Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Saving Memories Forever


As a member of the Mosaic Review team, I have been given the opportunity to review a special app that allows you to create audio recordings of your family history.   The idea was interesting and I was curious about it.    You could use it personally in order to leave a bit of 35527_183322448458910_529576174_nhistory for your future grand-kids or use it with the older generation in order to record their memories from the past.    This app will allow you to record as many memories as you like, share them with whoever you want and create an audio family album for generations to come.

The App and website will allow you to record as many stories as you like, then share them with whomever you wish, as you create your own audio family album.   You will have numerous suggestions of possible recordings based on the age the person was when it happened.  Here’s the questions you will find in the app according to their age group.

  • Childhood – ages 0-12:  Where and when were you born?, What did you enjoy doing?, Describe your mother and father,  Describe your siblings/aunts/uncles…, Describe your childhood home, What did you like about school?, Tell me about your friends, Tell me about your pets, Describe your early family adventures, What did you want to be when you grew up?, Other childhood memories
  • Teenage Years – ages 13 to 19:  Describe your town,  What did you like about school?, Describe your best friends,  What was a typical school day?, What was it like to learn to drive?, Describe yourself as a teen, Any extra curricular activities?, Describe your first job, Describe your grandparents, What historical events do you remember?, Other teenage memories.
  • Adult – ages 20-25: What was your first “real” job?, How would you describe your best friends?, Where did you live?, Did you date/marry?, Describe your family, What was your favorite saying? What technology did you use?, Describe your favorite trip.  What historical events do you remember?, Other memories from 20-25.
  • Adult – ages 26-40: How has your life changed? Describe your town and home, Tell me about your friends?, Describe the most interesting place you visited, Describe your family, Births, Deaths, additions to the family?, What did you like to do?, What was your favorite car and why?, What historical events do you remember?  Other memories from 26-40
  • Adult – ages 41-55: Who do you admire?, Describe the political environment, Describe your family, What did you like to do?, Describe your friends, Which vacation was the best?, What did you do for fun?, What do you wish you could change?, Describe your job, What historical events do you remember?, Other memories from 41 to 55
  • Adult – ages 56+: Describe your family, Who do you like to do?, What are your happiest moments?, Describe a perfect day, where did you live?, What are your future plans?, What is the future you wish for your family?, Describe your life by decades, What is the best vacation you have had?, What historical event do you remember?, Other memories from 56 onward.
  • Jokes:   What is the funniest joke you have heard?   What is the funniest thing you have seen, Other jokes you love to tell.
  • Philosophy:  What would you want your children to know?,  What do you believe?,  What guided your decisions?,  Describe yourself, Other thoughts on philosophy?
  • Religion:  Have your religious beliefs changed over time?,   How were you brought up?,   Other thoughts on religion?
  • Other Stories and Songs:  What parts of your life would you change?,   What got you through stressful times?, What songs did you love? (Sign them)

As you can see you will have the possibility to talk about numerous things like the first time you met your spouse, the birth of your children, a letter your grandma wrote you, your favorite vacation, your sports achievements, the first car your purchased (mine was a NEON), as well as college/university days.   The premium service allows searching by tag words in order for you to find a story rapidly.   Once you have stories to share, you have the opportunity to let close or distant relatives listen to them via the internet.

Soon you’ll have an audio scrapbook that includes the memories of your extended family, told in everyone’s own words and voices, exactly as they remembered them. Listeners will get real insight about the character of each relative and learn more about them than they ever could from a family tree or statistic.

The app is very easy to use.   First you will have to download the app before you can start recording your family history.  Once the app is installed, you can access the categories and their questions rapidly and start recording.   Simply select the category and a question within that category and you will then obtain the recording screen.


The recording screen is very simple to use as well.   Click on the record button to start recording the memories of the person you are interviewing.   Saving Memories Forever  allows you to record someone speaking about a specific subjects and upload the story online on the website.    The website also allow you to save and store the recordings, some photos and family recipes as well.  


You can watch a presentation on how to use the app on the website.

The app is free to download on iTunes or Google Play.    However, if you decide to go ahead with the Premium subscription be aware that it will cost you a monthly fee of 3.99$ US.  It all depends of what you want for the service.   Below is a chart highlighting the features of both the FREE and PREMIUM package.


Come to think about it, I see tremendous advantages of this little app for history and genealogy purposes.    This little app and the website together allows you to make an audio scrapbook that can include not only your memories but the ones from extended family as well.  Everyone can share theiIrèneFontaineBoissér memories on their own words and voices.   Then, in the future when you decide to listen to them you will be transported back in time and learn more about your ancestors.    Thinking of all this little app could do I almost wish my maternal grand-mother would still be alive today.  She died back in the 90s and she was born in 1904.   She had experience numerous events through her life – including the two world wars.   I wish I could sit down with her and record her memories for my kids to listen.    Below are pictures of her family (minus the sons she lost due to sickness) and the family house in Valcourt, QC.

Famille BoisséMaison des Boissé au rang 4 à Valcourt

I wish there was the possibility of adding new questions to the suggested one within the app.   I guess the reason for the Other memories suggestions is for such possibilities.  You will have to speak up the questions to know what it is related about.   The app is interesting and I am planning to experience with it a bit more hopefully in August as we will be attending a family reunion on my mother-in-law side.    All her brothers and sisters with their respective families (kids and grand-kids) are supposed to attend this get-together that will happen in Northern Ontario.   I never attended a family reunion so in a way it will be a first for me as well as my kids.   I am also thinking of letting my kids using this on their grand-parents when we visit them.   It would be nice to record some of their memories of when they were growing up.

