Friday, November 30, 2012

Fun Friday- CD Edition & a Giveaway

unitybridgeintothewildDangerous Waters Out Of Control
It is probably not news to most of you that we do not have cable.  Nope, not a lot of TV watching going on in the house.  (Except for an occasional football game for my hubby or Netflix, or family videos.)  BUT, we do listen to A LOT of Cd's!  A lot!

So the first one I want to introduce you to is a rather new-to-us series, but one of our favorites!

Meet the Brinkmans and The Brinkman Adventures!

These Cd's tell real stories of missionaries, with a few dramatized "extras" added in.  As a matter of fact, you can read the true facts about the episodes on the Brinkman Adventures website, something that really helps bring these stories to life for your child, allowing them to see the real people behind many of the names.

From funny happenings to hair raising adventures, I think most any child would love this series.  We have about worn our set out and are anxiously awaiting a second series which is in the works right now. 
You can listen to episode 9 here!

And so for a little Christmas treat, you can enter to win a complete set of The Brinkman Adventures here!  Enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Giveaways coming!

Starting this Friday, our Fun Fridays- CD Edition will be about some of our favorite family CD series with a giveaway the first two Fridays of the month... just in time for a Christmas treat! 

 Hope you can join us!


Dangerous Waters 

Monday, November 26, 2012

How We Spent Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving a few days late!  I pray it was a blessed one.  The posts you have seen the past few days have been scheduled because we have been in Washington DC since Tuesday.  Yep, flew our oldest into Reagan National Airport and then hid away with her in a hotel until we put her back on a plane this morning and then came home ourselves.  We are exhausted, but had a FABULOUS time! 

I had told myself prior that dropping her off at the airport would be so much easier this time since we will see her in three SHORT weeks, but who was I fooling... it was still HARD!  The good news is she is doing well, has not decided while she was gone that she does not like us, and, did I mention, comes home in THREE SHORT WEEKS!

The other good news is you CAN do Thanksgiving in a hotel room!  Really!  I did cook the turkey before we left as well as the rolls and two pies, but everything else I took.  Pretty sure the people at the hotel thought we were moving in to stay!

See this small space...that was all there was, friends!  It was tight but it worked out fine.

Here's our makeshift table for six! With the fabulous husband setting the table.

SCP even said it was one of the best Thanksgiving meals we had ever had. ;)

Just goes to prove it IS about the people you are with, not the food.

 I will bore you with a few more pictures; some of us and some of the sights.  CP and I had not to been to DC in years and the kids have never been there except when passing through so we decided before the military sends us somewhere else next summer we better do the tourist thing while we are semi close.  We had relaxing mornings in the hotel, then visited a few places leisurely.  Fun, but low key.  Even managed to squeeze in a visit with some dear friends one day.  I could not have asked for a more perfect holiday and I am thankful for the time we had together.

Praying yours was blessed as well!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fun Friday- Final Holiday Edition

I hope that this post finds you all happy and recovering from the food induced coma of Thanksgiving! ;)  

But, what I really pray for is that you had time to reflect on all you have to be THANKFUL for and enjoyed time spent with those that mean the most to you!  I will fill you all in on our special Thanksgiving on Monday!

Until then...

Here is one last holiday favorite recipe that is fairly new to us.  It was printed in the Parent Life magazine about two years ago and was listed as a Cooking With Kids activity.  My kids love mints but most recipes are pretty involved, so we loved this simple to make treat.  You will notice ours are white... this is simply because we are trying to eliminate red dye, or any other color for that matter, from our 5 year olds' diet.  They really are pretty colored and one day I am going to stop being lazy and look into natural food colorings.  Ask me next Christmas if I got around to it!

Peppermint Creams

1 3/4 c. confectioners' sugar
4-6 tbsp. sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
food coloring (optional)

Sift sugar into a large bowl and gradually add milk and peppermint, mixing with a wooden spoon.  The mixture should come together like a dough.  You may need to use your hands to mix in the end! To knead, work on a clean surface sprinkled with confectioners sugar, until smooth.  Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters.  Transfer carefully onto parchment paper and let dry overnight.

Makes 20-30.  (if you do not let your children eat the dough while working, that is!)


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Winter Rest

Winter is a time for God's creation to rest and repair.

