Monday, September 16, 2013

Menu Plan Monday 9/16

WOW, I knew it had been a LONG time since posting a Menu Plan(or even doing a menu plan), but I didn't realize it had been since February. The year has FLOWN by and my family and I have been quite BUSY. I am currently trying to get our family back into our old routines and get the time management under control. Menu planning and posting it is just one of the "back to routine" things I need to get back on track with. I get so frustrated when I don't do menu plans weekly, as not only is a "What's for Dinner" daily question, but it also is HARD on the budget.

I am working on not only the budget part of the Menu Plan, but I will be switching up our Homemade Snacks and also adding in "Never tried" recipes. The "Never Tried" recipes I am going to add in about 2 a week and see how the family enjoys them. Soo glad to be back to taking care of the food budget and menu planning.

 Here is our menu for this week with recipe links included:
For more weekly Menu Plans and Recipes visit:

Organizing Junkie

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tyndale House Publishers Review: Road Trip to Redemption by Brad Mathias

About the Book: 

Brad Mathias thought everything in his family was fine. A busy, contented dad, he had vaguely noticed that Bethany, his middle child, had become withdrawn and moody, but he assumed it was part of being a “teen” and didn’t look any deeper. Until the night God spoke clearly to Brad and his wife: Ask her to reveal what she has hidden. They did—and learned the secret Bethany had been carrying, one that rocked their family to the core. In a desperate attempt to reach their daughter and to reconnect as a family, Brad and his wife piled everyone into the car and embarked on a wild, crazy, seven-thousand-mile, what-are-we-thinking trip across the country. As they drove, they realized how far apart they’d drifted, found unexpected blessings along the way—and journeyed together from pain and loss to recovery and redemption. In this book, Brad shares stories from the road about God’s grace, gives practical tips on what he learned about reconnecting as a family, invites you to consider your own epic journey as a mother or father, and calls you to trust wholeheartedly in the amazing love God has for your kids.

Read              Buy

A Video Trailer by Brad Mathias:

About the Author: 

Dr. Brad Mathias is the president of Berna Media LLC, parent company of iShine, the largest preteen Christian media group. He also serves as co-pastor of the Four Winds Anglican Mission in Spring Hill, Tennessee. Brad has been married to Paige for over 22 years, and they are the parents of 3 teenagers.


My Thoughts and Review:

I was approached by Tyndale and asked if I would like to read and review this book. I read the synopsis of the book and immediately knew I would LOVE to read and review. I am SOOO glad that I did!

The book started out slow telling the tale of the lovestruck college students who decided to get married, the adultery that happened about 7 years into the marriage, the "Coming to Jesus" moment for Brad, the reconcilation of the marriage after 1 yr of separation. I almost lost interest in the book, but kept on reading. The reconilation of the marriage didn't happen overnight, it took about 5yrs of rebuilding the marriage.

The Mathias family was "Flowing through life" as many families do nowadays. The "flow through life" includes Dad being a workaholic, while mom either is a Stay at Home Mom or works outside the home(both of which still requires a lot of mom). The kids are active in school and After School events. Families have a serious "disconnect" and not spending lots of time together. The Mathias family certainly "fit this mold" and this would lead to a Family Crisis that would break any parents heart. 8yrs after the Marriage Reconciliation, Brad and his wife would make a discovery about their middle child, Bethany, that would lead the family on the "Road Trip to Redemption".

The discovery of what his middle daughter, Bethany, had been keeping secret for a while, lead to some realizations on how disconnected the family really was and how "out of tune" he was a father in not knowing what was truly going on. Brad "beats himself up" a little for not being there for his daughter and really connecting with her and his 2 other children, he decides to take the family on a Road Trip across the country to connect as a family. The family set out at the Beginning of Summer and arrived home 3 weeks later. The Road Trip was not without troubles, like a couple of major weather issues, but the Road Trip was all in all a SUCCESS. The family spends time in different areas of the country and God reveals much to them, and gives them opportunities to not only grow closer to each other, but more importantly grow closer to God.

I REALLY enjoyed this book. I really felt like I was experiencing the trip right along with the family. The back of the book, Brad Mathias gives ideas on how to connect as a family if a Road Trip isn't in the budget, and he gives ideas on how to do a Road Trip on a budget. The BIG message in the book is that Parents really need to connect with the kids and not "flow through life". Parents only have a certain amount of time to really capture the hearts of their children and connecting and reconnecting to them helps create stability and sense of "Being". My boys are 11, 10 and 8 and even though we haven't had an experience like Brad had with his daughter, I certainly learned some important parenting info from Brad and was soo encouraged by this book. I am now planning "Connection Time" each week with each boy and together with them.

HIGHLY recommend this book for all parents and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

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Friday, September 6, 2013

A Child's Geography: Explore the Classical World, A Review and 2 Giveaways

The past 6 weeks or so, the boys and I have been "traveling the world". Well almost, we have been using a new Geography Curriculum A Child's Geography: Explore the Classical World by Terri Johnson and published by Knowledge Quest. Explore the Classical World is Volume 3 in the A Child's Geography series. I have not used the former 2 volumes, but the great thing about this series is you do not have to use the books in order.

I was excited to be selected as part of the Launch Team for A Child's Geography: Explore the Classical World as Geography was on my radar for the boys. We received the Ebook version, which I downloaded to DropBox to have access from my Tablet.(Hey with 50GB of space FREE, what better way to use it). There is also a print version available that comes with a CD-Rom of additional resources which include maps, recipes, travel logs and more. I received access to the CD-Rom contents via links.

A Child's Geography: Explore the Classical World consists of 15 chapters which cover 12 countries Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, San Marino, the Vatican and Malta. The curriculum can be used as a full Geography and History curriculum or can be used to supplement your current curriculum.

