Review/ Giveaway: Veggie Tales “Beauty and the Beet”

About the film:

This brand-new VeggieTales musical premieres Oct. 14 and stars Kellie Pickler (American Idol, Dancing With the Stars), who brings her unmistakable voice to the role of Mirabelle, a sweet-potato singer whose family band is on the brink of superstardom. BEAUTY AND THE BEET blends the irresistible charm of VeggieTales with a heartfelt message about unconditional love. The DVD also includes Mac and Cheese, a giddy new “Silly Songs With Larry” segment in which Larry the Cucumber reveals the surprising and heretofore untold history of his family’s unexpected contributions to Italian cuisine. BEAUTY AND THE BEET is just the start of the fun in store this fall for VeggieTales fans, because the gang will also star in a brand-new Netflix original series, VeggieTales In the House, which premieres Thanksgiving weekend!

Be Sure to Visit the Veggie Tales Official Website.
My Review:
We watched the DVD tonight with the family.  What a fun story!   It tells the story of a family of singers (3 brothers and 3 sisters) and their dad-the manager.  They are moving up in the concert world and are heading to their biggest gig yet when a snowstorm stops them right in front of a chalet.  They don’t have enough money to stay there, so they decide to work for their room.  The Beet is the owner and is a very grumpy, grouchy character.  Mirabelle (played by Kellie Pickler) decides to show love to him anyway.  In the end, everyone is transformed by her choice to show God’s love.
My husband said that the story reminds him of “White Christmas,” and I agree.  The music was fun, the songs uplifting, and the story helps kids to know that loving an unlovable person is what God wants us to do.  It’s what might bring them around!
Enter to win your own copy of Beauty and the Beet!  Enter through the Rafflecopter app below, 18+ only, US and Canada only.  Winner will be chosen on Friday October 24, 2014 and will have 24 hours to respond to my email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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 the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

This post also contains affiliate links.

Post linked to Inspire Me Mondays, Mom 2 Mom Monday, A Mama’s Story, Monday’s Musings, Living and Learning at Home Trivium Tuesdays, Hip Homeschool Hop, Laugh Learn Linkup

Review: Firmoo Prescription Glasses (+ Coupon Code!)

Review of Firmoo Glasses

A few weeks ago I took my contacts out as I was getting ready for bed and started to put on my glasses.  But they were nowhere to be found.  We searched everywhere.  Everyday I offered my kids a higher reward in case they found them!  Finally, I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to go get some new ones.  Can you tell I wasn’t thrilled with having to do that?  That morning I opened my email and found an offer to receive a new pair of prescription eyeglasses to review!  Woo-hoo!  Perfect!

So, here is my review of my brand new prescription glasses from Firmoo.

The hardest part was trying to choose the frames because they have so many choices!  But they make it easy for you by breaking them into different categories such as Men, Women, New Arrivals, Classic Series and By Shape (rectangle, oval, aviator, etc.), By Material (Metal, Plastic, Titanium,. etc.), By Frame (Full, Semi Rimless, Rimless), and By Size (Small, Medium, Large).

At first I just flipped through the variety of frames and chose a person (they give you several choices) that looked the most like me to “wear” the glasses so I could see how they looked.  Then, I decided to upload my own picture.  That was really easy to do on my computer.  (When I tried it with my iPad, the picture was upside down and I couldn’t figure out how to flip it.)  My kids and I had a lot of laughs seeing me in some really wild looking glasses!

I chose the pair you see below:   They retail for $46 plus standard shipping of $6.95.  (Single vision glasses.)

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I like them.  They are extremely lightweight–they’re titanium.  I like the blue color and how they don’t have a frame all the way around.  It’s really fun to get a new pair of glasses since I haven’t gotten any since before I was married, 17 years ago!  Now that I know how easy it is to order, I expect to order again from Firmoo in the future when my prescription changes–or when my kids need glasses.

Free Glasses

Along with the glasses I also received a hard case, a soft pouch, a cleaning cloth, and a screwdriver with 2 extra screws and 2 extra nose pads.

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The ordering process was easy.  I just called my eye doctor to get my prescription, and it was simple to put all the info in for ordering.  The only downside is that it takes quite a while (I think it was 2 weeks) to receive them.

If you need (or want!) a new pair of glasses, use this code:

Coupon Code:  OCTF20

for 20% off storewide, 1.50 single vision lenses included! Expires on 2014-10-14

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(Disclosure:  I received a complimentary pair of glasses from Firmoo in exchange for this honest review. I am also an affiliate of Firmoo, and this post contains affiliate links.)

Review of New NuNaturals Stevia Products: Giveaway, too!

NuNaturals Stevia

I’m so excited to share a review of some new NuNaturals healthy food products today!  And we have an awesome giveaway today–with FOUR WINNERS!!!

I received the following:

Nustevia White Stevia Powder (100 packets)

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Nustevia Cocoa Syrup 16 oz.

Nustevia Cocoa Mint Syrup 16 oz.

Nustevia Simple Syrup 16 oz.

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Nustevia Cherry 2 oz.

Nustevia Cherry Vanilla 2 oz.

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Nugrain Oat Fiber 1 Lb

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Nustevia Reb99 TM Extract 1 oz.

Nustevia Nocarbs Blend 2.75 oz.

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and the NuNaturals All-Star Worldwide Recipe Collection.


Wow–what an awesome set of products to try out!  If you are a sugar-free household, you must give these a try.  They will make you smile. :)

So, what is NuNaturals?  They make Stevia products which help us reduce sugar and carbs.  NuStevia is not bitter, has zero calories, and doesn’t raise blood sugar–which makes it perfect for dieters and those with diabetes.  It dissolves instantly in beverages, cold or hot!  They are gluten-free and contain no preservatives or anything artificial.  You’ll find NuStevia powders, liquids, and syrups, which can be used to make a wide variety of recipes!


My kids really enjoyed the Cocoa Syrup and Cocoa Mint Syrup–fun for chocolate milk or hot chocolate.  They were a bit too strong (the NuNaturals Stevia products are highly concentrated) to eat straight when poured on ice cream.  They also make a plain Simple Syrup.  One-quarter teaspoon of the syrup is as sweet as 1 teaspoon of sugar.  We made a healthy banana chocolate “ice cream” with banana, milk, and NuStevia Cocoa Syrup.  It was pretty good!

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One of my sons really liked the Nustevia Cherry and Cherry Vanilla in water and other drinks to give it a different flavor.  He even put it in his cereal!  (My favorite of the liquids was from my last review of NuNaturals when I got the Peppermint.  I love putting that in hot tea!)

The Nugrain Oat Fiber can be used for making baked goods or added to smoothies, porridge and other recipes where you want to boost the fiber content.  I’m always looking for ways to do that!

Here are some great recipe ideas to use the products:

*Banana Oatmeal Walnut Muffins using NuGrains Oat Fiber and NuNaturals Reb 99 Pure Stevia Extract.

*Cocoa Oat Fiber Pancakes using NuGrains Oat Fiber, NuStevia Simple Syrup, and NuStevia Cocoa Syrup.

