Thursday, July 27, 2017

Too Blessed To Be Stressed.. Devotional {Frontgate Review}

Have you been looking for a devotional to use every day that brings peace to your soul?  The Too Blessed to be Stressed... Inspiration for Every Day devotional may be just what you need.  This book is beautifully written and designed to be inspiring to you, the reader.

There are 365 devotions included within the pages of this book by Debora M. Coty.  The devotions are dated with dates that can be read and used again and again, like May 2nd or December 6th.  There is one devotion for each and every day.

These devotions touch on differing topics that reach to your heart.  Things like Loose Lips and The Real Deal.  There's something there to touch your heart and change your thinking for sure.

The devotions are short as well.  Keeping devotions short ensures that you can complete at least a daily devotion every day, bringing you closer to God and His word.  Each devotion also includes a Bible verse to meditate upon and inspirational words to encourage you on your journey.

Too Blessed to be Stressed... Inspiration for Every Day is definitely inspiring and encouraging for every day.  And at $16.99 this little book is affordable as well.  Don't miss out on the Giveaway going on now at

The Crafty Classroom: R.E.A.D. {Crew Review}

Have you ever been to The Crafty Classroom website?  Have you seen the amazing products available there, like the Learning to R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook and the R.E.A.D. Review Pack?  There are LOADS of other great things there too.

First, let me say how much I love The Crafty Classroom and the amazing products there. You can seriously spend hours just looking through all the good things to use in your homeschooling.  Curriculum for all ages.  It's good stuff, y'all.  Check it out!

I'm planning to grab the Alphabet Curriculum Notebook pretty soon for Jackson.  This is a 26 week curriculum that I think will be amazing for him to work on his letters with.  And for $15, it's a steal!!

For this review though, we were given a PDF copy of the Learning to R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook, along with the R.E.A.D. Review Pack.  These two products really made me fall in love with The Crafty Classroom.  They are a complete reading curriculum for young students and they are packed with fun!  

The Learning to R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook is 798 pages long.  This curriculum doesn't cover the alphabet.  That's covered in the awesome Alphabet Curriculum Notebook.  This Notebook concentrates on learning to read by providing a different word family each week with awesome activities that go along with it.  Students also cover sight words that are easily recognized.

The week begins with a great brightly colored image that can be printed of the word family you'll be working on.  In the beginning of the file, you'll find a Daily Warm-Up sheet.  I chose to laminate this for Jack and Laycie.  It has space for their first and last name, a clock to use hands to mark the time, as well as an analog box for learning to write the time.  It has a place for temperature and weather for the day.  There's a calendar to make the month, day and year, as well as the day of the week.  It's a great little start up for each day.

The first sheet of learning provides the word family word underlined with an arrow that instructs you to follow the sounds to learn the word.  Am is the first word so you would start with the "A" sound and follow through with the 'M" sound to teach your child to say the word.  This is quick and fun to do with your child to enforce learning to read.

The next part of the lesson jumps right into writing by putting a letter in front of "am" for your child to learn to relate words through rhyming.  This begins your lesson in learning about words that are similar and helps your child with spelling. It's great fun for your little one.

There are also printable cards for learning.  These can be printed on cardstock or paper and laminated as well.  They allow the child to see rhyming words as well as some sight words.  These are a great way to learn to recognize words in print.

There are sounding out and matching activities to help reinforce what your child is learning.  There are also grammar activities included in this curriculum which teach noun, verbs and other important grammar along with learning to read.  There are so many activities that your child will love learning with like mine have.

The R.E.A.D. Review Pack is really awesome as well.  This pack contains handy little readers that you print and staple together for your child to reinforce what they are learning in their Learning to R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook.  These are easy to make and use with your little ones.

I used these two items with Jack and Laycie who are both at different places in learning to read but both LOVE fun activities on worksheets for reading.  There were so many activities to make this last all week for them.  They looked forward to the daily lessons and enjoyed doing it together.  Jack still needs some alphabet work but we will be working on that soon.

