Monday, November 19, 2018

Review: The Light Before Day by Suzanne Woods Fisher

In the 3rd book of The Nantucket Legacy Series we are focused mainly on Henry & Hitty Macy.  Henry has been away for several years whaling and has come home to find out his grandmother has passed away. They didn't know their grandmother very well because she didn't take care to spend much time with them. They are shocked to find that she has left them her huge fortune. As the way of their grandmother she left specific instructions that had to be followed and completed before they could actually receive the money. The biggest one was that they each had to marry a Quaker in good standing within a certain time frame. If they don't complete these tasks then the entire fortune would go to Tristam Macy, the man that stole from their father.  When you live on a small island and it seems than more people are being considered not to be in good standing with the church than in good standing these requirements could prove difficult.

Henry previously thought he wanted to spend the rest of his life with a local girl, Anna, but she seems to be pulling away from good standing in the church. Hitty has thought she could have a wonderful life with local, Isaac and his daughter Bitsy, but he isn't a member of the church. They push aside the worry of who to marry and focus on learning to live in their grandmother's house. It's not a cozy, comfortable place, but when their grandfather and the attorney's secretary move it the house starts to seem a little cozier.  As time goes on it seems that Benjamin, the attorney working on the estate, might be developing feelings for Hitty. Hitty thinks she could return his feelings, but each time seems to focus back on Isaac and his adorable little Bitsy.  Henry has started a newspaper and found a great confidant in Marie-Claire, the secretary.

As the main focus of the story seems to be on Hitty and Henry and the inheritance there is a background story going on as well.  Henry's once love of a lifetime, Anna, is now deeply involved in helping her African American student be admitted to school. She starts a conference where all those opposed to slavery attend. They even had Frederick Douglas, a fugitive slave, speak out about his life as a slave.  With Henry so focused on building his newspaper and following the convention he's not really focused on the inheritance. When we don't keep our eyes open is when danger always seems to hit.  I recommend The Light Before Day by Suzanne Woods Fisher as a quick and easy read with a little touch of romance, mystery and history.

**I received this book free from Revell for my honest review**

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Review: Ellie Claire Journals

Journaling is something I have struggled with to do consistently. I also don't consider myself a good artist, but I do enjoy drawing little designs on my papers. Even back in school I remember having pages of little designs that I found myself drawing when I was bored in class! I was recently blessed with these beautiful  Ellie Claire art journals from Worthy Publishing. I'll be honest that typically when I have journaled I've just used a spiral notebook because it was cheap. When the box arrived I had NO idea what was in it. It seemed too big for anything that I was expecting. When I opened it up I realized why the large box. These books were so beautiful that such care was taken in the packaging as to not have them damaged in shipping! There was even a heavy card stock type paper in between each book, so they weren't rubbing against the other. In the book were Faith & Lettering Journal, The Illustrated Word and Illuminate your Story Journal

I jumped into the Faith & Lettering journal first.  I liked the very first page because you could "present" it to a beautiful lady in your life and she could have some fun journaling through scripture.  I then read the introduction to have an idea how to best use the journal.  I decided to jump right in and work on trying my hand at copying Ezekiel 36:26. I liked that the script was written out and then I had four sections to practice.  As I moved through the book I found I really liked the way the book was bound. It was done in such a way that the book lay as I needed it to for writing, but the spine wasn't damaged in anyway.  The spine also has the title of the book as any other book would have, so if you stack these on your shelves you'll know just what you are looking for. The Faith & Lettering Journal also has an elastic band on the spine to keep a pen handy. There are plenty of pages to journal your own thoughts, journal based on specific scripture verses that were given or just practice writing in a fancier way then you normally would.

I next delved into The Illustrated Word Journal.  The front cover looked "old" to me, like a treasure found on a bookshelf from long ago!  It has the title as well on the spine, so it's easily found on your shelf. It is also bound in the way that allows it to easily open for for writing without breaking the spine.  The verse on the very first page says it all! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. 1 Chronicles 16:34  This book contains 40 illustrations to color as well as full-color illustrations from the archives of the Museum of the Bible.  We are now able to bring our scripture journals to a new level just as monks brought scripture to live in the past.  

