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. 

March 7, 2017

Elementary Language Arts with Eclectic Foundations: Level B ~ {Curriculum Review}

My six year old son started wrapping his last Language Arts program at the beginning of this year, and I was beginning to wonder what we should move into next. His reading skills were definitely at the 1st/2nd grade level, and he was asking for cursive work. I knew he liked poetry, and was ready to start learning the parts of grammar--he's been hearing and helping his older brother do his for a few months now. I wasn't sure if I could find something that would fit the needs of my son--and if possible, be an all-in-one program. When I heard about the chance to review Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level B program for elementary from the company Eclectic Foundations, I hoped that it would be just what we needed.
Eclectic Foundations Language Arts: Level B {Curriculum Review}

About Eclectic Foundations

Eclectic Foundations is a curriculum company determined to offer biblical worldview options for language arts. At the center of their program are the classic The McGuffey Readers--part of the Eclectic Education Series. This series of textbooks were widely used in public school from 1836 up until about 1960. Containing biblical morality teachings in their text, they were a way for teachers to

March 3, 2017

For This Purpose {Five Minute Friday}

Happy Friday my friends! I can't believe that we are already in the month of March...yet here we are. I have gotten slack in completing the Five Minute Friday posts the last couple weeks, so I want to get back in gear for them starting this week. 
For This Purpose {Five Minute Friday}


the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists

When I think of purpose, I think of all the times in the Bible that people were told by God "For this purpose I called you..." One of the main ones that pops into my head is Queen Esther. Did you know that the book of Esther is the only one in the Bible that doesn't mention God? There are some who questioned whether it had a rightful place even in the Bible. Yet all who have read the story, know that God doesn't have to be named, to clearly have a role in the story of Esther. 
One of the most important lines to sum up Esther, was given by her relative Mordecai when he stated--after it became known that Haman was going to destroy the Jews and that in her unique position as queen had the power to potentially change the future of the Jews--
"For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” ~Esther 4:14
Mordecai was pointing out that Esther had a purpose. Maybe even put in place by God for such a time. For this purpose.
Could we also have a purpose from God in a situation we are in? Could you be placed in the role you are because God has a plan to use you for something great? Something that maybe only you could do? You never know.
I have a friend in Australia who is closely following the health trial that a girl in our church family is going through. Long story short, the 18 year old girl had an accident in the Australian Outback, that resulted in her being pinned under a horse trailer in the over 100 degree sun for 4 hours. Now the girl is fighting for all it's worth in the hospital. Despite the best efforts made by the medical staff over the last few weeks, she just had to have her leg amputated at the hip due to severe infection. But the one thing that keeps showing up--is that the staff is amazed at her attitude and her parents' attitude. They see her witnessing her faith in God's power and protection, despite the continued crisis they face. And the medical staff is talking about it. Talking about how her resilience and the healing she's experienced thus far is a miracle--even in light of the amputation. She is continuing to be a light to the world, even when in and out of an induced coma. Even when faced with a life changing injury. She is still witnessing to the world her faith and complete trust in our God. 
Perhaps this is HER purpose, strange as it may seem. 
God may be working something in your life...remember, even the Pharaoh of Egypt had a purpose in God's plan...
"But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." ~Exodus 9:16


I hope you and yours have a simply delightful weekend. I will hopefully be able to come back either tomorrow or Sunday and share some fun bible studies we have been doing in the Judges--one of my favorite collection of bible stories in the whole Bible.
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