Saturday, March 30, 2013

It's ALL about ME March Wrap Up and Results


If you've been following my 'adventure' or should I say, 'experiment', you know I didn't post an update last week.

That should be somewhat of a clue how things have been going.

Things aren't horrible, but, things definitely didn't turn out the way I had envisioned.  What I DID discover is that everything we do has a cost.  Every activity, every relationship, even every discussion we choose to immerse ourselves in.  The problem lies in the energy bank account.  Since everyone is different, finding that perfect balance takes time.

I've learned...ok, rather I learned the hard way that my number one priority outside of time with God is proper rest.  This is the first month that I've worked 6 days and rested on the 7th.  It wasn't until I got  really sick to figure this one out AND actively pursue it.  So, for me, every activity needs to be weighed against the needs of the day.  No more pushing beyond what I know my body is wired to do.

I've also learned the cost of participating in discussions that tax the body and spirit vs. being a light which draws all to the saving grace of Jesus.  During my quiet time, the Lord lead me to 2 Timothy 2 :23-26....

23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

So while March wasn't the month I thought it would be, it wasn't a waste.  This goes to prove to myself that lasting change takes time - and fortunately, April is a new month!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Birth Control: How Did We Get Here? Movie Review!

Like guitar strings breaking one by one, the adoption and proliferation of birth control has damaged the once strong chord of the family.

Watching the movie Birth Control:  How Did We Get Here?  I was amazed at the timeline of events starting with the Dominion mandate in Genesis 1:28 up to the present.  There's a lot of information presented on the journey of the present state of mind on Birth Control.

Everyone knows what part Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini played in history, but do you know that there's a forth villain belonging to this set that played a huge role in impacting the church, marriage and family?  Her name is Margaret Sanger, founder of The Birth Control Federation of America later sanitized to the name Planned Parenthood

Starting in the 1800's, Eugenics, and Racial Purification begin to bubble.  From authors Thomas Malthus to Francis Galton, Margaret Sanger begins to add their ideology to her own Marxist/Socialist beliefs on militant and free sexual exploration.

"Our objective is unlimited sexual gratification without the burden of unwanted children." - Margaret Sanger

Expressing her hatred of the church and a free society:

"Undermine the authority of the Christian churches "who" looks forward to seeing humanity free someday of the tyranny of Christianity no less than Capitalism."  - Margaret Sanger

No wonder Hitler admired her!

Sanger also knew that Christianity could not be destroyed without first destroying the family.

Are some of the pieces finally starting to click in your mind?

Sanger's affect on society definitely influenced the church's leaning on the subject of birth control.  It took 1900 years, but in the 1960's, the church changed its' official position on this subject.

It's no wonder that so many in the church have this same view today on birth control and Planned Parenthood.  This documentary plainly shows the deception of Planned Parenthood upon the family and is an eye opener for all!

I received a copy of this DVD free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, March 25, 2013

We Choose Virtues Review

The Bible Says "Train up a child in the way he should go."

We Choose Virtues specializes in "presenting virtue to children so they can choose it and use it"

Via the classroom and at home, this company does just that for preschool to grade school students!

From their website:

"Let's be honest, instilling virtues in kids is hard work!

But can it be fun too? We think so. In fact, there's no better way to learn.

So We Choose Virtues brings memorable catchphrases, endearing characters, and just plain fun to Simply Inspire Character that Lasts.
We Choose Virtues is Simple. It is based on a clear and positive language that everyone can learn together

We Choose Virtues is Inspiring. It is teaching by demonstration and learning through practice

We Choose Virtues is about Character...more than attitudes or actions, it is who you are when no one is watching

We Choose Virtues Lasts. It creates an internal standard in each person and transforms the culture of your home or classroom"

Utilizing 4 simple steps:
1.  Expect Excellence
2.  Explain with Enthusiasm
3.  Emphasize Everyday
4.  Examine everything

We choose Virtues then breaks each step down into definitions, games, activities, stories and tools the "teacher" can use for executing the virtue with their Virtue Flash Cards (retail $14.99)

For our review, I gave the three older kids the Family Character Assessment (FREE!) to fill out.  Based on their response, that's the virtue I had them concentrate on.

