Monday, August 31, 2009

Me, Myself and God - a retreat

So my husband offered for me to go up to the trailer by myself on Friday and Saturday...   I went with Bible, journal and books... planning to spend time with God and catching up on some reading.

Here's a little summary of the days.


  • God obviously!

  • the worship songs from Vineyard which moved me while I was driving

  • the upside-down pizza - no comments

  • the giant radishes - the Fraggles would have like them

  • Max Lucado - I finished reading his latest book Fearless

  • the Robot Wars - another book I needed to read to review

  • prayer

  • journalling

  • getting encouraged by Amanda Bennett, the Lamberts (Five in a row), Terri Johnson (Knowledge Quest/Bramley Books), Malia Russel (Homemaking 911) and Cheryl Allin (TOS) from an e-book of TOS

  • the rain falling.... (Saturday)

  • the Word

  • the cry of the owl on Friday night - Oh I wish I could have seen it

  • exploring the book Heart of Wisdom sample document

  • discovering my homeschool planner that I had just bought - The Well-Planned Day - I love it!

  • the reminder to expect the unexpected

  • putting me, the kids and our homeschool in God's hands

  • an Xanadu (the movie)

  • the drive back home in the rain because I couldn't go walk in the woods... well I guess I could have done it but honestly I didn't feel like being wet.

I had a good time but I want to go back when the leaves ar changing colors....

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Forces & Motion

Forces & Motion From High-speed Jets to Wind-up Toys
By Tom DeRosa and Carolyn Reeves
Published at Master Books
This book is part of the Investigate the Possibilities series and is geared for grade 3 to 6 students. You will find that the content of this book is about elementary Physical Science. I personally wasn’t looking forward to the years where I would have to think about Physics… Honestly, I wasn’t that good when I was in high school (even though better than when I was doing chemistry). But with a book like this one, I am quite excited to sit down with my 3rd grader and discover what Physics can teach me (oh! And him also….*grin*).

Once again I found that Rob DeRosa and Carolyn Reeves have put together a wonderful gem to work with for teaching elementary Physics. The lessons are pretty straightforward and simple as well as very colorful. I found that when there is real pictures and color the kids are more interested than if it was only text in a page. The book has 20 investigations that the kids will go through as well as a special project on Isaac Newton. The student will learn how to determine the speed and motion of favorite toys, create a catapult and experience the mechanics of pulleys, set up a floating pencil race as well as discover why friction creates heat. Each investigation – and yes your student will transform himself as an investigator - will provide a problem and he will have to perform some experiment to investigate the solution. A think about this section will engage the child to think about a possible solution to the problem, an explanation will also be given and a section will also help the student to expand his knowledge. Finally, at the end of the lesson, before the learning comprehension is tested, the student will read about how to make the connections from what he has learned to the real life. This book not only brings hands-on activities but also forces the student to think before and after the lessons.

Also available are the Teacher’s Guide and the Student Journal. The Teacher’s Guide will help you to plan in advance the lessons as well as having follow-up discussions with your student. I like the idea that I can read the teacher’s section before we go through the material. It permits me to know a little bit more before I can guide my son to learn the information of the lesson. The Teacher’s Guide also contains the answers to the questions for each lesson found in the text book. The Student Journal on the other hand will permit the student to write down his/hers observations for the activities as well as answering the questions related to the lesson. There is no way around it, before being able to answers the questions, the student must have gone through the lesson and read the test related to it. So no only the student will read it and experiment it but he will also write about it. Personally, I think this is the best way of learning when you use multiple senses…

If you want to test the waters to see if your student will like Physics, I strongly suggest this book. Forces & Motion From High-speed Jets to Wind-up Toys books are available at New Leaf Publishing as well as and

College Success begins at Home e-book

College Success begins at Home: Seasoned Homeschoolers Share Their Experiences
Published at The Old SchoolHouse
Before I start telling you about this e-book, I must be honest with you that I am far away from homeschooling a high schooler and preparing him/her for College. But I am the kind of person who likes to learn from others and plan in advance. And indeed I learned a lot while reading this specific e-book about College Success begins at Home. Honestly, I don’t consider myself a seasoned homeschooler – after all this will be my third year of homeschooling so I am far away from being seasoned. However, someone who is starting might think I know a lot about homeschooling. But I don’t especially when it comes to high school and beyond. Once again I got encourage by women who wrote about their experienced in homeschooling. Women, who probably I won’t meet in a near future, I hope that I will have the opportunity to thank them when we meet in Heaven someday. I got reminded that our standards were God’s standard and that we were called to homeschool in the first place. I got reminded that “everyone can start the race but to finish the race it takes character”. I read a good definition of parenting which includes teaching, mentoring and coaching. I learned about the variety of possibilities for high schoolers to be able to get some credits for college during their teen years. I got reminded of the important of teaching them to be able to stand firm and hold on their belief and talk about them. Good thing I attended the Truth Project about a year ago – we have now a good material to introduce world view in the curriculum when my kids are older. I learned the importance of effective writing and communication skills. I consider it even more important since we live in a city where government employment requires both official languages sometimes. I got introduced to the idea of having a special ceremony for your graduate. I know that our association do something similar for all the graduates in the city but I never really thought about having a more personal ceremony for my kids. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea. I also have an idea of what a transcript should look like for a homeschooler – I was a bit worried about it but not anymore. I know the importance of keeping track of what was done so I have a few years to get better at it and eventually pass the baton to my own kids. I took a lot of notes and underlined some interesting products to look into when we will be preparing our teenagers for College. I want my kids to be able to ask questions when they need to and know that they can learn at their own pace. I want to protect them from being influenced in the years where they might slip from God. The more I get introduce in the homeschooling part of high school, the more I like it. And I prepare myself slowly at discovering what products would be good for us in both official languages in Canada. Because we teach in French as well as in English, I need to dig more for curriculum in French. I am not worried about the English curriculum because there is a lot out there. So for now, I keep my eyes open for potential books for French writing and Grammar. In the meantime, I will enjoy the primary school years and have fun with my young kids… One thing I would like to see though in future ebook about high schoolers are stories from Canadians. I think it would be interesting to hear the adventures of homeschoolers from Canada in high school ages as well as college and beyond.
The e-book College Success begins at Home: Seasoned Homeschoolers Share Their Expriences is available for purchase and download at The Old Schoolhouse. You can also view a sample of the e-book.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Death Trap - Robot Wars Book One

Death Trap - Robot Wars Book One
By Sigmund Brouwer
Published at Tyndale
About the book
Set in an experimental community on Mars in the year 2039, The Robot Wars series features 14-year-old virtual reality specialist Tyce Sanders. Life on the red planet is not always easy, but it is definitely exciting. Tyce finds that the mysteries of the planet point to his greatest discovery—a new relationship with God. He talks about his growing faith and curiosity in a manner that kids can relate to as they are probably wondering some of the same things. Each book contains two exciting adventures. In the first adventure, the Mars project is in trouble and only Tyce holds the key. In the second adventure, Tyce has discovered there may be killer aliens on the loose. Robot Wars is a repackaged and updated version of Mars Diaries. There are now five books in the series; each book contains two stories. These new books contain a foreword about how far science has brought us.

Who is Sigmund Brouwer?
Whether writing youth or adult fiction, Sigmund Brouwer is a best-selling author of more than 40 fast-paced novels. Some of his works encourage young reluctant readers into the world of books, and others provide adults with riveting tales. His youth series include Mars Diaries; Short Cuts Extreme Sports; Lightning on Ice; CyberQuest; The Winds of Light; Dr. Drabble: Genius Inventor; and The Accidental Detectives. His adult fiction titles include Out of the Shadows, Morning Star, Thunder Voice, Double Helix, and Blood Ties.

