Saturday, January 30, 2016

Bronner REVIEW

Bronner is the real story of finding hope and purpose despite unspeakable tragedy. Sherri Burgess takes us into her personal story of devastating loss and pain when her young son Bronner died from a tragic drowning accident. I admit to having a very hard time reading this book. It stirred emotions in me I'd just as soon not feel. Accidents such as this has been a huge fear of mine since my niece was a baby more than 20 years ago, especially water accidents. With my own son having autism, I was always even more worried because he was always so drawn to the water. We had a small pond outside our home, and I turned my back for only a second and he was gone. I couldn't find him. I ran all over the place, and out to the pond trying to find him. He wasn't even three yet, and I just knew something terrible had happened. Thankfully, he was just playing hide and seek and had hidden inside the house. Reading this book stirred that panic feeling, and made me even more thankful. Beyond that, this book has helped me to see God's love and purpose behind the pain we feel when we lose a loved one.



  Can God use pain and suffering in our lives to teach and refine us? Journey with Sherri Burgess in her new book, Bronner, to discover the purpose behind pain through the powerful story of her son Bronner’s earthly death. An empowering resource for book-club discussion or small-group Bible study, this is much more than simply a retelling of an inspiring story. It is a call to action beckoning us to know our Holy God like never before.

Join Sherri in celebrating the release of her new book, Bronner, with a blog tour and a Kindle Fire giveaway!

bronner-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Bronner
  • A Kindle Fire HD 6
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on February 12th. The winner will be announced February 15th on the Litfuse blog.

bronner-enterbanner

http://litfusegroup.com/author/sburgess

**I received this 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, **

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tap My Trees REVIEW


Maple tree just waiting to be tapped! 


I have friends whose family makes their own maple syrup from tapped trees on the family's farm. The whole maple sugaring process from tapping the trees, to collecting the buckets of sap, to the final product of the maple syrup fascinates me! So you can imagine my delight when I was selected to review a tree tapping Starter Kit with Aluminum Buckets from Tap My Trees. Tap My Trees is tops in home sugaring. They offer a variety of supplies to help folks tap trees for maple sugaring.  The kit I received contains everything you need to tap  trees, except for the trees! In this kit I received 3 aluminum buckets with lids, 3 spiles, which are the taps, 3 hooks, a drill bit, cheesecloth, and a Maple Sugaring at Home book. 


What is Maple Sugaring?

You might be asking yourself, just what is Maple Sugaring? Well, maple sugaring is the process by which we get maple syrup!  You first begin by identifying your trees and buying the equipment you need to tap. There are a few trees by which you can acquire sap to make syrup. Maple is the chosen tree for this review, and because of its sugar content. Other areas without maple trees, like Alaska, may elect to use birch or walnut. These trees have lower sugar levels, so they aren't the first chosen. Next you wait until conditions are right! Conditions are right when daytime temps are above 32f and night time temps are below 32f. This allows the sap to flow properly. You begin by drilling a pilot hole used to insert your spile. Once you have inserted your tap, you want to use the included hook and attack the bucket, then cover the bucket with the lid to keep out snow and such. The best time is usually mid-February to mid-March, and sap runs for around 4-6 weeks. Wait! You only have 1 tree, but it is very healthy and larger than 27" in diameter? Guess what! You can actually insert 2-3 taps in a larger, healthy tree. Now....you just wait while the wonders of physics take over and allow sap to flow freely into your bucket! 








Why Tap My Trees?

QUALITY! That's why! Each component of the kit is a really good quality piece. The buckets are sturdy, the lids attach very well, the spiles are strong. I was very surprised by the quality of the materials. These buckets are sturdy and strong! I was expecting something thinner and smaller. These are quite large!




Tap My Trees Review
 I really appreciate the educational guide that is included. The best feature for me is the included photos. I love the photos that help you to identify your trees, as well as the how-to photos. That was really important to me. The Frequently Asked Questions portion came in handy too. I do wish the photos were in color. I think it would have made it easier for me in the long run to have seen a color photo of the trees/seed pods/buds, and up close too. But the black and white photos worked nicely still, especially throughout the booklet. This guide is a great "How to" guide for beginners. It explains everything you need to know to tap your trees to gather sap, then it goes on to teach you how to make your own homemade maple syrup. It is easy to read, easy to follow, and fantastic addition to the starter kit. I honestly knew NOTHING about maple sugaring before this kit, and after reading this guide, I feel more confident and I have learned a ton!





