Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sunya Publishing Review!

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

Games are a great way to practice math facts and concepts, especially mental math! That is why we were so excited to review Sunya: the Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing, a brand new math game by Sunya Publishing. I can't think of a better way to reinforcing learning than learning math through fun games.

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing is a fun little card game where players are tasked with creating number sentences. The first player to run out of cards wins. For this review, we received 1 Sunya- The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing card game that includes 1 deck of number cards, 1 deck of quiz cards with math symbols, a handy dandy number line card, and 1 instruction booklet printed in both black/white and color-more on the reasoning of that in a bit.

Sunya is sanskrit for Empty, Without. So when a player is out of cards they yell SUNYA! to win the game! Clever, huh?! 

How Do You Play?

The directions are kind of complicated. I would like to see these simplified, since it was a lot of reading for us to understand. To be honest, I'm not really sure we fully understand now. This is hw we played the game: Basically, you deal a hand of cards to each player and you create a number sentence. Think of this number sentence as your discard pile. After that each player takes a turn drawing a card and making number sentences. Should a player not be able to make one, that player is to keep drawing cards until they can. Players are encouraged to show their cards and help each other to further the learning. The tens place in the number sentence can be moved when needed, but numbers can not be doubled up on. For example, if the current number sentence is 6x4=24 you can't make another that says 8x4=32 just to use another 4. The first player to run out of cards wins. 
There are variations of play in the instruction manual, and wildcards in the deck. For example, one variant is to play with no 1s or 0s! Another variant uses points where the lowest point count wins. We LOVE the riddle cards, and we used those as a family game night "appetizer" during dinner! 

As fun as the riddle cards are, I really didn't see much use to them in the overall game. They do have some math components, or math facts, but that's it. They are supposed to be used by the winner of the game. But once you read them once, then you remember the answer. So these are a short lived component in my opinion. 

Our Thoughts: 

Ok, I admit it. I picked up this instruction booklet and Mr. B and I began to read. After the first couple of pages I was pretty lost in rules and subrules and so on and so forth. I think in their desire to make the game easily understood and fun for all, the writers wanted to make sure the directions were explained in great detail. But there are a few too many details. I found that the directions are overly wordy causing them to be complicated more than needed. Also, there are so many variations of game play offered throughout the directions that it complicates things further. It would be better if they would have 1 set of easy to follow directions, followed by subsections that offer variations of game play. I don't see the riddle cards as being a needed component of the game, and they would be best served as their own game at some point. With all of that said, it is a fun game that we will continue to play to polish up on our multiplication and division facts. 

Black vs. White

Sunya Publishing asked the Crew for their opinion on color photos vs. black and white. I prefer color in the main rules sections, and perhaps black and white for any amended or variation sections. Best of both worlds that way! 

I'm only one of several who reviewed this product. Please click below to see what the rest of the Crew thinks!
Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016


I've found, over the last 8 years on this autism journey, that our lives have become acronyms. ADOS, CARS, GARS, etc. We just got the results in from more testing that was done as part of a research project with even more letters. So many different standardized tests to categorize non standardized kids.

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, May 23, 2016

Science Shepherd Introductory Science REVIEW

Science Shepherd Review
Science was always my favorite subject in school, and as it turns out it's Mr. B's favorite as well. That's why we were both really excited to have the chance to review Introductory Science (Level B) by Science Shepherd. 

Science Shepherd is a unique program where your child watches a video lesson online, then they complete a physical workbook. Topics covered include creation, biology, oceanography, geology, and my personal favorite-Meteorology!  Videos can be done daily, or more than one in a day if you wish. There are also optional hands on activities to further your child's learning.

For this review, we received one Level B Introductory Science set that includes access to the videos, a large student workbook, and a teacher's guide with the answers provided.  It is intended for your student to complete one video and subsequent activity daily, 5 days a week, for 35 weeks.

