F is for Favorites

F is for FavoritesIt’s time for the annual Blue Ribbon awards from the Homeschool Review Crew. The post will go up next week, but I wanted to get something written up this week while we are on the letter f for the blogging through the alphabet series.  Last year, I mentioned our top five favorites. This year we have so many favorites, I am going to post our favorites in the different categories.


We have a couple favorites that we used this year in the art category. The first one is the Thin Stix from The Pencil Grip, Inc. We were actually lucky enough to review this product twice this year. This product is one of my girls favorite art spplies.

Another art product we enjoyed this year  was the  ACTÍVA rigid wrap that we used to create a butterfly. We plan to make some Christmas items with the product that we have left.


This year, we have reviewed many history curriculum and supplements it was difficult to choose our favorites because there are so many great ones. We narrowed it down to the following products.

Drive Thru History ~ This was a favorite from my high school boys. We all learned so much from the videos and look forward to watching more.

Another favorite history curriculum is from Home School in the Woods. We reviewed Make A State and The Middle Ages. Even though there is a lot that needs to be printed, this curriculum is packed full of information and hands-on activities.

Our favorite history supplements are from Heirloom Audio Productions. We reviewed two of them this year, In the Reign of Terror and Captain Bayley’s Heir.


We reviewed so many great books this year and we are looking forward to the next books in both of these series, Imagine…The Great Flood and The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls.

Here is a link to all of the products we reviewed this year and past years. You can read through to see how we used and how it fit or did not fit for us to learn more about these different companies.

Be sure to stop by the Homeschool Review Crew blog next week (and I will update this post) to see the rest of the crew’s favorites from this year.

I am linking up with:

Hopkins Homeschool



Kutless CD Review and Giveaway

Kutless CD Review and GiveawayI don’t know if any of you know who the group Kutless is, but I was introduced to them from a song that was played on KLOVE a few years ago. They have become one of my favorite groups since then.

The group has had many hit songs over the past years and after 15 years continue to be focused on sharing the Gospel with a younger generation that is searching for answers.

Their newest CD, ALPHA / OMEGA, has a collection of both rock and worship songs and both original and cover tracks. They wanted to create a project that would engage the Christian community and have the greatest impact. The songs are true to who the band is at their core - rock and worship. ALPHA / OMEGA features a new version of “Strong Tower” as well as the debut radio single “King of My Heart.”

The songs on this album include the following:
  1. Your Great Name    
  2. Strong Tower (Reprise)    
  3. King of My Heart    
  4. Cornerstone    
  5. You Are Love    
  6. Great Are You Lord    
  7. Your Love Awakens Me    
  8. Shepherd of My Soul    
  9. Gave It All (I Surrender All)    
  10. No Wonder (Roar of the Rugged Cross)
I loved listening to this new album. All of the songs on the album are great, but my favorite is their new song, King of my Heart.

Enter to win a copy using the form below:

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


E is for Exciting Homeschool Adventures

E is for Exciting Homeschool Adventures

Every year I plan many field trips to go on throughout our homeschool year. Sometimes we go to the same places over and over again.  But, we love going out to the different museums, aquariums, and places near where we live.

Each spring I buy a family membership to the aquarium that is an hour from us that lets us get into the aquarium (three different ones), the zoo, and other places for free all year long. And with the  membership, we can just decide to go visit someplace without having to really plan ahead.


I like to sometimes just get in the car and drive and see where we end up. We have several state parks around us and sometimes we go there and hike the trails. There is one trail close by that has a trail that takes you through wetlands and you can see several animals such as fiddler crabs, egrets, herons, and snakes. There have been alligator sightings, but we haven’t seen one, yet. Here is a post with some pictures of the trail from several years ago.

If you want to read more of the exciting homeschool adventures we have been on through the years, you can read about them right here.

I am linking up at:

Hopkins Homeschool



Thin Stix Creativity Pack Review


Having reviewed Kwik Stix and Thin Stix in the past, we were excited to be chosen to review the Thin Stix Creativity Pack from The Pencil Grip, Inc. We love these paint sticks because they dry quickly and are easy to clean up.

The thin stix creativity packs comes with twenty four different colors to choose from. There are twelve assorted colors, six metalix colors, and six neon colors. They range from dark green to bright orange and everything in between.