Tap My Trees Review
Overall

Overall, we have really enjoyed this experience. The weather hasn't been very good to us right now, so we've not been able to have as much fun as I had planned, but there's always time! It has been a lot of fun hiking through my parents' farm, thinking back to the days when my dad was alive and we'd walk the pasture together. It's a good feeling to go home! I'm grateful to Tap My Trees for allowing us the experience of just getting out of the house and enjoying nature, learning about trees, and learning all about home maple sugaring! I didn't even know this was even a thing "regular" folks could do! This kit truly does contain everything you need for maple sugaring, minus the trees! The quality is exceptional. The buckets and lids are strong and very durable, the taps/hooks/and drill bit all perform has stated, and better than I imagined! The book is great, and definitely much needed in my case! I mean, REALLY! For the life of me, I couldn't figure out how that tap was supposed to get into the tree until the book and drill bit arrived in the kit! I highly recommend this kit AND the experience of gathering your own sap for you own, made from the heart and home, maple syrup!  God Bless! 



Please click the banner below to read more reviews of Tap My Trees by the way awesome crew members of The Schoolhouse Review Crew! 

Tap My Trees Review

Crew Disclaimer

My itty bitty....

So today we had an appointment with the ADHD/Local developmental pediatrician. He's really one of the best doctors ever, we love him! When we started on the medical leg of our autism journey, Mr. B only weighed around 30-35 pounds! Hard to believe, right?! He was 4, and just a tiny little guy in a size 3T still! Even in September he was under 70 pounds. Today? A whopping 80 pounds!!!!!! He's so proud of himself! He's worked really hard to vary his diet and try/tolerate new foods. He's added pork chops, stead, BBQ ribs, and cereal bars just in the last couple of months. I'm so thankful to God!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Just Kin Review and GIVEAWAY


Romas 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. When you read this book you will repeat this verse over and over and over again. That is the essence of this novel. We ALL sin, but we can be forgiven for our sins, and God loves us no matter what. One character turns to an unsavory life and poor choices, another realizes the wrong in pre-marital intercourse. There's nothing overtly sexual or graphic, and it remains a Christian novel. The lessons to be learned are powerful indeed. This novel is not a stiff, drama filled book full of stress and tension. The author shines with her witty talent! I found myself truly laughing out loud! Lacey is "escorted" to NYC by way of gambler, and her knight in not so shining armor Charlie is tasked with finding her, and makes one wrong move after another. While I do feel this book can be a solo read, I wish I had read books 1-5 first so that I could have seen the character development from the beginning. I would have felt more included I think. 





Just Kin by Caryl McAdoo is a 322 page novel in the Christian historical fiction genre.  It is self-published and was released on January 2, 2016.  To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book

Love covers a multitude of sin. A stolen kiss ignites a fire that burns all the way from Texas to New York City. Torn apart by war, rejection, and a letter with news she never wanted, Lacey Rose takes her shredded heart and runs. Charley figures out something isn’t right, but is duty-bound to the Confederacy until a deathbed order sets in motion a series of events that tests his love, honor, and commitment to the breaking point. Can the two lifelong friends see past the pain to finally realize God’s plan for them to be more than just kin?

About the Author

Caryl, praying her story gives God glory, loves writing for Christian genres–historical and contemporary romance, Biblical fiction, and mid-grade especially. In 2014, Simon and Schuster debuted VOW UNBROKEN, a historical Christian romance set in 1832 Texas, and Caryl followed with three additional novels. In April, LADY LUCK’S A LOSER (contemporary, mature, inspirational romance); September’s debut, HEARTS STOLEN (set in 1839-1844), book two of her historical Christian Texas Romances–a #1 Amazon Best-seller; and in November, A LITTLE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS, volume one of her new Biblical fiction series, The Generations–also an Amazon #1 Best-seller.   In 2008, her high school sweetheart-husband Ron moved her to the woods of Red River County. Caryl counts four children and sixteen grandsugars life’s biggest blessings believing all good things come from God. Praying her story gives God glory, she hopes each one ministers His love, mercy, and grace to its readers. She and Ron live in Clarksville, Texas with two grandsons, Christian and Benjamen.

Blog Tour Stops

Jan 22: Bukwurmzzz
Jan 26: Bigreadersite
Jan 28: Henry Happens
Jan 29: A Greater Yes

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below to enter to win one of the fabulous prizes Caryl is graciously giving away!

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**I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I wasn't compensated in another or way, and all opinions expressed are my own.**

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Adventure Odyssey Club



We're working on John Whittaker. Anyone else?

What Pro-Life Really Means | Evangelicals for Life

EFL Button

Even if you're not heading to Washington, D.C., January 21–22 for the March for Life event, block out some time those two days because you'll be able to attend some of the events in the comfort of your own home. Focus on the Family and The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission will host Evangelicals for Life, a major pro-life conference held in conjunction with the March for Life event.

The event will take place in Washington, D.C., at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. Evangelicals from across the country will gather to hear from leading speakers, such as David Platt, Russell Moore, Jim Daly, Kelly Rosati, and others—to be equipped and encouraged to become a voice for life! The event will also be simulcast for FREE so individuals, churches, and organizations from coast-to-coast and around the world can take part.

Speakers will encourage evangelicals to engage the culture on issues of abortion and end-of-life decisions, and the event will affirm the evangelical belief in the sanctity of life, that every life matters to God and is created in His image.

For more information, visit http://evangelicals.life/.

