Thursday, October 23, 2014

Picture of the Week! (October 21, 2014)- Geraniums by C

DSCN1240 (Small)

I took this picture while we were on a trip.  I usually see red geraniums, but not pink.  They were very pretty.

C’s camera specifics:

  • Nikon Coolpix L18
  • f/3.9
  • Exposure time: 1/250 sec.
  • ISO-73

C is a girl who is almost nine.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Elementary German from Middlebury Interactive Languages (Schoolhouse Review Crew review)

We received this for review purposes!

Product Links: German Courses specifically German 1 for us

Vendor Information Link: Middlebury Interactive Languages

Age Appeal: Elementary German is grade 3-5

Format: online, go to the FAQs page for computer requirements

Price: $119 per semester


Are your children interested in learning a different language?  Middlebury Interactive Languages offers German.  We reviewed Elementary German 1.  This course has 45 lessons for a semester.  The lessons include video, text, pictures, and speaking practice.  There are videos with stories and ones where the student will learn about castles and food.

They offer Spanish, French, and Chinese as well.  The ages levels are from kindergarten through high school for most levels.  Please check the website for more information.    

Our Experience: 

C really enjoys trying different languages, so she was excited when she was chosen for Elementary German 1.  We have relatives who live in Germany, so she was excited to learn some German so she can speak to them.

The Middlebury Interactive Languages program is set up so C would practice German two to three days a week with 45 lessons for the semester.  She did it differently, she did one lesson a day for four or five days a week.  Her lesson included videos, exploring vocabulary, practicing, and speaking.  She was super excited for each lesson and she always wanted to do more.  B and I sometimes watched over her shoulder.  We wanted to learn some too.

There were some days when I would do some of the practice sections again with her.  I wanted to know if she was learning.  She did a wonderful job.  I could tell she was really learning and remembering everything.

Mama’s Thoughts:

  • I was really happy to see how much fun C had with this program.  She is always to work on her German.  I am so pleased with how much she is remembering and learning.  I am very proud of her.
  • German 1 for 3rd to 5th grade has been designed perfectly for that age.  The use of stories like Hansel and Gretel (told in German) make the new lesson vocabulary come alive.  The different unit subjects were perfect for the age group: family, numbers, greetings, adjectives/feelings, food, hobbies/professions, body, and the last unit is a review.
  • I was impressed with the layout of the program.  C would click on the unit she was working on, the specific lesson, then next activity in the lesson.  After she had finished the activity the program would put a checkmark in the box.  There was a nice mixture of video (story), explore (learning), and practicing.  There was even a speaking lab, so C could practice and record the words she was learning.
  • It would be helpful if the new words could be clicked on individually, so the student could hear the pronunciation one word at a time.  I thought it was difficult to say the phrases when the words were spoken so quickly.  C did a good job of picking up the phrases, much better than I did.

B’s Thoughts (boy, age 10, officially in fifth grade):   

 Bridger did not participate enough to be able to write a review.

C’s Thoughts (girl, age 8, officially in third grade):

I like learning different languages.  It was fun learning German.  I really liked the stories.  They were really good.  I liked The Brave Little Tailor and Rumpelstiltskin the best.  I listened to Hansel and Gretel, Tale of the Clever Hans, and The Tale of Mother Holle too.

Middlebury Interactive Languages is good for people of all ages.

Dad’s Thoughts:

The Middlebury Interactive digital world language course for Elementary German 1: Grades 3-5 is designed for easy interaction.  The graphics are colorful and appropriately sized for its intended age group.  The audio pronunciations are crisp and clear adding to the ease of learning.  As you progress through the course you build upon what you have learned by adding new words as well as reinforcing what's already been taught.

I find this course to be engaging, user friendly, and extremely functional through its intentional design.  My daughter has been enjoying it and has already gone ahead and done more lessons than required.  This is a winner in my book.  

Mama highly recommends!

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Picture of the Week! (October 16, 2014)- Beautiful Clouds

DSCF3054 (Small)

As many of you know, I enjoy taking photos of clouds.  This is one I took in the spring of 2014 as the leaves were just coming out on the trees.  As winter approaches, I am looking forward to spring coming again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Three iWitness books from Apologia Educational Ministries (Schoolhouse Review Crew review)

We received this for review purposes!

