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Friday, April 25, 2014

Random 5 on Friday- April 25th

The Pebble Pond 

  Joining in with The Pebble Pond and her weekly meme "Random 5 on Friday" Five random things in my life right now:

1. Drove to Billing, MT today for the Women of Faith Conference. It starts this evening and runs all day tomorrow. I'm so excited to see what God has in store this weekend through this conference. Some of the speakers are Patsy Clairmont, who I heard two years ago when I attended this conference. Sheila Walsh and Liz Curtis Higgs are two I'm excited about seeing and Matthew West is playing so it's going to be an awesome weekend.

2. I'm looking forward to enjoying Fri-Mon here in Billings. Tonight and tomorrow will be focused on the conference and then I'm not sure what to do on Sunday. I can't wait to find some things to see. Then home on Monday..

3. Hubby offered a rental car for me so I'm enjoying the joy of a new car for the next 3 1/2 days..

4. My Bible in 90 Days is going well. My friend and I decided to not read today thru Monday so I can solely focus on my trip and the conference and then we will resume on Tuesday when we meet up again for our weekly study. We are over half way done and I'm learning so much. God is amazing.

5. There's a Cracker Barrel here in town, and I'm trying to figure out if I should go eat there while I'm here. A little weird eating in a sit down restaurant alone but it's been awhile since I've been to one of these and love it. We'll see before the weekend is over...

The Brinkman Adventures Season 2 Review

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My family has had the opportunity to receive a downloaded MP3 version of 
as part of the Homeschool Review Crew.

My son DS12 loves listening to stories on CD. When I saw the opportunity to introduce a new series to him, he was very excited to listen to it. When I realized I was receiving this season, I purchased the first season for my son to listen in sequential order. I have not had the opportunity to listen to the first season but my son has and absolutely loves it. This review will contain information and opinions in regards to Season 2 at this time. Please check out their website to learn more about Season 1. After I down loaded the MP3 file, I gave it to my son to listen to. Since he loves listening to stories on tape, he devoured all the episodes within 2 days.

A Little About The Brinkman Adventures

The stories portrayed in this series are based off real life events. The names of the characters have been changed but the voices are of the real people. When I heard about this, it made listening more of an 'adventure' for me. Since I love to read historical fiction books, I felt this was similar in nature to reading one of those books. A great way to see inside those around us while entertaining us.

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Season 2 starts out 3 years after Season 1. During this time they went on several missions and their youngest, Hope became a part of their family. The first episode (which is Episode 13 in the series) starts out at the grave sight of their lost twin boys. After the family pays their respects on the date the children were due to be born, the story brings them home as they prepare for a trip to Belize.

The adventure takes them on finding an owner of a class ring they found in a nearby lake. Wanting to use it to gather money for an auction, they decided it was important to find the owner before going forward. Traveling on their bus, they travel to Galveston, TX to see if they can locate the owner.

The next three episodes continues there journey in Galveston, TX, staying with John Benti and his wife Donna. The power of the Holy Spirit in these wonderful true adventures brings such a positive uplifting feeling as I listen to each of them. A powerful testimony to how wonderful our creator is and that nothing is impossible with God.

Would you believe that God would bring an angel to help you? That's what may have happened in the 3rd episode with the lady in the blue hat. In episode 4, God was all around them when John needed help finding buildings to open churches overseas. The children were stranded next to FAMY, the alligator and God was there with them.

Episode 5 takes the Brinkman's into Mexico to deliver the bus to the school in Belize. An adventure takes place on the road so you don't want to miss that episode. In Episode 6 you will learn about the schoolhouse in a tree which ties in episode 1 and the school curriculum. Each episode reveals God's hand in everything that is being done with adventure to draw in kids of all ages and a message that will keep you smiling long after you stop listening.

My Son's Thoughts on this Series:

My son loved each episode. He said his favorite one is about the school in the tree episode stating he wished we had a tree in our yard so we could build a tree fort and he could do his homeschooling in there during the warmer months. He stated that he's listened to both seasons three times now and can't wait to purchase Season 3 when it comes out. This is now one of his favorite stories on tape series. He says 2 thumbs up!

You don't want to miss this great adventure series. Wholesome, God centered, adventures that will delight the entire family.

