Friday, May 31, 2013

Philosophy Adventure: Release Day and A Giveaway

Philosophy is usually a topic that is "over my head", although my oldest son, age 11,  LOVES topics like Philosophy, and other "intriguing" topics. I want to allow my boys to do and learn within their interests, although I was having trouble with the "Worldview" aspect of Philosophy. Imagine my excitement, about a month ago, when I learned of a new Curriculum called Philosophy Adventure. The excitement comes because Philosophy Adventure™ is a program designed to help students 6th-12th grade cultivate and defend a biblical worldview by teaching them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately as they explore the history of philosophy. A Biblical Worldview of Philosophy, YES an answer to my prayers!

I was extremely excited to have been selected to be a the Launch Team who are helping to "Get the Word out" about this BRAND new program. I was given a Digital Copy of Philosophy Adventure in exchange for my help in Promoting the Program and for an honest review!

Philosophy Adventure is a BRAND New program, authored by Stacy Farrell, and sold through Home School Adventure Co.

The 3 Goals of Philosophy Adventure are: To Be Engaging, Easy to Use, and Empowering.
How I saw these accomplished throughout the program:

Engagement: Each Lesson has 7 Compentents: The Philosopher's Story, The Write, Think and Speak articles and assignments, Geographical information of the life of the philosopher, School of Thought, Contrast section which is divided into 2 parts(Source Material and Biblical Worldview alignment).

Easy to Use: The Program Layout makes it easy to follow along and not get LOST. The Flexibility of the Program also makes it "easy to use"!

Empowering: The "Easy to Use" format also allows for the students to work independently. Stacy Farrell does suggest that there are many parts that are beneficial to be done as a family, but after going over parts of the Lesson with my son, I can totally see the parts where it is independent work.

You can learn more about the program via this video:

My 11yr old son and I are going to be "putting on our thinking caps" and "diving deep" into this BRAND new program over the summer so I can give a FULL review later in the Summer! We are excited about the program, especially that it is Philosophy with a Christian View!

Philosophy Adventure—Pre-Socratics is now available for Purchase in a variety of Formats and geared towards 6th-12th Grades:

Spiral Bound Physical Set: $89.95

Reader with Resources CD: $69.95

Digital Edition of Reader and All Resources on CD: $49.95 (Full Color)

Digital Download: $39.95 (Full Color)

Check out the Sample Pages:  HERE

I am also excited to announce that I am hosting a Giveaway for Philosophy Adventure. 

One lucky reader will win a Digital Edition of Philosophy Adventure —Pre-Socratics.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

First Wild Card Tour: SHOWGrins by Betty Collier

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

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

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

XLIBRIS (February 12, 2013)

***Special thanks to Betty Collier for sending me a review copy.***


 Betty Collier is a nurse by profession, author by passion, and storyteller by the grace of God. After reading the headlines that tennis pro Venus Williams suffers from Sjogren's syndrome, Betty discovered she had many of the same symptoms. This began her quest to share the journeys of five other remarkable women battling this incurable illness. The third in her Living Inside The Testimony Book Series, Betty hopes others will discover that they too live inside testimonies meant to be shared. Betty lives in Bartlett, Tennessee, with her husband, the absolute love of her life, and their two sons. Betty's passion for increasing awareness of this silent disease takes her beyond the inspirational stories she has written about to the streets of Nashville, TN where she will run with Team Sjogren's on April 27, 2013 in the Country Music Half Marathon to help increase awareness and raise funds for Sjogren’s research.

Visit the author's website.


Award-winning author Betty Collier has intricately woven a beautiful, edifying and inspirational book that informs readers of Sjogren's syndrome - its signs and symptoms, diagnosis, medication and treatment, complications, and other related information. Readers will be captivated by the inspiring and uplifting story of five remarkable women who embarked on the same journey through Sjögren’s syndrome. This book takes Venus Williams’ fight against the same autoimmune disease many women are suffering right now as a concrete instance. Along with her story, Collier brings into the limelight the cases of Cathy Taylor, Estrella Bibbey, Judy Kang, Lynn Petruzzi, and Paula Beth Sosin, the five women who opened their hearts and shared their Sjogren’s stories with the world for everyone to understand more about this incurable disease. Through the heartwarming stories of these five women and the intimate details of their journeys, millions will be inspired, encouraged, and motivated to face the crossroads in their lives.

