Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bringing Stories to Life with FarFaria {A Review}

We are most definitely book lovers in this family. I grew up loving to read, always had my nose stuck in a book, even while walking to school. Now it appears our children are following in our footsteps. When they were younger we were reading books together all the time, books to go with our letter of the week, books to go with our units or the upcoming holidays, and of course, just random books here and there.  Now, Tabitha is starting to zing through chapter books and Amelia is right on her heels, though her books are a bit on the easier side of course. Hannah and Harold love sitting and looking at books. So, of course, I jumped at the chance to review this really cool book app called FarFaria, "a magical place where stories live"! 

With FarFaria we have unlimited access to over 800 illustrated children's books, with 5 more books being added each week.  There are a wide selection of books available for preschoolers through 4th grade. Each of the books is given an appropriate grade level on a scale starting at PreK and moving into A-S in the FAZ system. As you can see from the image below, each grade level has a range of 3-5 letters in this system. This system allows parents (or teachers) to keep track of a child's reading progress. An independent review has been done by MetaMetrics which "ensures accurate measurements of text complexity." This system is Common Core- Aligned to "help children excel in reading." Farfaria also contains songs which have not been assigned a level.

The information about each level can be found in the "Parents" section of the app.  You will be able to see if your child is developmentally ready for certain levels. However, even if a child can not read the story independently, they can still enjoy the story. 

Here, let's look at the app a little closer. 

When the child starts up the app, recommendations are loaded onto the home screen:

A child can see selections in the following categories:
  • Recently Read
  • New
  • Popular Now
  • Tales for Hanukkah (currently)
  • Christmas Stories (currently)
With over 800 books to choose from, you can understand that not all the books will be found on the homepage. Those are just the recommendations for the child. By clicking the "Explore" button (with the world icon) a child will be led to the map of the World of Stories. 

This map includes what you see above, but it also encompasses the screen to the right and the left as the child scrolls. A child can choose to visit:
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Mt. Make Believe
  • Adventure Island
  • Fairy Tale Falls
  • Classics Grove
  • Bed Time Bluffs
  • Preschool Playground
  • Genius Jungle
  • GoodLand
  • Looney Lagoon and 
  • Sing-Along City
The children's favorite is Fairy Tale Falls.

There is a huge selection of  books in each category. They appear to be randomly organized, however, you can choose to sort them by pressing the blue and white sort icon in the top, left-hand corner of the screen. Books can be sorted 4 different ways:
  • Most Popular
  • Newest
  • Reading Level
  • Title A-Z

A child can also choose to go to the "My Favorites" page where they will find the books the have"favorited" during previous reading times.

As you can see from the images, the reading level is noted in the bottom, right-hand corner of each book. I stated above that the children are not limited to reading at their level, which is also illustrated in their favorited books above. Farfaria allows a child to choose between reading the book themselves or having it read to them.  

The children prefer to have stories read to them. 

They love gathering together on the couch and listening to story, after story, after story...well, you get the idea. They usually choose to have the book "Auto Play" the story. This allows them to sit back and listen to the story with no work on their part. If they choose "Read to Me" they have to click the screen to turn the page. 

Be aware that Farfaria contains original stories and stories that have been adapted from the original tales and are retold with different illustrations. This in no way lessens the enjoyment the children receive from listening to the stories. Apps are available for Android, iPad, or iPhone.

I love reading stories to the children during our daily story time. The children enjoy reading books by themselves. But the FarFaria app has added a new dimension to the enjoyment of stories in this house. I don't always have time to sit and read, and the children sometimes would prefer to have a story read to them. I love that with this app, this is possible whenever the reading bug bites.

You can find FarFaria on their site and they also have a blog. Additionally, you can follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Your child(ren) can read one story a day for free by downloading the app. However, you can purchase a subscription to have unlimited access to all 800+ stories for just $4.99 a month. A yearly subscription can also be purchased for significant savings, just $39.99 a year. 

Disclosure: I received a 6 month subscription to the Android FarFaria app in exchange for my honest review. I received no further compensation. This did not in any way influence my review. I only recommend products I use personally and feel will be a good products for my readers.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

$50 in Games from Winning Moves {A Giveaway}


Giveaway sponsored by Winning Moves
Hosted by Networking Witches

Games make an excellent family gift. Add some popcorn and maybe a bottle of soda and you have a family game night waiting to happen. It's no secret that we love playing games in our home. They are such a wonderful way to have family time. This is why I am so excited to bring this giveaway to you. One person will win $50 in games from Winning Moves.

Winning Moves is a leading maker of board games, card games, and puzzles. Since their first year of operation in 1995, they have forged a close relationship with one of the world's largest game companies, Hasbro, Inc., owner of Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley. As a result, many long-lived Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley games are now made exclusively by Winning Moves!

They make and market best-selling titles like Pass The Pigs®, PayDay®, Rubik's® Cube, Scattergories® Categories, Rack-O®, No Stress Chess®, and hot new sellers like The Rubik's® Void Puzzle®, Classic Twister®, Aggravation® and Touring™. Additionally, many timeless classics like Pit®, Classic Monopoly®, Classic Clue®, Parcheesi® Royal Edition, and Classic Yahtzee® are now exclusively made by Winning Moves Games.

