Easy As A-B-C

Well, after a very busy Saturday, I think I’ll relax and do a bit of writing.  What did I do today?  Well, I braved the pit that my son calls his bedroom and helped him go through his toys.  Since Christmas is coming, and I know that he’ll be getting some new things, I decided he needed to donate some toys and just generally clean up his room. I was very proud of him.  He made some good decisions on what to keep and what to give away.  After that, I taught a cake class, braved Wal-Mart and then ran and got dinner.  In the meantime, I learned that my hubby got a deer (third this season)!!  What an exciting day.  Now, the hubby has the fun job of processing the deer.  I am sitting in the living room, relaxing in the recliner and keeping the wood stove fed.  Not a bad end to the day.

I wanted to pass along another wonderful children’s app.  It is called “Endless Reader” and you can get to it by clicking here.  It is by the same developers that brought us “Endless Alphabet” found here.  Right now, Endless Reader is free in the app store (with in-app purchases – $2.99.  If you want to add more words, go ahead and get them now.  The other day, the in-app purchase price was $1.99) and Endless Alphabet is $5.99.  I was fortunate to come across it when it was free as well.  

Endless Alphabet is great because it teaches not only letters, but letter sounds as well.  Endless Reader takes it a step further and allows kids to place words into sentences (after they’ve spelled out the word), reads the sentence and then acts out the sentence.

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This app, like Endless Alphabet is adorable!  The little monsters are lovable and my daughter (and son) can play it for hours.  I love the fact that the app reinforces the word and has added the next level of sight word recognition.  

The app is available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.  It is also available for Kindle Fire, however, I believe it will only work on newer Kindle Fires.  My Kindle Fire is the first generation and is not compatible…so sad.  My daughter’s babysitter downloaded Endless Alphabet on her iPad for Sophie to use when she babysits her!!  I’m definitely telling her about the new app!

I really can’t say enough about this new app.  I wish it was around when my son was learning to read.  I really feel that by using Endless Alphabet, my daughter picked up her letters more quickly and I’m hoping with Endless Reader, she’ll pick up full words as well.

Have a great weekend!!

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Bible App Review

Happy Thanksgiving (one day late)!!!  I hope you and your family had a wonderful day together.  Our family stayed in, ate pecan pie & my hubby and son built all sorts of really cool things with K’Nex.  It was a good day 🙂

I wanted to share a review of a new app that came out yesterday.  As far as I know, it’s only available for the iPhone, but don’t quote me on that.  I do know that it’s not available for my Kindle Fire, but I’m hoping the developers will eventually get it on there!!

That app is called “Bible For Kids” and you can check it out here.  The same developers who brought us “The Bible” (found here) have created an interactive, easy to use Bible app for kids.

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Right now, there are 6 stories available:  In The Beginning, The First Sin, The First Christmas Gift, Through The Roof, It Is Finished, and A Happy Sunday.  The app says there will be more stories coming soon.

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First of all, I love the illustrations/animations.  They are adorable!!  The picture above is taken from “In The Beginning”.  As soon as I started it up, my daughter loved it!!  I had to practically wrestle the phone away from her (not really!).  Once I got the phone away from her, my son took over it (which is why I can’t wait for it to become available for the Kindle Fire!)  This app is great for younger and older kids.  My daughter, who’s 4, likes the pictures and animation.  The story is read aloud to her, while she looks at the pictures.  My son, who’s 8, gets challenged along the way.  Every so often, a thought bubble appears on the screen.  When you tap on that, a question appears…

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They’re simple questions, but I love that it’s checking to make sure the kids are paying attention!!  Also, throughout the story, a little diamond will appear.  When you tap on that, you collect pieces of the Armor of God…

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It looks like you can collect the same pieces several times.  We haven’t found out what happens when you collect all of a certain piece, but I’m sure something will happen!  There’s also “awards” for doing certain things, like reading 7 different stories or correctly answering 50 trivia questions.  It also keeps track of which stories you’ve read and how many times you’ve read them.

Since we’ve only had the app a couple of days, we’re still learning about it.  I am impressed with the app overall.  We read the story of the first sin & I wondered how they were going to handle telling that story to children, but it was really well written.  I also liked how they told the story about when the angel appeared to Mary, announcing that she was going to have a baby.  How do you explain the virgin birth to a 4 year old??  They handled it nicely by having Mary say “How can I have a baby?  I’m not married!”.  Well done!

