Thursday, September 22, 2011

Carlito C. Caterpiller's Math House Games - Review and Giveaway

In order for most kids to really want to learn something the best way I have discovered that works, is to keep it fun and keep it interactive. For most kids when they get frustrated, their ability to want to learn anything at that point is difficult and most want to give up.

That's why I am super excited to share with you a great new product for kids that helps keep learning fun, interactive and the best part educational. They really do learn with Carlito C. Caterpillar's Math House Game Card Set. In this ring bound set of cardboard, color cards, there are 40 games - 2 per Step - that you can play with your child to teach them math skills. These are based on Domenico Marcio's Sensory Math Teaching System and one I wish I had when my kids were younger and struggling with learning math concepts.

Domenico Marcario, M.S. - is the creator of the c3pla Sensory Math Teaching System, retired high school mathematics teacher and full-time passionate grandparent. He approaches math with a 3 R's: rules, repetition and rote. Kids gain understanding by doing rather than sitting passively and watching someone else do the thinking for them. If you focus on maintaining an environment of play, the child will experience the learning as an active participant rather than a passive participant.

The material is presented in 3 stages, with a total of 20 steps and 2 games in each step covering quantity, numeration, and operations. These games are designed for parents to play with their children. Only when the child fully understands the concept, will you increase the complexity, such as reversing roles of the players and designating the child as the leader.

For example here's what the color-illustrated double sided card would include:

Step 1: Alike It or Not
Stage 1: Quantity
What: To show what a set is.
Why: Placing "alike" object together, or creating sets leads to the knowledge of how many.
How: The child decides if an object belongs to a set by discovering how the objects are alike and determining what makes them belong.

Game 1A:

Get Ready: Collect a few different kinds of objects (e.g. assorted fruit, small toys, eating utensils).

1. Arrange as a group of 5 objects in which 4 of the objects are the same kind (e.g. all fruits) and 1 of the objects are of a different kind (e.g. toy car).

2. Ask your child to tell you which object does not belong in the group and why.

3. Ask your child what makes the objects in the group belong to the group.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 with different object arrangements.

There are also great online resources available for both parents and children on the website that comes included with the game set so parents can create award certificates and kids can be entered in the Hall of Fame.

I received this game set compliments of Propeller for my honest review and can't praise it highly enough. I can understand how this would really help kids with the math concepts that everyone will need to understand such as adding/subtracting, counting, writing numbers, multiplication and division, number placement (tens, hundreds, thousands), and more. The best part is that you are building relationships with your child while making learning math fun. This product rates a 5 out of 5 in my opinion. These would be great for preschoolers through grade school! For more information about this product and where you can learn more about it, click on the links below:

You can also find them on Facebook by clicking here.

Thanks to the generous folks at Propeller, they are providing a set of Carlito C. Caterpillar's MathHouse Game Card Sets for one lucky reader of my blog, Reviews From The Heart. Here's what you need to do to enter:

1. Simply be a follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart.

2. Be a resident of the US or have a US shipping address. Remember No P.O. Boxes please!

3. Since I will need a way to contact - VERY IMPORTANT - since some of you have not included this in your comment - please include your email address. You can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols. Without it, I can't contact you if you're the winner.

4. Leave me a comment on Reviews From The Heart and tell me how you plan to use this set if you are the winner. I'd love to hear about your needs as a parent!

The giveaway will end on 9/30 and I will be contacting the winner (if I have your email address) at that time via email. So don't miss out on this great family friendly product, that I know you will LOVE!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

From Ashes to Honor - Giveaway and Review Ends on 9/11

If he had only answered that last phone call from the World Trade Center...

Minutes before two jumbo jets changed U.S. history, NYPD officer Austin Finley ignored the call from his brother. Mercy Samara, who cost Austin his job after 9/11, leaves the city to work as a school counselor in Baltimore. When Mercy and Austin cross paths again, will their common - and painful - memories finally bring them closer or drive them further apart? (excerpt back cover).

In the latest novel from Loree Lough, From Ashes to Honor, works through the lives of Dr. Mercy Samara and former NYPD officer, Austin Finley, who are brought together following the events of 9/11. Mercy is a clinical psychologist whose goal is determine if Austin is fit enough to return to work as a NYPD officer after multiple incidents involving his out of control temper. Despite all his sessions with Mercy, he won't come to terms with what happened that fateful day and how it affecting him in his work and therefore, remains in denial.

Mercy struggling with her own issues involving 9/11 and the fact that most people stereotyped her as another Muslim terrorist following the attacks, while trying to help first responders like Austin deal with the underlying trauma of that day. When she can't sign the release authorizing Austin to return to anything other than desk duty, there paths will take them to new places but will once again intersect.

This time, Austin has turned his talents to becoming an EMT and Mercy has moved to Baltimore to take up something less stressful than working with first responders in the aftermath of 9/11, she now works as a high school guidance counselor. When a football player is injured and the paramedics are called, Mercy and Austin come face to face once more.

I received this book compliments of Abingdon Press for my honest review and couldn't wait to dive into this one once it arrived. This story takes the reader into an emotional ride into the lives of Mercy and Austin but also into the lives of the supporting characters as well, Griff, Flora and Bud, and even the strained relationship with Leo, Mercy's half brother. What we get an opportunity to see is how the rebuilding of what people went through following 9/11 is an ongoing, life changing process that will never be forgotten. It's not something that will ever be forgotten, especially in the lives of Mercy and Austin.

