Monday, April 30, 2018

YWAM Publishing Heroes of History Captain John Smith: A Foothold in the New World and Unit Study Curriculum Guide Review

My family had the privilege of reading the Heroes of History - Captain John Smith book from YWAM Publishing 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.

YWAM (YOUTH WITH A MISSION) Publishing is a nonprofit organization that produces and distributes books that help Christians make a difference in the world by giving a portion of every dollar spent to buy books through YWAM Publishing to children and adults in other countries that are in need. Their books focus on evangelism, educational training, prayer, discipleship, and mercy ministries.

YWAM Publishing has two popular book series; one called Heroes of History and the other called Christian Heroes: Then & Now; in which true stories are told of real people that lived in our history. In the Heroes of History series we learn about great men and woman who changed the course of history. In the Christian Heroes: Then & Now series we learn about ordinary people who have put their trust in God and in doing so accomplish extraordinary things. Both of these book series help us as: parents, teachers, and caretakers; give our children wholesome biographies to read or be read to that teach good character traits, values, and virtues.

Captain John Smith: A Foothold in the New World Book

Captain John Smith: A Foothold in the New World by Janet & Geoff Benge is part of a series of 28 biography books called Heroes of History by YWAM Publishing. This series covers the years 1451 to 1951. This book tells the true life story of Captain John Smith who was enslaved by Turks, captured by pirates, saved by a princess, fought in wars, and helped establish Jamestown in the New World. This Christian biography book from YWAM Publishing about Captain John Smith teaches great character traits, values, and virtues too. This book covers the years 1580-1631. It chronicles his life from his birth to his death in 1631. It is a total of 16 chapters and 192 pages long. I had previously heard bits and pieces of his life and his adventure in history class at school while growing up and watching Pocahontas before I read this biography book.

John Smith Unit Study download page tab.

The Unit Study Curriculum Guide that is paired with the Captain John Smith: A Foothold in the New World book that I received was in the digital downloadable format and opened as an executable file. The digital version is downloadable in a zipped format, so you will have to unzip before you use it. After selecting where it will go on your computer, unzip it, and find the folder it placed it all into. Find the file version you need: __MACOSX for Macintosh and the other for PC. Click on the file that has START HERE in its title and it will open in a new window in your browser. You can then read a very short synopsis of the biography under the John Smith tab, download the unit study under the Unit Study tab, etc.

The Unit Study downloads in PDF format. It also has a 24-25 page guide for classroom and homeschool as well as a 12 page guide for a small group that tells you how to best use the unit study. This shows how flexible you can be with the unit study. You can do the whole study or just parts of it. It is all up to you how you use it. The unit study goes in depth to help you go above and beyond the book and explore other areas that pertain to the material like: crafts, cooking, art, and writing assignments; has questions to ask your children to see if they comprehended the reading, and quotes to use as copywork to enhance handwriting or memorization. The unit study is broken into two parts.

Here is the Unit Study Curriculum Guide Contents:
Part 1 -
Introduction (how to use the study)

  1. Key Quotes (great for copywork, memorization, theatrical presentation, or art display)
  2. Display Corner (an area designated for hands on display of items relating to the reading)
  3. Chapter Questions (questions that enhance the reading: 1 vocabulary, 1 factual, 2 comprehension, and 2 open-ended)
  4. Student Explorations (essay questions, creative writing, hands-on projects, audio/visual projects, arts & crafts)
  5. Community Links (field trip ideas)
  6. Social Studies (places, journeys, terms/vocabulary, geographical characteristics: mapping, timeline: plotting historical events, conceptual questions)
  7. Related Themes to Explore (cultures, math, literature, history, current events, science & medicine)
  8. Culminating Event (sort of a show and tell ending, ideas include: invitations, clothing, competitions, presentations, food, displays)
Appendix A: Books and Resources
Appendix B: Answers to Chapter Questions
Appendix C: Social Studies Reproducibles

Part 2 -
Appendix C: Social Studies Reproducibles (continued)

Teela reading YWAM Publishing Heroes of History Captain John Smith: A Foothold in the New World.

