Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Review: MathHouse Game Card Set

image I recently had the opportunity to review Carlito C. Caterpillar's MathHouse Game Card Set. I am always looking for fun and new little math games to play with the kids so I thought that this would be a nice addition.

image Product Description:

“Based on Domenico’s proprietary 20 Step Sensory Math Teaching System. Featuring two uniquely designed games to demonstrate each step (40 games in all)

The set contains:

  • 30 double-sided, full color, illustrated Game Cards
  • Related editorial information explaining to parents The What, Why and How of Each Step
  • Each 8" x 4" loose leaf card is printed on heavy card stock, lacquered to help protect from spills and ring bound to keep together and facilitate play”

Product Review

This product is what it says it is. I loved that there were printable resources available for use on the website instead of having to make my own (or to even make copies).

I also liked having a resource like this as small game cards on a ring that I could easily take on and off, rather than in a book. It may seem like a small thing, but it made it a lot easier for me to use and handle.

This product has some really cute math ideas and hands-on activities that my kids really enjoyed. Lexie particularly liked the “climb up” game. A game where she counted out cheerios, on to a chart to represent each numerical number.

This is a great “extra” to go along with our primary curriculum, or for parents to use after-school with their students.

The only negative that I must include in my review is that while I think it’s a great product, I don’t think that it’s worth the price tag.

Purchase Information:

You can purchase Carlito C. Caterpillar's MathHouse Game Card Set for $23.95, which includes shipping.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Giveaway Winner selected #8 as the winner of the Jeremy Riddle Furious CD. That was commenter Alana who said

Alana Wiemann said...

I follow Refined Metals Academy thru feedburner.

September 24, 2011 11:58 AM

Congratulations Alana, if you could e-mail me your address, I will get the CD sent to you right away!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Giveaway – Last Day

This is the last day to enter the Jeremy Riddle Worship CD giveaway!!! Go and enter NOW!!

If You Give a Cat a Cupcake (Week 10)

Although this is not a Five in a Row book, we “rowed” it in the same way. Focusing on the book “If you Give a Cat a Cupcake” for 5 straight days, doing a variety of activities to go along with the storybook.

Day 1

I introduced the letter C, which Alexa was apparently already familiar with. I let her practice tracing the letter C on my phone using a Free Preschool App.

IMG_0193 I also had her do a letter C do-a-dot page that we got from Confessions of a Homeschooler.

IMG_0177 By far her favorite activity of the week was “How Many Candles on the Cupcake?” I would place the number beside the cupcake, she would tell me what the number was and then count out the correct number of candles. She could easily do up to 12 on her own and needed minimal help up to 20. IMG_0183We played this game almost every day this week, and I’m sure we will next week too!!   IMG_0187 Next we took out the Cuisenaire Rods and built a letter C using all different sizes and colors. IMG_0190 

Day 2


We used our Education Cubes this day to play mama jenn’s cupcake game. Lexie rolled the die and kept track of the numbers that came up. The first number/candle to reach their cupcake one!! The first time she played number 5 won.

Day 3: Baking Cupcakes  

Of course you can’t read a cupcake book without baking cupcakes, so that is what we did!

Alexa doesn’t get to cook by herself very often so this was a very special treat, that she really appreciated. She told me “Thank You” at least 3 times. Exclaiming “Oh my word, I can’t even believe it, Mama!” and shaking her little pooty over and over.

IMG_0239She really did do most of the work herself while I mostly just instructed her on what to do. She did very good cracking the eggs, and only got one little shell in there.

IMG_0242I poured the batter for her, and put them in the oven, but by this time she was distracted with the most important job of taste testing the batter (yes, we do that here). IMG_0248

Audrey was also very helpful for this portion of the baking.

Day 4

We didn’t have time to decorate our cupcakes the day before, so we squeezed that in on Thursday.

IMG_0266 I had seen some really cute fish cupcakes on pinterest that I wanted to try…. each of the kids picked a color and we made frosting of that color.

