Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Aneko Press: The Christmas Story in 40 Days by Christ Loehmer Kincaid


About the Book:

Do you know the story of the first Christmas, the entire story, not just what you have seen on Christmas specials or heard in Christmas hymns?

Take a few minutes each day for the next 40 days to read about the events leading up to this holiest of nights.  Meet the people who were there, Elizabeth, Zachariah, the Angel Gabriel, Mary and Joseph.  Travel across the Judean countryside to Nazareth and on to Bethlehem.  Witness the birth of Jesus as you never have before.

  • Spend 40 days strengthening your faith.
  • Spend 40 days drawing closer to God.
  • Spend 40 days getting to know your Savior Jesus Christ.

About the Author:

As I was growing up, I dreamed of accomplishing two things with my life: write a book and change the world. You might think that the book was the easy part, but who can change the world?

While I was publishing my memoir of my mission trip to Kenya, “A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven”, that I realized my dream of changing the world is not so foolish. Like every item on anyone’s bucket list, this too could someday be crossed off my list. I have come to realize that to change the world means to change one person’s world.

My daughter and I returned to Kenya in the spring of 2013 and while there met many more men, women and children who need positive change in their lives. My daughter began working on a nonprofit organization to help these people, to empower them and improve their way of life. Tumaini Volunteers, Inc., was born and remains a work in progress.

In addition to my writing and involvement with Tumaini Volunteers, I work fulltime in the medical field, mentor a Kinship kid, mentor my church’s college students, and sponsor a Compassion child.

I am not anyone special, but I now know that change is possible. The world can be a better place. We just need to get out there and do the work that God has given us to do.

My Opinion:

I know it’s late and I’m so sorry about that – life happened and so this got put on the back burner along with some other things. If you’re looking for a short but meaningful devotional for the Christmas season then The Christmas Story in 40 Days is definitely one that I would recommend. It is suggested that in order to finish by Christmas Eve to begin this devotional on November 15th, and if you buy it now you’ll have plenty of time when November rolls around again. I also want to note that the Bible passage given at the beginning of each day’s reading is from The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. I don’t like to use The Message but it isn’t hard and doesn’t add any time to grab my own Bible and read the passage listed.

Each devotion takes five minutes or less unless you want to go deeper or you use the notes section to make your own notations – it can be used as you see fit for your or your families needs. There is no denominational bend so just about anyone who is Christian can use this devotional through the Christmas season, of course we should always remember Christ’s birth and His death and resurrection every day so maybe this shouldn’t be just a ‘Christmas’ devotional. I like that while the readings are short, they are also deep and meaningful and really help one focus on Christ’s coming and what all that entailed both then and now.

Please check out what other bloggers thought at Aneko Press’ Link-up.



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FlyBy Promotions: Dolphin Tale 2 curricula

About the movie:

Inspired by true events, Dolphin Tale 2 continues the story of the brave dolphin Winter, whose miraculous rescue and recovery—thanks to a groundbreaking prosthetic tail—made her a symbol of hope and perseverance to people around the world and inspired the 2011 family hit movie “Dolphin Tale.” This film reunites the entire main cast, led by Harry Connick Jr., Oscar winner Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson, and of course, the remarkable dolphin Winter as herself. Champion surfer Bethany Hamilton, who has been an example of courage, also appears in the film.

It has been several years since young Sawyer Nelson and the dedicated team at the Clearwater Marine Hospital, headed by Dr. Clay Haskett, rescued Winter. With the help of Dr. Cameron McCarthy, who developed a unique prosthetic tail for the injured dolphin, they were able to save her life. Yet their fight is not over. Winter’s surrogate mother, the very elderly dolphin Panama, has passed away, leaving Winter without the only pool mate she has ever known. However, the loss of Panama may have greater repercussions for Winter, who, according to USDA regulations, cannot be housed alone, as dolphins’ social behavior requires them to be paired with other dolphins. Time is running out to find a companion for her before the team at Clearwater loses their beloved Winter to another aquarium.


About Homeschool Movie Club:

Homeschool Movie Club is a fun, online community created to help homeschooling families discover new and old movies, media, & curriculum that help augment their home education. We will also have special ‘homeschool day’ discounts, giveaways, curriculum, and special screenings for homeschoolers for movies that haven’t hit theaters yet. Our mission is to create a community & resource that will help families find the right movies to use for their home education and enjoyment.



