Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Children at their Best

You know the saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words"? Well, this one is worth about a million to Kelly and me. It shows that through all the craziness, whininess and frustrations, that we are raising our kids to be each other's best friends. There are fights and disagreements on a daily basis. Somebody is regularly telling me that something is unfair. But when it comes right down to it, they play incredibly well together. They support each other. They learn together. And one of the most important things in our opinion - and as this picture shows - they laugh together. I am so incredibly blessed.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas blessings...

come in all packages, and I felt like my heart was wrapped in a big red bow, bursting with love and pride this past Sunday morning. Chloe and I sang for the first time together in big church. I was singing Amy Grant's new song, "I Need a Silent Night", and Chloe spoke the Word in the middle of the song. At the end, she sang "Silent Night" a capella, with just a little help from me. :) It really does my heart good to see her wanting to use her gifts for the Lord. She is an incredibly talented young lady - singing, dancing and acting are very close to her heart. I know encouraging these gifts and talents can lead some families down a slippery slope, and negative influences, and I haven't let her audition for anything outside of church or co-op activities for these reasons. I just pray that we can find a godly outlet for her to live her passions out in a god-fearing, loving way that glorifies Him. But for now, she is an 8-year-old bundle of energy and sass that loves the stage...and loves her Savior.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Product Review: The World's Greatest Stories


I want you to close your eyes and relax. Listen to the cd you just put in, and be transported. Two thousand, four thousand, six thousand years ago. To the time Noah, Daniel, David or Jesus walked. And feel like you are there. Not just feel like someone is telling or re-creating a bible story. But truly hearing the words, just as they are written - no excess or embellishment necessary - come to life in your imagination.

This is what will happen when you purchase The World's Greatest Stories cd's. For $7.95, you can take your family on an hour-long adventure without leaving your living room. You can take them with you on road trips, too! The cd's come in King James or New International Versions, and they are read entirely from the texts. George Sarris is the narrator and multi-faced actor in the stories, and he truly brings life to each character he reads.

There are currently six volumes in The World’s Greatest Stories Collection: The Prophets, The Life of Christ, Beginnings, Joshua and Esther, Joseph and His Brothers, and Defeating Giants. We were sent Volume 1: The Prophets for review, which included the stories of The Blazing Furnace, The Handwriting on the Wall, Daniel in the Lions’ Den, Elijah and the Prophets of Baal, and The Prophecy of Jonah.

The family definitely had mixed feelings about the voices of some of the characters. The toddler got a little scared a few times and asked me to turn it off. My daughter - who is a major drama queen in her own right - was amazed and enthralled, especially when I pointed out that he was reading directly from the bible! The boys were engaged, but found some of the voices and emotions to be over the top (tough crowd!). My husband even found the readings to be intriguing. He said the way George Sarris phrased some things brought new context that he'd never really seen before in his own studies. Always a good thing to take something new from scripture, no matter how often we have read the stories! I personally loved it, and I can't wait to purchase more.

If you are looking for a way to bring some excitement to your family bible time, or just need another way to engage your children with scripture, then you definitely need to buy The World's Greatest Stories.

*Don't just take my word for it! Check out some of my fellow TOS Crew Members' reviews here.

**Disclaimer: I received this product via TOS Homeschool Crew in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review; all opinions stated are mine or my children's.

Friday, December 2, 2011

TOS Vendor Review: Pitsco


Do your sons love medieval-themed projects? Do they enjoy working with their hands? Do they love anything that could possibly be used as a means to cause destruction? If you said yes to any of these things (I answered yes to all 3!), then you have to check out Pitsco! Pitsco Education is a hands-on learning project company. According to their website, the company is geared toward science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) classroom solutions, helping students achieve success through student engaged, hands-on learning. They have Robotics Packs, Alternative Energy Packs, Engineering Packs, and lots more cool stuff that I know my boys will go gaga over! We were sent the Trebuchet and Catapult Kit($21.95) to review.


We received the Trebuchet, Catapult, Teacher's Guide, assembly instructions and modeling clay. While assembling the project and completing the activities in the book, the boys learned many things, such as:

•Newton’s laws of motion, and potential and kinetic energy.
•Relate speed and mass, force and range, and mass and range.

Kelly tood responsiblity, given that I usually blow it big time in the science experiment arena. The boys LOVED having Daddy work through all of the assignments with them, and I think Daddy enjoyed himself as well! Here's what they all had to say:

Kelly used an epoxy to put the machines together. This did NOT come with the pack. He said if we were to do it again, he would use super glue or a hot glue gun. Be prepared - Elmer's will NOT suffice in this project!!

The catapult was more labor intensive. IE: Kelly did the work while Connor and Canon watched. ;) But the trebuchet was much more entertaining. They could launch the clay balls halfway across my house. Bonus for the boys! The kids were able to change the weights on the trebuchet, thus learning about force, speed, mass and range probabilities.

We received this pack the week before Science Channel's annual Pumpkin Chunkin, so the family was really pumped to get to build these miniature models and learn how they worked. The timing could not have been better for us! I'm seeing larger scale projects in our future... ;D

Pitsco Education provided a great learning experience for our kids. The teacher's guide was thorough, but not overwhelming. The customer service was excellent. In addition to the instructions that came with the kit, I received emails with tips and a contact email if I had any questions. The cost for this kit is $21.95 - we found that to be a bargain for two projects and coordinating lesson plans! I am certain we will be purchasing from Pitsco for future projects.

*Click HERE for a direct link to the homeschool portion of the website.

**Don't just take my word for it! Check out some of my fellow TOS Crew Members' reviews here.

***Disclaimer: I received this product via TOS Homeschool Crew in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review; all opinions stated are mine or my children's.