Friday, May 27, 2011

Read for The Heart by Sarah Clarkson



Product: Read for the Heart by Sarah Clarkson

Vendor Contact Information:

Apologia Press

Apologia Educational Ministries

1106 Meridian Plaza Suite 220

Anderson, IN 46016 US

Phone: 1-888-524-4724

Age Appeal: Adult

Format: paperback book, copyright 2009, 384 pages, ISBN 978-1-935012-97-2

Price: $17.00

Are you sometimes at a loss at what books you should be choosing for your children?  Read for the Heart contains chapters about picture books, golden age classics, fairy tales, history, biography, poetry and more.  And the first four chapters contain discussions on how to begin reading and how to use the book.  There is a section at the end of the book that lists Caldecott Medalists, Newberry Medalists, plus others.


To read a sample chapter just click on the picture.

Sarah Clarkson is a freelance writer and blogger who is working on a children’s novel.  She travels with Whole Heart Ministries.  When reading this book you will know her love for books and reading.

Our Experience: I really enjoy reading books and I want to be able to pass on the love of literature to my children, so I was really excited to receive this book.  As soon as I got it in the mail I sat down to read it and study it.  

I have read too many books to remember since first I began reading and this book is excellent for helping to guide me in picking books both for me to read to my children and for them to read to themselves.

My favorite chapter in this book was, “Music, Art and Nature.”  This chapter had a lot of useful books/CD’s for us to use during school.  I was really excited that our local library system had the items so we were able to check them out.

This is a book I am going to keep on hand for many years to come.  I am going to make sure my children read it when they are older. 

Other Products Available:  books about homeschooling

I would highly recommend Read for the Heart. For more reviews please go to The Homeschool Crew review page.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free for review purposes through The Homeschool Crew. All links were current when posted.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Considering God’s Creation (Eagle’s Wings)


Product: Considering God’s Creation  by Eagles Wings Educational Materials

Vendor Contact Information:

Eagles Wings Educational Materials

PO Box 502

Duncan, OK 73534

phone- (580) 252-1555


Age Appeal: Adaptable for 2nd to 7th grade

Format & Price: $29.95 for the Teacher’s Manual, Student Workbook & CD (with songs to use with lessons) 


Considering God’s Creation is adaptable to many different grade levels and uses notebooking pages to explore natural science from a Biblical point of view.  There is little for the teacher or student to prepare for.  There are different lessons for the universe, Earth, weather, mammals, physiology and more.  Each lesson contains vocabulary words, introduction, song/poem, activity, Bible reading, notebook, evolution stumpers, review and digging deeper.  Here is a link to Sample pages of the notebook.  If you have more questions here is a link to Frequently Asked Questions.

Our Experience: I was really excited to receive this, because I had been wanting a science program that taught about Biblical creation.  I was very impressed when my package came in the mail.  I looked at the teacher’s manual and it included everything I would need to say to the children and since each lesson was divided into sections it made it easy adapt to their grade levels by leaving out the digging deeper section.  B and C were very interested in starting the program so we started right away doing lesson one.  Making the notebook pages were a lot of fun.  The kids enjoyed cutting, coloring, gluing and then reading what we have learned about in the lesson.  We have been working on one lesson per day and we are now getting ready to study about the weather.  We just finished learning about the solar system and the Earth.


What I Liked: 

  • The kids ask at least three separate times every day to do Considering God’s Creation.
  • The teacher’s manual is very complete.
  • The integration of Bible verses with explanations.
  • The notebook pages were very complete and the kids had fun showing their dad what they did.

What I Disliked:

  • Absolutely Nothing!

What B (boy, age seven, officially in first grade) Liked and Disliked: I love Considering God’s Creation!!!!  My favorite so far has been making the notebook pages for “The Rock Cycle,” because I liked making three small booklets.  There is also a bigger booklet with a pop-up rainbow on another page.  I think considering Considering God’s Creation is great for kids my age.

What C (girl, age five, working on kindergarten) Liked and Disliked: I liked it.  It was fun, because we got to make a pop-up rainbow!!!!  I liked learning and singing the songs.  So far they have all been my favorites!  Considering God’s Creation is good for kids my age! 

Other Products Available: Alphabet Island Phonics, Kinder-Math, Capital Game and more

I would highly recommend Considering God’s Creation. For more reviews of Considering God’s Creation go to The Homeschool Crew review page.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free for review purposes through The Homeschool Crew. All links were current when posted.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Staycations in Your Part of the Country!