This book is a perfect tribute to those first responders of the 9/11 tragedy that forever changed all of us. It united us all in a common goal, a goal to take care of one another, and see past our differences. This would make a great gift for anyone involved in first response or who loves anything dealing with 9/11. I rate this book a perfect 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about this book, the author and where to pick up a copy of this must read book, click on the links below:

You can find Loree on Facebook by clicking here.

Thanks to Loree Lough and Abingdon Press, they have generous provided a giveaway copy for one lucky follower of my blog. Here are your guidelines to enter:

1. You must be a follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart.

2. You must be a resident of the US or have a US shipping address. Please No P.O. Boxes.

3. I must have a way to contact you, so be sure to include your email address along with your comment on Reviews From The Heart. You can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols.

4. Please leave a comment telling me why you would love to win a copy of this book. The giveaway will end on 9/11. I will notify the winner by email at that time. You can click here to go to the comment and giveaway site to leave your comment to enter to win!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Remembering 9/11

I wanted to take the time today to remember that fateful day on 9/11. The day that all of us that were alive that day can remember with vivid details what we were doing. Too often whenever anything happens that we don't understand, we finding ourselves asking, "Why God Why?" I think this video does a great job at providing an answer we never considered.

So when people continue to ask Why? I hope they'll remember God is always there.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thanks for the Memories! Happy Birthday Mike!

Siblings! Most of us have them or often at least one, and often times looking back over our childhood memories, there is a lot to reflect on. This is the first time, I've had the opportunity to really share a personal side of my life in regards to the relationship I have shared over 40 something years with my younger brother, Michael, who is turning 45 today. (For those of you doing the math, you're correct in guessing my age would have to be at least over 45, but that is a topic for another day!)

Growing up in my childhood consisted of just my brother and I, living with both parents until they divorced when I was 7. I know I was happy with that decision since being around parents that fight a lot makes for uncomfortable living arrangements and when one parent is removed from that, the house is much more enjoyable. So for the remaining years until we both reached 18, we would split our weekends between our parents, living with my mom primarily. However life as a single parent was hard. My mom had to work two jobs to make ends meet for us and that didn't include trips to the movies or out much, that was really just enough to pay the bills and keep food in the house.

So my brother and I were left to fend for ourselves most days while we had a baby sitter. Since this was before the time technology really launched we had to use a time honored device available to everyone, it's called your imagination!! I think we had the best!! We played "restaurant" and would take turns being the waiter or waitress and serve one another lunch or snacks or sometimes dinner if the day ran much later. We created our own layout, menus and uniforms!

We used to take trips with my mom to make deposits at the local bank and would take extra deposit slips for checking and savings accounts to play "bank" with when we got home. Taking turns who got to be the customer along with a hefty supply of Monopoly money to deposit! We used a typewriter to record the deposits and withdrawals in a book we created. We even took the liberty at taping our pens with string to the counter, so people couldn't take them out of the bank.

I think my all time favorite that would literally keep us busy for weeks at a time, was playing with our Hot Wheels. Unfortunately because we were so creative, we found extra wood paneling up in the rafters in our garage that when flipped over, became the perfect place to map out roads and streets for our play town with a permanent marker. We dismantled my brothers extensive railroad set of all the buildings and trees so we could use it to create our town. (My dad was NOT thrilled with this!) We used the cover for our record player to simulate the mall, and made all kinds of road signs with stickers from gum packages back then. We even made pot holes in the road because what town is ever perfect. We could play with that for hours, days, weeks, you name it. Every day, we would start all over again and divide up the cool cars from the not so cool ones to have. And at the end of each night we would put everything in a box and slide the plywood paneling under the couch in the living room to wait for us to play again the next day.

Over the years, as we both grew older, those times of imaginary play went away, but definitely not forgotten. Our summers were spent most days huffing our beach stuff to the bus stop with my brother and few neighborhood friends to get to the beach. We'd stay all day long until the last bus would leave at the end of the day and head back home. Other times we'd walk or take the bus to the mall which was a few miles away. We never really had days where we didn't have something to do.

One time, we spent the day in the riverbed by our house, now they are called sewers, and got frogs. We'd take them back home in buckets and try to make homes for them. We weren't allowed to keep them inside, but at least we could keep them in the back yard. This is how I discovered frogs could not live in a pure water only environment and killed one when he drowned when I left him sitting alone in the water. Ah the joys of living and experiencing life right.

When my brother turned 14, he moved into my dads' house and for the first time, we were apart. We still had an on and off again relationship, but it was different now. We were growing up and doing different things, had different friends, and those times of just being together were no longer.

Now that he turns 45 today, I want him to know how much he means to me and always had. When we would get into trouble for talking too much at night, it was nice knowing I wasn't alone. When we got scared of the dark, we were just down the hall from one another and we didn't have to wake up our parents, we had each other. When life got harder and the situations became more complicated with divorces in both of our lives and the introduction of our own kids, it was nice to be able to throw all those parent-isms back at them. "What are you born in a barn? Shut that door, we're paying for that air!" When we got into trouble with our parents, I'll never forget my brothers hand written pleas written on the backside of the door, perfectly scripted in hopes of springing an early release from our bedrooms. :D

It hasn't always been easy and there were many times we fought worse than enemies ( I still remember your rhyme for my Cabbage Patch kid whose name was Jonathan Bradley, you would tell me, "Jonathan Bradley, he smells badly!", but in the end, my life wouldn't have been the same if I didn't have you, my brother, to share it with. I love you Michael and I know the hopes and dreams God has for your future! You'd better put your sunglasses on, cause from what I can see, it's going to get much brighter!!!

Happy Birthday Little Brother!!!