Monday, November 25, 2013

Coming Home for Christmas - A DVD Review and Giveaway

Norman Rockwell presents...
Coming Home for Christmas (Home is Where the Heart is)








Available at Wal-Mart for $14.99
Not Rated 
87 Minute Run-time


Director: Vanessa Parise
Cast: George Canyon (Christmas Miracle, Dawn Rider, Man of Steel), Aaron Pritchett, Britt McKillip (Dead Like Me), Carly McKillip (Hot Rod)
Soundtrack also available featuring holiday songs performed by George Canyon


COMING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

After their parents separate, two estranged sisters who haven't been on speaking terms reunite in hopes that having a family Christmas all together for the first time in years will bring their Mom and Dad close again. They plan to do this in their old family home... the only problem is someone else lives there now.
The DVD includes a limited edition Norman Rockwell print!
Who is Norman Rockwell?  Rockwell was famous for his famous American culture illustrations and artwork. He was born in the late 1800’s and died in the mid 1900’s. 


Our Thoughts:
This is a very cute family Christmas movie.  Yes, it is  a bit corny and a bit predictable. Most family Christmas movies are.  Still, it is a "wholesome feel good" kind of movie.  The movie reminds us to never give up on love and family.  It also confirms our  desire to have our family gather together during the holidays and the importance of family traditions.


One lucky reader will receive a copy of this DVD, courtesy of FlyBy Promotions.  Just leave a comment on or before November 30, 2013.  I will choose one comment at random.
 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
 


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

King's Faith - A Review and Giveaway

About KING'S FAITH 
Eighteen foster homes. Nine arrests. One life-changing moment.
After Brendan King’s life spiraled to rock bottom, the teen found hope in a new relationship with Christ while serving time in a juvenile penitentiary. Recently released from prison, Brendan finds solace in the foster home of a couple struggling with suppressed grief.
As the city-bred teen enrolls at a suburban high school, he finds support from a group of believers. Yet the bonds of his old way of life—and the gang that wants to know where he hid their stash on a long-ago night—are strong. In his darkest moment, Brendan found faith. Now he must decide if it’s worth the price to hold on to it.
KING’S FAITH is produced by DiBella and Faith Street Film Partners LLC, a Rochester, NY-based collective of filmmakers, churches, investors, and supporters.   


KING’S FAITH is a compelling story 
which features solid acting and a good storyline.”  
The Dove Foundation


KING’S FAITH is a very redemptive, uplifting movie
extolling the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” 
MOVIEGUIDE®


KING’S FAITH stars Emmy Award winning actress Lynn Whitfield (The Women of Brewster Place, Madea’s Family Reunion), Crawford Wilson (Judging AmyZoey 101), Kayla Compton (Entourage), and James McDaniel (Malcolm XNYPD Blue).

KING’S FAITH features the themes of courage, forgiveness and overcoming your past highlighted with the important message of youth in foster care. The film prompts audiences to consider many of the questions they struggle with today: How can I stand firm in my faith when life’s challenges put me to the test?   Where do I turn when I feel paralyzed by loss and grief?  Can I find true forgiveness from my wrong choices?
Release Date: October 22, 2013
Run Time: 108 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for violence, drug content, and thematic events)
Suggested Retail Price: $14.99
Special Features: A 10-minute behind-the-scenes feature, commentary, discussion guide, Bible study clips affiliated with the LIVE IT OUT Bible Study


Watch the trailer/Visit the official website www.kingsfaith.com
OUR THOUGHTS:
 I watched this movie with my husband and teen-age children.  My mom, who just happened to be in town visiting, was also able to enjoy a movie night with us.  This movie is rated PG-13 for drug use and some violence, but I found it appropriate for my 14 and 11 year olds. 

King's Faith is a story about a young man who has spent his life in and out of foster homes... 18 foster homes.  He has made bad choices and paid his dues, including jail time.  As the movie begins, Brendan King is now a Christian who is trying to make a fresh start and trying to make good choices.  Unfortunately, his past comes back to haunt him as his former gang comes after him and demands to know where he hid their stash long ago. 

This movie covers some of the issues that teens may face, either themselves or with someone close to them... serious topics such as drugs, gangs, foster care, and abortion.  It encourages teens to rely on God and to turn to those they can trust, in times of great trial.  King's Faith reminds us that God is willing to forgive us, no matter how horrible our sin or crime may seem.  We, as adults, are also reminded that God has entrusted us with these children to love them and encourage them and point them to God.

Life is about forgiveness and second chances.  We shouldn't be too quick to judge others, as everyone has a story and a struggle... and no one but that person and God knows the whole story.  Be patient and be kind.