On One side of the page is the above illustration with a full page for journaling.  Below is the other side of the page for you to color yourself.  

Last, but most definitely not least is the Illuminate Your Story Journal. This actually was my favorite of the three books I received. I really love the color of the spine as well as it has the pen holder on the spine, an elastic band to keep the book closed and a bookmark. There is also a little envelope on the very back for "treasures" that you might want to keep! Illuminated manuscripts came from using gold or silver leave decorations within the texts that illuminated when the light caught them. I've always admired the history books that we've read that have the beautifully illustrated letter to start the book or chapter. It's like I could see in my mind the person that spent so much time and effort to make that one letter so beautiful.  In the beginning there is a wonderful introduction with a history of illuminated letters.  I think the Insular and Romanesque styles were my favorite, but the Gothic was right there with them.  It was nice to read the history of the different styles.  There is a supply list as well as a section on how to use the journal. I didn't have any fancy pens or markers, so I did all my work in colored pencil. I do plan to get some pens because I see how the colored pencils left it a little flat and they just didn't pop like they could have with the use of pens.  I figured I'd start out at the beginning of the book with the first letter, the letter A. This book is filled with letters, borders, animals, flowers etc. Everything you need to journal beautifully.  

I've basically been choosing a different one of these three journals to use while I do my quiet time. It's a nice way to read and expand on scripture. Some of the illustrations are so beautiful you could easily take them out and frame them to enjoy. There are just so many ways that you could use any of these books. You can follow their style which is actually the way I enjoy using it. I'm not as creative as I used to be when I was younger, so when the section wants us to create our own I just stick to drawing what I was shown. The nice thing about these journals is that you are free to use them any way you'd like. The quality is so nice, that they are wonderful for gifts. The covers are beautiful, the paper quality is nice and thick and honestly just looking at them puts a smile on my face! These Ellie Claire Journals are available at Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble.  

Barnes & Noble: 

Barnes & Noble:

Barnes & Noble:

I received these items free from Worthy Publishing for my honest review. 


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Review Stratagem by Robin Caroll

Suspense and mystery have not been the style that I typically enjoy reading. I've recently read and few and seemed to be getting hooked.  When I was picked up Stratagem I was hooked almost from the beginning.  Psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux makes a living by using his background to make adventure games for businesses. He uses knowledge that he learns about those in the game to push them to the limits in areas which they would normally avoid.  When his ex-wife, Anna-Belle, is murdered in one of these games Grayson becomes the prime suspect.  The spouse is always the first person looked at in a murder, but when your the ex as well as you created this game they aren't looking any further than you. When you also took time off at the exact time this adventure game/murder occurred you look even guiltier.

Grayson has previously worked with and developed a good relationship with the local police department.  When his friend, Brandon Gibbons, and his partner, Danielle Witz, start the murder investigation they have differing opinions about Grayson. Brandon doesn't think he has anything to do with it, but Danielle feels he's the first, last and only suspect. Anna-Belle had a food allergy that not many knew about. She was so very careful to not let others know about this allergy as well as to carry multiple epi pens around just in case. Nobody seemed to understand what happened on that day. Even though Grayson trusts his friend he knows that he can't just sit still while others work the case. He and his assistant, Pam, jump feet first into their own investigation. As they watch the video from the adventure game weekend they realize that there is a block of time missing. As they discover this someone vandalizes Grayson's house and they realize than more than Detective Danielle blame him for Anna-Belle's death. Can Grayson and Pam find out who the real killer is before the detectives arrest Grayson for his ex-wife's murder?

"I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review."

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Review: Cozy, Snowy Cuddles Touch and Feel Book by Thomas Nelson

When I had younger kids my favorite type of book for them was anything that was touch and feel. I liked that the books had more dimension because of it being the story as well as having a textural aspect. I have a two year old grandson that I've been spending some time with and he loves books. I knew that this one would be great for him and he'd love it even more because of the animals.

