Monday, November 30, 2015

Christmas 31 Day Writing Plan


When was the last time you copied things out of a book? Probably the last time you took a class.....right?!  When you take time to write things out, it helps you to remember better what was least that is how it works for me!

So why don't we spend more time writing out scriptures from the Word of God so that we can commit them to memory?

I came across this Christmas Scripture 
Writing Plan at
and thought I would pass it along! Take some time as we are in this Christmas Season to spend extra time in the Word! 
You won't regret it!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Where's Your Treasure?

Matthew 6:19-21 says, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
So my question is this......How do you define treasure? Merriam-Webster defines treasure as this:
1: wealth (as money, jewels, or precious metals) stored up or hoarded
2: wealth of any kind or in any form :  riches
3: a store of money in reserve
4: something of great worth or value; also :  a person esteemed as rare or precious
5: a collection of precious things
See, most of us define treasures the same as Merriam -Webster. We spend our lifetime acquiring treasures that the world says we should have.....Now listen, I am not saying that we have to get rid of everything that we have.....but we really should take a closer look at what exactly we are treasuring. If you look around at our society you will see that we as Americans have become obsessed with so many things. We have become obsessed with status, with looks, with technology, with sports, and just plain busyness. All of these things are here for a short time and then vanish like a vapor. Yet we find ourselves pouring everything we have into them......WHY?  That is truly the question of the hour!

1 Timothy uses plain language to instruct us about the obsession of material gain. "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it."
1 Timothy 6:6-7 NIV

One of the best things God gave us was our free will. He freely allows us the opportunity to either choose to serve Him or choose not to. I honestly hate that part....the part where we can choose not to serve Him, but that is free will! We can choose to invest ourselves in the kingdom of God or we can choose not to.....sadly, in my own life I have seen times that I wasn't necessarily completely focused on the things that truly matter.  I'm sure that you can say the same thing.  It really confuses me because I fully understand the sacrifice that was made for me and yet there are times that I have taken that for granted and pursued my own agenda. Come on......haven't you? 

So let me ask this, why aren't we more consumed with Christ and spreading the Good News??  I know I don't really have a good answer to you? 
You would think that our desire to tell others how they could spend eternity with the Creator of all things would grow over time.....not diminish!!  As we focus on the things that will last forever, we will be storing up treasures in heaven.....and those treasures will last FOREVER!!!  Yet, we find ourselves, distracted and our worldview distorted as we go about our days focused only on the temporary things of this world.
God has made us for so much more! He has designed us so wonderfully unique and He has something special for each of us to do for Him! That is exciting people!! We were made with an eternal purpose!!! You heard me......we were made with an eternal purpose!! Then, because He loves us and desires our love in return, He gave us the option....we can pursue that eternal destiny and store up treasure in heaven, or we can pursue treasures that evaporate when stacked against eternity. So choose to make a difference for eternity!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Under His Wings

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I am so thankful for the Word of God and the power that it has in my life. If you aren't careful, you could find yourself overcome by fear as you look around our world, nation, or even your own city and see what is going on. Face it, the news is full of negative reports, contradicting stories, and political scandal. Racial tension is on the rise, and Christian values are under attack. With the swirl caused by biased media reports, and viral social media posts.......we could find ourselves feeling defeated and hopeless.

I am so thankful that as a Believer in Jesus Christ my hope does not rest on the shoulders of world leaders, nor on positive news hope rests in Christ alone.
Psalm 91 is an amazing portion of scripture and one that causes peace to rest in our hearts as Christians.
91:4-6, 10 says, "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent."

What a wonderful promise from the Word of God! Even when we feel that things are out of control and chaotic.....which is often!....we have hope through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!  Now that is something to shout about!!

So the next time you are watching the news and you find your heart rate starting to rise.....take a deep breath and open your Word to Psalm 91. The Lord is our refuge!!!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Grapevine Studies: Birth of Jesus Beginner/and Traceable Review ~ TOS Crew

Grapevine Studies Review
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30% off The Birth of Jesus Study from November 27-30. This is our biggest sale of the year on this product!
Recently, I was able to review Birth of Jesus:Beginner by Grapevine Studies. With The Christmas season coming quickly, the timing couldn't be any better. If you look around the stores in our country, it doesn't take long to see that the focus is no longer on our Savior, but tends to be on toys, Santa, and decorations. If we aren't careful, the worldview of those around us can infiltrate our families and become the worldview of our children.
It is the mission of Grapevine Studies to introduce the gospel to children in a way that will build a foundation for the rest of their life to be built upon. As children build Bible Study skills at an early age, it will transform them for a lifetime. Grapevine Studies offers Bible Study materials for children ages 5-14. They offer multiple mediums of learning for those who learn in different ways. Your child will listen to stories being told, then draw what they heard and finally you can review it with them by asking questions. All three work together to teach your child in a way that will stick with them! That is the way that we as parents can help our children build a correct worldview based on the Bible!!

