Balance Bike Giveaway

I am so excited to welcome our sponsor, Balance Bike Town and share our thoughts and experiences with our personal balance bike.  We also have an AMAZING balance bike giveaway, so be sure to keep reading!

Balance Bike Giveaway

We got our first balance bike many years ago, when Krash was 3.  It was a Strider bike and we were in love instantly. He was a quick learner, was zooming around quickly, and then transitioned to a pedal bike when he was 4.  He never used training wheels and was pedaling within minutes of trying for the first time.  We were in shock after teaching our oldest son traditionally {with training wheels and no balance bike}.

Balance Bike

When Ladybug got old enough we had already passed on our orange Strider bike to a great friend and we got her a pink one!  She was slower to get the hang of it, not really enjoying the Strider bike until she was 4 1/2 but she also learned to ride a pedal bike within minutes when she first tried at age 5 1/2.  Again, we had the exact same experience, she hopped on and began pedaling and never used training wheels. 

Balance Bike

Having the balance bike for our two younger kids when they were little was such a blessing.  I wasn’t so convinced about the benefit until I watched both of them ride a pedal bike with such ease.  I am a firm believer and recommend a balance bike to anyone with a young toddler!  Get them started scooting around on a balance bike early!

Balance Bike

 

Balance Bike Town not only carries Strider bikes, they carry all sort of balance bikes, and they have a price guarantee!  Be sure to look for the live chat option if you need help selecting the right bike for your child.

Free shipping, a 10% discount code for my readers {code: 10plus}, and a price guarantee ~ you can’t beat that!

Balance Bike Discount

 

For one of you, this is going to be really exciting!  Balance Bike Town is giving one of our readers a balance bike of your choice valued at $150 or less!  I am so excited to know one of you will be blessed in this fun way!

Balance Bike Giveaway FB

Balance Bike Town has just started their Facebook page so be sure to like them and learn more about balance bikes and stay up on their current offers!

Giveaway is only open to 48 contiguous US States, and ends 12/5/14. Enter below using the Rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gift Idea for Everyone with Kids!

Do you have kids?  Have grandkids?  Have friends with kids?  Teach kids?  Care for Kids?

I have a great gift idea for you!

150  Screen-Free Activities for Kids DIY Gift Basket

{disclaimer ~ I was sent the book free of charge to review}

The new book, 150+ Screen Free Activities for Kids,  from Asia of Fun at Home with Kids is simply awesome. The book alone would make an incredible gift, or you can get SUPER fun and create a gift basket with supplies to go along with the book. Asia provides ideas here on her blog, and there’s a page in the Amazon preview sharing the 15 items recommended for a gift basket or a simple get-started list. I compiled many of them here for you to glance through.

150+ Screen Free Activities for Kids contains ~

  • 50% all NEW activities never before featured on Asia’s blog.  It also contains favorites from the blog!
  • 120 activities can be completed using items found at a regular grocery store.
  • Most of the activities were designed to encourage multi-age/sibling play. 
  • All activities are coded and marked with allergy codes to make things easier for those of you with kids who have allergies.

The book is divided into 7 sections, each section contains multiple ideas!

  • How to Use the Book
  • Slimes
  • Doughs
  • Paints
  • Small World Play
  • Simple Sensory Activities
  • Do-It-Yourself Toys

We have already done many of Asia’s ideas, but when I presented the book to my daughter who is 5, she immediately saw the image on the front cover of the Frog World and wanted to make that, she loves frogs and water. 

Frog World Play

I must be honest and tell you that the night she asked wasn’t a night I really wanted to dye water blue and cut out foam lily pads.  It had been a long emotional day and I was tired.  But, I said yes.  It didn’t take me long to set both of my kids up with their frog worlds and it gave me about an hour of peace as they played. 

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They both went on to play with the bins again the next day. The effort I put in at the beginning proved to be totally worth it in the end.

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Sometimes I am super creative on my own and other times I feel my brain is dead and completely emptied of all things creative.  Asia’s book is a reminder that it doesn’t take much to do something creative like this.

