Thursday, September 21, 2017

Let's Go Geography REVIEW!!!!!

Let's Go Geography

Mr. B LOVES geography, and always has. I saw Let's Go Geography, and I knew he'd go crazy for it! Boy, was I right! He doesn't even see this as schoolwork, but as something fun to do during his breaks. I call that a MAJOR win!

Let's Go Geography is a weekly geography lesson that covers a country a week, the US taking 2 weeks at the very beginning. Lessons are divided across two semesters, and you receive an email once a week telling you what country you'll be studying. There are lessons for 3 years of study, so this is a long lasting geography curriculum!

Let's Go Geography

Our Thoughts and How We Used This:

I've been printing out the front page, the check list, and any pages that are consumable, and placing them into a 3 ring binder. 

THIS!!!! This is my favorite part! It's a graphic "To-Do" chart! This is FANTASTIC for autism and ADHD. Mr. B is a very visual child, and his school schedule is comprised of both pictures, and colorful words. He checks off what he has accomplished, and he can see what is left to do. To have the same system integrated into the geography curriculum is fantastic! It's what he's already used to, and he's able to zip right through it on his own. 

I like how there's a list of what you may need or want, including the call number for optional books for more learning. 

I like how the activity action is sort of highlighted. From a special needs perspective, this helps to differentiate the action from the rest of the words, so he can see he has to PRINT something, then COLOR something, and then EXPLORE. As you can see, this is asking you to print a North America map. We did this from the beginning, and keep it in the front of our binder. He adds to it each week as he colors in the countries. 

You can attach printed maps to a single page, or there's a printable "Passport" you can attach to. Mr. B wanted to do both, so both is what we do. 

Each page is colorful, and you can choose to print it all, or just the pages that will be written or colored on. I choose the later to save on color toner, but I splurge toner on the cover sheets and the photo sheets.  

Each lesson is interactive, and I LOVE that. There are links to click on, audio clips to listen to, and video clips to watch. This makes it a lot of fun, and varies up the content to keep his interest and attention. 

I love the included photos! These photos have sparked further research, and we've enjoyed looking up more photos of each country as we learn about it. 

You have access to the entire weekly lesson, and you can choose to do it all in one day, or spread it out through the week.  We did both. Some weeks, Mr. B would be so into the lesson that he'd just keep on going. And some weeks, I'd have him only do a chapter a day, or maybe 2 chapters a day. The lessons are full, and I don't feel they are lacking at all. There's ample opportunity to delve deeper if you wish, especially with the book suggestions. I love the links, and how we can do as much or as little as we want.


Let's Go Geography

Let's Go Geography is intended for grades K-4, but Mr. B is a 6th/7th grader who loves it. I think his favorite part is the Create section. In this section there is a crafty activity, such as coloring a frog and lily pad. He loves doing that kind of stuff still. I'll be able to edit this post with photos of his completed work once I get my new phone. Sadly, mine is pretty much on life support and the camera isn't sending my pics correctly. I appreciate the inclusion of lesson reviews periodically, and the included break weeks. We've not taken a break week yet, but I'm sure we may when they hit around a Holiday time. I really like how well planned and organized the overall program is, as that is so convenient and needed in my life. We both really love this geography curriculum. He WANTS to do it, and I like following along with him. It's a total win for us! 

Does Let's Go Geography 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?
There are break weeks included. We have customized to the point of doing a lesson all in one day, or over the course of a week. You have access to the lessons in advance, so you can print ahead, and work ahead, if you want. You can skip if you want, but I don't think anyone would want to do so. You are confined to your membership time limitations. 

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?

There are three year's worth of lessons. It does cover multiple grades, and I can see higher grades benefiting and enjoying this program, as my son does currently.  There are no hidden fees. 

3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long? 

Each lesson is broken into chapters. Each chapter is pretty quick. There are multiple activities that are varied, such as arts and crafts, video clips, and audio clips. I feel it is very varied, and not boring at all. 

