Thursday, March 28, 2013

We Choose Virtues {Mosaic Review}

It is hard to believe that it has been over a year since I started using We Choose Virtues in my home.  What started out as a product review has become a regular part of our school days.  I was originally blessed last January to review the Virtue Clue Cards, teacher guide, coloring book and family assessment...which then led to me purchasing the Virtue Poster...which led to the investment in the Parent Cards...and now, thanks to the Mosaic Review Team, I get a chance to review the Virtue Flash Cards and Butterfly Award!

I have used several programs in the past that focus on character qualities, many with mixed results, some with pretty good results but I wanted something simple.  I wanted something colorful.  I wanted something very kid-friendly.  BUT.  Most of all, I wanted something that WORKED and worked really well. 
I'm here to tell you, We Choose Virtues works really, really well.  

But, don't just take it from me, in this video, my 6 year old daughter, Kayley, will give you an intro to We Choose Virtues and she will tell you what she likes about it.

What is We Choose Virtues?
We Choose Virtues was created by Heather McMillan, a preschool teacher and children's pastor, that has a deep love for children.  It concerned her how often she came across children whose lack of self control, honesty and perseverance was almost debilitating.  She wanted to create a way for these kids to succeed in life using skills that come from good character and watch them reach their personal potential.  It was because of this gap in character education that Heather decided to create the loveable & colorful characters, their corresponding virtue and the memorizable catch-phrases!

How does We Choose Virtues work?
We Choose Virtues is a character development tool recommended for early childhood through elementary age children.  After introducing the first virtue and demonstrating them (you can start anywhere, but it is recommended that you start with the Top 3: Obey, Be Kind and Be A Helper) help your children memorize the cute catchphrases, learn the antonyms, and then watch for opportunities to see the virtue (or it's opposite) in action!  My kids pick up the catch phrases pretty quickly even Maggie who is only 3!

Each Virtue comes with its own colorful character and catch phrase.  The cards are small (5.5" x 4.25"), easy to use and come with a Bible verse that provides scriptural guidance for that virtue (a secular version is also available).  The coloring book is a .pdf download that offers a cute coloring page for each character.

How am I using this product in my home?
Last year we took the Family Character Assessment and decided to start learning Obedience with Oboe Joe!  The Teachers Handbook gives several ideas on the best ways to introduce the virtue and catch-phrases.  You can color the character you are studying in the coloring book.  We work on one virtue at a time until we have memorized the catch-phrase.  We have since keep our current character and our most recent character on display...and moved on to our next character quality once we really know and understand what the catch-phrase is all about.  We are currently working on "I am Self-Controlled" and just wrapped up "I am Attentive."  We LOVE the catchy phrase that keeps the kids accountable for their actions!

How much does it cost?
 Virtue Flash Cards are $14.99
Teachers Handbook is available as an instant download for $5.00
Coloring Book is $3.00
Family Character Assessment is FREE!

There are some great package deals available including a complete Homeschool Kit for $98.99 or a Family Kit for $69.99.

Shop We Choose Virtues at

Here is a good deal too!  
You can get 20% off the purchase of a complete Homeschool Kit (expires April 30th, 2013) using code HOME20
save 15% off your entire order using code VIRTUE15

We are loving We Choose Virtues and will continue to use it indefinitely!  Would you like to read more reviews about We Choose Virtues?  You can find them on the Mosaic Reviews page!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Power of Starting Something Stupid {Deseret Book Review}

"Let me whisper a secret directly into your ear:  If someone thinks that your ideas are stupid...welcome to the Club.  You're in the company of the worlds leading innovators, change agents, thought leaders, inventors, entrepreneurs...."

