Thursday, April 27, 2017

Throwback Thursday Blog-Style #149: April 27, 2017

Welcome back to... 

I know, I know, Throwback Thursday seems to be all about sharing pictures from the past, great memories that mean something to you, that you would like to share with others. At least that is how it appears to me. Throwback Thursday wasn't something I was participating in, and then I came up with an idea.

I thought it would be great fun and a help to my blog to share old content, but not just any old content. Each week I will share an old blog post from a previous year, any year, BUT it has to be from the current week (for example, something I've posted around April 27th, from any previous year)  I will go in, edit the post if needed, add a pinnable image if I don't already have one, and share it on Facebook.

Last year I focused solely on review posts for the posts I wanted to share. It was fun remembering some of the review products I had forgotten about. This year I will be focusing on recipes I have shared in the past.

Would you like to join in? You do not need to edit your past post in any way, you don't need to create a pinnable image, though it couldn't hurt, in fact it will help your blog traffic to add quality pinnable images to your posts.

Just go into your archives, choose a favorite post from this current week from any previous year, and link it up below. (If you don't have anything from this current week, it is still okay to link up with a post from a previous year around this time. And if you haven't been blogging for a full year, feel free to share any earlier post.)

Please make sure to share from the past as instructed above if you would like your post to qualify for the Featured Post. Most weeks I find that there is a wonderful post, but I can't feature it because it is a current post, not from the past. I love reading the current posts, if you want to share them. However, I am not able to feature them, because the spirit of Throwback Thursday Blog-Style is to share posts from the past.
Thank you

I will be pinning posts to my appropriate Pinterest boards and will be randomly selecting a Featured Throwback Thursday post to share next week. Just a note, I will be sharing a picture from your post if you are selected as the featured post, but I will link back to your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. By linking up you are giving me permission to use your picture in the post. 

Here is my Throwback Thursday post:

Here is this week's randomly selected
Featured Throwback Thursday:

Dr. Michelle Bengtson shared 7 Tips for Coping With the Sting of Betrayal.

To participate, link up below. It would be great if you could visit several of the other posts that have linked up. Stop by, comment, and pin images so we can help each other.

If you would like to help spread the news:

Tots and Me
Happy Throwback Thursday!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Daily Inspiration Through Daily Bible Jigsaw {A TOS Review}

I love playing games on my phone. When I need to have some time to myself to relax, this is one of the things I enjoy doing the most. I also enjoy completing jigsaw puzzles. Though, I haven't had the time to do so in ages. When I learned of the Daily Bible Jigsaw app from Planet 316, I was quite intrigued. Not only could I sit down for some "me-time" and solve a puzzle, I would also be able to be inspired by a daily Bible verse. 

Daily Bible Jigsaw is actually a free app that is available from the Apple App Store for iOS, Google Play for Android, and on Facebook on your Browser. I had no trouble downloading it from Google Play for my LG phone. As reviewers, we received the 500 pack of coins, which normally sells for $39.99, to give us a chance to use the different features in the game.

Each day there is a different 30-piece puzzle to solve. If you don't use any of the helps, and only play one time a day, no coins are used. On the phone, the puzzle pieces are manipulated by a simple touch and swipe. In order to rotate a piece to make it fit, you just tap it. Each tap rotates it one quarter turn. I love that you know for sure that a piece fits with another piece because it attaches. If it doesn't attach, you know it doesn't fit. I don't know about you, but when doing a physical puzzle, it can get confusing at times when it appears a piece is supposed to fit, and later on you discover it doesn't. While playing the game, one piece will "sparkle" for several seconds. If you get it attached to another piece before it stops sparkling, you will win one coin.

Once the puzzle is complete, streamers appear to celebrate, the lines from the puzzle pieces fade away making an unlined image that is overlaid with an inspiring Bible verse. After tapping anywhere on the picture, another screen appears and you are given the opportunity to see where you rank compared to any Facebook friends who also play, and share the image on Facebook. Then you go to your calendar and a new piece of a puzzle fills in an image. This image will be complete once the month's worth of puzzles are solved.

Okay, so now you have some idea what the Daily Bible Jigsaw is all about. Everything I described above can be done without using any coins. However, we now want to look at the different features that are available if you choose to use coins. Some coins are provided when you first download the game, and some can be earned, though to use coins on a regular basis, you would probably need to purchase coins.