Sigmund's diverse background surfaces in the characters of his books as he inspires kids to get excited about reading. He grew up in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, and developed an early interest in sports like hockey, racquetball, and biking. His poor performance in high school English classes led him to receive a degree in commerce from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and not to pursue writing. When a professor in his undergraduate English course encouraged him to write, Sigmund did, and he eventually received a degree in journalism from Carleton College in Ottawa. After publishing several articles for U.S. and Canadian magazines, he turned to writing books for kids reluctant to read.

In 1993, he cofounded The Young Writers' Institute with home education expert and author Debra Bell and conducts writing camps and seminars for more than 10,000 children every year. His commitment to his faith is an integral part of his creative goals, and Sigmund cites C. S. Lewis as one of his greatest writing influences. Although there is no overt Christian agenda in his novels, the deliberate underpinning of morality and redemption make his books more than tools of escape. He quotes C. S. Lewis, "There is no Christian way to write, just as there is no Christian way to boil an egg."

Sigmund is married to Christian recording artist Cindy Morgan; the couple has two daughters. He writes five pages per day on his laptop, whether he is in an airport, hotel, or dividing his time between family homes in Red Deer and Nashville.

He welcomes visitor to his website at .

My thoughts
Mars is a planet that many dream to be able to sustain life. Many also hope that one day we would be able to live there. Robot Wars is the life of a 14-year-old boy living on Mars in an experimental community. This series of novel is geared for juvenile readers. If you children like space exploration, mysteries and science, then the Robot Wars books are for him or her.

I’m not a juvenile anymore but while I was reading the book, I made sure that I kept in mind that it was written for young ones. Book One of the Robot Wars Series contains the two first missions from the Mars Diaries. Originally published as the Mars Diaries, this series of stories of a 14 year old boy living on Mars is being republished under the Robot Wars Series.

As you get deeper in the story you come to a point that you understand the cover of the Death Trap book. I don’t want to get into too much detail but let’s just say that it’s hard to put the book down while you read one of the two stories included in this book. Each chapter finishes in a way that you want to continue the reading to know what will happen next.

Tyce Sanders is the 14-year-old who writes the diary entries throughout the book. He will experience mysteries while he helps others by a unique way. He is an expert in virtual-reality since the tender age of 8-year-old. At first Tyce do not believe in God contrary to his mom but it comes to a point that he will open up to the creator of the universe.

The writing is simple enough that my own 8-year-old son would be able to read it. And since it is packed with adventure and mysteries, I am certain that it will catch is attention. My son (and his younger brothers) is into Star Wars lately so having a book with a story that happens on Mars will definitively attract him.

What I love also is that the author made sure to include some Q&A and explanation about science and God as well as how to relate the two together? I also know that I have found another interesting series for my son who is growing so fast and devours his books.
Death Trap is available everywhere. However, I am quite surprise that I wasn't able to find the title on But I did found it on!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Funtastic Folder! J is for Japan

FUNtastic Folder! J is for Japan
Published at Sharon Crooks

I recently had the opportunity of reviewing one of the FUNtastic Folder! Titled J is for Japan. This title is available for preschool and elementary level. I was selected to review the elementary level ebook.

J is for Japan will bring you in the land of – yes you guessed it – Japan. What is interesting is that when we received this title to review, we had a friend who was in Japan. She has since came back and we have received a wonderful postcard from her with kingios on it (kingyo in japan are gold fish). So when my oldest saw the postcard and I told him it was from Japan he was all excited about it. Now we have some Japanese stamps as well.

So back to the J is for Japan FUNtastic Folder!... This special folder was released on Aug 6th which marks the anniversary of the A-Bomb which was unleashed on Hiroshima in 1945. Sharon Crooks has decided to release this title on the anniversary day in honor of the victims. Did you know that Aug 6th is also Peace Day and is recognized especially by Japanese descent people? I didn’t.

The FUNtastic Folder! J is for Japan exhibits pictures from Japan as well as some from items owned by the author herself. You will find recipes, other internet links, handwriting practice (however I would have like to have cursive handwriting practice in it), languages exercises like numbers from 1 to 10, geography, as well as learn about their flag and a reading comprehension exercise based on the book “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes”.

My son enjoyed learning more about this country. To complete the study I also made him read a section of a book I have on the various countries in the world. The title is Disney Learning Our World. I wanted him to know more about life in Japan like who they are, their country, their communities, what they eat, what they study, that they do for fun, holidays and celebrations as well as something about bonsai. It was a good book to learn more about Japan. I like to complement with other literature so he can practice his reading at the same time.

While doing the FUNtastic Folder! J is for Japan I made him exercise his memory as well when it came to identifying the islands and for the numbers activities. At first he thought he wouldn’t be able to do it but with some encouragement he realized that he was indeed able to remember and write it down. As I write this we are waiting for the book “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes”. We don’t own the book and I had to request a transfer from another library in the city. Since it takes time to get to me, I am a little bit disappointed in waiting for it. So I skipped through the reading comprehension exercises and I think it will be wonderful to sit down with my son and read this particular book. At the same time, it will introduce him on the fact that every decision brings consequences and sometimes the consequences are not apparent at the beginning but later on in life.

J is for Japan is also available for preschool level. Both FUNtastic Folder! J is for Japan are available at

Math Trek 1,2,3 - A NECTAR Foundation software

Math Trek 1,2,3
From the Nectar Foundations

What is the NECTAR Foundation?
The NECTAR Foundation is incorporated under the Ontario Corporations Act with Letters Patent issued to NECTAR in 1990 by the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Affairs of Ontario. The New Era Classroom, Technology and Research (NECTAR) Foundation, is dedicated to the development of innovative educational programs featuring the integration of interactive technologies and the individualized student programs.

The NECTAR Foundation, with its partners, develops and markets innovative, state-of-the art curriculum-based multimedia software. Its products are marketed and used around the world. A number of its software programs have been licensed for use by large educational jurisdictions such as the province of Ontario, SchoolNet India, South Africa and large counties in the United States

NECTAR develops curriculum-based educational software programs for kindergarten to grade 12. It focuses on Mathematics, Language Arts and Literacy, and Science curriculum.

Visit their website at

My Thoughts on Math Trek 1, 2, 3
If you have a child in grades K, 1, 2, or 3 and you are looking for a program who will complement your Math curriculum, I strongly suggest that you enter a toy store own by Fibonacci. Did you know that Fibonacci was a mathematician? I didn’t and it made me curious to learn more about him which is the reason I went on Wikipedia… He is best known for spreading the Hindu-Arabic numeral system in Europe as well as a number sequence named the Fibonacci numbers which he used as example in a book titled Liber Abaci.

Let’s return to the review of Math Trek *grin*. This program is geared for students in grades K-3. Yes even if the title is Math Trek 1, 2, 3 you will find activities for kindergartens in there. Fun activities all linked to mathematics!

As I mentioned before the student will enter a toy store to find mathematics activities which are all presented in a form of a toy. How cool is that? This program features patterning and algebra, number sense and numeration, data management and probability, geometry, and measurement. For each of these features you will find a bookshelf and each shelf of it is geared to a specific grade. So as your student completes the activities, you can also track his progress.
The creators of this program made sure that the student would get a clear explanation of the activity before they jump on it. Fibonacci himself, the bear not the mathematician, gives the instruction. Each activity is in fact some fun games to understand math facts. The animation is quite interesting and I find it attractive for the kids. You can see that a lot of work has been done to make it interesting for the young students.

The animation that appears to congratulate my son after completing an activity is something that he particularly likes. I guess the fact that it is different for each activity does help! He already started exploring the toy store and he is quite excited about it. I’m quite satisfied with it since it permits my son to apply what he learned during his math lesson to activities that are realistic like telling time with a clock, calculating how much money you need to buy something, multiplication with bags of marbles and so on…

I haven’t realized that the program all had activities for kindergartners when I asked my oldest to use it. Now that I know I will put my second oldest on it too! He just loves playing on the computer when he has completed his schoolwork. This program will be perfect to apply what he learned.