 The Brinkman Adventures operates on a donation basis.
The set includes 4 CD's which includes 12 episodes and 5 + hours of listening pleasure
The suggestive price is $25.00.

The Brinkman Adventures is great for all ages.

You can purchase a downloadable MP3 set for $17.00

  If you are looking for more information about The Brinkman Adventures,  you can check out other crew members reviews of this product in the banner below. Just click it and it will take you to a list of others that have had the opportunity to view this product in their homes.

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You can find The Brinkman Adventures on the following social network:


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Thursday, April 24, 2014

One Thousand Gifts 275-295

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  Blogging my One Thousand Gifts.. One Gift at a Time...

275. Purchased tickets to the Women of Faith conference in Billings, MT
276. A rental car to enjoy my mini mom vacation
277. Hubby giving me four days away to enjoy the conference by myself
278. A hotel room with a kitchen
279. The opportunity to feel appreciated outside of the home
280. Feeling of family unity
281. Everyone pulling together to help while I leave for four days
282. A new faucet for my kitchen sink that doesn't leak
283. The sounds of rain on the roof
284. Watching my grass turn green. A sign of new life
285. The sounds of the first thunder storm this year
286. God revealing His plans for me
287. Hubby's encouragement to attend the conference
288. Getting away for 4 days to recharge my Mom batteries
289. Watching my teen son make a duct tape costume for his drama class
290. Reading Ecclesiastes with new eyes
291. Seeing God's handiwork everywhere I look
292. Hubby taking a day off of work to be with the kids while I'm away
293. Having friends over for Easter dinner
294. Celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
295. Watching the kids hunt for glow in the dark Easter eggs..

Return next week for my next installment of One Thousand Gifts....
You can join in on the 1000 Gifts Journey by visiting A Holy Experience HERE

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Amish Groom Book Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Amish Groom
Harvest House Publishers (April 1, 2014)
Mindy Starns Clark
Susan Meissner


Mindy Starns Clark is the bestselling author of the inspirational Million Dollar Mysteries, the Smart Chick Mysteries, and three standalone mysteries, as well as the nonfiction books.

Mindy Starns Clark Mindy Starns Clark is the bestselling author of the inspirational Million Dollar Mysteries, the Smart Chick Mysteries, and three standalone mysteries, as well as the nonfiction books The House That Cleans Itself and A Pocket Guide to Amish Life. Her novels include A Penny for Your Thoughts, Don't Take Any Wooden Nickels , A Dime a Dozen, A Quarter for a Kiss, The Buck Stops Here, The Trouble with Tulip, Blind Dates Can Be Murder, Elementary, My Dear Watkins, Whispers of the Bayou, Shadows of Lancaster County, and Under the Cajun Moon, and other books!

Mindy is also the author of numerous plays and musicals which have been performed all over the United States. She has written textbooks, articles, short stories, and more than 75 computer software manuals. A former singer and stand-up comedian, Mindy lives with her husband and two teenage daughters near Valley Forge, PA. She enjoys speaking to churches, civic groups, and libraries across the country. Her unique blend of humor and insight make her an audience favorite.

Susan Meissner is a multi-published author, speaker, and writing workshop leader with a background in community journalism. Her novels include The Shape of Mercy, named by Publishers Weekly as one of the 100 Best Novels of 2008 and a Carol Award winner. She is a pastor’s wife and the mother of four young adults. When she's not writing, Susan writes small group curriculum for her San Diego church. Visit Susan at her website:, on Twitter at @SusanMeissner, or at


New from bestselling authors Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner, The Amish Groom (Book 1 in The Men of Lancaster County series) explores the men of an Amish community in Lancaster County, how their Amish beliefs play out in their unique roles, and the women who change their lives.

Born to an ex-Amish mother and an Englisch father, 23-year-old Tyler Anderson was raised as a military kid until the age of 6, when his mom passed away. His dad, shipping off to yet another overseas post, placed Tyler in the care of his Amish grandparents, an arrangement that was supposed to be temporary. It lasted a lifetime.

Rachel Hoeck is the young woman waiting for Tyler’s proposal. She senses that though he loves her and wishes to make a commitment to her and his Amish beliefs, part of him still wonders whether an Amish lifestyle is truly for him.