One lucky reader will receive a copy of this book, courtesy of FlyBy Promotions.  Just leave a comment on or before November 16, 2013.  I will choose one comment at random.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Audrey Bunny - A book review and a giveaway




 - a story by Angie Smith
 - illustrated by Breezy Brookshire


Ways to get connected:
Website
B&H Kids Facebook 
B&H Publishing Twiiter - @BHKidsBuzz 



About Audrey Bunny
From best-selling women’s author Angie Smith (I Will Carry You, Mended) comes this sweet children’s book about a stuffed animal named Audrey Bunny who fears her imperfections make her unworthy of a little girl’s love. She'll learn the truth soon enough, and young readers will learn that everyone is special and wonderfully made by God.

[Also included]: The Parent Connection (last page of the book) shares discussion questions and activities reinforcing God's love for us.

Angie Smith is the wife of Todd Smith (lead singer of Dove Award winning group Selah), best-selling author of MendedI Will Carry You, and What Women Fear, and one of the most popular speakers and blog writers in the country. She holds a Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Vanderbilt University and lives with her husband and daughters in Nashville, TN.

Written by: Angie Smith
Publisher: B&H Publishing
Hardcover with jacket:  32 pages 
$14.99







My thoughts:
This is a cute children's story about a little stuffed bunny who fears she will never find a forever home.  She worries that her imperfection will keep her from being loved and accepted.  Children will come along on Audrey's journey where she learns that she is completely loved and accepted just as she is.

Each of us is fearfully and wonderfully made by our Almighty God and He loves us just as we are.

This story is charming to read, in and of itself.  But it also serves a greater purpose, to teach children that God created us just the way we are and that are differences are what makes us special.  Jesus truly does love the little children.

In addition to the story, the illustrations are absolutely precious.

This delightful story captures the beauty of childhood and a child's desire to be accepted and loved just the way they are.


One lucky reader will receive a copy of this book, courtesy of FlyBy Promotions.  Just leave a comment on or before November 9, 2013.  I will choose one comment at random.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.






Saturday, October 19, 2013

One Way Love - A Review and a Giveaway



Tullian Tchividjian is the senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and the founder of LIBERATE.  He is also the grandson of Billy and Ruth Graham.


"Our world tells us: If you work hard, you’ll get the promotion.
 If you finish your broccoli, you’ll get dessert. 
If you do these three things, you’ll have a great marriage.
But grace isn’t from our world. 
Grace is unconditional, unpredictable, and way out of your control. 
And it will change your life." - page 21




My Thoughts:

At first, I was only reading this book because I had a review to write.  I needed to read the book, so I was reading it.  Then, the more I read of this book, the more interested I became. 

The words of this book touched me deep in my heart.  Feelings of not being good enough.  Feelings of guilt for the mistakes I have made.  This book has shown me that these feelings aren't  necessary.  God already knows I am not good enough - not good enough to deserve His love, and not good enough to deserve His salvation and grace.  That is why He sent His son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is good and through His Grace we are saved.  I truly am a Sinner saved by Grace.  Once saved always saved... by Grace (not by works, lest anyone should boast).  There is nothing I can do to keep my salvation and on the other hand, nothing I can do to lose my salvation.  It is by God's "One Way Love"... by His grace that I am saved and forgiven.  This book has been like a medicine to my soul, soothing and reassuring.  It is a reminder that God doesn't expect me to be perfect; in fact, He already knows I am not.  It is also a reminder that those around me are not perfect; they will disappoint.  We are all imperfect humans.

"One Way Love" is one of my favorite non-fiction reads.  This book has had a great impact on my heart and on the way that I view God and myself.

I will close my thoughts the same way Pastor Tullian closed his book, with this quote from Robert Capon. 

"What role have I left for religion? None. And I have left none because the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ leaves none. Christianity is not a religion; it is the announcement of the end of religion. Religion consists of all the things (believing, behaving, worshiping, sacrificing) the human race has ever thought it had to do to get right with God. About those things, Christianity has only two comments to make. The first is that none of them ever had the least chance of doing the trick: the blood of bulls and goats can never take away sins (see the Epistle to the Hebrews) and no effort of ours to keep the law of God can ever finally succeed (see the Epistle to the Romans). The second is that everything religion tried (and failed) to do has been perfectly done, once and for all, by Jesus in his death and resurrection. For Christians, therefore, the entire religion shop has been closed, boarded up, and forgotten. The church is not in the religion business. It never has been and it never will be, in spite of all the ecclesiastical turkeys through two thousand years who have acted as if religion was their stock in trade. The church, instead, is in the Gospel-proclaiming business. It is not here to bring the world the bad news that God will think kindly about us only after we have gone through certain creedal, liturgical and ethical wickets; it is here to bring the world the Good News that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.” It is here, in short, for no religious purpose at all, only to announce the Gospel of free grace," Robert Capon




Stay Connected:

#OneWayLove
@PastorTullian


"Tullian captures the wonder of grace and offers it to us all.  I urge you to read this book."
-Max Lucado, pastor and bestselling author


Tullian is also speaking with author Matt Chandler at 3 upcoming events.




