Sunday, June 10, 2018

Smallfoot Trailer

I wanted to share a new movie trailer with you!  Warner Bros’ latest animated feature out this fall, Smallfoot.  Lebron James, Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, Gina Rodriguez and Common are all voice characters in this super fun film!

An adventure for all ages, with original music and an all-star cast, “SMALLFOOT” turns the Bigfoot legend upside down when a bright young Yeti finds something he thought didn’t exist—a human. News of this “smallfoot” throws the simple Yeti community into an uproar over what else might be out there in the big world beyond their snowy village, in an all new story about friendship, courage and the joy of discovery.

Check out the trailer below and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Memories & Beyond The Sun Movie Release {$50 Amazon Giveaway}

My Dad

Some of you may know but a little over a month ago my Dad unexpectedly passed away.  It was sudden and very shocking for all of us.  If I am honest with you, I think I am still in a state of shock.  Grief is a hard thing.  I miss him a lot.  I think about all the soccer games that my Dad took me to.  I think about the time he strapped the Christmas tree to the top of our van and helped support it with his hand sticking out the driver window.  I remember the tree falling off the car and telling him so but my Dad insisted that he was still holding it so it couldn't have fallen off.  When we rolled into our driveway my Dad was holding a small branch from our Christmas tree.  It was pretty funny.  I learned from my Dad that it's okay to laugh at yourself sometimes.  I think of how much he loved all of his grandchildren and that makes me smile.  You are missed Dad.

I want to share with you about an upcoming children's adventure movie that features a special appearance by Pope Francis and sponsors an exciting contest to Italy!  Beyond the Sun is a modern-day fairy tale of hope, faith, and courage based on stories from the Bible.  The family movie chronicles the adventures of four young friends in search of God.

The film just released across multiple platforms including iTunes, Amazon, and TUGG.  There is also a special contest where one lucky winner will have an opportunity to win an exclusive private tour of the Vatican and front row tickets to an audience with the Pope for four!  If you have ever wanted to visit Italy and the Vatican, this is your chance!  Check out more about this giveaway and enter to win here.  Good luck!

Check out the Beyond the Sun trailer below.

Ready for a giveaway?  One of you will win a $50 Amazon Gift Card.  Just enter the giveaway below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  Thanks so much to Grace Hill Media for selecting me to participate in this campaign and providing the $50 Amazon gift card for the giveaway.  By sharing this information with you I will receive a $50 gift card.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science Audio Book Review

A has been learning about General Science this year through Apologia.  We have the textbook and she recently completed the course at our weekly coop.  When Timberdoodle offered me the chance to review Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science audio book at a discounted price I jumped at the chance!  It's a great companion to the printed text and makes a great addition to a homeschool library.

MP3-CD Exploring Creation with General Science

I love having both of these products: the printed text and the audio book.  Many students learn best by hearing, rather than reading text.  The Exploring Creation with General Science MP3-CD contains an audio recording of the complete text of Exploring Creation with General Science, 2nd edition, as read by Candice Jones.  This MP3-CD also includes "On Your Own" problems but it does not include the study guides, tests and answer keys.

Here is A with her textbook.

This is meant to be an accompaniment to the textbook, not a replacement.  I love that students can follow along in their books to this recording or just listen on their own.  This will be the first time that students learn many of these words, I love that the recording gives them the opportunity to hear the correct pronunciations.  This is so great for doing schoolwork on the go or involving multiple children in lessons.

The Exploring Creation with General Science textbook is very conversational so the audio book read by Candice Jones translates well.  The text is read word for word.  The figures within each module are clearly not going to be on the audio book but even the figures descriptions are omitted.  This is a great example how this is meant to be an accompaniment.  As I mentioned earlier, some students may have an audio strength when learning, some may be visual learners and so it would be important to note they should refer to the text and study the figures and there explanations at some point.  The experiments are also not read in the audio text - supplies, introduction and procedure are excluded.  You are told to perform the experiment and then the audio jumps right into the results of the experiment.  This is why I personally feel that students following along in their textbooks while listening to the audio book is the ideal situation to use both of these products.  Just something to note.

A with her ipod.

This is not a standard CD but an MP3-CD which basically means you will need to play it in a computer, MP3 compatible CD player or an MP3 device such as an iPod or iPhone.  A received an iPod a few years ago for Christmas so this was perfect to put on that!

A's Ipod with the Audio Book loaded

If you are planning on using Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science curriculum I would highly recommend having this MP3 Audio CD as a companion.  Check out more about Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science audio book on Timberdoodle's website.  You can even listen to a sample for yourself!

