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Star Toaster – Orphs – Online learning Review

Star Toaster Review
Star Toaster is a team of people who believe that learning is life long and that character defines success.  They have a rich team with each member contributing from their strengths.  They also believe that no matter where I child goes to school, main learning takes place at home.

Star Toaster Review
We reviewed Orphs of the Woodland which was created to fill in gaps and to engage the child in learning.  It is created for parents who want to come alongside their children and are looking for ways motivate their learner.  “The Treasure of the High Tower” is hoped to be the first book in a series of interactive stories that will bring fun to learning.  Orphs is created with a three-step approach.  First there is a reading adventure.  The story is fun and interesting and leads to the next step so the student has the motivation needed to keep reading.  Next is the Academic Treasure.  The student is drawn into the learning process both with interactive elements during the reading of the story and with skill activities that can be completed after each chapter.  Finally, there is a Rewarding Game.  As the student completes the skill activities they earn rewards that can earned that can be used in playing the game to help care for the Orphs that are collected.  As you can see each of step builds on the other and continues to make the learning exciting and keeps you student ready to log in.

#startoaster #orphsofthewoodlands #onlinelearning #readingIn the parent account you can easily set up your student with their own sign-in.  Once your child has signed in and begun to work through the story you can easily check their progress.  You can also go in and view the book or lessons.  NOTE: Any lessons or skills completed through the parent log-in will not be recorded as progress for you student.

#startoaster #orphsofthewoodland #reading From the parent page you can also view the skills and see what has been attempted and what has been completed successfully.  In addition to being able to log-in to see your child’s progress Star Toaster sends out emails periodically to update your child.

#starttoaster #orphsofthewoodlands #reading #onlinelearningEach section starts with a chapter of the story.  The story can be read either on the computer or you can use a tablet with an internet browser if you find it easier to read in this manner.  My daughter read the story on the computer.  At the bottom of each page the program lets you know how many more pages need to be completed before you get to the Skills section.  While reading the chapter there are interactive elements.  These might include vocabulary words, special sounds, recipes, and other lessons.

#startoaster #orphsofthewoodlands #reading #onlinelearning When the child finishes the chapter they will go to the Skills section.  Here they can review lessons that were found in the interactive buttons during the story and then complete questions to show they have learned the skill.  After completing a certain number of sections the student can then engage in projects that help them get further in the game.  As they complete the skill areas they are earning more Goldstars so they have a reason to pay attention to the lessons and to do their best.

#startoaster #orphsofthewoodlands #reading #onlinelearningAs a working parent I really appreciated how my daughter could log-in and complete her work without supervision.  It was easy to check on her progress.  While Hannah has adequate reading skills it isn’t her favorite activity but this program was a great motivation to read.  I also appreciate that you have a couple of months to complete the story so your child can work at their own pace.  If necessary you can also purchase additional time.  Also, while reading the story you can click on the timeline and see your overall progress and how much more of the story you have left to read.

#startoaster #orphsofthewoodlands  #reading #onlinelearningHannah said, “It is good.  It is cool because there is stuff that you can do within it.  Where you can do projects so you can save on GoldStars.  You are given jobs to earn more Goldstars to help you take care of the Orphs.  It is a good story.  You will earn Orphs to care of.  The Goldstars you earn helps pay their expenses. Something I thought it was funny had to be a grey squirrel but you get to pick but you secret undercover name too.”

#startoaster #orphsofthewoodlands #onlinelearning #readingStar Toaster’s Orphs of the Woodlands is available for a 60-day subscription that can be used for up to three students for only $19.99.  30-day extensions can be purchased for $6.99 if more time is needed. While it is decided for students in grades 4 – 7.  Younger readers can use it with some parental assistance and even older learning might still enjoy the story.


Star Toaster Review

Currently you can take advantage of a Free Trial Offer that allows you to try out the first 100 pages for free.

Star Toaster Review

Well that’s how things worked out in our house.  Click on the graphic above to see how other Review Crew Families made use of Orphs of the Woodlands.

#startoater #onlinelearning #orphsofthewoodlands #reading

#disclaimer #reviewcrew


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In The Garden – Butterfly Garden

#MagsGraphics #InTheGarden #garden

I loved working with this new kit from MagsGraphics – In the Garden.  It is currently available in at Scrap N Pieces. It has wonderful paper colors and lots of great elements.  It’s perfect for pictures of any kind of gardening project.  It will also work well for botanical garden pictures or any other situation where plants, greenery, or nature are featured.  I really like the soft colors as they really complimented my pictures.