Don't you love that?  I found that quote in one of my 5 year old's science books and it struck a chord with me.  Maybe that is why winter is my favorite season.  I do, after all, sometimes need to rest and repair.  How about you?

Do you need rest-
from saying YES to everything and everyone
from the hustle and bustle of your family's endless activities
from the hurtful words of one who forgot to be kind
from an addiction that you cannot seem to conquer
from the lies you allow Satan to speak to your heart
from a hurting world
from a job that seems thankless
from friends who take more than they give
from facebook, twitter and yes, even bloggers

Oh friends, there is so much out there that we sometimes just need rest from.  I pray that in the upcoming month as we celebrate our Savior's birth you will allow winter and the One who created it to be a place of rest for you.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Going Courting...

"Going courting, going courting, oh it sets your senses in a whirl..."

Or at the least puts a weird look on all your friends' faces when they hear the word!

Courting.  Ummmm...WHAT?!?!

We have seen the faces, we have seen the glazed over eyes and we have heard the protests.  So, I have come to set the record straight.  Hear me say that again, I have come to set the record straight...not to argue, not to appear better than anyone else, not to change your mind.  The decisions you make are up to you, and are hopefully made with guidance from the Holy Spirit.  But, because we get asked so often, I thought I would take a moment to explain what our family believes. 

Nope, we do not allow our children to date at a young age.  Nor do they want to date. Usually the motive for dating is fun and it is usually temporary. In our opinion, there is nothing casual about finding a spouse, therefore there is not a reason to casually go out with numerous people, especially at a young age.  Giving numerous people their hearts is not what we want for our children.  What we do encourage of our children is to find who they are in Christ and establish their relationship with Him first and foremost.  Then, to get to know people and make friendships that will last a lifetime.  We pray that those friendships are based on like- mindedness, a genuine concern for each other, and a devotion to the Lord.  Our children have found beautiful relationships through the years with both boys and girls using those criteria.

It is our hope and prayer that if the Lord sees fit, one of those relationships with someone of the opposite sex will begin to develop into more than a casual friendship.  At that time, after prayer and consideration of both our children and the other family involved, we will allow our child to enter into a "courtship".

Does that equate to just sitting on the front porch or in the front parlor?

Of course not.

But instead, "seriously and prayerfully considering whether or not you are called to the sacrament of marriage." Dennis Gundersen

See, for us that is the bottom line- are you meant for each other?  Is this the one that God has meant for me? Are you ready to serve the Lord together?  Are you ready to serve each other?  Are you ready, emotionally and financially, to become a family unit?  And yes, for the romantics out there, do you make each other happy?

But we are trying to teach our children that while physical attraction is indeed important and created by God, there are equally important factors to consider.  Things that hold a marriage together when the star lust wears off.  Are they taking the time to "discuss things that will help you decide whether or not you are compatible in areas like finance, household responsibilities, childbearing, child rearing...everything." Gundersen  Anyone that tells you those things are not important and worth talking about are feeding you a line!  Relationships based on feelings alone will come and go.  Ones grounded in the Lord will last forever.  Now THAT is romance.

The other thing we encourage with courting is family participation.

No, we do not intend to spend every minute with them...  BUT, we do intend to be a part of the process.  How exactly that looks will obviously be dependent on the unique situation of each child.  Here's what I would say to those that roll their eyes on that point...
I do not intend to  choose any of my children's spouses, but why would I not give my opinion and guidance? You see, I have been doing that for years, on various subjects.  Yes, I like that haircut.  No, that outfit is not acceptable.  Yes, that is a good idea.  No, that was not the best choice.  Why would a good parent all of a sudden say to their child, good luck on that one when considering one of the most important decisions of their lives.  Makes no sense to me.

The other thing that parental involvement does, in my opinion, is to help protect hearts from being hurt.  My husband and I came from a dating background.  We did date each other on and off for many years before getting married,  and YES, our marriage turned out great, by the grace of God.  But that does not mean that there were not a lot of hurting hearts along the way.  We want our children to learn from our heartaches, trust that we have a little more knowledge, and accept our authority and guidance in the process.  We want them to adore ONE person with all of their hearts, not just the piece that is leftover after many failed relationships.

Do we have all the answers?  No! Do we know exactly how this will all flesh out? I wish! We are still figuring it all out and have yet to walk down that specific path. In the meantime...

