Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Intentional Parenting #bookreview #booksneeze

Do you ever wonder if you're doing it right?  If you're making the right choices with parenting?  Well, if so then make sure to check out this book to help answer your questions.

The main focus on the book is to understand yourself and your child.  If you can do this, then you can parent and parent well.  With God as the center of your family it only gets easier.

Intentional Parenting : Autopilot Is for Planes, Sissy Goff

Now wait!  I did not just say that parenting is easy. Far from it!  I am a parent too you know.  I have 9 kids and I can say that there isn't anything easy about parenting.  Oh wait, well maybe that's a lie, giving and receiving their love and hugs is pretty easy.  And pretty sweet too.

The book is 12 chapters long(256 pages).  First it helps you discover you.  Next it helps you take your healthy whole person and guides you into being a better parent.  Through the new understanding of yourself you have a better understanding of your children.

This is something I think should be given as a present to all new parents.  It is a wonderful book and I do think it has helped me to be a better parent.  It has made me more conscious of what I'm saying to my children and how it makes them feel.  Both verbal and non-verbal.

The book is written by Sissy Goff, David Thomas, and Melissa Trevathan.  They work together at Daystar Counselling in Tennessee.  They counsel children and their parents and decided to put their vast knowledge and wisdom in a book so that all parents could have access to it and not just those coming to them.

I review for BookSneeze® 

 I received a copy of this book for free from BookSneeze in exchange for this review.  However, all thoughts, opinions, and words are my own and not influenced in anyway.

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VocabularySpellingCity Review -TOS Crew #hsreviews

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What do you do for spelling at your house?  Here we never had a set spelling list or spelling book.  I would just randomly choose words each week and we'd use them. Sometimes I'd theme them but most of the time it was just words that I knew my kids needed to learn.  Now enter my joy with a Crew Review we got to participate in!  VocabularySpellingCity is a neat little website that we got to try out for our kids that I can highly recommend!  This game based program focuses on vocabulary, spelling, writing, and language arts.  We received a year of the Premium Membership for free in exchange for our review.

This website offers a standard membership which is free or a premium membership which costs $29.99 per year with up to 5 students.  It is geared for ages K-12 so really any of your homeschool kiddos can use this.  We used it for grades K, 1, and 2.  With it you have the ability to use their word lists or input your own.  Because of the input your own feature I think you could use it with preschool as well(just my thoughts not the websites) as long as your preschool child was capable of using the computer.  I know with my kids my preschoolers can do a lot more than I think just from watching their older siblings.

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VocabularySpellingCity offers learning through fun.  One of my boys dubbed it as "they tricked me into learning"!  Yeap that is the truth!  It "tricks" them into thinking they are having fun and just playing games when in reality they are learning as well.  These fun games teach them how to spell words, what words mean, how to use them in sentences, and so much more!

The free account offers you the basics while the premium membership(what we received) offers so much more!   Check out the photo below from the Premium Membership page to see all the extras you can receive.

VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership Features

I have to say that we loved the fact that there weren't ads on the pages.  My kids get distracted easily and far too often would click on ads and such that might be moving on sidebars just because they want to see what they are and what is going on.  They're kids, they're curious and I wouldn't have them any other way, but those ads are distractions.  I am a huge fan of flashcards as well so those are an added bonus as you can print those off.  We also are fans of laminating said flashcards for reasons I'm sure you can relate to.  My littles often get their hands on them and laminated in the mouth stays together longer than just paper in the mouth!  Yes it has happened.  Yes I have learned the extra money is worth it!  Now for the totally selfish part. . . . I love that I don't have to write down their grades!  Yes it keeps track of that for me so I don't have to grade them or record them.  I can simply print their records for our log books and tada I'm all done!  Easy is good when you are homeschooling this many little kids!  I have 8 in school from prek on up to 2nd grade and that extra time can be used for other things.

I do want to note that the free option is still a good deal if you can't afford the premium.  I know several people that might not have that extra money right now, so sign up for the free and purchase the premium when you can.  I do have a question in about what happens when you have more than 5 kids for premium so will let you know that answer when I get it.  With the free you still get the handwriting helpers, the printables, and spelling testing/spelling help.

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Free apps can be downloaded to your phones or Kindle even as well.  We don't have that technology here in our house, but for those that do this is a great thing!  Makes learning on the go much easier without having to take a laptop with you.  As homeschoolers that flexibility is something we normally tout and this makes us continue to be able to school on the go.  For my family it would be taking the laptop and working on it when we stopped for breaks or at night since we don't have smartphones, Ipads, or Kindles, but for those that do you might want to check into their free apps.