Math Trek is available directly from Learn with Trek website. It is available in both official languages. Here’s the direct link to this software.

A new homeschooling year...

2009-2010 is definetively a busy year for me.   This year I will have a 3rd grader, a SK and a JK as well as a very curious toddler who is demanding.   But doing homeschooling is still something I feel God as called me to.

The past year I got introduced to wonderful new products in homeschooling and I am excited to use them more this year.   I have a feeling that there might be too much on our shoulders but I will see as the weeks are going by.

This past week was pretty good (apart from Monday that is).   Not sure if it was the stress or something else but my baby girl was a difficult on Monday.   I gave her crayons - no, wooden things to put on a lace - okay for a little while then no, hard wood puzzle - no...   I was stressing out... and wasn't very patient I must admit.   But then nap time came and I was able to catch up a bit with my oldest.   I think it's great that he can work by himself if I need too.

My SK and JK both go grab their little workbooks when they see their older brother doing his work.   So cute!   I'm so glad I took a book for my JK - it's not much but he learns logic and recognition of sounds and so on.   My SK is working on writing his alphabet while my 3rd grader has completed his writing in cursive for the alphabet.   He also started his Gamma book on Math U See.   So far so good...  we are going on with the flow.   I need to get in a more schedule morning but I need also to remind that flexibility is important too. 

Being flexible is what we did yesterday as I woke up not in my plate.   So after an hour or so of schoolwork, we jump on the opportunity to ride with daddy to go pick up his server for the business where is was on co-location.   Daddy also ask our oldest to help with various things related to the business as well like verifying updates on the server and so on.   He is getting quite good at it.   8 years old and he knows how to update a PC.   Nuts!

My 3rd grader is also reading the series Guardians of Ga'Hoole and even though book 1 and 2 were harder to read for him, he is zooming through 3, 4 and 5 at an incredible speed.  I guess the story started to pick up.   I have read book 1 and I really enjoyed it.   Daddy is reading right now and he likes it too.   I really need to catch up on my son so I can talk about the story with him!   A movie is in the making for this series.   Pretty neat!

Well - I should get back at organizing the school room.   I heard there was a contest about it somewhere so I need to clean up a bit before taking pictures...  *grin*

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Science Trek 4,5,6 - a Software from Nectar Foundation

Science Trek 4, 5, 6
From the Nectar Foundations

What is the NECTAR Foundation?
The NECTAR Foundation is incorporated under the Ontario Corporations Act with Letters Patent issued to NECTAR in 1990 by the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Affairs of Ontario. The New Era Classroom, Technology and Research (NECTAR) Foundation, is dedicated to the development of innovative educational programs featuring the integration of interactive technologies and the individualized student programs.

The NECTAR Foundation, with its partners, develops and markets innovative, state-of-the art curriculum-based multimedia software. Its products are marketed and used around the world. A number of its software programs have been licensed for use by large educational jurisdictions such as the province of Ontario, SchoolNet India, South Africa and large counties in the United States

NECTAR develops curriculum-based educational software programs for kindergarten to grade 12. It focuses on Mathematics, Language Arts and Literacy, and Science curriculum.

Visit their website at

My Thoughts on the Science Trek 4, 5, 6
This specific science software is geared for student in grade 4, 5 or 6. It is available in French and English. Here at home we tested the French version of the software. My son Alexandre is starting grade 3 but he wanted to look at this one as well so we sat down together and went through it to get an idea of the product.

I really like what I have seen and explore. You would find videos so the student can see how something works. However, there isn’t sound on the video. But honestly that’s okay. You will find a lot of interaction in this software as well as moving images to keep the interest of the student. For example, while the student learns about the heart, he will have some various images to show his the outside and inside of the heart as well as one specific animation that will show him how the blood circulate in the heart. I thought it was pretty interesting and a good introduction to how the human body works.

One thing I need to specify before I go further in my review of Science Trek. There is a lot of reading to be done to learn about the various subjects of science. So I would strongly suggest that your student be fluent in his reading before introducing him to Science Trek. There is also some guidance provided throughout the software to gives the student guidelines to follow.
In Science Trek you will explore various subjects - Living Things; Matter; Energy, and Earth and Space.It contains 15 units divided as follow;

Living Things:- Habitats and Communities - Human Body - Diversity of Living Things

Matter: - Properties and Changes of Materials - Structures and Mechanisms - Flight and the Properties of Air

Energy: - Sound and Light - Electricity- Conservation of Energy - Pulleys and Gears - Motion - Forces and Simple Machines

Earth and Space: - Weather - Space- Rocks, Minerals and Erosion

With the interactive activities, you can also print support materials like activities and practice some journal writing. You will get introduced to various scientist as well as scientific illustrations. I find that the software is really well done and grab the interest of the student while learning some science facts. You can also generate some word search to have the student look for the new words he has just learned.

Another interesting feature is the ability to click on a bold word to get the definition of the word. This opens up a new window and the student can read the definition. You have the possibility to listen the proper pronunciation of a word by clicking on a small button at the top of the definition. However, there isn’t a button to close this pop-up window so you need to click in the previous screen to go back.

You will also find some facts buttons everywhere in the software. These buttons will gives you a bit more information about a specific subject. Interesting facts about what you learn helps to keep the information in your head I find.

At the end of each section, your student will have a mini-test to assure that he comprehend the information he has just read. And believe me when I say that the student should investigate all images and buttons included in the section he reads before taking the mini-test. Each sections are packed with tons of information.

The only information that disturbs me a little bit was the fact that the information included in the software seems to be based on evolution. As a Christian and homeschool parent, I find it important that my children be exposed to the creation first and then eventually, when they are in age to understand that there is a difference, to evolution. I know that my oldest knows the differences between the two so I have no problem for him to explore the information about life on Earth in the software. But I also know that some parents won’t be too happy about this and I think it is important for them to know about this. I think it would be nice eventually if Nectar would produce a Christian version of their software about science.

Having said that, I still think that Science Trek is an interesting software to own in your homeschool. It would permit the student to explore by himself and learn at the same time.
Science Trek is available directly from Learn with Trek website. Here’s the direct link to this software.

Help, Lord, I’m Getting Ready to Start Homeschooling My High Schooler! Ebook

Help, Lord, I’m Getting Ready to Start Homeschooling My High Schooler!
Published at The Old SchoolHouse in an e-book format
I recently got the opportunity to review a new e-book titled “Help, Lord, I’m Getting Ready to Start Homeschooling My High Schooler!” First I need to admit that high school is still far away but as the years go by, I sense I needed to prepare myself. My oldest will be starting 3rd grade then I have a senior kindergarten, a junior kindergarten and a toddler. So why would I want to review a book about homeschooling high schoolers? Simply because I am the kind of person who likes to know in advance what I should expect and these days I do wonder if I will continue homeschooling when Alexandre will arrive in high school. If others can do it – I surely can too but I like to prepare in advance and know in my mind what I will get into. I was not disappointed with this e-book. I cried and smiled at some of the stories. It made it real to me a homeschool mom of little ones. I realized that there will still be questions in my mind, days where I will be discouraged and days where I will celebrate, and there will be struggles as well as joy. I finished the e-book and I was encouraged – yes even if I don’t have high schoolers this book talked to me. I was reminded the importance of following God’s will and to go to Him when we hit a roadblock. I was reminded that as much as we plan sometimes, the curriculum we have chosen might not be a fit. I was reminded that different kids have different ways to learn and function in their learning process. This was important for me to get these reminders as I will have three kids on and off this year to “teach”. My oldest is quite independent but the other two will need more one on one time in the morning – not the mention my toddler who will want attention too. But I figure that if some of these women who wrote were able to go through primary school and then high school with their own kids (and some of them even touching the college part of homeschooling) – then I can do it too. In one way these women are partly mentors for me because I read about the ups and downs while schooling their kids. Some had children who had some learning disabilities or just simply very active kids who would have struggled at school. If you kids are close to the high school season and you wonder if you should continue homeschooling or not, I strongly recommend getting the e-book “Help, Lord, I’m Getting Ready to Start Homeschooling My High Schooler!” – it’s worth it! And if you think your kids are far away from the high school years, well think again… The years go by fast and it is important I think to be aware and prepare for the teenage years.