IMG_20171104_110809_thumbI wanted to try something different this time and I saw these 5X7 canvases at the store. I used one to create a keepsake from my six year old daughter. I drew her hand on a piece of paper and cut it out. Then, I traced it onto the canvas with a pencil. After I copied it with pencil, I traced it with the black thin stix to outline the turkey. I used the metalix colors for the “feathers” and used the brown and red for the other part of the turkey. I added the year to it and used the gold metalix color on the outside for a frame.

IMG_20171104_142258_thumbMy six year old daughter used one of the canvases to create the scene to the right. She had started out with something different, but messed up, so she went with a nature theme.

The paints dry quickly, so we didn’t have to let one part  dry for hours before working on another part. Although, it did take a little more time to dry on the canvas than it does on paper, we were still able to finish our projects in under thirty minutes (which included drawing, painting, and drying).

IMG_20171104_142313_thumbMy twelve year old daughter made the painting on the left. She was going for an autumn theme. I think I would title it “Falling Leaves.”

It is so easy to use colors on top of colors without having to wait a long time for them to dry since the thin stix dry quickly.

We also used the thin stix on paper and drew some things to check out all of the colors.

I’m thinking of buying more little canvases to use to draw Christmas scenes onto. It would make a cute gift for a grandparent. Another idea is to buy a bigger canvas that you could write a Bible verse or quote onto and draw a little picture to go with it. The thin stix are thin enough that you can use them to write with, but they are also great for coloring in a drawing too.

IMG_20171104_165008_thumbI just quickly made up the picture on the left so you can see how these are used to write and would look great on a canvas or maybe a piece of wood.

There are so many ways to use the thin stix and the creativity pack gives you so many colors to choose from. These stix will always be number one in our house for creating, drawing, and making gifts.

You could even buy these kids art supplies for the artist in your family to give to them as a Christmas present.

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D is for Durham, NC

D is for Durham, NC

I live a couple of hours from Durham and Durham is filled with many historical sites and parks.

Historical ~ The Bennett Place is a  farmhouse that was used during the Civil War. The house was used as a meeting place between Confederate and Union General’s to sign surrender papers for the southern armies. It was one of the largest troop surrenders of the Civil War.

Interesting ~ Historic Durham Athletic Park was built in 1926 and was used by the Durham Bulls for almost 70 years. It was also a film location for the movie “Bull Durham.”

Fun ~ Duke Lemur Center is a fun place to visit and learn all about lemurs. The lemur from the show Zoboomafoo was here until he died.

Another fun place to visit is the Museum of Life & Science. The museum is packed with many great exhibits and you could probably spend a full day here learning and discovering.

Outside~ Want to spend the day outside hiking and playing? Visit the Eno River State Park. There is something for everyone. There are many trails to hike or you can do some fishing for the day.
These are just a few of the places to visit in Durham. Durham has a lot more places to visit. This would be a great place to spend a vacation.

I am linking up at:
Hopkins Homeschool


Homeschool linky party


Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack Review

Gospel Tract and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack Review

We were sent the Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack from Let the Little Children Come. The pack comes with ten popular evangelism tools that include animated tracts, pop-up tracts, flip-abouts, and wordless salvation tools.This is a good way to see some of the items they have for sale before committing to a larger pack.

A couple of our favorites from the sampler pack are The Most Amazing House pop-up and the Wordless Bracelet.

childrens-gospel-tract-3101-main-aThe Most Amazing House pop-up tract tells a simple story of how Jesus is building a house in Heaven for those who believe in Him. It talks about how sin is in the world and how Jesus died on the cross for us so that we can be forgiven of our sins. The last couple of pages tell how to get to the amazing house and includes a prayer to say.

salvation-bracelet-9110-main-aThe wordless bracelet is something that children can put together while you are telling them the salvation message. It comes with the beads and the string to make the bracelet. It also includes a paper that tells what the colors of the beads mean on one side and a salvation prayer on the other side.

  • Yellow is for Heaven
  • Black is for our sin
  • Red is for Jesus’ blood
  • White is to remind us we are clean after asking Jesus into our heart
  • Green is to remind us grow in our relationship with Jesus

Both of these tracts would be great to use during a community activity by your church or during a VBS in your church. You could also use this on your own if you plan to host a Bible group in your neighborhood or the community. There are several instances where these tracts could be used.

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C is for Christmas

C is for Christmas

Yes, I know Christmas is still 2 months away, but I love the season. We have several Christmas movies that we seem to only watch around November and December. Once in a while, we will pull out Home Alone in the summer or watch The Santa Clause in July. Yes, we have several Christmas movies and I love to watch them several times over the holidays.

