Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Flea Circus - A Review

Product:  Flea Circus

Price:  $15.95
Exclusive Crew Coupon:  CREW20 (20% off until 12/31/2011)

Age Range:  6 and Up

Company:  R and R Games

Other Products:  Pages and Pages of Games!!

Brief Description:  (from the website)

STEP RIGHT UP! Calling all Cats and Dogs! The Flea Circus is about to begin!

It's a wild time under the Big Top as dogs and cats race from one show to the next. Players use their best Flea Circus acts to attract the most cats and dogs. Play your cards right and you can steal the audience away from your neighbor! But watch out for the Animal Catcher... He'll snatch your cats and dogs away!

With all this excitement, how's a Flea Ring Circus supposed to keep up? When all the cats and dogs are gone, whoever ends up with the most animals at their show wins the game!

My Thoughts:

I played this game with my 3 daughters: 12, 9, and 2.  When I first looked at the directions, I thought it might take some time to catch on, since each card has its own rules.  But after a few rounds, we were catching on.

The game is simple and easy to follow.  My 12 and 9 year olds had no trouble playing along.  The 9 year old really likes the game; the 12 year old plays but considers it too young for her. My 2 year old had fun doing her own thing with the little cats and dogs, but also caught on a little bit.  My best guess for enjoyment would be 5-9 years old.

The basic idea is to play the right cards so that you get more cats and dogs, and in some cases cause your opponents to lose theirs.  In the end, the one with the most wins.

I like the game because it is a nice one to play when you want to play a game, but want to keep it quick and simple.  Some board games can continue for over an hour and you sometimes have to call it in the middle of the game.  So this is a good alternative, when you don't have that much time or your children don't have that sort of attention span.

Young children will appreciate the cute factor.  What is cuter than dogs and cats?  The squishy little animals are cute and my 2 year old thinks they make great action figures.  Sadly, one of our cat's tails fell off.   Guess they aren't intended to be rolled on.  Ha-ha.

Another bonus for young children - No reading is required.  Just basic numbers.  For example, if you play a card with a 3 on it, then you get 3 points.  A dog is 2 and a cat is 1.  So you would pick up 1 dog and 1 cat, or 3 cats.

My overall impression?  A cute game that I enjoy playing with my children. I would recommend it.

Read more reviews.

Disclaimer: I received this game free of charge to review, as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

Monday, August 29, 2011

How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for Your Kids - A Review

Price:  $13.00

Company:  Apologia Educational Ministries

Age Range:  Moms and Dads

Other Products Available:  Many wonderful resources and curricula 

Brief Intro: (from the website)

How well do you really know your kids? What has God shown you about who they are and who they will become? He has sent these children into your home at this specific time for His glorious purposes. Indeed, you have been invited on the adventure of a lifetime, a journey on which you will see walls fall, seas parted, and giants slain. You don't need special skills or training for this journey—you need only to seek God and hold tight to His mighty hand! As with so many things, the first step to having a heart for your children is knowing your heavenly Father. As you seek daily to share His heart for your children, keep this inspirational book close at hand.

 Table of Contents

Sample Chapter

In-Depth Look:

H - Have a heart for the things of God.  "This may seem like a strange place to start, but it really is the only place to start.  In order to reach the hearts of your kids, you must first have a heart for the things of God."  This makes sense, right?  Only God can get your heart to where it needs to be, in order for you to fully commit your heart to your kids. Rachael uses a beautiful analogy comparing a born-again Christian's transformation to the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly.

E - Enrich your marriage.  "I have since become convinced that this point is indeed pivotal to developing a heart for our children. We must strive to consciously and intentionally enrich our marriages. We must be investing in the relationship with our spouses. Our children desperately need us to do this." Our children need this firm foundation; they need to know that Mom and Dad are committed and together forever. From watching our marriages, our children learn invaluable qualities such as forgiveness, loyalty, and sacrifice. We are to be committed to our spouses and to setting a godly example of what love looks like to our children.  I LOVE the section discussing the difference between GRACE and TOLERANCE.  "A cheap exchange if ever there was one."

