Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bessie's Pillow {Crew Review}

What We Reviewed:

For this review, Strong Learning sent us a copy of Linda Bress Silbert's first novel, Bessie's Pillow.  Bessie's Pillow is the story of Linda's Grandmother who came over to America as an Immigrant in the early 1900's.  Bessie's Pillow shows us how life was in that era, what life was like for Bessie and her friends and family, and the challenges of life as an immigrant woman living in a New World.

What We Received:

Strong Learning sent us a full copy of the Bessie's Pillow book.  It's a paperback book with 280 pages of both story, and historical information and pictures.  The front of the book features a picture of Bessie and a ship similar to the one Bessie came to America on.  There are many more pictures within the book for your enjoyment as well.

Bessie's Story and What We Thought:

This book came up on the vendor list right after the new president was sworn into office and talk was exceptionally heavy about immigration, including discussion of his beautiful, immigrant wife.  My first thought was what perfect timing to discuss these things with my children by reading this story of one woman's journey to America in the midst of so many questions in the very country she came to live in out of both necessity and love.

My second reason for choosing this story to review is that I, too, come from ancestors who immigrated to America much like Bessie did.  My family were not Jewish but they were German, coming to a New World to start a better life for their families and themselves.  I was interested in reading Bessie's story to have insight on what my Great Grandfather and Great Great Grandparents must have felt when they headed on their journey to this country and when they first stepped on to Ellis Island to be brought into the United States.

Let me begin by saying, Bessie's Pillow is a beautifully written book.  The story flows and keeps the reader interested which was something I was worried about as sometimes novels written based on true stories can be a little dry and boring.  But Bessie's story was completely the opposite.  Her life was amazing.  The experiences she had were both amazing and astonishing.  The description of those who were not as lucky in life as she was were equally shocking.  There was no overly written description of anything but just enough to let you know of the true tragedy and triumph of being an immigrant, of being an immigrant in America and of overcoming the stigma of being an immigrant to have a beautiful life in a new country.  And overall from what I've read in Bessie's Pillow, Bessie or Boshka, as was her given name by her parents, lived a beautiful life with her friends and her husband, children and family.

I must make mention of this one particular part that stood out to me and it wasn't actually in the story of Bessie but it was written in the back of the book where extra information on Bessie's life is shared.  Beautiful Bessie with her sweet soul went on her final journey exactly one day after my own mother was born.  My Mother was born on February 11, 1951 and Bessie passed away on February 12, 1951.  Because of the date that truly stood out to me.  Bessie was 63, 3 years younger than my Mother is at this very minute.

Extra Extra:

Bessie's Pillow is filled with historically accurate information on immigration in the 1900's.  It's a wonderful book to read with your family both for reading and as an extra for your curriculum.  There are lots of book extra's included in the book: pictures, information, and the story itself.  But there's also lots of extra information available on the Bessie's Pillow website at Strong Learning's website.

There's a gallery of photographs for you to view with your family to see actual pictures of the time period depicting what life was like at the time.  There's also a selection of General Topics to help you expand this book further.  Topics like Famous People, the Presidency, Radio and more.  Each of these topics are full of information for you to share with your students or help you build more knowledge of the time period for yourself.

How Can You Get Bessie's Pillow For Yourself:

Bessie's Pillow written by Linda Bress Silbert and published by Strong Learning is available to purchase on their website for $15.  It is also offered as an Kindle eBook on Amazon.

Other Places to Find This Vendor:

Twitter:  @BessiesPillow

Read More Reviews of Bessie's Pillow:

Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Reviews}


Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Creating a Masterpiece {Crew Review}

What We Reviewed:

For this review, we were given access to Creating a Masterpiece's Monthly Plan subscription.  Creating a Masterpiece is a wonderful art program that teaches art in an innovative and encouraging manner.  Creating a Masterpiece really helps you to create art masterpieces of your own.