Our thoughts About the Curriculum:

The boys and I were able to "Travel" through Greece, Macedonia, and Albania during our summer of studies. We really enjoyed how we felt like we were in really in the country and not just "reading another book" about the country. The bright, colorful pictures and maps that are included really helped capture the "Living Book" feel of the study. The boys enjoyed doing the Field Notes, and other questions including in each section. My boys are 6th, 5th and 3rd and they all were really engaged in the study, even my 5th grader who has difficulty staying on focus. We all really LOVED EVERYTHING about A Child's Geography: Explore the Classical World, especially the Hands on Activities and Timeline. We enjoyed how similar the curriculum is to our current curriculum, but in a more REAL way. We traveled parts of the World this summer without leaving our living room! We are going to continue using this as we have officially begun our school year. We are very excited about this Bible Based Curriculum and the Living Book feel of it.

More info about A Child's Geography: 
Explore the Classical World

COST: Ebook Version $24.95   Softcover Book w/CD-Rom of Additional Resources: $34.95

Age Range of Product: 1st-6th Grade (Although it can be used with middle school grades also)

Where to Purchase: Knowledge Quest

Download Chapters 1-3 for FREE: Chapters 1-3

Where to Find Knowledge Quest on the Web: 


Are you wishing you had a copy to use in your homeschool? GREAT NEWS! Knowledge Quest has authorized me to give away a Digital Copy here on my blog. Enter via the Giveaway Tools entry form below:

Knowledge Quest is also hosting a MEGA Giveaway as part of the Launch of A Child's Geography: Explore the Classical World. The list of prizes include: 

A Child's Geography Volume 3 with Wonders of Old Timeline Book ($59.90) Treasury Membership ($99.95)
Philosophy Adventure Physical set ($89.95)
Romans, Reformers, Revolutionaries Intro Pack from Diana Waring ($64.95)
Writeshop Primary Level (winners choice of A, B, or C) plus Activity Pack plus You Can Write A Story ($51.85)
Raising Real Men prize package ($100) Raising Real Men Book, My Beloved and My Friend Book, A Cry From Egypt Book, Boot Camp 9-12, Hero Tales Complete set
A Journey Through Learning $50 Gift Certificate
3 Months A+ Tutorsoft ($49.95)
Lilla Rose (2 Flexi Clips) ($32.00)
See The Light (2 DVDs) ($30)
King Alfred's English and Baktar (Laurie White) ($25)

You can enter this contest also using the Rafflecopter Giveaway form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mosaic Reviews: Homeschool Programming KidCoder Window/Game Programming

We are in the "Age of Technology" and kids are learning how to computers at EARLY ages. Computers are a wonderful tool and learning how to do advance things with them is also wonderful. My 11yr old son first used a computer at age 2 and now he LOVES Gaming and all things computer. My 11yr old was excited when I told him about being offered the opportunity via Mosaic Reviews Team to "use and review" a program by Homeschooling Programming. We selected KidCoder Windows/Game Programming and we have been using it over the summer. For our participation we received a PDF of the Textbook and links to Instructional Videos.

About the Program: 

Windows Programming is the first semester course in the KidCoder Visual Basic series. 6th–12th grade students will learn to write graphical Windows programs using the Visual Basic programming language.

Topics Covered in this Course:
Introduction to computer hardware, software and programming history
Using the Microsoft Visual Basic 2010 Express development environment
Managing numeric and text data
Making decisions about program flow
Obtaining and validating user input
Working with numbers and math operations
Working with strings (text)
Learning how to debug (find errors in) your code
Learning how to write loops to execute sections of code many times
Working with arrays (sets of data)
Publishing your programs to other computers
Putting it all together – write a simple graphical game!

Game Programming is the second semester course in our KidCoder Visual Basic series. Your student will be excited about each lesson!

Topics Covered in This Course:
Game design concepts
Drawing shapes on the screen
Responding to keyboard clicks and mouse movements
Displaying and animating images
Object position, movement and acceleration
Collision detection
Playing music and creating sound effects
Artificial "game" intelligence
Saving and loading games
Game physics
Printing screens to the printer
(info is from Homeschooling Programming website)

My Thoughts and Review:
We chose to use the PDF right off the computer instead of printing it and it worked wonderfully. I also installed the program on the boys computer as my 11yr old is the one using it. We got it all installed and my son "dove right in".

He did find at first that it was a little confusing, but after a little help from myself and my husband, he really got into it and got the hang of it. He was able to complete 2 Chapters, 6 lessons, and he is LOVING it. He told me "Mom, I am really glad this program was created and that we have it. I like learning about computers in a easy way".

I basically self taught myself to use computers over the years, but I am finding the KidCoder Program to be "parent friendly" also. I played around with the program and it is very easy to use and LOTS of fun!

The things that I liked about the KidCoder Program: 
  • Ease of installing and using the program
  • Student Textbook is very user friendly
  • Step by Step instructions that the program takes you through to complete each task
  • The ability to adapt to younger grades
  • The course can be used with multiple children
  • I really like the fact that the company was founded by Homeschool Parents
The things that I dislike about the KidCoder Program: 
NOTHING. The program is GREAT as is!

Program Info and Costs: 

Windows Programming: Course Only $70, Course and Instructional Videos: $85,
Instructional Videos Only: $20
Games Programming: Course Only $70, Course and Instructional Videos: $85,
Instructional Videos Only: $20

You can save money by buying both Programs together in the Visual Basics Pack: 
Course Only $120, Course and Instructional Videos: $145, Instructional Videos Only: $30

Homeschooling Programming offers other courses also. You can check out their whole line of Products HERE. 

Homeschooling Programming also offers Sample Pages and Demo Videos of all their products.

More info about Homeschooling Programming: 
About the Company


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