Yesterday I showed you Eastern Iowa.  Today enjoy areas from all over the country!
New England

Connecticut - Parenting Miracles
Boston, Massachusetts - ‎ Maven of Savin'
Manchester, New Hampshire - Common Sense with Money
Western Maine - Bubblegum and Lollipops


Erie, Pennsylvania - Growing Kids Ministry
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - Somewhat Crunchy
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - Family Balance Sheet
Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York - Coupons, Deals and More
New Jersey - Oh! Diane


Cedar Rapids, Iowa - Indoor Garden Musings
Mansfield, Ohio - Live the Adventure
Cincinnati, Ohio - Savings Lifestyle~Cincinnati
Mount Vernon, Ohio - Living Better One Day at a Time
Dayton, Ohio - Savings Lifestyle~Dayton
Grand Rapids, Michigan - Kitchen Stewardship
Metro Detroit, Michigan - "Cents"able Momma
Oakland County, Michigan - Bargain Shopper Mom
Warren, Michigan - Saving Dollars and Sense
Grand Forks, North Dakota - Frugal Front Porch
Indianapolis, Indiana - Bargain Briana
South Bend, Indiana - Excuse The Mess
Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri - Kansas City Mamas
St. Louis, Missouri - The Pickledpigsfeet
Branson, Missouri - Getting Freedom from Debt
Springfield, Missouri - I Think I Can
Rochester, Minnesota - Everyday Notions
York, Nebraska - Heavenly Homemakers
Omaha, Nebraska - Mom Endeavors
Madison, Wisconsin - Many Little Blessings
Oshkosh, Wisconsin - A Little Bit of This and That
Chicago, Illinois - Chicagoland Homeschool Network
Champaign, Illinois - Chambanamoms
Black Hills, South Dakota - Little House on the Prairie Living

South Central

Checotah, Oklahoma - Blessed With One Income
Tulsa, Oklahoma - Lynn's Kitchen Adventures
Gadsden, Alabama - Aint Mimi
Dallas, Texas - Funky Faith Girl
Dallas, Texas - Grocery Shop For FREE
East Dallas, Texas - Surviving The Stores
Fort Worth, Texas - Smockity Frocks
Austin, Texas - Stetted
Houston, Texas - Moms Travel Tales
McKinney, Texas - Wisdom Begun
East Texas - The Full Pantry
Murfreesboro, Tennessee - Life in a Barn
Nashville, Tennessee - The Country Chic Cottage
Mobile, Alabama - A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned
Birmingham, Alabama - iGoBOGO
Brunswick & the Golden Isles, Georgia - Teri Lynne Underwood
Alpharetta, Georgia - Cuponeando
Atlanta, Georgia - See Jamie Blog
Augusta, Georgia - Hyperactive Lu
Athens, Georgia and Mississippi - Tractors and Tire Swings
Little Rock, Arkansas - It's Real Life

South Atlantic

Ft. Bragg, North Carolina - Military Wives Saving
Charlotte, North Carolina - The Carolina Clipper
Charleston, South Carolina - The Tween & Me
Greensboro, North Carolina - Mrs. Happy Homemaker
Jacksonville, Florida - Saving The Family Money
Orlando, Florida - Orlando's Best Deals
Virginia Beach, Virginia - The Singley Fam Blog
Richmond, Virginia - Daily Dwelling
Hampton Roads, Virginia - A Home Made by Kiki
Charlottesville, Virginia - How to Have it All
Blackwater Falls State Park/Davis, West Virginia - Holy Spirit Led Homeschooling
Treasure Coast, Florida - The Cardamom's Pod
Saint Augustine, Florida - Jypsie Visions
Lake Norman, North Carolina - Stretching Pennies Saving Dollars
Washington, DC - The WiC Project
Baltimore, Maryland - The Happy Housewife


Tucson, Arizona - Saving with Pam
Phoenix, Arizona - Mom Endeavors
Albuquerque, New Mexico - The Chou Life
Kalispell, Montana - Our Family Adventures
Salt Lake City, Utah - Just the 2 of Us
Thermopolis, Wyoming - The McDonald Family
Denver, Colorado - Denver Bargains
Colorado Springs, Colorado - Colorado Springs Bargains


San Diego, California - Life As Mom
Yosemite National Park, California -Handbook of Nature Study
Seattle, Washington - Queen Bee Coupons & Savings
Whidbey Island, Washington - Manning the Homefront
Olympia, Washington The Coupon Savant
Portland, Oregon - Frugal Living NW
Willamette Valley, Oregon - An Oregon Cottage

Frugal Vacation Tips

Vacation or Stay-cation: Eating without Busting the Budget - Eat at Home

Monday, May 23, 2011

Eastern Iowa- A Place to Go!

