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Friday, 19 November 2010
What is one thing I'm Thankful for this Thanksgiving? The KBTeachers Website!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

I get aggravated during the Holiday season. It has become so commercialized. Everyone is out to make a buck and take advantage of the season. All messages have to be "politically correct". It seems like the true meaning of the holidays has been lost and therefore no one really celebrates these special days the way that they are supposed to be celebrated.

Perhaps this post is kind of like that. By the title, you would think that I'm trying to push a product on you and am taking advantage of the Thanksgiving theme. Maybe I am a little, but I am also going to be truthful in this post. I really am thankful for this website.

When I think of "Thankfulness", I think of big things and little things. I think of family and health and provisions, but I also try to be thankful for little things as well. This would probably fall in to that category.

So, why am I thankful for KBTeachers?

I'm thankful that this great website has a lot of things that I need for my oldest child John  Allen. We are studying World History this year and I didn't have the money to buy a whole curriculum and so I'm having to find materials on my own. One of the first things that I noticed on this fantastic resource was the social studies section. I was thankful as soon as I clicked on the topic and saw all that was included. It has everything that I need to plan out my year in one place. There are items that cover every time period and they are in John Allen's grade range! Now, granted, it's not a complete curriculum, but it makes my life a lot easier.

I'm also thankful for the great pre-school worksheets that I found for Jacob. Jacob can't write his letters or numbers yet, but I found some great activities that he will really enjoy. He'll love learning how to count the airplanes, boats and cars on the worksheets that I printed out for him. These worksheets are really neat because you just click a button and the website will generate a new worksheet with different numbers. Maybe next time I'll have him count farm animals, or maybe fruits, or perhaps...you can choose almost anything to make these great worksheets.  I know! I'll use one of the holiday themed ones (see sample above). Later, when he is ready to learn to print, they have a great alphabet worksheet maker that I can customize using four different fonts and specialize depending on his level and abilities. And, even later, they have math worksheets for any math concept that I can print out.

I am thankful that I found some great craft ideas for Joshua on KBTeachers. He is a very hands on learner and these will be great. And they have crafts for all ages, so I can keep using them through the years! I'm thankful for the telling time activities that I can print out. I'm planning on making a file folder game with some of them. I'll laminate the blank clocks (see above). Then I can use a dry erase marker to write what time I want him to display on the clock. At first they'll be easy "on the hour" times, then I'll move on until I can put "to the minute" times. Thank you KBTeachers! They also have a maze generator and Joshua loves mazes! Again, you can specialize the maze with pictures of almost anything.

Wow! I just noticed the holiday invitations that you can specialize to your own needs and then print. And look at the stickers that you can print out ~ they would be great to send to my Compassion International kids. Oh, and I've got to check out the science and biology section a little more to see what they have. I've been thinking about doing a little more grammar with Joshua...I need to look again at that section. And...oh my...I never noticed that before...I'd better stop before I bust!

Yes, I know that I used the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday as a theme for this review, but I really am thankful for KBTeachers. I am so glad that I got to review this website. It has a lot of free materials that anyone can use. Some of the things that I mentioned above were free, but the premium area is fantastic and is only $29 for a year or $49 for two years! There are literally thousands and thousands of worksheets and other things that you can generate from this great site. Don't take my word for it though. KBTeachers allows you to try out their site for 30 days before you join and then, after you join, you have 30 days to cancel for a full refund. You can click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above to get to KBTeachers site. And, of course, you can click here to see what the other TOS Homeschool Crew reviewers had to say about KBTeachers. Now, this site is also great for non-homeschoolers that might just want some extra help for their kids so instead of saying "Happy Homeschooling" I'll close by saying "Happy Home Educating".

One small caveat that I feel that I must mention is that KBTeachers is a secular site. Although this doesn't affect 95% of their material, you will find some evolution in there science section. Still, all in all, I feel that this site is well worth it.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given a free membership to KBTeachers in order to try out and review on my blog.