What We Received:

We received a monthly membership for the online website, Creating a Masterpiece.  This gave us full access to the website for a small payment fee of $39.99.  There are other payment options for this program as well which I will mention later on in this review.

About the Program:

Creating a Masterpiece is a program that can be used by multiple grade or art levels.  You don't have to know a thing about Art to use this program.  You can simply gather your necessary equipment and jump right on in.

Creating a Masterpiece offers art pieces to create from Beginners Level to Level 5 and also offers Art History lessons for your student or yourself to complete.  Each level offers multiple projects to choose from in different art media forms.  Each level increases in difficultly to challenge your student (or yourself) to become more developed as an artist.

In the Beginners Level, there are lessons in Watercolor, Ink, Charcoal, Oil Pastel, Mixed Media and even Alcohol Ink.  These masterpieces are easily completely and gorgeous when done.  This level is for those who haven't had a lot of art instruction and wish to begin the program to learn more about how to use these media forms in Art.

Each increasing Level contains different lessons each using different types of media, leaving your student learning a well-rounded ideal through their art mediums. No activity is the same though many use similar materials.  These are not necessarily things you will have on hand but they are easily purchased through an Arts or Craft store or ordered online.

The program is linked to an outside source for purchase of necessary materials to make gathering the materials necessary for your projects easier.  The prices of these materials is fair.  I chose to work on one project at a time so we weren't spending too much to complete our review and luckily since I have an artist in the house, we already had a great deal of the necessary tools needed for many of these projects.  Still we did find some projects where we had to purchase a new brush we didn't own or some other object but nothing too expensive.  This review also fell into the time frame of my artist birthday so I was able to gift some of these expenses to her for her enjoyment of both Art and this program as well.

Each lesson in the program shares a series of videos walking you through each step of the art process for the media chosen.  Lessons also show a color swatch palate to help you prepare ahead the colors you will need for the lesson itself.  A list of tips for working on the project or with the art median follows sharing helpful things for using that type of art media for your project.

There is a highlight section which shows you glimpses of the project you're working on as you work your way through the program so you can visually see where you are at what level of the lesson.  This is followed by a download section which includes a high resolution image for the project, a downloadable shopping list to prepare for the project and the ability to purchase supplies online through the connected vendor.  This section is followed by the final section of the lesson which shows encouraging reference art for you or your student to view in the same art form that you are using for the lesson you are working on.

The lessons are well prepared.  The videos are concise and easy to follow.  The exercises are easy to complete.

How We Used This:

Emma is my resident artist.  She really took to this program and completed the projects quickly and with little help from me.  She really liked the videos.  When she was stuck, she could reverse the video and try again until she got it the way she wanted.

The program was perfect for Emmalee but it was a bit advanced for my younger two children.  They just weren't ready for the lessons or the time it took to complete their projects.  Emma, on the other hand, found the projects challenging and didn't mind the time it took her to complete the projects she chose to work on.

I allowed Emma to pick and choose from various lessons.  She particularly enjoyed the Watercolor lessons and the Ink lessons.  I found she knew a lot more than I realized about the different types of art media in these projects.  Some things I didn't even know so she taught me what they were as well.

Membership Information:

Creating a Masterpiece is an online program for learning Art.  It is available by Monthly Plan subscription for $39.99.  This is for unlimited family access to all projects.  The program has over 144 projects listed at this time.  Even though this program didn't work well for my young students, it can still be used for young or old students who wish to learn more about Art.

You can also access this program for a yearly fee of $349 per year or purchase access to single levels for $119 a year.

Other Places to Find this Vendor Online:

Read More Reviews of Creating a Masterpiece:

Creating Beautiful Art at Home {Creating A Masterpiece Reviews}


Crew Disclaimer

One Week To Go

One week to go...

In one week my life will change.  My ability to go forth and multiply will be gone.  My heart will never be the same.