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

This is only geography, though there are bits of history and science relevant to the study included. This is not an overall unit study, but a topical study.
Please click the banner below to read more Let's Go Geography reviews by the Homeschool Review Crew! 
Let’s Go Geography {Reviews}

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Author Matt Koceich's Imagine . . .The Great Flood BOOK REVIEW

Barbour Publishing
I wasn't really sure what to expect when I requested Imagine . . . The Great Flood by Matt Koceich. Mr. B did an extensive study on Noah and the Great Flood of the Old Testament last year, with his entire history program centered around it, so I knew he'd be intrigued by a book based on the same topic. Barbour Publishing is a Christian Publisher, but this book was a fictitious take, so I wanted to make sure Mr. B knew it was a "make believe story" before proceeding. When I knew he understood the Flood in the Bible is real, and this story is a fiction story based on that, I was excited to read it!
IMAGINE... The Great Flood
Intended for a younger audience of around 8-12, Imagine . . . The Great Flood starts off with a young boy of 10 years and his mother. Corey's family is moving to Florida, and he's troubled by this. He feels all of the normal nervous anxiety that any young child would feel over such a daunting and scary ordeal. His mother reassures him that no matter what, God will always be with him, but Corey just doesn't understand it all.

They hear thunder, and Corey runs after their family dog, so that they can get home before the rain hits. The last thing he remembers is falling and hitting his head, and the pain. When he comes to, he's face to face with lion and he realizes he is now in the land and times of Noah. He will go on to meet Noah, and his family, and others. And his faith and trust in God will be showcased throughout the book. Trust can be a hard thing for a kid to understand, and show. And this book has really helped Mr. B in that way. 

While this book is a fiction book, it's a good one for kids to read to strengthen their relationship and understanding of God. Often times, at least in our case, Mr. B has trouble thinking about stories and lessons from the Bible in his own way. Imagine . . .  The Great Flood is written from the perspective of a 10 year old boy from today's world. While that perspective is based entirely on the author's subjectiveness, it's an aid to a child, such as Mr. B, to imagine what life was like. The author has taken some creative liberties for the purpose of the storyline and plot, such as with the Nephilim in the story. But I just made sure Mr. B undersood, again, that this was just a story based around the TRUE story of the Flood and Noah, and not what really happened.

The author has a great idea of writing about Bible stories from the perspective of a "modern day kid" in a "back in time" fashion that really draws in the reader. His use of descriptive writing is great, and we were both able to visualize the picture painted in the story. Painting with words is our focus in reading in language arts this year, so this has been a great example to use to showcase to Mr. B exactly why reading stories with a lot of quality descriptive words and phrases is similar to watching a movie, just in your own mind.

"The ocean swirled around the boy and pulled him down with unrelenting power. Heavy water churned and tugged at his flailing body like unseen hands yanking him into the watery depths. "

Phrases like these are what make up this fantastic read. You are drawn in from the first pages, and can't wait to see what happens next. Even Mr. B said he was able to picture every scene in his mind's eye! That's really something coming from him!

As with anything, I always advocate previewing books, and other media forms, before turning your kids loose with it. But for us, this has been a safe, good reading adventure. Mr. B wasn't at all confused by the fictional story taking place in the book compared to the real account found in the Bible. Overall, I highly recommend this to others. 
Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich {Barbour Publishing}
IMAGINE... The Great Flood
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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Finding Hope in Behavior Management 101-Visual Schedules.

Most kids with Autism, and other special needs, benefit greatly from a visual schedule. That's where we have been for the last few weeks. I've been trying to develop a visual schedule for our entire day, as well as our school day. 

If you are a subscriber to the blog, I'll have a printable of our daily school schedule on there. It's best to have your own tailored to your child's specific likes and dislikes. We tackle a subject he doesn't like first, with a break afterwards, with a subject he does like. And we alternate like that.  So our school day looks something like this:

10am: Reading

10:30am LA

11:00am: Break

11:10 Science

11:40: Break

11:45pm Math

12:15pm break

12:20 pm History


There are all kinds of breaks in there so he can get up, run around, and do what he needs to do. If he hasn't finished a subject in the allotted time, then I have him work on it after we have finished everything-similar to homework. But we do finish EVERYTHING as planned, each day, unless something comes up that truly prevents us from it. Then we pick it up the following day. This works well for us, but everyone has their own unique situation, so you may need to tweak as you go. I would recommend printing the schedule twice, and putting the subjects on velcro so you can move them around as you see fit. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Chara Games REVIEW

Chara Games
I get so excited when I see Chara Games come up on a review request. They have the most unique, and fun games ever! We host game night frequently. So frequently, in fact, that I leave my dining room table extended all the time to the largest it can be just to accommodate everyone easily. There's always at least six people here on any given gaming session, and that just happens to be the PERFECT number for Chara Games newest addition, Unauthorized.
This is a family friendly card game that is intended for an older set of players, though younger players can take part with adult assistance. The game is not a mindless game that you can just open a box, roll some dice, and go. It's thought provoking, and you have to use a bit of brain power as you play this 30 minute game of State vs. The Church. 
The game comes packaged in a small box, like you'd imagine for a card game. Inside this box you'll find:

  • A rule book: We skimmed over this before beginning, and really used it during play. I find it easier to go along with the rules during play, rather than reading it first. It is easier for my mind to make sense of everything as I try to put it all into play.
  • Role Cards: There are 12 role cards in total, and you use one for each player. The game is intended for 6-12 players. You have to have at least 1 cop and at least 1 pastor role playing. The others are neutral based players, who are swayed during the game play. Each role card has the option of a male or female character. Your choice there doesn't matter as far as game play is concerned. You shuffle all of your neutral cards and deal those out. Each role has a different ability that is unique only to them.
  • Experience Cards: These are like any other playing card in any card game, and are for your eyes only. These are where you make your strategic plays. Cards are dealt first to the cop and the pastor. The cop gets 7 red state cards, and the pastor receives 7 green church cards. The rest of the cards are shuffeled and dealt out to the remaining players. Once each player as 7 cards each, the remaining experience cards go face down on the table as a draw pile.

  • Dealer Reference Card: This provides the dealer with allowable game actions. The dealer card is passed as the game goes on.

  • Player Reference Card: Provides the players with their allowable actions in game.

    Game Play

This video explains game play much better than I can do haha. Each character role has a talent or "power" that can influence the game play. Each experience card influences characters either to the church or to the state. As the game progresses, experience cards are passed to other players and laid down. When a player is down to only one card, they must draw from the draw pile.

Play is not over when a card has been discarded. After the card passing, players must then make a choice. They can choose to use their character power, or-if they are in prison-they can seek parole. Cops can execute, or you can speak to a neighbor. After this, the dealer card is then passed on to the next player according to the set up of your game. 

But, who wins?

If at the end of the game if characters have more green cards, then they are loyal to the state. If there are more who are loyal to the church, and there's at least one person who is not in prison, then the Church wins! BUT, if the members of the church go to prison, or there are more state loyalty cards (red cards) in play then the state wins. Oh and the fun part? Since you can't see what experience cards everyone has, you have NO idea where their loyalty is! So you never know if you are on the winning side, or the losing, until it's revealed at the end!

Our Thoughts

If you are used to card style gaming, then this will be second nature to you. If you are used to role play style gaming, you'll also feel at ease. If board games are more your thing, you may find the directions and rules a bit difficult at first, but easily understood. But even with a more complicated play set up, the video above is a GREAT tool to learn how to play the game, and you can easily work through a game with the rule book handy. I have a difficult time just reading rules and playing a game, so I like to watch the video then work through the game, play by play, with the rule book in hand. That's how we did it during game night, and by the 2nd game everyone knew what to do. The game is varied enough, each time, thanks to the shuffling that the outcome is different all the time. It's not weighted for the church to win any more than the state, or vice versa. 

Even though this is "just a game," it has also been a great teaching tool for Mr. B to understand the struggles some have had over the years, and even currently, when it comes to practicing their Christian Religion. 


Check out what the others from the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about Chara Games! 
Unauthorized {Chara Games Reviews}
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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Carole P. Roman Books REVIEW

Carole P Roman Blog
Last year, we brought you a review on 4 books by Carole P. Roman. Those books were so much fun, and Mr. B just LOVED them! He couldn't wait to get another goody in the mail, just for him! But this time, we were surprised with a couple of books for Princess J, too! Totally unexpected!

Part of the Bedtime Stories books, this is a really cute little story book, perfect for any little girl! This paperback book features a glossy cover, with 34 pages inside. The artwork reminds me of crayon or chalk drawings. This is a cute little story that features a mom and her two daughters. They ask her if a princess can be a firefighter. She goes on to tell them they can be anything they want to be: A firefighter, join the navy, be a doctor, or a judge, even a sculptor, etc. But in the end, no matter what they end up choosing to be when they grow up, they will always be a princess to her. This book is such a sweet treat for Mr. B's little sister, Princess Jennifer loves having this read to her! 

