Monday, November 29, 2010

State of the Topsy Turvy Household

Thing 1, my darling almost 6 year old (already?!) is anxiously awaiting his 6th birthday, coming in December.

At the Aquarium, I love this shot!

Thing 2 is getting into EVERYTHING, and has taken a particular liking to Link's computer (oooops).

This is what happens when an almost 15 month old gets ahold of a watercolor colored pencil and tastes it.

But I think the BIGGEST news in this household is the little darling set to arrive sometime in April.

B is Body, H is Head.  This was the best shot that they could get :)

At our anatomy ultrasound this past week, we were informed that it is most likely that this youngling is a boy (I'm still trying to decide between Little Cat A and Voom for a nickname.  I'm rather fond of Voom)

And now as December is fast approaching, I am fully intending to stay more up to date on here ;)  I was having problems with wanting to spill the beans about the baby before the planned time.  I am good with secrets... if they are OTHER PEOPLE'S secrets.

Friday, November 19, 2010

KB Teachers


 Around here, I have a bit of an oddity: I have a child who LIKES to do worksheets.  This is all well and good until you're on your 50th page looking for a worksheet that will work online.


Enter KB Teachers into the arena of our home.  Currently in the process of a website upgrade (which I'm excited to see the result of), this website has a plethora of worksheets and other printables (such as graphics) that you can download.

My particular favorite part of this website is the addition sheets generator.  I can print a sheet, with answer sheet (not that I need them... no really, I don't I can add!... barely) and then generate another one in order to keep our worksheet "folder" stocked.  I also am a huge fan of the "What Time is It?" worksheet generator, which can do sheets of "to the hour" all the way down.  Since Thing 1 was in desperate need of practice on both of these, this was perfect timing for us.

A few things to note: This website does not have a "Search" function.  The creators feel that you should be able to reach any page within a few clicks.  For some, this may be a disadvantage, but I happen to like it.  For whatever reason, when I'm on a site with a search function, I tend to pick the wrong key words or something and end up never finding what I wanted.  Also, you cannot save these worksheets to print later.  You print directly from the website (using your browser print button can actually cause some issues).  I have heard that you can "print" to a PDF by using specific programs, I have no idea how these work and so have not tried it myself.  Also, there are different themed worksheets that come out for things like Halloween and Thanksgiving.  These are not linked on the main pages year-round.  We received our logins for this site before Halloween, and after November 1st, while the other Fall worksheets were still available, the holiday specific ones were not.  And that is also when the Thanksgiving ones BECAME available.  However, if you're looking for something specific and can't find it, you are encouraged to contact them and they will get back to you.

While this website (and what I focused on) has a LOT of worksheets for the early elementary level, there are also some worksheets in the science and history areas that are geared more toward older students.  So this website is one that likely will stay in use in OUR family for a while.

If you want to purchase a membership to KB Teachers, a single year is $29 (after a 10 day trial), and a two year membership is $49.  If you want to get more information, you can check out their FAQs page, their Facebook page, or you can go and check out other reviews by my fellow Crew members.

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion on the product.  I received no other compensation for this review.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Collectorz Book Database Software


 If you're like many homeschoolers, you have an almost ridiculous amount of books.  Yes, there is the library but there's just something awesome about being able to reread a book 50 times in 10 years without having to go borrow it from the library again.

Once you've got this huuuuuge collection though, how are you supposed to keep yourself from repurchasing the same book again because you don't think you own it?


Enter Collectorz and their Book Database Software.  With this product, you are able to enter in a minimal amount of information from your book (ISBN is a good thing to use) and the rest of the information will be there, without you having to go across and type every single little detail yourself.

  • ISBN, Author and Title
  • Publisher data and Publication Date
  • Format, Genres, Subjects, Nr of Pages & LoC Classification
  • Cover Images
  • Plot summaries and a lot more 
And if you don't feel like typing in every single ISBN?  They also offer nifty little scanners that you can use to scan the correct barcode on the book and it will pull the information for you.

Keep in mind, not EVERY book is in their system, so there are some ISBN's that will not bring up anything.  I ran into this problem, and all I did was add the additional information myself.  A bit frustrating for me, since the first few books I tried entering were in this category, but I think in the grand scheme of things, MOST of them are in there.

And what makes this program even more useful, because I know a LOT of people who have a TON of e-books, is that you can actually use the program to keep track of e-books and audio books as well!  You scan your computer for them, and it adds them to your batch so you can make sure the information is correct before adding it to your database.


This program is available for multiple platforms, and also there are additional programs to help you keep track of what you own for OTHER types of media as well.  Movies, comics, games, music, MP3s, photos...  If you like to have everything cataloged, and want to make the process easier, then this product is definitely geared toward you.

This database, if you keep a hardcopy printed off somewhere safe, and/or a digital copy uploaded somewhere away from your computer (such as an online storage site), there is a chance that this could even be used in the case of insurance issues to get collections replaced.  

The Book Database Program, which is what I received, is available in two editions, the Standard for $29.99 and the Pro for $49.99, although you can sign up for a free trial (I am not sure if this is equivalent to Pro or Standard though, sorry).  The Pro has a LOT of features that the Standard does not, such as a couple different Export options, the ability to use it along with the CLZ Mobile Apps (available for $9.99), and a number of customization methods for how you see your collection listed.  The optional scanners start at $19.99, although the better ones are, of course, the more expensive ones (the top one actually has built in memory as well)  While these scanners are not necessary to use the program (I don't have one) they do make life a bit easier because you don't have to wear out the number keys on your keyboard, and if you have thousands of books to enter, it would certainly streamline the process.

All in all, while I recognize that this is an AWESOME program for people who have huge collections and need to keep track of them, without a scanner to help me and a large amount of time to sit and type in ISBNs, this program just isn't feasible for me to use to its max potential at this time.  Someday I hope to have some of that "free time" I hear other people talk about ;)

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion on the product.  I received no other compensation for this review.