Thursday, June 30, 2016

My Father's House by Rose Chandler Johnson *Review

My Father's House (March 2016)

Growing up, life is idyllic for Lily Rose Cates due to one constant --- her father's love.

But in her sixteenth summer, all that changes without warning. There begins Lily's struggle to find herself and the life she's lost. . . . Marriage promises fulfillment, but her happily-ever-after barely survives the honeymoon. Her husband's sophisticated fa├žade hides a brooding man with even darker secrets.

When all illusions shatter, Lily must make hard choices --- abandon her husband or risk losing much more than her marriage. She flees their home in Detroit and sets out on a fearful journey to a house in Georgia that her husband knows nothing about. This is one woman's compelling tale of love and survival as she finds her way back home to who she's meant to be . . . in her father's house.

My Thoughts:
Lily was looking for love, and had hoped she had found it. Her mother was caught in a world of her past, and Lily certainly wasn't finding love there. Her husband however had a different persona than what he portrayed when he first met her. She soon found out his true colors and that frightened Lily. She was trapped at home, trying to find love from a love less marriage. She didn't have much choice but to flee, and thankfully she was able to go to her Aunt's house in Georgia, family that her husband didn't know of.
I read this book on vacation and it was hard to put it down to spend time with the family! I do wish that there may have been an option for Manny to get help. The perfect ending if you will, but that isn't how life works itself out.

About the Author
Rose Chandler Johnson is the author of the award winning devotional God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments. My Father's House is her first novel. She happily makes her home near Augusta, Georgia.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Would a Worm Go on a Walk? *Review & Giveaway

The title alone of this book will make kids (and adults too) giggle with laughter! This is a darling, comical hardcover book written by Hannah C. Hall. Illustrated by Bill Bolton.
The book takes a look at comical things that a variety of animals might do, asking the reading in a question. Would a ladybug wear lipstick? Would a turtle drive a truck?
All a bit absurd to think about, but the illustrations will have little ones laughing out loud.
Each animal is not designed to do the thing that is in question, and it is funny to consider them doing it. Each answer explains why that wouldn't be feasible for the animal as well.

My 11 year old thought the book was great fun to read to her toddler sister. The toddler loved seeing the funny animals in the book and the things they were doing. Even at her young age she had an inkling that pigs shouldn't be playing the piano!

God designed these amazing creatures that "act just as they should'. God wasn't finished yet, and he created YOU!

What a beautiful story that leads up to you being a masterpiece design! Great book geared for ages 4-7 but enjoyed for a much broader age range!

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Ends July 5th

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Old and New Testament Online Self-Paced Bible Veritas Review
Veritas Press  has been a favorite in our family for years, and we have always enjoyed reviewing with them. The latest review was for a one year family subscription. I wasn't sure which of the kids were going to work on it for sure, so I was thankful for a family subscription that we can utilize.

It ended up that my 11 year old daughter was super excited about working through this Bible curriculum. has been excellent for daily work in the Word. has three sections to work in.

You can start each of these three courses as they are independent of each other. You can not jump ahead in any of the courses however, you do have to go through each book. We weren't able to skip Genesis to get to Exodus for example.
We are currently in Deuteronomy in our school Bible time, so it felt fitting for Shiloh to use to get caught up to that point and then be able to use it along with us when we get started back up for the next school year.

Each lesson starts with an introduction on how to use it. There is an intro section and then moves into reviewing past lessons. This is an interactive review where the student has to either move something on the screen or answer questions. It does involve reading, as I wasn't able to find a 'read to me' button. That is a good thing to consider if wanting to use this for the younger students. I plan on just reading the questions to my 8 year old or at least along side him. The material is not too 'hard' for the younger ages, it just might be a little bit difficult if they can not read the questions and answers.

I love how they utilize cartoon, but also real actors. It obviously is not filmed 'on location'!! It is still fun to shake it up with real people and not just always being cartoon like. This really helped my 11 year old to feel more like it wasn't babyish.

Old and New Testament Online Self-Paced Bible Veritas Review
We did have to use google chrome to utilize the program. It also had to be used on our laptop. We did try it on the phone, and it was suggested to use a tablet, laptop, or desktop as not everything functions properly on the phone. I would love to see a phone version at some point. More so to be able to utilize like a kindle or small tablet. On my phone it mentions that it should be at least 1024 by 768 for screen resolution.
We do have small tablets that we utilize as much as we can so that we don't have to worry about sharing the laptop.

I loved also how the course would take time to define hard words, like temptation. They would put it in terms that kids understood and give a great example to resonate with them. is a outstanding look at the Bible that will resonate with elementary and middle school aged students. I personally enjoyed watching some of the live skits myself. True to the word of God!
Old and New Testament Online Self-Paced Bible Veritas Review

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Old and New Testament Online Self-Paced Bible Veritas Review

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Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews

Members of the Crew were excited to get a lifetime membership to a Lifetime Membership from
There are 1000's of different topics, themes and designs to print out for everyone's interest!
Notebooking is a fun way to capture what a student has an interest in and the items he has learned from that. Notebooking is like a journal of learned information, in fun and decorative print.

Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews

The personalized notebooks are fun for the student to show off what he has learned. When the student can show what he/she has learned, they are better able to remember it. Also when they are writing out facts and fun things they have researched on topics they have an interest in, they tend to retain it for much longer.

Delight driven homeschooling really lends itself to notebooking. Choosing topics of interest, printing out the topical pages, and creating a book of information, pictures, and documentation. It's not only for those who are delight driven or even 'unschooling' in nature. These notebooking pages lend themselves to any type of curriculum. They are a great addition to whatever you might currently be learning.

With a  lifetime membership you can choose and print any of the pages, as many times as you like. I have a large family, and nothing beats being able to reuse products to help me save money.
Not only do you get all of the current products, you also get any of the latest developed ones!

I was personally blown away with the amount of country study notebooking pages! Countries I hadn't even really considered to study. I probably am most excited about the Geography and Bible pages for this upcoming school year.

Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews

There is a free membership from NotebookingPages that you can try out to see how you like it. I know you will be so excited about the vastness of just the free pages, that you won't want to wait to get logged into the Lifetime Membership!

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Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews

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Friday, June 24, 2016 Homeschool Record Keeping *Review Review

My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping) from has helped me to kick off my school planning for the fall. We are doing some odds and ends this summer as well and it has been fun to see how MySchoolYear works.

I have long been a physical planner type of girl, but have run into trouble having a physical plan for 4-5 students each day. There tends to be quite a bit of paper used and wasted. Also for my personal planning of school, it is much easier to plug in the days agenda, and be able to change it with a click of the button.

It has been very helpful to get weekly emails from in regards to tips and helps on using the program. Some things I wouldn't have thought of. Additionally I get emails from support on topics related to homeschooling.

This year I have 4 students in my homeschool. I can input each student separately and find them on my Homeroom page. Initially getting everything set up for MySchoolYear does take time. You are inputting all of the subjects and curriculum. Once it is all entered though, it is easy to schedule and assign the lessons.

Because this review period is still early in the summer, I chose to do a 'mock up' of what it is like to use the program. My photos won't show all of the progress then but can give you an idea what the screens look like when you use them.

There are tutorials and helps for just about everything if you need it. That is always helpful especially to us less than techno savvy mamas.

You can see that all four of the students are up at the top and I can click on each individual one and go to their page. Each child has a term listed, which I will be changing to our Fall Term once I decide our starting date. The jump to section allows you to get down further on the page. You can see there are classes, attendance days, attendance hours, events, awards, Readings, extra curricular, tests.
You can easily pick and choose which facets you utilize. I do not keep track of hours so for me that one will always remain the same.

MySchoolYear is just an email or phone call away for help if you need it. Along with all of the help features, it really isn't hard to figure it out.

As I start now planning for Fall, I can just input each subject as I decide on it, rather than jumping in all at once. It is much easier to just do one student, or one subject at a time.

The tools section will be one you utilize a lot! Under tools is where you create your classes and lessons. You also design reading lists. Creating a plan helps schedule your week, and organize your lessons. If you miss a day you can use the reschedule lessons to replay some of the things that were missed.

Tools such as MySchoolYear really help to streamline what we do as homeschool Mamas. A great place to keep records and plans.

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Homeschool Record Keeping { Review}
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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

LearnBop Personalized Online Math *Review

LearnBop for Families Review

LearnBop  offers personalized online math help with LearnBop for Families .
LearnBop is a self paced math help online that is now available to homeschool families. Geared for 3rd grade through 12th, the family plan is a great option to utilize for up to four students.

My oldest did try the Geometry, but honestly he just wasn't ready for it. I backed him up to Algebra II and am going to have him try to work through that. I definitely see some gaps in his learning and struggle as to how far back to put him. One great thing about LearnBop is that I have the option to put him either in grade specific or learning concepts. For each thing that you are learning, their are several videos to watch to learn, and the program knows when you need more 'building blocks' and provides additional videos and lessons to learn. Rather than just working through a curriculum and hoping the student is learning it, LearnBop makes sure that the concepts are being learned and allows for review in the areas needed. I think that is excellent!

I also love that this program goes as far as Geometry. That is sometimes hard to find in online programs.
LearnBop for Families Review

Another thing I love about LearnBop is that I don't have to be actively involved. At the high school level especially, this is helpful to me. Sometimes the higher level maths are the ones the kids need more help with, and though I took these classes in highschool myself, that was a long time ago. I can relearn by watching the video if I need to, but often just watching it for himself he was able to understand what was expected.

For the younger children, because it is self paced, it was important to help them get a feel for how much work to go through in a time period. It is easier for me to set a timer and go that route rather than tell them how many videos or questions that they need to answer. That way if they find something to be easier, they are still moving forward at a good pace. It was difficult to stay on task a lot because of it being summer. For some this would be an excellent time to catch up on math, and that was our every intention. We still have a solid 6 weeks of summer left though, and I am still hoping to get caught up some more and fill in more of those gaps.