My 3 oldest children holding the Virtue Flash Card they felt needed the most work.

For my three year old, I chose the virtue of "Self-Controlled" from the adorable Kids of VirtueVille coloring pages (retail $3 PDF).  As you can see, it's a virtue that's a work in progress!

OUR THOUGHTS - I think this program is ok.  It's a bit young for my 14, 11, and 9 year olds.  We Chose Virtues is working on an older version that will focus on journaling and indepth questions.

What I REALLY liked most was the Teacher/Parent Cards.  They are full of fun ideas and learning for the whole family.  I think this part of the program is absolutely fabulous!!  But at $34.99 a set, it would definitely exclude us from using them.

I also got to review the handbook PDF (retails for $5)

As a special, from now until the end of April, use coupon code home20 at the checkout to receive 20% off the homeschool kit!

Or, use the coupon code Virtue15 at the checkout to receive 15% off of your total order.  This code does not expire!

See what other Mosaic Reviewers are saying about We Choose Virtues!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up - O Canada!

It has been awhile since our last Weekly Wrap Up.

During this updating hiatus, we have lived through my oldest dissecting a worm, a crayfish AND a fish.  Eventhough the fish was more like jerky, that will remain a memorable experience hearing a room full of high schoolers singing "Fishay Fishay!" to the Mc Donald's song while attempting to cut it open.

In art, the younger set learned about Renoir and the olders worked on shading.  It wasn't a pretty sight and they have requested I skip THOSE pictures!

On to the present!

My 9 year old and I spent the week learning about Canada.  We both really enjoyed looking at the majestic mountains and barren, frozen tundra.

We even tried our hand (or is that mouths) signing O Canada!

And for my French-Canadian readers:

This week, the older kids studied Renoir in Art.  Though it may not seem like a big deal to most, my "one crayon kid" did the watercolor on the left.  He actually made the reflection in the water too....for him, this is probably the longest he ever spent on an "art project" and almost enjoyed it too ;-)

There's an abundance of abandoned cats in our neighborhood.  My kids have befriended two orange tabbies and have taken responsibility in buying food for them, making sure they have water and loving them!

This is 'Elvis',  he has a LOT of poofy hair.  I'm hoping to make friends with him too because he has a lot of matted fur that is beyond combing and needs to be clipped.  He still has his claws, so, I'm hoping to be able to help him without getting shredded!

This is 'Colonel'.  HE has adopted my 11 year old as his human.  He is a total lover!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Captivated Movie Review & Giveaway!

Have you been captivated?

Recently I saw a group of teens walking together.  I'm guessing they were all friends.  But, you wouldn't know it by the way they buried their noses in their smart phones, texting away.  Curiously I watched and waited for there to be audible conversation.  I waited a long time.  Their attention never wavered from their silent communication.  They walked silence.

Had they forgotten how to have a "normal" conversation or had the "normal" become the exception?

I wish this had been an isolated incident.  It was not.

Just last week, a mom friend of mine reported something I found quite unsettling.  She is currently attending nursing school.  As an intelligent, curious woman she seeks to understand WHY things work and the body as a whole system.  Given that fact, she asks questions during class.  Her 20-something counterparts ostracize her for doing so.  They prefer to "Google it, write it down and move on".  Which nurse would you rather have?

That generation of our future leaders has lost their sense of curiosity and submitted to the mind dulling, over saturation of media.

So now I ask, HOW have YOU been captivated?

Colossians 2:8
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Viewing Captivated by Philip Telfer, founder and president of Media Talk 101, was truly eye opening.  I had figured that since I don't own a smart phone and share family computer time from one common computer that media didn't have much hold over me.


