Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” {Review}

I have been a fan of Drive Thru History® since I was introduced to it not that long ago. I had heard so many of my friends talking about it, so I was glad to experience it for myself! Their newest release is Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” and it is a great addition!
Acts to Revelation
I wasn’t sure exactly how these DVDs would work their way through Acts to Revelation. The whole family was excited to find out!

I had previously reviewed Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” which was the first experience I had with the company. You can read that review here. So you can see why I was so excited that there was a new series!

Acts to Revelation 2
The packaging on their products is always phenomenal. So very well done, great quality.

There are three DVDs in the set. They fit within the little ‘book’ so well, it makes it great for taking in your purse or something, without fear of them falling out.

Also included is a little study guide, or basically I call it an episode review. This is not removable, which is how I prefer it anyway!

Each episode has a coordinating section in the guide. The first page of each section has a Bible verse with a picture behind it. There is mention on where or what that picture is. The next page is just a very quick summary of that episode as well as a few more images.
Acts to Revelation 2The third page has some discussion questions, as you can see in the image above. There are only five questions. They make for some good discussion topics. They also help to just reiterate what you watched. If you aren’t sure of the answer, you can skip to the back for the answers, but really, the questions aren’t too difficult, but sometimes it is the names of people that threw us off!

The last page of each section is a little side road section. Basically an interesting tidbit of information that goes with that particular episode. As well, there are more images. So each episode section only has four pages each.

The artwork throughout the study guide is beautiful. It gives you an idea of the images included on the DVDs, but during the show, they seem to come alive. It is all quite fascinating!
Acts to Revelation 4There are also photographs included in the book. Places of significance that Dave Stotts traveled to throughout the series. These are beautiful as well.

This only covers the book and the DVDs! The episodes themselves are pretty dang awesome as well! Check out the trailer

Dave Stotts is just the perfect narrator for these. He has a good way of explaining things or covering events without making them boring. He throws some jokes in there and just generally looks like he is having a good time.

We always appreciate the different vehicles he drives, and I think other people must comment on that as well, because he always talks about them. 🙂 Still impressed that Steve McQueen the Land Rover is still going, it’s about as old as I am!

We’ve almost finished the whole set of DVDs. One of my favorite episodes, just for the fun factor, is where he went into a local restaurant. He ordered some food and they kept bringing out the food. It was interesting to see what local food he was eating. And we all had a chuckle at the table in back of him looking at all the food on his table as well…

I can’t even imagine traveling to any of the places that he went to during this series, much less even just one of them! He makes us all want to go and visit these locations.. although some of them aren’t the best to go to at the moment.

We soon found out how he tied in the whole Acts to Revelation thing. Each of the books of the Bible were shown on a map and he went to the places involved with those books. The series followed the different Apostles and told the stories of what happened in that part of the Bible.

The last episode mentions that they will be going on a road trip through the seven churches addressed in the Book of Revelation. We are excited to watch that one, and we are almost there!

I can’t believe how many of these structures are still around. So many things could have brought them down. It is fascinating..

These series do so much to make you really look deep into yourself….it’s quite a personal experience… The beginning of Christianity! Think how long ago that actually was…and all that occurred. You really do just sit awe struck during these shows and for long after.

I think these would be fantastic to watch with someone that is new to church or Christianity. It is such an easy way to see what happened and where. So many conversations could happen after watching even just one episode!

With Dave narrating about the specific occurrences in the Bible while actually being in these locations is just pretty amazing. Next best thing to being there yourself!

I highly recommend any of the Drive Thru History® items, but really, I am thinking that this Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” is a definite favorite!

If you want to read what others thought about it, or how they used the little study guide book, feel free to click the banner below!

Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation”

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What I read in February

February is such a short month, I never know if I will read more or less than normal. But we seemed to have read quite a few books for school, so this month has many different books! I started a long book late in the month so I know my March might be kinda light on the books, but here is what I read in February. Let me know if you have any favorite books right now!
What I read in February 1
Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough – Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life, and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt is the brilliant biography of the young Theodore Roosevelt. Hailed as a masterpiece by Newsday, it also won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography. Now with a new introduction by the author, Mornings on Horseback is reprinted as a Simon & Schuster Classic Edition.

