Minecraft Modding for Kids with Learn to Mod: Review

51WsodzjwqL._SX396_BO1,204,203,200_I was given this book and a three month free subscription to the site for my review.  These are all my own opinions.  I was not paid for this review.  The book showed up and my kids were jumping all over.  MUCH excitement.  Explosive decibel levels.  The book is smaller than a normal “dummies” book – which I tend to dislike just as a gut response to the name alone.  How about … “Wanna learn more?”  Anything would be better.  Another day, another blog post.

Here is my JJ within hours of the book arriving.  learntomod1 learntomod

He is computer savvy.  We use codeacademy.org all year as our coding for homeschooling.  JJ is 8.  “MOM!  I’m stuck!”  Sigh.  End of the dream of my beckoning book and THM chai latte.  OK.  Let’s see.  1.  You can’t go in through Google Chrome.  2.  You have to own or BUY Minecraft from Steam.  $30.  Ouch!  3.  Unity – we had to download that three times.  4.  Plus:  the site is easy to navigate and there is an AMAZING customer support staff ready to help you via email… although you are online with LearntoMod.com.  I periodically stopped and waited for help.

Two hours.  All done.  Running.  JJ was able to complete badges one to three.  After that, he couldn’t go on.  He read the book.  He tried to follow and apply it to the program.  He quit.  He never quits unless he feels unsuccessful for an extended period of time.  Enter LB (11).  She has been block modding and using beginning Java.  She made it through one badge.  We had a hard time using the simulator and often had to pick the other option.  She found the “control M” command frustrating.  It was hard to read the words on the Minecraft screen.  She was frustrated and went to work on her Roominate.  If we had been on a large monitor, it would have been better.  This is not the best for laptop work.  You need a larger screen and high resolution.

Stop and guage:  I loved that the program, challenges, and projects were so well thought out.  For example, if you were a coder, you would not always type in the pretty code or pull the blocks.  You would have a problem and have to see the application and work backwards to solve the coding issue.  “Scrambled Code” and the fix the problem projects were great.  Homeschoolers DO NOT want to be spoon fed – no learners do – and in a real-time/life coding experience you will need to problem-solve.  This addresses this!  The videos were short, but helpful.

In walks KB.  13.  I thought – ahhh… she can write this review for me!  Nope.  Within minutes we were stuck on a project.  I couldn’t get into my email to see how customer service suggested that I fix it.  At least they kept trying.  😉  She was out after four hours and reading/annotating the book.  She took notes.  Watched the videos several times.  They were informative – but there was no venue in them for if this happens, do this.  That might be asking too much.

Final review:  If you have a solid programming background and time to sit with your kids one-on-one to work on this.  It is perfect.  If you have a kid SO in love with Minecraft and coding to work independently through this, perfect.  If you have a high schooler just dying to code.  They can pick between Java and block modding.  Perfect.  Honestly and sadly, I was going to buy Learn to Mod for my kids for the year as their computer science.  The “kicker” was the spam and malware that I found on my computer after using this.  289 malware hits.  Some were rather serious.  I had two trojans.  SO:  I think we will stick with free –  www.codeacademy.com & Khan Academy’s program.  Put your kids into their system – make a classroom – and they can work through it.  It also gives tutorials and gauges where they are and realign their placement.

Again, these are my thoughts and reactions to the product.  My kids were sad, but they were so frustrated they went off to do other things that engaged them in active coding.  Research shows that by 2020 there will be a shortage of 2 billion computer skills jobs.  I want my kids to be a part of that – to at least have the schema and training – and then go into the field they are drawn to – think football player – it will be there fall back.  For more info on this go to Thomas Jefferson Education.com.  We are thinking computer coding AA’s and into college from there.  Thine Will be done!


Super Saints Headbandz!

I will say that printing and laminating this cost $20 bucks and we had to go into Staples three times – and they still didn’t get it “right.”  With that negative said, all the other stuff I wrote (and I was given the pdf to review – all are my own feelings about the product, though) is true.  Here is my LB in her Headbandz with St. Cecelia.  Did you guess she sings?  😉  Such a blessing and gift from Our Lord!





