Friday, April 30, 2010

Just Like You: Beautiful Babies Around the World

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Zonderkidz (March 9, 2010)
***Special thanks to Pam Mettler, Associate Director of Public Relations, ZonderKidz for sending me a review copy.***


Marla Stewart Konrad is keenly interested in global issues and has a special concern for the well-being of children. Her career as a speechwriter and communications professional has taken her to numerous countries in Asia and Africa. She lives near Toronto, Canada, with her family, and is the author of several books for children.

Product Details:

List Price: $15.99
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (March 9, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310714788
ISBN-13: 978-0310714781

Please Click the Button to Browse Inside the Book:

My Thoughts
Cradle you little one and discover the similarities in births around the world. This beautiful book will bring you to North America, China, the Amazon forest, Russia, the Arctic, Egypt, South Africa, India and Australia for a special trip around the world.

Each set of pages illustrate and present a new baby born on the same day but in various places from around the world. The images illustrate the text and will help your little one to see the difference between the kids born in different countries. Each special child is showed being love by his/her entourage and how special his/her birth was. The illustrations are stunning and will bring smiles in the face of your little one. My sweet little daughter, who is two, kept saying baby every time there was a new baby from a different country. She loves to pick up the book and look at the pictures every time she can put her hands on it.

In celebration of the publication of Just Like You, Zonderkids is donating 10,000$ to World Vision, an organization dedicated to helping children and communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty.

Just Like You is available everywhere even at

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Reno-cation Winner!

Okay has choosen the winner for the Reno-cation giveaway!

And the winner is #46 - MAT

Congratulation to the winner...

You have 48 hours to contact me when you receive my email.  

A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years DVD series

AM9910_HOC_3D A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years DVD series
With Diarmaid MacColloch
Ambrose Video Publishing

About the series

A History of Christianity, a six-part series presented by Diarmaid MacCulloch, an Oxford history professor whose books about Cranmer and the Reformation have been acclaimed as masterpieces. A History Of Christianity will reveal the true origins of Christianity and delve into what it means to be a Christian. Intelligent, thought-provoking and magisterial in its scope the series will uncover how a small Jewish sect that preached humility became the biggest religion in the world. Most Christian histories start with St Paul's mission to Rome, but Diarmaid MacCulloch argues that the first Christianity stayed much closer to its Middle-Eastern roots. He describes not only the main ideas and personalities of Christian history, its organization and spirituality, but how it has changed politics, sex, and human society.

The series includes subjects from Palestine in the first century to India in the third, from Damascus to China in the seventh century and from San Francisco to Korea in the twentieth. MacCulloch is one of the most widely travelled of Christian historians and conveys a sense of place as arrestingly as he does the power of ideas. He presents the development of Christian history differently from any of his predecessors. He shows how, after a semblance of unity in its earliest centuries, the Christian church divided during the next 1400 years into three increasingly distanced parts, of which the western Church was by no means always the most important: he observes that at the end of the first eight centuries of Christian history, Baghdad might have seemed a more likely capital for worldwide Christianity than Rome. This is the first truly global history of Christianity.

Diarmaid MacCulloch is one of the world's leading historians and Professor of History of the Church and Fellow at St. Cross College Oxford. A History of Christianity is a BBC co-production with the Open University and Jerusalem Productions

My Thoughts

I have mixed feeling about the DVD that we watched. Part of it is quite interesting and is thought provoking. However, at the same time, I would probably research the information given during the session just to make sure it is reliable information. During the first episode you will cover the First Christianity and you will go through history on a fast pace to follow how Christianity grew so fast. At the same time you will learn that after a conflict on whether or not Jesus was divine and human the church split in two creating the Western church which is based on philosophy and theology as well as the Eastern Church which possess a strong theology with the expression of art and symbolism.

However, the live talking was not at the same volume as the narration and hard to listen when there was noise around the speaker. The quality of the sound was a bit horrible and when the music would come in while narration was done it would take over the text. It was a bit disappointing also that at times I had trouble hearing what Diarmaid MacColloch was saying as he wasn’t speaking quite clearly for my taste. It is quite disappointing that there was no subtitles in English as it would have helped to follow the information given during the episode.

At one point, he mentions that Christianity has a personality cult and this particular sentence bothered me somewhat. God is central of the Christian faith and I don’t find it a personality cult whatsoever.

Be aware that after digging a bit on the internet about the presenter of the series, I stumble on the Wikipedia information on him. And here’s what I have found:

He joined the Gay Christian Movement in 1976, serving twice on its committee and briefly as honorary secretary. Regarding the clash between his sexuality and the Church and his own retreat from religious orthodoxy he said:

"I was ordained Deacon. But, being a gay man, it was just impossible to proceed further, within the conditions of the Anglican set-up, because I was determined that I would make no bones about who I was; I was brought up to be truthful, and truth has always mattered to me. The Church couldn't cope and so we parted company. It was a miserable experience."[1]

See here for more information about it.

In conclusion, I am questioning the information given in this series for various reasons. As I said, I would be the kind of person to dig and try to find if it is true or not. I do not think I would recommend this series to my friends and readers. I would strongly suggest that you try to look for something similar that can be verified.

This review was possible because I received a free copy of the first DVD of A History of Christianity from the B&B Media Group.

A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years is available everywhere.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New button

Check on the right side of my blog.   I now have a brand new blog button for my followers to put on their blog.

Isn’t it cool!

I love it.

Arithmaroo 1: A Counting Math Game for Kids on iTouch/iPhone




I had the opportunity to download a free copy of Arithmaroo 1 last Friday.    

Prepare to be fast as a Kangaroo and to identify the correct number of items you will see on the screen.  

arithmaroo Arithmaroo 1 is a basic counting application for the iTouch/iPhone.   It will give the foundation needed to addition, substraction, multiplication and division.     From the number 1 to the number 50, you will have fun using this fun application.  

This application is perfect for kindergarten to grade 1 kids who want to test their number identification.   The screen will show you rocks or fingers on a hand.  Speed is a necessity as it will permit you to get more points which you need to be able to to advance to the next level.