Mornings on Horseback is about the world of the young Theodore Roosevelt. It is the story of a remarkable little boy, seriously handicapped by recurrent and nearly fatal attacks of asthma, and his struggle to manhood: an amazing metamorphosis seen in the context of the very uncommon household (and rarefied social world) in which he was raised.

His father is the first Theodore Roosevelt, “Greatheart,” a figure of unbounded energy, enormously attractive and selfless, a god in the eyes of his small, frail namesake. His mother, Mittie Bulloch Roosevelt, is a Southerner and celebrated beauty, but also considerably more, which the book makes clear as never before. There are sisters Anna and Corinne, brother Elliott (who becomes the father of Eleanor Roosevelt), and the lovely, tragic Alice Lee, Teddy Roosevelt’s first love. And while such disparate figures as Abraham Lincoln, Mrs. John Jacob Astor, and Senator Roscoe Conkling play a part, it is this diverse and intensely human assemblage of Roosevelts, all brought to vivid life, which gives the book its remarkable power.

The book spans seventeen years � from 1869 when little “Teedie” is ten, to 1886 when, as a hardened “real life cowboy,” he returns from the West to pick up the pieces of a shattered life and begin anew, a grown man, whole in body and spirit. The story does for Teddy Roosevelt what Sunrise at Campobello did for FDR � reveals the inner man through his battle against dreadful odds.

Like David McCullough’s The Great Bridge, also set in New York, this is at once an enthralling story, with all the elements of a great novel, and a penetrating character study. It is brilliant social history and a work of important scholarship, which does away with several old myths and breaks entirely new ground. For the first time, for example, Roosevelt’s asthma is examined closely, drawing on information gleaned from private Roosevelt family papers and in light of present-day knowledge of the disease and its psychosomatic aspects.

At heart it is a book about life intensely lived…about family love and family loyalty…about courtship and childbirth and death, fathers and sons…about winter on the Nile in the grand manner and Harvard College…about gutter politics in washrooms and the tumultuous Republican Convention of 1884…about grizzly bears, grief and courage, and “blessed” mornings on horseback at Oyster Bay or beneath the limitless skies of the Badlands. “Black care rarely sits behind a rider whose pace is fast enough,” Roosevelt once wrote. It is the key to his life and to much that is so memorable in this magnificent book.

What I thought: The book had quite a bit of back story, like the first half of the book. I think they could have left some of it out. But all in all, it was interesting reading about the Roosevelt family!
What I read in February 2
Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann – A companion book for young readers based on 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, the groundbreaking bestseller by Charles C. Mann.

What I thought: This book had some interesting bits in it for this time period. It was a good add to our homeschool…
What I read in February 3
A Map of Days by Ransom Riggs – Having defeated the monstrous threat that nearly destroyed the peculiar world, Jacob Portman is back where his story began, in Florida. Except now Miss Peregrine, Emma, and their peculiar friends are with him, and doing their best to blend in. But carefree days of beach visits and normalling lessons are soon interrupted by a discovery—a subterranean bunker that belonged to Jacob’s grandfather, Abe.

Clues to Abe’s double-life as a peculiar operative start to emerge, secrets long hidden in plain sight. And Jacob begins to learn about the dangerous legacy he has inherited—truths that were part of him long before he walked into Miss Peregrine’s time loop.

Now, the stakes are higher than ever as Jacob and his friends are thrust into the untamed landscape of American peculiardom—a world with few ymbrynes, or rules—that none of them understand. New wonders, and dangers, await in this brilliant next chapter for Miss Peregrine’s peculiar children. Their story is again illustrated throughout by haunting vintage photographs, but with a striking addition for this all-new, multi-era American adventure—full color.

What I thought: This was a good read, it wasn’t my favorite of the series. I saw quite a few errors throughout the book as well, and that kind of threw me a bit!
What I read in February 4
Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs – The adventure that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued in Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls. As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.

They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all. Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience.

What I thought: I enjoyed this one more than the second one in the series. I think it would be great for a movie with computer designs involved. Well, it would have to be that way, lol…
What I read in February 5
Why Poetry by Matthew Zapruder – In Why Poetry, award-winning poet Matthew Zapruder argues that the way we have been taught to read poetry is the very thing that prevents us from enjoying it. He takes on what it is that poetry—and poetry alone—can do. In lively, lilting prose, he shows us how that misunderstanding interferes with our direct experience of poetry and creates the sense of confusion or inadequacy that many of us feel when faced with a poem.

