I've got the kettle on, ya got a minute to visit?

I'm so happy you dropped by! Stay and visit awhile and please leave me a comment- it's so encouraging to hear from you!

Friday, November 30, 2012


So did you notice that I've been enjoying a much needed break since my last review? Between moving Momma to Vermont and Operation Christmas Child National Collection week.....I have been one worn out pup! 
I schooled through the summer off and on so that we could take a break after Thanksgiving.  Reviews were coming to an end for the holidays- co-op work load was changing to our literary unit- I was planning to be exhausted from OCC- so I planned to take a break.  Oh don't get me wrong, we're still working on times tables and reading A LOT...A TON....... but we also crafting, enjoying late mornings, and reading a lot! ;o)
So, I'm enjoying that lovely fireplace a la Yahoo since we were told never to use our fireplace again.  (I'm tellin ya, that's been the biggest loss I've suffered in a log time....and we gave up cable this year!)  And this is the frame of mind I am trying to stay in through Christmas!
I do have to say that I have taken on a new project.  My fabulously devoted and awesome kids' ministry director has started a children's library at church and has asked me help with it.  In all honesty, I think I may have missed my calling.........Librarian.  Definitely should have been a librarian!  It is the most wonderful thing ever to recommend books and sort books and smell books............
So, no need to worry about lil ol me!  I'm drinking lots of cider and tea and reading lots of great books (The Enchanted Places by Christopher Milne, The Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick, and A Mouse Called Wolf by Dick King-Smith) and occassionally getting out from under my electric throw and kids and kitties.
It's the most wonderful time of the year.......

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

TOS Review: Growing Up Wild

Meet the Wild family......

Just like you and me, they're an ordinary homeschooling family!

 Well.....except that they live in Indonesia.

 Remote Indonesia.

 As missionaries!

These four boys have grown up with dirt floors and indigenous Indonesians and have they got an awesome store of life experience to share!  In an effort to share a broader world-view with children (ages 5-12), the Wilds have produced a series of DVDs that documents their family life in Indonesia called Growing Up Wild.  We had the opportunity to review Volume 1 and Volume 4 and I cannot say enough about theseDVDs!

Each DVD is broken into three 15 minute segments that address life in Indonesia.  Also accompanying each segment are some great activity ideas to bring the point of each segment home- it might be a field trip idea, craft idea, or a research idea.

Volume 1 contains segments on how they constructed their home, how they ascertain supplies, and how they harness water and power from their natural environment.

Volume 4 contains segments which focus more on the culture the Wilds find themselves submerged in.

Each of the 5 dvds sell for $18.99.  You can save 15% by purchasing them as a set for $80.99+sh.  Each DVD also comes with a CD of activities that is great for implementing whether you're a homeschooler or not!  These videos are very well done and my children ask to watch them over and over.  A reoccurring theme for Friday movie night is "Wild night!" My children connect with these boys that are their age and they find their life, not to mention their hearts, is very intriguing and unique. 

Personally, I think documenting their boys life on the mission field is genius!  How else can children see that they can be used- no matter how big or small they are- for God's glory! And between you and me, the other 3 dvds that we didn't get as part of the review WILL show up in somebody's stocking Christmas morning!

Click to read Crew Reviews

Disclaimer:  As part of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was given this product in exchange for an honest and objective review.

Friday, November 9, 2012

TOS Review: Grace and Truth Books' Raising Maidens of Virtue

Can I just say that I truly appreciate the awesome opportunities to review fabulous products that I have through the Review Crew?  Sometimes a product (or a company) comes along that I get very excited about!  Grace & Truth Books is one of those companies, and Raising Maidens of Virtue is one of those products!

Grace & Truth Books has a vast selection of God glorifying literature available through books, ebooks, DVDs and videos, bibles, and audiobooks.  According to their own statement, they are much more concerned with strengthening God's people and bringing them joy and knowledge than the attempt at following secular trends that consume most Christian bookstores.

I was given the choice of ten products from which to pick a book to review.  Though they all looked fabulous, I was drawn to the title Raising Maidens of Virtue.

Abby is hitting the age where conversations about life and godliness have to take a more feminine turn.  This book is amazing!  Not only is it full of great insight and biblical truths regarding everything from modesty of outward adornment to contentment and a gentle spirit- but it also contains focused questions at the end of each chapter that aid in facilitating intimate discussions with your own maiden.  You will find at the end of the book a rich literary resource list, plans for hostessing a "maidens" luncheon, and ideas for some beautiful memory making activities.

I look forward to sharing this book with Abby.  I look forward to snuggling with tea and talking about these things that will challenge both us to strive together towards being more like the ladies our Maker intended.

Raising Maidens of Virtue is available from Grace & Truth Books for $18.50.  Author Stacy McDonald suggests that daughter s aged 12-16 may receive the most from the concepts in the book- but only you can know when your maiden may be ready.

