I've got the kettle on, ya got a minute to visit?

I'm so happy you dropped by! Stay and visit awhile and please leave me a comment- it's so encouraging to hear from you!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

TOS Review: Math Rider

I know I have mentioned this before but........... MATH DRILLS ARE SO BO...........


Ahhhhh, redemption!  Math Rider is a computer drills game based on quests and a fantasy land.  The player, upon his fine steed Shadow, jumps math hurdles where he must find the difference, sum, product, or quotient.  Four quests cover the four sets of basic math facts from 1-12.

The awesome thing about this intelligently designed software is that it keeps track of each players progress and repeats problems not yet mastered- so they're not answering the same drills over and over that they already know.  Riders enjoy animated rewards as a fun incentive to continue in their "quest" and an overview map allows them to see how their journey is progressing.

Ben absolutely LOVES Math Rider!  It came at the perfect time as he was studiously memorizing his multiplication facts.  He's a boy and it's a quest!!!  What more need I say?  It appeals to his need for adventure and challenges him in a graphically pleasing- eletrically-stimulating-boy- kind-of-way!  I saw Ben's math skills improve dramatically in just the first week of playing daily.

Math Rider is compatable with MAC and PC.  It's intended for ages 6-12 and costs $47 but there is a 7 day free trial available on their website.  The fee covers your download and updates for life and allows for up to 8 players.  Take 'em up on their free trial- I'm sure your kiddos will love it!

Click to read Crew Reviews

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

TOS Review: Progeny Press "Hall of Doors: The Dragon's Hoard"

I have heard so much about this very reputable classical literature company and was so glad to be chosen to review the book and study guide of Hall of Doors: The Dragon's Hoard by Progeny Press

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This provided the perfect opportunity to begin reading comprehension lessons with Ben.  I printed off the study guide and made him a binder for it.  The story is intertwined with  The Hobbit by J. R. Tolkien and was a good fit for an 8 year old boy, full of adventure!  There are dragons, gargantuan spiders, and elves!  He read the entire book IN NO TIME!!!  He really enjoyed it!

We broke the book down into chapters and Ben worked on the questions and puzzles independently, then I would read him the bible passages and we would discuss the "Dig Deeper" questions- which was my favorite part of the lesson.  This was one of the questions that totally blessed my heart:


Great conversations were had thanks to the promptings in this study guide!  It was chock full of vocabulary, word searches, literary analysis, and language arts.  There is also an "After You Read" section with ideas for further study and activity.  Here's a sample of a random page in the study guide:

Designed for 3-5 graders, the book retails for $9.99 and the study guide cd/instant download is $15.99.  There are MANY, MANY to choose from on the Progeny website ranging from 1st grade through 12th.  You can get a complete list of products here.  I have book marked the website- as I am SURE we will be frequenting it!
Click to read Crew Reviews

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Global Connect

I just returned from a life-changing event.  I know, I know!....You've heard that one before, right?  But can you imagine this.......

102 countries- all joined together- singing praise songs- all in our own language- all with the same heart and mission......

Global Connect was the cullmination of 20 years and 100,000,000+ shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.  (I've only been around for 17 of them)  Thought I would give you a glimpse of the celebration....

2000 people from 102 countries breaking bread together.

Girls from my BHM team that joined me.

Lou Giglio

A big surprise! My old pastor from Calvary Chapel ABQ, Skip Heitzig!

One of my new favorites, Matthew West!

And our leader, Mr. Franklin Graham.

Monday, April 15, 2013

TOS Review: Supercharged Science

Many of you know that I married a science guy....

Noooooooo, not THAT one, Silly!

This one!  Andy!

Anywho, we recently had the opportunity to review Supercharged Science, an entirely online science program by Aurora Lipper.  We love us some science at the Cain house and Supercharged did NOT disappoint!  It got the stamp of approval from MY science guy!

Supercharged Science's e-science program covers K-12 grades and is meant to encourage children to DO science!  With more than a thousand videos and tons of exciting topics, there's a lot for your kids to get excited about.  Aurora believes that reading textbooks and then doing a boring experiment or two is not the correct approach to instilling a love of science in our children- she believes hat you START off with an exciting experiment which will then encourage kids to learn more.

We, seriously, studied 2 lessons in 4 weeks- they are THAT meaty and packed with goodness.  We started with electricity and robotics since the kids are taking a beginners robotics course.  I went to the website, chose the unit, and then read over the lesson plans for Unit 10. (Yep, lesson plans!)  Next, I printed out all of the reading that went with the unit and chose which experiments and videos we were going to cover- then we added in a few awesome experiments (which, sadly, I took no pictures of because- in true Marla form- I was in the moment!)

Supercharged Science was such a hit with my kids that my co-op is planning to use it as their science for 2-5 grades next year.  This is awesome because the middle school class will be doing Apologia's General Science.....and Supercharged has a conversion chart for using other curriculum alongside of it!  This means parents won't have to be covering two totally different science areas between their youngers and their olders!  Y'all- I am seriously pumped about this product!

