Alone Yet Not Alone- Review and Giveaway

When I first heard about the book Alone Yet Not Alone I was anxious to read and review it. I love reading books about faith and family and especially enjoy stories based on actual events. I think the best part is that the book is being made into a movie that will be in theaters this summer. Alone Yet Not Alone is a breathtaking historical fiction book about two young sisters who face unthinkable challenges.

About the Book: 

The Leininger family settled deep within America’s new frontier, in the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania. They were celebrating their blessings, their faith, and a bountiful harvest when their family was torn apart by the Penn’s Creek Massacre. When Barbara and Regina are carried away and separated by Allegheny warriors, both sisters rely in their faith in God’s truth, even in their darkest hour. Rich in historical details, Alone Yet Not Alone is an inspirational, true story of a family caught in the cross fire of the French and Indian War.  

About The Author:

Tracy Leininger Craven loves history and retelling real-life stories in her historical fiction books. She also loves spending her free time in the great outdoors with her husband David and their three children.

What I Thought:

After reading the back of the book I decided that I would read the book myself and make sure it was age appropriate prior to having AJ read it. I tend to be over cautious, and after reading the book found that it would have been perfectly fine for AJ (she is 10) to read. There were violent parts including a person being burned alive, but sadly those types events really happened. Although there was violence, details were spared and I feel the book would be appropriate to read and discuss along with a parent. In fact I will be adding it to the list of the books that AJ will be reading next year. The book was well written and full of suspense. Each chapter left me wanting more and I hated having to put the book down to cook dinner. I cried, and smiled, and really felt connected to the main characters in the book. I would gladly read any other book written by Tracy Leininger as she is a talented author and wonderful story teller. If the movie is half as good as the book it will be a hit. I plan to see it when it comes to theaters in June.
Find out more about the movie :
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Read the book before you see the movie! Enter below for a chance to win. Open to US residents, if you win the same prize on another blog you will not be eligible to win again.
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The Sparkle Egg – Review

Aside from Christmas, my favorite holiday is Easter. I love the egg hunts, coloring eggs, and the baskets full of candy. While our family enjoys all of the fun we make sure to remember the true story of Easter. I recently received an adorable new book to review, The Sparkle Egg. It is geared for kids ages 4-8, but I feel older children will enjoy it too. The book claims to be “A Symbol of the True Promise of Easter” and I feel it lives up to the claim.

The Sparkle Egg - A wonderful kids book about the promise of Easter.

About The Sparkle Egg 

Easter is coming, and Sam loves Easter! But this year, he is upset about a lie he told his parents. Even though he apologized and they forgave him, Sam can’t shake the feeling that he is a bad kid for what he did. Meanwhile, his parents help him make a special Easter craft called a Sparkle Egg. His mom tells him to write anything he feels sorry about or ashamed of on a piece of paper and put it inside his Sparkle Egg.
On Easter morning, when he opens his Sparkle Egg expecting a surprise, Sam finds that it is empty! His parents explain that because Jesus died and rose again, we are forgiven. Like the tomb that first Easter Day, Sam’s egg is empty—and Sam’s wrongdoing is completely forgiven. Once he accepts this forgiveness fully, Sam realizes a truth: we can sparkle and shine with God’s light when we let God’s gift of grace into our hearts. This touching story will strike a deep chord with readers of all ages, and the Sparkle Egg tradition will help readers and their
families grasp the totality of God’s perfect grace
The Sparkle egg is 32 page a hardcover book with jacket. It was written by Jill Hardie and Illustrated by Christine Kornacki. The book has a suggested retail price of $16.99 and is available at Ideals Books.

About the Author 
Jill Hardie’s first book, The Sparkle Box, ignited a new Christmas tradition that helps center Christmas in the true joy of the season. Now Jill is hoping to touch lives with a new Easter tradition with The Sparkle Egg. She lives in North Canton, Ohio.

About the Illustrator
Christine Kornacki illustrated the highly acclaimed The Sparkle Box. She has a love for painting and a knack for bringing stories to life. Christine received a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford and spends most days painting in her studio, which adjoins a charming café in New Haven, Connecticut.
What did we think?