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:

I read the book to my daughters who are 7 and 10. I read it to my 7 year old daughter Zari so we could have time to get through some of the study guide too. My daughter Teela who is 10 and my sons who are 15 and 17 have been reading it to themselves and doing some of the projects from the study guide on their own time. Zari enjoyed listening to me read about Captain John Smith. We learned more about John Smith's adventures and mishaps from reading this book than any textbook we had read or movie we had watched previously. It was quite refreshing to learn more about this important man.

After each chapter my girls and I did the first three questions from the study guide which are geared toward the younger students. They include a vocabulary question, a factual question coming from the reading, and the first comprehension question. The study guide is geared toward ages 10+. So I had to help them with the some of the vocabulary because of its advanced nature. We would look up the words in a dictionary and thesaurus as well, for more understanding. My boys, Jaedan and Delbin, who are 15 and 17, had no problem with the reading and vocabulary, but that is because they are voracious readers. I had my boys do all of the chapter questions. Besides the chapter questions I had my girls do copywork from the key quotes and I had my boys memorize them and say them back to me. I will have my sons do an essay as suggested in the study guide under the student explorations and essays. They also will be doing some creative writing.

We also went to other websites in the books and resources section of the study guide to learn more about the Captain John Smith, Powhatan Indians, Pocahontas, the New World, Chesapeake Bay, Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown, Potomac River, Colonial America, etc. We especially loved going through the Jamestown Interactive website and seeing the artwork depicting the Indians and their town. We also loved the basket weaving website and want to try our hand at making baskets when we get more time. The mosaics from Constantinople were also very cool to see online.

There was so much to learn and explore in this unit study. We were amazed at the very complexity of it all. We didn't even begin to scratch the surface and were still very engaged in the lengthy unit study.

The YWAM Publishing biographies are historical and true. These true stories along with the unit studies are great for homeschooling families. We hope to get to read about Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett next in their extensive biography list. I highly recommend these!

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YWAM Publishing Heroes of History - Captain John Smith: A Foothold in the New World book:
Regular Price: $9.99 YWAM Price: $7.50

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Christian Heroes, Heroes of History & Study Guides {YWAM Publishing  Reviews}

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Mama's Jewelry Mother's Day Special Offer!

USFamilyGuide provided me with this promotional information and offer to share with my readers. I am getting something for free in return for posting this information.

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DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Because I am posting about Mama's Jewelry I am getting a FREE $69 store credit with FREE Shipping. Thanks to USFamilyGuide and Mama's Jewelry for providing me this promotion information and free credit. 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 about this promotion.

Wordless Wednesday Teela's Harry Potter Hogwarts Birthday Party

Teela turned 10 years old on the 15th of April & had a Harry Potter Hogwarts Themed Birthday Party the day before.

I dressed as Sybill Trelawney. I love cosplaying!

We had some great food & drink including Butter Beer and the 3rd Floor Corridor was off limits.

Teela opened presents and we did potions and made wands.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Apologia Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Review

This post contains affiliate links that will benefit the blog. My family had the privilege of trying Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology from Apologia 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.

Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. is the #1 publisher of creation-based science and Bible curriculum. They focus on Christian based homeschool curriculum. Their products are all taught from a biblical worldview. They have creation-based science, apologetics, language arts, Constitutional Literacy, and resources and books to help homeschooling families succeed.

Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology by Jeannie Fulbright and pediatrician Brooke Ryan, M.D. is a creation-based human anatomy and physiology curriculum that is part of the Young Explorer Series consisting of a Student Textbook, Jr. Notebooking Journal, Notebooking Journal, and MP3 Audio CD. It is geared towards grades K-6. Students will explore the human body inside and out with fascinating facts, engaging activities, and intriguing experiments. This covers many subjects, such as the body systems: skeletal, muscular, respiratory, digestive, cardiovascular, nervous and more! Also included is nutrition and health, embryology, DNA, etc.