Gas prices are going up all over the United States.  Now is a good time to explore the areas near your home.  In this post we are going to look at Eastern Iowa, from the corn fields to the Mississippi River bluffs. 
You could always go to Dyersville and visit the Field of Dreams or to the dock at Village of East Davenport to ride the Channel Cat Water Taxi, but there are many more places to go.  Shown below is just a small selection.  You can visit their websites when you click on the picture.
Brucemore in Cedar Rapids.


The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque.


Backbone State Park near Strawberry Point.


Lost Island Adventure Park in Waterloo.


Hoover Historical Site and the Presidential Museum and Library in West Branch.


The Amana colonies, a National Historic Landmark.


Nordic Fest and the Vesterheim-Norwegian American Museum in Decorah.

Pictures Courtesy of the Iowa Tourism Office

The best website to visit is, which is the official website of Iowa.  On the website you can select the area of Eastern Iowa you would like to visit and the different interest areas, such as family fun.  You can also request a travel guide to come in the mail.  This website is the place to go.

Happy Travels in Eastern Iowa! Smile

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Marvels of Creation- Breathtaking Birds by Buddy & Kay Davis


Product: Marvels of Creation – Breathtaking Birds by Buddy and Kay Davis

Vendor Contact Information:

New Leaf Publishing Group

Po Box 726

Green Forest, AR 72638

Phone- 1-800-999-3777

Contact Information- Please click here to contact them

Age Appeal:  Elementary School

Format: hardback book, ISBN-13: 978-0-89051-457-3, ISBN-10: 0-89051-457-3

Price: $12.99

With wonderful photos and descriptions of birds around the world.  This book is a wonderful beginning to learn about the specific parts of the bird, evolution versus creation and different birds.

Our Experience:  B and C were really excited to receive this book.  As soon as this book came in the mail we had to open the package, go outside and begin reading.  I decided that we would read about some of the birds first and then we would go to the Introduction and the section on intelligent design.  B and C had a lot of fun taking turns picking which bird we would learn about.  They couldn’t get enough of learning about each kind of bird.  Later on we sat down and read the other sections.  B and C did not find the introduction with technicalities of evolution versus creationism very interesting, but they knew it was very important.  We all enjoyed reading the section about how God designed the bird species. 

What I Liked:

  • Birds were listed in alphabetical order.
  • The introduction was very important because it shows us how evolution doesn’t work and how many scientists are turning from it.
  • The photos of each bird were very good.
  • The sidebar about each individual bird with included a “special design feature,” “Did you know?” and scientific names.

What I Disliked:

  • Nothing!  This book was wonderful.

What B (boy, age seven) Liked and Disliked: I liked this book Open-mouthed smile.  I like learning about birds and how God created them.  My favorite bird is the cardinal.  My favorite bird in this book was the cassowary.  I like the casque (horny growth like a helmet), because it looks cool.  If you want to learn more buy this book!  I think this book is very good for kids my age.  

What C (girl, age five) Liked and Disliked:  I liked everything about this book.  Thumbs up  My favorite bird in this book was the bald eagle.  The bald eagle is mostly black and it has a yellow beak and talons with a white head.  I liked the Introduction and the section on intelligent design.  This book is good for kids my age!    

I would highly recommend this book!  It should be in every library.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free for review purposes through New Leaf Publishing. All links were current when posted.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mad Dog Math


Product: Mad Dog Math

Vendor Contact Information:

Mad Dog Math

4562 Ocana Avenue

Lakewood, CA 907013

Contact us page

Phone- (562)533-5772

Age Appeal: kindergarten to 5th grade primarily and up

Format: Downloadable Software, Windows Format

Price: 1 Year License ($19.99), 2 Year License ($29.99), Perpetual License ($39.99)

From the website:

The Essentials of Mad Dog Math

  • Enables children to master their +, -, x, and ÷ facts in a fun challenging, exciting, and motivating way

  • Math supplement for any math curriculum

  • For grades K through 5th; remedial middle school and high school

  • Standard, daily 10 minute time commitment from start to finish

  • Huge body of math facts broken down into bite-sized pieces any child can master

  • Applied system that works in every classroom and in every home

  • Students, teachers, and parents LOVE it

A Free Trial is available in Windows 32 bit Version or 64 bit version.  Only the first fact family in each of the levels is available in the free trial version.

