Friday, May 31, 2013

Seeking the Hidden

I was sitting here looking at old blog posts and it got me thinking.  No realizing really.  I used to write a lot on here.  I used to write about important things that truly mattered to me.

Then one day someone made a rude comment.  And another time I realized I was putting myself out a little more than I was comfortable with.  I was giving access to others that I didn't want to have that access to me.

So I stopped writing.  I held back telling my story and that of my kids.  I stopped sharing photos as much.  I hid myself and my heart unless I was called out to tell something.

All because of those people who made me realize they were watching.  They saw.  They knew more than I wanted them to.

It's amazing how the little things do matter so much.  Other's opinions make us think.  Make us aware that something may not be right.

I used to not care about how other's perceived me.   I used to not care if someone noticed things I didn't want them to.  But keeping my children hidden and safe became important to me.  Keeping the bad away so they could be surrounded with the good.

I've come to realize, we are safe now.  They are safe here with Mommy and Daddy, though maybe not the Daddy they began with but certainly one who loves them just as much as he would have had they been born unto him.

I always say that Mommy's and Daddy's aren't always born to their children but they are given their children when God sees fit.  And he has seen fit.  Oh boy, has he ever.  He's provided something my children have always needed in life: a good, strong loving father to provide for them in more ways than just with money.  To provide them with life, memories and opportunities even I could have never imagined for them.

Good things come to those who wait patiently and I think it's time I stop hiding our life and start sharing it again so that it can reach out and touch beyond the closed walls I've erected.  It's time to come out of hiding and live again.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Simplified Pantry {Review}


Simplified Pantry helps make homemaking easy!  Mystie Winckler took her love of cooking and home organization and created a project that everyone can benefit from.  Simplified Pantry is a way of life for Mystie and she has chosen to share her lifestyle with us through her website and available e-books.

Mystie began tweaking recipes and cooking from scratch when she realized her son had a mild allergy to corn.  Since most products and recipes are corn-based, Mystie had to adapt recipes and create her own so that her son, along with the rest of her family, could eat good tasting foods without stirring up his allergy.

Recently, I discovered my own youngest son has an allergy to sweet potatoes, which means I also must tweak recipes and check labels to see that he doesn't intake any food containing them.  It's not as easy as you'd think since many pre-made foods contain sweet potatoes.  This could trigger a violent reaction in my child that I long to avoid, much like Mystie wished to avoid with her own son.

Mystie's recipe books, Simplified Dinners and Simplified Dinners Gluten Free have helped me to be able to make this transition to sweet potato free recipes a little easier by showing me how to create simple and easy meals from scratch with easy to use ingredients.  Through Simplified Dinners, I have been able to provide wholesome foods for my baby that I know I can trust.  


Another bonus of Simplified Dinners is that they are quick and easy to prep and plan for.  Her Master Pantry List covers everything imaginable that you could need to make even the most unexpected meal.  Her ideals on meal planning keep you on track so you don't have to wonder what's for dinner tonight.  

Each section of the book is broken down into a main ingredient type that you can adjust to your dinner tastes for the night.  So say you take out chicken but have no idea what to make, you can take a look at your Simplified Dinners e-book and whip up a meal in no time!  The meals are full of flavor and absolutely delicious.  They are also adaptable to your families flavor preferences.  The ease of Simplified Dinners is something that everyone can appreciate!


Simplified Dinners is amazing alone but it's even better when paired with Mystie's other e-book, Paperless Home Organization.  Paperless Home Organization teaches you how to better utilize your digital products to manage your day to day life.  Paperless Home Organization does away with the pen and paper method, allowing you to track everything you do with your computer, phone and/or tablet if you have one.

Paperless Home Organization teaches you how to use simple free programs and apps so that you can have all your necessary information at your fingertips at all times.  She covers everything from email to note taking to using your calendar and contacts to organize your life efficiently without having a ton of paper to keep up with.  