Grapevine Studies Review
The Birth of Jesus – Beginner study features 7 weekly or 14 daily lessons. There are several books that you will need for this study, and each book is sold separately.  First, you will need the 26-page Teacher Book with lesson notes, memory verses, review questions, and key points. You will also need the 30-page Student Book consisting of lessons pages, timelines, maps, memory verses, and reviews, and a Traceable book that includes pre-drawn stick figures for your child trace and color. These tools all work together to open up the bible to your kiddo in a way that engages their heart and their mind! Please note that each book is sold separately.
How We Used This Product:
Although my girls are a little older, I used this product with my friend's little girl, which is almost 3, that I babysit. What a blast to watch the Bible come alive in her eyes! We used traceable pages which worked the best for her. Drawing is a little harder at that age, so the traceables were PERFECT!!
Grapevine Studies ReviewMy Bottom Line:

I absolutely love the concept of Grapevine Studies and the way they bring Bible study to live for children. My sweet "L" loves to draw and color, and found the traceable pages funny. I liked the ease of the lessons!   It is SUPER simple!!  I also love the simplicity of Birth of Jesus study for Beginners. It worked great for my sweet "L" and I hope to find a few other products that I can use with her. For that matter, I will be using Grapevine Studies for my older children as well. Anything that makes Bible Study come to life is a bonus in my book!

Social Media: You may be like the rest of us, and enjoy connecting through social media. Please follow the links below to connect with Grapevine Studies.

Grapevine Studies Review

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Critical Thinking Co: The Basics of Critical Thinking Review ~ TOS Crew

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What is critical thinking? Can you describe it? These are just the questions that this book will answer for you and your student. I had the opportunity to receive and review The Basics of Critical Thinking by The Critical Thinking Co. To be completely is fabulous!  I was so excited when I had this opportunity. I am not new to The Critical Thinking Co. I have also had the distinct pleasure of reviewing other products from this company in the past, and I have never been disappointed!

The Critical Thinking Co.The Critical Thinking Co. has done a great job putting this workbook together. This 146 page book written by Michael Baker for 4th-9th graders, takes your student through a variety of exercises to help them develop their critical thinking skills. First, it starts by explaining what critical thinking is. That was very helpful for my student.

Critical thinking is: "finding and evaluating evidence to try to make the best decisions." As you work through this book, you will see that it focuses on critical thinking skills for making decisions and gaining knowledge.

What I like is that there aren't long lecture times, or a lot of reading pages that go along with each lesson, instead your student will learn through short activities, diagrams and easy explanations. My daughter found the explanations easy-to-understand. I know that is also something my daughter appreciated!

How We Used the Product:

I had my daughter work in this book several times a week. When she opened the book she was excited to dive right in. She found the chapters fun and pleasurable to work through. With the topics being something other than Math, Grammar, or Science.....she found it almost refreshing to have something that gave her a change of pace.

When I asked her what she thought of the book she said, "It was fun and it wasn't boring!" I have noticed a difference in the way that she processes information....which is a wonderful consequence to have!! The Basics of Critical Thinking takes your student through chapters on: Decisions and Conclusions, Beliefs and Claims, Evaluating Evidence, Facts and Claims, Venn Diagrams, Logical Connectives, and much, much more!  With the answer key in the back, you will find it easy to check your student's work and answer any questions they may have.

Critical thinking is crucial to the development of your child into an adult, and this book by The Critical Thinking Co. fits the bill!
My Bottom Line:
The Basics of Critical Thinking is something that all Middle School students should work through. I feel that our society has lost their focus on developing the skills taught in this book. We loved this book and everything about it......with that being said, I really wish it was larger! It didn't take long for me to notice changes in the way that my daughter  made decisions as she worked through this book! Which is the whole purpose!

You should head to the website and pick one up for your student today!
Social Media:

You may be like the rest of us, and enjoy connecting through social media. Please follow the links below to connect with The Critical Thinking Co.

The Critical Thinking Company Review

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Ann McCallum Books: Eat Your Science Homework Review - TOS Crew

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 This statement will come as no surprise to anyone that knows me, but I am a "Feeder." I enjoy feeding people, and I believe that it can be a wonderful addition to any event. As either a Sunday School teacher, or homeschool teacher, I find myself looking for just the right snack for little ones that can both fill their tummies and possibly help them remember what I just taught them. Eat Your Science Homework from Ann McCallum Books is a great tool for your homeschool. I am so glad that we were able to review this wonderful product.

