Follow our family as we journey through life.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Thanks to my near-genius brother we have our corrupted computer back and it is better than ever with a brand-new operating system and all our files have been recovered. It is more amazing than I ever could have imagined and as I work out all the mysteries of this new system I thought I would try to post a photo on my blog. I was unable to do this last night, so if you are reading this and seeing this beautiful baby at four weeks old then I have achieved SUCCESS!!!!

Product Review: Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! Level 1

Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! is a language program that teaches eager young learners the fundamentals of the Greek language. This is not a program to learn modern Greek (the language they speak in Greece today). Rather, this program teaches "Koiné" Greek which is the language of the Bible's New Testament. God caused the biblical writers to use the everyday terminology of their time, spoken in the streets and in the marketplaces, so people could clearly understand His message to mankind.

I used the Level 1 Workbook over the course of the entire school year with both my 7 year-old and my 9 year-old. The program worked well with both of them - by the end of the year they both have mastered the entire Greek alphabet (okay, the 7 year-old needs a little help). Further, since this does not assume that the teacher knows Greek, teacher and student can learn together.

Now, the objective is limited to learning lowercase characters, so the kids would have quite a ways to go from here. But, it is a good start and an easy introduction to learning Greek. For the record, I taught the kids uppercase characters when they learned the lowercase. I didn't see any reason not to teach this, especially since the uppercase characters are often very similar to the lowercase or even identical to Arabic characters. Uppercase alpha, for example, is 'A'. I don't know why they did not include this in the program, though they are included in the back of the book for those who want to cover them.

Further, I did not use the exercises included with each lesson, not because there was anything wrong with them, but because I came up with my own. Finally, this program does not teach any words, but it does include a pronunciation guide in the back and so I would put English words into Greek characters and have the kids figure them out. They really enjoyed this, and liked putting words into Greek characters themselves.

I found this program to be very inexpensive considering the fact that we used it for an entire school year. The Student Workbook is only $14.95, and you can add on supplemental materials for as low as $2.95 an item. As the levels increase in difficulty the prices raise slightly; Level Eight Workbook is priced at $28.95 and all the other levels priced between the two. The company also offers "Starter Sets" and "Complete Sets" which range in price from $86.85 to $500.00. In addition to the Greek program I received, the company offers many other products. You can purchase a Latin program or a Bible Study program as well.

Overall, I feel that the program I received, the Level 1 of the Greek Program, was a wonderful addition to our homeschool curriculum this year. Although the company recommends that children start in the higher levels (usually Level 2 or 3), I found that Level 1 offered us just enough exposure so that we could decide if #1: Studying Greek "fit" into our homeschool day, and #2: If we liked the Greek 'n' Stuff program enough to continue using it. The financial commitment was minimal and I feel like we really got a lot out of our year-long study of the Greek alphabet.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool curriculum review group, I received a free copy of the Greek 'n' Stuff program (Level 1) in exchange for a review on this blog. I received no other compensation.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

NINE ! ! ! ! ! !

He is nine years old today.

Can I handle it?

Will it ever slow down?

Happy Birthday sweet, sweet James.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

40 Days, 40 Skirts: Day 40

I did it!Many people questioned how I was able to continue this after the baby was born. Two things helped me complete this challenge. Number one, the skirts I created after Malcolm arrived were very simple in construction. Many took under an hour to sew together after they were cut out.
Number two was my Baby Bjorn. It kills my back, but Malcolm is totally content in it and I am able to stand and sew.

Easter Egg Dying

We joined up with two other families to dye Easter Eggs this year.

It was so much fun!

Friday, April 22, 2011

40 days, 40 Skirts: Day 39

I know this looks exactly like the one from Day 34, but that one turned out way too large for me to wear, so I created a second one that was in my size.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happenings at my house

Okay, the weather has been really crummy lately, I have a baby that literally can not be put down for more than a minute or two without completely freaking out, I have yet to leave the house with all five kids on my own, and my back is killing me from wearing this baby for all but a few brief daylight moments. I got an AWESOME Ergo carrier from a group of friends, but I think I need a special class to figure out how to use the thing. Besides that, things are relatively the same around here. Margaret is hoping for some sunshine so she can leave the house in this cute dress.
Malcolm in the Portland shirt.

He is such a bundle of cuteness!

Being older means you get to carry your brother. At least for as long as it takes for me to snap a photo.

Ahhh! Some hope during this gloomy weather!

Can you see that it was a double rainbow?

It is rainy and cold and gloomy. So we are having a Monopoly marathon. We are on day 4.

40 days, 40 Skirts: Day 37

For Audrey

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Did you know...

Four out of five Krom Kids are thumb-suckers?

40 days, 40 Skirts: Day 36

A tiered skirt for Heidi.

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Review of CitriStar Citrus Juicer

Originally submitted at CSN Stores

CitriStar, the quiet yet powerful citrus pro can start you on your way to better health. With minimal time and effort, CitriStar extracts this extremely beneficial juice for you and your entire family. The CitriStar's unique, high-clearance stainless-steel spout prevents clogging and...

One of the Best!!

By Modest Mama from Western PA on 4/18/2011


5out of 5

I received the CitriStar Citrus Juicer by Tribest in exchange for an honest review of the product. We love this juicer. We were hesitant to get a brand we were unfamilar with, but it was worth the chance. It juices evenly and quickly. We have done many fruits in a row without problems. I love how you can flip the spout up so that the juice stays in the juicer until you are ready to pour. The parts come apart easily for quick and easy cleaning. It arrived fast and we couldn't be more pleased.