Science Shepherd Review
How We Used This:

The program is designed to be used daily, one lesson each day, for 35 weeks. With that schedule, we should have completed four weeks of study. I found Mr. B enjoyed this so much that he would complete multiple days at once! So we actually completed slightly more than 6 weeks of study before he became sick recently. I would ask him to complete lesson 1 for the week, and before I knew it he was on lesson 4 and I'd have to ask him to stop for the day. He watched the videos, usually all at once, then he'd eagerly complete the student workbook. The work, for him, was quite easy. Though it does seem to have increased some in difficulty has he's moved through the program. He did spend an extended period of time on the meteorology week, watching those videos over and over. 
After watching the videos, he would do the corresponding workbook activity. We did a few of the hands on activities through science kits we have, and when we went to a science center during an out of town visit to the specialist. We also used one of the hands on activities on a larger scale during a co-op class. I posted a picture of the activity below. We used a fish aquarium filled with water, then used blue and red food coloring to indicate the air masses. We then we beyond that and used a variety of colors to get into a discussion of density (cold air is more dense than warm, which is why it sinks.) It was great to put to practice the lessons he was learning through Introductory Science.

Our Thoughts:

Mr. B LOVES this! He does this on his own, for fun. He will log on and watch the videos, then get out the workbook to work the "games" as he calls them. He prefers the crosswork puzzles over anything else. The lessons are short, so if you'd prefer to do them daily it would only take a few miniutes of your class day. Each topic is broken up in such a way that 15 minutes or so a day is sufficient to cover each topic fully so that your child is given a good understanding of the lessons. 

Does Science Shepherd Introductory Science Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?

You can definitely work at your own pace. As I mentioned above, Mr. B worked ahead in some cases. I wouldn't suggest skipping.     

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?

We received Book B which is intended for upper elementary. It seems quite easy so far, so I would say younger grades could benefit form this as well.  
 It does cover a grade range. There are no hidden fees. The workbook is consumable, and for only 1 student. 
3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?

The lessons aren't very long, and they are fun and entertaining. Mr. B LOVES the videos. He also enjoys the workbook assignments. The hands on activities are fun, and use easily obtainable materials-some you may already have.

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.

This is a great, well rounded science product. It doesn't cover any other subject. 

I am only 1 of 100 reviewers for Science Shepherd! Please click on the banner below to read what other Schoolhouse Review Crew members had to say about Introductory Science, Biology, and Life Science by Science Shepherd!

Science Shepherd Review
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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Bearing Witness: Stories of Martyrdom and Costly Discipleship

Matthew 10:32-33King James Version (KJV)

32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

I was recently given the chance to review this moving book, "Bearing Witness: Stories of Martyrdom and Costly Discipleship." It was moving indeed. It is hard to imagine the type of persecution today that Christians faced centuries ago, but perhaps that is because I live in a safe little bubble. this book points out just how real and hard discipleship can be, and truly made me appreciate my little bubble even more. It is written in an easy to read, easy to understand manner. As always, please do your research. I've seen so many recently who put so much faith into "Christian" books, yet they do not rely nearly as much on their Bible. The Bible needs to be first and foremost. While this is interesting to detail those who have laid down their lives in the name of their faith, it should not replace your own Bible. 

About Bearing Witness: Stories of Martyrdom and Costly Discipleship

From the stoning of Stephen in the first-century Jerusalem to Nigerian Christians persecuted by Boko Haram in 2015, these stirring accounts will inspire greater faithfulness to the way of Jesus, reminding believers what costly discipleship looks like in any age. Bearing Witness brings together dozens of accounts from around the world of Christians who gave witness to their faith in the face of intense persecution, even if it costs them their lives.

In selecting stories for this book, the editors focused on Anabaptist martyrs and others who suffered for their commitment to believer’s baptism and nonviolence.

Publisher: Plough Publishing House

Category: Christianity/History

Binding: Softcover

240 pages

About the editors:

Charles E. Moore has complied and edited several acclaimed books and Timothy Keiderling is a researcher for the Bearing Witness Stories Project.

To buy the book:

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I've been graciously given a second copy to giveaway! Please enter below for your chance to win!

