Thursday, November 19, 2015

Give the Gift that Lasts All Year with OAC!


What’s on your children’s Christmas wish list? As excited as they might be about that new toy, as every parent knows, the thrill of the gift will eventually wear off. Focus on the Family and Adventures in Odyssey have created the perfect gift for those who want to give their children or grandchildren a present that will provide year-round fun with eternal impact.

The Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC) offers families 24/7 access to 25 years’ worth of Adventures in Odyssey (AIO) episodes in a safe online environment where children can explore and learn. Christmas really is the perfect time to tap into your children’s imagination while infusing faith and fun into their day . . . and every day of the year.

To celebrate the holidays this year, the OAC is offering free content for everyone, including an Advent calendar, a broadcast download with tips to create a memorable Christmas, AIO cutouts and Christmas stocking stuffer cards. Membership to the OAC costs just $9.99 a month — or even less if parents make a six-month or one-year commitment. Enrollment provides more than enough content to keep kids engaged throughout the year:
  • Access to exclusive content and first looks at books and select Radio Theatre dramas.
  • On-the-go access to the OAC app for both iOS and Android users.
  • 24/7 streaming access to nearly 800 AIO episodes.
  • A new, members-only AIO episode every month.
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine, and more.
In keeping with AIO’s rich heritage of teaching children about biblical principles — such as the importance of giving — a portion of each OAC membership benefits Focus on the Family partner organizations. Here are a couple of examples of what has been accomplished through Odyssey Adventure Club members:
The Odyssey Adventure Club wants to reach beyond fleeting entertainment this Christmas, partnering with parents in helping their kids grow deep in faith and find their place in God’s story.


Speaking of the holidays, you can prepare for Christmas with Thriving Family's 2015 Advent Activity Calendar — Tales of Christmas Past: 25 Inspiring true stories of the season. Assemble a beautifully designed Advent poster to help your kids focus on Christ this Christmas. Then read Scripture passages and stories that relate to individual flaps on the poster. You can also create easy-to-fold booklets for each story. Get more information about this year's free Advent calendar at, or sign up to download it.

To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Whipsers in the Reading Room: A BookLook Blogger Review

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Shelley Gray as an author. She is not new to the Christian fiction scene, but she is new to me. I am not typically a mystery fan unless it involves a historical Christian novel. I was very excited to have the opportunity to read and review the entire Chicago World's Fair Mystery series through BookLook Bloggers. 


This entire series has been engaging from start to finish. I have very little time to read for pleasure even though it is something I love to do, so when I do read I like quality stories that leave me feeling as if I know the characters personally. Overall this series has provided that satisfaction. 

This particular novel involves an unlikely pairing between a wealthy nare-do-well and a young woman who had fallen from society's graces due to her father's lack of provision after his death. Lydia is the female protagonist who appears rather naive despite her high intelligence. Her mother's indifference to her in general and her own seclusion in the library where she works creates a hopelessly romantic personality that is equally separated from reality. Her station in society has spared her from some of the harshest realities of life, but through her own misguided curiosity she finds herself embroiled in a murder investigation as a potential suspect. 

The male protagonist, Sebastian, was not a very likeable character for me at the beginning, but he did grow on me as the story progressed.  His arrogant nature and demanding ways do not present him as a hero. However, his growing desire to become an honorable man does redeem him in the end. 

The fast pace nature of the story kept me on the edge of my seat, more so than the other novels in the series. While a sign of a good book is always wanting to read more, this was probably my least favorite for a few reasons. I do like a good redemption story, but in some ways that portion fell flat. The only reason Sebastian seems to want to change is because of Lydia and not a convincingly true change of heart. I also felt Lydia's naivety made her less likable and her growth during the story felt less than sincere or realistic. 

The other area I felt was slightly lacking was spiritual growth of the characters. Now, I am not one who likes a preachy novel. Some very successful Christian authors sometimes fill their pages with full sermons and I have never been a fan of this. At the same time I like a story with true redemption reflective of a heart changed for Christ and this never entered the picture, which is why I think I did not feel the character's changes were completely sincere. 

