Monday, August 25, 2014

Picture of the Week! (August 25, 2014)- Clouds at Sunset

IMG_4468 (Small)
If you have been following my blog and Picture of the Week!, then you know that I like clouds.  I spent some time today going back and looking at pictures.  I found a collection of sunset pictures and this was the best one. 
Enjoy the sunsets that you see all over the world.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Prayer of the Week! (August 22, 2014)- Ephesians 2:8-9

A couple of years ago I took part in a Bible study where we studied the book of Ephesians.  Once a week I would like to mention the Bible verses which were studied, give my observations and applications.  Finally, I will give you my prayer involving those verses.
Today will be Ephesians 2:8-9.
  • Works will not save you, it is only your faith in God.
  • Grace is given as a gift from God when we have faith.
  • We need to remember that works will not save us.
Dear Lord,
Thank you for saving us through faith.  I would not be worthy if it was by work.  I am not worthy of it anyway, but thanks to faith and Jesus I am worthy.
In Jesus’s name.  Amen

Halfa Moon by Joan Bannan (Book Review)

Halfa Moon

by Joan Bannan

(I received this book for review purposes.)


Genre- Christian / Fiction

Publisher- Abbott Press

Copyrighted- 2013

Number of pages- 243

Age Group- Adult

Description of book- Paperback, $17.99, ISBN: 978-1-4582-1185-9

Meg Randallman has been suffering from guilt and misunderstanding for over seventeen years in Halfa Moon, by Joan Bannan.  Meg was four years old when her six-year-old sister died protecting her.  Her mother then takes Meg and her little brother away from the rest of their family.

Norma, Meg’s mother, takes them to California, where she marries and the children have many advantages.  Meg is tutored at home where she excels at her studies and music.  She becomes friends with her stepfather’s mother, where she is accepted and loved. 

Now it is time for her first job, in cyber security.  She is filling a position that was held by a woman who was murdered.  Is she now in danger?  Will she always suffer from the death of her sister?

About the Author:

Joan Bannan currently lives in Northern California.  She has written four nonfiction books.

My thoughts:  

Halfa Moon, by Joan Bannan, was well written.  I usually do not like books when they are written from the first person point-of-view, but Bannan wrote this book like it was a memoir.  I really became intrigued, because of the way it was written.

Meg Randallman went through so much as a four-year-old, when her older sister died protecting her.  She even had to go through the trauma of her mom taking them away (Meg and her younger brother, Ray) away from their dad.  Of course, as a young child she blamed herself for everything and then kept it hidden for many years.  I think she should have spoken up and said what was going on.  She grew up to be a successful young woman thanks to her opportunities and her stepfather’s mother.  It was reassuring that she was able to succeed despite her trials.

I recommend this book to all adults.  I think women will appreciate it more than men.

Informational and Purchasing Links:

Connect with Joan:

You can purchase your copy of Halfa Moon at:

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received a free copy of Halfa Moon, by Joan Bannan, 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.

Esther Queen of Persia by Jim Baumgardner (Book Review)

Esther Queen of Persia: A Courageous Woman for a Dangerous Time

by Jim Baumgardner

(I received this book for review purposes.)


Genre- Religion / Christian / Historical Fiction

Publisher- Baumgardner Press

Copyrighted- 2013

Number of pages- 303

Age Group- Adult

Description of book- Paperback, $16.95, ISBN: 978-0-9884107-1-8

Esther Queen of Persia, by Jim Baumgardner, is filled with Esther’s story.  Esther was first called Hadassah when she was a Jewish orphan living with her cousin, Mordecai. 

She was taken from her home to Ahasuerus’s Palace.  He is looking for the next queen of Persia.  Eunuch, Hegai, is captivated by her beauty and manners.  He knows she could be the next queen, so he makes sure she gets the best treatments.

So begins Esther’s (Hadassah’s new name) next year in the palace.  What will happen to her?  And why has God allowed her to be subjected to a heathen lifestyle.

About the Author:

Jim Baumgardner currently lives in Wichita, Kansas, with his wife.  He has written his books for the benefit of his grandchildren.

My thoughts:  

I really enjoyed reading Jim Baumgardner’s Esther Queen of Persia.  He has brought the book of Esther to life with great dialogue and captivating descriptions.  I read the book of Esther from the Bible after I read this book and I really appreciated how much Baumgardner followed the Bible.  God truly blessed him with the knowledge he needed to write the dialogue that made this story more powerful and personal.

There are many other parts that I like in this book as well.  I liked the detail in the introduction as to why Baumgardner wrote this book and where he got his information.  I also liked the list of scripture references, works consulted, and a list of books he has written.

I really hope everyone reads this book.  I enjoyed it immensely and I hope to find and read many more books by Baumgardner.