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Posted by tink38570 at 7:50 PM CST
Updated: Friday, 19 November 2010 9:38 PM CST
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Thursday, 18 November 2010
Finally The Big Bathroom Bowl Giveaway!
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: Giveaways!

I know! I know! I was supposed to have this posted yesterday, but...I did just write about taking some time off, and, since I am just getting over a cold, I decided that yesterday should be one of those days.

I remember Thanksgivings when I was younger. We would always go to Grandpa Tinkel's house in Indiana where all of the Tinkel family would meet for the holiday. We would have an early Thanksgiving meal with my mom's side of the family and Mom would make leftover turkey sandwiches to eat on the 10 hour drive from Pennsylvania to Indiana. I have sweet memories of sitting in the backseat eating those delicious sandwiches, smelling Dad's black coffee and watching the site's whiz by.

That always marked the beginning of the holidays - Christmas shopping, baking, decorating, and, of course, the college football bowl games. We loved football at our house. No, love is not a strong enough word. We were passionate about football at our house. We had our favorite teams. Penn State was at the top, of course, but also Notre Dame, since Dad was from Indiana. Many a happy time resulted from a win, and many yells at the T.V. came when our teams were losing.

Yells at the T.V. were the extent of the physical action that emitted from the Tinkels, however. We were mostly couch potatoes when it came to football. Oh, I played football with my friends, and was on a grade school flag football team for two games... before the coach quit. But that's a story for another time. Anyway, anything beyond that was non-existent when it came to actually playing football when I was younger.

Joshua being teased by Tennessee Tech's eagle mascot.

Now days, of course, it's a lot different. Both John Allen and Joshua have played Upwards flag football and loved it. John Allen aged out two seasons ago, but Joshua is still playing and Jacob is even talking about playing next year. And, of course, we still watch a lot of football on T.V. The Fighting Irish and Nittany Lions are still at the top of my list, but, the University of Tennessee Volunteers are now right up there with them.

Joshua is probably our biggest football fan. He lives and breaths football. He plays flag football. He plays football on his Play Station. He watches football on T.V.. He practices in the yard and makes up his own plays. He has even made his own referee flags and knows all of the referee hand signals. Just this evening he was all dressed up in his football garb complete with helmet, jersey and wrist band with all of his plays written on it.

Joshua's enthusiasm for football was what led me to sign up for this great giveaway. It's called the...

Yep, you are reading right! It's actually the Clorox Toilet Bowl contest and giveaway!

First the contest. How many of you have been unlike the Tinkel clan and had your own Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day or even maybe New Year's Day family football game? How many of you would like to start that tradition? Well, Clorox is having a great contest this year that will help you do just that. Two lucky families are going to be chosen to take nine people (yes I said nine!) on a three day, two night vacation to New Orleans! That's not all, though. While in Louisiana, they will have the opportunity to play in a family flag football game with non-other than former NFL quarterback and now ESPN analyst, Jesse Palmer, to be your team's quarterback for the game! I'm planning on entering myself. Can you imagine Joshua's face if we win?

It's real easy to enter, but it involves a little more than just entering your name. You have to do things like describe your family football tradition in 100 words or less, upload a photo of your family, pick a mascot and colors and stuff like that. After you enter all of the information, Clorox will pick eight semi-finalists to be voted on by the public. Then, the two finalists will be announced and you're on your way to New Orleans for a show down at the "Clorox Toilet Bowl" to be held on January 13, 2011! Wouldn't it be cool if someone that entered because of reading this blog won? Please let me know if any you entered. All of the official information can be found by clicking here - http://www.facebook.com/odetothecommode .