IMG_0267 And then we decorated with m & ms. Treyton said that they didn’t look like fish…. but I see it. (Oh and there are 2 ladybugs in there too…. and no, I don’t think those look like ladybugs) IMG_0269

And of course, after we decorated we had to eat some!!


On this particular day, Treyton and I made a glue pastel page of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Alexa wanted to join in on the fun, so I made her a C is for Cupcake page to decorate once the glue dried.

IMG_0250 She played her Education Cube Candle/Cupcake game again this day, as well.  IMG_0253 Day 5

I had Alexa complete a “My 5 Senses” worksheet about her cupcake that she made and ate this week. We talked about whether it tasted sweet or salty, if it smelled good or bad, did it look big or small…. those types of things. IMG_0290 

Off the top of my head (this never happens to me), I came up with the idea of a flower cupcake wrapper craft she could make.

IMG_0278 She did most of the work herself (I helped gluing on the leaves).  IMG_0281 She also 100% on her own, cut out and glued this DTLK cat together on a piece of paper. I was sooo very proud. She really is an independent student.


This was such a fun book to read and work with this week. Alexa loves cats and cupcakes so I knew we couldn’t go wrong!!


Most of the printables came from Spell Out Loud’s Birthday Bash which included the following and more:

Cupcake Download from 2 Teaching Mommies

Musings of Me Birthday Unit

Cupcake and Candle Game from Mama Jenn


Friday, September 23, 2011

(Week 10) Adventures Week 6: New Netherland

We learned about New Amsterdam this week (now known as New York). The pilgrims that originally established New Amsterdam were from Holland.

IMG_0276 Colonial Read Alouds:

  • The New Americans (Colonial Times)
  • Projects about Colonial Life (ch. 3)
  • The Courage of Sarah Noble
  • American Pioneers and Patriots
  • A Lion to Guard Us
  • Kids in Colonial Times
  • …. If You Lived in Colonial Times
  • Colonial America: An Interactive History Adventure
  • The Rough Face Girl
    • More of an Indian story than colonial times

Extra Read-Alouds this Week:

  • How Do You Hug a Porcupine?
  • Who is God?
  • Sunflower Sword
  • Moses and the Burning Bush
  • Everyday Graces (Excerpt from Robinson Crusoe)
  • A Storm Called Katrina
  • Over the Rainbow
  • First the Egg


Make a Windmill

We talked about how many people started coming over to the new world from different places (France, Holland, England, Spain) and that they established different towns to live in. The people of Holland came over and established New Amsterdam.

In Holland they have lots of windmills, they built one here in New Amsterdam, too. IMG_0207

For one of our activities this week, we colored and put together a paper windmill.


Make a Hornbook

While reading “…. If You lived in Colonial Times” we learned about school in colonial times and how students didn’t have a lot of books and paper, they instead used hornbooks. IMG_0293So we made our own hornbook with cardboard and plastic covering.


Make Butter

This was the coolest activity. After talking about how the pilgrims had to make most of the things they needed, we talked about how they made their own butter from the cream from the cow’s they brought over from Holland. IMG_0256We took a quart size jar and poured in a half-pint of whipping cream. We then took turns shaking it for 15 minutes or so.     IMG_0259

As the whipping cream thickened, I wasn’t sure how much longer we could shake the jar, but then all of a sudden the buttermilk just separated and we had butter!


Map Study

I printed off a map which we color coded. IMG_0198

  • Orange for Spain
  • Green for Holland
  • Blue for France
  • Purple for England

IMG_0201We colored the countries and then marked where they established their town in America.   IMG_0202

This was a good activity for Treyton. He has very good map skills, and is able to visually picture things, which helps him remember.

Nature Journaling     IMG_0204We attended a nature journaling class through our homeschool group. It was really great learning different drawing techniques, and how to draw nature different ways. I think the kids and I do pretty good doing nature study but I don’t really know how to teach them how to draw, it’s nice to have support to teach them these things that aren’t my strong suit.