My Opinion:


Homeschool Movie Club is a free resource available to homeschoolers who desire to use recent movies in their homes and teach from them – Homeschool Movie Club makes it easy to download the curricula and watch complementary videos that pertain to the curricula.  The newest addition to the line up is Dolphin Tale 2, which comes out to theaters on September 12th, and to go along with that is a 5 lesson curricula that homeschoolers can use right now to learn about dolphins, habitats/environment, as well as life in an aquarium and more – there are even discussion questions for those who utilize Classical Conversations (of course you can use them even if you are CC members).  You must register or log-in to get access to the curricula, and don’t worry if you aren’t already a member – it is FREE and easy to sign up to begin using movies in your home school.


Each lesson has a video to watch before doing the day’s lessons – or if you’re very industrious I suppose parents could always add to what is in the lesson and make each lesson into a weeks worth of studies.  There are activities and experiments geared towards elementary and those are denoted with a dolphin and a sea turtle easily identifies the middle and high school level activities and experiments.  Suggestions are given for keeping a notebook, either a three ring one with the pages printed off being kept together or for the more creative making a lapbook of the educational experiences.  The author of this curricula is Sherri Seligson who also authors Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Marine Biology for high school.  I prefer to download the curricula and then use my ‘send to kindle’ feature which automatically sends it to my Kindle or my Kindle app to make reading easy and only print out the sheets I actually need, this also saves ink.  You could also use Dropbox, I hear this works better for those with iPad that doesn’t allow PDF documents.



(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws


Book Review: Homeschool Co-ops 101 by Karen Lange #grow4christ #review

homeschool co-ops 101

Essential co-op tools, tips, and options for today’s homeschool families.

Thinking about joining or starting a homeschool co-op? Not sure if a co-op is a good fit? Homeschool Co-ops 101 weighs the pros, cons, and creative options available for today’s homeschool family.

  • Section 1 includes essential, digestible info on co-op ingredients such as planning and organization, schedules, teaching, finances, and addressing conflict and burnout.
  • Section 2 shares a sampling of co-op games and activities, and
  • Section 3 contains five hands-on unit studies. These ready to use studies include lessons on Leonardo da Vinci, Birds of Prey, Public Speaking, Tall Tales, and Creative Writing, and are suitable for co-op or home use. This section also includes unit study guidelines that are easily customized to suit any topic.
  • Section 4 offers suggested books, curriculum, and other resources.

Karen Lange has gathered insight from years of co-oping and now shares her own and others’ experiences in this valuable and encouraging handbook.

