ChicoBag Halloween Contest

ChicoBag's 5th annual Green Halloween & ChicoBag trick-or-treat bag design contest are underway!

Each year the design contest has been met with incredible enthusiasm and participation. The hope is that children participating will be inspired to make greener choices for Halloween and other celebrations throughout the year.  
For full details of the contest, please visit

How to Enter:
The contest is open to children ages 1-13 as of September 1, 2012. Create a design that best captures the "Spirit of a Green Halloween" using the ChicoBag design template and your medium of choice! Be sure to have a parent or guardian complete the agreement from on the reverse side of the design template. Please limit your design to 3 colors.

Entries may be submitted via snail mail (print) or electronically (.jpeg or .pdf format). All entries must include artwork and a completed and signed agreement form.  Mail entries to ChicoBag Company, c/o Halloween Contest, 13434 Browns Valley Drive, Chico, CA 95973. Upload form will be available September 1, 2012. 

When to Enter:

The contest will open on September 1, 2012 and runs through Halloween. All entries must be postmarked by October 31, 2012 and received by November 5, 2012. All online submissions must be uploaded by 11:59pm PST on November 5, 2012.


1st Place: $250 cash to the artist, ChicoBag® brand reusable bag filled with eco-friendly goodies from our prize partners, elements of design printed on limited edition ChicoBag brand reusable bags and $250 retail value ChicoBag product to go to school or organization
2nd Place: $100 cash to the artist and a ChicoBag brand reusable bag filled with eco-friendly goodies from our prize partners
3rd Place: ChicoBag brand reusable bag filled with eco-friendly goodies from our prize partners
Links to the green halloween page:, our facebook:, and twitter:

K5 Learning Review

Reading and Math Enrichment for K-5

First of all, I know it's been a very long time since I have done any blogging or reviews - so a big "Welcome Back" to all of the readers at The Maxwell's Madness! - both new and old!

I was recently given the opportunity to review K5 Learning, which is a wonderful online learning program for Kindergarten through 5th Grade level math and reading skills. We were given a 6 week free trial to evaluate this program and while we didn't use it at much as I would have liked, we really enjoyed it and found it to be a useful learning tool for my 4 year old daughter.

So, what is K5 Learning? This is really an enrichment program - a sort of supplemental study program that would be suitable for after school study or as part of a homeschooling curriculum. The program focuses on building math, reading, and study skills. There are four basic modules: K5 Reading, K5 Spelling, K5 Math, and K5 Math Facts. 
"K5 Reading helps kids become strong readers and develop a love of reading. This award-winning program covers phonemic awareness, phonics, sight words, vocabulary and reading comprehension."
Reading Lesson: Story focusing on Compare/Contrast
Beginning with exercises as simple as identifying both lowercase and uppercase letters and moving all the way through sight words, vocabulary, and reading comprehension, the K5 Reading Module proved to be a useful and fun tool for my beginning reader. My daughter is only 4, but really enjoyed the exercises she did, especially the sight word exercises. Seeing as she is not even in Kindergarten yet, we selected the lowest level for her to start at - but if we wanted to, we could have taken a simple Reading and Math Assessment, which would have placed her at the appropriate level of the program based on her results.  

K5 Spelling is an advanced vocabulary program which improves language skills one word at a time. We feature adaptive instruction, automatic word generation, an optimized visual interface, and a 150,000+ word database.
 We really liked that the spelling words were chosen based on her previous progress in the K5 Learning program. She got to hear the word, see or hear it's context in a sentence, and even see a picture of what she was trying to spell so she could not only learn to spell the word, but learn its meaning as well. This also helped her to improve her typing skills - finding the letters on the keyboard was as much fun as learning to spell the simple words that she was presented with. 
K5 Math is an award-winning program which builds self confidence and a deep understanding of math concepts. K5 Math covers numbers and operations, geometry, measurement (including time and money), algebraic thinking and data analysis.
Math Lesson: Addition and Subtraction
The Math lessons were my daughters favorite. She is loving math wherever she can find it, and this was right up her alley. The visual number line on many of the counting and math lessons really helped her to better understand the simple addition and subtraction. My only issue with this module is that some of the graphics seemed a bit crammed - as you can see in the above photo, the numbers in the math box have been clipped. Thankfully, my daughter wasn't really phased by this at all!  
K5 Math Facts uses adaptive technology to help kids develop instant recall of basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. Progress on each and every math fact is monitored until mastery is obtained.
Math Facts Test List
We did not delve too far into the Math Facts module because it ended up being a bit frustrating for my daughter. It starts out very simple, with easy math that she already knows, but what was frustrating was that these tests are also looking for speed to get that 'check plus' mark. She is still slow to type her answers in and was not getting good scores as a result, regardless of whether or not she answered correctly. Little did I know that this setting can be changed to give early learners as much time as they need to master these skills. In fact, there are many settings that parents can adjust as needed or to their preference in the parent login area. Ultimately, the math facts are a great tool for learning the basics, and the program helps to monitor your child's progress with a lovely chart that makes it easy to see where more work is needed. 