But adults can have fun too when getting into thecounting_3 challenge of going faster at giving your answers.    You can record up to 4 players and you will shift from counting to seeing patterns. 

The music is engaging and is based on an Australian instrument called the didgeridoo.    Quite entertaining I find!   If the child has the correct answer then a bird will sing indicating that he/she had it right!  

I think this little application is fun to use and will also help the kids to develop rapidity and mental calculations.   I sure hope that it will become available for the iPad in a near future as I find the iPad being more interesting to use than the iPhone or iTouch in an home school environment. 

This application is available on the iTunes store for 1.99$.

My cup overflows

This morning I am blessed... well actually I was blessed yesterday evening.  But before I tell you what I am blessed with let me tell you a bit more about my morning.

So I got up and saw shadows dancing in the window of the front door.   At first I thought it was birds but then I saw more shadows - definetively not birds.   It is 530am EST.   A thought come to my mind and I simply reject it....  Can't be that!   No Way!    So I go to the window in our school room and I got surprised to see HUGE snowflakes.   Gigantic snowflakes covering the ground, the vehicles and anything around it.    And right now it is still going down.     *sigh*

Blessings Galore!
So last night I went to the RVHEA meeting and the topic was Geography.   Funny enough I was looking into this a week before.    How to incorporate more geography in our school days?   So when I heard about the subject of the meeting I wanted to go.

A school and another homeschol family had given some curricula away to bless others.   It was first come first serve.   So I found some interesting things.   Here's a list of what I got (and btw there was still more things to grab when I left - other got tons of things as well).

  • Abeka Biology God's Living Creation (Field and Laboratory manuel and teacher book, Teacher's guide, Student tests, Quiz Key and Test Key)
  • Abeka Observing God's World (Teacher's Edition, Guide, Quiz Key, Test Key)
  • Abeka Investigating God's World (Book, Test Key, Teacher's guide, Quiz Key)
  • Abeka Enjoying Good Health (Book and Test/Quiz Key)
  • Abeka Choosing Good Health (Book, Student Test, Test Key, Teacher's Edition)
  • In Days of Yore - Medieval Studies
  • Excursions in Literature for Christian Schools Teacher's Edition
  • Close in on Language Comprehensive mini-units Grades 4-6
  • Vocabulary Booster Grades 5 & 6  Synonyms and Antonyms, Prefixes and Suffixes
  • Tapestry 3
  • McGraw-Hill Reading Grade 4
  • Languages Arts Thinking Motivators Grades 2 to 7
  • Skills Young Writers Grade 4
  • Usborne Hot Shots The Romans
  • Star Wars Episode I Anakin's Fate
  • Star Wars Wpisode 1 Anakin's Pit Droid
  • Star Wars Attack of the Clones Jango Fett: County Hunter
  • Star Wars Attack of the Clones Anakin: Apprentice
  • DK Readers Star Wars Journey Through Space
  • Finding the Titanic
  • Abeka Geography Studies & Projects Western Hemisphere Teacher's Key
  • Abeka Old World History and Geography in Christian Perspective
  • Learning Languages Arts Through Literature Red, Yellow, Orange, Tan, Grey and Green books which covers grades 2 to 9
  • The Canadian Spelling Program II
  • Spelling Connections 2, 3, and 4
  • Spelling Reinforcement activities Book 2
  • Language Power Book A & B
  • Nelson Language Arts What Should I Do?
  • Nelson Language Arts Making a Difference
  • Abeka  Of People Literature
  • and finally, a pack of various papers including gel papers (you know the black ones...)
As you can see I am blessed a lot.    I had nothing in spelling and nothing in Language arts really.   I was considering Geography in a deeper level.   There was interesting Math book but we want to stick with Math-U-See only.  I don't mind if some books are missing (like the student books) in some of these because I can easily adapt it for my kids.  

Thank you for the school and the home school family who gave away their curriculum.   I am forever grateful for them...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lesson Planet Search engine for Teachers

Lesson Planet – The Search Engine for Teachers

As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given access to an interesting site called Lesson Planet.

Lesson Planet makes it easy for teachers and parents to search over 225,000 online lesson plans and worksheets that have been reviewed and rated by teachers. The site says that you can search over 150,000 teacher reviewed lesson plans and 75,000 worksheets. You can search by lesson plans (subject, calendar, theme), worksheets (subject, theme), and standards by states. You will also be able to access lesson planning articles.

To select a specific grade you will have to use the search functionality. However the grades are listed when you select a specific subject. For example, in the science and technology there is a subject about space. Since I have just received a telescope I decided to check this section out. From there, I can have access to a multitude of lesson plans concerning space – astronauts, astronomy, black holes, comets and meteors, constellations, galaxies, Hubble telescope, moon, planets, solar system, stars and universe. Already listed in there are a bunch of lessons with the grade range and the rating. So I pick SPACE for grade 1-4 and the rating is quite high 4 stars out of 5. These lessons cover survival in space and you will have a list of equipment that you might need as well as the procedure to follow to complete the activities.

Lesson Planet has put together a small video explaining how you can use to help you in your homeschool. Simply click on to watch it. Also available on the site is a curriculum calendar that highlights the special days throughout the year. I like to use this kind of calendar just to populate my facebook daily announcement. I’ve been doing this since over almost two years now and my friends appreciate it. It is an educational alternative to other sort of comments that I would prefer not to read.

Keep in mind that Lesson Planet is not a christian website. Consequently, you will have access to information about other religions as well as science lessons based on evolution. It is your responsibility to prepare your lesson before doing it. This way you will know what is taught before hand and can make necessary adjustment to adapt it to your family.

This site is interesting to say the least if you don’t have organization and don’t want to search by yourself over the net. But honestly I don’t see myself as a homeschooler to pay for such a service when you have Google search or a tool like the homeschool bar you can install on your PC.

For examples see the lesson plans or the worksheets.

Lesson Planet has a 10 day free trial to allow teachers and parents to try the site with no obligation. After the free trial, membership is only $39.95/year.

