Wednesday, November 22, 2017

She Crowed!!!

Hazel crowed!!  Oh no, another rooster!!!  We now have 8 roosters again.  We rehomed Olaf and were down to 7 until the other day when I heard Hazel crow.  Sir Galahad, our only other Silkie has been crowing for some time now.  My two barred rock mix boys crowed a lot later than Olaf did, so I knew the jury was still out as to whether Hazel was hen or roo.  I always wondered because Hazel always just looked like a smaller version and different color than Sir Galahad.  I knew the older Hazel got and no eggs that she might be a he.  The good news is that the two seem to get along great, so I hope it stays that way.

I still plan to move the two Silkies over to another coop with the three Frenchies (black copper marans), a SLW (Silver-laced Wyandotte), and the Olive egger trio (two roos and a hen).  It worries me a little because that will technically be 4 roos in one pen with only 5 hens.  I think the Silkies will be ok and it's possible that one of the olive eggers will become dinner in the future (I hope not cause they are both pretty cute).

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Forbrain from Sound for Life LTD REVIEW

Forbrain Sound for Life LTD
7th grader reading out loud during Bible time
Well, here it is, my final review for the Homeschool Review Crew this year.  This interesting headpiece is called Forbrain from Sound for Life LTD. It was an interesting piece of equipment to review.  When I learned that it could help with speech I knew I wanted to give it a try. I have two students with some speech challenges.  It is run by a rechargeable battery that lasts forever and charges pretty quickly.  The unit is lightweight and fairly comfortable to wear.  My 7th grader used it with no problem once she got used to having it on her head.  It's kind of like wearing one of those new type wireless headphones.  It was tricky for her to adjust the mouthpiece at first but she got it.

Forbrain is a unique device that uses bone conduction, dynamic filter, and auditory feedback loop to enhance your speech, memory, and attention.  It is approved for use for ages 4 and over.  It is recommended that you use it about 15 minutes per day, twice a day if possible.  I was wanting to use it for my 5 year old but she fussed about it on her head so we will try again at a later time.  I really think it would help her in clarifying her speech.

It is important to also understand that this device stimulates your brain so your body is getting a workout and will get fatigued if overused.  You can see the best way to use this time-wise on their Program and Protocol page. You can see on this page how the suggested usage changes based on age and what you are wanting to accomplish with it.  The younger the child the less time and the more intense you need, such as quick memorization, the longer the time needed.  It is also recommended that you use it for a 6 to 10 week period of time before taking a break from it.  We have been able to use this for almost 6 weeks.

Forbrain Sound for Life LTD

I was absolutely surprised that I personally saw/heard an immediate improvement in speech with my 7th grader.  She has a kind of delayed type speech that borders on a mild form of stuttering.  She kind of tends to drag out words at times and enunciates improperly.  She will do it sometimes in speech and more often when reading out loud.  I noticed that before we got this unit, if she was reading a difficult passage her brain seemed to have to work harder and she would read more fluently.  When she got to easy words and easy passages of reading the delay would get really bad at times. I was thrilled with the results in such a short time.  The stuttering/delay is almost non-existent when she is using this device.  I have also noticed the carry through in that she does better even when not using the device.

Forbrain Sound for Life LTD

I asked her opinion of what she thought about the device.  She said it was not too cumbersome and was fairly comfortable once she adjusted to it.  Her end feedback on it was that it didn't really help.  She thought she spoke and read better without it.  I was a little disappointed in this evaluation as I could definitely see and hear a difference in her speech for the better after using this device.

Forbrain Sound for Life LTD

I plan to use it next on my 8th-grade son who has trouble concentrating and focusing on the subject at hand.  It is supposed to be able to help him with this so I am excited to get it started once the 7th grader finishes her use of it before taking her break from it.  I will also try it again in a few months with my 5 yr old who needs lots of work on enunciating her words and speaking more clearly so people can understand what she trying to say.

I give this product a thumbs up from us.  While it is fairly pricey I think that if you are in need of a device like this that you would not be disappointed.  There is a 100% satisfaction claim and 2-year warranty offered.  Right now they are also offering free shipping!

Forbrain Sound for Life LTD
You can connect with Forbrain on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and LINKEDIN.  Thank you Sound for Life LTD for this neat device.

