September 28, 2016

Live the Adventure with The Cat of Bubastes from Heirloom Audio Productions! {Product Review}

Once again, we have had the chance to review another audio drama from the fabulous Heirloom Audio Productions--this one taking us to Ancient Egypt in The Cat of Bubastes! I love all things ancient Egypt, so I looked forward to another awesome adventure like all the other ones before.
The Cat of Bubastes by Heirloom Audio Productions : Product Review

About The Cat of Bubastes

The Cat of Bubastes is the SIXTH installment of the Heirloom Audio Productions family of audio dramas based on the classic adventure books by G.A. Henty. This adventure takes us to Ancient Egypt where we meet Prince Amuba and his mentor Jethro--slaves who were captured by the Egyptians and taken to the city of Thebes, where he was put under the house of a priest of Osiris. Over time, he becomes friends with the family and learns a lot about the Egyptian religion and that of a mysterious people living in Goshen. They soon find themselves overcome in a murderous plot against their Egyptian friend that will test their loyalty. Through it all, they will find the beauty of God's providence. 

The audio drama is voiced by an all-star cast including Brian Blessed (Star Wars, Tarzan, Robin Hood), Anthony Daniels (Star Wars), Sylvester McCoy (Doctor Who), Elizabeth Counsell (The Chronicles of Narnia), Russell Boulter (Ben-Hur), and John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones). 

Emmy-Award winning composer John Campbell contributes a fabulous original soundtrack. With full movie sound effects, this isn't just any old audiodrama--it's an ADVENTURE! 

The Cat of Bubastes is a 2 CD set (2 1/2 hrs of story) for $29.97 and comes with instant access MP3 download. You will also receive the following bonuses:

*Official mp3 Soundtrack
*Downloadable Study and Discussion Guide (47 page)
*And an Inspirational Verse Poster

Perfect for ages 6-100+, this is a high quality production, you don't want to miss!

Our Thoughts About The Cat of Bubastes

The boys are always happy to begin these audiodramas. They liked the name of this one and that it was going to be in Egypt. We really like things related to Ancient Egypt, especially their obsession with their gods/idols. The story is another great one and I love the way the events of the story link up with the history of ancient Israel as slaves in Egypt. Also the mention of a certain well known Egyptian prince (I won't spoil it!! It is easy to see why this story is one of the favorites in the GA Henty collection! If only they would turn it into a movie...but then I think that about ALL of the ones we have heard so far!

We used both the actual CD's and the Mp3 recording (a bonus included in a larger package--or available for purchase by itself), but found the mp3 to be frustrating, for as soon as we paused it, it would start back at the beginning again instead of where we stopped, and we couldn't get it to go to where we wanted it. It might have just been the Kindle doing it, because we've never had that happen before with mp3's from this company. I also looked over the Study Guide and Discussion and pulled some comprehension questions, as well as a few "thinking further" questions to help us internalize the story more. It's so handy to have that available just right on my Kindle.
Example of what the Study Guide includes.
The boys can't decide if this one is their new favorite or not, because they just love them all! I just appreciate having something to listen to that provides, not just history and a great story, but teaches about courage, faith, love, and strong Christian values!

Would We Recommend This Product?

I will always recommend this product to every family. The quality is superb--it's always like closing my eyes and listening to a movie. The stories are very exciting for the whole family--the adventure, the drama, and yes, the humor too! It is a 2 hr audio spectacular for everyone to enjoy. Not only will your family learn more about history, but they will hear stories of faith and courage! Having the Study Guide to go with it, makes it even more valuable--and that's just one of the lovely bonuses that come with your purchase.

Want to Know More About Heirloom Audio Productions?

We have had the pleasure of reviewing The Cat of Bubastes from Heirloom Audio Productions. These have always been a win for our family, and this story was no different. Make sure you visit other crew members to see their thoughts on this delightful product!
Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes
You can stay on top of the latest and greatest from Heirloom Audio Productions with these social media outlets:
Facebook * Twitter * Google+ * Instagram: @HeirloomAudioOfficial 
We just love the Heirloom Audio Productions audio dramas and eagerly await any new one released!
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September 26, 2016

Ultimate Phonics Reading Program from Spencer Learning {Product Review}

I am always on the lookout for programs that will provide independent learning opportunities for my boys. Baby Britches especially appreciates being able to work on things on his own. When I had the chance to review Ultimate Phonics Reading Program from Spencer Learning, I hoped that it would provide some great independent practice of his new reading skills--strengthening them in the process.
Ultimate Phonics Reading Program~ Produce Review

About the Ultimate Phonics Reading Program

Ultimate Phonics Reading Program is a software download from Spencer Learning. It was designed to teach better reading--especially to those struggling readers of any age--with difficulties like dyslexia or other challenges. Removing the fluff and focusing on the phonics rules and methods, the program gets to the heart of the matter of reading skills.

This is an accelerate reading program for beginning and struggling readers of all ages. The program removes the habit of word memorizing (sight words anyone?!),  guessing, and skipping. With just a few hours of time each week, the results will be impressive! It's designed to be suitable for anyone from beginning readers and those learning ESL, to the struggling readers with dyslexia or autism.