You can purchase the Learning to R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook and the R.E.A.D. Review Pack from The Crafty Classroom.  The notebook pack is $25 and the review pack is $15.  Both are priced incredibly low for the content they provide.

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    Crafty Classroom {Reviews}

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    Wednesday, July 26, 2017

    Health Update {July 2017}

    This week has been hard.  The last month really.  My medicine is no longer controlling my uterine bleeding like it had been and now I am exhausted again.

    I emailed my doctor's office last night to set up a new appointment with the doctor so I can go ahead and schedule my hysterectomy.  I wasn't ready before but now I am.  I want my life back and energy back.  I want to enjoy my days again.

    So right now, I'm low in energy.  I'm eating tons of spinach and other iron rich foods to keep my blood volume up but it's only doing so much since my body doesn't absorb iron like it should.  I'm also trying to take a multivitamin daily.

    I'm not sure when surgery will be schedule but I'm hoping by August 16th so I can be up and moving by Jack's birthday.  We will see.

    Until later on... I'm off to take a nap...

    ACTIVA Products are FUN for the Family {Crew Review}

    We live in an artistically creative household.  My 14 year old, Emmalee, dreams of being an artist.  She loves all mediums for Art.  So when the ACTIVA Products review became available I knew this would be exciting and fun for her and possibly my younger kids as well.  She has not been disappointed with the Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit or the ACTIVA Products' Favorite Sculptures KIDS CRAFTS free eBook.

    The Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit comes with 2 4 inch by 5 yard rolls of Rigid Wrap.  This stuff is AWESOME and we will talk about how to use it in a few minutes.  Also included is an 8oz package of CelluClay Instant Paper Mache.  Paper Mache was a FAVORITE of mine in Elementary school.  It brought me so much fun!

    There are also instructions for 12 different projects included with the box on a small set of sheets.  These ideas include a Volcano, a Totem Pole, a mask, a Happy Mummy, a Peppermint Candy Bowl, a Sarcophagus and more.  Jackson really wanted to make a Mummy and put him in the Sarcophagus.  We're still working on that.

    This whole kit is so neat!  I've never used Rigid Wrap before so it was a learning experience for both me and Emmalee, who ended up loving it.  She enjoyed the texture and feel of wetting the webbed material and smoothing it so that it formed to what she was trying to shape.  She cut strips and wrapped them around a straw to make beds which she later painted.  She used a small light bulb and draped the Rigid Wrap over half the bulb to make a small basket for their dolls.  She helped Jackson wrap a toilet paper roll with the wrap to make a Mummy and helped Laycie wrap another one so she could make a spider.  And they are still working on ideas to use the Rigid Wrap for fun!

    It does take a few hours for the product to dry.  It will feel cold to the touch if it's not yet dry.  And you can wet it again to reform it if needed.  It's really easy to work with and a whole lot of fun though I do warn you, that it makes little hands messy since it's a wet sticky substance.

    The CelluClay Instant Paper Mache is equally easy to use.  Add water and smooth it out over whatever your working on to create your project.  Start small and add more as you go.

    The ACTIVA Products' Favorite Sculptures KIDS CRAFTS free eBook was really great too.  This eBook is jam packed with great fun ideas to use the Rigid Wrap and CelluClay with your family.  It contains 12 fun sculpture ideas to be used.  The website also has great ideas for using the products as well.

    My kids have had so much fun with this, especially Emma.  At a price of $11.90, the kit is easy to budget in.  Emma plans to use the rest of our kit to make more beads that she can paint and design.  The paint adheres well to the products and hold the colors well.  I really look forward to more of her future designs.

    You can find ACTIVA Products online:

    Read more reviews by clicking below!

    Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit {ACTÍVA Products Reviews}

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    Thursday, July 20, 2017

    Take Flight In Your Homeschool {Crew Review}

    Do you have a child who loves planes?  Or maybe you have always wanted to learn more about flight.  Either way, Doctor Aviation and their flight learning platform is a great way to learn about flight, planes and all the elements that go along with the program in the comfort of your own home.