This includes:
  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Student Textbook
  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Junior Notebooking Journal
  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Notebooking Journal
  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology MP3 Audio CD

Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Student Textbook is a hardbound textbook. This textbook has a total of 14 lessons that explain human anatomy and physiology and its many wonders. The book starts out with Apologia's Young Explorer Series Instructional Support that explains the curriculum parts. It then has a table of contents and Introduction which tells you about the lesson increments, narration, notebooking activities, personal person project, projects and experiments, course website, textbook, and supply list. Each lesson has: colored boxes that contain things to contemplate with activities to do, vocabulary words in bold, scripture in italics, color pictures and charts, questions and writing prompts in light blue text; and at the end of each lesson questions to summarize of what was learned (in the "What Do You Remember?" section), notebooking activities, personal person project, and a large project or experiment. At the end of the textbook there is an Appendix with a Answers for the Narrative Questions, Photo and Illustration Credits, and Index to help find things in the book.

  1. Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology
  2. The Skeletal System
  3. The Muscular System
  4. The Digestive and Renal Systems
  5. Health and Nutrition
  6. The Respiratory System
  7. Life in the Blood
  8. The Cardiovascular System
  9. The Nervous and Endocrine Systems
  10. The Nervous System Extended
  11. Your Senses
  12. The Integumentary System
  13. The Lymphatic and Immune Systems
  14. Growth and Development

There are two slightly different notebooking journals. They are both spiral bound. The regular Notebooking Journal is for older elementary students (meant for grades 3/4 and older) and the Jr. Notebooking Journal is for younger elementary students (meant for grades K to 2nd/3rd). These are both consumable books and each is intended to be used by a single student. The main differences between the Jr. Notebooking Journal and the Notebooking Journal is that the Jr. Notebooking Journal has handwriting lines for copywork and writing assignments, beginning letter clues for the crossword puzzles, and coloring pages are in the Jr. Notebooking Journal instead of "What Do You Remember?" questions that are in the Notebooking Journal. Both versions have both manuscript and cursive copywork. The junior version also gives a lot more guidance and less writing. At the beginning of the journals there is a suggested daily schedule that outlines four to seven assignments per lesson. At a pace of two daily assignments per week, this course would take a full year.

The Audio CD contains the complete audio recording of the course Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology. It is read by Jeannie Fulbright (the textbook and journals' author). This is great for auditory learners, slow readers, or students with other learning disabilities that make reading difficult. This is an MP3 CD so you have to play it in a MP3-compatable CD player or a computer.

Zari coloring in the Jr. Notebooking Journal.

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:

I used this curriculum with my daughter Zari. I used the Jr. Notebooking Journal with her because she is 7 years old and in 1st grade. She has trouble reading larger words so I read some of the instructions to her and helped her through some of the writing as well. It suggests two days a week to work on this, but for this review we only did one day per week for about seven weeks starting at the beginning of the book, which got us through Lesson 1 (Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology) and Lesson 2 (The Skeletal System) during the review period.

The textbook has a lot of wonderful full color pictures and charts that make the learning a lot more fascinating. You could make spelling lists with the vocabulary words from each chapter too. I will probably do this when I teach my daughter Teela next out of the regular Notebooking Journal. I love the wonderful lesson by lesson supply list located in the front for knowing what to have on hand for the activities from each lesson. It is super helpful! Having an answer key for the "What Do You Remember?" sections was a tremendous help to me as well.

Zari experimenting with water droplets to magnify text in the book in a "Try This" section.

We loved using the link to the course website that is referenced in the textbook. It had a lot of fun third party websites that contributed more information to the study of different things. We especially loved links to the Egyptian Medicine, Microscope History, Inside the Cell Video, How Big is a Cell? interactive, DNA Double Helix Video, Human Skeletal System Using Pictures, Label the Bones, and The Amazing Regenerating Rib. There was a lot more too, but I did run into a few links that no longer worked as well and need updating.

Both the regular Notebooking Journal and the Jr. Notebooking Journal were in black and white except for the pages at the end that you cut out and paste onto other pages throughout the journals, for example; the mini books. The cut and glue pages reminded me a lot of a lapbook in this regard. I like that they also have copywork and activities that included science experiments and observations from what was taught in the textbook. These were lots of fun and were hands-on way of learning the material. Zari especially loved the coloring and drawing pictures to illustrate the cell. She also loved the cutting and pasting because she was good at this.

Zari drawing animal cell anatomy and labeling parts in the Jr. Notebooking Journal.