Please take the time to read the other wonderful reviews on this product through the link below.

Forbrain {Sound For Life Ltd Review}+

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Farewell to Olaf

I rehomed one of my boys last night.  He went to a good friend of mine who will take very good care of him.  From what I hear he will have his own harem of fluffy butts so he should be more than happy.  He is such a beautiful rooster and has grown into being a pretty good rooster.  Hard to believe that he isn't even full grown yet.  He was one of our hatchlings from this past spring.  He will be missed but I am glad he got a good home.

I'm now down to only 7 roosters.  Oh, my!  It will be good to get the other coop area ready as 3 of the 6 roosters in the main pen will be moving over there (the two olive eggers and my silkie rooster).

Sweet Pea has been very happy in his new digs and he now has 5 hens with him (two black sex links, one leghorn, one California white, and out buff Brahma Olivia).  He has become such a wonderful gentleman.  I am so glad we got him back.  More updates later!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Thinking Like an Engineer REVIEW

Thinking Like an Engineer
My Homeschool Review Crew year is coming to an end and what a way to end the year with a big bang.  Thinking Like an Engineer by Innovators Tribe is a fantastic program that sparks creativity and innovation into your children.  It is an online course for grades 6-12 that is very hands on.  If you have kids that are interested in all things STEM then this is the perfect program for you! You get online video course instructions, downloadable worksheets, links to other resources and FREE 3D Design software to use for your projects.

Innovators Tribe What You Get

Registering and signing on to this program is very easy.  Use your email and a password and you are ready to go.  Your dashboard will show what programs you have purchased and how far you are in each one.  The teacher, Mr. Kroeplin (Mr. K), is an award winning certified Technology and Engineering instructor who loves what he does (his energy in the videos is contagious!).  The course is self-paced so there are no deadlines or due dates for any of the challenges or lessons.  There is a total of about 30 hours of lessons (28 lessons plus challenge activities) and it can qualify as 1/4 High School credit.

Login instructions

Instructions on how to advance through the menus
FREE 3D Design software included
Advancing through the lessons is simple.  You are able to go back and review lessons and even mark them not completed if you choose.  It seems that you might not be able to go back, but you can.  If you have any children who are interested in engineering then you will not want to miss out on this program.  The introduction lesson stresses that even women play a huge role in engineering and have equal success in their careers.  This is not an actual "engineering" program but rather aims to teach our kids to "think" like an engineer.  That being said, the course leads kids to investigate and research what being an engineer is all about and what can be expected at different jobs that have to do with engineering.

Example of assignment that encourages more research

There is a course syllabus that includes a materials list (does not include the materials for the water filtration system) to download before you begin. The lessons are powerpoint video with the teacher overlayed at different times giving you further instruction or explaining things more. It is very fun and interactive and keeps your student interested in the material (not just a boring slide show!)  I just love how there are intermittent links to other sites for more information and further research.  There are even links to downloadable worksheets for more research on the topics on hand.  There are a total of 5 units covered:
  • Introduction to Engineering
  • Introduction to 3D Design (tools of modern design)
  • Engineering Roller Coasters
  • Engineering Bridges
  • Nano Engineering (Discovery of a New World)
Course Syllabus

Included list of materials

NOTE:  The [printable] Course Outline (Syllabus) does not match exactly with the online course outline.  The CAD sections appear to have been combined and lesson 3 seems to include what was once broken out into different lessons (lesson 3 is 120 minutes!).  Just note that until the syllabus is updated it does not match the headings of the online course exactly.

We are taking it slow as the first challenges really frustrated my son.  They are great and fun, but he gets frustrated when he can't solve things immediately.  The first challenge of building a tower of at least 5 ft. high with only 4 sheets of paper and 1 ft. of masking tape did not amuse him.  He thought he really likes engineering, but is realizing that he has to get over this frustration.  I like that there are plenty of other options right now in researching and learning more about engineering type activities.  We haven't tried the water purification challenge yet and I think that one will spur him on.  How cool is that?  Learning about and making something that will purify water!  Be aware that it is stressed in the course that your water will NOT be drinkable because the chemicals needed to purify the water are not used in this course. But you will get to see muddy, murky water turn crystal clear!