When I first looked at the Cozy, Snowy Cuddles I noticed right away that even the cover had a textural element to it. The ice on the ground as well as the letters had a rough texture to make little ones think of snow.  It's also got the baby polar bear kissing it's mama which warmed my heart.  Little bear is on an adventure in the cold and as he travels he gets to see different animals. We start out with the Narwhal and we are able to feel the rubbery texture of his body.  As the snow is floating down the little bear meets the huskies. How soft and fluffy the huskies fur is to the touch!  The seals cuddle as the wind blows.  As the night gets closer we see the moose curling up together to stay warm.  The little bear is home safe and sound and thanking God for the wonderful kisses he gets from his parents.  As they snuggle and say goodnight we can touch the soft fur of the mama bear.

Such a sweet story of the little bear's adventures in the cold. It's a nice, sturdy board book which is always best for the little ones. Children love exploring their world and being able to touch the different textures in this book is wonderful to help expand their minds.

A big thanks to Thomas Nelson and BookLook Bloggers for allowing me to review this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, November 9, 2018

Review: Hillsong Kids DVD- Can You Believe It? and Giveaway!

I love hearing Christian music and especially when it has a little "r&b or rock" to it. Makes me feel like it's music I grew up on, but with more of a Christian content.  I was recently given the Can You Believe It? DVD from Hillsong Kids to watch.  I like the fact that the DVD offers a "talk radio" type section with Dave and Funny man Dan. Then there and music videos, live in the studio videos and lyric vides. I liked that there were several ways to watch the songs because often one way appeals to someone more than another. 

I really enjoyed the songs and I think my favorite was What a Beautiful Name.  What an amazing voice the lead singer has in this song!  

I liked that the kids were in the videos and I felt the way they were dressed and their actions would really reach other kids. I noticed there was a guitarist with blue hair which really will resonate with today's kids who love changing hair color frequently.  Another favorite of mine
was We Came To Meet With You where it shows the children setting up for an event. The kids prepare the church for service while wearing shirts that say we serve. I think it's always helpful for kids to see others kids helping serving in the church as well as their community.  Here's a great little video that gives a idea about what the dvd shows.  You can also purchase it for yourself here if you are interested in owning your own copy.  

Hillsong believes that teaching children to love God and others takes place in both the home and in the church. For this reason they seek to partner with parents (the greatest teachers of all!) and with church pastors and leaders, equipping them with great resources. Through fun experiences, meaningful music and ministry that encourages kids to participate, Hillsong Kids presents Jesus Christ and His Church in a relevant way, creating moments which children will never forget.

I've been fortunate enough to offer a a Rafflecopter giveaway  for this DVD to one lucky person.

“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.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Review: hope your heart needs by Holley Gerth

In this day and age with all the negative we hear from the news we need something positive to start our days.  Holley Gerth has given us hope your heart needs to help jump start our days! There are 52 messages in this book of how God cares for us.  One of my favorites was #7 in the book-Guide.  The verse was For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.  Psalm 48:14 We are often asked to do many things and we always wonder what is the right answer. In this section we are reminded that God is there to help and guide us! He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake (Ps. 23.30) and You guide me with your counsel (Ps.73:24) We are not alone in this world and can lean on God.  Here is a quick look at all the different sections included in the book.

Holley Gerth is an author, licensed counselor, speaker and certified life coach.  She enjoys reaching out to the heart of women through her blog.  She has also given us many wonderful choices to start our morning off with or even turn these sections into a weekly study.  She has written many other books including one of her newest books fierce hearted.  For more information visit her FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram sites.  

**I received a copy of this book free from Revell for my honest review**

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Thankful Tuesday 11/6/2018

Today I'm extremely thankful that Issac seems to be recovering well.  He still has a long recovery process, but I'm amazed at how well he's done since we've been home! He had his spinal fusion on 10/24/2018 and we came home on 10/27/2018. He's been off the heavy pain meds for days as well as hasn't needed anything for muscle spasms. I had heard that was one of the biggest issues for most was the muscle spasms. He still can't get in or out of bed by himself and his sitting and standing time is limited. Each day he gets up more and yesterday without me asking him he asked to get up 7 times. For the most part he's acting himself. Making sure he has his pretend keys, registrations, wallet and phone. He keeps asking when he'll be ready to sit on the couch to "drive" (LOL)

I'm incredibly thankful to Dr. Lark, his orthopedic surgeon. He's a wonderful doctor and really has a way with the kids. He jokes around with them, but also gets right down on their level and will answer ANY questions that they have. The last day we saw him in the hospital he asked Issac how he was feeling? Issac told him his back hurt (LOL) Dr.Lark replied "duh!!" and Issac responded with "it's all YOUR fault!" This was all fun and games and he's just truly a wonderful doctor. Everyone that we met in the hospital spoke his praises and said how lucky we were to have him as our doctor. His "about me" section in his profile pretty much sums up the type of person he is to his patients.