This is a great daily use website.  I highly recommend doing even a few minutes on a daily basis.  The more they do it the more they learn. We do one list a week.  Each day we do a different game to help us learn more about the word and practice spelling the word.  I print off pages where they actually are writing the word as well because I'm a stickler for penmanship and am determined my kids will learn how to not only spell but write legibly too!  And then we test on Fridays.  If you only do a 4 day week instead of 5 testing on Thursday would be your ideal.  That gives them the rest of the week to learn their words and learn how to not only spell but use them.  We also do double testing.  They are required to do the tests online, but then we also do some oral testing where they have to write down the word.  I either give them sentences and have them put the correct word in or I tell them the word and they must spell it just like the tests we used to do.

My kids love this program.  I'm giving it five stars because I love it too. Makes homeschooling simpler which in this busy time of life for me is a good thing.

Please hop on over to the Main Crew Blog post and read all the other reviews.  There were many of us who reviewed this website and we all have different thoughts and feelings so you won't read the same review twice.  It is a great program and I think we will continue to use it with my kids for the years to come.  Really the money it costs for the website versus what the spelling books would cost is a great deal to me.

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School of Ministry Review #bookreview

by Braxton A. Cosby

"A fast-paced adventure featuring a secret society on a divine mission...a satisfying read: The characters steadily develop, goodness prevails, and there's even a touch of romantic intrigue. Gripping, action-packed." ---- Kirkus Review

  "A memorable, unpredictable journey of hope, identity and courage. The Cosby gift of storytelling lives on in this page turning adventure." ---- Bill Cosby, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Comedian, Philanthropist

"Braxton Cosby delivers a thrill ride of suspense, fantasy, drama and fun in The School of Ministry. An unrequieted love story beats at the center of Ziv's journey to find peace, purpose and faith. You'll root for him as he claims his life and future in this wholly inventive and original novel with a message for all. I loved it." ---- Adriana Trigiani, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Shoemaker's Wife Winner of The Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Book of the Year Award for Young Adult - General

 I'm helpless as she continues to struggle for air. Then, an image flickers from the corner of my eye as a side door opens and Maxwell walks out, holding a staff of his own. "Maxwell," I plead. "It's Miss Evans. Please help her!" He shakes his head and lifts his staff in his hands, twirling it in a circle as he begins to slowly walk sideways, circling me like a predator, encasing me in a hedge of danger. "Hold your ground. Make a choice: fight or flight," Maxwell bellows.

Miss Evans' banging on the glass behind me blends with the pounding of my heart. I lift my staff and spread my feet, turning my attention to Maxwell. As much as I'm afraid for my own safety, I find it impossible not to focus on Miss Evans. Her muffled scream comes from the tank and I look away from Maxwell to check on her. Her hands clutch her neck. Her face is bright red with a tinge of blue around her lips. "No," I scream, stepping back away from the tank. Raising my staff above my head, I crank back and rip it down, slamming it into the side of the tank, as I yell. The water explodes from the crack in the tank and glass shards crash to the floor below. I swing once more and this time the entire tank shatters, launching Miss Evans into the air toward me. I catch her in my arms and the force of the water propels us backward onto the floor. She coughs, gasping for air.

I hold her in my arms and caress her head. Her sobbing brittles me and I'm relieved to see her skin color returning to its natural tanned shade. We're here, an odd place, an unfamiliar place. But as I hold her delicately in my arms, it makes me feel like I'm heading back home. Not the place where I live now, but the place where I used to live, when mom and dad were still alive. The way she rests in my arms beckons me to a time when I used to hold my kitten, Priceless. She'd climb into my lap during the thunder storms. I was her comforter. Priceless would purr when I did it. And now, so many years later, I find myself feeling the same way as I hold Miss Evans. Her soft body pressing into my skin—warming me—calls me to hug her even closer with each passing second. The times when I needed someone to hold me reflect in my mind like a mirror as I stare at her. Her chest rises as her heart beat quickens, mixing evenly with her breaths. As warmth returns to her body, a subtle tremor comes over her; like a purr. I can't resist. I have to do it. I must do it.

I hug deeply, ignoring the senseless urge to pull away. "Bravo!" praises Maxwell, exiting the room as the lights come back on. Miss Evans resting in my arms and I comfort her, caressing her hair. She finally looks up at me and mouths, "Thank you." "You're welcome. Are you all right?" I ask. "Yes…better now," she replies. "How did you get in there?" I ask. "I don't know. Um, if you don't mind me asking, who are you?" "What? It's Ziv of course. Miss Evans, are you feeling all right?" "Miss Evans?" she asks with a puzzled look on her face. "Did you say your name was Ziv?"

Buy on Amazon

Meet the Author:

Multi-Award-Wining Author Braxton A. Cosby is a dreamer who evolved from concepts on pen and paper to pixels and keyboards. He tells stories that evoke emotions and stimulate thought. Protostar: Book 1 The Star-Crossed Saga and The School of Ministry: The Windgate are currently two Young Adult series he created. Braxton lives in Georgia with his wife, three children and a troop of crazy African Cichlids.