We pray for our children and we pray for their future spouses.  We are learning along the way and appreciate other families that have decided to navigate the same path.  There is no right way or wrong way to "court".  After all, it is just a man made word.  Our prayer is that we will make it a God honoring journey!

There are MANY resources for families concerning Biblical Courtship.  I encourage you to explore as many as you can to find what is right for your family.  If you find one that tells you EXACTLY what to do and how to do, put it down and find another resource!  Follow God, not man.  He will provide the way!

Remember, it is not what you call it that's important, it's what you do and why that's important.

Resources for you to consider-
Courtship-Does it Really Work by Mark Fox (CD)
Courtship or Dating - So What's the Difference? by Dennis Gundersen (See my review here)
Before you Meet Prince Charming- Sarah Mally

Song credit-
Going Courting- from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

This post is linked up with Caroline at The Modest Mom!  Visit her site, you'll love it!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Fun Friday- Holiday Edition

What would the holidays be without cookies?  Here are two of our favorite.  Would love to tell you where they came from, but I have used them for probably out of a magazine from ages past.  Both are quite simple but still yummy!

Vanilla Thumbprints
makes 3 1/2 dozen

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup apricot or raspberry jam

1. Heat oven to 350
2. Combine butter and sugar in the bowl with an electric mixer. Cream using the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated (dough will be soft)
3. Roll 2 teaspoons of dough between your hands into a 1-inch ball. Repeat spacing 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. With a floured  thumb, make an indentation in the center of each ball of dough. (I use the end of a melon ball scooper!)  Fill each indentation with 1/2 raspberry or apricot jam
4. Bake at 350 about 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden brown around bottoms. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Peppermint Cookies
makes 3 dozen

3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 crushed peppermint candy canes or mints. divided

1. Heat oven to 350
2. Beat shortening, brown sugar, sugar, milk, vanilla in large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Beat in egg. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into shortening mixture at low speed just until blended. Stir in 1/2 cup crushed candy. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.
3. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately sprinkle each cookie with about 1/4 teaspoon crushed candy. Cool 2 minutes. Remove to rack to cool completely.


 photo 9c2d3d39-9e5d-4351-b060-d6251ee13eaa_zpseda17cd5.jpg

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

CREW Review- Vocal Coach Singer

Can you sing?  Nope?  Me neither.  I have always wanted to and I sound pretty good in my head, but the reality is that somehow that talent skipped me.  My girls, luckily, are a different matter. My middle daughter really loves musical theatre, so when the opportunity came up to review Vocal Coach Singer, she said, SURE!

 VocalCoach_vocalsinger.jpg photo

Meet Chris and Carole Beatty of Vocal Coach. The Beattys have been coaching singers of all experience levels for over 30 year and have developed several teaching programs, to include one we recently had the opportunity to review-  Vocal Coach Singer.  Vocal Coach Singer is a 12 disc singing instruction program designed for ages junior high to adult.

 Here is what you will get:

7 Training CDs:
  • Getting Started
  • Complete Breathing
  • Complete Warm-Up
  • Complete Tone
  • Complete Expanding Your Range
  • Complete Diction
  • Complete Performance

4 Workout CDs:

  • Daily Workout High Voice 1 & 2 for the tenor/soprano range.
  • Daily Workout Medium/Low Voice 1 & 2 for the bass/baritone/alto range.


The first thing you will want to do once receiving this set is listen to the Getting Started Video.  Here you will find 11 short introductions of each section explaining how to use them.  Then you are on your way!  It is that easy!

While the Beattys encourage you to have fun, this program is intended for those who have a desire to improve not only their voices, but their technique as well.  They suggest that you devote at least two sessions as week to the program at 45- 60 minutes a piece.  With the program comes a guide book with many helpful techniques and suggestions to get started.  There are also journal pages to help you keep track of your workouts and progress and an evaluation page to help you analyze the songs you sing and choose the best song for you.

