Review/Giveaway “Grace of God: A Story of Easter Traditions” DVD

It’s a blessed day today, the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus!  Easter means that we have hope, we have forgiveness, and we have salvation.  If you don’t know Jesus personally and have assurance of spending eternity in Heaven, please pray and ask Jesus to save you today.  It’s a free gift–you do nothing to earn it!  Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Grace of God Movie
Hope, forgiveness, and salvation are the themes of the movie I’m reviewing today: “Grace of God: A Story of Easter Traditions.”

“Having lost his faith many years ago, Detective Bill Broadly is called to investigate the disappearance of the local church’s collection box. As he questions its various church members, rumors swirl as more congregants learn about the theft. When one unexpected church-goer confesses to stealing the funds, the confession resurrects Broadly’s views on God, and helps him see that through faith and belief there really is rebirth and redemption.”

 My husband and I enjoyed watching this movie.  It was a modern story centered around the workers at a church and the lady secretary’s family at home.  After the money is discovered to be missing, they decide to hire a private investigator instead of calling the police.  But the story of the theft ($30,000) gets out anyway and causes a lot of hurt feelings from those at the church who are now suspects.  The investigator is not a believer and hates the hypocrites in the church.  But it is the confession and repentance of the thief who changes his mind about both Christians and Christ.
 
About the movie:
Releases on DVD March 24, 2015
99 Minutes // Genre: Family, Inspirational // Rating:  NR

 

 
 
OFFICIAL WEBSITE (Walmart is the primary retailer.) 
 
 Enter to win a copy of the Grace of God DVD on the Rafflecopter app below.  The winner will be chosen on Monday April 13 and will have 24 hours to respond to my email.

Giveaways are only valid in US & Canada.

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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this movie in order to write this honest review.

Review of Greek Morphemes Lessons (It’s NOT Greek to Me!)

Ready to Teach Review
Greek Morphemes Lessons (It’s  NOT Greek to Me!) by Ready to Teach is a wonderful new curriculum that we have spent the last 6 weeks working on.  I’m so happy to have found it!  I received the Student and Teacher books (both paperback physical books 102 pages long) with CD and flash drive.  The CD and flash drive both contained the same information, a group of instruction files and a group of review files.  

So what is the purpose of Greek Morphemes Lessons?

Basically, it’s a homeschooling vocabulary program which teaches the Greek roots, prefixes, and suffixes (as well as some Latin ones) so that students will be able to figure out many difficult English words.  Personally, I want my kids to learn these morphemes so they will perform better on college entrance exams.

What ages is it best for?

This program is really great for junior high and high school students.  Be sure to have your student complete it before they take the SAT or ACT test and they will almost certainly do better on the tests!

How long does it take each day?

The suggested lesson plans included in the curriclum say that you can use it for only 10-30 minutes a day.

How did we use it?

My 12-year-old son finished the first and part of the second lesson of 12 total lessons in the 6 weeks we worked on it.  We didn’t follow the suggested lesson plans exactly, but did it in a way that would work for our family and homeschool time.  Usually, he only worked on it for 10-15 minutes each study session, but sometimes worked for 30 minutes.  I also had my 14-year-old son work on some of it.  Both boys will definitely be finishing the whole book because I am certain that it will be useful for SAT preparation.

Each of the 12 lessons contains:

  • 15-22 Greek morphemes
  • Note-taking page
  • Words to Work exercise
  • Word analysis, word synthesis, context cluse composition activities, and review activities
  • Color pages for making study flash cards

Greek Morphemes Lessons Greek Morphemes Lessons Greek Morphemes Lessons

The Teacher’s Manual contains:

  • Suggested Lesson Plans and instructions on how to use the program
  • Answer Keys for Words to Work and Review matching exercises
  • Transparency masters
  • Tests and Keys
  • Premade study cards
  • Bulletin board ideas and graphics

How did we like it?

