I haven't had the pleasure of reading all of her books yet, but I have read several, and I can tell you that Cindy Woodsmall never disappoints me.  She is amazing in her writing.  The Scent of Cherry Blossoms is a book about love and the challenges some of us have to face for love....similar to the challenges that Jesus had to face for the love he had for us.  The author is very good about slipping in messages to us about God's goodness and love, while giving us an incredible story.  This book was one that cannot be put down.  I finished it in two nights of reading before bed.  This story is one of love, challenges and overcoming those challenges...and not always in love.  This particular story had overcoming some physical challenges too.  It is also very informative.  Cindy Woodsmall is meticulous with her facts about the Amish and the Mennonite.  My dad and his family are all Mennonites, so it is good to know that their religion is not being misrepresented.  Read this book!  You won't be disappointed!!!!  Check out the first chapter here!

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dominican Republic Prayers

I know I have been home from our summer trips for a couple weeks...but I have been so busy getting kids in school and getting prepared for fall events at our church that I haven't been able to post.  I will though...PROMISE!  Until then, please be in prayer for the Shauls in the DR.  They are the missionaries we help out when we are there.  Here is their latest blog post.  There is a nasty hurricane coming their way.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Be The Mom! Overcome Attitude Traps and Enjoy Your Kids Book Review

By Tracey Lanter Eyster
Book Review

The subtitle to this book is "Overcome attitude traps and enjoy your kids".  This book couldn't have come at a better time for me.  I used to have no trouble enjoying my kids.  I have 4 of them, a 13 year old, 11 year old, 7 year old and 4 year old.  We used to have tons of fun.  I even used to homeschool.  We did everything together.  But then something happened.  Life got busy....really busy.....really fast.  Suddenly when we were home, all I wanted to do was rest.  I got stuck in all of the traps that the author lays out for us in her book.  Since reading this book though, I feel energized to try again.  To let go of all the mommy traps and enjoy my kids yet again.  Here are the traps.  See if you fit into any of them.

Just a mom trap.  Have you ever heard yourself or another mom utter those words?  ""I am JUST a mom."  Yikes!        That phrase should be ripped from the human vocabulary.  I say human instead of English because it is a global crisis.  As mom's we need to realize that there is no such thing as "JUST A  MOM"....we are raising the next generation and it is up to us to make them decent human beings.  Don't ever discount what you do as a mom.

Me mom trap.  Everything needs to be done my way, or the highway.  In other words meet my expectations.  This was a hard one for me.  I know the kids need to do chores but I would give them brainless ones that they couldn't possibly mess up...and they STILL didn't do it to my expectations.  Once I learned how to let go of those expectations, things started going smoothly.  The house got picked up much quicker, the kids were doing chores and there was more time for us as a family.

Martyr mom trap.  Do you ever liken yourself to Eeyore?  You know from Winnie the Pooh?  The author did...and so have I.  We are just too busy doing everything for every one else there is never any time to do what we need or want to do for ourselves.  That is the wrong attitude to have.  Honestly if we don't take care of ourselves, then everyone will suffer.  As I write this I am terribly sick with a cold.  Why?  Because I go, go, go until I burn out.  I have been enjoying my kids yes....but I never stopped to slow down and the kids are getting sick too and we are all home feeling miserable and playing video games.  Ugh...

Busy mom trap.  Do you say yes to everything?  I know I do.  I figure that if its going to get done right, I better do it.  This is not good for you, or the people you're doing it for.  It also isn't something that you want your kids to see.  You want them to put everything into a task...not a little of themselves in each task just to get it done.  Don't make the approval of others more important that your relationships with your children.

Mirror mom trap.  Ever compare yourself?  That is what this mom trap is all about.  In this world of technology it is impossible not to compare oneself....but we need to not do that.  For our sake and for the sake of our families.

Tomorrow mom trap.  I can actually remember saying when I was pregnant with my third child, "I will do it right this time."  Not that I did anything wrong with my first or second child....but that is when I was getting into the busy mom trap, etc.  The third time around, I was sure I was going to get out of that trap.  Don't keep thinking about tomorrow...focus on today and what you can change.  Your kids grow up WAY to fast.  As it is I can't believe that I have a teenager!  It seems like just yesterday when we brought him home from the hospital.  When you are in the midst of seems like an eternity....but I promise you it isn't...and it goes by all too fast.

They say mom trap.  Ever say that?  " know what they say...."  I know I have several times in my life.  The "theys" aren't always right...and the "theys" aren't raising your are....don't let them.

You may think to yourself that you know all of these things.  I know I knew all of these things....but I had forgotten them.  Put them in a file cabinet in my brain and walked away.  They are so important though.  Don't fall into the mom traps.  

I would give this book a definite 5 stars!  Thanks Tracey for reopening my eyes and giving me trap free time with my family...even if it is a little later than I would have liked!  Better late then never!!!

* Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review.*

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Phineas and Ferb LIVE tour!!!!!

“Mom! Phineas and Ferb are going on a LIVE tour!!!”  Coming  on October 18, 2012  to the  Pershing Center, Lincoln, NE. School‘s out for summer and anything is possible as Phineas and Ferb create their biggest invention yet --  Disney’s Phineas and Ferb: The Best LIVE Tour Ever!  Phineas, Ferb, and the whole tri-state area gang embark on a bold escape jumping out from behind your TV and onto the stage in a live action adventure – right in your hometown!  And, before you can wonder, “Hey, where’s Perry?” the beloved pet platypus shifts to his secret double life as Agent P to foil another one of Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s evil plans.  Musical madness abounds in an escapade so awesome that even Candace can’t help but join the hilarious hijinks.  It’s the ultimate end to summer vacation, so seize the day ‘cause Phineas and Ferb are gonna do it all!

 SAVE $4 on Tickets! Use code MOMS