One lucky reader will receive a copy of this book, courtesy of FlyBy Promotions.  Just leave a comment on or before October 28, 2013.  I will choose one comment at random.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.





Friday, September 27, 2013

Grace Unplugged and Own It - A double book review & a giveaway


Grace Unplugged
Written by: Melody Carlson
Publisher: B&H Books
Paperback: 304 pages 
Release Date: September 1, 2013
$15.99

About Grace Unplugged the Novel
Grace Trey is an 18 year old singer as passionate about her Christian faith as she is her phenomenal, God-given musical talent. Both traits come from her father, one hit wonder Johnny Trey who found Jesus after losing his chart success two decades ago. 

When Grace encounters her own music break of a lifetime, the sudden dive into the "real world" puts her deeper beliefs to the test. Pop superstardom is just within reach but appears to require some spiritual compromise. Will Grace reject her faith, or will she own it? 

Grace Unplugged is based on the motion picture of the same name starring AJ Michalka (Super 8) and Kevin Pollak (A Few Good Men) with performances by award-winning artists Chris Tomlin and Jamie Grace



About the Grace Unplugged Author
Melody Carlson has sold more than five million books. A professional writer for twenty years, she recently received the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award. Melody has two grown sons and lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest. 
My Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading Grace Unplugged.  So many teens dream of being a famous popstar.  Hollywood shows the glamorous side: adoring fans, fame, and fortune.  This book helps portray the "not-so-glamorous" side: promiscuity, substance abuse, lies and deceit.  Fame and fortune have been the downfall of many a good intention.  Grace, the 18 year old in the novel, struggles between her Christian faith and her desire for fame.  I feel the author did a great job of making Grace believeable and realistic.  Grace's father is a reminder that parents aren't perfect; but they do have their child's best interests at heart.  Parents will go to great lengths to protect a child, whether it be to protect the child from the poor decisions of others or the poor decisions of their own making. 
                                                                                                                         
Own It

Written by: Hayley and Michael DiMarco
Publisher: B&H Publishing
Paperback: 192 pages
Release Date: September 1, 2013
$14.99

About Own It, Discover Your Faith in God
The movie Grace Unplugged tells the story of Grace Trey, an ideal Christian teenager who is also a phenomenal singer. But when she is pushed into the “real world” at the tender age of eighteen after getting the music break of a lifetime, her faith is put to the test.
Own It mirrors the film by asking what it means to really “own” your personal faith rather than just automatically following in the footsteps of parents, friends, or other influencers. Best-selling authors Hayley and Michael DiMarco help readers understand what to do when faith meets real world challenges.
Without solid beliefs, poor choices are likely to follow. You must take the time to really know who you are, who you are becoming, and who God made you to be. It's your personal faith . . . own it!

About the Own It Authors
Hayley DiMarco is the best-selling author of more than thirty books including Dateable, Marriable, Mean Girls, and The Woman of Mystery. She has been a featured speaker at Women of Faith, Precept National Women's Conference, and MOPS Intl. among others and has consulted on the creation and enhancement of some of the largest stadium events for teens and young women in North America.
Michael DiMarco is a skillled communicator and teacher who has authored more than a dozen bestselling books including the 2010 Christian Bookof the Year for Youth, B4UD8 (Before You Date). He and his wife, author Hayley DiMarco, have one daughter and live in Nashville, Tennessee.

My Thoughts

Own It is based on a book mentioned in Grace Unplugged.  A friend gives the book to Grace.  She reads the book and searches her heart to see if she has truly ever "OWNED" her faith.  After being reminded of what it truly means to surrender your whole life to God, Grace has some tough decisions to make.

This book made some very good points, some that I had never thought about before.  How self-hate is still a form of self-love.  And that living in fear or anxiety means that you don't wholly trust God to have it all under control.  "If your live isn't changing, then it is possible that God hasn't saved you. "                               


Stay Connected
          Grace Unplugged Movie Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/graceunplugged
Grace Unpluggled Movie Twitter: @GraceMovie
Grace Unplugged Website: www.graceunplugged.com
B&H Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bhpublishing
B&H Twitter: @BHpub

Check out the Grace Unplugged movie trailer.   The movie premieres on October 4th.




Giveaway 


One lucky reader will receive a copy of these books, courtesy of FlyBy Promotions.  Just leave a comment on or before October 6, 2013.  I will choose one comment at random.