This review was possible because I received free access to Lesson Planet for a period of time through TOS Homeschool Crew.

Telescope Giveaway Winner

This morning I went on and proceed in discovering who won the telescope.  

Roll drum please...........

And the winner is...............  #8.

Congratulations to midwest mama!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

K*Nex Giveaway Winners

Last Friday was the last day to participate to my giveaway of three K*Nex Education kit.  

This morning, I have used and the site selected the winners.

1) Susan Margaret

2) Jennifer L

3) Richard & Miriam Poole.

I will contact the winners and they will have to contact me ASAP.

Thanks to everyone who participated.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Our Created Moon - Earth's Fascinating Neighbor

Our Created Moon – Earth’s Fascinating Neighbor

Written by Don DeYoung and John Whitcomb
Published at Master Books

About the book
For eons the moon has intrigued humanity. From its creation through the current issues of space exploration, the moon has been both a light in the night and a protective shield of earth placed perfectly by God, regulating our seasons and keeping our atmosphere purified. Billions of dollars have been spent to reach its surface and discover its secrets; open these pages and discover those secrets for yourself.

Now completely revised and expanded, Our Created Moon is filled with the most current full-color images, facts and figures, and innovative teaching resources:

• Developed as an educational resource for use in classroom study, independent learning, and homeschool settings.
• Filled with clearly-stated objectives built upon basic learning as a foundation for more developed learning skills.
• Loaded with provocative questions about the moon’s history, purpose, record in Scripture, as well as a clear response to critics.
• Discover unique and fascinating facts and insights on the moon found throughout the text.
• Make your own interesting findings and observations from practical, inexpensive activities at the end of each chapter.

Who are Don DeYoung and John Whitcomb?
Don DeYoung is on the math/science faculty of Grace College, Winona Lake, Indiana. His writing goal is to popularize and clarify science topics including connections with the creation worldview. Several of his 16 books feature a Question-Answer approach with concise discussion of popular issues. Don enjoys backpacking, running, speaking on the Bible and science, and travel with his wife, Sally. Don’s website is

John Whitcomb is president of Whitcomb Ministries Inc and founder and professor of Christian Workman Schools of Theology. He and his wife Norma reside in Indianapolis and enjoy spending time with their 6 children and 17 grand-children. Dr. Whitcomb has been a professor of Old Testament and theology for more than 50 years and is widely recognized as a leading Biblical scholar. His life and ministry may be summed up in this quotation: “I want to be in the full-time business of finding out what God says and telling as many people as I can.” John’s website is

My Thoughts
This book is fabulous if you want to learn more about our natural satellite, the moon. You will discover many interesting information on the moon and what effects it has on our planet. This book can be used in a class setting or as independent reading from a student or adult.

Each chapter will highlight the learning objectives and the words to recognize at the beginning. You will learn more about why the ocean tides happen, the various Apollo missions, the temperature ranges on the moon, where the word honeymoon comes from, how our seasons and weather is affected and so much more! Here and there all over the book you will find tidbits of information called Shooting for the Moon. I have found these tidbits quite interesting. You will also have some activities to do alone or with your kids. Finally, each chapter concludes with a word review.

And just for fun, you can discover the phases of the moon as flip pages throughout the book! This is pretty interesting and fun to discover with your kids. And two wonderful appendixes are included where you will get more information about how to observe the moon, living on the moon. Finally, a glossary concludes the book and will give you all the definitions of the words to recognize in the chapters.

The text is a bit heavy at times for young kids but I would think that a grade 5 and up student wouldn’t have any problem discovering the moon. This book can be used in sideline while studying the planets and discovering the night sky with a telescope.

This review was possible because I received a copy of Our Created Moon from Master Books.

Our Created Moon is available everywhere even at

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mighty Acts of God – A Family Bible Story Book

Mighty Acts of God – A Family Bible Story Book

Written by Starr Meade and Illustrated by Tim O’Connor
Published at Crossway

About the book
"Do as David did. Don't do as Saul did. Follow this Old Testament person, but not that New Testament person." That's what you may find in many Bible story books. In Mighty Acts of God Starr Meade takes a new approach to teaching the Bible to elementary school aged children: she focuses not on characters in Scripture, but on God. Each of the ninety Bible stories included focus on a particular character trait or truth about God, emphasizing that God is the main character in every Bible story.

Each story in Mighty Acts of God is retold in lively, modern-day language from a Reformed perspective, and is followed by an application section with several discussion-sparking questions and prayer points. By moving chronologically through both the Old and New Testaments, parents and children glimpse the person of God as one of consistency, vibrancy, passion, and love.

Designed for families with children ages four through ten, this Bible story book takes a panoramic, chronological look at the character of God.

Who are Starr Meade and Tim O’Connor?
Starr Meade is a graduate of Arizone College of the Bible and the author of Training Hearts, Teaching Minds and Keeping Holiday. She currently teaches homeschool students in Mesa, Arizona.

Tim O’Connor has illustrated various Christian children’s books, including My Bedtime Anytime Storybook and My Pajama Bible.

My Thoughts
My first reaction when I received this book to review was “Crossway do publish lots of Bible Story books lately.” Honestly I didn’t know what to expect from this new Family Bible Story Book. But I must say that I am quite surprised and pleased with it.

You will find definition of words that as Christian we used often like grace, sin or predestine for examples. You will have a key verse to learn together as well as the reference of the story in the Bible. The stories themselves are more like devotionals based on the Bible and written so that the kids can understand it better. Finally each story is completed with suggestions on how to discuss and apply the lesson learned. And these suggestions are interesting. For example, one of the things to do as a family is to consider together some problem areas where God does not seem to be doing anything and the pray for God to work in these situations and ask Him for grace to trust that he is working, even when we don’t see it.

As a homeschooler I can see using this book throughout a year with one story per week. This book is a wonderful addition to your personal library. It can also become a wonderful gift for young families.

This review was possible because I received a copy of Mighty Acts of God from Crossway.

