Review: Trust Fund and Love Was Near by Mapelle Films

Review_TrustFund_LoveWasNearMovie night can be a challenge. Violence, language, and inappropriate material abounds. Thanks to a review of Trust Fund and Love Was Near by Mapelle Films, movie night just got easier!

Trust Fund is the first independent film to be released by Mapelle Films. The story follows Reese Donahue, a talented young author finding her place in the world, as she runs from responsibility in hopes of attaining independence and romance. What follows is a charming tale of forgiveness and true love, liberally based on the prodigal son story found in book of Luke.

Our family received a Trust Fund DVD, along with a copy of Love Was Near, from Mapelle Films. Love Was Near is a companion book to Trust Fund, giving deeper insight into lessons Reese learned during her journey. Love Was Near is written from Reese’s perspective, in first-person narrative, sharing her adventures and thoughts including “hand written” diary entries. As she closes each chapter, the reader is given questions to reflect upon which relate to lessons Reese has learned throughout the film. Love Was Near includes an introduction to be read before enjoying the movie, followed by twenty-eight chapters which correspond to the film’s storyline.

In addition to both the film and book, we were given access to a downloadable study guide for Trust Fund. While the study guide is slated for “small group study”, we found it easily adaptable to a family setting. The study includes both background on the storyline itself and characters in the movie. The study guide makes a point of sharing the original prodigal son story found in the book of Luke, making a comparison of persons found in Luke’s tale and those in Trust Fund. While you’re there, be sure to view the movie clips! You won’t want to miss out.

While movies are usually a family affair, we ladies chose to watch our first viewing of Trust Fund by ourselves. As suggested, I read the introduction in Love Was Near, then we watched Trust Fund. After viewing the movie, Love Was Near has been a great follow-up, using Reese’s questions for an open group discussion. Love Was Near is a fairly thick book. While my instinct is to rush through the material, discussing everything in one go while it’s still fresh in our minds, I do not believe this would be wise. Instead, we have discussed several points in the first chapters and will continue on through the book with each viewing.

I’ll be honest, I was a little hesitant to review Trust Fund. I not only had doubts about the nature of Reese’s prodigal story and how much would be shown, I was unsure of the film quality itself. We had nothing to worry about. The movie was beautifully made! The story is clean, entertaining, charming, and heartwarming. It is visually lovely. We’re overjoyed with the movie and excited to share this with friends. The bonus, for us, was knowing the filmmaker is a homeschool graduate. How exciting to see his success and inspiring for our children!

I don’t wish to give too much away, so there will be no spoilers in this review. However, I feel the need to point out that while this is a prodigal story, Reese didn’t seem a prodigal as much as misguided. She makes several poor decisions based on little thought and deep emotion, a lesson in itself. The film was suitable for all ages, but it is our opinion this movie would be of greatest interest to girls in junior high and above. Parents should note, while the movie is clean there are elements of romance in the storyline, should this be a concern.

Movie night is still a challenge, but with films like Trust Fund available, our options are growing. We look forward to viewing more from Mapelle Films and increasing our movie library.

If you’d like to learn more about Trust Fund, Love Was Near, or Mapelle Films please visit them at their website and on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram!

To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Mapelle Films has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

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Your Turn!: Is there an age at which your children are permitted to watch more romantic movies?

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Review: Fascinating Chemistry

Review_Fascinating_Chemistry

A new school year equals a new study in the field of science. This year we’re focusing our attention on chemistry and we can’t think of a better time to review Fascinating Chemistry by Fascinating Education.

Fascinating Education is an audio-visual approach to teaching science. Fascinating Education offers courses in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Medicine, and Atoms & Molecules. Fascinating Education is presented by Dr. Sheldon Margulies, The Fascinator, a retired neurologist who uses his life experience and expertise to help students learn. Fascinating_Chemistry_1

Fascinating Chemistry is a series of nineteen lessons which include a video, a script of the lesson and a lesson test. Each video is approximately 45 minutes in length. Videos are complete with menu and glossary, allowing the student to better follow the outline of each lesson. Students are also able to use the helpful menu feature to revisit areas which need strengthening without the hassle of scrubbing through an entire session. Lesson Scripts are an exact wording of the video lessons, including images. Several lessons contain links to lab activities for students to enjoy. Tests are given as multiple choice slide-presentations, with question helps for those who need them. After taking tests, students are able to review their test, print their test, and/or retake their test if needed. PDF versions of tests Fascinating_Chemistry_2are available. Test scores are not kept online, thus should be printed if so desired. Lesson topics include The Structure of the Atom, The Ionic Bond, The Covalent Bond, and more.

