Wednesday, September 28, 2011

God Created the Step-Family {Thoughts from Me}

The past week I have been taking a long look at my life, reviewing where it is I'd like to be, where it is that I am at and what I'd like to change, as well as what I'd like to stay the same.  It's never easy to take a look and see what's wrong and what's right in anyones life, especially when it's your own.  It's much easier to say there are problems with the world, to judge, to say that you are not the problem or you are not involved.

There are a great many things I dislike that are going on in my life right now.  I find my self surrounded by some very selfish people that I once thought differently about.  I do not want my children growing up surrounded by those who only think of themselves and their own.  I do not want to be with a man who's family tells him that his only biological son is all he should be concerned with but that is where I am at.  I am thankful that the man in question does not feel the same as his family, that he loves all of our children just as he loves his blood son.

I think, what if Joseph turned Jesus away because he wasn't his biological son?  Where would our world be?  The dynamics of a step-family was itself set up by God on the day His very son was created, was it not?  God never told Joseph he wasn't a good-enough earthly Father for his child.  He, Himself chose Jesus' earthly parents, just as he does daily for each of us. 

I do not understand how someone can ever say that someone they love's child is not their's.  I do not understand how someone can turn any child away out of petty spite.  It is surely something sent by the Devil to destroy God's family and it should be treated that way.  Shunning out of anger should never be accepted.  What if God shunned you everytime you did something He disliked? 

Take up your cross, follow God's word, raise your family to love and follow as God's own Son has for each of us and NEVER allow Satan to have control of what's rightfully yours, given by God's own hand.  We are not born unto our families, we are created by God's own hand.  And that is something none of us should ever forget.

God bless.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Before Five In A Row {Crew Review}

Six years ago when I began homeschooling my oldest son, my homeschooling association head recommended several resources for a new Mom who was starting out on the grand adventure of home education.  One of her top recommendations at the time for a Preschool to Kindergarten aged child was Five In A Row curriculum.  I immediately went to my local library to seek out this book just to see what all the hoopla was about and if it was worth my time.  I remember being very impressed by the detailed curriculum written by Mrs. Jane Claire Lambert that suggested fun activities to use with classic children's books daily for five days each week. 

Six year later, I was asked by The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew to review Mrs. Lambert's book Before Five In A Row and I literally JUMPED at the offer.  I knew without a doubt that this book was going to be just as wonderful as I had found the original Five In A Row to be when I began homeschooling and I have not been disappointed at all!

In Before Five In A Row, Ms. Lambert provides a list of enriched, engaging classic children's books that are widely available.  Titles such as Caps for Sale, The Little Rabbit, Blueberries for Sal, Goodnight Moon, and many, many more have been chosen for teaching this curriculum.  For each one of these books Mrs. Lambert has written a detailed lesson plan, providing reading, play, science, math and simple snack ideas that build upon the story to provide a real life experience of the book to the child reading it.  But that's not all that is provided in Before Five In A Row

In the latter part of Before Five In A Row, Mrs. Lambert has provided a section called the Parent's Treasury of Creative Ideas for Learning Readiness.  This section provides parents with an extensive list of ideas to use for creating their own "unit" study for their own children's classics and favorites.  It begins by explaining how to gage if a child is ready to learn important reading skills and shows a parent how to build upon those skills as their child grows and developes to encourage a life-long love of reading and learning. 
For our review of this book, I purchased the book Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? by N.W. Carlstrom.  Jesse, a small little bear, must figure out the appropriate clothing for each event throughout this book from his rain jacket and boots to his pajamas at bed time.  My preschooler absolutely LOVED listening to the story about Jesse, picking out objects she recognized throughout the books and repeating many of the words she also recognized as we read. 

For fun and as an extension of her lesson, we dressed up her stuffed animals using old baby clothes.  We also colored our own Jesse Bear's, simple bear print outs I found online.  We practiced the suggested bible verse A cheerful heart makes good medicine (Proverbs 17:22) and a happy heart makes a cheerful face (Proverbs 15:13).  We also colored heart printed outs and drew happy faces on those hearts, as well as on smiley faces.  We really enjoyed reading Jesse Bear and learning through his story.

Before Five In A Row is written by Jane Claire Lambert for preschool children age 2-4.  It concentrates upon building memorable learning experiences and family bonding for young children, as well as strengthening pre-learning skills needed for education.  You can read an explanation of the book hereBefore Five In A Row can be purchased through Rainbow Resource for around $35.  To read more reviews of this book from the TOS Crew click here.