Zapruder explores what poems are and how we can read them so that we can, as Whitman wrote, “possess the origin of all poems” without the aid of any teacher or expert. Most important, he asks how reading poetry can help us to lead our lives with greater meaning and purpose.

Anchored in poetic analysis and steered through Zapruder’s personal experience of coming to the form, Why Poetry is engaging and conversational, even as it makes a passionate argument for the necessity of poetry in an age when information is constantly being mistaken for knowledge. While providing a simple reading method for approaching poems and illuminating concepts like associative movement, metaphor, and negative capability, Zapruder explicitly confronts the obstacles that readers face when they encounter poetry to show us that poetry can be read, and enjoyed, by anyone.

What I thought: I like that at the beginning of the book it mentions how a lot of people don’t like poetry, mostly because they don’t get it. That’s pretty much the theme throughout the book. He says that too many people are trying to get poetry and not enjoy it. It’s kind of interesting…
What I read in February 6
Fifth Born by Zelda Lockhart – When Odessa Blackburn is three years old her beloved grandmother dies, and so begins her story, set in St. Louis, Missouri, and rural Mississippi. As the fifth born of eight children, Odessa loses her innocence at first when her drunken father sexually abuses her, and then again when she alone witnesses her father taking the life of his own brother.

Fifth Born is Zelda Lockhart’s debut novel, lyrically written and powerful in its exploration of how secrets can tear apart lives and families. It is a story of love, longing, and redemption, as Odessa walks away from those whom she believes to be her kin to discover the true meaning of family.

What I thought: Wow, this book. It takes you to a lot of places. Some I wanted to just walk away from. It’s definitely worth a read, although I didn’t care much for the last part of the book…just thought it would have been different to go along with the rest of the book.
What I read in February 7
Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss – We all know the basics of punctuation. Or do we? A look at most neighborhood signage tells a different story. Through sloppy usage and low standards on the Internet, in e-mail, and now text messages, we have made proper punctuation an endangered species.

In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Truss dares to say, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled. From the invention of the question mark in the time of Charlemagne to George Orwell shunning the semicolon, this lively history makes a powerful case for the preservation of a system of printing conventions that is much too subtle to be mucked about with.

What I thought: This was a pretty funny book about punctuation. It is written by someone from England, so then there is that also, and she combines the differences with American punctuation. It’s not a bad read at all!
What I read in February 8
The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge – CONTENTS: Scenes of My Childhood Seeking an Education The Law and Politics In National Politics On Entering and Leaving the Presidency Some of the Duties of the President Why I Did Not Choose to Run

What I thought: I enjoyed reading his autobiography. It was kind of freaky though when I realized the strong connection in the looks department that him and his mother have with a friend of mine and her son. It’s odd, it truly is.. But I did like the book!
What I read in February 9
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli – As a young Florentine envoy to the courts of France and the Italian principalities, Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527) was able to observe firsthand the lives of people strongly united under one powerful ruler. His fascination with that political rarity and his intense desire to see the Medici family assume a similar role in Italy provided the foundation for his “primer for princes.” In this classic guide to acquiring and maintaining political power, Machiavelli used a rational approach to advise prospective rulers, developing logical arguments and alternatives for a number of potential problems, among them governing hereditary monarchies, dealing with colonies and the treatment of conquered peoples.

Refreshing in its directness, yet often disturbing in its cold practicality, The Prince sets down a frighteningly pragmatic formula for political fortune. Starkly relevant to the political upheavals of the 20th century, this calculating prescription for power remains today, nearly 500 years after it was written, a timely and startling lesson in the practice of autocratic rule that continues to be much read and studied by students, scholars and general readers as well.

