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Monday, April 27, 2015

Christy Nockels Let It Be Jesus Review & Giveaway #letitbejesus

We spend a lot of time listening to music. We listen in the house for fun while we are cleaning or crafting and we listen in the car when we are running around town or on trips. It's springtime and that means soccer practice, games, and tournaments. We spend a lot of time in the car & we are always grateful for new music to listen to. For the last couple of weeks we have been listening to the new CD from Christy Nockels.

Freedom Song
My Anchor
Everything is Mine in You
The Wondrous Cross
Let It Be Jesus
Who Can Compare 
Jesus, Rock of Ages
If You Never
Leaning on You, Jesus
Find Me at the Cross
Wonderful Name

We have never listened to Christy y herself, but we have enjoyed the music of Watermark, her previous band). Her new CD is very uplifting and encouraging. All of the songs on this album would be a good choice for my girls to learn and sing as a special for church. 

Let It Be Jesus is set to release on April 28 and I have one digital copy of this album to giveaway. Just enter the Rafflecopter below.

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About Christy:
As a worship leader for many years, she has been an integral part of Passion Conferences from its inception in 1997.  She's seen first hand music sweep people into the presence of God in a powerful way. A pastor’s kid, who was born in Fort Worth and raised in Oklahoma, she grew up singing in church. She met her husband, Nathan, in 1993 at the Christian Artists Seminar in Estes Park, Co. They recorded an independent record with fellow worship leader Charlie Hall under the name Sons & Daughters that led to an invitation from Louie Giglio to participate in the first Passion conference in Austin. Christy’s voice gained a national platform when she and Nathan formed the duo Watermark, recording four acclaimed albums before that musical season ended, paving the way for Christy’s solo career. In 2008, the couple moved to Atlanta to become part of Passion City Church where she serves on the worship team with sixstepsrecords labelmates Chris Tomlin and Kristian Stanfill. The following year, Nockels released her acclaimed solo debut, Life Light Up and spent much of the next two years touring with Tomlin and Passion.

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

Friday, April 24, 2015

U.S. History Detective Review

Disclaimer: I received U.S. History Detective Book One free of charge in exchange for my review. No other compensations was received. 

Amber loves The Critical Thinking Co. She has done Mind Benders from them for years & thinks they are fun. She also loves history, so when she found out about U.S. History Detective from Critical Thinking Co. she was thrilled to give it a try. 

U.S. History Detective Book 1 is a 330 page softcover book recommended for grades 8-12. It can be used as a stand-alone textbook, a review for older students, or a supplement to use with another textbook. There are 9 sections that contain 65 lessons. It covers the Colonial Era, Revolutionary era, Federal Era, Nationalism Era, Reform Era, Expansion Era, Sectional Conflict Era, Civil War Era, and the Reconstructing Era. Each lesson contains a reading segment, multiple choice questions, short answer and long answer questions along with fun facts. There are timelines, maps and color pictures throughout the text and review questions covering previous lessons throughout the book.

The text is very well written, each topic within a lesson is titled which really help my girls if they needed to go back and look for an answer to the questions. We loved the maps that are included. It made if very easy to locate places that were included in the text. The pictures that are placed throughout make a great addition to the book and makes things easier to remember. The girls favorite part are the Fun Fact Features, I think they went through the book to read them all before they even started using it. Some of the questions are multiple choice, but the student cannot just guess at the answer. They actually have to go back and find the sentence in the text where they got their answer.

My original plan was to work on U.S. History Detective Book One with all three of my girls, but Amber didn't want to wait for everyone else & she moved ahead of the rest of us. She was going to read one lesson a day, but she enjoyed reading the text so much that she reads more than one everyday.