Of course, I also like the fact that the app is free.  Can’t go wrong there.  It is a large file and I imagine it will only grow as you download the stories, so be prepared for it to use up some space on your phone or iPad.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!!  Take some time today and read the Bible with your kiddos!

Oh Deer!

I’ve been working on a few crafts for birthday and Christmas gifts, but it’s slow going.  Usually by now, I’m pretty much finished with making the gifts, but not this year.  

I have finished a couple that I can share, so here’s the first one.  I made this for my hubby for his birthday.  For the past couple of years, he started deer hunting and has really enjoyed it.  When I saw this on Pinterest, I knew I HAD to make it.  I thought I’d pass it along to all of the hunting widows out there 🙂

When I clicked on the link on Pinterest, it just took me to the pic of the finished product with no tutorial. However, the project is pretty simple and it’s not that hard to figure out.

Instead of framing the footprints, I decided to use stretched canvas…for a couple of reasons.  We have several photos of our family on stretched canvas.  I really like the look of it.  You can get them printed in various sizes and it’s usually cheaper than taking it to a place and having your family portrait framed.  I also like the simplistic look of the pictures on canvas.  Also, Michael’s had a great sale on plain stretched canvas…so there you go!

I knew that Sophie would have issues with me painting her foot, so I had her big brother go first.  After that, there was still much crying.  So, when I finished (ha ha), I promised her special treats if she cooperated.  When that didn’t work, I just grabbed her foot, painted it and stuck it on the canvas.  Once the foot was painted, she realized it didn’t hurt and calmed down.

After the foot prints dried, I added on the antlers, eyes, noses and writing.  At first, I thought it would be cute for the noses to be the kiddos finger prints.  However, I only had one shade of brown paint, so it didn’t seem to be dark enough.  I’m sure if you had a different color like black, that concept would work out.  

Here’s the finished product:

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I like to document ages on home made stuff, because I know one day, I’ll probably forget how old the kiddos were when we made these. I just used a sharpie marker (which happened to be red) and wrote on the back and side of the canvas.

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They were a big hit!!  These are deer that I don’t mind hanging on my wall!!  

I’ve seen this craft done several different ways, including adding a red nose and making it a more “Christmas-y” decoration.  I’ve seen the foot prints on many other things, like plain paper, plates, clothing, etc.  The possibilities are endless!!

As your trying to come up for gifts for the hunter in your life, give this one a thought.  It’s quick, easy & super cute!!

Happy Hunting!

How To Be Happy Happy Happy

If you’ve read any of my posts, you will quickly find that I’m a big fan of Duck Dynasty.  My whole family loves the show.  My 4 year old daughter calls anyone with long hair and a beard “that Duck Dynasty Guy!”.

It’s a show that is sweeping the nation.  You can’t go anywhere without seeing their products.  I was at a mall a few weeks ago & about the first 3 or so shops I went into had some kind of Duck Dynasty merchandise.  Even Michael’s (where I teach Wilton Cake decorating classes) has a little end cap by the checkout with their stuff.  It seems everyone has Duck Fever.

I do come across people here and there who don’t care for the show.  It’s not that they don’t appreciate their family values or the message their show sends…it’s just not their thing.  I can respect that.  I’m sure there are some shows that they like that I’m not a fan of.

I want to share a video that three of the “Duckmen” have recently released.  It’s by an organization called “I Am Second”.  I had never heard of it until now, so I did a little research.  

The organization has actually been around for a while.  It was started by a man in Dallas, Texas who wanted to “lift up Christ so that He might draw the people of his city to Jesus.”  What they do is basically provide a place for people to share their stories and show how they have found purpose in their lives through Jesus.  To learn more, you can visit their website at www.iamsecond.com.

I just want to provide the link to the Robertson’s I Am Second video.  It’s about 30 minutes long and it shares Phil & Kay Robertson’s story, their son Jep’s story and their grandson Reed’s story.  Please take 30 minutes out of your life to hear how their lives changed when they decided to start living the way God wants us to live.  Phil so eloquently summed it up by saying “Love God and love your neighbors”.

http://www.iamsecond.com/seconds/the-robertsons/