I would still recommend this novel and the entire series but I personally think the first two books are more enjoyable than the third. 

Disclaimer: I received Whispers in the Reading Room as part of the BookLook Bloggers review team. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in any other way.                                                                                             

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Week in Review: October 26-30

After being sick most of last week with a horrible upper respiratory thing going around I was so grateful to feel well this week. There is nothing like bad health to remind you to be grateful for the good health we often take for granted. Thankfully this just hit my husband and I. Our girls mostly missed it with only a few sniffles.

This week went really well for the most part except for a few moments of meltdowns with my youngest. She is in one of those phases right now that everything contrary to her immediate desires requires an overly dramatic response. I remember this being pretty common for this age. I also remember that this phase passes as they all do...thankfully! 

Grace - Kindergarten: Little Hearts for His Glory Unit 30

We studied about Abraham Lincoln, General Lee, and D. L. Moody this week. Grace loved the poem this week about these three men who lived during the same time period of the Civil War. This was especially meaningful because all of the students at our learning center had the opportunity to hear from a couple of Civil War reenactors the previous week. Grace is the little blond head with the pony tail! 

She started reading about Buffalo Bill this week. All of my girls are excellent and eager readers, but of the three Grace is the most curious. She always wants to learn more and more and more...


We struggled with handwriting this week. She no longer wants to practice and just rushes through her work. More than a few of our meltdowns occurred when I erased the ones she had not tried her best with and asked her to redo them. This did not please her at all, but by the end of the week she figured out this would keep happening and I noticed a marked improvement in her effort. 


While I read history this week I gave Grace some different activities to do with her hands. She loved this and my goal is to help her grow in the area of finger manipulation activities.


I love how she props her little foot up. Do you notice her sweater and bare feet? She takes after me in that way. Even though I'm quite cold natured I really don't like wearing socks. I do once the cold weather hits, but all three of my girls prefer their bare feet like their mama! 

Beth - 3rd Grade: Preparing Hearts for His Glory Unit 6 (1st half)


Beth continued studying about ancient Egypt this week. She loves the history projects. I really like that there is purpose in the art and creations she is making. Not only is she learning a variety of artistic mediums, but she is furthering her understanding of history. 


In preparation for creating her Crook she researched using our Bible dictionary. This has been one of the best resources for us for both Preparing and Creation. If you are able to invest in a really good in depth Bible dictionary, do it!


We use the Rod and Staff worksheets and tests. I really do like testing my girls and they are not stressed at all. It is a helpful gauge for both me and them to see what we need to make sure we review again. I use the worksheets at the end of a chapter as review. Both of the girls likes these and really prefer them to the regular book-work!


My sweet Beth can be found in any number of areas when she reads! This week she was reading Sarah Plain and Tall. She wanted to know why it was titled this and I told her to read a bit and see what she found out. She came to me so excited when she figured out to whom the title referred! 

Rose - 5th Grade: Creation to Christ Unit 24


Math is going very well and this week we moved into working with decimals. That little grin on her face has nothing to do with math and everything to do with my teasing her for looking so serious while she was working! 


As I was trying to get over my cold completely I wasn't able to read aloud quite as much today. Rose is such a good sport and happily read a lot of her geography on her own this week. I did read some with her, but she understood my need to read more to her youngest sister and helped me out a lot this way!


We really struggled with spelling when we first started out with HOD. We ended up following both the HOD spelling recommendation and All About Spelling. I'm grateful to both methods and where spelling was once one of the longest parts of the day, we now move through it quite quickly. 


It's a bit hard to see as I was struggling to get the lighting adjusted correctly this week for my pictures! Rose is working on her notebooking pages for history, which she loves. I really like how timelines are presented in Heart of Dakota. She draws beautifully and the timeline entries are more meaningful to her because of this. 

How was your week? If you use Heart of Dakota curriculum please link-up your week in review below! 


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!