Saturday, March 25, 2017

Buying a "service" dog.

I've done YEARS of research into service dogs for autism. There are difference in service animals, therapy animals, and emotional support animals. And there are so many myths, and straight up lies. So many organizations that claim greatness. I'm working on a post that will address a lot of these issues soon, but for now I want to show you a photo! Two of these gorgeous babies will be coming home with me at the end of April, and we can't wait!

Customer Service

I'm pretty sure Customer Service is a lost art. It should not take 2 trips, talking to 4 managers (including a regional manager, ) 2 customer service reps, for the tech guy to ultimately get everything squared away. Completely ridiculous! I'll post more later, when I've had time to calm down, but thank God everything is resolved!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bessie's Pillow REVIEW

Strong Learning, Inc.

I do a lot of book reviews, but not many have hit me the way Bessie's Pillow has. Written by Linda Bress Silbert, one of the founders of Strong Learning, Inc., Bessie's Pillow is based on the true account of her grandmother's amazing and courageous journey to America in 1906.

Boshka, (later called Bessie) is just a kid, just 18 years old (which is still a kid to me,) when she is sent by her parents to America in 1906 to escape from Russian persecution since she was Jewish. Imagine that for a moment. Imagine you are just 18, and you live in oppression due to your religion in Lithuania. You are forced to leave the only home you know, and your family, to travel across the planet alone to a new city, new country, new culture...a new life!  

The sites and sounds that are described in this book rang out like an internal movie for me. She goes first class aboard a ship, and her first time on American soil is Ellis Island. The book is written in first person voice, so it's like Bessie (Boshka changes to Bessie in America) is telling us her own tale. Once again, I'm transported back in time and I can imagine the excitement and energy of such times. Can you imagine?! How many lives have started fresh on the soil of Ellis Island? Bessie's life is one, and this book takes us on a remarkable journey as she builds her new life in America.

The pillow in question isn't exactly hers. She's about to board the train when a woman comes to her with a pillow embroidered with the words, "May this pillow bring you peace." The woman, Mrs. Dreizen,  wishes for Boshka to give this to her son Nathan who is already in America. The pillow is a source of comfort and inspiration for Bessie, who does find Nathan Dreizen. Bessie made good on her promise, and delivers the precious pillow to Nathan, and the two fall in love. They go on to marry, have a family, and eventually have a granddaughter who writes her grandmother's story for all of us to enjoy.

Bessie's story doesn't end with wedding bells and baby blankets. She and Nathan must endure unimaginable heart ache, and soon Bessie is on her own when Nathan suddenly dies, leaving her a widow with 4 children. Bessie starts to believe perhaps the photos and camera she and Nathan had were cursed. Such technology was a new thing back then, so she had them burned. As a photographer, this really hit me. I can't imagine burning my camera and photos, but times were so much different back then. Bessie is an unbelievably strong, and charitable woman. One thing I really took away from this book is that Bessie realizes how fortunate she is. She looks around her, and she understands and is aware that she's blessed and more privileged than many surrounding her. She goes out of her way to try and build up those around her. From providing goodies to orphans, to mortgages for people who couldn't secure financing through a bank, Bessie was a truly remarkable woman, and her legacy will continue.

Linda Bress Silbert does an amazing job retelling her grandmother's story. To be honest, I got so caught up in the story I forgot I wasn't reading the story from a first hand account. It is so unbelievable touching, moving, emotional, and so many adjectives I can't even think of right now. This book is great for a study on American History as the details about early New York City are fascinating. It'd be great to add to a study in immigration, and countless other topics.

There is also a webpage dedicated to introducing you to the America Bessie found when she arrived. Bessie's America is real treat. This page links you to radio stations the family listened to, as well as theater productions they enjoyed. There's music, recipes, the life and times of the era, and you can even look into your own family history.

If you click on the tab at the top of the page for teachers, you will find a really great Study Guide. And I mean a REALLY GREAT study guide. In it you'll find a myriad of study and discussion questions, a timeline of U.S. History from 1900 to 1936, suggested studies and research projects,  glossary, and a very extensive reading list. You could really use this book, the study guide, and reading list to build an entire semester or more of social studies! I find a lot of the material in the study guide portion to be geared to higher grade levels than where we are right now, but I have been able to use the guide as a starting point for discussion and reflection with Mr. B. We have also been able to engage in some beginning research with the suggested research projects, but most of that is well above his level at this time.

