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Families Again
Thursday, 3 June 2010
Really Big Announcement Number 1! My First Giveaway and a Great Cause!
Mood:  energetic

I told you that the next couple of days were going to be exciting, and I hope that you aren't disappointed.

You all know, from reading my homeschool product reviews, that Sarah and I are committed to healthy living. Like many people, we often fail, and need help and prodding from others. You also know that we are very dedicated to helping the less fortunate in our society and the world.

That's why I was so thrilled to hear about the Pound for Pound challenge. The Pound for Pound challenge is a unique program that fights hunger while helping you lose weight! How do they do it? First, you join the challenge by pledging to lose weight through exercise and healthy eating habits. For every pound that you lose, the Pound for Pound challenge will donate 14 cents - enough to buy one pound of food - to donate to Feeding America, the nation's leading charitable hunger-relief organization. Along the way, the folks from The Biggest Loser will give you weight loss tips, exercises, recipes...in fact, they will set up a whole weight loss plan for you to help you meet your goal! Such a deal! While you lose weight, others will benefit.

So, how can you take part in this great opportunity? Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above to get to the Pound for Pound challenge website. To find out more about Feeding America just click here. Don't wait too long to decide, the Pound for Pound challenge ends June 30th. so enter today!

But that's not all! In order to help promote the Pound for Pound challenge, General Mills and Kroger, two of the other challenge sponsors, have promised two $30 Kroger gift cards. One for us to use and one to give away on my blog! You all know what great prices that Kroger has and what great products General Mills has. Now you can take advantage of both to help you lose weight and get into shape! Here's a list at all of the great places listed that you can use your gift card at:

Kroger, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, King Soopers, Fry's Food and Drug, Fry's Marketplace, Smith's Food and Drug, Smith's Marketplace, Dillons, QFC, Food 4 Less, City Market, Jay-C Bakers, Gerbes, Foods Co., Hilander, Pay-Less Supermarkets, Owen's, Scott's Food and Pharmacy, Kroger Marketplace, Fred Meyer Jewelers, Littman Jewelers, Barclay Jewelers

To enter the drawing, just do one (or all!) of the following. Please, when leaving comments, include your name and email so that I can contact you if you win.

1. Leave a comment below telling how you plan on losing your weight and/or getting back into shape (worth one entry).

2. Subscribe to my blog by clicking on the subscribe button at the end of this post and then leave a comment saying that you did (worth one entry).

3. Subscribe to my blog by clicking on the Networked blog button in the left column and then leave a comment saying that you did (worth one entry).

4. Become a fan on my Families Again Facebook page by clicking here and then leave a comment saying that you did (worth one entry).

5. Follow me in Twitter by clicking here and then leave a comment saying that you did (worth one entry).

6. Twitter or Facebook about this give-away and leave a comment with a link to the post(s) (worth one entry per day. Must make a separate comment each day).

7. Blog about this give-away and leave three comments saying that you did (worth 3 entries).

The drawing will be next Friday, June 11 so enter, tweet, facebook and blog quickly! Thanks.

As a member of Blogspark the great people from General Mills and Kroger sent me two gift cards. One for us to use and one to give away to promote the Pound for Pound challenge and Feed America on my blog.



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Posted by tink38570 at 4:31 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, 4 June 2010 9:21 PM CDT
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Wednesday, 2 June 2010
All Right! All Right! I know...
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: General

This makes two lame posts in a row. But I promise I have an excuse. We worked hard all day at the mission to get ready for our summer day camps and then had another night of VBS this evening. Then, we get home and find out the the mother of one of our old mission kids passed away. He moved away a few months ago. We are going to try to find out the arrangements so we can go see him. In the meantime please pray for Hunter.

On a lighter note. Tomorrow, I promise, will be a special day. In fact, I have interesting posts planned for the rest of the week, so please check back. You won't be disappointed.

I know this is what you're thinking, but I promise the rest of the week's going to be good! Check in tomorrow!


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Posted by tink38570 at 11:28 PM CDT
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Tuesday, 1 June 2010
Ugh! What a Busy Day!
Mood:  lazy
Topic: General


I really don't feel lazy right now, but they don't have an emoticon for tired. We've had a long day of packing up at grandma's house, traveling, unloading the car, taking the kids to VBS, and getting home to catch up on a few things. I haven't had time to even think about a blog entry. I guess I need to be like those bloggers that write a lot of posts ahead of time so that they can just punch a button and "poof" it's there. I can't say that I never draft anything and then post it later, but it isn't my normal thing to do. So, I don't have a lot to post tonight. Something exciting is happening later this week (maybe even tomorrow!). I am hosting my first give-away! Yep! I have something that I am going to give away...in fact two things...to a couple of lucky winners. You will like it, so stay tuned!



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Posted by tink38570 at 10:15 PM CDT
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Monday, 31 May 2010
Freedom Isn't Free - A Memorial Day Salute
Topic: General
Thanks to Tammi from Our Homeschooling Pilgrimage
for this idea.