So, let's take a closer look at the game.

When you first open the app this is the screen you will see:

After clicking play and seeing a hint, the day's puzzle pieces appear on the screen in a random fashion. Just like you dumped a puzzle on the table, except none of them are upside down (with the bottom of the puzzle showing, instead of the image).

Let's take a closer look at top bar for a minute.

From left to right we find:
  • The number of coins available. In order to purchase coins you would click the green plus sign.
  • Rotate button: This rotates all the pieces into the correct orientation and they can not be accidentally re-rotated during the game.
  • Guide button: This will give you a quick glimpse of the finished puzzle, though the timer continues to count down while you look at it. 
  • Sweep button: This sweeps all unattached pieces to the sides of the screen.
  • Magnet button: This attaches one random piece to another. 
  • Edges button: This removes all the inside pieces and leaves you with just the edge pieces.
  • Timer: Shows how much time has elapsed since you began. You can pause the game by clicking the blue pause button.

When I am doing a puzzle I always like to start with the edge pieces. This is how I was taught to do physical puzzles. It costs two coins to remove the inside pieces. They just disappear from the screen until the outer border is complete, then they reappear. This is so much easier than having to pick out the edge pieces yourself, as you would have to do with a physical puzzle. It also helps as it keeps the screen from feeling too cluttered.

I also opt to use two coins to rotate the pieces into the correct orientation. That is, if I am in "competitive mode," which I most likely am. A puzzle can be completed a lot faster when all the pieces are facing the right way. It's just a matter of finding the piece it attaches to.

Once the border is complete, the inside pieces appear randomly on the screen, so I choose to use one coin to sweep them to the sides. It really does make it easier to complete the puzzle, especially because otherwise most of the pieces will be hiding underneath the puzzle, as you can see below.

I usually don't use the Guide or Magnet tools, unless I am really stumped about what a puzzle is supposed to look like. Granted, I would be more likely to use the Guide, to catch a glimpse, if I hadn't rotated the pieces. Sometimes, when they are all turned around, it is hard to figure out which piece should fit with another without knowing what the puzzle is supposed to look like. I admit, when I do a physical puzzle, I always have the puzzle box right in front of me to know what the completed image looks like, so it is a little weird going about it blind. The Guide tool uses two coins. 

The Magnet tool is the one I use the least. I would rather complete the puzzle myself. That said, once again, if I didn't rotate them, I might find the Magnet of more use, if I was particularly stumped. The Magnet tool only takes one coin to attach one piece though.

All in all, I usually use five coins per game. Unless I decide to replay the game to get a lower time (competitive...remember).

Once the puzzle is complete, we celebrate for a couple of seconds.

The following screen appears, showing the time it took to complete, how many stars were earned, and where I rank. There is the option to replay or click "Next."

There are times I will replay one or two times, trying to beat the scores. Other times, I decide, nah, second (or third) place is good enough. The thing is, at first I thought I could replay as many times as I wanted without using up my coins, as long as I haven't clicked "Next." The reason I thought this, is because if I have already closed out of the app for the day, but then choose to redo the puzzle, it will say that you need to pay three coins. However, on the screen above, where it says replay, there is no icon that indicates coins will be needed. If I had been paying better attention to my coins, I would have noticed this sooner, but I was just under the assumption that it wouldn't because of the lack of coin icon. Lesson learned. 

Next, we are given the option to share to Facebook, which I always do. I love being able to share a little bit of encouragement and inspiration (and cuteness).

Then, I click on "Calendar" which takes me to the calendar for the month. 

At the beginning of the month, only the pieces of the image that don't fit under calendar dates are shown. As we complete puzzles throughout the month a new part of the picture is revealed. See the cute little green puzzle character? He is coming onto the puzzle to fill in April 25th. 

Another aspect of the calendar page, is that you can see how many stars you have earned each day, plus your time, by clicking on the little calendar on the bottom left of the calendar.

Here is my completed March 2017 Calendar Puzzle Image:

It is fun revealing more and more of the image every day.

If you miss a day (or days), you can go back and play the puzzle; however it will cost three coins. You can even go into the archives and choose from as far back as September 2016. Personally, I would rather use my coins to use those few helps I use each day. Once I am out of coins, I will only be able to get more through the awards that are available and the daily bonus piece (if I happen to join it in time). We make it a policy in our home that we do not pay money in game apps.

