Thursday, March 23, 2017

Berenstain Bears Easter Fun Sticker and Activity Book: A BookLook Blogger Review

Grace loves anything about this sweet bear family! I grew up reading their books from the library and it is fun to see my daughters enjoying them too! The recently published Sticker & Activity book series has been a huge hit with her! 

She loves the stories, mazes, stickers, games, and more! With Easter coming it was fun to have this new book for her to use. She often likes to use these when we have our afternoon quiet time after lunch. 

She tried a few different ways to color the black and white pages. We found that crayons didn't lay down very much color, markers tended to smudge before they dried, but standard colored pencils were a perfect fit for the glossy pages! 

Grace's favorite part of this book was the stickers. She did have some trouble pulling them off the initial page and tore a few, but she didn't get upset by this! I believe she completed all of the sticker pages before anything else. She also enjoyed coloring once we found a good medium to use. 

There are Easter egg baskets, but the focus in this book is celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ! It is really exciting to have such a sweet book series which helps my daughter focus on the reason we celebrate every spring. Some of the events which are highlighted are Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, the women at the tomb, and the resurrection. The bear family attends church together and celebrates Easter as a family.

I highly recommend this for early elementary or preschool children who are celebrating Easter!

The Jesus Storybook Bible : A BookLook Blogger Review

I was very excited to receive this special edition of The Jesus Storybook Bible to review. I have known about this Bible for several years, but we had never had opportunity to own it. After hearing rave reviews I couldn't wait to see it!

Grace is 7 and is almost at the age where Bible story books are too young for her, but I'm thankful she isn't there yet! She enjoyed looking at the pictures which are very unique. My older two girls thought the illustrations looked funny. The reality is they are drawn in more of a rustic style rather than being cartoonish or realistic. I personally like this style and the unique hand-crafted feel it gives to the pages. 

We used the Bible for our evening devotions for a few weeks. Grace enjoyed cuddling up in my lap and wanted to help read the story much of the time. She also asked to take this Bible to church with her on Sundays and she liked reading it during the service. She is still young enough that I do not mind if she read a Bible book during the service if she is not listening to her daddy preach. 

Here is a quote for 7-year-old Grace:
The pictures are my favorite part! 

What I really liked about this particular book was how every story told points back to Jesus. This is how we are already teaching our girls about the Scripture. It is so wonderful when we have resources which also reflect this point of view. It also presents Scripture as historical, which is not always the case. Some lesser known stories are also included which is nice as well. 

Parents should be aware that there is a lot of embellishment to the stories compared to how they are written in Scripture. I see this as the author taking come creative license to add what someone might have thought or said. This seems to be an attempt to retell the story in a fresh way. For the most part I think it is well done but there are a few instances which seem to steer a little too far from the original intent in God's Word. My older girls in particular have spent a lot of time studying the Old Testament for school so as I was reading through some of the early Genesis accounts they burst into laughter at the way it was portrayed. This did not exactly lend itself to good discussions about what we were reading afterwards. 

I'm not saying this is a bad resource, but to be aware that there is some creative license with regard to how some of the stories are portrayed and you may want to consider this before using it with your children. 

Disclaimer: I received this title from BookLook in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Creating a Masterpiece: A TOS Review Crew Review

Creating a Masterpiece
Probably one of the most difficult subjects for me to make sure happens in our homeschool is art. We absolutely value the arts and I have a daughter who dreams of being an art teacher overseas at an international school, so I should make this a priority. The trouble comes with logistics, cost, and ability. I'm not artistic enough to be able to teach my girls how to more than cut, paste, and color. Art classes can be very pricey. Needless to say my girls were jumping with joy when they learned we were going to review a new art curriculum, especially Rose! 
Creating a Masterpiece
When my daughters saw this young artist and her amazing creation they couldn't believe it! If this was an example of what they would create they were absolutely on board with trying out Creating a Masterpiece. We had the opportunity to review the monthly plan which is great for families who may want to plan for certain parts of the year to focus on art lessons. The value of these lessons is well worth the cost. They are well done and have enabled my daughters to create beautiful works of art. 
Our experience with this art curriculum was spectacular. The girls understood the instructor clearly and were eager to work on their projects. Our first project was a beginner charcoal piece.
I enjoyed sitting back and watching my girls create. We haven't done any art with charcoal so this was a completely new medium for them. This is my oldest daughter's yaht. She would like to try this one more time as this was her first experience with charcoal. One thing I'm very pleased about with her is how she has matured and is willing to grow through what she sees as mistakes. I appreciated how the instructor emphasizes that erasers are fine, no two pictures need to look the same, and you can always include things you didn't originally intend in the final picture. The girls each made the most of their own projects and had fun dressing them up so they were unique. 
Here are their final products!
 Order: Rose (11), Beth (9), Grace (7)
One of the other projects we worked on was a chalk pastel painting. I joined in for this project and learned so very much! For instance, I did not realize that chalk pastels contain no actual chalk, but are pure paint pigment in a dry form. I have to admit, I struggle with art because I feel inadequate, but my daughters absolutely love when I join in their creativity. I genuinely enjoyed creating this picture. This was a level 1 lesson, so it was a bit more detailed.
 I snapped this shot while the girls took a break for a snack. We used painters tape to attach the paper to the table. We already had chalk pastels although they were not the ones recommended by the curriculum. We have used this medium before to create so the girls were a bit more comfortable with this project.