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"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, May 20, 2016

Memoria Press D'Aulaires' Greek Myths REVIEW

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review
Memoria Press is one of our favorite vendors, so we were delighted to be chosen to review D'Aulaires' Greek Myths. I've not done much in the way with mythology in our homeschool yet, so this came at a perfect time. I had a mythology class in high school and I loved learning about all of the myths. Then in college I was fortunate enough to take 3 classical courses, all of which covered a variety of mythology including Greek. This review has surely been one of our favorites this year! 
Memoria Press is a company that caters to classical education methods. We do not subscribe to one method over another, preferring a more eclectic style that individualizes each subject. We love Memoria Press, and each product we have had the blessing to use. Last year we reviewed their handwriting program and earlier this year we were blessed with their Grade 6 Literature Set, which we still use! 
For this review we were graciously given 1 complete D'Aulaires' Greek Myths set, geared for grades 3-6. In this set you will find:

1 D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths
1 D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths Student Guide 
1 D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths Teacher's Guide
1 D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths Flash Cards
Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review
How we used this: 

D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths is a larger sized glossy paperback book. It is super colorful, both inside and out. It is suitable for older elementary to read alone, and is also a great read aloud to read together. We did both methods. I really enjoy mythology, so I enjoyed reading this just as much as Mr. B.! I would often find him reading it on his own, just for fun, looking at all of the pictures. 
By far his favorite part of the study guide is the vocabulary. He is a true vocabulary buff! 

He often looks these up in the dictionary, and adds them as he can to his own personal arsenal of words. 

At the end of each unit you will find a Unit Review. This is really great to go over everything from the unit to test knowledge.
At the back of the Student Guide is a list of greek myths as well as a map. I found the list of myths to be particularly helpful, and Mr. B found the map helpful to visual the locations. And the fact he just loves maps in general made that a favorite for him, too. 
The Teacher's Guide includes the answers. Always nice to have in the event you are stumped yourself, or have a question. 
The flash cards are great for memorization, which is a corner stone of a classical education. We do not do memorization like that, so instead we played games with them. The one who could answer the most correct would win skittles HAHA! We just had fun with the flash cards! 
I want to add we used our Kwik Stix from a previous review to draw pictures of the various myths, in addition to the beautiful artwork in the D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, but they were accidentally mixed up in random papers as I was cleaning and found themselves in file 13 with the trash. I was going to have Mr. B redo a few of my favorites since I didn't get the chance to take a picture, but he's been very sick the last few days and unable to do any schoolwork at all this week. This is what happens when I wait to take photos until the last minute of the super cool art my child has done! Lesson learned for sure!
Our Thoughts:

Memoria Press as yet another fantastic product with D'Aulaires' Greek Myths. It doesn't matter if you are classically minded or not, you will find this a beneficial way to teach your child the lessons Greek mythology offer. Greek myths are a great way to teach character concepts by showcasing the best or worst in us. Mythology can be a history lesson, literature lesson, even a sociology lesson! It is so multifaceted that you can't really categorize the topic into just one. Similar to the moral lessons of fables, Greek myths can be a great way to teach consequences and life lessons. We love D'Aulaires' Greek Myths. The Student Guide asks questions that made Mr. B stop and think, while reinforcing vocabulary. Geography and history are also included, and since this is a Christian based program there are also Biblical components added in. I loved the "Facts to Know" section that summarizes the main mythological characters and myth components. I also appreciate the more critical thinking activities included in the "Activities" subsection. 
Does Memoria Press D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?

I found it easier to do the lessons in order. I wouldn't jump around much so you can get the full experience using the unit reviews, etc. We took a couple of days to read the myths and do each lesson, and we have done 1-2 lessons each week.    

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?

These are physical products, and the set includes everything you need. It is intended for grades 3-6, but I could see older students getting use out of this as well. I would have enjoyed it even as a high schooler!  
3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?

The lessons aren't too long at all, and the colorful pages and interesting stories in the book make it fun and entertaining.  I think this is very Autism and ADHD friendly for that aspect alone. The pages in the study guide are black and white, so there's no distractions or anything like that. There is some writing to be done with the questions. 