I am so happy with this program!  Watching the Powerpoint slide show was how I taught the first part of each lesson.  It was really cool. I would read the slide, then click the next one and it usually added to what was already on the screen.  Sometimes there were questions for the boys to think about.  After they gave an answer I would click and find out if they were right.  It was a very handy (and fun) way to teach the lesson.  Obviously, this would also work very well in a classroom or co-op situation.  All the written pages were in the student book.  I loved how there were a variety of activities for each lesson.  It really got the boys to use the morphemes a lot in many different ways so that they could get them fully memorized and understood.  The teacher book was easy to follow and was organized in a way that I could quickly find what I was looking for (such as answers to the lesson pages or tests.)  I like how the student book had colorful pages to use for the flashcard that were made for practice.  And the teacher book had them printed so I could practice my own and learn them as well!

See the website for sample lessons.  I’m sure you’ll like it, too!

 

Koru Naturals Review
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Review/Giveaway: Biotin Bursts for Healthy Nails, Skin, & Hair

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I recently had the privilege to try a month’s supply of Biotin Bursts by Neocell.  Biotin is vitamin D7 and is important for healthy clear skin, shiny nails, and thick hair.  It’s water soluble, so you need to keep adding it to your body (it isn’t stored).  Each Biotin Burst chew has 10,000 mcg and is very yummy!  It’s low calorie, but does have 3 grams of sugar. I know that contributes to them tasting so good, though.

I have a multi-vitamin that I try to take daily.  It contains only 100 mcg of biotin in it, compared to the 10,000 mcg in Biotin Bursts.  And those vitamins are horse pills that I have to force myself to take!  Biotin Bursts were like getting a sweet treat everyday.  You can see the size of it in the following picture

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They are individually wrapped in a little foil wrapper and stored in a box.

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They recommend keeping them in the refrigerator, which I did.  It probably kept them fresher.

But the best part is that I did see an increase in the thickness of my hair (and it seemed to grow faster, too, but I can’t prove it), and my nails were much shinier.  I think I’ll get some for one of my daughters who struggles with getting her hair to grow.  Perhaps she has a biotin deficiency.  We’ll see if it helps!

You can get Biotin Bursts or read more about them here at the Neocell website.  Or purchase Biotin Bursts at Amazon.

 
Receive a one-month supply of Biotin Bursts if you win the giveaway. Enter on the Rafflecopter below. The winner will be chosen on April 6, 2015 and will have 24 hours to respond to my email.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure: I received a month’s supply of Biotin Bursts in exchange for this honest review.  This post contains affiliate links.)

Review: “In Freedom’s Cause: The Real Story of Wallace and Bruce” Audio Theater

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I am so glad that I was able to review the second audio theater CD-set of the series “The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty.”  This time the story is “In Freedom’s Cause: The Real Story of Wallace and Bruce” by Heirloom Audio Productions and teaches about the exciting lives of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, who worked to bring freedom to Scotland.  It is adapted from the book In Freedom’s Cause by G.A. Henty (which was written in 1885).

This is a physical CD set with other digital downloaded components.  I received the In Freedom’s Cause Single Package which includes the 2-CD set in a nice case with a booklet explaining about Heirloom Audio Productions and giving the link to the study guide.  Inside the case is printed “The Prayer of William Wallace” (from the sacred song for King David, Psalm 23).

Also a part of the Single Package are links to some digital downloads: In Freedom’s Cause Study Guide (pdf file), In Freedom’s Cause Soundtrack (MP3 download), and Printable copy of The Prayer Of William Wallace (digital download).

In Freedom's Cause Audio CD Review

We listened to the CDs in our car, and it played really well there.  The story is 2 1/2 hours long.  They recommend it for ages 6-adult.  I will say that you might want to listen to it yourself to see if you think it would be ok for your younger kids.  There is quite a bit of fighting and violence in the story.

I found the story fascinating.  I really haven’t studied William Wallace or Robert the Bruce very much.  It’s so easy to listen to since it’s told as a story using 2 main characters Ned and Gerald (who were also in the first story we listened to.)  These boys go through the events and battles so we see first-hand what is happening in Scotland.  You really feel the time period, the oppression, and the drive of the people toward freedom.

