Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Sunday, January 22, 2012

We Choose Virtues

I had been thinking and talking to my husband about how to better reinforce solid character qualities in our little ladies when along came this handy little resource called We Choose Virtues. I signed right up!

We received a handy dandy little pocket sized pack of virtue flash cards (think business card size) in a recloseable plastic pouch, the teacher guide, a downloadable We Choose Virtues Coloring book of all of the cute characters, a list of  kids memory verses, bible heroes, and truths,and a family/character assessment.

I found the teacher guide invaluable in getting started. It provides a wonderfully full list of teaching tips, games, songs and more to get and keep your kids interested and engaged. The focus is a positive one, with each virtue beginning with the statement "I  am...", perseverant, diligent, self controlled, etc. There is then a definition of the virtue, and then a few antonyms in the form of an "I am not..."sentence.

For my girlies, those alone were helpful in explaining the character traits in a fun, simple and concise manner. Each card features a cute character to correlate with the virtue like Piggy Bank Frank, Feather Heather, and Oboe Joe. The coloring book features these characters, and was an instant hit around here.

The family character assessment form is simply a way to help everyone set a personal goal and stay accountable. Use it to see where everyone is at, and where they want to go.

The kids list of bible heroes, virtues and truths is a nice little list of just what it says- a good little chart to encourage the family!

And here's something cool, the family assessment and kids list is free!

We like this product a lot. I like their catchphrase "From caterpillar to butterfly." It's all about transformation and lasting change. We found the positive approach and cutesy names and characters made remembering the principles easier. Especially appropriate for the younger set. Check it out and see what you think.

We Choose Virtues
Virtue Clue Cards
Ages: 3 -11 years
Price: $5.99

Kids of VirtueVille Coloring Book(Download only)
Price: $3.00

Teacher's Handbook
Price: from $4.99 -see website for exact pricing

**I received a free set of We Choose Virtue Clue Cards, the Kids of Virtue Ville coloring book, and Teacher Handbook in exchange for my honest opinion, with no additional compensation.**

See what my crewmates thought of this product  here

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Mile In His Shoes

About A Mile in His Shoes:

From the director of "Angels In the Outfield" comes an inspiring story about a special boy with an amazing gift, and the coach who believed. Dean Cain and Luke Schroder star in the gmc movie based on the book "The Legend of Mickey Tussler".

Alright folks, we have a new movie for Family Movie Night!  A Mile In His Shoes is an uplifting story about a baseball coach on a quest to find the next great pitcher for his team.

On his journey, a bit of car trouble causes him to cross paths with a young man (Mickey) with an amazing arm. He also happens to have Asperger's Syndrome. The young man's father is less than excited about the prospect of his son leaving the safety of their home to face the unknown dangers of the world.

Mickey does join the team, and slowly begins to flourish with his new found success. But even as his teammates rally around him, one jealous player takes drastic measures to keep Mickey from stealing his spotlight.

Don't worry though, this is a family movie, so you know that uplifting and happy ending is on the way! I don't want to spoil the ending, but I will say that along the way, the coach makes peace with his painful past, and returns to his faith, and even Mickey's father lightens up and comes around. :)

My daughters enjoyed the movie from start to finish. Throughout the story, they (loudly) spoke out against the jealous teammate. My oldest said at least twice, "I love this movie!"

Take a sneak peek at the official trailer:

Pick up the DVD and enjoy a cozy Family Movie Night this week!  And check out the links below for more grins and information :)

Now, how about a little giveaway? This is really simple, and who wouldn't like a new -and free- copy of this DVD? And when I say simple, I mean simple.
All you need to do is...
1.) Follow my blog - and then leave a comment telling me you did.
2.)Tell me your favorite baseball team, and leave a comment for me.
3.) If you would like another entry, visit their facebook page and 'like' it, then leave a comment.

You'll have until Friday, January 27, 2012 to enter, and a winner will be randomly chosen. I will notify the winner on Monday, January 30, 2012 

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or

services mentioned above for free in the 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, January 11, 2012

The Shadow of Your Smile - Susan May Warren

What would you do if you found yourself with the chance to 'redo' as it were, the last 20 years of your life? Would you do it all over again? What would you do differently? These were some of the questions I pondered as I read The Shadow of Your Smile.