Math Progress Chart
All in all, this is a very nice program. The self-paced nature of the program allows your child to move through the 3,000+ lessons at their own speed. And the program automatically choses lessons based on your child's progress in previous lessons. We liked the simple graphics, which were both educational and engaging yet not distracting for my daughter. We especially liked that there were no external links, forums, or chat areas that she could stumble into and potentially get off track or into other parts of the internet that we would not want her visiting. My daughter also loved that she had her very own login username and password!

If you are interested in seeing more and perhaps giving K5 Learning a try, you can sign up for a 14 Day Free Trial
Your free trial includes: Free Reading and Math Assessments, 14 Days of Free Lessons, No Obligations, and No Credit Card Required.
If you would like to purchase a subscription to K5 Learning for your online learner:
Monthly Rate: $25/month for the first child; $15/month for each additional child
Annual Rate: $199/year for the first child; $129/year for each additional child 

If you decide to subscribe, please remember to let them know you were referred by Heidi Maxwell at The Maxwell's Madness!
 Disclosure: I received a free 6 week trial of K5 Learning in order to write this review. No other compensation was received.

ChicoBag | Compact Reusable bags, packs, and totes

ChicoBag is Giving Away a Kindle Fire in March!

Summary of Giveaway: ChicoBag is excited to introduce new products for Spring and they are celebrating by giving away a Kindle Fire! Enter to win now through March 31, 2012. There are two ways to enter. No purchase necessary.Click here for details. 

ChicoBag | Compact Reusable bags, packs, and totes

Once again, ChicoBag is hosting an awesome giveaway! You can either purchase any item from their Spring Line and enter the code FIRE12 at checkout to be automatically entered to win OR you can send a hand printed post card with your first and last name, email address, date of birth, phone number, and address on it to be entered. See all of the official rules and regs below.

I decided I really wanted another Sling Bag in my collection. The Sling is my favorite to have in my purse because I can load it up and then wear it across my body and be hands free. Which is essential when shopping with small children! This is the one I decided on:

Sling DesignByHumans Red Dragon

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY to Enter or Claim a Prize. This Sweepstakes is open only to legal US residents who are 18 or older as of March 1, 2012. Employees of ChicoEco, Inc. dba ChicoBag, as well as the immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings, and children) of each employee are not eligible.
How do I enter? The Sweepstakes runs from 12:00 am (PST) on March 1, 2012 to 11:59 p.m. (PST) on March 31, 2012 (the “Entry Period”). During the Entry Period there are two ways to enter: Method 1: with the purchase of a new Spring product made through using the coupon code FIRE12 or FBFIRE12, you will be entered into a pool that we will randomly draw from for a winner at the end of the Entry Period. One entry per person. View all spring products here. Method 2: to enter without a purchase, you may handprint your first and last name, email address, date of birth, phone number and address on a postcard and mail it to: ChicoBag Company Attn: Sweepstakes, 13434 Browns Valley Drive, Chico, CA 95973. All mail-in entries must be postmarked between March 1, 2012 and March 16, 2012 and received by March 30, 2012 to be included in the pool that we will draw from at the end of the Entry Period. ChicoBag is not responsible for lost, late, stolen, illegible, postage-due or incomplete entries, which will be disqualified. All mail-in entries become property of ChicoEco, Inc., dba ChicoBag and will not be returned.


Review Announcement! K5 Learning: Online Reading and Math Program

An Online Reading Program for K-5 Grade Students

K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students. I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program. If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their open invitation to write an online learning review of their program.

I will be using this program with my daughter Ophelia and will post the review when the 6 weeks is up!


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