While I felt this to be a case of "fit words in due season", you can see what the other Crewmates had to say about it AND the nine other options from Grace & Truth....

Click to read Crew Reviews
Disclaimer:  As a member of The OldSchollhouse Review Crew, I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and objective review.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What a week.....

Tomorrow I will hop on a plane to Detroit.  Then I'll hop on a plane to Birmingham.  So ends one fabulous adventure.

I haven't had an adventure in so very long.  I'd like to thank Momma for sponsoring this one.  It was the best trip and I'm so glad to have spent the time with her.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

TOS Review: Apologia's Journeys of Faithfulness

And another great from Apologia Journeys of Faithfulness comes from author Sarah Clarkson.  This book covers the lives of Mary and Martha, Ruth, Esther, and Mary the mother of Jesus with the intent of deepening the spiritual journey of readers.

Each chapter in Journeys of Faithfulness is a somewhat fictionalized account of the feelings, hopes, insights, thoughts, and interactions of these beloved biblical matriarchs.  After these stories there are bible readings and devotional questions to answer to help readers become more invested in what they've just read.

I love all things Apologia, and I love all things Sarah Clarkson......but I had a hard time engaging Abby in this book.  I'd love to share it with her but it will certainly have to come down the road.....maybe 15 or so.  There are a lot of feelings to explore and I'm not sure she is ready for that kind of emotional load- but it was tagged for 12 and up and she's only 10- so we fell on the low end!  Also, sometimes I struggle with portrayals of biblical characters that are embellished- it's hard for me to explain what has been fictionalized to Abby......and to remember that it has been fictionalized myself!  This book was, of course, very well-written and full of much to ponder and embrace.

All of that to say- it's an inspiring book- and would make a lovely Christmas gift ($13) for those girls in your life that are on the mid to upper end of the teen years and up!  Feel free to see what other Crewmates had to say....

Click to read Crew Reviews

Disclaimer:  As a part of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and objective review.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Great Big Long Drive

Today a big dream of mine came true! (Yes, it's been a great week for Marla's dreams coming to fruition!)  I am right now, this very minute, sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Williston, Vermont!  I drove with my Momma as she is making her move to the Great North.

It was a beautiful drive thru nine states- Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and finally Vermont. Great weather- only saw snow on the tops of mountains. The hardest leg was thru New Jersey.

She's torn up pretty badly, Friends.  We didn't go close enough to NYC to see the destruction there but there was much in NJ that reminded me of driving down into Mississippi the first time after Katrina.  Pray for those affected by Sandy.

Now, I'm off to bed.  The truck comes to deliver Mom's worldly possessions tomorrow and that makes for an exhausting day ahead.

Momma promises some Vermont fun after the work is done. *SQUEAL*

TOS Review: Activity Bags (Math Games)

Games.  Just the mention of the word turns "school"time into playtime!  Who cares if they're still LEARNING?!  After all, it's a GAME!

is a fabulous resource for schooling, playing, even waiting!  The idea behind their products is that you can construct "busy" bags out of items you already may have lying about your house.  These bags could be used to entertain your littles while schooling your bigs, or to keep littles happy while waiting for a doctor appointment.  They could possibly be used to supplement math or science curriculum, or to make long road trips less monotonous.

We recently had the opportunity to review Math Games in a Bag by the Activity Bags company.  This ebook came complete with over 33 ideas and instructions for building gallon-size bags of math fun!

Personal favorite?  My kids LOVE to "Take orders"!  Abby especially loves to get a pad of paper and write down what you would like for dessert and then fetch it from the kitchen.  I would have to say "Math Menu" is our personal favorite. Choosing from a take out menu, kids can take down orders on order forms, then add the total including a tip.  What an AWESOME way to learn budgeting and how much those beverages add up to!  There are many others than are fabulously creative- and they address quite a range of math skills so this is something you could definitely use for more than one year.

Now, the best part is swapping...yep- that's right.  Swapping.  You (or a friend) organize a swap where you get a number of friends (let's say 10) to make 10 of one math game.  You choose a date to get together for coffee and swap with everyone the 10 bags you made that were all the same for one of each of their bags- coming home with 10 different busy bags!  The ebook is $15.00 and each bag averages around a dollar to build, depending on the supplies you have at home and the project you choose.

About six years ago I co-ordinated a swap with the Preschool Activities in a Bag ebook.  We had 25 people participate!  Coordinating was not that bad and I had 25 amazing activities for the kids when it was done.  I brought the bags out slowly for the kids, and my "bags of tricks" lasted for at least a year!  If you're interested in co-ordinating a swap, check out Activity Bags' free handbook.  Also, they are offering a free e-sampler by filling out a quick survey on their homepage.

This is a very beneficial product- in so many ways- and we really enjoyed the opportunity to use it.  If you'd like to see what the Crew had to say about the Math Games in a Bag or one of Activity Bags' other products....

 Click to read Crew Reviews

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of the e-book Math Games in a Bag as part of the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for an honest and objective review.