I followed the program as suggested by Paperless Home Organization and found it to be very helpful in many aspects but not directly as the program was written.  I had to adapt this program to better fit me, utilizing the email program that I already use and also using my personal calendar already in use.  I did and still love using Evernote with this program and find that it works wonderfully for me for keeping up with snippets online that I need.  The program also helped me to really get motivated to keep up with appointments and scheduling better than I had before using it.  It has also helped me to get better control of my multiple emails.

Simplified Dinners, Simplified Dinners Gluten Free and Paperless Home Organization are available from Simplified Pantry.  Simplified Dinners and Simplified Dinners Gluten Free are both available as a PDF for $12.99.  Paperless Home Organization is available as PDF or on Kindle for $3.99.  


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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Atlantic Fears

Yesterday, I did something I swore I never would that I found totally amazing, yet I will never ever do again. That's right, y'all - friends talked me into going on a boat into the great Atlantic Ocean.  And it was the most beautiful thing, yet it was the most terrifying experience I've had in a long time.


For me, it was akin to giving birth.  I received the greatest gift in giving birth - my children.  Yet because I had multiple c-sections, it was a terrifying experience even though I knew God was with me all along.

I don't swim y'all.  I can't even doggie paddle.  And floating - that's a no go too!  So for me, being out there in that tiny boat surrounded only by sunshine, water and fish was really scary beyond belief.



I'm proud to say I completely survived.  I conquered a fear that day too.  And it was nothing like I thought it would be.

The Atlantic Ocean is absolutely gorgeous.  I can only imagine that all Oceans are but I've only seen this one.  I saw my first Sand Shark up close and personal.  It was beautiful.  White with leathery, grey skin and tiny, sharp teeth.



We were 40 miles out in the ocean for a good part of the day.  While the other's fished, I just hung out around the boat praying it wouldn't turn over with me in it.  They caught lots of beautiful fish: Blue fish, Sea Bass, Sea Brim and three Sand Sharks.  I've never seen such beautiful fish as they all were and certainly never that close up.



We were out on the water for 12 hours and 2 minutes.  It's a day I will never forget and one I will never experience again.  It's something I will forever tell my children and grandchildren about.

The best part of the day was watching the sun set over the Myrtle Beach coastline.  I've always wanted to see the sun set on the coast and God surely made that happen for me.  Something I thought would never happen came true.  God's simplest beauties shown to me from a completely different angle than I ever expected to experience.



It was something I never expected to do and it happened rather suddenly.  It's something I will choose to never do again but I can promise I will always remember the joyful experience over the fear of my day.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Scaredy Cat Reading System Level One {Review}


Over the years, I've heard a lot about Joyce Herzog and her amazing educational products.  A dear friend began using the Scaredy Cat Reading System with her son this year and I thought to myself, "I wonder just how well it works".  I was excited to find that Mrs. Herzog was to be one of our review vendors with The Old Schoolhouse Magazine this year and my product choice was, of course, the Scaredy Cat Reading System.



I chose the Scaredy Cat Reading System Level One - Letter Names and Sounds for my review product simply because I wanted to start from the very beginning with it.  This program is for both beginning and struggling readers, both of which I have at home.  I can tell you, it works amazingly well for both types of readers.

The Scaredy Cat Reading System is fun and not overwhelming for the student or the parent to use.  Lots of fun game activities keep the child intrigued and involved in their lessons, instead of allowing them to become bored and ready to quit.  It honestly reminds me a lot of school work when I was a child, before children were required to sit at a desk for most of the day.

The Scaredy Cat Reading System Level One comes fully equipped with an extensive teacher's manual which explains how the program works, what is needed for the program and it's exercises/activities/lessons, and printables which can be reproduced for use with the lessons throughout the program.  This guide prepares the teacher for what's to come and gives a good start to being prepared to use the Scaredy Cat Reading System the best way possible.

