Greatly Blessed

Greatly Blessed

Friday, November 27, 2015

Check Our These Cool Building Toys!

This was a fun review!  A bucket of pieces with endless possibilities for creating.

Jack made a game controller.  That's his video game face.

In addition to creative play, and following directions, this toy also encouraged negotiation skills, as pieces were bartered back and forth between siblings.

Jack made an airplane.

Hannah made a walkie talkie robot.

Jack made an animal (he was barking and meowing, so I'm not sure what the animal was exactly).

And here's a car...

You can even make letters!  Hannah spelled her name.

Younger kids can work on their sorting skills, both by color, and size or shape.

This one was made by Eli.  As a matter of fact, Sam, Eli, Jack, Hannah, and Katie have all been enjoying playing with the Creative Builder Set we received!  I'm pleasantly surprised at how well it has captured their attention.

Even Daddy had to tinker with them a little bit.

You'll find the 85 piece Creative Builder Set on Amazon for $35.00.  Tuck one under the Christmas tree and your kids will be entertained for hours to come!

What will your kids build?

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above in exchange for review from Giveaway Service website. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. Reference ID: e5b5c2a9c7c1

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chris Tomlin ADORE CD #giveaway #adore #FlyBy

Being a blogger has many perks.  I love trying out new things and sharing my thoughts about them.  One of the downsides is that you have to be ahead of the calendar a bit for some things.  I was a little nervous about starting to play Christmas music in mid-November, but surprisingly, my family hasn't complained a bit.  Maybe it's because this is a really great CD.  With both traditional and new Christmas music, it's been lovely background music to our morning chores for about a week now.

I like all the songs on this disc, but the first one, He Shall Reign Forevermore, is the one that gets stuck in my head.  I found myself humming it while I was doing laundry yesterday.  Have a listen:

Great stuff, right?  So you want a copy?  Of course you do!  Here's the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you're thinking, "Why does this guy sound so familiar?" it's because you've heard him on Christian radio with hits like How Great Is Our God, Jesus Messiah, Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone), Our God, and Whom Shall I Fear?

Check out the official Chris Tomlin website, or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

China Trip: Meet Tristan

Today, I have the privilege of sharing another of the sweet children I got to meet in Beijing earlier this month.  

Remember this cute picture of Aury resting with one of his friends in my hotel room?  Well today, I want to share more about that friend, whose advocacy name is Tristan!

Tristan and his advocate, Jennifer, after the "taking care of Mama" exercise.

Here's what Jennifer has to say about Tristian:

Tristan is a sweet 9 year old boy with Joubert's Syndrome that affects his gait, balance and some functionality of his gross motor skills. He has the most gorgeous golden brown eyes that show the depth of his personality. He is a quiet child that often goes into his own world, sometimes fixated on one items for an hour or more. His temperament is overall gentle but after some pushing, there was a hint of a stubborn streak when he was asked to give up an item he was using. He is closer to 6 or 7 physically and possibly even younger in cognitive ability. His ability to sit still during long speeches and car rides is impressive!

He did the cutest performance of signing, singing and choreography during our visit to Beijing. He also did a wonderful exercise titled "taking care of Mama" which showed his compassion and willingness to please. The only time his physical ability was truly taxed was after walking around the zoo for a few hours. He stumbled more than once and finally was placed in a wheelchair for a break. The other noticeable signs of his syndrome include some minimal jerky eye movements and speech delay for which he started therapy and progressed well.

Aury and Tristan

Tristan's smile is beautiful and this little boy deserves a forever home where he can learn within his capabilities and thrive into adulthood.

If you are interested in adopting Aury or Tristan, they are listed with Madison Adoption Associates.  Please share this post so Tristan's family can find him.  Thank you!

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Our Week - with a trip to Chuck E Cheese

Another week has whizzed by!  Here we are rapidly approaching Thanksgiving already.  The neighborhood decorations vary from pumpkins and scarecrows to icicles and twinkle lights.

The girls were playing nicely with the Duplos for quite a while.  Forgive the Saturday hair.

Big milestone this week!  Jack finished his handwriting book, New American Cursive!  This was something he started for a review shortly before the end of last school year, took off for the summer, and started back up again in August.

