Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hobbit The Battle of The Five Armies Blu-ray Giveaway and Blog App


The final installment of The Hobbit is here! Warner Bros. is proud to bring you the Blu-Ray release of The Hobbit The Battle of The Five Armies! Mouse over the Interactive map of Middle-Earth and take the quiz to find out if you're Brave like Bilbo!

From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," the third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world. Special Features on the Blu-Ray combo pack include:

• New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth Part 3
• Recruiting the Five Armies
• Completing Middle-earth: A Six-Part Saga
• Completing Middle-earth: A Seventeen-Year Journey
• The Last Goodbye: Behind the Scenes
• Music Video
• Trailers


Own it on Blu-ray NOW https://www.facebook.com/TheHobbitMovie/app_167888973227524

Own it on Blu-ray or DVD NOW!





Blog App:
  • Are you Brave like Bilbo? Take the quiz to find out if you have the bravery it takes to journey through Middle Earth!
  • Mouse over the Interactive Map to learn fun facts about Middle-Earth.
  • Watch the official trailer & click the box art to bring the film home today!
  • Get Social! Tweet using the #TheHobbit hashtag and get social about the premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies on Blu-ray & DVD NOW!
A behind-the-scenes look at New Zealand:


Short Making-of Montage:


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Prize: Win a copy of The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies Blu-ray!

Each household is only eligible to win One (1) Blu-ray The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Giveaway open to the U.S. and Canada!

I am trying out Rafflecopter on my blog. Please click on this post link if you do not see the script for it 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: Because I am posting about the The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies blog App I am getting a The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies Blu-ray free for my readers as a giveaway. Thanks to PartnersHub and Warner Brothers for providing me this promotion information and free product. 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 posting this blog app and giveaway. This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and make a purchase. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Renewable: One Woman's Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope Book Review

Renewable: One Woman's Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope Book

As part of the Mom Blogger's for Social Good (a global coalition of over 3,000 mom bloggers), I have received an advance copy of this book for review. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.

Renewable: One Woman's Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope by Eileen Flanagan is a very inspiring and refreshing book. It takes you on a journey of one woman's self realization and personal growth. The story paints a picture of a life beyond suburbia that is simple and beautiful.

It is so true that living a simpler life and having people around that nurture your lifestyle and be there when you need them plays a big part in having happiness. I love the Tswana proverb that Mrs. Flanagan quotes in this book, "A person is a person because of other people." Having friends that you can trust to help you out in a pinch is a wonderful thing, as is friends that can lend an ear because they know what you are going through. Good friends are gold and simpler living makes for a less stressful life.

This book had me reflecting upon my own life and how I could change some of my ways to live more happily. Of course I am doing a small amount of living a simpler life on a farm in a small home, away from all the hustle and bustle of the city. But after reading this book I was contemplating about how I could make my life even simpler. I still believe I have too much stuff and could be much happier with less. I don't have to keep up with the Joneses of the world to be happy.

Mrs. Flanagan's book also sings to the activist in all of us. It makes it clear that listening to your heart to try to make the world a better place is what all of us should do in our own way. Whether our promptings take us to far away lands or in our own backyard, it is up to us to listen to them and respond positively. Everyone can make a difference, just listen to your heart!

BUY IT!


DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: As part of the Mom Blogger's for Social Good (a global coalition of over 3,000 mom bloggers), I have received an advance copy of the inspiring new book by Eileen Flanagan called “Renewable: One Woman's Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope”, for review. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and make a purchase. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

100 Under $100: One Hundred Tools for Empowering Global Women Book Review

100 Under $100: One Hundred Tools for Empowering Global Women Book

As part of the Mom Blogger's for Social Good (a global coalition of over 3,000 mom bloggers), I have received an advance copy of this book for review. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.

100 Under $100: One Hundred Tools for Empowering Global Women by Betsy Teutsch is a book that offers effective and low cost solutions which will help women and girls in developing countries live better and more enriching lives. This book is very comprehensive and easy to read. It shows you exactly how to go out and execute the solution simply. The humanitarian projects in this book are proven to work, if they are executed properly, to greatly enhance the lives of these women and girls.

This fantastic resource guide is packed with a wide array of solutions for many different topics and the layout is well organized. This book covers eleven different sectors: general health, girls' and women's health, lights - cell phone charging - energy, water and sanitation hygiene, domestic technology, subsistence farming, construction, transportation, information and communication technology, financial inclusion, and legal tools. Within each of these sectors are solutions to these problems. An overview page for each sector describes the problem in more detail, briefly highlighting the solutions that are going to be talked about more on subsequent pages. At the top of each is the solution title, brief synopsis, sidebar icons that help signify different things about the solution, and links to websites that go into more information. The middle goes into more detail about the solution. At the bottom of each is a YOU icon that symbolizes and describes what you can do easily to support each of these solutions. There are also EDU icons which give you ways to educate yourself more through courses, training, tours, volunteering, etc. The pages have beautiful black and white pictures that help give background to the words. These photographs show how the tools and devices suggested within this book have helped change the lives of these strong and resilient women and girls.