Our Experience:  The website recommends doing Mad Dog Math for 10 minutes per day, so that is what we strived to do. 

This was a program that B had a bit of problem for some reason.  I think it was because he has never practiced addition and subtraction by families before.  He was also stressed with solving 20 problems in two minutes, when it was timed.  B and I butted heads a bit and so he did the program with Dad.  It helped out a lot and he ended up having a lot of fun.

C worked on doing the program without being timed until she felt comfortable timing it.  She seemed to have a lot of fun and was always eager to work on her problems.

What I Liked:

  • The problems were divided up into small fact families.
  • There were three levels which helped reinforce the fact families.
  • Good instructions with the software, explaining how to do the program. 

What I Disliked:

  • For example, you had to know all the fact families of addition, before you got the club sticker for each time level.  For some kids they need to be rewarded more often.  It makes the game more rewarding. 


What B (boy, age seven, officially in first grade) Liked  and  Disliked:  It was very fun.  I am all the way up to “9 to 11 Subtract.”  Some parts were tricky.  In the parts that were really tricky, I did not use “Time Me.”   I couldn’t move on until I used the “Time Me” button.  I think Mad Dog Math is good for kids my age.


What C (girl, age five, working on kindergarten) Liked and Disliked:  It was fun.  Most of the time I got them wrong, but I tried all over again.  I did it with no timing and with timing.  It was good for kids my age.

What Dad Liked and Disliked:  I liked what Mom liked.   The only thing I disliked is that when you complete the 20th problem the test automatically stopped. You do not get a chance to review your answers before being corrected. It would be helpful if you could manually stop the test when you are done in addition to the test stopping at the 2 minute mark.

Other Products Available:  Please go here to see more products for both the classroom and homeschool.

I would recommend Mad Dog Math for kids who need to work on math drills and need to do it in small fact families. For more reviews go to The Homeschool Crew review page.

Disclaimer:  I received Mad Dog Math for free for review purposes through The Homeschool Crew. All links were current when posted.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

GoTrybe- Zoodoos level


Product: GoTrybe

Vendor Contact Information:

GoTrybe, LLC

P.O. Box 1853

Johnson City, TN 37604-1853

Phone- (423) 926-1583

Age Appeal: kindergarten- 12th grade

Format: Online experience, computer needs Adobe Flash player, high speed internet the best for videos

Price:  Use the GETFIT promo code for a free one day trial.  The cost of a one year membership is $19.95 (regularly $39.95).

GoTrybe is where students, teachers and parents can go to get daily exercise.  They can also get nutrition, wellness and motivation tips. 

The following video does a wonderful job of explaining the program, but the link mentioned is no longer current.  If you want more information please go to

Our Experience:

While I was unsure of doing an exercise program, B and C were very excited.  I enrolled them in Zoodoos (k-5th) and we selected our first workout.  We had a choice to either select a pre-made workout or build one ourselves.  We have mainly focused on the workout for k-2nd, but we have also tried the 3rd-5th workouts.  The workouts lasted between 14-20 minutes and left the kids wanting more.  After the workouts the kids watched short videos and/or answered questions about nutrition, motivation and wellness.  They  were able to earn points to add clothes or accessories to their avatar.  B and C have had a lot of fun providing their avatar with shoes, pets and watches.

What I Liked:

  • How excited B and C are to do it every day.
  • You can either build your own workout or do one they have built.
  • That each workout had warm up, cardio, strength and flexibility.

What I Disliked:

  • I could not enlarge the video to fill my computer screen for easier viewing.


What B (boy, age seven, officially in first grade) Liked and Disliked: We have done some k-2nd workouts and one 3rd-5th workout.  GoTrybe was very good, because you got to exercise a lot.  I like exercising.  We did squats, jumping jacks, the swimmer and jogged in place.  My favorite was running in a triangle, picking up bean bags and putting them back.  If you want to learn more about what we did, try the free one day trial.  I think GoTrybe is great for kids my age!  I think Momma liked it  too!

