Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring= Deck time!

We *finally* built a deck on the back of our house! It has been on the 'to do' list since we moved in, but life happens and we are just now (2.5 years later) getting it done. Oh well, we had other goals ahead of a deck {like having a baby~ha!}. Anyway, it is built and it is wonderful! Can't remember the house without it. It really adds room to our home. I love how it connects the two back porches and makes it all one, large space. I'm going to get a different outside rug, and we are going to get some sort of umbrella/shade, but here are the pics.

This is my latest yard sale find...a little picnic table for $20! Retails for $79! It looks brand new. It's the same picnic table I had when we lived in Houston...we gave it away and I'm not sure why, because I really like the 'nature' look of this model {you know how it is when you are moving and you just get rid of everything!~ha.}. I was very excited when I spotted it at the yard sale! It's a perfect place for the kids to have lunch and it matches our new deck.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

CBH Ministries ~TOS Review

Children's Bible Hour (CBH) has a new picture book series, titled Seasons of Faith, adapted from their classic programs. They recently sent me the 4 books and we have greatly enJOYed them in our home!

The 4 books in the Seasons of Faith series:

1. Race with Midnight
Becky spends spring break on her cousin Sarah's horse farm in Montana. Taking horse rides amidst the beautiful mountains and valleys, Becky tries to share her faith with Sarah as she talks about God's creation. Will Sarah listen?

2. You Can't Come
Adam and his new friend Zack decide to build a tree fort one warm summer day. After zooming down a hill and falling into a muddy pond, Zack asks Adam about going to church and salvation. Will Adam be able to explain his faith to Zack?

3. Seventy Times Seven

Batter up! When Brad accidentally breaks the ice cream shop’s sign, the owner forgives Brad. But when his best friend Doug ruins Brad’s favorite baseball cap, will he be able to forgive Doug?

4. Braving the Storm

When Thomás moves away from his neighborhood and into a mobile home in his grandparents’ backyard, he misses his friends. There’s nothing to do around the apple orchard with no friends, his dad works a lot, and his little brother was hurt in an accident. All his sister wants to do is play with her dolls. Will Thomás be able to rely on God to get through the difficult times?

Each book also includes a CD of Uncle Charlie reading the story.

From the CBH website...

Seasons of Faith

The Seasons of Faith illustrated books encourage children to learn about their faith in God. Based on CBH Ministries’ treasure trove of radio scripts, these stories teach core truths of the Bible so that kids can easily apply them to their lives. Each book focuses on a season of faith-developing topics.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”

I read to my kids during our regular school time, but at night they ♥ to listen to books on CD. They all gather in one room {on the same bed} for a story, so they were VERY excited when we received this set in the mail! They listened to a new story each night and loved all of them! The stories are adventurous and keep their attention. I like that each story teaches a faith-building lesson in a way that is easy for a child to understand.

Each book in the series cost $10 [softcover w/ CD]. When you use the code FREESHIPAPR15 between March 17 and April 15, 2010, you can receive free standard shipping with the purchase of the 4 book set.

Go HERE to see a video on the series.

Discussion questions are provided HERE to foster teachable moments.

As always, you can read more reviews on the TOS Crew Blog. EnJOY!

CBH Ministries gave me a set of the Seasons of Faith book series in exchange for an honest, fair review.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Homeschool in the Woods ~Old World Style Maps!

If you have never heard of Home School in the Woods, grab a cup of coffee {or tea} and head to their will be there a while! The site is full of wonderful information and resources galore. Amy Pak and her sweet family do home school in the woods and they offer a plethora of materials to help you teach history in a fun, meaningful, adventurous manner!

Amy recently sent me a set of her *new* Old World Style Maps. They took the Old World Style maps from the Record of Time timeline notebook and expanded them into two sets, offered in both CD & download...LOVE these maps!

The World Map set has over 130 maps~ beautiful hand-illustrated black-and-white maps with an 'old' look. They offer a hands-on experience that reinforce any history lesson! The set has both Ancient and Modern styles with or without labels. Plus a Bonus..over 40 fact sheets to be used as notebooking pages. I particularly enJOYed using the colored flags for our passports, while studying various countries. For a sample of the World maps click HERE.

The United States set has maps of each state, Washington D.C., and over a dozen American History maps! They are offered in three ways: with labels, without labels, and in outline form. Also included are Fact Sheets for each state and full color state flags to cut & paste to the fact sheets. We have enJOYed using the Fact Sheets & maps in our 'State Study Notebook', as a part of our postcard swap. For a sample of the United States Maps click HERE.

Price ~

Download version: $18.95 per set OR $28.95 for both sets {BEST deal!}.

