July 31, 2015

Maker Studio: Propellers Set~ Become An Engineer! {Product Review}

My boys love to build. They love tinkering with stuff and are big time LEGO fans. I was eager to turn them loose on the Maker Studio: Propellers Set I received to review from ThinkFun to see what they thought about it!
Maker Studio: Propellers Set Product Review

The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links
Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

Product Summary

Maker Studio is a line products from ThinkFun designed to ignite imagination, and foster a love of engineering. Designed by engineers, these fun sets are the ideal toy for budding engineers. 

Maker Studio~ Propellers Set, contains all you need to turn a simple empty pop bottle or chips can into a helicopter, biplane, windmill and more! 
For each build, you are even given engineering challenges--ways to engage your brain to experiment as you come up with a solution. You can follow the designs included, or explore and create your own!

This set is geared for ages 7 to adult and retails on Amazon for $19.99.

How Did We Use This Product?

The boys knew that this product was coming, and when it arrived, they fought over who was going to open the box first. I got them set up at the table and let Little Britches dive in with Baby Britches looking on. 
Diving into the build
Checking out the different designs
Little Britches analyzed all the pieces as they were revealed...while I snagged the directions to see what was supposed to happen. The directions gives you a complete list of parts/inventory, extra things that will be needed, and simple steps for getting started. There is also a parts explanation listing how each part can be used. 

Also included with the set is a ringed card set called Engineering Challenges & Tips. These are extra engineering challenges to do after the building of the designs. There are two for each build, plus two bonus challenges. These are fun extras like making the helicopter's tail propeller turn, or making the two plane props spin at the same time.
After we opened everything up, Little Britches flipped through the book and decided to go for the windmill as his first design since it was the only one that worked with a toilet paper tube. We didn't have the suggested chips canister. He worked through the design directions and was able to figure everything out!

He loved working through the building plans...though he didn't want to try the engineering challenges. He decided to take it apart and build his own creation for his second go!

A double prop helicopter

Baby Britches enjoying flying the new creation

What Are Our Thoughts on This Product?

Little Britches (Age 9) really enjoyed using the Propellers Set and was able to follow the design plans. The only thing he said was confusing was that he got a little confused on following the red lines to where the placement of each part was supposed to go. He had to take apart things a few times before he got it right.
Like these design plans
I liked watching Little Britches mind work as he analyzed how everything went together. I liked that it was simple to just open and go...as long as we had the right base--like the toilet paper roll. I plan on scrounging up some small Pringles cans and pop bottles for him to play with and see how he does with other designs. I think the pieces of the set were well made out of heavy duty plastic and Little Britches never felt like he was going break them as he was working them.

I absolutely think that we will be using this set in the future. I know the boys will be looking for ways to build more things out of these. 

I am now very interested in checking out the Maker Studio: Gears Set and Maker Studio: Winches Set because I know the boys would love playing and building with those too. I also like that it appears the set can be mixed and matched which takes them to another level!
 photo lisa siggy_zpsfhtaqygf.png

July 29, 2015

Educents Limited Time offer~ Free Minion Math Centers

What makes you happy? Minions? Freebies? Well, how about Minion Freebies? Minion Freebie - Educents 3 
The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links
Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

These free math activities on Educents offers 22 printable pages of math activities for Minion fans. It covers addition, subtraction, measurement, money, and more!

(once it expires, price will return to $4.99)

Minion Math Centers Freebie

  • Minion Addition (to 12)
  • Minion Subtraction (to 12)
  • Minions Making Ten
  • Minion Measurement
  • Minion Money Match
  • Missing Minion Numbers
  • Minion Number Cards
Minion Freebie - Educents 2 
If you're looking for more ways to make math learning fun, check this out:

Early Math Musical DVDs

4dde_c6ab3b8_Early_Math_Collection copy
This DVD set from Rock 'N' Learn is a fun way to boost math skills for the early grades. Like the Minions, these DVDs have fun characters your little ones will love to get to know! Math facts are easy to learn with fun music and exciting animation. Learn all about counting coins and bills and practice making change. Kids will learn to tell time to the hour, half hour, and minute using traditional analog clocks. Includes Addition & Subtraction Rap DVD, Money & Making Change DVD, and the Telling Time DVD. I hope this math freebie made by Amy of Teaching in Blue Jeans makes you happy. 