Fascinating Chemistry includes nineteen lessons total. Our family found it beneficial to break down these lessons into smaller sections, working through each lesson at a slower pace for greater understanding, rather than viewing an entire lesson in one sitting. We found the videos simple to follow and our narrator, The Fascinator, easy to understand. The lessons were clear and well laid out. The occasional labs are fun and appealing to kids.

It is our opinion Fascinating Chemistry may be used in a homeschooling setting with highFascinating_Chemistry_4 school, junior high, and/or upper level elementary students. The lessons are easy to follow and understand. Labs are equally simple. As the entire curriculum consists of only nineteen lessons, we would highly recommend breaking down the given lessons into smaller, half lessons to stretch the curriculum to fill an entire school year.

Chemistry is the name of the game for the year. We’ve just begun our adventure and are enjoying the hands-on application of all we’re learning. With the help of Fascinating Chemistry this will be a lovely journey. Now if I could only explain to my children chemistry experiments do not all need to consist of blowing things up or overflowing crucibles of foaming chemicals.

If you’d like to learn more about Fascinating Chemistry, as well as Fascinating Education, please visit them at their website. To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into the Fascinating Chemistry please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

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Your Turn!: Which area of science are you studying this year?

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Review: Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series

“I want to try to help you understand what ‘American Exceptionalism’ and greatness is all about. It does not mean that we Americans are better than anyone else. It does not mean that there is something uniquely different about us as human beings compared to other people in the world. It does not mean that we as a country have never faced problems of our own. American Exceptionalism and greatness means that America is special because it is different from all other countries in history. It is a land built on true freedom and individual liberty and it defends both around the world.”
~ Rush Limbaugh

Adventures_of_Rush_RevereIt’s another summer of fun, and fun just isn’t the same without a few good books. To kick off our reading extravaganza, Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh sent us the entire Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series, and we can’t wait to share them with you!

Rush Revere is a series of fun, historical-fiction books teaching children about American history. There are five, hard-bound books included in the complete set which we received. The books themselves are beautifully bound with lovely illustrated dust covers. The stories are printed on semi-gloss paper made to look like old parchment, colorful illustrations and maps are found throughout each book. In each story, a different portion of early American history is covered.

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims – In an effort to better help his students appreciate history, substitute teacher Rush Revere and his horse Liberty take his class back in time to discover how America came to be. Through the use of technology – and incredible internet connection – Rush Revere’s class watch as he and Liberty show them the real picture. Our first adventure has us traveling through several “time portals”, discovering why the first Pilgrims wished to travel to America, following their journey across the Atlantic, and their plans for establishing a new colony. We meet important historical figures such as William Bradford, Captain Myles Standish, William Brewster, Samoset, and more!

Rush Revere and the First Patriots – Once again Rush Revere and Liberty have us rush, rush, rushing to history. Rush, Liberty, and a few students find themselves exploring the beginnings of the United States. Jumping through time portals, our friends meet important figures as Ben Franklin, Patrick Henry, and many other heroes. During their adventures, we learn of events leading up to the Boston Massacre and talk of revolution.

Rush Revere and the American Revolution – Rush, Liberty, and our favorite time-traveling students find themselves on another adventure; this time exploring 1775 America and meeting heroes who fought for independence. Rush Revere finally gets to meet his hero, Paul Revere, and the kids experience first-hand what it was like on that fateful night at the Old North Church.

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Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner – Rushing off on another adventure, our favorite time-traveling crew find themselves in 1787. Heated secret debate over the Constitution and Bill of Rights, lead our friends to meet James Madison. A hop through the time portal has them learning about a famous portrait of George Washington, the Star-Spangled Banner, and a song by Francis Scott Key.