The Scaredy Cat Reading System also introduces the Story of the Letter Master, which children must know to understand the purpose of the system.  The Story of the Letter Master is introduced in Comic Book style to the readers.  Included as a bonus is a CD with the story and other important level one songs.

Other things included with this program are the ABC Reader which is written in an easy form for children to absorb and understand.  Letters are introduced in fun fonts and styles.  Song lyrics are included in this reader for the student to follow along.  Stories and bible verses are also provided for the little readers to see the words in print.

The student activity book for this program is HUGE.  It's jam-packed full of activities and lessons.  Much like the reader, the activities come in differing fonts and styles to keep the student intrigued.  Stories are kept simple for early readers and many lessons focus on letter introduction, allowing the student to really grasp each letter they are learning.  Lessons are easy to teach and follow along with, allowing the student a firmer understanding of what they are learning throughout the program.

Additional things included with this program are Reversal Prevention Charts which come in a clear page protector for your use. Letter charts to cut out and use with your student.  The games needed to complete the program and a game spinner for needed activities.

The Scaredy Cat Reading System is extensive and thorough.  It doesn't take long to put it together and put it in place in your educational programming.  It's a complete program and well-worth it's investment at $75.  Additional student books can be purchased for $30 each which is a steal considering the size of the book and the extensiveness of the program.  Sample downloads are available on JoyceHerzog.com.

This is a program that we have enjoyed.  I worked with both my struggling and my new reader on this, which they really enjoyed doing together.  Several times a week, we'd pull out the reader and student book but what they really loved was the games we played.  Even my advanced reader enjoyed joining in with us on those.  This is something we will definitely be continuing to use in our homeschool.

To learn more about Joyce Herzog and her amazing educational tools and programs, please visit www.joyceherzog.com.


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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Get Your Membership To The Schoolhouse Library Today!!


Have you heard the news???  The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has introduced something completely new!  The Schoolhouse Library!

The Schoolhouse Library has 175 e-books or audio books all in one place for you to use!  Homeschooling support and encouragement from some of homeschooling's greatest!  And all for a one-time purchase of $25.

Buy your subscription to The Schoolhouse Library today to get started!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Science Naturally! {Review}

Science Naturally! provided the crew with their very awesome One Minute Mysteries: 65 MORE Short Mysteries You Solve With Science book, written by Eric and Natalie Yoder.  This wonderful award winning book makes you think about science in a unique and fun way.  One Minute Mysteries: 65 MORE Short Mysteries You Solve With Science is a book you'll read again and again.

The stories throughout this book are short.  Each page contains a totally different science mystery written for children in simple language that is easy to comprehend.  One the front of each page, there is a mystery while on the back of each page the reader finds the answer.  And the answer isn't written in just a blah reply of science, but is presented in an intriguing and fun answer that leaves readers wanting to know more.  Added bonus is that each mystery takes a minute or less to read even with the answer!



We used this book together and alone.  I chose to read several entries just for fun during for science one day.  It made a great read aloud and left the kids wanting to read and learn more.  And each one did!  My older daughter took the book to her room to read at bedtime where she often reads her favorite fact books. She also read it aloud to her brother and sister, asking questions about each one before moving on to discover the answers.

This fun book is one that will remain in our library.  We will probably add other books from Science Naturally! because it does fit in so well with our laid-back eclectic and unschoolish educational style.  It would be a great edition to any homeschool though, as it can be used as a read-aloud or as a chapter book for your students.

One Minute Mysteries: 65 MORE Short Mysteries You Solve With Science is available at Science Naturally! for $9.95 plus shipping.  This is definitely one book you will want to add into your homeschool!

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Whirlwind of Thoughts

Have you ever had so much to say that you simply didn't want to talk?  That's how I am feeling right now.  Or maybe it's just that I don't know where to start.  Or that I don't want the drama that can sometimes follow the words that flow from the heart.