Follow Braxton: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Literary Addicts

My thoughts:  This guy is good.  He has Bill Cosby's gift with words.  I highly recommend this book.  I couldn't quit reading.  You're going to want to pick up a copy.  Definitely.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tuesday's Good Eatin' Recipe Hop 10/29 #goodeatinpl

Welcome to the Good Eatin' Recipe Hop
hosted by
The 'Pitch List' Bloggers

Every Tuesday you can join us to share great recipes.........
There are no specific themes. 
Add your recipe of choice to the linky.
No Giveaways Please...all giveaways will be removed.
We Love Comments! Please Share!

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story Review, Barbour Publishing -TOS Crew #hsreviews

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We are a house of readers and love to read!  If you go through my blog you'll see most of the reviews are for homeschool materials or books.  Well, this review is both!  We, with the Crew Review Team, were sent a book from Barbour Publishing to review.  This book was Diary of a Real Payne book 1: True Story by Annie Tipton.

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This book is hilarious!  It's a great chapter book geared towards independent readers ages 8-12.  Now, my oldest 2 are both 8 but they're not really strong readers and I have several under that age that like to read also so we made this into a read aloud where my two 2nd graders and I took turns reading it to the younger kids.  Understandably, the kids liked it better when mommy read, but they listened when the older siblings read too.  It is my opinion that as a read aloud it can entertain all ages, but comprehension is lost at anyone under age 5.

This book is a steal really.  It  is available currently for $4.49 regularly $5.99.  The book is 192 pages long.  It has a larger print though we would classify it as medium around here.  My learners of course prefer the larger print but medium works well for my medium readers!

In March of 2014 they will be releasing book 2.  My kids are already wondering what happens to EJ Payne and what more she will have to share in her diary!  The next installation will be entitled Church Camp Chaos.  My kids have never been to church camp and are very curious about this one.

The book is definitely written in the voice of a child and it appeals to my children because of this.  They love the illustrations(and wish there were more of course) especially the pages that have lines and look like they came straight out of the diary pages.  Just as a little teaser, my kids are already asking if we can have some fun things for our Christmas dinner this year like ham loaf.  They have no idea what that is but because they read about it in the book they are ready to give it a try!  I think we'll have it some night for supper and reserve Christmas for Christmas.  I had to explain to them that we already do a non traditional meal at Christmas so they are already like EJ in that sense(we do a Mexican themed dinner with my family).  They loved the idea that they were like the girl in the book and immediately set about to think of more ways that they could say they were like her.

We had a laugh about her calling the town she lives in small as well.  It is over 1000 people bigger than both of the towns we've lived near in their lives.  We're small town people and my kids compared her population sign to the one we drive by and said she's from a "big city" well at least until we actually went to "the city" and then they said she lives in a "middle city"!  I love the way their minds think at times.  It's so fun and definitely not like the adult mind.

Now there are so many other parts from the book that we loved and the kids say I need to tell you, but that would ruin the book for you.  You really need to just get a copy and read it for yourself.  Maybe then you'll figure out what part in the Christmas pageant EJ gets and why it isn't her dream role and so much more!  Enjoy the book.  We did!

Make sure to hop on over to the Crew Review Main Blog post and see what everyone else has to say about this great book.  I love how we all can read the same thing and offer up so many different opinions of how well it works for us and our family.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman -CFBA #bookreview

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Christmas Quilt
Abingdon Press (October 15, 2013)
Vannetta Chapman

A Word From The Author:

I hold a BA and MA degree in English, and I am proud to be represented by Mary Sue Seymour, AAR. I have published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, and have received over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. I am honored to be a member of Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Faith Hope and Love.

I live and teach in the Texas hill country with my husband, cats, and a rather large herd of deer. Our four children have flown the nest; however, we are fortunate that they all live close enough to visit.

I have always felt that my faith was at the very center of who and what I am, and I am thrilled beyond words to be able to now write about something that is so near to my heart. At various times I have served as a pianist, teacher, church secretary, and worship team member. While living in the Dallas area, I served as an adjunct professor of English Literature at Dallas Baptist University. When we moved to a small town in Central Texas, I continued teaching for a few years, but I now write full-time and I play the keyboard in our church’s praise band.

My grandfather was born in Albion, Pennsylvania, and I am currently researching whether I might have Amish roots.


Annie's life is deliciously full as the Christmas season approaches. She helps her husband, Samuel, attend to the community's minor medical needs. She occasionally assists Belinda, the local midwife, and most days, she finds herself delivering the buggy to her brother Adam. Annie’s sister-in-law Leah is due to deliver their first child before Christmas morning, and Annie is determined to finish a crib quilt before the boppli arrives. With six weeks to go, she should have no problem . . . but God may have a different plan. Leah is rushed to the English hospital when the infant arrives early, and Annie discovers the Christmas quilt may hold a far greater significance than she ever imagined.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Christmas Quilt, go HERE.