What C (girl, age five, working on kindergarten) Liked and Disliked: It is good for kids my age, because it had tricky workouts.  I liked doing the swimmer in one of the k-2nd workouts.  It had jumping jacks.  It was fun.  It is only available on the internet, unless you went to Tennessee where they are, which you can do if you send them an e-mail.


Other Products Available:  GoTrybe merchandise

I would highly recommend GoTrybe. For more reviews go to The Homeschool Crew review page.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free for review purposes through The Homeschool Crew. All links were current when posted.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

B’s Blogging- The Three Little Otters

One day three little otters left their home.  They went out to build their own homes.  One home was made out of mud.  The second home was made out of sticks.  The third home was made out of mud and sticks. 

Now, one day a cougar came along and destroyed the house of mud.  The first river otter swam to his brother’s house made of sticks.  The cougar also destroyed the house of sticks.  The two otters swam to their other brother’s house made of sticks and mud.

Now, you would expect that the cougar could destroy the house of sticks and mud.  BUT!  The cougar could not destroy the house of sticks and mud.  And the three river otters lived happily ever after.


C’s Blogging- Rain All Day

Rain all day

Fun.  I love God.  Rain is good for the plants.  To help them grow.  God made the world for us.  I’m so glad I’m alive. 

There is more sea than land.

The end!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Circle C Beginnings- Andi’s Fair Surprise


Product: Andi’s Fair Surprise by Susan K. Marlow and illustrated by Leslie Gammelgaard, copyright 2011

Vendor Contact Information: for activity and coloring pages and more information about the other books, purchase personalized books through paypal

Kregel Publications

733 Wealthy Street, SE

Grand Rapids, MI 49503-5553

Phone- 1-800-733-2607


Age Appeal: 6-8

Format: paperback book, ISBN 978-0-8254-4184-4

Price: $4.99

1874 California, is where Andi Carter lives on the Circle C Ranch with her family.  It is time for the state fair, but she can’t take her pony, Taffy.  Will the fair be fun?  How can it be if she can’t win a ribbon like the rest of her family?   Read the book to find out about the train ride to Sacramento and Andi’s fun at the fair.

Please go here for a link to chapter one and on the cover of the book to see the activity pages!Circle,C,Kregel,Susan,Marlow

The author, Susan K. Marlow, enjoys teaching writing workshops.  She lives in Washington state.

The illustrator Leslie Gammelgaard also lives in Washington state and is artistically inspired by her granddaughter.


Our Experience:

B was excited to to read this book.  He had read the first chapter and he couldn’t wait to finish the book.  After B finished the book, I read the book to both of them as a bedtime story.  Both B and C enjoyed the story.

I then printed out the activity sheets and we spent a couple of days working on the activities and coloring the pictures.  B and C enjoyed learning more about the parts of a train engine and different exhibits at the fair. 

What I Liked:

  • The book has large print with pictures, so it is fun for beginning readers to read.
  • The activity books that go with the books.
  • This book is about character building.

What I Disliked:

  • The negative attitude towards sheep as Andi’s family had cattle.

What B (boy, age seven, officially in first grade) Liked and Disliked: I liked Andi’s Fair Surprise.  There were activity pages available from the internet that contained information about steam engines.  In the book, Andi wants to take Taffy to the fair and Chad, her big brother says she can’t.  At the fair she does the ring toss, hoping to win a hat with a red feather.  I think this book is very good for kids my age, because Andi gets a surprise.


What C (girl, age five, working on kindergarten) Liked and Disliked: I loved Andi’s Fair Surprise!  It was fun to listen to Momma read it.  I liked that Andi almost got the black sheep and went on a train ride.  They got to sleep in a hotel.  The activity sheets and coloring pages were fu-un.  I had fun giving the character ribbons, from the activity pages, to my family.  This is a good book for parents to read to kids my age.  

Other Products Available: Other books in the Circle C Beginnings series and also Circle C Adventure series, and more

I would recommend Andi’s Fair Surprise. For more reviews go to The Homeschool Crew review page.

Disclaimer: I received Andi’s Fair Surprise for free for review purposes through The Homeschool Crew. All links were current when posted.