Review and Giveaway: Mom Connection

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, if you have pre-schoolers you need to get in a MOPS group.

 

I’ve just been sent another one of their books to review and again I just have to say it was a wonderful experience.  The last book I reviewed, MOMsense, was all about finding who you are as a Mom, what makes you tick, and how to be the best Mom.

 

Mom Connection looks to something else we all are starved for.  How to grow and develop friendships.  I’m not a big extrovert, so developing friendships for me is always a dangerous river.  I enjoy people, but I have a quirky personality, that doesn’t always click well with people in real life, it’s not that they dislike me, but I’m not sought out as a friend.

 

And I’ve struggled with that at times, but I’ve found some great friends over the years, both online and offline.

 

This book talks about how to grow relationships, and how to make sure you’re becoming the person you want to be.

 

Things I’m taking away from it:

 

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1.  I think we’re ready to find some volunteer work outside of our family.  There’s a chapter on making a difference in your community, and thinking about when is the right time.  If you’ve got 3 pre-schoolers and everyone’s in diapers, that might not be the time to “make a difference in the world.”  But, I was realizing my kids are now all old enough we can probably volunteer somewhere.

 

2.  I think God must really be hitting me over the head with this one, but we need to clear out and clean up our home.  It’s a big struggle for me, but one of the chapters talked about having the home everyone wants to hang out at.  I want that home, so I need to take steps to have that.  One is my continued drive to clean and purge and organize.  The other, figuring out snack foods to have available for kids to eat and drink.  I don’t tend to have lots of them, and I need to find a good balance on that.

 

0033.  Establish who we are as a family.  I think we already have a momentum started on that, but I want to firm it up and make sure it’s clear.  One thing that’s clear, we’re a little silly at times.

 

What will you find in this book:

 

1.  Each chapter ends with 5 suggestions for implementing it, and they’re five different suggestions, it’s not all “go out and do,” some are stop and think or evaluate.

 

2.  Each chapter ends with a here’s more section.  What I liked about that is it’s not all go buy this book.  Some of it is articles on the internet or videos or things to listen to.  I’m a big fan of listening to things while cleaning.  I learn a lot that way.

 

Who do I recommend this book for: Any Mom who is looking to form a connection with another person or better themselves.

 

Giveaway:

 

I’m keeping it super simple, only two entries, you can do either one or both:

 

1.  Again look up your nearest MOPS group and tell me when and where it meets.

 

2.  Tell me what you’re doing to encourage strong relationships in your family or with friends.

 

Technical stuff:

 

1.  INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS, I can’t send it to you if I can’t contact you.  Very important.

 

2.  It’s open to international, and it’s open for 1 week.

 

3.  I wasn’t paid.  I really like MOPS, I think everyone should join it.  I joined it willingly and enjoyed it a lot.  GO JOIN NOW.  Okay, enough threatening, they did give me a review copy, but since I’m giving one away and will probably loan the other out, that doesn’t really count as payment.

 

And now I’m going to go investigate the thud coming from my supposedly sleeping child.

Review: Making Cents Money Game

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I was recently contacted by Lakeshore Learning to review one of their instant download software games.  I am super excited about this opportunity because when I was a teacher I would  spend way too much money at their store in Dallas.  The good news for my wallet was by the time they opened one in our area I was no longer teaching, so I had less of an excuse to spend large amounts of money there.  I still do, just less excuse.

I have several of their game boards, and the software titles look to be very similar to their game boards: bright colorful, high interest, and very interactive.

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I opted to download Making Cents Money Interactive game.   Here’s what I thought:

PROS

1.  It’s for 2-4 players.  Many games for kids are just for 2 players, so this means all of my kids can play.

2.  It’s very easy and fairly intuitive (with a few minor exceptions).

3.  It’s bright and colorful has some sound without it being too overwhelming.  The animation level is just right for my slightly ADD boys.

CONS

1.  It’s listed for 1-3 grade, but I’d say the skill level is more of late second grade.  It’s a little hard for my kids right now, but it makes for a great game to play together.

2.  When figuring out how much money you have the coins have to be dragged into the slot at the top of the bank.  It took a few tries to remember this (yes, it’s a small nit).

3.  It’d be nice if the question could be read out loud for early first grade, but as I said it’s really more of a second grade game.