Rush Revere and the Presidency – Rushing into our next adventure, the time-traveling crew discover just how hard running a brand-new country can be. While the students are campaigning for student body president at their local middle school, Rush Revere and Liberty have them jumping through time portals to meet presidents George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson during their time in office. Learning importance lessons from each, the students hope to win the election and save the day!

Based on our experience, we would estimate the reading level from approximately 2nd-5th grade. While my junior enjoyed reading for exploration, the books are better suited for our son in fifth grade. He has a greater appreciation for Liberty’s humor and breezes through the stories with ease. It’s taken him only a few days to finish each book. I was the first in the family to read through all the books, as I was especially keen to give them a try. I found an empty afternoon and finished all five in one go. Both of us chose to read the books independently and finish at our own pace.

Kids_Reading_Rush_RevereqIt’s impossible to tell which book in the series was our favorite, they are all wonderful. Each had many adventures we enjoyed and lessons learned. The stories are clean, well-written, educational, and enjoyable; all features we look for in our book choices. We loved “Liberty Asks How Smart Are You” questions at the back of book one, which prompted further discussion and allowed us to dig deeper. A few highlights of our read were Rush always in colonial costume, even students in the story comment on his outfit. We found this silly, and inspirational. Rush’s horse, Liberty, is quite the funny character. At times offering colorful quips, more likely to be appreciated by young boys reading the story. We were pleasantly surprised to find the stories light-hearted and enjoyable, holding kids’ interest while teaching much. As a bonus, pictures were included of kids and their books; some in costume and others with their horses, Liberty.

As we explored answers to Liberty’s questions, we made sure to spend time perusing the incredible resources to be found online at Two If By Tea. Scholarship information, challenges, projects, activities and more abound! We especially appreciated the Homeschool Depot, where we could send a message to Maddie and the Rush Revere Crew. We also found homeschool resources for each book, with lessons on William Bradford and other heroes. You can even have a look at Rush Revere’s library!

The Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series has been fantastic to review! We’ve learned much and enjoyed our new adventure in learning. What a perfect way to start our summer of fun.

If you’d like to learn more about Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series, as well as Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaughy, please visit them at their website. You can also find Adventures of Rush Revere on social media sites such as FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

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Your Turn!: What is your favorite historical-fiction book series?

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Review: Captain Absolutely from Focus On The Family

Review_Captain_AbsolutelyComics are all the rage in our home. From my husband’s work to classic Superman, we enjoy a good graphic novel. So it was with much anticipation we reviewed Captain Absolutely from Focus On The Family. Today, we’re excited to share this fun, educational, Biblical resource with you!

Captain Absolutely is a graphic novel which focuses on using a Biblical worldview to battle everyday challenges such as fear and guilt. In Captain Absolutely we meet our hero, Captain Absolutely, and learn how he gained his incredible power. We are taken through a series of subsequent events in which Captain Absolutely meets several villains – Dr. Relative, Cap’n Crastin, Fear Chemist, and more – who wish to ruin the town of Metropolitanville and take over the world. Captain Absolutely uses his knowledge of Scripture to fight each enemy, while kindly showing them the error of their ways.

Captain Absolutely is a full-color paperback graphic novel. The pages within are printed on glossy paper, in tune with traditional modern comics. The illustrations themselves are fun. The story is fast-paced and silly while faithfully teaching Biblical truths, complete with Scripture reference for each argument the Captain uses to defeat his foe.

As Captain Absolutely touches on important Biblical topics and discusses the gravity of truth, we handed our story to an expert both in the field of comics and apologetics… my husband. In addition, both our oldest daughter, our son, and myself read through the story.  This was not a required read for the kids, merely something we strategically placed in anReading_Captain_Absolutely advantageous position of the learning environment to encourage interest. The reading took approximately forty-five minutes for my son and husband to read through together; about twenty for me and my daughter individually.