IMG_0205It was a fun week of school, and we learned a lot. We didn’t do any lap journal pages this week. I think next week I will have him narrate to me about what he’s learned about the pilgrims, but other than that, we will only be adding in maps to our American History Binder.

Can’t wait until next week… more pilgrims, this time in Michigan!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review: Wondermaps

imageI was recently given the opportunity to review WonderMaps a map program put out by Bright Ideas Press. This is a product that I was really excited about getting the chance to review. Imagine having a program full of maps and historical geography printables as easy to access as a few clicks of the mouse – that’s what you have when you have WonderMaps.

Partial Description from Timberdoodle:

Choose any one of the 350 different maps and then customize it to fit your child’s level of study. Wonderfully versatile, each map has a variety of layers that you can turn on or off with a simple checkbox. Need a basic outline of a country, it’s there. Want to add cities, borders, terrain, even color? Each is just a click away. Easy-to-use layers even allow you to see how borders changed over time!

Product Description:

When you initially open the program this is the screen you see. image

Separated into 4 categories, it’s easy to navigate to find the map you need. 

In the first weeks, after receiving this product we were able to utilize several of the maps in our school including Christopher Columbus’ 4 Voyages to the New World between 1492-1504, a simple US map along with several state maps, and the 13 colonies map.  IMG_0201I personally, love the customizable aspect of the program probably the most. I cannot tell you how many times I have found “almost” the perfect map somewhere, but it had just a little too much, or was missing one aspect of what I was looking for. Being able to make it what I need, makes my job a lot easier.

Product Review

This product is a great supplement to our school. We do lots and lots of map studies, on their own as well as a part of our history. We need good maps to make the most of these studies.  The fact that we can use this program on the computer, or to print, is a feature that I appreciate.


This is a well organized easy-to-use program that has only added to our geographical studies and supplements. Having the ability to simply open up a program and find the map I need in a few simple clicks, sure beats scouring the internet for a decent free printable. The time saving alone is well worth the price, in my opinion.

To Purchase

You can purchase the WonderMaps CD through Timberdoodle for $44.95

To check out other great geography curriculums and supplements (including some great puzzles and hands on items) visit Timberdoodle today.

Legal Disclosure: As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of WonderMaps in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Review & Giveaway: Furious by Jeremy Riddle

image I was recently given the opportunity to review Jeremy Riddle’s newest CD called Furious. I was so excited to receive this product, having already been some what familiar to Riddle’s worship style, and liking it.

I don’t know about you, but I like to know who it is I’m listening to, before I listen to them (if I can). I found lots of information on Jeremy Riddle on the Vineyard’s website which I thought might give you a better idea of who the man behind the music is and where his heart is:

Jeremy Riddle is first and foremost a follower of Jesus Christ, husband to one beautiful wife, father of four amazing children, a servant of the body of Christ, a songwriter, and a pastor/teacher.

It is tension that fuels the music and ministry of worship leader Jeremy Riddle. It is the tension between grace and the law; mercy and judgment; love and discipline. It is the people of unclean lips lifting praise to a holy God. It is God wearing flesh, and God’s imminent return. It is life between the first and second coming of Christ. It is messy and stressful and beautiful and exhilarating. It is the tension between The Now And Not Yet.

Jeremy Riddle’s Website own website describes his newest album the following way “Furious communicates the story of God's love and kingdom with strong worship anthems” – I love the sound of that!!

Songs on the New Album:

  1. Fall Afresh
  2. Furious
  3. Love Came Down
  4. One Thing Remains
  5. Acquitted
  6. You are Good
  7. Walk in the Promise
  8. One Thirst
  9. Glory to the Lamb
  10. Lord My Shephard
  11. Here
  12. Always
  13. Nations Rage

Product Review

I really enjoyed this album. As a whole, it has more of a worship sound than simply a Contemporary Christian Artist type sound – which seems some what self explanatory, but I wanted to be clear that this is a worship album and not just a “fun clean” album the family can listen to, together. It’s both.

