Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Iditarod - The Last Great Race on Earth

One of the things I love about homeschooling, is the ability to jump off where we are and run down rabbit trails if we want to...  I always try to keep a read-aloud going in our house.  Sometimes I choose the book, but usually I let Kayley choose the book.  This time she picked the Jr. Classic "The Call of the Wild" by Jack London.  I thought that seemed like an interesting choice...very un-girly, but there's nothing wrong with that, and read-aloud time is a family favorite.

As we were reading through the story of Buck and his adventures as a sled-dog we started to have a lot of questions.  What kind of dog is Buck?  He pulls a sled???  In the Snow!?  Wow!  Why is it so cold in Alaska?

Being the typical homeschooling Mom that I am I thought this was a great time to follow the rabbit down the hole....  Jump in with us!  We have made an entire unit unit around The Call of The Wild.  It has been a blast!

Have you ever heard of the Iditarod?  This is the "Last Great Race on Earth", the one where the dog mushers in Alaska race from Anchorage to Nome in record time.  The race commemorates the Great Serum Run from 1925.   In those days, a doctor in Nome discovered that a few small children had a deadly virus, dyptheria, that without the proper medicine, would sweep through the village and leave devastation in its path.  It was so cold and snow packed that getting a plane into Nome with the needed serum from Anchorage was impossible.  In an amazing feat several sled-dog teams relayed the needed medicine to Nome in blizzard conditions.  They traveled over a 1000 miles, many of the dogs succumbing to the cold - sacrificing themselves to save the families of Nome.  A heroic story!

You've probably heard of Balto, he was the last sled dog on the relay and the one who led the team as they made the final run into Nome...but did you know that there was a dog named Togo who should not be forgotten?

Togo led his team over 350 miles (3xs as far as any of the other mushers on the relay) on his part of the serum run.  He gave so much of himself that he was never able to race again.  Balto, the dog who became famous, ran 53 miles.  Of course, all the dogs who ran the serum were heroes but it is important to remember that the hero is not necessarily the person who crosses the finish line first...in this case Togo is the dog who made the final lap possible. 

Most sled dogs are Malamutes, Samoyeds or Huskies. Aren't they beautiful dogs?  Their fur is nice and thick to keep them warm, their paws are HUGE (built-in snowshoes) and these dogs are so strong and have a ton of energy.  They LOVE pulling the sleds.

Did  you know there is a statue of Balto in Central Park in New York?  His statue, a big favorite in the Park, is located west of East Drive and 67th Street and north of the Zoo.
The plaque reads "Endurance · Fidelity · Intelligence."
And they are.  The dogs are so smart and loyal.

To commemorate the great serum race, the Iditarod is run annually and is, of course, a HUGE event in Alaska.  As we started looking into more information about sled dogs we discovered, conveniently, that the Iditarod starts in only 3 days!  March 3rd, 2012.

We will be following the race this year, if you want to follow along check out the Official Iditarod Homepage!  http://iditarod.com/

Oh, and don't miss the resources page for students.  There are printables and a FUN interactive game that lets you drive your own sled team!

Register as a free user at Iditarod.com and you will have access to this years musher profiles where you can pick your favorite musher and they wills send you daily updates as he/she races the Iditarod!   You can follow along with your AK map or on Google Earth!

Interested in learning more about sled dogs, Iditarod, The Great Serum Run, or Alaksa?  Check out the books and DVDs below from your library!

Monday, February 27, 2012

K5 Learning - TOS Review

Photobucket In todays day and age I believe it is essential that kids know how to use a computer.   Kayley is becoming quite proficient, thanks to all of the online learning opportunities we've had this year through the TOS crew.   

What a blessing to have a chance to review another great computer based program:   K5 Learning!

What is K5 Learning?
K5 Learning offers reading and math enrichment for kids Kindergarten through Grade 5.  Using fun and interactive characters kids practice reading & math while having a great time.   Convenient and easy to use we have enjoyed our experience with K5!