There is much to learn within the pages of the 100 Under $100 book. My favorite chapters within are about domestic technology, subsistence farming, and construction. These chapters are hit home with me because of my nutrition, homemaking, farming, agriculture, and permaculture background. This inspiring, eye opening book succeeds in raising the awareness of the general public about these important issues, giving them the tools to be able to accomplish incredible things for women and girls in these impoverished places all across the globe. Not only can we learn about these problems, but we can do something about them! Get this book and start making a world of difference!


DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: As part of the Mom Blogger's for Social Good (a global coalition of over 3,000 mom bloggers), I have received an advance copy of the inspiring new book by Betsy Teutsch called “100 Under $100: One Hundred Tools for Empowering Global Women”, for review. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and make a purchase. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Easter Stories: Classic Tales for the Holy Season Book Review and Giveaway

Easter Stories: Classic Tales for the Holy Season Book

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

Easter Stories: Classic Tales for the Holy Season from Plough Publishing is an anthology of short stories for the Easter season. This softcover book is filled with 27 classic tales that are from world-famous storytellers such as C.S. Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, Selma Lagerlof, Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Goudge, Maxim Gorky, Ruth Sawyer, Anton Chekhov, and Walter Wangerin and others. The pages throughout the book are illustrated with original woodcuts.


Easter Stories Woodcut Illustrations

This book is perfect for Lent where we reflect upon Christ. These fables, tales, and stories capture the true meaning of Easter. They have great moral quality and spiritual value. 

These stories are easily read because they are not too long. They can be read individually or altogether. My older kids enjoyed reading them. I thought most of the stories were a bit deep for my younger kids. My favorite stories were The White Lily and Robin Redbreast.

I love this wonderful collection. The book has great lessons that are told. This is a fabulous treasure to have in the home to read during Easter.

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I am trying out Rafflecopter on my blog. Please click on this post link if you do not see the script for it 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!

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DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to FlyBy Promotions for sending me this book for free to 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 posting this blog app and giveaway. This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and make a purchase. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Hobbit The Battle of The Five Armies Blog App and Giveaway



The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies is being released to Digital HD NOW and the Blu-ray and DVD is coming March 24th 2015! I cannot wait! I am a huge fan of LOTR series! I want to someday get all of them in DVD/Blu-ray. I am so envious of you, my readers, in this giveaway that I have for you today!

From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," the third in a trilogy of films adapting the endearingly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world.

Own it on Digital HD NOW!
https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/hobbit-battle-five-armies/id942696468

Own it on Blu-ray or DVD March 24th!





Blog App:
  • Are you Battle Ready? Take the quiz to uncover your Middle-Earth Weapon of choice!
  • Mouse over the Interactive Map to learn fun facts about Middle-Earth.
  • Watch the official trailer & click the box art to bring the film home today!
  • Get Social! Tweet using the #TheHobbit hashtag and get social about the premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies coming to Blu-ray & DVD March 24th 2015!
Trailer:
 

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Prize: Win a copy of The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies Digital HD!

Each household is only eligible to win One (1) Digital Download Coupon for The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Giveaway open to the U.S. and Canada

I am trying out Rafflecopter on my blog. Please click on this post link if you do not see the script for it 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: Because I am posting about the The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies blog App I am getting a The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies Digital HD free for my readers as a giveaway. Thanks to PartnersHub and Warner Brothers for providing me this promotion information and free product. 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 posting this blog app and giveaway. This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and make a purchase. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Wordless Wednesday Meet Chia

Meet Chia, our Nubian Goat. Isn't she darling!?

We rescued her from a farm that was mistreating her. We are helping her recover & get healthy again.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Critical Thinking Co. World History Detective Book 1 Review

The Critical Thinking Co. World History Detective Book 1 (Gr. 6-12+)
I had the privilege of testing out the World History Detective Book 1 (Gr. 6-12+) for The Critical Thinking Co. free for this review. This is a Schoolhouse Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

The Critical Thinking Co. has award winning products that help students of all abilities achieve higher academic results with lessons that develop and sharpen their critical thinking skills. They have fun and easy to use products with lessons in standards-based reading, writing, mathematics, science, and history that are guaranteed to produce better grades and higher test scores. Critical thinking is: identifying, analyzing, defining, evaluating, examining, reasoning, questioning, and challenging evidence to guide decision making and problem solving in a manner which is clear, rational, and open minded. A good acronym for the main keys of Critical Thinking are to think RED: Recognize Assumptions, Evaluate Information, Draw Conclusions.

The World History Detective Book 1 is geared for grades 6-12+. It is a softcover workbook and textbook in one with 362 perforated pages so you can tear them out cleanly, if needed. This workbook covers Prehistory, Ancient Civilizations, Medieval Civilizations, and Early American Civilizations for a total of 78 lessons. The lessons include maps, charts, timelines, line drawings and black and white photos to help the student with visualization. Students develop critical thinking skills in doing history with reading comprehension and writing skills. Each lesson as a passage to read and then questions about the reading follow. It has multiple choice, short answer, and some short essay questions. The sentences of each lesson are numbered and the students are asked which sentence best supports the answer. It also has a answer key at the back of the book for easy grading.

