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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wordless Wednesday Friends March 29

So this Wordless Wednesday isn't going to be wordless for me. My three girls have some great friends that live four hours away. They have so much fun when they get together and now that they are getting older they also have some serious moments.

One thing they love to do when they are together is take a picture of all their hair!! 

I love when they all sing together. Watching them practice is so much fun because you can tell they are growing up, but then someone will break out in the giggles and you know they are still young and playful. 


Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Escape Room Game

My friend just introduced us the Escape Room The Game & we are hooked. My girls and I played the first game Prison Break by together because my friend had already played it. We played the second one, Virus, with her. 

The object of the game is to escape from a room in 60 minutes by solving the clues. It is recommended for 3-5 players ages 16 and up. Each room has three parts to complete in order to escape. They each contain multiple puzzles, charts, and pictures to help you decipher the code to escape. Once you have figured out the code you must put the keys in the Chrono Decoder. It will alert you if the code is wrong or right. The Chrono Decoder also keeps the time by counting 60 minutes down. If you haven't escaped the room in 60 minutes it will start counting up after the 60-minute countdown. After so many minutes the Chrono Decoder will beep to indicate you may read a hint card that will help you with the mystery.

We escaped the prison in 66 minutes, but we chose not to use all of the hints. We also went over the hour in Virus. While escaping the prison we did have to guess at one part, but we must be good at guessing because we did get it correct.  

We are looking forward to escaping from the other two rooms & we will probably play them soon. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bessie's Pillow Review #hsreviews #historicalfiction #BessiesPillow

Strong Learning, Inc.
Historical Fiction is my favorite genre to read out loud to my family. It helps to bring history alive for all of us. We just recently stepped back in time to see what it was like to immigrate to America at the age of 18 in Bessie's Pillow from Strong Learning, Inc. 

Linda Bress Silbert wrote Bessie's Pillow from conversations she had with her mother and grandmother. She originally wanted to write a memorial to her grandmother, but by the time she was finished she had a story about a young immigrant searching for the American dream. 
In 1906 a young Jewish immigrant named Bashka Markman leaves everything she knows and her family to sail alone to America. She doesn't speak English and even has to change her name to Bessie when she arrives in her new country. We get to experience the ups and downs of sailing on a ship alone and arriving in a country where the police are not the enemy. Not only do we get a glimpse of life and working in New York and New Rochelle we see the suffering and filth of the Lower East Side. Life in the early 1900's was not always easy even in America. Bessie's family experiences many struggles and hardships, but goes on to become business owners and professionals. 

I decided I would read Bessie's Pillow to my family during our daily read aloud time. One reason because I love historical fiction and I knew if this was a good book I wouldn't want to put it down. If I read to myself too much at one time I sometimes feel guilty, but if I am reading to my family I feel like I can read a lot more during this family time. That is what happened with this book, everyone wanted me to keep reading. My husband is gone every other evening and he would read ahead when he was home so he wouldn't miss anything while he was gone. We know a lot of facts about immigrants coming to American, but Bessie's Pillow gave us a very vivid picture and made us feel like we were the ones experiencing the story. 

One thing that really helps to bring this story to life is the last part of the book. There are family photos of the real Bessie and her family along with places they lived. There is also a chapter called Bessie's America that contains information about things talked about in the book. There are pictures, history facts, and links to fully experience life in New York in the early 1900s. Bessie's America online is an interactive multi-media guide to things from the book, including a section for teachers.  

Strong Learning, Inc. offers over 200 products to assistance in helping students learn how-to-learn since 1966. They offer the 280-page softcover Bessie's Pillow for $15.00.

Bessie's Pillow is a book of adventure, romance, struggles, hard work, and dedication. Our families all immigrated from somewhere and it's interesting to learn things that our ancestors could have experienced on their journey to America.

Social Media
Twitter @BessiesPillow

Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Reviews}
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Creating a Masterpiece Review #hsreviews #artinstruction #homeschoolart #onlineartprogram

Creating a Masterpiece
Alaina loves art, she loves to paint, draw, color, and sculpt. She is very creative on her own, but she also enjoys learning new things. Recently she has been using the Monthly Plan from Creating A Masterpiece to develop new skills. 

Creating A Masterpiece is just what the name suggests. It is online fine art lessons for all ages given by Sharon Hofer. There are over 144 lessons available in a Monthly Plan for the whole family for $39.99 a month. 
Sharon has been teaching art classes for over 15 years. She wanted to focus on the quality of the project as well teach different techniques. Children as young as 4-5 can create masterpieces that are normally completed by high school students. They not only create quality artwork they also develop skills that will help them create masterpieces on their own. 