*Apricot Avocado Scones using NuStevia Simple Syrup and NuStevia Vanilla Stevia Liquid

*Sugar-Free No Bake Chocolate Coconut Brownies using Nugrain Oat Fiber and NuStevia Vanilla Stevia Liquid


I would encourage you to check out the NuNaturals website to see all they have to offer!  Here are some wonderful discounts:

Use Coupon Code BLG1214  and receive a 15% DISCOUNT on your ENTIRE ORDER. This discount remains EFFECTIVE UNTIL  DECEMBER 31, 2014 .

Online ordering customers may also receive FREE SHIPPING to the CONTINENTAL U. S. on all orders exceeding $35.00 after discounts.

And now a giveaway!

FOUR winners will receive the following set:

One bottle of the Cherry Vanilla Stevia Liquid,  a 50 pkt box of our NuStevia White Stevia Powder packets, a bottle of the Nustevia Cocoa Mint Syrup, and a bottle of the Nustevia Cocoa Syrup with a retail value of $ 55.00, PLUS a free bonus product!

Giveaway runs until 10/8/14 and is open WORLDWIDE, no P.O. Boxes. Winner will have 24 hours to respond to my email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure: I received the above listed products for free in exchange for this honest review.)


Review My Student Logbook

My Student Logbook Review

The company My Student Logbook has produced a wonderful product for homeschoolers that my daughter and I reviewed called My Student Logbook.

We received a physical logbook with our choice of cover design. We chose to have a dated book (August 2014 – July 2015) in the Rainforest design. You can get an undated version if that works better for you.


My Student Logbook Review
My Student Logbooks come in 10 different cover designs ( for $15 each), so you’re sure to find one that you student will like.  They also come in PDF versions that you can download, print, and bind yourself.  The PDF single copy license (no cover design) is $10; the PDF family use license (no cover design) is $20.
Here are a couple other cover designs:

My Student Logbook Review
My Student Logbook Review

The age range for My Student Logbook is 2nd grade and up.  It’s especially helpful for high school students who need to keep track of all their work and hours for a high school transcript.  But it also worked perfectly for my 6th grade daughter.

My Student Logbook Review
I’ll explain about the regular logbook pages in a moment, but first let me share about the special pages included.
You can see a green sheet dividing the front section of the logbook from the back section special pages.  The first one is “All About Me” so the kids can keep a record of how they grow and change each year!
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There is a Prayer and Goals page:
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Pages to keep track of Books Read:
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A Place to keep track of events, projects, field trips, presentations, activities:
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Bible Verses Memorized,
Test Records:
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And Year Highlights–favorite memories from the year:
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Now for the logbook itself!
You start out with a page like this.  You fill out right side checklist with all the assignments (subjects) you want your child to complete.  There is also a section for time if there is a subject that they need to spend a certain amount of time doing it (such as reading for 30 minutes, practicing piano for 45 minutes). 
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You cut this sheet out and then fold it in half from top to bottom.  You tape the back section on the back of a log page.  (If this confuses you, there is a YouTube video to show you how to do it!)

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If you need to list specific page numbers, chapters, etc. for the student to do in that subject for the week, you can list it underneath.

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Then, here is the really cool part, you simply fold that checklist page over the next week’s log so you don’t have to rewrite it!  Again, you can write specific notes that are unique for each week on its own page.

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If you need more checklists in case the subjects or books change throughout the year, there are 5 extras included.

What We Liked:

I have tried lots of different types of logbooks/checklists for my kids throughout the years, including ones that I have made myself.  None of them were as good as this.  I love how the author really planned it out so well.  It is sturdy, so I expect it will last throughout the year.  I’m really considering using this for my kids to keep track of everything during their high school years, so we can get it all written out on a transcript. If you’re worried about getting a high school transcript prepared, Corina includes 3 full pages at the beginning of the logbook to explain how to do it!

What We Didn’t Like:

I actually can’t think of anything I didn’t like about it.  :)

You can follow My Student Logbook on Facebook and You Tube .


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Review The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner

7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review

For the past month I have been using The 7 Minute Life™ Daily Planner from The 7 Minute Life and am happy to share a review today!


What it looks like:

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This is a 7.3″ by 8.5″ physical planner.  It has lovely light green colors with white and black.  It is nicely spiral bound with a think plastic cover for the front and back. It’s best for adults; it’s not a student planner. It begins with an introduction to the planner and the system, with pages to help you get ready and lots of different types of list pages.  Then, there are 90 daily planning pages.  “Ninety days is a long enough period of time to see if a plan is working and goals are being met.  It’s also a short enough period of time to maintain motivation.”

How it works:

Allyson Lewis is the creator of this planner and the ideas behind it.  Before jumping into the planning pages, she takes you through 11 pages of preparation for understanding the system.  It took me a good week to go through all these 7-minute projects.

I learned that the goal of the 7 Minute Life is to provide strategies to learn to prioritize, organize, and simplify.

7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review


We don’t need to continue doing tons of low priority tasks, but to organize and simplify so we can focus on the high priority tasks.  What’s high priority?  You’ll find out after you go through the preparation pages!

The first 7 Minute Life Idea was to prioritize my top 10 values.  There is a page that lists 75 values, and you are to circle the ones that “speak to you.”  This was really a fun activity for me.

Here were my Top 10 Priorities:

1. Relationships/Family/Love

2. Teach and Inspire

3. Learn and Grow

4. Balance/Order

5. Faith

6. Solitude/Peace

7. Excellence

8. Laughter/Joy

9. Creativity/Arts

10. Leaving a Legacy

The next 7 Minute Life Idea was to Discover Your Purpose.  Here was mine:

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At the age of 85, I will know I have fulfilled my purpose when: my marriage feels fulfilled and my kids are all following Christ, serving Him and have a good relationship with me.

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The third 7 Minute Life Idea was to Establish 90-Day Goals:

There are some great goal sheets to fill out:

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Next, Allyson explains 10 “7 Minute” Micro-Actions, which should only take you about 7 minutes to complete!

1.  List unfinished tasks (for work and home separately)

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2. Identify and list mental clutter–“anything that takes up your finite time and emotional attention.”

3.  Home Repair–start the list of problems that need to be taken care of

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4. Life Connections–list people you are connected to.

5. Annual Projects and Tasks–list events, holidays, conferences, vacations, etc.

6.  12 Month Calendar

7.  Meeting Planner–great for writing out a meeting’s plan

8.  Notes Pages — these were useful for figuring out my priorities

9.  Annual Exercise Progress Report

10.  Daily Progress Report pages–“takes your personal values, purpose, your 90-day goals, and your unfinished tasks, and translates them into DAILY ACTIVITIES and ACTION STEPS.”

