Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Activities for Adventures in Odyssey Fans


Summer is officially here! Don't let your kids' boredom run rampant. Adventures in Odyssey is here to save the day. Below are some must-try ideas for summer fun! Want even more summer fun? For the month of June, you can join the Odyssey Adventure Club for only $5! More details can be found here.

Summer Activities

As a parent you are probably a big proponent of reading. Encourage your kids to dig into a book or two this summer with Adventures in Odyssey's On Your Marks Summer Reading Challenge. Bonus points if YOU create a reading challenge for yourself as you read along with your kids!

Looking for something hands-on? Create Matthew in 3-D! Invite a few of your kids' friends over for a play date, print off the activity sheet, and let them have at it for the afternoon (with the promise of cookies and lemonade once they've finished constructing Matthew).

Maybe your kids aren't into reading, but they love math. If that's the case, have them solve Eugene's Sudoku!

The laundry needs to be done; the dishes need to be put away. But your kids are begging you to take them out to the zoo. Let them take a whack at Matthew's Decoder in the morning, then make an agreement that if they figure out how to use the decoder, you'll take them on an afternoon adventure. That'll give you the morning to finish up your to-do list!


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Veritas Press Omnibus Online Education *Review

Veritas Press Review

Veritas Press Classical Curriculum offers online education through Veritas Press Self-Paced Omnibus 1. This program walks us through the Bible and takes a look at history, literature, and theology; all within a Christian worldview framework. This program works for ages 12 and up, and I used it for my 17 year old Senior. We are using it for a high school credit of Ancient Literature. Access to the program is $295 and there is an add on for siblings for $100.

Veritas Press Review

The self-pace has allowed us to get a feel for the program without having to sign in to specific classes at certain times. That is so helpful, especially with reviewing in the summer. The self-pace will allow Montana to get ahead in the summer and to not be quite so bogged down this fall when he adds in additional classes to his senior year.

This is consumable. Once you watch the video and do the lesson, your information and grades are stored. You can go back and rewatch the video however which is helpful for review. I would love to see this in more of a DVD format, especially with a large family. The information is outstanding and I would love for all of the kids to be able to go through the Omnibus program.

Veritas Press Review

There are 175 lessons so Montana needs to do one daily to get through the school year. The first 3 or more lessons included quite alot of reading and these lessons typically take him about 1.5 hours to complete. The ones without the reading are much shorter, getting done in less than an hour.
There is a video with each lesson by Bruce Etter.  There are questions to consider, questions asked to others in general to see their reaction, and short stories to help emphasize the main point of the lesson. There are also assessments that are grades to see how the student learned from the lesson. The lessons are in no way watered down. As an adult I enjoyed listening to the videos and following along. I actually feel that it would maybe be a bit too much for a 12 year old unless they are pretty mature.

Through this complete series Montana will read;
Gilgamesh Tablets
Prologue and Laws
1 & 2 Samuel
1 & 2 Kings
and MANY books included in our Veritas Vital Source Bookshelf.

The Vital Source Bookshelf is an ebook compilation of all of the books you will need in the study, available to read directly on the PC or even on your tablet. No need to search for these various works which has made it much easier for us to utilize!
The books of the Bible were something he was quite familiar with. I love how there is additional ancient literature included that helps to emphasize the truth of the Bible. 

When logged in as the teacher I had hoped I could look ahead to see what was coming up, and to help gauge the time he would need.
I was not able to, nor was Montana on his schedule. There is no way to see the advanced lessons until you get through the first lessons. You can see what the next reading assignment is going to be in a pdf format.

Montana has probably been the child of mine who has been most faithful in reading the Word daily. I thought he would really enjoy the Self-Paced Omnibus to help him dig deeper into what he has read in the past. I love how they take you to some of the actual sites, making the Word come alive!

You will need high speed internet. We actually have to make sure no-one else in the house is running internet at the same time in order for this to work on the PC. We have pretty fast internet, but the program really does require a lot.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch

Summer should be my 'break' but I find myself just as busy as ever, with less energy than I am used to. I am finally pulling out of the morning sickness phase, but the energy level is still low. Much to do in the summer before we gear up for another year of homeschooling. It is WAYYY too hot to sit out on the porch and chat, so we will stay in the AC which has been a huge blessing on these 90 degree days in Kentucky!