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My kids are 5, 8, and 12. The 5 and 8 year old played with the Frog World, extensively. The 12 year old wasn’t home that night but probably would have joined them. My 12 year old has looked through the book and found many ideas he wants to try. It really is a book for a VERY wide age range.

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It is a recipe book for me.  An easy tool to pull off of the shelf to stimulate my thinking and give me the idea and the recipe all in one place.  I am so thankful to Asia for taking the time to write this and know it will bless many people out there, including me!

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See more here ~

This awesome book is available worldwide, most of my readers will happily find it on Amazon, there’s a link here to Amazon

Sparky and the Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms App

We love books on our iPad and were recently introduced to the Sparky apps, specifically Sparky and the Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms!

{disclaimer ~ we were compensated for this post}Sparky and the case of the Missing Smoke Alarms

 

This is a free app, with a fun focus on fire safety.  I honestly wasn’t sure what Ladybug would think.  I never know with her.  Sometimes she is totally UNimpressed with apps and books on the iPad.  I was excited to see how much she enjoyed the Sparky character and the story itself. Not too sure our dog was impressed.

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The story is longer and was totally appropriate for her, she’s 5.  She listened to it read aloud and then interacted with each page. The kids and Sparky solved the mystery of the missing smoke alarms in the end! It was silly, fun, and educational.

As with most iPad books there are little places in the pictures where you can tap to interact. She loved putting the smoke alarms back where they belong!

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There is also a video and a game in this app, she enjoyed those too.  Many giggles  were heard throughout the entire book as I watched her listen to it and interact with it. “Look, look Mommy!” was said a lot!

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My opinion is that it would be best for ages 4-7, but since it’s free be sure to try it out even if you have a younger or older child. You can download IOS or Android here on the Sparky website! There are also many other fire safety activities on the Sparky website and other resources for you as a parent to explore. 

Sparky was such a big hit with Ladybug, she asked if there were more Sparky books and I was happy to tell her there was another! We downloaded Sparky’s Birthday Surprise also and she had me make a “Sparky” app folder for her.  I’d say that’s confirmation for me, she likes the books and the Sparky character! You can grab the other Sparky book on the website also!

With Fire Prevention Week coming soon {October 5-11, 2014}, it’s a great time to bring some of this fun and free learning into your homeschool or classroom!

Download your FREE app here!

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Speekee Spanish for Homeschoolers

Speekee Spanish is a great Spanish program for homeschoolers! We are loving it and are excited to share our thoughts as well as a great giveaway with you!

{disclaimer ~ Speekee is a blog sponsor and I was given a membership to use for this review}Speekee Spanish for Homeschoolers



Years ago we used Speekee, and we kept our monthly subscription long after our initial review in 2011.  Want to see how long ago?  Here’s a photo, aren’t they cute?!

Speekee

Eventually I let the subscription go, but then Jim from Speekee got in touch with me recently to come back on board as a blog sponsor. I knew they had redone the Speekee website and was excited to see the changes and if it might work for my family.

I was mostly interested in the Fast Track, which is a 40 week homeschool Spanish program with lessons! I figured we would like it but wasn’t sure how much.  We are going through a lot of changes this year and I wasn’t really looking to add another subject to our day.  I figured we could review it for a month or so and then put away for another year.

Boy was I wrong.  There’s going to be NO putting it away, the kids LOVE it!  Seriously, these two beg for the daily lessons!

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Speekee_Advert[1]

What is Speekee?

Speekee is a multi award-winning Spanish learning program​ for 2-11 year olds. It’s the most comprehensive Spanish program for children ever to appear online. Games, videos and challenges are all part of this super fast way for kids to learn Spanish!​ There are 40 videos that form the backbone of this program tailor made for homeschoolers.

 

What is Speekee Fast Track for Homeschoolers?

Speekee Fast Track is a 40 week program for young learners of Spanish, targeted for ages 2-8. It focuses on the first ten episodes in the Speekee series of videos. Each week 4 activities are suggested, with corresponding worksheets, videos, and other activities.

