Monday, August 3, 2015

Baby Strong Workout: Mom & Baby Exercise Cards on Kickstarter


Okay moms…can you relate to this? New moms may have every intention to hit the gym, attend a class, go for a run, or pop in a DVD and workout at home...but things don't always work out this way with a new baby. When we heard about this new mom invention launching on Kickstarter, we just had to share with you! Baby Strong Workout is the solution for every new mom to feel good again...all you need is mom + baby! Make sure to scroll below to help spread the word about Baby Strong in two simple steps. Baby Strong Workout is a fun, effective and inexpensive workout option that helps moms of all sizes, shapes and fitness levels feel strong, healthy, happy and confident.

Features:
  • Deck of workout cards held together with a teething ring link
  • Includes individual exercise cards and a series of pre-made workouts (do one-off exercises, put together your own workout or try the pre-made ones)
  • Baby Safe: chew, drool and baby-friendly material used for cards
  • Text and photo instructions included for each exercise
  • Follow pre-made workouts or customize your own



Benefits:
  • Workout with ONLY mom + baby!
  • No gym, no classes, no special equipment
  • Created for moms of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels
  • Helps moms feel strong, healthy, happy, and confident
  • Fun, effective, and inexpensive workout for moms
  • Mommy Care + Baby Care
  • No Tears. No Guilt.
Could you help our friends over at Baby Strong Workout spread the word? Here are two simple steps:

Step 1:
BSW - watch video on kickstarter email banner

 Step 2:
 BSW - like us on Facebook email banner

Head over to the Baby Strong Workout website to learn more and if you think this is a great idea your pre-order on Kickstarter is much appreciated!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to PR for sending me this information for this post. I will be getting a free deck of Baby Strong Workout: Mom & Baby Exercise Cards for posting. 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 post.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Heirloom Audio Productions: With Lee in Virginia Audio Theater CD Review


My family had the privilege of listening to With Lee in Virginia from Heirloom Audio Productions for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Schoolhouse Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

My family and I love audio books! We love to listen to them while: I am multitasking, we have a long drive ahead of us, or there is cruddy weather and we are stuck inside. My family usually enjoys them better if they are fun and adventuresome. I believe they are better than movies because audio books require more imagination which is great for growing minds.

With Lee in Virginia is Heirloom Audio's 3rd dramatization which is adapted from a novel by George Alfred Henty. G.A. Henty authored many historical fiction novels in the late 1800's and early 1900's, including With Lee in Virginia in 1890. All three are from Heirloom Audio's series known as The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty. This audio production and theatrical radio drama consists of 2 and a half hours of masterful storytelling on 2 CDs recommended for ages 6-adult. I cannot say enough good things about this. Really, the presentation is very extraordinary! It brings the history to life.

This historical audio theater takes a 15 year old fictional character by the name of Vincent Wingfield on an adventure he will never forget as he joins the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia to fight alongside many of the most famous Confederate generals, including Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and Robert E. Lee in the American Civil War between the north and the south. The audio version is upbeat and engaging with themes of faith, courage, freedom, strength, devotion, duty, perseverance, virtue, valor, determination, adventure, loyalty, trials, adversity, and heroism. This story has both fictional and truth to it. We learn about true events that actually happened in the war and the disposition of the men that fought. I loved learning about how General Robert E. Lee was such a God-fearing man and how he was respected by General Ulysses S. Grant even though they were fighting on opposite sides. We are taken through different battles and events where there are feelings of joy, loss, sorrow, despair, hardship, victory, defeat, hope, discouragement, affliction, regret, and love. This is a wonderful Christian audio drama that shows how these men looked to God to help them take a stand for their country and their fellow man.

inside the case to With Lee in Virginia audio theater

I thought that the portrayal of slavery in this was very well done. There were people on both sides of the war that felt that having slaves wasn't right. Some slaves were treated worse than others as well. They quote the bible verse of Exodus 21:16, "And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death." many times throughout the program. I thought it was definitely interesting that there are verses in the Bible that condemn the act of slavery.

I had some definite favorite parts of the Christian radio theatre. I loved it when they prayed before battle and Robert E. Lee joined in their prayer. I also loved how Robert E. Lee sat down with the main character and told him his quote when Vincent was feeling discouraged. I thought it interesting that even when Robert E. Lee was defeated he was still respected by his enemies because of his faith and perseverance.

Along with the 2 CD audio theater set I also received many other awesome package bonus downloads. The 2 CD set also has a list of the cast on the back of the case, a pamphlet insert that has the link to the study guide and a bit about Heirloom Audio as well as some notes on the more famous of the cast, and in the center under where the pamphlet goes is the inspirational quote from Robert E. Lee that he actually wrote in a letter to his son. This quote also comes as a digital download so you can print it out as a poster to put on your wall. The images on the cover and inside the CD case are actual images from The Civil War, courtesy of The Library of Congress.