The Critical Thinking Co. did not disappoint us with this history book. We love their Mind Benders and every other product we have used from them. U.S. History Detective would make a great addition to any home no matter if you children are taught at homes, public or private school.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

When Calls the Heart Season 2 #FaithTV #Hearties

We don't watch a lot of TV at our house, we have to many other things going on. Once in awhile we do like to relax with a movie. This week we got to preview the premier of season 2 of When Calls the Heart. We have never watched season one of When Calls the Heart, so my girls and I were excited to watch part of a new series. There was a good enough preview that we knew the gist of the first season.  We enjoyed the premier, there was something in it for all of us, a little romance, adventure, horses and humor. It is so refreshing to watch a show that doesn't have foul language & that we can all watch together. We all want to watch season one now!!
This series is inspired by Janette Oke's Canadian West book series "When Calls the Heart". Season one is about a small coal mining town that has an explosion leaving many widows in the town. The women go to trial to try and prove the mine was unsafe. Season two starts off with a new judge in town & the towns people get a surprise when their lawyer shows up. Before the trail starts Elizabeth finds out her mother is ill and has to go back home. Her mounty friend escorts her home and meets up with his troubled brother who lives in the same town. There are big surprises & changes going on in Coal Valley. I don't want to spoil it for'll have to watch the premier on the Hallmark channel Saturday April 25.

I have a giveaway that you are not going to want to miss. I am giving away the complete DVD set of When Calls the Heart Season 1. Just enter the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway About the series:
The series is inspired by Janette Oke’s bestselling book series about the Canadian West. “When Calls the Heart” tells the captivating story of Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow), a young teacher accustomed to her high society life, who receives her first classroom assignment in Coal Valley, a small coalmining town where life is simple, but often fraught with challenges. Lori Loughlin plays Abigail Stanton, a wife and mother whose husband, the foreman of the mine, along with a dozen other miners, has just been killed in an explosion. The newly widowed women find their faith is tested when they must go to work in the mines to keep a roof over their heads. Elizabeth charms most everyone in Coal Valley, except Constable Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing) who believes Thatcher’s wealthy father has doomed the lawman’s career by insisting he be assigned in town to protect the shipping magnate’s daughter. Living in a turn of the century coal town, Elizabeth will have to learn the ways of the frontier if she wishes to thrive in the rural west on her own.

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

ARTistic Pursuits Review High School Book 1 Elements of Art & Composition #hsreviews

ARTistic Pursuits Review
My kids are always drawing, doodling, or coloring. Using High School 9-12 Book One: The Elements of Art and Composition from ARTistic Pursuits has helped them notice details they were missing before. 
ARTistic Pursuits Review
High School 9-12 Book One: The Elements of Art and Composition was written by Brenda Ellis. This softcover comb bound book contains 92 pages. This book is non consumable, so you can use it with all of your children. It is one full year curriculum with 68 lessons completing 2 classes per week. All assignments are written in red & the recommended time for each class is about an hour. The 16 units are divided into four sections:
  • Building a Visual Vocabulary~ A topic is explained in words & pictures. Students learn to make works of art from real-world observations.  
  • Art Appreciation and Art History~ There are works of art by the masters that use the topic taught. Art history & art appreciation is also included in this section.
  • Techniques~ This section introduces the types of materials and tools that are used. 
  • Application~ A final project using the new technique and the topic is completed in this section using things in and around your house and nature. 

There are so many things to love about this book & every book from ARTistic Pursuits. The art supplies list is in the front of the book divided into first and second semesters with additional supplies listed separate. This makes shopping for art class so easy. I also love that there are pictures drawn by other students. This gives my kids a realistic look at what their art work should look like & they aren't discouraged when it doesn't turn out perfect. The assignments are written in red. When we do our lessons together I like to read the assignment to my kids before we read the lesson that way they can think about what they are going to be doing while they are listening to me read the history or techniques. It also makes it easier to go back and see the assignment again if someone doesn't work on it right then.

High School Book One covers space, texture, shape, form, contrast, balance, rhythm, and more. It uses basic supplies that can be found at any office or craft store. Since my adult daughter is a very talented artists we figured out early on that we needed a good supply of art supplies so we didn't have to purchase anything for this book. The supplies for Book One are drawing pencils, vinyl & rubber erasers, drawing pad, charcoals, and pencil sharpener.