A tour of K5 Learning:
After logging in you can view the Dashboard:  Here Kayley can choose Reading & Math, Math Facts or Spelling.   Spelling - those words would have been assigned by me in the dashboard...Math Facts offers drill and practice of addition, subtraction, multiplication or division.  Reading & Math takes you to the daily lessons.

After choosing Reading & Math Kayley can choose from Reading or Math Lessons or Reading or Math Assignments.  The assignments are assigned by me in the parent dashboard. 

The lessons are fun and interactive!  
Kayley could move throughout the lessons easily with little to no help from me.

One thing I really liked about K5:
In the parent dashboard I can also generate reports, create spelling lists, print out worksheets, visit the help center, change my daughters levels and so much more.  K5 will also give your child a free online assessment to better place them in the right lessons.  Be forewarned, the assessments are LONG but extremely nice to have.  I downloaded mine and saved them in Kayley's file.  It was interesting see how she measured up to her grade range. 


 How much does it cost?

25$ dollars per month for your first child, additional children are only $15.  You can also pay for an annual subscription at $199 for  your first child, $129 for each additional child.

You can download a sample lesson HERE.

You can also enjoy a free 14-day trial or sign up to purchase HERE.

Want to learn more?  Watch the K5 Learning video HERE.

K5 is pretty darn fun!  Want to see what my fellow crewmates thought about K5?  click HERE.

I received K5 Learning in exchange for an honest review.  
All opinions expressed herein are my own.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Reading Eggs - TOS Review

I know I've said it several times, but I'm going to mention it again.  We LOVE online learning.  Kayley loves getting her own computer time each day and I'm always thrilled when she can spend 30 minutes or so on the computer doing something educational.  Thanks to TOS Crew and Reading Eggs we were able to sample another great online learning product!


What is Reading Eggs?
Reading Eggs has made it their mission to make learning to read fun and enjoyable for your children.  It is easy to use and it's virtual world encourages kids to learn...and they don't even realize that they are doing it!  They think they are just having fun and playing games!  There are 100 lessons on Reading Eggs that are perfect for kids ages 4 to 7 who are just learning to read or who are working on reading proficiency.

Here is a small tour of Reading Eggs:
Logging in - choose either Reading Eggs or Reading Eggspress (for 7-12 year olds).

Once logged in, here is a sample of Kayley's dashboard.  You can see there are so many options on the left to choose from.  She can explore the Kingdom.  Continue with lessons.  Have fun in the play room.  Decorate her own house.  Play in the arcade.  Put together puzzles and so much more!

Once she has clicked "Lessons" she continues on the path, which looks a LOT like a fun gameboard!  Each numbered circle is a lesson.

The lessons are very interactive and very fun! 

How much does it cost?
12 months of an online Reading Eggs subscription costs $75.00 and will give your child access to all parts of the growing Reading Eggs website for 1 year.  A 6 month subscription is $49.95.  Reading Eggs offers a special 50% family discount, with any full price 6 or 12 month subscription purchase.  You can add a second or third child at the same time and receive 50% off their subscription price.

You can also purchase a month-by-month plan to Reading Eggs for $9.95.

To purchase Reading Eggs  or if you are not sure -- you can register for a free trial HERE.

Reading Eggs also offers print books to go along with the online lessons.  Learn more about pricing options HERE.

We really enjoy using Reading Eggs and I bet you will too!
I know many of my crewmates were pleased.  To read their reviews, click HERE.

Disclaimer:  We received a 3 month trial to Reading Eggs in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

When the Soul Mends - review

When The Soul Mends, another great book in the Sisters of the Quilt series by Cindy Woodsmall!  Hannah Lapp left her small Old Order Amish community in disgrace eventually settling in Winding Creek Ohio There she met, fell in love with, and is creating a new family with Martin Palmer and his children.   When Hannah's sister makes a confusing and pleading call to Hannah she quickly returns to her old home where her return disrupts the entire community and fires up their disapproval.  Feeling alienated as she works together with her first love, Paul Waddell, she begins to understand the secrets surrounding her absence and significant problems with her sisters mental health.  Conflicting issues leave Hannah feeling overwhelmed and confused.  What will she chose?  The English World?  Or her home...and her first love?

