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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Wordless Wednesday Almost Naked Wedding Cake

This was the first time I have made this type of cake. It was exactly what the bride wanted.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

How To Tell A Great Story Review

Most of you know Delaney loves to write. She always has a story or more going and has had a few of them published in homeschool literary magazines online. She recently had the opportunity to use How To Tell A Great Story from Guideposts.

This is a two-hour master class taught by the storytellers from Guideposts. In the two-hour course, you'll learn how to write your own story or memoir to share with your loved ones or even have it published. This course is well worth the $24.99, but they offer a 30-day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied.

The video content is divided into 12 modules and can be completed at your own pace. The top editors of Guideposts Magazine use their formula that they have used for over 70 years to teach you how to make your story compelling and entertaining.

The full lifetime access to the course gives you not only the video content but also a digital workbook with a summary of main points for each module. To test your knowledge there are also quizzes for each module and a certificate of completion when you are finished. The best part is there are also instructions on how to submit your story to a publisher.

The twelve modules are:

  • What is a Story
  • Getting Started
  • Where to Start
  • Finding Conflict in the Story
  • Characterization
  • Reliable Narrator
  • Moving it Along With Scenes
  • Moving it Along With Dialogue
  • Keeping your Reader Engaged
  • Where Should the Story End?
  • Rewriting
  • Technical Specifications

The workbook pages for each lesson tell you exactly what you should write about and they give prompts to point you in the right direction. There are lined spaces to write your work directly on the workbook page. There are also examples and tips included in shaded boxes throughout the workbook.

Delaney is a junior in high school and has been working on this course. She loves to write and is really looking forward to completing this course. The prompts in the workbook are really keeping her on topic and getting the point of what she is trying to say. She doesn't have trouble coming up with a story or details her problem is keeping in check and not getting too much information and losing the reader.

Other people are really liking Guideposts. Check out other reviews and read the few I have below.

Guideposts Academy 5 Stars
By Patricia Parish 
July 8th, 2018
This course an incredible opportunity for me. No university could have done better. So much for so little money. I thank you all so very much. Will be sending something to you all regularly even if all I get is rejections! So grateful for the helpful information, I am tearing up as I write this. Patricia (Pat) Parish, Blessings to the teachers and all your personnel.
Rating: 5 of 5
Quick Course that is Very Helpful
By Barbara Litchfield
April 30th, 2018
Thus course is excellent!  The short recorded sessions with Edward, Rick, Colleen, Jim, and Amy, were full of helpful information for writers in any genre.  The workbook download helped me with note taking and reinforced the learning.  I also am grateful that I can retake the course whenever I need a refresher.  It is definitely worth $24.99.
Rating: 5 of 5

Disclaimer: I received Guideposts free of charge in order to write this review. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was received. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Almost Wordless Wednesday Husker Jersey Cake

In Nebrasaka on game day you may as well have a Husker Jersey cake for your baby boy's 1st birthday!!

And a football smash cake!!

Captain Sun Rescue Me! Review #hsreviews #CaptainSun #itsCaptainSun

The Captain Sun Adventures
I think everyone likes to read comics or comic books once in a while. We aren't a huge comic book reading family but Alaina does have a favorite and she reads more than the rest of us do. She was excited to read a new comic Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About The Power of Faith from The Captain Sun Adventures.

Rescue Me! is book 1 of the Captain Sun adventures. It is a comic book but it is also a kids' devotional. It is a 38-page softcover book full of colored graphics written by Bryce Morgan. He gives a brief introduction on how he loved comic books growing up and how he discovered who the real superhero is when he got older. He also suggests ways to use the book with your children.

There are 8 short chapters where we see that darkness is trying to overtake the city and the people are looking for Captain Sun to save the day. Captain Sun takes on the evil nemesis Black-Out to save the city. At the end of each chapter is a page that looks like the front page of a newspaper called the Capital City Chronicle. This page talks about how Christianity can be like having super powers. It asks the kids a question and quotes scripture to tie it all together.

Some of the questions asked in the Chronicle include what superpower would you want to have & how would you use it to help others, what villains can you name, do you know any superheroes sidekicks, and more. These questions help kids to understand the biblical concept that is being discussed.  The question about superheroes sidekicks shows how we need each other in the church. The question about what superpower would you want relates to the power to love and obey God. Then the bible verses go along with the topic.  

It didn't take Alaina long to read the comic book. And of course, she had to fill us all in on what was happening. When my son was younger he loved superheroes but the girls don't really get into them much so it was fun to take about superpowers with them and to relate it to the bible. Alaina would want to be invisible for her superpower and mine well I would like to be able to go without sleep because I have so many things I want to do. It is a fun way to open up discussions with your kids and kinda gives them a different perspective on the church and Christianity.

The author Bryce Morgan is a part-time cartoonist and a pastor of Way of Grace Church in Buckeye, Arizona. Mitch Martin is the illustrator and he is a graphic artist living and working in the East coast, Canada.

If you are looking to add a little fun to your child's devotions this little comic book is a good option. Make sure to head over to the Crew Blog to read what other Crew Members had to say about it.

