Monday, August 29, 2016

Roadtrippin' - The Wedding

The reason for the road trip... Brandt & Christina's wedding!  Brandt is my nephew, and one of the sweetest men I know.  We had a blast celebrating.   For most of our kiddos, this was the first wedding they remember.  How did I get this old??

We clean up pretty nice, huh?

Father of the Groom - and the cutest Reader at the Wedding!

Dancin' the night away!

Grandma, Mother-of-the-Bride, and my sister-in-laws - beautiful women!!

Everyone's favorite .... Crazy Uncle Alan! 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Roadtrippin' - Bourbonnais

Our road trippin' led us to Bourbonnais, IL and the GRANDPARENTS!

One highlight for us was getting to be the "headline act" at their retirement community's "happy hour".

Each one of our kiddos used their gifts to entertain the crowd (who was super friendly...a room FULL of grandparents!)  I don't think Grandma has stopped beaming yet...

We had songs:

Instrumental Music- violin, piano and flute:


 We even got to visit "Grandma's Garden" and eat fresh peas.  (well, some of us did)

Time for a selfie with Grandpa (I love the glasses!)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Road Tripping - Chicago Style

Our next stop - Chicago!

We are now members of the Shedd Aquarium (cheaper for our family than regular admission...)

We took a boat taxi....

We walked Navy Pier (while our children whined!)

We ate real Chicago Pizza! (which made them happy)

Then, an adventure on the trolley and public bus, with a leisurely stroll under a dark bridge...


And we made it!  I love Chicago!

Spanish Starter Set 1 from Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids: A TOS Crew Review

Beginner Spanish Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids Review
Beginner Spanish Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids Review
  Spanish Starter Set 1 from Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids

Learning Spanish is a goal for the Bentz Test Academy.  We have been loving the Spanish Starter Set 1 from Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids!  This is a very easy to use, immersion-style program that will have your kids speaking and understanding conversational Spanish in no time.  We were fortunate to get the Starter Set 1, which includes:

  • DVD with videos for Levels 1-3
  • Three Parent-Teacher Guides which sets out a detailed lesson plan, with a suggested viewing schedule and a variety of fun, supplemental and hands on activities to choose from to reinforce the material taught in the videos.
  • Flashcards and Card Games for Levels 1 to 3
  • Workbooks for Levels 1-3
  • Stickers for Levels 1-3

My testers were rather reluctant to watch a video...but, that did NOT last long.  The videos are extremely engaging.  They are only kids (no adults never see mama!)  The videos follow a family through their day.  No English is spoken, only Spanish.

 The vocabulary words appear on screen, sometimes as a label, other times on a t-shirt. The words are taught by repetition and the kids showing what the Spanish words mean.  Even my youngest tester was able to pick up unfamiliar words this way.  Each video includes a "Rapid Review" at the end, where the vocabulary is reinforced.  We used this to shout it out and see who could get it right first.  My testers were all elementary ages, but the program could work with all ages.

My testers loved watching the videos and I was amazed by how much they picked up, even on the first time through!  The video segments are around 15 minutes each. You can view a sample video here.

 The Set include Parent-Teacher Guides will tell you exactly how to use this program and break it down into short lessons for a 20 week curriculum.   In addition to watching the video and rapid review, the lessons include vocabulary, geography, games, workbook pages and "gust of grammar" (helpful Spanish grammar lessons).

The Student Workbook is full color and features fun activities like word searches, scrambles, secret codes and more.  I minored in Spanish during college, and I was completely impressed with the amount of Spanish that is presented in these workbooks...and - it was fun too!

The Flashcards have the vocabulary word on a card, and a picture (from the videos) on another.  You can use these in many ways.  My testers like to put them all down and play "memory match" with them.  You can use them for review too.  Games like "Go Squish" (like Go Fish) use the flashcards in games that my testers loved playing.

The set also comes with stickers that you can use to label the items around your home.

This is a super fun way to introduce Spanish, and don't be surprised when "Tengo hambre" and "No me gusta" start coming out at the dinner table!

Be sure to check out Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids on Facebook!

Hashtags: #hsreviews #foreignlanguage #homeschoolspanish

Beginner Spanish Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids Review

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FlipStir Puzzle - Tyrannosaurus Rex from Enlivenze LLC: A TOS Crew Review

FlipStir Puzzles Reviews
FlipStir Puzzles Reviews
FlipStir Puzzles - Tyrannosaurus Rex. from  Enlivenze LLC

We can't put it down!  Shake. Stir. Solve. It's that easy! Enlivenze LLC is the maker of the highly addictive FlipStir Puzzles - Tyrannosaurus Rex that we have been ejoying.

These award-winning puzzles are self-contained with 10 colorful pieces. Each puzzle comes in a clear plasic tube with a moveable wand.

To solve the puzzle, simply use the wand, gravity and your own creativity to line up the 10 pieces into the proper order in the tube to create the picture. Once you have completed the puzzle, just shake and start all over. There are no pieces to loose.

This puzzle improves hand-eye coordination, and is small enough to take it on the go.  I took it out of the box and handed it to my first tester... he looked skeptical.  However, once he started - he was hooked!  I got in and took over, and couldn't put it down until I had it done, it took me about 10-15 minutes...which - I must say, it the current family record!  Go MOM!

Since then, this puzzle has captivated everyone that walks past and picks it up. It's sturdy construction holds up to vigorous shaking.  The wand is easy to maneuver and the design is a BIG hit with my dino-lover.

I love having non-electronics that captivate my testers, and the FlipStir puzzle is one of our favorites. It makes a great addition to our "travel box" too.

 FlipStir puzzle come in a variety of designs, with 2 levels of difficulty.  Ours was a level 1 and I am already hearing requests for more! (perfect for a Christmas stocking stuffer!)  Level 2 designs offer more pieces, complex pictures and even wavy edge pieces.

    Rainbow Pencils - Level 1
    Tyrannosaurus Rex - Level 1
    Solar System - Level 2
    Statue of Liberty - Level 2
FlipStir Puzzles ReviewsFlipStir Puzzles ReviewsFlipStir Puzzles Reviews

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FlipStir Puzzle:


Hashtags: #hsreviews #shakestirsolve

FlipStir Puzzles Reviews

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