Failed tower attempts

The next unit up for us is the 3D Computer Design unit and I think he is going to love it!  We plan to get that started next week.  I will definitely complete this course with him to see just what he really thinks of engineering and I hope he sees how wide the field is and how cool it would be to work in it.

Innovators Tribe

With all it has to offer how could I not give this program an incredible thumbs up!  It really challenges your children to think through things and come up with solutions to problems.  It has been such a blessing to be able to review Thinking Like an Engineer from Innovators Tribe.

There is currently another program, Thinking Like an Architect that is also available through this vendor and they will soon have Thinking Like a Carpenter available.  The best part of all is the sale they are running right now.  The programs are 35% off through 11/11/17.  Regularly $149 each for a 1 year subscription, they are now ONLY $96/year. That's only 2 days away!  You just can't beat that, get it while it's on sale!

I encourage  you to click on the banner below and take the time to check out the other reviews on Thinking Like an Engineer and Thinking Like an Architect.

Thinking Like an Architect or Engineer {Innovators Tribe Reviews}
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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Thin Stix Creativity Pack REVIEW

Thin Stix Creativity Pack
The Pencil Grip, Inc.
The Pencil Grip, Inc. has done it again with their fantastic assortment of colors in their Thin Stix Creativity Pack.  I reviewed Thin Stix 6pk Classic Colors in an earlier post of mine and we absolutely LOVE these tempera paint sticks.  These are perfect for a no mess kids art project!  The paints generally will dry within about 90 seconds.  The kit has 24 paint sticks that include 12 classic, 6 neon, and 6 metalix colors. 

My kiddos just LOVE these and so does this mom!  No need to get out the water, cups, brushes, paint trays, smocks, oh my!  So many supplies and such a mess at times when we use our regular tempera paints.  With Thin Stix you just pop off the cap, twist and go!

Even though the name implies the sticks are thin, they are not "thin" enough to do much detail work, but they sure are quick, easy, and fun to use.  You also have to be careful about mixing colors.  Unlike traditional paints, Thin Stix do not generally "mix" well. The paint from one color easily transfers from one paint stick to another, so mixing is not a good idea.  We also tried to let our layers dry and then layer another color on top of the dry layer.  This worked for the most part, but you still have to be very careful about paint transfer and some of ours did get transferred a little.

Little Bug with her "colorful" armadillo

The Thin Stix are recommended for ages 3+ and even I enjoyed using them.  The catch with the younger crowd is to supervise them so they don't try to eat the paint or push too hard when they are "painting."  My 5 year old really likes the bold and bright colors and would just color and color and color over the same spots and the paint would be pretty thick in areas.  The thicker you put it on your paper (press harder), the more time it will need to fully dry.  The sticks are actual tempera paint so they are water soluble, non-toxic, and washable.

My crew just loves these paints and they are so easy to use.  We absolutely LOVED this 24 pack that included not only more classic colors but the neon and metalix colors also.  In my last review, we painted on paper and cardstock.  This time we not only did the cardstock (their armadillo pics) but also wood and fabric.  You can paint on paper, cardstock, wood, poster board, probably some plastics and just about anything else you can think of.  The paints were great on the wood but I quickly found out that we should have ironed the fabric bags to create a smooth, wrinkle and bump-free surface.  It was a little tricky but we managed.  The neon colors are very vibrant and the kids had fun with the metalix colors.  They add a very nice touch to the projects (including putting gold stars on the Christmas trees).

Armadillo using gold and silver metalix colors

Wooden Christmas Ornaments were fun to make! Highlights of white snow,
gold stars and even a golden tree
Fabric bag
Another challenge with the fabric is proper pressure to create a nice application of the paint.  It is very difficult to perform any kind of detail so it is best to stick with larger pictures and thicker lines.  If you apply too much paint it will take much longer to dry.  Also be aware that these are NOT fabric paints so your projects will not be washable.

With the amount of fun we had with the Thin Stix Creativity Pack, how could we not recommend it?  Paints like this could keep my kiddos occupied for hours if I would let them!

You can connect with The Pencil Grip, Inc. on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and PINTEREST.

Please also take the time to check out what other reviewers have to say about this product.

