Monday, March 2, 2015

Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter {Deseret Book Review}

I'm so excited to share another amazing devotional-style book from Emily Belle Freeman called Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter!  You may recall, back in November, I had a chance to review a book called "Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas."  At the time I was frustrated and overwhelmed with the sensationalism and commercialism that surrounded one of our favorite holidays...  The Christ-Centered Christmas was just the ticket to help us focus on what mattered most:  Christ!  Author Emily Belle Freeman has taken this same approach and created another wonderful study of the Savior, this time with a focus on Easter!
One of the few titles for adults on the Easter holiday, this beautiful gift book tells the story of Jesus from Crucifixion to Resurrection in short chapters, illustrated with line art, told in the first-person narrative of seven disciples. Each section offers the author's commentary on the lessons learned from each disciple and suggests simple traditions to follow to remember how implementing the teachings of the Easter holiday can vastly enrich your life today.
Personal stories include:
  • Lazarus
  • Simon
  • Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus
  • Mary Magdalene, Mary, and Salome
  • Thomas
  • The disciples on the road to Emmaus
  • Jesus Christ
  • In this small book Emily Belle Freeman demonstrates for us seven traditions that will lead us closer to christ while not compromising the childhood joy of the Easter season.  Starting with those who were closest to Christ she weaves the story of those who walked with him, each story bearing testimony of our Savior.  Just like the Christmas book, at the end of each chapter she offers the reader a tradition to consider, a hymn to sing, a story to tell, a lesson to share and scriptures for further study.

    This is such a great way to study leading up to Easter!  Read a chapter each week or read one each day leading up Easter.  This tiny book will be a wonderful devotion for the whole family.  I plan to use this book in the week leading up to Easter as our nightly scripture study!  I'm so excited!

    Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter is available in paperback or as a Bookshelf eBook at!  

    Disclaimer:  I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions here are my very own.

    Friday, February 27, 2015

    The Berenstain Bears' Please & Thank You Book {Flyby Giveaway!}

    We LOVE the Berenstain Bears!  My kids have always loved the books and then recently the TV show!  Mama & Papa always have important character lessons to teach their cubs and we always get to learn along with them.    In this new little board book by Ideals Children's Books we enjoy peeking in on the bear family once again.  This time we are learning the importance of manners.  Specifically remembering to say, Please, Thank You and You're Welcome!
    In The Berenstain Bears’ Please & Thank You Book, little readers are introduced to the importance of manners, through gentle reminders given to Brother, Sister, and Honey as they await their milk and cookies. The short story and well-loved characters provide toddlers a perfect introduction to valuable life lessons and routines.
    Board books are a welcome addition to the Berenstain Bears collection.  I sure wish we had had these when my girls were younger.  They are so sturdy and perfect for toddlers hands!  This book is short, sweet and gently introduces children to the importance of manners.  The pictures are the same as your children will remember from previous books but these newer books are all written by Stan & Jan's son, Mike.  Mike carries on the tradition of Bear Country perfectly!

    Thanks to FlyBy I get to give away a copy of this board book to a Swinging On Small Hinges reader!  Yay!  Giveaway ends midnight, March 6th.  Enter using the Giveaway Tools below...  Please?  And Thank You!

    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 the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

    Thursday, February 19, 2015

    Moved. Settled.

    We are finally moved and a bit settled!  
    Here is a picture of our new house...covered with SNOW!

    We love our backyard, we love our front yard!

    We love the screened in porch!

    It feels so good to get moved and to finally have most of our things unpacked...  Ok, about 50% of our things unpacked.  I'm not really sure I want to unpack the rest?

    The girls really love the kitchen "island." 

    Now that we are settled, feel free to come pay us a visit! 
    (Call first.  LOL!)

    Saturday, February 7, 2015

    The Berenstain Bears and the Biggest Brag {BookLook Review}

    My kids LOVE the Berenstain Bears.  They like the books and the TV show.  They always seem to be having some type of problem that Papa Bear tries to "fix" and ends up bumbling!  I like the Berenstain Bears because they always come to some soft, gentle and logic resolution to their problem and the bears learned something about character and the golden rule.