Jaedan working in the World History Detective Book 1 (Gr. 6-12+)

I had my son Jaedan, who is 12 and in 7th grade work through the book three times per week. I took the answers out so I could grade his answers easier. We had not ever used The Critical Thinking Co. books before, so this was certainly a treat. He enjoyed learning some new things about history and getting some review of others. We started on the Greek History lessons, which were more in the middle of the book, because that is his favorite and I wanted him to get the hang of how the book worked better with stuff that he might have already knew. It is easy to skip around in the workbook because the lessons are all self contained. The reading is about 2 pages per lesson with questions that follow. Jaedan devours about a thick chapter book per day, so this reading was easy for him. This book made him use deductive reasoning and critical thinking skills just like a detective to figure out his answers. The answers were not spelled out to him like in other textbooks we have encountered. Since he was having to think more he seemed to like this history book a lot more because he was being challenged, although; it still made him frustrated at times.  I am glad that this workbook had essay questions as well because my son needs to work on his essay writing skills. Jaedan loves history and is on the History Bowl this year, so I thought that he might like a challenge. I am glad that my son enjoys the workbook!

The World History Detective Book 1 is wonderful! My son and I love the workbook. We are glad we got the chance to add it to our curriculum this year! The many maps, charts, and timelines are a great addition to the reading and questions. We love that it also creates a positive challenge to learning history by making children better problem-solvers. It is great to use as a standalone curriculum for World History or as a supplement with other history lessons.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

FreedomProject Education Mother Should I Trust The Government? Course and Book Review

FreedomProject Education Mother Should I Trust The Government?

I recently took an online course through FreedomProject Education. FPE is a nationally accredited private school which has courses that are based in classical education and a Judeo-Christian belief system rooted in the tradition of America's Founding Fathers and the US Constitution. They are also a huge opposer of Common Core and do not tolerate the use of it in any of their classrooms. They have courses that are for Kindergarten through twelfth grade, K-12. Go see what 2015 courses they have to offer. These courses are delivered live online through interactive classrooms to students all over the world.


Our instructor, Dr. Jake Jacobs, reading a passage out of his book.

The course I was asked to take is called "Mother Should I Trust The Government?". This course is for ages 13 and up. It is taught by the author, Jake Jacobs PhD, of the book by the same name as the course. To take this course we met online for two hours each Monday night for a total of eight weeks. This course was easy to access and I received an email before class every Monday that we were supposed to meet. This was a helpful reminder that I needed to click on the link provided to access the course. When the link was clicked we were whisked away to another page where the course power point loaded with the chat. You need the latest Adobe Flash Player if on a regular computer or Adobe Connect for your smartphone or tablet to participate. Along with the online course I received a softcover book by the same name authored by the course instructor, a mini book version of the US Constitution, and two bonus discs from FreedomProject Education: "Who Owns Your Children?" and "Common Core". We were tasked to read chapters from the book along with the course to better understand what was being taught. These reading assignments were very enriching and I ended up learning a whole lot about our history that I don't remember being taught in school.

I ended up taking the course by myself. I tried to persuade my 12 (almost 13) and 14 year old boys to sit in on the course with me, but they sounded bored and decided not to. They only listened in briefly while they were doing other things in the living room where my computer was that I took the course on. I had hoped my twelve year old history buff son, Jaedan, would be at least take part in it, but he showed little interest. I should have known the reason why. Two hours is long for a class. He can not sit still for that long! I even had a bit of trouble.

I am not a very verbal person when it comes to most political and government issues. I do not like to voice my opinions because I do not like causing conflict. Everyone has their own opinions and I understand and respect this fact.

This course is lecture and discussion based. In this course Dr. Jake Jacobs, talks about his convictions and viewpoints about the current government and things that happened in history that shaped our American nation. Some things I agreed with him upon and others I did not. This was to be expected and he was very tolerant of everyone's viewpoints. While he taught he sat behind a desk with a computer, notes, and reference material. While he was teaching we could interact with him and the other students by chat. On his computer he could see everything that we could and communicated back to us about our comments and questions on the chat while he was teaching. I only participated a few times in the chat when I felt compelled to do so and enter my two cents.

One of the movies and books that Dr. Jacobs recommended to us.

Some of the books that Dr. Jacobs recommended to us.

Throughout the course Dr. Jacobs referenced a lot of material. Some of this material came from other books and movies that he also recommended to us. He also quoted a lot of the prominent figures he was mentioning and each quote would appear on screen as part of his slide presentation so we could read it while he quoted. There were a number of slides with pictures, political cartoons, maps, and historical documents that also helped us visually throughout the class.

Lots of very interesting stuff was covered. There are some very important main ideas of the book and course. The first was that man governs our country, but man is infallible and could get corrupted by power, so the governing shouldn't be totalitarian over the people. Instead the governing should be just enough to keep the people safe and protected. The next was that we need to be a republic under God. Our nation's history is built upon the foundation of freedom and liberty. Over and over in history we see a lot of the wars were being fought because people wanted freedom and liberation from totalitarian rule and servitude. These people fought to get away from rulers that were power hungry. These rulers were just men or women put into power through circumstance such as bloodline or marriage. The one thing the Founding Fathers fell back upon was that we should put our full trust in not man (or woman), but God! This is why the words, "IN GOD WE TRUST" is stamped onto our currency. It is the national motto of the United States. The great question of this course and book is, "How much government do we want in America to protect Life and Liberty, and can that government be trusted?".