Homeschool Co-ops 101 is available at:


~~~Barnes and Noble~~~


karen langeAbout the Author

Karen Lange, her husband, and three children were active in co-ops during their sixteen-year homeschool journey. Her experience includes serving as a local homeschool support group coordinator and consultant for a state homeschool network in New Jersey. Karen’s children have since graduated, and she is now a freelance writer and online writing instructor for homeschooled teens.

You can connect with Karen at her Blog, on Twitter, and Facebook.

homeschool co-ops 101

Blog Tour Schedule
November 4
~Ruth Schiffman,
~Robyn Campbell,
November 5
~Carol Alexander,
~Diane Estrella,
November 6
~Gena Mayo,
~Marja Meijers,
November 7
~Sandie Crozek,
~Melissa Brander,
~Cecelia Lester,
November 8
~Susan Reinhardt,
~Cecelia Lester,
November 10
~Laura V. Hilton,
~Melissa & Tiffany,
~Janette Dolores,
November 11
~Susan Sundwall,
~Michelle Isenhoff,
November 12
~Carol Alexander,
~Jeanette Levellie,
November 13
~Susanne Dietze,
~Sherryl Wilson,
~Anne Payne,
November 14
~Rhonda Schrock,
~Abi Buening,
~Amber Schamel,
November 15
~Crystal King,
~Barb Winters,
~Tyrean Martinson,
November 16
November 17
~Amada Chavez,
~Cindi Clubbs,
~Rebecca Boerner,
November 18
~Carlene Havel,
~Cindy Loven,
November 19
~Karen Loethen,
~Amy Smith,
November 20
~Darlene Arroyo-Lozada,
November 22
~Sarah Bailey,
~Thumb Updown,
December 2
~Jennifer Shirk,
~Ticia M.,


My Review:

I’ve been homeschooling officially since 2008, of course it began long before then, when my husband and I decided upon finding out I was pregnant with our 2nd baby (we had lost our 1st a few months prior to a miscarriage) that we would homeschool her.  This did not go over well with many people – but we were committed and dedicated to it.   Learning begins at birth and continues well until the day one passes into eternity, so for us our homeschool journey began in 2002, but officially in 2008, but I digress, almost from the start I began researching which groups we could join when it came time to do so.  I started first with just a support group and was a member for 3 years then we found a co-op and were members for 4 years, I think.  We are no longer a part of any co-op, so you may ask why did I agree to write a review on a book that deals with co-ops?  I’ll tell you, I think co-ops have their place in the homeschool world.


Karen has written a very concise book from explaining what a co-op is and how to start one, to organizing and running it.  It’s a short book, my Kindle Fire tells me it’s 78 pages long but it’s chock full of information and some of it I hope to put to use one day when I have more time to dedicate to maybe running my own co-op.  Part of the reason we are no longer in one is because my children and I became disheartened at the running and lack of organization we saw – yes even young children can pick up on this!  In reading this book, I believe there can be a way to run and organize a co-op in a way that everyone benefits, the children (all ages), the parents, the place where the co-op meets – versus being a dictatorship.


Not only does Karen tell you how to run and organize a co-op but she also gives unit study ideas which you can use to get you started!  Such as in Chapter 15 which is titled “Tall Tales” she covers a unit study idea that spans arts and culture and language arts for grade K through 12!  She includes websites (of course you’ll want to peruse these yourself as is the case in all areas of Internet safety and sometimes websites die), books, supplies you’ll need, background information, and even suggested study and activities for the mentioned unit study.  She also gives lists of sources for things such as lesson planning and curricula one can use in planning their teaching for a co-op.


If you’ve ever wondered what a co-op is and are new to homeschooling this is a great resource to start with.  If you’re interested in starting your own but don’t know how, this is the book to grab.  If you’re just interested in co-ops well I’d still say this is your go-to guide to learning and before leaping.  I know right now I’m not a place where I can start and run my own co-op but eventually I’ll come back to this book and consider starting one and even if I don’t start one this book has given me ideas on just doing classes here and there over the school year and do it with organization.



The Giveaway

Open to US addresses only. One person will receive a $25 Amazon GC and a copy of Homeschool Co-ops 101. Please use the Rafflecopter below to be entered:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be chosen from those entries and announced December 5, 2013. Good luck!

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as e-mailed, and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Diane at That’s What I’m Here For… and sponsored by the author, Karen Lange. The author provided me with a free copy of Homeschool Co-ops 101 to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a giveaway in return for the free book.VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Review of “The Big Book of Pick and Draw Activities” by Rich Davis

I had the chance to use and review the Pick and Draw game last year (review is here) and we’ve continued to have a blast playing this drawing game so when I was contacted by Rich Davis to review The Big Book of Pick and Draw Activities I knew I had to check out this book that is a compilation of fun activities by many professionals who work with children in a variety of fields.  There are 138 pages that are chock full of step by step activities for such things as using Pick and Draw to answer what are you like questions, make educational posters, grief counseling, flexible drawings for students with autism and other disorders, sharing the Gospel with Pick and Draw and more.