With Lee in Virginia Single Package (what I am mentioning in this review) includes:
  • With Lee in Virginia (CD Set - Physical Copy + MP3 Download Version)
  • With Lee in Virginia Study Guide (Digital Download)
  • With Lee in Virginia Soundtrack (MP3 Download)
  • Printable copy of The Quote Of Robert E. Lee (Digital Download)
I want to also mention that Heirloom Audio was being generous to the Schoolhouse Review Crew that received this for review. We received additional bonuses other than that were supposed to be in the Single Package. The additional items are only be available if you buy the 4-pack.

The Schoolhouse Review Crew that received this for review received all of the above and these additional bonuses:
  • With Lee in Virginia eBook (Digital Download)
  • With Lee in Virginia Cast Poster (Digital Download)
  • Newsletter Website (Link)
I love the music and sound effects that accompany this program. The music that is used on the CDs is spirited and is also by itself in soundtrack form as MP3 downloads. It is the original score by Emmy-winning composer John Campbell (of Narnia). The foley sound effects make you feel like you are right there with the characters and immerses you more into what's happening. I loved the horse noises and the water noises when they went into the boat. They were very realistic.

The all-star cast in this audio book is expansive and amazing. Some of the cast consists of Sean Astin as Gen. Jeb Stuart (Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings trilogy), Kirk Cameron as Gen. Stonewall Jackson (Fireproof, Left Behind), Chris Anthony as Mary Lee (Adventures in Odyssey produced by Focus on the Family), ​Kelsey Lansdowne as Lucy Kingston (Curious George, Adventures in Odyssey), Jim Weiss as Gen. Johnston (Greathall Productions). I also recognized the boisterous voice of Brian Blessed (Star Wars, Tarzan, King Lear) as G.A. Henty in this production.


There is also a study guide that has discussion points and questions to ask your children as they listen to the program. This is wonderful to use as part of a history curriculum while homeschooling. It is really easier to listen to the whole program before you do the study guide and then listen again a second time to do the study guide, in my opinion. It feels awkward to stop and start the program so many times (every 4 to 10 minutes) during play. The study guide does have the places to stop at marked in the guide so you know where the narrative takes a new turn.

At the beginning of the study guide there are brief descriptions about G.A. Henty, General Robert E. Lee, and General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. It also has a quote from "Stonewall" Jackson and a map to help you navigate the areas that were referenced in the story. This helps those of us that don't know our geography perfectly.

Each set of questions in the study guide has three parts, Listening Well, Thinking Further, and Defining Words. There are questions in the Listening Well section which are to see if you and your child are really paying attention. There are questions in the Thinking Further section that helps you understand deeper and get you and your child thinking more. The Defining Words section is a list of words that will enhance the vocabulary of your child and places more meaning for the story. Having a dictionary handy might be appropriate because the definitions are not already spelled out.

At the end of the study guide there are five main parts. The first gives us a recommended reading list for learning more on Lee and his faith. Then there are two Bible Studies: one on Duty and one on Love Your Enemy. Lastly there is a Note On Sectionalism and a bit about Slavery In The Bible.

My children learned and understood so much more with this study guide. We used the questions and Bible study section throughout it and it made for a very lengthy, but interesting discussion session with my older kids. I am very glad that it was included. I love the scriptures it had you look up and ponder too. I do wish, however, that there was an answer guide as well to the questions, because it would make the whole thing flow better in my opinion.

This was a very good production and my family enjoyed listening to it thoroughly. It is not very often that we get to hear about the men who were on the losing side of the story. It is humbling, really that sometimes what we want to have happen isn't always what God has in store for us and that we have to always keep our faith in Him no matter what.
  
BUY IT
Three options to choose from: Download version for $19.97, Single Version for $29.97, and the Family Four Pack for $99.97.

Follow Them on Social Media:
With Lee In Virginia Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WithLeeInVirginia
Heirloom Audio Productions Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heirloomaudio
Heirloom Audio Productions Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeirloomStories
Heirloom Audio Productions Google+: https://plus.google.com/b/114534826166314080647/114534826166314080647/posts

Read other reviews for Heirloom Audio Productions: With Lee in Virginia Audio Theater CD...
With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Pizza Ranch Living Hope Album Review and Giveaway


I received this CD free from FlyBy Promotions to facilitate this review and another free to giveaway below to my readers.

I just heard about a place to go and eat some really good pizza called the Pizza Ranch. I haven't tried their food yet because they are unfortunately not local to me, but everyone I have talked to that has eaten there has liked their food and service. Now I wish there was one of these restaurants closer to me so that I might be able to try them out. Here is a little bit more about them...

