June 24, 2017

Down Syndrome Kids: Times Tales - Times Tables Made Easy!


"Joshua, my Special Needs learner and 8-year-old middle boy, is thoroughly enjoying it." 
Times Tales is a program that teaches the upper times facts through mnemonic stories. It is the brainchild of Jennie Von Eggers, a homeschooling mom teaching the multiplication facts to her boys. They had trouble remembering their facts from day to day. She developed a way to teach them through clever stories, which enabled them to recall the facts. Several years later, she (along with two partners) developed this system into Times Tales.

I‘m reviewing this product and have to say I am unsure if it works for my family. My older boy Jonathan, 11 years, still struggles slightly with recalling his multiplication facts. But learning the stories for each one seems cumbersome. He’s farther along in knowing his facts and this just slows him down. He’s not the target audience for this system.

Joshua, my Special Needs learner and middle boy, 8 years, is thoroughly enjoying it. He carries the flip chart around with him - through the house, in the car, to church,- and talks about the stories on each page. He recognizes the numbers in the characters and reads the equations to me. But, developmentally, he’s not learning his multiplication facts. I wonder if this will hinder his understanding of the concept of multiplying numbers. I may be putting the cart before the horse with this boy. On the other hand, this may be exactly what will help him see and understand his times tables. He’s a boy that likes to experience life, and learns through seeing things, hearing things, and touching things. Teaching him these clever stories is great for his imagination and story-telling abilities. He’s behind in his expressive language skills, but I see him articulating these stories.I’m willing to continue using this with him and evaluate the outcome. It may be much farther down the road.

Cast of Times Tales Characters:
Butterfly – The number “3” drawn to look like a butterfly.
Chair – The number “4” drawn to look like a chair (4 table legs)
First Grade Class – looks like the “6”
Mrs. Week – looks like the “7”
Mrs. Snowman – looks like the “8”
Treehouse – looks like the “9”

Story #1:
The First Grade Class played musical Chairs for 24 hours.
A flip chart with a really cute picture of little kids with 6’s on their heads walking around a chair shaped like a 4, and musical notes flying around the room.
We talk about the picture and what the kids are doing. Ask questions and get the kids to tell you the story back. Make sure to keep the numbers in order.
Last Act:
Show the kids Flash Cards and have them tell you the story represented by each one. Then reveal to them that their actually doing “math.”

Click Here for Times Tales

November 12, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude

4 Things I'm Thankful For:

1. Videos of my sweet Ella
2. Sons that hug and love on me everyday
3. Warm, fuzzy blankets and pillows
4. Cold, cloudy days (there haven't been any lately)

3 Ways I Can Express Gratitude

1. Smiling more
2. Showing my happy face
3. Saying "thank you" often and with enthusiasm

30 Days of Gratitude: Journey Through Exodus

Week 2: Exodus 5-8

MONDAY: 4 Things I'm Thankful For

  1. Ella, Beautiful Ella!
  2. April the good mama 
  3. Brendan the funny da-da
  4. Rain Storms, Booming Thunder, Crackle of Lightning

TUESDAY: 3 Ways I Can Express Gratitude

1. Love Notes
2. Thank you cards
3. Hand-written, encouraging letters

October 24, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude: Journey Through Exodus

Week 1: Exodus 1-4

MONDAY: 4 Things I'm Thankful for

1. My hardworking, trustworthy husband
2. Rain Storms--beautiful, wet, loud thunder and flashing lightning
3. My Boys! Jonathan, Joshua, Josiah!!
4. My House--safe, warm, filled with love.

TUESDAY: 3 Ways I Can Express Gratitude

1. Back rubs, feet rubs, neck rubs... :)
2. Tell others how much they mean to me.
3. Verbally tell the Lord how much I'm thankful daily.

WEDNESDAY: Record a Favorite Memory

The rain storm this morning at 6 am was incredible. Thunder and lightning dominated the dark sky, and the booming thunder was so loud it scared me and made me almost jump out of my bed. It was so lovely to lay there and snuggle and enjoy the storm.

THURSDAY: Something wonderful that happened today.

The Rain Storm!

June 16, 2014

Capturing the Wedding Dress in Photos

The other day I felt inspired to capture the grace, simplicity, and innocence of April's wedding dress. It's been hanging in my room for so long now (it only left for a few days during the wedding) that it seemed the right place to photograph it. After cleaning all the clutter that was next to my bed, (a pile of unfolded, clean clothes) I propped a mirror against my nightstand, moved my lamp slightly to the right, then draped her veil across both. I opened wide the blinds and with sunshine flooding the room I arranged her dress on a wooden hanger and placed in the doorway. Standing in my kitchen, I shot several views and angles of the dress--front, back, up close and far away.

I worked some magic in Photoshop and refined a few of the shots. I designed this sepia composite of the back and front of her dress, and added several borders and textures. I have a favorite. Which one do you like? The Latte, Coffee and Cream, Mocha, Raisin, Blueberry, Slate, or Rose?

a. Latte

b. Coffee and Cream

c. Mocha

d. Raisin

e. Blueberry

f.  Slate

g. Rose

June 4, 2014

April's Bridal Shower {Coral, Navy Blue & Coca-Cola Themed}

On a breezy Saturday afternoon in late January, one week before her wedding day, we had a small, family bridal shower for April. We sat outside in the warm, southern California sunshine at BJ's Pizzeria and enjoyed good food, yummy cupcakes, and family time.

Aunt Debbie made these gorgeous chocolate cupcakes with coral-colored frosting and delicate white pearl candies placed around the top. They were so pretty, I wanted to save them. They tasted so delicious, I wanted to eat more. Recipe coming soon.

Sippin' some lemon water, showing off her engagement ring . . . and long nails!

The BJ's waiter took this shot of the whole group. 

I can't remember which pose April and Michelle did first--the silly, sarcastic faces,
or the happy, smiling ones.

{If anyone would like the hi-res photos for their personal use, let me know. You can PM me in Facebook and I'll email them to ya'. --Renee}

Lookin' good, ladies!

Such a lovely picture with Aunt Darlene. We we're so glad
she made it to the bridal shower.

Camera shy . . . Jill and Brandi! Don't worry, my pics are
ALWAYS flattering. :)

Cousins, aunt and niece. :)

I really like how this picture turned out. I processed it in Photoshop,
and got this funky shot. Looks surreal, obviously,
almost fairy-tale-esque!
April and Kim, definitely NOT camera shy!

Mikaylah looking pretty!

{If anyone would like the hi-res photos for their personal use, let me know. You can PM me in Facebook and I'll email them to ya'. --Renee}