Monday, February 29, 2016

Zonderkidz Faith Builders Bible (A REVIEW)

We love brick building. Combine that with learning about the scripture stories, and you have some boys (or kids) who will be much more interested in said scripture stories. We had the opportunity to check out this Faith Builders Bible by Zondervan. Although we didn't use this for our daily scripture study, we were able to take some of the brick building fun and use it in a way that worked for us.

Faith Builders Bible {Zonderkidz Review}

The Bible that we received is a hard backed book with soft scripture like pages, and written in the New International Reader's Version. Along with the regular scripture pages it has 24 intermittent full color pages of brick building ideas to try and build. Those 24 pages didn't always seem to match where the story was in the Bible though.

With that said, it isn't what I thought it was going to be. I was hoping more for some Bible stories with more brick building ideas because we don't read this version of the Bible. I was hoping to be able to just incorporate more of the brick building into our own scriptures (King James Version). The wording in this version is very simplified.
Faith Builders Bible {Zonderkidz Review}

How we used the Faith Builders Bible

One thing that we did do from the book was the 2nd page, building with books of the Bible. I've done something similar to this with other scripture memorization, so I thought it would be a great way for us to review the books of the Bible.


I spent some time with the boys digging through the bin of "bricks" and trying to find the different colors so we could alternate like they did in this book. We found most of them. Then I wrote all the names on the sides with a sharpie. It will come off easily with a dry erase marker. I had the boys practice putting them in order. I like how it broke it up into sections, and is actually very consistent with what we believe.


As I was talking to my teenage daughter about this review and how I was kind of having a hard time writing it because of these differences in the writing. She decided to look for herself and do some comparing, and she even said herself that it was too "unpoetic" and "boring to read". She is 14, and grew up reading the KJV of the bible.

A comparison:

Here is a comparison of the NIrV of scripture to the KJV. The scriptures I am comparing are Genesis 6: 19-21

New International readers Version:

"19. Bring a male and a female of every living thing into the ark. They will be kept alive with you. 20. Two of every kind of bird will come to you. Tow of every kind of animal will also come to you. And so will two of every kind of creature that moves along the ground. All of them will be kept alive with you. 21. Take every kind of food that you will need. Store it away as food for you and them. "

King James Version:
"19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
 20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
 21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them."
The KJV just sounds so much more inviting and lovely to me, and I think that is what my daughter was trying to say. Now, my boys (7 and 9) however are still trying to "get it". Most often they dread scripture time because they just don't understand, so I can understand why many families would use a version like this.


I had a hard time wanting to share this with my children because I don't prefer the written text in this Bible. As I said earlier it is very watered down, and I think that it loses a lot of the beauty and story that the scriptures can have in the original writings. I want my children to grow up hearing the words of the KJV. So, if you are a King James Version Bible reader this isn't for you. Other than that the brick building is fun. It seems really well built, and the pages are all very nice if you prefer this version. It seems that there were a great many children that enjoyed it along with the brick building. If you'd like to read about how other families felt about this book you can check them out by clicking on the link below.

Faith Builders Bible {Zonderkidz Review}
Crew Disclaimer

Friday, February 26, 2016

Archery Dice game by SimplyFun (A REVIEW)

SimplyFun Review

We love games! Most people are surprised at the enormous wall of games that we have when they walk into our living room, so with that said I am super excited about this review. I am reviewing Archery Dice, one of four SimplyFun new releases. I love finding new and interesting games that have some fun and education built into it. I am glad to add Archery Dice to our collection, and I think I may even want to try more of their games in the future.

SimplyFun Review

I chose Archery Dice because it has the word archery in it, and all my kids love anything archery. It is true to its name for the most part except there are no bows and arrows. You have to use your finger as the "arrow" and aim the dice for the target. We received the physical game, and the game comes in a nice sturdy box which is so nice for game packaging these days. I need that box to hold up!


 This game comes with enough pieces for up to 4 players, some targets, and a short and concise instruction book. I have to admit the instructions are a tad bit confusing at first, but once you get started with the game it all makes sense. I think that the directions seem that way because it is such a different game in that it doesn't have a game board with limitations. It's hard to see where the boundaries are until you start playing, and get a feel for where everything needs to go or land.


Basically for this game you have a stack of 3 dice on a wooden chip, and you have to flick the top dice and land on one of 3 targets. It is pretty simple, yet fun. The game moves pretty fast once you get started. Even my 4 year old was able to play. There are all kinds of rules about where the dice can go, fouls, and stealing others' targets. It's pretty action packed for a dice game.