Let's get to the questions:
  1. Do you like lemon-aid? Any special flavors?
  2. I'm trying not to use paper goods for this party. How many place settings of silverware(eating utensils) could you come up with? I wish I could borrow some!!!!!!!!
  3. Have you ever been to a party in a barn?
  4. Do you wear nail polish?
  5. Please finish this sentence. I wish I could__________________.

 1. I do like lemonade. I like raspberry and strawberry flavors too. I haven't really drank any in a long time,preferring water with just a hint of level. Trying to cut back on sugar drinks.

2. Oh goodness, I wish I would use paper products more often and save the hassle of washing dishes. I probably have place settings for about 15. I do have some china that we could pull out and maybe get 10 more. Of course the place settings wouldn't all match wonderfully as I love to pick up nice plates and silverware at the thrift store. We have 10 people living in our home and need extras to keep up with the pace.

3. Well with our large family, wherever we are can be a party. A hay stacking time with all of us can be  a party, so technically you could say yes I have had a party in a barn. Now if you are thinking a nicely decorated, nicely smelling barn to have square dances, then nope.

4. I quit wearing nail polish when we lived on a farm. Just as soon as I would get my nails nice, they would get dirt under them and all cracked up. I just don't bother anymore unless I just happen to be reviewing nail-polish, then it gives me a great opportunity to do it!

5. I wish I could have more energy. I am 16 weeks pregnant and have so much that needs to be done, and it is so difficult without the energy level. Trying to slowly get things done in between naps. It will come eventually!

Have a great week. I will be out of town next week as I travel to take my niece to Florida. It should be a vacation, but I really don't want to go. She is a minor and can't travel alone so I have to go. Pray I can soak up some energy while I am there.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Light n' Go Bonfire *Review

The Light n’ Go Bonfire is a unique product for a variety of interests including camping, entertaining, d├ęcor, RVing, tailgating, etc. Don't have room in your yard for a fire pit, or access to firewood? This product is great for those time when you want to have a bonfire but your living arrangements don't allow you to do it naturally.

Made of beautiful white birch, the Light n’ Go Bonfire looks great for entertaining, even when its not lit.  The Light n’ Go Bonfire is a great alternative to firewood and manufactured firelogs and takes the guesswork out of setting up a fire.  

The Light ' Go Bonfire has a wick in the center that is suppossed to be easy to light. Not sure if it was due to wind, or not but ours took some effort to light. We tried a lighter, tried putting additional paper with it to light and were not successful. Finally the good ole blow torch did the job and it took right off.

The Light n’ Go Bonfire also contains a handle for go-anywhere portability and can be burned virtually anywhere including your fireplace, chimney or fire pit.  It is also 100 percent natural, chemical-free and safe to cook over. This was a concern of ours as we did roast hot dogs and marshmallows over it. I did not have any interest in cooking my food over a chemical laden product.

The hot dogs and marshmallows cooked quickly. The marshmallows actually caught on fire the first go round so carefully just put them through the flame! The hotdogs didn't get as golden brown as they do with a traditional fire. They had a more 'soot' appearance but tasted fine. I may prefer to use this just for the ambiance rather than actually cooking on.

The Jumbo Bonfire offers more than 2.5 hours of burn time and the standard Bonfire offers more than 1.5 hours of burn time. 
 Find Light n' Go on these social media sites

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Big Book of When *Review

Big Book of When
From Time Home Entertainment Inc. and TIME For Kids

 My kids just eat up facts like these! What a plethora of information that kids want to know about! They are learning history and don't even know it. This book is full of great facts, wonderful photographs and amazing history.

New York, NY– If you were asked to come up with a list of the most important events, inventions, people, or discoveries in the past 100 or 1,000 years, what would you choose? The editors of TIME For Kids did just that for the new Big Book of When, the newest release from Time Home Entertainment Inc.’s hugely successful Big Book Series. Big Book of When (Time Home Entertainment Inc.; $19.95) is now available at and at retailers nationwide.