7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review

Here’s an example of how I did one day:


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My thoughts on how it worked for me:

I found the planner quite useful in helping me to identify my priorities and values.  I loved the exercises that I had to do to figure these things out.  The lists are also great and will help me figure out what I need to do next (such as in house repairs and unfinished tasks).  The part that didn’t work so well was that the Daily Progress Report pages were meant more for a business woman.  I have some slight business leanings (in blogging and in an e-book I’m writing), but mostly I’m a stay-at-home homemaking mom who homeschools!  So, I did what a lot of my Schoolhouse Review Crew colleagues did and adapted the planner to fit my life!  Instead of “Daily Contacts” I started using that section for blogging activities I needed to complete.  Instead of voice mails (because I don’t usually get any!) I used that section for Prayer Requests to remind me to pray throughout the day.  And in the blank pages at the bottom of the second page I started writing Homeschool Accomplishments.  Why? Because sometimes that’s all that gets done, and it helps me to see that I actually did accomplish something even if the other goals on the page (thank you notes, connections, unfinished tasks, exercise, drinking water, etc.) didn’t get done.  :)

**The best part of the whole system is to figure out the day before what your “5 before 11″ will be.  Above I wrote that I wanted to accomplish these five high priority tasks before 11 a.m.:  exercise, make orthodontist appointment, promote blog posts, package stuff for nieces, and make babysitting requests.  I practically never get these things done before 11, because I’m focusing on homeschooling.  But I do try to get them done before 4 pm!


More info on it:

Price: $24.95

Watch this 12-minute VIDEO to help explain how The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner works.

And, the 16 very short videos (total viewing time approx 30 min).

There is a Getting Started Section here and a number of completely free tools here.

You can follow the 7 Minute Life on social media here:  Facebook , Twitter , Pinterest , Google+ , and You Tube .



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Review “Under Drake’s Flag” audio drama

Analytical Grammar Review

Heirloom Audio Productions has produced an incredible product that I had the opportunity to review called
Under Drake’s Flag !  

It’s an audio drama on two CDs which lasts for two hours. We listened to it as a family while we were driving on vacation last month.  It’s part of a series called “The Extraordinary Adventures of G. A. Henry.” G. A, Henty is a Christian British author from the 1800s who has written many, many historical fiction novels.  We have tried to listen to a couple of his books on CD, but never got very far. However, this adaptation of one of his books into audio theater was exactly what my kids needed to get interested!


What I liked:

The story was exciting and fast-paced.  The main characters were teen boys who are learning to be men, so that kept my older boys’ interest.  The boys end up on Captain Drake’s ship, so they learn about him and the things that he did. The boys do heroic things like saving people from drowning and even fighting off a shark.  But the best part is how they grew in their faith, promising never to denounce Christ and the faith they believe in, even when caught by the Spanish during the Inquisition of the 1500s.

The production side of the audio drama was incredible– the script, the acting, the music was all top-notch!  The wonderful musical score was composed by John Campbell, who also worked with “Adventures in Odyssey” and “Lamplighter Theatre”!  I also loved the sound effects.  Everything worked perfectly to get you into the story!

What I didn’t like:

The only thing I didn’t like was that Sir Francis Drake is exalted to more of a hero status than I think he deserves.  I can see why the Spanish called him a pirate; he did loot and steal.

Other items reviewed:
We reviewed the physical audio CDs that comes with Study Guide and Prayer inside, as well as a longer Study Guide that is a PDF download. Let me tell you a little about the CD case Study Guide. The study guide has something for each track on the CD. There are some questions which are called Listening Well that are an opportunity to quiz the kids on what they heard. Then there are Thinking Further questions that really get the students to delve into deeper discussions about the plot, the characters, their actions, etc. Last, there are Defining Words for vocabulary study.  My favorite part of the Study Guide is the Bible Study section at the back.  There are three Bible Studies included called “Godly Character,” “True Manhood,” and “Confessing Christ.” The downloadable study guide includes all of the above, plus more. Each section simply has more questions in it.

Age Range:

This is best for ages 6-adult. Some parents may feel that the subject matter is too heavy for younger kids. You might want to listen to it first before having children as young as six listen to it.

Price: The MP3 download is $20 and includes two downloads (study guide and prayer). The 2 CD set is $29.95 plus $6.95 for shipping and handling.  It also includes some bonuses.

Follow “Under Drake’s Flag” on Facebook –

Under Drake's Flag Reviews
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$5.99 Homeschool T-Shirt Sale and Giveaway!

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Are you ready for this year’s $5.99 Homeschool T-Shirt Sale and Giveaway?  Look at the great T-Shirt I got this year!

Head over to the Great Products website to check out all the great designs!  And they’re only $5.99–but only until September 15.

I’m happy to be able to give away this t-shirt:  Bird House– “We learn best in the nest.”  I just love the beautiful design of the birds, bird house, and flowers.  I got it with a pink shirt, adult size medium.  It fits perfectly.  

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You can one win one for yourself!  Enter through the Rafflecopter app below.  Winner will be chosen on Saturday Sept. 13 and will have 24 hours to respond to my email.  The winner must be in the continental U.S. (Disclosure: I received a free t-shirt to review.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review “Happy Kids Songs”

Happy Kids Songs Review

For the past couple of months we have been listening to some “Happy Kids Songs” by Dr. Mac and Friends and will be sharing a review today!  
We received THREE Song Sets via Download (15 songs total):
Friends & Sharing (Set 1)
Happiness & Attitude (Set 6)
Manners & Character (Set 7)


Happy Kids Songs Workbook: Hands-on Activities to Build Character, Social & Emotional Skills physical softcover book.

When I received the downloads by email it was very easy to burn them onto a CD.  If you haven’t done that before, here’s how I did it:  Download the free software called iTunes.  Then you click on the download of the MP3 and tell the computer to open it in iTunes (or you can drag the file into iTunes).  After that you create a playlist in iTunes with just the Happy Kids Songs on it.  When you put a blank CD into the computer, it will ask you to choose a playlist to burn.  You choose the Happy Kids Songs playlist, and that’s all there is to it!  We kept the CD in the car and listened to it often.

The Happy Kids Songs have one purpose–to teach kids to have better character!  They are learning about how to treat others better, how to have good manners, and how to be a good friend.  The Happy Kids Songs website has lots of videos and song samples, so you can hear what they sound like before you buy.

Happy Kids Songs Review

The first five songs were about being a good friend and sharing.  The songs are called “Sailing on the Seven Cs,” “Everybody Wants to Find a Friend,” Sharing Friends,” Happy as Happy Can Be,” and “Together.”  My kids’ favorite was “Sailing on the Seven Cs,” which is a clever song about sailing on the good ship, Friendship!  The seven Cs are what helps us to be good friends: caring, consideration, commitment, communication, concern, curiosity, and cooperation.

Happy Kids Songs Review
The next song-set was about Happiness & Attitude.  The songs are “Shake it Out and Dance,” “Who Knows What’s a Kudo?,”I Don’t Understand,” “Be Good to Yourself,” and “Better Together.”  My favorite of this set was “Who Knows What’s a Kudo?”. This song teaches kids how to find things to compliment others in and then encourages them to actually share those kudos!

Happy Kids Songs Review

The last set we listened to was Manners & Character.  The songs were “H-o-n-e-s-t-y,” “The Magic Word,” “Quirks,” “The Golden Rule,” and “Six Little Kids.”  The song “Quirks” is really fun.

What I liked:

As a professional musician myself, I tend to be quite critical of many CDs for kids.  Put bluntly, many are very poorly produced with annoying singing and bad musicianship.  Not so with Happy Kids Songs!  These are high quality!  I loved listening the kids sing.  They are so talented!  But the adult singers and instrumentalists were also great!  The songs are well-written with clever little ad-libs, and with a variety of styles and arrangements.  The purpose of the songs is also a great feature.  We want our kids to grow in their character.  Even though these songs are not specifically Christian, they do encourage Christian themes, such as the Golden Rule.

