Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday

It's a gorgeous sunny day (thus my squinting eyes!), although we are expecting rain later on this afternoon or evening. I hope you enjoy your Wednesday!

(Photo bombed by Austin! Photo credit: Ben)

Top - Gap Outlet
Capris - Kohl's
Flip flops - Yellow Box from Belk
Silver hoops - TJ Maxx
Silver bracelets - gift

pleated poppy

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Math Rider {Review}

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Anyone who knows me at all knows that math is my weakest subject and how much I pray that my children do not take after me in the mathematics department. So when I was given the opportunity to review Math Rider, I did not hesitate for a second. Math Rider is a fun, original computer game that helps students master the facts for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

I received a year-long download subscription for up to 8 players. I have had Ben, Ava and Maya, who are in grades 5, 2 and 1, playing this game. The program is intended for children in grades 2-6. The cost is $47.00, which includes free updates for life.

The game came into existence out of sheer necessity. The creator, Thomas Brand, was frustrated with how his own children were doing in their math classes in school. Out of his frustration, he took matters into his own hands and came up with this creative, colourful, intelligent game. Knowing our math facts is the key to having a good foundation from which to build on and this game is a perfect way to build that solid foundation.

My children, like most kids, enjoy all kinds of computer games and programs, however, they are fairly picky about the ones that they want to play over and over. They have certainly experienced some which they discarded as "silly" or "cheesy" or just "plain boring". This game fits none of those terms. It is a favourite now at our house. It is fast-paced, the graphics are enjoyable, the quests are exciting and it involves a healthy amount of challenge. I've already referred to it as "intelligent", which I appreciate so much, especially since there is so much "dumbing down" in our culture. I cannot say enough about how well written and thought out it is. It is also impressive how it adapts to each child's pace and level. When a program is aesthetically appealing, challenging to the children, educational and fun, it is a winner in my book!

We used (and still use) this program four or five days per week. It is easy for the children to log on for themselves and take off on their quests. It is also very simple for me to check their progress. Here is an example of Ava's Addition Statistics:

Here is an example from the story for Ava's quest:

Math Rider downloads to your computer and runs on Windows and Mac OSX. Find out about system requirements here. They offer a free full feature 7 day trial. 

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I highly recommend Math Rider for any family who wants to give their child a solid foundation in arithmetic! Check them out today! You can also connect with Math Rider on Facebook and Twitter!

To read other reviews of this innovative math program, click the banner below:


Monday, April 22, 2013

Weekly Menu Plan {22 April}

I'm planning to make this Sunny Lemon Cake this week! Thank you, Pinterest!

We've been so busy with Fiddler, having my mom for a visit, me not feeling so swell, the heaviness of the Boston and West tragedies last week, and just life, I wasn't sure if I'd get this posted. Whew. But here we go . . . 

Monday - Ben's Dream Soup (Seriously, Ben had a dream about a soup he and I made with shrimp, tomato sauce, cilantro and peppers. So while I was with Austin at his TaeKwonDo class today, Ben and Emma came up with a delicious soup that was similar to the one in Ben's dream. Great job, you guys!)

Tuesday - Chicken Stir-Fry, rice

Wednesday - Leftovers ?

Thursday - Crock Pot Beef and Mushroom Stew

Friday - Homemade Pizza, salad

Saturday - Leftovers or sandwiches 

Sunday - Out to eat

Have a wonderful week, my friends! xo

Today at Harpers Ferry

We have so enjoyed the plethora of American history field trip choices we have in our area. Harpers Ferry has been on our "to do" list for a year now and today we took advantage of Free Admission Week and made it happen.


Fiddler On The Roof and our very own Chava

My Facebook and Instagram friends will already be aware of this, but I have not had a second to mention it on my blog yet. Emma was honoured to be a part of Eden Troupe's production of Fiddler On The Roof last week. It is an incredible God-story of how she even got the part, since she is still in high school and not a student at Patrick Henry College. I'll save that for another time, but I didn't want to let another day go by without sharing a few of the photos from last week.