Disclosure:  Huge shout out to Timberdoodle for selecting me as a Timberdoodle Blogger.  Timberdoodle sent my family the Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science audio book for a discounted price in exchange for our honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Life Matters (Wraith Releases on DVD May 8th)

I have a doozy to share with you today, Wraith.  Wraith is a supernatural thriller that explores the story of a family who invites evil into their home after they decide they may not go forward with an unplanned pregnancy.  The film reminds us that God always protects and provides, and that protecting life is always the right choice.  If you didn't know, I am an advocate for pro-life.  I know that there are situations that can become very complicated with pregnancies whether it's circumstantial (attacks) or physical (illness) but I do believe in protecting and valuing those yet born.

Michael O. Sajbel wanted to take a different take on this sensitive subject.  Sajbel, who is a father of three adopted children, believes in the sanctity of all life.  "I had not seen a film about this subject matter presented this way and wanted audiences to have fun with a little twist but to also incorporate a very important message about valuing all life no matter how complicated it can get.  We see the Lukens couple struggle with this decision about whether they can afford another child and Mrs. Lukens age and how there could be medical complications and her overall concerns with having a baby at her age.  I wanted to convey that no matter what - God provides and the value or protecting an innocent life.  Wraith gives us a chance to present this important message in a very unique way."

As a Mom of seven, I definitely understand the question that people raise whether they can afford children or whether they are equipped to bring a life into this world.  The honest truth (which you have probably heard a lot) is that if people waited till they could afford children or plan every possibility that could arise most couples would probably not have them.  One of the beauties of having children is the unknown, this is also one of the most difficult things as well.  They are not alike and they do not come with manuals.  However, I know my Creator.  I learn more about Him every day through my children and the humbling job of being a parent.  Being a Mom is one of the scariest things I have ever done but also the most rewarding.  What are your thoughts on this?  I'd love to hear them!

Official Synopsis for Wraith
Wraith noun: a ghost or ghostlike image of someone, especially one seen after, or shortly before, their death
Something is very wrong in the Lukens' house.
After living uneventfully for years in their historic home, the Lukens family have somehow awakened a ghostly presence.  Who is this frightening spirity and why won't it leave their 14 year-old daughter, Lucy, along?
Everything changes when Dennis and Kate Lukens discovered they were pregnant again.  Expecting in your 40's is always high-risk and dangerous, so when the Lukens decide all options are on the table - including termination - the unexpected starts to happen.  Sinister forces are now conspiring against the family.  But is this eerie, wraith-like spirit actually trying to haunt them...or help them?

Wraith is available on all VOD platforms and Blu-ray/DVD tomorrow, May 8th.  It has a PG-13 rating and is a supernatural thriller.

You can learn more about Wraith here.

Disclosure:  Thanks so much to Grace Hill Media for selecting me to participate in this campaign.  By sharing this information with you I will receive a $50 gift card.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Fundraising for Burn Camp 2018

This Saturday will be the 2 year anniversary of Audrey and Beverly's burn accident.  As hard as this journey has been, I am so thankful and grateful for so much, especially our family and friends!  A is officially on her last pair of medical compression garments, they have been a second skin for her for so long.

Camp David 2017

A, B and C were able to attend the Texas Burn Survivor Summer Camp last year (it's an amazing camp for burn survivors and their siblings - a safe place for kids to just be kids). Due to funding issues this year they are asking campers to raise funds.  A, B, C and D are hoping to go this summer.  I am putting the link here to share with everyone.  Please do not feel any pressure from me.  This is just an opportunity.  If you do donate, I can promise you that this is an amazing organization and my family has benefited greatly from them and I am so thankful they exist.

To find out more or donate - check out our fundraising page here.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Like Arrows in Theaters May 1st and May 3rd & Giveaway

Those that know me, know that I have a thing for arrows.  I love them!  David and I actually refer to our children as arrows occasionally.  So I especially love the concept of the upcoming movie Like Arrows.  It's a film about a pair of parents trying to figure life out.  When conflict, rebellion, and resentment overwhelm their family, Charlie and Alice are forced to rethink their parenting strategy.  They realize how critical intentionality and focus are when shaping and molding young lives.  FamilyLife's first feature film explores the joys and challenges that come with raising children.  Charlie and Alice learn that knowing and living by God's Word is what brings transformation and hope to any family.  Like Arrows is executive produced by Alex and Stephen Kendrick, and FamilyLife's Dennis and Barbara Rainey and Bob Lepine.  This parenting movie will release in theaters for two nights only - May 1st and May 3rd.  This film will release as part of a significant new parenting initiative called FamilyLife's Art of Parenting, which will also include a free online video series and an eight-session small group series.  Check out more about the Like Arrows Art of Parenting resources here.

