Home Education~Ministry Moments~Hearth and Home

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wizzy Gizzmo Fast Track Bible Pack: A TOS Review

Wizzy Gizmo Review
Wizzy Gizmo Review
   I believe the most important book in the world to teach our kids is the Bible.  My husband and I try to make sure our sons have all the resources they need to help them learn and understand God's Word.  The Fast Track Bible Pack from Wizzy Gizmo is just one more great tool.  The Fast Track Bible Pack is a 27 card set that has a card representing each book of the New Testament.  What you find on each card is similar to what you might find on the front page of each book in a Study Bible. 

    Do you remember the wildlife collector cards that were so popular in the 80's?  I loved those!  I enjoyed reading them and organizing them.  Of course I could have read all that information about those animals in an encyclopedia or a science book, but it was so much more interesting to read and look at the cards.  That's why I think kids will like these Bible cards.  Sure, they could look up all the information contained in the cards in a book--but I think they'll be more likely to spend more time with the cards.

Age Range: 
 These Bible cards are for All ages
(I think it is perfect for older elementary-teens.)

Price: $14.99

What's on the Cards: 

On the Front: 
  • Card number
  • Name of Book of the Bible
  • Number of chapters
  • Author
  • Date of writing
  • Overview (a few paragraphs)
  • Theme

On the Back:
  • Across the top: Name of book, theme and brief synopsis
  • Outline (2 options are usually given.)
  • Key Chapters
  • Key Passages
  • Key Doctrines
  • Key People

How we are using the Fast Track Bible Pack in our Home:

How my 16-year-old son is using it: 
      He is currently reading through a day-by-day devotional guide he received for Christmas.  Whenever his reading is found in the New Testament, he reads the entire card that covers that particular book of the Bible.  (For example, if his reading for the day is found in Mark, he reads the Mark card.)  My oldest is really enjoying these cards and is the primary user.  He really likes all the facts given on the card.  He shared with me that the information on the card really helped him to understand the purpose of the particular book of the Bible he was reading.

How my 13-year-old is using it:
      My youngest son mentioned about a week ago how he wanted to read all the parables in the Bible.  I said, "Let's take a look through the Fast Track Bible Pack and see what we can find to help us out."  The very first card we came to (Matthew) had just what we were looking for!  We took a quick look down through the "Key Passages" on the back of the card and easily discovered that parables are found in chapter 13.  All the parables were listed, so my son has read one each day. After he had read the parables, we talked about how each one tied in with the theme of the book, "Jesus is King."

Some other ideas you might like for using the Fast Track Bible Pack:
  1. Use them to read through the New Testament.  As you read, follow along with the card and learn as you go.
  2. Read one per night at the dinner table.
  3. Let your children study one per day.  When they have read them all,  play a quiz game with the cards. 
  4. Punch a hole in each corner and put a ring through it.  This can be hung on a hook nearby your "Bible Reading Place."
  5. Store them in a basket in the schoolroom and use as needed for a reference.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Friday, August 15, 2014

Free Stuff We did this Summer

     As I look back on all the things my family and I did this summer, I came to realize most of what we did was free.  (Okay, maybe not the gas to get there!)  We enjoy looking for deals while traveling or on vacation.  And for us, free is the way to go!  Below you'll find a generous sampling of the freebies we enjoyed over the past several months!  Maybe you'll get some ideas for you and your family...

A rainy walk down the French Quarter in New Orleans.  We were taking a break before my husband's doctoral class one morning.  Cost: FREE.  (World famous beignets and cafe au laits were not free, but I still think they are a deal!)
My new favorite place in New Orleans: City Park 

Bird watching in City Park

Did I mention this is free?

Love the "not-so-baby" ducks getting ahead of their Mama!

Beautiful sights at City Park!

Free Admission: Roan Mountain State Park, TN.  What a deal!  Gorgeous wildflowers and fun hiking!  We packed a picnic to save even more $$$.

Great view of the Rhododendron.
Free Admission: Asheville Botanical Gardens, NC.  This was a "date" for just my hubby and I.  I honestly thought it wouldn't be that great because it was "free."  Boy, was I wrong!  It's just my kind of botanical garden.  Very natural.  More like a hike than a formal presentation. 

We took lots of pictures under the bridge.
Our last trip of the summer was to the beach.  On the last day, I asked my son what his favorite part was from the week.  His answer?  A walk on the beach collecting shells and looking at crabs.  (Cost? FREE!)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Blog Post Find of the Day (hint: It's about VBS!)

     I've been at a church leadership training conference all weekend, so I've got preschool/children's Sunday School, VBS and the like on the brain...so how fitting to find this blog post in my inbox when I got home: 5 Things VBS is That Other Ministries are Usually Not.  Great article.  I'm with Shane Garrison--if your church did not do VBS this summer, start planning for next year.  There's nothing quite like it! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms (A TOS Book Review)