Supercharged Science's e-science program is a monthly subscription.  K-8 is $37.00 monthly and high school is $57.00 monthly.  Membership includes:
  • Videos of teaching real science to your kids, just like I (Aurora) do in an actual classroom
  • Text-book type reading to support the material in the videos
  • Hands-on activities and experiments, with videos that guide your kids through them. These activities and experiments are what really ignite a passion for science in most kids.
  • Homework exercises/quizzes so you can see what your kids are really learning, and tips for how to keep track of your progress in a real a science journal
  • A live science class in different science areas every few weeks where you can connect with me personally
  • Parent resources for helping you give your kids the best science education they can get
  • A place to ask me (Aurora) questions (lots of them!)
  • Recordings of everything so your kids can do the program on whatever schedule AND at whatever pace suits them.
If you'd like to receive free guides, information, and a couple of experiments, sign up for Supercharged Science's newsletter.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Thursday, April 11, 2013

TOS Review: Salem Ridge Press: Before the Dawn

I have been blessed with readers.  I honestly don't know what I would've done if both my kiddos came out not loving books.  When offered a free book to review....I have a hard time not jumping on it!  Sometimes it pays off.....sometimes.... not so much.  This time, we came to a cross road.

We received Before the Dawn, written in 1880 by Emma Leslie, out I was thrilled to introduce Abby to Old English literature.  Intended for ages 12 and up, I was pushing Abby a smidge.  Nevertheless, historical fiction IS Abby's thing- so we marched on.

The story of Wycliffe and Huss, this book tapped on some foundational issues that arose in the church during the early days of the Reformation.  I found the story to be very enjoyable and well written.  Though Abby struggled through the vernacular, this book had some jewels between its cover.  As we all know, Old English has its fair share of "slang" and unusual vocabulary ("Forsooth!")- but publisher Salem Ridge Press has done a marvelous job of inserting footnotes at the bottom of each page with definitions of any words that may be unknown to the reader.  Also, there are maps and historical notes to help provide clarity while enjoying the story. Please feel free to read the first chapter of Before the Dawn!  The book retails for $14.95 for the softcover and $24.95 for the hardcover.

I must say that I am totally impressed with Salem Ridge Press!  Initiated by a homeschooler- the mission of the company is to reprint classical literature of the 1800s and early 1900s to be enjoyed by the youth of today.  They stand behind stories that are appropriate with good morals.  Books range in time from the 1500s to the 1790s.  Below is a list of the historical fiction titles by time and location.

By Time Period and Location (Historical Fiction Only)

Time Period

~ 1500 B.C.

59 - 64 A.D.

63 A.D.

66 - 67 A.D.

163 - 166 A.D.

313 - 363 A.D.

594 - 632 A.D.

782 - 785 A.D.

879 - 883 A.D.

935 A.D.

1053 - 1066 A.D.

1052 - 1066 A.D.

1189 - 1215 A.D.

1357 - 1360 A.D.

1366 - 1384 A.D.

1382 - 1453 A.D.

1510 - 1522 A.D.

1517 - 1522 A.D.

1525 - 1526 A.D.

1666 - 1685 A.D.

1774 - 1778 A.D.

1777 A.D.

1779 - 1780 A.D.

1789 - 1793 A.D.



Ancient Rome

Roman England

Asia Minor

Roman Empire



Danish England

Scotland, Ireland and Norway

Saxon England

Europe/Middle East

Europe/Middle East

Medieval England











The Sign Above the Door

Glaucia the Greek Slave*

Hilda the Briton**

The Captives*

Out of the Mouth of the Lion*

Sowing Beside All Waters*

From Bondage to Freedom*

The Magic Runes**

The Martyr's Victory*

A Sea-Queen's Sailing

Gytha’s Message*

Leofwine the Monk*

Elfreda the Saxon*

For Merrie England**

Dearer Than Life*

Before the Dawn*

Faithful, But Not Famous*


Soldier Fritz**

Through Stress and Strain**

The White Seneca

The American Twins of the Revolution

At Seneca Castle

Marie’s Home

* Emma Leslie Church History Series
** Emma Leslie Junior Church History Series

It would be a benefit for you to see the Crew reviews as we had the opportunity to choose from many titles.  Certainly a great resource for your home library!
Click to read Crew Reviews

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Celebrating 100,000,000

Have you ever celebrated 100,000,000 of anything?

100,000,000........birthdays?......vacation days?........miles on a car?.......Nope, me neither.

But I'm about to!!!


That's right, I'm blowing this popsicle stand and headin' down to Mickey's town....Mouse that is.  Orlando is the happening place this weekend as shoebox lovers from around the world (including Franklin Graham, Michael W Smith, Matthew West just to name a few) gather to celebrate 100,000,000 shoeboxes being distributed since the beginning of Operation Christmas Child back in 1993!  Loadin up the swagger wagon with lots of big hearted ladies and hittin' the road!

I CAN'T WAIT!!!! If you're in the area, come join us on Saturday for our PAR-TAY!! Get your tix here!