A wonderful read, full of love and forgiveness.  Believe it or not, I didn't read the previous 2 books, but this story can stand alone.  I enjoy Amish stories and this is no exception.  Be sure to catch the excerpt from The Hope of Refuge in the back!

Disclaimer:  I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Blogging For Books program in exchange for an honest review.  
All opinions expressed herein are my own.

The Guardian Duke review & giveaway!

When Lady Alexandria Featherstone's parents go missing while on a high-profile treasure hunt, the King declares them dead.  He then orders Gabriel, the Duke of St. Easton, to take guardianship over Lady Alexandria to keep her safe from those who possibly harmed her parents and may be seeking the same treasure with the intent to harm her!  Alex is unhappy with being assigned a guardian and she adamantly believes her parents are still alive.  She sets out across faraway lands following clues left behind by her parents in her attempt to find them.  Gabriel, sworn by duty, pursues her across England and Ireland trying to protect his ward from harm.  As they come to know one another they begin to understand that the treasures they are searching for are nothing compared to the treasure they find in each other.

The Guardian Duke is a continuation of the Forgotten Castles novels by Jamie Carie that will take you on a treasure seeking adventure!
About the Author:
When she was six, Jamie’s parents met Jesus and soon after started a church. It changed everything. Road trips with her dad—to and from Bible studies across Indiana—were filled with talks of things beyond earth’s bounds – creation and the fall, God and Jesus and the rapture, the earthly walk compared to the spiritual walk, and how we are born for more than what we can see or touch.
The highlight of those nights was stopping at a truck stop in the middle of the night where her dad would spend a little of the offering basket on two slices of pie and a couple of Cokes. Nothing ever felt so special as a middle of the night slice of pie with her dad. And nothing could stop the writing pouring out of her.
As Jamie’s relationship with God grew, she discovered her heart was filled with songs and poetry. During high school she wrote lyrics for her brother’s band. (And she sang them too!) After college, Jamie married, had two sons and decided to stay home with them. While she homeschooled she wrote skits, poems, plays and short stories for school and church.
When her eldest son turned five she dove into the world of novels. She’d read romance novels for years, but couldn’t relate to the flawless, saintly heroines in Christian romance novels. So she decided to write her own.
Snow Angel was born on a frosty night in an old farmhouse in Fishers, Indiana, where the cold floor gave plenty of motivation for the snow scene. Jamie loves to write late at night when the house is quiet and the darkness seems alive. Elizabeth and Noah had been playacting in herhead for a long time, so the story went fast.

Ten years later Snow Angel was published and won the ForeWord magazine Romance Book of the Year winner, was a National “Best Books 2007” Awards winner, and a 2008 RITA Awards® Best First Book finalist. It was the beginning of her dream career.
Jamie and her husband Tony have been married for twenty-one years and live in Indianapolis with their three sons and a giant of a dog named Leo.
If she could only say one thing to her readers it would be, “Live the dreams God has destined you for!”
To learn more about Jamie Carie & The Guardian Duke check out the Forgotten Castles Facebook Page!

I have been fortunate to give away one copy of The Guardian Duke to a lucky reader!   Enter using the Rafflecopter for below!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or
services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it 
on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally 
and believe will be good for my readers. 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, February 24, 2012

Homeschool Mothers Journal

It's been a while since I have taken the time to write a Homeschool Mother's Journal.  I have been falling behind in personal blogging in favor of getting reviews done.  I'm going to be cutting back on some of my regular book reviews just to free up some extra blogging time.  :)

In my life this week…this has been a busy week.  I am SO darn disorganized right now that it feels like a daily struggle to just get through each day.  There are just piles of STUFF everywhere.  I'm trying to declutter but it seems that while you are actually cleaning...you are making bigger messes.  Of course, while my attention is turned to MY big mess, my kiddos are making huge messes of their own.  It has been challenging to get in front of the disaster...I'm still behind it.  I'm getting there.  

This week I set up a new chore plan, a new schedule and I rearranged our school room.  We'll be changing the way we do business in the hopes that we can stay more organized.  When things are a little closer to being done I plan to post some pictures.

