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!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

TOS Review: SImplified Pantry - Paperless Home Organization

MYSTIE WINCKLER!!!!!!  Where have you been all my life????

Seriously Y'all- this woman could change your life!  How, you ask?.......

Simplified Pantry is Mystie's front for all things dinner and meal-planning related.  Simply Convivial is her blog in which she addresses life, homeschooling, homemaking, and getting organized with her ebook Paperless Home Organization.  While this review is for Paperless Home Organization, please check out Mystie's ebooks for Simplified Dinners and Simple Gluten-free and Dairy-free Dinners.  You won't be disappointed!

Just so you know, I am one of those people who have lovingly hand crafted a home management binder.  With tabs and a pencil pouch and calculator, upon completion- I was positive this thing was going to change my life.  Mystie puts it so well in the preface when she compares organization to swimming:
  You are either treading water or slowly sinking; progress is getting yourself back to the surface before you drown, not arriving at a destination.  However, treading water at least becomes easier the longer you do it.  At first it takes concentration and focus and energy simply to stay afloat, but eventually you get into better shape and can breathe evenly again.  However, you never get so good at it that you can stop.

Nothing is going to save your life if you leave it on the shelf in the butler's hallway.

Just keeping it real, folks!

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE that binder.  I look at it frequently and think that if I just sunk a little time into it to revamp it, then it would turn into the miraculous device it was meant to be.  But the truth of it is that going paperless makes much more sense.  The hang up?  I am NO techno- gadget- programs genius......and I like that about myself.  So how does a person like me ever get started?

Mystie blew my socks off with this e-book.  Not only does she tell you which 3 programs to use (Gmail, Evernote, and Remember the Milk), but she tells you how to set up accounts with each, download them to your devices, and customize each of them!!  Now I'm not gonna lie, my head began to swim as I read about Evernote and building stacks and emptying my email INBOX down to zero (It currently hovers at 3,021!)!  But Mystie seriously walks you through step-by-step and I'm beginning to catch on. 

This is a whole new process and life change and is going to take some time, but I totally believe the $3.99 is worth the cost of the e-book if for nothing else than merely the "How-To" section for setting up the Evernote account!  Do yourselves a favor, skip the Starbucks today and download this e-book and see if you won't be the slightest bit encouraged to wrestle the techno-organizing monster! 

Check out more reviews of Paperless Home Organization and Mystie's other 2 ebooks!
Click to read Crew Reviews

Friday, May 24, 2013

TOS Review: Joyce Herzog- Choosing & Using Curriculum

Part of my mission in life is to help new and prospective homeschool moms navigate the beginning stages of their homeschooling journey.  Having finished my sixth year of homeschooling, I feel like I may just be gleaning some valuable wisdom from those first few years.  I was very excited to be offered Joyce Herzog's Choosing & Using Curriculum: Your Guide to Home Education book to review.

Joyce is a Christian educator, author, and speaker with over 25 years experience teaching special needs children and 30 years serving the homeschooling community.  She has authored many curricula for reading, math, history, family devotions and more.

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Choosing & Using Curriculum is a great resource for those who are considering homeschooling as well as veteran homeschoolers.  Everyone is likely to find something that is helpful as Joyce has included such well thought out, relevant material in this 108 page paperback.  Be prepared with a highlighter or post-its in hand when you sit down with this one!

The beginning chapters are especially geared toward considering homeschoolers- laying out the foundations for learning and teaching styles.  I particularly loved how she made charts for different curriculum styles (textbook, workbook, directed unit study, real books) with columns that covered advantages, disadvantages, and how to use with special needs students.  Seriously folks, sometimes all you need are some good charts with pros and cons to help you make your mind up about something!

From there, Joyce breaks things down further into specific subjects and offers listings of curriculum with a brief description of each.  If I were to say that I didn't like something about this book, it would be that the lists are not inclusive- they direct you first to the author's product and then to other well known products. (Teaching Textbooks was not listed under math, Phonics Museum not under reading, etc.)  Chapters 19 (Teaching Discernment in Literature) and 25 (Tips for Teaching History) were my two favorite chapters as they were packed with awesome questions to address your students with in regards to their lessons.

There is a companion e-book that goes along with the paperback that lists hundreds of links for homeschooling resources with chapters dedicated specifically to deaf, blind, dyslexic, and autistic students.  At $15, I think this is a great pair for those who are new to homeschooling.  While I think there are good things for veteran homeschoolers to hear as well, in my opinion, there is nothing new or revelatory.

Please check out what the Crew had to say about this and other products by Joyce Herzog...

Click to read Crew Reviews

Monday, May 13, 2013

TOS Review: Papa's Pearls

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Everyone longs to leave a lasting legacy behind and that is just what Mr Carol Joseph Flynn did!  In Papa's Pearls: A Father's Gift of Love and Wisdom to His Children and Grandchildren, Dianne Flynn Keith reminisces and expounds upon her father's great euphemisms and love of life.

A light and heartfelt read, this book immortalizes the "pearls" that Mr Flynn planted in the hearts of those around him.  Known to have positively affected not only his family but also his community, Mr Flynn's words resound in even my heart thanks to Mrs Keith's recollections and sweet stories.  This book was a delightful read and a much needed reminder.

"You don't kick someone when they're down- you give them a hand up!"  "What's the worst thing that could happen?"  "I love you.  You know that, right?" "You gotta do what you gotta do!"  These are all colorful pearl's Mr Flynn sewed deep into the hearts of his family- along with many others.  As I read, many sounded familiar to me and I realize that they echo words passed down from my grandfather.  What a great plenty that generation had to teach!

Papa's Pearls: A Father's Gift of Love and Wisdom to His Children and Grandchildren is available directly through the author for $14.97 + $7.00 s/h or through Amazon.

Please see what other Crewmates had to say about it!
Click to read Crew Reviews

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

In Which I Make My Return.....

Friends, it has been a great while since I left for Africa- though it was only 12 days ago.  I long to share with you beautiful faces and ponderings of my heart- but I'm so overwhelmed with processing right now that I can hardly string two sentences sensibly in regards to my experiences!  How about a few of my favorite pics to hold you over until I can more eloquently share?