My favorite one is The Polar Express. I can watch this several times and still love it. Some others we own are all of the Home Alone, all of The Santa Clause, It’s a Wonderful Life, Disney’s A Christmas Carol, and the people version of The Grinch. We did have the cartoon How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but it got broken and we haven’t replaced it yet. My favorite movie about Jesus’ birth is The Nativity Story. My kids like to watch the Home Alone movies and the Veggie Tales Christmas movies.

I also love when radio stations start playing Christmas music. I listen to a local station that plays only Christmas music of any genre from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas and KLove during the Christmas season. My favorite Christmas carol is O Come All Ye Faithful. I don’t really have a favorite Christmas song, but love to listen to them all.

Christmas books…I don’t really have a favorite, but obviously love books that tell about the birth of Jesus. One that I reviewed (If He Had Not Come) a few years ago is still read each Christmas.

So, I look forward to a new month beginning and starting to pull out the Christmas movie, books, and music.

I am linking up at:

Hopkins Homeschool



Weave Your Word in Me from Kid Niche Christian Books ~ Review

We were given the opportunity to review a devotional series from Kid Niche Christian Books. Weave Your Word in Me – Part 1 is a 36 lesson devotional for tweens.

Kid Niche Christian Books Review

About the devotional:

Weave Your Word in Me is a Bible study based on The Lord’s Prayer. The devotional is compatible with six different Bible translations which include King James Version, English Standard Version, New King James Version, New International Version, New American Standard Bible, and New American Bible Revised Edition. Your child only needs a Bible, a pencil, the dictionary, and the devotional book each day.  There is an answer key in the back that gives answers for the versions listed.

prayerWeave Your Word in Me is also a prayer guide. It is designed around the nine verses of “My Whole Self Before You” which is a rhythmical prayer modeled after The Lord’s Prayer. Each lesson includes a space to fill in the missing words based on what you have learned.

The website also has enrichment activities that includes different things like coloring pages, videos, and projects.

Weave Your Word in Me – Part 1 is a 72 page, full color, and comes hole punched ready for you to place into your own binder. It is available for $20. Part 2 is also available for $20 and contains 44 lessons.

How we used this devotional:

My daughter just turned 12 last week and is in 7th grade this year. I went over how this devotional works by reading the first few introductory pages with her. I told her she could go through this as fast or as slow as she wanted. I told her she needed to use the devotional at least three times a week, but it would be better to use it everyday if she wants to draw closer to God. She used it five days a week as part of her school lessons.

She would begin by reading through the scripture (we use KJV). She would IMG_20171024_160651then read through the devotional and fill in the blanks and answer the questions.

I would ask her what she was learning and she (who is usually not talkative) would start telling me everything she had learned that day. She is excited to be able to get her own devotional since her older brothers had their own Bible study with their Life Group at church. Yes, she had been reading through her Bible before this devotional, but I had never found anything that I thought was a good fit or her.

What we thought:

Even though the suggested ages are for 4th-6th grades, my daughter enjoyed using this devotional. She liked having the blanks to fill in to answer the questions. She also liked the prayer at the end of each lesson. She has really learned so much more about the Bible and is looking forward to the rest of the lessons. I liked how this devotional is laid out and encourages the child to study God’s Word and learn from it. It is a great book to use as a first devotional to encourage them to remember what they are studying by writing down what they learned about while reading the passages.

Be sure to check them out on social media:




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B is for Books

B is for Books

Well, I love books! And since I homeschool, that means I have a lot of books that I have collected over the years from different places.

I have everything from children’s book to chapter books to high school classics. I also have paper books, hard back books, and books on a Kindle.

Some of my favorite children’s books are ones that I read when I was a Little Critterchild. I’ve introduced my children to the Little Critter books, which is one of my favorites from when I was a child. Some other favorite children’s books are Berenstain Bears, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and any of the Dr. Seuss books.

Some chapter books that my children have read over the last few years are Charlotte’s Web, Anne of Green Gables, Huckleberry Finn, and several others.

One of my favorite authors, who lives 30 minutes from me, is Nicholas HeartlandSparks. I have read almost all of his books and even won a whole set of his books a couple of years ago.  Right now, I am reading through the Heartland series and my 12 year old daughter will probably be reading them after I do. She loves everything about horses. She borrows  e-books about horses and always wants to buy horse books at the library sale.