The Audio CD is very useful for Zari because she can't read the textbook on her own yet. She liked listening and following along a whole lot better and the lady that reads has a nice voice that makes it more interesting. You can also listen to the MP3's in your car on the road traveling if you have a MP3 player there. I liked that I was given the option of listening too because I could hear what she was learning about without reading the text myself.

I love the Apologia Educational Ministries Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology. I would recommend this highly to anyone searching for a creation-based curriculum about the human body for elementary grades in homeschool. Apologia also has other great homeschool curriculum for science as well that I would love to check out and some others that I have reviewed here.

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Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Student Textbook is $42. The Notebooking Journal and Jr. Notebooking Journal are $29 each. The Audio CD is $29.

Read other homeschool curriculum reviews for Apologia Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology...
Apologia - Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Reviews

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The Herbal Academy Botany & Wildcrafting Course Kickoff!

The Herbal Academy provided me with this promotional information and offer to share with my readers. I am getting something for free in return for posting this information. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.

The Botany & Wildcrafting Course, curated by the amazing Herbal Academy team of herbalists and botanists, is now open for registration at an introductory price of $149 ($50 off right now)!! I reserved my seat in class, and cannot wait to begin this journey. To give you an idea of what is included in class, lessons cover topics like using the dichotomous key for plant identification, identifying botanical families and patterns in nature, drawing herbs, making a pressed herbarium, wildcrafting for wild edibles and herbs, drying herbs, and much, much more.

If you too are interested in learning more about botany and foraging, check out the course page here: course/

Learn how to wildcraft and identify plants confidently in the Botany & Wildcrafting Course!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I received this course for free for posting this information. 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.

Celebrating Herbalist Day! Free Cards to Share

©Herbal Academy

HAPPY HERBALIST DAY! I am so grateful to each of my herbal friends, teachers, and students. I am also so very blessed to be a part of the herbal community. The wonderful things I have learned and have been taught throughout the years have been amazing! Thank you all so very much for being there for my experience.

©Herbal Academy

Please take a moment to thank a special herbalist in your life. The Herbal Academy, International School of Herbal Arts and Sciences, has made these beautiful graphics and thank you cards to share and brighten someone's day. Go to the link and download the PDF file to save them and be able to print them out.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

God Bless You & Good Night Book Review and Giveaway

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

God Bless You & Good Night is a hardcover children's book written by Hannah C. Hall and illustrated by Steve Whitlow. Adorable animals and rhyming verses grace the pages of this book to help soothe your little one to slumberland. This book helps remind children of God's blessings and how much they are loved as they nod off to sleep at night.

Some of the pages in the God Bless You & Good Night book.

What We Thought:
This lovely family-friendly story from the A God Bless Book series is perfect for young ones because of its rhyming verse and gorgeous illustrations by Steve Whitlow. This book portrays snugly animal parents that are getting their offspring ready for bed. They go through a bedtime routine of: seeing the night sky, eating a bedtime snack, having a warm bath, putting on jammies, reading a story, getting comfy, counting blessings, hugging, praying, singing a lullaby, saying I love you, getting a teddy bear and blanket to sleep with, counting sheep, closing eyes, turning on a nightlight, and tucking in. The sweet rhymes are sometimes silly, but also lovely.

Zari enjoying reading the God Bless You & Good Night book.

I feel that this book makes the bedtime ritual go on a bit too long. If you are trying to get your children to bed quickly this might not be the best book for you. I think this book might be better for evening time not right before bed because it does cover just about the whole bedtime routine and not really helping lull your child off to sleep until the end. It also misses the teeth brushing part of our bedtime routine. I don't have a working bathtub, so we don't do the warm baths...just showers which we do not do every night anyway. I also feel snack time shouldn't be right before bedtime. So, this book has me a little conflicted. I do like the book, but it might be better read when each of these bedtime things are being done because otherwise your child will be asking for all the things that the critters in the book are getting when you are trying to get them to go to sleep. I might have to omit the snack and bathtub pages completely if I decide to read this again.

Buy the God Bless You & Good Night book on Amazon.