One of my favorite parts was the focus on the Psalter.  Wallace and Ned’s mother speak about how wonderful reading the Psalms are.  It’s important to know and follow God’s Word.

Watch a trailer of “In Freedom’s Cause” here:

The quality is top-notch!  The soundtrack (which we also listened to separately through MP3 downloaded on our computer) is really nice–excellent instrumentation and adds to the excitement of the story.  The actors are professionals.  You’ll hear Joanne Froggatt from Downton Abbey, Billy Boyd from Lord of the Rings, Skandar Keynes from Chronicles of Narnia, and James Cosmo from Braveheart.

One thing that homeschoolers will really like is that you get access to a study guide along with your CD-set!  It’s 49 pages long and nicely graphically-designed including some color photographs and pictures.  There are Listening Well questions, Thinking Further questions (including some history links and study on geography), and Defining Words for each of the 37 tracks of the story (you could use these for vocabulary building or spelling words).  It starts with short biographies of G.A. Henty, Sir William Wallace, and Robert the Bruce.  After the questions and definitions, there are “Some Notes on the History of Scotland”, 3 Bible Studies, and a bibliography for further study.

Follow Heirloom Audio In Freedom’s Cause on Social Media:

Facebook
Twitter
Google+
Pinterest

You can read my review of the first Heirloom Audio Production CD set “Under Drake’s Flag” here.

With Lee in Virginia

The next story coming out will be “With Lee in Virginia” (a story about the American Civil War). We started trying to read this particular  Henty book and couldn’t get very far because the reading level is difficult. I know we will love it in the audio theater version!  Help them out by following these new pages:   Facebook , Google+Twitter

In Freedom's Cause Review Crew Disclaimer

Review/ Giveaway “The Identical” DVD

The Identical movie giveaway

I’m so thrilled to give a review on a family movie today–along with a giveaway!  The movie is “The Identical” and stars actors such as Ashley Judd, Seth Green, Joe Pantoliano, Blake Rayne, and Ray Liotta.

When the movie first arrived, I wasn’t sure if my family would enjoy it or not, so I decided to watch it on a Thursday night, rather than on our typical weekend movie night.

I popped it in the DVD player, and it wasn’t long before the whole family was sitting around!  I also planned on stopping it after 45 minutes and finishing it the next day, but we were so drawn into the story, we watched it all right then.

The story really gripped at me. Poverty and the Great Depression leads a couple to give up one of their twin babies to an infertile couple.  Oh, the tears flowed!  The boys grew up apart, and both had great musical talent.  I don’t want to give away the story.  But it is heart-wrenching as well as heart-warming.

I loved the history portrayed as we travel from the 1930s to the 1970s.  I loved the music.  I loved the marriage relationships.  I loved the focus on God.

Even my husband and oldest son gave it a thumbs-up, and they are strong critics of movies which could be thought of as “B” movies!

Rated PG, approx. 107 minutes.

Visit The Identical official website.

Watch The Identical trailer here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-BzPGhCySJwGuJg-EIn1Ow

Check out this special offer from Family Christian —>
Purchasing the DVD from this link comes with The Identity Series DVD.

The Identical official Facebook

The Identical official Twitter

Yay–a giveaway!  Enter on the Rafflecopter app to win a copy of “The Identical” DVD.  The giveaway will end Sunday January 18!

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. US and Canada only.

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 and this post contains affiliate links.

Lilla Rose Hairclips Review

I LOVE the Lilla Rose Hairclips and would love to share with you about them today!  The clip I got is a size medium, and I was able to use it for the following styles:

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Are you looking for some beautiful new ways to do your hair?  They have numerous styles of clips and lots of different sizes as well.

Visit this page to see all the different types and to watch some videos about how to do the styles.