I'm thankful that Issac is doing so well, but I know that we aren't "recovered" totally yet. There is a long healing process, but I'm thankful he's doing so well. Even the day we were leaving Dr. Lark told me that Issac had far exceeded his expectations. He said he really didn't think he would have managed everything he needed to be released. It was hard, especially that first day, but he's doing so much better now!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Review: Second-Chance Dogs by Callie Smith Grant

Most people in life are either cat people or dog people. I always thought myself a cat person until an unfortunate event happened in our life. One night while the kids and I were gone and my husband worked out of town we were robbed. We knew it was by local kids, but it was still unnerving. I told my husband that night I was going to the shelter in the morning and bringing home the biggest dog they had. I saw a rottweiler on their website, but when I got there they didn't have one. I asked them to show us the biggest dogs they had and one of the first ones we saw was the one we brought home. We were told he was a Sharpe/coon dog mix, but most people think he has more German Shepherd in him.  From that day on our house because a cat AND dog house. It's so sad to go to the local shelters because they are so full of animals waiting to be adopted. I see posts every day that sadden me of all those needing forever homes!

Our rescue dog Spike! 

Thankfully Second-Chance Dogs by Callie Smith Grant brings the more joyful side of those animals in shelters.  This book is full of 36 TRUE stories of the dogs that have been rescued and how more often than not they rescue us. Many times we are sad or lonely and an animal can make a huge difference in our lives. Just having someone to come home to and that depends on us can often turn our lives around.  These stories made me laugh as well as cry and hope that one day there won't be any animals sitting in shelters waiting for homes.  

Callie Smith Grant is the author of several other books.  The Cat in the Window: And Other Stories of the Cats We LoveThe Dog Next Door: And Other Stories of the Dogs We LoveThe Cat on My Lap: Stories of the Cats We Love and The Horse of My Heart: Stories of the Horses We Love  I think anyone that loves animals would enjoy Second-Chance Dogs or any of the other books written by this author. This are the feel-good type of books that you can curl up with a cup of tea on a cold day and enjoy. 

**I received this book free for my honest review from Revell** 

Friday, November 2, 2018

Review: Switch On Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf

There is so much going on in our daily lives that we need to remember to take the time and focus on what is truly important. Many people like to start their days with Quiet Time. This might be time to read their Bible, reflect on what is going on in their daily lives etc.  Dr. Caroline Leaf has written a book to help us with our we think which in turns affects us both physically and mentally! Switch On Your Brain Every Day has 365 readings for peak happiness, thinking and health.  

Each day there is a Bible verse, a brainy tip and a reading. It is recommended to get a journal and spend some additional time with the reading using the ask, answer and discuss method.  For the ask portion write down several questions that came up while you were reading.  In the answer section you apply the passage to your life by responding as detailed as you can to the questions you wrote in the previous section.  Last, but not least you discuss.  This is the area where you further think about your own thoughts and actions in light of the passage that you read.  The author wants us to remember that we have power in our minds as we are working through these readings.  The choices that we make can change our lives and the world for both good and bad.  God has given us an amazing power to chose and we need to constantly focus on choosing for the positive. 

Dr. Caroline Leaf is a cognitive neuroscientist with a PhD in Communication Pathology and a BSc Logopaedics specializing in cognitive and metacognitive neuropsychology. Her theory of how we think has helped many people with learning disabilities, autism, traumatic brain injury, emotional health issues and many more.  Dr. Leaf is focused on help people learn how to think, learn and find their purpose in life.