 VocalCoach_Logo.jpg photo
So how did this work for us?  When we received the set, we downloaded it and watched the introductions together.  My daughter and I then listened to the breathing section and practiced together.  Once we got past the giggles because we looked silly we did fine.  After that, she preferred to do it on her own without mom watching.  She is 14, after all.  So 4-5 times a week she would proceed with the next part.  Her biggest complaint on this was she was never quite sure how long to work or where to stop.  (There is just something about a homeschooler that often needs a schedule and this program simply does not have one.)  The Beattys suggest you just work through at your own pace, returning often to the first three sections since they help lay the foundations.   While my daughter did enjoy working through the various exercises, she expressed concern that if she was doing things wrong she would have had no way of knowing.  That being said, I think we would have greatly benefited from a video in which she could have watched the Beattys teaching.  One thing this program did do, that I liked the most, was encourage the student, teach a lot of techniques that we were not familiar with and give her the excitement to continue to practice and learn.
You can order the Vocal Coach Singer 12 CD set for $119.99 or the MP3 version for $99.99.  Chris Beatty is also available for private or online vocal lessons.
To see what fellow CREW members thought of Vocal Coach Singer, as well as the Teaching Kids to Sing program, geared for children ages 5- 6th grade click on the banner below.

Disclaimer- Our family received the downloadable version of Vocal Coach Singer in exchange for our honest review of the product.  Opinions expressed are our own and were not influenced by the company in any way.

Monday, November 12, 2012

CREW Review- Growing Up Wild

WOW!  We have found a new favorite for family night!  And yes, we all want to move to the jungles and be missionaries.  Well, OK, some of us more than others, but I won't name names!

Meet the Wild Family from Growing Up Wild!

That's Hudson, Morgan, Asher, mom and Dad and Kian.
Like us they are an ordinary family that loves the Lord.  Unlike us, He called them into ministry for Him to the highlands of Papua, Indonesia, to spread the Gospel to the Wano people.  The 5 videos, each running about 45 minutes each, are a result of 3 years of hard work by the family themselves to help the viewers better understand the life of a missionary, to better understand the life of the Wano, and to challenge children to "impact the world for God's glory".

Recently our family received Volumes 1 and 4 to review.

 Home Sweet Hut- Get a glimpse of The Wilds' every day life and where they live
Supply Trip- How do the Wilds get their food?
Sun and Water- How these elements of nature affect the Wild family

Amazing World Around Us- Meet many jungle animals
Adventures in Culture- Highlights the culture
Tribal Calling- How the Wild family received their ministry calling

What sets these DVDs apart, aside from their amazing videotography and professional editing, is the fact that each set comes with a second CD that includes an Activity Guide for parents and educators to use to further the discussion and learning. Loaded with ideas for hands on projects, written assignments and field trip ideas, these Activity Guides contain web site links, charts to fill out, things to ponder and above all Scripture to inspire you.  My favorite activity was figuring out how many supplies you would need for three months in the jungle and how much it would cost you.  It really makes you start to think about true needs versus wants!   If Unit Studies are your mode of teaching, these Activity Guides will keep you busy, or you can, like us, watch the videos during family movie night as a time of reflection, learning and entertainment.  The possibilities are endless!

Note- If your family is uncomfortable with native people scantily dressed, you may want to view these DVDs first before sharing with your children.  Also, in Vol. 2, Adventures in Culture, you will see the boys get their noses pierced.  It is not for the faint of heart, but my boys were impressed. 

You can buy each of the Growing Up Wild DVDs for $18.99 a piece, or save 15% and buy all five for $80.99.  For a sneak preview of several of the videos go here and enjoy!  That is all it took to get us hooked.

We enjoyed these immensely and have added the three we don't have to our Christmas list.  I think you will find yourselves watching them a lot!

To see what fellow CREW members had to say about Growing Up Wild, click on the banner below!  Several CREWMATES were able to use the Growing Up Wild videos in their church for mission related projects.  You will enjoy reading about the fun snacks they served and how they brought the videos to life with the children they worked with!

Disclaimer- We received Volumes 1 and 4 of Growing Up Wild in exchange for our honest review of the products.  Opinions expressed are our own and were not influenced by the company in any way.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fun Friday- Holiday Edition

Happy Fun Friday friends!  So here's the second holiday treat for you.  If you missed the first one, just click here to catch up.  There's just something about trifles that just speak holiday to me, maybe it is the red berries.  Plus, they seem to feed a larger crowd.  Another warning- this is not the dessert to make of you are on a diet!  Just saying!