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Posted by tink38570 at 4:29 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, 31 May 2010 5:40 PM CDT
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Peterson Handwriting - My Last Review.
Mood:  sad
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

Prelude - I am a bit sad as I write this. This is my last review for this year. It has been a fantastic, learning, growing year but most of all it has been a year where I have made many new friends that will be lifetime friends. As you know, I will be continuing with the TOS Homeschool Crew next year, and many from last years crew will as well. Some, however, are disembarking in order to take on other challenges that God has given to them. Thankfully we have set up a Yahoo group where we are going to keep in contact with one another. So, although I am sad that this last review is the end of this cruise, I am excited as soon we will be embarking on another grand cruise with many more exciting things to come!


If you have written any review of writing materials that I have written, you will know that I have for a long time been a fan of something I used many years ago called Rhythmic Writing (RW). One of the many things that RW does is teach good writing technique by giving every stroke a count that a child chants while learning to form the letters properly. Since being on the homeschool crew I have found a couple of unique programs that do something very similar to what we used to do with RW. One of them is Peterson Handwriting.

My first introduction to Peterson Handwriting was a wonderful online chat that I had with Rand Nelson, one of the head folks at Peterson Handwriting. He was very helpful in explaining the background of the Peterson approach, and guiding me to what material would  be appropriate for Joshua to use. You can't find any better costumer service than what I got with Rand.

Last years crew got to review Peterson Handwriting as well, but what they reviewed was just the online version. Because of their suggestions, the people at Peterson decided to develop ebooks that could be downloaded. You can then print out pages as needed and even print out extra of the same page if your child needs extra practice.

This is another one of those end of the year review items where, because of our children's health issues this spring, we just didn't have enough time to use it the way we wanted. I will highlight some of the things that I really like about the Peterson Handwriting approach and then, after using it more, will post a followup at a later date.

If you look at the Peterson website, there are links to research that backs up the Peterson approach. You can wade through this if you wish, it is very interesting, but I will touch upon some of the research as I explain the approach.

The Peterson approach is all based on making sure that a child has mentally internalized how to properly make letters and numbers. So many handwriting programs today just give the student workbook pages to trace over a letter and then copy it, hoping that it will turn out nice looking. They don't take into account that, if not watched properly, the child could trace the letter any which way, and, more importantly, they don't take into account that, in order to internalize how to properly make a letter, you must start with large motor skills, and not just small motor skills.

The Peterson approach uses four steps. 

Step One: The usual step of the teacher demonstrating how to make the letter. With this approach, however, you demonstrate by making an over-sized letter or number on a chalkboard or large piece of hung paper. They suggest using a different color for the different strokes (examples are in the ebook). You then point to the model with your pointer finger and trace the model while you say the "Action Words". The action words for the small a are "Hook Around" - for the curved part of the a and "Small Down" - for the short line that completes the a. Because the models are large, you are using a whole arm movement to trace the letter.

Step Two: The student then faces the letter and "air writes" while chanting the action words. While the student is doing this, you watch for directionality problems and making sure that they are chanting what they are doing. This makes sure that the brain is developing a "gross pattern" for that letter or number.

Step Three: Now you've come to the point where you use the printed out page for the letter or number you are working on, but, you don't use a pencil yet. First, you "Finger Trace". The child uses his pointer finger, the finger that should actually be doing the "driving" when you write, and you trace over the letter while saying the chant. In this step you are actually programing the muscles to form the letters correctly.

Step Four: Finally, you are ready to start actually forming the letter while using the pencil. Make sure that your student is gripping the pencil correctly - a chart for how to hold the pencil and how to position the paper correctly is included in the download. The first time you begin to form the letters, you actually to it on unlined paper. You want to make sure the child is able to control the movements before having the constraints of the lines. Then, after they can form the letter or number legibly without lines, you introduce the lines. If there is any confusion in what to do, you simply take them back to Steps two and three and review those steps before trying step four again.

It all sounds very complicated but is very easy once you get started with it. You don't spend much time on any one step before moving on to the next one and the child actually has a much more enjoyable time than strictly trying to trace a letter and trying to make it look nice in a workbook. 

Also, with my educational therapy background, it all makes perfect and logical sense to me. I would recommend this for any child, but especially children that have small motor problems or have problems with reversals while writing. As you move throughout the levels of Peterson Handwriting, they move very logically from print to cursive. Although I did not work with anything but print, it looks as if cursive is done in a very similar way 

Peterson Handwriting is also very reasonably priced. The ebooks for individual use are $19.95. That would be for a family using this product. If you are going to use it in a classroom or a co-op setting, the price is $29.95. The Peterson website has a lot to offer. It can be a bit overwhelming to navigate at first, but I think you can find your way around easily enough. Remember, also, that there costumer service is amazing. If you call their 800 number or email them, they can set up a time an online consultation time within minutes. They are very helpful. To get to the Peterson Handwriting site, just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. To find out what some of the other TOS Homeschool Crew members had to say about Peterson Handwriting, just click here. Happy Homeschooling!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was given free downloads of several of Peterson Handwriting's products to try out and review on my blog.

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Posted by tink38570 at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, 31 May 2010 12:03 AM CDT
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