Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Ultrakey Online Family Subscription from Bytes of Learning ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

I think learning how to type is an extremely important skill because now days, computers are a major tool in most job industries. Gavin has been sharpening his typing skills the last couple of weeks using the program Ultrakey Online Family Subscription from Bytes of Learning.

If you are not familiar with Ultrakey typing program, it is a completely online based program that uses voice instruction, animation, and video to teach the course. For the online family subscription option, you can choose from either a 3 user family, a 5 user family, or an 8 user family. It is priced based on the amount of users you choose from $29.95 to $49.95.

We have tried a few typing programs before and they worked for awhile, but Gav eventually became bored with them. Ultrakey is a program that I would say is no frills, but also not boring. Most of the programs Gav has used before just turn him off by becoming monotonous and blah. Ultrakey has just enough content to keep him interested in continuing to use it.

How does it work?

When we first got our log in information for the program, it was slightly confusing and overwhelming, but after reading through all of it, it all made sense.

Parents get a free account as to be able to manage the entire family, and this account does not count towards your users! Here the parent is able to enroll students, adjust settings, and set goals. You can also manage each student, adjust settings, monitor progress, produce reports and certificates plus more. There are a number of settings that you can tweak and set to each student, so it is very easy to customize.

When your student is all set to start, you will log in and come to your dashboard. The dashboard is clear and easy to navigate.

To get prepared for the course,  Ultrakey will ask you to set a goal, or they will set one for you. The student is then given an opportunity to adjust settings to fit their liking by setting a different background picture, setting the keyboard display, and even how the hand display is set.

Also, as your student gets started, they will be taken through a series of Intro movies. These movies are very well animated and talk about things such as posture, how the fingers should be placed, how the lessons and skill checks work, and much more.

After the student has gone through the intro process, which I think is very well put together to get them started, they will start on the actual lessons. Home Row is the first lesson and they will move on through the remaining letters, and finally end with the numbers.

When a lesson is complete, the skill check is unlocked, and they have to complete that before continuing on to the next lesson. To me this is perfect for Gav because he can't move on until he's satisfied the skill check. This way he isn't overwhelmed, and trying to move on before he's ready to.

What did we think?

I honestly have to say that this is my favorite typing program that we have used, and I love how easy it is to customize it for your students. It is very thorough in teaching not only the letters on the keyboard, but how important it is to have good posture while sitting at the keyboard.

I would highly recommend checking out the Ultrakey Online Family Subscription from Bytes of Learning if you are in need of a stellar typing program for your family.

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UltraKey {Bytes of Learning Reviews}

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Happy 3rd Birthday Mila!!! ~ WW

Today is the girl's birthday who made me a Lolli! She's the apple of my eye, and the sunshine in my heart! I never thought I could love someone else's kids as much as I do my own four, but having grandloves has taught me that I definitely can!

Happy 3rd Birthday Mila!!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Wulf the Saxon by Heirloom Audio Productions ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

I am back with my first review for the 2018 year, and of course it's a Crew favorite! If you love history and audio adventures, then Wulf the Saxon from Heirloom Audio Productions is definitely for you!

If you have never had the pleasure of listening to an audio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions, let me tell you a little bit about what to expect. What they do is recreate the stories from the legendary story teller, G.A. Henty. Mr. Henty was a war correspondent, a big guy with an even bigger beard, and he lived for adventure. His passion comes through in every story he tells. He loved to share his stories with his friends and family, and throughout the years, he went on to write 122 books! This is where Heirloom Audio comes in. They take these beautifully told stories, and turn them into adventures that come alive as you listen to them. I am an avid reader, and I also listen to a lot of audio books. These audio dramas are completely in a league of their own. They are not your average audio book. These are brought to life with award winning actors, amazing sound effects, and the beautifully written sound track that goes along with it. As soon as you start listening, you enter the world of G.A. Henty, and his love for adventure is brought to life.

These wonderful adventures are perfect for listening on long car rides, or even short car rides if you break it up into parts. They are also great for a family listening night because it almost brings you back to the times of sitting in front of the radio and listening to different programs. For the review, we were given the two CD set, which again is perfect for the car, but they also offer an mp3 download so that you can listen on your phone or computer!