Saving Memories Forever has numerous possibilities for your family if you want to keep a record of the events happening in your life.   It can also help the kids explore their genealogy when they interview their grand-parents and great-grand-mother.


Monday, April 29, 2013

The Guardian

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         The Guardian – Book Three of the Home to Hickory Hollow
Written by Beverly Lewis
Published at Bethany House

About the book

Come home to Hickory Hollow, Pennsylvania--the beloved setting where Beverly Lewis's celebrated Amish novels began--with new characters and new stories of drama, romance, and the ties that draw people together.

When Jodi Winfield comes to Lancaster to house-sit, the last thing she expects to find is a disheveled little girl alone on the side of the road. The young teacher is mystified when she learns there have been no reports of a missing child, and the girl herself is no help, since she can't speak English. It's as if the child appeared out of nowhere.

Then Jodi turns her attention to Hickory Hollow--and the cloistered world of the Old Order Amish--in search of answers.

Who is Beverly Lewis?

Beverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, is The New York Times bestselling author of more than eighty books. Her stories have been published in eleven languages worldwide. A keen interest in her mother's Plain heritage has inspired Beverly to write many Amish-related novels, beginning with The Shunning, which has sold more than one million copies and was recently made into an Original Hallmark Channel movie. In 2007 The Brethren was honored with a Christy Award. She has been interviewed by both national and international media, including Time magazine, the Associated Press, and the BBC. Beverly lives with her husband, David, in Colorado. Visit her Web site at www.beverlylewis.com for more information.

My Thoughts

Once again, the story line from Beverly Lewis will catch you heart and bring you through the novel at an incredible speed.   She has a gifted talent in coming up with situations that you wouldn’t have thought – the child falling from the buggy and lost for a period of time from her family, a young woman finding the child and bringing her back to her family, and then out of the blue that same young woman asked to supply for a couple of months at the one school room.  What a privilege for Jodi to have taught young Amish children!  And to have develop this friendship with the mother of the child she had found.

This is not an Amish love story per say.  Yes there is some courting going on and couples that are planning to marry but essentially this book has drama and will open the eyes of the main character to the benefits of family.  Jodi Winfield is going through mourning and even though there is much joy in her future something inside of her is fighting about her decision of not having children.   But her encounter with the Esh family and especially little Sarah as well as her interaction with the Wise Woman will make her realize that in the end the memories of the ones you love is more important.

I really enjoyed the book and look forward to read the fourth installment of the Home to Hickory Hollow series which will come out in September – The Secret Keeper.    Beverly Lewis has the talent to intertwine drama and mystery in her Amish novels and it’s probably why I really enjoy reading her. 

Watch this little video where Beverly Lewis herself present the inspiration for this novel.

The Guardian is available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, even amazon.ca.


The book is also available for the Kindle and Kindle app.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book for review purposes from Baker Publishing Grou and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Muskoka Woods Summer Camp 2013

Spring has finally arrived and with it many parents are making plans for the summer months…   What will your kids be doing?  Have you thought of registering them for camp?   Did you know that they can have a wonderful time away from you and still learn things at the same time?    Camp is a great way to spread a child’s wings and become more independent in the process.  Surrounded by nature and qualified counsellors, a child can discover skills that he/she didn’t know was in him/her and find something they might be passionate about.

When I was a child, my mom wasn’t working but that didn’t stop my parents to get me involved in activities for me to meet other kids.   You see I was an only child and they thought it would be good for me to be involved in various activities.   I was involved in the girl guides from a young age spending 11 4-27-2013 10;37;45 AMyears in the movement and 2 years as a leader.  I went to a snow camp while in grade 3 with all the classes at the same camp.   I also had the opportunity to attend various camps while in the girls guides (winter and summer camps).   But on top of these, I had the privilege to attend various summer camps at two places in Quebec – Le Petit Bonheur in the Laurentians and La Perdrière at St-Donat, QC.  While writing this, I discovered that La Perdrière is now closed which saddens me a bit thinking of the fun time I had there doing horseback riding, excursions, archery, sailing, rick climbing from the face of a rock and more.

4-27-2013 10;38;32 AM4-27-2013 10;30;50 AM

While in high school during the 80s, I attended the private camp of the Collège L’Assomption at Minerve which has closed it’s doors in 1990.   From that camp I remember the cabins, the assembly in the morning and evening, the challenges (piste d’hébertisme) in the woods where we needed cooperation and creativity to clear the course and much more.  And to conclude my adventure in summer camp, I even worked one year at Camp St-Donat during my teenage years. 

I have fond me memories of my time while going to camp.  There I learned things that I would never had done while staying in Montreal or Repentigny like archery, sailing, horseback riding and rock climbing.   While in the girl guides we also went through day adventures of walking long distance and learning to survive in the forest.   We built shelters and learned more about the nature but identifying plants, bugs, and animals.    I remember learning about identifying the animals by the tracks, learning which plants are good to eat, and predicting the weather based on how the birds fly or the colors of the sky at dusk. 

Summer camp as a girl guide was full of excitement too because we would usually have a special theme for camp.   One year, while I was a group leader, we had to cook an international meal for our leaders over the fire table we had build.   Each team had a different country and we had to decorate, cook the meal, and present it like the restaurant of that country.    Below are pictures of our campsite that year and that international supper thing was the highlight of it.  Each team had worked particularly hard and it was a sort of competition between us.  We had to serve numerous plates from appetizers to dessert within the guidelines provided.  Everything had to be a recipe from the country assigned to us.    I remember making menus for that special night in order to let our guests know what they would have for supper.     And the memories I have of the famous fire table we were building every time we would go to summer camp – trying to stir the fire by blowing and the ash going up in the air and down in your spaghetti sauce.  Who cares about a little bit of ash in your sauce anyway….  we just stirred it and it was delicious.