In our homeschool this week…we've done nothing.  Yup.  Nothing.  We are taking Spring Break early while I work on Spring cleaning.  We have been reading.  Right now our read-aloud is the Jr version of The Call of The Wild.  We are also heavily reading our scriptures and doing a mini Family Home Evening 2 or 3 times a week.

What’s working/not working for us…we are ready for a change.  When we first started our homeschooling adventure back in Kindergarten, I was so paranoid of making mistakes that I bought K-in-the-box.  I don't regret it.  At all.  But, now, midway through 1st grade we are ready for a change.  I think we are ready to branch out a little more and move away from some formal curriculum and try new things.  I have been spending a lot of time reading reviews, researching and pondering what to do next.  I cringe when I realize that 2nd grade is right around the corner.  Granted, Kayley is only 5...and I can do what I want.  So, we don't 'have' to move up yet if we don't want to.  Which is good...because it'll take me months to decide what to do next anyway.  I love homeschooling in that it gives our family the choice.

We've also been working really hard at staying home.  We have done pretty good at saving money, I'm pleased with our efforts...but...we are so BORED!  I mentioned to my hubby that we need a swingset or something.  Our yard is so boring that there is nothing for Kayley to do outside but dig holes.  Mud holes.  Messy mud holes.  Come mowing season somebody is going to drive their lawnmower down into a hole and get stuck!  I vote swingset.  Maybe swimming pool for the summer?  Water table?  

Things I’m working on…our adoption profile.  I am SO far behind with getting this up and running.  I'm not sure why I am procrastinating this so bad.  We don't have enough money saved up yet anyway, so even if we were approved and were placed, we couldn't pay.  So, it feels like there is no hurry.

I also want to consign some of the girls clothes in our local Rhea Lana sale.  I've never tried this before and I'm wondering if it might not be too overwhelming, or if I'd make enough money to make it worth my time? I miss ebaying...I used to make such good money on there.  (wistful sigh).

My 2012 goals.  I know, I know, I need to do a check-in for February.  I'm writing it on my calendar right now. 

I’m reading…The Guardian Duke and When the Soul Mends for Book Reviews.  The Call of the Wild is our current read-aloud.  I know, its hard to believe, but I actually just finished reading Ender's Game for the first time.  Science-fiction is not my thing, but I did enjoy it!  There's a movie coming out you know...with Harrison Ford!  I thought I'd read the book since they always say the books are better than the movies.  :)  Quiet Moments for Homeschool Moms & Dads is a little daily devotional (love it!) and Be Centsable = how to cut your household budget in half.

 A photo, video, link, or quote to share

The Homeschool Mother's Journal To see what everyone else is up to, 
check out the Homeschool Mothers Link up 
over at The Homeschool Chick.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Beeyoutiful - TOS Review

In the last several months I have been looking for more natural products to try.  I haven't become "green" yet per se, but I would like to.  It isn't easy when you are just starting out.  Especially if you are on a tight budget.  Plus, it seems so hard to find good, safe yet natural products.  Even products that are advertised as natural...sometimes aren't.  It was a great opportunity for us to hear about Beeyoutiful and get to try out some of their natural products!  Thanks to the TOS crew and Beeyoutiful we relaxed with Tension Tamer and B.A.L.M.

About Beeyoutiful:
(From their website)  At Beeyoutiful.com, we believe that each individual is responsible for their own health. It is not a doctor's responsibility to keep you in good health. Instead they are a tremendous resource, especially for those times when urgent care is required. But, they are only one of many resources. And the tools they use, while powerful, are not the only tools available. But a tool is worthless unless one knows how to use it.
We have found a lot a tools that have worked very well for our families, and made Beeyoutiful a repository for those tools, as well as the information to effectively use them. As we learn more, we share more. Our goal is to eventually carry every natural product that we use. We're not there yet. We may never be as we are constantly being exposed to new and great products. As much as is in our power, we want to aid others in obtaining and maintaining good health.