The lessons are divided into levels. The Beginning level is meant to be fun and simple. The project is divided up into small sections and takes about an hour to complete the project. Levels 1-5 offer 3-7 full lessons with each lesson taking 1-2 hours to complete. There is Art in History section that discusses the history of an artist and includes instructions to complete a similar project. This section is just being developed and is a wonderful addition to the course.
Alaina was so excited when we received Creating A Masterpiece. We already own quite a bit of quality art products, so I gave Alaina the option of where to start. There are so many great projects to choose from she wasn't sure what to do first. I suggested looking at the different medium and choosing what she wanted to do first that way. 
  • Acrylic
  • Batik
  • Block Printing
  • Carving
  • Conte' Crayon
  • Copper Tooling
  • Glass Mosaic
  • Gouache
  • Ink
  • Mixed Media
  • Oil Painting
  • Oil Pastel
  • Pencil/Charcoal
  • Sculpture
  • Silk Painting
  • Soft Pastel
  • Watercolor
  • Wood Burning

She decided to start with the Himalayan Kitten which is a Level 4 Lesson in Oil Pastels. There are four lessons in this project. Along with the video lesson, there is a list of supplies that will be needed, helpful tips for this project, pictures of the lesson highlights, and project downloads that include a list of supplies, and a high-resolution image.  

Sharon starts each project encouraging the kids and reminding them that no two pictures will look the same and they will all be masterpieces and unique. She talks a little bit about the oil pastels and other supplies that are needed. This particular project uses a velour paper, but Alaina didn't want to wait to buy some so she just used her drawing paper. Sharon describes exactly what is going on and her instructions were very easy to follow. 
Alaina chose to access the video content on her iPad mini. This worked great for her, she could take it to the table and could easily pick it up if she wanted a closer look at something. She also liked to pause the video if she was taking longer to finish what was just being shown on the video. After Alaina finished the first project Amber decided she wanted to join in on the fun. Amber is not as artsy as Alaina, so she wanted to start with an easier project. They did the Lesson in Oil Pastels Winter Cabin from the Beginner Level and then moved on to the Lessons in Colored Pencil: Tropical Clown Fish Level 1. Alaina is always painting or drawing, but Amber doesn't normally like to. She was very pleased with her work and that it actually looked good. 

Alaina is loving Creating A Masterpiece. She has completed her work entirely on her own. She hasn't needed any help with the program or the content. She is already thinking ahead and wants to work on wood burning and copper tooling next since that is something she has never done. 

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Creating Beautiful Art at Home {Creating A Masterpiece Reviews}
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Monday, March 20, 2017

Eclectic Foundations Language ArtsReview #hsreviews #languagearts #mcguffeyreaders #eclecticeducation

Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations }
Eclectic Foundations offers an all inclusive Christian Language Arts program. The first book in the series is the Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A and is recommended for children just learning to read or struggling readers.

Currently, there are three levels available from Eclectic Foundations with plans for six more. The nine levels will have your child reading at college level upon completion while covering Phonics, Grammar, Spelling, Reading Comprehension, Handwriting, Composition, and Poetry. 
Level A contains 144 lessons and will last 36 weeks when 4 lessons are completed each week. Eclectic Foundations comes with a Teacher's Guide, Student Workbook, McGuffey Flashcards, and an Appendixes booklet. It uses the McGuffey's Eclectic Primer (revised edition) and other books from the early 1900s. These books can be found and printed online free of charge or you can purchase them as a physical book. The McGuffey reader is not used until the second quarter and the rhymes from the Real Mother Goose are printed directly in the Teacher's Guide. 

There are detailed directions in the Teacher's Guide for each lesson, and it includes games, and a Mother Goose poem for each day. The Student Workbook is 266 pages of consumable worksheets. Each week there is a new letter introduced. Every day the student will start by reciting the alphabet then they should practice writing the new letter in a multi-sensory way. Worksheets are for provided for each day using the new letter and combining it with letters already taught and includes finding the letter, mazes, handwriting, matchings, and a reading page. There are five laminated pages in the Appendixes book that are used during the game time and writing activities. The flashcards contain words that should be colored according to the correct part of speech. 
Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations }
This is not a new curriculum, The Eclectic Education Series was used from mid 1800s-mid 1900s. The language has been updated so that it is easier to understand and teach, but the original biblical worldview is still there. It has proven itself to be successful with those mid 1800s-mid 1900s educators having their students ready for college after completing the eighth grade. This collection of textbooks were the most popular until the public school system was secularized. 

Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A is very easy to understand and simple to use without unnecessary busy work. The student is encouraged to form the new letters out of play dough, colored sand, or by using a dry erase board and markers and the games are set up for the student to hear the sounds used in the words. The short simple daily lessons offer enough variety to keep young kids interested without becoming overstimulated or discouraged. 

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Eclectic Foundations
Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A

Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations Reviews}
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Laura Story Open Hands Review & Giveaway #OpenHands & FlyBy

We listen to music every day, we all have our favorite songs and listen to them over and over. It is always nice to have a new CD to add to our collection. Our newest CD is Open Hands from Laura Story. Our local radio station plays Blessings by Laura Story a lot, so she isn't a new artist to my family.

This new album is about learning to live with open hands, constantly saying "Lord, my life is Yours. Do what you will." The songs on Open Hands are a lifeline that someone needs to hear when they are having a hard time, and Laura hopes God will speak through her music to offer hope.

Laura included some well-known songwriters on this album including Matt Redman, Matt Maher, Mia Fieldes, Hank Bently, Sarah Hart, and Seth Mosley to name a few. As Laura was writing both by herself and with the others she began to see a thread of surrender emerge. The theme for Open Hands was not chosen first it presented itself after the lyrics were written. Laura says sometimes the theme comes out of what is written not only in the music but in her life.

Laura Story Open Hands
Death Was Arrested
Open Hands
You Came Running
Give You Faith
For The Love of My King
Awake My Soul (A 1000 Tongues)
Every Word You Breathe
Grace Abounds

We have been listening to Open Hands and every song contains powerful and meaning lyrics.

Not only is Laura an award winning recording artist she is also a wife, mother of three, author, and songwriter for other artists. She has built her career around submission to her calling.

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I have one copy of Laura Story Open Hands CD to giveaway. Just 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 on the same blog, 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, March 14, 2017

Circle C Stepping StonesReview #hsreviews #oldwest #horsegirls #fictionforgirls

Kregel Publications
If you read my blog often you already know that Susan K. Marlow is one of my girls' favorite authors. Going on adventures that contain horse riding is always great fun even if you are just reading about it. We just received Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top from the new Circle C Stepping Stones series published by Kregel Publications
Susan K. Marlow has written several books about Andrea Carter growing up on the Circle C horse ranch in California during the 1800s. Your 6-9-year-old children can read about a very young Andi and her adventures with her colt in the Circle C Beginnings, then your 7-10-year-old kids can move up to the new Circle C Stepping Stones series, The Circle C Adventures are great for ages 9-13, and your kids 11 and up will like to read about Andi in the Circle C Milestones series. 

We just finished reading the newest Circle C Milestone book, Courageous Love. My girls had been looking forward to reading it since they finished the other titles in the Milestone series. We were first introduced to Andi back in 2011. Since then we have read a lot of books from Susan K. Marlow and reviewed several. Although the new Circle C Stepping Stone series is below my girls' reading level and ages they still wanted to see what Andi had gotten herself into this time. 
Andi Saddles Up is the first book in the Circle C Stepping Stones series. She just turned nine and she wants to learn to trick ride like her friend Riley with her horse, Taffy. Of course, her big brother isn't willing to let that to happen. When Andi makes a new friend she also has new things to worry about. This new friend offers her a gift she knows she shouldn't accept and Andi is afraid of losing her when the two families start quarreling over boundary issues. 

Andi Under the Big Top takes Andi to the circus. She is excited to see the all the circus has to offer especially the champion bareback rider. She makes a new friend while she is there and thinks he has the best job ever with the circus. Once she learns the truth and sees how circus life really is she wants to help him. 

There will be a total of six books in the Stepping Stones series. The first two books are a little over a hundred pages and contain longer chapters for7-10-year-old kids that are ready for longer books. They offer a great story line and have the look and feel of a big kid book. 

To make the most out of reading these books Susan K. Marlow has a free Study Guide for both books. Language Arts, Geography, History, Math and Science, Character and Bible, music, crafts, and just-for-fun are in both guides. They include a recommended schedule, questions about the book, activities, crafts, puzzles, and pictures, free coloring pages are also available. 

