Giveaway “Friends And Heroes” CD plus a Sale!

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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.

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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.

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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 www.friendsandheroes.tv.

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(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

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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 LibraryandEd.com.  (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

 

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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.

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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.

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(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 oBabyApp.com  .  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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(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!

Price:

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.

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(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.

Price:

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)

and

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:

Store:  http://CuriosityQuestStore.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CuriosityQuest

Twitter: https://twitter.com/curiosityquest

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCijkbeDwySOsg-pZjOeWsgg

 

 

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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.

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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)

Follow Egglo Entertainment:

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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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Review of Motivated Moms iOS App

Motivated Moms Review
Today I have a wonderful product to review for you: the Motivated Moms iOS App (with full year server access).

Motivated Moms is a company I’ve been involved with for several years. You may have read my reviews of their great e-book planners in the past. Today’s review is different, however, because I’m reviewing the app instead of the e-book and I’ve used it for the past six weeks.

Motivated Moms Review
 

As homeschool moms, working moms, and really any women, I know a lot of us have a goal to get more organized.  I do, as well!  And the Motivated Moms app is a great way to accomplish it!  What makes this chore system unique is that each chore is laid out for you–every day for the whole year.  Each day of the week has different chores.  And the once-in-a-while chores are sprinkled throughout the year, as well, so you don’t end up saying, ” Now when did I last. . . .?”  :)  You’ll finish up the year having done your “spring cleaning” but not doing it all at once!  It’s a schedule we all can do, with about 5-8 special tasks each day, in addition to your regular daily chores such as clean kitchen sink, read to children, Quiet Time, and exercise.

Some of the special tasks are: Sunday-make errand list, Monday-vacuum main floor, Tuesday-pay bills, Wednesday-dust children’s/guest room, Thursday-mop kitchen, Friday-change sheets, and Saturday-water indoor plants.  Chores that aren’t weekly are worked in throughout the month or year.  It’s very well thought out!  Here are some of my favorites that are included. (I usually never do these or at least not as often as I should because I just don’t think of them!):  Clean top of refrigerator, cut children’s nails, change furnace/AC filter, wash outside trash can, take dead leaves off of houseplants, clean computer screen and mouse, and clean front porch mat.

There are free samples on the website and you can download the iOS app lite for free and get two weeks to try it out!  The app is for iPhone/iPad/iPod touch or Android. With the iOS app you get 2 months of preprogrammed tasks for $1.99 and you may purchase additional months via in-app purchase (99¢ for one month or $7.99 for one year). A new feature for iOS is the ability to sync between your iOS devices!

Now for the special features that make this app really great:

Below you see how you can simply check the task when it’s completed.  It automatically moves to the bottom of the list so you can see what’s left to do at the top.

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Below shows how you can assign certain tasks to a particular person by color-my son always takes out the trash, so he is color blue.  It also shows you just the “Daily” Tasks:

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Below shows you just “Today’s” Tasks (the ones that won’t come around again until a week later, or longer):

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Below shows you “All” of the day’s tasks:

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You can divide the tasks up according to rooms.

If there is a particular task that is assigned to the “wrong” day of the week for you, you can “hide” it and then add a new task assigning it to the day you want it.  I did that with “plan meals” which I like to do on Friday before the grocery shopping trip on Saturday.

Next you see that there are certain special things you can turn on or off, such as the daily Bible reading schedule, moving checked tasks, or color-coding assignments.

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If you need to print or email the task list, you can do that, too!

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Here are the social media links for Motivated Moms:

https://www.facebook.com/motivated.moms
https://twitter.com/momoplanner

Motivated Moms Review
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Review of Adventure Bible Website and App & {Link Party}

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About the Adventure Bible Website

The Adventure Bible Website, www.adventurebible.com, is a fun, safe, and free website for kids ages 8-12 from the publishers of the Adventure Bible (Zondervan). The site provides several interactive games, activity sheets, Bible search and resources to help kids learn more about the Bible. Educators, including homeschool parents, can also register students and access over 700 teaching resources as well as have Bible game points tracked onto their teacher classroom page.  Check out the video on this page (or right below) which gives you a tour of the Adventure Bible website and explains all you get for the free registration!