What I thought: We finished it, but it was not pleasant. We had no interest in this book whatsoever.
What I read in February 10
The Gold Eaters by Ronald Wright – Kidnapped at sea by conquistadors seeking the golden land of Peru, a young Inca boy named Waman is the everyman thrown into extraordinary circumstances. Forced to become Francisco Pizarro’s translator, he finds himself caught up in one of history’s great clashes of civilzations, the Spanish invasion of the Incan Empire of the 1530s. To survive, he must not only learn political gamesmanship but also discover who he truly is, and in what country and culture he belongs. Only then can he be reunited with the love of his life and begin the search for his shattered family, journeying through a land and a time vividly depicted here.

Based closely on real historical events, The Gold Eaters draws on Ronald Wright’s imaginative skill as a novelist and his deep knowledge of South America to bring alive an epic struggle that laid the foundations of the modern world.

What I thought: I enjoyed reading this story! There were some bits that were not right to be reading out loud to the kids, but other than that, I thought it was good!
What I read in February 11
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe – Norris Kaplan is clever, cynical, and quite possibly too smart for his own good. A black French Canadian, he knows from watching American sitcoms that those three things don’t bode well when you are moving to Austin, Texas. Plunked into a new high school and sweating a ridiculous amount from the oppressive Texas heat, Norris finds himself cataloging everyone he meets: the Cheerleaders, the Jocks, the Loners, and even the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Making a ton of friends has never been a priority for him, and this way he can at least amuse himself until it’s time to go back to Canada, where he belongs.

Yet, against all odds, those labels soon become actual people to Norris. Be it loner Liam, who makes it his mission to befriend Norris, or Madison the beta cheerleader, who is so nice that it has to be a trap. Not to mention Aarti the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who might, in fact, be a real love interest in the making. He even starts playing actual hockey with these Texans.

But the night of the prom, Norris screws everything up royally. As he tries to pick up the pieces, he realizes it might be time to stop hiding behind his snarky opinions and start living his life—along with the people who have found their way into his heart.

What I thought: This book was a fun quick read. I enjoyed the flow of it, and even the parts that I knew were coming anyway, because those happen in most of these books.

Ok, that’s what I read in February! Quite a bit more than I thought! I need to get busy if I want to make my goal though, I am usually much further ahead than I am!

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IXL Learning {Review}

Our family was given the opportunity to try out IXL from IXL Learning recently.. I thought we would use it because they have math all the way to twelfth grade, but we decided to do something differently!
IXL bannerI first logged in and set up each account. This part was so very easy! The account has one main account. And then each person can have their own ‘secret word’ to access their account. They also get their own little person or picture to represent their account as well.
IXL Diagnostic 1To start, I had planned to have each child do two weeks in the Diagnostic section. This shows weak areas and would give me an idea of where we needed more work. We have had such a rough go with math in high school finding just the right fit!

After that I was just going to have them start in the area that they were roughly in and just keep going.

Well, the results from the Diagnostic section were eye-opening! So, after the two weeks in the Diagnostic section, I decided to just let the program lead them on what they needed to work on!

Since they were doing Algebra and other high school math before this, it’s been a long time since they worked on some of these other questions. It was crazy to see that there were some things in 4th grade, or 7th grade, that they needed to review. But it makes sense since it has been so long!

I figured that doing all of this review would be better than continuing the high school math for a while, and I think they appreciated the ‘break’ that it gave them.

They logged in every school day for a minimum of 20 minutes. I think that is a good amount of time to get a lot done each week, especially with their college schedule.
IXL UsageWhat I love is that on the parent account, you can see when they logged in, for how long, and what they worked on. It will also list questions that were trouble spots so you can work on them with your child if you choose.
IXL DiagnosticYou can click through all of these tabs to see what your child is doing. Everything on the parent side is so very well organized and user-friendly! I am very impressed with that end of it!

As your child continues through the questions, the program adapts to the things they have mastered. It will then introduce new things that they need help with and just keep moving on through.

The kids have enjoyed it as well. They said that the questions are very easy to get what they are asking of them. That has been a sore subject in the past! They are remembering how to do things that they were doing before letters got involved….and are understanding how everything works together.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone that asks for a math program!

But for the awesome part, they also have other subjects! We just focused on math as that is the area we needed the most help in, but for high school grades you can work on Language Arts too! Pre-K to first grade is Math and Language Arts, but once you hit second grade up to eighth grade, it adds science and social studies. And something new is they added Spanish!

We have an annual membership, but monthly programs start at just $9.95!