We found Captain Absolutely functions under the assumption the Bible is true. We are presented with basic worldviews and how a Biblical worldview responds to each argument. This is not a philosophical defense of truth, but a sharing of Biblical wisdom. With that said, all of us enjoyed this graphic novel. My husband found it to be a good foundation for younger children learning Biblical truths. He recommended the story for children aged 8-12, but noted finishing the entire novel in one read might be a bit taxing. To fully absorb the concepts being presented and prevent fatigue, perhaps reading Captain Absolutely over a few days time might be of benefit. My daughter and I thought the stories to be quite silly, with many good points made for the reader to think on. Our son laughed continually through the reading; the storyline made for many good talking points and further truths to be shared. He thought the silliest “villains” were Edward Snooze – who fought Captain Absolutely with pillows – and Cap’n Crastin – who’s heartfelt desire was to be on television.

When passing comics to our children, we parents are continually on the lookout for appropriate content. Captain Absolutely met all of our requirements: It was clean, engaging to the mind, easy to follow, and as an added bonus, pointed our children to Christ. Our son learned a great deal through his reading, and this initial story has laid beautiful groundwork for future discussion of truth and Biblical wisdom.

If you’d like to learn more about Focus On The Family, as well as Captain Absolutely, please visit them at their website. You can also find Focus on The Family on social media sites such as FacebookTwitterPinterest, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into Captain Absolutely please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

Review Crew Disclaimer

Your Turn!: Is there a Christian comic you’d recommend?

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Review: High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing

High_School-Essay_IntensiveOur oldest daughter will be a junior this coming month! With scholarships, grants, college SAT’s and ACT’s right around the corner, we can’t think of a better time to review High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing. Read on as we share this new resource to hit A Homeschool Mom’s shelf!

High School Essay Intensive is a writing program, including a case containing five DVD’s which comprise the course and a Portable Walls for the Essayist folder. Printed on the folder are helpful tips for becoming a better writer: Types of Essays, Transitional Words & Phrases, Essay Models, and more. Included in the Portable Walls for the Essayist folder is the High School Essay Intensive course work. This course work is to be completed as the student watches the DVD’s and Mr. Pudewa teaches lessons. Topics covered in High School Essay Intensive are “General Strategies for Essay Writing”, “Understanding and Preparing for the New ACT Essay”, “Understanding and Preparing for the Redesigned SAT Essay”, and “Strategies for the ‘Personal Essay'”. In addition to the DVD’s, we also received a code to video stream these same lessons. This is an especially helpful resource for students using computers which no longer have disc drives or prefer this medium.

While there are many ways in which High School Essay Intensive could be completed, we chose to do a “crash course” and finish the entire set in a two-week period of time. Normally I would not recommend this course of action, but I was a little impatient to finishMr. Pudewa Teaching the material. The main reason for our hurry was an IEW conference being held by our homeschool group. What better way to fully immerse ourselves than to have completed the curriculum and then attend the conference as a review? Our second reason for the rush was a desire to fully train our oldest daughter for the college and scholarship essays she is currently filling out by the stack.

Having no prior experience with IEW, we went into our review with open minds. Our focus during our review was on “General Strategies for Essay Writing” and “Strategies for the ‘Personal Essay'”, as these have the greatest application for our family at this point in time. We found the DVD/Stream lessons to be easy to follow and entertaining. Mr. Pudewa has a comfortable manner in his teaching, addressing his filmed audience by name and offering funny anecdotes to keep the viewer interested. Course work allowed students to take careful notes while following along with lessons, using a fill-in-the-blank method of note taking. While the title of the course, High School Essay Intensive, and the nature of the topic might seem heavy, we were pleased to find the lessons manageable and even fun. There were several new skills we learned; ones we will be implementing from this point forward. We especially appreciated Mr. Pudewa’s explanation of introductory sentences and a TRIAC method of writing paragraphs.

As we have written essays during our lessons for years, and are new to Institute for Excellence in Writing, I was extremely interested in reviewing High School Essay Intensive. I was pleased to find we are on the right track with our writing, yet we’ve learned new skills we can apply to future papers! While we chose to move quickly through the curriculum, we will be re-visiting it at a slower pace at various points to keep the information fresh in our minds.

If you’d like to learn more about Institute for Excellence in Writing, along with High School Essay Intensive, please visit them at their website. You can also find Institute for Excellence in Writing on social media sites such as FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into High School Essay Intensive please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

Review Crew Disclaimer

Your Turn!: Do your children stress when an essay is assigned?