Tension Tamer
I have dabbled with aromatherapy in the past but it has been a long while since I have seriously considered alternative therapies.  As soon as I opened this little tube of tension tamer, the scent took me back....way back...to the days when I studied herbs, made my own tinctures and infusions, and dabbled in aromatherapy.  The funny thing is...the memory alone instantly made me feel better!  Rubbing the aromatic blend on my temples -- even better!  I love the smell!

From the product ad:
  The ultimate de-stressor! This incredible combination of essential oils act to reduce pain, relieve tension and combat headaches. A great nerve relaxer and pocket decongestant. Roll Tension Tamer on temples, wrists, nose, or neck and relax as your headache and tension disappear. Great for children too!

And it is.  Everytime I rolled tension tamer all over my forehead (rough days at my house) my kids asked for it too.  We all settled down quickly after.  This worked great in our house during the "witching hour." You know, that time right around 5pm, before Daddy gets home, before dinner, but after nap.  The one where little girls (and probably boys) run through the house, whooping and hollering, shrieking and shouting.  Try tension tamer - it sucked the rowdiness right out of my kids.  :)

Ingredients: Expeller pressed jojoba oil, expeller pressed sweet almond oil, grape seed oil, eucalyptus essential oil, peppermint essential oil, wintergreen essential oil.

You can purchase Tension Tamer HERE.  It retails for:  $11.00 per tube.  You can also save buy buying more, see chart below.
  • Buy 3 for $9.92 each and save 10%
  • Buy 6 for $9.38 each and save 15%
  • Buy 12 for $8.84 each and save 20%

B.A.L.M. -  Beeyoutiful All Natural Lip Moisturizer
MMMmmmm!  We received the orange lip balm to try.  I love it!  It smells, honestly, like an orange sweet roll and when I put it on my lips my kids laugh and laugh as we try to sniff our own lips.  It goes on smoothly and evenly and doesn't leave your lips feeling oily or greasy like other natural lip balms.   My girls both like it way better than the stinky, waxy chapsticks you get from drugstores and a LOT better than the minty chapsticks which "makes their lips tingle funny."

From the product ad:

Who hasn’t struggled at some point with dry, chapped lips?
Either during the dry winter months, after being outside gardening or during sporting events, or even during a cold. Conventional lip moisturizers can be harsh and even damaging to fragile lip membranes with chemicals and fuel derived bases. Beeyoutiful’s all natural Lip Balms offer you a choice of a soothing, healing lip balm that you can be confident in the ingredients, knowing you are using the very best on your lips!
The convenient size fits in your purse, pocket, diaper bag or gym bag for easy access wherever you may be.
GrapeSeed Oil- high in antioxidants (procyanidolic oligomers and polyphenols) and linoleic acid which nourish, moisturize, naturally provide anti-inflammatory support, and help smooth fine lines and wrinkles! So instead of merely relieving your chapped lips, it is nourishing them and helping them look their best as well!
Shea Butter- also high in antioxidants, Shea Butter helps bring elasticity back to the skin, moisturizes, has natural sun protection, and helps bring healing to scars and wounds.
Beeswax- recommended by Mayo Clinic as an excellent choice for a lip balm, beeswax is high in germicidal antioxidants, possesses natural anti-inflammatory abilities, and has been shown to have antibacterial qualities. It gives body to the lip balm while providing moisture and cell restoration for your lips!
Essential Oils- (Either Orange or Peppermint Essential Oil)- Both provide refreshing flavors while providing their naturally inherent benefits to your lips! Orange is a refreshing, citrusy blast that helps to brighten your lips. Peppermint’s cool, tingly flavor will bring soothing refreshment to your lips on the driest of days!

Lip balm comes in peppermint and orange!  MMMMmmmm!

You can purchase lip balm HERE.   It retails for:  $3.00 per stick.  Or, when you buy 3, pay only $2.70 per stick!

Beeyoutiful offers so many healthful and natural products.  Check out their website and you may find just what you were looking for and to learn more about their company.

Want to read more reviews of Beeyoutiful?  Check out my fellow crewmates thoughts HERE.