This is not a nationwide movie.  To find out if Like Arrows is playing near you click here.  I'm excited as it is playing in multiple locations near me.

I had the privilege of seeing an advanced prescreener for Like Arrows and I really enjoyed it.  Like Arrows is named for Psalm 127:4 (Like Arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children of one's youth).  I found many of the scenes and characters to be very relatable, especially as I am in the midst of this journey through parenthood.  I felt that overall this film was pretty easy to watch and enjoy and was a realistic representation of parenting in the trenches.  There were a couple of times that it became obvious that the movie is promoting a specific program, which caused me to momentarily pull away from caring about the characters but they jump right back into the storyline and allow you to get back into the movie.  A huge plus for this is that the parenting initiative plugged has a free online video series and small group series with the FamilyLife's Art of Parenting.  So it's a movie with follow-up resources, that is unique and rare and I'm on board with that! 

Ready for a giveaway?  I'm giving away 2 Fandango codes so you can see the movie yourself.  The codes will be emailed to the winner.  Winners are only allowed from the continental U.S.  Enter below and good luck!  This is a super fast giveaway so enter now.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Dissection Night for Ch A

A has been participating in the Classical Conversations Challenge program this year.  Last week she participated in dissection night and I was able to stay and observe.  I have always enjoyed dissections and it was so fun to watch the students, especially as the night progressed.  At first, A was a bit timid with her specimens but it was awesome to see her and her partner really press in and by the end of the night their faces were so animated with excitement - I love this kind of hands on learning.  They dissected a sheep pluck and a cow eye.  Warning - dissection photos ahead so if you are squeamish prepare yourself.

A sheep pluck (contains trachea, lungs and heart)

I love that they spent some time sketching and taking notes.

Removing the heart from the pluck

A holding a sheep heart

Cutting the heart in half

Inside view

Examining the inside of the sheep heart

Comparing a sheep heart to a human heart

A piece of sheep heart (for comparison later)

Dissecting into the trachea

 Trachea dissection

They used a hand pump inserted into the trachea to manually inflate the lungs.

Cutting a lung in half

Inside view of a lung

Comparison of a piece of heart tissue vs a piece of lung tissue (the heart piece sinks and the lung piece floats)

 Dissecting a cow eye

 Cow eye with lens detached (looks like a white marble)

 Inside the cow eye

 Another view

Note - I forgot to mention that A broke her dominant arm a few weeks ago so you see her in a lovely purple cast above.  Thankfully, she can still write and play her flute!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Timberdoodle's Pathway Readers 1st Grade Set Review

Pathway Readers

I want to share with you a fun reading program that E just finished as part of her homeschool curriculum this year, Timberdoodle's Pathway Readers 1st Grade Set.  This set is one of the many treasures you will find within Timberdoodle's 1st grade curriculum kit.  This set contains three readers: First Steps, Days Go By, and More Days Go By.  Each book has a distinct outside color making them easy to differentiate when on a shelf (red, blue and green).  However, within each reader it contains black-and-white sketches.  This set is geared towards 6-7 year olds in 1st and 2nd grade.

E reading First Steps

Here you get a peek inside the book.

E's reading and writing has really exploded recently and it has been so fun to watch.  Reading was very challenging for her at first and she struggled with "not knowing everything".  Sometimes she was scared to try.  As E began this series, I really enjoyed the confidence it gave her as she mastered each story to press onward and even read other books and stories for fun.  She laughed and smiled as she worked her way through these lovely stories about farm life, harvests and family.

E and G in the allergist waiting room.

She was eager to take these books along for allergy appointments and general outings so that she could read to me and her younger siblings!

A peek into Days Go By.

Finishing this set!

Another thing about this set that I loved was the reading comprehension that it fosters.  I love how the stories are continuations of the first ones and I really enjoyed hearing E tie things together from each of the stories and even the separate books themselves.  And when I say continuations I don't mean that they pick up exactly where the previous story left off but that you have to remember the characters and past adventures.  When I asked E what she liked about these books she said, "EVERYTHING!"  So there you have it.

Disclosure:  Huge shout out to Timberdoodle for selecting me as a Timberdoodle Blogger.  Timberdoodle sent my family the Pathway Readers 1st Grade Set for a discounted price in exchange for our honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Patience Is A Virtue And The Miracle Season Trailer

I wanted to share The Miracle Season trailer with you today.  The Miracle Season releases in theaters April 6th and I'm excited to see it, just a few more days!