Readers of this blog will receive 15% off their registration by using the code FocusLife.



What Pro-Life Really Means

By Daniel Darling

It was a flippant comment by the spokesmen for a presidential candidate: “It doesn’t matter. They’re just Muslims.” But it made shudder.

This is how societies begin to dehumanize a people group, and every generation of Christians is responsible to face this thinking and fight it. This is what it means to be a pro-life champion.

We are pro-life because we are pro-human dignity. It is the uniquely Christian message that sees in every soul a person created in the image of God.

When Planned Parenthood and their allies say, “That’s just a fetus,” we say, “No, that’s a baby, a human life, that deserves dignity and respect.”

When corrupt profiteers look at vulnerable young girls and boys and say, “They are just a commodity to be trafficked for money,” we say, “No, they are boys and girls created in the image of God and deserving of dignity and respect.”

When eugenicists look at the elderly and say, “They are just burdens to be managed,” we say, “No, human dignity is not defined by utility, but is a unique gift given by God.”

When politicians look at immigrants and say, “They are a drain on society,” we say, “No, they are created in the image of God and worthy of kindness, welcoming, and respect.”

When ISIS brutally dehumanizes its victims—Christians, Muslims, Jews, and anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their ideology—and they say, “They are just infidels,” we say, by our acts of justice, “No, they are people created in the image of God and worthy of life and respect.”

When the disabled are marginalized, we say, “No, each was created in the image of God and is worthy of our full love and acceptance.”

Even in our discourse, even when we look across the aisle, across the screen, across the table at someone who doesn’t share our beliefs, we say to ourselves, “This person is worthy of respect and dignity because they too were created in the image of God.”

Human dignity, the intrinsic worth of every human soul, is not just a once-every-four-years mantra for voter guides and political scorecards. We live out the imago de as a way of life, and we seek justice wherever human dignity is compromised.

This is why ERLC and Focus on the Family join hands to help raise up a new generation of evangelicals who are passionate about the sanctity of human life. This why you should come to Washington, D.C., this January to the Evangelicals for Life event or participate via the free simulcast at your church or on your computer.

You should join Evangelicals for Life, not simply to make a powerful stand in the nation’s capital. You should come, not simply to be stirred by the gifted speakers. You should come, not only to fellowship and strategize with other champions for life.

You should be a part of of Evangelicals for Life because God is calling you, in this time and in your sphere of influence, to be a voice for human dignity.

Answer for yourself what it means to have a pro-life, whole-life vision. Discover where your gifts and talents best serve the kingdom of God in this way, and send a message to the world that your Christianity compels you to look every human being in the eye and not see what everyone sees. You see in them the image of their Creator.

Daniel Darling is the Vice President for Communications for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (ERLC), the co-sponsor of the Evangelicals for Life conference. Dan holds a bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry from Dayspring Bible College and has studied at  Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Angela have four children and reside in the Nashville area. They attend Green Hill Church in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, where Dan serves as Pastor of Teaching and Discipleship.

After the Rain REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

I was blessed with the change to review After the Rain recently. This is a historical drama that is packed with goodness. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip back in time with this book. At least it felt like I was on a trip back through time with the amazingly wonderful descriptive style Rita Gerlach has blessed us all with in this novel! This book features an overbearing and controlling grandmother who insists her granddaughter Lousia marry a rich man she doesn't love. Honestly, there were times I really wanted to have a few words with dear Beatrice, the grandmother! Thankfully, Louisa is a very strong young woman who knows her place in the world. She's modern by that day's standards for sure, and knows she does not want to marry the rich Rupert, no matter the fact he can provide well for her. A woman like Lousia can provide for herself, thank you very much! Oh sorry, I got a little carried away there haha! Anyway, one day a very muddy misfortune causes Louisa to meet the dashing Jackson and sparks fly, much to her grandmother's dismay. The remainder of the novel is full of love and heartache, forgiveness, mystery, and lies. Rupert wants Louisa's hand in marriage, and is completely willing to stoop low enough to spread lies and plant seeds of doubt in her mind. I've not even gotten to her aunts, or Louisa's longing to help the children! You will just have to read about all of that, and her dad, on your own! This is a great novel, a bit long, but worth it!




After the Rain is a 570 page novel in the Christian historical fiction genre and was released on September 29, 2015. Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

He becomes the love of her life. She becomes his biggest challenge. It’s 1908, a year in the Edwardian Age, the year J.M. Barrie’s play What Every Woman Knows, premiered in Atlantic City and the first Model T rolled off the assembly line in Detroit. It is a year when the world faced one of its worst disasters in history, when the New Year would heal the wounds of loss. Louisa Borden lives a privileged life in Chevy Chase, Maryland, a new and thriving community on the outskirts of Washington, DC for the well-to-do. Against the wishes of her domineering grandmother, she retreats from the prospects of a loveless marriage and instead searches for what she hopes is her calling in life. When her horse is spooked along Rock Creek, she is thrown from the saddle—an embarrassing situation for any affluent young lady. Soaking wet, bruised and humiliated, she is carried up the muddy bank to safety by Jackson O’Neil, a stranger to the city, who changes the course of everything, including the lives of all those around her.