    Since the death of Stan and Jan Berenstain I was curious if these new books coming out would have a different feel.  And while I think they are a bit fact, Papa doesn't even play a role in this book, the message is still good.  We still learn about character, the Golden Rule, and a scripture from Proverbs helps the cubs better understand God's word.

    Unfortunately, the book seems much shorter than the originals (like Too Much TV or Too Much Junk Food) and a little less developed with less of a story line and it gets to the point very quickly.   Still, we learn that it is not good to be prideful or boastful and Gramps steps in to give the cubs a lesson on bragging and boasting.

    The pictures are wonderful, just as good as the originals, and this book is a great addition to our character training library.  

    I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review

    I review for BookLook Bloggers

    Rasmus and the Vagabond GIVEAWAY! {FlyBy Review}

    Welcome!  I just had the opportunity to review this awesome book by Astrid Lindgren called Rasmus and the Vagabond.  First of all, a quiz.  Question:  Who was Astrid Lindgren??  If you don't remember I'll jog your memory...
    Remember this fun and crazy little girl?  Yes!  She's Pippi Longstocking!  Did you know that Astrid Lindgren is the author of the Pippi Longstocking adventures?  She is!  Somehow in my mind I never considered that the author of Pippi actually wrote other books!  (I must live in a hole!)  After i read more about Astrid Lindgren I discovered that she has written a LOT of books, some of which we have read as part of our homeschool...and I didn't even realize who she was!
    Anyway, Yes!  Astrid Lindgren had written another adorable book called Rasmus and the Vagabond and I'm excited that I get to tell you more about it!
    In this story Rasmus is a small boy in a dreary orphanage in Sweden.  One day a husband and wife arrive at the orphanage to pick out a child.  Rasmus hopes that this might be his opportunity for a real home and a mother and father, but his friends scoff at him.  "Only girls with curly hair get picked" they said.  Against all hope Rasmus hopes and hopes and is brutally disappointed when the girl, with curly hair, is chosen.  Rasmus decides he has had enough and runs away.  Meeting up with a tramp named Paradise Oscar, Rasmus learns how to be a vagabond and decides that this might be a decent way to live the rest of his life...  Or is it?

    A chance meeting with some criminals sends Rasmus and Paradise Oscar on an unexpected adventure with even more unexpected results!

    This book was well written, same style as Pippi Longstocking and the Children of Noisy Village.  An easy read for an adult, perfect read-aloud for ages 5+ and independent readers 4th grade +.   You can learn more about this book and get purchasing information by visiting the official website!

    Official Website:

    Now, for the giveaway!  I'm so thankful to FlyBy Promotions for providing a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader of Swinging On Small Hinges!  You can enter using the giveaway tools below.

    Giveaway ends Tuesday, February 10th at midnight!

    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, 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.

    Friday, February 6, 2015

    Embark! by John Bytheway {Deseret Book Review}

    An ideal talk that supports the new 2015 Mutual theme!
    In this motivating talk related to the 2015 youth theme, John Bytheway explains what it means to truly embark — to get fully on board in the service of God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. Using scriptures, powerful stories, and his characteristic humor, John explains that with the Savior's help, we can remain on board and eventually stand blameless before God at the last day.
    Do you have kids in Young Men or Young Women?  If you do, great!  If you don't, that's ok too...neither do I.  I only have children that are Primary age, but, either way, I think you will love this CD/audio download by John Bytheway that supports the mutual theme for this year called "Embark."

    Doctrine & Covenants 4:2 tells us “O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.”

    John Bytheway is a popular speaker and an instructor at BYU.  He has already written dozens of books and audios and I have never read or heard one I didn't like!  Well, now he has done it again.  Embark is a recorded devotional and this talk is a great kickstart to get you thinking about what it truly means to Embark in the service of God.  Using humor (he is really funny!) he takes you through a story of 2 boys.  One who does everything 100% and one who only does things "halfway."  We quickly discover that you just cannot get by with only doing things halfway.  You certainly cannot halfway embark on a journey.  Giving half of yourself to the service of God doesn't really work our well for us either.  It really is an all or nothing thing.  He goes on to discuss the importance of giving our all to the service of God, what that looks like for us, and the blessing we will receive when we do. when we "get on board."  I loved it and have already listened to it twice!