I think that this would be a great addition to any homeschool or even if you just wanted extra help in different subjects! If you want to read what others thought of their time with IXL, feel free to click the banner below! I am sure that others had kids in different grades that used something besides just the math! Worth checking out for sure!

IXL Learning

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Heirloom Audio For the Temple {Review}

You guys know that I am a huge fan of Heirloom Audio. I recently had the opportunity to listen to their newest production, For the Temple. say this frequently, but I think this one is one of my top two favorites. It is a tie with another one that we listened to. It really caught our attention early on, and kept it!

The main story starts out with John, a gardener, and his love Mary. They are talking about being married and everything that entails.

And as so often is the case, life happens. While Mary and John are on a boat, a storm comes and sets them off course. Jewish fighters save them and John gets involved in their cause. This requires him to be off fighting many battles and Mary doesn’t know anything about what is going on.

John is gone for a long time and ends up getting quite the reputation from the battles! And not a bad one! Word has traveled back to Mary about a warrior named John that has succeeded in battles and she jokes about this man named John that is so famous and that there is no way it is ‘her’ John… And of course, what does she soon find out? Ahhh, I love that part…

This audio story had a great story line. Definitely more than what I included here, this part I mentioned was just a favorite. It was actually quite involved and really put into perspective the story of the Temple and trying to save it.

What I liked was that there wasn’t too much violence included. Some of them are a bit too much for me, but then again, I am not a fan of fighting anyway. I know it has to be included though since that is what life was like.

The acting was extremely well done, as usual. My husband kept coming in as we were watching thinking that we were watching a movie. He kept commenting how well done it was. He hasn’t had an opportunity to hear one before! I think he is a huge fan now!
For The Temple study guideEvery now and again we get a study guide included with our audio story and we love them! Each track has it’s own section on the study guide. It will typically have three different sections.

Listening Well is basically the questions to see how much you retained of what happened. Telling back the story from the questions. Sometimes you get so involved in the story that you miss something, so you can always just listen to that one section again. We would listen to only a couple tracks a day so that was easy to do. Most of the questions were easy enough to answer, but some of the questions were tricky!
For the TempleThe next section is Thinking Further. This is my favorite section. There are more questions, but they are more involved. Some of them are asking your opinion, others are asking you to find out something, and others are asking you to draw something. I love the variety and it really helps get that extra involvement in the story, to make it more real. This was a quick activity to find out how far it was from Yodfat to the Sea of Galilee. Instead of just writing it down, they just did a quick picture.

The last section are Defining Words, which is basically just definitions. I will say that the kids knew most of the words, but there were a couple that threw them for a loop! I know that the younger crowd will most definitely want a dictionary to work through them!

The very end has some wonderful things, especially for older kids like mine! Book suggestions and Bible studies. We have not gotten through the Bible studies yet, but in looking at them, they look wonderful so I would want to take my time with them.

I don’t want to say too much about the story, but it is just so well done, you really get invested in the characters. My favorite is John, of course. He changed so much throughout the story, but yet stayed true to who he was, and his word.

You really can’t go wrong with anything from Heirloom Audio. And they aren’t just for kids either, like I said, my husband is now a huge fan! If you want to read what others thought, feel free to click the banner below!
Heirloom-Audio-Productions-For-The-Temple-ReviewsHeirloom Audio For the Temple

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What I read in January

January kind of seemed a little long but went pretty fast. I am not sure how that happened. The year is going slower than I thought for books, but thankfully we are reading a lot of school books this year that should help. Here is what I read in January!
What I read in January 1Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson –

Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help.

As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?

What I thought: There was so much that I loved about this book, but it just kind went eh at the end. The writing throughout was great!

What I read in January 2Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl –

Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her five best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim – their creative genius and Beatrice’s boyfriend – changed everything.

One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft – the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world – hoping she’ll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim’s death.

But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she’s never going to know what really happened.

Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions.

Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers… and at life.

And so begins the Neverworld Wake.

What I thought: This was an interesting book in the way it was told. Bits of it were slow but I still enjoyed reading it. I could see it embellished in a movie or something…

What I read in January 3
Puddin’ by Julie Murphy –

It is a companion novel to Dumplin’, which follows supporting characters from the first book in the months after Willowdean’s star turn in the Clover City pageant.

Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.

What I thought: This was a book that goes with Dumplin’, but I haven’t read that one. I might have to look for it at the library next time. I thought this was cute. It wasn’t crazy exciting or anything, but definitely cute…

What I read in January 4

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness –

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

What I thought: I had read this a couple years ago or so and it was great to read it again. The writing was great and you can totally get a feel of how they are, even with the misspelled words and all of the ‘noisy’ pages. I heard it is eventually going to be a movie, it keeps getting pushed back, so who knows when. I would go see it to see how they play it out…

So, that’s what I read in January! February is a short month, but we should be finishing a couple extra school books, so look for those! Let me know if you have any favorites!

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Have you jumped on the record bandwagon these last few years? I love records! I still had a few in storage that I never got rid of from when I was young!

record player

We bought an inexpensive record player a few years ago and have been getting so much use out of it! We have such an unusual collection of records at the moment though!

We have my old ones from storage that include Michael Jackson and George Michael.. There are some that we got at thrift stores and the record store in the next city over that include The Beatles and Johnny Cash. There are some new ones like Lauren Daigle and Guardians of the Galaxy soundtracks. Oh, and I got Jeffy some for Christmas that were Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong.

Jeffy and I love hanging out and listening to them with a drink. We both can’t wait until our remodel is finished so we don’t have to sit at the table though. It would be great to have a nice comfy chair our couch…

I just love the sound that a record has when it is playing. There is nothing like it. And for some reason we have been LOVING the old music, jazz and even stuff from the 40s lately. I guess we are getting old, lol.

Are you on the record bandwagon with us? 🙂 What is your favorite kind of music?

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11th grade school year!

I forgot to really talk much about our 11th grade school year!

Back to school

We had to start our new school year a week after ending our last school year, so I didn’t have a ton of time to get things as ready as I usually do! But I am pretty happy with how the year is going so far!

Of course we are sticking with Notgrass because I love it so much. This year we are doing Government and next year we will do economics. I know most people just do one semester of each in the same year.

We will be doing Notgrass the first semester and then we are going to use something from Critical Thinking Co. about the Bill of Rights that I thought looked great for the second semester. It basically lists a bunch of cases and you have to apply the Bill of Rights to them and judge how they should turn out. Figuring it kind of ties in to our first semester and making it more ‘real’!

For the rest of the subjects we are using curriculum from Build Your Library. Well, except math. I’ll talk about that in a minute. But the grade 11 curriculum includes credit for Art, English, Chemistry, History, Poetry, and History of the English Language.

This is a secular curriculum and it is definitely secular. Some of the book choices have things in it that we normally wouldn’t be talking about. I try and skip over these if I see them in time. Our differences definitely show up with this, ha!

But I do like the emphasis on all of the book reading and English language/Poetry and just everything. There is just the right amount of homework. Granted, with the Notgrass mixed in, there is a lot more than what they are used to, but I figure with that being just one semester it will be ok.

They are now doing college classes three times a week, so they really have to learn to keep track of their time and their homework. It is only two classes though.

For math, we started out continuing with what we did last year, but I think they got burned out. So, as I was asked to review a new program for us, I am going to let them do that for 20 minutes a day. I think it will be a great break for them, but still do math each day.

So, it’s only been a few weeks, but I am looking forward to how the school year will play out. If we can avoid taking huge breaks we might just end at a decent time this year rather than dragging it out until the end of December! Let’s hope!

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How is your January?

How is your January?

Are you looking forward to the rest of 2019?

I enjoy the new year because it is still winter and still exciting.. But then I think it is just a downhill trip to summer. I just don’t look forward to summer at all..

Other than that, I think that 2019 is going to be an interesting year!

January is half over and honestly, I am not sure what happened.

We started our new school year quite suddenly and are still trying to get into the groove of that. Something new this year is hoping to not do school on the weekends. Typically we did school on Sundays to finish any projects or tests, or whatever else needed to be done.

I wanted everyone to have their weekends back, so we all came up with a plan to just get everything done during the week. The first week went great… The second week…not so much.

I know they have one college course that started already and their other one will be starting in a bit, so I am hoping that everything will get it’s own groove by the time that one starts.