About Pizza Ranch:
Adrie Groeneweg had a dream that started in Hull, IA, in 1981, when he was just 19 years old. It was simple. Why does everyone have to drive out of town to get a pizza? With just six specialty and single topping pizza recipes developed by Adrie's mother, Lorraine, Pizza Ranch was born. Pizza Ranch's vision and mission is to glorify God by positively impacting the world and to give every guest a legendary experience. They have 190+ locations across 13 states including Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado.

From Adrie Groeneweg, President & CEO of Pizza Ranch, Inc.: "This album has a very special meaning for Pizza Ranch. Although Pizza Ranch is not in the music business, many things have been happening, conversations have been taking place and doors have been opening for this album. Through these events, I believe it was obvious that God has been behind this for His specific purpose and putting it on our hearts to collectively create this project. As such, we call this our miracle album, Living Hope."


I love Christian music! It lifts me up throughout my day, carries me through tough times, and lets me praise God through music. I love listening to new-to-me artists and the Living Hope CD from Pizza Ranch has some of these as well as familiar voices.

About Living Hope:
On June 2, 2015, Pizza Ranch released a CD called Living Hope containing twelve songs from many of their favorite Christian artists. Most of the songs are brand-new and written exclusively for this CD around the theme of Hope. Artists include Colton Dixon, Francesca Batistelli, Ellie Holcomb, Sidewalk Prophets, Kevin Max, Bart Millard, Passion Band featuring Kristian Stanfill, Michael W. Smith, and Mark Schultz.

My Thoughts:
Pizza Ranch's new album that they put together is great. I love the CD! It has a menagerie of Christian artists on it and a wide variety of different genre of Christian music. I love the diverseness of it. My favorite song is the first one on the CD, Future, by Francesca Battistelli. Blind and My All In All are both great songs with some rock behind them. Hold On To Hope is folk music with a bit of a country twang. Savior's Arms is praise music. Overcome the World is contemporary praise music. Panic Button gives me an 80's flashback because of its instrumentals and vocals. Hope of Heaven is praise music from an artist I know and love that I have reviewed about before. Till I Met You has some very pretty piano and strings from a contemporary Christian artist with a really pretty voice. A Little Hope reminds me a lot like the song by Jason Mraz in technique because of its Brazilian feel. What Are You Waiting For is contemporary Christian with a bit of a rock beat. Day One is another contemporary Christian artist I know and love and is a song you can clap along to. I also love that the CD comes with a insert that has the lyrics of each song in it so I can sing along! This is the perfect CD to worship God while in the car driving around this summer!

TRACKLISTING:
  1. Future ~ Francesca Battistelli 
  2. Blind ~ Colton Dixon 
  3. My All In All ~ Phil Wickham 
  4. Hold Onto Hope ~ Ellie Holcomb 
  5. Savior's Arms ~ Passion Band featuring Kristian Stanfill
  6. Overcome The World ~ Mark Schultz 
  7. Panic Button ~ Kevin Max 
  8. Hope of Heaven ~ Michael W. Smith 
  9. Till I Met You ~ Laura Story 
  10. A Little Hope ~ Bart Millard 
  11. What Are You Waiting For ~ Sidewalk Prophets 
  12. Day One {Acoustic Version} ~ Matthew West {Bonus Track}

SOCIAL • C O R N E R
Twitter: @PizzaRanch @PRServes
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PizzaRanchRacing
Official Website: http://www.pizzaranch.com/livinghope/
YouTube Channel (features images and videos of the artists talking about the story behind each song):  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE9lEnxuNzMyLfRyX8_tiLA

BUY IT:
The CD will be available to purchase for $5 plus tax exclusively in Pizza Ranch restaurants or for download at pizzaranch.com/livinghope through August 31. They will donate $120,000 on behalf of participating artists to the non-profit Porter’s Call.

WIN IT
Prize:
Win a copy of the Pizza Ranch Living Hope Album! {US & Canada Only}

Please click on this post link if you do not see the script for Rafflecopter below. Also, if there is anything that is wrong with it let me know by emailing me: finamoon AT gmail DOT com I will try my best at fixing it. Thanks for being awesome readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

SimplyFun Shape Whiz Board Game Review

My family had the privilege of trying SimplyFun Shape Whiz for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Schoolhouse Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

SimplyFun is a company that is dedicated to providing fun products that also teach important skills. These award winning educational games help families spend more quality time together and create meaningful relationships. SimplyFun has games for all ages and and stages, even ones especially for special needs and autism.

My family loves all types of games; whether it be board games, card games, video games, relay races, competitions, etc. We love testing our skill, wit, speed, and strategy. Games are great opportunities to get together with family and friends and have a great time. They help us learn how to: take turns, think ahead, make choices, have consequences for our actions, cooperate, work as a team, and be a good sport. We love family game night because it strengthens family ties & bonds, and builds memories. We also love educational games for homeschool and we always like getting new games to add to our collection because it means a chance to try something different.