 

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OVERALL OPINION:

Would I buy more games?  Yes,  the price is high enough that I’m not going to buy every game, but I really don’t need to be buying every game.  The price point is perfect for a teacher who is going to be using this year after year, but as a homeschooler who will have a more limited time frame I’ll have to be a bit more choosy.

But, right now they have a sale going on BUY ONE, GET ONE HALF OFF, enter coupon code 7439 through the end of February.

image003If the game you want isn’t on instant download check back because they’re constantly adding new ones (including Daily Interactive Math Station, see picture above, which wasn’t available for download 2 weeks ago, my original pick to review).

 

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I currently have two more games I want to get, the Daily Interactive Math Station, and I”m eyeing the Place Value Mystery House Interactive Game as well.

EXCITING NEWS FOR YOU!

I get to giveaway one free download, to enter simply go to Lakeshore Educational Software and choose which one you want (make sure it is available as instant download).  Leave a comment with your choice and your email address.

EXTRA ENTRIES:

1.  Follow my blog through GFC, subscribe, or email (1 entry for each, please comment for each one).

2.  Like me on FB and leave a comment.

3.  Like Lakeshore Learning on FB and leave a comment.

4.  Scan their website and find something else you’d like to get from their store and leave a comment.  I still use on a weekly basis the magnifying glass I got there 10 years ago.

GIVEAWAY CLOSES ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2012

 

DISCLOSURE: I received a free copy of the game in exchange for my honest review.  I received no other compensation, but am likely to go out and buy about 3 more games because I like this one so much.  Sigh, my poor wallet.

Review and Giveaway: Momsense

When MOPS international asked me about reviewing their latest book I leaped at the chance.  I have a couple of their books and have loved each of them.  Their chapters tend to be short and to the point and always have something I can relate to in it.

 

So, what is this newest book about?  It’s about developing your Momsense and how to best do that.

 

The first section is about defining and looking at where you came from, what was your Mom’s parenting style like, and what are the areas you want to improve.  At the end of each chapter there are questions for you to answer and look at for how you can improve your mothering.

 

003The second section takes some of the things every book about mothering agrees you need, and gives some practical advice and also some humorous or touching stories about other moms.  And, they’re not all stay at home, or the perfect family moms.  Some of the moms work full time, some of them are the accidental mother who now loves being a mom, others are single, some are the mom who has 5 kids, another is the mom who has one little girl who she loves with a passion.

 

For me the best part of the book is reading the testimonial of the other moms on what they did.  Jeff at one point had to ask what I was reading as I was chortling over the chapter on joy.  I won’t spoil the story for you, but if you’ve been reading the blog long enough you know I would get a big kick out of a child’s accidental trouble over bringing the wrong kind of “cool looking box” to school.  I then had to read the story to Jeff, and talk for a long time with him about it.

 

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I would encourage any of you moms out there, and I know that’s a significant portion of my readership to pick up a copy of this book.  It’s a nice easy read, and it’s tempting to blaze through it, but I’d recommend you just take a chapter a day and actually read it slowly and answer the questions, which I’m going to be going back and doing soon.

 

I’d also encourage you to find a local MOPS group to join if you have a pre-schooler.  I was in for two years as the Creative Activites director, and I really enjoyed the group.  My group met at night and was over half working moms, which made for a fun mix.  I learned so much from the speakers and the topics we covered, nutrition, parenting styles, personalities, solving conflicts, on and on and on.

 

So, that’s my two plugs.  Now for the giveaway:

 

ENTRY RULES:

1.  You must be over 18 and leave me a way to contact you, international is okay since I’m doing the shipping and I’m feeling generous.

2.  How to enter:

 

REQUIRED:  Tell me your definition of Momsense.  What is it and how do you use it?

 

BONUS:  You can get up to 3 bonus entries:

1.  Go to the MOPS international website and find the closest group to you and when does it meet.

2.  If you’re a follower that’s another entry.

3.  And ummmm….  I’m feeling a lack of creativity right now, so just add another comment for the third bonus entry.

Giveaway ends on November 4th, a week from today.

 

MAKE SURE EACH OF YOUR ENTRIES IS A DIFFERENT COMMENT.

I’m gonna link this over to my favorite resource of the week, because I really enjoy a good parenting book, and that helps me in my homeschooling.