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.



Thursday, September 19, 2013

Bash and the Pirate Pig - A book review and a giveaway

Bash and the Pirate Pig 
 
 

Bash and the Pirate Pig, by Burton Cole, is the story of a cranky city kid named Raymond "Beamer" Boxby who must spend summer vacation at his younger cousin, Bash's, farm. 

Beamer prefers air conditioning and video games. He can't see what good can come of this so-called country fun that includes riding cows, river rafting with a pig, or playing with skunks. 

But hang tight, Beamer, because Bash's zany adventures with his "Fishin' and Farmin' book" (The Bible) just might lead to the coolest discovery of all. 

About the Author
Burton Cole is a Pulitzer Prize nominated journalist with thirty years of experience and more than fifty humor writing awards to his credit. He grew up on a farm in northeast Ohio and attended a small-town church with a slew of cousins and buddies. That same boyhood inspires his colorful stories today. 

About the Illustrator 
Tom Bancroft has more than twenty years of experience in the animation and illustration industry and worked with Disney on films including Beauty and the BeastThe Lion King, and Aladdin. Other clients have included DC Comics and Big Idea Productions. 

Bash and the Pirate Pig 
Written by: Burton Cole 
Illustrated by: Tom Bancroft
Publisher: B&H Kids
Hardcover: 224 pages 
$12.99



Stay Connected
B&H Publishing Twitter: @BHKidsBuzz
Website: http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/books/products.asp?p=9781433680694



Our Thoughts:

I read this book as a read-aloud with my 11 year old daughter.  My 4 year old daughter also listened in most of the time.  In my opinion, this book is geared more towards boys.  The two main characters are boys and the story is full of their crazy adventures and pranks during a summer on an Ohio farm.  While boys may enjoy it more, we still got a kick out of reading it.  The antics are humorous and the predicaments the boys find themselves in caused me to laugh out loud more than once. 

This is a Christian book and it presents the Gospel message beautifully.  I enjoyed hearing it explained through the words of a young boy; he explains it simply and clearly.  It could be a great way to witness to young children (about ages 8 to 14).  Jesus' plan of salvation and the Romans Road are woven into the story nicely. 

The story does include a great deal of name calling.  No curse words, by any means.  Just a lot of name calling (like nitwit and numbskull) between the two boys.  This didn't bother me, but I know some people might like to know ahead of time, if name calling is something that your child might already struggle with.

Bash and the Pirate Pig was a fun read-aloud.  My daughters and I all enjoyed it.  The presentation of the Gospel Message is awesome and I hope that it will be used to reach souls and change lives.




Giveaway 
One lucky reader will receive a copy of this book, courtesy of FlyBy Promotions.  Just leave a comment on or before October 1, 2013.  I will choose one comment at random.
 
 
 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.













Friday, August 30, 2013

Alone Yet Not Alone Book Review and Giveaway





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MOVIE TRAILER
MOVIE TWITTER
MOVIE WEBSITE


About the book:

About Alone Yet Not Alone (novelization):

Settled in the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania, deep within America's new frontier, the Leininger family celebrates the blessings of a beautiful homestead and bountiful harvest. That is, until tragedy strikes with the beginning of the French and Indian War and the devastating raid known as the Penn's Creek Massacre. 

The lives of this simple, God-fearing family are forever altered when Barbara and Regina, two young sisters, are carried away by the Delaware tribe. Driven by their faith in God and the powerful bonds of family, Barbara and Regina hold firmly to the belief that they are never alone, even in their darkest hour, and that they will be reunited again. 

Rich in historical details, Alone Yet Not Alone is an inspirational, true story of a family caught in the cross fire of the French and Indian War. 

About The Author: 
Tracy Leininger Craven loves history and retelling real-life stories in her historical fiction books. She also loves spending her free time in the great outdoors with her husband David and their four children.


Alone Yet Not Alone (the book)
Written by: Tracy Leininger Craven
Publisher: Zonderkidz 
Paperback: 148 pages 


About the movie:
About Alone Yet Not Alone (THE MOVIE):
Releases in theaters Sept 27th, 2013 - Find a Theater Here: http://seatzy.com/main/moviedetail/alone-yet-not-alone

Families will love this film based on a true story!  Awarded 5 Doves from the Dove Foundation and approved for ages 12+.

Starring: Kelly Greyson, Natalie Racoosin, Clay Walker, Jenn Gotzon, Joanie Stewart, Ozzie Torres, Tony Wade.

Bring Alone Yet Not Alone to Your Cityhttp://seatzy.com/main/moviedetail/alone-yet-not-alone
Our Thoughts: 

I am a big history buff, so I was excited to see that this book was based on a true story.  I am also fascinated by this particular time period (1700s), so that made it even more interesting.  We received the book and read it as a family (me and my 3 daughters).  We read it over a period of a few weeks and just recently completed it.  The verdict:  We all enjoyed reading this book.