Product Links:

Vendor Information Link: Apologia Educational Ministries

Age Appeal: reading level is ages 11 and up, it will appeal to many people

Format: paperback book

Price: $14 each 

iWitness Books-001

Are you looking for books for children and adults that can teach more about Biblical archeology and the New and Old Testaments.  iWitness Biblical Archeology, New Testament iWitness, and Old Testament iWitness will do that and encourage the read to want to learn even more.

iWitness Biblical Archeology contains information about:

  • the Flood and Noah’s Ark
  • Sennacherib’s Siege of Jerusalem
  • the Dead Sea Scrolls
  • the oldest Old Testament copies
  • and more!

Old Testament iWitness contains information about:

  • Canon Criteria
  • different prophets
  • Covenants and Near East Treaties
  • the Intertestamental Period
  • and more!

New Testament iWitness contains information about:

  • the Synoptic Problem
  • rejected books
  • copying methods
  • manuscript families
  • and more!

Doug Powell, the author, has a Master of Arts in Christian Apologetics from Biola University.  He is also a graphic designer, musician, and an app developer.  Here is an interview with him that does an excellent job of describing the books.

Our Experience: 

It is always fun to learn more about the Bible and the Bible version that we read, which is why I was excited when we were chosen to review these three books.

I feel it is very important to learn as much about the Bible and its history as possible.  These books began to teach and inform us about Biblical history that we knew nothing about.

I decided to use these books both for ancient history and Bible study.  We would read a little bit of each book every day.  We read iWitness Archeology first, then Old Testament iWitness, and finished up with New Testament iWitness.  B and C enjoyed it when we read these books and I hope it encourages them to learn even more.

Mama’s Thoughts:

  • My favorite book was iWitness Biblical Archeology, because I have been interested in archeology for many years.  I am very strong in my faith, but I do enjoy seeing and reading about archeological proof of the existence of different in the Bible, like the Taylor Prism which talks about about Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah.  It also helps to have concrete proof when discussing the Bible with others who are not of the same faith.  I do wonder if there is a reason there is not a lot of archeological evidence, perhaps we need to take more on faith and not archeological evidence.
  • That faith comes into play with the book, New Testament iWitness.  The New Testament also took a lot of faith, because there are a lot of different versions and some books were accepted and some were not.  It was interesting reading about the different church fathers and learning about what books they did and did not accept.  My favorite part of this book was the section describing the different manuscript families.  it was interesting to learn that the King James version is a Byzantine text type, which is not as reliable as the Alexandrian text type, which is the most reliable and what modern Bible translations are based.
  • Old Testament iWitness was also a great book.  I really enjoyed learning about the different parts of the Bible and how meticulous the scribes were at copying.  I liked how the author, Doug Powell, included different archeological evidence as well.
  • All three of these books have wonderful illustrations and photos which support the text.  I do with the font of the text had been different.  It was very difficult for me to read some of t he passages, because I had a difficult time figuring out the individual letters in the different words.

B’s Thoughts (boy, age 10, officially in fifth grade):   

I liked the iWitness Biblical Archeology book the best.  I liked it, because I liked learning about the facts that back up the Bible.  I really liked the section, “Looking for Noah’s Ark.”  It would have been very nice to have an index, table of contents, and page numbers in this book.

Old Testament iWitness was my second favorite.  I liked learning about how they copied the copies of the Bible.  It was very interesting to learn about how carefully they copied it.

New Testament iWitness was also interesting and informational.  I really liked the section called “Synoptic Problem.” “Rejected Books” was cool.  It was fun to learn about the different manuscript families, like Byzantine and Alexandrian. 

In all three books it would have been easier to read if the text had been in a different font.

These books are very good for people of all ages.

C’s Thoughts (girl, age 8, officially in third grade):

My favorite book was iWitness Biblical Archeology.  I liked it, because I like history. 

These books are good for people of all ages.

Dad’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed the iWitness Biblical Archaeology book by Doug Powell.  The photos added to the informational text to create a vivid picture of the time and place of each topic discussed.  Enough information is presented to both satisfy your curiosity and leaving you with a passion to dig further into each topic.  Each archaeological find mentioned reinforces biblical scripture.  It's good to know that the Bible is trustworthy and true in all that it teaches us.

iWitness Biblical Archaeology is great to have around for young readers or just as a quick reference in biblical discussions.  It's well worth your investment of cost and time.

I enjoyed New Testament iWitness and Old Testament iWitness.  The history of how the Old and New Testaments came into being is quite interesting and informative. Though some of the terminology may need to be explained to younger children in an easier way for them to understand, I believe that they can grasp the concepts of how different books were or were not selected to be in the Bible.