Big Book of When is a riveting new resource for younger curious readers. The engaging and instructive book presents kids with answers to the kinds of intriguing questions that appeal to their sense of curiosity about when the most important events in history happened. At more than 190 pages, the hardcover book is full of colorful graphs, spectacular photos, and clear, engaging timelines to help kids ages 8 and up answer a myriad of questions.
The book is divided into 11 subjects: time, animals, communications, flight, energy, the solar system, the digital age, food, transportation, civilizations and sports. Sample questions include the following:

1.      When did people begin to use calendars?
2.      When did dinosaurs die out?
3.      When was the first book printed?
4.      When did an airplane first break the sound barrier?
5.      When was electricity discovered?
6.      When do we see shooting stars?
7.      When was the first text message sent?
8.      When was the first sandwich made?
9.      When did people begin riding on trains?
10.  When did the Maya vanish?
11.  When was the first Super Bowl?

“When did people first pop popcorn? When was ice cream first eaten? When were videogames invented? The Big Book of When answers these questions and many more your kids might ask,” said Nellie Cutler. “Big Book of When is a must-have book to satisfy the most curious kids who can explore topics such as walking on the moon and the ruins of ancient civilizations. They can find a topic that most interests them, dive right in and have fun.”


About TIME For Kids
TIME For Kids is a weekly classroom news magazine that motivates kids to read! Issues cover a wide range of real-world, and topics in the news kids want to learn about. A powerful teaching tool, TIME For Kids builds reading and writing skills. 

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Colleen Cobles Seagrass Pier *Review

Seagrass Pier
Colleen Coble

 About the book: 

In a secluded corner of Hope Beach, one woman must decipher a stranger's memories . . . before they cost her everything.
Elin Summerall was one of the lucky ones. Not only did she get a heart transplant, but the donor was a perfect fit. A miraculously perfect fit.
But when Elin begins having violent flashbacks---and vivid dreams of being strangled---she realizes that she has been the recipient of more than just a new heart . . . Elin is remembering her donor's murder.
Her strange affliction has attracted some unwanted attention: from the press, from the authorities . . . and from the killer himself. Now, living alone with her young daughter and aging mother, Elin is being stalked---by a man she's only met in her nightmares.
The police are dubious of her story, but one off-duty FBI agent is eager to help her: Agent Marc Everton, the father of Elin's daughter.
Of course, he doesn't know about that. Yet.
Now, in a remote cottage on Hope Island, Elin and Marc must probe the secrets buried in her borrowed heart. And there's no time to waste. One man is desperate to silence her---before she remembers too much.

Purchase a copy:
My Thoughts:
LOVED this book! Colleen Coble was probably one of the first Christian authors that really excited me when I was first getting into reading Christian fiction. I have read every one of her books since. This was such a dynamic book. Unique for sure! Colleen has a way of making her characters jump off the page and right into your living room. The characters are so realistic and reachable. This story line seemed a bit far fetched and some authors wouldn't have been able to pull it off, but Colleen skillfully convinced us of the probability with her words. She skillfully weaves budding romance in her novels that I just love. Probably my favorite part of her work is the suspense. Just enough to keep you on the seat of your chair without freaking you out. I read it in one sitting, which makes me feel bad that she takes so much effort and time to write it and then I just whip right through it! Well I do that because I can't put it down, it was just that good!

About the author: 

Colleen Coble has sold over 2 million novels worldwide. Seagrass Pier, the third installment in her acclaimed Hope Beach series, marks a new highpoint for emotion and complexity in Coble's addictive brand of romantic suspense.

Colleen can be found at: website, Twitter, Facebook

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SEAGRASS PIER | Pre-order @ColleenCoble’s NEW book for just $4.99. Enter for a chance to win a Kindle Fire!

Don’t miss Colleen Coble‘s latest release in the Hope Beach series, Seagrass Pier. The book releases July 1st, and Colleen's publisher is offering the ebook at a special pre-order price of just $4.99 between now and 6/30 everywhere ebooks are sold.

Loved this book! Be watching for my review shortly.

PLUS . . . between 6/9 – 6/30 Colleen will be hosting a Kindle giveaway.

One winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire HDX
  • Seagrass Pier and the rest of the Hope Beach series by Colleen Coble
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 30th. Winner will be announced on Colleen's blog on July 1st.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning and be sure to stop by Colleen's blog on July 1st to see if you won!

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Odyssey Adventure Club – join today for just $5!

Are your kids in need of a safe and fun environment where they can explore, create and imagine, all while developing their faith and learning biblical truth? Enter the Odyssey Adventure Club (AOC)!
For a limited time, you can join HERE for only $5 (regular monthly membership costs $15 for up to six users)!