About the Author

Rita Gerlach is a best-selling author of inspirational fiction with a romantic bent, including The Rebel’s Pledge, Thorns in Eden and The Everlasting Mountains, Surrender the Wind, and The Daughters of the Potomac Series. She lives in Maryland near the Catoctin Mountains with her husband Paul.

Giveaway

”grandprizeaftertherain”

 Enter below for your chance to win an autographed paperback copy of After the Rain and the audio books of The Daughters of the Potomac series.

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Blog Tour Stops

Jan 13: Bukwurmzzzz
Jan 24: A Greater Yes

Author celebrateLitTeam Posted on January 8, 2016 Categories Uncategorized Leave a Reply

Homeschooling Apps

We like to use a variety of materials in our homeschool, and apps are a large part of it. I thought I'd list a few of the apps we like to use, and why we love them! These are all iOS apps, but most, if not all, are available for android as well.

 Stack the States is a great app to learn state facts, as well as learning the size differences between the states. It's always fun to see Delaware stacked beside Alaska! There is also a Stack the Country that's fun as well!



This is a fun app where your child travels the world locating clues to solve crimes. It's fun, but it can be beaten in a short time frame, with additional levels requiring more purchases.




This is a great app to study the movements of sharks that have been tagged by OCEARCH. VERY interesting! We used this to study the sharks along the NC coast this past summer.



This is a great app to introduce cursive writing. It is coloring, and easy to use. For autism, it is great to get the overall movements of the cursive letters. We really like this one.



Google Earth has been, and continues to be, one of our most used and favorite apps. We have traveled the world thanks to Google Earth! WE LOVE IT!


These are just a few of the apps we use on a regular basis. There are loads of math apps, include Math Bingo and Math Worksheets, you can find dissecting apps, science apps, geography, foreign language, etc. Even apps that are designed to be games can be used in an educational way-such as trivia apps, Minecraft, and simulator games. Apps can be great for homeschooling because they are easy to take on the go, use in the car, or wherever you all. They are relatively inexpensive, or free, and open up a world of learning right at your fingertips! 



Please click the banner below to see what great apps my Schoolhouse Review Crew friends are using in their homeschools! 



Our favourite Apps for Homeschooling iOS and Android

Dawn Crandall Cover Reveal and GIVEAWAY!

Hey everyone, my friend Kari over at The Editor's Note blogged a really awesome cover reveal and giveaway for Dawn Crandall's newest book in the series, Everstone Chronicles. The cover art for The Cautious Maiden looks AMAZING! I know you can't judge a book by its cover, but this is one cover that looks GREAT! So go take a look and enter the giveaway! The Cautious Maiden is set to release this fall! 


17 years...

