Thursday, March 28, 2013

Reading Eggs... A review

Warning: This is going to be a picture-happy post, as Babyman figured out how to take screen-shots during "his" review process and he wanted me to put pictures of everything on my blog!
For the past couple of months, I have been reviewing Reading Eggs.  Actually, I probably should clarify that.  Technically my boys have been reviewing the website, as they don't allow me to play!  It's a shame, as it's a "really cool" website according to Middleman.

We couldn't have begun this review at a more perfect time, as my youngest, Babyman, 5, began his journey into reading not long ago.  Reading Eggs and beginning readers go hand in hand.  In fact, it reinforces just what our little guy is learning. 

Middleman, 8, is a bit more advanced in his reading skill, but Reading Eggs is a great review for him.  He is at just the right level for Reading Eggspress, which we also had the opportunity to explore. 

Butterbean (11), of course, although taking the Driving Test with Reading Eggs, much preferred the age-tailored lessons of Reading Eggspress. Although, Mommy is excited to know that it's mostly review also. 
Reading Eggs uses online one-on-one lessons with a combined phonics and sight word approach.  The lessons are mainly for non-readers up to about a third-grade level. (It was super easy for my about third grader, but he loved playing anyway!)
After I set up my account (which, by the way, you can try it out for free before you buy), I set up my students.  When each child logs in, they can choose where to go.   Babyman always goes to his map first, chooses a lesson, and completes it, with the help of Sam, his ant friend.  After that, he typically listens to a song or two at the music cafĂ©. 

He also likes visiting his Playroom where he can read stories from his bookshelf, have fun at the virtual craft table, work on puzzles, and play many  games perfectly suited for him.        

Students can earn fun rewards like golden eggs, with which they can buy games in the arcade, clothes and more in Reggie's shop, and Reading Eggs critters. 

The more lessons each child completes, the more areas of his map he can unlock and play.  After completing ten lessons, the boys can earn gold, silver or bronze certificates to place in their houses by taking a quiz based on what they've learned so far.   
Middleman and Butterbean were more focused on Reading Eggspress, designed for readers aged 7-13.  Butterbean's favorite part (although not a challenge) is Comprehension Gym, which is a review in English for him.  It covers such areas as dictionary skills,  parts of speech, and reading comprehension.  In the Stadium, students can compete against the computer, or other students to brush up on their spelling,vocabulary, or grammar skills. 
Just like Reading Eggs, with Reading Eggspress, the more golden eggs you earn, the more fun things you get to buy when you visit the mall. 
And of course, you mustn't forget to visit the library to read books and earn even more golden eggs!

I really cannot say enough good things about Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress.  There is also a mobile app called Eggy, which I have not reviewed.  Should the app become available for the Kindle Fire (hint hint), I'd love to try it out!  If you have any questions about Reading Eggs, please don't hesitate to comment here, or check out at the website.  

I was not paid for this review.  The opinions expressed are solely my own.  I received free access for a period of time to Reading Eggs in exchange for my review.   

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Butterbean's 11th Birthday!

chocolate chip pancake breakfast in bed

late night game of mastermind

my first born and I!

birthday king and his brother

impromptu game of duck duck goose from Granne (so big boy can be a doctor!)

he's wanted duct tape forever!

drove all over town to find him this duct tape crafting book

the ice cream cake i made for him

birthday boy with little brother and sweet cousin

Friday, August 10, 2012

More Birthdays

How I did not post about this a LONG time ago, I don't know, but I went searching for a photo of Middleman's 7th birthday cake from January and I couldn't find it, so I guess I never posted it here!  Anywho, here it is.  The penguin castle cake he wanted...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


For the last few weeks, my boys have been using Mathletics, an "online curriculum-based resource for students at school and home." I received a free three month trial in exchange for writing about the program on my blog. 
Achieve More!
As computer time around our house is typically reward-based, I have not used Mathletics as an every day math supplement.  Since it is summer, I wanted my boys to keep up their math skills.  We have not been working on their regular curriculum throughout the summer, so we have been using Mathletics as a fun way to keep up with math facts, etc.