Powell has produced more enjoyable books that have been well laid out with text, pictures, drawings, and graphs. They will be another resource for our library.

Mama highly recommends!

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Citizen by Rob Peabody (Book Review)

Citizen: Your Role in the Alternative Kingdom

By Rob Peabody

(received in exchange for an honest review)


Genre- Nonfiction / Christian Life / Religious

Published by- Monarch Books

Copyrighted- 2014

Number of pages- 192

Age Group- Adult 

Description of book- paperback, listed price- $14.99, ISBN 978-1-85721-542-0

Rob Peabody, says in Citizen, that we are part of a new group.  We are citizens of Heaven when we follow Jesus.    This book describes many ways we are to do that.

  • We are part of a new community.
  • We are all citizens even though we are from different groups.
  • We need to pay attention to where we have our allegiance.
  • We need to pay attention to the choices that we are making.

Excerpt from Citizen.

About the Author-

Rob Peabody and his family currently live in London.  He is the director of the Awaken Movement.  He used to be a lead campus pastor at a mega-church in Texas.

My thoughts-

I had a hard time getting into Citizen, by Rob Peabody, because of the cover and the title.  Those two things reminded me of a science fiction book that I would probably not read.

Once I started to read Citizen, I forgot all about the title and cover.  I became in the message Peabody was sharing.  I learned about my role as a citizen in God’s Kingdom, while still living on this earth. 

I really enjoyed reading the endorsements by Revd. Dr. Michael Moynagh, Randy Elrod, Sheridan Voysey, and more.  I chose to read them after I read the book.  I felt they would have more meaning to me and that I would understand what they were say.  I agreed with everything they said.  This is a perfect book for a new citizen or as a refresher course for experienced citizens.  Sometimes we get caught in ruts and we need to have a fresh perspective, so that we can get back to what was and should be important to us.

One of my favorite parts of the book was all of the personal stories from Peabody.  I liked that on pages 82-84 he talked about how important it was that he could not go into his new life and job looking like a know-it-all.  He was willing to humble himself in his new situation, so that he could build stronger relationships with the people he met.

I would highly recommend this book to everyone.  It should be past along to everyone, so that they know the best ways to be good citizens in God’s Kingdom.

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received Citizen, by Rob Peabody, for free from the Kregel Publications’ Blog Tour.  All links were current when posted.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

9 Traits of a Life-Giving Mom by Sue Detweiler

9 Traits of a Life-Giving Mom: Replacing My Worst with God’s Best

by Sue Detweiler

(I received this book for review purposes.)

9 Traits of a Life  picture-001

Genre- Christian / Nonfiction / Parenting

Publisher- Morgan James Publishing

Copyrighted- 2014

Number of pages- 200

Age Group- Adult (women)

Description of book- Paperback, $16.99, ISBN: 978-11630471149

9 Traits of a Life-Giving Mom, by Sue Detweiler, is a book show moms the nine traits (nine fruits of the Spirit) that can help them find peace with their lives.  Some of the traits are:

  • Love
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Self-control 

This book contains prayers at the end of each chapter and a study guide for each of the nine traits at the end of the book. 

About the Author:

Sue Detweiler is a mom to six children and is also a radio host, speaker and author.  She has been married for 30 years.

My thoughts:  

9 Traits of a Life-Giving Mom, by Sue Detweiler, was a very interesting book.  I saw myself in some of the negative traits that I have that I need to change into God’s traits, like anxiety to peace and fear into faithfulness. 

I was glad that Detweiler added a lot of anecdotes from her life into this book.  It really helped me to be able to admit to myself the traits that I need to change.  There were many stories that I found that could have helped me if I had those problems too.  I was very proud of her for sharing her stories. 

I thought the study guide was very helpful.  I would have preferred to have them at the end of the chapter, because I like being able read and answer the questions as soon as I finish the chapter without having to turn to the end of the book and then go back.

This was a very good book.  I would recommend to all moms and moms-to-be.

Informational and Purchasing Links:

To Connect with Sue Detweiler:

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received a free copy of 9 Traits of a Life-Giving Mom, by Sue Detweiler, to review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.  I am part of The CWA Review CrewAll links were current when posted.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Picture of the Week! (October 7, 2014)- The Sepia Forest

This picture was taken in eastern Wyoming.


B’s camera specifics:

  • Sony DSC-S650
  • f/9.7
  • Exposure time: 1/160 sec.
  • ISO-100

B is a boy who is almost 11.