Families will be able to stream the Adventures in Odyssey library, plus listen to exclusive new monthly episodes.  Busy families will find 24/7 access to the content through the Odyssey Adventure Club mobile iPhone app.

Children can also read daily devotions, interact with hands-on activities and view video documentaries featuring a behind-the-scenes look into the production of the Adventures in Odyssey stories. Parents can feel confident their children are safe on the Odyssey Adventure Club website — Focus on the Family staff will be monitoring all comments before they’re publicly posted.

A portion of each Odyssey Adventure Club membership will benefit Focus on the Family partner relief organizations, including Christian Veterinary Mission, Operation Christmas Child and Compassion International. This provides parents with an opportunity to teach children about the value of giving and serving others.

Coming in July, Odyssey Adventure Club members get to listen to the brand new album, "The Ties That Bind," FIRST before it's available ANYWHERE ELSE!

Click here to join for only $5!

Want more summer activities for your kids inspired by the Odyssey Adventure Club? Check out this post.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

A&E Swamp People Father's Day Giveaway!! #fathersday

Celebrate Dad this coming weekend with a great giveaway from Swamp People! Enter to win the Swamp People Soundtrack and Swamp People Sauces.

Enter to win below and also see where you can purchase these items in time for Father's Day!

Swamp People Soundtrack –  Serving as an ideal companion piece to the HISTORY® series, this foot-stomping 13-song compilation showcasing the music that’s rooted in Cajun country.   The Rounder Records CD features the Neville Brothers, Tony Joe White, Buckwheat Zydeco, Jumpin Johnny Sansone, Hank Williams, Beausoleil with Michael Doucet and several others. Many of the tracks have been culled from Rounder’s vast catalog of southern Louisiana music and the title track, which leads off the set, is a new song written specifically for Swamp People® by vocalist Steel Bill, aka Billy Joe Tharpe, a native of Livingston Parish, Louisiana, who could best be described as a country rapper (the track is one of Troy’s favorites!).  ($15.98,

Swamp People Sauces* -- This Father’s Day, let Dad add a dash of Swamp People attitude to his food -- no matter what kind of wild game is on the menu!  Inspired by the characters, culture and gustatory delights of Cajun Country, hunters, grillers, Cajun cooks, or series fanatics will thrill to the new line of Swamp People Sauces.  Available are Tree Breaka Cajun Steak Sauce, Mudda Fricks Horseradish BBQ Sauce, No Guts, No Gator Habanero Salsa, Tree Shaka Cocktail Sauce and Pierre Part Inhospitable Hot Sauce. ($4.99-$5.99, Bass Pro Shops and

Enter to win 
US only
Ends June 20

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Chats on the Farmhouse Porch


  1. Do you have a vegetable garden this year? Have you in previous years?
  2. What is your computer sitting on right now? Desk, dining room table, lap...
  3. Do you go shorter with your hair in the summer?
  4. Are you an early top bed person, or a night owl?
  5. Tell me something funny. I'll tell you something funny too. :)

1. I do not have a garden this year. I was all gung ho to get one going again, and then found out I was expecting. None of the other children wanted to help with a garden so I decided we would just go another year without. I can buy locally from the farmers market so that has to work for now. About 4 years ago we had a huge garden and canned for years when we lived on a larger farm. I kind of got burned out from that and needed a break. We have yet to jump back in.

2. Kitchen table because my son was using it last. I love my laptop that it is so portable!

3. YES! I get so warm in the summer, though I don't want it 'short'. Still need to be able to put it up in a ponytale.

4. Early to bed. I am 15 weeks pregnant and always tired. Usually by 9 I am turning in.

5. My 6 year old told me the told me the other day that "His feet were so big that they hurt"!! I think he meant to say that they were growing so they hurt. It sounded so funny how he said it though. He always keeps me in stitches.

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Top Artists Offering Free Songs for Dad!

A host of top artists in family music pay tribute to dear old dad by offering fans a free song. We've compiled a list of songs celebrating familial love, growing up, feelings, and elephants. The playlist kicks off with "Love Bug," from Raffi's forthcoming album by the same name, and ends with a new version of Eric Herman's mega YouTube hit "Elephant Song." Get your tunes here. The free download offer will be live from Thursday afternoon, June 12th through Wednesday, June 18th (some artists are already allowing downloads now). Please note that the download function does not work on the phone or tablet app; the full web version of Soundcloud is needed to download the songs, though anyone may stream them from any device at any time.