Dreams and Designs: Homemade Supplies... E-Book

Dreams and Designs: Homemade Supplies...
Ebook published at The Old SchoolHouse

Today homeschooling is a decision that many takes for various reasons. And fortunately, there are many companies who are there to provide curricula or supplies to help us to homeschool our children. However, if you don’t follow a budget, it can get expensive. Dreams and Designs is an ebook which will help you achieve your dreams in setting up a wonderful homeschool for your family. In this ebook, you will find tons of wonderful ideas like make your own calendar for example. I tried many times to use a regular calendar but to no avail. I think I will take the time to create one of these this year so that child #2 who is 5 and #3 who is almost 4 can realize that in a year there is a lot going on from the changing of the seasons to the number of days in a month. Another idea was the use of a puppet theater. In our house, we are blessed to have a half-wall behind the sofa in the living room and once in a while the kids use it to create a little show with their stuff characters. We laugh a lot when they do that and it’s time well spent with family. So if it ever got into your mind to get a puppet theater someday, you really need to see the ideas of the author on this activity. She explains how to make one using a display board and transform it as a puppet theater. Another idea that the author gives in this ebook is to create activity bags for the children. When you are on the go or need to go to an appointment, grab one of the activity bags and voilà – homeschool on the road. Desk organization is another issue for homeschoolers. The author suggests various ideas to make your homeschool more efficient. Stop looking for your supplies; have them all at the same place. I am blessed to have a special area in our house that I call the homeschool room and we were able to reuse some computer desks, bookcases and armoire to store our curricula and supplies. The only thing we bought for this room was a board to display some things on it. I even use the sides of the armoire to put up some learning posters we have. You will also find wonderful ideas for kindergartens – like the cards that question the child. I do something similar when we are reading a book but honestly I had not thought of taking pictures and apply them on a card board and then write questions regarding this picture. The funny thing is that I own machine that laminates and I could easily make these for multiple uses. I have now another project to do for the coming year. In conclusion, I grabbed some interesting ideas while reading Big Dreams and Designs . It doesn’t have to cost a fortune for your kids to learn. If you feel like you need to spark your homeschool but don’t have the money to spend that much, check out the ebook Dreams and Designs because it is packed with tons of ideas. And the best thing is that you could do it with your kids – create something together they would use later in their homeschool. It is just the best.

Pre-Schoolers E-book

Creating a Rich Environment and a Fun Place to Learn..for Preschoolers
Ebook from The Old Schoolhouse

I got the opportunity to read and review a brand new e-book titled “Creating a rich environment and a fun place to learn for preschoolers”. Various authors contributed to this e-book. Once again, I see quality in this wonderful e-book from TOS. I, myself, have four young children ages 8 to 18 months and I needed to get reminded how important it is to schedule time with my little ones. One-on-one time is important just as much it is important for them to feel included when you are teaching the older ones. I will have a multi-age homeschool this year and sometimes I wonder how I will do it. It doesn’t take much for a young one – take a wooden puzzle, play-doh, bricks, crayons, paper and you have a busy little one. My little Jasmine will be at the age where she will see her older brothers learning and I am sure that she will want to be included when September comes. Not always easy to adapt yourself to a demanding toddler and a junior kindergarten while teaching a senior kindergarten who is looking forward to read and a 3rd grader. So when I got the opportunity to review this new e-book I jump on the bandwagon even though I was in the midst of packing for our vacation. This e-book about preschoolers made me realize that little things can be a whole lot fun for an 18 months old. Take legos for example, how easy it is to sit down with her and show her how to stack them. Then there are the colors – repetition is a key for preschoolers. Take a blue brick and say “Here’s a blue brick” and so on with all the colors. Eventually she will pick up and realize what blue is and so on. Music is also something any kid – no matter the age really – would be attracted too. I think that is a reason why Veggie Tales is so popular because of the Silly Songs of Larry and the rest of the gang. Seriously though, I have seen my kids dancing of music when they were babies. I remember seeing Alexandre moving and grooving on a song of Elvis Presley when he was in his car seat while driving. He hasn’t change and now at 8 years old he loves to dance on various types of music. My other kids are just like him. This e-book also reminded me that the preschool years are challenging ones sometimes. But at the same time so rewarding and much easier that when they are older. Exploration is the number one way of learning – through snow, rain, sunshine, sand, grass, wood and yes even mud… Climbing, running, smelling the flowers, these are only examples of how the kids discover their world with wonder. It makes us slow down, sit next to them and relax. Life at a preschool age is so much simpler. Another way to include the little ones in the everyday life would be assigning age appropriate chores. Many suggestions are offered in this e-book about this specific activity. With time our little ones will realize that it’s not play all the time and that sometimes we need to work a bit. I am keeping this wonderful e-book on preschoolers close to me this year. It is packed with wonderful ideas and encouragements. I am 100% sure that I will refer to it often to remind myself that even though it is challenging to have little ones in the house it is also very rewarding! I strongly recommend getting this e-book for any homeschool mom who thinks she can’t handle her little ones while teaching the older ones or for anyone who is considering homeschooling when their little ones will be older. As for me, I will revise my schedule so that my little pumpkin feels more included in our school time. Thanks TOS for thinking of creating an e-book on preschoolers. I needed the ideas and the encouragements!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The [expanded] Bible - New Testament

The [expanded] Bible – New Testament
Published at Thomas Nelson
I have just received the new [expanded] Bible which permits you to study the Bible while you read. The copy I received was a hard cover one. The cover is quite simple – pure white with blue and grey writing on it. Somehow, I am attracted to it…

This new [expanded] Bible is written in current English and its text is based on the New Century Version of the Bible. When needed this Bible expands in brackets the meaning of specific words or terminology used in the text to help the reader to understand what is written. The expanded part offers also alternative so the reader can fully grasp the meaning of a word. Also, in some instances, you will find the cross-references to the Old Testament if the text is linked to older scriptures.

This Bible also offers literal or tradition renderings as well as comments to explain the history, culture or theological information behind the text. I like this particular aspect of the Bible because I find it puts us more in the context of the scripture and makes us understand more the period of time when Jesus and the disciples were living.

If you want to study i.e. understand God’s Word, I strongly suggest that you take the time to read through the [expanded] Bible. I have a feeling that you will be discovering aspects of the scriptures like you wouldn’t have expected it. From what I can see, I think I would enjoy this Bible while doing my devotions or just to read a different version of the Bible because I find that my understanding gets opened up to a different view of the scriptures. I also find that the publisher has left quite some space on the side of each page to allow the reader to take some notes if needed in the Bible. I am the kind of person who will take notes either while listening a sermon or when reading the Bible. I like the fact that there I space for me to write down what I think or just adding more information to it.

My only disappointment is that it doesn’t also include the Old Testament. However, I know that working on such a Bible takes time and energy to put it together. So I am expecting that Thomas Nelson will produce a full Bible in the [expanded] version in the future.