This is one we were blessed with last year, as well. This one is part of the If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Historical Series. We plan to gift this to a family friend who has just begun their homeschool journey. This has always been a huge favorite for Mr. B! This is a 58 page book that gives the life of a 12 year old boy on the Oregon Train. The story says your family was urged to make sure they completed their travels during the summertime in order to avoid the harsh weather winter could bring. This book really goes into detail about how life was like in a covered wagon, searching for a new home. I like how the book pointed out how hard it was to leave their extended family and friends behind to embark on a journey to a new, and unknown location. The story artwork is cartoon-like. The back features photos of real American West people such as Daniel Boone and Annie Oakley. There's also a glossary of terms. 

Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag is a small, short chapter book that is part of the Early Chapter Reader Books- Oh Susannah series. Unlike other "beginner" chapter books, this one has font that is of "normal" size, and not larger than average. It has 34 pages, arranged in nine chapters. There's no colorful artwork, which is what you'd imagine with a chapter book. This book has a very good message. Susannah thinks she can deal with all of her problems, if she stuffs everything into her bookbag. Banana's, lunch, homework...and a small gym booklet that proved too much for the bag. Susannah figured out that when we try to hold our troubles in, the weight of them becomes too much for us to carry alone. 

This book is part of the If You Were Me and Lived In . . . Cultural Series of books. Mr. B couldn't wait to get his hands on this one! He LOVES all things outer space right now, so I knew this one would be a HUGE hit! This glossy cover paperback has 43 pages full of solar system awesome-as Mr. B says. The book talks about how Mars got it's name, what life would potentially be like living on a colony on Mars, the moons of Mars, and when we can see them, and so much more! I love how she used something like moving to Mars to teach science topics like growing plants in Martian soil, and gravity. Like American West, If You Were Me and Lived on . . . Mars features an appendix with a pronunciation guide and definitions of the words.


Overall, you just can't go wrong with Carole P. Roman. I'm blessed we had the ability to review a variety of books for a variety of topics and ages. Princess J. loves her own princess themed book with Can a Princess be a Firefighter, and while Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag is a bit young in terms of reading level for Mr. B, the moral of the story is one we can all use. I can't wait to bless someone else with If You Were Me And Lived in . . . The American West, and Mr. B. absolutely adores his If You Were Me and Lived on . . . Mars book! I highly recommend these to others!!

Several members of the crew were blessed with a variety of Carole P. Roman books to review. Please click the banner below to read those reviews! 
Oh Susannah, Bedtime Stories, Captain No Beard, If you were Me ... {Carole P. Roman Reviews}
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Monday, September 11, 2017

Progeny Press Charlotte's Web E-Guide REVIEW

Progeny Press

We really love Progeny Press literature guides. These guides cover fantastic Christian literature and living books, such as Charlotte's Web. We have used Progeny Press before, and I've always been impressed. So, when the download for the Charlotte's Web E-Guide came, I downloaded it as quickly as I could! 

Charlotte's Web - E-Guide
What is it?
For this review, we received a digital download of an interactive PDF study guide. This guide is really great! And what's even better is that it is interactive. What does that mean? Well, it's a PDF that Mr. B can actually type right in! When he's finished, I can print it all out and save it in his end of the year portfolio, or I can print it all out and he can write in it like a traditional worksheet style guide.

This is great for those, like Mr. B, who have weaker fine motor skills. It's great to work on fine motor skills, such as handwriting, but sometimes the focus on the skill takes away from the ability to put answers on the page. With these interactive guides, Mr. B can type directly on to the page. There's no frontal lobe coding issues to contend with, since the question and answer space are so close together, and there's no breakdown of skills to worry about since he can simply type his answers in the space provided. 

Admit it, you got as much of a chuckle out his "Bacon" answer as I did! HAHA!

While I can't take the trusty red ink pen to the computer screen to correct his grammar errors, I can print the page and correct that way. Or, we can talk about it and he can change it on the screen before I even print it for his portfolio. 

I've elected to wait to print until he's completed the entire guide, that way I can print everything at once and stick it all in his binder. Thus, reducing the imminent threat of lost papers! 


Overall, we really enjoy Progeny Press and their literature guides. We plan to continue using this one until we've finished, and I may look into guides to cover some of his required reading for the year. They are so very well planned, and cover the book nicely. I like how they provide him with both concrete, and abstract questions. I love how he can easily type his answers into the interactive guide, which makes life so much easier for the both of us, but if I need to I can still print it out and use it that way.  I also appreciate how easy it is to obtain the books. These are easily found at your local library, used book store, and even online. I happened to already have a copy here that I picked up at a free book swap a long time ago.