My thoughts:  Oh how I love Amish fiction and this book is no different.  Oh wait!  It is! It is different because it is part of the Quilts of Love series and Amish!  I also love the Quilts series.  Maybe because I like to quilt.  Anyway. . . .   This is a great book about love and unpredictability.  It touches on how to be content no matter your lot as well.  I am shocked by what is revealed about Rachel towards the end as well.  Poor Leah though.  Having twins and then having to go to the hospital.  My last little was born at home and I have to say that being born at home is so much nicer than in a hospital.  And then to have to endure a c-section to boot.  Definitely read the book.  It's a real one.  And might possibly make you cry.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Not For Profit -Book Review #bookreview #beckvalleybooks

A prominent surgeon accused of murder and terrorism ...

A corrupt healthcare administrator hell-bent on bloody revenge...

A mysterious seductress whose secrets could free the doctor and kill thousands ...

A terrorist cell with missiles aimed at a leading hospital in America’s Bible Belt ...

Not for Profit takes you on an action-packed thrill ride that will have you questioning suspects, motives, and outcomes until the very last page.

Renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Scott James is charged with murder after two bodies are found at his surgery center. Just weeks before the start of his capital murder trial, Dr. James is approached by a beautiful woman claiming she can help him gain information that would prove his innocence.

As James hunts down the evidence that might free him, he faces a barrage of threats to his life and liberty—and makes one chilling discovery after another: Corporate corruption. A conspiracy to frame him for murder and for terrorist acts. A secret drone-control operation that takes out targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The true identity and intent of his beautiful ally. And a plot to blow up the local hospital and surrounding community.

Buy the book from......

Dr. Glenn Shepard was raised on a farm in eastern Virginia. He attended the University of Virginia on an academic scholarship and majored in psychology. As an undergraduate, he lettered in wrestling for three years in a row. Then, he went on to become the only person in UVA history to letter in wrestling again in his sophomore year in medical school.

After completion of med school at UVA, he went to Vanderbilt where he completed his residency in general and cardiovascular surgery. He spent two years in the Army at the Ft. Gordon Army Hospital in Augusta, Georgia and The Second Surgical Hospital in An Khe, Vietnam. While in Vietnam, he wrote his first work of fiction, SURGE, which is on his back burner of works to dig out of the attic and publish, with major revisions, in the future.

For 28 years, he founded and directed The Peninsula Cranio-Facial deformities clinic that was staffed by volunteer medical, dental, social services, psychology, and speech pathology experts. The group treated over five hundred patients with cleft lips and palates, as well as a variety of deformities of the face and hand.

After the massive earthquake in Haiti in January, 2010, Dr. Shepard emerged from retirement and joined the Notre Dame Hospital unit in Leogane, Haiti for a 10 day rotation. His empathy for the people and their problems as well as his admiration for the contributions of time and talent from medical personnel from all over the world greatly inspired his second novel, RELIEF AID, HAITI.

NOT FOR PROFIT, Dr. Shepard's first thriller.

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printed book           ebook version

I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.

My thoughts:  I love medical books!  Okay so it's not really a medical book per say, but it is a really good book!  Filled with murder, mystery, suspense and so much more.  Oh yeah add in romance!  What is a book without some romance?!
The main question: did our friend the doctor really commit murder?  Who is this sexy woman who just happens by?
Learn this and so much more by reading the book!  Definite recommend for this book!  You will not want to put it down.  Trust me.  Get a copy now.  But you might not want to read it when you're home alone in the dark!
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Infernal Gates Book Review #bookreview

by Michael J. Webb

Ethan Freeman, ex-Special Forces Ranger, wakes up to discover he is the sole survivor of a fiery commercial airline crash that killed his entire family. His nightmare is only beginning when he becomes the FBI’s prime suspect. Only Ethan knows he’s not a cold-hearted murderer, but he has no idea what happened to him--and why he alone survived. He finds an unlikely ally in Sam Weaver, the NTSB Chief Investigator. An ex-military pilot, Sam senses Ethan is innocent. She tries to remain dispassionate in her investigation of the crash even as she finds herself attracted to the man who may be America's worst homegrown mass-murderer. Neither Ethan nor Sam realize that shadowy spiritual forces are at work which will alter their lives forever. A monstrous evil, imprisoned since the time of the Pharaohs, has been released by The Nine, a sinister group of powerful men and women who believe they are the direct descendants of the Anunnaki, ancient Sumerian gods. The demon they have unleashed intends to free The Destroyer from The Abyss, the angelic prison referred to in the Book of Revelation, and unleash a worldwide reign of terror and annihilation. Facing impossible odds, time is running out for Ethan and all of humanity as he is drawn into an ever-deeper conspiracy--millennia in the making--and learns that he is the key to stopping The Nine. Will he overcome his deepest fears and find reserves of strength he never knew he had as he confronts pure evil in order to save himself and an unsuspecting world?