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Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith {The Captain Sun Adventures Reviews}
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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Tori Kelly CD Hiding Place Review & Giveaway #TKHidingPlace & #FlyBy

I have a quick giveaway this time. I am giving away a copy of Hiding Place the new album by Tori Kelly. I will choose a random winner at 4:00 pm CST tomorrow September 14, 2018. Just leave a comment on this blog post.

My girls and I really like the song I'll Find You from Lecrae featuring Tori Kelly. So when I heard she had a gospel album out we were excited to hear it. And our favorite song on this new album is Masterpiece featuring Lecrae.

Tori has always enjoyed gospel music so she decided she wanted to make her own. Tori said this album was an opportunity to express her faith and love for God. While recording this album she could be free and let the song take over. She hopes you find the same solace and joy while listening to her album that she receives from listening to gospel music. She chose the title for this album from one of her favorite Psalms; "You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with songs of deliverance"

Help Us To Love
Just As Sure
Psalm 42
Never Alone
Soul's Anthem

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.

Fitting Words Review #hsreviews #PictaDicta #RomanRoadsMedia #FittingWords #Classical #Rhetoric

Roman Roads Media

Delaney loves to write! She always has a few stories going on in writing and a lot more rumbling in her mind. When we were offered Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric (Complete Set) from Roman Roads Media I thought it would be great for her to use in order for her to choose her words correctly.

Rhetoric is the art of effective and persuasive speech and writing. Fitting Words is a high school rhetoric course written from a Christian perspective. The key concepts covered in the text are the five faculties of oratory including invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. As well as the modes of persuasion; ethos, pathos, and logos. The goal of Fitting Words is to help Christian high school students learn to speak with elegance and persuasion.

We received the complete set of Fitting words and it includes the student textbook, workbook, answer key, an exam packet, and the video course on DVD. We also received a very durable tote to keep all the components in one place.

  • Student Textbook~ This is a 394-page non-consumable hardback book. The text is divided into 7 units with a total of 30 lessons for a complete high school course. The student should be completing one lesson per week for the one-year course. Each lesson has one or two exercises in the student workbook and the student will write and deliver five speeches for the course. Also included in every lesson are optional assignments. These additional assignments are Thinking Deeper, Developing Memory, and Reading Further. These assignments are easily identified because they are marked with their own icon and they further the study or discussion of the topic taught in that lesson. The appendix includes speeches from famous people.
  • Workbook ~ This workbook is spiral bound and is consumable. Most lessons have two exercises and there are speech judging sheets included that are identical to the ones that should be used to judge the speech.
  • Answer Key~  This is a softcover book with the answers for the workbook & the exams. It has the exact sheets found in the workbook but the answers are filled in. There are also two optional course schedules included to make Fitting Words a one-year course or a two-year.
  • Exam Packet ~ These exams are on looseleaf paper that are punched to fit in a 3-ring binder. It includes a review sheet for each test, the test answers, and speech judging sheets.
  • Video Course ~ This is available in streaming, DVD, and Blu Ray formatting. Each lesson is taught in two segments. The first one goes through the lesson and the second one talks about the student exercises. There are also exam prep segments.  

Delaney is in the eleventh grade and she has been using Fitting Words. She has been completing one lesson per week. She watches each of the video segments and completes the student workbook. Delaney doesn't really like technology in school. She doesn't like to work on the computer unless she is writing and she doesn't like to use DVDs either. She balked at me for making her watch these video segments, but she did admit the lesson goes better if she watches them she thought the exam review video was very helpful before taking the text. She also started the Commonplace Book that was suggested in the text which is a notebook to write down quotes, or sayings that she comes across. She actually already does this on her own. Since she loves to write and take pictures she likes to watch for things to include in her writings so she has a Sayings Book she started years ago. In the sidebar of the textbook, she is introduced to Famous Orators. They include a picture of their bust as a statue and tells a little bit about them. Delaney really likes these and has actually skipped through the book to read them.

This course has been an excellent fit for Delaney. It is challenging her and she is enjoying it. I am letting her decide on the extra work and she has added that in for some of the lessons. I really like that this course looks at Biblical orations and uses Bible verses to look at moral character. I think this helps teens to be able to relate Biblical truths within their own lives instead of just living them because they know they should. We are both looking forward to completing this course to see how much her writing improves.
Fitting Words

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Classical Rhetoric and Picta Dicta {Roman Roads Media Reviews}
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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Kingdom Files Review #hsreviews #KingdomFiles #BiographiesForKids

Barbour Publishing
Barbour Publishing has a new biography series for kids ages 8-12 called the Kingdom Files. There are six books available and we received Who is Jonah? and Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus?
The Kingdom Files
In this new biography series, kids get to investigate the lives of important people from the Bible. Each paperback book in the series is 5.25"X7.5" and is 95 pages long and includes a few black and white drawings. Randomly throughout the book, there are Clue Boxes with things to think about to help you see how they apply to you. The books are divided into three sections:

  • Fact Files~ Contains key information about the character of the book.
  • Action Files~ Shows the Bible events with the character in action. 
  • Power Files ~ This last file section includes information & memory verses to see how God is working in your life.

