Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cooper and Me Review! and give-away.

contest closed..

There is a great series of books called Cooper and Me.  There website can be found here.  From their website:

Explore life along with Cooper, a fun-loving black Labrador Retriever, whose entertaining adventures help kids navigate the emotions and challenges of everyday living. Created by mother-daughter team Monique and Alexa Peters and inspired by their real-life family dog, Cooper and Me provides adults and children with opportunities for meaningful conversation and tools for constructive problem-solving. Kids will laugh at Cooper’s antics, and adults will appreciate the resilience nurtured in their children.

I was given an opportunity to review Cooper and Me and the Winter Adventure.  This is a sweet story about how Cooper and Bella get lost in a snow storm.  It is a VERY loose social story about making proper decisions.  I say it that way because I am not a huge fan of social stories so I like that this was 'framed' with animals and then you could steer the grand conversation, if you wish, to your own child.

Kiddo very much enjoyed this reading.  He can read chapter books but we still enjoy reading picture books together.  It is a rhyming book with fun graphics.  The back of the book contains bonus pages.  These includes an "Information about Me!" page where you can fill in the blanks.  There are several pages of 'curriculum' but if you know me, you know I prefer to just see where the discussion leads.  Kiddo enjoyed reading this over again a few times after we read it together.  It  book sells for $12.99 on their website.

Now for the nuts and bolts.   First, they have a facebook group where they give information and run promotions.  They also tweet.  Also, through February 2012, $1 of every Winter Adventure book sold will go to advance research and treatment of pancreatic cancer, via the Lunstgarten Foundation.

And, and you will have to work fast on this one, Cooper and Me is offering an Exclusive Deal for the blog readers.  If you make any purchase of $25 or more at, you will get free shipping.  This is good until December 15, 2011.  The code for his is SPECIAL.

And, yes of course, there is a give-away via the folks at Propeller.  So...
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services 
mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I 
only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's The Thought That Counts....

So I have been struggling with 'commercialism'... and how Christmas seems all about 'just more stuff.'  Not wanting to shop, being stressed about it, not even wanting anything really....  Then I received two surprise birthday gifts from two friends....

I realized it wasn't of course about the gift.  But being thought of.  The mug was actually something I have of those ceramic traveler jobbies.  This is a friend I only see a couple of times a year and she did not know I had wanted one! But it was so sweet and warmed my heart.

The earrings I spied last summer at an art fair when I was with a friend.  I loved them but couldn't see buying them.  My friend had gone back and purchased the earrings..and held on to them for many months.  She had wanted to give them to me several times since but held on to them to surprise me for my birthday.

Both of these are friends who I don't generally exchange gifts with.  It was fun to be thought of.  (Perhaps one of my love languages IS 'gifts.')  So I guess I am not 'anti-giving' anymore.  Because it isn't about the gift.  It truly IS the thought that counts.  Off to make a list and check it twice.....

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Kid budget- Review

I have had the opportunity to review Kid budget.  From the website:

Kidbudget is fun, ,engaging, and entertaining. The workbook is full of activities, games, riddles, and more. Kids learn basic concepts like needs vs. wants and how to set goals. It is more than just a budget, it is a complete money management system.

What they say is true.  We received everything seen in the picture below:  The Vault, pouches, workbook and wrist band.

This program is very engaging to the kid and we will be using it over the next few months.  If you are familiar with envelope systems this one is similar.  The pouches serve different purposes:  long term savings, short term goal, fun money and giving.  If you know us, we like to tweak and as we go through the workbook we will likely change these up just a bit.  It is adaptable.  The workbook has sections to describe each one and also information to develop those goals.  Each part has fun activities as well... jokes, mazes, and lots of great graphics.  There are many charts and descriptions in how to track your money, plan for savings and also discussions on how to make money.

I love that this gives a foundation for what to do with your money.  Last week our homeschool co-op had a stop and shop.  We made a food product and I tried to get kid to understand 'profit' versus what we had to spend to make the product.  He just was not grasping it and it was resulting in 'difficulties.'  I finally said, "Ok we are partners.  We will split 50/50."  That he understood.  This week we are going to figure out what our total was, split it and then use the envelope system designed in this product to perhaps target some of these funds for various purposes.  At least that is the plan.

The one thing I would have liked was to have giving as the first pouch described in the workbook.  Kiddo really struggles (as most ADULTS do) in this area.  This section gives ideas on places to give and also a place to put the percentage you are going to give.  I might just do this section first if I can get away with it.

I was talking with some friends recently on how those in general education tend to focus on teaching to test but not on practicalities.  We homeschool and so tailor our education to what is needed at the present time.  But I actually think special ed in the schools has a leg up on the practical.  They spend TIME doing things like budgeting and money.  This is a very good tool for the home educator- either in a home or co-op/class setting- to teach a child about the 'money flow.'   It could also be very beneficial for those in public or private school to reinforce or expand upon the 'use' of money; special or general education.  This could be an 'after school' or  summer activity.  Families have various thoughts on things like allowance but at some point a child will need to learn how to handle their funds- whether it be from an allowance or simply from gifts they have received for their birthdays.  This is a good tool for that.

Specifically for special education, I think that this tool is quite useful.  Some may find it busy and in fact some kids in special education need plain black and white with very simple steps.  But I think this can be used as a tool that perhaps you expand upon where needed.  My kiddo found it fun and fairly easy to understand.  Again, just today, I was chatting with some friends on particular math programs, and there are some good ones out there, but some of the best are lacking in the practical.  This could fill that gap easily.

The Kid Budget system is $29.99 plus $4.95 shipping.  The component are also sold separately.

I received this free of charge in exchange for my honest review.
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