By pressing the "Awards" button found at the top of the Calendar screen, you will see the awards you have already received and the ones still available. Here were some of the first ones I received. The first three are earned quite quickly and you get some coins for each (I admit, I don't remember how many I received for these beginning awards, I don't believe it was more than 5). 

You get awards and coins by completing puzzles (total puzzles and a certain amount of each of the days of the week), and by completing them in under certain amounts of time (15 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute). It doesn't appear that you get more than 10 coins for most of these except for the two shown below. You get 25 coins for completing 500 puzzles, and 50 coins for completing 1000 puzzles. Even for solving a puzzle in under 1 minute you only get 10 coins.

As much as I love this app, I really, really wish there were more ways to earn coins. This is once again due to my competitiveness. Those who wish to solve a relaxing puzzle, should have no issues. Once I have exhausted my coin supply, I am not going to be able to earn coins until I have solved 100 puzzles (which would mean using coins to do archived puzzles or waiting 19 more days), and the next level after that is 250 puzzles! I can also earn coins by solving 25 puzzles for each day of the week. Granted, when I hit week 25, I will earn 35 coins that week, 5 each day. But, after that, the next level won't be until the 100th week, that is more than 2 years! I am not sure if it counts if you do the puzzles multiple times a day, but then you are using coins to replay in order to earn coins. 

I have already received my awards for solving in under 15, 10, 5, 3, and 2 minutes. If I ever finish one under 1 minute I will earn those 10 coins. But there is never a chance to earn those awards or coins again. 

I really wish there was some way to earn coins daily, by completing some sort of challenge perhaps. I think it would be great if the awards earned for solving puzzles under a certain amount of time would not be a one-time award. Maybe even an award for solving without using any of the helps and finishing under a certain amount of time. I don't look forward to the day when I will be all out of coins, because it will be quite a while before I will receive more. And I do so love being able to use those few tools I mentioned. 

Most of the time, I am the only one who plays the app. My older girls do like to play, but I usually play while they are in bed. Besides, in order for each of the girls to play (Harold would still be a little young), I would be using 9 coins a day, plus more because they would want to use the help tools as well. 

I mean, they really do enjoy playing:

Daily Bible Jigsaw is a fun app. As I mentioned, I love to be able to have that bit of me-time, and I love doing puzzles. The images have all been lovely, and the verses are inspirational and encouraging, plus they complement the picture quite well. Just be aware, that if you would like to have more than one person play it per day, it will end up costing you money eventually.

As you can see, the lowest amount you would pay would be $1.99, and that would get you 20 coins. We received 500 coins, which would normally be $39.99. And 780 coins would cost $59.99. I got excited when I saw the "Earn Free" button, but was disappointed to realize it meant I would have to download another game. So, I remain content with the coins I have, and will try to use them more sparingly as I go forward.

If you enjoy playing on your phone, and enjoy puzzles, this may just be the app for you. If you aren't one who has time for games on your phone, it could still be beneficial for your children. As I mentioned, it is a bit tricky for my youngest, Harold, who is only 5 years old. But all of his sisters are able to complete the puzzles, and they are 7, 8 1/2, and 10. Solving puzzles is definitely a beneficial skill for children to have, and with this app, there are no pieces to lose. Once the verse has appeared, they can have some reading practice. You might even choose to have your child memorize the verse, or write it out. Daily Bible Jigsaw is definitely one of the apps that gets used daily in our house. Check it out, and don't forget, when using just the basics, it is free! And if you are one that doesn't mind paying money for apps, the bonuses of the help tools are very neat.

You can find Planet 316 on Facebook and Twitter.

Don't forget to see what my fellow Crew Mates thought of Daily Bible Jigsaw! Just click the banner below:

Daily Bible Jigsaw {Planet 316 Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wordless Wednesday: April 26, 2017 (w/linky) : Exercising With Daddy

Looking forward to seeing your Wordless (or not so wordless) Wednesday posts this week.