I enjoyed the story and loved the message behind the book. It has a strong moral tone and helps you to remember the true reason for Easter. As I was reading it with my 10 year old she was excited and couldn’t wait to get to the end of the book, she wanted to know what was going to be inside the sparkle egg. She loved the story and pictures. We have been having a little problem with lying around here and I believe the story made her really think. She now wants to make a sparkle egg for Easter and I think we may have a new family tradition.

When I first read the book I could not take my eyes off of the breathtaking pictures throughout the book. They are so vibrant and full of life that it is hard to believe they are not actual photographs. The amount of detail in each picture is amazing and really helps to bring the story to life. I really enjoyed the fact that depending on the colors of the picture the text was either black or white making the book extremely easy to read.

Overall I found it to be a well written family friendly book with a great message. If you are looking for a great new family tradition this may be the book for you!

Asia its People and History Review

Post Contains Affiliate Links Is Asia a mystery to your kids? When I think of Asia I think of the the well known countries like China, Japan, and North and South Korea. When studying history we normally take a unit study approach, so AJ has learned a little bit about China and Japan, but she hasn’t studied too many other Asian countries. She is a hands on learner who doesn’t like your normal dry boring history books. I am always looking for ways to make history come alive.
Book Cover of Asia its People ans History

We were given the opportunity to review a new book, Asia its People and History written by Bonnie Rose Hudson.

Photo of Author

We reviewed the downloadable version of the book which is available here in e-book format or here for the paperback version. The book is a 16 week homeschool history and geography book that is meant to introduce you and your child to the people of Asia. It is geared for kids 8-12. (although I feel older students would enjoy it as well) Throughout the book you visit 6 different countries; Laos, Bangladesh, Nepal, China, Iran, and Vietnam. You learn about the country’s geography, a little history, how to pray for the people, and what life is like for Christians who live there. While the course is meant to last 16 weeks it can easily be adapted to fit the needs of your family by speeding up or slowing down as needed.

The layout for each country is a little different. Each country starts with a story about a young person living in the country. Then you learn about the geography of the country, a brief history, what life is like for Christians, and the people that live in the country. At the end of each story there discussion questions that are thought provoking. There are different activities to complete as well. AJ found them to be fun and enjoyable while I found them easy to complete and enjoyed the fact that there was little to no preparation needed from me. Some activities included cooking, puzzles, writing a letter, and a matching game. AJ’s favorite was the Bangladesh Animal Safari Game.

One thing you would see a lot of around Bangladesh is animals.

This book was very eye opening for both  AJ and myself, she couldn’t believe that people would be so mean and hateful just because someone believed in Jesus. Asia its People and History is full of stories that make you think. Sometimes they make you cry and other times they make you reevaluate your own life, problems, and relationship with God.  This book doesn’t sugar coat the bad things that happen throughout the history of the countries, or what it is like for Christians today, but it is written in a way that spares a lot of details. It gives a very human look at history by not just listing facts, but telling the story of children who are living in those countries . AJ enjoyed this book and learned valuable information that we other wise may not have learned about.

I would recommend this book to any homeschool, Sunday School, or co-op. The lessons are short and sweet but full of useful information. I honestly couldn’t find anything that I did not like about this book. It didn’t require a lot of writing (which is a huge plus in this house) and the lessons were very engaging.

E-book available now, printed version coming soon

Memorize the Bible Review

I believe that the Bible is the infallible and authoritative written word of God. When I was younger I was in Missionettes and memorized a lot of different Bible verses. The longest thing I had to memorize other than the statement of faith was 1st Corinthians 13. It was just one chapter but it took me a few weeks practicing every day. Once I finally knew it though I really knew it. I can still recite it today if I look over it for a second. I think memorizing the Bible is very important, unfortunately it is something that I haven’t made a big enough priority with AJ. I was given the opportunity to review Bible Memorization made Easy written by Kimberly Garcia, the same author that created the Write Through History Series that I reviewed a few months ago.