Mighty Acts of God is available everywhere even at and

Super Star Games

superstarlogocopy As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I had the opportunity to review some products created by Super Star Speech.

What is SuperStar Speech? Super Star Speech  materials have been designed by a speech-language-pathologist to assist parents in helping their children achieve developmentally appropriate speech and to provide some of the necessary resources to do speech therapy at home. The focus of these books is the correction of articulation (speech sound) errors.

superstargamelogo However, I didn’t feel as though I had kids who were having speech problems. Since I had the choice to pick whatever I wanted, I decided to concentrate my reviews on the homeschool games that were also available to review.

I didn’t know what to expect from games in an e-book format. My first reaction was wondering if these games will indeed be useful. Well I was in for a surprise! These games are simply fantastic and will complete you teaching at the same time. My son and I had a great time reviewing his grammar lessons while playing Silly Snail.

Let me present you the various games available through SuperStar Speech.

Silly Snail will review parts of speech like common noun, proper noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, and adverb. For grades 3 to 6.

Planets, Moon and Stars is all about space, the planets and the solar system. This game is for grade 3 and up.

Explorer of the World will help your child (grade 3 to 8) to reinforce their history and geography studies. You will have 24 world explorers and their contributions. This game can be played in two different ways.

The Inventor Game will help the kids to discover 24 famous inventors. Two different games can be played with this one.

Covering the Continents is a fun game for kids age 6 to 10 and will help them to discover the continents of our planet. Questions about the seven continents need to be answered so that you can settle more continents than your adversaries.

Exploring Egypt will have you race so you can be the first to arrive at the top of the pyramid. Designed for grades 3 to 8, this game will bring history to life after studying the ancient Egypt.

Climb the Vine: All About Plants will reinforce your science curriculum for kids grades 3 to 6. The kids will have to answer questions about plant types, pollination, photosynthesis, trees and more.

The Insect Game is perfect to reinforce the study of insects. Kids from grades 2 to 6 will compete to be the first one to finish building their insect.

All About Animals is an animal classification game for grades K to 5. Categorize the animals in five major groups.

Also available are two games more geared for the American history.

Road to Revolution will cover the American Revolutionary War and his designed for grades 3-8.

Colony Quest will teach the kids (grades 3 to 5) about the American Colonies and revised their map skills at the same time. Perfect to reinforce the American History curriculum!

Silly%20Snail%20cover As I said, we had a blast to play Silly Snail. We also enjoyed discovering the other games I had the opportunity to review. My son, who will be 9 in a couple of months, thought that All About Animals was fun to play even though he also found some of the cards being easy to categorized.

The one that I am particularly looking forward to play is the Planets, Moon and Stars. I am keeping this one to take out after we go through our study of the planets which I am planning to do this summer with our telescope. These games are not just for kids I find, as parents you should expect to learn from them as well. They are fun and easy to use. And if you wonder how long a game can last, it will be faster than playing Monopoly – guaranteed.

These games being a pdf file, I was wondering what I could do to store them. Then an idea came to me. I had protective sleeves for my scrapbook pages and I could easily slide a game in one of them. I have included the games in a binder and voilà I had easy access to educative games. I also put all the game cards and other pieces in little bags that I can close easily so I don’t lose any part of the games. This way I have the instructions, the cards and the board(s) all together in one place. Ingenious!

These games are ready for instant download at CurrClick for the price of 3.50$ US each. And just for the fact that it will reinforce the learning the kids have done previously, I think that it is a 3.50$ well spent! You can also order the games in Bundles if you prefer and save in the end. The Science bundle and the History and Geography bundle are available as well.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fun giveaway at my friend’s blog

My friend Heidi at Reviews and Reflections is having the coolest giveaway right now.

She had the opportunity to review to Soda Stream and you can win one on her blog.  (okay I’m trying not to be jealous here because I so want to review this….  It would be perfect for our RV days don’t you think?).

Anyhow, jump to and participate to the contest.

Open to US citizens only unless you know someone living in the US where you could get it delivered and then shipped to you via that person…  Just a thought!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Trying Windows Live Writer

A friend recently posted on


that she was trying Windows Live Writer to help with her post on blogger.

Seeing how this seems to be a success for her, I am trying to experience it as well.

I think I like it.   The ability of using various fonts and other things are quite interesting.  

Let me know what you think…  Here’s a drawing I did last year that I can modidy somewhat to look as an instant picture.   Pretty neat!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

RVHEA Homeschool Conference

Today is the RVHEA Homeschool Conference.  So it's time to get the curriculum for next year which will include Math U See for three kids, Easy Grammar grade 4 and other few things.    The rest of the things I need I will have to order somewhere else since it is French curriculum.   But the bulk will be done.

Also I am suppose to be able to meet other TOS Homeschool Crew members there.   Fun! 

And I am bringing door prizes from Sharon Crooks as well as a book and a game I had extra via Canadianladybug Reviews! .

And we will also bring some advertisement for as well as spread to word about the giveaways I have on my review blog.  

I am so blessed to have in-laws willing to come and babysit today!   The kids are looking forward in spending some time with them.

Oak Tree and Purkinje Cells

So I have been contacted to review an interesting book titled In Plain Sight.   And this book contains devotions about how God is creative and our need to stop and wonder at his marvelous work.

I am reading it and arrive to devotion #2 which is about Seeing Beyond the Ordinary.   I won't give you the details of the devotion because I think it wouldn't be fair for the author.   So if you want to read it you will have to purchase the book which is available at  

Anyhow, I have already shared with you the reasons why our homeschool is called Oak Grove Academy.   But when I read this devotion, I was intrigued in seeing how Purkinje Cells looks like.

Purkinje Cells - nerve cells carrying information from the cerebellum

I thought it was interesting to see similarity of these nerve cells with a mighty oak standing in the midst of winter.  See for yourself.

Oak tree without its leaves

Now I love our homeschool name even more.  After all, homeschooling is about learning and learning involve the brain like it or not.  