Here are our final products!
Top: Rose (11), Mommy
Bottom: Grace (7), Beth (9)
We completed each of these in a day although they can be completed over the course of several days. My daughters tend to like to work to completion if possible. For these beginning levels this is absolutely doable. Some of the more complex projects definitely need more than one day.
One of the very unique aspects of this curriculum is having all levels and all types of art mediums available with one subscription. Families with kids who want to try different things have the opportunity to allow this freedom! Also the wide variety of supplies used is amazing! You can choose projects which you already own or venture into the unknown. Young students and adults will enjoy these projects and might just be surprised with their results.
Painting, sculpting, carving, wood burning, mosaics...I have never seen a curriculum with so much available at such an affordable price. This is the perfect fit for large families and families with kids who have multiple levels of artistic abilities. It's also a perfect fit for children who want to try a new artistic medium they may have never tried before. I highly recommend giving this curriculum a try and fully expect you and your kids to love every minute! 
Read more from my Crewmates! 
Creating Beautiful Art at Home {Creating A Masterpiece Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Week in Review: March 13-17

We had a really good week of school! Our local homeschool learning center was on spring break this week. We did our regular school, but also spent some extra time with friends and family and went on a field trip. It had been a while since we went on a field trip. We decided to go to a science center a few towns over which has a beautiful aquarium and some other fun displays.

 A fun family photo! Shout out to the sweet stranger who took the picture for us! Thank you!

Petting rays

Beautiful aquarium

Fun dinosaur exhibit!

My silly husband!

Discovering electricity and lightening!

My husbands sister and her 5 kids came Friday after our field trip. We love when they get to come and spend time with us!

We did school work this week, but I thought these photos would be a fun change of pace! Comment and tell me where you love to take field trips!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Circle C Stepping Stones: A TOS Review Crew Review

Kregel Publications
We are big-time readers in this house. I know the book-shelf conundrum is always an issue for homeschoolers, but it was an issue for me before we started homeschooling! My girls can often be found reading in their spare time and literature is never a struggle. We are always on the lookout for quality, age-appropriate fiction titles. Sadly modern fiction is often lacking the values we wish to instill in our daughters and often crosses into content or language we find inappropriate. I was so very excited to introduce my girls to the Circle C Stepping Stones series by Susan K Marlow from Kregel Publications

Andi Under the Big TopAndi Saddles Up Beth and Grace read each one of the two books in the series so far, Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top.  They loved both stories and are now swapping books so they can read the other. Andi is growing up in 1880's in California on her family's ranch, the Circle C. These sweet chapter books show how Andi deals with friendships, trials, and misconceptions all in a way which is age-appropriate to the audience. There are 6 books planned in this series and I have no doubt we will be collecting all of them. 
Beth said her favorite part was the Andi is the same age as her! She is 9 and I think it is great that she has books written to her and about a girl like her. She also liked that Andi lives on a ranch and is about horses. Beth, like most girls, would love to own a horse so I think she enjoyed putting herself into Andi's place. She also wants to be a veterinarian so her love of animals is reflected as well!
Grace says her favorite part was that it was about the circus. She is 7 and so Andi is slightly older than her, but she is the youngest in the family, which Grace can relate to very well! She also thought it was neat that she had her very own horse. She loves chapter books, but being young still appreciates that there were illustrations within the pages.

Another really great feature is that each book has a study guide, coloring pages, and a lap book! The book itself is great, but if you would like to build a unit around it, you can do so easily.

 Grace really liked the vocabulary section as she loves learning new words and exploring the English language in general. Beth really liked creating and naming her own horse. I know they were really engaged in these stories because during their playtime after reading they played ranch with their toys. The best literature always engages creativity and imagination!
This new series fits snugly within the other Circle C series which follows Andi from young girlhood through womanhood. The concept for these books is spectacular. There are a lot of books about young girls and growing up, but this is the first series I've come across which writes about the same easy-to-love character at appropriate reading levels which reflect her age and take her through all of her growing up years! This is the first of the books I've been exposed to. Now I'm very excited to get the next series for my oldest daughter. 
You can read more reviews from my Crewmates below! 
Andi Series {Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer


Hi, my name is Melissa. Pour yourself a cup of tea and stay a while. I'm completely devoted to my Savior, madly in love with my husband, and joyously raising my daughters. I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you enjoy your time here!