In The Power of Starting Something Stupid, Richie Norton redefines stupid as we know it, demonstrating that life-changing ideas are often tragically mislabeled stupid. What if the key to success, creativity, and fulfillment in your life lies in the potential of those stupid ideas? This deeply inspiring book will teach you:
  • How to crush fear, make dreams happen, and live without regret.
  • How to overcome obstacles such as lack of time, lack of education, or lack of money.
  • The 5 actions of the New Smart to achieve authentic success.
No more excuses. Learn how to start something stupid — the smartest thing you can do. Drawing on years of research, including hundreds of face-to-face interviews and some of the world's greatest success stories past and present, Richie shows you how stupid is the New Smart — the common denominator for success, creativity, and innovation in business and life.
When I think of all the famous people who invented something great, I am blinded by their success.  It is not until author Richie Norton starts pointing out in his book that most great ideas started out as what others labeled as "stupid."  Wait a second!  I began to really understand that brilliance is often mislabeled!  Think about these ideas that were labeled stupid:  the telephone, the car, the radio, putting a man on the moon, etc.

In The Power of Starting Something Stupid, Norton is going to walk you through how to get over the worry of your stupid idea and make your dreams a reality.  Whether you want to start your own business or  just live a life with a sense of accomplishment, this book can help you find success using the following steps:
1. Crush Fear
2.  End Pride
3.  Overcome Procrastination
4.  Be Authentic
5.  Serve, Thank, Ask, Receive, Trust
6.  Leverage Existing Resources

Each step is carefully broken down helping the reader understand each point, what they can do about it, and a challenge to change your thought process.  Filled with real-life examples from CEOs who had "stupid" ideas that became reality, inspirational quotes and logical graphics this book is a good read for anyone who wants to live their life intentionally and without regret.

You can read the first two chapters free online from LDS Living...

I have enjoyed this book.  Are you interested in owning a copy too?

The Power of Starting Something Stupid retails at Deseret Book for $22.49 in hardcover.  It is also available as a Deseret Bookshelf eBook for $24.99 or as an audiobook mp3 download for $20.99.

Disclaimer:  I received an advanced reader copy of The Power of Starting Something Stupid from Deseret Book/ Shadow Mountain free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own!  Thank you!!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Severe Weather Expo

You know, as homeschoolers we get pretty excited over opportunities to learn hands on.  Last week we had a chance to head to the mall and participate in Southwest Missouri's Severe Weather Expo.  A large handful of vendors were ready to teach us about tornadoes, lightening, what do in an emergency, etc.  It was really fun!  Maggie didn't enjoy it too much and wanted to be carried...she found the talking fire hydrant to be spooky.  LOL.  He followed us around for a bit and the girls weren't quite sure what to make of him.

A man-made tornado.

A storm chaser car!  (Sadly not Reed Timmer's, LOL!)

This gentleman from SkyWarn taught Kayley all about Morse Code, 
he typed her name in code and then let her type her own message!

The highlight was meeting KSPR weather man Kevin Lighty!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Little Angels Prayers for Everyday {Review & Giveaway}

What if soothing the worries of a small child 
was as easy as teaching them how to pray?

In this book by Roma Downey, Little Angels Prayers for Every Day offers 50 simple rhyming prayers that cover a young child's worries and every day living.  A nice board book that is perfect for chubby little fingers to handle on their own and even better for mom or dad to read to their precious toddler.  Prayers for morning and sleeping, meal blessing, comfort when afraid, and prayers of thanksgiving.  Bible verses are dotted through out its colorful pages.   Illustrated by Lisa Reed this book is full of charming little characters and sweet pictures.

This book is a perfect way to gently introduce your little one to prayer and help them see that anytime is a good time to talk to their Father in Heaven. 

My 3 year old daughter LOVES books and she is always happy with any book that she can "read" on her own.  We have really enjoyed this little rhyming book and I think you will too!  To learn more about Roma Downey's Little Angels series check out the links below...