Download the Free Minion Math Centers, then go ahead and do a little dance! :)

We saw the Minions movie this past weekend and enjoyed it...and I know my boys will enjoy this Minion themed math center!
 photo lisa siggy_zpsfhtaqygf.png

July 28, 2015

With Lee in Virginia~ A Civil War Story of Courage, Honor, and Duty {Product Review}

We have been blessed to be able to have reviewed Under Drake's Flag and In Freedom's Cause--audio dramas from Heirloom Audio Productions. These two stories, wet our whistle for all things G.A. Henty, and we were eager to get our hands on the latest of his stories to be adapted for audio theater by Heirloom Audio Productions to review...With Lee In Virginia.
With Lee In Virginia: Product Review

Product Information

With Lee In Virginia is the third audio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions. It's adapted from the book, With Lee in Virginia by G. A. Henty. The story is set during the Civil War and follows 15 year old Vincent Wingfield as he eagerly joins the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia. He soon finds himself side by side with the likes of great  Confederate generals including Robert E. Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson. He learns about what true Christian duty looks like from being around these men and it forces him to take a stand for his country and everything he holds dear--even if it costs him his own life. 

Brought to life with an incredible full original score by Emmy winning composer John Campbell, and voiced by an all star cast including Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings, Rudy), Kirk Cameron (Fireproof, Monumental, Left Behind series), Brian Blessed (Star Wars, King Lear) and more...this audio theater production is a must have!

With Lee in Virginia is a 2 1/2 hr production geared for ages 6 to adult.

With your purchase of With Lee In Virginia Single Package ($29.97 plus shipping/handling) you will also get access to the eStudy Guide and Discussion starter (digital), a printable copy of the inspirational quote by Robert E. Lee (digital), and the official With Lee in Virginia Soundtrack MP3 download. 

I received With Lee in Virginia (with special bonuses) to review with my family.

How Did We Use This Product?

I admit. We love what Heirloom Audio Productions has done thus far, and we were eager to dive into With Lee in Virginia when it came. Little Britches was especially interested since he had done a pretty extensive study during history this year over the time of the Civil War. When it showed up, we all did a dance.

The easy thing about this product, is you simply pop it into your CD player and begin. The soundtrack immediately fills your mind with a historic time period as you are taken back to where the story begins. My boys liked to play with their toys while they were listening at home, so it was easy to just go for it.

When we began, I pulled up the eStudy Guide and Discussion starter on my Kindle, so I could follow along and ask questions about the story. This new guide now has track numbers noted on the questions so it is easy to figure out what questions go with what part of the story. It was easy to get the download, as I simply visited the link included with my CD and then downloaded from it to my device. I like being able to have it pulled up on my Kindle for quick reference.

As we went along, it was easy to see that Little Britches just wanted me to leave him alone to enjoy the story, so we stopped pausing the story, and I just let him listen.

I really liked that in this study guide, there was a map at the beginning noting the different places from the story so that your child could follow along. And I always like how the study guide is laid out with questions from the story, vocabulary AND extra discussion questions.
Map for You to Follow Along With

from the eStudy Guide and Discussion Starter
Though we were given access to several bonuses, I chose to only use the eStudy Guide at this time. I do plan on reading the With Lee in Virginia eBook in the future.
All the Special Bonuses I received--and are available with purchase of the Family Four-Pack Package

What Are Our Thoughts on This Product?

As with our other Heirloom Audio Productions audio dramas, we love it. Little Britches really listens to the story because he is an audial learner, so he retains so much from what is shared. He remembered studying about many of the battles and men mentioned, which made him enjoy it even more.

I thought it clever that the CD's were blue and grey, matching the colors of each army. I thought the photographs/graphics were stunning and high quality. It added a lot having real historic photos to look at as we went through the study guide. To be able to put real faces with the famous men. I loved that it worked for my Kindle AND my iPhone 6 so I could always have it with me, even if we took the CD's to the car.

Any cons?
Well, I guess my one con is from a frugal family side...paying $30 for this fabulous product, even WITH the special bonuses, is going to be out of the price range of some. It would be mine. But I know that there will be specials offered by companies where you will be able to find it on sale--so keep your eyes open! It will be well worth the money spent--especially if you are homeschooling and like to add in extra historical goodies.

Would I Recommend This Product?

Definitely! Not only will you and your family learn more history, but the deep faith of these men who shaped our history is explored and brought out. These audio dramas are so perfect for long car rides and I have yet to hear one at a higher caliber than what Heirloom Audio Productions has produced!

Want to Know More?

We reviewed the audio theater drama With Lee in Virginia from Heirloom Audio Productions. You have seen what our thoughts were on the product, but what did the other reviewers on my team think? How did they use the study guide and extra materials? Make sure you visit and find out!
With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review
To stay in touch with the latest news from Heirloom Audio Productions, please follow them at these social media sites:


We are so happy to now have three of these incredible productions in our inventory, and they will be great for us to pull out and listen to when we go on our big road trip later this year to Jekyll Island, GA!
 photo lisa siggy_zpsfhtaqygf.png