It is a great history lesson, which will allow readers to learn much about the time period of the late 1700s in Pennsylvania... clothing, chores, the French and Indian War, immigration, customs of the Delaware tribe, etc.  

It is also a lesson in faith, family, values... remembering that no matter the circumstance, no matter how alone a Christian may feel, he/she is never truly alone.  God is always with us.  Barbara and Regina lived out their faith, hiding God's Word in their hearts, remembering that even through the darkest of times, they never were truly alone.
I enjoyed this book and encourage others to read it as well.  Share it with your older children.  They can learn much from this inspiring story.  Some scenes are frightening and intense, so I would suggest ages10 and up.

Giveaway 


One lucky reader will receive a copy of this book, courtesy of FlyBy Promotions.  Just leave a comment on or before Sept 20, 2013.  I will choose one comment at random.

 
 
 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


Friday, August 16, 2013

A Child's Geography: Explore the Classical World - A Review

A Child's Geography: Explore the Classical World
 by Terri Johnson



I had heard of the "A Child's Geography" series, but had never read one... or seen one in person.  Recently, I had the opportunity to edit/proofread the 3rd book in the series (Explore the Classical World).  I was very impressed with the quality of the book; what a pleasant surprise.  Reading the book was like listening to a friend tell about her travel adventures.  It wasn't like reading a textbook; it was like reading a friend's travel journal.  After seeing the final product in eBook form, I was even more impressed.  The full color photographs added such a nice touch.

The book takes you along on a  journey of several countries in the classical world, such as Italy and Greece.   These countries have so much history; I learned so many new things about these "old" lands.  Not only does the book touch on the history of the countries from a Christian worldview.  It also discusses landmarks, terrain, customs, local delicacies, and more. 

Each chapter ends with a "Field Notes" section.  This section gives your child a chance to review the lesson and wrap-up their thoughts by answering the provided questions in a notebook or journal.  This will make for a nice keepsake.  The included images of maps and timelines are also a nice and helpful addition.

The CD includes even more useful items to make the whole experience come alive.  You will find great resources such as recipes unique to the individual countries.  One of the neatest resources in my opinion is the Prayer Guide.  This guide tells a little about the religious state of the country, such as the main religion and the condition of the Christian Church, and then includes specific prayer requests for that country.  What a great addition!

I so enjoyed reading through this book during the proofreading.  I am looking forward to sharing the complete and final product with my daughters.  In my opinion, this book is an awesome way to study geography.  It is a great alternative to a dry textbook.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned below for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

Saturday, July 6, 2013

New School Year... New Decisions

Another school year over and done.  Now summer is upon us and well under way.  Before I know it, another school year will be starting.  In the meantime, I have just a matter of weeks to make my final curriculum choices for my children. 

For some courses, the decision came easy.  For other courses, I am still struggling, trying to decide what curriculum will work best.  Textbook, living book, online class, DVD class.  So many choices from so many publishers.  It is hard to decide.

To make matters more complicated, I have such a wide age range.  My oldest daughter starts high school this September.  And my youngest daughter, well... she will be born in September. 

Then I have to decide how many classes will be done independently, such as math.  Then, decide how many classes will be studied together, such as history. 

I am so grateful for the privilege to homeschool my children.  I am so thankful for all the wonderful curriculum suppliers and all the wonderful choices they have provided.  The possibilities seem endless.  A homeschool parent could spend hours perusing websites, catalogs, conferences. 

I'm praying for guidance and wisdom.  I want to make good decisions.  I don't want to waste our money or our time on choices, which will not work well for our children. 

So, how do you decide?  Do you use the same publisher each year?  Do you use the same publisher for each child?


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ring the Bell DVD - A Review and a Giveaway

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned below for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising



About Ring the Bell:
Ring The Bell shares the story of a slick, big city sports agent Rob Decker who seems to have it all. But on his latest mission to sign a high school baseball superstar, Rob becomes stranded in a small town where the simplicity of life—and the faith of the people—stand in stark contrast to his own fast-paced, win-at-all-costs mindset. Torn between these two worlds, will Rob have the courage to let faith transform his life? This heartwarming story of redemption is sure to entertain and inspire the whole family.
Ring The Bell features a host of well-known Christian music artists, such as Mark Hall along with his band Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Matthew West, all who play a role in this inspirational drama. Several former and current Major League Baseball all-stars are also featured in the film: ESPN analysts John Kruk and Rick Sutcliffe (a former Cy Young Award winner), along with Ben Zobrist.
This family-friendly movie was produced by Mark Miller, Beach Street Records' founder and Casting Crowns’ producer. Miller, who is also the lead singer and founder of country music group Sawyer Brown, co-wrote the script with Thomas Weber and Weber directed the production. 