Disclaimer:  I received Beeyoutiful products free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Who Am I? TOS Review

I have heard so much about Apologia.  I have looked forward to using their science curriculums when we are a little bit older but I had no idea that Apologia had products other than science.  We were excited to receive a copy of their "What We Believe" set called "Who Am I? And what am I doing here?"   This set offers Worldview studies to help children understand how they perceive the world around them and it encourages children to develop a deeper connection with what Christians believe and why they believe it.  Once they are able to understand their own beliefs they are able to look at other children, from other cultures and beliefs and understand why they believe what they do.

From Apologia:
Our children are bombarded on a daily basis with competing messages. Every song, movie, book, TV show, blog, and game is full of ideas—ideas about truth, morality, beauty, identity, faith, and more. Not all of these ideas are true. Some are wrong, some are deceptive, and some are outright destructive. It is more important than ever that young children be equipped to discern among competing ideas and stand in the truth. This is why Apologia has teamed with Summit Ministries to bring you the "What We Believe" Series. The "What We Believe" Series is an outstanding way to teach your child the essential beliefs of the Christian faith, but it’s so much more! With this student-directed, Bible-based curriculum, your children will learn how to use Scripture as a lens through which to view the world around them—to see everything the way God sees it—and know the truth. 

View the FAQ's for the What We Believe series HERE.

What is it all about?
We received the textbook, notebooking journal, audio CD and coloring book.  Let me tell you more about them:

1.  The textbook.  Aaaah!  There is something so wonderful about opening a brand new textbook.  And this isn't just any text book.  It is beautiful!  The pictures are amazing.  I think many people equate "textbook" with boring, but -- this is anything but!  There are 8 main lessons throughout the book.  What are we doing here?  What will you make today?  What's on your mind?  Can you trust your feelings?  Will you choose wisely?  How will you run the race?  What kind of fruit are you growing?  Who do you think you are?  Each lesson includes the learning objectives, thought-provoking questions, vocabulary words, memory verses, short stories, character traits, prayers, and worldviews that ask your child to compare and contrast other children from other religions.

2.  The notebook.  This component of the materials is wonderful!  We have not tried notebooking before and I was unaware of how FUN it is.  It really encourages your child to get into the stories and extract key concepts and write then down.  The notebook is creative and honestly...way to pretty to write in!   We ended up writing our ideas down on a separate piece of paper and creating a companion notebook...to go with our notebook.  I know, kind of silly...it must be my Type A personality.

3.  The audio CD.  We are not big auditory learners at our house but we enjoy a good audio book now and again.  Unfortunately the audio CD kept my daughters attention for about 2 minutes...  But, we will revisit it in the future and maybe do better.  Be aware though, the audio CD isn't really a CD.  It is an MP3 and your CD player may not be compatible!

4.  The coloring book.  Who doesn't love a beautiful coloring book?  My daughter LOVES to color!  This was perfect for her since several of the notebooking options were a little to advanced for her.

The What We Believe series is designed for students age 6-14.  You can easily use this with younger children and I enjoyed it, even as an adult.  My 5 year old really loved the stories and we spent most of our study time with this book, cuddled on the couch reading and discussing the stories together.

How to buy:
Who Am I? - textbook - retails for $39.00.
Click HERE to purchase or download a sample.

Who Am I? - notebook - retails for $24.00.
Click HERE to purchase or download a sample.

Who Am I? - CD - retails for $19.00.
Click HERE to purchase or listen to a sample.

Who Am I? - coloring book - retails for $8.00.
Click HERE to purchase or view a sample.

What we liked about Who Am I?
-The beautiful pictures and wonderful stories made biblical concepts come alive in a way that takes you out of the traditional Bible stories.
-Kayley was so concerned about the story of Sasha, a Russian boy who was born with crippled feet, that she made a pledge to never treat a child cruelly just because they were a little different.  This isn't something we would've talked about otherwise.
-The differing worldview section is a great idea.  I thought it was a great way to introduce Kayley to other children and cultures who do not believe as we do.   (more on this below)
-Notebooking is so fun!  This was our first experience with it.  We will continue!