(Be sure it says PrettyHair in the URL):  https://www.lillarose.biz/prettyhair

 See below for another style of clip I have (in size small).  I love how the clip is all in one piece and because it’s bendable, it really holds the hair well!
PicMonkey Collage
Like Jennifer’s Facebook Page here:  https://www.facebook.com/LillaRosePrettyHair

Follow her Pinterest Board here:  http://www.pinterest.com/mommiejennm/pretty-hair/

 

 

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary Lilla Rose Clip from https://www.lillarose.biz/prettyhair in order to write this honest review.)

Review “VeggieTales in the House” & Netflix Gift Card Giveaway!

VeggieTales In the House Logo

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We started watching Netflix about a year ago.  Since then our kids have started watching TV shows; they had never watched TV before that.  Last weekend, though, my husband stopped to look at the My Little Pony episode that they younger kids were watching and said it was full of bad attitudes and he didn’t want them watching it anymore.  Thank goodness for VeggieTales in the House.

We have watched the first five episodes and are happy to say that kids will not get bad attitudes from this show!

On Nov. 26, VeggieTales, the most popular faith-based children’s entertainment brand, unveiled a brand-new Netflix original series for kids, VeggieTales In the HouseThe all-new series marks the first time in the 21-year history of VeggieTales that Bob, Larry and the veggie crew venture off the countertop for exciting new adventures, while remaining true to the values-driven storytelling that has long made VeggieTales such a beloved part of childhood.  The first five 22-minute episodes will be available for Netflix members in the US, Canada, Latin America, UK, Ireland, the Nordics, Benelux and France to watch instantly. “There’s a whole world that’s been right under our noses this whole time, and we can’t wait to see it,” said VeggieTales star Bob the Tomato. Echoed Larry the Cucumber: “The sweet potatoes are so excited, they don’t even know where to starch!”
In VeggieTales In the House, the veggies will take on a new, refreshed look as DreamWorks Animation puts its creative muscle behind the beloved faith-based brand.  VeggieTales creator Big Idea became part of DreamWorks in 2012 as part of the studio’s acquisition of Classic Media“We’re excited to give the beloved VeggieTales a brand new adventure,” said Cindy Holland, Vice President, Original Content, Netflix.  “For many of our 53 million members worldwide, this will be the first time they’ve been introduced to the world’s most entertaining vegetables.  We hope many more families become fans of this wholesome preschool series.”
In each 22-minute episode of VeggieTales In the House, two separate 11-minute stories impart important life lessons, designed to please both young viewers and longtime fans of the VeggieTales brand. Every episode also includes brand-new songs and, of course, the famous closing phrase that has been at the heart of VeggieTales from the beginning: “God made you special, and He loves you very much.”

 
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There are definitely some different things about the new VeggieTales.  First of all, they look different and the animation style is different.  It didn’t take us too long to get used to that, though.  Bob and Larry’s voices sound the same.  But Petunia and Junior sound very different.  I didn’t like that!
But, I love the values that are taught.  Kids learn to be honest, to be obedient (and not to hide it when they do something wrong), to be kind, and to be responsible, etc.  There is still a Bible verse in every episode as there was with past VeggieTales movies, but now it is woven into the story.  I am glad to have found a TV show that my kids can now watch without us hesitating!
And now you can win a 3-month Netflix Gift Card!  Enter below on the Rafflecopter.  Winner will be chosen on 12/13 /14 (love that date!) and will have 24 hours to respond to my email.  US and Canada only.  See other details on the disclaimer below.

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 (Netflix gift card) 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.

Review/ Giveaway “What’s in the Bible? Vol. 10 Jesus is the Good News!” DVD

I’m so excited to review (and host a Giveaway!) of the DVD “What’s in the Bible? Vol. 10 Jesus is the Good News!”  This is another Buck Denver DVD from VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer!

The whole “What’s in the Bible” DVD series was created to explain the Bible to kids.  This particular DVD (volume 10) has 2 25-minute episodes called God’s Perfect Timing (where kids learn about the 400 years between the Old and New Testaments and how Jesus arrives at the perfect time) and The Messiah Has Come! (where kids learn about Jesus’ life and ministry).  The whole run of the DVD is about 66 minutes long.

