Thursday, November 15, 2018

Guitar 360 Method (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

My friends. The time is near. We are heading towards the end of our Review Crew run this year. 

Which means, shortly, we will be taking a good long break. In the meantime, I want to share with you with a good one. We got to review guitar lessons! This is really one of the best jobs evah. We got to try out the Semester 1 Bundle from Guitar 360 Method. This included 5 weeks of the Absolute Beginner bonus content). 

The Guitar 360 Method is an online course developed and taught by Krisz Simonfalvi. Mr. Simonfalvi has ooodles of experience playing professionally. He also has mentored and taught students all over North America and Europe from ages 4-74. 

I will talk more about his approach in just a minute. For now, you have to know that we have access to plenty of guitars in our house. The Muffin has a new Taylor and an old Martin. Josiah has ownership of an old honkytonk guitar that used to belong to my grandfather. But other than an impressive air guitar game, Josiah's guitar playing experience has been limited. 

We have been talking about music lessons for some time (with someone other than The Muffin), but things just haven't come together.  We all have a variety of musical experiences and education. Plus, some challenges. We pastor a small church and we don't have all "kinds of time." 

So back to Guitar 360 Method. This method is for beginners and those who know a bit more but want to expand their knowledge. This approach is a wonderful mix between learning to play the guitar for fun and learning music theory. 

The cool part is that the Absolute Beginner Course is FREE! Can't get any better than that! Semester 1 (which I was given access to) is for the "motivated beginner." I would suggest starting off with the Absolute Beginner Course and going from there. I think you will find Mr. Simonfalvi's methods refreshing.

The whole thing is taught by cyclical pedagogy. Basically, this means that the student is taught building blocks and those things are frequently being "cycled" back to in the lessons. I really could have used this approach when I learned to play the piano. There is just great freedom in that method of instruction. 

How We Used It
Josiah was so excited to start this course. Krisz Simonfalvi is a pretty cool teacher. He is most certainly teenager approved. However, I think it was a bit harder than he thought. His honkytonk guitar hasn't seen a lot of action for quite a number of years, but I imagine Josiah thought it would just magically start singing under his fingers. 
The lessons were (and are) exactly the pace he needed. The Absolute Beginner Course starts on basic things like finger placement, strumming, and picking. 

He's not quite through the Absolute Beginner Course yet, but I've had the opportunity to look through Semester 1.  I am really impressed. The content is excellent. The videos are well-produced and easy to navigate. And I love, love that we can watch them as often as we can. 

So here is where I get to the nitty gritty (along with a little pep talk). In our house, we have varying degrees of musical background and education. I have piano training, more vocal training and with that comes quite a bit of theory. However, playing the guitar is a different experience. My husband (aka The Muffin) has only had one guitar lesson in his life but has had years and years of "on the job" playing experience. He wishes he had more music theory in his life and a bit more barre chord know-how. 
And then there is Josiah. Who absolutely kills it on Guitar Hero. 
A program like Guitar 360 Method is a fit for all of us. It provides the hands-on visual practice we need. We can take our time. We aren't tied to a timetable. It provides excellent music education that gives us musical freedom AND a foundation for great technique. 
There is really SO MUCH GOOD STUFF here. The content is impressive.  
Right now is a great time to dive in. There is currently a discount on  Guitar 360 Method for homeschool families. Use the code HOMESCHOOL20 at checkout for 20% off the course.
You can connect with Guitar 360 Method via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner below to read more reviews. 

Guitar Lessons with Krisz Simonfalvi {Guitar 360 Method Reviews}
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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Surgery and Stuff

I did it. 

Remember my frank "talk" I had with my gynecologist some time back? 

On Monday, I had a quick little surgery. 

I say a quick "little" surgery because I still have most of my "parts." The surgery itself was uncomplicated, but for someone like me, there were a few more steps and hurdles. 

I had a little difficulty waking up and my oxygen levels weren't ideal when I was in recovery. But all is good and I was sent home with a few more stitches and a happening pair of fuzzy socks. Color puce. 

It is early. Currently, I am on my couch (I couldn't climb the vast height of my bed) with my cat waiting to take a pill (or two). The rest of the household is asleep.

Including (wait for it), MY MOMMA! She is here! In my house. In Josiah's little bed. 

I know what you're thinking. Why are you just now hearing about all of this STUFF going on with me? I am generally a bit more transparent. After all, I have admitted to losing my skirt in public, frequently going to the Wal-marts with two different shoes AND accidentally putting cough syrup in a coconut cream pie. 

Just. Plain. Goofy. 

That's what I be. 

This season in my life has been just harder to talk about. There is so much going on in the world. Wildfires. Contentious elections. People have just become unhinged. 

The fact that I had to sign a "Consent for Sterilization" seemed insignificant in the grand scheme of things. My private pain and suffering seemed almost too tender. It has been a constant reminder of all of my perceived failures. 

Rationally, I know that it was impractical and almost impossible for me to become pregnant again. Plus, the miracle of Josiah's adoption was and is a thing of beauty. I have no complaints. I love being a momma. 