You know that moment when you look at the calendar and what feels like only yesterday is in fact 17 years? 17 long and empty years. I was Daddy's little girl. Much to my mother's dismay, just like him. Looked like him. Acted like him. Mommy did all the work, but Daddy took all the credit lol. I was his little shotgun he'd say. He'd pick me up after school in his coal truck, which made me super cool at 8 years old. Then he'd pick me up on his motorcycle....mega cool then. And he'd rip all that away by dropping me back off the next morning blasting bluegrass out of 70s stationwagon that my brother bought lol. Pretty sure we all hated that car, but his enjoyment over my humiliation was worth it.
We'd leave extra early every morning so we could listen to Lum and Abner on AM radio. We'd talk along with the opening....every single morning. And every morning he'd run by Burger King and get my breakfast if he hadn't already fixed it for me after he retired. We'd let mom sleep.
He met my first "real" boyfriend with a shotgun pointed at his chest. I'm still surprised that guy stuck around for a few months after that. Daddy was pretty strict, especially when it came to me and boys. His friends would talk to him for me, telling him he needed to loosen the reigns just a little. He never did, and I'm glad he didn't. Of course that fateful day came when I got engaged. Daddy wasn't happy. He told one of his friends, "I reckon she's going to marry that jerk." as he was working out how he was going to turn the barn loft into a home for us. No matter what, he loved me and wanted me to have a nice place to live. He even got me a bathtub....big soaking tub that I got to use in the first house I built. When he got sick, we talked a lot. After I broke up with "the jerk," and informed him I didn't much like the boy he thought I should marry, Daddy told me I was too picky. He said I was holding out for Prince Charming, and that my idea of Mr. Perfect didn't exist. He went on to tell me he wanted me to find someone who would be good to me, who would be a good father and work hard at an honest job to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. He said I didn't need anything fancy or anything more than that, and if I kept holding out for a prince I would end up unmarried with a houseful of cats. If he was alive today I'd point out I only have 2 cats.
He wasn't scared of dying at all, he was worried about what would happen to us. He used those 9 months to teach me all he could, all he thought I'd need to know that he had time for. When to change my oil, how to change a tire, how to drive on winter roads, how to take care of the horses because he said he knew I'd never stay away from them. He taught me everything except how to be Daddy's Little Girl....without her daddy.
Thankfully, God placed good men in my life who stepped in when they weren't even asked to. G wasn't even family, but he protected me like his own and walked me down the aisle. And my uncle. Words can't even begin to cover all he did for me. He taught me all the stuff daddy didn't get to in his short 9 months. Thanks to him I can plumb a house, change out an outlet, trim a house, build a floor, build a porch, patch a wall....install just about anything that needs to be installed, and the very important lesson that a corded drill is much more powerful than a cordless drill. My wrist still hurts after that. I am blessed with a great step dad who loves me like I'm his own, and treats me like I'm his own. He would move mountains to help me if I needed it, and has before.
I wonder what he'd think of us all now. Would he be proud of us? He'd still say sending me to school was his biggest mistake lol. B would be spoiled beyond repair. He'd have his own horse...or 3...and he'd probably be doing some kind of barrel racing something. B would be his little carbide, his new shotgun.....like my niece was his sidekick. I probably wouldn't live where I do. I'd be in the barn loft with my 15 cats he said I'd have because, let's face it, I'm still picky. He'd be proud of the young woman K has grown into, and he'd make her boyfriend walk a chalk line lol. I wonder what he'd think of M, but then again I wonder what M would think of him HAHA! I know he'd like M, but I'm not so sure I'd be able to handle their combined sarcasm directed at me.
Today I choose not to dwell on that day 17 years ago when Cancer stole my dad from me. Instead, I choose to look back on all the things he taught me. All the laughs he gave me. All the special moments we shared that only a Daddy and his little girl can have. From the time I got all dressed up for a date with daddy to the tack shop, to falling under the horse, to him laughing when I named the bull DinDin, and getting mad when he traded DinDin just before he was ready to be butchered. I will think back to all the rides we went on, and the times I fell asleep on the back of that Goldwing. I'll think about the time he let me park the coal truck by myself.  I was 8 or 9. I'll think of curling up behind his legs on the couch and watching movies with him. I'll think about all the surgical procedures we watched on TV, and him telling me I could do that one day lol. He's where I got my love of documentaries and old black and white movies from. I will think about all the stories he and his brothers told, and while I would give anything for one more evening with them all, I can at least cherish the memories of their laughter. So at 3pm today I won't think about my dad's last breath.....I want to think about all the good memories. 17 years....unreal.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

New Furbaby!

I still need to get a good photo of her, but we inherited one of the Kitties M's mamaw had. She passed away a week ago, leaving a momma cat and 5 "kittens" that are now about a year old. They've only known outside life, so this kitty thinks she's something else living the indoor life now. She's a beauty too! A long haired calico, full of purrs and love!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Friends and Enemies: REVIEW

Hey everyone! I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy of Friends and Enemies to review, and I must say it's a pretty intense read. I wasn't expecting as much action as it has packed into it, but I was pleasantly surprised. I won't give away too many details so I don't risk spoiling the storyline for everyone, but it's good! The characters are well developed, and the storyline is coherent and solid. I love the Godly foundation that is at the center of the book. Terri Wangard weaves a wonderful tale through her use of outstanding research and style. I didn't feel as if I was reading a book, I felt like I was given a glimpse into the lives of Heidi and Paul.  Sometimes a book will take me a few chapters to really fall in love with the characters, but Friends and Enemies had me from the first few pages. I HIGHLY recommend this book!


Friends and Enemies is a 425 page novel in the Christian historical fiction genre.  It is published by Hope Spring Books and was released on Jan 5, 2015.  To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book

”FriendsWidowed seamstress Heidi Wetzel finds new meaning in life by caring for evacuated children on a farm in war-torn western Germany. Never a supporter of National Socialism, she takes pleasure in passive resistance, but must exercise caution around neighbors who delight in reporting to the Gestapo. Having lived in the United States, she wonders about her friend Rachel. Flying cadet Paul Braedel’s wife dies while he trains for the U.S. Army Air Corps. Following bereavement leave, he joins a navigation class. He’s lost his zest for life and heads to England, not caring if he lives or dies. When he and his crew are shot down over Germany, he evades capture and, for the first time since Rachel’s death, hears the voice of God whisper guidance. “Find Heidi.” Heidi meets a man she recognizes from her high school days in America. Aiding a downed airman is punishable by execution, but she agrees to help. Then they’re betrayed.