Okay, now for the giveaway! In honor of this years "Clorox Toilet Bowl", I'm giving away a Clorox Toilet Wand - you know, one of those cool toilet bowl cleaning wands with the disposable cleaning head - and an official branded "Clorox Toilet Bowl" football! So, even if you can't go to the big game on January 13, you can still use the football to have a big game of your own, and use the wand to have a clean bathroom for the halftime restroom traffic. Below is a list of ways to enter my giveaway. I'm going to draw the winner on Dec. 1, so you have almost two weeks to enter. May the best team...err...I mean person win!

1. Check out the "Clorox Toilet Bowl" website and tell me why you would like to win my giveaway or the big contest if you decide to enter it - don't worry, it doesn't have to be 100 words long! Wink(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 or the Google friend requests in the left column and then leave a comment saying that you did (worth two total entries - one entry for each).

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 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 with a link to the post (worth 3 entries).

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Dad Central Consulting on behalf of Clorox and received a gift code, toilet wand and football to thank me for taking the time to participate.  

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Posted by tink38570 at 10:08 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, 18 November 2010 11:20 PM CST
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Tuesday, 16 November 2010
I've Got the Bathroom Bowl Blues
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Giveaways!

I've got the bathroom bowl blues 
I been meanin' to start cleanin' the bathroom
well, it's the lowdownest, bluest job in town
but tough green bowlene beats the bathroom
bowl blues

You're probably wondering what in the world that is all about. Well, you'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out. Be rest assured, though, it will be worth your time (hint~there's a giveaway involved!).

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Posted by tink38570 at 11:32 PM CST
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Monday, 15 November 2010
Our Latest Homeschooling Adventure - Complete with Pictures!
Mood:  lazy
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

I've written before that one of my favorite memories was going on vacations and traveling with my family. We often went to historical places like Gettysburg or Williamsburg, VA. I always loved learning about hour our early settlers lived and did things. Also as a youngster I enjoyed going to camp. And, you guessed it, craft times were one of my favorite periods of the camp week.

Imagine my surprise and great excitement when I found out that we were getting a historical craft kit from Corps of Re-Discovery. The Corps of Re-Discovery is a company that specializes in project kits and books to "encourage you to Re-Discover America, Yesterday and Today".

The Tinkel clan was chosen to receive a laced leather coin pouch ~ similar to what one would make at a boy scout camp ~ and I immediately though of Joshua. Not only does Joshua love making things, but we are also  beginning or study of United States history this year and this craft would fit right in. Joshua loved the idea and jumped write in.

Finally the package arrived and upon opening it we found a neat little package of leather and black lace along with simple instructions. After a brief orientation as to how to lace (no needle required), Joshua was on his way. He loved it and sat quietly doing it until his fingers got tired and he had to take a break. Now, this is my ADHD/asperger's syndrome child we're talking about! Check out the pictures below.



Notice the ever present football jersey and wrist band complete with plays written on it. That's really a story for another post, but that just goes to show you how entranced he was by this. He did need a little help with the beginning and ending and brother John Allen took a turn a lacing a few to get the feel of it, but otherwise Joshua did it all himself. And it turned out to be a very nice coin pouch. Take a look.


The above picture is Joshua's actual finished coin pouch, not something from the Corps of Re-Discovery website.

I am really impressed with this company. I really wished I would have known about it when John Allen was going through United States history. Many times, homeschool curriculum will have suggestions for crafts to go along with the historical era that you are studying, but, ugh, it is always a pain to plan them out and find all of the stuff. Corps of Re-Discovery has kits for almost every U.S. historical time period for a myriad of different items. Some of the other kits that they have are for corn husk dolls, tomahawks, moccasins, coon skin caps, quilting. And that's just a small sample of what they have. They have grouped some of their best selling items into kits such as the American Indian Kit, Home Economics Kit and Frontier Craft Pack. They even have a Lewis and Clark kit complete with books and a study guide.

And, you would think that with the price of leather and other things the prices would be expensive. Not so! The Leather Coin Pouch kit that Joshua made was only$4.99! Their group kits are very cheap as well. I am definitely going to remember this company.