I created a two-page spread for my pictures from the Butterfly Garden at the Changi Airport in Singapore.  I used elements from the kit as well as several of the papers to enhance my layout.  The first page features lots of photos, some word art, elements, and lots of paper.

#changi #butterly #MagsGraphics #InTheGarden

The second page includes the journaling, one of the word graphic cards, and a string element to highlight one of the photos.  The template I used also had some fun elements and I used the paper from In The Garden to set this built-in elements as well.

#changi #singapore #InTheGarden #MagsGraphics

This Butterfly Garden was so much fun to walk through and was a great way to relax before beginning the longest part of the trip home.  It was amazing to me to have such a beautiful area in an airport.

#MagsGraphics #InTheGarden #garden #butterfly #singappore

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Bathrooms – Thailand Style

#thalland #bathrooms My first night in Thailand was also my first challenge.  I expected things to be different. I knew I was no longer in a western country but when faced with the following sign across from the toilet I knew I had to figure things out pretty quick.



So I quickly grabbed my phone and did a google search.  I found a few You Tube videos.  The one I watched wasn’t very interesting but it explain the basic process and I was good to go.  The toilet itself seemed to be a standard toilet as were all the toilets I encountered in Thailand.  In fact the only squat toilet I saw was in the airport in Singapore and there it was just one of the options.  The only difference I saw was the addition of a hose that looked a whole like a kitchen hose.

#thailand #bathroom

Once I figured out how to use the system I decided it work really well and I kind of wish we had a similar set up at home.  I’m not sure I was using it exactly as recommended but I found that if I sat carefully and rinsed from front to back I didn’t make any mess and was left feeling fresh and clean.  After using the hose to rinse off you pat dry with the provided toilet paper and then deposit the paper in the covered trash can.  It really was simple and I did feel very clean after use.

Another difference was that most bathrooms are one large room with toilet, sink, and show with a drain in hopefully the lowest part of the floor.  My son and daughter-in-law said my bathroom was kind of fancy because there was actually a partial wall separating the toilet and shower areas each with their own drain.

#thailand #bathroom


Do you notice one other difference?  There is only one faucet to turn on the water.  That’s because as you turn the water on it is routed through an individual tankless water heater with a dial to adjust the temperature.  The biggest thing to remember is to make sure the to hold the hose away from your body until you have the temperature adjusted.  This is another idea that I think has lots of merit especially in a house where we raised 5 children.  Just imagine always having hot water when you are ready for your shower with no need to wait because someone has just showered are they are doing the dishes.

#thailand #bathroom

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Visit Thailand Like an Ex-Pat On Vacation

ExPat copyWhen you travel you can visit a place like a tourist.  You might live overseas in a location full time and be a member of the local expatriate community.  Or you can be an expatriate who usually work somewhere else so you are visiting or staying temporarily in another overseas location.  It is this third option that my visit to Chiang Mai, Thailand fell into this category.


Meeting up for the first time. Lily and her grandmommy.

My son and daughter-in-law work for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and they are currently assigned to else where.  When it was time for their baby to be born they headed to Chiang Mai.  So when I headed to Thailand the main purpose of my visit was to meet my new granddaughter and spend time with her and her parents.  And it was such a very special visit and she was well worth all the travel to get there.

#thailand #dukes

Food from Dukes

When I have visited a place before as a tourist I am up early and busy all day long trying to see as much as possible.  I plan out what I want to do and attack the day like a battle plan.  This time I got up in the morning took my time to get ready.  I did some walking about each morning but for the most part I put myself in my children’s hands.

Because they are preparing to return to a part of the world with less freedom of movement and different food offerings they are busy doing ordinary things along with trying to see a few things while there are there.  So we went to the pediatrician’s office for a Lily’s check up.  We went grocery shopping.  We went to the Thai version of Walmart.  We went out to eat at places that featured western style food.  We went to church together where we got to see Lily dedicated.


The Hua Lin Corner

The sightseeing we did was much like what you would do when you took out of town company around to see things in your local arad that you wanted to see or places you wanted to return to.

Spending time just holding Lily.

Spending time just holding Lily.

I spent afternoons in their room holding my grandbaby and just chilling.  I was back in my room after eating dinner and had time to relax and read.  It was all very relaxing and restoring.


A shot taken while walking around Chiang Mai

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