Thursday, November 15, 2018

CSB (in)courage Devotional Bible Review and Giveaway

I received this book free to facilitate this review. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.

The Christian Standard Bible (CSB) (in)courage Devotional Bible is a lovely Bible for women that is all about finding your own story within God's story of redemption. It has 52 reflective devotions that begin each week of scripture reading. These reflective devotions include questions and space for journaling. Each book of the Bible has an introduction which includes historical background, the message of the book, and why the book is important and applicable today. There are also ten themes within this Bible each holding a message. These are color coded and marked with a design. Each theme corresponds with reading plan, devotions, women of courage, and two beautifully designed scripture verses. Each theme has one verse from both the Old and New Testaments. These verses have artistic touches to aid in memorization and represent the beauty of God's word. Each theme has a specific reading plan that corresponds with Bible passages and devotions. These go from 5 to 7 weeks. Fifty women throughout the Bible are highlighted and these are connected with the themes.

"The CSB (in)courage Devotional Bible features the highly readable, highly reliable text of the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). The CSB stays as literal as possible to the Bible's original meaning without sacrificing clarity, making it easier to engage with Scripture's life-transforming message and to share it with others."

Features include:
  • 312 Devotions by 122 (in)courage community writers
  • 10 distinct thematic Reading Plans 
  • 66 Book Introductions connecting each book of the Bible to the whole biblical narrative
  • Stories of courage from 50 women of the Bible
  • Journaling space
  • Topical index
  • Two-column text
  • Theme verses
  • Specialized presentation page

What I Thought:

I received the green cloth over board version without tabs. The cover is embossed with silver lettering and has a partial slipcase. It has 2 ribbon bookmarks, one is dark green and one is cream colored to match the book. Having two bookmarks is a nice touch.

The pages are thin and delicate like many Bibles. This Bible starts out with a commitment page to sign and write in. Then the table of contents shows a letter from the editor, how to read the Bible, God's story of redemption, features, devotional theme guide, introduction to the CSB, and introduction to Bible serif...all in the beginning of the book. Both old and new testament are present. There is lots of margin space to write notes and at the bottom of the verses there is lined journaling space to write thoughts or feelings. Then at the end of the book there are multiple reading plans, women of courage index, topic index, and meet the (in)courage Devotional Bible team and authors.

(in)courage Devotional Bible Women of Courage - Meet Naomi.

Since it is coming up on Thanksgiving I found the gratitude plan in the back to start out my devotional study. I love how this book is set up with God's word, authors devotionals, and lines to put in your thoughts and stories. This Bible is great for women who need some encouragement in their lives.


Buy CSB (in)courage Devotional Bible, HERE.

Prize: CSB (in)courage Devotional Bible
Host: B&H Publishing and FrontGate Media.
Who Can Enter: Open to US Residents 18 years or older.
Selection Process: 5 winners will be selected on 12/15/2018 and notified by email.
Where to Enter: Go to this link and fill out the form to enter.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I received this product for free to facilitate this review. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Guitar 360 Method Review

Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog. I had the privilege of trying the Semester 1 Bundle (including 5 weeks of Absolute Beginner bonus content + the 13 weeks of Semester 1) from Guitar 360 Method for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Homeschool Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

The Guitar 360 Method is an online guitar video course taught by Krisz Simonfalvi. Krisz started playing guitar at age 6, played for 6 years, but never got into it until in his late teens because his teacher never taught him how to understand the instrument. He has since toured with bands, recorded in studios, and produced his own music. Krisz has a unique approach to teaching guitar that he started teaching others in 2009. He has mentored hundreds of students in North America and Europe, ages 4-74. He has taught everyone from the absolute beginner to the professional and everything in between. In 2016 he started teaching at Visible Music College and launched the Guitar 360 Method in 2017. He is expecting to be putting out more courses in 2019, such as Keys 360 Method, Drums 360 Method, etc.

When you login you will be directed to "My Library".