4-27-2013 10;36;09 AM4-27-2013 10;34;47 AM

Another memory I have when I was a girl guide would be when we did a military camp.   One day, our parents came to visit and they would be immediately arrested for trespassing.   We were brought to identify them to see if they could come.  I remember one teammate decided to not recognize her parents and made them wait a bit in the “prison” we had set up.   It was bold and it was hilarious…   That day we knew we would have an inspection from the leader while showing our parents our campsite.   Suddenly, someone in my team realized we had forgotten to was one pot.   We panicked for a while because we knew that the leaders and parents were on their way.   Someone quickly decided that if we would go far enough in the woods, we could hide the forgotten pot until the inspection was passed.   We all thought it was a great idea and the pot “disappeared” from view.    Lo and behold, some leaders decided to "inspect” deeper in the woods and we were all worried about them discovering our strategy.   We got caught and suffered the consequences like in the military with extra chores to do that day.    We learned a lesson that day discovering that we couldn’t fool our leaders.

I have four kids and part of me wants them to experience camp without the parents.   They go to Awana and the Sparks have a one day camp for the kids who complete the three books in SPARKS.   Last year, my second son went to his day camp and this year my third son will be going.   I know that it will be a fun day for him.   This year we have decided to send my two oldest kids to a Christian camp close to our city for the first time - the oldest son for a whole week and my second son for a period of four days.   I know that they will have a blast while at camp and will look forward for the next year.   To prepare them for their time there, we have decided to register them to an archery course for a few weeks.  They have been enjoying these and look forward to practice their skills while at camp this summer.  Let me tell you that the bows and arrows I have used back in the 80s are nothing compare to the ones they are using at their archery lessons!   This activity has gotten sophisticated as the years went buy!

Today as I remember the fun times I had at camp, I would like to encourage you in registering your kids for camp this summer. It is an experience of a lifetime and will bring them fond memories as they grow up.   One of the place that looks like a great place for kids would be Muskoka Woods.  I have heard of the place but never visited it as it is far from our location (+6 hours).  But this camp is located about 3 hours from downtown Toronto, ON.   They provided transportation from specific locations if needed.  Let me present you the fabulous summer camp of Muskoka Woods.

imageWhat is Muskoka Woods?

The vision of Muskoka Woods is to inspire youth to shape their world.   It is a Christian Youth Resort that welcomes all young people to life changing experiences.   The kids will choose from water sports and athletics, media and arts, leadership and team building programs.   It operates all year round on Lake Rousseau as a non-profit youth organization.  The staff is selected based on their trustworthy character, ability with children and love for their Creator.  Muskoka Woods is a safe place where kids grow mentally, physically, spiritually and socially.  It is a place where creativity reigns, friendship flourish and confidence grows.

Where is located Muskoka Woods and what does it look like?

Muskoka Woods sprawls across 1,100 wooded acres with 2,800 feet of stunning frontage on sparkling Lake Rosseau. It’s a perfect mix of untouched nature, modern buildings, and state-of-the-art athletic facilities. In addition to cabins, dining halls and meeting rooms, we’ve got a new purpose-built Leadership Studio, a concert hall, guest lounge and boathouse.

What kind of activities does my kids will do?

imageIf it’s sports you’re after, they have 12 tennis courts, two beach volleyball courts, a 15,000-square- foot indoor gym, 50-foot climbing wall, an 80,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor action sports park, dedicated gymnastics facility, the largest and highest ropes course in Canada, three playing fields and a golf training centre with driving range, putting green, and chipping green.    WHEW!   Just reading this, I realize that camp has changed tremendously since I was young…    The calm waters of Lake Rousseau will also provide all the water activities at the camp.

Bottom line, your child won’t have time to be morose and down while being at Muskoka Woods.  He/she will have plenty to do with all these activities: archery, arts & crafts, B3, badminton, ball hockey, basketball, beach volleyball, BMX, cake decorating, canoeing,image club volleyball, culinary, dance, digital photography, dirt camp, fashion design, fine art, fitness, flag football, free period, free swim, freeride, golf, graphic design, guitar, gymnastics, Hollywood North, horseback riding, kayaking, kids on the water, kitchen sink, leisure sports, longboarding, markmanship, mountain biking, music recording, paintball, power cheerleading, radio broadcasting, rage, RC car racing, ropes course, sailing, skateboards & scooters, soccer, stand up paddle-boarding, tennis, trampoline, tubing, tv broadcasting, ukulele, video production, vocal performance, wake X, wakeboarding, waterskiing, wellness, WILD, and windsurfind.   Reading this makes me want to be a child again just to experience some of these fun activities.  Though I have done horseback riding, sailing and archery I would love to try out trampoline, do the rope course, wakerboarding or a few other ones.      I would also definitively try my hand at archery since it has been decades I did that.


Where do the kids sleep?

At Muskoka Woods you will find clean and fully-enclosed cabins with bunk bed-style sleeping arrangements.   Each camper is responsible for the tidiness of their cabin during the week. 


What will they eat while at camp?

imageAH! the food…. remind me of my days at camp where we often had sheperd’s pie on the menu which might explain why I dislike that meal nowadays.   From what I can see, food at camp as changed quite a bit.   Apparently the meals are served in a buffet-style three times a day in addition of snack times.   The buffet will feature a variety of tasty options which will allow the most picky eater, the vegetarian or the ones who have a huge appetite to be satisfied with the food they will ingest.   Check out a sample menu below!


This sounds interesting but…

Not convinced yet?   Watch this video of alumni talking about their experience at Muskoka Woods.


Summer Camp is Awesome from Muskoka Woods on Vimeo.

I’m convinced…. where do I sign up my child?

