Sunday, September 30, 2018

Chibi Chip Love to Code Starter Kit Review

I have a fun Timberdoodle item to share with you, the Chibi Chip Love to Code Starter Kit!  It's a great way for your children to learn the basics of coding using electric circuits made of simple materials like paper, foil tape, and stick-on LEDs.  B (7th grade) and C (6th grade) worked on this set together and they are still enjoying it!

I love the fun and engaging storybook that walks your kids through making functional circuits using the entertaining Love to Code characters (Fern the frog,  Sami the seal, Carmen the bird, Edith the beaver, Rusty the rabbit and D. Bug).  Your children will make circuits directly onto the pages of their storybook!  Through a series of projects, your kids will figure out how to create circuits that light up.  They will build switches that control lights.  They will even learn about debugging code.  You can choose between two options when learning how to code:  Microsoft MakeCode (drag-and-drop programming) and ChibiScript (text-based language that will help you ease into languages like Arduino and C++).  B and C started with the Microsoft MakeCode, a program similar to Scratch that is super friendly for newbies.  Let me show you some of the projects!

Our Chibi Chip Starter Kit

 B and C making a circuit to turn on a light.

Their circuit that they made right into their book.

The light turns on - it works!!

A closer view.

Playing around creating their own scene.  There are lots of open-ended activities!

I really like how the storybook helps you troubleshoot if you are running into problems.  It can be tricky to turn your copper tape around corners so the book gives you tips for this - a folding trick.  If the tape is creased or folded too many times it will crack; however, you can use a conductive fabric patch to connect across cracks or rips to restore the broken connection.  

Here you create a circuit.  You can see a conductive fabric patch was used above on one of the corners.

Draw on a page.

 Use the circuit to create a shadow and reveal your drawing!

Using MakeCode to create codes - you can see it is fairly user friendly

Once you have the basic understanding of turning on a light, you can begin using the MakeCode to create different codes.  You can make the light blink.  You can have the light blink in different patterns and rhythms.  You can add a switch.  You can change the brightness levels.  There are so many variables and fun ways to create with this kit.  I'm having a lot of fun watching B and C create.  I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.

I really appreciate that this set includes pretty much everything you need to get started (you will need 3 AA batteries but you probably have some in your home already!).  You don't have to have a desktop computer - you can use a phone, computer or tablet as your programming device when working with coding (you will need an Internet connection).  The Chibi Chip Love to Code Starter Kit is part of Timberdoodle's 7th grade curriculum kit.  I am a huge fan of products that encourage critical thinking and problem solving skills and this kit is a great addition for that!

Disclosure:  Huge shout out to Timberdoodle for selecting me as a Timberdoodle Blogger.  Timberdoodle sent my family the Chibi Chip Love to Code Starter Kit for free in exchange for our honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Spirit of God Illustrated Bible Review & Giveaway

I have a new Bible to share with you, the Spirit of God Illustrated Bible, written by Doris Rikkers and illustrated by Fernando Juarez.

E, F and G with our new Bible

E reading aloud.

E has had a wonderful time reading this Bible.  She isn't finished but she has read quite a few of the "over 40 stories" that are presented.  I love that her reading has improved so much (she is only 6) and that she was eager to read this Bible.  

Little Man G and F really like looking at the illustrations - they are unique and fun.  

This is one of E's favorite illustrations.

I really like that the stories are all about God's Spirit, hence the name.  It starts in the beginning in the Old Testament with the story of God's Spirit in Creation and works through the New Testament to The Fruit of the Spirit and The Spirit Today.  One of the strengths of this particular Bible is that it has a good selection of a lot of different Bible stories making it fairly complete for a children's illustrated story bible.  We have several bibles in this category; all (including this one) have Creation, the Flood, the Exodus, birth of Christ, and Resurrection - The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible skips the lion's den, the fiery furnace, Solomon, Zaccheus, and other stories commonly found in a children's bible - replacing them with a rich selection including Bezalel, Gideon, Amasai, Ezekiel, Nicodemus, Simon the magician, Philip and the Ethiopian, and others.  It's a good selection.  If you don't have an illustrated storybook bible for children, this is a really good one to get.  If you already have other children's Bibles this one would certainly complement them in that it has a more unique set of stories.  I would definitely recommend this Bible.