Since his step mom immigrated to the U.S. recently, we have been using Bessie's Pillow as a jumping point to talk about immigration, and how that is impacted our own family. Bessie traveled alone, and back then that was virtually unheard of. His step mom also traveled alone when she came to America after marrying his dad, but times have changed so much that it wasn't that unusual. The study guide has provided us with plenty of discussion and research prompts to use while we begin our own journey of sorts learning about immigration. 

All in all, I found this to be truly fascinating to read. I was emotionally moved, and completely enthralled by this story of perseverance, love, loss, and determination. Please note: I personally feel this book is best suited for high school level due to some subject material. There's nothing perverted or anything like that, it's just raw, gritty real life, and real life can be hard. I don't want to give away the book but just know there's child death, and emotionally upsetting subject matter at times that I personally skip over with Mr. B who is 11. It's great for a read aloud for younger kids, but you may wish to read ahead a bit to avoid some content with the littles. 
Bessie's Pillow
Does Bessie's Pillow 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 received a physical book. This is appropriate for teens/young adults/adults to read on their own, or for you to read to a younger child. You can read at your own pace, of course. 

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?

This a book that is well written and appropriate for a wide age range. But I will advise that some subject material might be a bit too much for younger audiences. This is a real life story, and real life isn't all sunshine and rainbows. There's child death, etc. The study guide is great for discussion, and for younger kids you may get inspiration from it for more appropriate activities if they can't handle some of the suggested research.  

Here is a sample to show you the research topics, and part of the study guide so you can get an idea of what I mean. 

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

It's not boring at all. The chapters are pretty short, and I find that to be great for ADHD and autism. The webpage is really great. Mr. B really likes the films and music. 

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

This can and will certainly tie into any study on American History, Jewish persecution, immigration, etc. This is especially great for those who go with a more Charlotte Mason approach. 

Check out the rest of the Homeschool Review Crew to see what they have to say!

Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Murder for the Time Being REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY!

Murder for the Time Being
Click here to purchase your copy

About the Book

FINAL - Murder for the Time Being Front 72dpi
Click to purchase your copy

Book: Murder for the Time Being
Author: Joanie Bruce
Genre: Christian Suspense/Romance
Release Date: November 29, 2016
“You’ll pay for this. I’ll get you both.”
Computer expert Lexi Wynn is frightened. Someone is after her, but she doesn’t know why. Is it because of her past or because she was thrust into a deadly bank robbery and might identify the ones responsible? Escaping a failed kidnapping attempt and not sure who to trust, she hopes her specialized skills with computers might flush out the name of the killer. When a tall, dark, and handsome stranger rams into her truck with the hearse he’s driving and puts his life in danger to save hers, can she ignore the attraction she feels for him to concentrate on the killers? Or is God the only one who can save her now?
Drew Sheffield is irritated when a cute lady stops abruptly in front of him and he plows into the back of her pickup. After their initial confrontation, flashbacks of honeysuckle and sassy green eyes linger in his thoughts. When Lexi is threatened, he steps in to help the feisty young woman, in spite of agonizing over a past relationship.
Can Lexi and Drew forget the tragedies of the past and embrace the feelings between them or will ghostly memories snub out the promise of a future together?

About the Author

ESP_9231 (2)
Joanie has a strong passion for reading, and her love for books with nail-biting suspense, inspires her to write contemporary suspense books. Thankful that God has given her the ability to write from her home in the country, she strives to use that opportunity to honor Him in all of her writing. Joanie and her husband, Ben, live in a country home near Madison, Georgia, right in the middle of a pasture full of beef cows. There they raised and homeschooled their three children. She enjoys cooking, taking long walks, painting oil portraits, and caring for their home in the country.

Guest Post from Joanie Bruce

Have you ever been devastated by a certain event in your life, and later it turned out to the best thing that ever happened to you? That’s what happened to Lexi Wyn in this book, “Murder for the Time Being.” Something unthinkable happened to her family, but in the end, it changes Lexi’s life forever and introduces her to the love of her life.
In this story, both Lexi and Drew have things in their past that discourage them from seeking a lasting relationship. However, God has a plan for them both, and through His Divine engineering, they are thrown together in circumstances that nurture a growing appreciation and affection for each other.
This book was fun to write because I anchored the story in my sweet little town of Madison, Georgia. I wasn’t raised in Madison, but I’ve called it home for much longer than any other place I’ve ever lived. While growing up in the big city of Memphis, Tennessee, I had definite plans for my future. All I ever wanted was to “marry a country boy and live in the country.” The Lord heard the desires of my heart and gave me what I wanted … a country boy, born and raised here in Morgan County on a dairy farm.
After we married, I adopted Madison as my home, and I love it so much that I wanted to feature some of the fun spots in Madison as the backdrops for the scenes in my books. I hope when you read through the pages of my book, you will get an idea of what a sweet little town Madison is and enjoy reading about Lexi and Drew and how they let God guide them in discovering that murder CAN be “for the Time Being.”