What I didn’t like:

There are a few songs that talk about classroom teachers, so it’s clear that these songs were specifically written to be used in a school.  They can be used in a homeschool, too, of course, but there aren’t many songs that we reviewed that spoke of the kids’ parents.  I also didn’t like a few of the lyrics.  In the song “Quirks” which is helping kids recognize that all of us have quirks and we need to be patient and gracious with others.  But one line says “Some folks’ tempers flare up But they’re all just little quirks.”  I don’t believe a bad temper is a little quirk (like whistling while you work or having slicked up hair).  It’s a character flaw which should be overcome.  The other line I didn’t like was in “Six Little Kids.” The song is really cute and tells the story of 6 kids who encounter an elephant for the first time.  They don’t look at it, but just feel it.  So, the one that feels the elephant’s side thinks it is a wall; the one who feels the tail thinks it’s a rope, etc.  The song is teaching about how people have different points of view.  They say, “Which one of them is true?. . .All of them are true!”  Well, that’s just not the case.  A person who mistakenly thinks an elephant is a wall or a rope is wrong.  Their point of view is wrong.  An elephant is an elephant.

Activity Book:

We also received the 124-page activity book which has all 40 songs’ lyrics with accompanying activity pages like coloring sheets, mazes, word searches, etc.  There is also a section for teachers to do classroom activities to go along with the songs–dances, simple science experiments, games, etc.  It’s a great resource!

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Age Range:

This is geared for ages 3-8, but children ages 0-9 are likely to enjoy this.


Each 5-song set is $4.95 or $.99 for a single song.  The 124-page activity book is $12.56.

Follow Happy Kids Songs on FacebookTwitter: @howsyourfam, and YouTube!

Happy Kids Songs Review

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Review of Glasses from Firmoo

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Free Glasses

I got a new pair of sunglasses, and am happy to review them for you today.  They are from Firmoo, the Global Online Optical Store.  My husband helped me look through the many choices, and we chose this fun blue pair.  I’ve really enjoyed wearing them this past week.

The ordering process was simple.  There are many good pictures of the glasses (not just sunglasses), and even a fun graphic where you can “try them on” a person that looks similar to you or even upload your picture.  Then you can see different views of the frames and read reviews about them.

After ordering them, it took about a week for them to arrive.  They came packaged nicely in a brown padded envelope, but were fully protected inside the glasses case that came with them.  Also included was a yellow cleaning cloth, which works great!  I really like that cloth!

The glasses are nice.  They fit well (just a little loose when I wear them on top of my head, though).  They seem strong–not like the cheapies I usually buy.  I’m keeping them in the hard case to keep them protected in my purse.  I was a little worried about the blue tint.  Yes, things have a bluish hue, but I actually like the way things look through them.

Check out the options at Firmoo and see if you’d like to order your next pair of glasses from them.  They have some coupons available right now, and even a first free pair option!

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Get a new pair!

(Review:  I received a free pair of classes, a case, and cloth in order to write this honest review.)

Giveaway “Friends And Heroes” CD plus a Sale!


Have you heard of Friends and Heroes?  They are a producer of God-honoring DVDs and CDs.  They even have homeschool curriculum unit studies.  (I did a review on one here.)  Be sure to head over to Friends and Heroes since they are having a wonderful sale right now!  And enter the giveaway below.

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Friends and Heroes is having a special promotion running from July 15 through August 15, 2014

Here are the details:

·         20% off all Friends and Heroes Homeschool Curriculum

·         10% off all other Friends and Heroes resources with curriculum

·         10% off all Friends and Heroes Home and Family DVD Collections

But today I’m happy to share a review and giveaway of their music CD, titled “What about Love?” .

This is a CD of 19 songs.  They are Bible songs inspired by Friends and Heroes Series 1.  What you’ll find specifically are 13 songs that telling stories from the Bible: Joseph and his brothers, Rahab and the spies, Ruth and Naomi, Elijah and the prophets of Baal, Esther the Queen, Shadrach and the fiery furnace, Daniel and the lion’s den, Jesus’ birth, the parable of the Prodigal Son, the Last Supper, Saul on the road to Damascus, Peter and Cornelius, and God releases Peter from prison.  Then there are 6 songs that were made for Friends and Heroes episodes.  Four of my kids ages 2-7 loved these songs!  They kept asking me every time we went in the car to listen to them again.  It wasn’t long before they started asking for specific songs.  Their top three are “Joseph, Joseph,” “Down Came the Fire,” and “Horseplay.”  My 2-year-old absolutely loves “I’m Your Man” and laughs through the whole song every time I play it.

I was really pleased with the quality of the arrangements and the skill of the singers and instrumentalists.  This is an enjoyable CD to listen to. They remind me more of pop songs that you’d hear on the radio rather than the typical “kid song CD.”  I heard songs that reminded me of the Beatles and of the 20’s Big Band Era.  But the most important thing is that they are learning about Bible stories from another perspective–in song!

There is a bonus CD included that has the background tracks on it in case you have a group of kids who will want to sing these songs for a performance.


I am happy that Friends and Heroes have offered a “What About Love?” CD to give away!  The giveaway limited to U.S. and Canada.  The winner will be chosen on on Saturday July 26 and will have 24 hours to respond to my email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Go to the Friends and Heroes website to see the free music videos that go along with the CD!

They even have a children’s website at


(Disclosure: I received a copy of the CD in order to write this honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

Review “Go Science” DVDs from Library and Educational Services

    Go Science Review
Go Science Review
Today I am happy to review a product sold by Library and Educational Services  called  Go Science DVDs.  It’s their NEW release–Series 2.  I received two DVDs, but here is a list of all that are available:

Volume 1: Sound, Gravity, Space
Volume 2: Life Science, Weather
Volume 3: Air
Volume 4: Motion, Friction, Electricity, Light
Volume 5: States of Matter, Water
Volume 6: Chemistry
Volume 7: Engineering, Design, Flight

I’ve been interested in checking out these DVDs ever since I first saw them at  (If you haven’t joined that site, be sure to do so!  They have great prices!)

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What you will find on the DVDs are vignettes of science demonstrations by Bob Roy.  He is always with a group of kids and uses several of them to help in the demonstrations and experiments.  Bob has very good rapport with the kids and asks them questions so we get to know the kids a little bit, too.  The ages that these DVDs are best for is 4-12, but my 2-year-old and 3-year-old watched them, too!  I would not say that these science DVDs give enough information to be used as a science curriculum, but they might definitely spark an interest in science for your kids.  You’ll see some interesting and cool science experiments and might even get some ideas for science fair projects!  But Bob’s main focus is, “When we learn about science, we learn more about our Creator, God.”  He often ties each experiment in with a spiritual lesson.

Go Science Review

Review of Go Science Volume 7: Engineering, Design, and Flight:

This DVD has eleven demonstrations lasting a total of 56:09 minutes.  Demonstration 1 was about volume.  We saw how two pieces of plastic folded different ways will hold different volumes.  The spiritual lesson was that things are not always what they seem and we shouldn’t judge people.  Next was about Balance and they kids did the “Leaning Tower of Lyra,” where they stacked flat sticks on a table and the top one was completely suspended off the table.  The third experiment was to balance 10 nails on the nail of one.  The lesson was that everyone has a purpose, to do God’s work and to work together with others.