The Semester 1 Bundle includes 5 weeks of Absolute Beginner bonus content plus 13 weeks of instruction in Semester 1. This is an online course, not a subscription, so the content doesn't expire. This content is best for those ages 15 and up and is especially good for those that have personal desire and drive to want to learn guitar. This course is perfect for kids who want to play in a band or write their own music. It is great for those that are absolute beginners to guitar players that might have been playing for a while, but want to understand better what they are doing. This course builds musical confidence, freedom, and creativity. Krisz is working with Visible Music College to get Dual Accreditation for Home Schoolers for this course (available 2019).

Krisz's unique approach to teaching this course is built around non-linear, Cyclical Pedagogy, so that all of the knowledge acquired connects to everything else that the student is learning. This is not just learning the songs or just guitar musical theory. The lessons build upon the last and provide the information again, but a more in depth version.

Free Guitar Course for Beginners Week 1 Overview and Layout. These lessons are check marked once done.

In the Absolute Beginner bonus content (free guitar course for beginners + songs) you will get comfortable with the guitar, how it works, how you play basic notes on it. After completing the beginners course there are two bonus songs you get to learn as well, "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey and "Rejoice" by Israel Houghton. The bonus lessons parts are based on the songs sections, for example: introduction & verse, pre-chorus, chorus, practice, and performance.

Bonus Song Lesson #1 Overview and Layout.

Overview of FREE Guitar Course for Beginners:
  • Week 1 - Basics: Parts of Guitar, Left Hand, Right Hand, Tuning, 4-Finger Warm Up, etc.
  • Week 2 - First Chords and Strumming Patterns
  • Week 3 - Everything Learned into Playing Our First Song
  • Week 4 - Bonus Song Lesson #1
  • Week 5 - Bonus Song Lesson #2

Semester 1 Week 1 Overview and Layout.

In the Semester 1 course you learn more music theory, how to combine notes together, and creating your own music. Semester 1 students go from beginner level to playing confidently in any key, anywhere on the neck in the 13 weeks of instruction.

Overview of Semester 1:
  • Week 1 - Learn Fundamental Chord Shapes and a Textural, 16th Note Approach to Strumming
  • Week 2 - Learn Basic Music Theory
  • Week 3 - Learn the First Scale, Foundational Element in Practical Music Theory, & Improvised Solos
  • Week 4 - Adding Texture and Variety to Rhythm Guitar Playing
  • Week 5 - Adding the Minor Scale & String Bending
  • Week 6 - Chords, Chord Progression and Musical Keys
  • Week 7 - Application of Understanding Intervals, Chords and Scales (G Key)
  • Week 8 - Extending Rhythm Guitar Range and Tonal Options
  • Week 9 - Learning to Play Any Key
  • Week 10 - Playing Scales (Melodies) in a Variety of Approaches Across the First 12 Frets
  • Week 11 - Apply All Knowledge From Previous Lessons in Any Key, Any Situation
  • Week 12 - Final Rhythm Guitar Practice Week (Available Soon)
  • Week 13 - Final Lead Guitar Practice Week (Available Soon) 

Me learning with Krisz and the Guitar 360 Method.

How I Used This and My Thoughts:

I had been given a really nice used Starcaster Fender Guitar a long while ago and it unfortunately has just been collecting dust just sitting because I hadn't had the time to actually learn how to play it. When I learned that the Homeschool Review Crew was reviewing Guitar 360 Method I was very interested. I was super excited to try these lessons and since they are online and never expire I can take all the time I need to learn. Also, after I learn, my children can also since we only have the one guitar.

I started with the beginners course because that is what I am with the guitar. I have had previous music lessons with learning on a violin and singing. Guitar, I learned, is very different from the violin. Although the steel strings of my guitar didn't hurt my fingers because I am used to playing a violin, I did have to get used to holding the guitar and placing my fingers on frets, which since my hands are small is a bit of a challenge reaching them all.

