TOS Sweet Critique: Super Duper Publications – HearBuilder Following Directions

WHAT:  HearBuilder Auditory Memory Software Program

COST:  $69.95




HearBuilder is a CD-ROM software program designed to help children become better at memory and comprehension, thereby becoming better at following directions.

From their site:

HearBuilder Auditory Memory teaches key strategies for remembering numbers, words, sentences, and stories.  This research-based software includes five essential listening activities:

  • Memory for numbers {3 – 7 digits}
  • Memory for words {3 – 5 words organized by syllable}
  • Memory for details {1 – 4 details}
  • Auditory closure {sentence completion}
  • Memory for WH information {2 – 3 sentences/2 – 4 questions}

Each child is on a mission to become a successful toy maker and build a great toy factory.

Their missions take them through a variety of situations where they must stop the crazy plans of Dr. Forgetsit.

The Home Edition CD can be used with 1 – 4 children, allows you to monitor your child’s progress, print progress reports, and assign levels of play and background noise for distraction.



Babydoll is always down for playing video games.  I needed her to pick up some memory and comprehension skills to help her follow directions better.

Seemed like a win-win.

I was right.

While I mistakenly started her at a level too low for her, she enjoyed the toy factory and missions aspect of the game.

Speaking of levels, I love how you as the parent can set the level based on the child, so they don’t have to sit something agonizingly boring to them.

How do you know which level to set the game to?

The folks at Super Duper Publications have provided a handy chart in the booklet that comes with the CD.  It gives you examples of what a direction might be at each level so you can determine where your child best fits.

For a child {such as mine} who needs to see their progress, this game is great.  Your child has a “lobby” with doors to each part of the factory.

Above each door is a meter that monitors where they are in their progress to building their toy factory.

A certificate of completion hangs above the door if they’ve finished that part.

The progress reports let you see which levels your child has completed and how they did on each one.

I would definitely recommend this to any parent really.  I’ve never met one who told me that their child had great comprehension and memory techniques that helped them always follow directions.

And at least during one phase of their little lives they go through that “What? Squirrel!” phase…

Know what’s even better?  Super Duper Publications has given us a coupon code good for 30% off so you can snatch this thing up {use without the exclamation point}:  BLGAM30!


To find out what other members of the crew thought, just click the banner below!


Homeschool Field Trips

A list of the many places I’d like to take field trips to!


There are always so many places I’d like to take Babydoll for field trips throughout the year, but I never write them down and inevitably forget them…

I figured I’d make a list of field trips we’d like to go on for the year in the hopes that it’ll help me remember them.  While these are relevant to our area, they might give you ideas of things to look for in your own area!

Also, you can Google your state or area and “field trips” or “homeschool field trips” for things in your area.  You can also check out this list at Hip Homeschool Moms.

Anniston Museum of Natural History

Berman Museum of World History

Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Sixteenth Street Baptist Church

Southern Museum of Flight


McWane Science Center

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Meyer Planetarium

Blue Bell

The Southern Environmental Center

Ave Maria Grotto

Dauphin Island Sea Lab


Alabama Mining Museum

The George Washington Carver Museum

Children’s Museum of the Shoals

The Rosenbaum House

Pope’s Tavern Museum

Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts

Gadsden Museum of Art

Magnolia Grove

Buck’s Pocket State Park

US Space and Rocket Center

Earlyworks Museums


Huntsville Museum of Art

Burritt on the Mountain

Huntsville Botanical Garden

Gulf Coast Exploreum

Mobile Museum of Art

Bragg-Mitchell Mansion

Center for Archaeological Studies

Conde-Charlotte Museum House

American Village

Rosa Parks Museum

Old Alabama Town

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

Bellingrath Gardens and Home

Pioneer Museum of Alabama

Children’s Hands-On Museum of Alabama

Mercedes-Benz Visitor’s Center

Moundville Archaeological Park

The Old Tavern

Birmingham Zoo

Athens Storytelling Festival

Bill’s Honey Farm

Jerry Brown Pottery

The Historic Weeden House Museum

Harrison Brothers Hardware

Aldridge Gardens

The Peanut Depot

Wild Natives Safari

Railroad Park

Campaign Photography with Sears Grilling: Product Photography #GrillingisHappiness #SoFabU


Can I just say, I’m so very sad that our class is about half over.

I have learned so, so much over the past few weeks; it’s amazing.  I’m actually enjoying taking pictures.

I’m learning to look at things from different angles, pay attention to lighting, zoom, manually operate my camera {gasp!}, and edit better than I’ve ever been able to.

Product Photography

This week’s unit was on product photography.

Unit 1 focused on editing skills in Pixlr and Unit 2 was about path-to-purchase photography.

Last week, I went out to our local Sears and took tons and tons of pictures of the grills in the store.

I feel completely horrible, too, because I forgot to mention how great Mr. Clark was.  He was helpful, didn’t mind me taking pictures at all, and really did some work to let me know when my grill would still be on sale, when he could do the Friends and Family discount, and more.  Two thumbs up for him!

Sears was absolutely fabulous and gave each of us a gift card to purchase the grill of our choice!  With the gift card and the sale going on, we got a $700 grill for $38.  Score!