 Photo credit: Eden Troupe
 Photo credit: Eden Troupe
 Photo credit: Eden Troupe
 Photo credit: Emma

We are so proud of Emma and so thankful for this incredible opportunity and experience the Father has given her. I was completely blown away by the performance. I could go on and on about my favourite parts and the funniest lines, the depth of the characters and the moments that made me cry. Wow!!! And the friendships Emma has made are such a sweet bonus to being a part of Eden Troupe. What talented and beautiful people they are! 

Bravo to the whole gang!!! xo

Friday, April 19, 2013

Progeny Press {Review}

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Progeny Press is a company which produces study guides for literature for all ages. We have been familiar with them for several years. Emma had used one of their study guides for a Shakespeare study several years ago and really enjoyed it. For this review, we received the instant download version of their Beowulf Study Guide.
This study guide is written for grades 10-12. Emma is in grade 11, and I also had Austin, grade 7, join in because I thought he might enjoy the story. It requires a copy of the translation of Beowulf by Seamus Heaney, which we were able to check out from our local library. (Progeny Press also offers it from their product store for $13.95. Click here.)

This study guide includes a synopsis of the poem, a background of the poem and the anonymous poet, the historical context, and reasons for using this translation. It really digs into the story and includes questions and activities regarding vocabulary, literary terms and techniques, analysis, plus Scripture references and questions to relate a Biblical perspective to the poem. It has pre-study suggestions, such as listening to a recording of "The Lament For Beowulf" by American composer Howard Hanson. We were not familiar with this  work from 1925 before the study and enjoyed listening to it.

Emma and Austin worked through this study mostly on their own, as it is self-explanatory and easy to use. They would take turns reading the poem and then asking each other the questions in the study guide. They worked on it for 30-60 minutes per day. They delved into some questions more than others. We were having printing issues during this review, so they were not able to print out the guide, which I would say would have been ideal. It worked for them to have oral discussions, however, writing down what they needed to on notebook paper. Beowulf itself is not an easy poem, so don't misunderstand when I call the study guide "easy to use". The guide itself is structured and laid out well and is easy to follow. The questions and poem, however, are not necessarily "easy." 

Here is an example of one of the pages . . .

Emma's thoughts:
This study was very thorough, and assisted in understanding this complicated work of Anglo-Saxon literature a little more easily. I personally found it tedious, not because of the study guide, per se, but because this is a more difficult piece of literature. Austin and I did find lots of amusement in reading the text aloud to each other, switching accents and figuring out the vocabulary words and other assignments together. Austin's and my favorite part was writing out several words and phrases in the Anglo-Saxon runes. Overall, I do recommend the Progeny Press study guides, and have been very impressed so far. 

Here they are working on an extra suggested activity, as Emma mentioned,  making their own Runes . . . 

Prices for this study guide:
Instant Download: $18.99
CD: $18.99
Printed booklet: $21.99

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To check out more reviews on this and other Progeny Press study guides, click the banner below.


Monday, April 15, 2013

This Is Our TIme DVD {Review + Giveaway}

I had the opportunity to review This Is Our Time over the weekend. At first, I admit to thinking it was a little "cheesy," but that soon changed. Though the story is about five recent university grads, I found myself to relating to them in several ways, even though I am well passed {ahem} that age. I originally thought I would love this movie because I love university students and did life with so many of them in Canada. But because this movie included so many just regular life events, that we all do or could do at any point in our lives, it struck me as very believable and relate-able. 

I cried through several sections of this movie (don't worry, no spoilers). It was very touching. I certainly know God's call on my life and have heard Him clearly many times. We have recently been through a major change (moving back to the States) due to hearing His call and responding in obedience to Him. But since being here, I have greatly struggled with the purpose for His moving me here. Why am I here? What is my purpose here? I don't have any definitive answers quite yet, but I trust Him and know they will come. I know He has led us here for a specific reason (and probably multiple reasons), so I continue seeking His face and waiting on Him. 