It's just that infertility took away my choices. And some of my dreams. 

But. We do what we have to do...don't we? "Railing" against my body and venting publically about my disappointments and current pain seems counterproductive. And it's really not my thing. 

The reality is that my current list of medications is downright ridiculous. The girls at my pharmacy have memorized my birthdate. I have gained more weight in the past two years year than I previously lost. I don't ever have a day that I am not in pain from all the metal located in my body. I never know when the tide is going to turn and my heart function is going to take another nose dive. For nearly 8 months this year, I bled. I stop breathing when I sleep and sometimes my feet and legs swell so much I can't wear my cute shoes. 

Which is downright insulting, I assure you. 

But, my friends. I am singularly blessed. For the most part, the things that I have suffered have made me a better person. 

I have a husband that adores me. 
I have a son that sat up for two hours last night watching over me before he went to bed. He basically took the "night shift." This boy. He is a treasure. 
I have parents who have always been supportive and allowed me to be "me." 

Not to mention the love and support of all of the rest of my crazy family. And I can't even begin to tell you about my church family. 

They are precious. There is even a sweet couple who stayed at the hospital with my family the whole time I was in surgery and only left when they could see me in recovery. Last night, we were blessed with yummy food and a visit from some of my favorite people. 

And I have a Savior who comforts me. Who keeps me. Who has shown His faithfulness time and time again.

The past few months have been a reckoning for me of sorts. I have needed some quiet and private time to sort through my feelings. And, frankly, I haven't felt my best. I have needed to reserve my energies for evenings at home with my boys. Time spent with good books and mastering my homemade roll technique. Mornings spent in quiet devotion with a good cup of coffee (and plenty of cream). 

It's time for me to take a few more pills. I feel pretty good and my cat is doing an excellent job of keeping me company in this, the wee hours of the morning. But pain is pain and I'd rather not tempt it. 

My momma is here and she brought with her some treasures from my daddy's garden. I got to spend a few hours with my brother (though I would have liked it better if he could have stayed longer and made some of his famous beans). The Muffin has fetched and carried and been as doting as he always is. 

I feel cherished. Not only is it a fact...but it is also a choice. In the long matter what is taken much more is given. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Master Kitz The Starry Night (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

We love us some art. However, it can be difficult to find time or opportunity to sneak it into our day. And I always have such grand plans...but find I don't have what I need when it's time to carry out my "grand plan." We are winding down our reviews for this year and I am excited to share with you about this masterpiece. It's ALL about art and it's very grand indeed! We got to review Master Kitz The Starry Night from

I had previously not heard of Kidzaw. Their mission is to expose budding artists to master painters in addition to making art fun and interactive. They have designed several neat kits to do just that. There are the Master Kitz, as well as the Master Sculpz. The kits are intended for ages 5 and up.

This Master Kitz is inspired by Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night.

Each kit contains EVERYTHING a student will need to create a masterpiece inspired by a great artist. For The Master Kitz The Starry Night we received:

3 acrylic paints
4 custom oil pastels
1 van Gogh roller
1 reusable Starry Night Cyprus Stencil
1 standard paint roller
2 sheets of deluxe art paper
1 "Mesmerizing Stars" sticker sheet
and a full-color poster of instructions, along with information about Van Gogh

All of these goodies came in a sturdy reusable box.

This was really an easy and fun project. It is recommended to cover your surface with newspaper or some kind of table covering and then tape down your paper. We used washi tape (because I have it in abundance). The art paper is really heavy duty. Which is a good thing. Josiah is an enthusiastic painter.  

Each step of the project was numbered and contained a detailed illustration as well as written instruction. I think is this benefits every style of learner...including the enthusiastic painter. 

I was surprised at how little time the whole thing took. For those of you who worry about taking time away from math and need not fret! This is one of those products that does all the heavy lifting for you. And it gives satisfying results for such little effort. 

We did have a few hiccups. I was THRILLED TO SEE that the stencil was reusable. Unfortunately, it is made of stiff coated cardboard. I wasn't paying attention and starting rinsing it off and scrubbing on it like you would a plastic stencil.

Oops. Listen and learn, my friends. Don't waterlog the cute stencil. Josiah was also kind of heavy with the stickers. He wasn't gentle while peeling them away from the art paper. We won't be able to use them again. But at least we still have the rollers.

Despite all of that, we LOVED, LOVED this product and can't wait to order more. The finished product is really something special. I plan on framing it for Josiah. It really has that "WOW!" factor. As does all of the EXCLAMATION POINTS I am using during this review.

I'm feeling it today, my friends. This was a perfect project to do during the middle of a busy season of life. I also think these Master Kitz would make excellent Christmas presents. (hint, hint).  Josiah would like to try the Master Kitz The Great Wave next.

Check this company out! It's a keeper!

You can connect with Kidzaw via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner to read more reviews. 


Master Kitz The Starry Night { Reviews}
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