So lets talk a little bit about Wulf the Saxon. Our story starts off with Mr. George, the story teller,  speaking to two young brothers. He's on his way to research more on the book he's writing. He tells the boys that the book is about the people of France and England. He goes on to explain about the different ranks of the people including the King, Dukes, Earls, and Thanes. The curious boys want to know more, so Mr. George offers up a story that sets them off on an adventure.

This takes place in the year 1065 when Edward the Confessor is King of England. Our main character is Wulf who is a Thane, or landowner. He gets in a bit of trouble and is sent back to where he came from to take on his duties as a thane. He is eager to prove that he is honest and noble just as his father was before him. He gets a pardon from the king, and is sent back to London to serve Earl Harold Godwinson. Harold takes him in and makes him a trusted part of his inner circle. Wulf and the rest of his people decide to go on a journey where they become shipwrecked on the shores of Normandy, and are soon kidnapped. This is where the adventures begin. There are many different themes in this story, and it includes battles and even a love story. It does not lack adventure or history!

Our thoughts? I hate even saying this because I am a TRUE fan of all of Heirloom Audio Productions audio dramas, but this one fell short for us. I have to say it is definitely not because it lacked anything on their part, I just think it wasn't our favorite story. I found myself having to rewind it and listen again, because we just couldn't stay focused on it. It just wasn't holding our attention. I still can't wait to listen to the next one, because just as with books themselves, sometimes you have one that creeps up and isn't your cup of tea. That is how Wulf the Saxon was for me and the kids.

Other than the story not being our favorite, the actors, the sound effects, and the beautiful soundtrack was on point as usual!

Last but not least, I do want to mention the Live the Adventure Club. This is a fantastic addition to all of your Heirloom Audio Production products. It includes all kinds of resources including, chapter read alongs, chapter quizzes, parent resources, and so much more. Make sure you check it out especially if you are a fan like we are, and listen to all of the adventures!

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Wulf the Saxon {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}
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Monday, February 19, 2018

Meal Plan Monday

Time to get your meal plans ready for the week! I am trying a couple of new recipes this week so I will be sure and link them next to the day! The majority of our meals are gluten and dairy free, but sometimes I do have to make adjustments. I will use GF flour and unsweetened almond milk as substitutes. Have a great week!

Monday ~ Chicken and Rice

Tuesday ~ Spaghetti using GF noodles and home made sauce

Wednesday ~ Salisbury steak meatballs and mashed potatoes

Thursday ~ Burritos and Spanish rice

Friday ~ Philly cheese steak sloppy joes with home made hamburger buns (these are amazing!)

Saturday ~ Black beans and yellow rice

Sunday ~ Bacon and hashbrowns

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Welcome to the world sweet grandson ~ Barry Sinatra

Yesterday, on his due date, my beautiful new grandson made his grand entrance into the world. I couldn't be more proud of not only him, but his mommy and daddy too. They all did an exceptional job through this journey. I can't wait to share more pics of him as they come in!

 Barry Sinatra
7lbs 1oz and 22 inches long
Born February 17, 2018
at 12:07 a.m.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Painting furniture for our new house ~ WW

Since I will be decorating the house with a farmhouse theme, we are starting to get out furniture redone. I will post more pics when it's done!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Our New Home ~ WW

So this is supposed to be a "Wordless Wednesday", but I feel like this picture needs a few words.

When you first look at this photo, you may just see a man standing in front of an unfinished house. I see something totally different. I see a man who has worked extremely hard for years, who selflessly puts his family first. standing in front of a long time dream. I see a man who has worked so hard to provide for his family, a man who never gives up, and a man who only wants the best for us. 

This is our first home, not just a house we live in, but a real home. It's perfect for us in every way. This home is where we will continue to make memories with our children, and even our grandchildren. The best part about it is that it's ours, and all because of this man standing in front of it. I am extremely thankful for the hard work and effort my husband gives every single day, and I am also very thankful that he's mine. 

If you would like to see other Wordless Wednesday posts, head on over to Tots and Me!