Ring the Bell is available on DVD for only $19.99 

DVD Special Features:
The Heart of "Ring the Bell"
Casting Crowns “The Well” Music Video

On Set with Casting Crowns
Famous Faces

A Very Special Movie

Ringing the Bell
The Artists and Music of "Ring The Bell"
 
 
 
 
 
 
Website:  http://ringthebellthemovie.com
Watch the Trailer: http://ringthebellthemovie.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RingTheBellTheMovie


Our Thoughts
I am always so excited to preview a new Christian movie.  It is such a pleasure to sit down as a family and watch a good, wholesome movie.  I never really know what to expect, so it is almost always a surprise as the various movies and plots unfold. 

My family sat down to watch this DVD this past weekend.  The plot reminds us that life isn't all about work or the next big deal.  It is about following the path that God has set out for us, even though it might not always be the most popular path... or the one that will lead to fame and fortune.  Others may not always understand or agree with the decisions we make or the paths we choose to walk down; but it isn't about others or even about us.  It is about trusting God enough to lead the way. 

As an added bonus, there were some big names in this movie, such as Casting Crowns and Steven Curtis Chapman.  Casting Crowns performs at a concert in the movie.  Yay!  I love their music, so watching a mini-concert in the movie was great and their song, "At the Well" is amazing. 

A great family movie.  A feel-good kind of movie.  I cried many happy tears with this show. 


Giveaway
One lucky reader will receive a copy of this DVD, courtesy of FlyBy Promotions.  Just leave a comment on or before May 15, 2013.  I will choose one comment at random.
 
 
 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hey God, I've Got Some Guy Named Jonah in My Stomach and I Think I'm Gonna Throw Up! - A Book Review & a Giveaway


Written by Troy Schmidt
Illustrated by Cory Jones
$9.99
Release Date is May 1, 2013


Book Trailer






About the Book: 
Oh sure, we've all heard the story of Jonah and the Whale a hundred times. But have we heard it from the perspective of the whale who experienced that history-making event?

Hey God, I've Got Some Guy Named Jonah in My Stomach and I Think I'm Gonna Throw Up! imagines how that great sea creature from the incident might tell his side of the story, helping kids ages 4 to 8 discover a creative way of learning about that guy who was supposed to go to Ninevah.

The "Parent Connection" feature (inside the book) will help moms and dads take the story further with scripture references and tips on how to talk with their children about what really happened.

About the Author: 
Troy Schmidt has writing and video production credits ranging from assignments with Disney (The Mickey Mouse Club) and Nickelodeon to Max Lucado's Hermie franchise. He is currently the lead writer for The American Bible Challenge hosted by Jeff Foxworthy on the Game Show Network. Troy and his wife have three sons.

The Series:  This is just the first in a series!  Other books available include Hey God, Can You Stop the Rain so I Can Get off Noah's Smelly Ark? and Hey God, I'm Having an Awful Vacation in Egypt Thanks to Moses!


Our Thoughts:
I shared this book with my 4 and 11 year old daughters.  The recommended age range is 4 to 8, but my 11 year old daughter was happy to join in on the fun with her little sister.  Of course the book was geared more towards my 4 year old, however both girls enjoyed the story... as did I.  

The book has delightful illustrations, witty humor, and tells an age-old story with a new twist... from the whale's point-of-view.   

The book stays true to the original event and reinforces the moral of the story - when God speaks, we should listen and act upon it.  This cute "whale of a tale" reminds us that God only asks us to trust HimWhatever He asks us to do, He asks that we trust Him.
 
Giveaway


One lucky reader will receive a copy of this book, courtesy of FlyBy Promotions.  Just leave a comment on or before May 15, 2013.  I will choose one comment at random.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.






Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hold Them Close

This week, I seem to hear about the tragic loss of a child every time I turn around.  A child terminally ill with cancer.  A drowning.  A car accident.  An act of violence.  Some losses are from disease, some from accidents, and some... God helps us, were due to intentional acts of hate. 

With each loss, the pain bores a little deeper into my soul.  With each news report, my hearts breaks a little more.  So much sadness, so much loss.  I have prayed for their families; I have prayed for mine.  I have shed tears for their loss and their grief; I have shed tears because I love my family dearly and life is so fragile.

These tragedies remind me that each day that my family is together safe and sound is a gift.  Each night that my family returns home safely and sleeps peacefully under one roof is a blessing. It reminds me to hold my children close.  To hug them tight.  To keep them near and dear to my heart, where they always have been. 