Me practicing my warm-ups 🎸 and posing for a quick picture 😀

I loved that all of the courses are divided out into smaller lessons. These bite size video lessons are about 2-7 minutes long. This is so you can go back and find a section easily instead of having to rewind through a long video to find it. I regularly went back and forth through the lessons to practice a section more so I could perfect it or to help me remember something better. I found that I really enjoyed these short videos better than really long ones. In the beginners course you even get to learn how to play "No One" by Alicia Keys on guitar. After each lesson you can either mark it as completed or it does once you have watched the whole video. You can see this with orange check marks beside the lessons you have completed.

I did look ahead to see whet Semester 1 has in store for me. In these weekly courses they each have a goal at the beginning and practice at the end. Some of them also have listening by ear lessons and quizzes too. The content will expand your learning even more about how to play better on the guitar.

I still need a lot of work and practice getting up to speed and skill on the warm-ups and chords before I am going to try to delve into the lessons deeper, but I am getting better at getting fingering and strumming down and I can hear my progress happening. Krisz is a very thorough teacher and his methods have been very rewarding to my learning guitar. I am very excited to further my guitar music education with Semester 1 once I feel I am ready.

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The regular price of the Guitar 360 Method is $149, which includes the 3-week Beginners' Course, Semester 1 (13 weeks long), and the 2 Bonus Song mini-courses.

Kris Simonfalvi, the instructor and author of these guitar lessons, is offering a discount to my blog readers, 20% off the same lessons we reviewed! Just use the coupon code HOMESCHOOL20 when you check out. With the Coupon Code, your investment will be only $119.20 for 10+ hours of video content!

Read other homeschool curriculum reviews for Guitar 360 Method...
Guitar Lessons with Krisz Simonfalvi {Guitar 360 Method Reviews}

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018 Master Kitz The Starry Night Review

My family had the privilege of trying the Master Kitz The Starry Night from for this review to use in conjunction with our own art homeschool curriculum. This is a Homeschool Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family. is a children's art company that is devoted to education and inspiration of young artists. Their Master Kitz line exposes kids to the great painters of the past and their history by giving them tools to make a similar art piece and read about the artist. This hands-on experience is great for people ages 5+!

Master Kitz The Starry Night is a Master Kitz that teaches about Vincent van Gogh, his art piece The Starry Night, and other contributions. You or your child can create your own version of The Starry Night with the included contents and instructions in the kit. Then you can read about the famous painter in the learning materials that are provided. All the materials for two paintings are included. The box it comes in can also be used as a art storage box when the art pieces are completed and the left over supplies can be used for other art projects as well.

Top: Contents, Bottom: learning materials opened up to show instructions.

Included in the Master Kitz The Starry Night:
  • Reusable Artist’s Tool Box
  • Three Custom Paint Colors (acrylics, child friendly)
  • Custom Van Gogh Paint Roller
  • Five Artist Quality Oil Pastels (child friendly)
  • Two Pieces Deluxe Art Paper – 16″ x 20″
  • Reusable Composition Stencil (Starry Night Cyprus Stencil)
  • Sponge Paint Roller
  • Low Tack "Mesmerizing Stars" Mask Sticker Sheet
  • Van Gogh Learning Materials
  • Easy-to-follow Instructions

Zari getting Master Kitz The Starry Night for her birthday and her ready to do art!

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:

We received a gift card to purchase Master Kitz The Starry Night ourselves from Amazon to facilitate this review.  It shipped out in a timely manner so that my youngest daughter, who is 8 now, could receive it in time for her birthday party on October 20th. She had ample amount of time to also do the project as well.

The box that the kit came in was very nice. It had a rope handle to carry it and flipped open when the tape on the sides was removed. It is sturdy with magnetic closures. When we opened the box we saw that the art paper and stencil were rolled up so they would fit better in the box. Everything was included to make two art pieces if we wanted to.

My youngest daughter Zari did the art project for this review. We were instructed to place something down to minimize the mess, but my kitchen table is old and has had many an art project grace its surface, so we opted not to. Zari needed assistance doing the Master Kitz The Starry Night because she has trouble reading, so I helped her by first reading the learning materials about van Gogh and then read the instructions, helping her step-by-step through them.