Bible Memorization made Easy is available in four different versions:

  • Memorize Philippians
  • Memorize the Sermon on the Mount
  • Memorize Galatians
  • Memorize Psalms for Praying 
The books are available in an E-book format for $15.99 or a printed book for $21.99. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8 has always been a favorite verse of mine so we decided to review Memorize Philippians 
In Memorize Philippians there are 23 weeks of lessons to help you memorize the entire book of Philippians. Each week is designed the same, by reading, writing and with prayer you should be able to memorize the entire book of the Bible.  Here is how a week would look:
  • On Day one, students read the passage of Scripture.
  • On Day two, students read the passage. Immediately following, the passage is rewritten with approximately 25% of the words omitted. You fill in these missing words from memory.
  • On Day three, they read and fill in the missing words. Approximately 50% of the words are omitted.
  • On Day four, they read and fill in the missing words. Approximately 75% of the words are omitted.
  • On Day five, students write the entire passage from memory.
This program is geared for grades 6 and up, AJ is in 5th grade but we decided to give it a try any ways. While I love how easy the program is to use and think it would work perfectly for a visual learner, it just wasn’t the right fit for my hands on learner who doesn’t like to write. She is a child that needs to move, have music, and really understand what she is memorizing. Philippians has a lot of vocabulary that was just too difficult for her since the King James version is used. To be honest the amount that she saw she was going to memorize overwhelmed her a lot and she didn’t have her heart in the memorizing. In the past she has only memorized small verses here and there so I think that trying to memorize so much at one time was a bad idea that I should have thought about prior to agreeing to review this product.
I think this would be a great program for older students who have done some Bible memorization in the past. The way that the author has the program set up makes it easy to use; you don’t even need the Bible because everything is already written in the book. For the more disciplined student who has a desire to memorize an entire book of the Bible, this would be a wonderful tool. For this particular study I would actually recommend the E-book version over the printed book, if your child needs a little more time working on a section you can easily print extra sheets for them to work on. That is one of the great things about this program. If you need to slow down and take longer on a section you can. It is very flexible and lets you move at your own pace. 
Overall it did not work for my hands on learner, but I think it is a great product that is well written and would be helpful for the older child or those who are visual learners. Some of the other reviewers had amazing results there is a wonderful video at Hopkins Homeschool  that shows how one child had incredible results!
Find out what other reviewers had to say by clicking on the graphic below.

Kids Around the World Giveaway

I am so excited to have the opportunity to share a great giveaway with you! It is full of wonderful prizes (I wish I could enter) that would make for a very in-depth study of Asia. AJ and I have recently been reviewing a great history and geography book all about Asia. It is full of beautiful pictures and plenty of fun useful information. The book, Asia: Its People and History, is not available yet but it will be soon. So far we are learning a lot and having a lot of fun. Be on the look out for my full review of the book in a few weeks.

  kids around the world giveaway 2
To celebrate the upcoming release of Asia: Its People and History by Bonnie Rose Hudson, I am joining my launch team friends to share a Kids Around the World giveaway, an incredible gift especially for kids between the ages of 8-12! This giveaway as a total value of nearly $335! Prizes include a Kindle eReader, a one-year membership to, some wonderful unit studies and lapbook set in Asia, and books about missionaries! Here’s everything you could win: Asia: Its People and History by Bonnie Rose Hudson ($6.95 value) From  One-Year Membership ($139 value) From the Asia: Its People and History Launch Team: Kindle 6″ eReader plus a $15 USD Amazon Gift Card ($84 value) Philippians in 28 Weeks digital by Stacy Farrell ($14.95 value) From Ben and Me — YWAM Christian Heroes Then and Now Books 1-5 Gift Set ($32.47 value) From The Old Schoolhouse Magazine — eBook Bundle: Missionary Geography, TOS WeE-book by Maggie Hogan and Diana Waring and Mary Slessor: The White Ma of Calabar, TOS WeE-book by Diana Waring ($3.90 value) and  August 2013 Schoolhouse Expo – Bonnie Rose Hudson: How to Write for The Old Schoolhouse and the TOS Family ($4.95 value) From Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett – Download N Go Bundle: Expedition China, Expedition Israel, and Kite Capers ($26.85 value) From A Journey Through Learning Lapbook Bundle: Asia and My Favorite Country ($9 value) From author, Gwen Toliver, Seed Sowers: Gospel Planting Adventures ($12.50 value) To enter, use the Rafflecopter below. Residents of the U.S. and Canada only (excludes Quebec), age 18 and older. Other Terms and Conditions can be found in the Rafflecopter. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Reading Eggspress Review