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Next, we moved into a gym at a school and the kids used a large trebuchet.  I liked how Roy talked about being safe–using safety glasses (and at other times he said to use bike helmets and not to play with fire).  He told the story of Jabez from the Bible who asked God for a blessing.  The fifth experiments and several after it were done outdoors.  He made a pump that sprayed water with a straw, skewer, tape, and container of water.  It’s fun that so many of these projects can easily be recreated at home.  Next several kids walked on eggs, and we saw how eggs are weak on the sides, but strong on the ends.  Pray to God, and He’ll make us strong so we won’t break.  The next one was really interesting.  We saw how pressing a balloon on a nail causes it to break, but pressing it on a bunch of nails didn’t because the force was spread out.

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The final section of demonstrations had to do with flight.  Bob used some special rocket balloons that squealed as they flew through the air, but didn’t make sounds when the valve was cut off.  He encouraged the kids to listen to pleasing sounds and not too loud of music which can hurt our ears.  Next they made rockets.  These were really fun.  The baking soda and vinegar reaction caused the water bottle rocket to fly off the table.  The spiritual lesson was to help others– a little bit of kindness can make a difference in others’ lives.  Demonstration number 10 had two sizes of toilet paper (almost empty and almost full) on paint rollers.  The more mass meant inertia could keep it more still.  And last on this DVD was the film canister rocket where using water and a tablet of Alka Seltzer caused enough pressure to blow the top off.


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Go Science Review
Volume 1 was about Sound, Gravity, and Space:

For this DVD I’ll just share my favorite demonstations.  This particular DVD had 15 demonstrations in 1 hour 18 minutes. The first one was getting to see the inside of a piano. Bob explained to the kids how a piano worked–with hammers hitting the strings causing them to vibrate and dampers stopping the vibrations.  The longer the string means the lower the sound.  Another experiment was to blow a straw in between two empty pop cans, causing a loud speak!  I know my kids are going to do this one at home! My very favorite from both DVDs was the Ruben’s tube experiment.  Bob had a muffler pipe with holes in the top.  He set a flame through it, which caused little flames to come out the top.  Musical instruments were played and singers sang, and we could “see” the sound!  I had never seen that before, and it was really incredible.  Three more I enjoyed were the UV Beads, special white beads that turn colors when the ultraviolet sun rays hit them; the Solar Bag which when filled with air and heated by the sun will fly; and the Bang Barrel which had a 2-liter plastic bottle filled with liquid nitrogen and when capped and placed under a plastic barrel  burst and shot the barrel way up into the air!

The following YouTube video shows another of my favorites–breaking glass with sound!

(Click through to I Choose Joy! if you don’t see the video.)


Overall, I would say that my kids enjoyed watching these DVDs.  They aren’t highly scientific, but they are fun and interesting. The only thing I didn’t like about these demonstations is that he didn’t go into much detail about the science behind what was happening.  I think his main goal was to simply get the kids excited about science and to teach the spiritual lessons.  And that’s exactly what happened with my kids!

The Go Science DVDs are only $8.97 each or $59.82 for the set of 7!

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You can get Ben Roy’s Science Kits and materials at Go Science LLC.

Go like Library and Educational Services on Facebook!  


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Review Kids Academy “Preschool Kids Games” App




I used this app from Kids Academy called “Preschool Kids Games” with two of my kids, ages three and five and will be sharing a review with you today. They both enjoyed it and were able to figure out how to do it on their own. It was intuitive and there were verbal instructions as well. I didn’t buy any add-ons – so this is what you get in just the free app:
There are three different games – tracing letters, tracing numbers, and learning the letters of the alphabet. But you only get A, B, and C or 1, 2, and 3.


The music was fun but quiet, so that was nice. There were rewards and incentives, such as adding fireflies to a jar and the number keeps increasing. It was a little hard for my three-year-old to trace exactly inside the lines for the numbers and letters. If they didn’t do it right they were encouraged to try again. My 5-year-old was more successful with it. One thing I really liked was that they had upper and lower case letters to trace.

The alphabet part of the game was easy; you just listen for the names of the letters and then touch three different items on the screen that start with that letter. It’s a fun and educational app, but to really use it fully would require purchasing the add-ons.  The app is available from the iTunes store and will work on iPhone and iPad.

(I received compensation for writing this honest review, and all opinions are completely my own.)

oBaby+ App Review

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Today I have a review of a fun new app called oBaby+.  The way it works is that you first take a picture with your iPhone (or iPad) or choose an existing photo.  Next you choose the size (square, 5×7, etc.).  Then there are hundreds of borders, words, doodles, or pictures to add to your photo!  You can resize the illustrations and move them where you want them on the picture.  And there are so many colors to choose from as well!

Then you can save the edited version to your phone or share it in a variety of ways (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Message, etc.)

I didn’t experience any trouble with the app.  I found it extremely easy to use–and fun!

You can check out many more ideas of ways to edit photos on the oBaby Instagram page.  Their website is  .  You can purchase oBaby for $4.99 which will allow for a number of add-ons for $.99 each.  Or purchase the whole app with 650+ handcrafted illustrations for $14.99.  There is even a way to “gift” it to give to an expecting mom for a baby shower gift!

Here are the categories of artwork that you get:

**11 Categories of Artwork (650+ Illustrations)

DATES: for due dates, birthdays, special days, countdowns 
DOODLES: flowers, hearts, ornaments, arrows
BORDERS: squares, circles, semi-circles (& more)
ANYTIME: blessed, mr. hungry, cutie pie (& more) 
ANNOUNCEMENTS: coming soon, bun in the oven, we made magic (& more)
PREGNANCY: heard the heartbeat, nesting, any day now (& more)
LABOR & BIRTH: so brave, hello world, first family photo (& more) 
ADOPTION: dossier sent, home study, gotcha day (& more) 
FIRST YEAR: baby bubbles, look what I found, crawling (& more) 
SECOND YEAR: such a ham, crazy kid, my favorite toy (& more) 
FAMILY & FRIENDS: grandma, grandpa, family, the whole gang (& more) 

Overall, I really enjoyed the oBaby+ app and will continue to use it!

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choir Trader Joes OBaby 011

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(Disclosure:  I received the oBaby+ for free in order to write this honest review.)

Review of Trident Case–Kraken Case for iPad

Trident Case Review
Trident Case Review

Today I have a review of an awesome Rugged, Tough, and Protective Case for the iPad.  The particular case I was able to get and use for the last 6 weeks was the KRAKEN A.M.S. CASE FOR APPLE IPAD 2/3/4 for Devices: iPad 2, iPad 3, or iPad 4 from the company called Trident Case.


The first thing we noticed was how easy the case was to install.  My 12-year-old son was with me at the time and wanted to put it on the iPad himself.  So, I watched him install it in less than a minute (without reading the instructions!)  Later I realized that there was some dust under the clear, protective screen.  I removed the case (that was pretty easy to do as well, although it would be difficult for a young child) and cleaned it with non-abrasive glass cleaner.  Then I installed it myself.  See in the picture below that the case is actually 3 separate pieces.  The first piece contains a clear screen.  We had no trouble at all getting the iPad to read our touches through the screen.  The second piece is colored (and comes in a variety of colors–I got green) and is flexible silicone.  The bottom piece is a heavy duty strong piece of hardened polycarbonate.  The available colors are black, blue, red, pink, Trident green, purple, orange, and maroon.  There are also attachments that are available from Trident Case that work with the Kraken case.