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Review: The Secret Bridge by Lamplighter Publishing

The_Secret_BridgeEvery once in a while, we come across a read which sparks the imagination and edifies the soul. This week, we’re happy to share with you a new read we had the pleasure of reviewing. The Secret Bridge by Lamplighter Publishing was a joy from beginning to end, and we know you’ll want to hear all about it!

Lamplighter Publishing’s aim is to develop Christlike character one story at a time, and this book hits the mark! The Secret Bridge tells the story of young Bridget Channing, and her journey toward a meaningful relationship with God. Through trials, tribulations, and a helpful friend, Bridget learns what it means to cast her cares upon the Lord and fall in love with her Creator.

We first meet Bridget on a sea voyage to England, following the death of her father. While aboard, she befriends Godfrey Bullingham, a naval officer who desires to see Bridget settled well. When disappointing circumstances leave Bridget homeless and with little to live on, Godfrey saves the day by proposing marriage. At first hesitant to accept, Bridget quickly realizes marriage might be her only option and accepts the offer. After a hasty ceremony, Bridget is taken to Godfrey’s hometown where she will be staying for the year while he is away at sea. Everything seems to be working in Bridget’s favor until her husband asks her to keep a secret. A big secret. Throughout the remainder of the book, we experience Bridget’s struggle to keep the secret hidden while more and more secrets become known to her. In the midst of her trials, Bridget meets a most unusual gentleman who encourages her to “Acquaint thyself with Him.”Secret_Bridge_TitlePg

The Secret Bridge was cleanly written, which is a requirement when choosing our books. Thus, any of our children could have read the story. However, I had a personal desire to read the book myself and took possession first. I had planned to read the book slowly, perhaps taking a few chapters at a time. I quickly realized this was not possible. The Secret Bridge was too good to put down. I finished the entire book in one night!

I will note, this story might be best suited for young ladies. There is no action in the book and a great deal of conversation whilst drinking tea. We should also point out that while the main purpose of the story is to encourage a closer relationship with Christ, there is a distinct romantic element to the story; particularly at the beginning of the book. I would recommend The Secret Bridge to young ladies in middle school or older, as the topic of marriage and proper courtship would be more appropriate for that age category.

As I devoured the story, there were a few points which caught my attention in particular. Mr. Jocelyn, the gentleman who speaks with Bridget, is a naturalist! While the study of God’s creation plays no significant role in the story, I appreciated reading of his love of nature and his desire to teach children through his hobby. It was also interesting to note the back story of the tale, which centers on a family dispute as far back as the time of Secret_Bridge_IllustrationHenry VIII. As we are currently studying this era in our history lessons, this was a fun circumstance and a God moment. While not important in any way to the story, it would be remiss if we failed to mention the gorgeous cover of this book. Mole skinned, engraved leather, and gold embossed. It’s a beautiful book.

The Secret Bridge was a joy to read! I can’t think of a single thing I disliked about the book. The story itself was lovely to read, well-told, and edifying. The character lessons throughout were encouraging, even for one who has walked with the Lord for years. We look forward to exploring more exciting reads at Lamplighter Publishing!

If you’d like to learn more about Lamplighter Publishing, along with The Secret Bridge, please visit them at their website. You can also find Lamplighter Publishing on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into The Secret Bridge, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

Review Crew Disclaimer

Your Turn!: In The Secret Bridge, Bridget has a developed a hobby of wood carving. Which hobby/handy-craft would you most like to acquire?

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Dragons Love Tacos 2!

Oh no, the world has run out of tacos! What should we do?

A. Check emergency taco supplies
B. Eat emergency taco supplies
C. Panic
D. Fire up that time machine in the garage
E. All of the above

We’ve got to save the tacos! The dragons are here to help. Just keep them away from all that spicy salsa. You remember what happened last time.

Dragons Love Tacos_2_TourInspired by the release of Dragons Love Tacos 2, we asked ourselves this important question: Could we help save the tacos by going back in time to the Renaissance? Did they even have tacos during the Renaissance? What better way to discover tacos during but to visit a Renaissance Faire! My dragons and I piled into our time machine, lovingly called a car, and blasted into the past.