In case you are curious about Purkinje Cells - here's the Wikipedia page

And if you want to learn more about oak trees, well simply go to the page about an Oak.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Power Praise Move DVD

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour DVDreview! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the DVD!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the DVD:

December 1, 2009
***Special thanks to David P. Bartlett - Print & Internet Publicist - Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Laurette Willis, the founder of PraiseMoves®, is a Women’s Fitness Specialist and certified personal trainer, as well as a popular keynote speaker and an award-winning actor and playwright. She has produced the videos PraiseMoves™ and 20-Minute PraiseMoves™ and written BASIC Steps to Godly Fitness.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $16.99
Actors: Laurette Willis
Directors: Josh Atkinson
Format: NTSC
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: CT Videography
DVD Release Date: December 1, 2009
Run Time: 120 minutes
ASIN: 0736928456


My Thoughts
During the introduction of the DVD, the camera changes angles every now and then but the person presenting the video doesn’t follow it. Consequence? You see the person talking from the side instead of her facing the viewer. I find it difficult to keep watching the DVD when these kind of situation happens. Mind you I am flexible and if it happens once I can understand an error but when it happenes every time the angle of the camera is changed it is obvious that it was not explained to her to face a different camera. However, I like that she takes the time to explain the background of yoga which is Hinduism based by the way and explain the reasons behind the saying a Christian alternative to Yoga. There is even a pdf file explaining this on her website.

While doing the PowerPraise Move every posture is yoked on scriptures and you will be transformed by the Word. She also gives a list of things you might need to do the execises in the introduction of the DVD.

The exercises are divided in different section. In the warm up, you will start with a prayer and you will warm yourself to do harder exercises in the standing postures, floor postures, power sequences and abs workout.

The décor is simple and will help you to concentrate on the example of the exercises and do your best in following the rhythm. Scriptures are read on a regular basis and the exercises are done while listening to the scriptures. I find it interesting to incorporated exercising with scriptures. It is a different way to use the scriptures and include them in your life.

The person speaking on the video is doing so in a clear way and slow enough (but not too slow) for the viewer to do it at the same time. However, I find the piano being a bit too loud for my taste. I would have preferred having the music brought down a notch on the video so we can hear the speaker more clearly.

At the end of the DVD, there is an invitation to meet the Lord and become is friend. There is also prayers you can do with moves for non-christian family members or friends.

Included in the DVD, a little booklet will explain what Power Praise Move and all the moves that is done throughout the DVD. I thought it was a nice gesture to have included this in the box and you can get familiar with the moves before starting the exercises. The same positions of yoga are used in the Power Praise Move DVD but under a different name sometimes.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2009 Schoolhouse Planner Useful Excerpts

I’ve recently had the opportunity to review the Schoolhouse Planner Useful Excerpts 2008-2009. This little ebook is packed with the articles as well as the recipes that appeared in the Schoolhouse Planner published during the year 2008-2009.

These articles are written by authors in the homeschool business. Each has their special knowledge and each share from their heart about it. The one article that grabbed my immediate attention was Learning to Spot the Planets. I’ve learned quite a lot reading this and I look forward to try my new telescope that I should received early April as I am reviewing one. I can’t wait to practice the tips found in this article alone and discover the stars and planets above my head.

And new recipes are always nice to have if you ask me. I love trying new recipes – so does my husband but he would prefer “invent” them instead of following a recipe. Everyone has their preferences… For me new recipes have a soft spot in my heart. I love to discover recipes from other people. I’ve already spotted a few that I want to try but the first one I would do is the Tropical Chicken Dinner which contains pineapple rings (yum!) and coconut milk. Sounds like a winning recipe for my family!

If you want to get new recipes and read articles from leaders in the homeschool business, you will need to get the Schoolhouse Planner Useful Excerpts 2008-2009.

The regular price is $9.95 and it is available directly from The OldSchoolhouse Store.

Alphabet Beats - lowercase letters from The TV Teacher

The TV Teacher – Alphabet Beats lowercase

About the DVD
This fun and educational video teaches children how to write lowercase letters. Within each 5-minute chapter, approx. 8-10 vocabulary words beginning with that letter are also shown. All vocabulary is different from the Uppercase DVD which enhances your child's learning!

Alphabet Beats are fun, educational videos that teach children (recommended ages: 2 ½ - 8) how to write the alphabet quickly and easily! In each DVD children enjoy watching Miss Marnie because she is very engaging and fun, while at the same time she is teaching valuable skills and concepts. The vocabulary words being demonstrated are both educational and therapeutically based: body parts, spatial concepts, opposites, shapes, colors, animals, musical instruments, sensory items, community helpers, cutting, painting, behavior modeling, gross and fine motor activities, daily living skills, and so much more - all in our writing DVD's!

Our Thoughts
If you would tell me that you can only buy one product this year for your preschooler/junior kindergarten, I would strongly suggest that you look into this DVD. This product is a HUGE hit in my house. Not only my 27 months and 4 years old are watching it but my 6 and 8 ¾ years old come and join us as well.

I’ve seen a difference in the writing of my 4 year old and my baby girl is enjoying Miss Marnie so much that she repeats the letter after her most of the time. The DVD is engaging and very educative. Miss Marnie takes the time to speak slowly and clearly for the children to understand. She is full of energy and encourages the kids to repeat after her, answer questions and even practice their lettering. The vocabulary words are very creative and incorporate either pictures or videos. It is quite entertaining to watch. Miss Marnie will repeat multiple times how to write the specific letter and will do so in three different ways -first by following the letter pattern on a frame, then by writing it on a black board to finally sitting down at the table with a paper.

On the website, you will have the possibility of downloading the pages as well as the activities she has during the video. Jérémy enjoyed playing the game with his brothers after learning the letter g. Just doing so with the big dice we had, he had a blast. I find this video to be multi-sensory learning which I totally love for my kids. They are learning so much by watching, listening, writing and playing that I find this kind of learning being the best. Learning should be fun and Miss Marnie does bring this aspect in learning how to write your letters.