There are built in openings in the Kraken case for iPad for the camera, headphone jack, microphone, etc.  Some have little flaps so that they close over to keep dust out when they aren’t in use.  There are only two things I didn’t like about the case.  One was that the little flaps didn’t always stay closed.  I’d be fine without those.  Second was that the case made the iPad much heavier than before.  (My oldest son had one more complaint.  His headphones wouldn’t fit in the headphone jack with the case on, and the case is too cumbersome to take on and off just to play the headphones occasionally.  The earbuds that came with the iPad fit in with the case on.)

Why is the Kraken Case so heavy?  Because it’s so strong.  It has been military tested with dropping, dust blowing, vibration, rain, and wind!

Trident Case Review
Trident Case Review
Trident Case Review
How we used it:

We installed the case, removed it, and reinstalled it.  We then kept it on the iPad for 6 weeks.  My husband, 7 kids, and I used it during that time.  We had no problems at all!

Age Range:

These are for all ages.  They are especially nice for those of us with young children so we don’t have to worry about our devices getting broken!


The KRAKEN A.M.S. CASE FOR APPLE IPAD 2/3/4 for Devices: iPad 2, iPad 3, or iPad 4 is $69.95.


The bottom line:

I don’t fear my kids using my iPad anymore.  I used to constantly say, “Sit back on the couch. Be over carpet.  Don’t walk around with it.  Be careful!  If it falls there, the glass will break.”  Now, I know it won’t break if it falls!  The heaviness of the case is totally worth it for me to know that my iPad is protected.  Yeah!  I’ve decided not to remove the Kraken case to put on my old one.  It stays!

You can find Trident cases for a variety of devices such as iPhones, Kindles, and the Samsung Galaxy Note–not just iPads.

Check out Trident Case around the web here:
FacebookInstagramTwitterGoogle+PinterestVine , and YouTube – Go to YouTube for sure.  I LOVED watching the tests that were done on the devices with Trident cases on them!



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Review/Giveaway “The Legend of the Three Trees” DVD

The Legend of the Three Trees giveaway

Today I’m happy to review the DVD of the classic folktale story The Legend of the Three Trees published by Tommy Nelson.  It’s an older DVD, from 2001, but is of a timeless and beautiful story.

In case you aren’t familiar with it, it tells the story of 3 trees.  We start out with their seeds and see where they grow up.  Each tree has dreams for what it wants for its life.  The first wants to be a beautiful treasure chest, the second a great sailing vessel, and the third wants to be the tallest tree in the forest so it will point people to God up in heaven.  The trees don’t become exactly what they dreamed of, but God makes them even greater.  The first becomes the manger that the Lord Jesus is laid in as a baby.  The second becomes the humble fishing boat that keeps the disciples safe in the storm until Jesus calms it.  And the third is made into the cross that Jesus dies on, fulfilling that tree’s dream of pointing people to God.

On the 30-minute DVD you’ll find the story narrated by Hal Holbrook.  The animation is a mixture of still shots and live animation.  There are animals that play with the seeds, men who chop down the trees, and scenes of Jesus with each of the trees.  There are also 2 original songs which go along with the story (sung by Marilyn McCoo and 4HIM’s Andy Chrisman).

My younger children enjoyed watching the DVD.  It’s labeled as being for ages 4-7, and I think that’s a good age range.  I love the story; I think it’s a beautiful way to share with everyone that God has a plan for our lives.

Enter on the Rafflecopter app below to be entered to win a copy of this DVD! U.S. only, 18+. The winner will be chosen on May 8 and will have 24 hours to respond to my giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this DVD in order write this honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

Review of “The Brinkman Adventures” Season 2!

Brinkman Adventures Review

Last summer I was first introduced to The Brinkman Adventures at our local homeschool convention, and today I happily share a review of  Season 2: Episodes 13-24!

What is it?

The Brinkman Adventures are family audio dramas made by a Christian family.  The Brinkmans have mom and dad and 9 children.  The kids all play themselves, but the mom and dad are played by actors.  The stories all weave in the family interacting with missionaries.  We travel to different countries and different time periods.  Sometimes when a missionary is telling a story, the drama goes back in time and acts out that story.

Although they aren’t the highest quality by professional actors, they are very well done!  We enjoyed the scripts, the acting, the sound effects, and the music.  The stories are compelling, exciting, and educational.

The Episodes of Season 2:

The Mystery Ring — Fun story of a lost ring bringing the Brinkmans in touch with former missionaries to China.

Blue Hat and T-Shirt Bible — Amazing true story of God working out the details.

How Big is Your God —  This episode made me cry.

Mexico by Bus — Funny with chickens.

Treehouse Academy — Teaching school in a treehouse?

Pirates of Mayan Island — Reminded me of Treasure Island.

Sapphire Slave — So sad, slavery is so prevalent today–even children.

Hadi’s Choice — Incredible story of a Musilim converting to Christianity.

Castle of Secrets — How fun, exploring a castle.

On the Run — The story of a missionary family’s quick escape from a dangerous foreign country.

Age Range:

These are stories for families for all ages.  Occasionally an episode will specify (on the recording) that it would be best for ages 10 and up due to intense situations.

How we liked it:

My kids and I really enjoyed listening to these stories.  We got the MP3 downloads, which were very easy to download into iTunes, create a playlist, and burn CDs.  We listened to them in the car when as we drove around town and on our vacation to Cincinnati a few weeks ago.  They’re exciting and really draw you into the stories!  There were a couple of the 12 30-minute episodes where it was recommended that the younger children listen with their parents in case the subject matter became too intense for them.  My kids were fine with all the stories of Season 2.  One thing I really loved was that there is a great focus on reaching the world for Christ.  There are many instances of people sharing their faith with others.  Sometimes people become believers; sometimes they don’t.  Great lessons are taught as well, such as doing hard work and not complaining.  Finally, I love that my kids are learning about different countries and cultures.  I really felt like we were in China and Mexico and “Bazakistan.”  And it’s so important to learn about the issues we can get involved in to help others, such as ending slavery around the world.

We’re excited to listen to more episodes and hope that Season 3 will be out soon.  And–I hope we can meet their family sometime!

Additional Resources:

Stories behind the stories:  One thing that’s really neat about the stories is that they are all based on true events!  On the website they have each episode listed with all kinds of additional resources that give details about the full story.  There are interviews with missionaries, photographs, videos, links, etc.

Ways to contact the real missionaries:  There are email addresses and websites so you can write them!

Listen: You can listen to an episode for free.  Check it out and see if your family likes it.

Fun Stuff:  Behind-the-scenes videos (of the filming of the episodes), downloadable printables to color, and other videos about people and places around the world.


The Brinkman Adventures operates on a donation basis.  The  4 CD set  includes 12 episodes and 5 + hours of listening pleasure for a suggested price is $25.00. The MP3 downloads have a suggested price of $17.00.