When an opportunity to connect with his father unexpectedly arises, a visit to California causes Tyler to question everything, including a future with Rachel. Will the new girl in his life, Lark, cause him to remain in the Englisch world? Or will he choose to be an Amish groom after all?

A poignant novel of hoping for romance and searching for identity, set in a beloved Amish community.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Amish Groom, go HERE.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Promise in Pieces by Emily Wierenga

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Promise in Pieces
Abingdon Press (April 15, 2014)
Emily T. Wierenga


A Word from the Author:

I’m Emily, and I’m honored and humbled to meet you, friend.

We’re all stumbling along on this journey and you can approach me about anything okay? I’m an open book, with dog-eared pages and a worn cover.

I’m mama to two boys, ages two and four, and married to a farm-boy-turned-math-teacher. We live in a small Dutch hamlet with three churches, one Co-Op and no stop lights. There are a lot of fields out here, there’s a lot of space and sky for breathing and running and writing.

We foster two boys in addition to our own two, and before I had kids, I took care of my Mum who had brain cancer. She fought back and has recovered, all glory to God, and my pastor-father still holds her hand while they go for daily walks.

I battled anorexia nervosa as a child, and then again as a newly married woman, and I write a lot about body image now and have a passion for women to learn to love themselves.

My husband and I have battled infertility and are currently trying to adopt our third child through the local Alberta government.

I hurt for the church, and believe in it, and pray for it, as I’ve grown up inside its walls and have heard its groanings.

I have a heart for Africa, particularly Uganda, and went there in January on a bloggers’ trip with World Help.

My favorite things to do are read literary novels, play guitar, snowboard, paint with oil and acrylics and hug my babies.

I am the author of two books on eating disorders, a novel releasing this spring, and a memoir coming out this summer.

I hope you’ll connect with me on FB:, or if you prefer, Twitter: @emily_wierenga. I’d love to have a virtual glass of wine, or cup of coffee, with you.

Peace to you friends,

My Thoughts on This Book:
This story was very well written and drew me in from the first chapter. As you get an up close glimpse of the lives of American's during World War II, and seeing it through the eyes of Clara as she takes a journey back in time sharing her story with her family on a road trip to bring a quilt to an exhibit. This quilt given to her by a widow of a man she met and died by her side in war. I couldn't put this book down and I'm sure you won't be able to as well.. One of my favorites in the Quilts of Love series.


After the end of World War II, Clara Kirkpatrick returns from the Women’s Army Corp to deliver a dying soldier’s last wishes: convey his love to his young widow, Mattie, with apologies for the missed life they had planned to share.

Struggling with her own post-war trauma, Clara thinks she’s not prepared to handle the grief of this broken family. Yet upon meeting Mattie, and receiving a baby quilt that will never cuddle the soldier’s baby, Clara vows to honor the sacrifices that family made.

Now a labor and delivery nurse in her rural hometown, Clara wraps each new babe in the gifted quilt and later stitches the child’s name into the cloth. As each new child is welcomed by the quilt, Clara begins to wonder whatever happened to Mattie—and if her own life would ever experience the love of a newborn. Little does she know that she will have the opportunity to re-gift the special quilt—years later and carrying even greater significance than when it was first bestowed.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Promise in Pieces, go HERE.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given.

CTC Math Online Math Tutor Review

CTC Math Review

I've had the opportunity to receive a 12 month Family Plan of CTC Math  
as a part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

CTC Math Review

I used this program with my 12 year old son and I also set up an account to try for myself. 

What is CTC Math?

Looking for a program to help your struggling student/child? A great supplement for your current math curriculum, this online math tutor will allow you to work at your own pace, start wherever you like, available to you 24/7 while giving you the opportunity to start and stop the videos, and rewind to hear again until you achieve the goal of that lesson.

While using the program, my son started with the 6th grade math program. Each grade level which is called a COURSE has several parts or STREAMS. Within each part, has TOPICS to go through. Each part has a different amount of topics. Each part contains two tests to find out where they are at academically. A Standard Test and a Comprehensive Test. It isn't mandatory to take the test and you can start on any lesson you'd like in each section.

In each part topic, you will have a video tutorial to watch with a really cool Australian accented gentleman, and then after the video a series of questions that reinforce the lesson taught, ranging around 10-20 total questions. While going through the lesson questions, it lets you know if the answer is correct by showing you a green check mark and if you got it wrong you will see a red X with the correct answer showing below. When you complete the lesson you are brought to a pop up screen that shows you the percentage score for that lesson along with each question w/ answers. 

