Monday, August 31, 2009

The Frontiersman's Daughter

The Frontiersman's Daughter
by Laura Frantz
Revell Baker Publishing

The more books I read the more picky I become. I want to say though that I loved this book. There were so many twists and turns and unexpected happenings that I really could not tell you what would happen next.
Lael Click is the daughter of a famous frontiersman. He had been captured by the Shawnee Indians when she was a girl. She lives in the Kentucky settlement her father founded years ago. She is a young girl at the beginning of the story. She faces many trials, including the Indians, the other settlers, and even her own family. Lael will have to find where she belongs and what her view of the world tells her. When an aristocratic doctor comes to the settlement will she put what she feels her life will be aside and help the doctor or will she leave everything she has ever known and go to live with Captain Jack, the Shawnee Indian chief? You'll have to read the book to find out!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Maverick Books

*Hank the Cowdog Tornado Game
*Hank the Cowdog Book: The Case of the One-Eyed Killer Stud Horse
*CD~ Tales and Tunes from Hank the Cowdog: Story Excerpts from 10 books plus 9 Original Songs
Maverick Books

We had never heard of Hank the Cowdog before we were sent these products to review. WOW! What fun and hilarious stories. We are now fans of Hank.

Tornado Game
The first product we reviewed was the Tornado Game, $12.99. My boys had it out of the package before I could blink. They were so excited! We played it right away. They even took it to the doctor's office later that week to play in the waiting area. It is a travel game so it easily fit in my purse. All the pieces fit inside the board and folds in half. It is great for the car or for going to the park. The game reminds me a bit of Trouble, only with a spinner instead of the popper in the middle. The object is to get your color coded pieces to your "home." The pieces include a buzzard, Hank, and Drover. It comes with a cassette tape of an excerpt from the book. It is fun to listen to while playing the game.

It was a little bit too long for me but the boys liked it. I think to make it shorter we could either take one of the pieces out of play, or not send players home when you landed on the same spot.

This CD is such fun and at $3 each it is affordable as well. It gives excerpts from 10 different Hank adventures with 9 original songs.. We loved hearing the voice of Hank and Drover. We listened to it one afternoon, it was nice to listen to a few stories on CD, it gave us a desire to want to read the stories in their entirety. We also enjoyed the silly songs that came on the CD.

The Case of the One-Eyed Killer Stud Horse

This book was a riot. We are still quoting our favorite part~when Drover is dreaming and saying all of these hilarious things in his sleep. Hank sure does get himself in a mess sometimes. He knew he should not eat the bacon grease but did that stop him? No, and he got really sick and made the rancher's wife Sally mad as well. I had a lot of fun reading the book out loud to my children in various voices. We enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more about Hank and Drover. We can not wait to read more about Hank the Cowdog's adventures.
You can purchase any of the above products plus lots more at their website.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Quarter Mile Math Software

Quarter Mile Math
Levels1, 2, and 3 Bundle Deluxe Version
Barnum Software

Does your child need to build confidence in his/her math skills? Do you want him/her to excel and boost their math performance? Quarter Mile Math is your answer. This award willing program is used in all of Sylvan learning centers in the US and Canada. The program covers Kindergarten math up through pre-algebra.
Are you asking your self, what is Quarter Mile Math all about? Let me tell you. Quarter Mile Math is a self competitive program. The program has two different designs to choose from; one is the race car race and the other is the horse racing (no riders and only in a field~ they do not promote gambling horse racing). Children can choose with design they would like to play. This program improves their mental math. To start the child answers a math problem according to their level. In order for the race to go faster, you have to answer more questions. It is a fun way to learn math facts.
My son Ben, 8, is advanced in math for his grade level. This program reinforced what he already knew and he was able to advance levels as much as he wanted. Sonny, 13, finished pre-algebra last year. The fun game also keeps his interest to reinforce the math he has learned.
There are two different versions of Quarter Mile Math to choose from. You are able to choose which one will suit your needs:

Deluxe Version:

All products in line. K-9th grade.
Additional student tracking system for use with more then one child.
Only $2.95 per month for the family, $19.95 per year, or $34.95 for two years.

Standard Version:

6 different math programs to choose from.
One time purchase.
Prices vary form $39.95~ $89.95 depending on which program you choose.

Right now for all of my Blog readers Quarter Mile Math is giving a discount of $5 off any program! Use the code 7K7A7 for your discount!

Thank you Quarter Mile Math!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back to School Fiction Tour

Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love by Beth Patillo
The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper by Kathleen Y'Barbo
Rose House by Tina Ann Forkner
Waterbrook Publishing

Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love

Six ladies of Sweetgum get together once a month for discussion on a book and to see each one's finished knitting project assigned for that month. These ladies come from all walks of life and are of varying ages. The theme of the year for their book discussions is love stories. Each of the ladies is going through her own path of love, whether new or old. One by one their stories are told. New love, rekindled love, and first love, their stories are sweet and bittersweet alike.