My family got the opportunity to try a SimplyFun game called, Shape Whiz. Shape Whiz is a fast paced card game that teaches 2D geometry, shape measurement, and math symbols. It is for 2 to 4 players and is geared towards ages 10 and up. With this board game for kids you learn about all kinds of Geometry: signs and symbols, angles, curves, sides, line of symmetry, parallel lines, polygon, same or equivalent, approximate area, area of a rectangle, area of a square, area of a triangle, area of a parallelogram, area of a trapezoid, area of a circle, approximate perimeter or circumference, perimeter of a polygon, circumference of a circle, and Pythagorean Theorem.

Contents of Shape Whiz

Included in the game's box are 80 Shape Cards, 40 Whiz Cards, and an instruction booklet on the rules of how to play. The Shape Cards have two different sets; 45 total simple shapes (9 blue shapes in 5 sizes) and 35 total complex shapes (7 green shapes in 5 sizes). These have a shape on a grid on the front and shape properties on the back. Whiz Cards tell you a geometry clue and question for helping you to find the correct Shape Card. Whiz Cards are double sided. The instruction booklet has nice color diagrams and helps you with the game play. The main points it goes through and tells us are: what's in the box, game objective, game set up, game play, game end, principles of geometry, and credits.

Shape Whiz Game Objective

The objective of the game and layout is fairly simple. You can play Shape Whiz one of two different ways. You can use both the green and blue shape cards for advanced play or just the blue shape cards for a simpler version of the game. Each player gets a stack of shape cards and puts down three of them in front of them facing up so that you can see the shape of each. Then a Whiz Card from the deck is played in the center of the table. The objective of the game is to race your opponent(s) to find the correct shape from all the available shape cards facing up that matches the geometry clue or question on the Whiz Card in play. Everyone playing must accept that the shape card picked first is a match or flip the card over to check the shape properties on the back to make sure that it is. The first person that gets rid of their Personal Shape Card Stack wins. The games are supposed to be only take about 10-15 minutes.

The above math error we found in the Shape Whiz instruction booklet and the correct math in Google.**

My boys are just the right ages for this game since they are 13 and 14. They have touched on all of these geometry concepts in their math books, but needed some review. Before we started we reviewed all of the instruction booklet. We went over everything including the geometry principles. Right away we found a error within the booklet. On page 7 of the rules booklet, down at the bottom, it says, "Circumference of a Circle: C = 2 * π * r² (π ≈ 3.14)". It is supposed to say Circumference of a Circle: C = 2 * π * r (π ≈ 3.14). **

Also we thought that when it comes to the shapes with curves, the rules for if a shape has sides and how many were a little arbitrary. The game refers to circles and tear drop shapes as having no sides and a half circle/oval as having two. Some mathematicians say that a circle has infinitely many infinitesimal sides. The question, "How many sides does a circle have?", is too ambiguous to have a definite answer. "Side" is a term that, in my honest opinion, should only be reserved for polygons, a plane figure with at least three straight sides and angles. But the booklet does spell out their definition of the words angles, curves, different length sides, line of symmetry, parallel lines, polygon, same or equivalent, and side. Their definition of a side is "a line between two points", so if you go with that definition for the game you are good to go, just remember that some of their definitions don't always apply for some geometry.

Shape Whiz card game in play

My boys are always pretty competitive with each other. At first, arguments broke out over who was first putting their card down and whose card was correct. The shape properties on the back of the Shape Cards were confusing to them sometimes. My boys were over thinking everything which made the game drag out a lot longer than it was supposed to. They were also having trouble reading the greater than and less than symbols out loud correctly. Frustration levels were pretty high and I had to jump in the middle of the game sometimes to play referee. Once they got the hang of how to play better they did calm down and have a better game.

I wish I could say that this game was perfect. I wanted so much to give it a better review, but the math in it is a little flawed. I know that it is hard to please everyone when you are a company. Shape Whiz is a product that still has a lot of potential to be great in my opinion. It just needs a bit of reworking.

UPDATE: **I did contact SimplyFun and they have given me a new PDF copy of instructions with the circumference error fixed. Those of you that already have the game can get a new PDF version from the company or just fix the error in your own booklet.

BUY IT
If you do decide to purchase Shape Whiz, you can for $24. If Homeschooling you can join SimplyFun's program for Homeschoolers. Save 15% on every purchase for a year for just $19, receive 2 FREE games when you join and get access to other great benefits and specials.

Follow Them on Social Media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simplyfun
Twitter: https://twitter.com/simplyfun
Instagram: https://instagram.com/simplyfun/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/simplyfun/

Read other reviews for SimplyFun...
Simply Fun Review

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