May 24, 2017

The Typing Coach Online Typing Course {Product Review}

The Typing Coach Online Typing Course {Product Review}
One of the areas that we don't have focused attention on in our classroom is typing/keyboarding. We are very "old school" with focused attention on hand writing everything; however, I see the benefit of starting to shift more over to typing assignments for my soon-to-be middle-schooler. There are so many programs out there to teach typing, and most of them are very game like. When I learned about The Typing Coach Online Typing Course from The Typing Coach and its no-nonsense approach to typing--promoting accuracy and speed, I wondered if it would be a good fit for our family. 

About The Typing Coach

The Typing Coach is a typing program designed to teach efficiency, speed, and proficiency, without the distraction of games. Designed by a veteran typing instructor, the lessons have audio, visual, and written instructions. Once you download the written

May 23, 2017

New from The Pencil Grip, Inc.: Thin Stix ~ Paint Without the Mess {Product Review}

Thin Stix: Paint Without the Mess {Product Review}
The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate linksPlease see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

I first learned about The Pencil Grip, Inc. last year when their solid tempera paint came into my radar. We quickly fell in love with their Kwik Stix--we just wished they were...thinner. Needless to say when I had the opportunity to review the company's newest product Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors, I was pretty excited and hoped they would be the thinner style of Kwik Stix we had wished for.

About Thin Stix

Thin Stix is the brain child of The Pencil Grip, Inc. Designed to alleviate the mess of painting,

May 17, 2017

Homeschool Rescue: Breathe New Life Into Your Homeschool {Product Review}

Homeschool Rescue: A self-paced eCourse for EVERY Homeschooling Parent {Product Review}
Dear Homeschool Parent...Do you ever feel like you are drowning? Are you being choked by that overwhelmed feeling? Do you feel like you just need to give up and let it go? Are you dealing with the guilt of lack of focus or wasted time? Are you struggling to balance all your different "hats"? Are you buried in clutter? Do you feel like your day only has 20 hours? Are you struggling with homeschooling a special needs child, or have other special circumstances which makes homeschooling challenging? If you have EVER answered yes to any of these questions, I encourage you to read my review of Homeschool Rescue, a new self-paced program for YOU created by Only Passionate Curiosity!

May 14, 2017

Being a Mom: The REAL story :) Happy Mother's Day!

Being a mom: The REAL story :)
What does it mean to be a mom? It's more than bringing life into the world. For when all is said and done, that was the easy part! No. Being a mom is more than that. I thought it would be fun to dive into the life of a mom--the REAL story. LOL! Enjoy!
Sleeeeeep. I need sleeeeeep. 5 times. FIVE TIMES I got up last night because he wanted to nurse. And blew out his sleeper. YAWN. It's only 6am? seriously? sigh. Okay. I don't care if caffeine is a no-go...I will deal with the fall out because I just can't make it today...(5 hrs later) Whhhyyyy did I drink that coffee this morning??! Why???  He won't sleeeeeeeepppp!!! Just close your eyes...close them. Please??!

May 12, 2017

Mom- A small word for an amazing person {five minute friday}

This week's Five Minute Friday post was themed appropriately...Mom. I am so happy that THIS YEAR, my mom LIVES out here so we can get together for Mother's Day on Sunday. I am so grateful that my boys have BOTH sets of grandparents to grow up around!


A word that means so much, even though it's so short. 

My mom was amazing growing up. I always had plenty to eat. Clothes to wear. She was always there for me. She says I was her joy. Her sunshine. I made her smile. She introduced me early on to books. I could say my ABC's by the time I was 2 or 3. I helped her around the house. We went for walks. I demanded to know the names of the flowers--she didn't know, so she had to learn. She made me clothes. Pretty dresses. She knew EVERYTHING. 

May 8, 2017

Fresh from the Bookshelf: The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron {Book Review}

The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron~ Book Review
Every now and then a book comes across my radar that captures my attention from the first discovery. I am in a Facebook forum where I get to talk to authors of my favorite Christian fiction, and help them decide on covers and such. Last year, I remember voting on a cover--and I was captivated by simply the title and the cover, as well as a super short summary. I knew that if I was possible, I wanted to read The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron as soon as soon as possible!

Needless to say, when the book arrived for me to review as part of the Fiction Guild-- and I discovered that it even had the very cover I had voted for--well I was even more eager to dive into it. Would it be as good as I had judged it was, just from the cover?

May 5, 2017

Shoulda Woulda Coulda {Five Minute Friday}

Can you believe we've already knocked out the first week of May? This year is going by so very very fast, isn't it? There are just so many things that I wanted to have done this week, this month, this year...but sadly, I still haven't got to them yet. But it IS another week for Five Minute Friday--and the theme for this week is...should.