Buy on Kindle

About the Author:

Michael J. Webb graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida and obtained his J. D. from the same university. Over the past forty years he has travelled the world in search of adventure. He is a history buff, both ancient and modern, and is fascinated by the intersection of the scientific, supernatural, and Biblical world views, and has studied and taught from the Bible extensively for more than twenty-five years. He is also intrigued by recent discoveries in quantum physics that are now providing extraordinary insights into the reality of the spirit realm, especially as it relates to the study of Light. He incorporates all of the above into his supernatural thrillers. Michael and his wife make their home in Charlotte, North Carolina.

  Books by Michael: The Master’s Quilt, The Nephilim Parchments, The Song of the Seraphim (Giants in the Earth trilogy), The Oldest Enemy, Infernal Gates. He is currently working on Devil’s Cauldron, the sequel to Infernal Gates. He also authored a non-fiction work entitled In the Cleft of the Rock: Insights into the Blood of Jesus, Resurrection Power, and Saving the Soul.

My thoughts:  As you all know, I love to read.  I really can't say that there is any type of book that I don't enjoy reading.  Some I enjoy less of course and some more.  I really love adventure, mystery, and mayhem.  Whodunit type books as well.  This book I think fits into that category but it also has a bit of what I would call supernatural.  But not supernatural in the sense of ghosts and goblins.  Supernatural in the sense of good and evil, God vs Satan type.  I used to shy away from these types of books but lately have found myself drawn towards them.  I read two recently and decided that I thought I would love this one as well.  And I do!  I surprise myself sometimes.  I fell in love with the characters, and the plot.  Like I said I'm a mystery type of girl.  Throw some romance in there(which he does very well for a male author) and I'm hooked.  I was greatly pleased to learn that the is already working on a sequel to this one which I will no doubt have to check out as well.    I can definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes a bit of supernatural, mystery, romance, or even sci fi maybe(not totally sure what that covers since I've already admitted it's not my normal cup of tea).  Oh and don't forget it is also a work of Christian fiction.  Big thumbs up for this guy.  I think he's one we're going to see a lot of great stuff from and I am personally honored to get to share this book with you!

Follow Michael on :

FaceBook | Literary Addicts | Google + | Amazon | Website | Twitter
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Greetings from the Flipside by Rene Gutteridge -CFBA #bookreview

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Greetings from the Flipside
B&H Books (October 15, 2013)
Rene Gutteridge


Rene is the author of seventeen novels. She also has extensive experience writing comedy sketches, and worked for five years as the director of drama for a church. She has a degree specializing in Screenwriting, for which she earned the Excellence in Mass Communication Award, and graduated magna cum laude.

She is married to Sean, a musician and worship leader, and has two children. They reside in Oklahoma, where Rene writes full time and enjoys instructing in college classrooms and writers conferences.


Hope Landon has been rewriting other people's greeting cards since she was six years old -- there's always a funnier caption. She's all set to chase those creative dreams with her musician fiance in New York City until he leaves Hope at the altar, deciding he must not really love this girl if he can't write a song for her. That may give her something to write about . . .

Hope disappears alone on what was supposed to be the couple's month long honeymoon. Upon returning she learns of her funeral -- everyone in her life concluded Hope must have killed herself after being jilted. Needing a fresh start more than ever, she heads for the Big Apple only to discover it's not that easy to rent a place when you've been declared dead.

Taking shelter at the YWCA, Hope soon lands a job at a Christian inspirational greeting card company as an assistant to Jake, a guy who shut down his organization's humor department. She has lost her faith in love; he needs to find something or someone that will make him laugh.

Is there anything in the cards for these two? Find out in the truly original Greetings from the Flipside by authors Rene Gutteridge (Boo) and Cheryl McKay (screenplay for The Ultimate Gift).

If you would like to read the first chapter of >Greetings from the Flipside, go HERE.

My thoughts:  This was an excellent book on a subject I'd never thought of.  What do coma patients think and feel while they are in their coma.  Do they dream?  Do they think life is going on?  I really and truly loved this book and read it in one day.   I couldn't put it down.  Well, okay so I did put it down because I did take care of my kids, but every chance I got(like while cooking supper) I was reading on this book trying to find out what was going to happen next.  I had to find out if Hope woke up from her coma and at times you thought her adventures were real!  Oh and yes her mother really is that strange.  Even in real life.

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Tuesday's Good Eatin' Recipe Hop 10/22 #goodeatinpl

Welcome to the Good Eatin' Recipe Hop
hosted by
The 'Pitch List' Bloggers

Every Tuesday you can join us to share great recipes.........
There are no specific themes. 
Add your recipe of choice to the linky.
No Giveaways Please...all giveaways will be removed.
We Love Comments! Please Share!

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Monday, October 21, 2013

God's World News Review -TOS Crew #hsreviews

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With the Crew Review team we recently were able to review God's World News.  We received the Early Edition which is for grades 1-2.  It fit the best with our little school here considering I have 4 kiddos in that age range.  My kids love getting things in the mail just for them.  Which is great for this review as we got a year subscription free!