It’s simply, click on the image below and get immediately directed to the registration section of the website.   Dates and prices can be found on the Muskoka Woods website.


I`m sure your child won’t have time to miss you with all the activities and fun time he/she will have at Muskoka Woods.    I know that I had a great time while attending camp while I was younger and I can’t wait to hear what my boys have to say of their experience this summer.

Disclosure – I am participating in the Muskoka Woods Blogger Campaign by Mom Central Canada.  I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Garden Rescue

9781465402042HGarden Rescue – First Aid for Plants and Flowers
Written by Jo Whittingham
Published at DK CANADA

About the book

Whether the wisteria is wilting or the cherry tree isn't producing any fruit, Garden Rescue will help identify and treat the minor issues and major problems that can harm plants.

With information on both edible and ornamental gardens, Garden Rescue provides flow charts to help diagnose the problem, discover options, and then implement the best course of action. A photo gallery of the most dangerous pests and diseases will help you recognize early warning signs, then take action to keep their plants in the very best of health.

My Thoughts

One of my major fears about gardening is not to be able to identify problems and fix them if my plants are attacked by something.   Well if you are like me, do not fear anymore because DK has not published a marvelous book that will help you rescuing your own garden whether it is plants that are edible or ornamental.

The book is divided in three major sections: Know Your Garden, The Edible Garden and The Ornamental Garden.   As you can see the author is covering all possible plants you can have around your house.

  • Know Your Garden: How plants work, get to know your soil, your site, your trees, shrubs, climbers, perennials, bulbs, bedding and lawn, how you can spot a sick plant, how pests and diseases can affect the plants,  and more.
  • The Edible Garden: this specific section will cover everything from vegetable rescue to fruit rescue.
  • The Ornamental Garden: this section will covers everything that will make your garden more beautiful – tree, shrub, climber, perennials, bulbs, bedding, and lawn.

The author clearly guide you in identifying the issue by providing numerous photos  and making go through a step-by-step identification process.   I particularly love the symptom chards that lead you through a series a questions that will help you to pinpoint the cause of poor plant health.


You will also find clear drawing identifying the various parts of a plant as well as comprehensive explanations on how to rescue your plants.   This book is definitively a great resource to have whether you are a beginner gardener like me or someone who has been doing it for numerous years.   With a quick view you can become the best medic for your plants and rescue them from troublesome pests and/or nasty diseases.   

This is definitively the medical book for plants and I think it is an excellent reference for anyone who want to plant a garden, get a better garden or simply want to deepen their gardening knowledge.    This book could make a perfect gift for Mother’s Day for the woman if your life who is a gardener at heart.

Garden Rescue is available at your favourite bookstore, even amazon.ca and amazon.com.


Disclaimer: Thanks to DK Canada for sending me the above mentioned products for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Spanish for You! Estaciones

imageSpanish for You! Estaciones

As a member of the Mosaic Review Team I was asked to choose one of the two options offered from Spanish for You! to review.  I decided to pick Estaciones which I have received as an online product that I was able to download easily.35527_183322448458910_529576174_n

Spanish for You! is a curriculum that I would consider multi-sensory learning.   It has been written with grades 3 through 8 in mind and can be used either in classes or homeschool.    Each course will contain a text, lesson guide, worksheets, audio files as well as suggestions for games and activities.

The guidebooks can be printed according to the grade your child is in.   Three different guidebooks are available in your package Level 3-4, Level 5-6 and Level 7-8.     The lessons can easily be covered through a regular school year.

I particularly like the fact that the students can work on their own pace and use the worksheets and audio files in order to get the proper pronunciation, the common words and phrases as well as other information necessary for them to learn the lessons. 

Depending of the level your child will be he/she can build up it’s comprehension of the language by revising the previous lessons and by testing their knowledge with the language.   Each week will encourage your child to learn, practice and review the lessons on a four day basis.  If necessary, you could use the fifth day as a review.   The exercises will be more challenging is the child is at an older grade.

I think the curriculum is covering pretty much every language issues from basic vocabulary, verb conjugations as well as grammatical lessons.    

Spanish as always been a language I wish my kids to learn but it’s always hard to find something that will teach by building up the learning.   I think this product is offering an interesting way of learning while having fun at the same time.   You could technically start with any themed packages offered by Spanish for You! and slowly expand your vocabulary as you purchase other ones.   I would assume that each package would review lessons from other ones particularly when it comes to the verbs and grammar.

What I also like about this curriculum is the fact that a child currently in grade 4 could go through the package and pursue it when in grade 6 and then in grade 8 in order to build up his/her learning of the language.   I would alternate Estaciones with Fiestas in order to cover more vocabulary as well.   One year you do Estaciones and one year Fiestas before going back to a deeper level of Estaciones and so on.    Gotta love flexibility when you are homeschooling!

In all Spanish for You! allows you and your student to learn to speak, read, and write Spanish through fun themes.   This program can be used by students who don’t know Spanish yet and by student who are already comfortable with the language.

My only disappointment is that I had to take the initiative to print out the lesson myself because I receive the pdf format of the documents.    But apart from that I find the curriculum quite complete and interesting.

You can obtain free mini lessons and worksheets if you visit Spanish for You!

Other packages are available on their website – Fiestas and Viajes.   Spanish for You! Estaciones is available for purchase directly from their website at http://www.spanish-for-you.net for the price of 64.95$ for the three levels or 39.95$ for each levels separately.  


Chronicles of Dinosauria

chronicles-of-dinosauriaChronicles of Dinosauria
Written by Dave Woetzel ad RIchard Dobbs
Published at New Leaf Publishing 373212_235636363124693_379226038_n

About the book

Explore legends, mythical sightings, and intriguing explorations from around the globe!