Product Details:
List Price: $15.99
Paperback: 102 pages
Publisher: XLIBRIS (February 12, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1479780154
ISBN-13: 978-1479780150


Fame, Fortune, and Fatigue

Who wouldn’t want to be like Venus Williams, one of the most admired professional athletes in the world? Continue reading for about three or four minutes, and I’ll answer that question. But first, let’s take a quick glance at the trophy room of this phenomenal tennis superstar. She has won an astonishing forty-three singles titles, including two U.S. Open Singles and five Wimbledon Singles. Along with her sister Serena Williams, she has also won an amazing nineteen doubles titles which include two at the U.S. Open Doubles, two at the French Open Doubles, five at the Wimbledon Doubles, and four at the Australian Open Doubles. And lastly, she has been an Olympic gold medal tennis champion for an unprecedented four times.

In addition to her tennis accolades, Williams is CEO of her interior design firm, “V Starr Interiors” and realized a dream come true by launching her fashion line “EleVen.”  She has been recognized by Forbes on numerous occasions such as Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women in the World, Forbes Most Powerful Black Women In The U.S., and Forbes the Celebrity 100. If that’s not enough, she’s also part-owner of the Miami Dolphins along with her sister Serena, making them the first African-American females with ownership in an NFL franchise.

So why am I talking about Williams in my book? After all, she wrote a New York Times Bestseller, a book entitled Come to Win: Business Leaders, Artists, Doctors, and Other Visionaries on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession. What does her book have to do with my book? Absolutely nothing. However, this book does have a lot to do with Williams. You see, Williams had to pull out of the U.S. Open in 2011 due to yet another undertaking, undoubtedly her toughest challenge yet, one that up to four million Americans are also battling to live with.

Williams is fighting Sjögren’s syndrome, the second most common autoimmune disease. Prior to her announcement, Sjögren’s syndrome was probably the most common, unknown disease in the world even though it was first identified in 1933 by Dr. Henrik Sjögren.

Classic symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth, but Sjögren’s may also cause dysfunction of organs such as the kidneys, gastrointestinal system, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and the central nervous system. Williams, along with millions of others, experience extreme fatigue and joint pain, which is likely why she had to withdraw from the tournament.

I will ask the question again. Who wouldn’t want to be like Venus Williams? Up to four million Americans can answer in the affirmative, with approximately 3,600,000 of them being females. I think I am one of them. I have not been formally diagnosed yet, but I am seeing the specialist my primary care physician referred me to. Before I finish writing this book, I will know for sure if I have it, but that's another chapter toward the end of the book.

For now, let's see what happened after Williams pulled out of the U.S. Open. I read a story on the internet a couple of days after she withdrew, Venus Williams Battles Sjögren’s Syndrome. Needless to say, my curiosity got the best of me. I wondered how she could have such a dreadful disease which forced her to leave the tournament after only one match. Would she ever be able to return to this sport that she loved and once ruled?

Much to my surprise, the article only had two paragraphs about Williams. She was quoted as saying, “I am thankful I finally have a diagnosis and am now focused on getting better and returning to the court soon.” The rest of the article was about the disease, not Williams. It was only one day after reading Williams had to withdraw that I began writing the first chapter of this book.

As I was trying to comprehend what had happened to me over those twenty-four hours, I had already self-diagnosed myself as being affirmed with this same condition, and I was now totally obsessed with writing a book about it to help others. I just wish Dr. Smith had identified the illness instead of Dr. Sjögren. Hence the book title, SHOWgrins, because I read that Sjögren’s is pronounced “SHOW-grins.” In my haste to start writing this book the very next day, I entitled it SHOWgrins so I wouldn’t forget how to pronounce my new diagnosis and new book title.