The word should has a couple definitions in the dictionary...
1. used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone's actions

2.used to indicate what is probable

3. used in a clause with “that” after a main clause describing feelings

May 3, 2017

Fresh from the Bookshelf: The Secret Bridge from Lamplighter Publishing {Book Review}

The Secret Bridge from Lamplighter Publishing~ Book Review
We recently had the pleasure of reading our very first Lamplighter Publishing novel (Escape from the Eagle's Nest), and I was thrilled to have a chance to review a second one, The Secret Bridge over the last few weeks. The old fashioned, wholesome, classic stories from the late 1800's bring about a sense of happiness once they have been completed, and I hoped that this new novel would as well.

About The Secret Bridge

The Secret Bridge is another story in the Lamplighter Publishing line of rare books. With its gorgeous robin's egg blue cover and gold foil design, it is designed to be a treat to the senses from the moment it hits your hands. Lamplighter Publishing has a goal of "building Christ-like character one story at a time", thus every story has an underlying Christian message. There is a definite line between the good characters and the bad characters, as displayed by their character traits and morals (or lack thereof). You are never in question of whether someone is a villain or not.

May 2, 2017

Revisiting Exploring Cultural Art with ArtAchieve {Product Review}

Last summer, we had the pleasure of reviewing the Entire Level I from ArtAchieve. We enjoyed trying the art lessons, and the boys had asked me if we would be doing them again. They were happy when I shared that we would be reviewing the Entire Level II for a few weeks, and hoped they would enjoy this new level for ArtAchieve as much as they did the previous level.
ArtAchieve~ Online Art Lessons inspired by Cultural Art from Around the World

About ArtAchieve

ArtAchieve designed their art lessons for children in order to help them be inspired by art around the world, and to enable teachers without art backgrounds to still be able to teach exciting art classes. ArtAchieve isn't just focused on art--they also include mini social studies lessons with their lesson as they explore the part of the world the inspiration came from, dabbling in social studies, science and language arts!

April 28, 2017

What's Coming Up for May 2017? {List of Upcoming Reviews}

The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links
Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

Can you believe that May is right around the corner? I know I say this all the time, but the year has just been flying by! Here we are on the brink of starting the middle of the year--are you ready? I know I am NOT! I just wanted to take a moment to share a peek about what is coming up here on the blog for May 2017...

Product/Curriculum Reviews

Here is the list of product and/or curriculum reviews that will be going LIVE this month:

(I will be updating these links as they do go LIVE, if you want to keep this post saved somewhere.)

*Homeschool Rescue~ An online course for the Homeschool Parent from Only Passionate Curiosity

*Captain Absolutely from Focus on the Family {Children's Book Review}

*Thin Stix from The Pencil Grip Co.

*Typing Coach ~ Online typing lessons

*Orville Wright ~ A Unit Study Exploration from YWAM Publishing

Book Reviews In the Works

Here is the list of book reviews that I have in the works for the upcoming weeks...hoping to get them all shared by the end of the month, but we will see how it goes. LOL.
Upcoming Book Reviews for May 2017

*The Angel's Share by James Markert

*Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano

*The Chapel Car Bride by Judith Miller

*The Memory of You by Catherine West

*The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron

*Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin

*Child of the River by Irma Joubert

*Written in Love by Kathleen Fuller

*The Loyal Heart and An Uncommon Protector by Shelley Gray

*Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette

*A Secret Courage by Tricia Goyer

With twelve books on deck (plus a few more getting ready as well), I am going to try to share 3 book reviews per week, but that's totally going to depend on how much time I have. If you want a blanket statement about all of these--they all (but 1) earned at LEAST four stars, and included a whole HOST of topics and events. So if you want to get started on snagging copies, but don't want to search them out--you can click on them in the widget below. :)

May will hopefully be my month to catch up on all the reviews I owe--and HOPEFULLY even a few bonus posts...but, I know I have said that before. LOL. It's getting to be the busy season here on the farm--hay season starting right around the corner, not to mention the last 6/7 weeks of school before our summer reprieve! 

To stay up to date on the absolute latest going on, make sure you follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! I'm also working on a giveaway as I near 2000 followers on Facebook! (squeal!) I am collecting quite a few goodies--so definitely follow me so you know when the big event will happen!

That's it for now...I hope you will enjoy what this upcoming month brings--have a FANTASTIC completion to your April, and hopefully a gorgeous start to May!

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April 26, 2017

Daily Bible Jigsaw from Planet 316 {Product Review}

Daily Bible Jigsaw from Planet 316~ A Product Review
I am not an online games person. I don't like wasting my space on my phone or computer with games, so I don't add the apps. I also don't play them on Facebook. Well, at least I didn't. Not before I was given the Daily Bible Jigsaw from Planet 316 to review. But now, I have a new favorite brain teaser to do when I am just killing time or need a mental break!