I’ve also shared some new favorites over the past several weeks and we can’t wait for more of the new books in the series to come out. If you want to find out about some of our other favorites you can click here and read through some posts.

I’m linking up with:
Hopkins Homeschool


The Pencil Grip ~ Review

We were sent The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors and The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training System from The Pencil Grip, Inc.

The ultra safe safety scissors are geared for young children that are just learning how to cut. The scissors have a protective plastic shield that prevents children from cutting anything other than paper.  While the edges of the scissors are rounded, the blades are sharp inside of the protective area. The scissors do come with a lever that acts as a spring load to open on their own which helps young children learn how to control the scissors.

The scissors seem to be good for cutting straight lines and do not work well if you need to cut something more detailed out. It is difficult to maneuver the scissors when not going in a straight line. My youngest daughter and I tried them out and we both could use them easily.

The 3 step pencil grip training system involves the use of three of their grips.

The first grip is a crossover grip which helps the child to put their fingers in the correct position and keeps fingers from crossing over.


The second grip is the pinch grip. This grip  is used as a guide for proper positioning.


The third grip is the original grip. This grip helps to prevent bad habits from forming during writing.


My teen son tried out the different kinds of grips and liked the original one the best. All of these grips can be used by either right or left handed children or adults.

Be sure to follow The Pencil Grip, Inc. on social media:

Ultra Safe Safety Scissors & Pencil Grip Training Kit {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}


31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes ~ Grow

31 Days of Free Writes - Grow

It makes me sad when I see my children grow. I know I shouldn’t be sad, but it seems like they have grown so fast. I have spent time with them over the past years as they grow and I have made sure they know how to do things, but it still saddens me to know that I only have a couple of years left until the oldest will go off to college.

We as Christians should grow everyday. From the moment we ask Jesus to come into our life and save us, we should be reading our Bible and praying. We are to grow our knowledge of the Bible. If we don’t grow as Christians, I am sure that makes Jesus sad. He wants us to grow closer to Him every day.


31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes ~ Read

I love to read. Since having kids, I've not been able to read as much. I do try to find some time to read a fiction book that I have not read out of my collection from past library sales. Some of my favorite authors are Nicholas Sparks, Karen Kingsbury, and Janette Oke.

The most important book I have ever read is my Bible. I have the Homeschool Mom's Bible that I use to read an encouraging devotion each day. But there are some days that go by that I have not read my Bible. It seems like on those days that I have a more difficult time. I need to remember the most important book to read each day is God's Word. It helps to keep me focused and in a better mood.


31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes ~ Remain

31 Days of Free Writes - Remain

I’m having a difficult time coming up with  something to write today. I keep coming back to this verse though.

I Thessalonians 4:17 ~ Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Those that remain – meaning those on Earth at the time Jesus decides to come back and call those that believe in Him home.


31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes ~ Try

31 Days of Free Writes  -Try

I’m sure we have all heard the phrase “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” What does that mean to you. Do you give up easily when things get rough. I know I sometimes give up easily. If I don’t succeed, why do I need to try it again? I’m sure I will fail again and again, no matter how many times I try. The only way for me to succeed is to put my trust in Jesus. If I remember that I have Jesus by my side, I can push through my failures and keep trying until I do get it right. Because with God all things are possible. There is no failure in Jesus’ eyes. We are not failures to Him. We must keep trying until we succeed.


Five Minute Friday ~ Invite

Five Minute Friday - Invite

Today the five minute Friday prompt is Invite. It is also day 13 of the 31 free writes of October.

I recently came across a poem by Lois Blanchard Eades titled If Jesus Came to Your House. This poem is about Jesus making a surprise visit to your house, but what if you invited Jesus to your house. What would you have to do to get your house ready? Would you have to put some things in hiding? Would you have to get out your Bible to make it look like you’ve been reading it? If you were to invite Jesus over, what would you wear? Would you have to buy new clothes to have something appropriate to wear in front of Him? What about your language? Would you have to practice to not take His name in vain? If you invite Jesus over for the day, I hope that you could do it without having to hide things or replace things.


A is for Apple Blueberry Pie

A is for Apple Blueberry Pie

I am joining in for another round of blogging through the alphabet. I don’t have a theme this time. I am just going to write about what comes to mind for that letter.

To start I have a recipe that I have wanted to share. It is my grandmother’s. It may seem strange to put these two fruits together, but it tastes great. My grandmother use to make her own crust, but I have not mastered the crust making yet, so I buy store bought refrigerated pie crust. Below is the recipe. Let me know if you try it.