This book also contains over 200 fun and captivating illustrations by Rich Davis.  The materials list at the beginning of each activity will let you be prepared before leading the activity that best fits what you need to do with Pick and Draw and then you’re led step by step through the process including what kind of discussions that can be gained as you work with the children on the activity or after.  The book can be used for homeschool families to add another dimension to art classes, writing, speaking and listening.  Others can also make use of this book and the game – teachers, Sunday School teachers, Christian missionaries, youth workers, Special Needs workers and more.

The book can be found on Amazon for $13.00 and it’s well worth it for all the activities, ideas and illustrations that are included and if you need the game you can buy that at Pick and Draw (you will need the cards to use the activities in the book).  I know we will now get a lot more use out of our cards by having this book on hand for future reference.

**Disclaimer:  I was sent a copy of this book from Rich Davis in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.  Post may contain affiliate links.

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TOS Crew: Beeyoutiful; Skin care set


One of the things that I love about being a product reviewer, is not only getting to use some fantastic products, but also to let you know about them.  I so enjoy telling others about products that I personally use and enjoy and get benefits from and the product is one that can be trusted.  Beeyoutiful fits all that and more with their statement “At Beeyoutiful, we believe that each individual is responsible for their own health. It is not a doctor’s responsibility to keep you in good health” they know it’s important for each of us to take our health seriously and use things that nature intended when it’s feasible and of course, safe.  You can contact them if you’d like to find out more information regarding the company or products.

I’ve loved the other Beeyoutiful products I’ve had the pleasure of using because they are all natural and high quality.  I had the choice of several different packages such as the Berry Well set, the Skin care set and the newest from Beeyoutiful Skin, make up.  I don’t wear make up but when I think of how dry my skin gets I knew the skin care set was what I needed.  Whether it’s from my type 2 diabetes, forgetting to drink water, the cooler weather or a combination I knew my skin needed pampering.

In the skin care set is the Laveshmint Hydrating Toner, Laveshmint Daily Moisturizing Lotion, hair shine, and Vanilla Dream Body Butter.  This group goes together wonderfully and left my hair, face and body moisturized all day long with light scent and natural ingredients that I also didn’t mind letting my daughter’s use them as well.

If I had to chose my favorite product it would definitely be the 4 oz. Vanilla Dream Body Butter, it comes in a beautiful glass jar with plastic lid.  It’s a very light vanilla scent, so it’s great for people like me, who are sensitive to strong scents.  It doesn’t take much of the butter to go a long way in moisturizing the skin – I preferred to use it after I shaved as the soothing nature of the butter and the all day lasting moisture gave relief to dry, shaved legs.  It’s relaxing scent lasted all day.  It’s made with “shea butter, vanilla-infused oils of coconut, olive and grapeseed, grapefruit seed extract, essential oil of ylang ylang and vanilla plantifolia augment the ancient vanilla bean.”  The jar of Vanilla Dream Body Butter sells for $15.00 and you can get discounts for multiple jars.

Next up is the Laveshmint Daily Moisturizer which as it’s name suggests smells like lavender and mint and is again lightly scented.  This 4 oz. jar sells for $12.00 and like the body butter will last a long time and it’s paraben and formaldehyde free making it a wonderful alternative to the regular moisturizers on the market today.  I must say that I didn’t use this often, I tended to sweat profusely on my face after applying it, so maybe my face isn’t as dry as I thought or it just doesn’t handle moisturizers.  According to the website it is good for all skin types, including sensitive types and it’s not supposed to leave a greasy residue – however for me it left me sweating.

My next favorite is the Laveshmint hydrating toner, I would apply this after getting out of the shower to help close my pores and give me a cooling and relaxing spray to my face to help give it some extra moisture.  This may have been the problem with the moisturizer as I’d add it after I used the toner?  The lavender gives a relaxing all day smell that again is pleasing as it’s not overpowering.  It’s 4 fl. oz. runs $14.00 but with only a spritz or two it will also last a long while.  I also used it on my severe sun burn a few weeks ago and it felt so great, and that could be the natural aloe vera that is in the product.  It can also be used to cleanse wounds, uplift your disposition as well as calm and relax.

Lastly, but not least is the Hair Shine – which is a spray, leave in conditioner that comes in a purse worthy size of 4 fl. oz.  I used this on my and my middle daughter’s very thick, long and tangle prone hair – and it works so much better than other de-tanglers/leave in conditioner that we have used.  At $15.00 it’s money well spent when the product actually works and of course, is all natural.  It’s made with aloe, essential oils of rosemary, lavender and citrus so hair won’t be left greasy.  I’d use it on our dry hair after a night of tossing and turning and it cut down the tears of brushing but at least a half and afterwards our hair was silky, shiny and smelled wonderful.  Hair shine can also act as a body spray, on your face as an astringent, for use in sunburn (just don’t use before play in the sun with the oils), and even for insect bites!