Prize: God Bless You & Good Night Book
Host: HarperCollins Christian Publishing and FrontGate Media.
Who Can Enter: Open to US Residents 18 years or older.
Selection Process: 5 winners will be selected on 5/01/2018 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.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wordless Wednesday Lower Columbia Estuary Canoe Field Trip and Hike

Teela & I went on a Canoe Trip and hiking with a group at the Lower Columbia Estuary Scappoose Bay Marina (4/6/2018).

Guided Hike: Saw Oak Galls, Gall Wasp larvae, lichen, & mushrooms while doing a scavenger hunt & bird-watching.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Memoria Press Latina Christiana: An Introduction to First Form Latin Review

Memoria Press Latina Christiana Complete Set

My family had the privilege of trying the Latina Christiana from Memoria Press 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.

Memoria Press is a family-run publishing company that produces simple and easy-to-use classical Christian education materials for home and private schools. It was founded by a woman named Cheryl Lowe in 1994. They currently have preschool through ninth grade in most of their curriculum and some through twelfth grade. They also cover subjects in: Classical Core Curriculum, Latin, Classical Studies, Christian Studies, Logic & Rhetoric, Phonics & Early Reading, Penmanship, Literature & Poetry, American & Modern Studies, Writing & English Grammar, Science & Math, Greek, Modern Languages, Educational Resources, eBooks, Special-Needs, and Art & Music.

Latina Christiana is a Latin grammar course for younger beginning students. It comes with a Student Book, Teacher Manual, Pronunciation CD, Flashcards, and Instructional DVDs. This is a new and improved version and has been updated to make the product even better. This course was designed for teachers with no background in Latin. Intended for grades 3-5, but can be used for as a beginning course for students of all ages. After completing Latina Christiana Memoria Press has the next course in the series called First Form Latin. There is also a course that is for grades 1-3 called Prima Latina that you can have your younger children do before this course, but it is not required.

The Latina Christiana Student Book is a consumable workbook that can only be used by one student. This fourth edition book consists of 105 pages of 25 lessons and 5 review lessons. The lessons begin with a Latin Saying that teach Christian or Classical tradition of culture, 10 vocabulary words per lesson with corresponding English derivatives, Grammar Forms, and end with appropriate exercises that go with each lesson. It also has Pronunciation Rules at the very beginning and after the lessons it has an Appendix with Prayers, Conversational Latin, Songs, Latin Sayings, Grammar Forms, History Guide, Vocabulary Indexes, English to Latin Reference, and Derivatives & Definitions. On this page there is a Student Book Sample in PDF format.

The Latina Christiana Teacher Manual is a spiral bound teacher and parent guide to First Form Latin. It is 187 pages and is the fourth edition. It consists of Pronunciation Rules, a Teacher Guide that includes a Grammar Overview, Student Goals, Teaching Guidelines, Vocabulary Drill, and Grammar Drill; Lesson Plans, an Appendix with Prayers, Conversational Latin, Songs, Latin Sayings, Grammar Forms, History Guide, History Chart, etc.; Advanced Grammar Overview, Quizzes & Tests + Answer Keys, and Latina Christiana Final & Key. The Lesson Plans have an opening with a Latin salutation from both teacher and student, prayer in Latin and music sung in Latin; Recitation of cue words, Latin Saying, Word Study, Derivatives, Grammar, and the pages of the Student Book in miniature with answer key on the page for each lesson. It also has some reproducible pages in it. On this page there is a Teacher Manual Sample in PDF format.

The Latina Christiana Pronunciation CD is the complete verbal pronunciation (the way the word sounds when it is spoken) for each lesson. It also includes the prayers and songs and how they are supposed to be said in Latin. It has 32 parts. We received the second edition although they picture the fourth on their picture. You can listen to a CD Sample here.

The Latina Christiana Flashcards are a large stack of cards to help with study and memorization. It includes: vocabulary with derivatives, Latin sayings, and conjugations & declensions. These are second edition and contain all the words in Prima Latina and Latina Christiana. On this page there are Sample Flashcards in PDF format.