Keep reading to find out more about this Bible.  And don't forget to enter the giveaway below!

Description from Publisher:  The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible brings to life more than 40 Bible stories that help readers understand that God's Spirit has been with us since the beginning of time and continues to be with us today.  From the glory of creation through the powerful letters of Paul, God's Spirit is living in his people.  Old and New Testament stories such as Adam and Eve, Abraham, Joseph, the Baptism of Jesus, and Pentecost come alive with dramatic illustrations by Fernando Juarez and moving text by Doris Rikkers.  With a cover that sparkles and shines with foil, this is a special storybook Bible that will appeal to both children and parents alike.

Author's Bio:  Doris Rikkers is a freelance writer and editor who has written many bestselling children's books and Bibles.  Although she loves the ocean, she lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, surrounded by her books, her flower garden, and her family and friends.

Illustrator's Bio:  Spanish artist Fernando Juarez illustrates children's books and works as an art supervisor at the Madrid studio Ilion Animation.  The company produces 3D feature films for children.  Fernando has three kids himself, and if he has any time left after work and family, you might catch him playing guitar in a rock band.

To learn more and view a free sampler of the Spirit of God Illustrated Bible click here.

Ready for a giveaway?  One of you will win your own copy of the Spirit of God Illustrated Bible.  Just enter the giveaway below and good luck!  (Giveaway for continental U.S. and Canada only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  I received my own copy in exchange for this review and post.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and not influenced by monetary compensation.  Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Family Dream Adventures & SMALLFOOT's Upcoming Release

SMALLFOOT releases in theaters September 28th

SMALLFOOT is an adventure for all ages, with original music and an all-star cast (Channing Tatum, Zendaya, LeBron James, Gina Rodriquez, and Danny DeVito)!  SMALLFOOT turns the Bigfoot legend upside down when a bright young Yeti finds something he thought didn't exist - a human.  News of this "smallfoot" throws a simple Yeti community into an uproar over what else might be out there in the big world beyond their snowy village, in an all new story about friendship, courage and the joy of discovery.

One of our amazing views

This film makes me think of discovery and exploration.  It was about this time last year that we went on a pretty epic family vacation.  We attended a beautiful family wedding in California (D and E were flower girls and F was the ring bearer).  Neither David nor I or any of our children had been to California so it was an extra special trip.  We also threw in a side trip to Disneyland!  On the way home we were able to visit the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, and the Petrified Forest just to name a few of our stopping spots.

One of the many castles we saw on our honeymoon in Ireland.

When David and I were married we were able to take a pretty amazing honeymoon that included a trip to Ireland.  I had always wanted to go there.  Someday I really hope to take all our kids there.  The land is amazingly beautiful and visiting the castles feels like stepping back in time.  I want my kids to experience this!

Check out the trailer for SMALLFOOT below and let me know what you think.

Disclosure:  Thanks so much to Grace Hill Media for selecting me to participate in this campaign.  By sharing this information with you I will receive a family prize pack for SMALLFOOT!  All opinions are my own.

Baby G's Big Break

Little Man G, taken a few days ago

I cannot believe it happened but Baby G, really Little Man G now, broke his arm yesterday.  He has a fracture at his right elbow - poor guy.  He is taking it like a champ.  He woke up favoring his left arm and we weren't sure why.  I watched him throughout the morning and he really didn't want to use his right arm, which happens to be his dominant arm.

Here you can see what I mean.  He wouldn't use his right arm when he played.

I called the nurse and we thought it best to get him checked out.  In a nutshell - his appointment turned into x-rays, which turned into a visit to the pediatric orthopedic, which turned into his cast.  G wanted a yellow cast but they ended up putting a cast on him that can be cut in a few weeks instead of using the heavy equipment, they thought it might scare him, and that cast only comes in white.  So that was pretty much our day yesterday.

Here is big boy with his new cast!

And here is G with his Brownie bear.  Brownie broke his right arm yesterday too!

We follow up in 3 weeks to see if he has healed enough to be cast free.  I'll keep you updated.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Unbroken: Path to Redemption Movie Review & Fandango Giveaway

I'm so excited to share with you that Unbroken: Path to Redemption releases in theaters tomorrow, September 14th!  I read the book and watched the first film Unbroken many years ago.  Louie Zamperini's story is truly amazing and I am so glad to see the second half come to life in this new film.  I was blessed to see a prescreening of this upcoming film.