This week our task was to photograph the grill we ended up purchasing.

We were given a few tips to help us make the most of our product photography session:

  • Make sure the product is the focus of the shot; front and center!
  • Use optical zoom {when the camera does the zooming, not using editing software to zoom} to fill the frame with the product.
  • Experiment with a bounce card {something white like posterboard or a tri-fold board} to provide fill light {fill the shadows}.
  • Experiment with different aperture and shutter speed.  The smaller the aperture {an f/stop number}, the more light is let in.

Look at what a difference changing a little number makes!

  • Experiment.  Then, experiment some more.  Finish by experimenting.  Just to be sure you’ve done everything correctly, experiment.

Our Grill

Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to introduce you to Phil, our Char-Broil TRU Infrared Grill.

His name really isn’t Phil; he doesn’t have a name.  But, I just felt like, for the purpose of this blog post, he should have a name…

This baby is the Char-Broil Quantum Infrared 4 Burner Gas Grill with Auto-Clean™.

It is big and pretty and awesome.

It has a large cooking area and can be rigged to use natural gas or propane.  It has an auto-clean feature to make clean-up a breeze.

I love it!

I took my photos during an overcast morning.  I’m glad I did; it was hard enough getting pictures without sunlight glare on that metal without the sun…

Here are a few of the 140+ that made the cut.

I’d like to once again say thank you to Sears for making this possible.  I haven’t enjoyed something on my blog so much in a while.

Our old grill broke a few months ago and we accepted the fact that we’d go the summer without one.

I was excited to learn about photography in this course.  We had no idea we’d be getting a grill for practically nothing.  Thank you.

I’d also like to thank Social Fabric for making this possible.  The instruction we’ve received has been phenomenal.  Again, thank you.

True Confessions:  I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Sears #CBias #GrillingIsHappiness. All photos and opinions are my own.

Grilled Lasagna!

Part of a Fun in the Summer Sun series I did last year!


Welcome to the next Fun in the Summer Sun event!

Thanks so much for all the great link-ups so far!

Each Monday until September 7th, Mama to 4 Blessings along with Adventures of Mommydom, Sweet Diva, Harvest Moon By Hand, and Sweet Phenomena will be hosting Fun in the Summer Sun link-up events.

Here’s the line up:

  • The 1st Monday of each month: link up your “Kid friendly summer activities”
  • The 2nd Monday of each month: link up your “Kid friendly summer crafts”
  • The 3rd Monday of each month: link up your “Kid friendly summer recipes”
  • The 4th Monday of each month: link up your “How to stay cool in the summer heat”

Here’s our “kid friendly summer recipe!”

Grilled Lasagna!


We’ve slowly been chipping away at our summer bucket list, and one of the things we had yet to do was use the fire starters Babydoll made at camp.  She also wanted to make hobo dinners, so I figured we could kill two birds with one stone and make hobo dinners using her fire starters.

I didn’t really want to make a beef, onion, pepper hobo dinner, so I decided we’d look for something else.  I happened to get the new Food Network magazine and inside were a few recipes for grilled items.  We saw the grilled lasagna and thought, “How freaking cool!”

I’m not going to post the recipe here only because we didn’t really use it…  We pretty much did our own thing…


We made our sauce.


We began to layer our lasagna.

More layering

More layering…

And more layering

And more layering…


Finally finished layering!

And then we wrapped the little lasagnas tightly, cooking ten minutes on each side.  Let ‘em sit for a few minutes, and they’re ready to eat.

Be sure to use no-boil lasagna noodles; other than that, have fun with it!

Have any great recipes you’d like to share?


Homeschool Methods

Just a glimpse of the many homeschool methods!


There are a variety of homeschooling methods out there.  I’m still learning about some…

Really, the way you homeschool is a method.  It may be strictly one style or it may be a combination of several.

Still trying to figure out which one {or ones} work for you?

Here you go, the ultimate guide to homeschool methods!

Homeschool Mosaics Homeschool Methods – This is a new site, but it’s great!  There are methods on here I’ve never heard of before.

Choosing a Homeschooling Method:  Which One is Right For You? – An extensive list of homeschooling methods.

Homeschooling and Its Many Faces – Lots of links for a variety of methods.

Homeschool Methods – Finding a Method That’s Right for You – More links for a variety of methods.

Homeschool Methods, Uniquely You – A great post with curricula/resource info, too.

The Ultimate Homeschool Blogroll – This is so cool:  homeschool blogs are linked up based on their homeschooling method.

Homeschooling Methods – Lots and lots and lots of links!

Methods and Styles Directory – Exactly what the title says.

Homeschool Approaches – A few I’ve never heard of before.

Discover the Homeschooling Method That’s Right For You – A great bulleted breakdown of several methods.

Resources for Exploring Various Homeschooling Methods – Links to not only website, but books and other resources as well.

Best Homeschool Method Blogs 2010 – The voting may be over but this is still a great list of blogs about specific methods.

8 Homeschooling Methods – Um, eight homeschooling methods…

Curriculum Methods and Reviews – I think we all love learning about new-to-us curricula.

Homeschooling Approaches and Methods – Again, self-explanatory.

Carlie is looking to feature YOU!  She’s looking for posts on a variety of homeschooling methods.