Reading has been a difficult subject in our homeschool. I love to read and if I had more time I would more than likely spend it reading. AJ on the other hand has a strong dislike when it comes to reading. Ever since she was in second grade and was no longer “aloud” to sound out words, we have had a problem with reading. She likes to read easy books that are way below her reading level, but give her a long passage with no pictures and she will do one of two things. She will either pretend to read and then not be able to answer any questions, or she will take forever and by the time she is done she forgets half of what she reads. This year she is finally realizing that reading can be fun and she has started to even enjoy reading at times, but I was looking for something extra to help focus on her reading skills. Then we were given the opportunity to review Reading Eggs. At first I almost passed up the opportunity because I thought it was just for the younger set, but I was wrong. They have an entire section for kids ages 7 to 13 to help with reading and comprehension called Reading Eggspress.

Find out more about Reading Eggs:


Here is a little more about Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress:

Reading Eggs

Full of educationally sound, fun and interactive activities, Reading Eggs focuses on the most fundamental skill needed in school – reading. Children from 3 –7 years or older children struggling with reading will enjoy the huge variety of reading lessons, activities and games that make up the Reading Eggs program.

In addition to the 120 reading lessons in Reading Eggs there is the Reading Eggs World which caters for children who already know the basics of reading but who still have much to learn about reading, writing, spelling, and comprehension. In the Reading Eggs World, children have their own house to decorate, a big shop and an avatar that can walk and travel to many new destinations on Reggie’s bus. Children are able to choose their own adventure from a wide range of activities and places to go, including the following content:
 • The Story Factory – this gives children an introduction to creative writing and they can put together stories to enter in a weekly story writing competition.

• Driving Tests – has 15 sight word tests, 15 letters and sounds test and 15 content word tests. Children are rewarded for correct completion with a driving game.

• Puzzle Park – children can access 32 word puzzles and practice sight word recognition.

• Skills Bank – holds 96 spelling lessons that take students up to the end of key stage 1.

• Storylands – this area builds reading, vocabulary and comprehension skills and is perfect for children who have begun to read but aren’t quite ready for Reading Eggspress. It currently includes 20 e-books to read.

• The Arcade – includes 24 arcade-style games to be used as rewards to motivate children to keep learning. They need to earn Golden Eggs to play these so encourages them to work through lessons and educational activities before using the arcade.

Reading Eggspress

 Reading Eggspress continues the reading adventure by taking children to a brand new world designed for 7 – 13 year olds focusing on comprehension and grammar. Reading Eggspress provides a unique learning environment where students’ can improve their English language and comprehension skills in a way that is exciting and relevant.

The Reading Eggspress program uses a spinning island which instantly engages children. They explore a complete world with a wide variety of both learning and fun experiences. The range of activities motivate students to return regularly to complete lessons, compete against others, earn more rewards and improve their skills.

The Reading Eggspress website has an enormous range of learning resources, lessons, motivational games and e-books. There are 4 areas of the Reading Eggspress World:

 • Library – the Reading Eggspress Library holds more than 1500 e-books including illustrated chapter books, full-color nonfiction books and a range of classics. Children can search for books by topic, series, author, reading age or book title. New books are added regularly.

The Comprehension Gym – children complete a placement test when they first visit the Gym which places students at the correct level for their current ability. The Gym holds 200 interactive comprehension lessons over five broad levels from years 2 to years 6 with 40 lessons per year level.

The Stadium – children compete in real time against students from around the world. The exciting head-to-head contest tests skills in one of four areas – spelling, vocabulary, usage and grammar.

Apartment and Mall – children can use their golden eggs to buy avatar clothes and apartment furniture. Within the apartment all the trophies, medals and trading cards children have collected can be viewed and children can also complete a 100-level quest-style game to expand and refresh learning and earn more golden eggs.