    This program is designed for older students or parents to use but if you have a young one who just loves planes, they can view the lessons alongside of you and really learn a lot.  So in my opinion, this is a family program for learning about flight.  Jam-packed with information that I haven't seen any where else.

    I really was not sure if I wanted to join in on this one because I'm not a big fan of aviation but I've really enjoyed learning more through Doctor Aviation.  The lessons begin with the basics of the course and the Aviation system.  Then you move straight into learning about the aircraft itself.

    The lessons on the aircraft cover every element involved.  The major components of the aircraft are covered, as well as the axes and forces involved.  You learn about why an aircraft flies and why they turn, pitch and how they fly.

    In section 3, you learn about Air Traffic Control and how it works to help keep aircraft safe.  Without Air Traffic Control, the airways would be a crazy place.  Air Traffic Control are the police of the airways, keeping the right people in the right places.

    Section 4 covers Aircraft Maintenance and how different engines are checked and how they are kept safe.  One person missing one thing on this list is life or death for those on the flight.  Those who do aircraft maintenance have one of the most important jobs of all.

    Section 5 teaches you Airfield Operations and how the airport works.  A large airport is a city in itself, containing all your personal needs while you wait in layover for your next flight.  It also covers the small airport, the little guys who don't get the big action.

    In the last section, section 6, you visit the Aircraft again, learning more about the particular elements that make up the plane.  You learn how altitude works and how the airspeed indicator works to keep the plane in flight.  You also learn about other types of aircraft, how they work and how they differ from planes in flight.

    The whole course works to give you a complete picture of how aviation works and what it takes to take wings and fly.  This program is perfect for the future pilot in your family or just someone who has a deep interest in flight.

    There are 15 lessons, each around 45-60 minutes in length.  Each also has a PDF file to extend the lessons for your student.  Each lesson has guided notes and also tests that you can use to see how much you are learning.

    You can get your own online subscription for Doctor Aviation for $99.  This is a 6 month subscription and you can pace your lessons to fit your student's needs so long as they complete them in the 6 month period or your renew your subscription at the end of this time.

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    Aviation Course {Doctor Aviation Reviews}

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    Wednesday, July 19, 2017

    Trust Fund (Movie) {Crew Review}

     family entertainment,faith-based,prodigal,prodigal story,family drama,romantic drama,young adult,jessica rothe,tessa violet,la la land,movie night,movie review,familymovie,family fun,family night,family,forgiveness,romance

    Some days are slow ones.  You just need to sit back and enjoy a great movie with your kids.  A good, Christian, family movie like Trust Fund from Mapelle Films.  Bonus when it comes with a book like Love Was Near.  Extra bonus when it's a movie produced by a fellow homeschooler like Isaac Alongi.

     family entertainment,faith-based,prodigal,prodigal story,family drama,romantic drama,young adult,jessica rothe,tessa violet,la la land,movie night,movie review,familymovie,family fun,family night,family,forgiveness,romance

    Trust Fund tells the story of Reese: sister, daughter, lover and writer.  She's a girl who's been lucky in life, very blessed and who's always tried to find the easy way to get through her day to day.  Her parents worked hard to provide a good life for her and her sister, Audrey.  Audrey is the perfect daughter who does all the things she's supposed to while Reese is the one who pushes the limits and goes against the family's wishes for her life.

    Reese finds herself wrapped up in a situation that only faith and hope can really get her out of.  She trusts the wrong people, loves the wrong people and has to learn that the right people were there for her all along.  Her family's love is unconditional and forgiveness comes in time for all.

    If you're looking for a great Christian family movie, Trust Fund is it.  This isn't a movie for young children but is rated PG.  There were no edgy scenes, no bad words, no risky issues.  The story line is better understood by older children though.

     family entertainment,faith-based,prodigal,prodigal story,family drama,romantic drama,young adult,jessica rothe,tessa violet,la la land,movie night,movie review,familymovie,family fun,family night,family,forgiveness,romance

    Along with the movie, we were sent a copy of the book that was based from the movie, Love Was Near.  This is Reese's story and is written in a journal like design.  Reese talks about her feelings in life, things she's going through, happiness, sadness and all that is between.