The architect is almost done with our plans for the remodel so that we can take them to the bank to talk about loans. Hooray! I can NOT wait to get this thing actually started! We had hoped that we could be starting the actual remodel this month or next, but now we aren’t sure when it will happen.

There are just a lot of things going on this year, and I am hoping that it doesn’t go too awful fast. (Even though I love the fall so much and can’t wait for it every year…)

What are you looking forward to the most in 2019? How is your January going? A lot of people think that January sets the tone for the whole year. I don’t know, I think every day is a new day!

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What I read in November and December

Happy New Year!! Our internet was all sorts of wonky the last month or so. I had a hard time checking emails, much less updating blogs and such! It is still pretty bad, but we keep hearing of a new internet company coming in the spring. We are already on their list, so I hope it is a great thing! Even though I am combining two months, I really didn’t read a ton. Do you read a lot during the holidays? Here is what I read in November and December

If Only by Jennifer Gilmore –

When Bridget imagined her life at sixteen, it didn’t look like this. She didn’t think that her boyfriend would dump her for another girl. And she certainly didn’t think that she would be pregnant. With just a few months until she gives birth, Bridget must envision an entirely new future—one for her baby. But as she sifts through the many paths and the many people who want to parent her child, she can’t help but feel that there is no right decision.


Ivy doesn’t know much about her birth mother. She knows that she is now the same age Bridget was when she placed Ivy for adoption. She knows that Bridget was the one who named her. And she knows that fifteen years ago Bridget disappeared from Ivy’s and her adoptive moms’ lives. Ivy wants to discover more about herself, but as she goes to find Bridget, she can’t help but feel that the risks might far outweigh the benefits of knowing where she comes from and why her birth mother chose to walk away.

What I thought: This was told from two different viewpoints. I liked the story well enough, but something about it just didn’t mesh well. I am sure it is just something I didn’t like, but I am sure other people wouldn’t mind it. I don’t even know what it is!

Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding –

Frances Metcalfe is struggling to stay afloat.

A stay-at-home mom whose troubled son is her full-time job, she thought that the day he got accepted into the elite Forrester Academy would be the day she started living her life. Overweight, insecure, and lonely, she is desperate to fit into Forrester’s world. But after a disturbing incident at the school leads the other children and their families to ostracize the Metcalfes, she feels more alone than ever before.

Until she meets Kate Randolph.

Kate is everything Frances is not: beautiful, wealthy, powerful, and confident. And for some reason, she’s not interested in being friends with any of the other Forrester moms—only Frances. As the two bond over their disdain of the Forrester snobs and the fierce love they have for their sons, a startling secret threatens to tear them apart…because one of these women is not who she seems. Her real name is Amber Kunick. And she’s a murderer.

In her masterful follow-up to The Party, Robyn Harding spins a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal, asking the question: Can people ever change? And even if they can, is it possible to forgive the past?

What I thought: I think this book had a good story, but it was kind of…predictable. I still enjoyed the book…

The Giver by Lois Lowry –
Twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community.

What I thought: Ok, I don’t know what happened, but I had sworn that I had read this book already! I know we saw the movie, so that must have been where I was confused. I enjoyed this book! I ended up getting the set for Lauren for Christmas…and I might have to read the rest of the books as well. 😉

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld –
A haunting, richly atmospheric, and deeply suspenseful novel from the acclaimed author of The Enchanted about an investigator who must use her unique insights to find a missing little girl.

“Where are you, Madison Culver? Flying with the angels, a silver speck on a wing? Are you dreaming, buried under snow? Or—is it possible—you are still alive?”

Three years ago, Madison Culver disappeared when her family was choosing a Christmas tree in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She would be eight-years-old now—if she has survived. Desperate to find their beloved daughter, certain someone took her, the Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator with an uncanny talent for locating the lost and missing. Known to the police and a select group of parents as “the Child Finder,” Naomi is their last hope.

Naomi’s methodical search takes her deep into the icy, mysterious forest in the Pacific Northwest, and into her own fragmented past. She understands children like Madison because once upon a time, she was a lost girl, too.

As Naomi relentlessly pursues and slowly uncovers the truth behind Madison’s disappearance, shards of a dark dream pierce the defenses that have protected her, reminding her of a terrible loss she feels but cannot remember. If she finds Madison, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life?