This is the second book in the series, however I did not read the first book and did not feel lost. Although I do want to go back and read the first book as it tells the story of Eugenie and how she became Hannah's foster mother.

I enjoyed how Beth Patillo incorporates all generations and backgrounds into this story. If you are in the mood for a good book, check this one out.

The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper

Eugenia "Gennie" Cooper is a pampered wealthy girl from New York. After reading of her favorite heroine from her novels she wants to have a great adventure before she is to wed. Soon the opportunity arises for her to go to the Wild West~ Colorado. She is to become a governess for a young girl, the daughter of an owner of a silver mine~Daniel Beck. Set in the 1880's Gennie has to learn quickly that the Wild West is not what she thought it would be. How is she going to be a governess of an out of control girl when she only plans to be in Colorado for a month, just long enough for an "adventure."

Gennie soon finds herself supposedly "engaged" to Daniel in order to help him out. She finds herself trying to decide if her future lies in Colorado with Daniel and his daughter, or back in the high society of New York. I am not going to tell you what she decides to do, but you will find out when you read this fun book.

Rose House

Four years ago, Lillian stood at the Rose House amidst her anguish. She had just lost her husband and children in a tragic accident. Today she returns and finds a painting of herself in the local gallery, of her at the Rose House capturing the sadness and despair she was feeling that day four years ago. Who had painted her in a very private moment? The painting was given to the gallery anonymously. The painting was not for sale.
Not only is Lillian still getting beyond her grief, but now someone has been watching her. Her relationship with her only sibling, a sister, is nearly nonexistent. Will the Rose House bring her solace as it did on that day long ago? Will she be able to repair her relationship with her sister? Will she find love again? Did you think I would tell you? Not a chance, read it yourself to solve these mysteries.
This was a great book. It has a lot of unexpected twists, especially the end~ I never would have guessed! I could literally not put this book down until I finished it. I kept it in my car and purse so I could read it in little snipets of time I came across. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

If you want to purchase any of these wonderful books go to the Random House website.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sense & Sensibility Patterns

Sense & Sensibility Patterns
Girls' Edwardian Apron Pattern & Apron E-class

What a wonderful product I had the chance to review! I have looked at Sense and Sensibility website before and drooled over the gorgeous dresses from times past. I never bought a pattern because I thought it would be way too complicated to complete. I was wrong! The Girls' Edwardian Apron was pretty simple to put together. I LOVED the e-class that I received with it. The e-class gave me step by step instructions with pictures and Jennie explaining each step. This was such a big help for when I was having trouble with something; I could just go click on the e-class and forward to where she was explaining the part I was having trouble with.

Seamstresses can purchase either e-patterns or paper patterns from Sense & Sensibility. I received an e-pattern to review. The e-pattern is instantly ready to download, whereas the traditional pattern you have to wait until the mail brings it to you. With the e-pattern you just save it to your computer and print the pattern at your convenience! What I like about this feature is that if you loose the pattern or tear it then you still have the pattern saved and can reprint it.

The one issue I had with the e-pattern is that I really wished that Jennie would have numbered each piece on the printed sheets; then have a thumbnail showing where each number is so that it is easier to put the pattern together. It took me such a long time to put the pattern together, not knowing where each piece needs to go. I would have loved it to take less time so I could get to sewing the apron.

Jennie also teaches how to make your own bias. I chose not to make my own but to buy the prepackaged bias. If I wanted to make bias, she teaches it so well in her e-class. It does take more time to complete the apron when making your own binding and that is the reason I chose to purchase pre-made bias.

The Girls' Edwardian Apron pattern includes sizes 2-14 in one envelope or download. The pattern is pretty forgiving as well. This would also be a good pattern to do if you are teaching someone to sew or learning to sew yourself.

The Girls' Edwardian Apron traditional paper pattern sells for $12.95 which comes in an envelope with complete illustrated instructions. The e-pattern sells for $7.95. The basic e-class for the apron is $19.95; if you would like to buy the pattern and the class together it sells for $24.95.