About the Author

”Terri”Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor. Connect with Terri: www.terriwangard.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorTerriWangard Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/terriwangard/

Giveaway

”FandEgivaway”
 Enter to win a copy  of Terri’s new book Friends and Enemies or a $10 Amazon card.
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Stops

Visit each blog to read their review and have another entry to the giveaway!
Jan 5: Writing Between Sundays
Jan 5: Book Reviews from an Avid Reader
Jan 6: Thinking Thoughts
 Jan 6: Novel pastimes
Jan 7: Simple harvest Reads
Jan 8: Artistic Nobody
Jan 9: A Greater Yes
Jan 10: Cassandra M’s Place
Jan 11: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberation
Jan 12: The Grafted Word
Jan 13: Our Perfectly Imperfect Life
Jan 14: Texas Book-aholic
Jan 15: Christian Book Aholic
Jan 16:  Bukwurmzzz
Jan 17: Through the Open Window
Jan 18: Highlighted Author
Jan 18: For the Love of Books

**I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed in my review are my own.**

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Pursuit of God, FREE TODAY ONLY

I have a dear Facebook friend who posts a lot of freebie deals on her Facebook. It is my wish that everyone have such a friend on their their Facebook! She posted this deal today and I thought I'd share it with everyone!

The Pursuit of God Free e-book!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Colleen Coble’s Mystery e-Reader Prize Pack Giveaway

I absolutely LOVED this book! I know we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but first I'd like to say this is just a flat out pretty cover! I really loved the story line. It wasn't an obvious from the get go plot, and I appreciated that a lot. The characters all have a history with one another, and as you delve deeper into the book you realize exactly how strongly those ties are....and some are VERY unexpected! I will say I was left more than a bit shocked at a couple points in the book (seriously, I really want to give out a spoiler alert and just blab away, but I can't!"  The characters are well developed, and the tension between Kevin and Mallory is just enough to keep you reading, but not so much that it drowns the story or makes you feel uncomfortable. All in all, I REALLY loved this book a LOT! I simply couldn't put it down. I actually read it all in a day and night....if staying up until 4 am counts as night still! When I say I couldn't put it down, I mean that.  LOVED IT!!!!!!


To move forward past a life of shame and confusion, Mallory Davis must go back to Mermaid Point to find out who murdered her father in Colleen Coble's new book, Mermaid Moon. As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father’s killer—it is also about finding herself again . . . and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin. She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.

Celebrate the release of Mermaid Moon with Colleen and a mystery e-reader prize pack giveaway!

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One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on February 1st. The winner will be announced February 2nd on the Litfuse blog.

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I received a copy of this book 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.

http://litfusegroup.com/author/ccoble

Family Loss

Yesterday I received a call from M. His grandmother had been found in her bed, passed away. This was quite a shock because, despite her age of 84, she was in pristine health. She was strong, healthy, had a great mind.....never an issue. Everyone was in shock yesterday, and today the reality has set in a little more. Thursday is the funeral, and I'm sure the reality will hit full force that day.   Prayers would be great as the family has to create a new normal.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Our Daughter's Deserve Better!

A friend shared a photo today of the daughter of her friend. you see, her daughter had on boots, black leggings, a collared button up shirt with a long sweater dress over it. The dress was about midthigh. She was dressed more modestly than I have seen little old ladies dress at church! The only skin showing was her neck/face and hands. This young girl was sent home from school because school officials felt her outfit was distracting to the boys. I'm waiting to find out if I can share the photo, and if I can I plan to do so here just to show how modest this girl was dressed.
Now the point of this post is not how she was dressed. Not at all. The point I want to make is this: A girl's education is just as important as a boy's. Is it not distracting for a girl to be sent home or pulled from class to change? WHY is the education of a male more important or more valued than that of a female? Each time a girl is sent home or forced to take time away from her own education in order to appease a patriarchal notion that her attire is the cause for her male peers to not perform up to standard more value is placed on her body than her mind. She is being told, if not in words, that the way she looks is more important than the way she thinks.
I am the mother of a son. Only a son. He is no more deserving of an education because he is male. And if he were to attend a school that placed his educational needs above those of the female students, laying the blame for his lack of performance on the hem of his female counterparts, I would be beyond livid. Why? Because that would suggest that he were so shallow, so poorly taught, and so disrespectful (both of others and himself) that he would allow the dress of another to become such a distract that it would interrupt his class day to such an extreme that it would become a necessity to force the "offender" to change clothes.
I teach my son to have more respect for others than that. I teach my son to have more respect for himself than that. How about instead of sending our girls home, denying them an equal education, why don't we take the opportunity to teach our boys a lesson in RESPECT! Perhaps if we placed more value on our girls, then we wouldn't have to worry about the length of their skirts causing them to be raped. (Please note the sarcasm.) If we placed more emphasis on their inner worth, rather than the way they look we could cut down on eating disorders and senses of poor self image.
I'm not saying young girls should dress in attire where body parts are hanging out, but the last time I checked a boy's pants down around his thighs has not been a cause for him to be sent home because he was a distraction to the girls. Nor has it ever been publicized as a reason he was raped. We should build up and foster positivity in our girls to build their sense of self, their self esteem, so they do not feel the need to gain validation from outside sources. On the flip side, we need to teach our boys to respect ladies and keep their eyes to themselves. If I wear a lower cut shirt or tight fitting jeans because I personally like them, and a guy's eyes stray my way I most certainly am not the cause of his sin, as I have heard time and time again. No...he is the cause. Simple as that. What happened when Adam blamed Eve for his sin? She was punished for her own sin, but he was punished for his....not her.
So please, if you are the parent of a son and a daughter, look at your kids and ask yourself if your son's education and well-being are more important than your daughter's because that is the exact message that is being sent every single day.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Da Vinci Code, etc.