My favorite songs on the album were track 4, One Thing Remains (my favorite), Track 8, One Thirst, and track 11, Here. Though I seriously liked all of them.

All of the songs, but particularly Track #4, One Thing Remains, are songs I can hear being played in a contemporary church service. Written from the heart these songs are Riddle’s sincere form of worship to the Holy God of the universe, and when I took the time to listen and worship along with him they opened up my heart in a similar way.

This album has found a place in my morning quiet time, as it inspires my worship, and truly softens my heart to sit humbly and quietly before a Holy and loving God.

A great addition to congregational or personal worship times, this album is being released TODAY!!


I am so excited to be able to give a copy of this CD away to one of my blog’s lucky readers. Simply leave a comment for your chance to win – and let’s go ahead and make it fun by answering the following question:

Who are you listening to a lot right now? Which artist/album/band is finding the most play-time on your I-pod/CD player?

For additional entries

Like Refined Metals Academy on Facebook (2 Entries) if you already have give yourself (1 entry)

Follow Refined Metals Academy through Google Connect or Feedburner (2 entries) if you already do (1 entry)

Like Vineyard Music on Facebook (2 Entries)

Leave a separate comment for each entry.

Entries will no longer be accepted after September 27th, 12:00pm (noon) central standard time. I will select a winner soon after.

Good Luck!!


To Purchase

Visit I-Tunes (or your music purchasing market of choice) and pick up Riddle’s Album today. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

To learn more about great christian artists and albums that are out visit Vineyard’s Twitter and Vineyard’s Website.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, September 19, 2011

MFW Co-op: Stars

Our focus this month was on stars.

The First Graders

We started out asking the kids what they already knew about stars. They then looked at some examples of stars in the Usborne Astronomy book. We pointed out the shape of an actual star (more circular than star shape) and the fact that stars are all different colors.


Ms. Amanda had printed off some star life cycle cards and we had each kid put them in the order they thought a star’s life looked like. Afterwards, she showed what the actual life cycle was, so the kids saw if they were right or wrong.


I, myself was a little shocked by the answer, and wasn’t close at all.

Next the kids used the constellation flashcards to come up with ideas of their own, or to replicate a real constellation on black paper using glow-in-the-dark stars. (I thought this was such a neat idea). Interestingly enough the girls copied constellations, whereas the boys created their own. Treyton wanted to make a person, Henry, a cross.


The highlight of the day for the kids was definitely making Galaxy Play-Doh.


Each of the kids got to help measure in some of the ingredients.

IMG_0225Once the doh was formed we divided it up and each kid got to add in their own glitter. IMG_0230This was a neat representation that stars are all different colors (not just white or yellow).


And of course, after they mixed their play-doh well they got to play with it!! Amanda took this picture of Breigh’s play-doh creation – to me, it looks like a baby covered with a blanket (am I right Amanda?)

IMG_0236The Preschoolers          

Like I said the last time, I’m not actually with the preschoolers, so I’m sad to say I don’t know all the details of what they got to do, but I do know that Alexa just loves it!!

To be completely honest, I think the two mom’s who do the preschool (Donna and Kelly) are extremely brave. Teaching preschooler’s of such a wide age (2-4) keeping their attention isn’t easy, I think they do a great job.

One of the projects they did was to make coffee filter earth’s. The kids colored a coffee filter (blue and green), and then they sprayed it to cause the waters to mix and flow together. IMG_0227 They turned out super cute.


They also made tissue paper stars.

IMG_0232 On a piece of white paper they glued on tissue paper, they then placed on pre-cut star outlines with the verse Philippians 2:15 written on it. image I know they read at least one story and had some great play-time as well.

The Tots  


Audrey and Evaleigh hanging out…. and not fighting for the moment :)

So Blessed

Our family feel so blessed to be a part of such an amazing group of family’s the kids play so well together, and after only two times, I see friendships developing with the kids (some of whom never met prior to our group). God has been so good to us and answered a prayer, beyond what we could have imagined.


Next time is the human body…. I have NO idea how to narrow it all down!! Any ideas?