This gives your student a way to see what they did and if they are incorrect, the correct answer is visible to see where they went wrong to fix in the future. Each lesson allows you to go over the questions again and again for further reinforcing of the lesson and will average out all lessons together to give you a percentage total.

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Here above you can see the screen for the Basic Math and Pre-Algebra Course of Study. After my son took the Comprehensive Test in the 6th grade math course, we found that he already has mastered all that was asked of him in that level so we moved him up to the next level. Since you can start and stop anywhere in the program, I found this a wonderful tool for my son because we found the 6th grade level in this program was something he has already mastered and was able to move on to the next level without having to purchase anything else.

As you can also see above, this level contains four parts.

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You can see above, the first part is clicked and this is what you see in that section titled Topic under Part 1. Here is 12 lessons for your student to master. As you work through each lesson the white rectangle will fill up with the percentage the student received in each lesson. If you work on one lesson more than once it will average the students score. Once you make it to the bottom of this lesson, completing all 12 lessons the child earns an award. My son worked towards earning the Silver Award keeping his grades above 90%. He hasn't yet earned the award so we are unsure what it will produce once he reaches it so we are excited to find out soon. My son is working at his own pace through the lessons and some lessons he has gone back over again to get a better understanding of the concept being taught.

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Here is another sample of Part 2 of the Basic Math and Pre-Algebra Course of Study. This section has 16 topics to master. As my son worked through the lessons in the course, he came to me and expressed how the videos were easy to understand and gave him a new perspective on some of the formulas used in algebra making it easier for him to grasp and understand. He also mentioned that using this alongside his current math curriculum, he's able to make more sense of his daily lessons.

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 One section outside the grade levels is SPEED SKILLS. I found this section a great value to use. There is four levels to choose from. Level 1 is what you see above. It contains Addition and Subtraction. You click on the section you'd like to master. You have a fixed amount of time to answer as many questions as possible pertaining to that subject. Addition or Subtraction. Then you will be given a score which is how many right answers you were able to get before the time ran out. You can see above that 50 and 45 were the top scores at the time of my post. You can play over and over showing you the best score. I noticed a little competitive streak in my son as he worked through the addition and subtraction drills over and over to beat his previous score, even if it was just by one.

Level 2 gives you harder adding and subtracting as well as multiplying.
Levels 3 and 4 get harder in problems with larger numbers to work with and are for higher grade levels.

CTC Math contains over 1400 video tutorials which range from 3-9 minutes in length. Following each lesson includes interactive questions with an option to print out for hands on worksheets. The summary at the end of each lesson is printable for those who would like to keep a record of your child's progress. Each week, CTC Math sends an email containing all your child has worked on throughout the previous week, giving you a breakdown of how often they were on the website and what lessons they worked on.

As a parent/teacher, you have access to the parent section of the website as part of your membership. This allows you to check on your child's progress anytime of the day/week. The lessons are short, easy to comprehend and absorb, which is nice for those who don't like to sit for long periods of time. Since math is not my strong subject this is a great addition to the curriculum we are using and look forward to gleaning more knowledge through this program.

The cost of the 12 month family plan that I received is $118.80 for 2 + students for 12 months. You can check out other plans that are available on the CTC Math website. With your membership, you get unlimited access to all lessons and all grade levels from Kindergarten to Trigonometry.

If you are looking for more information about CTC Math, you can check out other crew members reviews of this product in the banner below. Just click it and it will take you to a list of others that have had the opportunity to view this product in their homes.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

The Wise Woman-Literary Analysis Review

Home School Adventure Co.
  I've had the opportunity to receive a downloadable copy of 
 'The Wise Woman'-Literary Analysis Journal Questions 
from Home School Adventure Co. to review as a part of the Homeschool Review Crew.
The Wise Woman Literary Analysis  Journal

What is The Wise Woman?

The design on the story is to teach critical thinking. Titled The Wise Woman, based on the main character. The Wise Woman is called to a palace where the residence enjoy little contentment, always seeking more fulfillment in their own lives. The princess, an overindulged and pampered child to the extent that her behavior is unbearable finds herself being swept away from her home with the Wise Woman. A woman she insists is trying to eat her because she doesn't know anything that resembles kindness or compassion. The Wise Woman confronts the issues the princess is dealing with by taking her away from the palace and puts her in situations to teach discipline, grace and truth.