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.
You could use this with literature, or especially ancient history studies! 
Memoria Press generously allowed 100 Review Crew Members to review this, and 2 other products! Please click the banner below to check out the other reviews! 
Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review
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Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Dying Art of Customer Service

Customer Service: (noun) The assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services.

I have found, especially in recent years, that the art of good customer service is gone. The other day I was at Dollar General. I only needed a few items, but I am in there a LOT. I coupon, and it's my go to place. So much so, that the store manager and others know me. Well, they had a young new hire and she was at the register. There was another young lady there, who appeared to be her friend. The two stood there talking away about topics that should have probably stayed private. So anyway, I noticed she never greeted the lady in front of me, nor did she say thank you. She merely took her money, gave her change, and never stopped talking to her friend. Then it was my turn. And the same thing. The girl actually jerked my money back, tossed my change, and then ran outside with her friend, never even bothering to give me my receipt or hand me my bags. I NEEDED my receipt so I was forced to go back through the store looking for someone else so that I didn't look like I was trying to steal anything. Oh, she left the keys in the register, too. I was appalled at the lack of courtesy and respect! 

On the flip side, I'm doing a review for MasterBooks. A DVD that is included in the curriculum I'm using wasn't sent, by accident. I emailed customer service and with in 3 days I had the DVD set delivered with no hassle. Talk about a breath of fresh air! 

PLEASE companies, take a lesson from MasterBooks. Customer service can truly be a make or break situation. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Institute for Excellence in Writing Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization REVIEW

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
Here in our homeschool, we really love products from the Institute for Excellence in Writing. So you can imagine my delight when I found out we were chosen to review Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization. This is a really great set that includes an eBook student workbook, DVD, Teacher's book, and CDs. This set includes 96 poems and speeches, that vary in difficulty, and it also features everything read on CD for more reinforcement. It's a great way to learn timing and rhythm in poetry, as well as improving overall communication skills. For this review, we received one complete set, AND IEW was super generous and gracious and even sent us a spiral bound physical copy of the student book

For clarification purposes, the set includes the following:

1 physical Teacher's Manual. This is spiral bound and contains all of the same poems and speeches as the student book. It also contains some great reading text pages in the front to help you help your child. I highly recommend taking a day or two to really go over these pages in depth. 

1 digital eBook download of the Student Book. You can make all the copies you need for your family!

A set of 5 CDs in a beautiful leather case. Seriously, IEW packages their products in an amazing way! On these CD's you will hear Mr. Pudewa reading each of the poems. This not only helps with memorization, but it also helps to teach your child the proper timing and flow of the poems and speeches. It can also help to clear up any pronunciation issues. If you have used any of the writing intensives, then your child will be familiar with his voice.
7 Mp3 file downloads. These include an mp3 verson of Andrew Pudewa's Nurturing Competent Communicators
Mastery Learning, Ability Development, and Individualized Education
Ten Thousand Times and Then Understanding (Pretty sure this was made just for us!)
On Writing
On Speaking
On Listening
On Reading

You will also receive a DVD of Mr. Pudewa's Nurturing Competent Communicators. This is a lecture/speech given by Andrew Pudewa where he explains and teaches us how to foster proper communication in our children. As he states in the very beginning, this is the foundation of communication. But more on this in a bit.
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
How we used this:

Back to that DVD. Children learn communication through memory and repittion. "You can't get something out of a brain that isn't in there begin with" is a quote from the first couple of minutes. I must say, it was a light bulb moment for me. Kids with special needs don't always have it "in there" in the same way as NT's. Especially with autism, you have to really put it in there yourself. So what are you putting in your child's brain? This is huge for me! He is getting the Weather Channel a lot. And music a lot. Thankfully, I've raised him right so he gets a lot of 80's music...sigh. I never thought of it this way before. He reads quality texts.I mean college texts. Everyone comments on his spoken communication skills and the "big" words he uses. Well, I understand now where it all comes from! After hearing this, I soaked up the rest of the DVD. I mean, he's spot on! If you put a group of 9 year olds together in a traditional classroom you are creating a linguistic nightmare! Of course! they aren't being exposed to the variety they need! Mind=BLOWN! 