The Vincent Van Gogh Learning Materials that I read to her were short and to the point, but still very informative. We learned about Vincent van Gogh, his life, and his art. We also were given a sort of timeline about his art style and how it changed throughout his life. Inside this pamphlet, if you were to unfold it, were the step-by-step instructions in English in color for the project. A black and white copy of just the step-by-step instructions in other languages was also present (French, German, Italian, and Spanish). If I were doing this project in a different language I would also want not only the instructions, but the learning materials to be translated as well, but they were not.

Zari doing the steps to the Master Kitz The Starry Night art project.

The instructions were very straight forward and easy to follow. The first instruction tells us to tape down the art paper to the surface. Since it was rolled up we had to first "put the stencil in between the two sheets of paper and roll in the opposite direction a couple of times to straighten them" like it said to. This straightened it a little, but we needed to tape it down pretty well in order for it to not creep out of the tape and try to roll back up again. I liked that this art project uses different art tools and applications for doing the painting. Although this wasn't really how Vincent van Gogh himself did the swirling layered brush strokes for his own The Starry Night painting, it made the project more interesting. The star mask stickers once applied, were a bit difficult to pull off without destroying them, so I would suggest to to make a second set of these as well for the kits so the second painting can be made without fuss. Also, I suggest to the people who buy one of these kits to not wash the stencil or even wipe to clean because it falls apart, instead just reuse after the paint has dried onto it. Thankfully I was being lazy, so I didn't wash mine. My daughter liked the paint roller parts the best. I had to hold down the stencil in places so that when the paint was applied it didn't seep under where it shouldn't be. The paint dried quickly and she had fun with the oil pastels doing the finishing touches her own way.

Master Kitz The Starry Night finished art piece.

The Master Kitz The Starry Night is a wonderful art kit with lots of potential. If added another star sticker sheet and the learning materials in the other languages then it would be so much better and more inclusive. We loved learning more about Vincent van Gogh and my daughter had a lot of fun making the art. She definitely put her own flair into making her own version of The Starry Night. She even added some wind/clouds like the original has I can't wait to have my other daughter, who is 10, do one for herself to see how she will make hers different. These come out so good that I will be framing them for the girl's room. I recommend this to others that want to offer art instruction at home. These are great for gifts as well. I can't wait to try out their other Master Kitz.

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You can purchase Master Kitz The Starry Night on Amazon or from here.

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Master Kitz The Starry Night { Reviews}

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Brinkman Adventures Season 6: Underground Rising, Digital Version Review

My family had the privilege of trying the Season 6: Underground Rising, Digital version from Brinkman Adventures for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Homeschool Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

Brinkman Adventures are audio missionary dramas that are about the action packed stories of the fictional Brinkman family. These audio dramas are based on true events. Since they are missionary stories they talk about Christian values, bible verses and stories, and sharing about Christ to others. These are faith-building and help inspire little ones to come unto Christ and follow Him.

There are now 6 seasons of Brinkman Adventures total. Season 6 is called Underground Rising and has 6 episodes. In these 6 episodes there are four stories (two have two parts). These episodes are each about 30 minutes long. You can pick from physical or digital. You can also listen to previews of episodes on the website.

Here are the Contents:

55 – Dutch Underground Part 1 {About the second World War in Holland featuring Reng and Lynn VanKesteren in the Netherlands. The theme is about resisting evil.}
56 – Dutch Underground Part 2 {About the World War II in Holland/Netherlands featuring Reng and Lynn VanKesteren in the Netherlands. The theme is about helping even when it is risky.}
57 – Twice Born Fly {About the Brinkman Family in Wisconsin. The theme is salvation.}
58 – I Wonder Why? {About Brian and Kelly Wonder, a missionary family that went to India. The theme is about trusting God’s plan.}
59 – Free Burma Rangers Part 1 {Follows the life of Dave Eubank through his schooling as a Green Beret to the mission field in Burma. Takes place in Thailand and the USA. The theme is "Can God use a warrior?".}
60 – Free Burma Rangers Part 2 {About the Missionaries Dave and Karen Eubank in Myanmar/Burma. The theme is "God guides us even when He feels distant".}