I could spend so much more time raving about these products, but one thing I do know is that I’m going to continue using these, even the moisturizer as it seems winter will be here soon with our temperatures dropping as fast as they are.  These products are excellent in quality and since many have more than one use are definitely worth what they cost, both is uses and longevity.  The sizes of all products make them easy to toss in a purse or in a suitcase allowing quick freshening up if needed at the beach or away from home.  If you’d like to see what other homeschool parents thought visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

****Disclaimer:  As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.


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Big Truths for Little Kids by Susan Hunt and Richie Hunt


About the Book from Crossway:


These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Deuteronomy 6:6-7a

Your children are a blessing from God. A gift that brings an abundance of joy and the privilege of teaching them God’s ways. When they’re young their potential to learn is amazing. And because actions and beliefs go hand in hand, the lessons they learn from you now will shape their lives forever.

This wonderful book, with its easy-to-use story format, can help you teach the basic truths of the Christian faith to your children. They’ll learn right along with Caleb and Cassie that God’s ways are the best—and that even as kids, they can live for His glory every day.


My Opinion:


I’m always on the look out for a great devotional that all my children can enjoy, that is quick but yet adds to their knowledge and love for God – enter Big Truths for Little Kids.  The short stories, questions, discussion area and Scripture all make for a lively and relevant devotion time for you and your children.  I will say this was right on target for my younger children whose ages are almost 6 and almost 8 however my 10 year old was a little too old for the stories but I won’t say she didn’t learn anything – anything that teaches God’s Truths is relevant no matter how it’s done.


The goal of this book is to teach children how to live for God by integrating Scripture, discussion, prayer and memorization.  Before you begin, it’s recommended that you, the parent or person leading the devotion memorize the answers to the questions for reading #1 – that is questions like “who made you?” and “how can you glorify God?”.  As you go through the book you add in the other questions but only work on having the children memorize reading number one’s, then when you go through the book again add in memorizing of reading number two, and so on.  Eventually children will be able to answer questions that relate back to their Faith and the Bible and giving them a good foundation to eventual deeper study of the Word of God.


The 160 page hardback book with it’s black and white illustrations is a lovely addition to your Bible time and your family’s library.  My only caution in this devotional is to read the questions ahead of time as some may not align with Scripture or your families belief.  Two of the questions that raised issue for me were:


  • “Who are to be baptized?”  “Believers and their children.”
  • “Why are we baptized, even as infants?”  “Because God’s command to Abraham is obeyed in our baptism.”


Again, these have been the only two questions and I would probably skip those two and rework the story or use it to illustrate along side Scripture why infants aren’t to be baptized.  Otherwise, this is a great devotional that can be used by Christians who do not believe in infant baptism.


**Disclaimer:  I was provided a copy of this book from Crossway in exchange for my honest review, no other compensation was given.




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Crew Review: Apologia Who Is My Neighbor

Vendor Name:  Apologia

Vendor Contact Apologia Contact Page

Name of Product Who Is My Neighbor

Price:  Text: $39.00  Notebooking Journal: $24.00  Coloring book: $8.00

Age/Grade Range:  ages 6 to 14 years

Are you wanting to teach your children a Biblical world view?  Then welcome to the the third in Apologia’s series, What We Believe titled Who Is My Neighbor?  this one picks up where volume two left off and I have been blessed to receive and review this volume as well.  This volumes deals with servanthood and how to be the light and the flavoring to the world.  Lessons will cover:

  1. Does anyone really need me?
  2. How can I make a difference?
  3. Who is my neighbor?
  4. Why did God make families?
  5. What can I do for my country?
  6. Why can’t we all just get along?
  7. Who is God’s family?
  8. Why does the church need me?

Following along the lines of the other books there are the big idea, short story, words that need to be remembered, memory verses and more but in this volume is something new and that’s the encounters with Jesus section.  I really liked this section as it tied up the whole lesson and related it directly back to Jesus by re-telling a story about a person who had first hand knowledge of Christ while He was on earth.  As is often the case in a re-telling some characters who aren’t named in the Bible are given names that correspond to that culture or there may be a character added to make the story flow more smoothly for the children – the authors neither take away or add to the story.