One of the many quotes that Dr.Jacobs used in the course.

Some of the people talked about were:
King George III
George Washington
Samuel Adams
John Adams
James Madison
Sons of Liberty
James Otis
Patrick Henry
George Mason
John Hancock
Penelope Barker
Richard Henry Lee
Haym Salomon
Roger Sherman
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Franklin
Alexander Hamilton
Abraham Lincoln
Barack Obama

Some of the topics covered were:
War for Life and Liberty
British Government
Confederate history
Stamp Act
Boston Tea Party
First Continental Congress
freedom of religion
various wars and battles
Boston Massacre
Republic
Declaration of Independence
REX LEX
LEX REX
Rule of Law
Libertarianism
Totalitarianism
Socialism
Nazi-ism
Communism
Federalism
Anti-Federalism
Revolution
Republican
Democrat
US Constitution
Ratification
Bill of Rights
Whiskey Tax
Sedition Act
Alien Bills
Land Tax
Constitutional Convention
Slavery
Three-Fifths Clause
Missouri Compromise
Secession
Progressivism
Judeo-Christian views

I liked the fact that the class recordings from the previous class could be viewed again after they were over as a refresher and that they can be viewed 24/7 until 60 days after the last class was recorded. This is wonderful and helps so much in case you came into the class late or missed something completely because you had to take a bathroom or food break. I also think that it is neat that they do this in case someone from my family does decide that they actually want to take the course after the fact.

There was a lot more that was covered than that listed above. I enjoyed learning about everything in the class and book. Both were very informative and interesting. Do I recommend this course? Yes, but make sure you can take time out of your day/night to participate.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wordless Wednesday Bunnies!

We rescued these bunnies along with some mama rabbits and a male. Aren't they adorable!
I know this post is supposed to be wordless, but I like to break the rules sometimes. We are in the process of making a better bunny habitat for some of these rescued bunnies and re-homing the rest. They are so adorable and we are going to have to keep some...because I have fallen for their cute wittle furry faces :) Aren't they perfect for Easter!

Awe! Some of our baby bunnies huddled up in a furry ball together sleeping. These are still nursing with their mother.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Visual Learning Systems Digital Science Online Review

Visual Learning Systems Digital Science Online.

My family has always had a love for science. We love doing science experiments at home and love learning about the world around us out in the field. The more interactive and hands on it is the more my kids love doing it. Ever since my children were very, very little they have been extremely inquisitive. My kids love to explore everything and find the answers.

I believe that teaching science is very important. It helps us unlock the mysteries of practically everything. Visual Learning Systems is an online based educational science publisher that has top of the line visual curriculum from kindergarten though twelfth grade. We have been given the chance to use both their Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (Grades K-5) and Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12) if we wanted to.  We also have access to ALL the levels with Admin, Teacher, and Student accounts for a full year. For this review I have already used it for 3 days per week for 6 weeks with my children. This curriculum is great for teachers in public school as well as homeschooling parents.

Visual Learning Systems Digital Science Online full screened video.

Visual Learning Systems Digital Science Online is an annual K-12 digital subscription online to a vast variety of visual tools for science education. This wonderful media includes: videos, animations, images, and activities. The videos are a wonderful visual aid. The live action footage from all over the world on these videos is colorful and engaging. Chapter video clips are indexed within the lesson. You can either play them individually or play all. If you choose to play all they will be about 10-20 minutes long per unit study or lesson. You can make the video full screen too. They have vocabulary words that show up on the screen to go along with the lessons. A video review quiz follows each video and there are "you decide" questions throughout the program. This can be paired with the worksheets in the teacher's guide section or just done aloud with your student. The animations are easily accessed within the videos or all on their own by clicking the tab. In the images tab their are images that are annotated to give you more information. These also are in the video as well. The resources for the student/teacher include: printable worksheets, lab activities, vocabulary exercises, reading activities, assessments, quizzes, and tests.

Vocabulary words to go along with the program show up from time to time.

Teela answering the question asked in the trees video for Life Science.

Navigation is pretty simple. Once you are logged in you can see that the lessons are categorized into subjects and grade level along the bottom left hand side for easy access. Once you click a grade level then you may also pick a subject. Under each subject there are lesson titles which show up in the mid-bottom part of your screen. Above those there is a search bar to search for keywords in their database. Up at the top will be the lesson title you have picked and the clickable links to the videos, animations, images, and teacher's guides off to the right. Under those you will see chapter video clips within the lesson that you can either play individually or click to play all. If you click on the teacher's guides it will give you how to introduce the video to the student, student activities, learning objective list, and the video script. This whole program makes for a wonderful well rounded science curriculum.