About Daily Bible Jigsaw

Daily Bible Jigsaw is a free app (from Planet 316) for iOS, Google Play, or as a Facebook game. Simply download the app (or open it up on Facebook) and you get to enjoy putting a puzzle together. It's a timed puzzle, so you can work to beat your best times. There are cheats you can use if you have coins to spend: rotate (puts all the pieces right side up), guide (allows you to see the final puzzle image), sweep (moves all the pieces to the side for you), magnet (attaches two random pieces together), and edges (keeps only the edges of the puzzle on the board, until you solve them). You can earn coins by completing the puzzles--there are chances to earn a coin by quickly piecing together a bonus piece in the puzzle. The puzzle pieces can be manipulated with a simple tap of our finger (if on mobile device) or click of the mouse (if on a computer). The puzzle pieces snap into place when they are correctly together and once the last piece goes in, the picture is revealed.

Every picture includes a bible verse, and the completed pictures can be shared on Facebook as a graphic. Another bonus of playing it on Facebook, is that you can compete against your friends to see if you can beat their times.
You can see I ALMOST beat Debra on today's puzzle!
The daily puzzle is always free to play on the day it's opened. You can go back and play any of the other day's puzzles--but after the day has passed, it is 3 coins to play each one; however, once you have played it, you can click *replay* and play it again for free without paying any coins. I have slowly been working to complete the entire month of March, since I have so many coins I can still spend.
My March calendar is almost filled!
Speaking of coins, if you want to have more coins, they are available for purchase in bundles. Starting with 55 for $4.99, and continued savings the more you want to purchase. But if you don't want to pay for coins, you do not need them to enjoy the app. You can also play the bonus puzzles which are larger puzzles for free. These are must more tricky with 56 pieces and a more plain background.
You can also click the archive to visit past months puzzles if you want to play even more of them!

Planet 316 offers Daily Bible Jigsaw on the following platforms:

Google Play (Android devices)

Apple App Store (iOS devices)  

Facebook (Mac or PC computer web browser...Chrome and Firefox work best)

Facebook Gameroom (for the computer, a new game platform on Facebook) 

Planet 316 offers several other Christian based apps that you could check out for additional puzzles and games. 

I was given 500 coins by Planet 316 to use within the Daily Bible Jigsaw app over the last few weeks. 

My Thoughts on the Daily Bible Jigsaw

I am really enjoying using Daily Bible Jigsaw! I have it downloaded on my iPhone 6 (a free app) and from the time I started playing it, I couldn't stop! It was so much fun to try to beat the times. I didn't know about the tournament standings between friends until a fellow review member mentioned it. Once I discovered that it was playable on Facebook without having to add any extra programs, I added it to my games--unfortunately, because my email on Facebook is different from what I signed up on the phone app with, all my coins disappeared! But Planet 316 kindly renewed them for me. Now I can play on either my phone or FB using the same coin bank. My Kindle Fire won't do it because Kindle sometimes has issues with apps--I have problems getting it to upload from Google Play.

Because I wanted to see how they worked, I spent coins on the cheats and was able to get my time super low--allowing me to earn 1st or 2nd place in the tournaments. I use the edges and rotate cheats over any of the other. I also discovered I can pause the puzzle if I get interrupted. It's fun to win awards too, by hitting some goals that Daily Bible Jigsaw has--like solve 5 puzzles, solve 1st puzzle, log in to Facebook account. Each award earns you coins! There is also a running tournament for who solves the most puzzles during the week. 

I really enjoy the scripture graphic that the puzzle reveals, and the ability to share it on Facebook once it's done. They are very pretty and inspiring!

I have greedily kept the puzzle to myself without letting my boys have a go--I think it's going to be mommy's game!

I definitely recommend this app. Yes, to be able to use all the cheats the coins are nice, and yes they do cost money, but you can still earn coins just by completing the daily puzzles (for free) and connecting the bonus puzzle piece during your puzzle. I would use it even without coins, just for the daily puzzle. I am actually going to check out the other bible related games that Planet 316 offers, because those are the kind of games I would want my boys to be enjoying.

Want to Know More About Daily Bible Jigsaw?

As I said, we have been reviewing the Daily Bible Jigsaw from Planet 316. I have discussed how I used it, but please check out the rest of our review team and see how they enjoyed it!
Daily Bible Jigsaw {Planet 316 Reviews}
Make sure to connect with Planet 316 on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to day for any daily specials and news!

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April 21, 2017

5 Days of Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods~Day 5: What is Eclectic Homeschooling? {5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop}

Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods: Eclectic Homeschool
Here we are on the last day of my blog hop all about Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods! Thus far, we have chatted about why knowing your teaching method is important, and I have shared with you information about what the Charlotte Mason, Classical, and Unit Study approaches look like, including pros and cons for each.