I'm trying to remain positive but it's hard.  Monday we go for my ultrasound to see what's causing my bleeding.  My doctor feels uterine fibroids but won't know for sure until the ultrasound.

Having my children has been a blessing.  I never imagined I would be sitting here waiting for my uterus to be removed.  I never imagined there would not be a chance to have "just one more" baby.

I know I'm blessed to have four beautiful children.  I know many women aren't as lucky as me.  Still this is part of me that I don't wish to let go of.  And yet, I know to continue to enjoy my life with my children and family, I need to have this hysterectomy done.

I look forward to playing with my kids, to camping, to learning, to enjoying our day to day life again.  I look forward to not having to worry about having extra clothes "just in case" or how much blood am I going to lose before it stops again.  I look forward to not having worry, to just being able to enjoy life and worry about the little things, like paying a bill or buying the kids that new movie they've been wanting to see.

In one week, I will be coming out of surgery and stuck in a bed for 12 hours or more.  I will no longer have my uterus and may not have a cervix or ovaries depending on what they find.  In one week, I will barely be able to move from the pain of losing an important part of my body.  In one week, my life will be forever changed, hopefully for the better.

Wordless Wednesday {March 22, 2017}

Wordless Wednesday
March 22, 2017

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Meet Andi: Circle C Stepping Stones {Crew Review}

What We Received for Review:

We have reviewed for Susan K. Marlow and Kregel Publications in the past and LOVED the books we received from them about Andi's adventures.  This time we were gifted books from the newest Andi Carter series: Circle C Stepping Stones.  Book #1 was Andi Saddles Up and Book #2 was Andi Under The Big Top.

I knew because of our past experience with Susan K. Marlow books through Kregel Publications that these books were going to be wonderful for Laycie and Jackson.  They did not disappoint.  These became our bedtime story read-alouds for the last month.  Laycie especially enjoyed them but I think Jack is a little young yet because his attention was not captured by the stories like I had hoped.  Still we will hang on to these for when he's old enough to appreciate them. 

About The Books:

Circle C Stepping Stones takes you back to when Andi Carter was a young girl, just 9 years old.  My Laycie is 8, turning 9 in April so she was very excited by this. This series is intended for kids ages 7-10.

  Andi loves her life on the Circle C Ranch and she absolutely loves her horse, Taffy.  Taffy is now three so that means Andi can finally ride her.  That's her birthday wish.  In Andi Saddles Up you'll learn all about Andi, Taffy, their family, friends and their life on the ranch.

Then in Andi Under The Big Top, the circus rolls into town and becomes the center of attention for the whole town.  Andi and her family attend, making new friends and helping a young boy find his way home.  There's even an attempt made by the Circus to steal Taffy for one of the acts.  You'll have to read to see how this one turns out.

Study Guides As Well:

Due to my recent health issues, we did not use the accompanying study guides for these books but I did take a long look at them and found them to be wonderfully creative.  Each title of the series has it's own study guide to help you educationally build upon the story itself.  They are around 25+ pages in length and filled with information, puzzles, new words and other fun activities to encourage learning with your student.  I will definitely be going back to these in the future when we read the rest of the book series as it's released.  You can download these guides on the website when you purchase the titles in this series.

How We Used These:

Laycie absolutely LOVED these stories.  We read them at her bedtime, snuggled together on the couch.  We chose to read one chapter per night but sometimes we read two when she could not wait to see what happened next!  She was excited for the next night to see what Andi was up to next.  She loved that Andi had a horse and was able to ride her horse alone.  She also wants to see the Circus now because she loved the description provided in the book.  She cannot wait for us to purchase the rest of the titles in this series so she can read more about Andi and Taffy's adventures.

Where You Can Purchase the Series:

Each book within the Circle C Stepping Stones series is priced at $7.99.  They are well worth every penny.  The Study Guides are free on the website and go along with each book in the series.