One of my favorite book series is by Dan Brown. The Lost Symbol, The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, Inferno are all some of my favorites. I actually have the Da Vinci Code in multiple prints! His writing style is carried on in his novel, Digital Fortress, but my love for the Character of Robert Langdon prevents me from enjoying that one too much. I think it is the mystique, the puzzles, the exhilarating chases, and the history in the novels that captivates me so. To imagine such a clandestine set of events that occur without anyone bothering to notice intrigues me I suppose haha! All in all, these are my personal favorites! I highly suggest reading them before watching the movies since, as always, the book is WAY better than the movie!



Our Must Read Books for 2016 {Dad & Mum's Book Stand}

SchoolhouseTeachers.com REVIEW

SchoolhouseTeachers Review 2016
It's the start of a new Review Crew season! Like last year, I'm starting the year off with a review of a Yearly Membership for SchoolhouseTeachers.com. I really love SchoolhouseTeachers.com for the wide variety of goodies offered there. It truly is a one-stop-shop for all your homeschooling needs. Covering all grades, you will find courses on everything from art and Bible to grammar and geography, and more! With over 200 classes available internationally, there's something for everyone!
The last time I reviewed this, I focused mainly on the great core curriculum printables available with your membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com 
(HINT! Click here for that review!!!!) , so I thought I'd take a different route this time and focus on electives and art. We really love the art and elective classes! As a photographer, I was super excited to see the Photography Class that is offered. This class is very well taught, and really covers a great deal of information. I've been a photographer for years, and I still learned a lot of great things! The art classes are also fantastic. I really appreciate the video component that helps you to see what you are supposed to do. 

Wanna see a pretty picture I took after learning a few tricks from the photography class? I knew you would! I was on site doing some Christmas Minis. I was in between clients, framed the lighting just right, adjusted depth of field (bokeh) and click! I'm thinking next year I am going to print this, cover the red bulb in red glitter and POOF! Christmas Cards! 



One of my favorite sections is the RightNow Media Library. With your paid membership, you will enjoy over 10,000 streaming videos! There are videos such as Veggie Tales and Adventure Odyssey for the kiddos, and financial how to's for the adults. We use these to garnish our homeschool day, and just for fun as well! 



Another favorite area for my family are the monthly menus found at This Month's Menu. Each month has a menu complete with recipes! How awesome is that?! 


FYI: That Pot Roast and the Mini Cheesy Meatloaves are to die for! I'm also looking forward to those chocolate toffee bars! YUMMMMMMY! 

So once again, does SchoolhouseTeachers.com 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?

Are you kidding me?! YES you can customize to fit your needs easily. Now, some classes do suggest you follow the order of the class since information builds on previous material, but you can start and stop any time you wish because the courses are archived!  

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?

It is a great value! Seriously, do yourself a favor and at least sign up for the 1.00 offer. There is so much to this membership that there is no way I could every cover it all in one, or two, reviews. It is a fantastic place to find a wide range of resources, classes, etc. for all ages. With your membership you have 100% FULL access to the entire site, which also includes Right Now Media AND applecore Recordkeeping! 

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

Certainly NOT boring. With videos, science projects, reading, and so much more you'll certainly not get bored. The set up allows for easy modification so kiddos with autism or ADHD who need a break can easily take one. 


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

Yes. Just....yes. Studying the Middle Ages? Guess what, there's a class for that. Studying Realism in art? Guess what! There's a class for that. Studying geography? Yep...you guessed. There's a class for that, too! Algebra? Got it. I can do this all day HAHA! 


Last year I focused a lot on the curriculum side of the Yearly Membership. You really can't beat a fully loaded site such as SchoolhouseTeachers.com that includes courses in every subject for all ages, family matters such as home planners and menus that include the recipes, as well as the streaming media of Right Now Media. It's almost too good to be true that you can get all of this for just $12.95/month. If you pay for a whole year at one time, you can save 10%. BUT, the awesome folks at SchoolhouseTeachers.com have been gracious enough to offer my readers a 50% off special! So you can sign up today for a Yearly Membership for HALF OFF

Just enter the code CREWFOLLOWER to receive your discount! 
SchoolhouseTeachers.com

Please click the banner below and show some love to my fellow crew members who have also been reviewing SchoohouseTeachers.com