Husband and wife Noelle and Eli Hueston are living separate lives under the same roof. The reasons are not clear at the beginning of the story, in fact, throughout the first pages, author Susan May Warren gives only bits and pieces here and there, in ominous allusions and flashbacks.

Alone on an icy road, Noelle is wrestling with a potentially life altering decision, when a freak accident wipes out her memory, including the past 20 years.
Now the couple find themselves face to face with the very thing they've been running away from - their painful past. As I read this book, I found myself putting myself in character Noelle's place, as she comes to terms with who she was, who she has become, and her reconciliation of the two. Throughout it all, I was rooting for their marriage to be restored, and for the proverbial happy ending.
I appreciate the development of all of the characters of this story. Any of their stories would lend itself to its own novel, and through it all, there is the gentle presence of the Lord and His redemption.
This is my first reading of a Susan May Warren book, and I would say that I enjoyed it and recommend it. An uplifting read :)

About the book:

 The Shadow of Your SmileA beautiful blanket of snow may cover the quaint town of Deep Haven each winter, but it can’t quite hide the wreckage of Noelle and Eli Hueston’s marriage.
After twenty-five years, they’re contemplating divorce . . . just as soon as their youngest son graduates from high school. But then an accident erases part of Noelle's memory. Though her other injuries are minor, she doesn’t remember Eli, their children, or the tragedy that has ripped their family apart. What’s more, Noelle is shocked that her life has turned out nothing like she dreamed it would. As she tries to regain her memory and slowly steps into her role as a wife and mother, Eli helps her readjust to daily life with sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-heartwarming results. But can she fall in love again with a man she can’t remember?
Will their secrets destroy them . . . or has erasing the past given them a chance for a future? Read the story behind the story here:

About Susan:

Susan May Warren is an award-winning, best-selling author of over twenty-five novels, many of which have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, the ACFW Book of the Year award, the Rita Award, and have been Christy finalists. After serving as a missionary for eight years in Russia, Susan returned home to a small town on Minnesota’s beautiful Lake Superior shore where she, her four children, and her husband are active in their local church.

Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!)

A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found

Interested in buying the book? Get it here

Come Back to Deep Haven and Win a $200 Visa Card from @SusanMayWarren!

Sometimes love requires a little forgetting ... Come back to Deep Haven and find out what's been happening in your favorite quaint hamlet. If you're new to the Deep Haven series - this is the perfect book to start with - each book in the series is a stand alone story.

Susan is celebrating the release of The Shadow of Your Smile by giving away a prize pack worth over $200 from 1/9-1/28.

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A $200 Visa Gift Card (Use that to rekindle a little romance, treat yourself to a spa day, snap up those shoes you’ve been eyeing, or purchase a few great books

The entire set of Deep Haven Books
The winner will be announced on 1/30/12 on Susan’s blog, Scribbles! Just click one of the icons below to enter and tell your friends about Susan's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Monday, January 9, 2012

Maestro Classics - Swan Lake

I could wait until the end of this review to tell you how much our family adores Maestro Classics. I could tell you all about the dances that my little ladies have choreographed to these CD's. Or how my youngest giggles with delight at the antics of her favorite characters in Juanita the Spanish Lobster, and how my oldest eagerly anticipates the wolf's arrival on the scene in Peter and the Wolf. I might tell you how I love the sounds of the bagpipes and flute in Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.

I could wait until the end...but I can't! The CD's from Maestro Classics are one of my most beloved resources in our homeschool. I honestly cannot think of  a better medium to introduce your children to the world of classical music than this company. Since we listened to the first beautiful melodies of Peter and the Wolf, our collection has grown, and I was thrilled - and so were my girls- to review The Story of Swan Lake. In fact, they had been asking me over and over when we would get Swan Lake.

For those of you who are not familiar with Maestro Classics, I'll share a bit about them now.

