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Friday, October 2, 2015

Dollywood - Pigeon Forge TN

Hey neighbors!

While in Pigeon Forge for the National Quartet Convention, we had the opportunity to visit Dollywood.  What a great time the family had!  Since I have a lower back injury my husband and I pretty much wandered the shops and watched the girls on the rides.  Dollywood is right in Pigeon Forge, which is near Gatlinburg, so if you are planning on visiting in the area, add Dollywood to your must see list.

We headed in early and had beautiful weather.  First stop was to purchase their re-fillable drink cups.  You can use them all day at the park and re-fill for just .99.  They had a special of two cups for $20, so we all pitched in and shared them throughout the day.  Next stop was to purchase our leather bracelets for each of us girls with their initials and NQC15 on them.  The girls each purchased one last year too.

While we waited for the bracelets to be engraved some of the crew headed for their favorite water ride.  I like to watch and occasionally pay the quarter and try to spray them with the water gun when they go buy.  They are really soaked by the time they have been on the ride 3-4 times in a row.  While there we often stop to feed the ducks.

At this point we separated for awhile so they could ride the coasters.  It is so much fun to wander the shops.  I found the perfect bag for carrying my camera!  I love it!  I also like that you can actually see product being made at several of the shops.  There is a glassblower, which I watched for a short time. I love how delicate the glass is.  There are also wood carvers, pottery shops, leather shops and many others.

Of course there are many places to eat and buy snacks, including candy, fudge, ice cream, and other treats.  One thing the girls like to purchase is the cinnamon bread.It smells so good that it usually does not make it out of the park without someone tasting it!  I managed to bring back a piece of fudge that I can have a sliver of.  (I am diabetic.)  While at Dollywood, my husband and I split one of the pulled pork BBQ sandwiches.  I pulled some of the meat off, and he ate the rest of the sandwich and fries.  I had a small side of cole slaw.  It was VERY good.

Dollywood has a new ride opening in 2016, called the Lightning Rod.  I took a few pictures of the construction site.  I know my daughters will be excited to try it when it opens.

Information below is from the Dollywood Press Release:
Themed after a tricked out 1950s-era hot rod, Lightning Rod launches riders from zero to 45 mph more than 20 stories up its lift hill to one of the ride’s first airtime moments. At the crest of the hill, riders face twin summit airtime hills before tackling the daring first drop. Lightning Rod races down the 165-foot drop and propels guests along its 3,800-ft. track to a top speed of 73 mph, the fastest speed for a wood coaster in the world.

Located in Dollywood’s Jukebox Junction, Lightning Rod rockets riders around its massive wooden structure on an adrenaline-charged lap through the trees in the hills and valleys surrounding Dollywood. During the ride, guests experience nearly 20 seconds of airtime. The coaster train is comprised of 12 cars, carrying two passengers each, for a total of 24 people per train.

The girls rode the Wild Eagle, Tennessee Tornado, and Thunderhead. They had a blast!  They also rode the Waltzing Swinger and the Scrambler.  My oldest daughter does not care for the rides as much so she went along to hold their purses, cameras, etc. and then took off exploring on her own.

There are also many unique sites to see as well as their fall displays.  The Chapel and Old Schoolhouse were a couple of our personal favorites.  I found a few ducks eating in one of the fall displays.  See if you can find them!

A game area, like the games you play at country fairs is also in Dollywood.  You can shoot baskets, throw basketballs through the hoop, and shoot water to move your piece to the finish line before your competitors.

Oh, and another thing Dollywood is known for are their great southern gospel performances.  We have seen Triumphant Quartet at Dollywood previously and several of the quartet we know perform there throughout the year.

Dollywood also has an area where you can see some wild birds, including a Bald Eagle.  Most of these birds have been rescued.  They do a small show telling people about the birds.

So, make sure you have added Dollywood to you list of places to visit when you go to the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area of Tennessee.  There is something fun for everyone.

Be sure to follow Dollywood on their social media.
Facebook - HERE
Twitter - HERE
Pinterest - HERE

Thank you Dollywood for allowing us to visit and share our time with our neighbors here, At the Fence!  See you soon, and thank you for stopping by.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Middlebury Interactive Languages French Review

 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

Hi Neighbors!

Do any of your children want to learn a foreign language you are not familiar with?  Do you feel comfortable teaching a foreign language class?  If not you need to read this review of Middlebury Interactive Languages.  We recently were able to review their High School French I, which is an interactive, online class.  By the way, I learned on their website that French is the second most taught language after English.  Amazing!
 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

My daughter, who is 14 going on 15, has a desire to one day visit Paris.  She has been reading quite a bit about Paris and decided she wanted to learn French.  I encouraged her to learn, but since I only took French for the required quarter and then went on to take Spanish, I did not feel confident in teaching her French.   So, when we were offered this course for review I was really excited.  This is an online course where your child can learn at their own pace.  The class is good for one year, but it should not take that long to complete the course.  There are interactive lessons that will not only help your child learn French, but will help them pronounce words properly, learn about the culture and learn more than just words as they are immersed in French.  This was perfect for us as I was not sure about teaching a language I did not know and M found it quite easy to proceed on her own.