All three of my girls ages 10, 12 & 14 sat in on this class. We usually do ARTistic Pursuits together. That way I know what the girls should be working on & can easily help them when they need it. I read the text and we discuss what was taught. Sometime they come up with a lot of good things to draw, but once in awhile one of them would draw a blank. When that happens we all just brainstormed together to come up with a lot of different things to draw.

We all enjoyed working in Book One. Of course the girls liked the assignments the best & several days we actually spent more than an hour drawing. At night when I read aloud to them before bed they would get out their art notebook and practice the different techniques again in the evening. I love that this book can be used with all of my kids. Even though Alaina is going through it with her bigger sisters this time, I will have her go through it again in a few years when she is older. I have to admit my favorite part of the curriculum is the information we read about the artists and art history. After just using this book for a couple of weeks my girls have already improved. They are noticing things around them and have been adding more details to their pictures they draw or color for fun.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Orphs of the Woodlands Review #hsreviews

Star Toaster Review
My girls and I love fun educational things to use at the end of the school year. The past couple of months they have been reading Orphs of the Woodlands from Star Toaster. It is a fun interactive book that takes them on an adventure while working on academics. 

Orphs of the Woodlands is the first book in a series of online adventure books. There is nothing to download and the only requirement is internet access. Each student has their own login and their adventure starts where they left off each time. The parent also has their own login to see what each child has accomplished. All family accounts will use the same email, but everyone will have their own password. 
Star Toaster Review
In Orphs of the Woodlands the student gets to be the main character which is a squirrel. They get to name him and choose his character traits. The story line leaves the squirrel an orphan that lives in a tree trunk. He has a sign on his tree telling other animals that he is a rabid creature. They throw nuts into his tree trunk to be safe when they pass his tree. He does this because he himself is an orph and needs food. He becomes a spy for the WAK underground to defeat the night creatures and find the treasure in the highest tower. Along the way he gets a reputation of helping other orphs when they ask him for help. 
While the student reads the story they can read letters, see recipes of the food the characters eat, hear some audio and watch video clips, press on vocabulary words to see the definitions, and see details in a popup about each character. After reading a chapter you can do jobs according to what you learned in the lesson. You receive gold stars for questions in the jobs that are answered correctly. Once you are finished with the jobs you can buy things with the gold stars. You can buy wheat, houses, land, and food to give to your orphs. 
The jobs include math, science, language, vocabulary, thinking skills, character, life skills, and the arts. The questions are all multiple choice with printable recipes in the life skills, and different types of art are taught through samples and questions. 
Star Toaster Review
All three of my girls have been reading the story and are enjoying it. Delaney and Alaina are still reading the book, but Amber has finished it. This program is recommended for students in 4th-7th grades. Alaina is the only one in this age range. She loves the story, the characters & especially the recipes. She thinks there are to many math problems for her & she did ask for some help with some vocabulary, but I thought it was a good mix to challenge her even with a little help. Amber actually flew through the book and jobs and thought it was a fun assignment. All three of the girls really liked the story line & had fun telling me (with a lot of details) what was going on. The variety of jobs was a good mix. They thought it was cool that the recipes were included. We already make a lot of the recipes that were included, but the last time we made biscuits we had to use the recipe from the book.  