So how does this story fit into my book series of uplifting, real-life, inspirational testimonies? Let’s see what Venus Williams had to say about all of this.

My Thoughts and Review:
 I really enjoyed this book. It is a personal account of 5 Women who struggle with the daily battles of Sjogren Syndrome, pronounced: "SHOW-grins". I had never heard of Sjogren Syndrome before reading this book, but I certainly learned a lot from Author Betty Collier and the 5 Women whose stories were featured in this book.

Though the book is short and a quick read, the "quick read" had really been a thought provoking and inspirational effect on me. I do not suffer from any chronic illness, but I sure enough "complain" when I get sick or don't feel well to get things accomplished like I would want to. The 5 Women on the "Celebrity Panel" for SHOWGrins are faced with Chronic Illness daily yet their stories are encouraging because they strive to make the best of every given day and not allow the chronic illness to "Stop them"!

 Grab a copy of the book and a box of Kleenex and be inspired by the 5 Women whose stories are told in this short book! I give this book 5 out of 5 stars!

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mosaic Reviews: My Home School Grades

I LOVE LOVE LOVE using online programs for everything. Calendar, Menu Planning, Household Organization, Communication, Homeschool programs. The one program that I haven't been able to find something of my liking was one for keeping track of my boys Homeschool Grades. I am not required to keep grades, but sometimes they like seeing how they are doing. THANKS to being a member of Mosaic Reviews, I think I have now found that program. I was asked to use and review My Home School Grades and it is soo easy to use and has all the facets of Record Keeping a homeschool family needs!

My Home School Grades was founded in 2012 by Homeschool Dad, John Echols and Homeschool Graduate, Jordan Shute. The 2 created this website to be a "one place for all your homeschool needs" for homeschool families. You can learn more about John, Jordan and the company HERE.

My Home School Grades is a very user friendly and easy to navigate.

The many "facets" of My Home School Grades:

Add a Student: Your membership allows you to track and grade all the students in your family. The "Add a Student" screen is so easy to use and allows you to select a different "Avatar" for each child. GREAT feature!

Add a Class: For each student you are able to add their class courses into their profile. It is as easy as clicking the "Add a Class" button on their profile page and then add the info requested in the screen that pops up. You can even add in your own curriculum and lesson plans or choose from the ever growing list of Publishers they have already added.

Edit a Class: You can also very easily Edit "Class info" if changes come up such Grade Change or Curriculum Change. Click on Edit class and the Class info screen comes up and you can change info as needed.

Add An Activity: Click on the Student and then near the bottom is a Tab that says "Acitivities" Go there and click the yellow "Add an Activity" button and screen pop ups with drop down menus to select and input the info and description of the Activity. No limit to the amount of activities! I really like this "facet" of My Home School Grades as many colleges look to see the different programs many students were involved in!

Transcript Creator: I know many parents struggle with creating a Transcript for their "Students", as creating Transcripts can be mind boggling and frustrating. My Home School Grades creates Transcripts very easily with the info you enter for each student. Once all the grades are entered it is as easy as clicking a button that says "Transcript" to generate the Official Transcript to be signed! I know that alone is a GREAT feature of this program.

The things I LOVE about My Home School Grades: 

  • Ease of use
  • The creators have really covered everything needed for good record keeping
  • The drop down menus make filling in info fun and easy
  • The ability to change info as you go along and to input info Retroactively
  • All the GREAT "How To Videos" on their website. The program is pretty self explanitory, but the How To videos are wonderfully made and make it even easier to understand
  • The many different ways to contact support and receive support for the program
  • The ability to access it on the Go via the website via Laptop, Tablet, smartphone. (There are no "Apps" for the program as of yet, but you can access the website anywhere internet access is available. Data charges may apply if you access from a data plan)
A couple of suggestions for improvement: 

A Family Calendar function:  Once activities are listed for each child a calendar would/could be created. The ability to print such a calendar would also be helpful. The ability to add additional Family Activities to the calendar would be awesome.