My Thoughts:

This is a very well written book. It is quick paced, but not so much that you lose your thoughts. It is paced enough to keep things moving ahead and keep it interesting. It starts off full of mystery and intrigue, and maintains that through out the book. The author does an exceptional job at scene description! From the first pages, I was enthralled and pulled into the story. I could almost feel the sadness Cindi felt when she realized her locket was missing. I could feel the fear and panic of her parents, especially as they ran for their lives toward the waiting airplane. Even through all of that, the author was sure to maintain a level of childhood innocence in Cindi who was upset about the forced move, but excited by the idea of getting a horse haha! Reading from the point of view of the bad guys is brilliant! The whole book is like this, and it's a page turner for sure. This is one of those books that kept me guessing on who the "bad guy/girl" is until the very end. I highly recommend it.

**I received this book free in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own.**

                               Blog Stops                              
March 15: autism mom
March 16: A Reader’s Brain
March 17: A Greater Yes
March 18: Radiant Light
March 20: Karen Sue Hadley
March 24: Pause for Tales
March 24: 2014 and Beyond!
March 26: Carpe Diem


To celebrate her tour, Joanie is giving away a Kindle Fire!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Monday, March 20, 2017

A day in our life: Monday fun with Obleck!

Today's homeschool was a mix of child lead and structured. I had wanted to finish up our world history, but we just got in Masterbooks Biographies of the Revolution, and I couldn't wait to get started on it. The planner for this is broken down day by day, with each front and page page intending to take 1 week. Mr. B enjoyed learning about George Washington so much that we did the entire first week today!

Then we moved on to Readers in Residence. This is a review item we recently received, and a full review will be coming soon. But he's really doing well with it. He spent a good portion of the day revisiting a lesson on narrative and non-narrative books, and then made a chart of several books in our house and organized them by narrative vs. non-narrative and genre.

Then came the part he was waiting on. NON NEWTONIAN LIQUIDS! I picked up a box of cornstarch at the grocery store last night so we could make a batch of oobleck. Oobleck is water mixed with cornstarch. This is a great lesson in liquids/solids, pressure, and viscosity. This is basically homemade quicksand. The pressure you apply to it causes the particles of the cornstarch to group together, making it solid. But once that pressure is release, the cornstarch releases, and it's once again liquid. This is similar to quicksand. The sand particles are broken up by water, but pressure-from tying to escape perhaps-cause them to group together so tightly they are like concrete. But relaxing and very short moves can break this bond and allow for your escape. This is not a liquid, but a non-newtonian fluid.

1C Water
1-2C Corn starch
Bowl, pan, etc.
Food coloring if you wish.

I start with equal parts of water and cornstarch. And I add cornstarch as needed to get the consistency to be sort of like paint or thick milk. I mix with my hands so I can feel with it's a neutral balance of cornstarch and water so that it makes the solid and then reverts back to a fluid consistency.

Here are some photos of our oobleck fun!

Create Your Own Beautiful Works of Art with Creating a Masterpiece {{TOS REVIEW}}

Creating a Masterpiece
Every once in a while, a product comes up for review that I get so excited over, that I will flat out beg to get on the review. That's exactly the case with Creating a Masterpiece. When I saw they had a Monthly Plan up for review, and we'd be receiving 6 months of that . . .  Oh the excitement! You see, I have always loved art. It was sort of a hidden gem talent I've always kept to myself because I never had time or money to pursue it. I wanted so badly to major in art in college, but my scholarship adviser would not approve it. She claimed it was not a means to gainful employment or enrichment, so therefore I had to choose another major. I was heartbroken, and that ended my quest for art. Once I had Mr. B, that pretty much sealed the deal on the end of my art days. His therapies and treatments took all the time, energy, and funds I had at the time. But, there remained a tiny ember still aflame in my heart for my beloved art.

Creating a Masterpiece is an online program full of art lessons that break down the steps so that even beginners can successfully create beautiful works of art. Mrs. Hofer wanted to create a program online that children or adults could follow with ease, and she wanted that program to instill a sense of pride and accomplishment in her students. I can tell you from first hand experience, she hit the nail on the head with Creating a Masterpiece.