We already own an Amplified Bible in our home. It’s the Bible my husband uses when preaching sometimes so that he can explain the wording better or simply when he is studying God’s Word. Funny enough, recently he mentioned that he would like to find a Bible similar to the Amplified Bible but in more modern English. I then told him of the opportunity I had to review The [expanded] Bible – New Testament. He was quite curious about this version and was looking forward to the time when we would receive it. So when we received it, he sat down and compared it dutifully to the Amplified Bible. His first reaction was disappointments because it wasn’t what he expected it to be. It is similar to the Amplified Bible but unfortunately it doesn’t have as much details. He was hoping that the [expanded] Bible would be a more modern version of the Amplified and it isn’t. He also thinks that it fulfills the claim of being a Bible that you can study while you read it. However, if he would go to a bookstore and compare the [expanded] version with the Amplified version, he would not spend the money on the [expanded] one.

I now see that these two Bibles can have two different types of readers – one being someone who is either a pastor or a student in a Bible College or again someone who really wants to go deeper in his study of the Bible, the other one for someone who wants to fully understanding the background and the scriptures without going in a complicated study of the Bible. I personally find the Amplified Bible a bit too heavy for my taste. Consequently, I am very happy to get an [expanded] version in modern English so I can go deeper in my study of God’s Word.

The [expanded] Bible is available everywhere, even at and

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back-to-School Fiction Blog Tour

Every once in a while Waterbrook have a special blog tour that contains more than one book. This time it arrives just in time to celebrate the Back-to-School season! This blog tour contains three fictions: The Sweetgum Ladies Knit For Love, Rose House and The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper.


The Sweetgum Ladies Knit For Love
Written by Beth Pattillo

About the book
Once a month, the six women of the Sweetgum Knit Lit Society gather to discuss books and share their knitting projects. Inspired by her recently-wedded bliss, group leader Eugenie chooses “Great Love Stories in Literature” as the theme for the year’s reading list–a risky selection for a group whose members span the spectrum of age and relationship status.

As the Knit Lit ladies read and discus classic romances like Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice, each member is confronted with her own perception about love. Camille’s unexpected reunion with an old crush forces her to confront conflicting desires. Newly widowed Esther finds her role in Sweetgum changing and is surprised by two unlikely friends. Hannah isn’t sure she’s ready for the trials of first love. Newcomer Maria finds her life turned upside-down by increasing family obligations and a handsome, arrogant lawyer, and Eugenie and Merry are both asked to make sacrifices for their husbands that challenge their principles.

Even in a sleepy, southern town like Sweetgum, Tennessee, love isn’t easy. The Knit Lit ladies learn they can find strength and guidance in the novels they read, the love of their family, their community–and especially in each other.

Who is Beth Pattillo?
RITA Award-winning Beth Patillo combines her love of knitting and books in her engaging Sweetgum series. Pattillo served churches in Missouri and Tennessee before founding Faith Leader, a spiritual leadership development program. She is the author of nine books including Heaven to Betsy and Jane Austen Ruined My Life. She learned to knit when she was in second grade.

My Thoughts
When I realized that this book was part of the Back-To-School Fiction Blog Tour, I told myself that I should finish reading the previous book in the series titled – The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society. Somehow, the book laid unfinished on my bookshelf – which is by the way not something I do often. So I picked up the book and was able to finish it before I received the sequel. Good thing I did because now I knew where the characters were standing before starting The Sweetgum Ladies Knit For Love…

But boy so much happens between book one and book two. One of the ladies left to be a missionary in Africa, three sudden deaths in the village, a marriage for one as well as becoming a foster parent of a teenager and a new baby for another of the ladies in the group. The group leader Eugenie recruits another woman to be part of the group and I sensed a good start in everything.

The main theme in this book is love. Love of a mother toward her children, love of newly wedded woman toward her husband, first love of a teenager, love when you least expected it, a returned love. Love is so present in this book that you will discover the various way of loving as you go through the story.

However, by the time you close the book, you wonder what else Beth Pattillo has under her sleeve for this group of women. Another one is leaving the town even though love is waiting for her there, a teenage love gets separated, and love is in the air for one lady who thought she would never marry – will there be a wedding or maybe two weddings in the next installment of the series? I wonder.

I can’t wait to read more about Sweetgum and the people who live there. It makes me want to visit Sweetgum, Tennessee one of these days…

The Sweetgum ladies Knit For Love is available everywhere even at and


Rose House
Written by Tina Ann Forkner

About the book
A vivid story of a private grief, a secret painting, and one woman’s search for hope. Still mourning the loss of her family in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she had poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms.

She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she can’t quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet.

What kind of artist would dare to intrude on such a personal scene, and how did he happen to witness Lillian’s pain? As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children, Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.

A captivating novel rich with detail, Rose House explores how the brushstrokes of pain can illuminate the true beauty of life.

Who is Tina Ann Forkner?
Tina Ann Forkner is the author of Ruby Among Us. Originally from Oklahoma, she now lives with her husband and three children in Wyoming, where she serves on the Laramie County Library Foundation’s board of directors.

My Thoughts
Roses, countryside and photography – all things that speak to me. I was mainly attracted to this book by it’s cover. A dried rose. So romantic I find. However, I got hooked on the story as I was reading it.

Imagine you are married and you have two children – twins. Sometimes dreadful happen to them. You are in pain and visit a special house surrounded with roses. You think you are followed and suddenly meet the owner of the Rose House. Fast track 4 years later, you are back at the Rose House and discover that someone has painted you with the Rose House. However, you don’t know who the artist is as the painting has been given anonymously. You decide to stay and find who invaded you…

This is the story of Lillian and you will discover with her who painted the Rose House with her, you will become friends with the people who tend the B&B as well as the owner of the Rose House, you will reconnect with the sister who betrayed you, and discover that love is possible for a widow.

The Rose House novel has mystery as well as reconciliation and love stories in it. It will transport you to a place where you wish you could visit. Sometimes, during my reading session, I closed my eyes and tried to picture the house surrounded by the flowers. It spoke to me somehow.

I enjoyed reading this book and would suggest it to anyone who would like to travel in a place where roses are growing without restrictions.

Rose House is available everywhere even at and


The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper
Written by Kathleen Y’Barbo

About the Book
The future is clearly mapped out for New York socialite Eugenia “Gennie” Cooper, but she secretly longs to slip into the boots of her favorite dime-novel heroine and experience just one adventure before settling down. When the opportunity arises, Gennie jumps at the chance to experience the Wild West, but her plans go awry when she is drawn into the lives of silver baron Daniel Beck and his daughter and finds herself caring for them more than is prudent–especially as she’s supposed to go back to New York and marry another man. As Gennie adapts to the rough-and-tumble world of 1880s Colorado, she must decide whether her future lies with the enigmatic Daniel Beck or back home with the life planned for her since birth. The question is whether Daniel’s past–and disgruntled miners bent on revenge–will take that choice away from her.

Who is Kathleen Y’Barbo?
Kathleen Y’Barbo is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than thirty novels, novellas, and young adult books, with more than a half-million in print. A graduate of Texas A&M University, she is currently a publicist with Books & Such literary agency.

My Thoughts
Okay I must admit that I wasn’t very attracted with the book at first. The cover didn’t spoke to me apart from the fact that she seems to hide something. But I remembered that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

So I picked up the book and started reading it. I’m quite surprised by it actually. The main character, Gennie, loves to read dime novel (well I guess Harlequin type of book were existing back in the 1880s…) and she dreams of adventure. And when an opportunity opens its door for her to go to Denver instead of Boston, she embarks the train and goes on.

In the meantime, a man is expecting a young lady to arrive and care for his daughter. A man who love the outdoor and do not enjoy spending time in an office. A man who has a past in the Old World (ie Europe).

What is interesting is this novel is that each chapters starts as though we are reading the dime novel containing the adventures of Mae Winslow. Then the story of the adventure of Eugenia continues. This is different from the other novels I read in the past.