Informational and Purchasing Links:
You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google +, and Goodreads.

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received a free copy of Esther Queen of Persia, by Jim Baumgardner, 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.

Math Practice Fun from UberSmart Math Facts (Schoolhouse Crew Review)

We received this for review purposes!


Product Links: UberSmart Math Facts

Vendor Information Link: UberSmart Software

Age Appeal: Primarily for grades K-6, but great for any age that needs to practice

Format: Downloadable Software that works on Windows 7, 8, XP, and Vista (It can be used by eight or more students) 

Price: $24.95

Do your children need to learn their math facts or increase their speed?  UberSmart Math Facts might be what your family needs.  No longer will you need to find the flashcards, especially the ones that are missing, they are all right here on the computer.

This math program includes:

  • Dot Cards (like adding dominoes)
  • Keyboard Entry
  • Flashcards (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division)

Students will learn, practice and then test.  They will learn the facts one group at a time, like all the ones then all the twos.  If there are problems they are unable to do, there is a special function called focus so they can practice them until they learn them.   During tests they will be able to see the previous problem and the one coming up.  They can also skip the problem and come back to it.  When the students master the skills a certificate will be available to print.


Our Experience: 

I am always looking for fun ways for B and C to practice their math facts.  I was excited for us to try UberSmart Math Facts.  We kept our practice to 10 minutes three times a week.  Since it is still summer time I thought that it was important for them to practice regularly, but not make it a chore.  Both of them were usually excited and willing to do their ten minutes.  It was only a problem when they became frustrated with trying to answer the problems.  Keeping it to the ten minutes helped to alleviate any negativity.

I have done some practicing on this program too.  I do it, because it is fun and I need to be able to answer math problems when B and C ask me.

This is a program that I plan on having B and C continue during the school year.


Mama’s Thoughts:

  • The Math Facts PDF has a lot of good information.  I highly recommend that you glance through it before your family begins, because you can learn about all of the functions that you may not realize are there.
  • I thought the dot cards were hard.  My brain must not think that way.  I do know it would be good for some people.
  • I am glad that the number of problems to learn can be expanded, like being able to multiply up to 20x20.  It would be nice to include it up to 12 for addition and subtraction.  B and C still have problems solving those facts. 
  • I really liked the focus part and the encouragement it gave when the task was done.  I think one of the favorite parts of the program was that we could make the screen size larger.  It is really nice when the wallpaper and icons can be hidden from view.  It is much less distracting.
  • I love all of the different functions that can be done as the administrator.  I plan on printing reports for B and C when we are back with our printer.  I want them to have a copy of how well they are working and what they need to improve. 
  • I forgot what my password is, so I am glad I can go on the internet and change it.  As the administrator I need to be able to look at things and change it. 
  • I would like it there was a separate name and password for each person.  The kids have accidently worked on each other’s accounts.  It would be nice to keep them separate. 
  • I liked the keyboard entry feature.  It would have been nice if the program would teach the children how to use the number keys in the most efficient way.  I had to show them how to correctly do it. 
  • The program is more than just learning the problems it also includes really enforcing them and learning the ones that they miss.  That is most important when learning math facts.
  • I really liked looking at the all of the parts of the program.
  • I thought the price was excellent, because more than eight children can use the program with one license.

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

I liked UberSmart Math Facts.  I liked that it had where you could learn, practice, and test.  I also liked that it had the report section.  I wish it had the option to login, because then you would definitely know you were doing it under your own name.  In the compete section it would be nice to do have addition separate from subtraction and multiplication separate from division.  It would be nice to have addition higher than nine.

It would be good for children my age.       


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

It was fun doing UberSmart Math Facts.  I liked practicing my addition facts.  I mastered from the 0s to the 9’s.  Keyboard Entry was fun.  The Dot Cards were tricky.

It is good for people of all ages. 


Dad’s Thoughts:

Dad was not available.   

Mama recommends!   

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A Christian Survival Guide by Ed Cyzewski (Book Review)

A Christian Survival Guide: A Lifeline to Faith and Growth

By Ed Cyzewski

(received in exchange for an honest review)

 A Christian Survival Guide a Lifeline to Faith and Growth

Genre- Nonfiction / Christian Life / Spiritual Growth

Published by- Kregel Publications

Copyrighted- 2014

Number of pages- 208

Age Group- Adult 

Description of book- paperback, listed price- $13.99, ISBN 978-0-8254-4331-2

A Christian Survival Guide, by Ed Cyzewski, is filled with useful information about what to do when you struggle with your faith or you are new to your faith.