Through compelling testimonies and interviews from Kerby Anderson, Dr. Ted Baehr, Mark Bauerlein, Phil Chalmers, Ray Comfort, Dr. Dimitri Christakis, Trace Embry, Melissa Henson, Maggie Jackson, Al Menconi, Dr. David Murray, Dr. Jeff Myers, Raul Ries, Dick Rolfe, Joe Schimmel, Kevin Swanson, Bob Waliszewski, Dr. David Walsh, Major Phil Willis, Tim Winter and KP Yohannan, Captivated breaks down 4 areas of struggle:

Media Consumption - showcasing the affects of non-stop "all you can eat media buffet" on the brains of our children.

"Our appetites as humans are trained."

Content  - Hollywood writes to impress THEIR peers.  Dubbed a "vast wasteland" in 1961, it's now a "toxic dump"

"If I could control the medium of the American motion picture, I would need nothing else to convert the entire communism."  Joseph Stalin

Captivity - Whatever you invest your time in, feeds your spirit.  Did you know the affects of videogame addiction parallels that of gambling?

Battleground - Media keeps you too busy to think about God.  There's a spiritual battle for hearts and minds as the enemy is interwoven in society.

What's the cure?

Though cutting back is an obvious answer, still more radical is the idea of a media fast.  Unplugged, there are testimonies from various adults AND kids who tell you first hand that though it was hard it first, they were blessed with better health, restoration of peace, sparking of deeper more meaningful conversations and relationships between parent and child and overall balance.  Families are being set free and restored!

I was blessed to review this documentary.  I'm also blessed to have one to giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a copy of this movie free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Money Management from FamilyMint Review!

Money Management from FamilyMint!
Money Management from FamilyMint!
Money Management program from FamilyMint  is "designed to develop money management habits that will benefit children for the rest of their lives.  It will help children form a firm base from which to launch solid financial literacy skills and habits."

Through this workbook, the following money management principles are taught and reinforced:  saving and tracking money, setting goals, writing checks and deposit slips, budgeting and understanding interest.

This is achieved through 4 easy learning steps:

1.  Tracking your money
2.  Goal setting
3.  Budgeting
4.  Interest-Growing

Money Management from Family Mint!

My kids have been brought up in a financial-savvy, "save your pennies atmosphere" due to the head of the house being an accountant.  As such we already have a working system in place.

When we reviewed this program, we had a choice between using the online worksheets or the old fashioned paper forms.  The bonus of the online forms is that it does the math for you.  Being old-school, we purposely chose the paper forms with the belief that actually noting income vs. expenses and doing the math themselves would enhance our children's understanding of using 'real money'.

Outside of writing an actual check, they didn't learn much in the way of new material, but they did enjoy the presentation of the program.  I have to say that it's easy enough for any parent to pick up and use with their children and effective enough for any child to comprehend and use. 

If you do not have a method in place to teach your children financial responsibility, you NEED one!  FamilyMint may be a good fit.

This program, geared for ages 10 and up, includes a 60 page Money Management Certification Program workbook plus a lifetime subscription to the online FamilyMint Premium for $29.99.

You can check out a trial offer here.

AND check out what other Mosaic Reviewers are saying about Family Mint!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

It's ALL About ME March - Update #2

I'd love to say that I jumped right back into my original list of goals about putting my needs just as important as everyone else....

However, due to my family recuperating from the latest icky coupled with Daylight Saving Time, things didn't go as planned.  (Funny how DST really messes your internal clock up!)

Regular exercise commenced.  Everyone is feeling better.  Devotions got done.

In all honesty, the way I'm feeling now is where I had hoped to be at the START of March when I first got this ball rolling.

There's always next week.  And there's never a bad time to begin to take better care of yourself!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Game Coder from Homeschool Programming Wrap up!

Game Programming from Homeschool Programming TeenCoder


Slam Dunk!

My 14 year old 9th grader has successfully completed Game Programming from Homeschool Programming earning another 1/2 credit in Computer Science!

This is the second part of the TeenCoder series - and - it is PURE ENJOYMENT! (Read about our experience with the first half of Game Programming HERE.)

From the Homeschool Programming website:
"TeenCoder: Game Programming is our second semester course in the TeenCoder C# Series. This course pairs the 'C#' programming language with Microsoft's XNA Game Studio to provide a modern, easy to use game-creation framework. Students will be thrilled to learn how to write their own Windows games from scratch!"