    I really love this book.  It's interactive.  Questions are asked and there are spaces for answers to be provided.  It works like a book report or a journal and really gets the person reading the book thinking.  It provides a place to get your thoughts onto the pages and is a great keepsake.

    My 14 year old daughter Emmalee and I watched this movie together and read through some of the book as well.  It was a bonding experience for us both that we enjoyed.  Just hanging out for the day, talking about the movie, sharing and being together was a wonderful, relaxing day for us both.

     family entertainment,faith-based,prodigal,prodigal story,family drama,romantic drama,young adult,jessica rothe,tessa violet,la la land,movie night,movie review,familymovie,family fun,family night,family,forgiveness,romance

    Trust Fund (movie) will soon be available through Mapelle Films.  There is a movie soundtrack currently available for $9.99 through the Mapelle Films store.  Love Was Near is also available in the store for $12.99.

    Additionally, there is a downloadable study guide for this movie which we did not use but it's an amazing addition if you like using study guides with movies.   You can get it here: 

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    Trust Fund Movie {Mapelle Films Reviews}

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    Tuesday, July 18, 2017

    Life Unexpected: Our Story

    Two years ago this week, my life changed for the absolute better.  I took a trip to see a friend, who's family I had known for 25 years and yet I'd never met him.  I didn't expect to find in him the man of my dreams, the man who was equally yoked to my soul, the man who I had searched for all of my life.  A year ago, I wrote about our meeting, our day, our beginning and I've decided I would share it here as well.

    On this Sunday last year, I took my first semi-long driving trip alone up into the rural lower part of NC. I was invited to visit a friend who's family I have known and loved for 25 years but I had never personally met him. I got up early and headed out to have the most peaceful and relaxing day I can remember having in my life.
    We hung out all day and never stopped talking. He made me the best omelet for breakfast. He made me lunch. He fed me watermelon grown from his garden. And we had baked chicken that he also made for dinner.
    He fell in love with me the moment he laid eyes on me that day and I him. I can still remember seeing him that first time and that big smile he gave me. I remember feeling warm and loved when he talked to me with that Connecticut accent that's turned just slightly southern from his years of going back and forth between his Northern and Southern homes. It was this day that I fell in love with Donald Clayton Hodge.
    He tells me I have been in his dreams for a lifetime. He loves me like no one ever has. He's stood by me through emotional abuse in my past and has moved me into a much better life.
    This year has been hell in healing for us both. Our lives have changed tremendously and though it's been tough, it's also been completely for the better. Neither of us are perfect and there's a lot that isn't seen unless you know us personally, but one thing we do have is a love of God, each other and our family. We support each other, even on days when we want to just give up. We love each other always and we know that together with God we can make it through even the darkest of days.
    Thank you, Don, for loving me and showing me a life that I can dream about and make reality. Thank you for loving my children and even my stubborn mother. Thank you for putting up with so much this year and for even changing your own ways to make a better life for us together. I love you with all my heart and this day will be the one I always cherish, that will always be our anniversary in my heart.

    I never expected that I'd marry this man, that I'd want to spend my life with him.  I never expected that he'd love me and my children just as much.  I never expected this life to be ours. God had plans we could not have foreseen but here we are living this life together and the best has yet to come.

    There are blessings where we least expect them.

    Yours always,

    Sunday, July 16, 2017

    Moving on from being stalked...

    Over the last few months, I find myself wanting to write less and less.  I used to greatly enjoy sharing with my friends online but I find that I am becoming less willing to share and less willing to allow myself to be "seen" through my presence online.  Being stalked by others and having that information, that really had nothing to do with the person using it against you, used against you, makes you think about every step you take.

    Our life has moved forward to this, but I find when I go to write things now, I think of how that person who stalks me may use it against me in the future.  I think about the ignorance of this person and how they thought they were achieving something by bringing my life to the forefront, even though my life is an open book through my public persona.  Still I find myself doubting my writing because of their personal interpretation of what's here.

    Should this person and the others like her take so much of my happiness from me?  No and day to day they don't.  It's only when I come here to share that I'm stopped in my tracks.