Take a minute to browse the website for Sense & Sensibility. There is a pattern for a matching adult size pattern for the apron as well as other period clothing patterns.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Grapevine Studies

Grapevine Studies Biblical Curriculum
Esther ebook
Biblical Feasts & Holy Days ebook

(Hardcopies are also available)

We had the opportunity to review and try Esther and Biblical Feasts and Holy Days ebooks. They each are multi-level. We used it with a 4 year old, 8 year old, & 13 year old. Each of the ebooks have a teacher's edition and a student edition. Esther has 7 lessons. Teacher's edition is $10.95 for the ebook. Biblical Feasts and Holy Days has 13 lessons. Teacher's edition is $12.95 and the student edition is $14.95, these are for ebooks. You can use one lesson each day or one lesson a week. It is versatile, that is what I like about this curriculum; if you want to study a bit more it is simple to stretch the lessons over several days. Grapevine Studies' primary author, Dianna, is a homeschooling mom of four graduates.
Grapevine Studies Biblical curriculum is based mainly on using stick figure drawing in order for the children to retain Bible stories and passages better. I am not a very good artist and I was a little worried I would have to come up with the pictures for my children to copy. Well, I was concerned for nothing; the teacher's edition not only comes with the scripture references and paraphrased narrative to read to your child, but with samples of each of the stick drawn pictures they need to draw.
My 8 year old liked this curriculum the most. He likes to draw. He also wanted to draw his stick figures the way he wanted to and not copy what was pictured. My 13 year old also enjoyed this curriculum. He enjoys art and drawing. He wanted to just copy the sample. My 4 year old daughter followed along and did her best to draw her own portrayal of the pictures. Grapevine is great for children to use their creativity.
Each of the lessons have several verses or chapters to read aloud or paraphrase to your child. If you are uncomfortable teaching the Bible their is narrative you can say to your child so you do not need to be a scholar of the Bible to teach your children.
Okay, so you are probably wondering tell me more, right? Well, this is how we did it. I printed the lessons for each of my children so they would each have their own copy. Each lesson is broken down into small bites. I read the actual verse for that section out of the Bible, then I read the paraphrased narrative. We had some discussion so that each of my kiddos understood. Then they drew their stick figure picture. You can then go on to the next section of the lesson or be done for the day and do the next section the next day. It is really workable no matter how much attention your child has at one time. I would say each section of the lessons takes about 10 minutes or less depending on how much you spend on it. I do think it is a bit expensive though for what you get. I wish that the ebooks came with both teacher and student books. Of course it is still a good program for ages 5-13.
Drawing, listening, and reading gives children all of the learning styles together. They are listening to you read, they read the scriptures or the section headings under each picture, and using their hands to draw. My children and I learned a lot about the scripture stories. I am amazed at how the story of Esther came alive to us, we were able to simply picture it in our minds.
Grapevine Studies has Old Testament and other Biblical curriculum as well as the ones we were able to review. Right now they are giving all of my blog readers (that is YOU) 30% off of all of their books for one month.
Here is what you need to know:

Go to the website~
Use the coupon code~ crews

A big thank you goes to Grapevine Studies!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Believer

by Ann Gabhart
Baker Publishing

Elizabeth is the oldest of three children and in charge of her younger brother and sister after their father dies. They have no money, family, or place to go. Elizabeth remembers her father tell her about the Shaker community not far from them and how peaceful it was there and that they take in orphans. With their landlord's coming advances toward Elizabeth, they must leave quickly. With hope and determination they begin their journey to the Shakers where they hope to find help.
Ethan was just a boy when he came to the Shaker community. He became a believer just a short time after he became of age. He wholeheartedly believes in Shaker ways, but when Elizabeth and her siblings come to the Shaker community he starts to doubt. Shakers do not believe in romantic love or matrimony;they believe that it is a sin. However, Ethan feels this pull towards Elizabeth.
Within the community there are those that want Elizabeth and her out of control sister to leave the village, but there are those that take Elizabeth under their wings and encourage her to follow the Shaker path.
Elizabeth finds herself thinking of Ethan. When her old landlord comes to take her away into forced marriage will she go? Can Elizabeth become a Shaker and leave her worldly ways behind even though her sister is struggling? Will Ethan leave the life he knows to be with Elizabeth? Well, you will have to read The Believer to find out!
I enjoyed this book, although I argued with the Shaker's in their beliefs. I really did not know much about the Shakers before I read this book. I found it interesting. Ann Gabhart adds intrigue and twists and turns in her writing which I found to be refreshing.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Words Unspoken

by Elizabeth Musser

Lissa Randall is an intelligent and promising young woman. Her future is hopeful, until her mother is killed in an automobile accident. Lissa can not get back in the driver's seat again. She blames herself for her mother's death. Her life has come to a standstill. Lissa does not go away to college as her friends do, her life just basically stops.
Ev Mac Allister's driving school seems good enough for her to relearn how to be comfortable to drive, but Lissa is in a whole lot more then just learning to drive again. She slowly learns to put her life back into perspective. Lissa comes to terms with her mother's accident by trusting and listening to Ev.
Ev has several secrets that start to unravel. He is a wonderful caring man towards Lissa, but was he always that way? Ev and his wife befriend young Lissa and are there for her as she struggles with thoughts of suicide.
This is a deeply powerful book. I gained so much more then is on the pages. If I was a betting person I would guess that this book will keep you up all night just so you can find out how the book ends (at least that is what happened to me).