How I Used This:

So, I was chosen for the review and I honestly screamed in delight. I couldn't wait. I would be FORCED to do the artwork since I had to use it for the review. That was my in! HAHA! I had purchased a discounted art kit for Matt as a gift, but I hesitated to use it myself since it was his. I didn't want to use it being I had gifted it to him. That's like buying someone a cake for their birthday, then scarfing it all down yourself. But now I had a reason why I NEEDED to use it. Justification can be a beautiful thing.

Before I was even chosen, I started with the free lesson. Yes, there is a FREE LESSON! I didn't really plan for this lesson, so I was at the mercy of what I had on hand. With no pastel paper, or anything like that, I used construction paper and chalks.

 Here is a photo of her artwork.

And here is a photo of my piece. 

And if you're wondering, is hanging on my refrigerator! 

I did this one while watching the video. I'd pause the video and catch up as needed. That's what is so wonderful about this program! You can watch first, or work along with it, and pause, replay as necessary. I found I paused and/or replayed frequently just so I could make sure I was doing it right. I'd say, all in all, I have about an hour art time in this project, not counting watching the lessons. Mrs. Hofer's sweet and kind voice is so very relaxing and encouraging. She always has a smile to give, and you can tell she genuinely loves what she is doing.

Here is another project I tried. This is a Level 1 project. Here's Mrs. Hofer's version first:

I loved the soft purples and pinks of this project. Unfortunately, I didn't have those colors when I purchased my pastel set. Silly me, I didn't check the supply list before heading off to the art supply store. I plan to make sure I have the right colors the next time I go because I very much want this same color scheme so I can frame it and hang it in my bedroom. Regardless, I was still able to do one on my own, in "my own way." Mrs. Hofer is very clear that the student is to make their own unique work of art, and not worry so much if it's exactly like hers or not.

As you can tell, my colors are bold and bright. I still like this one, but I like the softer colors of hers more. I also didn't cover my page as much as I should have, and I didn't realize that until I took this photo haha! Oh well, I still like it!

Both of these projects were chalk and pastel based. But with a membership, you have full access to every level and ever project. You will find projects that use:
  • Pencil
  • Watercolor
  • Charcoal
  • Oil Pastel
  • Ink
  • Acrylic
  • Oil Paint
  • Sculpture
  • Silk Painting
  • Glass Mosaic
  • Gouache
  • Mixed Media
  • Wood Burning
  • And soooooo much more!!!

After finishing up the pastel projects, I wanted to try my hand at painting. I was a bit nervous to break out the canvas and brushes again. I hadn't painted anything other than my house in more than a decade. I know it was well before Mr. B was born, and I can't even really remember what it was I painted. I am pretty sure I was just fooling around mixing colors, and I never got to the actual work. So really, it'd been since high school! That's a long time folks...a very long time. 

Here's Mr. Hofer's example:

She calls this Spring Blossoms. It is painted using Acrylics which dry faster than oils, clean up with just plain water, and don't hit the bank account quite as hard. They are easier to use than oils, in my opinion, but you blend and mix just the same. So, for example,  colors such as green and yellow use brown to darken and white the lighten, blues you'd use a black to darken. I used the acrylics I had previously purchased for a different project that Mr. B did a year ago or so, but we'd never opened them. They didn't have the exact colors she uses, but it was ok and I made it work for me anyway.

Here's my version:

My mom loved this so much, I gifted it to her for her birthday! You find this project in Level 2. There are a few more from this lesson I hope to complete before my subscription runs out. I'm a huge fan of the pastel projects, and there are several I want to attempt soon. 

As much fun as acrylics are, I was really itching to do an oil painting. I planned a special trip to the art store just for oil paints. With my 50% off one product coupon in hand, I searched for the largest set of paints so I'd make sure I had all of the colors I need. Of course when I get there, I realize I left the color list at home so I was at the mercy of hoping I picked the right one. I didn't haha! I needed sap green, and the best I could do when I got home was to mix viridian green with a little lemon yellow and raw umber. It at least wasn't as teal as the viridian green was to begin with, so there's that. But, true to the other projects, a little deviation in color is just fine! You won't have the exact same results as Mrs. Hofer, but that's totally ok! It makes the painting truly your own, and makes it 100% unique to you. I also realized when I got home that Mr. B had taken my good round brushes and pretty much ruined them. Without those, I was really hurting when it came to the branches.

Here is her version. I soooo love this painting! You will find this in the Art History section.