Tots and Me

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Littles Learning Link Up: April 25, 2017

 Each month you will find:
  • A seasonal round-up (toward the beginning of the month)
  • Posts where I share what I have been up to with my preschoolers and/or early elementary children (including occasional highlight posts where I share how we used ideas that have been linked up here on Littles Learning Link Up).
Each week, I will host a link up, where you can share either what you have been up to recently, or old posts that may go with the theme.  Feel free to link up more than one post.

Each week I will continue to feature a couple of posts from those that have been linked up. 

I hope you will continue to share your wonderful posts, and I hope you will find something new to try with your child(ren).

It would be great for everyone to stop by and visit the other linked-up posts as well. Check them out, leave some comments, pin those that interest you. Let's make this a real party and socialize with each other.

What have we been up to?

We have been enjoying our stay in India. We have been reading lots of books, as usual, both fiction and nonfiction. We haven't done any projects yet, but we will be doing an art project from ArtAchieve. There isn't one specifically for India in Level 2, but they do have one for Sri Lanka. We have been learning about mountains for our science lessons. And we got to watch The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story for our movie last Friday. The children purchased tickets using their Rupees (we have play money for each country we go to), and they purchased snacks to eat as well, mangoes along with some other goodies.

I do not have a craft to share this week. Co-op is over for the year, so I'm going to have to start getting projects prepared for Harold to go with his lessons.

I shared a more detailed look at 5 of the countries we have been to in last week's 5-Day Blog Hop with the Homeschool Review Crew.  I shared about our trips to Mexico, Canada, Norway, France, and Germany. The Crew shared lots of different topics related to homeschooling.

Let's take a look at that review schedule:

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my review for Color My Conversation from Northern Speech Services. Last week I shared my review for Readers in Residence from Apologia Educational Ministries. We went from having hardly any review products, to being once again inundated (not complaining, just stating a fact). This week you can look forward to the following reviews:
Daily Bible Jigsaw app from Planet 316 and Drive Thru History: The Gospels. In May I will be sharing about ArtAchieve: Entire Level II, Only Passionate Curiosity's online course called Homeschool Rescue, and Thin Stix from The Pencil Grip, Inc. Last week I received the Christian Heroes book about David Livingstone from YWAM Publishing. We recently learned a little about him in our studies of Africa, so I thought it would be an appropriate book for Tabitha and I to read. That review will be posting at the very beginning of June. As will Memoria Press: Latina Christiana, which I am using with Tabitha, and K5 Learning.

Some thing I would like to share with you:

Here are some of my past Round Ups with lots of fun crafts and activities that are appropriate for springtime.

(featuring Complementary Color Flower Craft)

It's hard to believe, but Mother's Day is next month! My first Littles Learning Link Up Round Up was the Springy Flowers and Mother's Day Round Up. There are some great ideas for crafts and cards for mom.

I am trying to line up guest posts for 2017. If you would be interested writing a guest post for Littles Learning Link Up one of these months, please leave a comment or contact me via my contact info on my About Me page. I will need to have your email address so I can contact you. I am looking for posts that have to do with young children: crafts, activities, foods/snacks, tips, or other ideas. I am open to suggestions.

Now onto:
Littles Learning Link Up Features

On my last Littles Learning Link Up post, there were 10 wonderful posts linked up. I will be picking one randomly selected post to share, plus the top clicked-on post.  

Don't forget to stop by other posts that are linked up. See what catches your eye, stop by, pin the post to a relevant board, and perhaps leave a comment to let the author of the blog know you have been by for a visit. I know I appreciate others commenting and letting me know they have read my posts, so I am sure others do too.

This week's randomly selected post is:

Thaleia from Something 2 Offer shared Free Anatomy and Human Body Resources.

And here are this week's top clicked on posts.

Mary from Entirely at Home shared 14 Books Your Early Readers Will Want to Read.

Mary from Entirely at Home also shared Let Your Kids Get Dirty With Spring Gardening!.

Join the Party!

I would love to have you join in this week! What sort of activities do you do with your young children? Do you have some favorite activities you would like to share? I invite you to link up below. I will be pinning posts on one of my relevant boards, and I would love to feature some of the activities each week from what is linked up.

Please know I may share a picture from your post and link back to it, along with sharing how we used your idea in our school time. By linking up you are giving me permission to use a picture from your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. Additionally, if you choose to try out any of the ideas with your child, please make sure you give credit where credit is due.