Something that Eat Your Science Homework is not...It is not a large, cumbersome, hard to understand book full of things you would never want to try.  This book has edible science experiments that range from easy to medium to create and is animated wonderfully! There is even a "Safety in the, Kitchen" page that gives your students some step by step rules to keep themselves and others safe during this process.

Here is a list of the experiments you will find:

Atomic Popcorn Balls
Density Dressing and Veggie Sticks
Invisible Ink Snack Pockets
Loop, Whorl, and Arch Cookies
Sedimentary Pizza Lasagna
Black Hole Swallow Ups

With each science experiment you will find vocabulary words, information on the topic of the experiment, complete recipe, method, and a science sampler. You will find the book entertaining and the experiments fun!

How We Used the Product:

My girls are huge snackers, and one of their favorites is veggies and dip. We were excited to complete the Density Dressing and Veggie Stick experiment first.  The book takes you step by step through the experiment. Although my girls are older and can do a lot of things on their own, this is a great thing for younger kids too. They can not only test their reading comprehension as they work through the recipe, but they can gain pertinent information regarding each topic covered in the experiment.

As we began the experiment Eat Your Science Homework explains the chemistry, or lack of chemistry between oil and vinegar. When you toss together oil and vinegar to make a salad dressing, you will soon find out that unless you continue to shake the mixture, it will separate quickly! That means that the two substances are immiscible. As you read through each page you will see words in bold like the one above. That means that you can use it as a vocabulary word and your student can look up the meaning of it in the glossary at the back of the book. This is another way to reinforce knowledge and retention.

My Bottom Line:

This is a great book. Although we loved it and found it a pleasure from beginning to end, I do wish there would have been more to it. For those of you that are task oriented when it comes to homeschooling your kiddos, you will find this book a refreshing change of pace. We absolutely loved every page of it, and we found ourselves wanting more! I am glad that Ann McCallum Bookshas several other books that are similar for other subjects. Feel free to browse the website and find one that suits your particular needs. (Especially if you are a feeder like me!) Your kids will be glad you did! Be honest with yourself.....the only thing better than science class is making yummy food in science class!!

Ann McCallum Books Review

Love Love Love

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What is it that you truly love? Have you thought about it lately?  Or, think about this.....Who do you love? How are you when it comes to actually showing your love? Maybe you don't have an answer to that.  I grew up in church and God has been a big part of my life. I love God, and I know that he has changed me and made me a new person. But, I wonder if I always show him the love.  I mean, does God always knows how much I love him? I do truly love him, and do my best to serve him.....but I don't know if I always let him know how important he is to me.  Okay, don't look at me that way, just hear me out!
Let me explain it this way. I decided that since going back to work I should get up early and spend time with God before everyone wakes up. I made my plan and was excited to get going. I set my alarm for 5:30 and got up when it went off. I came downstairs so I could turn all the lights on and make coffee in prep for my time with God. I poured a cup of coffee and sat down to get into the presence of God. Then, all the sudden I realized I should get something out of the freezer to thaw out for dinner. After completing that task, I sat back down and got settled in. As I opened up the Bible, my very needy, dogs decided they needed to eat breakfast. I guess they thought since I was starting my day earlier, they should too! I fed them so they would stop whining at me and sat back down to spend some time with God. Just as I was starting to pray, the dogs have decided they need to go outside......Do you see what I'm talking about?
In January my husband and I will celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary. As I think back to when we were dating, I am reminded of just how much he pursued me. My husband lived about 5 hours away, but he managed to drive to see me every weekend and any day he had off. He made me a priority! Even though it was winter in northern Illinois, and that meant that he would have to drive his Dodge Daytona through treacherous conditions to see me. I knew my husband loved me because everything he did told me so!
Just as my husband (well he wasn't my husband then...) showed me how important I was by making time with me a priority, we should do the same thing for our Savior. God deserves the very best of our attention, not what we can scrape up because we don't have anything else to do!  Right!?
Psalm 63:1, 3-5 says, "You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you."
As I was praying this morning I found myself singing over and over....."my soul longs for you, my soul longs for you, nothing else will do" I couldn't remember the rest of the song, but this said all I needed to say. What I have found is that as I pursue God more, I want to pursue him more......I find myself longing more and more for time with my God.
You see, his love is better than life! I want to praise him as long as I live!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Brinkman Adventures: The Brinkman Adventures-Season 3 Review - TOS Crew

Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review
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Have you noticed that we live in a day and age where you can't always trust what is playing on the radio, TV.....or even......the content of commercials are being viewed anymore. Of course you have! It doesn't take long to look around, or flip through channels to see the need for an alternative to what is being pushed on us in the mainstream media. Finding wholesome entertainment for your family is sometimes tricky. That is why I am happy that I had the opportunity to review The Brinkman Adventures-Season 3 by Brinkman Adventures.
Brinkman Adventures Season 3 ReviewSome of you may be like me, I had never heard of The Brinkman Adventures series before the opportunity to review this product. So when I received the complete third season in the mail, I eagerly cracked open the case and found myself smack dab in the middle of 12 episodes (Episodes 25-36) which equals 5 hours of audio missionary dramas. The Brinkman Adventures is a radio drama about the Brinkman family. This large, adventurous family will keep you on the edge of your seat as they depict true stories of modern day missionaries. I have several friends that are missionaries, and I found myself thinking of my friends while listening to the missionary stories.