Most of this game is all about technique in your finger flicking. We all had a really hard time flicking the dice just right to get it to land on a target. It really takes some practice to not flick it too hard, or too light, or make too many dice go. At first we had to try a straight finger (pointed like an arrow) to see if that would work better.


But, we realized in the end that it really is just easier to do the flicking like the instructions suggested. If you get the technique down you can get the dice to go just right.


I played this with all my children, and they all enjoyed it. We played only at the table, but I have seen other reviewers say that they have played on the floor or where ever. I think it would be fun to try some different places to see how the boundaries can change.


Overall this product receives a 2 thumbs up from me. I think it is built very well for a game, and the game itself is interesting enough. The game recommends 7 and up, but my 5 year old could play it. If this game doesn't look interesting go check out SimplyFun's website! They have a lot of games for different age levels. Some more educational, some more fun. I'd like to try some more out in the future for sure.

Want to see more reviews about Archery Dice, or another game called Climbing Knights? Click on the logo below to see what other crew members had to say about their game.

SimplyFun Review
Crew Disclaimer

Find SimplyFun on the web:

Instagram: @SimplyFun

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wordless Wednesday--a book

Wordless Wednesday, or maybe not so wordless Wednesday. 

I am thoroughly enjoying this book so far.



Reading at the park on a sunny day is even better!

Linking up to:

Sunday, February 21, 2016

52 lists: week 7

The Things that make ME feel healthy 

1. Being grateful
2. Being outdoors
3. Spending time with my family
4. Exercise
5. Good healthy food
6.  Friendships
7. Reading
8. Vitamins
9. Teaching my children (keeps my mind going)
10. Sunshine
11. Walks on the beach
12. Vacation
13. Creating and art
14. Working hard for something
15. Learning new things

52 lists with Chasing Slow

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Story of Ping---FIAR

We rowed The Story about Ping over a few week period, ending with the time about when Chinese new year was starting. We also did a little bit of a study of China since we are reading about ancient China in history.

I really enjoyed this row, and wish I could have done more. We didn't get to do nearly as much as I had planned, and would have liked to keep going. Oh well, we might come back to it later.

This is a fun little story about a Peking duck that lives on the Yangtze river in China, so we also studied ducks a little too. I had great ambitions to go feed some ducks, but it was just always too rainy when we had a chance to go, or we were too busy. Sigh!

Here are the 2 main books we used. Of course, The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack was our main read aloud each day. We also found this Gail Gibbons Ducks! book very useful to find out more about ducks.


A glimpse of the inside of Ducks!


I made this lapbook about ducks for Aric to do. He really enjoyed it. He didn't finish it, so I think we'll fill it out more in the spring and summer when we get out to see the ducks more.


 We had a great duck craft one day from learncreatelove. It was perfect, and the boys loved making them.


We modified ours a bit (the boys' choice), and used wire brads so they had moving parts. They were fun, but they didn't stay in a great position when not played with, so they often looked a little awkward.


We got out our building bricks one day and built the great wall of China. It was pretty fun, and even Aaron built something because he just loves to build.


Aaron built a city with a wall around it. It was something they liked to do in ancient China.
For science we learned about a ducks feathers, and how they have oil that repels the water so it slides right off. We tried the oil on a paper duck experiment to see if we could create the same results.


It was mostly just fun, and helped them to remember why ducks have oil. The paper that had the oil definitely soaked up less of the water.


They all wanted to make their own duck, and try it out on their own.


Both Aric and Alex completed lapbooks about China with some Ping elements. We colored the flag of China, Found China on a map, and other things.


For a math activity we counted Ping's family. Alex really enjoyed coloring them in as we counted them.


We played with tangrams a lot. I have multiple sets of them, including this book and a game called classic tangoes. Alex really liked working on this book, as did a lot of other children. Even the neighbor kids who came over to play enjoyed it when it was out.


Alex did this cat picture mostly. Once he got it he liked doing it over and over again.



As a go along we read this book, Grandfather Tang's Story. It is a fun little story, and shows how to build several different animals.


Aric chose to build the crocodile from the story.


A close up...


I printed up a tangram for Aric to make his own creation. He made this and called it a horse.


On February 8, the start of Chinese new year, we went out for a somewhat Chinese dinner at Panda's Express. Hey, it's cheap, and the kids really like it, so it worked! We had a fun family night to celebrate Chinese new year. It was great.


These were our family's fortunes from the evening. Looks like some great things are coming our way!