It begins with basic Christian beliefs and a review of what happened in the Old Testament, all taught by puppets!  Then, we learn what had to happen to make it easier for the news about Jesus to spread around the world–communication and transportation.  We learn about Alexander the Great and his conquests, and how he had spread the Greek language and culture into Europe and Asia. During the next 200 years, the Roman empire took over Alexander’s empire and they expanded even more.  And they built roads!

What was happening to the Jews during those 400 years between testaments? They were ruled by different empires.  We learn about Jewish History.  They broke into four groups: the Pharisees, the Saducess, the Zealots, and the Essenes.

Then we begin to learn about the New Testament, and what books are in it.  We get some great details (even some things I didn’t know!) about the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

I love Phil’s description of how we need to understand the Old and New Testaments together.  We don’t get the whole story if we don’t understand both.  The gospel is fully explained by him.  It might be a bit over young kids’ heads, but I love how he says it in various ways to try to make sure everyone understands sin, and Jesus’ redemptive power.

In the 2nd episode, we learn all about the life of Jesus! The birth of John the Baptist, Jesus’ birth, the geneology of Jesus, his baptism, miracles, death on the cross, resurrection, and ascension.

 

Check out the trailer here!

And now for the Giveaway of the DVD “What’s in the Bible? Vol. 10 Jesus is the Good News!”

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. US & Canada only.

Winner will have 24 hours to respond to my email.  This post also contains affiliate links.

Schoolhouse Review Crew Blue Ribbon Awards!

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As you may or may not know, I have been a part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew since this time last year.  The purpose of the Crew is to review educational products from different companies who want to target the homeschool audience.  We are a large number of mom bloggers, so there are enough of us that we don’t have to review every single product.  These reviews are usually a bit more intense than the other reviews I do because we are required to use them for 6 weeks with our child (or children).  I noticed that by looking at the awards offered for the number one reviewed products this year that many of the top ones I didn’t even get to review!  So, maybe I’ll have to pick those next year if I get the opportunity!

But today I’d love to award the Blue Ribbon to my favorites that I did review this year.

First, I’ll list the reviews with their links so you can read about them if they interest you:

SchoolhouseTeachers.com–  a website with numerous courses on it

KinderBach– online preschool music (My 4-year-old’s favorite!)

Motivated Moms– ebook and app daily chore planner (actually tells you what to do each day!)

Talking Shapes– preschool app to learn about letters

Amazing Science DVDs– fun science demonstrations (My 8-year-old’s favorite!)

If He Had Not Come– Christmas book about Jesus

Egglo– glow-in-the-dark Easter Eggs, with a book and curriculum for having an outreach at your church

Curiosity Quest- fun DVDs that bring you on a fun and educational field trip

Philosophy Adventure- an interesting approach for studying high school philopsophy (my 13-year-old son’s favorite!)

Kinder Cottage Books– reprints of old books

Happy Kids Songs– song downloads to teach about different character qualities

7-Minute Planner– a comprehensive planner for moms

Under Drake’s Flag– CD story about Sir Francis Drake

Purposeful Design– a “coffee table” book about God’s creation

Snake Oil Party Potion Game– fun word game to encourage creativity

Preschoolers and Peace: Homeschooling Older Kids While Loving the Little Ones at Your Feet by Kendra Fletcher- ebook encouraging moms of preschoolers

Go Science DVDs – A group of kids take part in science experiments in these Christian-based DVDs

And I award the Top Ten Blue Ribbons to. . .

Spelling You See – innovative approach to teaching spelling.  I’m still using this with my 8-year-old.

Spelling You See Review

UberSmart Math Facts– a simple math flash card program.  We’ll get back to using this soon.  It’s so helpful to have daily drill on math facts.

UberSmart Math Facts Review

CTC Math – Online math program that teaches.  Two of my kids are still using this.

CTC Math Review

Brinkman Adventures – a homeschooling family records these adventure story CDs about missionaries around the world.  When they make new CDs, we want to listen to them!

Brinkman Adventures Review

Micro Business for Teens– a course for teaching teens how to start and run their own businesses.  I will have my future teens do this when they get older.