Included in the cd case are: 4 Audio CD's with the following episodes:

* God's Mule
* Mountain Mover
* The Silent Ambassador
* Translating Trouble
* Man-Up
* Acorns & Oaks
* A Saint's Story Part 1
* A Saint's Story Part 2
* Untouched
* Busy Bees and a Bullhorn
* Missionary Tourist Part 1
* Missionary Tourist Part 2

There is also a table of contents included in the package with the credits on the back. Something unique that is also included, is a thanks to the missionaries who allowed their stories to be told. Personally.....I loved that. I found it refreshing to listen to these stories that are being told in such unique way. Series 3 is non-stop action packed adventures that will easily hold your attention.

Take the opportunity and head to the website. There you will have the opportunity to listen to a sample episode. To listen click here! You can also check out the Real Stories don't want to miss out on this! When you go to the Real Stories Section you will find more information on each of the stories that are included in the CD's.
How We Used the Product:

We substituted the audio cd's for TV and played them on our DVD player. My kids are older, so we enjoyed listening while we had some light school work going on. It got me wishing that I had a road trip coming up so we could have just popped it in the CD player in the car to listen as we traveled. I feel like that would have been a another very pleasurable way
to listen to this amazing audio dramas!
My Bottom Line:

If you want to put good, wholesome entertainment The Brinkman Adventures Season 3 will not disappoint! The stories are entertaining and well done. As a Christian family we love that these are adventures of missionary families. That only added to our interest!!
Head to the website and order your copy today!

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Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Standard Deviants Accelerate: Homeschool Courses - TOS Review

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
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Online courses are a convenient and fun way to learn as a homeschooler. We were glad when we had the opportunity to review the Standard Deviants Accelerate (SDA) website. We were given access to all of their Homeschool Courses to try out for the review. We had a great time utilizing this resource for our own homeschool.

What You Get With SDA

When you get a membership with Standard Deviants Accelerate you gain full access to online supplemental homeschool curriculum. Online classes allow for flexibility which homeschool moms around the world will tell you is critical to every homeschool!  Standard Deviants Accelerate offers a variety of subjects for grades 3-12 with a year's worth of content for each. The classes are split into lessons, and with each lesson you will find video instruction along with multiple topic based assignments. You will notice that each assignment is specifically designed to help solidify the learning process for your student. As you begin each lesson, you will find a full transcript that is visible during the video making it easy to follow along. My student found that a helpful way to stay focused on the lesson.

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review

The Standard Deviants Accelerate (SDA) Homeschool Courses range from third grade through high school.
    Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
  • Arithmetic (grades 3+)
  • Fundamental Math (grades 4+)
  • Earth Science (grades 6+)
  • Nutrition (grades 6+)
  • Biology (grades 7+)
  • Algebra (grades 7+)
  • Chemistry (grades 9+)
  • English Comp (grades 9+)
  • U. S. History (grades 9+)
  • AP Biology (grades 11+)
  • AP Chemistry (grades 11+)
  • AP American Gov. & and Politics (grades 11+)
  • AP U.S. History (grades 11+)
  • AP Eng. Composition (grades 11+)
Standard Deviants Accelerate grades the quizzes for the students. You are also able to take the quiz again if you didn't like the grade that you got. I have found that going back through and "correcting your work," can be a helpful tool.There are also activities and games that your student can do that will help to reinforce the topic.

How We Used It:

My daughter was able to go through the Earth Science class and the Nutrition class. She found the lessons easy to navigate through......and I found the lessons well-written and relevant.

Even though we enjoyed the classes that we were able to use, we did however; find the website confusing. We found it difficult to navigate and not very easy to comprehend how to get started. Even though the curriculum allows the students to retest, it doesn't actually change the grades. Only the initial grade is logged.

My Bottom Line:

Overall, the Homeschool Curriculum from Standard Deviants Accelerate is beneficial to homeschool students. Even though I found the website hard to navigate, you may navigate it better than me....I would be the first to say that there are times I find myself Tech handicapped! I would have found it more enjoyable if it wasn't so hard to figure out.

Social Media:

If you are like most people these days, you like to stay connected via social media too. Here are some links to check out.





Standard Deviants Accelerate Review