I truly don't pay much attention to the "recommended grade levels," instead I go with what catches our interest at the time. If he wants to a read a book they have deemed as appropriate for 3rd-6th grade, and he's 7th-well, that's fine with me. If he wants to tackle a 9th grade book, and I judge the content to be appropriate, again I'm fine with that. If grade level matters a great deal to you, then you should know this particular guide is intended for grades 4-6, but I can see grades 3 to even 7 being ok with this.

I am very thankful for the chance to review the Charlotte's Web E-Guide as it has been another hit for our family!

Does Progeny Press 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 is a physical product, even if it is a download. You download it to your computer with no membership or anything like that to rush things along. You are free to take your time as you need, but I would work through the guide cover to cover. We take our time with reading so that Mr. B gets a good grip on what's going on. We have worked at this with a 3 chapter a week pace, and as a result we've nearly finished the guide in the review period.  Some weeks I would split the chapters up over the course of the entire 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?

There are NO hidden fees, but you will need to obtain the books as these E-Guides are not standalone products. The books feature a grade range, and you can easily go up or down a grade level with them.  

3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long? 

Each guide is going to have it's own flair, but they all have the same great planning and questions. We have reviewed Progeny Press in the past, and they have never let us down. Mr. B always enjoys the book choices, and he will eagerly do the requested work since the time spent is minimal. 

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

Progeny Press offers a variety of study guides so you are sure to find something that fits in with your current studies. I love how they integrate vocabulary and reading comprehension into their products, and in years past we have used those vocabulary words as our weekly spelling words. I would use these as part of an overall unit study, as well.

If you read the Indian in the Cupboard review, you'll notice I was having issues with my computer and Mr. B couldn't type in the interactive guide. The great thing about it was that I could still print it, and he could use it that way. So you don't HAVE to type in it, if you don't want to. 

Don't forget to click the banner below to read more Progeny Press Reviews. They were very gracious to offer the crew a variety of E-Guides to choose from, and Charlotte's Web was only one of several! 

Study Guides for Literature {Progeny Press Reviews}
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Remembering 9/11

Where were you when our world changed forever?

I had just returned home from vacationing in New York. My mamaw had late stage Alzheimer's, and she required 24/7 care. It was my turn to be with her. My niece, K, was in 1st grade.  My mom was getting ready to leave to take my niece's mom to the doctor. I had just woke up when she told me a plane had had an accident, and flown into the World Trade Center. I had just walked into the living room when the 2nd plane hit. At the time I thought, "WOW! A major plane hit the WTC, and a second pilot must have been so distracted, they flew into it too!" Terrorism wasn't even in my mind back then.

My mom had to leave, and I was still glued to the TV. Then the other planes hit in DC and PA. I called my cousin to have her sit with our grandmother long enough for me to go get K from school. We were worried some crazy out there would take the chance to do something at the school with all the attention diverted to the attacks. I brought her home, and I had to turn the TV over to cartoons because my grandmother was becoming distraught over the images, thinking the TV was a window and she was watching our neighbors across the street.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Our Great American Eclipse 2017 Trip Part 1

Ok, so I know I said I was going to do this post a few days ago, happened.

A couple of years ago, another Review Crew member made a post on his Facebook page about the 2017 Total Eclipse. His post had said something about how they either lived really close to the path of totality, or they camped really close. Something like that. Anyway, that's when I heard about this eclipse. I showed the article to Mr. B who got VERY excited!

I made him a promise that I would do everything I could to get him to the Smoky Mountains so he could see it in totality. We love going to the Smoky Mountains. They are SO very autism friendly, and homeschool friendly. It always makes for a lovely vacation.

So, for the last couple of years we've saved all of our pennies, and he's tried hard to be on his best behavior. I planned and planned, and decided that Clingman's Dome would be the PERFECT viewing place. Little did I know, you had to have reserved tickets, at $30/person, to see the event from Clingman's Dome. So, maybe I hadn't planned as well as I thought!

It was now June, and the eclipse was just two months away. I had NO viewing area plans! I knew our cabin was going to be close to totality, but I knew that wasn't going to be close enough. I needed a plan, STAT, and I needed a backup plan! I purchased our eclipse glasses early, and made sure they were NASA approved from the start. Thank God! I didn't have to worry about THAT fiasco!