Our brand of autism includes a unique ability to remember phrases and repeated words such as lines in songs, from TV commercials which makes the revelation I mentioned early even more important.  With that said, I knew Mr. B would do very well with this program, and it would be a program that could grow with him. If you follow the schedule it will take 2-3 years to complete. This is a very unique product in that it truly covers all ages. The poems and speeches are so varied in their ability level that you can use this with students K-adult! We started at the beginning with "Ooey Gooey."  It took about 5 minutes before Mr. B was reciting the cute little poem, even calling extended family to tell them what he'd just learned. It is advised to start at the beginning no matter the age and ability since that sets the stage for the rest of the program. The program is split into 5 units, and there is a certificate at the end of each. It's also suggested to setup a reward system. We moved pretty quickly through the first three poems, but then life started to happen. We have had to make so many trips to the children's hospital in the last 2 months that it kind of threw him for a loop. It was hard for him to stay focused with all of the back and forth and overnight trips. But the way this program is designed, he suffered no set backs. The beauty of the CD's meant that I could play the CD and let him HEAR the poem, even if I didn't take the book with us (for fear of accidentally leaving it!) So even though we had a bunch of unexpected trips out of town we were still able to stay on track mostly and get caught up pretty easily. He likes reading the poems, so he knows 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 5 and 7 are the ones he's actually working on. The longer poems trip him up. That's NOT the method of the program. You are to learn one, then move on, and keep doing the first one you've memorized, then move on and do 2 and 3, and so on, piggy backing each one. BUT he went behind my back and decided to skip HAHA!

What is a benefit for visual kids is the addition of a check list chart so that they can mark off when they have memorized one. Also, at the end of each unit is a lovely certificate that is, according to Mr. B., quite "fancy."
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
Overall, Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization is fantastic. The student pages offer cute little photos that your child can color, just to spice it up a bit. And it starts off with easy work, with easy work interspersed throughout, so your child is not set up for failure, but rather success. I would recommend this to all of my friends!
Does Institute for Excellence in Writing Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?

This needs to be done the way it is written for it to work best. So I would not jump ahead or skip. You could set our own schedule, but you risk it being more difficult than it needs to be. Depending on your circumstances, I could see this being adapted to fit your needs in a lot of cases.    

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?

NO hidden fees, and VERY long lasting! At least 2 years! And this is truly a K-12 program. 
3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?

Mr. B loved it. It's not too time consuming and he's enjoying the content.    

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.

This is not a unit study type product, but there are a variety of selections. You could do additional projects surrounding each poem and speech if you wanted. Mr. B REALLY loved Ooey Gooey. So much so he rewrote the poem in a host of different ways using himself or others as the worm. You could really be creative and do a lot with this! 

I was only 1 of 100 to review this product. Please check out the others by clicking the banner below. 

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
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Monday, May 16, 2016

ESV Family Devotional Bible from Crossway REVIEW!

I always like to review Bibles, even if they are not the translation we personally use. I was really excited to find out I was going to be reviewing the ESV Family Devotional Bible by Crossway. This Bible includes illustrations for 130 Bible stories, as well as discussion points and questions. There is a clear distinction between the Bible parts and the devotional parts (wow, that's a horrible description. But at least I tried?) So there's no worry to get it confused. the art work is tastefully done, and not cartoon-like at all.

About the Book (From the Publisher)

The ESV Family Devotional Bible is designed to help families read and apply God’s Word together. This full-color edition features the complete ESV text interspersed with engaging illustrations and gospel-centered devotions related to key Bible stories—guiding families through the entirety of God’s Word over the course of a year. Each devotion also includes discussion questions and suggestions for additional reading, helping families develop a habit of reading the Bible together and applying its truth to all of life.