 In her cottage in the far away woods, the princess encounters wolves along their journey as her stubborn pride separates her from the Wise Woman. They end at the cottage while the Wise Woman gives the princess opportunities to change her behavior using kind words and discipline. Learning kindness seems to be in each chapter that we've read thus far. Examples throughout the writing on how the Wise Woman treats the princess even though she doesn't deserve such kindness.

The Wise Woman leaves the princess for days in her cottage while giving her descriptive details on what she should accomplish in the woman's absence. The princess' attitude is questioned as she experiences different situations outside of the cottage that frightens her. What happens when the Wise Woman returns and the list is not completed?  You can learn more by reading this wonderful book.

 When we received this e-book, I decided it best to read out loud to my entire family. This was one of the suggestions on how to use the material and found it a great fit for our family. All three of my children sat on the sofa (ages 12, 15 and 19) and I read each chapter to them once a week for six weeks. After each chapter, we discussed in detail the questions each chapter had. We were able to get through the first six chapters. The book includes a total of 14 chapters. We plan on continuing our weekly reading time and discussing the questions after each chapter until we complete the story. Chapter questions ranging from around 20 +.

Some question examples include:

"Instead of receiving loving discipline and guidance, Rosamond (the princess) is left unrestricted and thoroughly indulged. What is the result? Chapter 1

"Why do you suppose the princess does not understand kindness" Chapter 2

"What observation does MacDonald (The author) make about human nature when the princess first evaluates and responds to the interior of the cottage?" Chapter 3

A great story to help teach our children character traits, discipline, kindness and compassion. This story captivated all of my children, One adult girl and two teenage boys. I also really enjoyed reading the story and can't wait to find out how it ends..

The Wise Woman is for ages 9 +. Designed to be read aloud to ages 9-11 with 12+ can easily read independently.

You can purchase this title along with others at Home School Adventure Co. The cost of The Wise Woman is $28.95 for a spiral bound print edition and $14.95 for a down loadable edition.

Order before May 15, 2014 and use the code below, you can save 10% off your purchase of their down loadable editions.

Home School Adventure Co.

If you are looking for more information about Home School Adventure Co., you can check out other crew members reviews of this product in the banner below. Just click it and it will take you to a list of others that have had the opportunity to view this product in their homes.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Random Five on Friday- April 18th

The Pebble Pond 

 Joining in with The Pebble Pond and her weekly meme "Random 5 on Friday" Five random things in my life right now:

1. Just purchased a ticket to go see the Women of Faith conference four hours away. Booked a hotel, hubby wants me to get a rental car and enjoy four days by myself. The conference is two days. Friday the 25th and Saturday the 26th and then I'll spend the 27th doing who knows what (haven't figured it out, probably shopping, wink wink) and then head home on the 28th. I'm so looking forward to seeing what God has in store for me through this conference. I attended one two years ago in Spokane WA. and loved it. I also haven't been alone without kids doing something I want to do in MANY years. I only remember one other time that I was able to go somewhere without children and that was a women's retreat in our church when we lived in WA. A good 10 + yrs ago. 

2. Getting all my homeschool reviews all up to date this week so I can enjoy my four day weekend..

3. I'm officially half way through reading the Bible in 90 Days as of last night. This is the second time reading it through cover to cover but this time I'm gleaning so much more than I ever did the first time. I'm also reading it alongside my great friend and we meet once a week to discuss what we've read. I'm also highlighting passages as I go through each day's reading and because of these two things, I'm learning so much.

4. We are officially on Spring Break this week. With Spring Break comes Spring Cleaning. Deep cleaning that is. I've finished my bedroom, organized my closet and now working on my office and bathroom while the boys are deep cleaning their bedrooms and their shared bathroom.

5. Once spring cleaning is done, I want to tackle the last of my recipe binders, and then start working on taping the rest of the walls in the laundry room to prepare it for wallpapering, and then tape up the walls in the three bathrooms to wallpaper in there as well. I'm ready to work on the next section of our remodel and that's getting the walls done. Once wallpapered, I'll paint them and add crown molding, and new floor molding as well as new door molding. Eventually we will be replacing all the doors in our house. One step at a time..