Progress within the Reading Eggspress program is measured by the completion of targets. These are split over 4 levels and help give children some guidance and structure for learning and encourage them to use all of the above areas.

Both the Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress programs have a comprehensive reporting system that tracks progress so that students and their parents can clearly see each child’s achievements.

There are currently over 2 million children using the Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress program around the world and over 90% of parents surveyed have reported a noticeable improvement in their child’s reading skills.

Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress is a program that really works by making learning a fun, interactive and enjoyable experience for all involved.

How we used the Program

The problem I normally have with computer based learning is that AJ will spend most of her time playing with her avatar and looking at the things that she can buy rather than learning. Unfortunately that was also the case with Reading Eggspress. The times I had her go on the site independently I saw no progress. She changed her apartment and her outfits and “forgot” that she was suppose to try and earn eggs and complete lessons.

So while I would have liked her experience with the program to have been independent, that was not how it ended up working. I ended up sitting with her for every lesson. Once we got over that hurdle, our experience was a success!

Our goal each time she logged in was to complete a lesson and then complete a target mission. Missions included things like buying things, reading and reviewing books, and passing quizzes with 10 answers correct in a row. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality and variety of the lessons and missions. When she logged in to the comprehension gym it gave her a choice of 10 different books each was a different lesson. She clicked on the one she wanted to do and followed the directions. Each lesson was broken down into a few different activities.

Here is an example of a lesson for the book The Fine Line.
Cover Story
Using the picture on the cover, you answer questions regarding what the book will be about.
You pick 3 vocabulary words from a list, find each one in the dictionary, and answer questions about the part of speech and correct usage in a sentence. You also practice alphabetizing.
Pictures have Feelings Too
Using pictures from the story, you answer questions about characters’ feelings.
Key Words
 Match vocabulary words to their definition to unlock locks.
Who, What, Where, and When
You practice telling the who, what, when, and where with a simple sentence. Then you answer the same questions regarding a small section of the text.
You read a few pages of the story.
You answer 16 questions about the reading, vocabulary, and basic grammar skills
What I liked
I like how there are so many different skills practiced in each lesson. I like how although some of the lessons are similar, there is enough variety to keep AJ interested. I was also pleased with the fact that even though they are using the computer, they are made to look up the vocabulary words using a pretend dictionary on the screen. I feel that a lot of the questions forced AJ to read closer. Having the avatar motivated AJ to earn more eggs so that she could buy more things. The library section was full of books on numerous topics. A few times I had her search for books on topics we were learning about and almost every subject had at least one book that she could read. The best part was that AJ wanted to go on the site every day. Every morning she would say, “I need to do my Reading Eggspress.” I honestly feel that working with this program has improved her reading.

What I didn’t like

Although I liked the program overall, I found a few issues that I feel worth mentioning. I found the language in a few of the books very questionable. In fact in the book The Fine Line the words idiot, stupid, and jerk are all used on just the few pages that are read for the lesson. I personally don’t want my child to be reading that type of language and now wonder if I will have to preread lessons before she completes them.  I also found some of the quiz questions confusing and poorly worded. The biggest issue I had was that the way it is set up, it is quite easy for the child to just guess and not read. If they get a question wrong the same question pops up later. There is also no explanation as to why the answer is wrong so instead of learning from the mistake the child is just expected to pick the correct answer the next time.
While I listed a few negatives I think we will continue with the program for a while and see how it goes. Here is the good news……. you can get a FREE 5 week trial to see for yourself if the program is right for your family. Use this link  to start your 5 week free trial.  While you are looking into the free trial, you can also check out the fundraiser that is going on from February 3rd to March 7th to help raise funds for The National Children’s Cancer Society.
  *NCCS will earn a minimum of $25,000 from Reading Eggs plus 100% of the donations collected by RTCC participants
Prices vary based on the length of your subscription. Click here to learn more about pricing options.

Read other team member reviews by clicking the graphic below.