Brinkman Adventures Review
Visit The Brinkman Adventures on their Facebook page!

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Review “Curiosity Quest” DVDs

Curiosity Quest Review
I have a fun product to review today:  6 DVDs from Curiosity Quest!  I had never heard of this company before and am glad to know about them now.  We’ll definitely be keeping our eyes out for videos they produce that have subjects that fit in with things we’re studying because they are so well-done.

Curiosity Quest ReviewSpecifically, we watched the DVD Combo Pack – Produce  (Mushrooms, Cranberries, and Orange Packing)


Curiosity Quest Reviewthe DVD Combo Pack – Swimmers of the Sea  (Sea Turtle Rescue, Penguins, and Salmon)




Curiosity Quest Review

The first DVD was a very interesting subject–how food is grown.

We learned how mushrooms are grown in the first episode called Mushrooms.  Joel takes us to the Monterey Mushrooms facility.  I never knew growing mushrooms was so fascinating!  This episode was really fun.  We saw how hay is turned into compost.  Then the compost is pasteurized and the mushroom spawn is put into it.  Then they are taken to another room where the mushrooms begin growing.  We see the pickers picking them–and they are fast.  Finally, we travel to another facility where they are packed for shipment.

Curiosity Quest Review

The second episode was about Orange Packing.  I really expected this to be the most boring, but I was pleasantly surprised. I had no idea what an orange goes through before it reaches the grocery store. We see the huge wind machines that blow warmer air down onto the trees to keep the oranges from freezing if a frost is coming. We see the oranges in a room that has ethylene gas to help them ripen quicker. (This is the natural gas that fruit exudes.). And we see them travel through all kinds of different stations on conveyer belts. The most interesting spot was where they used black light to identify slightly damaged fruit!

Curiosity Quest Review

Cranberries were the subject of the third episode.  Curiosity Quest goes to a cranberry bog in Wisconsin to learn about harvesting cranberries.  Now, this is actually something we have done before.  We love to go up to Wisconsin in the fall when they are harvesting cranberries.  We’ve had the pleasure to walk around the bogs and watch the men in the water harvesting and see how they are transported back to the building to be sorted and packed!  In this episode Joel goes to 2 different bog sites.  The first produces fresh cranberries, so they have to sort them more.  The second turns its cranberries into juice and Craisins (sweetened dried cranberries).


Curiosity Quest Review
The second set of discs were about some sea animals–always a favorite in our house.  In “Sea Turtle Rescue” we travel to the Turtle Hospital in the Florida Keys to learn about how this wonderful facility is working to save sea turtles.  All sea turtles (there are 9 species) are endangered.  This Turtle Hospital works to help hurt turtles get better, saves turtle eggs and helps them to hatch, and keeps some sea turtles permanently who won’t be able to make it back in the ocean.  Any time they can, though, they will release the turtles back into the ocean.  Joel gets to help feed the turtles and learns about several different species.  We also find out that he is not allowed to touch them since they are endangered!

Curiosity Quest Review

Next we watched the “Penguins” episode.  Curiosity Quest takes us to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to meet some magellanic penguins.  He helps to prepare their food and then goes into the penguin habitat to feed them.  He finds out that they are a little wary of him and don’t warm up to him as much as he’d like.  We learn why don’t penguins fly and what the zookeepers do at the aquarium to help keep the penguins healthy.

Curiosity Quest Review

The final DVD was called “Salmon.”  Now, we have traveled all the way to Juneau, Alaska to learn about the amazing life cycle of the salmon.  There are 5 species of salmon in Alaska, including sockeye, king, and pink.  In order to have LOTS of salmon to support the fishing industry, there are fish hatcheries.  We see one where the fish eggs hatch and the baby salmon are taken care of for a while.  Then they are moved to a particular stream where they stay in nets for a while so they can get the “scent” of the stream.  Why?  Because in 3-5 years they will travel back to that exact spot to spawn.  We see the fish returning, and they have grown quite large.  It’s amazing that they actually know where to go!  They were born in the fresh water fish hatchery and then swam out into the ocean, maybe as far away as Russia.  Then they are returning.  It’s difficult for them to swim upstream, against the current.  And once they reach their stream they will spawn (reproduce), and then die.  We don’t see them dying, though.  :)

I really enjoyed watching both of the DVD sets.  Joel has a fun way of connecting with the kids who are watching.  Every once in a while there is a “fun fact” that is shared or interviews with people he meets on the street, which are often humorous.  The people who were the experts in the videos were friendly and knowledgeable.  I really felt like my kids learned a lot from watching the shows.  The only thing I didn’t like were references to evolution in the sea turtle and mushroom episodes.  (I expected it in the penguin one, too, but it wasn’t there.)  And it was occasionally frustrating to know that the episode is only catching “one day” of the activities of the place visited.  For example, we didn’t get to see the cranberries growing in the spring or the bogs being flooded, we didn’t get to see the baby salmon in the nets in the streams or being fished for out in the ocean, and we didn’t get to see the healed sea turtles being returned to the ocean.  Seeing those would have made the Curiosity Quest DVDs even better.

Overall I recommend the Curiosity Quest DVDs to anyone with kids!  They will love them!


The DVDs from Curiosity Quest are geared towards children ages 7-14, but my preschoolers enjoyed watching them as well. The cost for the combo packs is $24.95.  You get 3 30-minute episodes on one disc.

Be sure to check out Curiosity Quest here:







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Review/Giveaway “I Will Trust God” Hermie and Friends DVD by Max Lucado

I’m happy to review a wonderful DVD for ages 4-7 today: “I Will Trust God” which is part of Max Lucado’s Hermie and Friends series.  It’s a 2 in 1 deal where you get two episodes in one DVD!

We have always loved the Hermie and Friends DVDs with the great voice talent of Tim Conway, Don Knotts, Vicki Lawrence, and Frank Peretti.  Max Lucado also stars as himself and shares a wonderful truth from God’s Word for each episode.

In the first episode Hermie and the High Seas, Hermie receives a message from God.  God wants him to build a boat.  Hermie isn’t told why, and he tries to get the other bugs in the garden to help him.  But they won’t help him because there is a drought and they can’t figure out why he would be doing such a thing.  Everyone has a very creative excuse.  But when it starts raining and then flooding, Hermie saves everyone in his boat!  Everyone learns to trust God even when He doesn’t make sense.

In the second episode Who is in Charge Anyway? we see many vignettes about the special ways God has made each of the bugs.  They all have challenges, but they also all have something special that is unique to them.  It’s hard for Freddie the Flea to see what’s special about him, but he does learn to trust God that He’ll one day see his talents and know the special plan God has for him.

And there’s more–the bonus features!   Behind the scenes, Fun Garden Game, Sing-along songs featured in the stories, 90 minutes total for episodes plus bonus features.

And now you have a chance to win this DVD! Enter through the Rafflecopter app below.  The winner will be chosen on Wednesday March 26, and will have 24 hours to respond to my email.  18+, U.S. only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in order to write this honest review. This post contains affiliate links.)

Review of Egglo Entertainment Glow in the Dark Egglo Eggs

Egglo Review
Today’s review is from Egglo Entertainment.

We received Glow in the Dark Egglo Eggs and The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure (book).