Here are links to a few key areas:

 1. Online Bible Games  See below for descriptions of the 5 games.

2. Bible search. Kids can type in a verse and it comes up along with notes and features to click on for application and background info.

3. Printable activities including crosswords, word searches, devotionals, and Scripture flash cards

Descriptions of the Games:
Truthquest:   Truthquest is a trivia game.  There are many different categories and three difficulty levels to choose from.  The answers are multiple choice.

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Books of the Bible:   In Books of the Bible, the kids slide the books into the correct Bible book order.  They are broken up into sections, about 5-10 books to order at a time.

Leopardy:   In Leopardy, kids answer questions in a game similar to Jeopardy, with different money levels and a chance to wager an amount for the final question.

Leapin’ Lemur:   Leapin’ Lemur is a game where the kids fill in letters for a Bible verse.  It’s similar to Wheel of Fortune.

X Marks the Spot:  X Marks the Spot is a map game.  Kids identify the correct area on the map and place a flag on it.

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I found the games on Adventure Bible website a good way to increase Bible knowledge.  I’m glad there is a variety, such as learning Bible verses, learning about Bible geography, and memorizing the order of the books of the Bible, as well as lots of questions about different events and people of the Bible.  It’s also great that there are different levels of difficulty in a few of the games.

You don’t have to register as a teacher on the site in order to use it.  The kids can still play lots of great Bible-learning games without any type of registration. But homeschool parents (or others) who register on the site (free of charge) can also access hundreds of additional resources including maps, illustrations, fill-in-the-blank sheets, answer keys, timelines and more.  I downloaded a crossword puzzle, Bible reading plan, and a bulletin insert.  There is so much available!

Zondervan also just released a brand-new Adventure Bible app for iPad as well. This free app, available through the iTunes store, allows you to be able to access the games that are on the website via the iPad.  They are the same 5 games I described above.  I’m so glad to have a new app–and website–for my kids to learn about the Bible!

(Disclosure: In exchange for this honest review of the Adventure Bible website and app, Zondervan will send me a copy of the newly updated Adventure Bible.)

It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

 

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See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

(Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links.)

Review of Frogglez Goggles

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Frogglez Goggles–These are an AWESOME invention!

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I’m happy to be reviewing Frogglez Goggles today. My kids recently finished up a couple of sessions of swim lessons.  I sat and watched the youngest kids’ class often and much of the time the teacher was putting on the goggles of the kids who pulled them off or because their goggles fell off or moved around.  Frustrating!  Frogglez goggles are going to be perfect for my younger kids. (I’m sure the swim school will want to stock these in their store when I show them next time I’m there!)  Why?  The Frogglez Goggles will stay put.  They are far more comfortable than the plastic strap kinds.  They float.  Woo-hoo!  That will be also be a great feature for when we are at the lake this summer.

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I’m very excited about this product in case you couldn’t tell and will be ordering at least one more pair for my other kids to wear.

They come in 3 sizes:  small (3-6 years old), medium (6-10 years), and large (10 and up).  We got Medium in Pink, which fits my 5-year-old perfectly.

The Frogglez are not for use by competitive swimmers. (They float, so there is some drag to them).

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Here are a few features that make Frogglez Goggles unique:

1. No Hair-pulling

2. No Adjustments Needed

3. Stylish

4. Comfortable

5. They Float!

They even come with this cute bag:

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Buy: Frogglez Goggles Kids Swim Goggles They retail for $24.95.

Read more at the Frogglez Goggles website.  And connect with them on social media:  Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter.
(Disclosure:  I received a pair of Frogglez goggles for free in order to write this honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

Review of SwitchBlade by MicroTouch

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We recently received a new product to review–the SwitchBlade, a men’s personal micro-groomer.  My husband tried it this morning and found it quite useful for trimming sideburn area and hair at back of neck.  It will be great for the times he grows a goatee.  The only negatives–it’s noisy and doesn’t have a miniature trimmer (less surface area on the blade).  I will definitely be using this for my boys as well.  We don’t ever take them to a barbershop for haircuts, but use clippers here at home.  Now I can use this SwitchBlade to do a quick trim above their ears or back of neck without doing a full haircut!