Husband and wife team Stephen Simon and Bonnie Ward Simon are the creators of this award winning series, whose purpose is to introduce children of all ages to classical music, and expand their musical horizons as it were :)

Through dramatic storytelling by narrator Yadu, these stories are brought to life in a marvelous  fashion. Each CD also features some nice extras, like the musician's background, told by Bonnie Ward Simon, an alternative version of the featured musical piece, and an additional song. There are even little activities for your young maestro within the CD sleeve.

You may already be acquainted with the storyline of Swan Lake. If not the basic plot is this...
A prince falls in love with a beautiful princess, but she has been turned into a swan by an evil magician, and only the prince's love can break the spell.

As I said, we loved this CD, and my youngest in particular has enjoyed all of the activities and music on it. There is one track in particular, Speed Metal Swan, that both girls have taken a fancy to. I think the title is self explanatory ;) I have to say, I like it too. Must be a throwback to my headbangin' 80's hairband days - hee hee.

I would encourage you to visit their website and hear some samples for yourself, and add 1- or 2 to your personal collection.
While you're at it, go over to their facebook page and "like" them to have the chance to enter a giveaway!

See what my crewmates had to say here .

Maestro Classics
Price: $16.98 for the CD $9.98 for MP3 download
Ages: 5 and up

**I received a free copy of the CD The Story of Swan Lake in exchange for my honest review**

Z-Guide to the movies

I'm pretty sure that I must have said this somewhere before, but homeschoolers have a knack for using those everyday moments and activities and turning them into school lessons.
And, the resource I'm about to tell you about has made this even better for those of us in that camp too, and when I say easier, I mean, they've essentially done all of the work for us, leaving time to fully enjoy the activities. So let's get to it right now.

Welcome to Z-Guide to the movies, by Zeezok publishing, which is just what the title states- a guide to the movies. There are many great titles to choose from, geared to elementary, middle, and/or highschoolers.  For this review, we received Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, for the elementary/middle school grades.
(Let me quickly mention that Z-Guides  are available as a download, or as a CD. We have the download)

What you'll find inside:
Instructions on how to use the guide( helpful, yes? ;) ) There are 10 activities to complete over 5 days. For the first day, we looked over the basic information surrounding the time period that the movie is set in, the plot of the movie, and then watched Kit Kittredge, answering the questions for day/activity 1. I need to mention at this point that my 7 year old LOVED this part. She continually asked "What's the next question?"

The movie was barely over when my little ladies were clamoring for the next activity- researching The Great Depression. Of course, they love any excuse to get online ;) It was interesting, and a very good lesson to learn more about that time, and what people had to do to survive. Being on the younger side, I don't know how much 'stuck', but you have to start somewhere right?

For the rest of the activities, we did a little picking and choosing to suit the girls' age, and Z-Guide itself tells you to choose activities based on the age and interest of the child. So, while a few of the lessons were a little advanced, there were plenty left for us to use. We learned more about hobo signs and how they were used, vocabulary referring to the era, and fashion during that time period, which especially appealed to my youngest, the fashionista of the family.

The "Who Am I?" proved to be a popular guessing game with them too (I knew it would :)) They had to identify characters based on the given descriptions. Oh, they do love their games!

One of the things I love about my daughters- and I'm not bragging, honestly I'm not- is their automatic acceptance of everyone, no matter the race, appearance, disability, illness, whatever. I wouldn't say that my husband and I have necessarily gone out of their way to impress this upon them, although it does come up occasionally. I suppose it has more to do with the area that we live in and the natural diversity that exists here. All of that to say that for those reasons, the girls didn't get why a group of people would be treated as they were. It was a good lesson on the topic of prejudice.

At the end of the guide is a set of questions for family discussion. I always love hearing my daughters' viewpoint on various subjects, and they never cease to amaze me with their understanding and perspective.

Our overall thoughts:

We really liked this guide, and my oldest has already requested other titles in the series. What a great way to use a movie as a teaching opportunity. We heartily recommend this one!

See what other crewmates thought here .

Zeezok Publishing
Z-Guide to the movies  Kit Kittredge: An American Girl
Price: $12.99 - available as a download or on CD
Ages: Elementary/Middle School

**I received a free download of Z-Guide to the movies Kit Kittredge: An American Girl in exchange for my honest use and review, with no additional compensation**