  • Enjoy the unique combination of visual illustrations and unforgettable accounts.
  • Discover why the author calls into question what we've been taught to believe and understand about the history of dinosaurs and man.

Every legend is said to include some grain of truth, and for years co-author Dave Woetzel has sought to separate fact from fiction as he explores mysteries related to dinosaurs, mankind's history, and the biblical time-line. Teaming with artist and designer Richard Dobbs, the two have created a visual archive of expeditions and intriguing clues to explore, all of which highlight the connection to the authority and reliability of Scripture.

Provocative artifacts from around the world are examined in an exquisite, full-color book that hints at man's familiarity with living dinosaurs. Studies point to more than simple answers beneath the waves of Loch Ness, and other sites around the world, many investigated personally by the author. Here is the study of cryptozoology and the discoveries that seem to defy all evolutionary time-lines, vividly illustrated and filled with rare photos.

My Thoughts

If you ever wondered if dinosaurs ever existed and want to discover the truth about them, this is the book you need to get!   Chronicles of Dinosauria is packed with information concerning the dinosaurs and how they related to us through time.   You will be exploring various evidences of the presence of these beasts via fossil evidence, historical evidence, artistic evidence, cryptozoology evidence and biblical evidence.

The book is marvelous with plenty of illustrations and photos supporting the evidence presented through the pages.   As I read and learned more about the dinosaurs, I got more and more convinced of the presence even after the flood.  The information in this book has been well researched and I doubt that you will still believe that the dinosaur were killed by comet millions of years ago after you read it.   

I was personally in awe when I read about the discovery of unfossilized dinosaur bones supported by photographies.    In this book, you will also have a fun activity to do with your kids in creating fossils.    I also enjoyed reading about the dragons and how the dinosaurs are in fact these beast seen in the Chinese culture.   The art evidence is also fabulous to read about and discover via photographies.

This book is a great gift for a boy who is highly interested in dinosaur and wish to learn more about them.   It is a fabulous book to own and read together as a family in order to discover the truth about the dinosaurs.  

Watch this presentation video about the book.

Book and a Bite Facebook Party!


Join us for a book and bite facebook party, featuring some of Master Books most recent titles and our very special “bite” sponsor.  You will have the opportunity to win great prizes, including gift certificate from MB where no product is off limits for you to choose from!  

Our sponsor this time if Jolly Olive Tree.

WHEN:   Tuesday, April 30, 2013

TIME: 8-9 pm (CST)  which means 9-10pm for EST.



Chronicles of Dinosauria is available for purchase at your favourite bookstore, even amazon.ca and amazon.com.


Disclaimer: Thanks to New Leaf Publishing Group for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Total Transcript Solution

TTS-button500x500Total Transcript Solution
Written by Lee Binz
Published at The HomeScholar

A couple of month ago, I approached The HomeScholar about the possibility of reviewing the product Total Transcript Solution.   My oldest son is finishing grade 6 at this point in time but knowing that middle school was just around the corner I wanted to determine how it could be easy to make transcript if we were to continue in high school.

I was very happy to learn that I could review the product and immediately proceeded to download the files on my PC.    We had an homeschool conference coming as well and I was trying to determine what curriculum to have for grade 7 for French, Science and English.   I am glad to say that I was able to find what I needed and though I have not all the curriculum yet I know that it’s only a matter of week before I can sit down and plan the year.  

During the conference, I attended a special panel for homeschooling high school and interestingly enough the women speaking all strongly suggested the book from Lee Binz.   I was delighted to know that I was on the right track and after that exhausting and rewarding day I printed the pages I needed to read.   And slowly but surely my fears and doubts melted away as I read through the pages of the e-book.

Essentially Total Transcript Solution is a tool for you to comprehend and understand how you can product a high school transcript that will help your child to go to college.   

The HomeScholar Total Transcript Solution is a four step guide that will allow you to produce an important document for your high school student.   Purchasing this product means that you will get the following items:

  • Making a Transcript – Downloadable MP3 and handouts
  • The Easy Truth About Homeschool Transcripts E-Book
  • Transcript Template Collection
  • as well as one free 20 minutes private phone consultation to get your questions answered.

I will admit that I didn’t took advantage of the 20 minutes phone consultation as I am not in the high school years yet but reading through the ebook and looking at the examples helped me tremendously in keeping my calm and realizing that I can do this.

Also included in the package, you will get The HomeScholar Audio Course of High School Testing MP3 and handouts, The HomeScholar High School Resource Pack, a special report on 7 Secrets to Homeschooling Through a Financial Storm and a free 30 day trial subscription to The Homescholar Silver Training Club.

Having read and looked at the transcript provided in this product, I feel more confident in my ability of producing a transcript that would open doors for my kids when they decided to pursue higher level of learning.    Starting next year, I will practice keeping records on a more regular basis on what my oldest son will be doing for the various subjects he will be covering in grade 7.    Lee has written in such a simple way that she makes you realize that making a transcript is not that complicated and can be easily done.   All it takes from you is to realize that you shouldn’t wait at the last minute and start early in tracking what your child is doing/studying.   With the help of this document I was able to plan a high level schedule for the middle and high school years for my son.   He keeps talking about wanting to become a doctor so I am planning according with this desire of his.   Obviously, he can change his mind one of these days but he is very interested with this work and I am going to help him as best as I can for him to realize his dream.   He also expressed a desire to do mission work in the future.  