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Andi Series {Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow Reviews}
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Creative Freewriting Adventure Review #hsreviews #celebratingmanhood #waodani #CreativeFreewriting

Home School Adventure Company
Writing can be fun, it can be work, and sometimes it can cause tears. Some of my kids can write all day and some of them hate even writing a short paragraph. We recently started using the Creative Freewriting Adventure: A Journey Into Freewriting from Home School Adventure Co. We also received the corresponding Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book Edition

Creative Freewriting Adenture

Creative Freewriting Adventure: a journey into freewriting is meant to be a fun writing experience.The 61 pages are divided into 10 engaging exercises.  There is no preparation required of the student or teacher, you just set the timer for 15 minutes and write. There should be no emphasis on spelling or grammar so students can just use the short time to have fun and enjoy writing. The writing prompts start with some history and philosophy then the Your Journey Section introduces the student to a story that will get their imaginations going. The assignment follows by asking the student questions about the background, the dialog, and incorporating their senses. 

Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book Edition
The Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book Edition contains the same great writing prompts but also includes a coloring page for each one. These are a great addition if you have a younger child writing or if your teens are like some of mine and still like to color. This gives them a visual to go along with their writing. 

The Freewriting Adventure is available in print and digital form. We received the digital book and I was planning on printing a copy out for my 14 & 15-year-old girls, but when Delaney (age 14) realized what I was doing she said she would rather type her stories than write on paper. She loves to write and she said if she was only allowed to write for 15 minutes she needed to type or she would not be able to get all of her thoughts written out in that short of time with pen and paper. Then Amber (15 at the time) hates writing said she wanted to type hers as well because typing isn't as much work as writing. They are complete opposites when it comes to writing. Delaney is always writing and writes to the extreme and Amber only writes what she has to. When the 15 minutes were over Delaney wanted to keep writing and finish her story and Amber was ready to be done. 

Delaney was good with reading the introduction and the Journey to get her going on her creative writing. Amber on the other hand really liked having the questions there to help her create ideas in her mind and describe them vividly on her paper.

I love the concept of freewriting to allow my kids to enjoy writing without getting bogged down with correct grammar and punctuation. I have noticed they are less fearful of writing when they don't have to worry about it at first. I think this creative writing book is fun for teens that don't like to write and for those that love it.  

A Sample of Delaney's story.

Social Media
Twitter @HomeSchoolAdven

Stacy Ferrell has written several titles for homeschool families. The Crew received several different ones to review, and you can read reviews for Celebrating Manhood, Walking with Waodani, and I'd Rather Be Your Mommy.

Resources with a Biblical Worldview{Home School Adventure Co. Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Amber's Birthday

Birthdays are so bitter sweet. I love watching my kids grow up and develop who they will become, but it is one step closer to their independence and moving on with their own lives. 

Amber turned 16 this year and she has a wonderful disposition and you can't help but love to be around her. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Five Minute Friday Abandon #fmf #amwriting

Brainard Lake, Colorado ~ Morgan Paige Photography

Today's Five Minute Friday prompt is ABANDON.

I have thought about this word all afternoon. It brings so many things to my mind, but after reading it this morning the song Live With Abandon by the Newsboys has been stuck in my mind. If you haven't listened to this song you should. 

Chasing after this world makes me tired
Praisin' my own name leaves me dry
There's gotta be so much more to life than this
A higher calling that I missed
I want my life to count, every breath
I wanna live with abandon
Give you all that I am
Every part of my heart Jesus

It is easy to sing the lyrics. I have been all day and I think my family is tired of hearing me (I'm not a very good singer). Lyrics get stuck in my head. If I hear a song even if I haven't heard it for twenty years I can still sing almost every word. Or sometimes I hear a phrase or like today just one word and it will bring a song to memory. If I don't have the music sometimes I will change the words to what I want them to say. My kids get irritated when this happens, probably because the song ends up with things that are going on at the moment or I add their names into it. 

Do I mean the words that I say? Most of the time I don't. I subconsciously sing them without thinking. But when I think about the words of songs they have so much meaning in them and they can inspire me to think about my own life and how I am living. 

There's gotta be so much more to life than this
A higher calling that I missed
I want my life to count, every breath
I wanna live with abandon
Give you all that I am

Monday, March 6, 2017

Courageous Love Review

My girls love horses, adventures, and stories they can relate to. They get all of that reading about Andrea Carter growing up in Susan K. Marlow's books.