Visual Learning Systems Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition

Visual Learning Systems Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition is geared to grades kindergarten through 5th. These lessons are split into two grade groups: Primary (K-2) and Elementary (3-5). My daughter Teela is six, going on seven in April and fits comfortably within the primary grades (K-2) under this edition. I don't have any children that fall into the grade group for elementary grades (3-5) right now.

Teela working on a tree worksheet for Life Science.

Teela worked through the Life Science units of study in the primary Elementary Edition section. We didn't want to skip around too much, but this subject interested my daughter the most and because it is Spring time I thought it was fitting to start there. The other science education subjects that are in this are Physical Science, Earth Science, and Health. We will be working through these at a later time, but I still wanted to mention them. The elementary grade level of this edition has Physical Science, Earth Science, and Life Science, but no Health.

Teela had lots of fun learning the lessons in Life Science. She learned about life cycles, food chains, classification and grouping, plants, trees, and specific groups of animals, etc. She loved the videos which were so informative and doing the worksheets too. We had her do a lesson per day, 3 days per week, for 6 weeks. This had her completely done with Life Science by the allotted time that I had to do this review. She said that her favorites were learning about the parts of the plant, about the rings on a tree, and the life cycle of a butterfly.

Visual Learning Systems Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition

Visual Learning Systems Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition is geared to grades 6th through 12th (middle/high school). My oldest son Delbin is 14 and his younger brother Jaedan is 12, going on 13 in May and they both fit comfortably within this edition. Besides Physical Science, Earth Science, Life Science, and  Health the secondary studies have Integrated Science and Biology. We have not started this with my boys yet, a lot of this for them is refresher. I do know they will also love it though and plan to have them do it in upcoming months.

I love that this is so accessible to so many. This is available for subscribers 24/7 as well as seven days a week for the student, teacher, and/or parent. It is also accessible to so many different platforms. You can use it on digital whiteboards, LCD projectors, iPads, handheld devices, and all computers. This integrates with all networks and no servers or software is needed. You can also have closed-captioned on for the visually impaired.

This whole program works really well for us and so far we absolutely love it. I can't wait to dive into more of the lessons with more of my kids.

Pricing:

$.90 per student (minimum $300/year). They have multi-campus discounts as well. Also, homeschool pricing is available for $99 per edition (elementary or secondary), up to 8 students.
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Monday, March 9, 2015

Egglo Entertainment for Easter Review

Some of Egglo Entertainment's products.

Easter is coming so soon! On April 5th of this year it is only about a month away. I love Easter and Spring-time and all the new things it brings. Speaking of things that are new, my daffodils are blooming, the Spring buds on my trees are growing, and one of my mother bunnies just had a litter of kits (bunnies). Before Easter I try to get into the true spirit of the season, Christ, how He died for us on the cross and was resurrected.

I love to fill my children with the same spirit. I have found to do that as a Christian it is hard in this mostly secular society for my children to not think of Easter as just a holiday about Easter: bunnies, candy, baskets, and egg hunts. This is where Egglo Entertainment comes in. Egglo Entertainment has an interactive program that celebrates Easter with Christ in mind. We received The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure Book, Glow in the Dark Egglo Eggs, Egglo Treasures Scripture Scrolls, Egglo Bible Verse Scroll Stickers, and Egglo Glow in the Dark Egg Hunt Event Curriculum to try out. Read my thoughts about them below...

The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure Book.

The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure Book ($9.99) - This brightly illustrated book introduces us to three children and their dog who are sucked into epic adventurous Easter egg treasure hunt. They travel to distant places to find glowing Easter eggs that have scrolls with Bible verses and riddles to help them on their journey. This fun book helps them understand what treasure we should actually be looking for on Easter, Christ (the light of the world)...the greatest treasure of all. This book is 40 pages and takes about 30 minutes to read all the way through.

My girls reading the book.

My 6 year old, Teela, loved reading the book to my 4 year old, Zari. It did take her longer than the half an hour to read though. My children loved the story, but it was a little long for Zari who got distracted and restless toward the end. This is a great addition to the Egglo Eggs and other products that Egglo Entertainment has to offer.

Glow in the Dark Egglo Eggs.

Glow in the Dark Egglo Eggs ($9.99) - These Easter eggs are really neat! They are hollow and come in two sections (front and back) that snap together fairly tightly so you can put other small treasures inside. They come in a box of 12, three of each color: blue, green, yellow, and pink. The blue and the green ones have a raised cross on the back and front. The pink and the yellow ones are blank for decorating with stickers.

Egglo Eggs getting recharged in the sun.

These glow-in-the-dark if you simply charge them up in any light. Of course, they glow best in total darkness. Fully charged, they will glow well for at least 45 minutes or longer. Egglo eggs should be charged by exposing to sunlight (for 20 minutes), black light or fluorescent (for 40 minutes) or incandescent light (for 50+ minutes). In my opinion sunlight seemed to charge them the best. Also of note, outdoor cold weather will diminish the glow effect. The glow of the eggs does diminish over time when they are in the dark so if your kids take too long to find them the eggs might only be giving off a faint glow which makes the hunt harder.

Egglo Egg Hunt.