There is so much going on in our life and this world at the moment that my heart feels too many emotions all at once.  My soul cries for the massive loss of yesterday's tornado in Moore, OK - for the babies that were taken in the breath of a storm and the parents who miss them more than I can even begin to understand.  My constant prayers are with those who have yet to be found and those who are still looking for those they love. Time is detrimental.

I look at my daily life and it seems so little in comparison to all these families are going through.  They've lost everything - homes, cars, lives.  They woke up yesterday morning with the everyday "normal" and went to bed with nothing material left.

In the shared images yesterday there was a photo of the massive rubble and centered in that was a simple object, a nick-nack ornament for the wall that simply said, "The most important things in life aren't things".  Those words in that moment, surrounded by destruction spoke louder to me than the larger than life tornado in the images I see on my screen.  The most important things in life aren't things.  The most important things in life are alive, heart beating, breathing people and animals.  The material things can all be replaced but the life of a person, the love of another being cannot.

The other thing that touched me most was the mention that someone looking through the rubble found a mother and her young infant hiding in a freezer.  Neither of them made it but that Momma did her very best to save herself and her young child.  Together they were called "home" and I think how blessed that child was to have a Mother who would sacrifice everything to save them even if she failed.  In the chance to save my babies, I would have done the same.

God comes calling every single day - we never know when His coming is, only that we need to be prepared for it.  We must teach our babies to be prepared for it.  For when He comes, whether it be mid-day or swift in the night, we must be ready and willing to go wherever He asks us to.  No pain, no suffering and more love than we can imagine awaits us.  But for those left behind, wishing it wasn't so, prayers are there - prayers for peace and healing, understanding that God has a bigger picture than any of us can even know.  He knows His reason for doing things, even when we do not and his heart is in shreds and tears with tears falling for all the pain this storm has caused.

When the dark falls, morning is on the horizon.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Can't Wait Willow! {Review}

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Can't Wait Willow! from Shine Bright Kids is simply adorable!  The circus has come to town and little Willow simply can't wait.  She's in a hurry to see the show.

Along the way Willow finds many things that she simply can't wait for.  The ice-cream truck with it's deliciously cool, creamy mint-chocolate chip cone - my favorite too!  A cold glass of lemonade.  Pink cotton candy among so many other things. Willow simply can't wait.

Because Willow can't wait, she ends up spending all of her money and cannot see the circus show she has excitedly been waiting for.  Oh no, Willow!  What happens next will come as a big surprise to everyone, including Willow!

To find out what happens, be sure to read this wonderful book: Can't Wait Willow!  It's available from Shine Bright Kids for $14.99.  This adorable book has quickly become a favorite in our home and is sure to be one in yours too!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Papa's Pearls {Review}



Papa's Pearls: A Father's Gift of Love and Wisdom To His Children and Grandchildren is a loving memoir of the life of Diane Flynn Keith's father.  Mrs. Keith shares the trials and triumphs taught to her throughout her life by her loving, hard-working father Carol Joseph Flynn.  Papa's Pearls shares Carol's story.


Carol Joseph Flynn was born and raised during the time of the Great Depression.  His mother named him for a King but growing up with a girl's name in America didn't have royal results. Immediately, Carol learned he had to be tough to make it in life with a name like Carol.

Papa's Pearls shares how Carol lived, the wisdoms he learned along the way.  He hide nothing from his children, sharing with them his experiences in a Boy's Home, close call with prison and most importantly how he chose to turn everything around to become a better man and the loving father he was to them.

Papa's Pearls is a wonderfully written memoir that would make a great gift to a troubled teenaged boy, a young man on his way to changing his troubled life or someone who can relate to the stories that Diane Flynn Keith shares of her father throughout the book.  It's also a wonderful read to discuss the time period of the Great Depression, how people lived and survived the era.  It would be a great addition to any personal library.  