I love the starkness of the darks mixed with the boldness of the light. I love the hint of purple, the soft and buttery yellow like a prize behind the bold and dark greens.

Here is my humble attempt, given I did not have the correct color green. This is still drying, and I did this 100% wet the whole time. This one took a little longer because I was just learning how to use oils. Actual paint time is probably 90 mins to two hours, but I watched and re-watched the lessons over and over again. So I really can't say how much time I have. I did the painting all in one setting, painting wet the entire time.  With the proper brushes and the right color green, I think I could have done a better job. I may go back and do a bit of highlighting once it dries some that way the colors don't bleed into one another.


Overall, this has been the best review for me. I have truly loved working with Creating a Masterpiece. It has become my "me time" activity. It has been such a blessing to bring my love of art back out, and to truly do something for myself. In the midst of stress, heartache, etc.  I always have art as a means to recompose myself. It is an outlet for me to recharge, regroup, and combat anxiety and stress in a meaningful way. Mr. B has been sick for this entire review period, but I have found a few projects that he likes. It is very good for kids, and adults, and even special needs/ADHD kiddos like Mr. B. The lessons are very short, and broken down in such a way that your child can take a break and come back as needed. I will truly miss this subscription when it runs out, and I plan to ask for a renewal as a late birthday gift, or as a Christmas gift. I really enjoy this THAT much. I just want to say Thank you so much to the people behind Creating a Masterpiece for allowing the crew the chance to do this review. It has been such a huge blessing!

Creating Beautiful Art at Home {Creating A Masterpiece Reviews}
Creating a Masterpiece
Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, March 19, 2017

That time of year...

It's that time of year when I start thinking about what curriculum we want to choose for the upcoming year. We tend to school some year round, so that makes it more difficult in my mind to choose. If he REALLY loves something, he tends to work through it rather quickly, leaving me with a need to fill with another set of something.

He has a nice Zoology set from Masterbooks that he never finished, but I have misplaced 2 books. Figures, right?

He has Veritas Press self-paced history that will start in September, and I just picked up Biographies of the Revolution from Masterbooks as another history. It seems very well written and age appropriate for him.

Math: We are going to continue using Mammoth Math and CTC as of now, and I think we hve a supscription left of A+ that I never started. So we will do that, and save $$ on math.

We are wroking on Readers in Residence for a review, and I'm liking it enough so far to continue with it I think.

Language Arts: This one kills me. I have no idea.

Science: I am hoping for Apologia, and if not then I'll go to Masterbooks for that, too.

Soooo many choices! SOOOOO MANY!

What are your thoughts? Any products or vendors you're excited about?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Tale as Old as Time . . . My review of Beauty and the Beast.

Last  night was a cold, and dreary night. It was rainy, snowing, and it was also March 17. The very night I've been waiting on for months. Why? Opening night for Beauty and the Beast. Like you've most likely done, I read all of the articles concerning the sinister ways of this movie. I'm one who wants to see for themselves, rather than rely on the opinion on another, so I still wanted to go see this movie.

I entered the theater with a completely open mind, trying my best to not form an opinion based on a pre-existing bias due to words written by others. And I am so glad I have been taught to think for myself. This movie is nothing short of pure Disney magic. The acting is fantastic, the imagery is second to none, the CGI is outstanding. This movie maintains the sense of magical fantasy that is so innately Disney.

Let me address some "issues" that have been brought up in other blog posts or articles. I'll try to do this chronologically as they occur in the movie.

1.) Several have been appalled at a woman during the market scene who is wearing a cleavage revealing dress. She is purchasing food, and the butcher/baker/whatever guy asks her how her day is, and she in turns asks how his wife is. They are up in arms over her dress, and the fact a married man is flirting. If you would like to see this for yourself, before going to watch the live action movie, then please watch the ORIGINAL CLASSIC cartoon. It is nearly step for step the EXACT same opening sequence of the original classic, except I'm pretty sure in the classic cartoon, the lady's dress reveals MORE skin.