I am not too fond of “Harlequin” type of books. This one do sounds like one except for the fact that there are references of God and prayer in there. I have the feeling that the main character will end up marrying the father of the young lady.

However, I am enjoying the book. I’m not completely done yet but I like the story so far.

The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper can be found at any bookstore even at or


Monday, August 17, 2009

North! or Be Eaten

North! Or Be Eaten – The Wingfeather Saga Book Two
Wild escapes. A desperate journey. And the ghastly Fangs of Dang.
Written by Andrew Peterson
Published at Waterbrook
About the book
Readers thrilled to the phantasmagorical adventures in On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, Book One of the Wingfeather Saga. Now in Book Two, Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby, mom Nia, ex-pirate grandfather Podo, Peet the Sock Man, and trusty dog Nugget flee north to rebel headquarters.

Their escape brings readers to the very brink of Fingap Falls, over the Stony Mountains, and across the Ice Prairies, while villains galore try to stop the Igibys permanently. Fearsome toothy cows and horned hounds return, along with new dangers: a mad man running a fork factory, a den of rockroaches, and majestic talking sea dragons.

Andrew Peterson’s lovable characters create what says made Book One “one of the best fantasy novels in a very long time,” and Book Two contains even more thrills, exploring “themes universal in nature, ranging from the classic good versus evil, to the importance of family, and burdens of responsibility.”

Who is Andrew Peterson?
Andrew Peterson is the author of On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and The Ballad of Matthew’s Begats. He’s also the critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter and recording artist of ten albums, including Resurrection Letters II. He and his wife, Jamie, live with their two sons and one daughter in The Warren near Nashville, Tennessee. Visit Andrew’s websites: and

My Thoughts
Once again I got transported to Aerwiar with the company of the Igibys. Each child has learned of their heritage and is trying to come to term with it. It’s quite a responsibility to learn that you are a Throne Warden, the High King and the Song Maiden….

You will travel with the Igibys and run for your life from the Fangs. Each page will bring it’s load of adventure and events to keep your breath away. But have no fear, The Maker is with them and even though they get separated at one point, they will find their way to be together again – but for how long?

You will attend wild escapes, cross the Miller’s Bridge, discover where Peet the Sock man is, meet the Stranders, form allies, get caught and send to the Fork Factory, escape from the hands of The Overseer (which has never been done before), run for your life over and over again, encounter various animals all wonderful and bizarre at the same time, make allies and meet the ones who would betray you, get introduced to the Stonekeeper, follow a maze of underground tunnels, cross the Stony Mountains and arrive safely to the Ice Prairies, visit the cave of a Bomnubble at your risk and peril, discover the past of the grand-father, discover that another breed of Fangs exist, and even encounter and talk to sea dragons.

You will find so much in this novel that when you are done, you will need to catch your breath. North! Or Be Eaten picks up where the previous book left us hanging. But again, this book finishes and you want to know more – like what will they find when they arrive to their destination? Could it be that Esben is not dead? If so where is he? What was so important in the castle for him to stay behind when the Fangs attacked so many years ago? What other creatures the Igibys – or should I say the Wingfeathers will find? What adventures awaits them? Could the charm of the Stonekeeper can be broken somehow? What will happen to the family? Will the Fangs ever leave?

Oh! How much I wish that Andrew Peterson would release his next book soon… but I understand that it is good to keep the readers wanting for more. So please, Mr. Peterson, write book three of the Wingeather Saga real fast… I want to read more about this wonderful family and their adventures! Can you tell I had a wonderful time with these characters?

After reading book two of the saga, it only confirms my idea of reading this to my kids. I am sure that they will enjoy it as much as I did. The best part is that the chapters are just the perfect number of pages for reading before bedtime. And once again, the book cover looks like an old book and will catch your imagination. You will find the beloved footnotes at the bottom of some pages as well as wonderful pictures from the creatures encountered throughout the book. A map will help your to follow the travels of the Igibys as well as an appendices will give you more information or details on certain things.

North! Or Be Eaten is available everywhere even at and But before reading North! Or Be Eaten be sure you have read the first book of the saga - On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

OffWorld - A CSSF Blog Tour

By Robin Parrish
Published at Bethany House
About the book
"Every Person on This Planet Has Disappeared."

Commander Christopher Burke and his crew are humanity's greatest explorers. They've finished their mission on the red dirt of Mars and now they just want to get back to Earth. To see friends, family, and loved ones. To be home.

But even with communication to ground control cut and a perilous landing, nothing could prepare the crew for what they discover when they step foot back on planet Earth.

Everyone ... everywhere ... is gone.

It's not a dream. It's not a trick.

Now Burke and his team have one mission: find out who or what is behind the disappearance of all mankind.

Who is Robin Parrish?
Robin Parrish is a journalist who's written about the intersection of faith and pop culture for more than a decade. He's also the author of the acclaimed DOMINION TRILOGY. Robin and his wife and son live in North Carolina.

Robin Parrish’s Web site -
Robin Parrish’s blog -

My thoughts
Space – the final frontier… I do sound like a Star Trek intro… So let me start over.

Mars is a planet some would like to visit. Already we have sent some sort of device to take picture of it. The next step would be to send people there you would think… Well this is exactly what happened in the story of this book settled in the year 2033. Two and a half years before astronauts were send on Mars to investigate and explore the big red planet. As they are planning to come back home, they lost contact with NASA and continue their journey without knowing why the communication has been cut off.

After a dramatic landing, they realized that no one is there to welcome them. No security crew coming to check on them, no medical personnel, no NASA officials…. Where is everyone? After looking around and trying to figure out the next step to do, they realize that the answer they are seeking might be somewhere in Houston. So off they go… not without experiencing some difficulties, incidents and finding someone on the way. Could it be that they are not the only one left on Earth?

The more they get closer to their objective, the more strange events happen. So strange that they wonder what is going on and what will they find when they reach Houston!
The events happening will keep any reader sitting on the edge of his/her chair. I find this book being a good science fiction novel. However, I am a bit disappointed with the reference to the fact of some artifacts being brought to our world through a rip in the veil separating us from the divine world. I find it quite disturbing actually. I think I would have preferred some other kind of divine intervention to resolve the plot of this book. If God wants to tell us something, I doubt that he would send a dead person to do it…

Having said this, I must say that the book is pretty interesting and can keep you on the edge from beginning till the end. I was surprised that I enjoyed it so much because I don’t read a lot of science fiction kind of novels. But I did and I know that my husband would like it too. So I have strongly recommended that he reads it. Right now he is in the midst of reading some leadership books but as soon as he is done with them, this book would be a potential.

If you like science fiction and you want to read something different, I recommend Offworld. It will make you wonder until the end what happened to the rest of the people and animals living on Earth. Where did they go? Is it alien? Or something else?

Still wondering if this book would be for you? How about watching this video and then decide…

Offworld is available everywhere even on and

CSSF Participants’ Links:

Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Gina Burgess
Melissa Carswell
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Linda Gilmore
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen (posting later in the week)
John W. Otte
Lyn Perry
Steve Rice
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Elizabeth Williams

Friday, August 14, 2009

What is the Bible?

What Is the Bible?
Written by Kathleen Bostrom Illustrated by Elena Kucharik
Published at Tyndale
About the book
Little Blessings question books help young children understand basic truths about the Christian life. Perfect for ages 3-6, What Is the Bible asks and answers questions about the Bible, such as: Who wrote the Bible, who is the Bible about, how do you read the Bible? Parents can use this book as a fun tool to answer questions their little ones may have about God’s Word.

Who are Kathleen Bostrom and Elena Kucharik?
Kathleen Bostrom is the author of more than a dozen children’s books, including many of the Little Blessings question books. She and her husband, Greg, have served as co-pastors of the Wildwood Presbyterian Church in Wildwood, Illinois. Kathy often draws from the curiosity of kids in her congregation to write her books. Kathy’s books have sold well over one million copies and have been published in several languages. Kathy and Greg have three adult children and live in Wildwood, Illinois.