I greatly enjoyed the humor and wit used throughout this book.  The chapters were touching, providing great wisdom on everyday matters that can still be applied today.  You can purchase an autographed copy of Papa's Pearls: A Father's Gift of Love and Wisdom to His Children and Grandchildren on the Papa's Pearls website for $21.97.  Papa's Pearls, the blog is also full of stories, posts and inspiration much like that provided in the book itself.


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Friday, May 10, 2013

Magazine.com {Review}

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."




Magazine.com is an awesome place to order magazines.  Magazine.com has 1000's to choose from.  Many are $10 or less and they are shipped right to your door.

Magazine.com magazines make great gifts for Christmas, Mother's or Father's Day, birthdays, and graduation.  There are magazines for everyone.  Adults and children, families, and friends.  You can find them all at Magazine.com.

Not only do they have magazines at Magazines.com, they also have books, newspapers, journals, calendars, movies, fragrances and much much more!!!  It's a site filled with gift's galore for every occasion.

Some of my favorites I found on the site are: Good Housekeeping Magazine, Southern Living Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, and National Geographic Magazine.  For the kids, I found American Girl Magazine, Nat Geo Kids, Highlights, High Five, Disney Princess, Rick Jr., Young Rider, Jack and Jill, Dig and so many more!

In books you can find anything from classics to weird facts.  Some of the ones I liked are Charlotte Mason's Original Homeschooling series, The Year of Learning Dangerously, The Lego Ideas Book, You Are My Cupcake and so many more.



Check out Magazine.com today to see what awesome deals are in store for you!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

LiteracySoft: Phonics and Reading with McGuffey {Review}


LiteracySoft is a quality company dedicated to developing easy-to-use, inexpensive programs to teach reading to people of all ages.  LiteracySoft uses lessons from McGuffey Readers to teach their simple method and get readers reading.  Whether through their app or on PC, LiteracySoft is fun for all.

For this review, we were given a free download of the LiteracySoft app to try.  Phonics and Reading with McGuffey contains 52 complete lessons for reading.  These 52 lessons work to bring the student up to a first grade reading level.  It is also a great reading review tool for those struggling with reading at any age.

Phonics and Reading with McGuffey allows the student to work at his/her own pace without having an instructor telling them what they need to do.  Taking away the instructor often takes the pressure out of learning to read and puts it into the hands of the child, allowing them to grasp important reading concepts as they work through the program on their own.  And what better way is there to do that then with an all time, tried and true great like the McGuffey Reader!


In this app, the student will find all 52 McGuffey Primer lessons, 44 letter sounds of English and their graphemes, over 60 letter sound animations, more than 400 practice vocabulary words, and an over 9000 nonsense word audio dictionary.

After downloading the app, the user will find the unique ABC icon on their iPad page and can immediately begin after downloading is finished.  Spoken directions tell the user what to do when beginning.  Choose a color button and type your name to get started with this app.

On the next page, the user can then read the Table of Contents, change their settings or begin the lesson.  Choosing the Table of Contents allows the user to choose from any of the 53 included lessons on the app.  This allows the user to jump around and repeat lessons as needed.

In the User Settings section, the user can choose to skip phonics rules explanations, not to sound out words in a phonics blender, use an Open Dyslexic font, monochrome letters in words and sentences for easier viewing and hide the previous and next lesson arrows throughout the program.


Upon clicking Begin Lesson, there is a brief instructional showing the student how to use the app.  At the top, the user can find a repeat button.  Below that is a menu button.  There is also a previous and next part button to click back or ahead in a lesson.  The lessons, as mentioned before, follow those in the McGuffey Primer, so they are simple and easy to follow along with.

Cute actions graphics are included along with the lesson, which also goes along with the original primer lessons in style, only more up-to-date for this time period.  As the student works through, the program sounds out the word, completing this with the complete word's spoken name: cat = c a t (kuh aa tuh) = cat.

As lessons increase, so do the activities included.  A jump menu appears to allow the student to work on different activities throughout that lesson.  Some of these activities include workings specifically on Letter Sounds, new words, Phonics with flashcards, blending phonics, viewing the lesson's illustrations closer, practice of reading, quizes, spelling practice and sight word drilling.  Students working through can pick and choose the activities they'd like to complete as they work through each lesson.