SchoolhouseTeachers.com Review 2016

Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Our Favorite Books

When asked what my MUST read books are, my mind goes blank! Honestly, I LOVE reading. I read so much that I have a hard time remembering which title goes with which story! TRUTH! But there are a few favorites that stand out in my mind that I feel make for really great reads with your children. I use these as a story time with my son. I do this because some of my fondest school memories are of the teacher reading to us as a class. I can't think of a single student who wasn't thrilled when it was reading time, and this lasted until 8th grade! Some of these are great for older students to read alone. In no particular order:


1.) The Narnia series. For us, the best order is the order in which the books were released. Otherwise, you loose some of the magic of the series. 
2.) Alice in Wonderland, and read it before watching the movie. 
3.) The Indian in the Cupboard. I remember this from 4th grade!
4.) Number the Stars. My 7th grade teacher had this as a required book, and I loved it so much I was allowed to keep it. It is truly one of my favorites. 
5.) The Maze Runner Series. The first is a little slow to start, but after that I was hooked. Do not read the prequel first!
6.) Any of the Magic Treehouse Books. WE LOVE THESE! And we have a ton of them!
7.) Choose Your Own Adventure books. This should be a given haha!
8.) The Bible. Certainly not last, and never least. 
Our Must Read Books for 2016 {Dad & Mum's Book Stand}

Monday, January 4, 2016

Motivational Monday

Today is MONDAY! And not just ANY Monday, but the FIRST Monday if 2016. Now, anyone who knows me knows I detest the month of January. I'll post more about that later, but for now, I want to focus on how to make this the best Monday of the new year! I plan to reevaluate my life and how things have been done thus far. I want to create a daily schedule, and stick to it! Today will be my Monday Planning Day!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Regina Jennings’ ‘At Love’s Bidding’ Cozy Winter Night Giveaway

Hey everyone!!!! I was so fortunate to receive a copy of At Love's Bidding to review. It's not a typical "historical romance" novel. It is different, unique, and well written. Regina Jennings does a fantastic job of using descriptive writing to bring to life the town of Pine Gap and the story of Miranda and Wyatt. I personally felt the book was a little slow to warm up, but gained more speed as it went along. By the end, I was very pleased and overall I really enjoyed it. Growing up, my parents used to take me to auctions a couple times a month or more, so this triggered some happy memories from long ago, even if they weren't on the same wavelength as this book. I liked it!

Here's more! Keep reading below for more on the book, At Love's Bidding, and a chance at a giveaway!

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After a cross-country trip to track down a sold painting that could ruin her family's business forever, Miranda Wimplegate forms an unlikely but charged partnership with livestock auctioneer Wyatt Ballentine in Regina Jennings' At Love's Bidding. Miranda and her grandfather discover their new auction house doesn’t deal in fine antiques, but in livestock. And its frustratingly handsome manager, Wyatt, is annoyed to discover his fussy new bosses don’t know a thing about the business he’s single-handedly kept afloat. Faced with more heads of cattle than they can count–but no mysterious painting–Miranda and Wyatt must try and prevent a bad situation from getting worse.

Join Regina in celebrating the release of At Love's Bidding by entering to win her Cozy Winter Night giveaway and RSVPing to her January 5th author chat party!

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One grand prize winner will receive everything you need for a cozy winter night:
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Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 1/5. The winner will be announced at the At Love's Bidding Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Regina and other readers, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!

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RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 5th!


New Year's Resolutions

Yes folks, it's that time of year again. The time of year where everything seems so new and fresh, and we want to make the best of it. We always have such good intentions, too, but sometimes those good intentions are just not enough to get us to keep our New Year's Resolutions. I have some pretty lofty goals this year, so I may need some motivational help and accountability to see to them all.

1.) I want to be a better Christian. I need to pray more with more faith. I need to be patient and understand that everything is done in God's time and at His Will. I need to exert more patience and understanding. And I need to be more humble.

2.) I want to be a better mom. Ok, that's sort of a generic line, right? All I ever hear from people is how they think I'm a great mom. Maybe I am, but I am my own worst critic and always see my flaws first. I want to be the mom that plays more, stresses less. The mom who loves more and yells less. And I'm doing good so far, in the 3 days since I've made this goal of mine. Today we built Knex bridges together, cleaned up a little together, and then we enjoyed an evening out as a family.

3.) I want to get this house clutter free and live a more simplified life. This goes back to point 2 and the less stress. We have so much stuff in here! M and Mr. B really hate throwing anything out. If something breaks, they claim it can be fixed and it just lingers, in it's broken state, until I can sneak it to the trash guys! Why? Thy fail to realize they don't have the time to every actually fix it. By the time I am able to throw it away, a new one has replaced it anyway. It's a never ending battle that I hope will end this year!

4.) I want to live healthier. I want to eat more whole foods and very little processed stuff. I want to work out and exercise more. I am in my 30s and feel like I'm in my 80s. I hate it.

5.) Building.  I want to build my blog, my Facebook page, and my photography up more this year than ever in the past.

Those are my Top 5 for tonight. I may have more later. Actually, I do have more for a later post.  But they are a bit more drawn out.