Favorite Resource This Week

Winner Uprinting!

Thanks for all the entries, that giveaway is now closed:

Debbie said…
I know exactly what I would use this for. We have decided to start a family journal of sorts, so I would find a cool picture we all love and there you go the beginning of our family journal.

Love her idea!

giveaway: Uprinting letterhead

letterheads   envelopes

 

Okay, I’m pretty excited.  I’ve been asked by Uprinting to host a giveaway, I’ve seen their giveaways all over and hadn’t paid too much attention because at the time my kids weren’t writing, but now they are.  Uprinting is one of THE leading online printing companies, and they design all sorts of things like letterhead.

 

Before telling you about it I went online and played around with their letterhead design site.  You can upload your own images or use shapes on their site.  I’m planning on using some of the graphics from my blog to make super cute hero paper for the kids to have fun writing on.  I’m betting I burn through that super fast, what do you think?

 

They offer letterhead in many of the standard sizes, but I like (and the giveaway is for this) the half paper size because I think it’s more appealing to kids being small.

 

Here’s what you can win:

 

Prize details

500 pcs. Letterheads for One (1) winner

5.5” x 8.5″

70lb Offset

Front Only Printing

4 Business Days Print Turnaround Time

*Free Shipping

Restriction: Limited to *US residents 18 years old and above only

 

 

Now I have some specific rules for this giveaway because of how they want to do the prize.  So here goes:

 

1.  Tell me what you would use your stationary for in a comment and include your email address.

 

2.  If you follow Adventures in Mommydom in some way include a second comment also with your email address (if you follow or like in several ways you can include a comment for each one).

 

GIVEAWAY CLOSES OCTOBER 10 with winner drawn that day.

 

VERY IMPORTANT:  IF YOU DO NOT HAVE AN EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE COMMENT I WILL NOT COUNT THAT AS AN ENTRY!  I need to be able to contact you and give the information to the people who are running this.  I know it’s a pain to enter it in, but it’s frustrating to run a giveaway and not be able to give the prize to the person because they didn’t leave their email.

 

LEGAL MUMBO JUMBO: This giveaway is sponsored by UPrinting, no monetary compensation was given and I will receive letterhead printing service by hosting. Please visitUPrinting.com for available letterhead design and for more details.

Book Review and Author Interview: Playful Learning

When I was asked about reviewing Playful Learning, I thought “cool, I’m all about that,” and then I was given the chance to be on the blog tour and interview her, I was even more excited!  I’ve always wanted the chance to interview an author and get to know more about their thoughts about their books and ideas.  Now here was the chance!
First, a quick recap of the book and why I like it.  Playful Learning is about integrating learning and play (DUH!), but the author does a really good job of going through each content area and give you ideas and suggestions of how to set up the area for it, books and activities that work really well.  I love the fact that this book isn’t geared for any one set.  She firmly believes that everyone should learn this way regardless of where they go to school (home, public, private, charter) and that every parent is a teacher.  I highly recommend this book for every parent who wants to invest in their child’s education.  Read on after the interview for your chanced to WIN THE BOOK!