*Disclaimer - Before Five In A Row was provided to me by the TOS Homeschool Review Crew in exchange for my honest opinion of this product.  I was not required to provide a positive review and I was given no money in exchange for my opinion. 

Monday, September 12, 2011 {Crew Review} is our first review of an online program for TOS Homeschool Crew this year.  This company provides an extensive study program for children in grades K-8 to use in order to build daily skills in the core subjects of reading, math and more.  For each task completed a coin is given for the child to later use in the Game section.  The child is able to create a "buddy" avatar to use in the Game section for added fun. uses games throughout to provide a fun learning experience for all children.  There is a free version to use but for the purposes of this review I was given access to their premium services to use. 

BigIQKids Spelling provides 40 premade lessons for your child to work through or allows the parent to create their own list based upon their own personal list of words.  Vocabulary is also provided for study in conjunction to the available spelling lists.  Available games are Word Jumble, Spelling Bee, Hang Bot, Word Search and more.  At the completion of each level the child will either recieve a smile or frown letting them know that they have completed that section of the list.

BigIQKids Math provides children with quizes covering the basics of math facts like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Each list is generated based on the child's grade level or parent's selection in the lesson modification section.  Lessons may be timed to provide a bigger challenge for the child.  At the completion of each lesson the child once again recieves a coin for use in the Game section.

BigIQKids States program is a fun way to learn more about the states, as well as learn their relevant location on the United States map.  There is an interactive map for your child to choose which state to begin their lessons with or they can choose any of these four available options: State Location, State Spelling, State Capital, State Abbreviation.  This section re-enforces any study of the state's available and provides extra practice in learning more about each state.

BigIQKids Vocabulary program is available in conjunction with their spelling to provide a comprehensive word study unlike any other currently available.  Parents can choose to provide their own word list to work with or use any of a number of available lists provided on the site. 

BigIQKids newest feature is their SAT Vocabulary Prep.  This section provides students with a necessary vocabulary study in preparation for the SAT test given throughout the United States.  Any student heading in the direction of college can benefit from this section to help strenghten their vocabulary and their test taking skills. 

Each section of provides the user with a different, yet fun challenge.  Used daily this website can benefit any child providing extra drill in spelling and math, while keeping the skills fresh and challenging.  My children personally benefited from this website by reviewing words they use daily and math basics that they need a little extra help in.  They truly enjoyed the games provided and the simplistic set-up of the site.  I will admit that they did become a little bored with the rote memorization of skills but mostly because this style of learning is not one we normally use in our home.  In the future, we will be using our membership to BigIQKids to increase our participation in this sort of educational style and we look forward to learning this way. is a recipient of the TOS Homeschool Crew Blue Ribbon Award for 2011.  It is a wonderful tool for educational use at home.  To read more reviews of please visit the TOS Crew Blog.

*Disclaimer - I was provided a complimentary year's subscription for two children by and TOS Magazine for purpose of this review.  I was required to provide my honest, though not necessarily positive, opinion of this site in exchange for this subscription. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

One Call Away ~ A Memoir by Brenda Warner {Booksneeze Review}

Retail: $16.99 US

     One Call Away: Answering Life's Challenges with Unshakable Faith is the true story of the life of Brenda Warner, wife of NFL Champ, Kurt Warner.  Over the years, Brenda's life has become a fairytale dream come true but it hasn't always been that way.  Brenda spent many years struggling to have faith in God, make ends meet and care for her beautiful family with little to no help other than that which God provided for her.  In One Call Away, Brenda tells of her life's struggles and how she overcame all with God's help.  She also tells the experience of how Kurt's life changed over the years, making him into the strong Christian father that he is today.  She shares the experience of their growing relationship together, raising a child with an unexpected disability, the loss of her parents in a terrible natural disaster and how she made it through each event to become stronger and more faithful than ever before.  One Call Away is an inspiring story that will leave you praising God for the blessing he provides each of us daily.

     One Call Away: Answering Life's Challenges with Unshakable Faith by Brenda Warner with Jennifer Schuchmann is available from Thomas Nelson Publishers for $16.99.  You can also purchase this book through

* Disclaimer: This book was provided to me for free to review by  I was not required to write a positive review, only to read this book and provide my personal opinion.


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