Giveaway open to US residents only
Ends 1/1

   a Rafflecopter giveaway   Disclaimer: Participating Blogs were not compensated for this post. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household, per address. Void where prohibited by law. Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. Winning Moves will be responsible for product shipment to winner of this sweepstakes. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. Contact if you have any additional questions or comments.

"A Christmas Story" Game Pack Giveaway

It's "A Christmas Story" Game Pack Giveway

Can you believe I had never seen the movie A Christmas Story, when I was growing up? I had never even heard of it. How about you? Was watching this movie a yearly tradition, or was it not even on your radar? Right now, I have joined in a with a group of bloggers to bring you two classic games with a "A Christmas Story" spin to them. Who doesn't like Monopoly or Yahtzee? Who wouldn't want a chance for some family fun with a fun Christmas Story twist?

This giveaway is:

Sponsored by USAopoly
Hosted by A Medic's World

Here we have it folks, you have a chance to win both the "A Christmas Story" Monopoly and Yahtzee Games in one Giveaway. One winner will win both.

 Curious on how they look and want to know more information? Check out the full review done here, from the fantastic website A Medic's World. A handful of bloggers and A Medic's World is bringing this to you, and you have a chance to win. Thanks for stopping by, good luck, and have a great day.

Open to US residents only 
18 years of age or older. 
Ends January 3, 2015

Winner will have 48 hours from winning email to respond, or a new winner will be selected. Participating Blogs were not compensated for this post, nor are responsible for prize delivery. USAopoly will deliver prizes. One entry per household.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen #105: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal

Time for Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen
(A weekly linky to share what you and your children have created in the kitchen.)


The linky is at the bottom.

A couple of weeks ago, Rebecca from Raventhreads shared a very yummy looking recipe on Throwback Thursday Blog-Style. I knew I was going to have to make it soon for Breakfast for Dinner Thursday. And make it we did. It was delicious. We made Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal. This is really a twist on the Baked Oatmeal we have made in the past.


3 cups of oats (we used Old Fashioned)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
3 Tbs butter, melted,
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
scant tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter
generous handful chocolate chips (we use miniature chocolate chips)

We added all the ingredients one at a time.

The oatmeal:

The brown sugar:

The milk and melted butter (which I did):

The eggs:

The baking powder and salt:

The vanilla:

The peanut butter:

Then we stirred it together.

The children all took a turn tossing in a handful of chocolate chips.

We baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes (recommended time is 25-30 minutes).

This ended up being our dessert as our oven wasn't coming to temperature, so we had eggs, sausage, and toast while we impatiently waited.

The children prefer eating a piece on a plate.

Mommy on the other hand prefers putting it in a bowl and pouring some milk on top of it. Yum!

Do you have your children help you in the kitchen?  What lessons do they learn? Do you have any kid friendly recipes to share?
I'd love to see your posts, whether you have done something this week or some time in the past. Just link up below. This is a weekly linky.

I am linking up to:
PhotobucketMore the Merrier MondayFull Time Mama

Melt in Your Mouth Monday
Try a New Recipe Tuesday at Home to Four Kiddos
The Gathering Spot at Mamal Diane
Friday Food Frenzy at Close to Home
Fantastic Thursday at Five Little Chefs
Foodie Friends Friday at Robyn'sView
Family Fun Friday at Happy and Blessed Home
Find a New Recipe Friday at Almost Supermom

And here is my Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen linky

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday Blog-Style #27: December 18, 2014

Welcome back to... 

I know, I know, Throwback Thursday seems to be all about sharing pictures from the past, great memories that mean something to you, that you would like to share with others. At least that is how it appears to me. Throwback Thursday wasn't something I was participating in, and then I came up with an idea.

I thought it would be great fun and a help to my blog to share old content, but not just any old content. Each week I will share an old blog post from a previous year, any year, BUT it has to be from the current week (for example, something I've posted around December 18th, from any previous year)  I will go in, edit the post if needed, add a pinnable image if I don't already have one, and share it on Facebook. 

Would you like to join in? You do not need to edit your past post in any way, you don't need to create a pinnable image, though it couldn't hurt, in fact it will help your blog traffic to add quality pinnable images to your posts.

Just go into your archives, choose a favorite post from this current week from any previous year, and link it up below. 

I will be pinning posts to my appropriate Pinterest boards and will be randomly selecting a Featured Throwback Thursday post to share next week. Just a note, I will be sharing a picture from your post if you are selected as the featured post, but I will link back to your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. By linking up you are giving me permission to use your picture in the post. 

Here is my Throwback Thursday post:

Originally posted December 18, 2012
Muffin Tin Monday: Christmas Colors

Here is this week's randomly selected
Featured Throwback Thursday:

Koogle's Korner shared:

To participate, link up below. It would be great if you could visit several of the other posts that have linked up. Stop by, comment, and pin images so we can help each other.

Just a note:
There will be no Throwback Thursday next week as we will be celebrating our Savior's birth and will be staying off the internet. I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas. See you in the new year for more Throwback Thursday remembrance fun!

If you would like to help spread the news:

Tots and Me
Happy Throwback Thursday!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: December 17, 2014 (w/linky)- Snow Play

Looking forward to seeing your Wordless (or not so wordless) Wednesday posts this week.


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