Holiday Brownie Berry Bowl
1 cup boiling water
1 pkg (4-serving size) Raspberry JELL-O  (we used strawberry)
2 cups ice cubes
1 baked 9-inch square brownie layer, cooled, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 cups cold milk
2 pkg (4-serving size each) Vanilla Jello pudding
2 cups raspberries (we used strawberries)
1 cup thawed Cool Whip topping

Stir boiling water into dry gelatin in medium bowl at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Add ice; stir until ice is completely melted and gelatin starts to thicken.
Place brownie pieces into 2-1/2-qt. serving bowl; cover with gelatin. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Pour milk into separate medium bowl. Add dry pudding mixes. Beat with whisk 2 min or until well blended. Spoon over ingredients in serving bowl; top with layers of raspberries (or strawberries) and whipped topping. Refrigerate 2 hours or until ready to serve.
Makes 15 serving, about 2/3 cup each.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

CREW Review- Courtship or Dating: So What's the Difference?


Grace and Truth Books is an online Christian Bookstore dedicated to bringing you books that "will glorify God, strengthen His people in their walk, and call all peoples to find joy in knowing His gospel and following Him."  I LOVE that!  In the past we have found that just because a book is labeled "Christian", it is not always what we want our family to read.  After perusing Grace and Truth Books, I feel that this site has definitely taken some of the pressure off me in choosing quality books. While no site can perfectly fit one's wish list, Grace and Truth books is pretty close- offering titles under numerous categories that include DVDs, Bibles and an awesome Shelf Clearing Reduction section!  We recently had the privilege to review one of the books they carry and I am excited to share it with you!

Courtship or Dating: So What's the Difference?, by Dennis Gundersen, is written for mature teens and the adults in their lives to help explore some of the differences between Courtship and Dating.  In his six short chapters, the author presents his personal ideas of what courtship looks like and how it is different from the worldly practice of dating.  One of my favorite points from his book focuses on parental involvement, no matter how the other details may look.  From the author, "After all, are there not some choices in life which are major enough in their consequences that it is clearly most sensible to take counsel and agree with other wise and godly persons?"

I really enjoyed this book and have read it twice!  I would encourage you to pick it up and give it a read.  I know Courting is often a controversial subject, but the author handles it with much grace and dignity.  While you may not agree with every word spoken, you will surely leave with some new ideas to consider.  For me THAT is a sign of a good book!  Simply stated by Dennis, "...the name you call what you do doesn't mean nearly as much as what you do.  The label you use...does not matter half as much as whether you honor and practice the principles of the upcoming chapters."

In addition to the text written by Mr. Gunderson, this book includes these supplemental chapters:

* Martin Luther:  On Parents and Their Children's Marriages
* Mary Mohler:  Modeling Modesty
* Tamika Burns:  Modesty, the Best Policy
* Kim Shay:  Some Observations on Courtship
* Martin Bucer:  Marriage Without the Consent of Parents 

All have a slightly different voice and perspective, but are enjoyable to read and may just add one more nugget of truth for your family to consider as you begin to walk your path of Courting or Dating.

Courtship or Dating: So What's the Difference? can be purchased for $5.75.  A small amount to pay for a wealth of information, I believe!

To see what fellow CREW had to say about this product as well as 13 more offered by Grace and Truth Books, click on the banner below.
Disclaimer- We received a copy of Courtship and Dating:  So What's the Difference? in exchange for our honest opinion of the book.  Opinions expressed are our own and were not influenced by the company in any way.