I particularly like the fact that Lee Binz encourages you throughout the whole document not only to make a transcript but to pursue homeschooling  during high school.   She takes the time to specify that if a subject is not mastered there is no shame in redoing it for the child to master the information.    I like the honesty in what she says.   She also guide you step-by-step in producing the best transcript for your child based on his/her own learning and experience.   I realized that little things would also count and that things like learning Microsoft Access will qualify as technology.    She also gives plenty of examples of extra curricular activities that would also count as part of the transcript like writing a resume, preparing an income tax, typing skills, culinary skills.    I was quickly realized that technically my son has already started accumulating credit on high school subject.

Suddenly I don’t feel as stressed in having to prepare a transcript for my kids when it comes the time to do so.   Going through this product made me realize that it is possible to make one that will open doors for them.    I am very capable in preparing and completing this task as time goes by.   I am forever grateful for Lee Binz to have agreed in letting me reviewing this product.   The future doesn’t look as scary anymore and I know that I can equip my kids for whatever than want to do. 

The HomeScholar Total Transcript Solution is available for purchase for the price of 47$ directly from the website.  I strongly recommend that homeschoolers considering embarking on the high school journey to read through this product in order to understand how to make a transcript in order to have your child accepted in the college or university of his/her choice.  

Disclaimer: Thanks to The HomeScholar for sending me the product for review purpose. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Lead Your Family Like Jesus

imageLead Your Family Like Jesus – Powerful Parenting Principles from the Creator of Families
Written by Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodgest and Tricia Goyer
Published at Tyndale

About the book

Does your family need a five-star general at the helm? A psychologist? A referee? Ken Blanchard, best-selling co-author of The One Minute Manager and Lead Like Jesus, points to a better role model: the Son of God. Joined by veteran parents and authors Phil Hodges and Tricia Goyer, renowned business mentor Blanchard shows how every family member benefits when parents take the reins as servant-leaders. Moms and dads will see themselves in a whole new light—as life-changers who get their example, strength, and joy from following Jesus at home. This user-friendly book’s practical principles and personal stories mark the path to a truly Christ-centered family, where integrity, love, grace, self-sacrifice, and forgiveness make all the difference.

Who are the authors?

Ken Blanchard, characterized as one of the most insightful and compassionate men in business, is known for his knack for making the complex easy. Ken's passion is to inspire and equip people to lead like Jesus. He may be recognized for his insightful books and theory of leadership, but he is celebrated as a humble man who models what he teaches. Ken is cofounder of Lead Like Jesus and chief spiritual officer of the Ken Blanchard Companies, an organization dedicated to workplace learning, employee productivity, leadership, and team effectiveness.

Phil Hodges is a human resource and industrial relations manager in corporate America for 36 years with Xerox Corporation and U.S. Steel, co-founder of Lead Like Jesus; co-author of five books, including Lead Like Jesus, The Servant Leader and Leadership by the Book with Bill Hybels.

Tricia Goyer is the author of over 30 books and has been published in many national publications such as Focus on the Family, Today's Christian Woman and HomeLife Magazine. She has won numerous awards and has been nominated for both the Gold Medallion Book Award and Christy Award. Tricia is a highly sought after speaker at workshops and conferences and is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Northwestern Montana. Tricia is married to the love of her life, John, and they have four great kids. They live in Little Rock, Arkansas where John works for FamilyLife.

My Thoughts

I was really excited when I was approached with the opportunity to review this book.  My husband had gone through Lead Like Jesus a few years ago with the leadership team of our church and I had heard great things about it.  I never had the time to read the book that he read but it was on my books to read list for the future.  So when this opportunity crossed my path as a blogger, I jumped on it knowing that I could take good information from it.   It took quite some time to receive the book mainly because I am in Canada and the postal service was slower than usual.

Lead Your Family Like Jesus is what I consider the parenting book to read in 2013.  It will encourage you and help you to become a better parent.  The book is divided in four parts in which all three authors have written about.  Part I will concentrate on the heart.   In the three chapters within this section you will discover how to have an eternal perspective, how to be humble and how to focus on God.   Part II of the book will lead you on the head part of your parenting – discover your family mission, say yes to the best and no to the rest, and know the difference between a crisis versus a bump in the road.  Part III of this book will highlights the importance of the hands in your parenting.   You will learn how to make the most of the childrearing years, how to help you kids succeed, and how to inspire obedience versus rebellion.  Finally, Part IV of the book will focus on the habits that are good to develop as parents – time with God (perspective from a dad and a mom) and how to turn mistakes into opportunities of forgiveness and grace.

As a homeschooling mom, I find it essential for me to read inspiring books about parenting in order for me to be energized and encouraged.   This year, I had the opportunity to attend the homeschool conference which I wasn’t capable to do in the past two years.  I have seen a huge difference as my spirit lifted and felt encouraged to pursue this road with our family.   I missed it.   I am realizing that in the past two years or so I also missed on being encourage as a parent and this book has been a delight for me.   I am inspired to focus our family on serving more and I was encourage with the Scriptures found in this book.

The authors have giving me a new perspective in my parenting skills and reading about Tricia Goyer’s view on each part of the book was encouraging to me because I knew she homeschooled her kids.    Reading about her thoughts was the highlights of the reading of this book.    I still have a couple of chapters to go through because I find it essential for me to ponder and reflect on what I have read before I continue.   

I highly recommend this book for every Christian parents out there.  It will be a blessing for your family to read this book.

Lead Your Family Like Jesus is available at your favourite bookstore, even amazon.ca and amazon.com.


The book is also available for the Kindle and Kindle app.





Disclaimer: Thanks to Tyndale and Litfuse for sending me the products for review purpose. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A City Through Time

9781465402493HA City Through Time
Published by DK Canada

About the book

In the bestselling A City Through Time, readers are invited to follow the progress of an imaginary city through six key periods of time, each captured by a scene of the city and zooming in on key buildings like a Roman bathhouse, medieval castle, and a modern skyscraper. Illustrations by award-winning artist Steve Noon provide a unique history of city life, transporting readers from an early Greek settlement to an industrial metropolis, while pull-outs surrounding the illustrations introduce the reader to the people who lived there, from Greek slaves to modern-day commuters.