 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

Middlebury uses an immersive type experience rather than a textbook type learning.  During the course your child will both read, write, listen and speak French.  Middlebury offers French, Spanish, Chinese and German.  The courses are available for elementary through high school.  Much of the grading is done right on the computer, but there are some assignments, such as writing assignments that you will have to go over.

M loved being able to control what she was learning and when she worked on her class.  She wandered around the house spouting French words and phrases.  She enjoyed hearing the native French speakers who are in the videos, as this gave her the right accent to use, not to mention insights into their culture.  Of course, she enjoys hearing French anyway!  I believe it is good for her to be exposed to their culture through the lessons.  You will probably want to have a microphone and headphones for your computer.  M had to listen to words, record herself saying them and then compare the two.

You can use Middlebury in two different formats.  One is without a teacher ($119 per semester) and the other is with a teacher support ($175 per semester).  Personally I believe most parents would be able to do without the teacher support, but it is available if you feel more comfortable that way.  As far as the price goes, having just one student it is reasonable, but might get a little expensive if you have more than one child at a time taking a foreign language class.

Be sure to check out the social media pages of Middlebury Interactive Languages and if you are interested, follow them.
Twitter - HERE
Facebook - HERE
Instagram - HERE
Google + - HERE
Pinterest - HERE

Please take a moment to read what other TOS Crew members have to say about their experience with Middlebury Interactive Languages.  The Crew members were offered different languages and levels, so one of these might interest you more as it fits your needs.

 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tapple and Wonky Fun

 USAopoly Review

Hey neighbors!

Here is a review of Tapple - Fast Word Fun for Everyone and Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game, both great games from USAopoly!  Both of these are really fun games, that you could include in a family fun night.  We like to get the whole family together at least once a week to play games.  We especially like ones where we interact with each other.

I am going to tell you about Wonky first.  This game is probably designed for children a little younger than mine, although my daughters still had fun when we played.  Wonky is for ages 8 and up.  My youngest is almost 15.  Anyway, Wonky is a fun stacking game with odd-shaped blocks of different sizes.  You have 3 different colored plastic shapes (squarish), in three different sizes, small, medium and large.  The first person draws a card and it will tell them either what color, or what size block they have to choose.  This will be the base you build on.  Each player in turn takes a new card and adds a block to the tower based on their card.  The whole idea is you can not touch the tower with your other hand and you can not move any of the previous blocks to help steady your's.  Needless to say, the first two moves are reasonably easy, but after that it gets a little tricky. I lost all of the first three games we played.  :(  Please do not think this is not a fun game because it is, I just think it might be for younger children then I have.

USAopoly Review

Tapple on the other hand although also for ages 8 and up was extremely well received.  We have played this numerous times and shared it with some of our friends.  Tapple has a circular game piece with 20 letters of the alphabet on white tabs.  There are cards in the base of the game that are needed for play.  You will need two AA batteries to play.  So, place your batteries in and turn your game on.  Shuffle the cards and get ready for some fun!  Decide if you are going to do the red or yellow on one side of the cards or the blue or white on the other.  We let the player who turned it over choose.  After they choose the category, they push the red button in the center of the game which starts the timer.  At this point they have to come up with a word that fits the category that begins with one of the letters on the tabs.  As soon as they think of a word, they press down the corresponding letter tab and hit the timer as the play proceeds to the next player.  You can only use the letters that are still in the up position.  Play continues around.  If you can not come up with a word before the buzzer sounds you are out and play continues without you.  Don't worry you will not be sitting there long as the game moves along pretty quickly.  Here are a few of the categories: In the Yard or Garden, Something Round, Bad Habits, Colors, or Ice Cream Flavors.  I mean try coming up with Ice Cream Flavors quickly that begin with J, K, or G.  Needless to say the last one left is the winner.  Yes, a few times we actually made it all the way through with everyone still in, but not often.

 USAopoly Review

You can find Tapple and Wonky on the USAopoly website.  Oh and be sure to check out their social media pages.

Be sure to see what other TOS members had to say by clicking the link below.

 USAopoly Review

Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Last Gift Cards

Hey neighbors!

Only a few days left, so I am adding 2 more $5 gift cards.  One McDonalds and one Surprise!  So, make sure you have entered and then tweet and share as much as possible.  Enter HERE.  That makes five $5 gift cards.  One Krispy Kreme, one Chick-fil-a, one Subway, one McDonalds and a surprise.

