Planet 316, Daily Bible Jigsaw (An app review)

 Reviewing

Daily Bible Jigsaw from

Planet 316

It has become part of early morning coffee routine to complete a puzzle with the  Daily Bible Jigsaw from Planet 316.  For years, as far back as I could remember, I would start my day at my desktop and do a jigsaw puzzle and either Sudoku or Mahjong.  I had started back with MSN games, years ago, then moved on to Microsoft Games. As Kira got older, her home school lesson plans required more input, and I was working more between illustrating children’s books and book covers, I slowly weaned away from this daily ritual. I am not sure really why. Perhaps the couch seemed more suitable as my new coffee spot, as I had to do work on the computer and I was avoiding it as long as I could! For whatever reason, I lost some of my relaxation time.  It was replaced by work emails and lesson planning reviews. Daily Bible Jigsaw from Planet 316 came just in the nick of time.  Mental sharpness requires stimulation.  I was amidst helping Kira with a Sudoku puzzle and was amazed at how long it took me to help her. When I was actively doing the puzzles daily, my solve rate was between 1-3 minutes. Let me just say, I could not even start it in that time! My mental sharpness had gone!

Daily Bible Jigsaw from Planet 316 provided a wonderful solution. As it is available on virtually every platform imaginable, (all download links at the end of my review) I was able to download it in the iOS store to my iPod! I was already using my iPod each morning to check work emails and lesson plans anyway, so this seemed a logical choice! The only downside to this platform is that my iPod screen is dwarfed by my massive caveman-like thumbs! In hindsight, my cell phone may have been a more suitable choice for me.  The menu in the interface at first seemed like a hindrance for me to move pieces. By my third puzzle, however, I was used to it and it posed no problems.

Daily Bible Jigsaw from Planet 316 has beautiful puzzles that are challenging and fun to solve.  Although there is a timer, it is a relaxed play.  I did not sync my account with Facebook as I am not really that into gaming via Facebook, but there is the option to do so.

You can go back and use the calendar to play puzzles you have missed, and there is a new free puzzle every day! The beautiful pictures offer an uplifting verse after completion.  Although Planet 316 was kind and allowed 500 coins free to play and review, I actually saw no need for the coins. I still have 472 remaining. I did use a few on a glitched puzzle that was quickly fixed when an update was released.  I imagine if you are focusing on your time and want a higher score, the tools would be handy.  I was relaxed in playing and never finished in under 5 minutes! Yes, I am SLOW! That is another reason why I did not sync it with my Facebook account. I do not want to feel a challenge or need to rush my morning relaxation coffee time!

The beautiful images and uplifting passages are wonderful. The simple interface is easy enough for young children, while the puzzles remain challenging enough for adults.

The user interface is simple to understand. The pieces rotate easily at the touch of a finger, when using on a touch screen device, even on my teeny iPod! This free (offers in app purchases) app is absolutely delightful! I have enjoyed using it each morning and even sometimes in the evenings to unwind.  I highly recommend  Daily Bible Jigsaw from Planet 316!

 

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The Digital Art

It has been a slower month for me, digitally speaking.  As I am doing illustrations for an upcoming children’s book, I am drawing digitally less. (See previous post explaining more here)

I was however compelled to do a few honoring Easter.  Hardly in the traditional sense of course.  As when do I ever do anything traditionally?

Here are some of the digital creations.  An Egg theme throughout.

I hope you all had a beautiful, blessed Easter!!

Organic Art Month

I am amidst illustrating another children’s book.  Within as much, I am drawing virtually NON stop digitally. It seems I have a substantial need to balance my creativity.  When ever I am doing a lot of digital art I tend to offset it by then doing an equal amount of organic art. Or, at least as much as my ever failing hands will allow. Here are a few of the organic pieces I have created this month. I tend to fair better as an illustrator when I let the artist within come out.

 

 

Quick fairy sketch after a long day of highly detailed digital illustrations.
Chalk Pastels, Easter Bunny Baby
Oil Pastels Deer
Late night quick graphite doodle of a Horse
Acrylic on canvas, Peacock

 

 

Acrylic on wood, Turtle
Acrylic on Mini Canvas

 

Acrylic on gesso

For The Love Of Animals

I have always been an animal person. As far back as I can remember, I would get into much trouble with my mother for bringing strays home. A fish here, a cat or dog there.  It was always something. At the age of 7, my mother gave in and agreed to get a cat. A delightful orange tabby, I lovingly named Champagne.  Do not ask, I do not know, I was only 7. Perhaps my mother believed that by allowing me to have this cat, I would somehow be deterred from my seemingly endless endeavours of rescuing every and any animal around our neighborhood. Alas, Champagne only served to validate my purpose in life as an animal lover and rescuer.  Realize, the irresistible urge drawing me to animals was completely reciprocal. On more than one occasion, throughout my life, I have had animals literally walk through my front door, or jumping into my car. My mother said I was an animal magnet.