This app quickly became a family favorite for us.  My children's reading skills and development has increased greatly just in the review period of a few short weeks.  This program is something that will be added into our homeschooling for all our readers.  The kids all agree it's a lot of fun to complete lessons.  It's also great for my interactive, video-game learner who hates learning to read anything in a book.


We used this app for several weeks.  I was able to create a profile for every one of my children and myself to play with this app.  It was very easy to set up lessons for each of them to complete.  This app was a little advanced still for my 5 year old but she is gradually growing into it.  It was perfect for my struggling reader to work with and he has made a lot of improvement in a short time.  My advanced reader also found the app enjoyable and used it to hone in on her personal reading skills and goals.

Phonics and Reading with McGuffey app is available in through the LiteracySoft website.  There is a free trail of the first 10 lessons available and also available for trial on PC.


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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Blown Away {Epilepsy Awareness}


I'm sitting here tonight, blown away.  Earlier tonight another sweet angel was called to Heaven.  This sweet boy had Epilepsy.  He was only a year older than my sweet baby Laycie.

6 years old seems like such a short life.  Laycie is 5.  I cannot understand how a child can suffer such a thing and have brought God Glory in such a short time.  Things are not for me to understand.

I pray daily for children, like my babies, who suffer from Epilepsy, among other things.  I have so many people that I love who's beautiful babies have this dreadful disorder.  And I wonder why must our children suffer from this?

Another friend told about her day as an Epilepsy Mom.  She was confronted by a woman who told her that her precious son has Epilepsy because of she chose to have tattoos.  It was God's way of punishing her.  I say if that's God's way for doing something so simple then I guess everyone would be punished.  And if Satan has a hand in it then that should be a simple fix!

Unless you have a child with Epilepsy or some similar debilitating disorder, you cannot understand what it's like as a Mother to deal with insolence and stupidity when it comes to others who don't understand.  Stereotypes and stigmas surround Epilepsy.  People truly believe that demons possess those of us who have Epilepsy.  People think holding an exorcism will simply take them away.  But that's not how it works.

This disorder is VERY REAL.  It's real for all of us who daily watch our babies struggle to hold on for life.  And it's real for those of us who have to watch our children slip away, who have to say goodbye way too early to those precious beings that we love so much.

I cannot imagine what it is to lose a child.  I pray to never have to know.  But the reality is that my own baby could leave me just the way this sweet boy left the world today: in a coma induced from her seizures, never again waking to tell me "I love you, Mommy" or "sleep with me Mommy" or "I need some Mommy time".

Tomorrow, I will make it a point to go to her therapy with her, to hold my baby boy, to kiss my eldest head and to hug my sweet artist a little tighter.  Tomorrow I will make it a point to be there in the moment and be thankful for the blessings I do have because they aren't promised but they are a gift to be appreciated.  Never take them for granted and keep the family of the sweet boy who passed today in your thoughts and prayers.

God bless <3 p="">

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Home School In The Woods: Great Empires {Review}


Home School In The Woods is the creation of the wonderful Pak family.  Amy, along with her husband and four children, wanted to share Amy's creativity in designing better historical images, timelines, unit studies and lap books with others who homeschool so they developed Home School In The Woods in 1998 to bring these items to others.  There wonderful illustrations and materials help bring History to life.

Great Empires is one of many of Home School In The Woods extensive unit studies.  Available as a download or on disk, this study has everything you will need to begin a thorough study of the Greatest Empires known to mankind.  This study if fully hands-on and easily implemented.  Printing and some work putting the study together is required for completion.  Adobe Reader is also required for usage of this program.

For this review, we received a download of the study to use for our daily lessons in our home.  After downloading the program, the curriculum itself opens in a web browser on the start page.  This page provides links to every section of the study, much like a notebook.  A picture of the details of this download, the completed projects and materials is provided for viewing on this page also.