This program is a SOFTWARE DOWNLOAD requiring you to be running Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP; or for Macs, OSX 10.5.8 or higher.

I reviewed this software download with my youngest son age 6.

What Were Our Thoughts?

The program was very easy to download to my computer, and even though it was on my older laptop, it didn't take very long at all to install. A few days after the installation, I was given the license key which was easy to add to the program. The program definitely is for the early reader, or an ESL learner with its very basic set up. It introduces sound, then simple words for basic phonetic practice, followed with simple sentences for reading. All of the sounds and words can be hover over to HEAR the phonics or actual words. There is the option to look ahead to further lessons to find the lesson you need for your child. The program is absolutely an independent option, as there isn't anything that ISN'T available for hovering to hear the sounds. That makes it very nice for children/adults struggling to still read the words, who might usually need assistance.

I know that the program prides itself on no fluff, but for us, we don't mind fluff. And we actually really like fun programs for teaching this type of thing. This program was like just endless words--like automated flashcards really. I know that flashcards are good, but they are more just for review use in our family, not something to use as a primary teaching resource. The program was actually rather...boring in my opinion. My youngest didn't seem to mind though. He just liked the independence factor.

Another thing...ahem. The voice for the program sounds just like BEN STEIN on Ferris Bueller's Day Off and I just couldn't STAND hearing it. Fortunately, headphones can be used. But really I would have expected less of a monotone--more interesting voice to do this program. It is partially what contributed to the "boring"ness of it.  But I also know this might JUST be me talking! So take it with a grain of salt! LOL

And because I think hearing it in action will help you "see" how it works, I took a video of Baby Britches using the program:

And here is him working through the sentences...

Will we continue to use this program? 
Because it's a simple download for my computer and Baby Britches can use extra help--even with it being "boring"--yes. I plan on having him continue to use the program for about 10-15 minutes during our school day for extra reinforcement. I also love that I can search for a phonic blend and jump to it. This is what I plan on doing to match our reading curriculum. We just learned "ea says eh" like bread and weather. So tomorrow I will pull up the "ea" sound and let him review it. (with headphones. LOL)
Can use this to do a search for the sounds you are looking for

Would I Recommend Ultimate Phonics Reading Program?

Yes, with reservations. As it's advertised, this is not a cute fluffy program. It is a tool for helping children learn their phonics with tried and true repetition units. If you want something that "doesn't beat around the bush" and just gets down to the heart of the matter--learning the phonics, then this is a great program for you. If you want something for your child to be able to work on independently for extra phonics work--then yes! If you are wanting it to be colorful, game-like, and fun...not so much. It is absolutely a perfect SUPPLEMENT for any beginning reading program.

This is a download, which means you can use it anytime, whether or not you have internet available. It doesn't appear to take up much room which is something I appreciate.

Want to Know More?

We have been reviewing the Ultimate Phonics Reading Program from Spencer Learning the last several weeks. You have seen our opinion on the program, but why not check out what some of the other crew members thought about it?!
Ultimate Phonics Reading Program {Spencer Learning}
If you want to know more about the program or Spencer Learning, make sure you follow them on these social media outlets:

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September 23, 2016

Five Words {Five Minute Friday}

Can you believe it's already Friday again? My dad flew in for the weekend so he could take care of some business stuff related to their new property here. So we are enjoying the time with him before he flies out again on Sunday night. Because it IS Friday, it's time for another 5 Minute Friday post. I found the theme for this week a bit harder than the last two weeks, but I will give it a go.


It's Friday and tomorrow is my Sabbath, so I start thinking ahead to my special time extra focused on God. And I come up with five words that I keep in my heart to help me in my daily walk with Him.

Wait on the Lord.
Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD! ~Psalm 27:14

This is probably the hardest command God gives us. To wait for things to happen in HIS time, and not our own. But it definitely helps me build the much needed patience.

Trust that God knows what He's doing.
But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD... ~Psalm 73:28

Oh this one is nearly as hard. I think of all the times when I just throw up my hands, because what's happening in this life, makes no sense, or overwhelms me. So I just have to keep my trust in the one constant. God.

Hope in the Lord.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~Jeremiah 29:11

I have a hope for the future that nothing on this earth can take away. It's because of this hope that I can get through the trials that life throw at me. I know my future. I know the plans God has. Nothing in this world is better than that.

Believe that All things work together for good to them that love the Lord.
But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. ~Galatians 3:22

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. ~ Romans 8:28

I don't have much to add to that. I just have to BELIEVE that what God has written WILL happen. Believe that it's true. Believe that God is in control. That He follows through on his promises...

Shield of Faith.

Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. ~Ephesians 6:16

I lift my shield of faith every day to fight off the fiery darts of the adversary. It's when I don't gird myself through daily Bible Study and meditation that I falter. So I must lift my shield and keep it steady.

I hope that you and yours have a simply fabulous weekend. It was the first day of fall yesterday, but it still feels like summer at 90+ degrees! I'm so ready for fall!!!
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