Courageous Love is the newest book about a young girl that just finished high school and would rather work the ranch and learn to trick ride than worry about becoming a woman. Andrea's older brother Chad runs the Circle C Ranch since their father had passed away several years ago. He has a lot of duties to take care of and relies on his wranglers to help get them done. Riley Prescott is one wrangler that has been around for years that Chad trusts completely. Andrea talks Chad into letting Riley teach her to stunt ride and the two of them usually end up working together. The two of them discover the beginnings of a mystery that has everyone on edge. Andrea has to keep her courage up and protect her other brother Justin's family while he is away on business. Criminals from past books are out for revenge no matter the cost to the Carter family.

Susan K. Marlow has written stories about Andrea Carter growing up in the 1800s on the Circle C Ranch in California. You can read about her when she is little in the Circle C Beginnings, then Circle C Stepping Stones, next the Circle C Adventures, and lastly as a teen in the Circle C Milestones. The Goldtown book series was also written by Susan and follows a young boy during the gold rush days.

Susan writes in such a way that all three of my girls love. We have read almost all of her books and we were eagerly awaiting the release of Courageous Love. This fourth book in the Circle C Milestone Series did not disappoint. It was just as good as her other books.

Disclaimer: I received Courageous Love free of charge as part of the Kregel Blog Tour in order to write my honest review. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Five Minute Friday Purpose #fmf #amwriting

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is purpose. 

This word is very appropriate this week. I have been talking with my teens a lot lately about what their purpose in life is. 

What they want to do when they are finished with school? 

What kind of career do they see themselves in?

Where do they see themselves in the next ten years?

I have been trying to instill in them that it doesn't matter what your dreams are, where you end up living, what your job is but that they should make the most of what they are doing and make the most of their time. In this day and age, it is easier than ever to waste time. It is easy to think I have ten free minutes I'll get on Facebook or Pinterest and the next thing you know an hour has gone by. As a family, we are trying to have a purpose for every minute of the day. That doesn't mean we don't make time for fun or just relaxing, but we want to choose our recreational activities more wisely. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Colorado ~ By the Way Review #hsreviews #travelbooks #statehistory

Nature Books With A Biblical Worldview {By the Way Book Series Reviews}
We love to take road trips as a family. We like to visit fun places and tourist stops, but we also like to be outside and enjoy the scenery, the different animals, landscapes, and terrain. Of course, we take a lot of trips to Colorado & Florida because that is where our oldest kids live. When the Homeschool Review Crew was offered one choice of the six titles in the By The Way Book Series Alaina had trouble deciding on Colorado~ By The Way or Florida's Treasure Coast ~ Here We Come!

She finally chose Colorado ~ By The Way!
The books in the By The Way Book Series follows Alex and Lexi on their adventures to different states and learn how God is in their everyday lives. The books talk about each state's history, culture, and natural habitats. All the books are geographically based with 48 full-color pages in a hard cover. The series is also designed as a handy tool that includes talking points to help parents talk to their children about God and His creation. Each book is informational, integrated, intentional, and inspirational. 
Colorado ~ By The Way is a picture book with a lot of information about Colorado. Alaina wanted to read it herself and I thought she would be finished with it quickly, but she wasn't. She liked reading about Alex and Lexi and their adventures on a ranch in the Colorado mountains, the Four Corners, Mesa Verde, the Continental Divide, Sand Dunes, Estes Park, and of course downtown Denver. She liked learning facts about mountain lions, marmots, Shetland Ponies, hawks, Aspen trees, bighorn sheep, along with other wildlife while she read. Even though she is 12 she still loved looking at all the pictures. We have been to almost all of the places that are included in the book and she has seen most of the wildlife included, but she learned a lot of facts she didn't know before and she made sure to tell us all when she read something new. 
Why are beavers' teeth orange? 
What is the most popular man-made attraction in CO? 
Joy Budensiek is the author of the By The Way books. She has a goal to write 100 books that showcase all 50 states and other areas in the world with Ireland being the first international book. Her purpose in this series is to provide opportunities for parents to pass on Christian beliefs and values to their children. 
Colorado ~ By the Way is a beautiful book. It would be great to use for school if you are studying about that state, or to use in the car if you are planning a road trip. It would also make a very unique gift for any child, or it would just be great to have in your personal library. 
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By The Way Book Series
Colorado ~ By The Way
Florida's Treasure Coast ~ Here We Come!
Smoky Mountains ~ Here We Come!
Pennsylvania ~ Here We Come!
Ohio ~ Here We Come!
Washington ~ Here We Come!

Watch for Ireland & New York to be available in April 2017!
Nature Books With A Biblical Worldview {By the Way Book Series Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

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