Included in this study are over 30 activities to be completed, including recipes, games, text and more.  It is suggested that it takes 1-3 days to complete an empire study.  Since we were using this for review, we took 1-2 days doing various activities per unit with the idea that we will work over it again later.  The study did require a fair amount of prep from me since I had to preview links and materials to make sure they were working properly and providing the information we needed to complete the study, as well as finding which parts of the study we were actually going to use in our lessons.  I found no problems, thankfully, and was easily able to make this work for us.

A world map is included in this study, for mapping the locations of the Empires provided in the study.  Pre-made timelines are also a part of the study, allowing room for pictures and notes as needed.  These are blackline masters, as are the historical figures provided to be used with the timeline.  They can easily be colored in by children to provide further interaction with the featured era and figure of the time.

Text is provided in a printable form and so is a project activity list for each lesson.  Each unit has activities for mapping, creative projects and even cooking.  This helps brings the lesson itself to life.  Adding books from the library, as well as links from the internet make this study even more easily adaptable for using educationally.

My children and I all enjoyed using this study.  I was able to use it with all three of my children and have them walk away with new knowledge of each of the Empires of the study.  Some of our lessons led to more in depth studies and new found interests in other cultures and also foods.  It was a great program that we thoroughly enjoyed using for the time period of this review.  It is also a program that I will use again in more depth along the way as we revisit this Empires again in our daily curriculum plans.

Great Empires is available from Home School In The Woods online for $18.95 for the download version or $19.95 plus shipping for the CD version.  Other studies are also available and can be viewed online at Home School In The Woods.

Empires included in this study are:
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Greece
Ancient Rome
Ancient China
Arab-Muslim Empire
Mongolian Empire
Viking Empire
Spanish Empire
French Empire
English Empire
German Empire
Japanese Empire

Russian Empire
The United States of America


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Ring The Bell {Review}

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."



Ring The Bell, the movie tells the story of Rob Decker a big city sports agent who has it all.  Or so he thinks.  Rob comes to find himself in a small town looking for new talent for the field.  Instead he finds simplicity, peace and a faith from people that he could never before have imagined.  

Rob's fast-paced life makes it hard for him to let go and give in to his own faith.  His must-win mindset prevents him from truly seeing the gifts God is bestowing upon him and placing in his path.  Throughout the movie, circumstances keep Rob in town, allowing him to see the difference in the life he has now and the life he's meant to have.  



Ring The Bell features great Christian artists like Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Matthew West, along with baseball many baseball greats, like Rick Sutcliffe, John Kruk and Ben Zobrist.

Ring The Bell is a movie our whole family loved.  My children were absolutely glued to the tv throughout this amazing movie.  Even Josh enjoyed it and has watched it over and over since our first viewing.  I personally had tears in my eyes every time the bell rang.  It is definitely a movie you won't soon forget.

Ring The Bell is available online and in stores for around $12.99.  Get your copy today!  It's a movie you're sure to love!!!



Thursday, May 2, 2013

Enjoy God's Promises

Last month really got away from me!  I kept thinking it's April and I have plenty of time to blog.  I'll do it tomorrow.  Then BOOM, it's May!  For me the month flew by!

April was a good month but a busy month.  My baby girl turned 5.  She's such a joy!  So spirited and chatty.  She starts talking when she wakes up and she doesn't stop until she falls asleep at night.  But every day she brings happiness and joy to all of us.  And every day she shares some new knowledge of something she's learned or life through her precious eyes.  Her sweet heart is unlike any thing I could ever imagine.

All my babies bring so much joy into my life.  My oldest recently learned to ride his bike.  He's twelve, the same age I was when I finally accomplished that task.  He did it on his own, just like me, with out being pushed to do it.  Simply got on, made up his mind and rode.  I couldn't be prouder of his accomplishment or his new found will to do something he's never done before.  He experienced his first injury riding that bike this week too but he's still willing to get right back on.  Every day he comes one step closer to being a man and I couldn't be more impressed with this young man on his way.