We loved the symbolism of the Easter eggs. Based on John 1:5, the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The theme of the eggs and their other products is all about following the light of Christ. It is great to emphasize this to your kids before the egg hunt. My older children loved hiding these for my two youngest to find. They were all excited about the hunt and afterwards wanted to do it again. We love that these can be reused over and over. I hope they hold their charge for many years to come so that we can make this a tradition and use these every year.

Egglo Treasures Scripture Scrolls.

Egglo Treasures Scripture Scrolls ($4.50) - These shiny paper scrolls come in a set of 12 and are designed to go inside each Egglo Egg. They have Biblical principals based on Bible verses on them that go with the curriculum and story book. You can, however; use these separately in other Easter eggs or on their own. These are rolled up tightly with a rubber band and when you undo them they don't stay flat for very long so you have to hold them open while reading. Try to tell your children to unroll these carefully as you don't want to have them ripped. I find these wonderful to use as scripture mastery in connection with the scriptures they point to in the Bible. My children had fun rolling out these to read them and it was an extra special treat to find inside each egg.

Egglo Bible Verse Scroll Stickers.

Egglo Bible Verse Scroll Stickers ($3.29) - These look very similar to the scripture scrolls, but are a flat sticker. The same Biblical principals are on these with the scripture they are based on. These come in a 12 pack and since they are pliable can fit inside each Egglo Egg if bent slightly to the curvature of the egg. These can also be used as a decoration and are great reminders to follow Christ. My children had fun opening the Egglo Eggs to find these inside each egg.

Egglo Glow in the Dark Egg Hunt Event Curriculum.

Egglo Glow in the Dark Egg Hunt Event Curriculum (via digital file) ($9.99) - This 62 page program guide and curriculum is a great addition to the Egglo Eggs and other products. It is loaded with wonderful resources to help your church make an even greater experience with the Egglo products for the youth of the congregation. You or your church can download it after purchase. I actually found that this was a fabulous resource for me also and I could see how this could be a fun guide for a Christian based homeschool group to use with the other items as well. There are guidelines, tips, suggestions, and ideas to help make this an egg-stra special event. These include: decoration ideas and printables, recipes, activities, printable color pages, devotionals, lessons, a question and answer section, visual aid ideas, printable invitations, printable discussion cards, a puzzle, cut outs, and printable posters. These guidelines are for a multi-generational program with suggestions for a few people to a huge crowd. I love that they have themed healthy snack options as well as the traditional sweets. I have an egg shaped gelatin mold that would be perfect for one of the recipes and I love the bagel and cucumber He is Risen tomb idea!

My family had so much fun with all of the Egglo Entertainment products we received to try out. My girls loved the story and eggs the most. This is such a great program to incorporate with your Easter celebration. The Christ-centered theme is a wonderful reminder of who we should place our focus on during Easter time.  

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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter by Emily Belle Freeman Book Review

I received this book free from Shadow Mountain and Ensign Peak to facilitate this review. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.

You might have heard already how some of the traditions of Easter tie into Christ. The egg can be likened to the resurrection tomb, Jesus' death can be likened to the sacrificial lamb of the Passover as Jesus is often called the "Lamb of God", Lilies were growing in the where Jesus went to pray His final days in the Garden of Gethsemane, bunnies are a symbol of renewal and new birth, and the cross is a symbol of the crucifixion of Jesus. These are some of the main Christian symbols of Easter and their meanings.

Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter: Seven Traditions to Lead Us Closer to Jesus Christ by Emily Belle Freeman is a great book for the Easter holiday! As a follow-up book to Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas and The Peter Potential, it helps us remember that Jesus Christ should be the center of the Easter Holiday. The author, Emily Belle Freeman, shares her insights by retelling the stories of the followers of Christ during the time surrounding His crucifixion and resurrection. Each chapter has a brief first-person narrative from the perspectives of Jesus, Mary, Lazarus, Simon, Mary Magdalene, and others. Also there are wonderful traditions to symbolize each of these stories. You will discover the meaning behind the wheat baskets, the forget knot, the red egg, and other traditions to add to your festivities. At the end of this short, but sweet, book you feel as if you know each one of these important people even more deeply and you also come away with seven Christ-Centered Easter traditions that you can apply to your own Easter celebration.

With only 96 pages this small book is a treasure to be had. The author has a gift of storytelling that brings the thoughts, emotions, and character into seven disciples in Christ's life, death, and resurrection. These people have life breathed into them by the author. A scripture is placed at the beginning of each chapter with a black and white line art illustration of the tradition to go with each beautifully woven true story. At the end of each is a tradition with a hymn to play or sing, the scripture passage to read with questions to ponder, the description of the tradition to try, and words that sum up the lesson. These stories and traditions exemplify Easter and all that is so holy about it. The symbols are enriching and help us bring back the true meaning of Easter and make it a "High Holy Day" of celebration in each of our hearts and homes.




About the Author:
Emily Belle Freeman is a coach's wife, a mother of four, an author, and a sought-after inspirational speaker. She coauthors a popular blog putting religious teaching into practice: www.multiplygoodness.com.


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DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Shadow Mountain and Ensign Peak for sending me this book for free to 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. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.