2.) It is said Le Fou is in love with Gaston, and jealous of his affinity toward women. In one beginning scene they say Le Fou sneers at some girls who are falling over themselves to be with Gaston, and that he does so because he's in love with him himself. Then he turns to those girls, sneer on his face and tells them to forget it because it's never going to happen.  Folks....this is NOT the case! He and Gaston are singing/conversing about Gaston's affection toward Belle. Le Fou is telling him he needs to forget about Belle, that there are other women out there who would marry Gaston. Gaston is very adamant about wanting to marry Belle. The women are acting all kinds of crazy, trying to get Gaston's attention. At this point, Le Fou looks to them and lets them know it's not going to happen. NOT because HE is in love with Gaston, but because Gaston loves BELLE. The articles I read completely twisted this. Perception is key I suppose, and everyone has their own way of viewing things. I suppose if I had gone in with the mentality that Le Fou is gay from the start, etc...I could possible contrive that to be a plot to try to gain Gaston's affection himself. But honestly, that's truly grasping at straws and trying to get other writer's the benefit of the doubt. I directly asked M his thoughts on that part, and he never even conjured up a "gay" idea about it. Even after I told him WHY I was asking, he still didn't get that feeling.

2.) Bestiality and Enchantresses: What is a Disney movie without magic?! Fairy Godmothers, evil queens, talking/walking mermaids. I mean...seriously? Is this some kind of new revelation that is shocking to people? She has a very minimal role. She curses the prince early on, and this is what makes him into a beastly creature, and turns all who live in the castle into inanimate objects-such as a mantle clock and candelabra. The bestiality is really pushing it. Yes, beast is a beast. Yes, Belle does fall in love with him. But she doesn't fall in love with an animal, she falls in love with a cursed human whose outwardly appearance is atrocious, but whose inner beauty is able to shine through. This is also a story that teaches you can't force people to love you or be friends with you, people must be free to make their own choices.

3.) It is said Gaston is looking into a mirror lovingly at himself, and he says "I'm not finished with you." And the article says Le Fou is at a distance and says, "Me neither." This DOES NOT HAPPEN THIS WAY! I have NO idea why anyone would even write that! It's a blatant falsehood! Le Fou goes to Gaston, who most definitely is talking to his reflection in a mirror in a very vain and narcissistic manner. It could be argued he's speaking to himself, or he's trying to practice what he wants to say to Belle. Le Fou tells him they need to get going, and that's when Gaston looks in the mirror and says that phrase. THEN, Le Fou looks into the same mirror, mimics Gaston's facial expressions, and says, "Me Neither!" He is NOT from a distance, and it is never implied at all that Le Fou is speaking to or about Gaston. Le Fou acts like a star struck person who has been a no body his whole life. Gaston is his validation of self, and his hero. He looks up to Gaston as someone who can do no wrong. He looks up to him as a role model, and someone he wants to be one day. THAT is how it is implied during this scene. It's like someone who is trying to be their hero, and his emulating the behavior he's witnessing to try and be closer to what he thinks is ideal.

4.) I can't remember if this part happened after the mirror thing, or before. So I'm putting it here. the tavern scene is much more mild in the live action movie than the cartoon. I will link you to the cartoon scene, and in it Gaston boasts that he is covered in every square inch with hair, as he rips open his shirt and reveals a hair covered torso. The patrons of this tavern are swinging steins filled with beer or some type of ale, and they are going into what could be deemed a drunken frenzy. At one point Gaston says, "no one bites like Gaston!" as he bites the leg of another man-again all of this is in the classic cartoon version. In the live action version, there's not bared chest or abdomen, no mention of hair that I can recall-but if it was, I missed it because it's not a huge prominent feature like in the cartoon. And Le Fou says no one bites like Gaston, lifts his shirt and there's a bite mark on his stomach. And this part comes directly after saying no one can wrestle like Gaston. If you want to take that as a gay moment, then so be it. OR you could see it like they were sparring, and that's how they worked in the bite into the live action movie, rather than have him actually bite someone during filming. It definitely is NOT a ring of bite marks as told by others. It looks like one large mark, and is shown as a laughing thing.

5.) Transgender cross dressing. I have to laugh at this. Did everyone forget the show Bosom Buddies where two friends must dress as women to live in an all women's housing apartment? That show was funny because it broke a stereotype, and we see Tom Hanks trying to pretend to be a woman to live in a cheap rent apartment. During the main fight seen, the wardrobe throws all kinds of ribbon, satin, etc. at 3 men who are charging up the steps. Two of them are horrified to see they are in dresses. And the other stops and kind of dances around like he's thinking, "I'm so pretty...oh so pretty!" and that's why it's funny. It's completely unexpected and then he runs off.