I have also mentioned what aspects of each approach we have used as a family, yet each time have mentioned that it STILL isn't the method that we use. Well, today I am going to talk about the method that we use--one that isn't in the list of usual methods, yet is gaining popularity among the homeschooling community. Today I am going to talk about the Eclectic Homeschooling method!

The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links
Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

What is the Eclectic Homeschooling method?

Eclectic Homeschooling
To begin with, let me share with you the definition of eclectic: deriving ideas, style, or taste from abroad and diverse range of sources. In life, many of us have eclectic tastes, especially when it comes to things like entertainment. Some use it to describe clothes. We know it means that the person likes a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, but never just one thing.

Are you getting the idea on how this works for homeschooling? In an eclectic approach, there is

April 20, 2017

5 Days of Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods~Day 4: What is Unit Study? {5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop}

Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods: Unit Study
Welcome to my fourth installment of my Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods series! I hope you ahve been enjoying my discussion this week. Thus far, we have spoken about why knowing your teaching method style is important, and I have explained what the Charlotte Mason and Classical method are all about. I also have mentioned that I have not yet shared the style that our family relates to the most yet--could it be today? Let's talk about another of the popular homeschool teaching methods: Unit Study!

The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links
Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

What is the Unit Study teaching method?

Before we go any further, let's take a minute to talk about what a Unit Style teaching method is all about. In the unit study method you find find the following to be true:

April 19, 2017

5 Days of Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods ~ Day 3: What is a Classical Teaching Method? {5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop}

The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links
Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

Welcome back to Day 3 of my 5 Day series about Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods! Yesterday, I discussed a widely popular method called Charlotte Mason. Today, I'm going to jump to the other side of the method style, to explore a more rigorous and academic focused method. It too is one of the most popular methods, although it looks very very different from Charlotte Mason.

Today we are going to explore the Classical Teaching Method!

What Is a Classical Teaching Method?

Interestingly enough, the Classical teaching method pulls third on my list of compatible teaching methods, and it really isn't THAT big of a surprise, because Classical teaching revolves around...books! It is a very visually oriented teaching style, because it is predominately

April 18, 2017

5 Days of Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods ~ Day 2: What is the Charlotte Mason teaching Method? {5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop}

The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links
Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

Throughout this week I am continuing to share with you some of the Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods that you will find discussed among the homeschooling community. Many of you already know your method--some might be just finding out what they lean to. I woulnd't be surprised is many of you have discovered that your style leans towards the Charlotte Mason method. Because that name is bantered around all the time, I thought I would take a moment today to share WHAT Charlotte Mason method is.

What Is the Charlotte Mason Teaching Method?

Before we get into what the method is, let's quickly touch basis on WHO Charlotte Mason was.

(all of this information can be found by simply typing in her name online--sources are vast, but I like Simply Charlotte Mason the best)

Charlotte Mason was a British educator who lived 1842-1923, who invested her life in improving childhood education. Living during a time when education was determined by social status (poor taught a trade, rich were allowed to study fine arts and literature), she envisioned a more broad curriculum that included

April 17, 2017

5 Days of Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods~ Day 1: The Importance of Knowing Your Homeschool Teaching Method {5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop}

the importance of knowing your homeschool teaching method ~ Day 2
Welcome to the kickoff day of a week focused on Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods. Before we start talking about any particular homeschool teaching method, it is important to start with understanding what a homeschool teaching method is, and why it's important. Let's dive right into today's post.

What Is A Homeschool Teaching Method?

I started homeschooling right from the get-go. I had a 5 year old who we were getting ready for public school kindergarten registration, when all of a sudden, my husband decided he didn't want to go that route. I was back in college finishing up a teaching degree, but was still just a junior, so not in a critical stage. I remember him asking me if we could do it. I didn't even blink. YES! Did I know anything about homeschool teaching methods? Nope. Did I know about them the next year? Nope. I didn't really know about them until we were preparing for 2nd grade. That's when I stumbled onto an assessment. I took it, and low and behold, discovered I had a "homeschooling teaching method".

Okay. So maybe it's not quite like that. It's more like I discovered that my personal philosophy on education and schooling, matched a particular teaching method (aka philosophy) popular in the homeschooling world. Two of them actually. Charlotte Mason and Unit Study.

So if you want to know WHAT a teaching method is--here is how I would define a teaching method:

April 16, 2017

Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods~Introduction {5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop}

5 Days of Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods~Introduction
Hello my friends! It's that time of year again--time for another Schoolhouse Review Crew 5 Days Of hop! That's where my team members and I each share a series of 5 posts centered around any theme relating to homeschool. And that means just about anything goes! There are topics relating to just about anyone and anything homeschool. It was sort of hard to think about what I was going to talk about...but lately, I've been giving a lot of guidance and encouragement around one thing--Teaching Methods. So for this week, I decided that I would spend my time talking about Popular Homeschool Teaching Methods!