There is no guarantee of tomorrow.  So I should live today with all of my heart. God has given me today, and I shouldn't waste it, shouldn't take it for granted.  Today isn't just another day... today is God's gift to my family.  Yesterday wasn't just another day; it was a gift to my family. 

These great losses have also reminded me about what really matters in life.  We, or at least I, am guilty of confusing my needs and my wants.  Too often we hear people saying, "I need new clothes." - "I need a bigger house." - "I need a vacation." - "I need this.. I need that."  But if we were to stop and think really long and hard about it, if we examined our hearts and our motives... would this really be the truth?  Do we really need these things?  Or are they just wants, and for the most part, very self-centered wants?  There are very few things that we truly need.  People have lived long, prosperous, productive lives in very small homes, wearing very old clothes, and never leaving their home state to "see the world."  The secret?  They were content.  ("But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus," Philippians 4:19 KJV)

God doesn't say that we can't wish, hope, and dream.  Yet, He does ask that we be content with right where we are and with just what we have.  Dream all you want; hope is a powerful thing.  Still, if those wishes never come true... if you never accomplish your dreams, will you still be content and happy?  Will you still feel blessed? Therein lies the difference.  Contentment.  ("Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content," Philippians 4:11)

Tragic losses remind us to put things in perspective.  My family is home safely, clothed and fed, and in good health.  We are loved by God and by each other.  Our needs are met.  Everything else is just a "want."  What a blessing.  I am content.





Monday, April 15, 2013

This is our Time DVD - A Review and a Giveaway

This is Our Time DVD

 


About the movie:
The movie tells the interwoven stories of Luke (T.J. Dalrymple) and AlĂ© (Erin Bethea), who marry right after school and move to India to serve as missionaries for Embrace A Village, a ministry that cares for those afflicted with leprosy and their families; aspiring financier Catherine (Kate Cobb), who joins a prestigious financial institution determined to make an impact on corporate America; Ryder (Matthew Florida), who lands an impressive job in social media and can’t wait to use the powerful medium for a greater good; and Ethan (Shawn-Caulin Young,) seemingly the odd man out, who struggles to find his God-given-purpose and feels sidelined by God.
“What they all come to learn is that it never really was their time,” Arnold said. “It always was, always is, God’s time.”


Giveaway


One lucky reader will receive a copy of this DVD, courtesy of FlyBy Promotions.  Just leave a comment on or before April 30, 2013.  I will choose one comment at random.

Our Thoughts:
I have enjoyed viewing several family-friendly Christian movies over the past few years.  It is always a pleasure to be able to sit down as a family and watch a movie without worrying about the content.  It also nice to watch movies with a purpose, a lesson...  to be reminded of God's promises, our purpose in life, etc.

So of course, when this movie came up for review, I volunteered.  This weekend, we sat down as a family to watch the This is Our Time DVD.  I can't say it was my favorite movie of all times... some of the acting was a little "off", the scenes jumped around a lot, and some things were a bit difficult to follow.  But the message was still there, coming through loud and clear.  As the above quote said, "It never really was their time.  It always was, always is, God's time."  God knows the plans He has for us; He knows what the future holds.  He has a plan... a plan we don't always understand, don't even always agree with.  The movie reminds us that God never promised it would be easy, and reminds us that for those who God has the greatest plans, it rarely is easy.  This movie is definitely a tear-jerker. 
The movie also focuses on a real organization called Embrace A Village, a ministry that cares for lepers and their families.



"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hero Tales from American History by Theodore Roosevelt & Henry Cabot Lodge CD Set - A Review

Hero Tales from American History
by Theodore Roosevelt & Henry Cabot Lodge


Complete Set for $15
Available at Raising Real Men

President Theodore Roosevelt and Congressman Henry Cabot Lodge wrote a history book for children, "Hero Tales from American History."  It came to be, after Roosevelt's wife encouraged Roosevelt and Lodge (good friends) to write about some of their favorite Americans and moments in history.  The tales are retellings of some of America's greatest heroes from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, 26 stories in all.

Hal and Melanie Young have taken this treasure and turned it into an audio-tale, complete with sound effects.  The set includes 3 CDs, each an hour long.  The tales are 7 to 11 minutes long and appropriate for all ages.


Here is a breakdown of the included tales.

