Friday, July 3, 2015

Princess Charity Sticker Book: A BookLook Blogger Review

My girls are just like most, they love princess stories! I am not at all opposed to princess stories, but I was extra excited when we were in our local Christian bookstore and noticed the new product line from Zondervan called Princess Parables. The focus of this series is on promoting biblical character qualities from a different perspective.

Beth really enjoyed reviewing the Princess Charity Sticker and Activity book. She told me how much fun it was to put the stickers on. I like how soft and gently the illustrations appear. They have a sweet appearance that my girls really enjoy.

There are so many beautiful stickers! Some are for specific pages and others can just be added wherever on the page. Lots of creativity is encouraged this way.

Some of the pictures on the page are left white so the girls could color! We found out that markers work the best for this book because of the slick pages.

Beth declared this is a great book and she loved reading it as well as playing with it!

Disclaimer: I received this product as a part of the BookLook Blogger review program. I was not required to write a positive review. I did not receive any other compensation for my review. 

Princess Grace Sticker Book: A BookLook Blogger Review

My girls are just like most, they love princess stories! I am not at all opposed to princess stories, but I was extra excited when we were in our local Christian bookstore and noticed the new product line from Zondervan called Princess Parables. The focus of this series is on promoting biblical character qualities from a different perspective.

Grace thoroughly enjoyed reviewing the Princess Grace Sticker and Activity book. With a name like Princess Grace, how could she not? She told me she liked the story a lot. Since she is reading now it is fun for her to read this on her own.  .

There are so many beautiful stickers! Some are for specific pages and others can just be added wherever on the page. Lots of creativity is encouraged this way.

In addition to the spots for coloring there are other simple activity pages like the word search you see here. Grace is old enough to enjoy these now and loves it!
Grace said this was one of her best days ever! She loved playing and reading through all the pages.

Disclaimer: I received this product as a part of the BookLook Blogger review program. I was not required to write a positive review. I did not receive any other compensation for my review.

Maggie Bright: A Tyndale Blog Network Review

The shatterer has come up against you. Man the ramparts; watch the road; gird your loins; collect all your strength. 
Nahum 2:1

There are times when a novel is entertaining and pleasurable. It allows an escape from reality into a world of happy endings. Other times a novel moves you deeply, speaks into your soul, and drives you. Maggie Bright is the latter. This novel of the evacuation of troops at Dunkirk is more than just historical fiction. It is a deeply moving encounter with characters endearing. I can't remember the last time a story moved me to tears the way this one did. 

Tracy Groot is a new author to me and I am very excited to read more from her. The setting is 1940, England. Hitler's campaign to control all of Europe is in full swing and the English troops are in trouble, attempting to evacuate back to England. Back on the homefront rumors of retreat and disaster circulate although no formal announcement has been made. As these larger picture events unfold, a young woman is suddenly caught in the middle of a spy mission aimed at revealing the true horrors Hitler and his Nazi regime are spreading with the growth of their evil empire. America has yet to enter the war and hope is beginning to fade. If only the horrible truth can reach the shores of the United States there is hope that England will not be left alone as one-by-one the countries of Europe fall. 

This beautifully written story of Dunkirk pulled me in with the first chapter. The dual story-line showing the embattled front-line action and the home-front of England gives a very unique picture of the all encompassing nature of World War II. This war was more than just the soldiers going away to a foreign land to keep them at bay from their own country. All of England was affected as Hitler's troops edged closer and closer to the United Kingdom. 

It did take some time for me to sort out who all the characters were within the first few chapters, but it was worth it. Each one progressed the story along in a different way. I love the 3rd Person point of view which allows us insights into a variety of characters' thoughts. While spiritual themes run throughout this book, it never feels preachy and explores the way those who do not have a personal relationship with Christ react to God at times of crisis. Many of the characters began to seek God for the first time and I appreciated that this was not a fast journey, but genuine and realistic seeking. 

Although I was left wanting to know more at the end, I was also left with an urgency towards prayer. Running throughout the book is the theme of searching to understand what prayer is, how prayer works, and why we do it. I loved the way this was handled as several characters sought to express their perspective on prayer. God's answer to a nation who stopped to pray corporately is seen in the success of the Dunkirk evacuation. Though many lives were lost, thousands upon thousands more than were expected were saved. Many civilians showed unprecedented courage as they sought to bring their soldiers home. The verse quoted above expresses how those in England viewed this time during the war. They sought God and realized they needed divine intervention in order to overcome the evil one who sought to destroy. 

I'm fascinated by this era in history as my own grandfather served in the army during World War II. I knew very little of what was happening prior to the entrance of the United States into the war and I am intrigued to study more about this now. 

I highly recommend this book and I will personally am anxious to read more novels by Tracy Groot.

Disclaimer: I received a paperback copy of Maggie Bright from Tyndale Publishers as part of  the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and did not receive any other compensation. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Scrapbooking Disney

Here are some fun layouts from our one-day, whirl-wind trip to Disney last year. I'm working on our more recent trip now! I'm currently learning all about the newest craze in both traditional and digital scrapbooking: Pockets! I love this stream-lined, easy on the eyes as well as fast to create. I will probably continue to use both a more traditional styled layout as well as the pockets, but this new type is just lovely!

When I scrapbook I do not have any one particular way I follow, except that I like for my layouts to look as much like traditional paper layouts as possible. So how do I do that?

1. Learn how to shadow! Fortunately when you are just a newbie programs like Photoshop intuitively help you out with easy to use shadowing tools.