New to this edition is a photographic section exploring amazing real-life cities — from ancient Babylon to Constantinople to 21st-century Tokyo.

My Thoughts

This new title from DK Canada has been created to resemble to the book A Street Through Time that I have reviewed in the past.   Imagine a city where you can see the progress through time.  That’s what this book is about.   The first two pages, will give you a rapid eye view of the first steps of the city with stone age hunters, a camp bu the review, the first farmers. how tombs were made, the metalworkers and traders from the sea.    As soon as you turn the page you will embark on a journey through time with various illustrations of what the city looked like at various time periods.  

The first city you will discover is the Greek colony with a temple, gymnasium and so on.  Some inside can be seen because you get a cut-view out of the houses.    You can also see how the people lived and dressed during that time period.   In a way, you could use the two pages illustration as a search and find activity for your kids to find the people mentioned at the top and bottom of the pages.  As you continue to explore history through this book, you will discover a Greek temple, a Roman city, the public baths during Roman Empire, a medieval city, a castle, a palace and fountains from 1650, the town hall from 1650, an industrial port in 1880, a train station in 1880, as well as steel and glass and high-rise constructions from today’s age.

At the end of the book, you can have more historical information about architecture, technology, work, play and costume through these time periods.   You will also have information about historical cities like Ur, Thebes, Athens, Rome, Tikal, Constantinople. Chang’an, Baghdad, Delhi, London, New York and Tokyo. 

I find this book to be extremely interesting to complement your history lessons – the pages are beautifully illustrated to bring you a picture of what the city would look like in a specific time period.    Historically, it can show you and your children how people lived, dressed, what they ate and how they spend their time.  For example, in the Public Baths pages, you will learn about how the water was brought to the baths and how it could be warmed and flushed.     This book is perfect to bring with you in the car when you are travelling long distance or waiting at an appointment of some sort.  It will keep your kids busy and entertain while learning at the same time.  I find the two book somewhat complete themselves as one will illustrate a city which will give you the big picture of life during a time period while the other will show you a street which will give you a closer view of a section of the city through history. 

See some of the pages of this beautiful book.


A City Through Time is available at your favourite bookstore, even amazon.ca and amazon.com.


Disclaimer: Thanks to DK Canada for sending me the above mentioned book for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

DK Nature books

Spring means something special for us – exploring the outdoors and discovering the creatures and plants found around us.   Since the snow has melted and hopefully the sun will shine through the clouds soon, I though it would be nice to present you two books from DK which will help you to explore the nature with your kids.

9781465402479HThe first book I want to present you is titled Spot the Bug.  Last year, I had the opportunity to review the book Spot the Bird and this new book has the same concept in mind. Essentially, the book will introduce you and your kids to the world of bugs that can be found in your backyard or in your neighborhood.    It contains numerous photographs of over 100 insects and creepy crawlies and will help you to identify them with information about their features, what they eat, where they live, and whether they live in colonies or alone.  Some of the insects you will find in this book are the honey bee, the carpet beetle, the field grasshopper, the crab spider, the housefly, the gypsy moth, the ladybug (obviously!) and more.   Stickers are also included in order to challenge your kids to keep track of their findings and create their persona9781465402196Hl bug journal.    I am looking forward in seeing which bug will cross our paths in 2013.

The second book will help you identify plants that can be found everywhere – trees.  In What’s That Tree?  you will be able to find identification information about commonly found trees.    This book will definitively be a great item to have when we start our camping season since the campground has numerous trees on its property.   We will easily be able to grab this pocket resource in order to practice identifying the trees found in their nature paths.    This book contains information about more than 150 North American common species and you will be able to use the pictures to help you find which tree your are studying.  The book will present you the leaves and fruits of the trees as well as some key information you need to know about them.   My only disappointment with this book is that there isn’t a picture of the bark of each tree.  The book is divided in three main sections: conifers, broadleaves simple and broadleaves compound.

There is nothing like the warm weather to encourage you to study the nature and I look forward to expand our knowledge on trees, birds and bugs this year.  DK Canada is currently having a Earth Day Boutique with some specials on books celebrating all the good things that come from the earth and live on the Earth.   Check out the various books they have to offer  for your nature studies this spring, summer and fall seasons by clicking on the image below!


Spot the Bug and What’s that Tree? are available at your favourite bookstore, even amazon.ca and amazon.com.



Disclaimer: Thanks to DK Canada for sending me the above mentioned products for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Friday, April 12, 2013

PocketMonkey – World’s Thinnest Utility Tool

imagePocketMonkey – World’s Thinnest Utility Tool
By Zootility Tools

What if I told you that you can have a small tool that would fit in your wallet and that possess about twelve functions that could make your day a little bit easier?  You would probably think that I am crazy and wouldn’t believe me in a second…

But wait – this tool does exist now and it is known as the PocketMonkey.   It is made of stainless steel and is about the sizeimage of a credit card.  It weighs only one ounce, is about one millimeter think and will fit in any kind of wallet.