And whether you are in high school or university, have recently graduated or are even older than I am (haha!), I recommend this movie. See below for giveaway info.

About the film:
This Is Our Time, distributed by Pure Flix, follows the post-collegiate lives of five friends connected by their strong belief in God who all long to make a meaningful difference in the world. But when tragedy strikes the close-knit group, their friendship and their faith are tested in ways they never imagined.

This Is Our Time releases on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 16. It will be available nationwide at Family Christian Stores and most Christian online and brick-and-mortar retail stores nationwide.


This Is Our Time has received The Dove Foundation’s Family Seal of Approval (earning the highest rating of five Doves) and is recommended for all ages. It also features appearances by Hollywood veterans Eric Roberts, Erik Estrada and Dawn Wells.

Coinciding with the movie’s DVD release, Pure Flix is teaming with Family Christian Stores and other Christian retailers to award eight $2,500 college scholarships through registrations submitted through and other websites representing more than 2,000 retail outlets nationwide. Participation eligibility and rules can be found at

About Pure Flix 
Pure Flix- Pure Flix is a Christian movie studio that produces, distributes, and acquires Christ-centered movies for the sole purpose of changing our culture for Christ, one heart at a time. Our mission since day one has remained the same and we continue to strive to make a difference for His name. Learn more at

Please leave a comment with whatever you want to tell me . . . about you, your family, what you're hearing from God, what you are praying for but don't have an answer to yet, or anything else (family friendly, of course). Please include your email address, so that I have a way to contact you if you win. One entry per person, please. This giveaway is open to anyone, including international readers! Giveaway will close at 11:59pm (ET) April 30, 2013. Winner will be chosen by

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."

Weekly Menu Plan {15 April}

We have a very busy week, with not only some of our regular activities, but also the production Emma is in taking place this week, plus my Mom is coming for a visit! 

So, on with the planning . . .

Monday - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green peas

Tuesday - Leftovers or sandwiches

Wednesday - Crock pot chicken fajitas, Spanish rice

Thursday - Rigatoni with bolognese sauce, salad

Friday - Baked sweet potatoes with black beans and cheese

Saturday - Leftovers

Sunday - Snacky supper

Have a wonderful and blessed week! xo

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Knowledge Quest - Sacagawea {Review}

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I was recently given the opportunity to review a product for Knowledge Quest, which is a family-owned business run by the Todd and Terri Johnson Family (see below). 

Knowledge Quest offers many products for the homeschooling family, specializing in history and geography curricula. They also now offer a Homeschooling ABC's for new home school parents and a Upper Level Homeschool Mini-Course, the latter of which I plan to check out soon. Included in their history offerings, is an ebook titled Sacagawea (Brave Explorers Every Child Should Know) by Karla Atkins.

Sacagawea (Brave Explorers Every Child Should Know) is a living book, which we love at our house, and is an "interactive historical novel". Since being back in the States, we have been focusing on American history and this was a perfect book to go along with our studies. Sacagawea is a beloved, but what I would call a mysterious character in American history, at least in my mind. This book gave a much clearer picture of her life, her struggles, her strengths and the role she played in the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the Corps of Discovery. 

The story was easy to read and very interesting. We all looked forward to our reading time every day at lunch, when I read this aloud to all five of my children, ages 16 down to 6. One fascinating aspect of this ebook is that it included interactive links within the story. We could click on the links to learn more about the characters, the places, the animals, the foods, etc. which were mentioned. The story alone is worth reading, but the links added even more depth to our study of Sacagawea and the role she played in our nation's history.

You can buy the complete set of Sacagawea ebooks on Amazon for $4.97, or each ebook individually (prices range from $0.99 to $1.49). The complete 16 chapter book is worth more than the $4.97, in my opinion, so I consider that a bargain.

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To read more reviews on this product or on the Knowledge Quest TimelineBuilder iPad App, click the banner below.


Perfect day for a hike