I found this book to be a great way to start my day. To focus on a specific reading and how it can affect my life. To help me to focus more on the positive and what I can change about my own life for it to be more meaningful. This book could be used for a quick read in the morning and to get the day started or for a more in depth approach with a group study.  Dr. Leaf has a website as well as can be followed on Youtube. Many have found her videos to be extremely helpful.  She also has A newsletterFacebookTwitter and Instagram

**I received this book free from Baker Books for my honest review.**

Monday, October 15, 2018

Review: A Christmas Prayer by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Christmas is probably my favorite time of the year. I've always be in awe of those that journeyed across the US for a better life. I often think I would have liked living in those times, but I can't imagine the work load and stress that they endured.  In A Christmas Prayer Cynthia Cooper and her mother are attempting a cross-country journey with her new fiance, Walter Prentice.  Walter isn't exactly the ideal man that Cynthia would like, but she needs someone that will take care of her and her mother and she knows he will do that. She's marring for stability rather than love. Walter isn't really a hands-on type of man and that become apparent very quickly as the journey starts. They are traveling with two other wagons, one a widowed man with children and the other a brother and sister team.  Cole is the leader of the wagon train, but Cynthia sees that Jack is equally capable. She is hopeful that their knowledge will make up for Walter's lack.  

Traveling this way is not easy and Cynthia and her mom struggle to adjust.  They enjoy the company of the others at night and soon Cynthia and Virginia, Cole's sister,  take over the care of Jack's children during the day to try and help keep them occupied. The days are long, but just when they think they are getting close to the end winter weather starts to fall.  The men go back and forth about the best way to deal with the current situation. They still have some food left, but can't survive the winter out in the snow. Later the group is blessed by Cole running up on an abandoned cabin while hunting for food. This may be the answer to their prayers. It's small and it will be hard for them all to live in such tight places, but it will be protection from the winter weather and may just save their lives.  

As they wait out the winter and pray their food lasts until better traveling weather romance seems to be running through everyone's veins. Cynthia is engaged to Walter, but Walter feels that Cole is "too friendly" around her and that she spends too much time watching Jack's children.  Is Cynthia on the path to true love rather than the stability that Walter will offer?

A Christmas Prayer by Wanda E. Brunstetter and a great story.  There are 170 pages, but the author engages us so easily through the characters that it's a very quick read.  There are so many great choices from this author that you could keep busy for many months. She has written stand alone books as well as several series.  To keep up-to-date with what books are coming out check out her social media sites: FacebookPinterestYoutubeTwitter and Godtube

"I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review."

Sunday, October 7, 2018

First six weeks of school is in the books!!

We have completed the first six weeks of school and I feel like we are doing pretty good. This might be our best start yet! It never seems to fail that we make a few changes and tweak what we are doing, but that's part of homeschooling. As the years have gone I've learned that I need to go with the flow more and not stress so much if something isn't working. Sometimes things just don't work with certain children and it's better to drop it than push through. Sometimes we should push through and that's been one of my biggest struggles is knowing when to stop and when to push through.  I guess by the time I graduate our youngest child I'll finally feel like I know what I'm doing (LOL) This year marks our 15th year homeschooling and I often still don't feel like I know what I'm doing. I've realized that being in charge of your child's education is stressful and not wanting to make mistakes can cause a mom to do crazy things (LOL)

This year our middle child is in the 11th grade. The plan was to start out with Abeka American History. My daughter enjoys the Abeka history books and has been using them for a few years now. I try to order used when I can, so that's what I did, but this year it was problematic :( I didn't pay much attention to what arrived in the mail until it was almost time to start. Then I realized the reader and answer key didn't match :( I don't mind a little older book, but I do mind when I don't have a usable answer key. That's one of my favorite tools for homeschooling is to have an answer key for everything! A friend used the same program and was able to loan me hers, so we now have the more current book AND answer key. Makes grading much easier. I debated about English and ultimately went with the American Lit from Bob Jones. When I was flipping through it I was pretty sure it wouldn't work out for us, but again I got it super cheap and so we tried it. About two weeks in my daughter came to me that she was struggling. We decided we'd drop that program and go back to picking books to read and doing comprehension questions and some writing. Her first book that I picked was The Giver by Lois Lowry. I had grabbed this one day at the library and thought it was something she'd like. I figure we'll have an interesting mix of books read by the end of the year.  We are always open for suggestions! :) For Science we are doing something new for us. We are using a free Anatomy & Physiology program from Guest Hollow.  She's really enjoying this and it's usually the first subject that she turns to each day. 