Wow, wow, wow!  Louis Zamperini's life story is just incredible.  I remember when I read the book, I kept thinking to myself, all this happened to one man - yes, it did!  I also remember thinking to myself at the conclusion of the first movie Unbroken, wait -  that's not it!  There's so much more.  Well, this is the more!  This movie is real and raw.  Louis Zamperini has real struggles and addictions and this movie shows them head on (hence the PG 13 rating).  It also shows his family and how they stand by him and how God is a God that pursues.  This movie is definitely worth your time.

Full Synopsis:  After surviving a plane crash, weeks of floating on a makeshift raft in the Pacific, and then years of torture as a prisoner of war, Louis Zamperini finally returns home to California, seemingly unbroken.  When the war ended, his battle began.  Based of Laura Hillenbrand's bestselling book, Unbroken: Path to Redemption begins where the hit movie Unbroken concludes, continuing the unbelievable true story of Olympian and World War II hero Louis Zamperini.  Haunted by nightmares of his torment, Louie sees himself as anything but a hero.  Despite battling demons, anger, and alcohol, Louie feels obligated to participate in an Army tour to raise money for War Bonds.  But as he focuses more on hotel bars than his public appearances, Louie is ordered to take R&R on the beaches of Miami.  There, he meets Cynthia, a young woman who captures his eye and his heart.  After a whirlwind courtship, the couple weds and moves to Los Angeles.

While pursuing every avenue of hope he can find from trying to reestablish himself as a world-class runner to get-rich-quick investment opportunities - Louie's wrathful quest for revenge drives him deeper into despair and the bottle.  Hopeless and on the brink of divorce, Cynthia experiences Billy Graham's 1949 Lost Angeles Crusade where she finds faith in God and a renewed commitment to her marriage and her husband.  Now, her most fervent prayer is for God to help Louie find the peace and forgiveness he so desperately needs.  From the producer of Unbroken and the writer of A River Runs Through It, Unbroken: Path to Redemption stars Samuel Hunt (Louis), Merritt Patterson (Cynthia), David Sakurai (Watanabe, The Bird), and Will Graham as his grandfather, Billy Graham.  Unbroken: Path to Redemption brings to life the rest of Louis Zamperini's powerful real-life story of forgiveness, redemption, and amazing grace.

Check out the trailer below and be sure to enter the giveaway.

Ready for a giveaway?  One of you will win 2 Fandango ticket codes to see this movie!  Just enter below and good luck!  {Note:  Ticket codes will be good until October 14th or until Unbroken: Path to Redemption is no longer in theaters.}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure :  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.  I received a prescreener for this movie in exchange for this review.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, September 7, 2018

First Week of School

First Day of CoOp

Well today was the first day back for our weekly coop.  I think the kids had a great time and really enjoyed seeing friends.  I'm excited about some of their classes!  A and B are taking Physical Science and Handicrafts together.  A has a volunteer hour with preschoolers and B is also taking a Literature class.  C and D are taking Marine Biology.  C is also taking Chess and Theater.  He was just cast in their upcoming play so that's exciting.  D is also taking a Creative Writing and Poetry class.  E is in PE, Writing with Friends and a History classes that looks at people and pets.  F is in Before Five in a Row and G is hanging with his friends in the nursery.  I'm teaching a Science Fair class this year.  I'm kind of working from the ground up so I'm excited to see what we do this upcoming year.

 A 1st Day of School 9th Grade
(We are working through Timberdoodle's 9th grade curriculum kit)

 B 1st Day of School 7th Grade
(B is participating in Classical Conversations Challenge A program)

This was actually her 1st day of community for Challenge A.

 C 1st Day of School 6th Grade

 D 1st Day of 4th Grade

 E 1st Day of 1st Grade

 F 1st Day of PreK

 G 1st Day of PreK

For C-E I am doing a hodge podge of homeschool curriculum.  F and G have quite a few fun things mixed in as well.  I will be sharing some of that with you throughout this school year so stay tuned.  Here's to an amazing year of learning!