6.) Le Fou says he is not on Gaston's side anymore, and he says they are having problems. Then Mrs. Pots tells him that he's too good for Gaston anyway. Again, context is huge. Le Fou has spent an untold amount of time thinking Gaston as some kind of heroic man who can do no wrong. He'd never lie, cheat, steal, etc...until he does. Now Le Fou is seeing him for the villain he really is, and he's conflicted. Gaston was his hero, the one who he wanted to emulate. Gaston is his measuring stick for how to live his life, so to speak. And now suddenly, he's seeing a different, dark and ugly side of Gaston. Gaston forces him to lie. Gaston hits Belle's dad, ties him up and leaves him for dead. Gaston puts Belle in the same carriage as her dad to be taken off to an insane asylum. Then Gaston charges the Beast's castle just to kill him because he has Belle's affection. ALL of this is against Le Fou. And we see Le Fou change from being at the every beck and call of Gaston, to where he starts to think and do on his own, and makes a decision that he no longer wants to help Gaston.

7.) The exclusively "Gay Moment." I would like to take this moment to invite the direction who everyone says is trying to push a gay agenda on everyone to please email me and tell me how he's trying to do that. Because if that's his idea behind this movie, he failed miserably. The so called Gay moment happens at the end, during the final dance scene. They are having a Ball, and everyone is dancing. The dance is one of those where everyone spins around and they change dance partners with each turn. Somehow Le Fou and the "I'm so pretty" dress guy end up spinning into each other and they have a look of what I call shock sort of. And the entire part lasts less than a second. It's so fast, that literally if you blink you will miss the whole thing. Again, I asked M his thoughts about it, and he said it was pretty funny to see Le Fou who couldn't get any female attention, after being so obviously jealous of all the attention Gaston gets, to end up with dress guy for a spin. He took it as a funny moment, not a gay moment.

They say any publicity is good publicity, especially if it is free. And Disney has certainly gotten a lot of that. People who wouldn't have otherwise went to the movie have, or will, because they want to see what all of the jazz is about. They will find themselves immersed in the magic and fantasy of a true Disney love story peppered with humor and filled with amazing imagery. Luke Evans as Gaston steals the show, in my opinion, and Emma Watson is a beautiful and wonderful Belle. Dan Stevens does an excellent job at showcasing the evolution of Beast, and Josh Gad's role of Le Fou is fantastic. Go see this for yourself, without the biased mindset of what you have read online. This live action movie pales in comparison to the inappropriateness of the cartoon! We really need to go back to a society comprised of people who think for themselves, rather than people who rely on the basis of social media shares to form opinions. If you go into the film thinking this is a film to promote a gay agenda, then that's exactly what you will take away. If you go into the film thinking it is going to be a remake of a Disney classic, then that is exactly what you will take away. I did not personally see anything that made me feel as if it was inappropriate one way or another, nor did I see anything implied or pushed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Sometimes it stinks, but other times it's pretty great. I'm so happy and feeling so blessed that I no longer co-own my car with the bank! WOOOHOO!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Mother/Son Prom

Every year, the local Parks and Rec. service host a Father/Daughter dance. The idea behind this came from the notion that fathers teach their daughters how a lady is to be treated. Finally, "they" (who are the they's in the world anyway?!) realized the need for a mother/son version of this special day! This past weekend was the very first Mother/Son Prom!

Like the Father/Daughter Valentine Dance, this special prom is a chance for mothers to teach their sons how to respectfully treat a lady. And, it was a total blast! We had sooooo much fun!

We met up with our friends D and J. D and I had decided we wanted as close to the full prom experience as possible, so we decided we'd treat our sons to dinner first. Of course, younger kids like B don't really see the value in a fancy dinner, so we opted for Bob Evan's HAHA!

After that, it was off to the prom!

I did not have my camera with me, so these photos are thanks to D!

The prom was held at a smaller venue out in the country area. The Father/Daughter dance started in this same venue, until it grew so large they had to move to a larger building. I'm pretty sure the organizers did not anticipate such a  large crowd on their first year! There were not enough tables or seats, or parking spots! How wonderful is that?! M said all of the ladies at the office were talking about it, and he was shocked since he had only heard about it from me. That's the power of social media friends!

Included in our ticket was a complimentary photo book, with 2 printed photos. They had lots of props, and each person received 3 photos printed on a strip. B and I chose viking hats, signs that said "she's mine" and "he's mine," and just a natural post. 

I had done a wedding in this venue before, and I wasn't thrilled with it at that time. But it wasn't decorated like this at all! It was beautiful! The GHPD truly did a wonderful job to make this a magical night! 

Everything was blue/white themed with blue and white balloons, blue chocolate fountain, and blue punch. All of the refreshments were included. And at the end of the night, each mom received a special rose. I don't think they really thought about the kids wanting the balloons, but most of the boys ended up asking if they could have a balloon, too! 