Friday, March 6, 2015

My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic: Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders DVD Review

I received this DVD for free to facilitate this review. This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and make a purchase. Thank you for supporting my blog!

The My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic: Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders DVD is one of my favorite collections from Hasbro and Shout! Factory Kids. This DVD has my favorite threesome, the Cutie Mark Crusaders (CMC), in some of their most loved episodes from seasons 1-4 of My Little Pony (MLP) - Friendship is Magic (FIM)...along with one episode about Pinkie Pie which seems a bit out of place to me, having very little to do with the CMC.

Obtaining a cutie mark (the symbol on a ponies flank) is a very important coming-of-age moment for a young pony. A cutie mark helps a pony discover unique characteristics about themselves that set them apart from all other ponies. Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo form a instant bond when they notice that all three young ponies have blank flanks. They make up their own team called the Cutie Mark Crusaders and are on a mission to find their cutie marks!

Episodes Include:
  • The Cutie Mark Chronicles: This is the 23rd episode of the 1st season of MLP FIM. This episode has the CMC asking each of the Mane Six how they got their cutie marks. I love this episode the most on this compilation because it shows how the Mane 6 were connected even before they knew each other very well. It also shows my favorite song from the series, when Fluttershy sings about squirrels, bunnies, birds, and bees.
  • The Cutie Pox: This is the 6th episode of the 2nd season of MLP FIM. This is a great episode that shows how Apple Bloom in her hearts desire to find her cutie mark gains understanding that being patient is important and good things come to those who wait. This also shows that hard work (not taking shortcuts) and honesty is also best. I love Zecora's character and even if her presence was brief in this episode she was still awesome!
  • Flight To The Finish: This is the 5th season of the 4th season of MLP FIM. It shows the CMC in their quest to be able to carry the flag at the Equestria Games. After being taunted by the Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, Scootaloo is unsure of her abilities and needs her confidence and determination gained back with the a little encouragement from her friends and Rainbow Dash. Message: Friendships matter most and to do the best job you can do regardless of your disabilities. I love the scene where the CMC do their routine the first time and Rainbow Dash almost can't contain herself because it is so good. The look on Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon's faces is priceless.
  • Pinkie Pride: This is the 12th episode of the 4th season of MLP FIM. It is very odd in my opinion that they picked this episode to be in this compilation since it should have been on the Keys of Friendship DVD. This episode only has the CMC as background ponies. Still, this is a great episode about Pinkie Pie learning to share responsibilities and let someone else have the spotlight as the Party Pony and Cheese Sandwich is voiced by none other than "Weird Al" Yankovic! It is a very fun episode, but I still think that Call of the Cutie, The Show Stoppers, Hearts and Hooves Day, or Ponyville Confidential should have been on this DVD instead of Pinkie Pride.
  • Twilight Time: This is the 15th episode of the 4th season of MLP FIM. The CMC learn that being popular isn't all its cracked up to be and taking advantage of some other pony's (Princess Twilight's) fame isn't the right way to gain popularity, especially since she is a good friend of theirs. I love the part with Spike and the nachos...classic :)
Bonus Features:
  • Sing-Along: Super Duper Party Pony
  • Downloadable Wallpapers: There are a total of seven of wallpapers to download, but these are pretty lame. They include the Mane Six's cutie marks with their names written all over the page. Although I can understand...sort of...why they did this...being a cutie mark DVD and all. The wallpapers all could have been better with actual pictures of the CMC doing stuff instead.
  • Coloring Sheet: This is a large PDF file, but it only has one picture to color in it of the CMC.
The Bonus Features on this DVD really need to be quite a bit more than 20% cooler!
If you haven't seen My Little Pony Friendship is Magic with your kids, I urge you to. My whole family enjoys the episodes...even my husband and my teenage boys! The show has wonderful morals and a great storyline. Since we are huge fans of My Little Pony (MLP) Friendship is Magic (FIM), my family had seen all of the episodes from Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders before, but we always enjoy watching these episodes again and again, which is why we love having the DVD on hand.

Here is the trailer:


Here are some fun activities for Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders:


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DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I received this product for free to facilitate my 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. This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and make a purchase. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Crystal Wash Review


I received this product free from Crystal Wash to facilitate this review.

Having to do laundry is one of those inevitable things for all of us. Most of us dread doing it because we believe it is a chore. At least we can say washing clothing and linens has gotten easier over the years. Instead of wash boards we have washing machines and most of us buy our laundry detergent or soap at the store instead of making it ourselves. Society has made things progressively easier for us. But what is the price we pay for the luxury of store bought laundry detergent?

There are a lot of laundry detergents on store shelves that claim this, that, and the other. Most of these have things in them that I wouldn't want touching my skin. My son is highly allergic to detergents with perfume and dye, so I end up getting the stuff that is for sensitive skin and says hypoallergenic on it. Lately, though, I have been looking into maybe making my own laundry soap at home with ingredients I am familiar with or seeing what other products are out there that might be better to use than the traditional detergents that you can find at just about any big box grocery store. I am not into harsh chemicals that might very well be toxic to my family and I...not to mention the Earth! I would rather use something that has ingredients that are safe, efficient, and effective.