The journey was surprisingly shorter than anticipated, and met with much anticipation. We arrived to discover things looked quite different from what we were used to. We felt a little under-dressed as we were presented at court, but the queen kindly disregarded Dragon w/ Fanour attire and graciously allowed us to peruse her kingdom in pursuit of our goal… tacos!

We got excited when we saw this beautiful creation. It was shaped like a taco, but alas, was not. It’s called a Spanish fan; which was quite pretty, but not fit for eating. It seems you can use them for creating a soft breeze to cool your dragon scales.

Dragon TeaWe did find dragon tea, but tea is not tacos! Our new friends allowed us to take in the lovely aroma, but there is no substitution for our favorite crunchy snack.

Everywhere we went, we asked for help. It seemed no one even knew what a taco was! Much to our surprise, even ingredients for tacos were not to be found. Lettuce, it would appear, is hard to Dragon w/Mancome by. And tomatoes… these people from the Renaissance would not sell us a tomato. There seems to be a rumor about them being poisonous? Imagine that.

After a quick return to court, thanking the queen for her kindness and generosity, we were forced to admit defeat. It seems the Renaissance does not have tacos! Wait… what’s that you say? We’re on the wrong continent! Well, why didn’t you say so in the first place?!

A History Lesson: If you and your dragons wish to learn more about tacos and their illustrious history, The Smithsonian has a fantastic article which might come in handy! Who knew this tasty treat has been around since before the 1800’s and was a favored snack amongst minors (the silver kind, not the little ones who mess up our houses).

Don’t Skip the Giveaway!: Enter for a chance to be one (1) grand prize winner and receive a set of Dragons Love Tacos and Dragons Love Tacos 2 (ARV: $17.99 each), or to be one (1) of five (5) second place winners to receive Dragons Love Tacos 2 (ARC: $17.99 each).

Dragons Love Tacos 2

Click the above image to enter our giveaway!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on May 1, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 29, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 2, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Tour Schedule: If you and your dragons would like to explore more adventures centered around this fantastic book, check out this incredible list of bloggers showcasing Dragons Love Tacos 2!

Week One:
May 1 – In Wonderland – Jane Austen Taco Hunt
May 2 – The Children’s Book Review – Review
May 3 – A Homeschool Mom – Tacos in the Renaissance
May 4 – Inspiration Laboratories – Tacos in Space
May 5 – Ali’s Book Nook – Dragon Paper Doll Activity
Week Two:
May 8 – The Book Nut – Tacos in Ancient Greece
May 9 – A Story A Day – Tacos During the Civil War
May 10 – Pirates n’ Pixie Dust – Taco Pirates
May 11 – Margie’s Must Reads – Review
May 12 – My Little Poppies
Week Three:
May 16 – As They Grow Up
May 17 – YA Book Nerd
May 18 – Swoony Boys Podcast – Review & Mini Swoon
May 19 – The Plot Bunny – A Dragons Love Tacos Playlist
Week Four:
May 22 – Reading is Better with Cupcakes – How to Properly Eat a Taco
May 23 – No BS Book Reviews
May 24 – Mundie Kids –Time Travelling with a Dragon Checklist
May 25 – The Book Shire
May 26 – Artsy Momma

FTC Disclaimer

Your Turn!: If you could go back in history, which time period would you most like to explore?

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Review: Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”

Drive_Thru_HistoryIf you’re like us, you enjoy incorporating media in your learning day. When that same media helps us draw closer to the Lord and gives us a deeper understanding of the world He created, you know we’re jumping for joy. This past month, we had the opportunity to review Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” by Drive Thru History® and we’re incredibly excited to share this resource with you!

Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” is a beautifully boxed DVD set which includes 3 DVD’s, with a total of 18 episodes, and an 118 page study guide. Throughout Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”, our host, Dave Stotts, takes us on a tour of Israel showing us the footsteps of Christ and bringing Biblical history to life. Used in tandem with each episode, the included study guide will prompt further discussion with thoughtful questions and illustrations to spark the mind.

Rather than include Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” in our daily homeschool studies, we instead chose to incorporate the episodes into family time at the end of each day. Drive_Thru_SetSnacks in hand, we gathered around the television and watched an episode each evening, Monday through Friday during the course of the review.