  • Size: 5.375” x 8.625”
  • 9-point type
  • 1,408 pages
  • Double-column, paragraph format
  • 130 full-page, full-color illustrations
  • Full-color maps
  • Reflection questions for the whole family to discuss
  • Ribbon marker
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Packaging: L-Card (HC); O-wrap (TruTone)


This is a nice Bible to use to simplify Bible stories, but I do not use it as a replacement for my KJV. I really wish more products like this were available for KJV, and at an affordable price. It seems as if everything is produced for a myriad of other translations, yet nothing for KJV. This is disappointing. So I would continue to use this for the discussion points and questions along side my KJV, but I will not replace my KJV with it. If you are not as translation rigid as I am, then this is a very nice Bible with beautiful artwork and discussion questions that can help to further your family's devotion time. 

I am very grateful to Crossway for the ability to review this Bible. Thank you!

Would you like to win your own? ENTER BELOW!

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"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.”

Hope Toler Dougherty’s ‘Mars . . . with Venus Rising’ Kindle Prize Pack Giveaway

Travel to the small town of Mars, where you'll find a meddling horse, paper bag floors, and a flying saucer on the town square—in Hope Toler Dougherty's book, Mars . . . with Venus Rising. Penn Davenport dreams of passing the CPA exam and moving away from the two aunts who reared her after her parents died in a plane crash. When John Townsend—full of life and the joy of living—moves to town, he rattles Penn's view of herself, her life, and her dreams . . . which isn’t such a bad thing until she falls for him and discovers he’s a pilot.

Celebrate Hope's Mars . . . with Venus Rising blog tour with a Kindle Fire Prize Pack giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Mars . . . with Venus Rising
  • A $25 Amazon gift card
  • A Kindle Fire
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on May 18th. The winner will be announced May 19th on Hope's blog.


My Thoughts: 

This is such a cute book! It's a good read for a rainy day, or a sunshiney day, or any day for that matter. I found myself curled up in the porch swing reading in the breeze of the afternoon while my son happily played in the front yard. This book is fully humor and, of course, love. The content is clean, and it's well written with fun characters who find themselves in awkward predicaments at times. Penn lives with her well-meaning aunts who only want the best for her. John is new to town, and rattles Penn's world. Her parents died as a result of a plane crash. She finds she has feelings for John, until she finds out he's a pilot. Will this impact their life together?! You'll have to read it yourself to find out!

**I received this free through Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.**


I truly worry for our great country. So much strife seems to be taking place.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sondra Kraak One Plus One Equals Trouble REVIEW

This is a fantastic read! It's funny, but it brings an important message. Gossip is BAD! Just don't do it! Why do people gossip? Why is what everyone else does your business? Sigh...I don't understand! Anyway, back to the book. So, Claire is a twin sister who is also a teacher. Her fiance leaves her for her sister. Once again she's playing 2nd to her sister, once again she's the forgotten one. So she moves to start a new life. She is going to be the best teacher EVER in Pine Creek, WA. Too bad she has competition in the form of Barrett. He, too, is vying for the position of Town Teacher. Barrett is forced out of his job as a professor and his uncle, on the school board, tells him he can have ranchland in exchange for a year's worth of teaching. Claire is trying to redeem herself respect and self esteem. Both desperately want and need this position, but who will win?  I guess you'll just have to read to find out! The characters are meaningful and believable with strong characteristics. The storyline includes the moral lesson of how gossip truly hurts all those involved. It is well written, and well organized. I high recommend it! 

About the Book

One Plus One Equals TroubleHumiliated after her broken engagement, Claire Montgomery flees her comfortable life in San Francisco for a teaching position in Pine Creek, Washington, a dot of a town nestled in the rugged Cascade Mountains. She’s determined to succeed—for once in her life—only to discover, upon her arrival, that success will have to be won. Thanks to a school board error, two teachers have been hired.
When scandal forces professor Barrett Clarke from his position, he returns to Pine Creek where his uncle, chairman of the school board, sets forth an irresistible offer: teach one year in return for ranchland. For this would-be rancher, nothing is more tempting than resurrecting his childhood dream, and nothing can deter him from earning that land.
Except perhaps Claire Montgomery. Losing the battle for the classroom means losing the ranchland, but winning may mean losing Claire’s heart.