    The only way to overcome it is to keep writing, to get myself back on track and to continue to be the me I have always been.  I started this blog in 2009 and I continue to share here.  I want others to know our story.  I enjoy helping Momma's like me who can relate to our struggles daily, even to the stalkers we face.

    It's a joy to have this job, to share this with all of you.

    Many blessings,

    Thursday, July 13, 2017

    Education That's Fascinating! {Crew Review}

    When Fascinating Education came up on the Homeschool Review Crew VIF list, I wasn't sure it was one I wanted to do.  But Emmalee had just mentioned that she'd like to learn Biology for her coursework with school, so it was sort of perfect timing.  We were chosen to review Fascinating Biology and I can say she really likes this program.

    About the Company's Products:

    Fascinating Education is an online website which provides online courses for Science education.  The website offers educational programs for Chemistry, Biology, Physics and even a course for Medicine (I look forward to using this one with Laycie).  These aren't your average textbook studies either.  The programs are written in plain English, easy to understand by all and the lessons are kept relatively short so that students don't lose interest in what they are learning about.

    The courses cover the standard topics that most high school courses cover.  This was great for us, as I can count this as a high school education program towards her achievements for her diploma.  This was one of her goals for the school term this year.

    About the Course:

    Fascinating Biology covers the world of Biology.  Biology is defined as the study of living organisms or life.  Through Biology we are taught how organism exist, work, live, and so much more.

    Fascinating Biology follows the average course outline for Biology.  It begins with creation of life, breaking it down and showing you how to recognize living things.  Then  you move into learning about Molecules and their purpose, as well as how they work.  Next students learn about cell structure and how that works, followed by how nutrients are processed.

    There is a long section on Energy and how it works in various ways. Then we learn to grow and reproduce, then later to adapt.  Students learn about animals and fungi and finally plants before the courses end.

    More About The Course:

    The course opens with all the modules provided on the webpage.  There are 18 complete lessons in all, with review and mild testing included in the coursework.  There is Lesson, a Script and a Test for each lesson module.  The scripts are PDF form so that they are easily printed and viewed by your student.  They are fully imaged and provide thorough information on the particular lesson you are learning about.

    Clicking on the lesson image or the word lesson below the image, brings up the video created for the specific part of the course that you're working on.  These videos are information packed and easy to follow.  They are a great asset to learn from.

    Finally, the tests.  The tests are interactive and easy to complete.  They review the information covered in the course and ensure the student is staying on track in their lessons.

    How We Used It:

    So this review was chosen for Emmalee, who is 14, very scientific and interested in any and everything she can learn about people, places, plants and animals.  As I mentioned already, she specifically requested a Biology course for this year and well this one popped up just in time.

    Along with this review, we were also given access to a mini-course in Chemistry which covered basics Emma needed to know before beginning this Biology course.  She completed this fairly quickly and was able to dive on into Biology.

    She really enjoyed learning with the videos and she didn't mind the tests, as Emma is a person who enjoys seeing solid evidence that she's learning and testing provides that for her.  It's a challenge for her.

    Emma is still working on this course.  We've had a lot of bad weather which makes our internet sketchy so she's had to take more time than we would have liked but she was also able to work at a slower pace, work around the internet issues and not be behind in the course work since it is a self-paced program.  That's something that was particularly nice overall.

    Where Can You Buy Fascinating Biology:

    You can find Fascinating Biology on the Fascinating Education Website.  The courses are all online.

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    Biology, Chemistry & Physics {Fascinating Education Reviews}

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    Wednesday, July 12, 2017

    Let's Learn About The States with Make-A-State {Crew Review}

    For the second time this year, we were offered to review an item from Home School In The Woods.   The products this company produces are just amazing.  They go above and beyond to provide some of the best studies they can put together for families like ours.

    For this review, we were given a full download of their Make-A-State Activity from the HISTORY Through The Ages: Hands-On History Activity-Paks series.  This pak is awesome, y'all.  It's a complete course that can be used with any state you choose!  All in one place for you to use.