GIVEAWAY & GAME to Play to Dig Deeper Into The Catholic Faith?


I am not sure who learned more tonight when we played “Super Saints” from Arma Dei @ http://www.equippingcatholicfamilies.com!  Scroll down to her button on the lower right of my blog.  We downloaded her pdf and printed it at Staples in color.  No… we don’t have color (it IS possible that my husband is right and I would use it too quickly and print far too much… and then become overwhelmed).  We ALSO knew that they had the uber powerful laminators like teachers in schools.  Not the sheets … the rolled lamination that sticks when you cut it.  Be sure you ask for that!  Otherwise, when you print them you need to print page 11 on the back of each color copy.  The hot lamination machine was much less expensive.


  1.  The cards ARE BEAUTIFUL!  They look like watercolors!  Here is St. Clare… my Confirmation saint.  I thought I knew all about her.  Ha!  So much for RE (or CCD) circa the late 1970’s.St-Clare-2-248x300
  2. There are 3 games suggested, but we made up other games, too.  The kids used them to play Saint Headbandz… so much fun… and challenging.
  3. These are not just saint fact cards, although they do give a ton of info about each saint.  They tell you what level of sanctification they are canonized at.  The discuss the levels of sanctification from God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to martyr and pope.  Each of my children have special saints – all Catholic kids do – they are inspirations, the souls we pray to and call for intercession.  These cards taught my kids so much more about their “favorite” saint and introduced them to new saints we knew little about.  All Saints will ROCK this year!  They have already decided to make their questions at the party revolve around level of sainthood.  Oh my!  Must we look like we are the A students – when in life we are just ordinary, faulted folks… seeking God’s love although we are broken?
  4. More overwhelming and humbling was not just the information my kids learned or even knew prior to using the cards.  It was the questions that they asked and then sought to answer!  I gave them no answers.  I just put a Bible or the Catholic Catechism in their hands.  Deep and insightful questions.  Not to be answered simply – we even had to pull out a saint book and a video on a saint to watch for more insight.  And that my friends in faith… is TRUE LEARNING AND GROWTH IN FAITH AND AS A CATHOLIC!  The questioning, answering, applying, and asking of questions!  Father will always hand you or a child a book when asked, “Did your dog, Nino go to Heaven, Father?”  This game is the perfect prompt for just that.

In closing, I have seen a TON of saints games… memory decks… saint cards.  Nothing is like this on the market.  It is not matching.  It is not fact mere recitation.  It is true stimulation and learning.  An hour ago, two feet plodded into my room.  A dear friend’s son was struck by a snake today.  We are praying.  We love that fireheaded boy!  He was just playing with St. “Rory” (St. George – which secretly I suspect knows how to say.. but likes to have that as his special name for him… I heard him say George later…so special).  We were worried and had prayed the Rosary.  “Mommy, let’s look for the doctors of the Church.  They will kiss D’s booboo and watch over him.”  Really?  Was this my child?  Secretly and secularly I think, “Where is my son?”  Just saying.. and yes I will be in the LINE tomorrow!  At least I am honest!  So, we sat in my “prayer” chair, snuggled, and sorted all of the saints into piles to help D.  Oddly, we found some way to have each one intercede.  I pray that they heard his voice!  I know that they did.

Here is a great video of the cards by their creator.  And there is a link at the bottom to both their Flower Fund and site.  They are trying to create sets to give at The World Meeting of Families.  Please donate and you will receive a pdf AND A SET of the cards, too!

Project-Super-Saints-button     http://flowerfund.com/supersaints/

and http://www.equippingcatholicfamilies.com/2015/08/super-saints-and-tiny-saints-giveaway.html


Saint Kolbe – please hear my prayers tonight and take the “poison” from D’s little body saving him as you did during the Holocaust!





Super Saints Card Game – To Honor Our Saints and Have Fun Learning Thru Play!