2. Use a handwriting font rather than a typed font for the journaling. I love using all sorts of different varieties of fonts, but for journaling I usually use a font which looks like handwriting. I'm resarching how to create my own font of my own personal handwriting and will update once I find more out about this!

3. Use templates. Wow! When I first began digi scrapping I used a program which I bought for free from Amazon. It functioned, but I never could use any of the wonderful templates available. While I'm grateful for the experience I gained by creating my own layouts and learning what style I liked through trial and error I am in love with psd templates for Photoshop!!! I am scrapping incredibly quickly now. even I modifying the template some, having more than just an empty page to start off with has really stream-lined my efforts. This kit was created with a template and kit from British Designs.

4. Use quality digital kits with coordinating elements and papers. While using only free things may seem fine and good, I think it is helpful to purchase a few high quality kits. If you get a few basics with various colors to begin, you can always ask for paypal gift cards. This is how I am building my digi srapboooking stash. I also have a handful of designers I really, really like who I follow closely on facebook and their blogs so I can snag freebies when they are available! I like kits with uniquely themed elements to enhance my layouts.

5. Network! There are an incredible amount of forums and digital galleries out there. Some are themed for things like Disney World. Others are unique for designers. Some are wide open! My two personal favorites are Pixel Scrapper and Mouse Scrappers. Nearly every forum I've participated in has monthly or weekly challenges which often results in some pretty great digital prizes!

My favorite Digital Designers...

Robyn Pali Designs (retired)
My 4 Sisters Scraps (retired)
Forever Sisters Scraps (retired)

I'm partial to designers and kits which look like paper. Textures and layered papers are my favorites. 

Do you scrapbook either traditionally or digitally? Tell me about it in the comments? 

Do you have any questions about digital scrapbooking? I'm definitely not an expert on everything, but I love chatting about scrapbooking!


Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Peek at Our Week: June 1-5

We had a really fun week! School was great, but the real fun began when my sister-in-law surprised the girls by bringing their cousins to visit!

First off school...

Little Hearts for His Glory: Unit 16

Grace almost always wants me to allow her to read her history on her own now. She can always narrate to me about what she read so I'm allowing it to encourage her independence. I still read to her, but I appreciate that she wants to learn! This week we learned about Christ's resurrection. While she has been told this beautiful truth from history from the time she was first born, it is always meaningful no matter how many times we hear it.

Grace like her older sister loves our old Dick and Jane reader my husband's grandmother gave us. She thinks it is so much fun! She's close to finishing this book and I think she will find it sad. I've looked at getting more of these old books, but they are a bit pricey on ebay so I'm hoping to stumble upon some at a book sale sometime.

She's moving along quite well with All About Spelling. Teaching three different levels isn't as hard as I expected! I'll chat more about that later, but for now if you are looking for what to follow up with for your phonics instruction I think All About Spelling is the best choice. It take what your kids learned with phonics and helps them reverse the process while learning to spell and solidifying what they learned. My older daughters are both reading 3-4 grade-levels high with excellent comprehension and feel their solid phonics and reading instruction through the Heart of Dakota Emerging Readers set.

Bigger Hearts for His Glory: Unit 27

Beth is doing really well with her cursive handwriting. She is now working towards writing on her own in cursive without having a model. It is a process through which I have learned to be patient. I'm very pleased with how well she is doing as she finishes up 2nd grade.

This is her picture after studying imagery within poetry this week. She very much enjoyed this assignment!

Beth looks bored here, but she really loves math. Honestly, she may be a bit bored too! She's coming to the end of her curriculum and as we study money she is probably finding it a bit tedious. This is the girl who watches the purchases ring up, asks how much we are giving the cashier and tries to figure out the difference before the change comes up on the little screen. Yeah, she's math-minded! 

Creation to Christ: Unit 10

Rose is really enjoying this guide. It wasn't a huge jump for her from Preparing and we didn't even have to start at half-speed like I did with Bigger and Preparing. She really likes learning about ancient history. We talk a lot about what other cultures believed and why. 

For a girl who doesn't love math, Rose loves long division. Who knew? Somehow all those multiplication facts which couldn't seem to stick suddenly make sense to her and she really likes it. She's doing quite well and we're just moving right along. We aren't even needing to take the lessons at half-pace anymore. I think one of the biggest reasons is she received and enormous boost in confidence when she received her standardized testing scores which showed she is working 2 grade levels higher. She suddenly brightened up and math isn't quite so bad any more!

She's recently discovered the Little House books and is almost finished with her second one. I'm moving her own to a new series soon and allowing her to read these on her own time. I love how she is drawn to these books, but I try to expand her exposure to different types of literature and authors. She tends to focus in on one and devour everything in that genre or by a particular author so I feel it necessary to help her branch out. 


If you follow me in Instagram you'll see this hashtag quite a bit. My girls are all working in different guides at different levels, a true one-room schoolhouse. Yet one of my favorite blessings on homeschool is how much learning takes place together. Here are a few pictures of that taking place...

This is what my desk looked like during spelling one day. All three levels of spelling at once. Yikes! I do the main instruction separately and then call out the words. Sometimes we do this separately but on this particular day I tried out juggling the three levels at once. It actually worked quite beautifully. I'm training them to put their pencils down when they are done writing what I have called out so I am cued to give them another word or sentence but they at the same time do not distract their sisters by talking out loud. So far it is working and although I won't always do three at once, it is sort of fun when I do!And now for the visit! We had so much fun having family here. My sister-in-law was my roommate in college and we are very close. It is always refreshing to spend time together and it is so much fun to see our kids playing together. 

First the surprise! 

Then the fun!

They stayed from Tuesday through Thursday and it was a really fun diversion during the middle of our week. 


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!