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  • See a video of the SwitchBlade in action.
  • From MicroTouch, maker of the leading men’s personal micro-groomer
  •  World’s first all-in-one, head-to-toe groomer that lets you remove hair anywhere with just one tool.
  • Designed to “switch” from micro-groomer to full-size trimmer with a cock of the head cover.
  • German steel blades, 4 comb attachments, 5 levels of trimming
  • Allows “between barbership” hair trims
  • There is a light on the smaller side
  • Price $19.99 plus S&H, requires 2 AAA batteries
  • Get more info and purchase at http://www.getswitchblade.com/

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(I received a free SwitchBlade in order to write this honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Review/Giveaway Easy Canvas Prints–Win an 8×10 Canvas!

Easy Canvas Print giveaway

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I recently received a 16 x 20 canvas from Easy Canvas Prints.  It was really easy to order.  I simply took a picture of my kids in the backyard.  It was in color, so I went to Picmonkey.com and changed it to sepia color.  Then I saved it to my computer.  I uploaded that photo to Easy Canvas Prints and ordered it!

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First Day of School Sepia

It came within a week and is really nice quality with a wood frame and thick canvas.  I love the way it looks in my living room!

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I’m happy to offer one winner a free 8 x 10 Canvas Print.  The winner will receive a code to order the print, and will also receive free shipping, U.S. only (excluding Alaska and Hawaii).  Enter through the Rafflecopter app below.  The winner will be chosen on Sunday, November 3, 2013.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

In addition to visiting  www.easycanvasprints.com, you might also want to check out their affiliate sites www.buildasign.com and www.alliedshirts.com as other recommended sites for more custom print options or ideas.

 

(Disclosure:  I received a free 16×20 canvas print in exchange for this honest review and for putting the Easy Canvas Print banner on my sidebar for one year.)

Review of Flipeez Peek-a-Boo Monster Hat

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Today I’m sharing a review of the “Flipeez” Peek-a-Boo Monster Hat.

When I received the offer to do this review, I knew exactly who I should give the hat to!  My new 7-year-old son.  And he loves it, of course.

 

 

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I originally thought that the way the top part opens and closes was with batteries.  I’m glad to find out that it simply uses air by squeezing the ball that hangs down.  You do have to be a little careful that you don’t detach the tubing inside.  That happened after we had the hat for about 10 minutes (from one kid grabbing it from another).  But I could feel inside what the problem was and it was easy to fix it.

The inside is very soft and warm fleece.  In fact, my son is wearing it camping this weekend!

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Here is a link to the website.  The hats come in a variety of characters:  kitty, monkey, puppy, owl, racoon, rabbit, and monster.

Even the baby tried it:

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They are one size fits all and are for ages 4 and up.

I saw these hats at Walgreens last week.  Or you can get them at a variety of places for about $20.

 

(Disclosure:  I received a complimentary flipeez Peek-a-Boo Monster Hat in order to write this honest review.)

Review/Giveaway of 4-Year High School Planner

High School Planner Giveaway

 

Let me tell you that I am so glad I was able to review the Well-Planned Day 4-Year Plan High School Planner because now I know that I will definitely be buying this before each of my kids enters homeschool high school! Actually, it will even be important if I happen to have a child who isn’t homeschooled during high school!  It contains 336 pages of awesome information and places to keep all information important to their high school years.

Sample High School Transcript:

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There are numerous helpful articles to help guide parent and student through the high school years, such as:

“Starting to get ready in Junior High”

“Should you take the AP or CLEP?”

“Is College Right for You?”

“Visiting Schools”

“Application Time”

“Creating a College Portfolio”

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You find calendars, forms, and charts for all 4 years of high school. They’re labeled with the exact date, so you’ll need to get the right one for the year your child is a freshman. (And that’s why I’m giving away TWO planners–see below!)