Flash forward, to my  teens. Many rescues and multiple pets later, I discovered a deep love for photography. Whether it be the fact my art was less than realism, or the fact I simply loved the idea of capturing a moment and making it last virtually forever, I was hooked. On my 15th birthday, my mother gave me a Kodak Disk camera.  I fondly remember torturing my classmates and friends. I took pictures of virtually everything. I can only imagine how much was spent on developing my film. I know I spent quite a bit of time waiting to get my pictures back.  My, how times have changed. Hoping the shot turned out okay, praying no one blinked! But the quality was superior to my old Polaroid, and thankfully I did not have to shake the pictures FOREVER to see an image!

Over the years one thing has remained, the subject of most of my photography; animals. Unpredictable, but always photogenic.

I am quite blessed to live on five acres of blissful solitude, amidst farm country, yet only a few  miles away from suburbia.  My yard, enriched with wildlife.  Birds singing their beautiful melodies, squirrels darting from branch to branch, gopher tortoises burrowing. And, much to my heart’s content, feral felines.  These wild cats have become family. They have accepted us, thankfully, and will allow me to photography them.

I have awoken to peacocks, horses, donkeys and even ostrich in our yard. I have learned now to ALWAYS have a camera handy.

The subject of this photograph is Pharaoh.  A loving feral beauty who recently lost a batch of kittens, one of which she brought to us in the hopes of saving it. Sadly, it was too late for the precious kitten. The one downside to my animal magnetism is this, I cannot save them all. Lord knows how I have tried to. I am grateful for what time I am granted with each beautiful animal.  I am also grateful to be able to capture them, briefly, making it last virtually forever.

Artists ~ Visiting The Cedar Key Arts Festival

A couple of weeks ago, my family and I ventured over to Cedar Key. I had been longing to return to this magical little shanty town that I remembered visiting back in the 90’s. It was the closest thing to the Florida Keys that I had ever seen.  Visiting the keys virtually every weekend was my favorite part of growing up, so when I realized there was an area close reminiscent of the Keys, I had to check it out! I instantly fell in love!

We have passes to all state parks. I remembered visiting a park or two the last time I had been to Cedar Key. Prior to going, I ensured the parks were still there.  Much to my surprise, one had a beautiful face lift of sorts! So it would be a bit of a new adventure for me.

My daughter and I were in heaven.  It was absolutely beautiful. Kira got to see her first shell mound. You should have seen the expression on her face! It seemed a higher climb than I remembered.  Ahhhh, the benefits of growing old!

I was able to feed my photography cravings as we visited the shell mounds and the Cedar Key State Park & Museum. The admission of only $2 per person is well worth it. Although we have passes, we opted to also pay as donation.

In route (it is a long drive) we saw signs for the upcoming Arts festival.  I squealed with excitement! I absolutely LOVE art festivals! Plus, Kira had never been to one.

This past weekend was the festival. It surely did not disappoint with the endless food, wonderful entertainment, and amazing art and photography booths.

Stage? Who needs a stage when you have a boat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wish I was able to take more pictures. However, it seems some of the artists do not like free advertising.  As an artist, I absolutely do not understand this.  For the photographers, I can see why they have signs requesting no photographs be taken of their work, but for an artist? Is there a trade secret???? It is free advertising; do they thing someone will steal their idea? I am baffled by this concept, quite honestly.  Then there are those who are on the opposite side, which I tend to favor;

Make note, they welcome photographs and even list all of their social sites! Now this is a SMART artist.

As an artist who also is a digital artist, I am no stranger to having my work stolen. But for artists who have painted or sculpted, I cannot see why they wouldn’t want their work shared publicly by as many people as possible. To each their own.  I respected the signs that said this once my husband was gracious enough to point it out. Subsequently I had to delete at least 20 images.

We had an amazing time. The weather was absolutely beautiful.  Warm with a beautiful coastal breeze.  The location is second to none.  Cedar Key has changed quite a bit since I first went in the 90’s. The quaint charm has sadly been replaced in spots by a concrete mess.  However a visitor need not search far to see historical homes and shanty landmarks.

 

CompuScholar, Inc – Digital Savvy (A Review)

 Reviewing

CompuScholar, Inc and Digital Savvy

This is a review of CompuScholar, Inc, formerly known as  Homeschool Programming. Although there are many courses available such as Web Design,  and Java Programing, today I will be reviewing Digital Savvy.

As Kira is fairly new to computer systems, I felt as though Digital Savvy would be our best option for her to begin with.  From the fundamentals to hands-on projects, it truly helps your child learn everything he or she needs in today’s ever-growing technological universe!

Although Kira has used a computer for years, she actually knew nothing about the machines she has used. When it came to file saving, searching, or other things that required more than a simple click, she always came to me. Now this is where I fell short.  Although I had with some things, I had never actually taken the time to sit and show her each element into our operating system or any behind the scenes aspects to our computers. Perhaps I took it for granted.  I learned it all hands-on.  I had no user manuals. Perhaps I thought Kira would learn via osmosis somehow? I only realized how little she knew once she began Digital Savvy!