About the Author

Sondra KraakA native of Washington State, Sondra Kraak grew up playing in the rain, hammering out Chopin at the piano, and running up and down the basketball court. Now settled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children, blogging about spiritual truths, and writing historical romance set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She delights in sharing stories that not only entertain, but nourish the soul. Her debut novel, One Plus One Equals Trouble, was an ACFW Genesis semi-finalist (2015) and the winner of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Unpublished Women’s Fiction Award (2015).

Blog Stops

May 10: cherylbbookblog
May 14: Bigreadersite
May 20: Bukwurmzzz


To celebrate her tour, Sondra is doing a special giveaway! Click the link to enter:

**I received this free in exchange for my honest opinion. I wasn't required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.**

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The League and the Lantern REVIEW!!!!!

the league and the lantern book

I am THRILLED to bring you this review of The League and the Lantern. Penned by Brian Wells, The League and the Lantern is geared toward middle grade students. This fantastic novel will give them a thrilling and exciting adventure while also covertly including 140 top vocabulary words to help your middle grade student succeed! The book's website includes bonus features, including the first 6 chapters AND a study guide to go along with the book. The best part? For every book purchased, a second book will be given to a child in need!

About the book (From the back cover)

AFTER A DISASTROUS SIXTH GRADE, Jake Herndon is anxiously awaiting his Big Do-Over, starting with his new school's notorious seventh grade sleepover. Awkward team-building games and forced fun quickly become the least of his problems, however, when a dangerous organization invades and the night takes a shocking turn. Jake and two new classmates, Lucy and TJ, barely escape, only to find themselves in a fight for survival on the streets of Chicago. Over the next 48 hours they unravel a mystery dating back to the Civil War and an incredible secret about Jake s family.
Full of unforgettable characters and unexpected twists, The League and the Lantern is a jaw-dropping ride of mind-bending revelations and laugh-out-loud humor. If Jake and his new friends can make it through this weekend, they just might have a shot at seventh grade.
In this debut novel, family television executive producer and dad Brian Wells has created an epic, rip-roaring comedy adventure that s also about courage, family and friendship. The result is an engaging mix of great characters, crackling wit and unexpected twists that 9- to 14-year-olds, entertainment executives and family groups are applauding.
Wells works from the belief that great entertainment is driven by memorable characters and imaginative writing, and it shows. The League and The Lantern delivers all of this and more without objectionable language or inappropriate themes. Throw in a plot that traces back to real historical figures and you ve got what some are calling Percy Jackson meets National Treasure.
As an extra bonus, the book also invisibly weaves in 140 of the top vocabulary words for middle school success. A free downloadable study guide is available on the book's website.

My thoughts:

This is a really great read for kids roughly 10-15 or so. It builds a lot, and it may be unclear as to the "why" everything is happening, but it's all explained in the end. There's no foul language or uncomfortable subjects, so you can feel secure in allowing your child to read this. It's perfect for a quite reading day. I loved it and Mr. B is enjoying it!

Now, it's GIVEAWAY TIME! I've graciously been given an extra copy to use as a giveaway! So please enter below for your chance to win! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

"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.”

**I was given a copy of this free from Propeller Consulting in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.**

Friday, May 13, 2016

How to Handle Medicine Changes.

Medicine changes are never fun. Never. Not under any circumstance are they an enjoyable experience. There's the uncertainty of side effects, ill effects from potential withdrawal symptoms, and the uncertainty of wondering of the new medicine will even work! It's a scary time, for sure!

Over the years, we've gone through our fair share of med changes, each one coming with it's own set of issues. The first was when he was first started on meds. It was terrible. He was whiny, had constant meltdowns. Basically, he wasn't my happy, bubbly little boy!  I refused all meds for about 7-8 months after that until one day he was so uncontrollable in his impulsive behaviors that he was a danger to himself. He has a fantastic pediatrician, and he convinced me to attempt a different medicine. Thank God it worked! A few years after that we decided to keep the same medicine, just change the delivery format. And again, we had to to wean off of one and start another at square one. It was a rough two weeks to be certain.