Apple Blueberry Pie (click for printable recipe)
  • 3 cups sliced apples
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp butter cut into small pieces
  • 2 9-inch pie crusts (pre-made or homemade)
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • In a bowl combine the apples, blueberries, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Place one pie crust in the bottom of a deep dish pie pan.
  • Pour the apple-blueberry mixture into the pie pan.
  • Dot the top with butter.
  • Cover with other pie crust, sealing the edges.
  • Cut steam holes on top and place on baking sheet (in case of spills).
  • Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 40 minutes.
  • Stick toothpick in middle to be sure apples are tender.
  • Let cool before serving.
  • Serve with ice cream if desired.

31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes ~ Write

31 Days of Free Writes - Write

Write…I like to write. Sometimes I come up with some great material and other times I do not. I started to write a story a few years back, but lost it when my hard drive crashed and I wasn’t able to save it. I’ve been wanting to get back to that story, but can’t remember all of the details I had and wish I could just write it down, but I can’t get it started.

I know we are supposed to only take 5 minutes to write these posts with what comes to our mind at the time, but every day I write something and think how it is not that great, so I delete and start over. I wish I had more confidence in my writing and I wish I had better thoughts that were encouraging to others. I know sometimes I do have a good post, but mainly I feel like they are not that great. I do hope I have encouraged at least one person with my writing.


31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes ~ Remember

31 Days of Free Writes - Remember

We do not remember days, we remember moments.” ~ Cesare Pavese

This is so true. How many times have you recalled a memory, but didn’t recall the date of that memory? We will always remember the moments we have shared with others even if we don’t remember the date. The moments and memories that we share with others are what is most important.

We may not remember the day we graduated high school, but we remember the moment. We may not remember what all transpired on the day our children were born, but we remember the moment.

Take time today to live in the moment. Remember these special moments with your family and friends for it is these moments that you will remember for a lifetime.


Brinkman Adventures Season 4 Review

 Brinkman Adventures Season 4 Review

Imagine you are in a house singing songs to Jesus and being read stories from the Bible when all of a sudden the police enter the home and accuse you of holding a church in your house. But it’s not a church, you are just reading the Bible to your family and some friends. The police don’t care. They won’t listen and you are arrested. Brinkman Adventures has twelve new stories to share from Brinkman Adventures Season 4.

The above story is based on a true story that happened in Russia. In fact, all of the stories found on the Season 4 CD’s are based on true missionary stories. I was able to review the physical product for this audio drama, but they are also available as a download. There are four CD’s that contain over five hours of listening entertainment. Each story is about 30 minutes long.

Travel around the world looking at maps as you listen to the missionaries tell their stories. They are not just a narration of a story, but a re-enactment of the story. We hear the cars in the streets, the roar of the boat engine, people talking in the background. Hear the heartache and joy from the people as you listen to the stories.

The twelve stories included in season 4 are as follows:
  1. A Paradise Lost
  2. Remember Nhu
  3. Aisha’s Fear
  4. Heart Song
  5. The Crashed Kitchen
  6. Crisis in the Congo
  7. The Mysterious Palm Feller
  8. War of the Raccoons
  9. The Five Guys
  10. Toughest Man
  11. Cambodian Quest
  12. What Brings Us Together
These stories can be used in many ways during your homeschool day.
  • Geography ~ print out a map of the world and map the location of the story
  • History ~ since the stories take place in the past, you can discuss how the story might differ from then to now
  • Bible ~ the stories are missionary stories and the Bible tells us we should go into all the world. You could take the time to pray for a missionary or even write to one.
We listened to each story and discussed the story. We talked about where it took place and if they would want to visit the same area. We talked about how they think they would respond to the different scenarios in each story.  We discussed how we thought it felt to be there at that time. We learned so much by listening to these missionary stories and look forward to hearing more. We will continue to pray for the missionaries around the world.

IMG_20171010_175740It is difficult to pick a favorite since they are all well done, but I would have to say that the story about Nhu was one of my favorites. We also liked the one about the crisis in the Congo.

Parents do need to take caution on some of the stories, especially if you have a young or sensitive child. My youngest is six and listened to all of the stories. If she had a question, I would try to answer the best I could about the situation.

You can also find the real stories on the website and read about them ahead of time. Get your copy of Brinkman Adventures Season 4 today!

Brinkman Adventures Season 4



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