There was even a DJ! And he was fantastic! He really got into it! He danced, he sang, and he worked so hard to make the night awesome! 

As you can imagine, it was a fantastic evening! Mr. B had a great time, and  so did I. We danced, we laughed, and we had so much fun together. We are already planning for next year's Mother/Son Prom! Thank you to the GHPD for a wonderful night full of memories!

Transitioning from Boyhood to Manhood with Celebrating Manhood: a rite of passage guide {{REVIEW}}

Home School Adventure Company
Recently, we were chosen to do a review on Celebrating Manhood: a rite of passage guide  by Home School Adventure Co. I had honestly not put much thought into celebrating "manhood" or marking any sort of special transition between boyhood and childhood. That's not something my family has done in the past, and it wasn't anything I had heard any of my friends take part in, so I was quite intrigued in this book to say the least. 
Celebrating Manhood a Rite of Passage Guide

The good people of Home School Adventure Co. strive to bring biblical teachings and foundations to the core of education in all of their products, and Celebrating Manhood is no exception. Celebrating Manhood is a Rite of Passage guidebook designed to help you mark your son's transition from boyhood to manhood in a memorable way to make it special and unique. It helps you place an importance on this milestone for your son, letting him know he is valued and respected.

How does it work?

The "Blueprint" lays out the foundation of what will be going on in a very detailed manner.
You are to select just a few men in your son's life to invite over for this special occasion. The book suggests 3-5, but it's really a family dependent number. I think 3-5 is a good number, but you may feel the need to have a few more. You invite these men over for a special get together, just for your son. You serve them all a special meal, plan a physical activity such as a walk, playing ball, something like that, and then you organize a discussion period afterward. Each man is to prepare a blessing for your son that he will share following dinner. And hey, need to leave! This is guy time. Serve the meal, and then skeedaddle away until time to clear the dishes. Let your son have his guy moment with the special men in his life.

The book has everything you need in it. There are templates for invitations, question and discussion cards, and even a how to. I am particular fond of the "If I had only known...," "What I value and Respect," and "I remember when...." cards. These are such wonderful prompts! It's a safe, natural way for the men in your son's life to give him advice in a way where he may truly accept it and get something from it.

What about single moms?

Being I was a single mom for a number of years, I understand how single moms may avoid something like this, and I may have glanced over it myself if I am being honest. I would have thought this is something for fathers and sons to do together, but it's not. This is for any man in your son's life, be in a youth leader, coach, grandfather, uncle, cousin, family friend, etc. For my son, we plan to invite his bio dad, his step dad, his step dad's father, his bowling coach, an uncle, and maybe a cousin. I'm not even going to be present as the guys plan to grill out and just hang out.


We are not at the point in my son's life where he is ready to make this transition, so we have yet to have our celebration, but I am in full planning mode for when we do. This isn't even something that would have been on my radar a few months ago, and I am so appreciative of Celebrating Manhood and Home School Adventure Co. for bringing this need to my attention. This is something I would have never thought to do on my own, and if I had thought of it I wouldn't have known where to start. This guide is easy to follow, and everything is right at my finger tips for easy planning! I highly recommend it to others who have sons who will be marking this special transition from boyhood to manhood!

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Finding Balance with Tightropes and Teeter-Totters. {REVIEW}


Do you wonder if you will ever find balance?
Lisa Pennington knows how to get up after losing her balance, even with a full house, a not-so-full bank account, and never enough energy. In her latest book, she offers readers:

-Strategies for finding balance in marriage, motherhood, and bad moods
-Playful yet biblically based tips for turning hard days around
-Inspiration for shaping obstacles into opportunities
-Ways to respond to irritations with gratitude
-Enthusiastic encouragement for living out God's purpose.

For every woman who wonders if her satisfaction in life will ever match her dreams, Pennington has real-life answers full of hope and humor.

 Lisa Pennington is a homeschooling mom of nine who shares her life-one laundry load at a time-on her blog, The Pennington Point. She is a sought-after speaker at conferences and women's groups and is the author of "Mama Needs a Do-Over." Lisa and her family live near San Antonio.

Find out more about Lisa at

Life is crazy and chaotic at times, and I myself have trouble finding the balance between my life roles. This book is well written and easy to follow, and gets to the root of most problems. It wasn't a boring and dry read, and I often found myself nodding in agreement.

Landing page:

**I received this free in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.**