Email Reminders: The ability to add reminders to certain activities or all activities sent to the email registered to the account. Busy homeschool families write things down but we often forget. LOL

Does My Home School Grades sound like a program that you would use for your family or NEED for your family? You are problem thinking a program like this is going to be expensive and have monthly or yearly fees? Well you can have all that My Home School Grades has to offer for a cost of $49.99 for a LIFETIME membership!! YES you read that correctly, $49.99 gets you all this for a ONE TIME FEE!! My Home School Grades will also make sure that any updates that are done to the program will also be done to current accounts. Not sure yet if this is "the Program" for your family, you can sign up for a 14 Day FREE Trial, No Credit Card Required!

Where to find My Home School Grades on the web:
Support Page

I give My Home School Grades 5 out of 5 Stars!! EXCELLENT PRODUCT that I will be using for MANY years to come. (I was given a LIFETIME membership in exchange for my honest review)

Click here on Friday May 24th to read what other members of Mosaic Reviews have to say about My Home School Grades.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mosaic Review: The WaterProof Bible

Are you an outdoor person who loves camping, hiking, or being near the water? Do you have a child going to camp this summer? Have you had "Accidents" while reading your bible and it got wet and ruined? Most bibles when wet the pages stick together and it takes forever to dry. Even when dried the pages are still in poor condition. I am such a "neat freak and Perfectionist" that I would rush out to buy a new one so it was in perfect condition again.

Well, I received a very awesome product recently as part of my participation in the Mosaic Review team. I received an ESV copy of the WaterProof Bible with New Testment, Psalms and Proverbs. My first impressions when I took it out of the mailing package were good. The pages and covers are made of a VERY durable material. I was amazed at how strong the pages felt and that when "Bent" they went right back to shape.

I am such a skeptic that it took me a while to even attempt to get it wet or soaked. My boys finally convinced me to "just get it done" and so we did. We just took it to the bathroom sink and my son soaked it, I was still too chicken to do it. We bought it out of the water and the water was just repelling off the Bible. The pages were turning and not sticking together. The water was just beading right off. I was amazed and overjoyed at the results of our test! We stood it up on it's end and it was completely dry within 10 minutes! The Waterproof Bible totally passed our test!!

Things I really liked about the Waterproof Bible:

  • Truly is waterproof! 
  • VERY Durable! Durablity is key for me being a mom of 3 boys!
  • Small and compact. Fits in a purse or backpack to truly go ANYWHERE. 
  • The Waterproof Bible has many different cover designs so there is something for everyone
  • Is suitable for All ages, kids to adults
  • The Ability to Highlight and Underline (the publisher recommends a BallPoint Pen, Pencil or Dry Highlighter)

Things I think need improving:

NOTHING  I really don't have anything negative to say about the WaterProof Bible.

More info about the WaterProof Bible:

The Story behind the Bible

You can purchase a copy directly from the Publisher: Bardin and Marsee

The Bible comes in different Versions and styles:

ESV - English Standard Version Waterproof Bibles

KJV - King James Version Waterproof Bibles

NIV - New International Version Waterproof Bibles

NKJV - New King James Version Waterproof Bibles

NLT - New Living Translation Waterproof Bibles

The Bibles range in price from $24.95 for the New Testement, Psalms and Proverbs version up to $44.95 for the Full Version(Old and New Testement) You can also get Personalization on your bible for $7.

You can find Bardin & Marsee on the web here:




I give the Waterproof Bible 5 out of 5 stars!! My oldest son has now claimed the copy I was given, which is fine because it is Camo Blue style! I am going to be purchasing me a Full Sized Version soon!

Click here on Friday May 17th to see what other Mosaic Review Team Members are saying about the WaterProof Bible. 

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mosaic Reviews: Saving Memories Forever App

The old saying "A Picture is worth a Thousands Words" is used often.  I LOVE picture taking and there are treasures in pictures. I also believe that WORDS really have an expression and value.