Flourish Book Review
   The name "Apologia" brings with it the confidence of quality education and instruction.  So, when I heard that Apologia Educational Ministries had published a book for homeschool moms, I knew it had to be good. 
Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms  is a brand new book written by Mary Jo Tate.
   Imagine, if you will, a flower.  It is washed out and a faded with drooping leaves planted in parched and thirsty soil. Now imagine a more vibrant flower--one that is bright red with moist green leaves planted in rich, fertile soil.  Which flower would you choose to be? I think we'd all choose the latter, the flower that is flourishing, much the same way we homeschool moms would rather flourish as we home educate our children than just barely keep our noses above water. That's what this new book, Flourish, is all about.
     What do we need in order to flourish in our homeschools?  No doubt you may have answered, "time!"  Well, Mary Jo Tate gives attention to that in several chapters.  She also covers topics like setting goals, planning, and boundaries.  The second half of the book gets a little more personal and specific.  She talks about attitudes, taking care of "you," training your children, making memories, managing your home, the ins- and-outs of homeschooling.  The books culminates with two very specific chapters: one just for single moms and one for moms who also run a home business.
     I have never read a book quite like Flourish.  There are how-to-homeschool books, how-to-manage your time books and how-to run a home books.  This book is unique in that it shares how to basically manage all of  life as a homeschooling family, not just certain aspects separately.  So much is included in the pages...all based on the fact that you, as mom, home educate your family.  Mary Jo Tate understands from years of experience that homeschooling really does affect most everything else in your life.  All of this advice and encouragement from Mary Jo is also based on God's Word. 
     The first time I sat down to just read "a little bit," and found that I had finished 3 chapters in no time.  Flourish is a very easy read in that it is very easy to follow and is so engaging that you just don't want to stop reading.  My book is full of underlined phrases and stars indicating parts I really, really liked or want to try.  I will definitely be re-visiting this book as a reference book and a source for encouragement to do better and to be better.

 Flourish Book Review

The Product:
The cost: $15
Paperback, 290 pages

Who would benefit from reading this book?
  • Moms thinking about homeschooling
  • Moms just getting started homeschooling (Oh, how I wish I had read this 8 years ago!)
  • Moms in the midst of homeschooling. (A good "shot in the arm" to get you going again!)
  • Single moms home educating their children
  • Moms with a home business and homeschooling
  • Anyone who loves a homeschooling mom and wants to better understand their needs.

Some of my favorite quotes from Flourish:
(I just love a good quote!  This book was FULL of them!)

  • "Develop the habit of asking yourself, 'What am I saying no to when I say yes to this choice?  Are there any hidden costs?'"  (I was able to put that into practice this week, saying "no" to something I knew would cost me time away from my family and added stress!)
  • "...commit your goals to writing."  (I did this for the first time in a long time...a great exercise for me.)
  • "'How do you do it all?'  I don't, and I redefine 'it all.'  Nobody can do it all.  (How freeing!)
  • "As you plan your week, be sure to include the important things, not just the urgent things."  (Oh, how easy it is to get caught up in the urgent when the important is so, well...important!)
  • "Inspect what you expect.  That's how you add accountability to independence."  

About the Author: 
     It is easy to get to know Mary Jo Tate as you read her book.  She is a long-time homeschool mama of 4 boys and even runs her own at-home business.   She is a radio host, author, international editor and book coach.  Mary Jo even makes time to teach high school literature at a co-op and blog at: http://flourishathome.com/blog/.  What's amazing is that Mary Jo does all of this as a single mom.  She is full of insight and wisdom. 
Flourish Book Review

Click to read Crew Reviews

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Big Reveal: House Exterior Before and After!

I'm so excited to share with you our new home!  We have a long way to go on the inside...but the outside is pretty much DONE!  After lots of paint and bush-trimming...TADA!

The before...as in before we even moved in!

Those shaker shingles really needed attention!

But we could see the potential!
Testing out the color!  (Crazy: The painter had some paint leftover from a previous job...it was the EXACT color I had already picked out!)  We used Knight's Armor by Olympic.

I painted the shutters.  I took them to Home Depot and asked if I could paint them with a paintbrush and they said that would work...so I painted all 30 or so of them.  (With a little help from my son!)  Just took 2 days.

All done.  I painted them an "off black" color.  I didn't want jet black.

All done!  We were so pleased!  Bushes whacked, shutters like new, shingles painted, lights updated!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pinned it/Did it! ~~~ Guest Book Alternative

     This past weekend our Sunday School class had a baby shower/fellowship by the pool.  We had a cookout and let the kids swim.  I didn't want the typical formal guestbook, so I found a few ideas on Pinterest that got me started.  All the guests were bringing children's books for gifts, so I thought bookmarks were the way to go! 
These were my supplies: Tiny punch, paper cutter, Behr paint chips (I chose the lilac/lavender colors since that is what the baby's room will be decorated in.), ribbon, card stock and glue stick.

I cut the paint chips so that you could not see any of the writing.  (These extra-large paint chips worked great!)

I had lots of fun with the punches.  Some of the bookmarks I punched into the paint chips, and the others I glued the punches onto them.  I put card stock on the back to give it more weight (and to cover up the writing).  I put a hole punch in the top and added the ribbon.  I put them all in a basket and the guests signed them. 

I hope baby and family will enjoy their keepsake bookmarks for years to come! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Spray Painting Exterior Lights...Like New Again!

These ugly brass lights just won't do.  But we didn't want to fork over the money for new ones.  A few bucks for a can of glossy black spray paint will hopefully do the trick!

Here they are on the house before it or the lights were painted.  (And before the "spaceship" light was taken down!)

What to do?  Cover the glass with painter's tape or take it all apart and then spray paint?

We chose to take it all apart. 
Oh, my goodness...so many parts!  (Next time I'm covering the glass with tape...it was a bear to put all this back together!)

BEGGING to be painted!
SO much better already!!!  This took about 3 different paintings to get all the sides covered well.


I just love my "new lamps!"  And the spaceship light is gone!  Yeah!

Just a little bit of work and some spray paint! 

Coming soon...
Painting the shutters and the big reveal: house exterior!