For our youngest we are also using a free program, American History Year 2, from Guest Hollow as well. I had heard about this site from another homeschooler, I wish I could remember who told me, and I had bookmarked it to check out. It's working great for us this year and both of them seem to really be enjoying them.  I recently wrote about how we are using this history this year.  Issac is continuing to use A+ Math that we were given last year to review. He used to be ahead in math, but once multiplication and division came into play he has struggled since.  We are just continuing to work through some of the basics to try and strengthen his foundation.  We are throwing some health this year.  I figured we could easily add things on for our science.  Just recently I was given the chance to review Science in the Industrial Age and I'm loving it after just one lesson! We jumped back into First Language Lessons 3 this year. Issac has trouble remembering basic parts of speech and we are more often than not reviewing and stopping other programs due to his memory. I decided that these programs had worked great when he was younger, so we'd go back to it. I'd rather have a good basic foundation for him than trying to push ahead on things that I don't think are necessary for him.  We have been reading some of the longer chapter books from our history as our English and I've been finding comprehension questions and vocabulary to use. We also just received Mosdos Press Literature-Pearl to use. I'm not sure why I went with this level because Issac is usually behind at least one level. I went through and skipped the longer stories and we started with the smaller stories. We are going to attempt to modify it to make it work for us :) 

Usually by this time I'm feeling SO behind. Issac has been doing so great for the last 2 or so weeks. Not arguing about doing his work. Getting up early and wanting to work before appointments and not complaining if we were late some days. It's really made this year much more enjoyable and I'm hoping it continues!

The kids are also continuing to do their drama classes as well as Issac is doing a space themed class and one where they are reading The Adventures of Rush Revere-The Revolutionary War. I highly recommend these books! This company is wanting to get these books into children's hands and get them to develop a love of history. They have been VERY generous with our co-op in helping supply books. 

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Review: A secret To Die For by Lisa Harris

In my mind there isn't much better than sitting down on a rainy afternoon or lazy weekend and reading a book.  A Secret to Die For is just the book for one of those afternoon! I will admit that a good romance is usually my first choice, but Lisa Harris writes great suspense novels that include romance and mystery.  

In A Secret to Die For Grade is adjusting her life to the death of her young daughter and the break up of her marriage due to the loss of their daughter. On the anniversary of her daughter's death she's woken up to the sounds of someone breaking in her home. Trying to decide if this is a fight or flight scenario she decides it's a flight and manages to barely escape before the intruder enters her room. She manages to hide until help arrives. Later that morning she has a reunion with an old friend of her husband's.  He's working a homicide case and they are lead to her for help.  Grace knew her client was worried, but she never really thought anything would happen to him.  As she tried to help the police she is drawn even more deeper into the case.  As they try to decipher the cryptic messages that Stephen left Grace and Detective Nate have their own personal demons to wrestle. She's struggling with thoughts of her daughter and her grief for not having done more for Stephen and Nate is struggling with PTSD from a recent bombing that killed his partner.  As Grace tries to help Nate with his PTSD he's rushing to solve the case of who killed Stephen and why before Grace is put into harms way again.  

I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy read, but one that kept me interested the entire time.  I have read quite a few of her books and I've never been disappointed! To keep up with what she's currently working on follow her Blog, her Facebook page, her Twitter page or her Pinterest page.  

**I received a free copy of this book from Revell for my honest opinion.**

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Issac's 6th grade American History

Issac has really become interested in history in the last year and so I decided to try and make that more of a focus this year. I had heard about Guest Hollow from another mom and thought I'd check it out. Issac was really interested in the American History, so that was what I focused on finding.  Since we studied a little bit of American History last year I decided to go with the American History Year 2 that is a free option. I knew going into this program that links could not work and I'd need to request lots of books from the library, but I thought it was worth a shot! :)

One thing I decided to do was use file folders for each week. I printed out the lesson plan for the week and then anything else I needed to print I could have ready in the folder. The first few weeks are focused on the Civil War and suggest you either use Time Travelers: The Civil War by Home School in the Woods. We had been blessed with receiving this item free for reviewing it earlier this year. It was also recommended to use History Pockets-The Civil War. The author recommends one or the other, both are typically too many activities. I know that some of the activities in the Time Travelers unit were hard for my son, so I purchased the history pockets to supplement. I just picked a few things from both to use during those first few weeks. I'm noticed that as much as I'm wanting to do more hand-on activities Issac is just happy to have me read to him. He'd be happy to just sit and listen to me read everything in the history lesson and him not do any activities. That wasn't my plan at all, but some days that's what we do. I was hoping that I could get him more engaged in his learning with some fun activities.