Weeding out the Wheat – Review

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There are so many diet fads out there and it seems as if every month week the media is changing its mind as to what foods are considered healthy and what foods to avoid. I had been hearing so many people were going “gluten free” and like most of you I kept seeing gluten free options available from restaurants to supermarkets. I honestly thought it was just another diet trend and when I first saw the opportunity to review the book written by Luke and Trisha Gilkerson I decided I would pass. Then while I was talking with my mom, who is diabetic, about the book that I decided not to review, it got me thinking. The authors had made some very bold statements about wheat and since all I had to do was read the book, not actually go wheat free I decided to go ahead and read the book. Unlike most things that I review, I went into this review quite skeptical. I mean it is wheat, something people have been eating since the beginning of time, so how could it be that bad?
If any of that sounds familiar to you, then you need to read this book! While my family has not decided as of now to give up wheat, this book has been eye-opening and made us more knowledgeable about not only wheat but food in general.
Weeding out the Wheat is a Simple, Scientific, Faith-Based guide that talks about why the wheat of today is so bad for you. Here is a video that gives just a glimpse about the book.
The book is divided into three main sections.
  1. Wheat Gone Wild:  Understanding Wheat’s Connection to Deteriorating Health. This section is filled with information on why wheat is bad. It talks about how wheat in ancient times was actually different from the wheat we eat today and so much more. While there are a lot of facts presented, it is an easy and enjoyable read.
  2. Is wheat-free biblical? Reconciling a Wheat-Free Diet with a Bread-Filled Faith. I had honestly never thought of the Bible as a reason why to eat wheat. I just ate whatever I wanted, but after reading this section I can see how some people would feel that since bread represents Jesus’s body in communion that they may feel the need to eat wheat to remain spiritually close to God. I found this section to be very well written and full of good examples on why being wheat free is okay.
  3. Moving Forward: Making the Wheat-free Transition. The first thing I said before I read this book was, “What will I be able to eat?” Since I am allergic to corn, I eat a lot of rice and wheat. This part of the book helps you to understand how you can be wheat free. This is the part of the book was where I originally felt it was lacking a little bit, but after receiving feedback about the book the authors added more information to it and it is now full of wonderful information.
I found that I learned so much from this book. I think the best part is that Luke and Trisha acknowledge in the book that going wheat free is not for everyone. This is one of my favorite quotes:

“We’re not here to tell you that giving up wheat will be the panacea for all of your woes.  “

Overall I really enjoyed this book and I am very glad that I ended up taking the opportunity to review it. If you have been thinking about going wheat free, or if you want to learn more about it, I would highly recommend this book.  It is available from Amazon. Currently the soft cover book is $14.95and the Kindle version is $9.95.

Find out what other reviewers thought about the book by clicking on the graphic below.

Udderly Smooth Review

I hate lotion. I hate it so much that even when I have dry skin, I put off using it for as long as possible. I have never liked to use lotion for as far back as I can remember. The sticky, slimy, greasy, mess is just something that I have never enjoyed. Unfortunately, AJ was blessed with not so great skin and has to use lotion a lot. The lotion recommended by the dermatologist is expensive and still leaves her skin dry! So, when I was given the opportunity to do a review for Udderly Smooth, I was excited.

Udderly Smooth is the lotion with the black and white cow spots. It was originally developed in Ohio to be used on dairy cows and is now used by people world wide on dry and chapped skin.

Udderly Smooth offers a variety of products including:

  • Moisturizing Lotion
  • Shea Butter Foot Cream
  • Body Cream
  • Udder Cream
  • Country Cream
  • Chamois Cream
  •  Hand & Body Moisturizing Lotion
  • Udderly Smooth Extra Care

I was given the opportunity to try the hand cream, foot cream, and body cream.

The body cream is a soft white cream that is non-greasy with a fresh scent. It moisturizes your skin leaving it soft and smooth. I used the body cream on AJ and it soaked right into her skin. I feel that it actually works better than the expensive lotion recommended by her dermatologist. We also tried it on my grandma’s face where she had some dry spots, by the next morning the spots were soft and smooth. The best part for me was that my hands didn’t feel sticky and slimy after I put it on them. This will definitely be a keeper in our house.