40 days, 40 Skirts: Day 35

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Malcolm Update

Does anyone really ever get tired of photos of this beautiful baby? I didn't think so.Malcolm continues to amaze us all. On April 2nd he weighed a scrawny 6 pounds 13 ounces. Less than a week later he was up to 7 pounds 8 ounces! His hair has gotten a lot lighter and is also getting a lot thinner. Sigh.

He prefers to hang out with his Mama, but lately has let Allison hold him without screaming as well. He already prefers the ladies!

40 Days, 40 Skirts: Day 31

Friday, April 8, 2011

40 Days, 40 Skirts: Day 29

Product Review: Science Weekly

I was fortunate enough to be chosen to review Science Weekly. Science Weekly is a magazine-type publication that enhances your child's knowledge in science, math, reading, and writing. Aimed at children in kindergarten to sixth grade, Science Weekly is not intended to be a stand-alone program, but rather a supplement for parents to help engage their children in the sciences.

Each issue of Science Weekly ascribes to national science standards and is written at six reading levels‚ covering grades K–6. This allows parents with two or more children to order the same topic for each child. It can’t get better. Now‚ there is no reason for a child to fall behind in science.

Each issue explores vibrant topics that engage students. The topics are varied and the issues are written in a manner suitable to the age of your student. Some of the recent topics of the publication have been: scuba diving, composting, fractions, and caves. You can view a sample issue on the website at each of the six levels.

Although the name suggests that you receive the publication weekly, I think many would be in agreement that this would actually be "too much of a good thing." At my house these would become quickly become unwanted paper clutter. The folks over at Science Weekly have realized this as well. Each issue is so full of information and activities that it is not necessary to send one out every week. Instead you get 15 publications a year. And the cost commitment is very minimal. A year subscription (15 issues) is only only $19.95 per level ordered.

The issues we received were about The Flu. I was very impressed with the layout of the magazine. Unlike other mainstream "science" related publications, this one contained no advertisements for video games or theater movies. It was chocked full of information pertaining to various aspects of The Flu including information about germs and proper hygiene to avoid infection. Isaac's issue was simpler in content, whereas James' magazine contained enough information for several days of follow-up lessons. The publication was completely science-related and science-focused. There were no added gimmicks or "junk" in the publication.

Although we greatly enjoyed the issues we received, we have decided not to subscribe to Science Weekly at this time. The new baby has just arrived, our school year is wrapping up, spring sports started this week, and I feel that we wouldn't be able to get the full value out of the publication at this time. Next time someone suggests a magazine-type subscription gift for the boys, I am going to mention Science Weekly.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS homeschool review group, I received free issues of Science Weekly in exchange for an honest review on this blog. I received no other compensation.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

One Week Old

40 Days, 40 Skirts: Day 27

Product Review: Kinderbach

KinderBach is an online piano program that uses playful characters to teach note reading, rhythm, singing, and composition. The program is intended for ages three to seven and can be used on your schedule, at your pace, and from the comfort of your own home.

The program is more than just piano lessons. In addition to piano playing, your child will With KinderBach, children will sing, play songs with entertaining characters, as well enjoy games and puzzles. It can be used with any sort of piano or keyboard and costs about 75% less than traditional music lessons. Prices start as low as $7.99 a month for online usage, or $40.45 for DVD courses. Click here to see the complete pricing information.

What worked well for our family:

We used Kinderbach with Henry (age 5) who has no formal piano training. He has some basic familiarity with music through choir practice and some informal music training on a hammered dulcimer. So, he's not a total beginner, but close to it.

Henry jumped right into Kinderbach and really enjoys doing it - what parent would not be excited about a piano program that kids beg to do! The program uses coloring books and cartoon characters to help the students 'visualize' and relate to what they are learning. The individual lessons are short and gradually introduce them to musical notes, rhythm, loud and soft notes, and to how the notes on the piano are related to each other (e.g. high vs. low, black vs. white). The songs used are catchy and teach basic lessons so that, by the end of the first year, the students can play basic melodies.

What didn't work for us:

Since our family has a decent background in musical theory and practice, it was hard for us to see how this program would be completely successful for somebody with no music background. Take rhythm, for example: Henry was not getting the rhythms down as he played along with the video, and obviously the video won't notice his mistakes and help him correct them. Unless we were there to observe and correct him, he would have persisted in his mistakes. So, I would not recommend this to somebody who is not planning on being involved at least on some level in his or her child's music lessons.

As for the general approach of the program, we are not fans of the cartoons, rock-based songs used for instruction, and general emphasis on entertainment. Children can learn to love music without these, and our concern is that the program does not expose the students to classical or even folk music. Learning music should be partly aimed at cultivating an interest in more ennobling music than can be heard on pop radio.

Finally, we felt that relatively little is learned in each lesson or even over the course of the week. Although the course is not expensive, we felt that our money is better invested in private music training. James and Isaac have a private music instructor whom they adore, who motivates them and can help them correct their mistakes, and who teaches them more in a half hour than they would learn from a week's worth of Kinderbach instruction. While there is no doubt that a private instructor would be more expensive, in the long run this investment will pay off, and you can also help support and get to know a budding musician in your area!

I feel that our views on the program are a little biased because Michael's family has been blessed with abundant musical gifts (part of the family writes the Bastien piano books), so I encourage you to check out the Kinderbach website yourself to see if this program is a good fit for your child. Kinderbach offers free sample lessons that you can obtain from their website. With no commitment it will be easy to see if the program is right for you.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Group I received a free subscription to Kinderbach lessons in exchange for an honest review on this blog. I received no other compensation.