Told in the alternating voices of Naomi and a deeply imaginative child, The Child Finder is a breathtaking, exquisitely rendered literary page-turner about redemption, the line between reality and memories and dreams, and the human capacity to survive.

What I thought: I thought this book was well done and I enjoyed reading it. I am always fascinated that my book choices seem to follow a theme for a while, even if they aren’t totally noticeable to other people. I could feel myself in this storyline just with the descriptions of everything.

The Fall of Innocence by Jenny Torres Sanchez –
For the past eight years, sixteen-year-old Emilia DeJesus has done her best to move on from the traumatic attack she suffered in the woods behind her elementary school. She’s forced down the memories–the feeling of the twigs cracking beneath her, choking on her own blood, unable to scream. Most of all, she’s tried to forget about Jeremy Lance, the boy responsible, the boy who caused her such pain. Emilia believes that the crows who watched over her that day, who helped her survive, are still on her side, encouraging her to live fully. And with the love and support of her mother, brother, and her caring boyfriend, Emilia is doing just that.

But when a startling discovery about her attacker’s identity comes to light, and the memories of that day break through the mental box in which she’d shut them away, Emilia is forced to confront her new reality and make sense of shifting truths about her past, her family, and herself.

What I thought: I enjoyed this book, the imagery was done well. Some of it was more….poetic than story I guess? Just the way it was told…It was still a good book though!

All of these books I rated as three stars or higher. I have a hard time rating anything five stars because I think I might make a mistake and read something even better and then it will throw off my whole rating scale, lol.

But this was what I read in November and December. Did you read anything wonderful over the holidays? Let me know!

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Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women {Review}

Some of my favorite Biblical things that we use in our house are made especially for teen girls or young women. We recently received Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women from Zondervan.
BelovedI would definitely suggest this for teens and older. And really, I am thoroughly enjoying reading it myself!

I have skimmed through a lot of the book to see the content included and there is so much covered. Many different women are mentioned, which, if you are just reading the Bible from beginning to end, you may not realize how many women are mentioned in it. I like that this points out different women throughout the Bible. 60 of them in fact!

The book itself is small in size, but is pretty thick. It is hard cover, so very sturdy. There is a devotion on each page.

One of the things I appreciate about the way it is set up is that it starts with Day 1. So, you can jump right in and not worry about skipping a day and trying to catch up.

Since there are 365 days, you will still cover a year, but it isn’t necessary to feel stressed if you aren’t able to do each day in the year. You may want to wait and start on January 1st, but isn’t nice that you don’t have to.

Each page lists the day number at the top, then the Bible verse, and then a commentary about the Bible verse. There is also some lines at the bottom that you can use for journaling or making notes, which is super nice! Although for people like me that write with large letters, it’s not a ton of room, but I can see writing words that stuck out to me.
BelovedWhat we did was start drawing something from the days reading. Day 3 for example was Proverbs 31:10. “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” I think that will also help with understanding the verse, commentary, and the story that it is written along with.

Every day may not have something as easy to draw as a ruby, but it may be an emotion or just a word. We do a lot of art each day and it just ties in with our homeschool, so it just is something we look forward to doing.
The devotions start out pretty mild, but they get more involved the further along the book you go. I wanted to check it out first before Lauren started to read it.

It definitely covers some things that us moms have felt or different relationships and situations we have been in. Friendships, husbands, children… It also goes into trials that you may be going through. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies, which is what a good devotional should be, in my opinion!

Since it does cover so many things, I can see reading this book more than once. Keeping it for years and even if you don’t read one every day, there will be something that will be relevant for you every time you read.

The book itself is pink with flowers, but it isn’t too girly, if you know what I mean. It is beautiful, in my opinion. It’s a glossy cover and the flowers and the beloved word are metallic. It would be a wonderful gift if you were looking for something like this!

I am looking forward to reading this and I know Lauren is too. It has a ribbon page marker so that we can keep track of the page we are on, which is nice.

If you want to read what others thought about their Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women, feel free to click the banner below! I always like seeing what other people do with books like these!
Zondervan-Beloved-365-Devotions-for-Young-Women-ReviewsBeloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women



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