Micro Business for Teens Review

My Student Logbook– a simple, but wonderful way to keep track of schoolwork and assignments throughout the year.  My 11-year-old daughter uses this daily.

My Student Logbook Review

Trident Case – strong cases for iPads (and other devices).  I love this case–it’s still on my iPad.

Trident Case Review

HomeschoolPiano – online piano courses, with a jazz influence.  A wonderful course.  My oldest wants to go through it as soon as he has time.

Homeschool Piano Review

Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms by Mary Jo Tate – a book for homeschool moms. I need to read this again–it was really good!

 

IXL Math and Language Arts– an online website to practice math and language arts skills.  This was the review that surprised me the most.  I was extremely pleased with IXL! Four of my kids still love using it daily.

IXL Math and Language Arts Review 019

 

 

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.)

Review/ Giveaway “Buck Denver: Why Do We Call it Christmas?” DVD

Today we have a Review and Giveaway of the DVD “Buck Denver asks Why Do We Call it Christmas?”

If you have kids ages 4-10, they’ll love it!  Mine did.

“Buck Denver asks Why Do We Call it Christmas?” is from the VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer.  He even appears in the video talking to the kids and narrating some about the story.  But most of the movie is done with puppets and animation.

There are many episodes of Buck Denver; most explain about something in the Bible.  This one explains where Christmas and some of its traditions came from.

Here is what your kids will learn from the funny puppets, clever storyline, and catchy songs:

*That the word Christmas is from the Christ’s Mass celebration in the church.

*That we celebrate Christmas on December 25 because it used to be a pagan holiday that was switched to be Christian by the Roman Emperor Julius 1.

*That there are 25 million Christians in India.

*That Emperor Dionysius made a mistake calculating Christ’s birth for the new calendar, and He was actually born in 4 or 5 B.C.

*That the tradition of the Christmas tree came from the missionary Boniface who used the tree as a symbol to teach a pagan group of people about Christ who used to think of the trees as sacred.

*That Santa Claus comes from the story of St. Nicholas who gave money and gifts to the poor. He was a bishop and wore a red coat and hat. He is celebrated on St. Nicholas Day on December 6.  His German and Dutch name sounds more like Santa Claus, so that’s why we call him that.

*That our modern-day Christmas is a mixture of the December 6 and 25 celebrations, which is why we have baby Jesus and Santa Claus on the same day.

*That the holiday of Hanukkah began 300 years before Jesus and He even celebrated it.

The DVD ends with an explanation of the Christmas story–Mary and Jesus going to Bethlehem and what happened at His birth.

The best part of the whole movie was that the Gospel is very clearly explained!  Those watching will learn exactly who Jesus is and what He did for us by coming to the earth, dying on the cross for our sins, and rising to new life!

The “Buck Denver asks Why Do We Call it Christmas?” DVD is about 60 minutes long.  See the trailer here:

There are some fun free activities at the Buck Denver website.

Please enter below on the Rafflecopter app if you would like to win a copy!  The winner will be chosen on November 21 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.)

Review: Snake Oil Party Potion Game

Out of the Box Games Review

Out of the Box Games produces a game called Snake Oil – Party Potion (for ages 8 and up) that we are reviewing today.  My kids and I really enjoyed playing it!

 

Out of the Box Games Review
Here’s how it works:

You need 3-6 players.  The kids can be as young as 6 if they can read.  My kids ages 6, 8, 9, 11, and 13 played the game, and I did, too.  There are 2 types of cards–Customer Cards which have the name of a type of person (such as a parent, toddler, lifeguard, waitress, doctor, or clown) and Word Cards that have a single word on them (such as flame, curtain, massage, diary, bus, trampoline, and passion.)  One person is the customer and the other players choose from their 6 cards two that will work together as a product for the customer to buy.  Then the customer picks the best one.  The winner is the one with the most customer cards at the end of a certain number of rounds.  The game can take as little as 15 minutes to play, and can be quite lengthy if you decide to keep on going!  All my kids caught on really fast and enjoyed playing it.  The box contains a plastic holder and the cards.