    The Make-A-State Activity pak is set up with a start page, like all the programs we have reviewed from Home School In The Woods.  This page takes you through the ins and outs of the program, like a walk-through, making it easy for you to maneuver through the course.  It's so simple and easy to use.

    As with their other programs, you read the introduction first which tells you all about the activity-pak you are using.  From there, you'll read the project instructions which explain how to put the project together.  Then you'll follow this with your Lap Book Assembly which instructs how to put together the lap books used with the program.

    The awesome thing about the Make-A-State Activity Pak is that it provides information on every state in the United States of America.  So this activity pak works for ALL the US states, not just one.  There is key information provided for each and every state in America.

    The pak includes Key State Facts, the State name, each state's motto, the state symbols, state songs, information on industry, agriculture, and climate, wildlife information, and geography as well.  It also includes information about the governments of each state, each states seal and flag, the state quarter, their native tribes, sports, landmarks and famous people as well.  History, vocabulary, a timeline are all covered and even a recipe for each state is included within these set.   There's also a state page.  And finally the pak includes a gameboard and gamecards for a fun addition to learning about the states.

    This program is packed full of information to learn about every state you've ever wanted to and it's easily all in one place.  The activities are easy to put together and fun to complete.  The lap books keep lessons fun and not boring, exciting for any age putting this to use.

    How We Used It:

    This was easy to use with all the kids because it provides activities and information in one place.  If something was a little hard for the younger ones, my older kids helped them work through it or they wrote it out for them.  This can be used with a variety of ages: we used it with ages 4, 9, 14, and 16.  The kids learned a great deal through using the pak together.

    Where You Can Get It:

    You can grab your own Make-A-State Activity Pak from Home School In The Woods for $18.95 as a download or for $19.95 for the CD version. This is a great asset for anyone wanting to learn about the states and a great way to do it!

    There are lots of other products available at Home School In The Woods as well.  They have a full line of HISTORY Through The Ages: Hands-On History Activity-Paks which the Make-A-State Activity is a part of.  These awesome paks cover composers, artists, the new testament and the old testament.  All great subjects to learn about!

    There is also the HISTORY Through The Ages: Time Travelers American History Studies.  These awesome activity paks cover New World Explorers, Colonial Life, The American Revolution, The Early 19th Century, The Civil War, The Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression and World War II.  These are great studies of each subject for your home school.

    Additionally, there are the HISTORY Through The Ages: Hands-On History Lap-Paks which cover different studies for different grade levels and is being added on to often as each new study is completed.  Subjects currently available for grades 3-8 are US Elections, The 20th Century in America, and Wonders of the World.  For Grades K-2 there are Benjamin Franklin and Knights available.

    And now available, brand new are A-La-Carte Projects which are single projects for you to use in your home school or summer program.

    Any of these studies would be an amazing addition to your home school year!

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    Wednesday, July 5, 2017

    Beginning July 2017

    June was a pretty tough month for us.  Don didn't work several weeks.  There were no calls for a carpenter.  This makes things hard for sure.

    July didn't start that great either.  I had a brief stomach virus that really hit me hard.  Thankfully, I was the only one.  I gave the dog a haircut too and was down for two days with my back hurting (whiplash from a car accident long ago).

    I ran out of my medication for my bleeding and just let them stop for a few weeks to see what would happen.  It returned.  I started the med back after a few days of trying to see if my body would balance out.  It didn't.

    I know my iron is low again.  I've been trying to build it up with lots of Tuna and Spinach but it's slow going since my body rejects iron instead of absorbing it.  I know I'll get there though.

    I know someday I'll look back and see the lessons in this time but for now it's just a struggle.  I'm too tired to get much done except the basics with my babies.  Next month is home inspection and our lease renews so I'm hoping I can get the house in order before then.  It's a slow process but the kids have been amazingly helpful.

    We're also working on new routines.  So far things are going well with those but routines take time to master.  I'm proud of my kids hard work though.

    So this is where we begin our July.  Just trying to get through our day to day together.  It's slow going but we will get there.

    Until next time...


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