Butterbean was working at approximately a 5th grade math level this past school year, so we sign him in to Mathletics at that level.  Middleman was about 2nd, therefore his Mathletics is set up for 2nd grade.  Babyman has done no formal math program yet, so we are trying his Mathletics program at Kindergarten level, and he's done quite well. 

After signing in the first time, the boys each got to create an avatar with Mathletics' Facemaker. At that point, I pretty much let him take over, working on the activities in his Student Centre and attempting to unlock mini games, which is Middleman's main goal!  Next to the Times Tables Toons, the games are Middleman's favorite part of Mathletics.  Butterbean enjoys trying to earn the most points he can, aiming for those gold bars (meaning he's mastered an activity).  For the most part, the boys are having fun (their main goal of online activities!), and their biggest concern is that there's no sound during the activities.

As students are working through their activities, if they run into a bit of trouble, they can click on the question mark for some help.  A little character will lead them through step by step examples.  The boys enjoy changing those characters around frequently.
Get Help!

There is a Live Mathletics section as well, where a student can play against a computer or another student somewhere in the world, in real time.  We have not tried it out yet.

There is so much to explore at Mathletics and thankfully we still have some time left!  We'll tell you more about it very soon. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Fun

With the cast of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow from Bright Star Touring Theatre (thank you Ms. Zoe and Mr. Ramone, you were fabulous!)

with Steve Weeks, children's musician (who was very excited to learn that middleman is learning the ukelele!) Thank you, we loved your show!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Cub Scouts

and the Wolves become Bears!

Middleman receiving his awards from his Den leader
sharing a s'more with Mommy for her birthday

my Boy Scout after putting up his own tent

Boy Scout supervising the flag raising

little spelunker

-Middleman "God has mischief"

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

My Boy Scout honoring the fallen soldiers

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Discovery Education's Virtual Field Trip

Butterbean (10), Middleman (7) and I just finished "attending" our first Discovery Education Virtual Field trip entitled Egg Farm-to-Table.  To say I was unimpressed would be a gross understatement. 

We took a very short trip to the Hickman family egg farm in Arizona where we took a brief look into a hen "house." 
As our tour guide let us know, all hens, just like humans, live in different types of houses, and these particular hens live in a cage.  We were told that the hens are only in these particular cages between the hours of 7 to 11 am, their egg laying hours.  Oh, and by the way, they typically lay one egg a day.

So,  where do they spend the rest of their day?  That, they didn't say, or show.  The only pan the camera  showed, I didn't see any grass, and that concerned me.  We were invited, as "live" (although I still am not convinced it was live) viewers to send in questions, which I did.  I asked where the grassy area was for the hens to graze and peck in, or where they spent their non-laying hours.  Of course, my questions was not answered. 

Most of the video was spent with the husband and wife Hickman duo at a table outside their hen house (?) answering questions, many of which they never actually answered.  For example, when asked if they had children, and if they involve their children in their family business, the wife answered that their kids are watching from school right now! 

When asked why some eggs contain two yolks, the answer was "it's your lucky day."   When they were asked what their busiest time of year was, the husband answered Easter, and stated that they really "ramp up" for the season.  I'd like to know how you "ramp up" the laying process.  How exactly do your force a hen to lay more eggs? 

When asked if the nutritional value of all eggs are the same, they answered "yes, because all chickens eat the same feed."  To that, I have to utter, NO THEY DON'T! 
According to many free-range chicken experts and cage-free chicken farmers including,

Having really looked forward to our first Discovery Education virtual field trip, I was quite crestfallen.  I went to Hickman family farms so I could learn more about them.  I thought maybe I just hadn't given them the benefit of the doubt, or I'd seen one too many PETA videos, or something, but their website doesn't do much for me either. 
Maybe Discovery Education just needs to do another virtual field trip, one where the chickens live like this. 
I mean, don't children deserve to know that chickens live happily too?! Or heck, maybe we just need to break down and raise some ourselves! 
FYI, this "review," if you want to consider it that, is my own opinion.  No one asked me to write it, nor did they ask me to attend the program.  If you have any questions, or comments, please feel free to let me know.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Butterbean created a Catapult today and he wanted to share it with you!

Monday, January 16, 2012

January 15, 2012

Clown Birthday
the invitation

rainbow cake

clown cupcakes
happy birthday 4 year old babyman! (i supposed i can't call you that anymore!)