How does that sound for a great way to start fall?

Thanks for stopping in!  See you soon!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide In The Works

Hey neighbors!

At the Fence is gearing up for our annual Holiday Gift Guide.  We are presently seeking sponsors and individuals who are looking to have their product shared with you, our neighbors!  If you remember from previous years we have reviews and review/giveaways from the end of October right up to mid-December for your holiday shopping experience.

We will feature, toys, games, household items, gifts for her, gifts for him and even our family pets will be included.  We will have our Holiday tab up where you will be able to search through the companies and businesses represented in the Holiday Gift Guide.

Have some suggestions or want to participate?  Contact us or Atthefence@gmail.  Or you can leave a comment below.

Thank you for stopping by to visit!  See you soon!

To companies wishing to participate in our Holiday Gift Guide please use the emails above.  Thank you.

Heroes Of History: Ronald Reagan

YWAM Publishing Review

Hi neighbors!

Here for review today we have Heroes of History Ronald Reagan, Destiny At His Side.  This book is published by YWAM Publishing.  Ronald Reagan is a 221 pg. paperback book, recommended for ages 10 up, written by Janet and Geoff Benge.  YWAM also has a downloadable curriculum study guide for each of their Heroes of History Books.  Be sure to visit their website for a complete listing. YWAM sells each book individually, but they also sell a few collections, where you can purchase several books together.

I want to start off here by saying that my 14, almost 15 year old daughter loves history and Ronald Reagan is one of her favorite historical figures.  She often share quotes from him on her social media, so she was super excited to get to read this historical biography.  She started reading the book the day it arrived as soon as I removed it from the packaging.  She approached me minutes later with questions concerning something in the book that she wasn't sure about and I required her to go study it out.  Yes, I now have notes in the side bars of the book where she would notate something she wanted to go look up further.  I love that this book encouraged her to study deeper into the life of Ronald Reagan.

This book and of course the others in this series make a great study for homeschool, or you could read them together as a family.  We often do this with books and then discuss together what we have read.  M was easily able to read a chapter at a time.  After finishing a chapter you can assign something from the curriculum study guide to further their learning.  YWAM is phasing out the CDs and going to downloadable curriculum study guides.

The curriculum study guide contains all different types of resources for you to implement into your homeschool curriculum.  There are essay questions, field trip suggestions, project ideas, and many other helpful ideas for your school scenario.  You can pick and choose what you would like to do and what would interest your child.  There are links to other helpful articles, music from the era and movies.

We personally own several other titles in both this series and their Christian Heroes series.  Our family has read several of them individually and my daughter has read every one we own.  We have a small collection of these titles on her bookshelf.  The Christian Heroes series includes many well known missionaries, her favorites being Gladys Alyward and Eric Liddell.
YWAM Publishing Review

Visit YWAM on their social media sites and like and follow, so you can stay up to date:

Take a moment to click on the banner below to see what other TOS members had to say about the book they received for review.  Since we received so many different titles you might enjoy seeing the reviews on the other books.

YWAM Publishing Review

Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, September 17, 2015

PlexiDor Dog Photo Contest!


Hi neighbors!

There is a really exciting dog photo contest going on right now, sponsored by PlexiDor.  They make those really great pet doors, so your pet can go in and out by them selves.  The contest is open to any US resident of the contiguous 48 states.  The contest is open until December 15th.  Obviously they ask that all photos be family friendly.


There is no purchase necessary, and they are some really SUPER prizes.  First place winner receives 1,000 lbs. of your brand of dog food, plus a PlexiDor Performance Pet Door.  Second place receives a PlexiDor Performance Pet Door with Installation and a $25 Visa Gift Card.  Third place receives a gift basket of toys, treats and chews.  How does that sound?


Not to mention, when you enter you are automatically enrolled in their monthly contest for a basket of toys, treats and chews.  Do we have a paws up for this one?



We just received our PlexiDor  Dog Door and need to have it installed yet, but I am really excited about it!  Since we have 5 Shelties it will be great to have a door they can use themselves to go in and out.  We have a side yard that we walk them in with easy access by our side door, but it will be so nice to allow them to go in and out as they please.  One thing I really like is the PlexiDor can be locked.  That means, at night after they have had their last walk outside, I can lock the door to keep them in for the night.  Also perfect for when we go on trips, because I won't have to worry about someone gaining access through the pet door.  Oh, and the small door works for cats!


Now, we just have to decide which picture to enter ourselves.  Take a glance at the ones we have posted here and leave a comment if you really like one, or one stands out to you.  Thank you for your help.

You can find PlexiDor on their social media too!
Facebook - HERE
Twitter - HERE
Pinterest - HERE

Be sure to enter the photo contest!  Leave a comment here and let us know if you plan on entering! See you soon.