While I was filing my papers in the folders I was also searching and requesting library books and marking which ones were available locally. I would say 90% of the books were easily available to us via library lending.  As I received the books from the library I'd use a little post it note and mark which week they were to be used. I then purchased a plastic tub that could hold a few weeks of all my books. I put my file folder with schedule and printed items in there, the books for the week and any additional books that might be used for multiple weeks. This way everything I need for history is in that box. I also decided a few weeks in that the book that is read for several weeks would become our reading book and we'd work on comprehension. We are about to finish Farmer Boy and we used the vocabulary and comprehension questions from homeschool share.  Our next book will be Sounder and we are using vocabulary and comprehension questions from Glencoe.

I've made a few little tweaks which is basically picking and choosing which items we are going to do. I also find that I still sometimes print more than we do, but I like having it already printed and ready to go. It helps Issac stay on test for me to not have to stop and print. We are provided with lots of different activities and even when the links don't work I can usually search and find what I need. They have lots of different free and paid options for multiple subjects. I'm thankful that I looked into Guest Hollow because they really have tons of great options.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Review: A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson

Melody Carlson is an author that I have enjoyed reading her books for a while now. Fall and winter are some of my favorite times of the year and I especially enjoy reading any books about Christmas.  A Christmas by the Sea was a very easy read that captured my attention and interest from the very beginning.  Wendy Harper's husband has passed away and with that loss came debts that she's struggling to pay. She inherits a cottage at the beach that she loved as a child, but as an adult she sees it as the answer to her prayers. She can hopefully sell it, pay off the debts and put aside a little for her son, Jackson's, education. Jackson sees this as a different opportunity. He wants to put aside the sadness of losing his dad and give him and his mom a fresh start in a place that brought her such happiness as a child. As much as Wendy is focused on selling the cottage Jackson is focused on finding a way for them to keep it and stay there.  

This was such a great read and a sweet story. Jackson worries about his mom so much now that his dad has passed. He knows she's stressed, but she always seems so happy when she talks about her times at the beach cottage when she was a child.  He just wants to do whatever he can to help her get back to those happy times.  He knows she worries about money, but when she can just sit down and relax she seems peaceful. As she tells Jackson about the sand dollars that her grandparents collected they decided to go on a hunt for themselves. Wendy is shocked at the number they find and realizes this might help answer her money issues. As she works with the sand dollars making beautiful art she starts to find some peace and possibly a new future for her and her son.  

**I received this book free from Revell for my honest review." 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Thankful Tuesday 9/18/2018

As I took our dog outside this morning the world seemed so calm and peaceful. As I stepped over all the leaves on the ground it was a reminder that just a few short days ago it didn't feel this way. The sky was stormy, the rain constant and we had no power. Our situation is minor compared to that of so many closer to the coast.  My heart aches for all the damage they have received.  Even just 15 minutes away from me the roads are closed and it's totally flooded. I'm thankful for so many that have come here to help those in need. All those out risking their lives more often than not for people that didn't heed the warnings to stay home. None of us want to sit in the dark, but we have to remember that it's our husbands, brothers and sons that are having to go out in those storms to get our power back on! I'm thankful when a community can reach out and help each other and I only wish that it would happen more often than when there is a disaster.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Review: Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms by Debora M.Coty

I know most moms like to say they are too blessed to be stressed, but do we really act that way?? I know I like to say that, but then I turn around and stress about so many things. Most of the things I'm stressing about I have no control over anyway! Debora Coty has given us an amazing tool to help work on the stress in our lives and truly act as we speak.  Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms has a gorgeous cover that just grabs your attention to start.  The flowers seem to jump right off the cover and there is a handy, pink ribbon to keep your place while reading.  The book starts off with a "stress test" for moms.  There are 10 true/false questions to help place you in the yellow alert, orange or red areas for stress.  I fell into the orange alert level.  "Look out-you're at toxic stress levels".  I felt that pretty much summed up my daily life :) 