It amazes me how many people who homeschool give me a blank stare when I ask them what their teaching method is...I usually ask, after hearing them talking about troubles finding JUST the right curriculum, or talking about burnout, or routine...all of these things play into knowing what your homeschool teaching method is--so I really wanted to spend some time sharing information to help these parents learn more about what they are--and in turn, more about THEMSELVES.

Here is how the week is (hopefully) going to play out:

➤Day 1 (Monday): What IS a teaching method and why is it important?
➤Day 2 (Tuesday): What is the Charlotte Mason Teaching Method? 
➤Day 3 (Wednesday): What is the Classical Teaching Method? 
➤Day 4 (Thursday): What is the Unit Study Teaching Method? 
➤Day 5 (Friday): What is the Eclectic Teaching Method? 

As each of these posts go LIVE, I will be linking them up to this landing page, so you can find them all together for easy navigation!

I hope that you will join me as I explore this important aspect of homeschool, and why I think it is so important for every homeschool family to know. I truly believe that it can really help ease some of the stress in a homeschool--so why not explore it?!

Don't forget to check out the list of other topics from my fellow bloggers on the Homeschool Review Crew website!

Here are some topics to whet your whistle:

*Melissa B – 5 Days of Extracurriculars to Add to Your Homeschool – Enrich your homeschool experience with extra curriculars. This week, we’ll highlight some of our favorites!

*Meredith D – 5 Days of Homeschooling a High Achiever. – Homeschooling a high achiever just happened to us and now we’re facing a high schooler who may graduate at 16. We address how this happens and how to handle from this point forward.

*Missica J – 5 Days of Eclectic Homeschooling with Special Needs – This first post is to introduce what will be discussed over the Blog Hop

*Monique G – 5 Days of Homeschooling the Middle School Years –  I will be talking about changes that come with middle school, independent learning, read a-louds, and how to survive.

*Rebekah T – 5 days of Simple Homeschooling in a Complicated World – Life got you down? This series will provide practical ideas to help you implement a simple homeschool lifestyle no matter what your circumstances.

Do any of these strike your fancy yet? Have a lovely week!

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April 14, 2017

Open Wide Your Mouth {5 Minute Friday}

It's time for another week of Five Minute Friday--where I set my timer and get to ramble about a word inspired theme for 5 minutes. Last week, it revolved around the word enough. This week, we have another e word--empty.
5 Minute Friday Post: Open Wide Your Mouth



What do you think of when you hear someone say they are empty? In my mind, I assume this means that they need to be fed. But fed what? Are they empty in their belly? Are they empty in their heart? Are they empty in their minds?

I know there have been times when I had a deep deep hunger. This usually happens around the Day of Atonement--a Holy Day of God that I observe--which requires a complete 24 hr fast. Boy, do I feel EMPTY as that 24 hr mark nears. And if I could just get anything--even the smallest bite, or smallest glass of water, I knew that my hunger would be satiated. My emptiness, maybe for a moment, less. Or other times where you feel the need that you HAVE to have _____________ or you will STARVE! Desperate to eat anything! Just give me something!

But what about God? Do you treat the desire to seek out His word, His gospel as if YOU are empty? Do I do this? Do I reach for spiritual food with the same desire as physical food? We are supposed to. We are supposed to seek Him out in the good times, as well as the bad times. To be that one thing we crave, as if we were empty inside. For we ARE all empty without Him. And He PROMISES that He will fill us. 

We can read in the gospel accounts of His Son, Jesus Christ referring to Himself as the bread of life and the living water. That if we eat and drink of Him (as in partake in His way of life, commandments, and gospel) every day, it will sustain us forever. We won't be empty.

One of my favorite Psalms reads:
I am the LORD your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. ~ Psalm 81:10
He promises to FILL our emptiness inside--that emptiness of heart and mind. That emptiness that can wear us down. That emptiness that drives us to try to fill it with something--ANYTHING to make it go away. But the emptiness will continue to grow like an all consuming black hole, unless we choose to FILL it with God. So many broken people out there...who believe that they can live life without choosing God. And so they stay broken. They stay empty. Hungering for something...but they just can't seem to find it.

If only they would look up...
He's there. 
He's waiting. 
He will FILL your emptiness.
If only you will let Him.


Thanks for joining me in this week's 5 Minutes Friday post! We are finishing out our Spring Break today and Monday, returning to "school" on Tuesday. I am hoping to have some fun with the boys in the first week back to get back into the groove--but only Tuesday to Thursday because...FRIDAY is the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati! I am so excited to go this year--mostly because for the first time ever, my mom is going with me! It will be great to have her around for picking her brain about things. I am also eager to try doing some LIVE footage of the convention while I am there that day. 