How The Flashcards are Laid Out:
  • Vocabulary (Latin, lesson number, and any derivative, on one side; English on the other)
  • Latin sayings (Latin and lesson number on one side, English on the other)
  • Grammar forms(cue word, lesson number, and form name on one side; Latin forms on the other).
  • For the lesson number, Latina Christiana is first followed by Prima Latina (PL) lesson number in parentheses, e.g. “1 (PL 4).”
  • Flashcards are 3.5 x 2.5 inches and are Pre-cut.

The Latina Christiana Instructional DVDs are a set of 3 discs having a total of 5.5 hours. Lessons take an average of 15 minutes per lesson. The teaching of grammar, recitation, review, vocabulary, and derivatives is done by Jessica Watson. There are on-screen notes, illustrations, and diagrams. This makes it easy to educate yourself in Latin. This is the fourth edition. Here is a DVD Sample.

Teela working out of the Latina Christiana Student Book.

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:
We love Memoria Press and their classical christian curriculum for our homeschooling! We have a bunch of their other studies and have found them all wonderful. We've been very blessed to have been able to also receive a number of their curriculum to review here.

Latina Christiana is a fabulous curriculum for kids to learn Latin. Even though it is recommended for grades 3-5, I would say it is a good first Latin program for grades 4-7. We did this curriculum for my daughter Teela who is in 4th grade. We did this on an average of three days per week. This classical christian homeschool curriculum is fantastic!

I found the teacher's guide very convenient and thorough. I loved how it was laid out and how it explained things. The information is given to me, the parent and teacher, so I could teach the student in a way that we both comprehend all the information even though we have no background in Latin at all. I also had all the answers of the student book at my fingertips so I didn't have to seek them out myself. This also had vocabulary drills, grammar drills, tests and quizzes that could be reproduced so that Teela could work on these. I am glad that this was spiral bound so that it lays flat and I could copy the reproducible pages easily.

Both DVDs and CD were very helpful tools. We started out watching the lesson for the day on the DVD. The DVDs helped me learn along with Teela since I too did not know Latin. The DVDs I found especially great because of the illustrations and diagrams they used as well to clarify and explain the point better. These lessons are the perfect length as well which helps the learning happen without information overload. The CD we used to teach the correct pronunciation of the vocabulary in the student book and flashcards.

The student book can be easily followed along with the DVDs and teacher's guide. I had my daughter work from the book after each lesson. We liked that the vocabulary and grammar was on one page and the exercises were on the adjacent page. If we needed to review something it was easy to get the lesson back up on the DVD and find where the specific thing was talked about or look it up in the teacher's guide.

Teela working with the Latina Christiana Flashcards.

We also thought the flashcards were very handy to have with the set. This deck is huge and covers both Prima Latina and Latina Christiana vocabulary. I love that I didn't have to punch out the cards or cut them out myself because this would have taken me a long time. I am glad that these were pre-cut. I also liked the fact that these had the lesson number on each card so we could reference back to it if needed. We used these as a further study and memory aid reinforcing learning the First Form Latin vocabulary.

We highly recommend Latina Christiana: An Introduction to First Form Latin by Memoria Press! It is a great Latin curriculum. I look forward to using other curriculum books from Memoria Press with my children in the future and after finishing the Latina Christiana moving onto First Form Latin.

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You can purchase the Latina Christiana Complete Set for $98.90.

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Spelling, Music Appreciation & Latin {Memoria Press Reviews}

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Saturday, April 7, 2018

Cirque du Soleil Crystal at the Moda Center Review #CirqueduSoleil #Crystal

I received two tickets free to facilitate this review.

If you haven't seen Cirque du Soleil you should definitely see at least one of their shows when it comes close to your town. Cirque du Soleil, French for Circus of the Sun, is a Canadian entertainment company that features an acrobatic all human circus. It was founded in 1984 by two former street performers, Guy Laliberté and Gilles Ste-Croix. It now has 20 productions worldwide in over in over 400 cities, in 60 countries, on 6 continents. These shows are comprised of live musicians, theatrical performers, acrobats, clowns, gymnasts, jugglers, etc.

Cirque du Soleil Crystal is a brand new show that is touring around the globe. Right now Crystal is showing at the Moda Center in Portland Oregon from April 4-8. This is Cirque du Soleil's first ever show on ice which pushes the limits of the performances even further! World class ice skaters along with acrobats do never before seen stunts on their new frozen environment. You will see figure skaters, pair skaters, freelance skaters, and solo skaters all doing what they love and sometimes even more on the ice. Both acrobats and ice skaters had to learn some of each others skills to perform this show.