You Can Also Find Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow Here:

Twitter (Kregel Books):  
Twitter (Susan K Marlow):
Facebook (Kregel Books):
Facebook (Susan K Marlow):

Read More Reviews:

Andi Series {Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow Reviews}


Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Embrace Grace {Review}

Embrace Grace provides a safe place for girls and women with unplanned pregnancies.  Every day finds another young girl or woman wondering what their future holds because today brought news of an unexpected child.  Embrace Grace helps women find love, comfort and a safe place to embrace their pregnancy without condemnation or judging.

Embrace Grace is a beautiful community resource that you can bring to your local church to help support these women in need.  Embrace Grace provides curriculum to teach those in your church community how to truly help these women spiritually, emotionally and practically to encourage them to not give up and keep their heads high in situations that have been previously known to bring shame.

Unplanned Pregnancy should not be a shameful thing for women to deal with.  Every child is a blessing and a gift.  To many times women are taught that having a child out of wedlock is a shameful thing, leading them to take drastic measures to see that the problem is corrected.  Embrace Grace is helping to change this stigma attached to unplanned pregnancy by giving the Church a way to help and showing support to these women who truly need to be lifted up in Christ's Love.

Embrace Grace provides women with unplanned pregnancies with a Love Box entitled Love In A Box.  This gift box is filled with items to encourage the Mother and show support and love to her during this difficult time.  It is a wonderful way to who support of these women.

The box includes:
  • Branded Box
  • "Special Gift" Postcard
  • "Dear Brave Girl" Love Letter
  • "A Bump in the Life" Book
  • "Best Gift Ever" Onesie
  • Brave Journal
  • A free gift offer if the Mother reaches out to Embrace Grace

For this review, we were gifted the Pro-Love necklace and the Brave Journal.  The necklace is a simple bar shape with the words Pro-Love stamped on, connected by a chain to the enclosure.  It's adorable and a great way to be supportive of Embrace Grace.

The Brave Journal is a great place to write what you are feeling, a letter to your unborn baby, take notes for your next steps.  The cover was colorful and inspiring.  It's small to fit inside a purse or diaper bag as well.

These were only two small samples of the wonderful gifts that Embrace Grace provides to these beautiful women and soon-to-be Mothers in support of them.  Embrace Grace is a wonderful program, one that every church should participate in to support these women who need our love the most.  You can find out how you can support this program and start your own Embrace Grace program within your local church by visiting the Embrace Grace website online.

There is also a giveaway you can join in to WIN a journal and necklace of your own.  Here is the LINK for it:

Here are several ways you can help support Embrace Grace:

  1. Start an Embrace Grace at your local church so young women with unplanned pregnancies have a support group. 
  2. Partner with the national organization through prayer and support at 
  3. Download and print our brave girl letter ( and mail to address below for us to place inside a Love in a Box. 

You can mail your Brave Girl letter to:

Embrace Grace, Inc.
Attn: Love in a Box
700 W. Bedford Euless Rd., Ste. G
Hurst, TX 76053

Dear Brave Girl,

I know times are hard right now and you may not know where to turn, but don't give up.  And don't give in to the temptation to just end your child's life as I know may have crossed your mind.   Media makes that seem like the easy solution but it isn't.  Your heart still has to live with the decision long after that choice is made.

There are other options.  Adoption if you truly cannot afford the child.  There is always someone who is near to you who wishes for the very child you are carrying right now.  Someone who would be blessed by your decision to keep this child alive.

And then there is the fact that this baby, though it may not seem like it today, is a true blessing from God. One you may not realize you need in your life.  Children change our lives for the better.

God is with you, Dear One.  Do not be disheartened and do not give up.  He holds your hand when it seems there is no one around.  He will carry you, love you, support you every step if you just allow him to do so.

With God's love you will overcome and you will find Love through your child that you never imagined possible.

God bless and many prayers for you,


To find support in a church near you, contact Embrace Grace today!