Here’s a peek at the first 4 weeks {clipped from the Speekee website, scroll to the bottom of the homepage and click on the words “Fast Track” to see this}.

Speekee Fast Track Week 1-4

 

How Much Does it Cost?

Speekee is an online subscription service, giving you access to all of the materials with your membership.  You can see current prices here {scroll down to the bottom}.

 

Fast Track is what we are using and what I am focusing on in this review. My kids are ages 5 & 8 so this is a perfect fit.  My oldest is 12 and although he listens in sometimes, he is not participating with us regularly.

Each school day, the younger two work with me on the day’s assignment.  The Fast Track plan does not say to watch the video each day but my kids insist.  So, we do the activities, plus the video each day.

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On day 2 of week 1 you are told to help the kids make puppets to represent Dino and Lupi ~ the adorable puppets in the videos.

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Honestly I didn’t not want to do this.  I wasn’t in a crafting mood.  However, I am so glad I ignored my feelings and just did what the lesson plan said.  They LOVE these puppets.

We now have Dino and Lupi sit with us for each lesson and they have REALLY helped with encouraging natural dialogue.

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Below you can see a bit of the screen showing the puppets in one of the videos.

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They also each have a Spanish notebook.  This is for the printables from the Speekee lessons and a few more I have created on my own to enhance their learning.  I will share these later on my blog, I am not done with them yet!

Speekee Spanish -1743

 

I am so glad Speekee came back on as a sponsor and that I was required to dig back into it.  It truly is a perfect fit for my two youngest and they are begging for the lessons each day. We will be continuing on with the Fast Track program this entire school year!

One of you is going to win a 40 week membership to Speekee so you too can enjoy the full Fast Track program!!

Use Rafflecopter to enter to win below.  Giveaway is open worldwide and ends 9/26/14. Be sure to click over to the blog to be able to see the widget if you are reading via email or RSS.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What’s in the Bible Coloring Book

We have loved What’s in the Bible DVDs for years.  In 2012/2013 we used them for our homeschool Bible curriculum, and are using them again this year!

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links used below}Whats in the Bible Coloring Book

I was SUPER excited when I was asked if I wanted to review the new What’s in the Bible Coloring Book and jumped at the opportunity since I was looking for a new way to supplement the learning this year.

We are using the DVDs and the new coloring book for a no-prep, simple, yet very effective Bible curriculum for my three kids.  Currently my kids are 5, 8, and 12 and ALL love the What’s in the Bible DVDs and now the new coloring book.

Here’s amore about the new coloring book straight from What’s in the Bible ~

Introducing the What’s in the Bible? Coloring Book! Color through the WHOLE Bible – from Genesis to Revelation – with over 200 reproducible pages. Start at the beginning with the stories of creation, Adam and Eve, and Noah, and find all your favorite Old Testament stories – including Ruth, David, Esther,and more. The New Testament starts with coloring scenes from Jesus’ ministry and then you can color through Paul’s letters and even a few pages from the book of Revelation! What's in the Bible Coloring Book

It’s a comprehensive, chronological journey through the Bible your kids will love as they experience each story in a new way by expressing their creativity through coloring!

The coloring book comes in standard book format {which we received and you see in my photos} or as a PDF digital download.

 

How We Are Using What’s in the Bible?

We use one DVD per week and watch 1 of the 2 episodes from the DVD each day during lunch. So, each week, they will view each episode on the DVD twice. We will rotate through all of the DVDs and then begin again.  The kids begin coloring while watching after they finish eating each day.

Here’s a peek from one of our days, which I shared on Instagram here.

What's in the Bible Homeschool

 

This has quickly become a favorite part of the day, with the little two often begging to color during their free time.  They love these books.

What's in the Bible Coloring Book-9958

I am asking my kids to choose pictures to color from whatever DVD we are currently watching.  There are many to choose from which means when we go back through they will be able to go back and color those!

It has been a great way to reinforce the concepts they learn from the DVDs.  Personally I need one LESS thing to prepare each week and the fact that this is just so simple makes me love it even more.

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