Primary Arts of Language, or PAL, is a two part program consisting of a Writing Program and a Reading Program, with a bonus Spelling Program on the side.  Created by Jill Pike for the Institute of Excellence in Writing, or IEW, this amazing program is designed to teach kids K-2nd grade how to read, write and spell while having fun.  Here is what you will see when you open the box after ordering the two programs-
At first glance one could get easily overwhelmed.  I did!  Let me suggest that the first thing you do is pop in the DVD for both programs, sit back and relax while Jill takes you through the ins and outs of the program!  Now, you will feel so much more relaxed and confident, I promise!
Here's how it works in a condensed version-
Before you get started you will need to put together the file folder games.  You can do this as you come to each one in the lesson plans, but I suggest you just sit down one night and blast through them.  All of the supplies are given to you in the reading package, you will just need to supply the file folders to put them together.  It does take a little time, but these are the heart of the program so don't skip this step!  Now you are ready to begin!
Starting with Lesson One in the Reading Manual you begin with Poetry. Here you will be instructed to read the first poem and discuss.  If there are extra activities to do, they are discussed in the lesson plan.  New poems are introduced every few weeks.
Then you will be instructed to do your Class Journal, Printing and Story Time.  This is where you will jump over to the Writing Lesson plan, which will give you specific instructions for what to do now.  Each day you and your child will write in a class journal, practice letter writing and eventually write words, first on a white board, then on sheets provided and eventually on lined paper.  You end this time by reading a story.  (The stories to read are even included in the first 8 lessons.)  After the story you talk about who was in the story, what happened and how it ended (the clincher).  For those of you familiar with IEW, these are steps that will be followed up on in the higher levels of IEW programs.
Now you hop back to the reading lesson plans!  Here you will find yourself in three different stages, depending on how far you are into the lessons.
Stage 1- Foundations and reader words- This is where your child learns letters, sounds and new sight words using the folder games you put together, as well as practices writing their letters and numbers.
Learning vowels with little people!
This is the game Mugs.  Letters are written on the bones, and when your child says the sound the letter makes, he then feeds the bone to the dog.  One of CJ's favorites!

This is a variation of the card game, in which you teach several sight words a day.  Once you can say the word you get to feed the monster.  Again, one of CJ's favorites!  Another suggested activity with the sight words is games of lightening.  We also made sentences with the sight words and played war with the sight words. 
And yes, he did come up with the sentence Colby is brown, though later he thought it was funnier to make the sentence Colby is purple!

Another one of our favorite games is Match It.  Here you work on sight words in a memory game fashion.  There are new packs of words to add every so often.

I could go on and on about the folder games since my active child really loved this part of the program but I will leave you with just one more- Action Charades.  This game teaches, you guessed it, action words.  We would take turns picking a word, reading it, and the acting it out.  With words like run, jump, hop and fly you can see why it was a favorite.
Stage 2 introduces Activity Time.  This is a goal your child works towards so they can earn the privilege to choose the folder games they would like to play and then play for 30 minutes.  This is a fun time that siblings can be included in the fun or your child can work alone. 
Stage 3, which we have not gotten to yet, is Discovery Time, when you can drop the folder games for 30 minutes and instead work on word packs containing more sight words, but at higher levels
Stage 4 is Library Time.  Once your child has mastered the word packs they are ready to choose from books you have collected to read on their own.
After this learning time, regardless of what stage you are in, you have Phonetic Farm Time.
As you can see in the picture below, this is a folder in which you add stickers to a farm picture representing the sounds you are learning.  To reinforce the sounds you can play a knock-knock game in which you and the child take turns knocking on the sound, asking "who's there" and then saying the sound and associated words.  For whatever reason, this was also a favorite of CJ's and really helped him learn the "helper letters".
Finally comes the Agenda or Work Period.  This is the time that your child completes a page from their workbook.  You can make a chart for this time that has words or pictures telling your child what they must do for the day- creating the habit of working on their own and checking off what they have accomplished, to include not only school related items but any chores or activities you want to add.

There are a few End of The Day notes for anything you need to finish doing or review.
Whew!  YOU ARE DONE FOR THE DAY!  Tired?  Actually, after the first day, I was exhausted.  But once we got into a schedule we were on a roll.  One of the key notes that Jill teaches is to make each section short and snappy. The activities should be quick and fun to help keep the child's attention.  I think that this is what made this program so successful for us!
A few side notes-
*Another goal your child has is to earn readers along the way.  These are included on the CDs you get and can be printed out.  Once your child has learned the words for a specific reader, they are REWARDED with that reader.
This was a BIG THING in our house!!  CJ was so excited to get his reader and then read all seven chapters to us.  After we all finished jumping up and down and cheering, he sat down by himself to read it again.  28 pages!  (think Dick and Jane type story, of course)  Anyway, he is already asking when he will be ready to earn his next reader.
*There are 80 lessons total.  This does not compute to 80 days necessarily.  If your child knows letters and their sounds you may be able to skip ahead of some lessons or double up.  If you have a struggling reader, there may be times when you need to slow things down a bit.  Make the program work for you!
*Throughout the lesson plans are notes, notes and more notes from Jill.  READ THEM!  It is like having her peeking over your shoulder saying "think about this", "try this", "what about this?".  They are all very helpful.
*This program takes some time- we spend sometimes over an hour or so doing it.  I will say that the time flies by because we are actively engaged and having fun.