I received these items in exchange for my honest review of this program.  This post is a part of the Frontgate Blogger Network.  No money was exchanged for this review.  I am including this in accordance with the FTC rules.  All opinions are my own.

Dana Lambert, Owner and Blogger at Luv'N Lambert Life

Freewriting Creatively {Crew Review}

What We Received for Review:

Home School Adventure Co. graciously provided us with a digital copy of Creative Freewriting Adventure: A Journey into Freewriting.  They also gifted us with an additional digital copy of the Creative Freewriting Adventure: A Journey into Freewriting, the Coloring Book Edition. Both of which have been wonderful resources for our school.

What Is Freewriting?

What is freewriting you ask?  Freewriting is a method of writing where you simply just write.  You don't take time to correct puncuation or spelling.  You don't worry about it making sense.  You just freely write and let your words and thoughts flow.

About This Product:

Creative Freewriting Adventure encourages students to release their creative side.  It's suggested to set a timer for 15 minutes.  Then to write and see what comes out onto the paper.

Creative Freewriting Adventure is a bit more structured than just giving the student the assignment to write with no topic or instruction.  Students are provided with a lesson for each assignment.  There are 10 exercises included in this curriculum.

Thales was the first.  Through the lesson the student learned about Thales and how his prediction of a Solar Eclipse had stopped battle.  Then begins the writing.

There are questions to get the writers mind moving and motivated to help their writing come to life.  The scene is set for them but the ending is completely up to their imaginative minds.  And they are to write out, freely, what they think and feel happened following the suggested events in the guide.

Each lesson goes in this manner.  Each lesson explores a different person, thing or event in life.  And each lesson provides a different story for your student to freewrite about and learn from.

How We Used This:

Of the two versions, I decided to use the Coloring Book Edition of Creative Freewriting Adventure with my daughter, Emmalee who is 14.  She's an artist so I knew this version would fit her better.  The Coloring Book Edition includes images to color and design along with your writing, so you are providing some illustration as well as the story itself.  This was a plus for her and kept her from becoming bored with just writing.

But really, she didn't become bored with writing with Creative Freewriting Adventure because unlike other writing programs we used, this one allowed her to be herself and write the adventures her way.  She was able to not worry about what she was writing, about letter form, or spelling and instead she was able to concentrate simply on the stories themselves through her writing.  Adding in the additional coloring, artistic element as well was just a bonus.

Where You Can Buy This:

You can purchase Creative Freewriting Adventure: A Journey Into Freewriting from Home School Adventure Co. for $18.95 for the Digital Edition or $21.95 for the Print Edition.  The Digital Edition does allow typeable formatting so your student can type their stories instead of writing if you prefer that method.

The Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book Edition is available as well for $21.95 in Digital Download only.  This edition has the same content as the original Creative Freewriting Adventure but includes additional art for coloring to enhance the learning experience.  We preferred this version to the original.

Where You Can Find Home School Adventure Co.:

Twitter:  @HomeSchoolAdven

To Read More Crew Reviews of Home School Adventure Co.:

Resources with a Biblical Worldview{Home School Adventure Co. Reviews}


Crew Disclaimer

Wordless Wednesday {March 15, 2017}

Wordless Wednesday
March 15, 2017

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Eclectic Foundations Level A {Crew Review}

When I first took a look at Eclectic Foundations, I knew this program was something I was definitely interested in giving a try.  Just the simple look of the website told me right away this program was going to fit well for us.  I often look for old fashioned educational materials that are simple in format to use with my children because I find they learn better with things that aren't over the top.

I chose the first level of the program to review: Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A in the PDF format so I could print the program for more than one student.  I like this option because if I need to redo a worksheet with a student who didn't understand it or who just needs a little more practice, I can simply print out another one.  It also allows me to provide a worksheet to my youngest child who may not understand what the others are learning but still wishes to join in.