 

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My 8-year-old son was really good at Snake Oil Party Potion.  He’s very clever!

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Here was a product I tried to sell the Camper.  It’s a Trampoline Trail, so “When you’re out camping and hiking and you get really tired, you can just switch to the Trampoline Trail and bounce your way down the trail!”  I won that round!

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Here my daughters are working as a team to help each other read and understand the cards.

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In this scenario the customer was a Fire Fighter.  The three salepeople tried to sell him a “Pants Coat,” a “Mist Chair,” and a “Spray Sponge.”  The Mist Chair won that round!

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The makers of Snake Oil Party Potion say that there will be smiles and laughs all around, and we found that was true!

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How this game can be used in an Educational Setting:

Snake Oil Party Potion reminds me of an educational game we play with our Public Speaking class.  Kids are given an object and have to come up with clever ways to “sell” it to a specific type of customer.  We use this game to help kids to think fast on their feet.  It’s a type of improvisation or limited preparation activity.  So, I’m definitely going to bring this game to use when we meet with our class!

How this game can be used at a Party:

Instructions for this are actually included in the Snake Oil Party Potion box.  The customer card is chosen for the crowd.  Three people are chosen to come up with an object to sell.  The crowd then votes on the best “object.”

What I didn’t like:

There were 2 cards included that I decided to remove, just because they’re in bad taste (snot and butt).  Also, the card for “satellite” was misspelled “satelite.”

Price:

Snake Oil Party Potion sells for $14.99.

There is another version called Snake Oil for ages 10 and up.

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Review/ Giveaway of Manic Drive CD “VIP”

Manic Drive VIP CD

I have something brand-new to review today – a Christian rock CD! We’ve never reviewed one of these at I Choose Joy! before! When I first popped the Manic Drive VIP CD into the car CD player, I didn’t like the first two songs. But I did really enjoy the rest of the CD. It didn’t take long for me to begin singing along with the first two songs, too! Those first two songs are a little harder rock and include some rap, but the last songs are all ones that you might hear on a radio station such as K-Love.  And, I have to tell you, my 12-year-old son loved the first two songs the best!  **Be sure to check out the GIVEAWAY below!

Here are the songs that are included on the CD:

Electric

VIP

Street Lights

King of Mercy

Good News

I Hide You Seek

Song to Sing

Fire

Indestructible

Rhythm

 

My favorite songs were “King of Mercy” and “Indestructible.” I really like it when bands use unique features in their songs. And the song “Indestructible” uses strings!

Check out the Manic Drive song “VIP” in a music video from YouTube:

About the Band:

Manic Drive has been widely known as a Canadian band who always delivers a great show, but over the past few years and project releases, they have added to their extensive touring of Canadian and US markets multiple Billboard Top 10 & 20 singles on CHR & Christian Rock Radio. Manic Drive is clearly very intentional about reaching their generation and inspiring them to pursue a deeper walk with Christ and to get involved in changing the world they are inheriting. And they are uniquely equipped to do so. The band members, all in their early-mid twenties, have made sacrifices to pursue God’s call on their lives. Their life experience, spiritual maturity and ministry have opened doors to speak into the lives of their own generation and that is perhaps the most defining characteristic of this group of guys.

Follow Manic Drive here:

Manic Drive Official Website

Manic Drive YouTube Channel

Manic Drive Official Twitter

Manic Drive Official Facebook

Giveaway of the Manic Drive VIP CD:

I’m so glad to be offering a giveaway of Manic Drive’s latest album VIP, which released October 14th. Enter through the Rafflecopter app below, 18 years and older only, US & Canada only.

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.
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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.

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(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:
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 .

My Student Logbook Review

 

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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)

7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review

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 – http://www.facebook.com/UnderDrakesFlag

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)

and

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!

piano recital Happy Kids Songs 076 piano recital Happy Kids Songs 077
piano recital Happy Kids Songs 078
Age Range:

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

Cost:

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

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Happy Kids Songs Review
 

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