I remember enjoying listening to my grandparents, especially my grandpas, tell me stories of their childhood. I know most people are "bored" with those types of stories, but I truly enjoyed them. I sometimes thought after the fact: "ohh I wish I would have recorded that story"! When I was a little girl though it would meant prior planning to have a "Tape Recorder" on hand(YES I said "Tape Recorder" LOL) and back then those were pretty cumbersome to carry around. I have some of those words and memories etched in my mind, but to have those words recorded would have been PRICELESS. I only have 1 grandparent still with us, so I can't capture many of those words anymore. I do have a few "Storytelling" relatives and such that are around but the wisdom and stories from Grandpas is just PRICELESS.

Do you have an interest in capturing some Memories or stories from parents or grandparents? Do you children have an interest in talking to and recording the stories their grandparents or other relatives may have? Do you have an interest in family Genealogy?  Well I would like to introduce you to an App I was recently introduced to. Saving Memories Forever is an App for both iphone and Android devices.

I received a subscription to Saving Memories Forever as part of my participation in the Mosaic Reviews program. I downloaded the App to my Android Phone via the Google Play Store. I also checked out the website for all the info and fun stuff. I was then ready to "Try it out". (I wanted to use this app with my parents, but my dad has been in and out of the hospital a couple of times over the last couple of months, so they have been busy)

I opened the app on my Android Phone and it was giving me an Error Message of "Restart Required" An application Restart if Required"  I had to press continue 2-3 times before I would get to the Start page. I got to the Start page and added myself as a "StoryTeller" and tried to upload an image of myself to no avail. I never was able to get an image of myself uploaded. I continued through to the Category page. I was able to choose an Age Level which bought me to the "Select a Question" page. I choose the Question I wanted to "answer" and it bought me through to the "RECORD" page. Here is where it would allow the recording to happen. I did a recording and tried to listen back on my phone, but the phone didn't have any sound playing. I know it was the app as my phone sound was up and was working. I then selected "upload" and the recording was uploaded to the Saving Memories Forever Website. I was able to listen back to the recording on the website with ease! I did a couple of the "questions" and had no diffuculty in using the app and uploading to the website to listen back. I really LOVED the ease of use and capibility of this App.

Some of the features that I really enjoyed:
  • The affordibility of the app. There are both FREE and Premium Versions 
  • The layout and screen to screen movement
  • The lists of Questions in each age catergory
  • The Recorder is very easy to use, even for all my boys (8-11)
  • The Ease of Uploading and Speed of upload from phone to website
  • The upload is confirmed via email to the email associated with account
  • The Helpful Tips section on the Phone App
  • The usefulness for not only "Family History" but Special Events like Graduations, Weddings, Family Reunions and more. 

Some of the Android features that need improvement:
  • The constant "RESTART REQUIRED" error message
  • The info at bottom of screen for "My Acccount", "Helpful Tips" and more are overlapping
  • The ability to upload an image 

More about the App: 
Saving Memories Forever is a VERY useful and wonderful app! The app was created by a Husband and Wife Team, Harvey and Janis Baker. You can learn more about them and why they created this app HERE.

Do you have an iphone or Android Smartphone? Are you interested in capturing the Family stories and Memories? You can download this app from iTunes or Google Play Store. The app itself is FREE to download. You can choose to stick with the FREE version or upgrade to Premium Version. The Premium Version is $3.99/month or $40 per yr. There are a few benefits of using the Premium over the FREE version. Check out this info page for the comparison of the 2 versions. Check out the "How it Works" page for detailed info of the Apps and also How to Manuals.

Places to find Saving Memories on the Web:
Google Play Store

I give Saving Memories Forever 4.5 out of 5 Stars. I could have given it 5 stars, but the Android app needs some improvements, in my personal opinion. I know I have had fun using this app and I am looking forward to using more in the future!

Click HERE to see what other Mosaic Review Team Members are saying about Saving Memories Forever. 

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