And don't forget that NEXT WEEK (April 17-21) is the first of our 5 Days of Homeschool...Blog Hop with the Schoolhouse Review Crew! I will be sharing my topics for next week's posts on Sunday--so make sure you come and check it out!

Have a simply marvelous weekend, my friends! 

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April 7, 2017

Is it Enough? {Five Minute Friday}

Here we are in April with the first of this month's Five Minute Friday posts. I really like these, because they give me a change to just sort of ramble about something I might not normally chat about. This week's FMF theme is inspired by the word...enough.


What do you think of when you hear the word? I hear it several ways in my mind. I hear a mom who has had it up to HERE yelling "ENOUGH!" I hear a worried provider of a service, asking "Is there going to be enough?" I hear a coach asking his team (while they are running stadiums) if they have had enough. One word. So many uses or implications. 

I like to think of a well known Bible story in Matthew 14 dealing with "enough". In this story, the disciples of Jesus are worried about there being enough food. You know the story. A multitude gathered together to hear the word of Jesus. And then they get hungry. And Christ wants to feed them with physical food. So He asks what there is. The disciples respond "ONLY 5 loaves of bread and two fishes." 

Clearly they knew it was NOT going to be enough to feed the 5,000 hungry mouths.

But for was enough.

We know what happens next. He tells them to separate the food into twelve baskets. And it is enough. MORE than enough. It's enough to the point of leftovers.

Did you know this happens AGAIN? Yes, in Matthew 15. Again, another multitude. Again, a desire of Christ to feed them. And AGAIN a disbelief of the disciples that there would be enough. The funny thing is that there are less people and more loaves/fishes. After what they saw just a short period of time previously, why were they worried about it being enough? Shouldn't they have known without a doubt that it was? Shouldn't they have brought him the 7 loaves and few fish, confident in the fact that all would be fed?

How does this play out in your life? Do you ever feel like the disciples? You look at your needs. You compare your needs to what you have. You don't see how it could possibly work. It won't be enough. So what do you do? Do you simply accept that it isn't enough? Or do you ask God to bless what you have--just as Jesus blessed the small amount of food available? Could it be that what you see as not enough--God says it IS enough? 

I can't tell you how many times I have been in a situation where on paper--it shouldn't work. Logic says it won't work. Yet, with God---it works. 

Because God is enough. 
No matter what the situation.
No matter what the odds.
No matter who is involved. 
With God, you have enough.

Remember this verse--one of my most favorites, and one I draw comfort from time and time again:
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. ~Matthew 19:26
We must not get so caught up in the things we can see, that we forget the power of the One who is unseen. 


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April 5, 2017

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Book Review}

We love to read historical fiction in our family and when we were offered the chance to review a new book called Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer by Peggy Consolver - Author, we were very interested and looked forward to learning more. When I discovered this book is a historical fiction book based around the time of Joshua and the Israelites, I was even more eager to check it out. We hoped it would be another excellent novel to add to our book collection. 

About Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer centers around Keshub, a young shepherd boy from a pottery making family living in a valley in the midst of Canaan during the Bronze age. Keshub lives in the land of Gibeon and belongs to a family of many brothers and sisters--where he is constantly trying to prove himself among his older brothers. The story follows the family of Keshub as they experience the pending arrival of the Hebrews travelling through the land of Canaan. Keshub and his family learn of the tales of the Hebrews through caravanners who stop at his family's way-station. Tales of battles and incredible odds where the Israelites are victorious. He is intrigued to learn more

April 1, 2017

March is Slip Sliding Away into Spring Break

I just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a very happy April! Can you believe we have already finished the first quarter for 2017? If you are like me, you are desperately wanting Spring to officially start. We have had nothing but rain though. And that has made a whole host of issues for my poor parents. If you remember, I shared that they had built a house about 15 minutes away from us. Unfortunately, all the continuous rain has started causing a landslide above their new house! 

Fortunately, their neighbor is a geological engineer (a blessing!) and he was able to examine the area and advise them of what to do. Turns out they have a layer of a greenish/white clay that turns to ooze when wet--thus causing it to be super lubricated and slide. So now the race is on to remove the hill of wet earth behind their house before it can move any further! 

My husband is going to stay home, and be hired by my parents to work with his brother and dig it out! My husband and his brother, each purchased a piece of equipment in the last few months for just such a time as this. My parents are so happy to know that it can get taken care of right away. 

My mom will hopefully no longer have dreams of her house sliding down the hill and ending up on the road....LOL

I am very happy to say that this upcoming week is the start of our two week long Spring Break here at the house. It is much needed and will let us regroup. We will continue to do our review of ArtAchieve online art program, as well as our Bible program through Veritas Press. Otherwise, we are going to just take it easy! There is a lot of oddball things to get done here, so I am looking forward to the time to actually do it!

I hope you have a simply wonderful kickoff into April! 
Happy spring!