If anybody is curious, I ordered him A Reason For Handwriting as his "maintenance" handwriting book.  NAC was a great beginner book for him, but now we're ready to keep those new skills fresh, and what better way to do that than with Bible verses, right?  Hannah is currently working in ARFH as her maintenance book, too, having finished CursiveLogic recently.

High school is exhausting.  Sam is so ready to be done.  Less than 7 months now.

I found this Hungry Caterpillar book in the $1 spot at Target.  At the beginning of the school year, I was overwhelmed with the toddlers, and Katie was much less ready for formal schoolwork, so I got frustrated and gave up working with her for a while.

She's come a long way since then, and in the last month, I've been including her more and more in our school day.  We still haven't started her math book yet, but she's working in handwriting and spelling most days.  She still struggles with writing, and she's fearful about getting things wrong, but she's making progress.

I see this face when I ask Hannah a question.  Questions are very hard for her, for some reason.

I seem to have a NON-auditory learner here.  Which kind of sucks because My Father's World involves a lot of me reading out loud to the kids.  Brianna and Eli and Jack all did well with this.  It's actually perfect for Jack, because he struggles with reading, so he gets tons more through his ears than he would through his eyes.

But one day this week, I read a brief passage and asked the first of 3 questions about it.  Neither student could answer the question, so I asked them to sit up, look at my face, and I read the passage to them again.  I re-asked the question, and they both got it right.  Then I asked the second question, which had 2 answers.  Jack gave one of them.  I asked Hannah to give the other and she could not.  So I read the passage aloud for a third time.  She still couldn't come up with the answer.

Now, lest you think my expectations are too high, I was reading the 1st and 2nd grade section of the multi-level book and asking the 1st and 2nd grade questions.  Hannah is in 3rd grade.  I was frustrated, and wanted to move on, so I told her to copy the passage out of the book while I worked with Jack on something else.  Once she was done, I asked her to read it back to me, which she did.

She still could not answer all 3 questions.  If hearing it, seeing it, writing it, and reading it out loud didn't get it in there, I'm kind of stumped.

I'm not sure what to do here.  What we're doing is not working.  Do I lower my expectations and just assume she'll pick up what she can and not worry about the rest?  Do I change curriculum to something where she's reading and answering questions on her own?  Should I send her back to classroom school next year?

I'm frustrated because I've done workbook homeschool before, and I'm enjoying MFW so much more because it's more interactive and I'm more involved in what the kids are learning.  But obviously, what worked for the older kids may not work for the younger ones.

Continuing to work on fine motor skills, both with coloring and cutting.  Even uncapping the glue stick presents a challenge.

It's hard to see, but she glued the sun onto cloud print paper.

She's also still working on the Reading Kingdom program we reviewed.

We got a fabulous package from 4 Knowledge-4 Fun this week!  All sorts of goodies to try out and share about.

The first thing we dove into was the Color 'n Seek Alphabet Hidden Pictures book, which comes with markers.  This is great for Katie.  It helps reinforce beginning sounds.

Our art project looked really cool, but we ran out of shaving creme, so the kids ended up just painting (instead of marbling) this week.

Brianna told the kids to pose, and Eli was in the background, being a goofball.

I knew this was going to be a messy project, so I asked Bri if she would be in charge of it.  Once we get more shaving creme, I'll have to get her to try again.

We had a good week this week, and we finished all of our work for the week by Thursday, so Friday after spelling and getting a jump on next week (since we'll be taking Thanksgiving Day off, of course), we met up with friends at Chuck E. Cheese for some play time.

This was a win win because the kids had a wonderful time climbing around and playing games, and I got to talk to grown ups and see cute babies.

Hannah was not too sure about standing next to Chuck E.

If you missed it, I shared a funny story yesterday about my China trip.  If you're new here, I was in China recently on an advocacy trip, and I'd love to have you read and share my post about Aury, who needs a family!

Just a little reminder, as you start your Christmas shopping, when you use our Amazon links, we earn a tiny commission.  I used last month's commission to get a new art supply to try out.  Thank you so much!

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