During these weeks, my son has learned how to program more multi-player and AI driven games such as Tic Tac Toe, Maze Generator and Bumper Cars.

My son's Tic Tac Toe Video can be found HERE

His Maze Generator Video (very cool!) can be found HERE

The Final Project was constructing part of a Bumper Cars Video Game. The assignment was broken down into 7 steps. First, a reading of information and then a programming activity for each step. This also required my son to move previously made files into their correct position.

Bumper Cars Code Screen

And his final project, Bumper Cars Video can be found HERE 

Final Thoughts:

What a great year!

I loved that my son could set his own pace in moving through this material AND that I didn't have to be a computer genius in order for him to learn programming at home.  He loved the abundance of hands-on programming activities throughout the book.  This REALLY cemented concepts into his brain and gave him a desire to try self-motivated programming projects beyond the book.

We will both be happy to move on to Homeschool Programming's Java & Android Programming!

See sample pages and demo videos

I received a free copy of the Game Coder program in exchange for an honest review.  I am also an affiliate.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

EEME - Genius Light Review

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  Should you click through and make a purchase from that link, a small commission is paid to this blog.  You are not charged extra.

I've been interested in exposing my kids to electronics building for quite some time.  Most programs have a black and white manual to follow or perhaps a cd-rom with directions and a diagram or two.

I don't know about you, but reading schematics left me cross-eyed and then hunting for various gizmos left me no closer to reaching my goal with my children.

EEME is a unique product that teaches 7-12 year olds with the aid of online step-by-step videos and self-contained project kits.

How cool is that???!

The Genius Light Kit teaches how to assemble a circuit, defines a breadboard, plus gives details on how a battery works, what is resistance and the use of jump wires.  With this project kit and online video, you will put together a simple LED circuit system that lights up when it's dark and dims when it's light!


After unpacking everything and doing a little preliminary exploration, we moved from the kitchen table to a little table in front of the computer.  After logging into EEME's website to access the video, we started our project.

I appointed my 14 year old son as Project Manager.  I hung back, but, was present at the table as my 9 and 11 year olds watched the videos and performed the activities.

EEME - Genius Light
The 11 year old taking the lead with my 14 year old sitting by for guidance as needed.

The video contains 22 sections divided up into directions and 'quizzes' with multiple choice answers.  For example:  "What is the black wire connected to?"  Step by step explanation are thorough and easy to follow. And, the nice part is if you don't quite understand something, simply replay that portion of the video!

Working together

  All in all, my kids enjoyed this project and showed great skill working together.  It took about 1 1/2 hour to complete from start to finish working straight through.  The video gives you a good stopping point, but, my kids wanted to keep going!  You definitely need an adult/older teen present to help out as a few parts required attention to detail.  This is especially true for using this kit with younger kids.

Final thoughts:
I'm crazy about the fact that everything you need is in one kit.  I'm crazy about the complete videos.  I'm crazy about being able to share electronics building with my kids.  But, I'm not too crazy about the $50 price tag.  In all honesty the price would move this project from our 'must have' list to the 'extras' list.

NOTE:  Since the time this review was written, the monthly subscription price has come down drastically.  Subscription prices start at an affordable $18.95/month!

Check out EEME’s 6 Project Set   The fundamentals of electronics in a single box!
This project set has over 80 wires and components - breadboard, baseplate, battery pack, AA batteries and everything you need to build 6 projects: Project Genius Light, DIY Display, Tentacles, Attraction, Fade To Black, and Countdown. With our online curricula, your family will build with and learn about LED's, resistors, transistors, capacitors, and much much more!

I received the Genius Light kit free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Once-A-Month-Cooking - Cycle 7!

Wow!  It's been months since my cooking partner, Jennyfer and I did Once a Month Cooking!

We were a little rusty, but, in 6 hours managed to make 29 meals for $144/family!

Recipes were pulled from various Once-a-Month cooking books, websites or family favorite that freeze well.

To find out more, check out Why Once-a-Month Cooking? and Once a Month Cooking Tips.