The foot cream was amazing! My mom is diabetic so I often rub her feet and the foot cream made it an enjoyable experience for both of us. She actually said, “I love this lotion!” It left her feet smooth, but not greasy. It also helped with the cracking on her heals. The foot cream is a little bit thicker than the body cream and has a similar fresh scent.

The hand lotion worked great too! In fact I put it on right before typing up this blog and have had no problem. With other lotions there would be no way that I could type after less than a minute of putting it on.

People have used these products for a number of different uses from dry skin to sunburns. The products are available online and at various retailers including Walmart. Prices vary depending on where you purchase it, but they are a great value.

Overall this lotion is wonderful. It goes on smooth and is not at all greasy. It is something that we will be using from now on in our home. It is a product that I would recommend in a second. If you have dry chapped skin look for the black and white spotted bottles!

Find out what others had to say by clicking on the graphic below.

Write From Early Modern History – Review

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AJ’s weakest subject is writing. She actually hates to write and I would say that most issues that we have while doing school work come from writing. There are so many writing programs out there and just as many ways to teach writing. When I was given the opportunity, I was happy to review Write From History.

What is Write From History?

Write From History is an elementary writing program that teaches grammar, spelling, and history all at the same time. It is based off of Charlotte Mason’s methods and uses narration, copywork, and dictation to teach writing.

There are four different eras to choose from:

  • Ancient History
  • Medieval History
  • Early Modern History
  • Modern History

With the exception of Modern History, each era of history is available in either a level 1 or level 2. Modern History is only available in level 2 right now. Level one is geared for kids in grades 1 through 3 and level 2 is geared for kids grades 3 to 5. The level one books are currently only available in manuscript while the level 2 books are available in either manuscript or cursive.

While this is not a complete history curriculum it would be a great supplement to any program. We decided to review Write through Early Modern History Level 2 Cursive.

About the Book

Early Modern History covers 1600 to 1850. It starts with a passage about John Smith and ends with a passage about the Gold Rush. The book is broken into four different sections.

  1. Short stories
  2. Primary sources
  3. Poetry
  4. Folk Tales

The book is extremely flexible and can really be used however you see fit. The author gives a suggested schedule which has the child reading either a short story or a folk tale on day 1. After reading the passage the child does an oral narration and a short written summary about the passage. On day 2 the child completes copywork and grammar from the first day’s reading. The third day has the child doing studied dictation. On the fourth day the child reads either a primary source or poetry and does oral narration and copywork. The fifth day has more studied dictation. Each day takes between 15 and 45 minutes depending on the amount of reading and the length of the copywork.

You are encouraged to set your child up for success and make changes as needed. In fact children who have never done dictation are encouraged to start out with only one sentence and work there way up to a short passage.

There are really great passages in the book including Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death by Patrick Henry, The Declaration of Independence, George Washington’s Farewell Address, and many more. There is poetry from many different poets like, Henry Longfellow, William Blake, Isaac Watts, and more. Throughout the study children are exposed to many different types of writing. A lot of the reading in the book is way above the third through fifth grade level, but parents are encouraged to read the harder selections to the student.

What I liked

Flexibility! I love the fact that while you have an optional schedule to follow, you are able to make changes to fit the needs of your child. AJ has never really done dictation so the dictation passages were a bit too long for her to start with. I can have her write a smaller section and work up to the longer ones.

Clear Writing. So often in copywork I see the transitions in cursive writing done incorrectly. This book not only has it written correctly, but the font is easy to read. There is also ample space for copying the selections.

Directions in plain English. I have not read up on Charlotte Mason’s teachings and originally I was a little unsure of what to do for dictation and narration. The author spells it all out at the beginning of the book.

History is Studied in more depth. This is by no means a full history course, but I love the fact that we can read about what we are studying in history, especially the primary sources that bring history to life.

Great Price. The book is available for only $22.95 for an e-book or $30.95 for a printed soft cover book.

Things I would change / didn’t work for us

Grammar– While the book can help teach grammar with a color coding system, (circling nouns in one color and verbs in another) I feel a separate grammar program would be a better option for the older grades. There is not an answer key at this time for the grammar section which may be a downfall to some.

Appendix is not removable. The appendix at the back of the book says to remove it and use for student dictation. It would be great if the pages were either perforated or already out of the book. I was unable to remove them.