We also got The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure (book audio download, also know as Adventure Audio Book), Egglo Treasures Scripture Scrolls, and The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure Program Guide (Curriculum).

Age Range: This product can be adapted to work with any age, but is ideal for roughly ages 4-13.

Egglo Review

We did quite a few different things to prepare for this review. Keep reading to see if these products would be an asset to helping your family understand more about Christ’s resurrection this Easter or if you’d like to use it with a group such as a Sunday School, homeschool co-op, or outreach for the community!

The first thing we did was put together the glow-in-the-dark plastic Easter eggs. There were 12 in the box: a dozen eggs! :) They are the same size as typical plastic Easter eggs, and you can fill them with candy, Scripture cards (included in the Program Guide), or anything else you’d like! We charged them up by putting them out in the sun for a couple of hours. Then after the kids cleaned up the basement we had our Easter egg hunt down there at night when it was dark. It was suggested that the kids have flashlights or glow sticks while doing the egg hunt as an added safety feature (won’t run it to each other, for example).

The eggs don’t glow extremely brightly. It’s really a fun idea, and works in great with the teaching that Jesus is the Light of the world that I’ll expand on more later in the review. But I do wish they glowed brighter. I wonder if it might be neat to have battery lights or something to make them brighter. Nevertheless, my kids had lots of fun searching for them. They did it over and over!

Egglo Review

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(Photo credit for above glow-in-the-dark picture: Tiffany Cones)

I really loved the book called The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure by Darcie Cobos. It’s paper back and 39 pages long. The illustrations are wonderful! The story tells of 3 children who are sent through time on a sort of treasure hunt. They are discovering glowing Easter eggs (see a theme here?) and learning new Bible verses which they immediately find ways to apply to their lives. What I liked the best was to see how the selfish kids grow through their experience and become more like Jesus by the end of the book. It’s a fairly long story and was enjoyed by my elementary-aged kids. It was too mature for my preschoolers and too young for my middle-schoolers.

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We also received the audio version of the story The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure on MP3, so the kids could listen to the story when I wasn’t able to read it to them.  It’s 30 minutes long and read by Dick Wells.  There are little chimes to let the child know when to turn the page and some music on the audio track.

I found that The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure Program Guide was very thorough and will be an extremely valuable asset for anyone planning an Easter egg hunt outreach at their church or home. You’ll find 60 pages which includes How to use the Guide, Tips for Decorating, Snack Suggestions, Devotion, Opening Activity, Story Options, Question & Answer, Bible Application Activity, Tips for Using the Story The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure, Bible Memory Verse Activity, and Egglo Hunt Guidelines.  There are also many pages of printable invitiations, decorations, posters, and coloring pages!  The theme of the event is Jesus is the light of the world and the reason we celebrate Easter.  Every activity, devotion, Scripture verse, decoration, game, and even the snacks relate to the theme.  We made a couple of the food items which would be nice for a snack table. Here are “torches” with pretzel sticks, marshmallows, and sprinkles. We sang “This Little Light of Mine” holding those. Next we had mini bagels with cream cheese and cucumber slices to represent the empty tomb.

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Finally, we received Egglo Treasures Scripture Scrolls.  This were small plastic and paper scrolls with a Scripture verse.  These are the perfect size for putting inside the Egglo eggs.  See below for pictures and examples of the verses included.

Egglo Scripture Scroll 1

Egglo Scripture Scroll 2



Egglo Review

There is a sale on the Egglo products right now!

*Glow in the Dark Egglo Eggs ($9.99)

*The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure($9.99)

*The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure (book audio download, Adventure Audio book) ($2.99)

*Egglo Treasures Scripture Scrolls ($4.29)

*The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure Program Guide (Curriculum) ($14.99)

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Review of Talking Shapes i Pad App

Talking Fingers Review
Today I’m sharing a review of the company Talking Fingers, Inc. , and specifically the Talking Shapes iPad App. My 3-year-old, 5-year-old and I have been playing around with the Talking Shapes app for the last 6 weeks.

This app for i Pad is geared towards children in grades Pre K – K.  It is an educational app for helping young children to learn about the alphabet, to learn the sounds of the letters, to practice writing the letters, and to begin sounding out simple 3-letter words.

When you open the app you hear about “How Two Sisters Invented the Alphabet”.

Talking Fingers Review
You will get to choose between “Read to Me,” “Draw Letters,” and “Play Game.”  When you choose any of those, you’ll have an additional choice: Book 1, Book 2, or Book 3.

The books are neat because they are interactive.  They tell the story of how long ago two sisters were trying to write things down, so they decided to invent “letters.”  They decided to make each letter look like something that begins with that letter.  So, “A” looks like an acrobat, “B” looks like a butterfly, and “C” looks like a cat.  Each time a new letter is introduced, the story explains why the letter is being represented by that picture.  I love this because it will help the kids get this information into their right brains quicker.  They have more associations rather than just looking at a black-and-white plain “B” and learning that it is a “B.”  Then the letter sound is pronounced.  The kids are told to say the word: acrobat or butterfly or cat.  (I think this is hard for many 3-year-olds since very few of them have good pronunciation.  It rarely recognized my son when he said the word.  Thankfully, after the second attempt the app moves on.  It usually worked for my pronunciation, but not always.)

Then the next thing to do is practice writing the letter.  It is described for the child, and then they use their finger on the i Pad to trace the letter.  They don’t have to be perfect–just fill in the empty spaces.  This is good for those little ones who aren’t too good with fine motor skills yet.

The picture below shows a scene from Book 1:

Talking Fingers Review
The next picture shows the introduction to letter “C.”  The picture is of a cat which is curled like a “C.”  The child draws C on the cat and alone.  Up at the top you see a question mark, which parents can use to figure out what it supposed to be done next.  There is also a house, to take you to the home screen.  The bottom right hand corner has “next” and the left hand corner has “back.”
Talking Fingers Review
The next picture shows one of the games available to play.  The narrator reads the story and then tells the child to choose the right word from the balloon to fill in the blank.  She tells them which word to choose.  If the kids have read the stories and practiced some of the other games, this particular game isn’t quite as difficult as it seems.
Talking Fingers Review
In this next game the child drags the shape/letter down to the box at the bottom to spell the word.  The narrator pronounces the word to be spelled.
Talking Fingers Review
Overall, we liked Talking Shapes.  As I said above, I like how they relate a letter to a picture shape; it’s such a good way to teach phonics.  And it’s research-proven.  I also like the narrator.  She has very good diction and inflection.  My kids think she sounds like their grandma!  There were some things about the app that were too difficult for my 3-year-old.  He isn’t able to sound out 3-letter words yet.  But he could listen to the stories.  His favorite one was Book 3 where the pig dances a gig!  So, one of the great things about this app is that it can be used for various ages and educational levels.  My 5-year-old daughter, who is already reading, liked playing the games.  
The animation is good, and with the exception of understanding the kids speak the words, there weren’t any glitches that we noticed in the app.  We’ll be keeping it on our i Pad for the kids to continue learning from!
Here are the social media links for Talking Fingers:

Be sure to like them at Facebook.

And you can see the app in motion at the Talking Fingers You Tube Channel.

The price of the Talking Shapes app from the iTunes store is $5.99.

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