A -  Accept your children. "There is 'acceptance' and then there's acceptance. Your kids know the difference even if you don't.  We may think we've accepted our children and all their uniqueness, but they know better."  Our children are not accidents.  They are made a certain way, at a certain time, to certain parents.  They are exactly who God made them to be.  We must accept them just the way they are, remembering that every great man and woman of God started out as a babe.  Catch a glimpse of who your child may grow up to be for God.  And on a side note, don't confuse acceptance with permissiveness.

R - Release them to God. "So often I hear parents say, 'All I want is for my kids to be happy.' Really? What if their happiness means making your life miserable . . . criminal behavior . . . breaking God's law . . . ? Is 'happiness' really the standard we want to set for our kids? . . . We must instead be focused on giving our children the joy of the Lord." It is our responsibility to help our children to be prepared for whatever task God may prepare for them.  Pray for them; pray with them; fill their hearts and minds with stories of God's miracles - stories of how big our God is.

T - Teach them the truth. "Teaching our kids truth is the most important thing we can do or accomplish as parents. It's paramount that we give them knowledge and understanding of the one true and living God. This is the foundation upon which all other knowledge is built." Rachael does a wonderful job of explaining how lies have crept into our culture and how wrong is being portrayed as right.  Teach your children the Truth; teach them of heroes of the faith who have lived out the Truth; and make sure to live the Truth "out loud".

This book touched and challenged me.  Many times it brought me near to tears and caused my heart to ache.  There truly is no other job in the world more important than leading these precious miracles to God.  Press on; keep the faith; and never, ever give up.

Other products from Apologia which I have reviewed.

Want to read more reviews?

Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge to review, as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Suzanne Lorente - Rivers of Living Water CD - A Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card artist is:

and the CD:

Rivers of Living Water

Lorente Publishing

***Special thanks to Suzanne Lorente for sending me a review cd.***


Suzanne Perry Lorente has been a child of the Lord since age 7. Her gift of music began at age two and has carried her through her life. She is an accomplished long time song writer, singer, guitarist and performer from the age of 13. At a young age, Suzanne chose a career of a professional entertainer as a single singer/guitarist in well known night clubs, dinner houses and special events, with a repertoire of more than 400 songs. During this same time frame, she achieved an Associate of Arts degree in Mass Media from Stephens College in Columbia, MO, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music from San Jose State University in California. As time marched along, she realized God's calling on her life to turn her heart toward Him as she could hear that "still, small voice" asking her to leave the relentless work of night clubs and secular entertainment. "It was a vow that took place in a day, and His promise took place over my lifetime. I am so blessed and God has kept His promise that He would give me the songs to sing for His children and for His glory." Suzanne has sung first of all for her family, then in choirs, started and sang in many small groups and trios, sang solo for so many audiences and congregations throughout the United States, and left behind a legacy of musical scenarios as she tells her stories of how each of her songs came about. She has recorded an ageless cassette that continues to be in demand, and a new CD, that has high-lighted the songs God has given to her. Suzanne has been teaching voice and guitar since she was 14 years old. She is presently singing in the little City of Dixon, CA for their Farmers Markets, weddings, and events, as well as with her trio, Suzanne Lorente and Friends, as they embark on recording a CD together. They are out doing concerts whenever possible and wherever the Lord leads. "It's wonderful to see God change the lives and hearts of people as we just sing our songs and allow Him to work through us. I love that!"

Visit the author's website.


This CD is a wonderful spiritual uplift and encouragement for any Christian who wants to grow, not only by hearing God's Word, but by doing what He's asking us to do. We have to take that first step and that's what this CD motivates believers and non-believers to do. The songs are original Christian Gospel scenarios that anyone can relate to, and that's what gives you the anointing strength to keep on going. You will love the beautiful orchestral and vocal backgrounds with each song as Suzanne Lorente and her trio envelope you with their angelic harmonies. God has put His Hand of blessing on Suzanne and given her songs throughout her lifetime of ministry. She and her gals are planning a tour and would love to include your church or event if it's possible. May God bless every listener and urge them to follow the Lord by listening to His "Still, Small Voice!"