1.  I always struggle with keeping my learning areas clean.  Any suggestions for my readers and me?  Your pictures in the book are so inviting, and I want to have an area like that, but how do I maintain that?
I have found that the areas I organize and have created clearly marked places for everything, are the places in our home that stay well maintained. If children are exposed to these types of environments and are taught how to access the materials and how to put them away, they more often than not rise to the occasion. Children love to feel that they can have a positive impact on their environment, yet often do not know where to put things when cleaning up. Although it takes effort up front to create the space and teach your children where everything goes, the result can be happy independent children and clean organized spaces.
Please don’t get me wrong—we have plenty of cluttered, unorganized spots in our home! But, the spaces we have created that are clearly labeled and organized are the ones that stay the neatest, because my daughters are actually better at maintaining their spaces (with a sense of pride), then I am at keeping up mine.
2.  What is your favorite area to integrate playful learning into?  What area do you find most difficult to integrate playful learning into?
I find myself gravitating towards science-based learning experiences with my daughters, because the natural world holds so much to wonder about, observe, and learn from. I also feel that writing and effective self-expression are very important skills, so a lot of our projects are focused on developing those abilities.
On the other hand, math is not one my stronger points, so I usually keep those activities focused on specific skills that I see need to be practiced by one or both of my daughters.
I think it is important for parents to choose areas that they feel passionate about and find ways to share them with their children. I feel that if we can share and nurture passion within the kids in our life, we are modeling what we hope they develop for themselves. Enthusiasm is contagious!
3.  For families with multiple ages how do you suggest doing this across the different ages groups?
A lot of the activities in Playful Learning can be enjoyed by children of all ages. It is for this reason that I give a developmental overview for each subject I discuss in the book. The developmental overviews helps parents to identify which stage of development their child is at, and offers tips on how they can best support their growth. For example, with the heart map, younger children can color pictures of their favorite things and parents can take dictation to record their ideas, while older children can draw and write more detailed and poetic images and descriptions.
It is also helpful to allow for different lengths of attention spans. During many of the projects in the book, one of my daughters would want to take a break from an activity while the other was still completely engaged. Always remember to keep your experiences with your children light and fun—allowing them to move freely in and out of experiences or projects. You will be surprised at how often they will want to come back and pick-up right where they left off.
4.  How do you integrate playful learning with older kids?  It seems like that would become more difficult as they get older.
As my daughters get older and their social lives become such an important part of their worlds, I have started inviting their friends to participate in our playful learning experiences. That is one way to quench their desire to connect with friends while keeping them engaged in interesting projects and endeavors.
I have also found that if I really tune into their current interests and passions, I can come up with projects that still interest them. My seven-year-old daughter really loves to draw, so recently I surprised both of my girls with drawing journals (a grown-up version). All three of us had our own notebooks and we went into our back yard to try them out. At any age they love to feel like they are doing the same work as adults. It turned out to be a lovely afternoon!
Older children still have a huge desire to connect with their parents. As parents we just need to respect their desire to be treated as the older, more independent people that they are. It takes a bit more thought, but I have found that engaging in playful learning with my older daughters is more important than ever. It is this connection, mutual respect, and lines of communication that will serve us well as they venture into their teenage years.
5.  What is your favorite book for Playful Learning?  I love “Me on the Map,” and have used it so many times.
Picture books are such a wonderful way to get children excited about a project! It is so hard to choose just one book as a favorite. My Map Book by Sara Fanelli is one that we come back to time and again. It is the one that we use to inspire our heart maps and is also a great introduction to geography and mapping in general. Although, as I said before, I have so many favorites and as a family we have thoroughly enjoyed every book that I recommend in Playful Learning.
6.  Do you have a website we can visit?
Yes, I have a blog (also called Playful Learning) that is full of learning experiences, videos, and resources for families. I hope you all come by and visit! I would love to continue to conversation…

As a side note from me.  I’d accidentally stumbled onto her site once about a year or so ago (give or take a few months) long before I knew about her book and drooled over her pictures of her learning areas.  I finally made the connection when I was looking through her site thanks to the promotional materials I was given.
Now for my favorite part, the giveaway!  You can win the book!  To enter leave me a comment telling me how you like to MAKE LEARNING FUN!

Bonus entry if you follow or subscribe in some way.

GIVEAWAY CLOSED.  WINNER IS CHOSEN.

LEGAL MUMBO JUMBO:  I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  I did not receive any other compensation, and genuinely believe in the concepts espoused in this book.  Blah, blah, other legal terms ipso facto, poste haste, e pluribis unum (and yes I know it’s misspelled).

Pay It Forward!

Ages and ages ago I won a Pay It Forward exchange from Kim over at Educating Crumpet.  And, I’ve had this post sitting here to write forEVER!  Well, now I’m finally getting around to it, and rather than make it into another Pay It Forward with all of the rules of that, instead I’m going to change it up and celebrate the fact that I’ve passed 300 followers!  How’s that for impressive?

 

To celebrate, I’m going to send a Texas goody bag out to 3 followers who comment, and I’ll pick who in about a week or so (I’ll give you a heads up).  I’ll try to stuff as much fun stuff as I can figure out into this box, but I haven’t figured out what’s going to be in it yet.  Probably some stuff that goes well with a geography study of Texas, and since I’ll be picking up stuff here and there the boxes won’t be the same.

 

To enter, just let me know you follow me and leave a comment.

 

PS: If you can tell me something fun to study for your state I’ll count that as an extra entry, I’m wanting all the fun stuff to study as I can get!