Our menu consists of:

Turkey Sausage & Peppers
Chicken Supreme
Asian Roast Chicken
Fettuccine Bake
Spin Sausage Pie
Pork Chops in Orange
Pork Chops in Gravy
Smothered Burritos
Chicken Pot Pie
Tator Tot Casserole
Meatball Soup
Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Ham Quiche
Veggie Quiche
Crustless Spinach Quiche
Chicken Broccoli Casserole
Taco Meat
Turkey Burgers
Honey Mustard Chicken
BBQ Chicken
Turkey Sausage
Chicken Packets
French Bread Pizza
Savory Chicken Noddle Bake
Salsa Beef
Ham Slices Dinner
Breakfast Burritos

Our shopping list:

Chicken Breasts 12 breasts
Chicken Parts 30 lbs
Chopped Chicken      24c
Ham 2 cups chopped + 16 slices
Cooked Ground Turkey 20 lbs
Raw Ground Turkey 8
Pork Chops 24 chops
Italian Sausage 3 lb
Bacon 1 pkg
Cream Cheese 3 oz
Mozzarella 16c
Parmesan 5 1/2 c
Cheddar 21c
Monteray Jack 5c
1/2 & 1/2 4c
Eggs 40
Sour Cream 40 oz
Cottage Cheese 80 oz
Ricotta 12 oz
Butter 1 package
Milk 4 c
Chicken Broth 2 cups
Cream Soup 18 c
Mayo 2c
Evaporated Milk 2/3 c
Refried Beans 1 can
Kidney Beans 30 oz
Salsa 40 oz
Tomato Sauce 30 oz
Tomato Paste 12 oz
Diced Tomatoes 61 oz
Spaghetti Sauce 4
Mushrooms 6 cans
Beef Gravy 2 cans
Chicken Gravy 2 cans
pineapple 1 can
Orange Juice 2/3 c
Ketchup 2/3 c
BBQ Sauce 2 containers
Tortillas 24
Bisquick 1c
Fettuccine 16 oz
Lasagna Noodles 16 oz
Shells 16 oz
French Bread 2 loafs
breadcrumbs 1 1/2 c
Ranch Chips 3 c
Frozen Spinach 40 oz
Frozen Broccoli 40 oz
Pie Shells 6
Mixed Veggies 3 big bags
Turkey Meatballs 2 bags
Tator Tots 4 lbs
Frozen Peas 2 cups
lemon 6T
Green pepper 8 c
Onions 12 c
celery 4c
green onions

minced garlic
chili powder
garlic powder
soy sauce 
brown sugar
sesame oil
Worcestershire sauce
Ranch flavoring

Sunday, March 10, 2013

It's All About *ME* March - Update 1

It's all about me march

There's a saying, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."

Well, I'm happy to report that isn't true, because I did learn something new this week!

I learned that putting myself first is a LOT hard than it looks on paper.

In taking this  "All about ME March" challenge, my kids and husband understood what I was doing and why.  They were very supportive.  But, it was me!

Especially in the area of purposeful rest.

This proved to be my challenge.  Until, that is, I got knocked down for a few days with unnecessary over-worry and stress related tummy and migraine trouble.  I couldn't help but rest.  And, I could help but count all the hours as wasted.  It was hubby who reminded me that I was doing something very worth while - resting and getting stronger.  This was not waste!

I have to admit, I had never wanted my health back as whole heartedly as I did during those couple of days. I knew never to take it for granted again.  Rest IS essential for health.  And, for the majority of us Moms, you HAVE to be purposeful about it.

For the remainder of the week, lights were out at 10 pm and come Sunday, only essential work will be done (ie. making copies, throwing food into the crockpot and light housework).  Naps as desired as well!

THIS old dog has learned one valuable lesson this week!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Writing Lesson Review

The Writing Lesson is your basic learn to write printables for print, script and cursive.  No need to buy a new workbook every year!

"Primary style is suitable for very young children from ages 3 to 7.  The  Script style is for children in grades 1 to 3.  The Cursive style is for children in grades 4 and 5.  The CD contains all three styles.  Each style has worksheets for practicing Letters, Numbers, and Words."