It reminded me the training of my oldest son when he was in senior kindergarten (before our homeschooling days). His teacher had had training in teaching writing from a French company that had developed something similar but without the words. It was more movements like slide, tchouc and so on. Honestly, I find the DVD of Miss Marnie so interesting that I think it should be translated. Doing so, it would be different because some example she is giving is not easily transferable in the French language.

The DVD menu makes it easy to select individual letter chapters, one at a time. The only one negative point that I would find is that every time I put the DVD in the player, we get the introduction automatically. Mind you, it is only a matter of pressing the menu button to get to the main menu but personally I would have preferred having this introduction part of the DVD menu so I don’t have to listen to it every time I insert the DVD in the player.

Despite the fact that the introduction is played every time you put the DVD in the player, I find this products to be a absolutely must for families who have preschoolers and young children having problems with their letters. I am still amaze on how much my own daughter, who is 27 months, is absorbing while watching the DVD. She repeats clearly after Miss Marnie and enjoys learning too. And my son is taking more his time to write his letters now. So I am quite please with this product. Thank you Miss Marnie for this wonderful DVD called Alphabet Beats.  Now I must admit that I am quite curious with the Uppercase DVD as well as the Strokes, Shapes and Scenes DVD.

The Alphabet Beats DVDs are available directly from the TV Teacher website for the price of $35 each or $64.99 for both lowercase and uppercase letters.

This review was possible because I received the Alphabet Beats lowercase letters from The TV Teacher to review through the TOS Homeschool Crew.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 - PREK program

Time4Learning – PreK program

This year, as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew, we had the opportunity of reviewing the new PreK level of Time4Learning. I had mixed feelings about it and every time my son logged on, I was sitting next to him to see how he was doing. He loved the fun activities and enjoyed discovering it. He was particularly pleased with the fact that he was the only one product testing it.

But what is Time4Learning you might wonder… Well Time4Learning is an online program that will help the kids to learn and develop skills in language arts as well as mathematics. The PreK level was new this year and I had the opportunity of reviewing it with my son who is four years old.

There was two levels on PreK activities to do. Level 1 contained themes like school supplies, alphabet, colors, shapes, rhyme time, numbers, weather, on the farm, food, at the zoo, feelings, vehicles, tools, on the playground, sports, the human body, space, fruit, the human face, and garden. Level 2 had themes titled at the library, insects, color mixing, seasons, playing outside, more letters, healthy habits, yourself, more numbers, out to sea, more rhymes, staying fit, manners, pets, days of the week, time, making music, measuring, nature, money, and in your neighborhood. So as you can see, they covered the many themes a preschooler should go through to discover the world around him or her.

All the activities covers many aspects of learning in PreK like patterns, memory matches, telling which ones, ordering, paint it (coloring), find it, stories, memory games, clicking the mouse, pronunciation and much more…. They always ask if the child wants to start before beginning the game which I find redundant in the end. I mean if someone clicked on a specific activity why not starting it right away?

The playground contains even more fun games to get better at various things like coloring, letters, puzzles, educational games, and other fun things to do. It seems to me that this playground area brings you to other sites outside of the Time4Learning borders. Mind you these sites are educational but having paid a monthly amount to control the time spent on the internet with a 4 or 5 year old, I doubt this is necessary. However, every time you select an activity you get the word playground every once in a while which personally I find totally annoying.

The one thing that really bugged me is that at each theme of activities, the child would be asked to give their opinion on the games. I think this is totally absurd to ask a four year old if they liked the game or not. First of all, my own son sometimes didn’t answer properly to the questions as he didn’t completely understand the purpose of the survey. If you want to ask a survey, this should be done only on the parent level. A four year old wouldn’t understand why you are doing this.

Mind you there is a Parent administration section which allows you to manage your account settings as well as access a parent forum, get more lessons plans, and a getting started guide.

You might be wondering how much this website charge to access their education section. Well, before I reveal to you the current pricing, let me mention that it is a monthly price. Consequently, you will have to pay the same amount EVERY month of the year. Second, there is an ignition two week money back guarantee attached to your subscription which means that within the first two weeks of using the service, if you are not satisfied, they would reimburse your money. Pass there two weeks, you can cancel anytime but your better do it before the next month is charged on your credit card. The current pricing is $19.95 US per month for the first child in a family and $14.95 US for each additional child. So do the math and see if it is worth spending that much on an online system. I prefer taking the 239$ US and buy software or reproducible curriculum where I know will be more beneficial for my preschooler. Besides, these could be use later with his little sister.

Personally, in an age where children are spending too much time on television or on gaming programs (like this one), I prefer organizing some one on one time with my child and play with him/her. I prioritize the relationship with my child over having him/her spending so much time on a PC or the television.

This review was possible because I received a 30-day free trial of this product to review as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Winners - SafetyTats Giveaway

The SafetyTats giveaway has closed on April 10th.   I still used to draw the names of the winners even though only two people participated.

And funny enough, has decided that each of them won a pack of their choice... *grin*   Isn't it cool?

So congrats Nicole and Shannon!

The Secret holocaust Diaries - The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Tyndale House Publishers (March 4, 2010)
***Special thanks to Vicky Lynch of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***


Nonna Bannister was a young girl when World War II broke into her happy life. She went from an idyllic early-twentieth-century Russian childhood, full of love and comforts, to the life of a prisoner working in labor camps—though she was not a Jew—eventually bereft of her entire family. But she survived the war armed with the faith in God her grandmother taught her and a readiness to start a new life. She immigrated to America, married, and started a family, keeping her past secret from everyone. Though she had carried from Germany the scraps of a diary and various photographs and other memorabilia, she kept it all hidden and would only take it out, years later, to translate and expand her writings. After decades of marriage, Nonna finally shared her secret with her husband . . . and now he is sharing it with the world. Nonna died on August 15, 2004.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (March 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414325479
ISBN-13: 978-1414325477


My Thoughts

There has been many book written about the horrors of the second world war. But this is different. Why? Well first of all the story of the person in this book is from a survivor of the holocaust. This young woman has lost everyone she loved but somehow she survived. She was also able to hide and keep some pictures from her life before the war and her journal that she continued to write whilein captivity with the Germans.