Our immediate impression was of the care which was taken in creating such quality material. The boxed set itself was lovely. The study guide was clearly laid out, with brief questions even our youngest was encouraged to participate in answering. The episodes themselves were fantastic. Cinematically, the videos were incredible. The quality was beyond expectation and overflowing with professional graphics. Frankly, we’ve never seen a history series better made!

As our review took place around the time of Easter, Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” couldn’t have come at a better time. As we progressed through each episode, we were shown such incredible sites as Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Nazareth. We saw the Church of the Nativity, the Herodium, the Sea of Galilee, and so much more. We followed the gospel message from before Christ’s birth to His resurrection.

Study_GuideOne fun aspect of Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” pertained to Dave Stott’s vehicle throughout the series! Lovingly named “Steve McQueen” by its actual owner, Dave Stotts showed the kids how to make Car-B-Que. We refuse to give away this little tidbit. Watch the series to find out what this is, and why you need to try it!

Our only regret in doing this review is that there were only 18 episodes. We would have gladly sat through several more hours of the series, taking in the beauty and majesty of the Gospel. Our consolation is that three other series exist – Drive Thru History® – “The Holy Land”, Drive Thru History® – “American History”, and Drive Thru History® – “Ancient History”. We’re also excited to discover another series is already in the works which will center on the book of Acts.

If you’d like to learn more about Drive Thru History®, along with Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”, please visit them at their website. You can also find Drive Thru History®. on social media sites such as FacebookYouTube, and Instagram.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Drive Thru History® has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

Review Crew Disclaimer

Your Turn!: If you could pick the next location for Drive Thru History®, where would you like to go?

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Dragons Love Tacos

Dragons_Love_TacosIf you’re ever in our neck of the woods, you know you’re invited to dinner. What’s on the menu, you ask? Well, tacos of course! Why tacos? Because they’re TACOS!!! I mean, who doesn’t love a good taco? Even dragons know tacos are the best.

You’ll find tacos of all kinds in our home; they’re a family favorite. Our little dragons eat them up. We’ve made everything from chicken and beef, to fish or potato tacos. No matter what kind of tacos we make, one thing is for sure, we always serve our tacos with a fresh batch of salsa.

The Recipe: What is salsa and how do you go about making a batch for your favorite dragon? We’re so glad you asked!

Salsa is a spicy tomato sauce, made from a blend of tomato and your favorite type of chile. Salsa is generally used in Latin American cooking and enjoyed with a variety of dishes, not to mention on its own with tortilla chips.

Salsa (Chile)

Ingredients:
4 Large Tomato
2 Cloves Garlic
3 Jalapeños
1 Tbsp. Better Than Bouillon (Chicken)
1/4 Cup of Water

Directions:
On a flat, cast iron skillet – or flat grill – roast your vegetables, including garlic, until nicely toasted. Immediately after roasting, place your vegetables in a plastic container with lid until cooled. (This helps remove the skins easily.) Once cooled, carefully remove the skin from the tomatoes and jalapeños.
In a blender, place your water, Better Than Bouillon, and cloves of garlic. Blend these for a moment to fully incorporate the garlic. Add your jalapeños. Add your tomato, removing any hardened centers. Blend all ingredients by hitting the pulse button on the blender three to four times, with a second between each pulse. Pour into your favorite mason jar, and enjoy!
(Tip: If you’re concerned about the salsa being too hot for your dragons, remove all seeds and veins from the chiles while removing skins. This will give you plenty of flavor but reduce some of the heat.)

The Experiment: We all know dragons love tacos, but serving hot salsa is a no-no. Just how hot is HOT? Let’s try an experiment and explore the wild world of chiles, then see how our taste buds take the heat!

Scoville_List

In our home, our dragons prefer salsa made with Pepperoncini, Anaheim, or Poblano chiles. But, just for fun, let’s see how hot we can take it before we start breathing fire!