The other component of PAL, is All About Spelling.  It is introduced later in the lessons, so I have not had the opportunity to use it with CJ yet.  However, I have started using it with my 10 year old in the last two weeks.  After reading through the program and talking with some friends who have used it, I was encouraged that it might help us correct some issues that have led my son to be a pretty lousy speller.  Because he is a fluent reader, we are flying through the steps quickly, but with each new step he completes, we both have learned some new-to-us spelling rules and hopefully are on our way to having a better speller.  I love that the program uses techniques that appeal to the auditory, visual and kinetic learner- it does seem to be making a positive difference and I am looking forward to using it with CJ. we love this?  YES!  Do we think you should go right out and buy it?  YES!  There is just not one negative I have to say so far  about this program.  Really!

I HIGHLY recommend that if you are interested in this program you take an hour and watch the webinar that Jill presents on the program!  It is a great way to get started without feeling so overwhelmed at first.

The complete Reading Package can be ordered for $69.00, while the complete Writing Package can be bought for $89.00.  The reading package contains the teachers manual and DVD, as well as the folder games and Phonetic Farm folder.  The writing program will come with the teacher's manual and DVD, as well as All About Spelling, Level 1 Manual and interactive kit.  Both DVDs not only include Jill's overview of the programs, but also several MP3 audio presentations well worth listening to.

To see what fellow CREW members had to say about PAL, just click on the banner below!

Disclaimer- Our family receive the complete PAL program in exchange for our honest review of the product.  Opinions expressed are our own and were not influenced by the company in any way.

Monday, November 5, 2012

CREW Review- Journeys of Faithfulness

Yes, it is Apologia again!  Can you tell I love this Company!?  Nothing they offer has ever disappointed us!
Journeys of Faithfulness is no exception.  My 14 year old and I were so excited to receive this book to review.  Many of our reviews involve the younger boys, so it was fun to anticipate having something for "the girls" to do together.

Journeys of Faithfulness, written by Sarah Clarkson, is a Biblical, fictionalized account of Mary and Martha, Mary, mother of Jesus, Queen Esther and Ruth.   Devoting three chapters to each, Sarah writes an account of what might have taken place in those women's lives, including how they might have felt.  Each section is then followed by a devotional text and then a set of questions based around scripture.  The questions are not direct questions about the text per se, but rather follow themes you have read about or points that Sarah brought up in her devotion.  Following that there are a few pages of blank lines  to record any thoughts or feeling you have.

I originally had planned on using this book as a Bible study for my daughter and I to use together.  Once I received the book, I realized the format was slightly different than I had expected so we changed course slightly.  We each took turns reading the three chapters for a  woman mentioned, one a night, and then came together on the 6th night and read the devotion together as well as looked up scripture and answered and discussed the questions together.  This gave each of us time to read alone for three nights and form our own separate opinions of what we were reading.  Then we had some much needed mom and daughter time to compare thoughts and feelings.

Keep in mind, this is not an actual scriptural account of Mary and Martha, Mary, Esther and Ruth.  For those, I would encourage you to pick up your Bible and read about these amazing woman and the journeys that God had planned for them.  These are, however, a wonderful fictionalized account of what each may have felt, and what may have motivate them to act as they did.  The key word being MIGHT.  We may never know this side of Heaven the intimate details of theses ladies' lives, but I do think there is value added when we can see them as real people, not just a story.  Sarah recommends this book for ages 12 to adult.  I feel that if you have a child who can distinguish fact from fiction and knows these accounts already from a pure Biblical view, they will enjoy this approach.  At younger ages, our family feels it is important for a child to know only the facts, and careful not to infuse a lot of if, then and maybes.  (veggies excluded!)

If you are looking for a Bible study, this may not be exactly what you are looking for.  If you are looking for a springboard to facilitate discussion and spark interest in what the Bible has to say, you will not be disappointed in Journeys of Faithfulness!  Enjoy reading it and allow it to point you to where all truth lays- the Bible!

Journeys of Faithfulness can be ordered for $13.00 from Apologia.

To read what other CREW members had to say about Journeys of Faithfulness, click on the banner below.

Disclaimer- We received a copy of Journeys of Faithfulness in exchange for our honest review of the book.  Opinions expressed are our own and were not influenced by the company in any way.