Containing hundreds of pages, this is a good investment for use for years to come!


Print (Primary)


Also included are illustrated Story Writing Pages with a list of words to use within the story and The Word Book from The Reading Lesson (review forthcoming!)

While having all writing printables in one convenient, easy to access and use location is a definite plus, for us, we already have a tried and true program that has blessed us throughout the years.

I received a cd-rom of The Writing Lesson free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

T.R.I.P. Wrap Up & Final Thoughts!

It has been quite an experience using T.R.I.P. (Targeted Reading Improvement Program) over the past month!  Before I share our thoughts, here's more about the program:

The makers of the T.R.I.P. have over 40 years experience helping people with special reading needs.  Be it spelling, reversing small words, omitting letters at the end of words and more. 

The T.R.I.P. CD contains 20 lessons, each with 3 parts, AND a how-to video with easy to follow step-by-step instructions.

Parents are encouraged to praise their children while working through the lessons, go only as far as the student is comfortable and to encourage repetition.  Lessons should be repeated until instant recognition is attained before moving on.  Repetition is important for special needs students.  

Part 1 of the program is Word Lists.  Each word list contains 10 sight words for a total of 160 basic sight words within the program.  At the start of a new lesson, the word list is printed out and the student goes down the list saying each word.  If the student can say it without needing to sound it out, a check mark is placed next to it.  This is repeated each day that the lesson is worked on.

Next, use word slips for each word they have missed.  Write the word in print and then in cursive.  The student reads the printed word and traces the cursive word with their finger.  They say the word out loud and then write it.  This is a multi-sensory approach to learning.

Part 2 is Flashing Practice.  Shape orientation, numbers, letters and worlds are flashed upon the screen and the student writes down what they see on paper.  After each set is flashed, the answers are displayed and the student corrects his/her paper.  Words get progressively harder the higher up in levels the student goes.  This helps with letter recognition and spelling.

Part 3 is Story Card. The 10 new sight words introduced in that lesson are reinforced with a read aloud story. Students practice spelling the words, listening to the story and answering simple comprehension questions about the story.

Our thoughts:

I soooo wish I had the chance to use this program with my 9 year old daughter a year ago.  The reason for this is that a few weeks before we received the actual program in hand, she had a HUGE jump in her reading abilities.  Because she had never received a formal diagnosis, from this jump I can only conclude that she was just not ready to read well - until now.   As of today, she is reading on grade level!

With that information, I can tell you that she was able to spell all the words on the Word Lists and Flashing Practice correctly the first time.  There wasn't a word she needed to repeat.  The letters were all formed correctly as well.

The Story Card portion of the program was a bit long for her.  She wished the speaker would pick up his pace. This part of the program proved a bit challenging to keep her on task.  In the end, she ended up being able to spell the words correctly and answer the comprehension questions.

All in all it was a good experience.  I would LOVE to try this program with more challenging words and see if that makes a difference.

Read our T.R.I.P. updates here.

See what other reviewers thought of their experience with T.R.I.P. 

Disclosure: I received the above product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Friday, March 1, 2013

It's ALL about ME March!

Me!  Me! Me!

That's right, it's ALL about ME.

I'm taking the month of March to put my basic needs ahead of everyone else.

Let me explain ...

In the past, I've allowed:

- My quiet time with the Lord to be interrupted and then forgotten.

- Exercising to be put off until the evening....and ya'll know how THAT goes!  I'm too tired to do it by then.

- Preparing healthy foods for my kids and then just grabbing "whatever" for myself.

- Running at light speed until I collapse.

So.  What would life be like if I valued myself the way God does?  What if I made my needs just as important as everyone else?

That means:

- Not allowing non-emergencies to interrupt quiet time.

-Exercising FIRST thing instead of as a last thought.

-Preparing for my own specific nutritional needs before preparing the household meals.

-Being purposeful in rest.

If I put me first, what will my life look like and how will it affect my family?

I can't answer that right now, but, I'll soon find out!

Check back weekly as I update the results!