Mom is the weakest of all, no surprise. She likes the mildest of the mild chiles. JAG is a little braver, eating salsa which makes his nose itch, but still enjoying the flavor. Little Lady doesn’t really like it at all. Hmmm. T enjoys salsa, but feels the same way Mom does about the heat. Mouse, she’s amazing. She can eat half way up this chile diagram without blinking an eye! And Pop, well he’s the king of us all. Nose itching, eyes watering; he can go three-fourths of the way up the chart and still keep on eating. Wow! Can you stand the heat?

The Giveaway: Now’s your chance! Care to try your hand at winning this adorable book, including a dragon of your own? Enter HERE for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) Dragons Love Tacos Book and Toy Sets (ARV: $17.99 each).

Dragons Love Tacos

(NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on April 3, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 1, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about May 5, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.)

And stay tuned because…

The Sequel: Oh, no! It seems tacos have become so popular there will be no more tacosDragons Love Tacos 2 in world as of May 2nd! What will we do? Pre-order your copy of Dragons Love Tacos 2 and help the dragons #SaveTheTacos.

If you’re ever in SoCal, just let us know. Send us an email, place your order, and taco night it will be. Unlike these dragons, however, be prepared for some pretty hot salsa. There’s no sense in doing things half way.

FTC Disclaimer

Your Turn!: What is your favorite type of taco?

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Review: Manhood Journey Father’s Starter Kit

Manhood Journey Father's Starter KitWe firmly believe in training up children in the admonition of the Lord. We’re constantly on the lookout for resources and materials which help us accomplish this. So when we were offered Manhood Journey Father’s Starter Kit for review by Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio, you can imagine we were pretty excited to get started.

Manhood Journey Father’s Starter Kit is a six-week small group father-son Bible study covering the topic of Biblical Manhood. The kit comes with everything needed to start the journey: A stack of “Maprochures”, a group discussion guide, a one-on-one discussion guide for fathers and sons to explore together, and a DVD with introductory videos for all six modules. The kit also came with a bonus free copy of Wise Guys: Unlocking Hidden Wisdom from the Men Around You.

For our review, our family was mailed a Manhood Journey Father’s Starter Kit to explore. When the kit arrived, my son and I started his journey by perusing a ‘Maprochure’ and watching the introductory video on the DVD. While the remainder of the study was done by my husband and son alone, I was drafted to layout how the program works and give my husband a quick rundown of the journey. Once accomplished, the guys set out to enjoy the adventure.

Manhood Journey Fathers Starter Kit2

My husband and son decided to use the Manhood Journey Father’s Starter Kit as a bedtime devotional over the course of our five-week review. At the start of each week, they would watch the introductory video and read from the group discussion guide. During the remainder of the week, a section of the one-on-one discussion guide was covered before bed.

While my husband and son were able to use the starter kit as a nightly devotion, they both mentioned it would have been more fun doing this in a group setting. Unfortunately, my husband’s schedule being what it is, that was not an option. In the future, they would like to go back and do this with a group of guys from our homeschool group. Not doing the Manhood Journey Father’s Starter Kit in a group setting is possible, and done by my guys quite well, however the materials lean in that direction and lend itself to greater possibility in such a setting. Something to keep in mind!

The materials in the Manhood Journey Father’s Starter Kit, themselves, were of good quality. My son enjoyed the ‘Maprochure’, viewing the journey and what lies ahead. The group discussion guide and DVD were easy to follow, well laid out, and brief. However, the one-on-one guide proved a little more challenging for my guys. Unfortunately, my husband struggled with understanding which portions were for himself alone and which he was to share with our son. Thus, little man listened to a fair portion of the guide which was meant Manhood Journey Fathers Starter Kit3for my husband, but no harm done.

Overall, my husband found the Manhood Journey Father’s Starter Kit to be well-paced for young boys and their fathers. The lessons were brief and fit for young learners. Before moving on to a future study, I believe they will attempt to go through the materials once again. This time in a group setting. Here’s praying the Lord brings it all together in His timing.

If you’d like to learn more about Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio, in addition to Manhood Journey Father’s Starter Kit, please visit them at their website. You can also find Manhood Journey on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to look up City on a Hill on Facebook and Twitter as well!

To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what the Manhood Journey   Father’s Starter Kit has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

Review Crew Disclaimer

Your Turn!: Does your husband have a specific Bible study he’s working through with the kids?

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