The Charlotte Mason method. Not necessarily a negative, but as of right now I don’t know how I feel about using copywork and dictation for teaching spelling and grammar. Many people use it and love the methods. I personally do not feel there is enough writing instruction with this method. For now I think we will keep our own spelling and writing program.

Final Thoughts

I love the variety of reading selections available. While I don’t think I will use the program to teach spelling, writing, and grammar, I do plan on ordering the Ancient History book to use next year as a supplement to our reading and history study. For us it would be worth the price for just the reading selections. Those that are familiar with Charlotte Mason’s methods would love this book.

A Tale of Two Kingdoms – Review

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When I was younger I read the entire Bible and felt like it was a huge accomplishment. For some time now I have not been reading the Bible as much as I should. Then this year AJ’s curriculum included daily Bible reading. I have been reading more of the Bible again but felt I could use a good Bible study. So when I was recently given the opportunity to review two books by Heather A Kendall I thought that it would be a good study. I reviewed A Tale of Two Kingdoms and God’s Unfolding Story of  Salvation. The books are meant to be used either together or they can stand alone.

About the Book

A Tale of Two Kingdoms is a 448 page book that is divided into two sections. The first section is, Waiting for the Promised Seed and the second is Responding to the Promised Seed. The promised seed is of course our Savior Jesus Christ. The book traces the story of salvation from Genesis to Revelations. The book also includes maps, timelines, and key people and events in the Bible. The book is meant to serve as a big picture overview of the Bible.

What did I think?

To be honest this book was just not for me. Throughout the book Heather tells stories of her own life and it is intertwined with the Bible study. I found it not only distracting but at times confusing. Everyone interprets the Bible differently and I found a few places in the book where her interpretation of scripture and my thoughts on scripture differed. While I love the idea of the book I felt it was hard to read and at times boring. The book was not all bad, and it could be that it was not right for me at this time in my life. I do agree with the general premise of the book and feel that it might be a good starting point for those who are either new to reading the Bible or those who want to understand the big picture of the Bible before studying it more in-depth.

The second book was God’s Unfolding Story of  Salvation.

About the Book
God’s Unfolding Story of Salvation is a 196 page Bible study that is divided into 38 lessons. The lessons are divided into four sections.

  • Part One Preparing for the Promised Seed
  • Part Two The Prophets: Waiting for the Promised Seed
  • Part Three Jesus, the Promised Seed
  • Part Four The Church: Proclaiming the Promised Seed

This book can be used for a group or individual Bible study. The same premise is presented in this book, but the difference is that you are instructed to read various verses in the Bible and then answer questions. After the questions there is a summary of the verses along with Heather’s interpretation of them. It is suitable for older teens and adults.

What did I think?

While I found this book more useful than the other one, it still was not something I would use. The way the questions were set up  requires a lot of writing and some of the questions were quite redundant. They also have you jumping all over the Bible reading a few verses here and there. While I don’t think the Bible has to be read from beginning to end, I do feel that reading little bits here and there can lead to misinterpretations of the scripture. In a Bible study I like questions that are open-ended and make you think, unfortunately those were not the types of questions I found. I felt the questions were set up more like reading comprehension questions than ones that made you think and grow closer to God.

All that being said, if you are looking for a Bible study where the focus is primarily on facts in the Bible, this would be what you are looking for. It might be good for those who are new to the Bible and those who want the scriptures broken down and explained for them.

According to the author the books can stand alone or be used together. After trying numerous times I was unable to match up the chapters so that both books were talking about the same thing. I would recommend using the books separately as they make more sense that way.

Overall these books didn’t work for me. I love the idea behind the books but personally I did not enjoy them. Just because they didn’t work for me doesn’t mean they won’t work for you. Check out a sample from the books and decide for yourself.

God’s Unfolding Story of Salvation is available for $22 with free shipping and handling from the author’s website and for $23 from Amazon.

A Tale of Two Kingdoms is available for $23 with free shipping and handling from the author’s website and for $19.17 from Amazon. It is also available for Kindle.

Find out what others on the team thought of the books by clicking on the graphic below.