Friday, April 11, 2014

One Thousand Gifts 275-296

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 Blogging my One Thousand Gifts.. One Gift at a Time...

275. Warm sunny days above 60 degrees
276. Being outside hanging with my neighbor friends
277. Watching all our kids play together and have fun
278. Seeing some of the children flying kites
279. Spring Cleaning
280. Organizing the closets and letting go of items I no longer need to bless others
281. Almost half way in the Bible in 90 Days reading
282. Reading about Job and praising God in all my blessings
283. Iced Coffee on a 65 degree day
284. Warm chocolate chip muffins that my kids absolutely love
285. Listening to my hubby in the shed making a knife from scratch
286. My hubby's willingness to help clean the house
287. My son holding the door for me and saying "m'lady" as he bows before me..
288. Hubby applying for a job that could bless our family
289. My yummy lemon water
290. Spring Break
291. Running 3 miles in warm weather
292. DS15's  94% on his math test
293. Watching DS12 enjoy his science lessons as he quizzes me on what he's learned
294. Grass turning green
295. Wonderful neighbors
296. Sleepovers w/ friends

Return next week for my next installment of One Thousand Gifts....
You can join in on the 1000 Gifts Journey by visiting A Holy Experience HERE

Random Five on Friday- April 11th

The Pebble Pond 

  Joining in with The Pebble Pond and her weekly meme "Random 5 on Friday" Five random things so here goes...

1. It's been a busy week on my blog. Just finished up a five day blog hop on organizing school and home. I think it went well and look forward to adding to this in the near future as I've started to go through all my stuff AGAIN and then I'll be taking pictures of areas that I've re-organized that I haven't talked about yet. I'm looking forward to it. I love organizing....

2. Starting my Spring cleaning. It's that time of year where I clean things I normally don't like curtains, replace shower curtains and clean windows etc. This will take me the entire week I'm sure to get to every room in the house. As I deep clean, I'll be doing #1 as well.

3. It's been so nice this past week that I've been able to go outside and hang with my neighbor friends. It's great to socialize again after our cold winter..

4. Even though #3 above says we've had nice weather, doesn't mean it's going to last long. I've been hearing the cold and snow will return tomorrow.. ick.. Short lived is all that keeps me optimistic since this time of year it never stays long...

5. My daughter put in a job application at Walmart. Not sure how it's going. She's had two interviews but hasn't heard back yet. She's been doing well where she works now but she believes a newer job will give her more money for college. I pray that will be the case for her..

Organizing Home & School- Personal Binder

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Organizing Home and School- Personal Binder/Organizer

Today I would like to show you how I organize my personal life using this binder/organizer.

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Awhile ago Staples had Martha Stewart binders for 25 cents. I snagged one so I could make a personal organizer for myself to keep my daily things together and to keep my future plans all in one place.

Here above is a view of the tabs I've designed using label designs.

The tabs I have include:

Weekly Tasks
Notes-To Do

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The first tab helps me organize my day. I place appts that need my attention outside of the home here as well as any notes I'd like to add. These pages above are good for an entire week.

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The next tab is all about Bills. I designed this from my personal program. I used to place all my bills info on index cards and put them into a sleeve each month but found this method easier to read and keep track of. It has a column for DUE DATE, PAYEE, AMOUNT DUE, PAID

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I all about taking notes.. This section is my note taking or task ideas. Sometimes I get an idea that I'm not ready to implement. I'll place it on one of these sheets.

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From The Home School Mom I found this printable calendar for 2014. I use this to mark dates I need to be somewhere or special occasion.

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The last tab is my chore schedule. This is my Motivated Moms chore chart which I had the opportunity not too long ago to receive and review. I fell in love with it and have kept using it since the review. You can read what I thought of this product HERE

I love keeping my daily to do lists and ideas all in one place. I've been implementing this idea for years, changing ways to keep it all in one place. So far I like the small binder concept since it's ringed and the pages can be moved out and new ones put in it's place.

Do you use a personal binder or organizer? I'd love to hear what you use..