Thin Stix Creativity Pack {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Free Chicken Calendar

I recently came across an option to get a free chicken calendar from USDA.  You simply send them an email request and they will ship you a free calendar!  It is absolutely gorgeous.  Visit Better Hens and Gardens to get the information on how to get one!  I sent off for mine and a few extras for my 4H chicken club members.  They came pretty quickly.  Send off for yours today!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Baby Sussex Update

So, the girls are growing!  It always amazes me how fast these little ones grow up.  I still don't know what the "unknown" buff chick is.  We have 4 speckled sussex, 1 buff orpington, 1 ?? perhaps a Rhode Island red?  She was supposed to be the 2nd buff, but someone got the chicks messed up somewhere and she is definitely NOT an orpington :)  They are all doing great.  Will be a little sad to see 4 of them go to their forever home.  I am just letting mom raise them for a friend of mine.  I will keep 2 of the speckled sussexes.

Our not so buff orpington, LOL - probably a RIR

The cold has descended upon us and they are all doing just great.  I was worried it was so late in the year, but will never forget when my Australorp raised a chick in what seemed like the dead of winter.  Their resiliency also amazes me.  Keep them sheltered from the bitter wind and they will generally do just great, even with no heat!  Momma is their heat box!  Until next time.  Anything new on your homestead these days?  We are winding down and still need to get the garden winterized.  Hopefully it will actually happen this year!!

Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools REVIEW

 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks
In need of some resources for sharing the Gospel?  Look no further than the Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack from Let the Little Children Come.  I had the privilege to once again review some resources from this wonderful company.  I really liked being able to try out some of their more complex and interesting tracts.  These are not just your average booklet or postcard style tract.  These tracts are geared toward engaging the recipient in a more hands on experience.  From bracelets to pop ups, these tracts are flat fun for the younger crowd. My packet contained one each of the above pictured resources (10 items).  The tracts came in a nice reusable plastic zippered type pouch.

Nice, plastic reusable zippered pouch

  My favorites were the animated tracts (there were three different ones in the pack).  The three booklets included in the pack were, Where's Everygody Going?, John 3:16, and The True Story of Christmas.  You use a plastic slotted card to slide back and forth across the pages of the tract to see "motion."  The figures appear to move on the page (including walking, running and crawling).  It is just a fun tract!

I think the pop up tracts are always a hit with the younger crowd.  My 5 year old really likes these. It brings the message to life for her and she is able to interact with the message. The pop ups just fascinate her. There were two in the pack; The Most Amazing House and The Lost Easter Egg.

Also included in the pack were two FlipAbouts (these are cool).  They are folded a certain way so that you fold and unfold as you flip it around to see different parts of the "message."  There are instructions included on how these work.  There are two bracelets, one that you make and another that is silicone with the gospel colors on it to tell the story.  The final piece was a small laminated booklet with the colors of the gospel story.  I really wasn't sure how this one worked until I looked it up and realized it is the Wordless Book that tells the gospel message just like the Wordless Bracelets.

Also included in the packet, quick description

Inlcuded in the pack were three instruction sheets that included how to use and what to say when using the flip abouts, how to make and use the wordless bracelet, and information on how to use and what to say when using the animated tracts.

Instruction pages on What to Say and How to Use

I really liked the variety included in this pack and am glad I had the chance to review them.  I was able to see hands on how the animated tracts worked and how much my daughter enjoyed the pop ups.  My son loves crafts and of course was immediately drawn to the wordless bracelets.  He will easily use and share these with his friends.  I think all of these tracts are wonderful to use to share the gospel with children.  The animated and pop up tracts are not only perfect for sharing with strangers but would also be a nice supplement in your Sunday School classes.  They are great for child evangelism. They would be perfect for my 3-5  year old class!

I would definitely recommend you check out Let the Little Children Come and see what they have to offer in the way of spreading the Gospel message.  I was so glad to see what the Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack had to offer.  For just $11.95 for 1-10 packets the Sampler Pack is perfect for you to try out what they have to offer.  There are discounts offered for larger quantities.

Let The Little Children Come

You can connect with Let the Little Children Come on FACEBOOK.

Please also take the time to see what others have to say about these wonderful resources.

Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools {Let the Little Children Come Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer
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