This biography will give you some perspective on the life before the war and life during the war. It is well written and organized with pictures showing you the life before the war and the arrival of Nonna in America. After she arrived in America, she hid her story and didn't reveal it to her husband until way later in life.

You will grow to love this young lady as she goes through a difficult period in her life. You will also discover copies of her documents through the years as well as genealogy. She also took the time to write a chronology of the events that happened and that she witnessed. The book also contains a glossary of names and places mentioned throughout the reading. Finally, Nonna also included a little information about herself and the things she loves. It will help you discover a little bit more about this wonderful lady who passed away in 2004.

This book is moving and will bring your to tears at some point. But I think it is a nice addition to your own library because I find it important to know the story of people who lived the war and survived it. It is important I find that this is not repeated in the future.

The Secret Holocaust Diaries - The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister is available everywhere even at and

Friday, April 9, 2010

God's Design for Heaven and Earth

God’s Design for Heaven and Earth

Written by Deb bie and Richard Lawrence
Published at Answer In Genesis

About the Series
Elementary and middle schoolers will love the exciting, easy-to-understand, and easily taught lessons in the God’s Design textbooks by Debbie and Richard Lawrence. All twelve books in the God’s Design series are very comprehensive, richly illustrated, and cover material that is often left out of other curricula. You’ll love the flexibility of this popular series, which is designed to be used with students ranging from first through eighth grade … all at the same time!

Best of all, God’s Design textbooks help you teach science from a biblical, creationist perspective, emphasizing God’s handiwork in the world around us. Using the God’s Design curriculum from AiG will help strengthen your student’s faith by showing how science consistently supports the Bible’s written record. Students will learn to think critically and logically examine arguments presented by all sides in the creation/evolution debate.

As homeschool parents who are also trained electrical engineers, Debbie and Richard Lawrence have designed each lesson with ease and excellence in mind. Each lesson begins with a “read-aloud” section that covers the basic material and is followed by a fun hands-on activity that involves your child and reinforces what you just read. Each lesson ends with review and application questions. In addition to the lessons (35 per text), God’s Design books contain special feature articles that examine the lives of scientists throughout history who have contributed to the subject. Other articles contain fun facts. Finally, each book has a unit project that ties all of the lessons together and reinforces what the student has learned. Good science couldn’t be more fun!

Specifically for Heaven and Earth curriculum
Help your children see God’s plan for our planet, our solar system, and our universe with this complete earth and space science curriculum for grades 1 through 8. Explore how God designed the earth to support life from our atmosphere to our oceans. Hands-on activities keep everyone interested in learning about geology, weather, and space. 105 lessons. Full-color.

Included Our Planet Earth, Our Universe, Our Weather and Water as well as Teacher Supplement and CD-ROM.

Who are Debbie and Richard Lawrence?
Born out of the concern of a mom and dad for their own children, Debbie and Richard Lawrence spent years developing this complete science curriculum out of their own homeschooling experiences.

My Thoughts
I had originally requested the God’s Design for Life but when Answers in Genesis answered me back, this title was not available for review. So my contact suggested that I review one of the three other God’s Design products. After discovering them on their website, I decided to go with the God’s Design for Heaven and Earth as I was waiting for our telescope to arrive.
So when I received the box, I was so curious and eager to discover this curriculum and let me tell you this is absolutely wonderful. Here are the books that come with the God’s Design for Heaven and Earth curriculum.

This is an exciting study of the atmosphere and oceans of the planet Earth. In this book you will discover what weather is, how it is caused, and how meteorologists study and predict it. You will also discover God’s hand in the design of our oceans and their effect on our weather. Your child can be a junior meteorologist and set up his/her own weather station.

Planet Earth
In this book you will learn how God designed earth as a special place for us to live. Learn about rocks, volcanoes, earthquakes, and glaciers. You will discover how the Great Flood changed the surface of the earth, and why fossils support what the Bible says. This book will help you reveal God’s design for our planet to your child.

Our Universe
Explore our solar system and the universe in this book. Learn about each planet and see how Earth was specially designed by God to support life. See God’s hand as you study nebulae, stars, comets, and meteors. Also, learn about the space program and see what it takes to be an astronaut. Learn how one astronaut used his life to bring glory to God.

Teacher’s Supplement and CD-Rom
Encompassing all three student books in the God's Design for Heaven and Earth series, the teacher supplement book provides an introduction on how to teach the curriculum, a supply list and answer key for each lesson, a resource guide containing suggested books, videos, and field trips, and a master supply list. The CD-ROM includes student supplement worksheets and tests in an electronic form.

Once again I think I have found the perfect science curriculum for homeschoolers. This curriculum can be used for grades 1-2, grades 3-5 and finally grades 6-8. As the children grow, you can easily reuse the books and discover more on the subjects they might have learned on previous years. Or you can simply use it if you have a multiple age classroom like many homeschoolers would have.

Each lesson contains beautiful images, interesting information about the subject studied, an experiment as well as how it relates with the Bible. Each grade level will have their specific activities to do. For example, the grades 3-5 students will have some questions to answers while the grades 6-8 students will have other assignments to do. When necessary other illustrations are included in the lesson like the one to illustrate the water cycle. I find it is always good to have extra illustrations to understand a concept. You will also find a glossary and a challenge glossary at the end of each book.

What I particularly like about this curriculum is the fact that a teacher supplement is available. This book is clearly listing you the specifics for some of the lessons. For example, you will get a supply list, you will have the answers of the questions for each level and you will be able to see the worksheets answers as well. In the appendices section, you will have a resource guide which suggests books, videos or fields trips as well as a master supply list for all the things you will need while you go through the curriculum with your children. Also, you will receive a CD which contains the quizzes and worksheets needed to get the most of the lesson.