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March 22, 2017

Fresh from the Bookshelf: Bessie's Pillow by Linda Bress Silbert {Book Review}

Bessie's Pillow by Linda Bress Silbert {A Review}
In the latest political discussions, there is a lot of talk relating to refugees and immigrants coming to America. One of the great ways to learn about the stories of many such people, is through reading books about the topic. I recently had the opportunity to do just that, when I was given the book Bessie's Pillow by Linda Bress Silbert (available through Strong Learning, Inc.) to review. This story is based on a true story, of a young girl--an immigrant from Lithuania desiring asylum in America during the early 1900's. 

About Bessie's Pillow

Bessie's Pillow by Linda Bress Silbert is based on a true story. The true story of the author's grandmother Basche Markham, a young Russian Jew from Lithuania, who due to the tenuous and combustible political situation in her home region ("the Pale") in 1906, was sent to America by her father (a former Rabbi turned salesman) to live with her half-sister. The immigration happens

March 21, 2017

Creating a Masterpiece: An Online Art Program {Curriculum Review}

Our family loves art. We love doing arts and crafts and trying new mediums. But when it comes to creating from scratch? Nope. No can do. My boys can sketch quite well--vehicles that is. But birds? Beautiful Landscapes? Frameable Art? That would be a no. Enter our review of Creating a Masterpiece. This art program declares that no matter the age, students are capable of creating a masterpiece following the simple instructions provided by the teacher. As we reviewed the Monthly Plan to this program, I wondered if this was true. Could anyone--including my 6 year old create a masterpiece with this program? We dove in with both feet to find out!
Creating a Masterpiece: An Online Art Program {Curriculum Review}

About Creating a Masterpiece

Creating a Masterpiece is an online video instruction curriculum taught by master artist Sharon Hofer. Sharon teaches not only technique, but equips students with the skills to produce excellent results. The program was designed so that each student can move on and do their own individual projects. Because of the way it's filmed, it's just like sitting in one of Sharon Hofer's studio classes--but in the

March 19, 2017

What's Coming Up Soon and Going on Now?

I thought it would be good to give you an update on what is coming in the next few weeks here on the blog, and just a bit about where we are at in our classroom right now. So consider this just a sit down chat from me to you! :)

The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate linksPlease see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!


This week, there will be TWO reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew going LIVE on the blog.

*Creating a Masterpiece is an online art program that the boys and I have been doing over the last few weeks. We've been using new mediums (for us), and bravely tackling some projects with rather cool results. So I look forward to sharing that either Monday or Tuesday. And the day after I share it, I will be continuing my new extra of a LIVE video review of the product. I will keep you up to date on that--or you can just follow me on my Farm Fresh Adventures Facebook page to see when it's going to happen.

*Bessie's Pillow from Strong Learning, Inc. is a new book, based on a true story of a young 18 year old Jewish girl from Lithuania who escapes to America during the turbulent times in Europe in 1906. I am going to be sharing my review of this book and its study guide either Tuesday or Wednesday.

I have at least two book reviews coming up this week as well.

*Child of the River by Irma Joubert is one of the books I read recently. You might remember that I was incredibly impressed with her first book The Girl from the Train, which I reviewed last year. I was eager to dive into this one.

*The Loyal Heart and An Uncommon Protector by Shelley Shepard Gray are the first two books in her new A Lone Star Hero's Love Story series. I will be sharing my review on both of these books this week as well. Psssst. You will want to find them to enjoy yourself!

Looking ahead to mid-April, there will be another one of the very popular 5 Days of Homeschool... hosted by the Homeschool Review Crew! This year, I plan on sharing about 5 Days of Homeschool Teaching Methods, where I explore five different styles of homeschooling, what it looks like in "real life", and the curriculum which is enjoyed by families in each style. I am tapping into many of my homeschooling friends experiences to help me and I am looking forward to what will be shared. You can check out my posts from the previous 5 Days of Homeschool... blog hops too. They remain some of my most popular!

I also have the Great Homeschooling Convention in Cincinnati coming up at the end of April! I am so incredibly excited about this year's convention! I have many things to be checking out and THIS year, I am even considering going LIVE a few times while at the convention to share first hand what I am experiencing for those who cannot make it.


As for school, we are doing well! Both boys are right where I hoped they would be at this point--and in some areas they are even ahead. We are looking forward to the weather improving so we can spend more time outside--especially for our PE classes.

*We are continuing to use Apologia for our Science studies and just LOVE the second edition of the Astronomy book. We are starting our study on Uranus this week.

*My youngest continues to use the Eclectic Foundations Level B curriculum for his language arts--something we discovered is just what he needs.

*My oldest son is working through Notgrass's America the Beautiful history course, and we've added in the literature portion now. He is working through the award winning novel Amos Fortune: Free Man and I'm using to let him share what he's reading.