It is recommended that this book be covered twice a week with each lesson taking place over a period of three weeks.  This was actually quite doable for us as a family having a varying degree of ages and abilities.  I liked not having so much to do on each day and this schedule also allowed for make-up time if something had to be skipped or moved to another day.  Some of the readings are quite long so I recommend if you have a strong reader or two that they be allowed to help in reading aloud to those younger siblings – or you’ll likely to get very parched or have someone lose interest very fast.

The accompanying notebooking journal is full colored, beautiful and hopefully will be a keepsake of all that your child learned about servant hood and what they desire to do for the Lord.  There are a lot of spaces for note taking and the only thing that makes me not want to let my children use the note taking pages is that they are so pretty!  Scripture pages will allow the student to write down the memory verse in their chosen version of the Bible, facilitating their memory work.  Word searches, cross word puzzles and mini books all make for a fun learning experience while also providing a way to really ensure understanding and retention of the materials.

Do you have younger children?  Maybe ones who can’t write yet but still need to be included, well then the coloring book is what they’ll need.  Full pages with some text from the book will have the child engaged as you or their sibling do the reading for the day.  Of course these aren’t just for younger students, older students who enjoy coloring would also benefit from them and help to reiterate certain points.  My only idea that would make the coloring book even better would be to have somewhere, like the back cover, a list of what coloring pages go with which lesson and/or pages in the text.

If you are wanting a worldview curricula that suits the whole family then Apologia’s Who Is My Neighbor fits the bill.  As always it can be tweaked to fit your family’s ages and ability levels in regards to what needs read and according to your schedule.  If you’d like to see what others are saying about Who Is My Neighbor please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

**Disclaimer:  As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.



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The Creation as retold by Janice D. Green

About the Book:

In The Creation, children’s author and illustrator Janice Green presents the day-by-day Genesis account with delightful word pictures and colorful hand-appliqued quilt illustrations. Questions included on each page encourage dialog between children and their caregivers. Through one-on-one snuggle time, children gain interest in the Bible as caregivers embrace the opportunity to share their faith.

My Opinion:

Whether for your own child or as a gift The Creation is going to be a wonderful book that will be cherished between the child and you (or their parent).  This beautiful hard cover book is a retelling of the Biblical and historical account of how the earth, humans, animals and all of nature came to be.  With retelling of Bible stories one must be careful not to take away from or add to the Bible and Janice Green has done a wonderful job of retelling the story on a child’s level but without degrading the Word of God.

The illustrations throughout the book are quilt blocks that Janice herself hand appliqued and created for this book.  Colorful and lively the book has a warm, homey feel to it that both adult and child, alike will love to come back to time and again as they read the story together.  The questions following the the story are short and are a great way to open dialogue between parent and child as Biblical truths are explored and ingrained into their lives.  I like to that the font size makes for an easy reader for a child who is just learning to read or who struggles to read.

You can purchase this book at Amazon. (may contain affiliate links)

**Disclaimer:  I received this book for free from Book Crash in exchange for my honest review, no other compensation was given.

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Crew Review: Creation Illustrated magazine

Vendor Name:  Creation Illustrated

Vendor Contact Contact information

Name of ProductCreation Illustrated magazine

Price:  $19.95 for 1 year, $37.95 for 2 years, $53.95 for 3 years – save $5.00 a year per sub if you pay with credit card.  Canadian residents need to add $5.00 for postage, foreign countries add $10.00

Age/Grade Range:  all

Creation Illustrated mission statement is this: “Our purpose is to share the wonders of God’s creation.  By revealing fresh insights of His infinite wisdom, gentle touch, undeniable justice, redeeming love, and flawless design, pure truth shall bring renewed peace.  Each part of this publication is offered as a reprieve from the daily rigors of life so that all can look to the future with unbridled gratitude and hope.

This beautiful magazine has been called the Christian version of National Geographic and rightly so.  The beautiful, glossy magazine is one that will be treasured and used for years to come – the articles, in my opinion, will prove to be timeless as they share a sense of science from a godly, Biblical worldview as well as inspiration from Scripture.  I appreciate the photos of nature because there are times, especially in the summer I can’t get out to enjoy it first hand and the professional quality of the pictures are a real aid to my children and I.  There are advertisements throughout the magazine but they aren’t a major factor in the magazine and they are for homeschool curricula or other products from Christian companies.