Kira was quite excited to try Digital Savvy from CompuScholar, Inc.  Although Kira does have her own tablet and laptop, she rarely uses either. All of her school lessons are done on our desktop computer.  The normal routine would be that I turn the computer on, load her lessons and sign her in.  It was not an issue of me not trusting Kira either.  I just never ever gave it a second thought.  Mind you, she has done coding lessons on the computer previously. So, when it came to the computer itself, I really never gave it any thought.  Actually, a bit stupid of me really. Especially when I think back to my own transitioning between Windows 8 to Windows 10. I imagine to a child, learning Windows is paramount to learning another language entirely. Perhaps this is precisely why now computer programming itself is being considered a language option for public educators.

I digress, I am straying from topic, aren’t I? Kira was extremely eager and could not wait to dive in. We scheduled Digital Savvy  daily amidst Kira’s lessons. It was simply amazing how much Kira was learning and how fast.

Kira and I both loved the program layout.  Although we did struggle to hear some of the educational videos, despite turning our volume past 40.

Each evening as we prepared dinner Kira would quiz us as to our own computer knowledge. It was cute to hear her ask questions like, “Mommy, do you know what FLOPS is?” As each day passed, her questions became more and more difficult. At one point she asked, “Do we have baseband or broadband?” I honestly could not answer. I suddenly realized perhaps I could benefit from her lessons as well!

The course contains 25 chapters.  Each chapter contains structures lessons. Each  structured lesson contains a Lesson Video, Lesson Text, and Lesson Quiz.

The layout is simple and wonderful. I can imagine younger children would also easily navigate throughout the lesson.

Surprisingly, Kira exhibited zero angst with the quizzes, perhaps because the subject matter was more fun for her. Normally quizzes involve a mini temper tantrum of some sort, whether it be a display of anxiety or an audible sigh of annoyance. Instead, this time, I heard, “Hey Mommy, I aced the quiz!”

The hands on lessons were simply a God send for me personally, as Kira is an aspiring author. I have allowed her space to transcribe her hand written books on the desktop.  Whenever she wanted to work on her books (yes, I said bookS , at 13 she has finished writing 3 and is amidst writing 4 others) I would open Microsoft Word for her and set it up. Digital Savvy includes word processing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

{Insert happy dance here!}

Suddenly, Kira was making her own lists and tables.  Could this be? Oh, a choir of angels sang!

I am absolutely in LOVE with CompuScholar, Inc  and Digital Savvy, Kira and I highly recommend it to any home school family with a computer! We are very excited to try Web Design and Java Programming next!

 

Homeschool Programming
Facebook – www.facebook.com/HomeschoolProgramming
Twitter – https://twitter.com/HSProgramming   @hsprogramming

CompuScholar, Inc
https://www.facebook.com/CompuScholar
https://twitter.com/CompuScholar   @compuscholar

 

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Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer by Peggy Consolver – Author (A Review)

Reviewing

Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer

by Peggy Consolver – Author

Kira was very excited when we received Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver – Author to review! My little reader always lights up when she receives mail, but to receive a book in the mail….well this is perhaps her most favorite!  Needless to say, my little avid reader dove straight in! The beautiful bookmark that was enclosed was also a delightful bonus!

 

Kira was extremely pleased with this book! Kira said, ” Before I found the story of the invasion of Canaan boring. I never thought of it from the view that Peggy Consolver – Author had portrayed in Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer . I like how it had the two sides, the Hebrews and the Canaanites.

Kira reads a lot. As a homeschool parent, I always fear she is not fully comprehending what she reads. This is especially true when reading her bible.  Any outside source that can compliment bible study is always a welcomed blessing!

The corresponding study guide is a wonderful tool to compliment the story! The cultural information was absolutely terrific, to explore both ancient and modern culture of the  Israelites. Kira found many projects as a result for us to do.  This has enabled us to enrich our present curriculum to include extra fun activities, all the while learning throughout the process!

As if by fate, my husband and I had just been amidst organizing our craft room.  While doing so I had spotted some thread I purchased many moons ago to make bracelets.  When Kira spotted the plaiting and asked if we could do this craft, I easily agreed, remembering the thread I had just seen!  With Kira in tow, we quickly went to retrieve my thread!

 

 

 

Kira absolutely loved the plaiting lesson!

As a fan of reading and art, Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver – Author was a wonderful addition to our curriculum.

Suddenly a 379 paged book has enabled us to fill over a month’s worth of lessons and crafts!!!

When I asked Kira what her favorite part of Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver – Author was, she said she could not name one part as she actually loved the whole book.  However, she did tell me that her favorite character was, Eskie.  Kira said she liked Eskie because he reminder her of herself, in that he talks a lot and is funny.  She also liked his braveness.

Both Kira and I highly recommend Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver – Author. Whether as a stand alone lesson or a supplement to a preexisting curriculum, this story is a delightful way to learn.  It provides an endless abundance of learning opportunities for your young reader, while also providing valuable curriculum resources to enable a full round lesson.

We are so delighted to have had the opportunity to review Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver – Author.  Her historical fiction take on this story is absolutely fabulous.  Peggy Consolver draws the reader in instantly! Kira read the book cover to cover and would not put it down until it was finished!

 

 https://www.facebook.com/peggy.consolver

Disclaimer HomeSchool Review Crew

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