I do plan to use this with my 5th grader, who is going into 6th next year. She started out trying the program without me, and ended up not doing as well as she would have liked. I do recommend sitting down to start with them to just make sure  they are in the right place on the roadmap. It can be overwhelming for them to start out at too high of a level.

LearnBop for Families Review

A great plus is that you can use LearnBop on a tablet, making it easy to be portable!
Much more affordable than a personal tutor, but with similar results. LearnBop has been in the schools for quite awhile now. It is exciting that they realize the need for LearnBop in the home as well.

I look forward to continuing to use LearnBop this coming school year to see how the gaps are able to get filled in for the kids.

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LearnBop for Families Review

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Prepping For Goat Craziness

When we moved to KY 4 1/2 years ago, we had to sell our Dairy Goat herd, which was quite devastating at the time. Goats are just big pets to me and it was so hard to get rid of all of them, many for rock bottom prices.
I have been hesitant to start another herd, knowing how much work it truly is. We have our 2 token goats that are basic weed eaters, but we don't do much with them.
Hubby has always been a 'farmer' and only having 2 goats is not giving him his love of farming that he really needs. We recently sold the cow we had and now there isn't anything really eating the pasture and hay.
After much family discussion, we have decided to get back into dairy goats. The younger kids need that farming experience right along with their Dad.
I am going to have to dig all of my goat books back out and try to relearn what I have forgotten in the past 4 years.
We have 4 girls and our buck coming back with Hubby from Ohio in 2 days!

Can't wait to share pictures and info as I relearn how to be a Goat Mama!

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Progeny Press The Drinking Gourd *Review

 photo Progeny Press Logo_zps4ni3bvb3.jpg

Progeny Press  is our "go-to" for literature guides. I have used several for my older students and decided to see how The Drinking Gourd E-Guide would work for my elementary student. Geared for K through 3rd grade, I thought it would be fun to use this with Maverick for a summer study.

Literature Study Guides from a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press  Review}

The guide was a download that we were able to print out. You wouldn't need to print out the entire book, but for me it was easy enough to do and helpful. They also have physical study guides as well if you prefer to have a workbook form.

The guide starts out with a synopsis of the book as well as background information on the story as well as the author. This was helpful in seeing what additional books we wanted to get to go along with our study. There is an excellent resource page to get you started as well.

We ran over to our fairly small library and scored some great books.

The Drinking Gourd is about slavery and the underground railroad. The book is about Deacon Fuller and his son Tommy. Tommy discovers some runaways in the barn and his father has to let him in on his secret, that he is part of the underground railroad.
The slaves are using the stars to find their way north to Canada, following the drinking gourd, a constellation in the night sky.

There are some activities for before you read the book. They suggest reading the picture book Follow the Drinking Gourd and discuss it. There is also a song titled Drinking Gourd which was an old spiritual. There is also a map provided that you can mark the route of some of the railroad.

There is a vocabulary section with multiply choice answers, to help learn and define some new words. This is great to do together, as some of the words are a bit difficult for some of the younger kids in this age group.

The book is broken down into three sections; Chapter 1&2, Chapter 3-5, Chapter 6.
Each section asks questions and has blanks to write the answer. There is a section in matching terms, a great look at vocabulary. Many of the Thinking About the Story section we worked through verbally. Maverick wouldn't have been able to write answers to the questions, and I was able to get much more out of him by talking. Also with the Dig Deeper section, we chose to discuss it out loud.

Progeny Press offers literature guides for all ages and grades. Many classics, which will help enrich the experience of reading the book. I love that they are putting such emphasis on reading some of the great books of the past.

The lower elementary section alone has over 15 guides. Titles such as Frog and Toad Together, Ox-Cart Man, Miss Rumphius, and Sam the Minuteman

These guides are perfect to do with a parent and young student. It would even work great to utilize an older sibling to work through the study with their younger sibling, teaching them how to facilitate learning and listening

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Literature Study Guides from a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press  Review}

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Surprizamals Stuffed Animal Surprises! *Review

Surprizamals Stuffed Animals

From the Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Company, these plastic balls are carrying a surprise for everyone! What a collectible that is cute and plush! Every time you open one, you get a surprise plush animal.
Every kid loves the element of surprise. I know my kids were super excited to see what was inside their surprizaball.

Well crafted, little plush wonders. These little surprizamals are super cute and furry!

 These really are the softest and cutest small stuffies I have seen in a long time. Look at my little ones face when she opened hers!

There are 12 stuffed animals in this series, with more to launch this coming fall. Each Surprizamal is rated Common, Collector, Rare or Ultra Rare depending on how many are in circulation.
They retail from $2.99 to $4.99 which is a great price for those small items you need for Easter Baskets, Christmas Stockings, or even prizes for events or birthday parties.

Each Surprizamal comes with a sticker sheet. These were an extra special treat we didn't expect. The kids put them in their sticker books for safe keeping. The Surprizamals come with names but your little one can always change that. The names are cute however. Above we have Mary the lamb, Rex the Lion and Scruffy the dog.

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