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God's World News has a variety of different levels.  They have 6 total spanning from God's Big World for preschool and kindergarten to Trak for high school.  Each level is available for a years subscription for $28. You can get a full year subscription which includes 10 editions or a school year edition which only includes 7 editions.

With our subscription we received an online edition.  Through this you can get online and read the editions, back editions, and much more.  You can read biographies, print off activities, and so much more.  The kids can also access a kids website or kids zone to find fun things and games for them to do.  I've loved that there is a parents weekly email that gives me extra ideas for current events.  Up until getting the magazine, I've not done a current events curriculum with my kids.  We really haven't talked of much in the way of current events at all.  I had thought they were too young.  Well I was wrong!  They love learning about the current events and I love the Godly Christian take on them that we get with God's World News.

We also received a full sized map of the world to help us locate the locations of the articles.  This was so much fun!  We love finding out where in the big picture the events are taking place.

You may be asking yourself, so what's the big deal with this?  So what, it's a Christian magazine for kids?  But it's so much more than just that!  Yes it is a Christian magazine designed for kids at each level.  But it helps them develop critical thinking skills.  I had never thought of working on critical thinking in my kids this little, but it makes sense to start it now so that they grow in their thinking as they learn.  It makes a lot of sense actually and I for one am very glad for this.  I had never heard of them before this review opportunity came up and it has been such a blessing for us.

My kids can now tell you some of what is going on in the world.  They may honestly know more about this stuff than I do.  I must admit I don't follow the news.  I really don't.  We have no television.  We do have internet, but I don't do a lot of news reading.  I look at the weather, check my emails, do some facebook, and blog.  That's the extent of my internet.  I'm not sure I really have time for all I do on here and have no clue how I'd fit news into my tight schedule.  So now I get my news too!  Current events as told to me by my kids who are reading it in their God's World News!

Within each magazine are full color pictures related to each article.  The articles are short and in big enough print my kids aren't intimidated by them.  It also connects a Bible verse to the stories.  One of the editions had pirate stories including their ships and how they are recovering one such ship.  The verse was Psalm 143:5 about remembering the days of old.  Yes!  That is what we are doing.  We are remembering and relearning from them.  Great stuff here!

So what we're doing.  Read the magazine.  Do the activities in the magazine.  Go online.  Print off extra activities as well as answer keys so the kids can grade their own(they love this) and also read more.  If there is a person in our stories we look for his biography.  If there is an event in our story we look for related articles.  The online resources really are wonderful and so much more than just taking a peek at recent magazines.

And now I close with the highlight of my kids reading.  In the first issue we received, the first story was about the 150th Anniversary Reenactment of Gettysburg!  This was so neat because the kids could say that their Daddy was there!  No he wasn't in the pictures or in the article specifically, but he was there!  And they love to reenact the Civil War with us so this was great.  This one little one page article with 3 pictures started a whole study for us.  We studied the battle.  We watched films from the reenactment.  What a great way to start off our subscription to this magazine!  They are forever in love now and keep waiting for another "blast from the past" that might feature their Daddy someday!

For more Crew Reviews go to the Main Crew Blog Page and see what other Crew reviewers had to say about this great magazine.  You'll find reviews for all the different editions/levels so make sure you choose one that relates to your child's age to check out.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Bride For Keeps by Melissa Jagears -CFBA #bookreview

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Bride for Keeps
Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2013)
Melissa Jagears


A Word From The Author:

I am a stay at home mother on a tiny little farm with a fixer-upper house. As much as I love writing and reading about homesteaders, I am so glad I’m a homesteader during an era with modern grocery stores to take up for my slack. I am an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher by trade, and I still work occasionally in that field along with being my church’s financial secretary and writing novels.

My husband and I have been married since 2001 and have a daughter and two little boys. My husband shares my fascination with traditional living except for being more hands on. He loves blacksmithing, knife smithing, traditional archery, hunting, etc. Generally whatever a mountain man does, he does it or has or wants to attempt it. He comes in handy for research! And of course, the rest of the family gets involved. I have my own blackpowder rifle, named Calvin, that my husband made for me. And I’m pretty sure my daughter is probably one of very few her age who can instruct adults how to shoot a longbow properly. The boy digs random holes in my yard to make “cement” with dirt and water making our yard a tripping hazard. The baby does what babies do.


A Tender Tale of Love on the Prairie Perfect for CFBA Readers!

Although Everett Cline can hardly keep up with the demands of his homestead, he won't humiliate himself by looking for a helpmate ever again--not after being jilted by three mail-order brides. When a well-meaning neighbor goes behind his back to bring yet another mail-order bride to town, he has good reason to doubt it will work, especially after getting a glimpse at the woman in question. She's the prettiest woman he's ever seen, and it's just not possible she's there to marry a simple homesteader like him.

Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiance. Having finally worked up the courage to leave her life in Massachusetts, she's determined to find a place where people will value her for more than her looks. Having run out of all other options, Julia resorts to a mail-order marriage in far-away Kansas.