I asked Monica at Equipping Catholic Families to review this product.  I’ve been reading about it’s pending release and knew that she wanted to start a fund to enable them to have it available for the World Meeting of Families in September.  History:  We have been purchasing from ECF for years.  We have given their spiritual bouquets to many friends and family members.  What most endears me to their products is that MY CHILDREN are pulled to create, work on, use, and share these items.  We take their sets of cards to Mass and my youngest uses them to identify the monstrance, Stations of the Cross, and all of the things he sees on the cards.  All my kids help him seek them out.  Recently, we have been passing the cards to little ones who need some direction and tired parents who need an extra set of hands during Mass.  We don’t bring outside materials to Mass in our family, but as these are so interwoven with the Catholic faith, we feel that they are an excellent way to tie the Mass into concrete learning for our kids.  We are not the family passing the cell phones for video games… although I have been known to give visual learners the Rosary app to follow with.

I digress… Monica kindly sent me a set of cards to print and use.  My kids almost immediately started coloring them.  Well… no trip to Staples for color copies!  We laminated them at home and they were in “play” immediately.  Each card has the name of a saint and a great deal of information.  ECF’s has a suggested game list, but the kids created their own rules to fit every little learner into the game.  They each chose a favorite.  They each asked questions and gave clues.  After an hour, I joined in.  We pulled out the Headbandz.  We each placed a saint card in the front, and asked questions in order to guess who it was.  I was ASTOUNDED by the information that my kids already knew and the amount they’d gleaned in just the little time they’d used the cards.

The artwork is lovely – albeit my kiddos’ coloring is a little less beautiful artistically – it is beautiful to me… they used (click for the link) Prismacolor pencils before we laminated them.  That’s a mistake I’ve made half asleep.  Just sayin’.

My favorite card is St. Clare.  I love her work and devotion to St. Francis.  St-Clare-2-248x300And her feast day was today!  Divine Providence!

ECF has created a Flower Fund Project to enable them to make sets for the World Meeting of Families in September.  I have a button on the right for both the fund and the site.  http://flowerfund.com/supersaints/ and you may visit them and see all of their wonderful products at http://www.equippingcatholicfamilies.com/.  Each of my children have their sacrament books, and they are so dear to all of our hearts.

Lastly, I’d just like to thank ECF for allowing me to review this product.  And I’d like to thank them for the time, faith, love, and dedication they put into this family mission.  They quietly add “buttercream” to our catechism each day!


How Does a Mother Hold This Cross… “How Can This Loss Be Borne?”

Mrs. Kaza said in one of her emails this week, while sitting holding in the hospital holding her sweet son, “How can a loss like this be borne?”  Yet, as you look at the love, peace, calm, faith, and the light of the Holy Spirit radiating from her face… I am speechless… all is possible through Our Lord.  All I can ask, is that you pray for the repose of this sweet boy.  That you pray vocally for his family.  That you ask the Blessed Mother to wrap them in her starry mantle.  Please watch the video made by his sisters.  The family is a large Catholic Christian family from Manassas, Virginia.





Click to see this video:  


Mrs. Criddle THM Queen!

green4-1024x683OK. You MUST… all feelings about squash, zucchini, etc. aside … MUST try the recipes at http://www.mrscriddle.com. So far we have made two. GF and THM (Trim Healthy Mamma – low carb). Recipe 1:  Green Enchiladas GF THM!  http://mrscriddleskitchen.com/green-chile-chicken-casserole-thm-s-gluten-free-egg-free/  Yummers!  (See George Marshall’s George and Martha circa 1971 @ # yepImthatold – “Yummers.”

  My favorite tool for scraping squash!  Worth every penny.  Nothing is wasted!  (Click for affiliate link)

2.  spaghetti-spaghetti-casserolehttp://mrscriddleskitchen.com/no-pasta-spaghetti-casserole/

Every single person ate 2 servings.  The ONLY change that I made was to pulse the zucchini and onions in the food processor, so that no zucchini “haters” would balk.  We used turkey, but honestly – the fat content is the same as lean ground beef.  And I “mighta'” used a “smidge” (read as “I used”) of extra mozzarella and parm – and parm on top to bake.  

This is our favorite baking dish.  The 15 year marriage last gift standing.  Oh, and mine is not this white any longer.  😉  Well-loved!

Click on the pictures for affiliate’s direct links.  Next:  Mrs. Criddle’s Pumpkin Bake for breaky!  Oh my!