I saw a laundry ball called Crystal Wash online and by the description these laundry balls seemed at first glance a great way to do laundry. Crystal Wash comes with two laundry balls that you use simultaneously in the wash together. I have never used laundry balls/washing balls in the past, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I love products that are natural, eco-friendly, and non-toxic and Crystal Wash said they were all of the above. This seemed valid enough, but Crystal Wash has other claims as well that seem to be not backed by actual science. Crystal Wash's claims are very intriguing and appealing, but I am not just sold by claims. I needed to try the product out for myself to see if they work.

If you look up Crystal Wash online you will find a lot of naysayers that say the product doesn't work, is a lot of hooey and quackery, and is backed by pseudoscience. Most of these people haven't tried this product for themselves and don't care to. I, however; like to give products that are supposedly better for you and/or the environment the benefit of the doubt, unless I know otherwise, and test them out for myself before I say they don't work at all.

This is what they say on their website: "These special Bio Ceramics were developed using various minerals with very effective antibacterial and anti-oxidant properties.

The pH level of laundry water impacts the wash greatly. If the water is overly acidic or alkaline it can damage delicate clothes and fabrics, cause colors to fade and cause clothing to still seem dirty even after washing. Most detergents on the market are a pH level of 6.5 – 9, but they use chemicals to achieve these levels."

Crystal Wash claims the bio ceramics in their product...
  • produces far infrared rays that effectively reduce negative ions in the water of your laundry machine, which raises pH level to 8.5 or greater
  • shrinks the water molecule clusters to a size that allows dirt and soil to be soaked free naturally
  • create Hydrogen Peroxide (which yes, is a chemical...just one that you can put on your skin) which disinfects the clothes, kills bacteria and odor
  • needs to be recharged in the sun for one afternoon every 30 days (or every 30 loads)
I am still very skeptical about their bio ceramics claims. I do not see actual science to back these things.

What Crystal Wash claims their laundry balls do and my families thoughts:
  • Save You Money: Crystal Wash is supposed to last for up to 1000 loads of laundry. Crystal Wash is $50 per 1000 loads, verses around $300 per 1000 loads for store bought detergents. So, if you swapped Crystal Wash for store bought detergent you would indeed save money.
  • Make Laundry Cleaner: It also says it will get your laundry cleaner. I am not sure about the science behind Crystal Wash's bio ceramics and its validity, but my husband who understands more chemistry and physics than me says that these claims are a bunch of big words thrown together to make it sound cool. He says these are nonsensical.
  • Make Doing Laundry Easier: So, how does Crystal Wash make doing laundry easier? You don't have to go to the store to buy detergent or lug those heavy bottles or boxes of detergent home with you. You don't have to deal with messy detergents at all. No more spilling or having to measure out the correct, exact amount.
  • Are More Natural and Better for the Environment: Crystal Wash's laundry balls do not use detergents, (toxic/harsh) chemicals, dyes, or perfumes. They are gentle on sensitive skin and fabric. By using Crystal Wash you are reducing contaminated waste water filtered back into the water supply, saving water by lowering required rinse cycles, and effectively reducing CO2 production by requiring less energy than a traditional detergent based wash. Although you would also be doing this by using just water to do your wash...or water with a bit of homemade soap.
What I do know that works for cleaner laundry and why:
  • More agitation during the wash means your laundry is getting cleaner. The big dirty secret among detergent makers is that we don't actually "need" them to get our clothes clean. The agitation is what gets the laundry clean not the soap!
  • Hot water gets most stains and dirt out better and kills germs. It says to use warm-hot water with these laundry balls. If you are not already using hot water you should know that along with killing germs it also gets most stains out more effectively...even without laundry balls like Crystal Wash.
My observations and tests...
I did a side by side comparison with a load with just my laundry detergent, a load with the Crystal Wash, and a load with just water. It was very hard to see a difference when washing with these verses with my hypoallergenic sans free detergent or just with water. I do not wash my laundry in perfumed detergent or detergent with dyes because my son is allergic, anyway, so there usually isn't anything to cover up odor and my front loading washing machine does just fine.

Crystal Wash Crowdfunding Campaign:
Crystal Wash has a crowdfunding campaign to fund their Crystal Wash 2.0. This lets you get connected with your laundry. Their new Crystal Wash 2.0 will give you recharge notices, real-time wash pH levels, wash complete alerts, wash cycle tracking stats (graphs, counters, social sharing), savings tracking, Crystal Wash (wash cycle counter – time to order new Crystal Wash), stain guide, and a label decoder all in one handy app that is integrated with the Crystal Wash ball for easier washing.



DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Crystal Wash for sending me this product for free to 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.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Wordless Wednesday Chickens and Eggs!

Our new chickens (Rhode Island Reds)...they had a rough time at their previous location...their friends got snatched up by what we think was a bobcat. Hopefully we won't have the same issue with predators.

Top: Our first egg from our hens that they laid at our farm, Left: Our chicken eggs vs store bought, Right: Our first dozen...well sort of, LOL!

My chickens in their makeshift coop. More eggs, yay!