                  Be the family that rocks together with
                     "My Daddy's Record Collection"
A colorful new vinyl 45 of the original Sugar Free Allstars song "My Daddy's Record Collection," plus a B-side of "Banana Pudding," is available now. Get this excellent gift for musically discerning dads, HERE.
In other news, The Sugar Free Allstars are also teaming up with Crosley, selling branded record players at their many shows, including the huge family festival they produced on September 14th in Oklahoma City, Wiggle Out Loud

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

F is for Faith ~Worship #abcblogging

 Sorry about the lag there, I think I missed D and E but hope to catch them up. Morning sickness is getting to me :( But jumping in there with F this week for ways to worship.
F is for Faith

Having faith in God and His promises you would think would be a 'given' in Christianity. There are many though who continue to lack faith and take the Bible, God's Word .. at it's word. 
Faith in the creator of the universe, and his promises is an utmost form of worship. If you can't believe Whom you are worshiping, how can it even be worship?

 "Without faith it is impossible to please God" Hebrews 11:6

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Kinder Cottage Publishing Peter Rabbit *Review

Kinder Cottage Review

Kinder Cottage Publishing has taken 10 of the original Peter Rabbit stores published in 1917 by the Henry Altimus company and adapted them with updated language for the youth of today. Original written by Duff Graham, the books include the original artwork .
For review we were sent How Peter Rabbit Went to Sea & Peter Rabbit and Jack the Jumper
Each hard cover book sells for $4.00 and is geared for ages 3-9. These are not easy readers, but will delight the young ones with the illustrations and adventures.

Kinder Cottage Review

Kinder Cottage Review
Peter Rabbit and Jack the Jumper is a 60 page, young person sized hardback book. This is number 10 in the series. Peter is a curious, mischievous, attention deficit rabbit! How ever does his poor mother Mrs. Rabbit deal with him?
Peter was having a rare moment of contentment playing with his sisters when Jack-the-Jumper comes hoping in telling him that Mr. McGregor's family was gone for the day and they have  wide open access to the cabbage patch. (We learn that Mr. Rabbit was put into a pie by Mr. McGregor!)
Being the curious rabbit that he is, Peter goes along with Jack, even though Mother told him to stay in the yard while she was gone.
Boy do the rabbits get a scare when they are munching on cabbage and they hear a loud voice saying to get out of his cabbage patch! Eeek, I don't want to spoil the story for you, but believe me those rabbits were scared.
The next story in the book has Peter Rabbit telling others he isn't afraid of bee hives and in his pride heads over to them. Well you can imagine how that went! He doesn't quite learn his lesson either as he meets up with Billy Bull Frog.
Peter has 2 other adventures before heading home. I kind of wish the story was divided in chapters as he jumps from adventure to adventure. It would make it easier for young readers to sit down and just read a short chapter and then come back to the next chapter later. My younger readers wouldn't be able to read the entire book and it is hard to know where a good place to stop is.

Kinder Cottage Review

How Peter Rabbit went to Sea is the 4th book in the series. "Flopsy and Mopsy and Cotton-tail were good little girl rabbits, but Peter was a bad little boy rabbit and was always up to mischief". Poor Peter stereotyped from the get go by his mom for being a boy. This kind of made me sad with my house full of boys.
Peter is asked to go get some cabbage leaves and he did what he was supposed to, but he was distracted by the green apples that looked oh so yummy, and forgot the cabbage. Poor Peter got spanked and ran off to cry, and his sisters stood there staring at him. Mother left them with instructions to not go near the brook, and of course Peter didn't listen. He wanted to build a boat and go "out to sea".
This book had a lot of imagination as Peter was able to get out to the sea and be tormented by a shark and all that went along with his playing pirate.

I think it is neat that my kids can read books from the early 1900's and we can talk about how nearly 100 years ago, kids their age read these books. I love how the illustrations are original to help show the capabilities of artists years ago without the use of computer graphics. I also enjoy that each page has an illustration, which helps to keep my younger ones engages while I read. Peter Rabbit in his famous blue coat makes it easy to spot him in the story.

We read these once for the review, and perhaps in time will come back and read them again. They would be great go-alongs for a unit study on rabbits, or an even closer look at Peter Rabbit himself.

See what my Crew mates thought of the books in this series as we each reviewed different ones, by clicking on the link below.

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