Tips for Medicine Changes

  1. Be understanding. Understand your child can't help or control negative or disruptive behaviors at this time. The chemistry changes they are experiencing is difficult for an adult, and nearly impossible for a child to handle. 
  2. Be Creative. I make a plan to keep him busy. If his mind is occupied with fun things to do, it really cuts down on the disruptive behaviors. I keep a cabinet of craft and art supplies, science kits, and hands on activities. 
  3. Plan your days accordingly, and give a heads up. We pick up Mr. B's little sister (by his dad and step mom) 3 days a week. I told those in the pick up line what is going on, as well as the teachers in her classroom, so that if he's displaying disruptive behavior at that time they will not be alarmed and I can feel more at ease and less stressed.  I also do not schedule major outings or events that would require the need for a babysitter other than those who are very familiar with him during med changes. Why ask for issues?
  4. Go light on the schoolwork. During these times, he simply can't handle a lot of school work. He can't slow down enough. So this goes back to 1, 2, and 3. We are creative. We do a lot of hands on activities, documentaries, fun reading, etc.We still do school work, but it's more tailored to what he can tolerate. If your child attends public or private school, alerting the school staff and even getting a note from the doctor, could really prove beneficial for all parties. 
  5. Remember, it's harder for them than it is you. That is often a forgotten thought, but it truly is harder for the child. They don't understand all that's happening. It's scary, confusing, and frustrating for them. 

I hope these tips help you as you and your child go through medicine changes. Be understanding, give a heads up, and help them through this. This too shall pass.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Amish Quilts Coloring Book REVIEW!

Hi Everyone! Who loves to color?! I also happen to love quilts, so I was super excited to get the chance to sample a couple of coloring pages from the new adult coloring book, "Amish Quilts Coloring Book." The patterns I was sent are the Shaded Star Quilt and the Wagon Wheel Quilt. These pages are lovely, with intricate patterns that provide hours of stress relief through coloring. At the top of each page is a lively Amish proverb as well, that provides more encouragement! Please enter below for your own copy, and let me know how you like my coloring!  **I'll be adding the photo just as soon as my camera cooperates with me!**

Purchase your copy here.

About the book

Feeling stressed? Why not relax with an adult coloring book? Rachel J. Good’s Amish Quilts Coloring Book takes you back to a time and place that’s calm. Immerse yourself in a world of peace as you color the 25 different quilts.
Inspired by quilts seen in Amish country, many of these designs are based on traditional patterns, but some have been reimagined or repeated multiple times to create more intricate designs to color. Each quilt is printed on only one side of the page; facing pages contain inspirational Amish proverbs. To make the quilts even more colorful and interesting, sketch fabric designs – plaids, checks, paisleys, flowers, or abstract shapes – into the larger quilt blocks, use pattern stamps, or even collage fabric scraps to the pages. And if the designs inspire you to make quilts of your own, the pages can be used as templates for quilt-making.

About the Author

Rachel J. Good, inspirational author, writes life-changing, heartfelt novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She is the author of Amish romances in the Sisters & Friends series. She grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for her novels. A former teacher and librarian, she completed her MA from Vermont College while raising five children. She is presently an MFA student in Writing and Illustration at Hollins University. In addition to having more than 2200 articles and 30 books in print or forthcoming under several pseudonyms, she also juggles freelance editing and illustration careers. To buy the Amish Quilts Coloring Book:

Visit Rachel at:






Blog Stops

May 4: Bookworm Mama

May 5: Smiling Book Reviews

May 5: Cassandra M’s Place

May 6: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

May 6: Simple Harvest Reads

May 7: Blossoms and Blessings


May 8: Tell Tale Book Reviews

May 9: Karen’s Krayons

May 9: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

May 10: Texas Book-aholic

May 11: Singing Librarian Books

May 12: Through the Open Window

May 12: Petra’s Hope

May 13: Lighthouse Academy

May 13: Reader’s Cozy Corner

May 14: A Greater Yes

May 14: Artistic Nobody

May 15: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

May 15: Books! Books! Books!

May 15: Raining Butterfly Kisses

May 15: Quiet Quilter


To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away two autographed copies of her Amish Quilts Coloring Book! Click here to enter:

I was blessed to receive this in exchange for my honest opinion from CelebrateLit. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.