When I log into my parent account I can see all three of my girls accomplishments at a glance. I will then have access to all eight skills. I can choose to see their progress in Math, Science, Language, Vocabulary, Thinking Skills, Character, Life Skills, or The Arts. I also received email notifications every once in awhile that were very helpful. They told me things my kids were learning & gave me a progress report for each child.
No matter how your children are being educated this is a fun way to get your kids reading. This would make a great summer reading activity to keep their brain going while on break.
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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Noah's Ark Baby Shower Cake #babyshowercake

Who doesn't love a Noah's Ark theme for a boy baby shower?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Memoria Press New American Cursive Review #hsreviews

Memoria Press Review
When you are the youngest of five kids you get a lot of hand-me-downs. That includes clothes, shoes, toys, and curriculum. Alaina doesn't mind using her siblings stuff, but she gets really excited when she gets something brand new in the mail. She was super excited when she received the New American Cursive: Penmanship Program Workbook 1 from Memoria Press

Workbook 1 of the New American Cursive is an 115 page softcover workbook. It is spiral bound at the top making it perfect for left or right handed children. There are pages for all 26 letters of the alphabet with review & practice sheets after every third letter taught. The beginning of the book teaches how to hold a pencil, proper paper placement, and three basic forms (the dot, straight line, and the curve line). There is a section of reproducible pages, and a sheet with all the letters & numbers with arrows to indicate how each should be made. 

Each worksheet uses three exercises. The student is taught how to make the letter correctly, they practice the letter by tracing it & then writing it, and lastly they play with the letter by writing words and drawing pictures. The review pages show the review letters with arrows to indicate the direction the letter should be made & there are samples and blank spaces to practice all three letters. A Handwriting Evaluation Checklist is included in the reproducible section. This sheet will help you evaluate the students handwriting in 11 areas.  

The New American Cursive Penmanship Program can be used by anyone learning cursive. They suggest learning cursive in the first grade before printing habits are ingrained, and learning new techniques confuses the child. Student sample writings are included to compare first and third grade students handwriting.
Memoria Press Review
A meerkat was chosen as a teaching guide because meerkats work as a team, they each have a task in their social network. Cute little meerkats are everywhere in this book & Alaina loved coloring them every day. 

There are two more workbooks in the Memoria Press Penmanship Program that help the student focus on accuracy & legibility. They also help the student connect letters fluidly. A StartWrite/NAC software is also available to create customized worksheets. 
Alaina already knew how to write in cursive, but her penmanship was a little sloppy. I chose to use this with her to help her become neater in her writing. She did one worksheet every day & practiced in her other school work by answering all her questions in cursive. It has really helped her with the legibility of her letters and her penmanship. 

I agree with Memoria Press on starting cursive with children in first grade & I wish I would have known that when my oldest daughter was learning to write. She is left handed & no matter how many times I would show her the proper way to print letters she always started at the end of the letter and wrote toward her left hand. Her print letters looked correct but drew them from end to start. Once she started learning cursive and connecting her letters together she made them correctly. Even now as an adult if she is printing she will print most of her letters starting at the end and moving to the start of the letter. 

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Adventures of Pajama Girl #PajamaGirl

What little girl doesn't love pajamas and sweet dreams? How about dreaming about what is on your pajamas?

In The Adventures of Pajama Girl and the Coronation of the Cupcake Queen that is just what happens. Ellie's pajamas have cupcakes on them, so her and her sister dream of a land filled with sweet treats. Their dream quickly turns into an adventure when they have to help Cupcake Queen find the sprinkles for the coronation ceremony.

This 32 page hardcover book tells a sweet story and is beautifully illustrated. My daughter loved reading this story. The sisters do things in the story that she does everyday. It is so refreshing to read a story where the sisters get along and pray together. This makes a great book for young kids or older kids who appreciate beautifully illustrated stories.

When you purchase the Pajama Girl book you will receive 10 free Pajama Girl Activity Sheets by entering your receipt on the Pajama Girl website.

About the author:
Sandra Hagee Parker lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband, Ryan, and their daughters, Olivia and Elliana — the original pajama girls. A practicing attorney, Sandy is also a part of the music ministry at Cornerstone Church where she and her husband are leaders.

When not working or writing, Sandy enjoys traveling with her family and mastering the art of making Pancakes à la Pajama Girl with her two girls.

I have a copy of The Adventures of Pajama Girl and the Coronation of the Cupcake Queen to giveaway. Enter the Rafflecopter 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 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.”
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