Crystal is a show about a girl, also named Crystal (played by Nobahar Dadui), that after being ridiculed by her family and friends tries to escape to an icy pond to skate only to fall through the thin ice. As she descends further into the frozen depths she goes into a cold induced dream state and this pushes her into her own self-discovery. In her dream state we see her discovering a newfound ability - writing - and blossoming with her use of it. She explores the new talent and seems to find her voice with both pen and typewriter through the power of her own words.

My husband and I got some pictures taken in front of Cirque backdrops.

My Thoughts:
This was mine and my husband's very first Cirque du Soleil show. We went together to the Moda Center on opening day. We arrived and got our tickets from the box office. There was pretty much no line and it we easily got into the vendor area before finding our seats. We were a little early so we took a bit of time getting some pictures taken in front of the fun backdrops that were provided. Then we found our seats and waited for the show to start.

The pre-show before the first scene was lighthearted and fun. One of Cirque's clowns has a snowball fight with some of the audience. His antics are quite amusing and make us laugh. Also some of the skaters warmed up on the ice doing a few tricks and interacting as if they were on a outdoor ice rink. A live band made up of a violin, guitar, accordion, wind instruments, and tambourine/bells was also playing music nearby the ice. We were glad that we showed up early just to catch this.

The set and ice arena before the program started.

The set was amazing all by itself. It had a kind of ice castle looking structure in the background. I noticed a small train on top that choo-choos by subtly in the beginning of the pre-show. This building structure serves as Crystal's "home" in the show as well as entry and exit points for performers. It also has ramps that looked like skateboard ramps down it on both sides. The ice rink arena came out from this in a half-oval in front. At first they had large metal trees, a park bench that they could sit and put on their skates, and a metal trash can with designs carved out of it that glowed from the inside. The "stage" changed from scene to scene, not only with different props being brought on and off by choreographed performers, but also through intricate lighting that projected onto both the ice surface and facade of the building.

Camilo Motta and Stepan Grytsay play with the music.

The music was fantastic too. Maxim Lepage’s klezmer-infused score is wonderful! The live band playing some along with some parts of the music was a very nice addition. I particularly savored Stepan Grytsay and his violin! He was fabulous! There were different types of music throughout depending upon the mood and theme. They also incorporate some covers of some familiar pop songs that appropriately help set the mood. I especially loved the second act Aerial Strap Pas de Deux routine that was done to Beyoncé's "Halo".

Act One, Tempest Scene: Falling through the ice.

Each scene was told by Crystal's perspective. Act one starts out with Crystal getting chastised by her family, feeling very alone, isolated, and misunderstood she runs off to the ice. The ice fractures and engulfs her. I love the way they show this scene. The cracks and gaping hole are projected onto the ice and when Crystal falls in she is whisked away and lifted into water and bubbles projected onto the building facade. Even though she is actually being brought into the air with tethers, Crystal looks as though she is being drawn into the depths of the water.

Act One, A Day in the Life Scene: flashbacks.

Then we see her watching her life: at home, at school, at play, and in the city flash before her in a distorted, disconnected way. She finally takes control of her self and catches up to her reflection (Madeline Stammen) which helps her navigate through her dream world. I like this scene because of the spinning and twirling of the two together on skates, in instances mirroring one another. Next Crystal finds her talent and celebrates with the juggler, Jorge Petit, in a scene that is high spirited and a lot of fun.

Act One, Reflection Scene.

Act One, Home Swing Scene: Swinging Trapeze.

After this there was a scene with swinging trapeze that I couldn't get over because Crystal was still wearing her ice skates while swinging, flinging her body out up so high, and hanging upside down from it. She was attached with a tether, but no net was below. It was awe inspiring!

Act One, School Playground Scene: Hockey Ramps

I also loved the speed skating hockey players doing crazy jumps, flips, twists, and twirls off of ramps. Then act one was over and it was intermission and we took a break from sitting and bought some mint chocolate Dippin' Dots out in the foyer.