There is a section called Genesis Cuisine that has recipes that are as close to nature as one can get – we haven’t tried the recipes yet as my family isn’t real keen on trying new things, especially the children but I think the Grapefruit Avocado Tacos in the summer 2011 issue sound absolutely delicious and refreshing.  If you want to put the recipes in your recipe box or collection they come with dotted lines so that they can be cut out and filed away for later use and re-use.

There is a child’s story and photo contest for young people – there is literally something for everyone and for every age in this magazine, which cuts down considerably on subscription rates to numerous magazines – Creation Illustrated is literally a magazine for the whole family.  There is an included instructional guide at the back with questions for going deeper into the stories and these can be used as a family, during your home school time or individually.  There are also creation activities and these will vary depending on what that issue’s theme is – for spring 2012 one of the activities is to hang a hummingbird feeder in your yard.

I didn’t use the magazines we were given, summer and fall 2011, winter and spring 2012 in our school time as I preferred to let the children enjoy them on their own – my son was particularly enthralled with the beautiful photography while all three loved the children’s story.  I will be using these again and again as we study the Lord’s creation in our school time as a supplement to learn more about animals and the plants around us.  If you’d like to see what other homeschool parents thought check out the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

**Disclaimer:  As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.


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TOS Crew Review: CapJaxMathFacts

Vendor Name:  CapJaxMathFax

Vendor ContactCapJaxMathFax Contact Page

Name of ProductCapJaxMathFax

Price:  $29.95 (add $5.95 if you want it shipped)

Age Range:  any student who needs math fact practice and can use a computer

CapJaxMathFax is fun, computer based math fact drilling program that has several ways to use it.  As the parent/teacher you don’t have to do any generating, you simply input what guides you want the child to use, such as just addition or any combination of addition, multiplication, division, and subtraction.  I will begin by saying that the CapJax program is very easy to install – either via download or with a C.D. that is shipped to your house.  After downloading the license agreement you then download the actual program which took only about 20 minutes from start to finish for me.  Any questions I had about the program and downloading it were promptly answered via email.

At first I thought the animation quite crude but again, sometimes it takes me awhile to put two and two together, so once I understood it’s a sailor motif and sailors are rough around the edges (I should know, I used to be one), this program does give a sense of being at a beach side shack.  To begin you or your child will enter their name – then you, the parent, will set the parameters for your child’s time on the game.  Choose which facts need drilled, what level (1-9 for add and subtract and 1-10 for multiply and divide), do you want them to do twelves, negatives, single level, word thinkers, how many facts in a set then decide how many seconds you’ll give – anywhere from 3 up to 10 seconds and then you can decided if it’ll be play for rating, practice or keyboard practice.  Once you decide that then your child will be able to begin their math drill.

Once your child finishes their drill you can then print off a record of their achievement, which is great if you need to keep track of what they do in a year for an assessment.  You can also access a detailed report which will tell you the problems given, how long it took to answer it and if they got it right.  This can also be printed if you prefer a black and white print versus the bright and colorful one that is more geared to get the child excited about their progress.  There is also a progress graph that you can view and also print if you like, to see how their progress goes up or down accordingly.

If your child isn’t completely comfortable using the computer, you can have your child start with the keyboard practice which is them simply entering a number and hitting enter.  Once the child gets a super they are ready to move on to working on the actual drills.  My 7 year old enjoyed using this program and it did seem to really help her retention of math facts and helped us get more quickly through her school work in math.  My 10 year old wasn’t as impressed and my 5 year old got easily frustrated since he hasn’t began working on math facts – but I’m sure he’ll be enjoying it once we get to an area in math where he is learning addition.

I think this is a great program if your wanting to have your child be drilled, in a fun, non-frilly way and improve his or her time of bringing those facts to mind on a second recall.  While my daughter did enjoy it I think it will appeal to boys as there isn’t your typical girly stuff around but it’s definitely usable for both boys and girls and a variety of ages and grades depending on the needs of your child.  If you’d like to see what other homeschooling parents had to say then check out the TOS Homeschool Crew Review blog.

**Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

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