I am very excited to start this marvelous curriculum with the use of our brand new telescope. I am planning to start with the book titled Our Universe when the camping season will start. It will be perfect to discover the sky when we are outside of the city. Even my oldest son, who is 8, marvels at the books and is eager to start using them.

This is definitively a wonderful curriculum to have in your homeschool. If you wonder how to teach science, don’t worry anymore. This is a beautiful set to discover God’s Design for Heaven and Earth!

This review was possible because I have received God’s Design for Heaven and Earth from Answers In Genesis.

Also available are God’s Design for Chemistry and Ecology, God’s Design for the Physical World and God’s Design for Life. Each book is available separately as well or you could purchase the complete curriculum.

God's Design for Heaven and Earth is available at Answers in Genesis as well as

You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes

You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes And Other great Advice From An Unlikely Preacher’s Wife
Written by Lisa McKay
Published at David C Cook

About the book
When most women think of a "pastor's wife," certain images come to mind: either a woman who's so holy she doesn't seem human, or someone sentenced to a life without fun, fashion, or friends.

Lisa McKay's You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes is an utterly honest, charmingly-witty, and biblically insightful guide for every minister's wife who wants to serve the church and support her husband_without losing herself along the way.

You will feel an instant sisterhood with Lisa, a senior pastor's wife happily serving in the trenches. She understands the challenges of a life lived before a congregation, from finding friends and coping with criticism, to saying goodbye to a church family and starting all over again.

This book is a must-have resource for every woman who wants to do the "ministry wife thing" well. Through Lisa's engaging style and fresh perspective, you will be encouraged to fully embrace being "married to the ministry"!

Who is Lisa McKay?
Lisa McKay and her husband, Luke, serve at a thriving church in Alabama. Lisa also is the wrangler of three rowdy boys, and shopping companion to one princess-in-training. She has followed God's call and Luke's U-Haul across five states for fifteen years. Read Lisa on her blog -

My Thoughts
I so wish this book would have been out on the market when we planted our church. I think I would have been able to cope more with the disappointments of inexistent moral support. But it didn’t happen this way so now I am coping with the death of a dream instead. Mind you I am totally aware that God sometimes bring something to death to revive it and make it growth. So there is hope in the future. We both sense that our church would excel in other areas so we are open to anything from God.

In the meantime, I was curious about this book and I decided to dig in it. I’ve discovered an author who is willing to share her story in being a pastor’s wife and how she dealt with the various expectations, disappointments and joys of following her husband in this calling of pasturing a church. She points out that fashion is not a thing of yesterday, that we need to be careful not to become an enemy of our husbands, that leading a church can hurt on various aspects (including criticism), that you can find best friends in your church, that you can bloom where you are planted (I mean each of us have special gifts so why not using them in your church?), the aspect of raising PK (preacher’s kids) and much more. She definitively write about all the various questions a young woman might ask herself when she follow her spouse in this adventure of church planting or pasturing.

Each chapter concludes with a round table which contains some thoughts from women who are married to ministry on the subject of the chapter. Also include are some questions that could be used in a book study between pastor’s wives. Nothing is better than having the support of other women experiencing the same thing in the neighborhood. Don’t you think?

To give you an idea of what the book is all about, watch this little video!

In conclusion, if you husband is called in ministry or in pasturing or in church planting, don’t hesitate one more minute and get yourself a copy of You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes. You will find support and encouragement from Lisa as well as see that being a married to ministry girl can be fulfilling.

This review was possible because I received a copy of You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes from B&B Media.

You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes is available everywhere even at and

How Do You Tuck In a Superhero?

How Do You Tuck In a Superhero? And Other Delightful Mysteries of Raising Boys

Written by Rachel Balducci
Published at Revell

About the book
When Rachel Balducci looks for material for her writing, she doesn't have to look far. Her subject matter can be found climbing through the window, hanging on to the edge of the roof, and rummaging through the refrigerator. Here she chronicles the exuberant, awesome life of boys through bizarre conversations overheard, unbelievable rules she's been forced to make, and the many episodes of boy behavior that continue to mystify mothers worldwide. From the care and feeding of her team, to travels out in public, to their wide-eyed adoration of Chuck Norris, this laugh-out-loud celebration joyfully explores the sweetly wild side of boyhood.

Who is Rachel Balducci?
Rachel Balducci is a writer and the mother of five lively boys. Her website,, has been nominated for several awards. Rachel is a former staff writer for the Augusta Chronicle and has been published in numerous magazines, including Good Housekeeping, Faith and Family, and The Word Among Us.

My Thoughts
Boyhood and sibling rivalry was such a mystery for me before we had kids. First of all I don’t have siblings and second of all I always felt more comfortable being a leader of a group of girls than boys. Girls I could understand – boys? Not so much.

But God in his loving way decided to stretch my experiences and gave me three boys before we had the joy of having a little girl. And I love my boys. My girl too but boys are something special in a mother’s heart.

Boys and girls are different from birth. When my boys were crawling they would go for it. My daughter was gentler in her crawling stages. Boys love to climb everywhere and to take risks. They will create guns with anything that can come in their hands like it or not. They were born for this. Good thing I have read Wild at Heart before… *grin*

How Do You Tuck In a Superhero? will bring you in the life of the Balduccis. With five boys in the family, mom is sure to have plenty of stories to share with us. She has quite some experience with boys. As much as I like having insights for moms of multiple boys, I had this funny feeling while I was reading the book. I found that somehow the kids were the ones leading the family. I mean I don’t mind my boys climbing and trying new things but going to the point to let them climb on the roof and getting through a window that is a bit much for my taste.

Other stories are quite funny like the time the boys found ski masks in a store and decided to wear them while mom was driving around. They came across a fire truck and the firemen had a blast out of it – as well as the boys.

Not all stories will be appealing to the readers. I assume that some of the stories that I didn’t enjoy would be a blast for someone else while the one I loved wouldn’t be so good for another. But this book gives you a good insight of the life of a mom of five boys.

This review was possible because I received a copy of How Do You Tuck In a Superhero? From Graf-Martin.

How Do You Tuck In a Superhero? is available everywhere even at and