Hi, my name is Melissa. Pour yourself a cup of tea and stay a while. I'm completely devoted to my Savior, madly in love with my husband, and joyously raising my daughters. I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you enjoy your time here!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Kids Email Safe Email for Kids from Kids Email: A TOS Crew Review

Kids Email
 I remember when I was in Middle School and we had internet for the first time. My mom worked at a local college and they gave us access at home. It was dial up, of course, and we had one e-mail address for the family, but boy did I have fun e-mailing! I didn't e-mail my friends because I was the only who had an address. Besides that, we just had the one for the entire household! Things have changed dramatically over the years. I had my first e-mail address that was all my own when I was in high school and getting ready to go to college. We decided to let our girls have e-mail so ythey could stay in contact with family when they were much, much younger! We used a kid e-mail program that had some email filter options, but I was excited to try a one-year subscription to Kids Email Safe Email for Kids from Kids Email. I had heard great things about this company and I was not disappointed!
Kids Email
 This is essentially a subscription based e-mail system for children which allows parents to have complete control over what they send and receive as well as prevent spam and ads from unintentionally crossing their paths. My husband and I realized we need to allow access to technology so our children can learn under our watchful eye how to navigate it all. It is a scary, dangerous world out there with numerous evils attempting to prey on our precious kids. It is difficult to know the best way to walk our children through this mine field of harmful material, but we must. I love the peace of mind Kids Email gives me as a part of this. 

I am able to have a copy sent of every email they send and receive directly to my inbox. I can personally allow or deny certain addresses from having access to their e-mail. I may allow or deny internet links, images, attachments, and even bad language. These filters give me complete control over their email usage which is perfect alongside frequent discussions about internet safety. The interface is super user-friendly and fast.

So you know as a parent this is fantastic! But what do the kids think about it? 

They love it! All of us love that it is available as an app they can use on their tablets. I like that they don't have to access the internet to email. They also have the ability to stay in closer contact with their grandparents and cousins. We generally do not allow them to e-mail those who are not in our family, but we lift that rule in special circumstances. For instance, we had a wonderful family stay with us who are serving in ministry in Jordan. They have 4 daughters in the same age range as our girls and digital communication is really the only viable option for them to stay in touch. They don't yet have e-mail, but I would be happy to give them our girls' addresses because of the content control I have. We also have some other friends who are serving in other parts of the country in ministry and this is a great way to stay connected with them as well.We also have a dear friend in our church who is not able to be out of her home during the day due to a rare illness. My daughters adore her and she is a wonderful mentor to them. Email is a fantastic way for them to connect with her. 

Overall I'm very pleased and recommend this for anyone looking for a subscription based e-mail program for their kids. 

Check out what my Crewmates have to say! 

Safe Email for Kids {Kids Email Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Friday, May 11, 2018

Preserving Memories: Week of May 6

 These were made a while ago...before life got so busy and crazy! I haven't scrapped in a few weeks actually. Thankfully as work calms down I'll have more time to do this and scan more family photos! I'm sooooo happy for summer!


Week in Review: May 7-11 (Off Routine)

Post-recital flowers from Daddy!
This week has been off our regular routine. My piano recital was Tuesday night and I have learned from experience not to try and do "full school" as my girls label it. We focused on math, literature, and biographies. It's a good thing this was the plan because I came down with a cold a couple of days before the recital, pushed hard to get through and then crashed Tuesday night! I'm currently communicating in whispers and hand gestures. This seems to be a rather consistent thing when I get a cold now and I seem to get colds very often around my recital time! I'm not sure if  it is the stress leading into this or not, but I can count on one hand the number of times I've been fully healthy at a recital. 

These are most of my students! I have 7 more not pictured. One could not come, two are adults I can't quite convince to play, and the last 4 are my nieces and nephews who live about 3 hours away. Their lessons are weekly via Skype. 

I love all of my students so very much, but I have a special place for these three...
 Grace: So Long, Farewell from The Sound of Music
Beth: Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah

 Rose: Ashokan Farewell

Our theme was The Sun Moon and Stars. If you have never read the lyrics to Ashokan Farewell it fits beautifully and is one of my favorites! 

Anyway, the girls have worked hard while I rested, although no pictures to prove that! We've also played some games like Mad-Libs, thanks to my Blackboard from Boogie Board, and watched some television...way more than is typical. Which is exactly why I'm okay with it. The girls have been really sweet and often ask if I need anything. It's been a special reminder leading into Mother's Day of how blessed I am. 

Take a look at what my Crewmates were up to this week!
Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Books from Kayla Jarmon: A TOS Review Crew Review

Discussion Book Series and A Boy and His Dog by Kayla Jarmon 
Kids love picture books! Even though our girls have moved onto chapter books they still enjoy pulling picture books off the shelf from time to time, even my 12-year-old! Books are enjoyable, but they can also be used as a tool to start discussions or talk about hard things. I had the opportunity to review three titles from Kayla Jarmon which can be found here: http://kaylajarmon.com/books/ 
 A Boy and His Dog
Dying Is Part of This World
Don’t Forget Me
Each title has a unique perspective delving into different areas which touch a child's life. My personal favorite was Don't Forget Me. I really liked the perspective of a conversation between a baby and God while the little one was still in Mommy's womb. In addition to being a reflection of Scripture which talks about how the Lord knits us together in the womb, it also shows the stages of a baby's growth and development. There are even very tastefully drawn images of the baby traveling through the birth canal. At the end of the book are several reference to Scripture for further study with your kids. I really love this and think it would be a great tool to use with younger children who are expecting a new baby brother or sister into the family. 
 Dying is Part of This World is a great discussion starter for kids who have questions about dying or are afraid of losing their loved ones. Unlike most books for kids about death I have seen this one doesn't deal with a child who is actually struggling with the loss. I love this about it because our kids sometimes have questions like this, but I don't want to to have them read a story about someone actually dying. This is a chapter book and good for older kids to read alone possibly, but I really think it makes a better read-together type of book. Again, Scripture is central and there are some wonderful discussion questions at the end of each chapter. 
A Boy and His Dog is a sweet little story about a young little guy and his pup! One of the things we really liked about this was that the illustrated dog looked so much like our own dear puppy! This is the title I had the girls look at most. The illustrations in the title were by far my favorite. They were vibrant and full page. I really like how the relationship between the little boy and his pet is shown. They do everything together. Even sleep! This is a simple picture book which will bring back sweet memories of beloved pets as you read.
Each of these titles is in a digital format and will also have audio available in the future. My kids still prefer books they can hold in their hands, but I know many really love this digital way of reading. It is nice to look along with each other instead of having to take turns with a book like you do traditionally.
Check out what my Crewmates have to say!
Discussion Book Series and A Boy and His Dog {Kayla Jarmon Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Week in Review: April 30 - May 4

WHAT a week! My in-laws were able to stay a day with us and we enjoyed a fun evening around the fire. This was my final week of piano lessons before our recital next Tuesday. This was also the final week of my English class which means grades, grades, grades! We also had a wonderful celebration picnic with everyone who attends the learning center where I teach on Wednesday. 

School happened as usual, but there was a lot else going on as well! I kept up with things day-by-day, but honestly it is kind of like a blur. Do you ever have weeks like that? I don't have them often, but I do have them. So here are the photos...proof it wasn't all a dream!

What was your week like? 
Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up