Thanks for stopping by this week as I've shared how I organized my RECIPE BINDER, HOMESCHOOL SUPPLIES, CRAFT SUPPLIES, and DIGITAL PHOTOS. I've really enjoying sharing some of my organizational tips with you and would love to see how you've organized these areas in your life. Please leave a comment below...

 Don't forget to check out the other wonderful ladies that have participated in this week's Blog Hop to see what they've shared... I'm including 8 of the 60+ that are participating below.

Curiosity Quest DVD Combo Packs Review

Curiosity Quest Review

I've had the opportunity to receive DVD Combo Pack - Produce
and DVD Combo Pack - Swimmers of the Sea
 from Curiosity Quest as a part of the Homeschool Review Crew 

These wonderful series' is geared towards children ages 7-14, but can be enjoyed by your entire family. My 12 year old and myself watched each of these and we both gleaned a lot of information.

The combo packs include three educational episodes each. Running time for each episode is approx 30 minutes.

Curiosity Quest Review

The DVD Combo Pack - Produce  above includes these three episodes. Orange, Cranberries, and Mushrooms. After watching them you will learn how these certain foods make it from the farm to the grocery store to eat.

Curiosity Quest Review

In the episode Cranberries, Joel takes us to Wisconsin to Habelman Bros. Farm for harvest time. This farm is all about fresh cranberries. The question was asked "Why are Cranberries in water? With that question, Joel was on his way to share with us how cranberries are grown, when they are harvested and how. After they are harvested we are taken to the factory to see how they are sorted, packaged and shipped off. You will get a chance to see two kinds of cranberry harvests. One where they go through with machines, plucking them directly off the vine's into trucks like they do at Habelman Bros. Farm, and the other where they pluck them all off, and coral them to gather as you see in the picture above. They show us how this is done at Russell Rezin & Son Inc where their cranberries are for juicing and Craison's while at Hableman Bros. Farm, their cranberries are for eating whole.

Curiosity Quest Review

Another episode brings us to Dinuba, CA to Gillette Citrus, Co as we learn how they harvest oranges off the tree, bring them into the factory, sort them and package them for shipments. This particular company owns 2500 acres where 2000 of them are for naval oranges which they harvest in Winter, and another 500 acres for Valencia oranges where they harvest during the Summer months. This allows there company to produce oranges year round. You will learn how they utilize every single fruit that is picked off the tree so nothing goes to waste and how they keep the fruits warm during cold spells..

Curiosity Quest Review

In the last episode of this Combo Pack it's all about mushrooms. Joel takes us to Watsonville, CA to Monterey Mushrooms where they produce White and Portabella mushrooms. The owner of the company walks us through the steps on how to grow a mushroom to how to pick a mushroom. (Knowing when they are ready). To be an experienced mushroom picker you must process about 104lbs of mushrooms per hour. WOW! After the mushrooms are plucked we will see how they sort, process and ship them to the stores.

Curiosity Quest Review
The DVD Combo Pack - Swimmers of the Sea is the second set that I received to review. This combo pack also includes three episodes. All about penguins, sea turtles and salmon.

Curiosity Quest Review

The first episode takes us to Long Beach, CA to Aquarium of the Pacific where we get a chance to learn about the Magellanic Penguins. Joel is guided by Sara Mandel, Aviculturist at the aquarium as she takes us on a back stage tour to get up close to the penguins. From preparing the food, talking about their nutrition, and feeding them, you get a wonderful opportunity to learn a great deal about these wonderful birds. After this episode you will learn about their feathers, their diet, their behavior and to answer the question of "Why don't penguins fly?"

Curiosity Quest Review

The third episode takes us to Juneau, Alaska to learn all about 5 different species of salmon. The episode starts off with a visit to the local river with Sheila from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. She shares information about the fish behavior in the river, where they are going and the average age when the salmon hit the rivers to spawn.

After the trip to the river, Joel visits with Emily at the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery. You will learn about the fish hatchery, fish ladder, net pens, the time of the year when salmon lay eggs, along with a tour of the inside of the hatchery and fish ladder.

Curiosity Quest Review

The second episode takes us to Marathon, Florida Keys to "The Turtle Hospital" to learn why some sea turtles need to be rescued, rehabilitated and released. Joel takes us on a tour of the hospital where we learn amazing facts about sea turtles including, their nutrition, weight, eggs, weight, how old they live, about how they are endangered and why you are not allowed to touch a sea turtle.