Elena Kucharik is an accomplished artist and illustrator who created the highly successful Care Bears characters in the 1980s. She illustrates all the Little Blessings books. She and her husband have two grown daughters and three grandchildren. They live in Madison, Connecticut.

My thoughts
Here’s another fine book from the Little Blessings series. This time it is all about the Bible – where it came from, who wrote it, what it says, is there one for boys and one for girls and so on. All questions coming from the heart of children. Sometimes kids do say the funniest things but you have to be attentive when they have questions because our answers will make them grow.

Once again Kathleen Bostrom has written wonderful little rhymes to explain what the Bible is for little ones. Her answers to the questions at the beginning of the book are short and easy to understand for little ones. And I agree with her when she says “the Bible’s a book you will never outgrow”. Indeed, it is a book where we can go in and never outgrow it. We learn things from it no matter the age we are. And somehow we never stop going back to it over and over again. The kids will discover that before we had a paper copy the stories of the Bible were kept alive by remembering them in your heart. There are indeed lots to explore and discover in a Bible and I pray that my kids will embrace this book as their life saver device while they grow.

The illustrator had done a beautiful job at illustrating the rhymes and bringing it to life. For example, when you read the outgrow comments, you see a little child who is trying to put on some clothes which he indeed outgrown. So cute to see the button popping out and flying through the room! It brought a smile on my face. Exploration is illustrated with binoculars and a spy glass. Sometimes I do feel like that when I read the Bible. Elena really brought to life the rhymes of Kathleen.

One of the questions at the beginning is about what if there are some for boys and some for girls. And the answer says it doesn’t matter what color you choose since its God’s Word after all (well not in these terms but you got the picture). I was at the Christian bookstore in town the other day and I was looking at children’s bible and I saw that cute very colorful bible with various sections being a different color. One bible had a cover blue with a little boy on it and the other one was pink with a little girl on it. I immediately thought about the Little Blessings book when I saw these.

The Bible indeed is a wonderful book and this little book will introduce it to the young children you might have at home. One tradition we have in our house is that as soon as the child is able to read fluently, my husband will take that child to the Christian bookstore in town and will show him the various version of the Bible there is. He will explain to the child to reason behind this and sit down with him/her and crack open some of them to show the differences. Then he will show the child which version he wants to buy him/her and let him/her choose the Bible within this version. Then it will be a trip to the restaurant to discuss the importance of reading it. So far, we did this with one child and I sense that maybe by the end of the coming school year we might go through this tradition once again. You see I have a child who is eager to know how to read. In the mean time, I will practice with him by reading What is the Bible?.

What is the Bible? can also be a wonderful gift for a dedication or a baptism. It is also easy to carry around in a bag for the child to look at while you are driving or when you are waiting for an appointment.

What is the Bible? can be found at any bookstore even on and

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who Made the World?

Who Made the World?
Written by Kathleen Bostrom Illustrated by Elena Kucharik
Published at Tyndale

About the book
Little Blessings question books help young children understand basic truths about the Christian life. Perfect for ages 3-6, Who Made the World? addresses questions such as: How long did it take? and What did you make first? Scriptures that support each answer are provided in the back of the book. Parents can use this book as a fun tool to answer questions their little ones may have about God’s world.

Who are Kathleen Bostrom and Elena Kucharik?
Kathleen Bostrom is the author of more than a dozen children’s books, including many of the Little Blessings question books. She and her husband, Greg, have served as co-pastors of the Wildwood Presbyterian Church in Wildwood, Illinois. Kathy often draws from the curiosity of kids in her congregation to write her books. Kathy’s books have sold well over one million copies and have been published in several languages. Kathy and Greg have three adult children and live in Wildwood, Illinois.

Elena Kucharik is an accomplished artist and illustrator who created the highly successful Care Bears characters in the 1980s. She illustrates all the Little Blessings books. She and her husband have two grown daughters and three grandchildren. They live in Madison, Connecticut.

My thoughts
Who made the World? was read immediately after I received a package from Tyndale in the mail. It was perfect because if was nap time so I sat down with my youngest kids and read through it. I love the rhyming words and how simple the answers of many questions the children can have about how God created the world.

At first the rhymes come from a child who is speaking to God then at some point in the book God answers back. It simply go through the creation and tell the child how after creating everything on earth, God took a day of rest. It also gives ideas on how to thank him for creating the world – Enjoy every day, be kind, don’t litter and so on. God even answers the famous question - Who made Him? And every answer is backed with scriptures at the end of the book. When the child is older you can easily show him/her the scripture from the Bible and discuss it with him/her.

The drawings that you will see on every page are simply amazing. The illustrator did a great job to incorporate the words found in the text in the picture as well as making the images irresistibly cute. All the characters and animals are just beautiful but my favorite above all of them are the ladybugs that you find every now and then around the book. What can I say? I’m biased on the little creature… *grin*

This little book is perfect for a gift when there is a baptism or a dedication of a child. They are also wonderful for homeschoolers with little ones in the house. Perfect for a time of devotion or just learning more about the Creation while the older kids go through a more complicated project on the same subject.

Who Made the World? can be found at any bookstore even on and

The Jesus Book

The Jesus Book
By Stephen Elkins
Published at Thomas Nelson
About the book
The Jesus Book introduces kids to the life, teaching, wonder, and amazing love of Jesus.

Often kids know about Jesus but don't have a relationship with Him. This book offers kids "everything you need to know about God's Son" and encourages a lifelong relationship with their Lord. Divided into Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How sections, it offers clear explanations and easy understanding for young hearts. It will teach them things like who Jesus is: Jesus is God's Son, and He is also my friend. Where is Jesus? He lives in heaven, but He also lives in my heart. How does Jesus act? He acts with kindness and forgiveness, and He wants me to be like Him. The book also includes an audio CD with over an hour of songs about Jesus. This is a must-have for every child!

Who is Stephen Elkins?
Stephen Elkins is an author, musician, and record producer whose work has been nominated for the prestigious Grammy Award and is president of Wonder Workshop. Among its achievements, Wonder Kids spent 100 consecutive weeks on Billboard's Top Kid Audio Chart. Elkins also is the author of the chart-topping Read and See DVD Bible, 100 Bible Stories, 100 Bible Heroes, and the acclaimed Word & Song Bible.

My thoughts
I find the book very colorful and attractive for children. The pictures for each subject are well thought and represent quite well the scriptures and the subject. This book is a help for children to grasp completely who Jesus was and what he did when he was walking on Earth. It is divided in 7 sections which will tell the kids who Jesus is, what he did, what he taught, when it happened, where it happened, why it happened and finally how it happened.

I think it is important for children to understand all the reasons why Jesus came and how everything fell into place for him. Yes children know the bible stories but sometimes they lack the explanation of the why, how or when… This book brings it all. It even gives them some maps to visualize Israel and Jerusalem. You will also find a little timeline for them to go through. Each subject of reading concerning Jesus gives more information for the kids to understand various words, situation, and history events and so on. For example, the children will learn what a parable is, what is baptism, what is repentance, what is love i.e. an action word, what is ministry and much more. They will also be asked to discover where some cities and where some specific landscapes are located on a map.

A CD containing more than 30 songs about Jesus is also included with the book. You will find songs like Deep and Wide, What A Friend We Have in Jesus, I Will Make You Fishers of Men, Amazing Grace and many more. The songs are sung by children. The CD was a nice addition to the book since the songs relate to the main subject of the book which is Jesus.

This book is great to introduce in more details the children to Jesus and his purpose on Earth. It is written in simple words and the images are very attractive. You can reinforce the reading with the CD which gives praise to what Jesus did for us.