Everett is skeptical a cultured woman like Julia could be happy in a life on the plains, while Julia, deeply wounded by a past relationship, is skittish at the idea of marriage at all. When, despite their hesitations, they agree to a marriage in name only, neither one is prepared for the feelings that soon arise to complicate their arrangement. Can two people accustomed to keeping their distance let the barricades around their hearts down long enough to fall in love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Bride for Keeps, go HERE.

My thoughts:  Oh my.  I laughed so hard at parts of this book.  Really, how can you be jilted so many times by getting mail order brides. . . and the how of each one.  Yeap this author has a healthy imagination and I appreciate it.  I have to say he(meaning Everett--and this name makes me think of a certain movie which makes me laugh again) definitely should be thanking the little meddler who helped him land this sweet and beautiful bride.   Of course what happens on the roof is a different story.  I was totally not looking for that to happen!  Loved the ending, though parts were a bit sad(remember I'm postpartum here with mixed emotions).  Go pick up this book, read it, and you won't be disappointed.

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A Plain Disappearance by Amanda Flower -CFBA #bookreview

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Plain Disappearance
B&H Books (September 1, 2013)
Amanda Flower


Amanda Flower, an Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.


USA Today recently hailed award-nominated author Amanda Flower for A Plain Death, calling it “the first Amish rom-com . . . bring on the next one!” As the enthusiastic reviews continue to mount, she’s back with her third Appleseed Creek mystery, A Plain Disappearance.

It’s Christmastime in Amish Country, and Chloe Humphrey has begun settling into her life in Appleseed Creek excited to see where her new relationship with Timothy Troyer will lead. Unfortunately it leads to murder when the couple discovers the body of Amish teenager Katie Lambright while on their first date.

Near the scene there is evidence that Timothy’s friend and auto mechanic Billy Thorpe is involved with the crime. The police reveal Billy is not really who he said he was and has been living the last decade in Knox County under a stolen alias. Now, Chloe and Timothy must find Billy, bring him to justice, or prove his innocence.

If you would like to read the first chapter of >A Plain Disappearance, go HERE.

My thoughts:  Okay squeal of delight.  Alright okay I can do this.  I LOVED this book!  Sorry, yes I'm excited.  And yes I'm going to be looking for books one and two that go with this one now because I LOVED it.  Yes sorry still excited.  Okay first off, yes I love murder mysteries, and yes I love Amish fiction, and yes this is BOTH!  And yes I need to calm down, but I just finished this one and I loved it.  Chloe is a great character and this one leaves it hanging.  I now need another book to let me know about what happens with Chloe in California.  I also will need another book telling me about Becky and what happens with her.  Oh and I can go on about the other characters too.  Yeap gonna need a lot more books in this series.  Anyway back to this one. Very sad to see Katie dead.  Very sad to see what it does to her family and even sadder about her little sister.  Definitely want to send Caleb to jail(big meanie), and yeah for Katie's daddy at the end.  Okay so have I given you enough things to think about to want to read this book?  Yes, good because if I keep going I'm going to give it all away and where's the fun in that?  Go on you know you want to, pick up a copy of this book and get to reading!

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Chess House Review -TOS Crew #hsreviews

 photo chess_zpsdef27258.jpg

We recently received a beginners chess set to review from Chess House.  The Starter Chess Learning Kit came with a neat carrying bag, chess mat, chess pieces, and a dvd explaining how to play the game.

Seeing as how both my husband and I enjoy playing chess I thought this would be a great learning kit for our kids.  With 6 kids that I deem old enough to play chess it would mean that they could play each other or we could play as a family.  I love the idea of family game nights and with the kids still learning it's an easy boys against girls type game to play as the 6 oldest are 3 boys and 3 girls!  Of course then the two younger girls can think they are helping play too which makes it fun for them as well.

The Starter Chess Kit that we received is available to purchase for $39.95 currently which is $10 off their standard retail price.  You can choose either a green or black bag. We received the green one in our kit.  The great thing about the kit is that it can be used by any age group.  The main focus range is ages 6-12, but it can be used for younger or older. I know an adult that would benefit from this(sorry friend, but you stink at chess).  Maybe I should have my kiddos teach her how to play chess!

As most of you know, we reenact the Civil War and chess is a period game to play.  I would love to someday get one of their awesome looking wooden chess sets to let the kids play on while we're away.  This past weekend when we spent a day at a reenactment daddy was at they had a lot of fun playing with another reenactors wooden chess set.  But wooden isn't the only novelty set that Chess House has, they also have life size chess sets which would be great for using at a kids birthday party or in a homeschool group.

Did I mention the intricacy of some of the sets they have?  As I browse their site I am amazed at the detail some of these artists can do.  Wow, just wow.  Our pieces are plastic.  A high quality plastic that is less apt to break(important when working with kids) and they are also easy to replace.  The chess board rolls up to fit in the case and is made in the USA.