CD: $19.95 per CD set OR $29.95 for both sets on CD.

This is a great find! You will use these maps in ALL of your history studies! Work the price into your 2010-2011 school year will thank me later. :)

For more reviews, on this incredible set, go HERE!


I received both sets of the Olde World Style Maps in exchange for a fair, honest review.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Artistic Pursuits ~TOS Crew Review


I LOVE art and I want my children to love it as well, so I have always tried to encourage it in my home. I have bins full of 'art supplies' and I tell my kids to create. I also display work from famous artists in our classroom, but when it comes down to 'teaching art'...I'm clueless!

So, I was beyond excited to find ARTistic Pursuits a few years ago. After looking at their website {tons of good info.} and reading several reviews {all saying great things about the program!} I bought the K-3 Book One and used it with my [then] 1st & 3rd graders. What caught my eye and caused me to buy this program, was the fact that ARTistic Pursuits combines art appreciation with art instruction...all in a fun manner that offers a variety of assignments.

The program is written by a homeschool mom, Brenda Ellis, and it is a homeschool art program that meets the specific needs of homeschoolers at home. However, it can be used by anyone!

When given the opportunity to review an art book {as a part of the TOS Review Crew} I allowed my 11-year-old daughter to make the choice between Book One & Book Two (grades 4-6). She loves to paint, so she decided to go with Book Two ~Color & Composition.

One thing I really liked about this book was the fact that my daughter could open the book and do the lesson on her own. She does one lesson a week {I put it in her workbox on Wednesday}. The picture, above, is her 'Final Project' from the 1st lesson. She is enjoying this book a lot and learning some great techniques. She is gaining confidence and it shows!

Things I love about ARTistic Pursuits:

♥ Real art lessons...not craft projects
An excellent study of art history
♥ High-quality books with excellent images
♥ Step-by-step insturctions
♥ Creates artists!

The BEST thing about this kids love it!

The price is $42.95 for the non-consumable book. It can be purchased on their website or on the CBD website {if you have other items to purchase, it may save on shipping}.

Read more reviews {other books were reviewed} HERE.

I received a free Artistic Pursuits book for the purpose of writing an honest review.

Homeschool Library Builder ~TOS Review

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"Fill your bookshelves without emptying your wallet"

Are you a book lover? I am for sure! Recently I visited my friend's home {a 20+ year homeschooling family} and she took me to her basement {aka library} was amazing! Wall-to-wall bookshelves FULL of wonderful, living books. I must have been drooling, because I was so envious...I want a library like that! I quickly asked, "How" and she told me to buy {and keep} books! Hmmmmm...sounds to easy, but I do have a nice *beginner library* and with the help of Homeschool Library Builder I know I can do it.

What is Homeschool Library Builder? HSLB is a Christian family-run book business dedicated to providing great literature at affordable prices. They offer new and used living books at bargain prices.

One feature I especially like about HSLB is the ability to search for books by curriculum! Curriculum search options include:
  • Ambleside
  • Beautiful Feet
  • Five In A Row
  • Heart of Dakota
  • Sonlight
  • Tapestry of Grace
  • Veritas Press
Oh, and check this out...'Spotlight on the Season' gives you book suggestions for that month's holidays and special events! You can then do a search for the books that interest you.

They have a FREE membership/rewards program that allows you to earn points toward books! Sign-up HERE...just do it, it's FREE and when you buy books from their site, you earn points. For each dollar you spend, you get one Book Point. Once you earn 15 points, you earn $1 towards future purchases.

I'm looking forward to using HSLB to purchase books for the 2010-2011 school year...more books to build my home library! *JOY*

Graphics-Toolbox ~TOS Review

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Graphics-Toolbox is a graphic software program that offers you endless creativity! This incredible software has too many features to list...go HERE to see them all. If you have ever wanted to design your own cards, change color in a photo, make a blog button, you can!

Graphics Toolbox was created by a team of software designers with over 20 years of experience in graphics programming. Their plan was to create a program for everyday graphics needs that would be easy to use and understand. The product they created is perfect for a wide range of people - from students to business people.
Here are just a few of the ways you can use Graphics-Toolbox:
  • Christmas cards
  • Birthday invitations
  • science diagrams
  • photo editing
  • notebook/lapbook pages
  • posters and business fliers
  • photo cartoons
  • scrapbook pages
  • blog headers and buttons
The GT website has lots of examples you can look at and they have a 30~day 'try before you buy' offer. The cost may seem steep at $149, but keep in mind this is a one-time price for the whole program! When you look at all that it includes and all you can do with it...I think you will agree with the price.

The online training sessions are a must...they will save you hours of time and make this program a breeze.