I also thought ahead enough to purchase Astrofilm for my camera! What I failed to do, was remember to remove said filter from my lens during totality so I could get a great shot HAHA! Sigh...that's ok! I had some great friends who were less than an hour away, also in TN, who got several AMAZING totality pictures!

I had planned on only staying until after the eclipse and leaving. So a 3 day vacation for M, Mr. B, and myself. We had NEVER taken a full family vacation before, so M said he really wanted to stay a week. I hadn't planned on that, but worked to make it happen. Then my niece decided she wanted to go, too. So now I had an extra person AND more days to try and plan! This was going to be GREAT!

Just after first contact, when you could really see something was happening!

With only a week or so to go before leaving for our vacation, I still had no viewing plans. My plan was to drive to somewhere in the path of totality, and just pull over lol! We were worried about the weather, and I had told Mr. B that we'd wake up REALLY early and check the weather, and drive if needed to find clear skies.

I decided to call the Monroe Co. visitor's bureau and ask them if they could suggest somewhere for us to go. Sweetwater, where my friends were going, was having a townwide festival. We didn't need a festival. We just wanted to see the eclipse, then get back to Gatlinburg. As it turned out, Monroe Co. had a 16 Acre field in Telico Plains, complete with food and a DJ. Parking was $5.00, and the skies were forecasted to be crystal clear! I used paypal, pre-paid for parking, and the plan was set! Telico Plains was only a 75 minute'ish drive from our cabin. With traffic, it took us about 90 minutes to get there. I had talked with the tourism director, and she suggested dinner at a local diner after the eclipse. We had packed drinks and snacks of Star Crunch and Cosmic Brownies, so we were set! 

We get there, and traffic is crazy! The atmosphere was alive with laughter and hundreds of humans gathered to celebrate in a common good- America's Great Eclipse. It didn't matter what color, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, or religion you were-everyone was genuinely happy you were there! Kids ran and played with each other, adults chatted and laughed, and watermelon was shared by all.

the DJ kept playing great songs that all had a cosmic theme. Every little bit they'd say something about the eclipse. What was happening, etc.

During the last few minutes before totality, they played The Final Countdown. Everyone was laughing and cheering. The temperature was dropping, and the overall light outside was dimming a little. The night bugs came out, and crickets were chirping. It was....odd. But it was still brightly daylight outside, just...different. Like the feel before a big storm kind of.

Then it happened. 10....9....8.....7....6....5.....4.....3....2.....1...



EVERYONE screamed or gasped! It was truly amazing. Never in my life did I ever dream a total eclipse could be so powerful, so moving, so....utterly magical. I was speechless. I'm still speechless. I could never, in a million, billion years ever put into words what I felt upon seeing God's wonder in the sky that day. It was DARK. Like DARK. It looked like it was 9pm at night, and it was just after 2:30pm! Crickets, frogs, all the night creatures were out. THERE WERE STARS! You can kinda see one in this amazing picture Pat, my friend Stephanie's husband, took in Sweetwater, TN. There was this perfect black circle that completely covered the sun. And out from the sun was this ethereal white, angelic like ring and glow. Words just can't describe it. My brain honestly had a hard time processing it all. Then I looked around. 360 degrees around us was a perfect sunset. 

That was all the way around us. My phone naturally made it look brighter out than it really was. It was dark. 

For 2 minutes and 38 seconds, we experienced this amazing eclipse. After, M and K said they had headaches. I figured it was from looking up for so long, then I read that headaches are common during a total eclipse. Something about geomagnetic something or other. As soon as the sun moved just past the sun, it was daytime again. 26 seconds, give or take a second, and it was fully bright once more. AMAZING!

We had decided to leave right after 3rd contact. So we loaded up the camp chairs, and hopped back in the car. We were on the road in record time, and everyone was hungry. There was no traffic backed up at all, and we thought all was well. We pulled into a restaurant called Bert's Hometown Grill. This is what the tourism director recommened. Bert's boasted award winning BBQ and World Class fries. Bert's did NOT disappoint! It was a fantastic meal. When we left we realized we maybe should have skipped Berts. Traffic was backed up FOR MILES. Remember that 90 minutes it took to drive 85 miles to get there? Well, it took us nearly 5 hours to drive less than 6 miles! We found a shortcut, thanks to Mr. B having an atlas with him, and we took that route back to Pigeon Forge. By the time we got back to the cabin, we were all exhausted. But, we were all still in awe over the amazing eclipse we had been blessed to have witnessed. 

Stay Tuned to Part 2!