This book is divided into two parts, “Christian Beliefs” and “Christian Practices.”  Some of the subjects discussed are:

  • Prayer
  • The Bible
  • Hell
  • Sin
  • Money
  • Church Community
  • The Holy Spirit

About the Author-

Ed Cyzewski currently lives in Ohio with his wife and son.  He is a blogger, freelance writer, and speaker.  He blogs at  He has written Coffeehouse Theology, Unfollowers: Unlikely Lessons on Faith from the Doubters of Jesus.

My thoughts-

I thought A Christian Survival Guide, by Ed Cyzewski, was interesting and informational.  It had a lot of good information for people who are either struggling with their faith or a new to their faith.

One of my favorite parts of this book was the list of books for further research in the back of the book.  He listed four to six books for each of the fourteen chapters.  The titles sounded very interesting, so I am planning on looking for them at my local library.

I liked how the book was divided into two sections, “Christian Beliefs” and “Christian Practices.”  My favorite section was “Christian Practices,” because it got right to the heart of some of the issues Christians face, like money, sin, and problems in the church community.

The only chapter in that section I was not sure about was the last one about the Holy Spirit.  I have never given much thought to how it might be hard for someone to realize the Holy Spirit is there with them.  I just know that the Holy Spirit is there.  I am not a Baptist, so when he talked about things that apply to the Baptists, as he did on pages 184 and 185 about the Holy Spirit, I was not interested.

I think this book would have been even better with either a conclusion or selection of questions at the end of each chapter.  Either of these would have tied everything together for me and I would have remembered more about the great information in the book.

I would recommend that everyone read this A Christian Survival Guide, learn from it, then challenge themselves to grow as Christians.

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received A Christian Survival Guide by Ed Cyzewski, 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, August 20, 2014

Happy Kids Songs by Dr. Mac & Friends (Schoolhouse Crew Review)

We received this for review purposes!

Product Links:

Happy Kids Songs Workbook: Hands-on Activities to Build Character, Social & Emotional Skills (Physical Book)

Friends & Sharing (Volume 1)
Happiness & Attitude (Volume 5)
Manners & Character (Volume 6)

Vendor Information Link: Happy Kids Songs

Age Appeal: geared towards 3-8 year-olds

Format: Download from either iTunes or Amazon, the book is a physical copy

Price: $4.95 for each volume, $13.95 for the workbook

Do you worry about the music that your young children are listening to?  I know I do.

Happy Kids Songs by Dr. Mac and Friends contains kid friendly songs that discuss matters such as friends, bullying, happiness, manners, attitude, respect, and responsibility.  Each volume contains five downloadable songs in different genres.  There is also a corresponding workbook with activities for the kids to do by themselves and activities for the parents to do with the kids.

Friends & Sharing (Volume 1)

  • Sailing on the Seven C’s
  • Everybody Wants to Find a Friend
  • Sharing Friends
  • Happy and Happy Can B
  • Together

Happiness & Attitude (Volume 5)

  • Shake it Out and Dance
  • Who Knows What’s a Kudo?
  • I Don’t Understand
  • Be Good to Yourself
  • Better Together

Manners & Character (Volume 6)

  • H-o-n-e-s-t-y
  • The Magic Word
  • Quirks
  • The Golden Rule
  • Six Little Kids

Our Experience: 

Our family occasionally needs help with all of the topics included in the Happy Kids Songs, which is why I was happy we were selected. 

C really enjoyed listening to the different songs.  I kept them on the computer, so I would have them play while we were working on chores or she would just want to listen to the music.  We also worked on the workbook together.  We had a good time working on it.

I had a hard time getting B interested in the songs and the workbook.  I think he was beyond these songs.  I think he would have enjoyed them last year or the year before. 

I thought all of these songs were very good.  And I am very interested in purchasing the other volumes for C to listen to and learn from.

Mama’s Thoughts:

  • I thought words to these songs were very good, but I did not like some of the music.  I am more into classical music and country, so the rap turned me off. 
  • These songs would be perfect for anyone who works with young children.  They would work in preschool, Sabbath school, and even public school.  I highly recommend it to anyone working in these fields.
  • It was a lot of fun for me to work with C in developing better character.
  • I did have trouble understanding the words sometimes, so I was glad we had the workbook.  I was able to follow along, then do the activities with C. 
  • It was fun having all of the songs in the different volumes in the same workbook, so I could see what the other songs were about.  I know C would enjoy learning from the other songs.

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

I liked Happy Kids Songs.  One thing I did not like was that there was a separate workbook for each volume.  I think that would have been easier. 

I think it would be good for children younger than me.    

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

It was fun listening to the songs.  They were really good.  I did not have a favorite.  I listened to them at the library, while helping Mama, and whenever I wanted to.

The workbook was nice.  I liked working on it.

The songs are good for people of all ages.

Dad’s Thoughts:

Dad was not available.   

Mama recommends! 

Social Media Links!

Twitter: @howsyourfam

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