Intermission: We bought some Dippin' Dots ice cream.

Act Two, Poles Scene

In act two we saw the big city in Crystal's imagination. There are a maze of transparent panels that are brought out onto the ice that Crystal skates through to catch up with her alter-ego reflection. Some of the Cirque performers do a pole act that is brand new to Cirque. They swing their bodies around them, jumping from pole to pole, and dismounting with flair. In this act there is also a tap dance on ice skates that I think is pretty impressive. The tap dancers have mics in their skates which amplify the sound while dancing. The fast paced typewriter scene is very well choreographed. I love how they incorporate the sound of the typing with the music.

Act Two, At the Office Scene: Chair balancing act.

There was a dramatic scene with acrobat, Lkhagva-Ochir, that stacks one chair after the other high on a platform and then he does hand stands, balancing on them from the very top.

Act Two, Courtship/Ballroom Scene: Glowing Grand Piano

They also brought out a glowing grand piano that Crystal skated upon while it was played and rolled across the ice. A gorgeous, romantic ballroom scene is after this that features Jérôme Sordillon doing Aerial Strap Pas de Deux with Crystal.

Act Two, Ballroom: Aerial Strap Pas de Deux.

Then the reflection returns and Crystal finally comes to reality. The contortionist, Emily McCarthy, performs the breathtaking hand-to-trapeze number with Jack Atherton making us gasp as he takes her and balances her on just his feet or flips her up into the air from his grasp to catch the trapeze once again. She is seemingly pulled to the surface by his hand. Crystal finally breaks through the ice and finds her breath. She is met with her family and people in the community. At the conclusion of the show Crystal skates the words "The End", the projected lines that form the letters follow her skates while she skates across the rink.

The End written in the ice.

This show was exquisite! I enjoyed it immensely and highly recommend you seeing it. I am so glad to have been able to share this experience with my husband. It was a much needed date away from everything. I hope to be able to see other Cirque du Soleil shows when they come to town.

Crystal Video:

  • What: Cirque du Soleil’s “Crystal”
  • When: Opens 7:30 pm Wednesday, April 4, and continues 7:30 pm April 5-8, at 4 pm April 7, and at 1:30 and 5 pm April 8. 
  • Where: Portland Oregon, Rose Quarter, Moda Center, 1 Center Court.
  • Tickets and information: $40-$130,


DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I received two tickets 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. Affiliate links can be found in this post. Thank you for your support of this blog!

Friday, April 6, 2018

How To Window Box: Small-Space Plants to Grow Indoors or Out Book Review

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

Chantal Aida Gordon & Ryan Benoit are authors of the popular garden blog, The Horticult. It chronicles their learning experience about gardening and design. I personally love their blog and want to incorporate more of a "plant-infused lifestyle" into my everyday existence.

You don't have to have a lot of space to garden and window boxes create the perfect space for plants both outside and inside your window sill. Chantal Aida Gordon & Ryan Benoit's new book, How To Window Box: Small-Space Plants to Grow Indoors or Out, is a nod towards traditional container gardening, but with some exuberant flair. The book takes window boxes and breaths new life into them.

Book Contents.

This small hardback book is just under 6 x 9 – and less than 180 pages, but has a tremendous amount of  information. There are 16 total designs that this tiny book features: from herbs to succulents to carnivorous plants, to jungle plants to woodland plants and other plants in between. This book has a window box for everyone. Projects range from super simple to challenging. This book shows how to: choose plants, know where to purchase them, arrange them, cultivate them, make window boxes for them, use lighting, know how much to water them, know where these plants will likely thrive, fertilize them, prune them, do other fun projects to maximize your space, etc. The photos are colorful and inviting and help give reference to the plants and completed window box projects.

Inside Sneak Peek.

I am loving this gardening book! I highly recommend it to others that: don't have a lot of space to garden, need more ideas for container gardening, want to bring more plants indoors, want to brighten your window spaces, or just love gardening. I can't wait to try out the projects in this book!

Official Website:
Twitter: @thehorticult

You can purchase How To Window Box on Amazon for $10.52 (at time of post).

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Blogging For Books 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.