What We Received For Review:

For review, we were sent the PDF file of Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A.  We were also sent a PDF copy of McGuffey's Eclectic Primer by William Holmes McGuffey.  If you'd rather have an actual book, you can order this Primer online through various websites.

McGuffey's readers have been a favorite of our family for years now and we've used them from time to time to teach reading when other readers just wouldn't work.  They are timeless classics used by many families.  Their format is very simple and easy to understand and use without extra fluff to confuse children.  I personally tend to look for these characteristics when choosing curriculum for our eager learners to use.

The file for Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A was the complete PDF download of the Teacher's Guide for this level.  It includes everything you need to get started except the reader I mentioned above.  The student worksheets are contained right in this text.  The day to day lessons plans are written out for your easy use.  To me this was a blessing.

There are 144 lessons in Level A.  The format is simple.  Lesson 1 begins with reciting the Alphabet, then moves to a playdough activity.  Next is an activity to teach children to recognize letter sounds.  And finally there is a daily poem from Mother Goose.

This format is similar daily which helps the child know what to expect and you as well.  The activities are simple but really teach the child.  Activities change by the day as well so you're not doing exactly the same things every day.

Somewhere around Lesson 65, the McGuffey reader is introduced and you will begin to use it for daily lessons.  Before this, your lessons are all from the Teacher's guide and the printables which are included within the guide.  The basics of the beginning of Level A, lead up to learning to read before you actually get to the book itself.

There are also word cards which are to be printed and used with the lessons.  The students color the nouns red and the verbs green to help them see the difference in the parts of speech.  We colored these and then I laminated them so they would be able to be used for a long time.

The lessons are adaptable.  You can expand on the activities if you wish.  You can use other activities that you may find that fit with the main lesson itself.  There's many ways you can expand the program other than suggested within the daily lessons.

It would be great to find the daily Mother Goose's poem in the actual book to read together.  You could also find a printable of the rhyme to showcase for your student that day.  Then you could expand on learning the poem by including an activity to go with that.

How We Used It and What We Thought:

The program is designed for 4 lessons to be taught a week.  Since we homeschool all week, all year round, we more than met this suggestion.  Because these lessons were so easy to use, I wasn't overwhelmed by making them happen every day and neither were my little ones.  The length was perfect for us to work through and complete within an hour a day, sometimes less or more depending on the activities we did.  Sometimes the kids continued to expand the lesson on their own, especially on play dough days.

Some days I added in more activities because I felt the kids needed a little more than the lesson plan called for.  I also searched online for printable copies of the poems to grab the kids attention and laminated these so they could look at them through the day.  This allowed them to have extra practice recognizing words and visually see print on paper.  As it was laminated, the poems weren't easy for my young son to damage and it was easy for him to carry from place to place each day as he played.  Sometimes he likes to read to his Dino's.

My littles barely realized they were learning.  The activities just flowed for them.  They enjoyed "reading" with Mommy and learning.

This program is one I would have picked for my kids if I hadn't received it for review.  We do a lot of Charlotte Mason and Ambleside style learning in our Eclectic homeschooling so it fit us really well there too.  Using the McGuffey Primer made it an even bigger WIN!  It's definitely one I plan to continue to use and I look forward to purchasing more levels in the future.

How Can You Get This Product:

Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A is available on the Eclectic Foundations website.  We received the PDF file which costs $30.  Level A is for students in First Grade but could be used with a Kindergarten child or a child who is older but struggles with reading.  The skills start from the very beginning and build from there.

The printed Teacher's Guide for Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A is available for $12 if you prefer the printed format.  The Student Workbook for this level is $24.  The Level A Appendixes and Word Cards are available for $20.

The program also has other Levels available for your students.

The Eclectic Foundations website can help you determine which level is right for your students.

Where Else Can You Find Eclectic Foundations Online:


Read Other Reviews Of Eclectic Foundations:

Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer


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