    You can purchase this talk on  The CD version is currently $13.49 or the MP3 download is $7.99.  You can also listen to a sample.

    Disclaimer:  I received this CD free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed here are my very own.  Thank you Deseret Book!

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

    Homeschool Planet {Mosaics Review}

    I'm a pencil and paper kind of gal myself.  In fact, I've gone through several homeschool planners, blog planners, and menu planners, of all different types and varieties.  Some of them I've liked and used often, some of them I immediately kicked myself for wasting my money.  But, through it all, one thing I have never tried has been an online planner.  Like I said, pencil and paper!  Thats for me!

    Well, I had this chance to try out an online planner for free from a company that I know and love called Homeschool Buyers Co-op.  Ooohh boy, do I like free!  I like free more than I like pencil and paper, so I decided to take the plunge and give it a go.  Homeschool Planet is more than an online homeschool planner.  It is a virtual EVERYTHING planner.  

    Homeschool Planet is intuitive to set up, allowing you to input all of your family members and their pictures.   You can color code each person and homeschool subject.  You can also color code appointments and other activities.  Typing them into the system is easy too.

    Scheduling individual subjects and assignments is as simple as typing them into a spreadsheet and assigning page numbers or chapters.  You can assign subjects to one or more children and set it to schedule on certain days, repeat, or skip days.

    Once you get your subjects into the system you can choose multiple views to see the same information.  Calendar view is my favorite.  I prefer a "big picture" to look at of all the things we hope to get done this month...

    You can also view by day or week.  In my defense we are in the middle of moving and not doing much structured schooling right now!  Normally my calendar would be much more full.

    Planner view allows you to see what needs to be done for that day and even provides handy check-off boxes to mark completed activities.

    If you miss a day, a week, or even a month, upon logging in Homeschool Planet will help you make the changes to get you back on schedule again!  If you want to make changes you can easily shift things around at any time.

     Schedule your homeschool classes but also schedule vacations, dentist appointments, chores, birthdays, anniversaries, parties, dinners...the list is endless!

    Homeschool Planet also allows you to keep grades, track classroom hours and print several different type of reports for filing in your portfolio, as well as print out a daily schedule or checklist. 

    Overall I think Homeschool Planet is a great system for online planning.  I love how it encompasses both homeschool AND family life into one easy to use format. This was my first time trying out an online planner and it definitely took some adjustment on my part.  
    The best thing was that, when we fell behind a day, I didn't have to get out my eraser and start making changes to my lesson plans.  It was simple to "slide" everything forward and make the necessary adjustments.

    So, the real question might be, am I really sold on the idea of online tracking in favor of paper and pencil?  Maybe.  I keep going back to Homeschool Planet and I think if I ever get my life settled I will be ready to tackle it in earnest and see if I can really get this program to work for a stubborn paper and pencil gal like me.  

    Do you want to give it a try?  

    Homeschool Planet is offered through Homeschool Buyers Co-op.  Get more details and view a video about Homeschool Planet on their website.   Homeschool Planet retails for $65 for a 1 year subscription or you can pay month-to-month for only $6.95 a month.  
    You can do like I did!  Try it before you buy it by getting the 30 Day Free Trial!

    I was given this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  
    To read what the rest of the Mosaics Crew thought of Homeschool Planet check out the links here:

    Thanks so much to Homeschool Buyers Co-op and Home & School Mosaics for the opportunity to review this fantastic product!  

    Tuesday, January 6, 2015

    Our Adoption Profile is UP!!!

     It has taken forever but we are excited that our home study is complete and our adoption profile is UP on!  Go check it out if you want and please feel free to share our link with anyone and everyone.  Most adoptions are networked through family and friends and we are counting on YOU to help us become a family of 5!  Thanks for stopping by!!

    Sunday, January 4, 2015

    Swimming Like A Fish!

    Both girls are excited to move up a level in Swimming in December!  Kayley is now Intermediate II and Maggie into PreSchool Beginner II.  Good job girls!!

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