Now that I got your curiosity, you must be wondering what it can do.   Here’s the list of it’s abilities:

  • Phone kickstand when you insert a credit card.  This will allow you to work at a comfortable angle on your touch phone.
  • Bottle opener if you need it.  Here in Canada we mostly have twist bottles but I guess it’s not the case in the US.  Still you never know when it might be useful….
  • A flat screwdriver which would be useful if you need to fix a light plate in the house or in the RV.
  • A micro screwdriver which is fabulous for us people wearing glasses when the tiny screws are getting loose and your lenses might fall (it happened to me once).
  • A door latch slip – when I told my husband about this he wanted to try it right away with one of our doors in the house…  Unfortunately, it didn’t work because of how our door frames are made.
  • A letter opener which could be handy when you receive mail.  
  • Hex wrenches – actually five sizes of hex wrenches in standard English hex-bolt/nut wrenches.   This could be interesting when you are camping.
  • Phillips screwdriver which is always handy to have whether at camping, on the boat or at home.
  • An orange peeler – I will admit that I love orange peelers.  I have one at home and always debate about bringing it at the RV.  Now I don’t have to worry with the PocketMonkey since I will have one at the RV as well!
  • A banana nicker – okay this is definitively my favorite.  I have using my nails when I have to start peeling a banana.   And taking a knife seems silly at times…  but this feature is fabulous!
  • A ruler – not a big one but enough to help if you need to be precise in the small details when you need a specific item for the RV.  It will help you to tell the difference between 3/16” and 1/4”. 
  • An earbuds cord wrapper to help you keep them untangled when putting them away.
  • Finally, a straight edge which will allow you to draw, scrape, or more.

When I was approached to review this product, I was curious about it and immediately saw the potential for RVers.   It could be a useful tool for the small jobs in the RV without having to take out the big screwdrivers and so on.   Besides, the flexibility of the PocketMonkey make it to be an ideal tool for the RV or for the fishing trip you are planning with your family.   We received two PocketMonkey tools and I am planning to put one in the RV and one in the tackle box as soon as we open our "portable cottage” like my mother-in-law would say.  However, I have mixed feeling with some of the features of this tool.   When I tried the micro screwdriver on the screws on my glasses, it wouldn’t fit.  Makes me wonder if by any chances the type of screws we use for glasses in Canada could be different to the ones used in the US.   I will assume that it’s the case but since I don’t have glasses made in the US I can’t test this theory.  

I’m sure this small tool has been designed with Americans in mind.  I don’t mind it but it would be nice to have a more international version (metrics) available eventually.     This small tool that can make wonders in your RV adventure is available on pre-order only at this point in time.   Orders will be shipped as the PocketMonkey is received in inventory.   Expected delivery is about two weeks.      You can purchase the PocketMonkey directly from ZootilityTools.com for the price of 12$ US.

Disclaimer:   The product has been provided courtesy of Orca Communications Unlimited.  I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way.  All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Birds of Eastern Canada

9781553631934LBirds of Eastern Canada
Published at DK Canada

About the book

Ideal for Canadian birdwatchers and bird lovers of every age! Each of these regional field guides are filled with page after page of magnificent close-up photographs and helpful full-page profiles of hundreds of commonly seen species.
With an East / West division made at the 100th meridian (approximately Winnipeg) these handy books offer scientifically accurate and readable accounts of notable characteristics and information everything from behavior and habitat to nest construction and conservation status. Each profile also features diagrams of flight patterns and statistics of size, wingspan and lifespan.
These invaluable reference guides are both detailed and accessible, with a user-friendly format that will make it easy for birders to enjoy either studying one species account at a time or browsing to make cross comparisons.

  • Features over 350 full-colour photographs
  • Each page includes a notes section for recording bird-watching activities

    My Thoughts

    Since spring arrived on March 20th, I can’t help but spot the birds that are coming back in the neighborhood.   Canadian geese are invading our space both in the air and on the ground while other species are slowly making  an appearance.  Last Sunday, as we were walking toward the church I was surprised by the magnificent song of the red-winged blackbird.   This morning a robin was close to our truck as I went to do some errands and went to an appointment.   When I came back, I heard a beautiful song from the top of a pine tree.  I lifted my eyes and saw my first house finch of the year.

  • Yes spring has arrived and I look forward to observe the birds everywhere I go.    I sure hope to be able to spot the Baltimore oriole I saw once at our campground about two years ago.  Since then every time I venture in the woods I hope to spot it again.  It’s marvelous orange color were a delight to spot when I saw it for the first time.  

    This year I had the privilege to review the Birds of Eastern Canada from DK Canada.  This book will find it’s place in our RV as well as our homeschool as we explore nature.   If you are interested in ornithology and want to learn more about birds this book is absolutely fabulous!   You will learn about birds in general in the first few chapters in the book but then you will have a species guide to help you identify the ones you have observed – game birds, waterfowl, loons, tubenoses, grebes, ibises and herons, pelicans and relatives, birds of prey, rails and cranes, shorebirds, gulls, auks, pigeons and doves, cuckoos, owls, nightjars, swifts, hummingbirds, kingfishers, woodpeckers, flycatchers, vireos, jays and crows, chickadees, titmice, swallows, wrens, nuthatches, trashers, thrushes, pipits, finches, wood-warblers, orioles and blackbirds, American sparrows, tanagers, and cardinals.  There is even a special section about rare species.

    Like I mentioned I saw an house finch this afternoon.   If you go to page 301 you will get the page talking about the house finch with images, a map, and information about the bird, the similar species, the occurrence, the length, wingspand, weight, lifespan and more.   At the complete end of the page, you will find a spot to write the date, time and location where you saw the bird.  In all you will find more than 350 species in this book – quite enough to entertain your sense of adventure if you want to participate to the Big Year – an informal competition among birders. 

    If you are interested in discovering birds and learning more about them, I highly recommend this book for you!

    DK Canada is currently having a Earth Day Boutique with some specials on books celebrating all the good things that come from the earth and live on the Earth.  Check out the various books they have to offer by clicking on the image below!


    Birds of Eastern Canada is available at your favourite bookstore, even amazon.ca.