There are four sections in the book: 

1) Why Didn't Anybody Warn Me?
2) So Where's the Ding-Dang Motherhood Manual?
3) Coloring My Word with the Crayons Papa God Gives Me
4) Mothering is a Lifetime Gig

In each of these sections there are short, but sweet, lessons to help lower the amount of stress in our lives.  Chapter 2 I'm Not Crazy-I'm Crazy-Busy is how I might describe my life! We are given the verse I will strengthen you, surely I will help you from Isaiah 41:10 One thing that stood out to be in this chapter is that the word "should" is a dangerous word. Deborah tells us that it's a stress-filled pressure-packed slave driver. We compare ourselves to others and what they are doing. We then feel we "should" be doing certain things. This often is a use cause of stress in our lives.  In Chapter 12 Chocolate Caulks Relationship Cracks we learn about Forgiveness.  Romans 12:19 says Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do.  "I'll do the judging," says God.  "I'll take care of it." We often feel the need to get revenge on those that do us wrong.  Sometimes it's a struggle with a neighbor or a friend.  We need to learn to be kind to one another, tenderhearted and forgiving.  At the end of each chapter there is a navigating the hood section. There are a few questions that really help to dig deep and study our hearts.  

Motherhood is a challenge no matter what age your children are at the time.  When they are younger we are dealing with taking care of their every needs. As they grow older they don't need us as much and often push us away when they do need us. As they grow and leave our homes we have to learn to parent in an entirely different. Once they leave the home and start families of their own they still need us, but in different ways. We are parents for life, but it doesn't mean it's easy. It's easy to get stressed and not rely on our heavenly father to help us through the tough times.  We need to pray and remain faithful that he's got this and will be by our side always.  

"I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review."

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Review: I'd Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel

The title I'd Rather Be Reading pretty much sums up my entire life! When I was a young child we lived very close to our local library. I remember going quite often and I checked out as many books as I could carry between my hands and my chin. That was my gauge on the number of books that was enough. I could safely carry books without dropping them that way. I remember sitting on the floor of the library and just looking at all the books on the shelves and looking until just the right ones jumped out to me. Even to this day I think how much I'd love to live across from the library. Anne Bogel was fortunate to live that dream of mine. I think there are many people out there that would consider her to be amazingly lucky to have lived right next to the library.  

Anne has given us a quirky and delightful read about her growth as a reader. Many of the things mentioned in this book were true for me. I remember as a young girl loving The Little House series and then later moving into The Babysitters books. My brother would always give me books for my birthday when he was older and I always figured it would be another "weird" book that he'd pick out (LOL) He always picked out books that I'd never pick out, but I almost always enjoyed reading them. He pushed me as a reader and that's something I'm not often good at doing to myself. I love mysteries, romance and anything about the Amish.  I tend to stick in those same sections of the library, but I'm almost never disappointed when I do :) I can't say that I've read all the classics or even many books that others have read. I don't belong to a book club and may never. I have stacks and stacks of books in my house and many are still unread after sitting here for years. Anne understand and shares in her book that sometimes it's just got to be the right time to read certain books.  We may all vary in the types of books we read, but one thing is sure that we all cherish the books we have. We love to go into the library and just feel the happiness that all the books bring to us. Stop into the bookstore and have to make the sad choices about which books you can afford to buy. Look at our Goodreads lists and see how many thousands of books are on our to-be-read list.  If your looking for a fun book from a fellow book lover then I highly recommend I'd Rather Be Reading

Check out Anne Bogel's social media for additional books she's written.  She authors the blog, Modern Mrs Darcy and has a podcast What Should I Read Next?

**I received a copy of this book free from Baker Books for my honest review." 

Review: The Light Before Day by Suzanne Woods Fisher

In the 3rd book of The Nantucket Legacy Series we are focused mainly on Henry & Hitty Macy.  Henry has been away for several years...