Linky will be open through Monday night, to give me time to check out all the posts and get the Features organized. Please take the time to visit some of the other wonderful posts linked up.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Tuesday's Giveaway Link Up- April 25, 2017

Welcome to Tuesday's Giveaway Link Up with your hosts Karen @ Tots and Me, Emily @ Emily Reviews, Shelly @ The Attic Girl, and Rena @ An Ordinary Housewife.

So glad you could join us as we share our giveaways on  Tuesday's Giveaway Link Ups. 

This link up will be posted Monday at 7 PM est. and run all week long! Make sure you stop in as often as you can to list your latest giveaways.

Here is how to use the Giveaway Link Up

1. Post your reviews and/or giveaways, as many as you have, be sure to add the end date (family friendly please)

2. Help spread the word about the giveaway link up by grabbing our button, Tweeting or posting on Facebook. (Not mandatory- but it helps get more exposure to your giveaways as well!)

3. Take a moment to enter any giveaway that strikes an interest to you!

If you would  like to follow the  hostesses, we will gladly follow you back! Simply leave us a message to do so.

Featured Giveaway

MARS Blu-ray US only Ends 4/28

Thank you for linking up with Karen @ Tots and Me, Emily @ Emily ReviewsShelly @ The Attic Girl, and Rena @ An Ordinary Housewife.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

5 Days of International Studies for Young Children: Germany

Learning About Germany

Welcome back to the 5 Days of Homeschool... Blog Hop. In case you haven't heard, this is the week my fellow Homeschool Review Crew Crew Mates and I are taking the time to share different topics related to homeschooling. 

5 Days of Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017
I have been sharing some of the fun things we have been learning about in our studies of Countries and Cultures from around the world. On our last stop I talked about France. Today I will share what we did while we were in Germany.

I learned that Germans enjoy their afternoon coffee time, or Kaffeezeit. So, I purchased some little streusel cakes and strudels to serve to the children at our coffee table a few times during our stay in Germany.  

As I mentioned in the previous posts, most of our knowledge about the country came from the books we read:

In the Favorite Fairy Tales Told in Germany, we read only one story, Rapunzel.

With the Colors of Germany, Countries of the World: Germany, and Country Topics: Germany, we read a page or two a day.

I wanted to read a lot of different fairy tales during our stay in Germany, as so many of these beloved tales come from Germany. 

We then were able to watch the movies. We watched the Disney versions of:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 
Cinderella (live action version)

We didn't watch the Princess and the Frog, seeing as it is set in the United States and doesn't really follow the original story. 

In my post on Norway, I mentioned our use of ArtAchieve, and how it is working so nicely with these studies on countries and cultures. There is a art project for Germany as well, The Nutcracker.

No, these are not complete. I didn't share the completed projects for the Swedish Dala Horse either. I thought I should keep the completed project pictures for the review that will be posting at the beginning of May.

Another fun craft we did was Framed Pressed Flowers. We learned, in the Global Art book, that "Germany has a long history of creating beautiful artwork with flowers." We decided to use the flowers from the baby shower we threw for our newest granddaughter. I figured it would be a lovely way to preserve the memories.

We didn't really do a End of Visit feast for Germany, though I vaguely remember making a recipe from my Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook called Saus and Cabb Skillet. The children also remember making Potato Cakes to go with the Saus and Cabb Skillet, however, I'm not finding any pictures, which is really weird as I always take pictures of my meals. I guess if I find them, I will update the post.

As with our stay in other countries, we learned some of the language. During calendar time we said the days of the week and counted in German. We learned some common phrases and the colors. 

We sang/listened to the following song with our WeeSing Around the World CD:

Alle Meine Entchen (All My Little Ducklings)

And that was what we did when we were "visiting" Germany.
I did want to mention that for all of the different countries we have learned about, we have had geography lessons. We look at the big world map, our little placemat-sized world map, and the globe, to find the countries on the map, plus the bordering countries and bodies of water. We also learn facts about all these countries using the following books:

Classroom Atlas
Children's Atlas of God's World
A Trip Around the World
Another Trip Around the World
I hope you have enjoyed this little look into our studies of different countries and cultures.
I am going to try very hard to post about each country we have yet to visit as a "Week in Review" post, though they will be posted every other week, as we are in each country for two weeks.
I am linking up as a part of this Blog Hop.
Don't miss the other wonderful posts!
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