The hospital houses about 20-30 turtles at a time and at one point in the past had 200. WOW! Along with taking care of the sea turtles to bring them back into their ocean habitat they also have an educational center where the public can go and learn all about sea turtles.

These videos were very informative and my 12 year old son loved watching each episode. We decided to just have him pick an episode he was interested in and allow him to watch it. He decided he wanted to watch the Produce set first and then move on the swimmers of the sea pack. He is currently studying animals of the sea so his favorite was all about the sea turtles in the Swimmers of the Sea pack. His favorite in the Produce pack was the mushrooms. Each episode includes informative FUN FACTS throughout and questions they ask children and adult about the given topic/subject. I also watched all the episodes and gleaned a lot of information that I didn't know. I'm so happy to have learned about this company and look forward to getting more episodes in the future.

You can purchase these sets along with others at Curiosity Quest . The DVD Combo Pack - Swimmers of the Sea and the DVD Combo Pack - Produce costs $24.95 each set of three episodes.

If you are looking for more information about Curiosity Quest, you can check out other crew members reviews of this product in the banner below. Just click it and it will take you to a list of others that have had the opportunity to view this product in their homes.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Organizing Home & School- Digital Photos

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Organizing Your Home and School- Digital Photos

 One of the biggest things that needed to be done was organizing my digital photos.. I kept getting viruses on my laptop and was worried about losing all my photos that I have stored on there.
It was time to pull about three years worth of photos off my computer and onto another source for storage. This is not for the faint of heart I've discovered. Its was definitely some work but I felt it was well worth the time it took to get it done.
So what am I talking about?? 
Well, I found a really neat system on a Pinterest post awhile back. I took some of the ideas I found there and implemented my own when necessary.
This lovely lady showed me how to take the overwhelming task of sorting all my digital photos and making it easy and simple..

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First you get an index card like above..  Make five columns like you see..
First column is for the Months
January 2013
and so on
This one is for 2013 pictures up until May when I took this photo, but you would add each month down the card until you come to the current month.
Second column says Sam's Upload.
This is for downloading all the pictures you are going to keep onto a place you plan to print them. For me it's Sam's Club. Once you have each month's pictures uploaded you will put a check mark in the appropriate month/column
The next column says HARDCOPY PRINTED

You will put a check mark in this box for each month once you get your pictures printed
Next column says BACK UP CD

You will put a check mark in this column for each month you print out a hard copy CD
The last column says PUT IN ALBUM

Once you have all your prints copied and placed in your album/scrapbook you will check this column off

So how do I store the photos I've printed until I'm ready to place in an album??

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Like this above. Take a piece of card stock and fold in half. Staple sides to form a pocket. Label the top with month/year and then list what the contents are inside as you can see above that I did for Jan-April 2013
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You can see above how the photos sized 4 x 6 fit nicely in the card stock pocket

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I then took it a step further and made label covers for all my CD's. I already had a label maker but you can easily buy CD label stickers at Walmart and follow the directions on their website to print them out.. I just wrote the month/year and in the black section, I wrote the basic contents of each CD so when I look at the cover I know what it has on it before I ever put it in the computer for photo retrieval..
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I absolutely LOVE this and now it's so easy to find the photos I'm needing and not have to worry about them getting lost if my computer ever decides to shutdown. The most time consuming part of going through my past years was going through all my photos. I've had to ditch quite a bit because I really don't need 5 photos of the same thing, and deleted blurry photos etc.. I guess you could eliminate this step if you want to keep them all but figured it was worth the extra time to sort through them now so it will be easy later to retrieve them when necessary.
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Now that I've worked hard to get them all on CD's and off my computer, I needed a place to store the photos I've printed until I can make time to put them into scrapbook albums. I have a photo storage box and have placed the CD in front of the cardstock pocket with the photos inside in chronological order as shown above...

I have also backed up all the photos onto a Flash Drive for double protection since my goal is to have my photos safely stored and there is nothing wrong with double security.

Do you have a special system on how you store your digital photos? Would love to hear from you!

Come back tomorrow and see how I've organized my home and school- Personal Binder/Organizer...

 Don't forget to check out the other wonderful ladies that have participated in this week's Blog Hop to see what they've shared... I'm including 8 of the 60+ that are participating below.