*We are also still using Phonetic Zoo Level A for my oldest's spelling--working through Lesson 43 this week. When we are done, we will move back to the beginning--but working through Level B this time. My youngest is five lessons into All About Spelling Level 2 which he loves.

*Math continues to come along nicely--my youngest is going to be finishing Singapore Primary Mathematics Level 2A soon which is shocking. LOL. Meanwhile my oldest continues to be going through the Grade 5 math curriculum from CTCmath. Both boys are supplementing with the Life of Fred series.

*Using the Student Writing Intensive course by Institute for Excellence in Writing has continued to pay off for my oldest. He's almost done with his final draft of a 3 page report he completed on John Deere, after reading a biography on him. I am tickled pink with his progress and love that the curriculum really breaks the writing process down into such smaller pieces. Perfect for a reluctant writer. Baby Britches is in the middle of working through the IEW writing portion of the Primary Art of Language Writing curriculum. We are on one of our 3rd stories and are currently turning our outline into paragraphs. He does well--but it's not quite his style as it is for Little Britches--so I might seek out something different for him in regards to writing. But I will give it a bit longer before making that decision.

*We also continue to use the Poetry Memorization Course from IEW as well. They nearly have "My Shadow" by Robert Louis Stevenson learned and I'm quite proud of them. They both actually really enjoy reciting the poetry, so I am glad we have this to work through.

We have other oddball things we are working on too, but I just wanted to touch on more of the major subjects. We are also getting ready to take our Spring break! I just remembered that it was coming up. LOL. So two more weeks of school, and then we get a two week break to regroup and relax before finishing out our year.

I hope that you enjoyed this little bit into what's going on and what's ahead. Remember that if you want a more up to date look at what's going on--come find me on Facebook at my Farm Fresh Adventures page!

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March 17, 2017

Friend of God {Five Minute Friday}

Oh man. What a week here at the farm! My mama had a full hip replacement on Wednesday, so it's been a bit nutsy here as I helped my dad with her on surgery day, and off and on the last couple days. And let's not forget crazy "SprInter" weather going on. LOL. Can you believe Monday is the first day of Spring?! Does YOUR weather look springish? Mine sure doesn't! LOL. But here we are on another Friday and that means time for another entry in Five Minute Friday!


Kaleo philos theos
He was called the Friend of God

Are you familiar with this statement from the Bible? Do you know who this is referring to? Many do not. But the man who received the distinction as being known as the Friend of God was the forefather Abraham. We can find this description in James 2:23.

And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.
Can you imagine what an honor it would be for God to call you a friend? Obviously, it's not something that is to be taken lightly, for the title is only held by Abraham. So think about what that means to be a person that God calls a friend. A friend is someone who has a conversation with you whenever you want to talk. Someone who cares about the things you do. Someone who regularly takes time for you. Someone you can have deep meaningful conversations with. Someone to hold you when you cry and laugh when you are happy. 

Does this describe the relationship that YOU have...with God?

Do you feel like He is YOUR friend? Or is He the acquaintance you "know" but don't associate very much with? Or maybe a fair weather friend--for you anyways---do you only "need" Him when times are rough? Do you believe God with all your heart? Are you willing to give up EVERYTHING if He "calls" you to walk with Him? 

Let's be thinking about our relationship with our mighty Father. Let's check to make sure that we value a friendship with God more than any friendship on this earth...but most of all, let's make ourselves worthy to be called...A Friend of God!


I hope you have a great week. It seems like it will never slow down here. We just have one thing and then another. But hopefully the weather will improve to just plain old Spring and leave SprInter behind...LOL

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March 8, 2017

Biblical Wisdom for Wednesday: Faith Like Gideon

Here I am back for another lesson to share from our family bible lessons this week. As I explained with my initial blog post in this series, this is nothing more than a journaling of some thoughts that I've had while studying God's Word with my boys. Last time, I shared a lesson I learned from the story of Job, but we have moved forward in our story. We are now reading the book of Judges right now--and let me tell you. If you want to pack the lessons of obedience and disobedience succinctly? Read your children the book of Judges. There are some super awesome stories in there of men and women who did incredible things. My boys were nearly bug-eyed during a few stories (Um. Like General Sisera's death via tent peg. LOL). But one of the stories that I loved sharing with them the most, was that of Gideon. I think in many ways most Christians can identify with Gideon. Because most of us have faith like Gideon. 

So Gideon's story can be found in Judges 6 and it isn't pretty when it starts. We find the tribes of Israel under attack on nearly all sides by their age old enemy the Midianites. It's gotten so bad that the Midianites have driven Israel to move into the mountains, to hide in caves and dens (Judges 6:2). But you know, it was Israel's own fault. They were yet again suffering the consequences for their disobedience to God with their abhorrent idolatry. But there they were. And as before oh so many times, they begin to cry out to God to have mercy on them. To save them. Again.