I'm excited that I have an opportunity to give away a copy to one of my readers as well!  To enter, use the rafflecopter below.   Giveaway ends Friday, March 15th at midnight.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: “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 iton 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 accordancewith the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Inventor's Secret {Deseret Book Review}

Imagine a school in the year 2074 where students don't read history, but watch it happen around them; where running in gym class isn't around a track, but up a virtual mountain; and where learning about animals means becoming one through an avatar. Welcome to Cragbridge Hall, the most advanced and prestigious school in the world.
Twins Abby and Derick Cragbridge are excited as new students to use their famed grandfather's inventions that make Cragbridge Hall so incredible. But when their grandfather and parents go missing, the twins must follow a mysterious trail of clues left by their grandfather. They must find out where their family is, learn who they can trust, and discover what secrets are hidden within Cragbridge Hall.
Abby and Derick soon realize they are caught in a race with a fierce adversary to discover their grandfather's greatest secret — a dangerous discovery that could alter both history and reality.
Abby and Derek recieve the opportunity to go to Cragbridge Hall, the most distinguished school in the world.  You have to be impressively smart and talented to go to Cragbridge!  Derek fits in right away, but Abby feels guilty.  She had received a rejection notice and then mysteriously received an acceptance notice one week later.  She knows that her grandfather Oscar Cragbridge...THE Cragbridge of Cragbridge Hall, pulled strings to allow her to attend.  Abby is, after all, very ordinary and Cragbridge Hall is anything but ordinary.  Their grandfather's inventions are what have made Cragbridge so prestigious.  The children are stunned to use avatars to become animals and "the bridge" to see history unfold right before their eyes! 

Their excitement at Cragbridge is short lived however when they learn that their grandfather and their parents have been mysteriously kidnapped.  Following clues the children race to rescue their parents and grandfather and discover that they are in a race against time against a dangerous adversary!

This book captivated me from the very first.  Author Chad Morris' writing style is very smooth and has a nice flow.  Each chapter left you hanging and I just kept thinking, "ok, I'll read just one more chapter...ok, maybe 2 more chapters."   Recommended for middle grades (3-7) or ages 8-12.

The Inventor's Secret currently retails at Deseret Book for $15.29 in hardback or as a Deseret Bookshelf eBook for $9.99.

Learn more about Chad Morris, The Inventor's Secret and Cragbridge Hall by visiting

Disclaimer:  I received The Inventor's Secret free of charge from Deseret Book/Shadow Mountain Publishing free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you Deseret Book!!!!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Home School Daze

We've been staying pretty busy with our regular "school daze."  Maggie has learned some great skills, one of which is using the computer!  (Don't you love Maggie's squinkey eyed smile??)
Kayley has been finding all kids of strange places to do her school work, she is fond of the floor. 

She enjoys doing schoolwork on the marker board too...
(yes, that is triple digit subtraction - she's a smartie)

We've been having a ton of fun at Classical Conversations too!

Maggie has learned how to sort and do patterns.

And we fight pretty often over Mommy's iPad which is loaded with educational apps!

We've been staying pretty busy! 
 I hope you enjoyed a this glimpse into our homeschool daze!

Seed Starting by Gary Emmett {Mosaic Review}

I know nothing about gardening.  I'm not kidding.  I have a "black thumb."  Along those lines though, I've really been feeling like I need to learn how to do grow my own goodies, if only for my peace of mind in knowing that I can be self-reliant if I needed to.  So, when it comes to figuring out how to get started I felt like I would need a book to tell me what book to read in order to even think about getting started.  I don't think they even make books like that?...but I do know that author Gary Emmett has written a perfect book for beginning (scared) gardeners like me! 
In the book Seed Starting, Gary Emmett walks you through everything from planning (which includes starting a garden journal -brilliant!), buying seeds (with hyperlinks to reputable places to purchase good quality seeds), storing seeds, when to start your seeds, what type of soil is best, equipment for starting seeds, simple container gardening, light sources, watering, labeling and a lot more.  This book is written in a comfortable, conversational tone leaving even the most hesitant gardener to feel empowered! 
Seed Starting retails on Amazon right now as a Kindle Book for $2.99.

 If you are interested in reading additional reviews click the Mosaic button to get a medley of perspectives!

Disclaimer:  I received Seed Starting free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

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