What we didn't like about Who Am I?
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) and I found the Worldview sections to be so amazing - I was really excited to read about other religions with my daughter...until I came to ours.  About mid-way through the book we "meet Ellie" a "typical" 12-year-old girl in Salt Lake City who is a Mormon.  This typical Mormon girl was so un-typically Mormon it was laughable and hurtful all rolled into one.  

For example, this section claimed all Mormons:
-only wear skirts (girls) and the boys only wear slacks (not jeans) 
-sew their own clothes 
-have to look immaculate 
-must follow church-mandated lessons on Monday nights
-believe that only Mormons will go to heaven
-treat those who leave the faith "harshly"
-excommunicate other Mormons who leave the faith
-will lose their temple recommend if their house isn't clean
-make their children (specifically oldest daughters) do all the housework and child rearing
-make their daughters do housework instead of play or study
-must marry by a justice of the peace to satisfy the law before marrying in the Temple
-have to pay tithing or you will be excommunicated
-have to pay fast offerings even if it means your children will go hungry
-if they make a mistake, or break a Mormon rule, they will lose their salvation

This story about Ellie is so grossly inaccurate.  Come on.  I'm a Mormon, but I don't know how to sew, I buy my clothes at a store, I'm wearing pants and I haven't combed my hair since yesterday morning (not immaculate here).  My house is a mess, my daughter is playing instead of raising her younger sibling, and if we make a mistake - we repent and ask forgiveness - we believe in God's goodness and grace, just like other Christians.  As a faith, my church has not been fairly represented in this book (did they even interview a real Mormon?)  This leaves me wondering, are the other worldview sections as inaccurate as this one?  Did Apologia really teach me the truth about Islam?  Did I really learn the truth about Buddhism?   Or are the other religions being misrepresented too?  I honestly don't know, and I'm not sure if I can trust this text book to give me the truth since it didn't present the truth of my religion to its audience accurately.  

Will I continue to use this product?  
I don't know for sure.  I think I will sit down and read the remainder of the book before I decide.  It has so many wonderful qualities and it is so full of goodness that I really, really, want to love it.   I know a lot of my fellow crewmates do.  To read their reviews, click HERE.


Disclaimer:  I received Apologia's Who Am I? in exchange for an honest review.  
All opinions expressed herein are my own.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Heart of Gold - Book Review

Heart of Gold by Robin Lee Hatcher

In the rough and tumble town of Grand Coeur, Idaho, Shannon Adair follows her preacher father in his desire to minister to those in the gold towns.  Back in Virginia, Shannon was used to the comforts of plantation living until the civil war struck, bringing fear and chaos.  Learning valuable nursing skills, Shannon spent many hours caring for injured soldiers and nursing them back to health, but in Idaho, Shannon is unsure of how she fits in.  When an opportunity to nurse a critically ill woman presents itself, she knows right what to do.  As her patient slowly deteriorates Shannon's heart goes out to the woman's young son, and his brooding uncle Matthew.  As God slowly works behind the scenes on their hearts Shannon and Matthew begin to discover that the treasure of Grand Coeur isn't just gold...it's love.  

I stayed up way too late to finish this book.  I couldn't put it down!  
Learn more about Robin Lee Hatcher HERE.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com 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.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Edenbrooke - Deseret Book Review

Move Over Jane Austen!  New from Shadow Mountain comes a new novel, a romance, that will make you swoon!  Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson.  Marianne Daventry is far from a proper miss having always lived in the shadow of her beautiful twin sister Cecily.  When their father leaves the country Marianne is forced into living a miserable existence with her grouchy grandmother, while Cecily is lucky to be living a life of fun and frolic with their cousin.  When the girls are both invited to spend some time at a luxurious estate, Cecily is sure she is there to meet her future husband...while Marianne is hopeful for peace away from her watchful grandmother.  After a terrifying encounter with a highwayman, Marianne is thrust into an adventure she didn't plan...and meets the handsome and mysterious Phillip, which was most unplanned.   If you enjoy a Regency romance, then you will love this book as much as I did!  Edenbrooke retails for $15.99 can be pre-ordered through Deseret Book.