The Kingdom Files were written by Matt Koceich. He is an elementary school teacher and also wrote the IMAGINE series also published by Barbour Publishing. He hopes that by reading these books kids will see the bigger picture of God and know how much He loves them.

The Fact Files in Who Was Jonah? tells us what he did and the years he was active. It also includes a map, timeline, and key stats about him. Most of the book is in the Action Files where we learn about Jonah and what he did. Not only do we learn about Jonah but there is also information on things that make his adventures important. When the storm rages and the crew throws the cargo overboard to lighten the load. Kids may not realize that the cargo would be how these people earned their money but this fact is included in the story. Matt also references other parts of the bible that relate. He tells the kids about God creating the giant sea creatures from Genesis and he shows how Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days just as Jesus was in the tomb for three days. The Clue boxes contain little reminders for us of how God will listen and that He loves us. There are 10 Power-Ups in the Power Files. Each of these pages includes a memory verse and something that we can take away from the story of Jonah.

Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? Fact File includes a timeline, key stats about her and her kingdom work and years. The Action Files tells us about Jesus being born and takes us through Jesus life where his mother is concerned. The foretelling of the birth of Jesus, Mary's song, the wedding at Cana and where Jesus gives Mary to John at the Crucifixion are all included. There are bible verses included throughout that relate to the story being told. There are also 10 Power-Ups in the Power Files for this book.

The Kingdom Files are recommended for children ages 8-12. Alaina is already 13 and these books are definitely below her reading level but she did still enjoy reading them. She already knows the stories of Mary & Jonah and she read through both books pretty quickly. I think this is a good series. They would make great beginning chapter books and you could have your child look up all the verses in their own bible to get them familiarized with where they are.

There are also games and educator resources available on the website. Decoder activities, word searches, trading cards, trivia cards and more.

Product & Social Media Links
Kingdom Files {Barbour Publishing Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Grammar Planet Review #hsreviews #GrammarPlanet #grammar #onlinelearning

Analytical Grammar was created by Robin Finley and has been around for a while. Her daughter, Erin Karl is now the owner of Analytical Grammar, LLC. Erin along with Jerry Bailey decided they wanted to use the same concept to create GrammarPlanet. Erin brings her grammar knowledge and Jerry's skills come from developing an online version of WordBuild: A Better Way to Teach Vocabulary.

GrammarPlanet is an online grammar, punctuation, and usage curriculum that will help you master the mechanics of English. Children ages 10 and up along with adults can become better writers or improve their test scores.

There are 13 units out of 60 completed right now.   GrammarPlanet is free to use or you can purchase the ad-free version for $39. You will have access to the entire program in the free or paid version for as long as you want to use it.

This program teaches grammar by parsing and diagramming sentences. The first lesson starts with nouns, then proper nouns, articles & adjectives, pronouns, and so on for 60 lessons. Each unit will build on the one before it. If you aren't familiar with parsing sentences it is where you pick out every word in a sentence and label it with its function within the sentence. Sentence diagramming starts in unit 6. No matter what age or grade level the student is everyone will start at Unit 1. The computer program is designed to move student's quickly through the section they are good at and give them practice when they need it.

When I first received access to GrammarPlanet I created my parent account and then added each one of my students. From the parent dashboard I can see each student's progress and their overall grade. I can also generate a report to see all my students' overall grade and their grade for each unit. If I choose one student I can also see how they answered every sentence for each unit that has been completed. If a student misses to many problems for one unit they will be locked out until I reset the unit for them.

Each student has their own account. Each unit includes a PDF of notes to be printed and the lesson starts with a teaching video. During the video segment, the student will be asked a couple of questions about the topic. After watching the video there are sentences to be parsed to practice what was taught before taking the test. The activities are responsive to how the student answers them. If they need a little longer to understand they will get more practice before the test. There is no time limit so the student can take their time.

Delaney and Alaina have been using GrammarPlanet. When they are parsing the sentences they will click on the word in the sentence and choose its correct function from a pop-up box. Once they are finished with the sentence the words that are marked incorrectly will be highlighted red. If they miss too many they will be locked out and it must be unlocked in the parent account.

My girls have been using this for several weeks. It is very easy to use the student doesn't have to remember what unit they are on the will be taken to the correct place each time. They cannot move ahead until they complete the previous unit with a passing grade. They have both been locked out of a unit which at first we all thought was frustrating. But having them locked out showed me that they were struggling with that lesson and I could help them see what they were doing wrong. Once it was unlocked they could go through it again to improve their skills and their grades.

GrammarPlanet is free so you have nothing to lose by trying it. If you get tired of the ads then you can upgrade to the paid version. Don't forget to head over to the Crew Blog and read what other members had to say about it.

Website and Social Media Links
*Grammar Program Online {GrammarPlannet Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Almost Wordless Wednesday Surprise

My hubby stopped on his way home from work and bought me a purple rose!!

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