It was a fun row. I really enjoy Five in a row. I think it is a great way to plan a unit study, and have some fun learning. I just wish we could do more! Oh well, maybe our next row will be all I dream it to be.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up: coast, a day in our homeschool, and science

Life this week:

We had a nice long weekend last weekend that included a trip to the Oregon Coast. It was a rather blustery and wet day at the coast, as usual. We mostly went to go to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, but we decided to brave stopping at Devil's churn (a really rocky shore with rough waters). It was really neat to watch the waters. The bottom left picture in the collage below has a good picture of the rough waters.

Top row: Alex playing with the navigation equipment at the aquarium, Dad and boys at Devil's churh. 2nd row: A view from the bottom of Devil's churn, Aaron on the trail down to the rocks at, Alex looking at through the glass on the floor at the aquarium. 3rd Row: Rough waters at Devil's churn, sea bird at the aquarium.
Science fair:

We went to a science fair with our local homeschool group. It was a nice evening that started out with delicious soup and bread, and then we got to hear from all the kids about their projects.

Here is Aaron presenting his knowledge of Betta fish. He even brought his fish to show. That fish was a hit with all the littles. I saw several little ones over there just watching the fish at various times throughout the evening. I thought it was cute, and I was very glad that Aaron didn't worry about it. I think it made him happy.


His cool looking fish, R2D2. He takes very good care of his fish. He does all the work for it, including changing the water. I'm so glad!


At the last minute we decided to take our kinetic sand for Alex to share. He even got a minute to say something about it. Just a little shy, I think he'll be up for something bigger next year!


Kinetic sand is pretty cool. I just love this picture.


Games this week:

I finally got my boys to join me for a game of scrabble. I remember when April would ask to play this game at 5 and 6. The boys haven't had any interest until now. I think it will really help with some spelling issues we have, and I think they liked it.


Aric even discovered a word on accident. He put these letters R-O-A-N out thinking it was a word. I didn't know it was a word, so I had him go grab the dictionary to look it up. We both discovered that it is a word. I always thought of it as a name! It was a great learning experience for him.


Of course playing scrabble led to some scrabble tile crafting. There was one tile in the bag that April had made years ago. Aaron asks, why does this tile have a picture?  I explained to him what she did, and of course he wanted to do it too. (How to make a scrabble tile pendant.)


Alex got in on the crafting action. He liked the idea of cutting pictures out of old magazines, so I told him he could make a picture. We'll have to get old magazines out more often! It turned out to be a great art afternoon.


In the kitchen:

Alex thinks he is the bomb in the kitchen. He loves to help, and he loves to make his own creations. This week he made a fruit salad (which I didn't get a picture of), and he loves to cook some canadian bacon in the pan while I watch. It is a good introduction to frying something because it's easy, and not very messy. He also loves to eat it!



Also in the kitchen was some cake baking this week. Aaron made a completely homemade cake on his own. We didn't have a box mix (or so I thought), and he really wanted to make it all from scratch.

Then, I thought it'd be fun to make these cake balls. I haven't made them for a while. Well, I got as far as baking the cake. The balls never happened, and then I ended up eating way too much cake. I think I will save the cake balls project for a day when we can take them to share for a special event. I decided they're too much work for just us.


Alex funny:

So, at dinner last night we had biscuits and sausage gravy. Alex didn't want to eat it at first, but after he took a bite he realized he liked it. When he asked for more it was "can I have more turkey and bagels?" instead of "sausage and biscuits". He couldn't get it straight, and made us laugh a few times.


Life learning:

I had the Safeway ad out, and the boys wanted to look with me. On the front page of the ad they were advertising their Monopoly game. The boys immediately began looking for the deals that we could buy so they could get some Monopoly bonus tickets. They decided they really wanted me to go shopping at Safeway so they could get started. We earned about 15 tickets I think, and when we came home they immediately started organizing the game pieces.


They were super excited to get these all sorted out.They worked together to find the spots, and decided it would be better to share a board to be more likely to win products and prizes. I haven't even looked at it yet to see what they would win, I just thought it was fun to see them so excited about it.

Library happenings:

After Safeway we had to return some stuff to the library. It was kind of one of those days where we were all feeling drained. I wasn't feeling inspired to get any books. April was saying she was feeling kind of blah, and not wanting to pick up any books. It was a weird feeling, so I went ahead and let the boys get the movies they wanted. That's all we came home with, 4 movies, from the library.  Sometimes that's just how it goes!


So, I was going to do a "day in the life of" post to link up with the review crew, but I didn't make the deadline. It's ok, the day turned out to be not so stellar anyway, and I just didn't have the energy to get it up and posted. But, here is a collage of pictures from one whole day of our homeschool. It isn't everything, and it certainly didn't turn out to be a normal day. A lot of science happened that day!


I think that wraps up our week! I am linking this up to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers weekly wrap-up.

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