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:
We received Brinkman Adventures Season 6: Underground Rising as a digital downloadable ZIP file. The episodes are in MP3 format. I downloaded them onto my computer and then unzipped them to a folder. The episodes are about 30 minutes long which is perfect for a car trip or devotion time at home as a family. You are welcome to burn them onto CDs yourself after purchase or play them on an MP3 player.

I had heard of Brinkman Adventures, but never had the opportunity to listen to them until now. The Brinkman Adventures have moved to a six episode release structure, so this season is about half the size of their previous seasons, 3 hours rather than 5+.

I loved the two part episode, Dutch Underground, about the Brinkman kids' Great Grandmother, Lynn VanKesteren, whom they call Omi, and her adventures in Holland/Netherlands during World War II with her husband Reng. I thought the scene where Lynn was jailed was funny because of her antics. I am so thankful for people like them who risked their lives to save Jews and others that were being persecuted back then. It just goes to show that when you trust the Lord and do what you know is right even when the path is fraught with danger He will take care of you and keep you safe from harm.

Twice Born Fly was a great story even if the Father of the Brinkmans dreamed the whole thing. I loved how the dream was action packed and in the end had parallels with Jesus Christ's sacrifice for us for our salvation. I also think it is wonderful what happens to Charlie Brinkman.

I Wonder Why? is a story about a missionary family that goes to India to help orphaned children. In this episode Sam, an 11 year old girl, is the main character with her two brothers Huck and Joey and her parents, Brian and Kelly Wonder. Huck has awful food allergies, but the family trusts in the Lord to go to India on an evangelical missionary trip. After Huck has a bad allergy episode Sam ends up questioning why they are there. I could relate to Huck as I had bad asthma attacks when I was a child. I know that my parents were scared when I couldn't was scary for me too. I love the surprise ending of this story.

Free Burma Rangers is a two part episode about Dave Eubank and his life from school age, becoming a Green Beret to eventually marrying Karen and both of them going to Myanmar/Burma on a mission. They went there to help the Wa tribe and work alongside government officials to help local farmers replace their opium crops with healthier solutions. They founded the Free Burma Rangers which helped bring aid to people in attack zones and help them escape. They also built Good Life Clubs at IDP (refugee) camps. This was a great story and very eye opening to the wars in Burma.

Real Stories on the website.

On the website for Brinkman Adventures we found information about the Real Stories behind the episodes. These have major spoilers, so I suggest you listen to the dramatized audio shows first before you read about them here. Click on the links on the side or the pull down menu at the top to go to the correct season. For season 6 we learned that the sound of Reng's steps you hear in the audio are made with a pair of his actual boots and the sound of the board being removed from the hole is the actual one in the house in Holland where Reng and Lynn lived during the war! We also watched a video about the maggot to fly transformation, what rove beetles look like, watched a video of a ranger doing a water jump out of a plane, and listen to audio clips of the real people telling parts of their stories, etc.

They also have neat podcasts that you can listen to as well. These are free and are about the production, people behind the scenes, facts, etc. about the audio dramas. These have spoilers as well, so make sure you listen to the audio episodes first before listening to the podcasts.

The Brinkman Adventures Season 6: Underground Rising was a great addition to our supplemental education at home. We enjoyed listening to and learning about the stories. I am glad we tried the Brinkman Adventures and love that you are able to start anywhere in the series.

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Here is a coupon code: FALL10 which is good for 10% off Brinkman Adventures products and live from October 10th - the 31st.

Read other homeschool curriculum reviews for Brinkman Adventures Season 6: Underground Rising, Digital version...
Brinkman Adventures Season 6 Reviews

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