The Jesus Book can be find everywhere even at and

Sunday, August 9, 2009

On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness - The Wingfeather Saga Book One.

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness – The Wingfeather Saga Book One
Adventure. Peril. Lost Jewels. And the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Skree.
By Andrew Peterson
Published at Waterbrook

About the book
Once, in a cottage above the cliffs on the Dark Sea of Darkness, there lived three children and their trusty dog Nugget. Janner Igiby, his brother Tink, their crippled sister Leeli are gifted children as all children are, loved well by a noble mother and ex-pirate grandfather. But they will need all their gifts and all that love to survive the evil pursuit of the venomous Fangs of Dang who have crossed the dark sea to rule the land with malice and pursue the Igibys who hold the secret to the lost legend and jewels of good King Wingfeather of the Shining Isle of Anniera.

Andrew Peterson spins a quirky and riveting tale of the Igibys’ extraordinary journey from Glipwood’s Dragon Day Festival and a secret hidden in the Books and Crannies Bookstore, past the terrifying Black Carriage, clutches of the horned hounds and loathsome toothy cows surrounding AnkleJelly Manor, through the Glipwood Forest and mysterious treehouse of Peet the Sock Man (known for a little softshoe and wearing tattered socks on his hands and arms), to the very edge of the Ice Prairies.

Full of characters rich in heart, smarts, and courage, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness presents a world of wonder and a tale children of all ages will cherish, families can read aloud, and readers’ groups are sure to discuss for its layers of meaning about life’s true treasure and tangle of the beautiful and horrible, temporal and eternal, and good and bad.

Who is Andrew Peterson?
Andrew Peterson is the author of On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and The Ballad of Matthew’s Begats. He’s also the critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter and recording artist of ten albums, including Resurrection Letters II. He and his wife, Jamie, live with their two sons and one daughter in The Warren near Nashville, Tennessee. Visit Andrew’s websites: and

My thoughts
I received the opportunity of reviewing this book when I got the invitation from Waterbrook to review Book Two of the Wingfeaters Saga. When I answered the invitation, I asked if it would be possible to get book one as well since I never read it. I told them I would review book one as well. Well when I received my book two (which by the way will be reviewed at the blog tour on Aug 17 – 21st, 2009), I had the surprise to see that the publisher included book one as well. Oh joy! I couldn’t wait to start my reading.

I just love it when I read a book and it captures my imagination. This book is a jewel in itself… It drawn me to the characters – the good and the bad ones – and it made me want to know more of what will happen. Toothy Cows, Fang of Dang and Horned Hounds seem to be hideous creatures. Actually, in the book we already have a representation of the Toothy Cows… I wouldn’t want to be face to face with one of those believe me. The Fangs represent evil in the land of Skree.

There is also a quest of jewels coming from Anniera. Where are the jewels? The Igiby children are thrown in a series of adventures that will keep you on edge. Their grand-father is a pirate – oh I see my boys liking this book already since they are so much into piracy things…! You experience the Dragons Day with the visit of the Sea Dragons. You will explore the Anklejelly Manor, get lost in a bookstore, visit the tree house of Peet the Sock Man, and cook a maggotloaf with Nia – the mother of the Igiby children.

Andrew Peterson is full of creativity and helps the reader to visualize the various characters and places written about in the book. This is a strength I consider important when you write a juvenile fiction because the kids need to “see” what they read.

What is also interesting in the book is that every once in a while there are footnotes at the bottom of the pages giving various information about history or some reference books… I was especially curious about the Creaturepedia written by Penbrick. Inside the book, you also have an example of a page from the Creaturepedia – meet the Toothy Cow. Ouch! And honestly it made me dream of having such a book in my hands to explore the world, creatures and characters of the Wingfeather Saga. That would be an interesting idea I think. But I would wait until the whole saga is written before publishing such a book.

The way it is written makes me think of the first book of the Chronicles of Narnia – The Magician’s Nephew. You get transported in a world where anything could happen and any creatures can live. The cover of On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is quite interesting as well. I find it a good representation of an old leather book which was written a long time ago to tell the magnificent story of… wait I won’t say more because I might slip the punch of the story.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this saga be put on the big screen – either with real actors or 3-D cartoons. The book is packed with adventure and it’s only the first book of a series. I can’t wait to read Book Two and tell you what I think about it. I am expecting more adventures and hope to discover new creatures along the way.

I homeschool my kids and I am planning to read the saga to them this year. Oh! And The Wingfeather Saga now have a website… Check it out! You will find more creatures drawn from the Creaturepedia. And the books are also available on an ebook format or audio CD if you are interested.

On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is available everywhere even on and

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A breath of fresh air with a bit of paint smell....

These past two days, hubby and I attended the Leadership Summit at a church in the area.   It was indeed a breath of fresh air for us.   We needed to be lift up and encourage.   We needed to be mentored by various leaders both in the church and business side of things.   It was a great two days with some speakers I liked more than others.

For example, there is that young entrepreneur who created a website so that people can give loans to people who can't have some from the bank.   Entrepreneurs who want to do better for their families in countries where poverty is rampant.  The site is KIVA.ORG .  It's worth looking into it.

The other speaker I really liked was Harvey Carey who is the pastor at the Citadel of Faith Covenant Church in Detroit, MI.   He pastors a church in the poorest zip code, in the poorest city, in the poorest state of the US (according to him).   Anyhow, this guy predicted that he would be our expresso with no sugar or milk and honestly he was.   WoW!  So much energy.   The story that impressed me the most is when he told about getting his congregation together to go camping and eat smores in from of crack houses.   They did it multiple times and the crack houses are now close...   *grin*   Obviously people didn't went to buy drugs when you had a bunch of people singing Kumbala and eating smores in front of it...  Or the three white ladies from the suburbs who drove to go in the are at 1 am to minister to prostitutes.   WoW!   One thing for sure - if we ever go spend some time in Detroit, I plan to visit his church.   Thanks Harvey!

I really like the brothers Chip and Dan Heath who spoke about their upcoming book Switch.   I had printed the introduction to their previous book Made to Stick.   I'm impressed by what I read and heard that I want to get their books.  

Bono was once again part of the group.   Returning after 3 years.   He shook the church by his interview back in 2006 and many churches stood up and did something for the poor.  He was impressed saying "I didn't think it would wake up the sleeping giant and that the giant would run so fast."  Still Bono is not attached to a specific church so pray that he will find is fit somewhere...

Wess Stafford - president of Compassion International...  What can I say about him?   He moved me to tears and I cried while he told his story.  Mostly he was talking about pain.  And many didn't know the abuse he experienced when he was young.   Someone would think the abuse was from his parents but no.... it wasn't.   His family didn't know about it for many years...   He even didn't talk about it for decades before opening up.   All the participants receive a copy of his book Too Small To Ignore.   I am quite excited to read it.

Also on site,World Vision was there.   We got a Poverty and Justice Bible where more than 2000 verses in it are marked.  Verses speaking about poverty and justice.   It's an interesting concept.   Also in it, there is a special section where you can find Poverty and Justice in 3-D.  They are devotional on specific verses with discovery about an issue, time to think about it and taking action as well.   I intend to do some with the kids during the school year.

These were my highlights from the Leadership Summit.   There were other good ones but these people touched me in way I wouldn't have expected.   We also got a DVD about FIRING, HIRING AND BOARD MELTDOWNS.   Since we have both a business and a church we thought it would be good to go through it.

I feel refreshed indeed in my soul.

As for the smell of paint... well when arrive on Thursday - the dining room and hall-way had a first coat of paint.  Yesterday the dining room was completed.   So it smell paint in the house...  And we are not done.   More to come!   Like the hallway and kitchen today.  

I'm blessed.   I have the greatest in-laws in the whole wide world.   Sorry guys!  They are mine.   And all their children are married....