Now lets talk a bit about the DVD.  I did sit and watch it with my kiddos.  We had to watch it in small sections as my oldest is only 8 and none of them have super long attention spans if you want them to actually retain what they are watching.  The DVD by itself is $20, which goes to show you what a great deal the Starter Kit really is.

The beginning level dvd we received is the Pawn Level(how cute they name their levels after pieces).  You can purchase a workbook separately to use with the dvd as well.  It does come with a booklet that shows practice positions and exercises to help them learn.  It is in total 49 minutes long.  We ended up watching about 10 minutes at a time the first times we went through it.  The next week we broke it down even more and only watched 5 minutes at a time to help us focus more.  My favorite was how it detailed each piece, what they were, what they could do, etc.  It was great.  Just right for little learners to understand and remember.  For my kids repetition is key which is why we watched the dvd several times to help them "get" it.

If you'd like to read more about what other people thought of the Starter Kit make sure to go to the main Crew Review page and check them all out.  With all of us having different aged children as well as different levels and methods of learning and teaching I'm sure they'll all prove unique and different.  You're bound to find one that fits our style.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Newman's Own Organics Review and Giveaway #noopl

I got the best box of goodies the other day.  Some I kept for myself and some I shared around.  So this review is going to contain opinions of family and friends as well as my own which means lots more palates and a more thorough positive on Newman's Own Organics!

In our box there were chocolate bars, chocolate cups(peanut butter, caramel, raspberry, and mint), pretzels, all kinds of cookies, and dried fruit.  One bag of a dried medley, one bag of apples, and a b of raisins.  Those will be featured soon in some recipes as I love cooking with dried fruit!  Yum!

Now I hid away the chocolate.  Yes I'm a chocoholic and do not share well with others.  Shh I still have a bit hidden away so I can't tell you where, but this stuff is good!

So of course the first thing I tried were the dark chocolate mint cups because I'm a chocolate and mint lover and my main weakness is dark chocolate and mint together.  All I can say is heaven.  Pure bliss.  I'm an seeing more of these in my near future.  Now to find that stash of money that can be used for purchasing these yummy treats and hiding in random spots in the freezer so the kids have no clue they are there. . . . please tell me I'm not the only one that  does that!

Next I tried out the orange dark chocolate bar.  I've talked to several people before and they all wrinkle their nose at orange and chocolate mixed together, but I've been eating it for years.  It's something my cousins in England always sent over for us at Christmas time.  It's very popular there and very popular in my family.  Maybe it has something to do with my grandma being a WWII war bride from England, but it is a hit for us. I had a friend try a bite of mine(after she'd hemmed and hawwed to try to get out of it thinking she wouldn't like it) and guess what?!  She liked it!  Oh yeah it's good.  It's really good and everything should pick up a bar.  I hate waxy chocolate and love that Newman's chocolates are not waxy.  They taste like chocolate which is the way chocolate should taste.

Signature Series Chocolate

Now for the rest of the box.  I didn't get to try the rest of the stuff as it wasn't gluten free, but as you may have seen before around here there are plenty of taste testers willing to test out wheat products.  My husband still eats them and these were great things to send with him to munch on.  He recently had a Civil War reenactment so he took the box along.  I was up there for the day while they were munching along and asked what they thought.

It was unanimous that the Newman's Own Organics Newman's O's were better than the popular brand(oops shall I say it. . . why not they were better than Oreo's)!!  Oh yeah they get rave reviews!  Included in our box were original, peanut butter, and vanilla creme.  I have to say I was sad I didn't get to try the peanut butter ones because those were always my favorite oreo's.  I do notice on their website they have a dairy and wheat free version of the original so I may have to check those out!!

There were also several different bags of pretzels and two kinds of hermit cookies, gingersnaps, chocolate oatmeal cookies, orange chocolate chip cookies, and two kinds of animal crackers.  I'm telling you, this box was loaded to the max!

Of course, everyone was thinking they wouldn't like the chocolate orange ones. . . . but guess what?!  Again they were loved!  Seriously, people need to believe me when I say chocolate and orange go together.  They do, really really well they do!

The pretzels were not as big of hit, though they liked them.  They said they were different than most of the pretzels they are used to and that they were hard.  Which makes me think that I would have liked them. Especially the honey whole wheat.  Before going gluten free honey whole wheat were my favorite!

Now comes the best part!  I have a chance to give away 4 of my favorite items to you guys!  So without further ado use the rafflecopter below to enter for your chance to win:
chocolate mint cups
dark chocolate orange bar
Newman's O's
Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Sounds like a great prize pack to me. . . . you could send the first two items on to me if you didn't want them!  Just saying I'd not turn down more chocolate.

Now for the little bit of sticky stuff.  Enter all the other lovely Pitch List members giveaways on the linky below as well but in the end you can only win one giveaway.  So enter them all to increase your chances of winning one but please be kind and know that you'll only receive one prize pack.  I will notify the winner within 24 hours of the end of the giveaway and you will have 48 hours to respond back to me before a new winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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