Thank you to Deseret Book for providing me with an advanced reader copy of Edenbrooke!  
I was provided this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, February 13, 2012

DisneyWorld 2012

Every other year my family (Steph's parents) take a vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL.  We are all invited...my parents pay for the room...all we have to do is get there and buy our own tickets.  This was my 3rd or 4th trip, Kayley's 2nd, and James and Maggie's 1st!  We had SO much fun!  I didn't take very many pictures this year.  I think I spent a lot more time juggling the girls -- but we had SO much fun!  Kayley hit 44" this year so she was able to ride pretty much everything in all 4 parks.  I was nervous letting her ride, but she love them all.

Here are a few pictures from our trip!

It was ugly weather starting out...but we felt like storm chasers as we kept an eye on the radar as we headed out...
 We had a borrowed GPS (Thanks Gwen & Kay!!)...so we "thought" we wouldn't get lost...hehe

The girls were set...we hit a McDonalds on the way out of town...

In Orlando we stayed at the Parc Soleil.  They had a WAY cool water slide!  We all took several turns down the slide...it was really fun.  The weather was pretty much perfect the whole week!

You could see the Swan & Dolphin, Epcot Spaceship Earth, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the castle from our balcony.  Oh...so, we could see the fireworks at night!  Very fun!

 You can see in the background they are not quite done building all the towers they plan to construct.  Isn't this a great pic of Papa & Maggie?

Here we go!

The first day we went to Magic Kingdom...it was a lot hotter than we thought it was going to be.  It was pretty busy for an off season too.  Not bad, but still busy.  

Peter Pan's Flight...

Silly girl.

Pulling the sword out of the stone...unfortunately it was stuck TIGHT!

Self-portrait in front of the castle...

Waiting in line for Winnie the Pooh.

The 2nd day we went to Hollywood Studios...  uh... and I guess I didn't take any pictures there.  Oops..  The 3rd day was Epcot.  So, here are some Epcot pictures.

You can pick up this flip phone and solve Kim Possible mysteries throughout the park.  They were fun and really took you to hidden places through the Wold Showcase.  I'd really recommend this if you have children about Kayley's age or older.  In fact, we stumbled upon some 40+ year old women who were having a blast with it.  LOL.

One of the hidden clues!

Maggie zonked out.

We also did a character dinner at the Garden Grill.
  Expensive but worth it.  The characters come to your table!  
Here is Kayley getting Chip's autograph.



It was Gramma's birthday and she was surprised with a birthday card signed by all the characters!!

And this cute little piece of cake with Mickey sprinkles!

Here we are riding the boat through The Land.  It was pretty interesting learning about hydroponics and growing food without soil.  We rode a lot of boat rides.  Every 30 minutes or so Maggie would start asking to "ride a boat!"

Playing at the Imagination Pavilion.

Power City game in Innoventions.

3D Skeleton construction.  That is one thing I love about Epcot.  Everything is so educational!

The next day we headed over to Animal Kingdom.  I'll admit that this is my least favorite park.  We rode Everest...which is a pretty darn cool roller coaster.  Kayley is on that train somewhere!

 We played on some Dinos.

We rode Kilimanjaro Safari's...

 Kayley learned how to write her name in Thai...and a cute little lady made Kayley this fish!

After a few hours of Animal Kingdom...we headed back over to spend the rest of the day at Magic Kingdom.  We took, of course, a boat!

a hidden Micky on the dock! 

Our final day we headed back to Epcot again.  
We had so much fun!  We sure didn't want to come home...

Oh...I'll throw this on here.  I got Maggie's sillouhette done in Epcot.  We had Kayley's done a few years ago...  Kayley on the left.   Maggie on the right.  What do you think?  I'm a little disappointed I'll admit.  Kayley's looks so baby-ish and sweet...Maggie's kind of looks like a teenager.  Maybe because I'm looking at them together...?  Either way, they are really neat and will make nice keepsakes for the girls.  I'm thinking that it might be fun to get them done for the girls again when they are older to have comparisons.

Well, we are back at home now.  Catching up on piles of laundry, watching the snow fall.  Sometimes it is so good to be home and back to normal, but I miss Disney already, and we especially miss Gramma and Papa.
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