Part 1 – 1732-1777
George Washington (Biography)
Daniel Boone (Biography)
George Rogers Clark (Revolutionary War)
The Battle of Trenton (Revolutionary War)
Bennington (Revolutionary War)








Part 2 – 1780-1814
Kings Mountain (Revolutionary War)
Stony Point (Revolutionary War)
Gouveneur Morris (French Revolution)
The Philadelphia (Barbary Pirates)
The Wasp (War of 1812)
The Privateer General Armstrong (War of 1812)






Part 3 – 1814-1865
The Battle of New Orleans (War of 1812)
John Quincy Adams and the Right of Petition
Francis Parkman
“Remember The Alamo!” (Texas Revolution)
Hampton Roads (USS Monitor and CSS Virginia)
The Flag-Bearer (War Between The States)






I was so privileged to receive this audio set for review.  I didn't even know that the book, "Hero Tales," existed.  I knew several things about Theodore Roosevelt, but I didn't know that he was an author... and a children's author at that.  He and Lodge shared the stories of great Americans, such as George Washington and Daniel Boone.

My daughters and I listened to these stories while commuting back and forth to activities.  What a great use of our time.  We were able to learn about some of America's greatest heroes, to hear about hard-fought victories, to be reminded of what virtue truly is.

To get an idea of the kinds of lessons to be learned from these tales, take a moment to read from  the book's dedication: "Thrift, industry, obedience to law, and intellectual cultivation are essential qualities in the makeup of any successful people; but no people can be really great unless they possess also the heroic virtues which are as needful in time of peace as in time of war, and as important in civil as in military life. As a civilized people we desire peace, but the only peace worth having is obtained by instant readiness to fight when wronged—not by unwillingness or inability to fight at all. Intelligent foresight in preparation and known capacity to stand well in battle are the surest safeguards against war. America will cease to be a great nation whenever her young men cease to possess energy, daring, and endurance, as well as the wish and the power to fight the nation's foes."

I love history, especially American history.  This Audio CD set is American history at its best.  Way more interesting than a dry, boring textbook.  I am very thankful to be able to add this set to my homeschool collection.  I hope you will consider adding it to your collection, as well.








Disclaimer: 
"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
 





 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

VeggieTales: The Little House that Stood - A Giveaway

VeggieTales:  The Little House that Stood DVD






 
 

About The Little House That Stood
When the Three Little Pigs roll into Cabbageville looking to build some new houses, they meet one builder with a plan and two without a clue! Larry builds with hay, Mr. Lunt with bricks, but only Bob builds his houses on a firm foundation - following the wise plans from the Master Builder's Handbook! Will the Little Piggies make the right choices when it comes to building their houses - and their lives - on solid ground? Find out in this parable that shows kids when they follow God's blueprints, they can stand strong when the storms come!

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
 
Our Thoughts:
 
I have loved VeggieTales for years.  And so have my children.  The characters are cute.  The songs are catchy.  The stories are interesting.  And the lessons are invaluable.
 
So when I was offered a chance to review the newest VeggieTales movie, I jumped at the chance.  And as always, it didn't disappoint.  
 
"The 3 Little Pigs" meets "The Man Who Built His House Upon the Rock" in the latest tale.  And children will learn that only houses built upon the strong foundation will stand firm in the times of trials and storms.  So build your lives upon the True Rock, the Word of God.

 
 
 
Giveaway
 
One lucky reader will receive a copy of this great DVD, courtesy of FlyBy Promotions.  Just leave a comment on or before March 15, 2013.  I will choose one name at random.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Abel's Field DVD - A Review and a Giveaway




Website: http://www.abelsfield.com

About Abel's Field

Left motherless by tragedy and abandoned by his father, high school senior Seth McArdle (Samuel Davis) faces enormous pressure as he strives to support his little sisters. At school, he endures the daily bullying of the football team. But fighting back only finds him singled out for punishment and assigned to an after-school work detail under the supervision of the reserved groundskeeper, Abel (SOUL SURFER’S Kevin Sorbo). Much to his surprise, Seth discovers that Abel may be the only one who truly understands his struggles. As dark times lure Seth toward desperate measures, the reluctant Abel may be the one person who can point him back toward the light.
 
 
 
 
 
My Thoughts
 
I appreciate that so many family-appropriate movies are coming out lately.  Movies that don't use profanity or show questionable content.  It is nice to sit down with my children to watch a movie and know that I won't need to cringe.  And that fact that so many faith-based movies are coming out makes it that much better.  Movies with a moral, a lesson, an encouraging word.
 
All the above things are what Abel's Field is all about.  It is family friendly and it is faith based.  And the message is one that Christians need to be reminded about all too often.  God is more than willing to forgive a repentant heart; unfortunately, we have so much trouble forgiving ourselves.  And why do we too often wait till we hit rock-bottom to cry out to God for help?
 
My family enjoyed this movie and highly recommend it to others.
 
 
 
 
Giveaway
 
One lucky reader will receive a copy of this great DVD, courtesy of FlyBy Promotions.  Just leave a comment on or before February 15, 2013.  I will choose one name at random.
 
 
 
 
 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."