April 28, 2017

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

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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 Homeschool...blog 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!

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 Jesus...it 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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