My sweet Emma is growing up too.  This week she cleaned her toilet all on her own and voluntarily.  This girl who thinks cleaning is disgusting.  This girl who would rather live in a mess than pick up her dirty clothing.  She cleaned a toilet!  All on her own and very well too!  Then she dusted our entire living room.  Washed down every item on every table without complaint.  She even dusted in her brother's room.  She's growing into a wonderful young lady.  She's going to make an amazing wife and mother when she's grown.  But for now, she's making her Momma proud and rising up to bless me like I could never have imagined.

My baby boy turned 8 months a few days ago.  8 months and it feels like he's always been a part of our lives, yet at the same time it seems like such a brief period of time.  8 months definitely flies by.  He's eating a lot better, loving meats and cookies and everything except Sweet Potatoes.  He's trying to crawl too.  Pushing up and rolling to get things he really wants, like baby wipes that he rubs over his hands and face.  He's a joy, too, but he's growing way to fast to be my last baby.  Brings tears to my Momma eyes to know that soon he won't be a baby.  Soon he'll be crawling, then pulling up, walking then running away.

I'm not ready for them to grow up but they do anyways, no matter what Momma wants.  Babies grow up and before we blink they are moving away.  We have to enjoy every moment we have them and I plan to.

It's a big part of why I homeschool.  I won't give my promised moments to someone who doesn't love them like I do.  I won't hand them over for someone else to have those God-promised memories we share.  I will raise them up and love every minute, even though I may complain and may be told I should cut the apron strings.  I will when the time comes but for now, we make memories, we share love like no other, and we grow and learn together as God intended us to.  And we'll keep on until God-promises otherwise.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Cry From Egypt {Giveaway}



Last year, I reviewed A Cry From Egypt on the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  This wonderful story written by the beautiful, Hope Auer, was a immediate favorite in our homeschooling.  Now we have been asked to host a giveaway of this wonderful book for our readers!

To enter to win your own personal SIGNED copy of A Cry From Egypt, simply complete the entries in our RaffleCopter giveaway!  And to read more of our review of A Cry From Egypt, as well as other Schoolhouse Reviews of the book, visit our original blog post: A Cry From Egypt - Raising Real Men Review.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received this product in exchange for review months ago through the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I am not receiving anything in exchange for this giveaway.  I'm including this disclaimer in accordance with FTC guidelines.

Hey God, I've Got Some Guy Named Jonah In My Stomach: The Whale's Side of the Story {Review}

By Troy Schmidt
BH Publishing Group

Hey God, I've Got Some Guy Named Jonah In My Stomach And I Think I'm Going To Throw Up! is possibly the funniest children's bible story I have personally ever read.  This hilarious story is written by Troy Schmidt from a totally different viewpoint that no one has thought of telling before: That of the Whale itself!

Whale tells how he was simply swimming around the ocean when one day out of the blue he heard God speaking to him.  (Yes, apparently, Whales believe in God too!)  Much like Jonah, Whale didn't want to listen to God's commands so he swam off as fast as he could in the opposite direction of God's whispered wishes.  But that Whale didn't miss out on the glory of working for God because God planned it that way all along and the Whale ended up right where God wished for him to be.

To find out what happens, well you will just have to read the story: Hey God, I've Got Some Guy Named Jonah In My Stomach And I Think I'm Going To Throw Up!  It's available today from BH Publishing Group for $9.99.  It's a book you will surely enjoy and a story you won't soon forget!!

The BEST part is that Propeller has generously offered to gift one of our readers with their own copy of this awesome book.  To win a copy of Hey God, I've Got Some Guy Named Jonah In My Stomach And I Think I'm Going To Throw Up!  just complete the entries listed in my RaffleCopter Giveaway today!



"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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