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99

Music CD

Publisher: Lorente Publishing

Language: English


(To hear more samples, please visit Suzanne's website)

Here is one of the songs, "Misunderstood." This song is an original of mine written on January 1st of 2010. I am the voice for those who have been aborted, abused and misunderstood. This is quite sad, but it's telling us that each one of these has identified with the misery, torture, and abuse that Jesus went through on the cross. Many 100's of thousands have died a martyr's death, and are with the Lord because He loves them. Please listen carefully! This could be such a blessing for the Christian pregnancy centers and homes of abused women and children.

Here are the lyrics:

Misunderstood – Matthew 18:1-7

Words and Music by Suzanne Lorente

Arranged by Jeannine O’Neal

How can it be they don’t hear them, they don’t see

What can I say? Jesus loves them, they are free.

No-one will take time to listen as they cry

Knowing that I have the answer, I know why.

They’ve been misunderstood time after time

Their tiny voices still ring in our minds

No-one to love them, no-one to care

What they have to say doesn’t matter…anyway.

There is a hard part to living, not to be heard

Hate takes the joy out of giving, their vision blurred

Where is the love that could give them wings to fly?

Knowing that I have the answer, I know why.

They’ve been misunderstood time after time

Their little voices still ring in our mind

No-one to hear them, no-one to care

What they have to say doesn’t matter…anyway.

Could you be one who can’t hear them, you can’t see?

Are you aware they are people like you and me?

What would have come of the children who were slain?

There’d be a world of compassion…no more pain!

We have misunderstood time after time

Their tiny voices still ring in our mind

Someone will love them, someone will care

What they have to say really matters…anyway.

He’s (Jesus) been misunderstood, but not for long

Each tiny baby to Him will belong.

He really loves them, He really cares

What He has to say is what matters…anyway!

What He has to say is what matters....anyway!
Matt. 18:1-7

Additional high vocals Suzanne Lorente, Cecelia Dettle

Copyright 2010 BMI-0777 All rights reserved

See my website for further information

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Decisions. Decisions.

Why is it so difficult to make curriculum choices?  Maybe because there are so many choices out there?  Maybe because so many times, we have to make choices sight unseen?  Maybe because there is just no way to know if something is a good fit, until you give it a try?

Whatever the reasons, many times we end up with more books than we know what to do with.  Especially when we homeschool more than one child.  Multiply all these book choices by the number of students you teach, or the number of grades you are juggling.  And things can quickly spiral out of control. 

Oh and don't forget how much I love a good story book.  Yard sales with books for a quarter a piece.  Library sales with a bag of books for $2.  Before I know it, the shelves are overflowing with all of these great books.

So now what do I do?  How do I sort through all of these great books and decide which ones to let go of, when they are all such great books?  And of course, if I get rid of it, I just might need it some day.  Right?  So maybe I should hold on to them, just in case.

Ah, the dilemmas of a book lover.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Half-Way There

We wait so long for summer to get here.  And then before you know it, it is over.  It is true.  Time flies when you are having fun. 

I am trying to be purposeful with the summer.  We made a wish list of fun things to do at home.  We made a wish list of things to do out on the town.  We are taking full advantage of the many free activities around town.  And trying to do a few big things when we can, like using our season passes at the local amusement park.

But, still, the days and weeks and months go so quickly.   And as I see the new school year drawing near, I feel a sadness that summer will soon be over. 

What things do you do to make the summer memorable?  What do you do to help your family look forward to the new school year?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Vacation Bible School

My girls have just finished up their second week of Vacation Bible School.  They had such a great time.  Singing, playing, spending time with friends.  Learning about God and Jesus' gift of salvation, raising money for a great cause - a church in France.

This particular church even broke up into individual workshops - drama, dancing, sports.  My daughters both chose drama.  It was their favorite part of the day.  What fun to get to pretend!

Family Fun Night was a nice addition, courtesy of the church and some local donations.  Food, singing, playing, and even a visit from the ice cream truck.  Gotta love the ice cream truck.  Sadly, my 9 year old sprained her thumb playing tag. 
Someone bent it back too far.  :(  But really glad it wasn't broken.  Yikes!

Nice week.  Nice time.  Nice friends.