For more information on the Corps of Re-Discovery you can click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Many of the other crew members on the TOS Homeschool Crew received other items from Corps of Re-Discovery to review and you can check them out by clicking here. Happy Homeschooling!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free Coin Pouch Kit from Corps of Re-Discovery in order to try out and review on my blog. 

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Posted by tink38570 at 11:04 PM CST
Updated: Monday, 15 November 2010 11:58 PM CST
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Sunday, 14 November 2010
What Have You Picked Up Lately?
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Family

Book wise that is! Well, as I said yesterday, this family is an avid reading family. Sometimes there are some members of the family that are actually reading more than one book at a time. I, for one, am reading three books right now and my dear oldest child is reading three as well. Okay, here goes. I'm not going to list school textbooks, nor am I going to list books that I have picked up, read a chapter or two, and then put back down only to pick it up again in a few months. If I listed all of those books, my list could get up into the dozens! These are only books that we are actively reading right now.

Tim's List

Martin Luther - by Basil Miller - Last year was the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation and I have for some time wanted to learn more about the founders of the Protestant faith. I found this short biography among the library of books that I inherited from my dad. I loved it. It is one of those books that I have picked up and put down off and on for quite a few months, but I am now actively reading it and am almost done.

Glenn Beck's Common Sense - by Glenn Beck - There is an old saying that says that you can learn a lot about a person by looking at what he reads. Well, this book probably tells you a lot about my political leanings. This is a great book, however, and I would really encourage you all to pick up a copy and read it.  

1776 - by David McCullough - I will always be thankful for my parents ~ Dad especially ~ for instilling in me a love for history. I don't remember him reading a lot of historical novels, although he was an avid reader, but we always went to historical places for vacations. That and the fact that I was an impressionable young teen during the Bicentennial, lead to my my love of history. I have been salivating about this book for years, but never could justify the cost whenever I saw it at a bookstore. Finally, about a week ago, I found it at a used book store in great condition for only four dollars! So, guess what? I am actively reading it as well.

John Allen's List

The Cat of Bubastis - by G. A. Henty - Okay, this is a book for school, but it isn't a textbook and John Allen is loving it! We are studying world history this year, and we are past ancient Egypt, but this one is a hold over.

The Bronze Bow - by Elizabeth George Speare - John Allen and I both fell in love with Elizabeth George Speare's books while we were studying United States history. The Sign of the Beaver and The Witch of Blackbird Pond remain on John Allen's top 25 list of all time favorite books (maybe even the top 10). When this book arrived in the mail and he saw who the author was, he picked it up right away to begin reading it. I was reluctant at first, since we aren't quite to that time period yet, but I couldn't resist. And, yes, he is loving it just as much as the rest. Fantastic book!

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid - The Ugly Truth - by Jeff Kinney - We have been blessed for the past few years to be given a large amount of books from a librarian friend of ours to be divvied out among our three boys as Christmas gifts. Some books that we have gotten are books that we wouldn't normally buy, not because they are bad, but because we have to watch our book budget. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series of books would fall in to that category. But, lo and behold, what should we receive a couple of years ago but book number one. John Allen picked it up and, I think, read it in on day. Thankfully, Grandma, has bought the rest of the series for him as they have come out. This is book number five and was just released last week. John Allen just got it today, and, who knows, he may have it finished already.

Don't ask me what Sarah is reading at the moment. She, like me, often has two or three books going at once. Joshua and I are studying Benjamin Franklin right now, and have been reading up on him, and, of course, Joshua likes anything football. Jacob's selection of bedtime (or any time) reading material lately has been Frank Asch Mooncake and Moongame books featuring Moonbear.

So, there you have my families reading lists of late. How about you? What are you all reading. Leave a comment and share with us. Maybe you'll have a book that others will want to read as well. Happy reading!


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Posted by tink38570 at 9:45 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, 14 November 2010 11:04 PM CST
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