Things Left Unspoken

by Eva Marie Everson

Jo-Lynn Hunter is a southern woman with marital problems and an old family home to remodel and decorate. There is a little bit of mystery and a whole lot of southern charm. Jo-Lynn uncovers more than wood work in her old family home. The twists and turns will keep you turning pages long into the night.
Jo-Lynn needs to heal her marriage, but is not wholeheartedly trying. As she uncovers the truth behind her family she learns to heal her marriage. There is so much depth to this story. Not only do we read about Jo-Lynn, but we also read about her Great Aunt Stella and how her past is full of surprises.
When I was reading this book, I felt like I was a part of the south, even though I have never lived there, only visited. Such a small tight knit community that has lost much over the years, they are trying to rebuild and get their little town up and coming once again.
If you are ready for a bit of mystery and lots of surprising turn of events all mixed in with southern hospitality then this is the book for you!

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Hope of Refuge

by Cindy Woodsmall

I really enjoy reading books about the Amish culture. Even though this is a work of fiction it still gives the reader an idea about how the Amish live.
In this book Cindy Woodsmall writes about a young mom, Cara, and her daughter, Lori. Cara was raised in foster care since she was about 8 and her mother died in a car accident Cara is scared because she is running from a stalker. She remembers when she was a young girl, before her mom passed away, her mom took her to visit some Amish friends. She decides to take her daughter to the Amish where she hopes someone will help them. Little does she know how that decision will change their lives forever.
Ephraim is a young Amish man, who has yet to find a wife. He remembers Cara from when she was a girl and came to visit. He wants to help her reconnect with her Amish relatives, but the tight knit community is very upset that Ephraim is letting the girl and her daughter stay in his home.
Are Ephraim and Cara falling in love? If so, will he leave the Amish faith in order to marry her? Will she convert to the faith with all of the strange customs? To answer these questions you will just have to read the book for yourself. I highly recommend this good, clean read! Here is what ABC news has to say, ABC . Purchase your copy today at Random House.
Cindy Woodsmall will be at the following locations for book signing, so if you are in one of these areas go and meet her and get your book signed!

Tuesday, August 11 7 – 8:30pm
Barnes & Noble
5141 Peachtree Parkway, The ForumNorcross , Georgia 30092(770) 209-4244

Wednesday, August 12 7 – 8pm
Barnes & Noble Opry Mills
515 Opry Mills DriveNashville, Tennessee 37214(615) 514-5000

Thursday, August 13 6 – 8pm
Barnes & Noble
2540 Futura Pkwy. #135Plainfield , Indiana 46168(317) 838-7941

Friday, August 14 6 – 8pm
Barnes & Noble
1550 West 75thDowners Grove , Illinois 60516(630) 663-0181

Saturday, August 15 1 – 3pm
Baker Books
2768 East Paris Ave SEGrand Rapids , Michigan 49546-6139(616) 957-3110

Sunday, August 16 2 – 4pm
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
3700 Rivertown Parkway Ste. 2058Grandville, Michigan 49418(616) 531-1825

Monday, August 17 7 – 8:00pm
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
1739 Olentangy River RoadColumbus, Ohio 43212(614) 298-9516

Tuesday, August 18 7– 8:30pm
Joseph Beth Booksellers
2705 E. Carson StreetPittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15203(412) 381-3600

Wednesday, August 19 6 – 8pm
Hackman’s Bible Book Store
1341 Mickley RoadWhitehall, Pennsylvania 18052-4610(610) 264-8600

Thursday, August 20 1 – 3pm
Rachel’s Country Store (Amish dry goods store)
6352 McClays Mill RoadNewburg, Pennsylvania 17240(717) 530-9452

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Web Designs for Kids

Click Drag Solutions

When my boys (ages 13 & 8) found out we were going to review Web Designs for Kids they were ecstatic. We received the DVD on a day we were really busy, so my poor boys had to wait a few days before we could watch it. We watched the entire DVD before we started anything on the computer. I realize now that we could have started designing right on the computer while watching the DVD. The next day we started using the computers. Ben, my 8 year old, used the PC, while Sonny, 13 yrs, used my laptop. They both were able to follow the very simple directions on the DVD. I was surprised that Ben was able to make a web page, I guess that I figured he would be too young, but the DVD made it so easy to understand even for me (I am not that computer savvy).
When their dad got home that evening, the boys were so excited to show him each of their web pages they had made. In this first DVD it teaches how to make and design a web page, however it does not teach how to make your website public.
The DVD takes the confusion out of web designing. Learning HTML can be confusing and daunting. This DVD is FABULOUS, not only does it teach kids HTML, but it does it in an EASY way. It gives step by step instructions easy enough for kids (and confused adults).
Web Designs for Kids is currently on sale for a limited price of $19.99. The original price is $40. Shipping and handling is $3.99.