The movie is about tragic loss but also how we can find hope and light is some of the darkest seasons we face in life.  When C first started baseball, he was taught the basics.  On his first few teams they didn't count runs, they didn't count outs, everyone got to hit and run the bases.  This was great for learning the game but then C wanted to play "real" baseball.  So we switched leagues.  He was on a team that didn't win a single game.  And C learned how to lose gracefully and cheerfully.  It was character building in a great way.  Although that was a tough season C was patient and stuck with the game he loves.  He has been on several teams now, always diligent to show up for practices and games and hoping to play well.  And he has had some amazing coaches along the way.  C is now on the best team he has ever been on.  The other night he hit a double at his at bat and I couldn't be more proud of him.  It's not the winning or losing that matters the most.  It's how you play the game and more importantly how you treat others while doing so.  I'm grateful for all that baseball is teaching my son.

As promised, check out the trailer for The Miracle Season below.

Disclosure:  Thanks so much to Grace Hill Media for selecting me to participate in this campaign.  By sharing this information with you I will receive a $30 gift card.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Happy Pi Day 2018

Happy Pi Day

The kids and I went to the Texas Museum of Science & Technology this morning to celebrate Pi Day.  It was fun to walk through the butterfly maze, make Pi bracelets and see a few planetarium shows.  And of course we had pie - strawberry and chocolate were the choices this year.  

 Chocolate Pie

Strawberry Pie

Hope you and yours were able to celebrate.

Monday, March 12, 2018

And Now There Are Two

C is on the Angels and F is on the Tiger Sharks

F has been waiting a long time to play baseball.  He has grown up watching C play and has been asking to play since he was about 2.  Now that he is 4 he can play T-ball.  So right now, C is playing 10U (kid pitch) and F has just started with 4U T-ball.  Baseball season can be crazy with practices any given night of the week and games every weekend and sometimes weeknights but my boys sure do love to play.  Enjoy a few photos of this season so far.

G wanted to get in on it so I'm thinking he might be a ball player too.

F running the bases

Enjoy the video below of F's 1st ever at bat.  He happened to be the first batter of the game.  I thought he did great!

Friday, March 9, 2018

A Wrinkle In Time Releases in Theaters Today, March 9th

If you haven't heard, A Wrinkle In Time arrives in theaters today, March 9th!  This was one of my absolute favorite books growing up so I am excited to see how the movie compares.  I'm a little nervous to see what adaptations are made but hopefully the heart of this book (and series) is conveyed.  I remember being blown away by the concept of a tesseract so it will be fun to see how it is portrayed on the big screen.

Synopsis of Wrinkle In Time:  From visionary director Ava DuVernay comes Disney's "A Wrinkle In Time," an epic adventure based on Madeleine L'Engle's timeless classic that takes and audience across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light, good versus evil, and ultimately, the triumph of love.  The film stars Reese Witherspoon, Oprah, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, and Storm Reid as "Meg Murry."

Check out the trailer below.


Disclosure:  Thanks so much to Grace Hill Media for selecting me to participate in this campaign.  By sharing this information with you I will receive a $25 Fandango gift card to see this film.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

CNN's POPE: The Most Powerful Man in History Premieres Sunday, March 11

I want to share with you about the upcoming television docu-series POPE: The Most Powerful Man in History which takes a closer look at early Christianity and what it means to be Pope.  This series explores some of the most impactful moments in history including schisms within the Catholic Church, the creation, commission, and cost of some of the world's most iconic and beloved religious works of art during the Renaissance, and the Reformation that paved the way for reflection and reform.  POPE:  The Most Powerful Man in History premieres Sunday, March 11 at 10 pm ET/PT on CNN.

Check out the trailer of CNN's latest docu-series, POPE.

I also want to share with you the Roman Holiday contest (in support of this series) in which a winner will be chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Rome.  The winner will experience a Roman Holiday and a rare private tour of the Vatican.  This contest begins March 8 and will end on April 15th.  Winner receives: airfare and five nights of hotel accomodations for two in Rome, a $500 gift card, a private tour of the Vatican (which is home to some of the greatest works of art).  You can check out more about this contest and enter here.  Good luck!

Disclosure:  Thanks so much to Grace Hill Media for selecting me to participate in this campaign.  By sharing this information with you I will receive two $25 Life Way gift cards, one to keep and one to gift someone for Easter.  All opinions are my own.