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There are also pages to write things such as what the student’s interests were that year, most and least favorite class, who they admired, who they prayed for, and what they discovered about God.

Very important pages include places to fill in attendance, grades, curriculum used, literature read, and community involvement.

You’ll find checklists of what to do each month of their senior year: August–retake ACT and SAT, complete applications and essays. November–mail in completed applications. January: complete the FAFSA.

Yes! If you have a freshman this year, you need this planner!  Peek inside it here!  And if you have a sophomore, junior, or senior, you can buy the planner specifically for their year–at a discounted rate!

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And now the giveaways:

1.  Through Rafflecopter.  Enter through the app below.  The winner must be from the U.S. and respond to my email within 24 hours after chosen on October 16.

2.  Pick up at my house.  I’m giving away my review copy, but you need to live close enough to come pick it up in October.  :)  Leave a comment leting me know you’re willing to do that if you win.  (I live in Lake County, Illinois.)  Winner will be chosen on October 16. Update: Number 4 was chosen–JaVette!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Did you know that HEDUA has an affiliate program? If you are a blogger and would be interested in earning money just for sharing what you love, click here for details.

And here’s a great sale for this month!

(Disclosure:  I received a complimentary planner to use in this honest review, and I am an affiliate of Well-Planned Day.)

 

See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

Review/Giveaway of Well-Planned Day Student Planner

Well Planned Day Student Planner Giveaway

 

 

We recently received a Well-Planned Day Student Planner to review (and use!).  This great planner comes in two styles: Floral and Tech.

Here are some of the features:

  • Help your children learn to work independently!
  • Designed specifically for students in elementary and middle school years.
  • Two design options and features full color pages
  • Spiral bound pages with perforated corner tabs for easy reference.
  • Over 175 pages
  • 9″x6″ size planner
  • July – June monthly and daily layouts
  • Monthly special projects and notes
  • Weekly Bible verse with corresponding catechism (Westminster Shorter)

The student planners also have an extensive reference section on English, Writing, Mathematics, US Geography, World Geography, States and Capitols, US Wars, US Presidents, Solar System, and Space . Perfect for any student attending school or homeschooling!

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Click here to “Peek Inside” the Planner!

 

If you’re a homeschooling mom, you’ll also want to check out this great sale on the Family Homeschool Planner!

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To receive 30% off (through Saturday 9/5/13) use the coupon code wpd30.  I have reviewed this awesome planner before here and here!

 

 Now the giveaway:  One of you will win a free student planner!  Choose Tech or Floral style.  U.S. only, please.  The winner will be chosen on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 and will have 48 hours to respond to my email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Did you know that HEDUA has an affiliate program? If you are a blogger and would be interested in earning money just for sharing what you love, click here for details.

(Disclosure:  I received complimentary planners to use in these honest reviews and I am an affiliate of Well-Planned Day.)

 

See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

 

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Review/Giveaway of Homeschool T-Shirt and $5.99 Sale!

Homeschool T-Shirt Giveaway

 

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Don’t you love this shirt!  It says, “When you’re homeschooled, you never know where you’ll end up!”

It’s sold by Great Products, and they’re having a sale where hundreds of adult and children’s t-shirts are only $5.99 right now, through September 15!

Here are a few others I love:

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I received the t-shirt within a week after I ordered it.  It fit true to size and is made of high quality 100% cotton, very soft!  I love the design I chose, with the tie-dye style and wonderful saying about the Presidents on Mt. Rushmore being homeschooled.  The only negative I have to say is that the font is difficult to read.  I saw a few people trying to read it while I was grocery shopping at Target today, but it was hard to read it quickly as we were all rushing through our Sunday afternoon shopping.

Here are a few other ways to connect with Great Products:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/greatproducts
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/joshgp

And now a Giveaway:   The prize will be one free homeschool t-shirt of the winner’s choice in whatever size and color they prefer!

The Winner will be chosen on Tuesday 9/3/2013 and will have 48 hours to respond to my email about their choice of t-shirt and mailing address.  U.S. entries only, please.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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(Disclosure:  I received the above blue t-shirt in exchange for this honest review.)