Blog Challenge Day 2: Quotes

I have so many favorite quotes, Scriptures, songs, hymns, etc. that narrowing it down to one was just TOO hard. So-I decided to share 3!! 

I’m a very visual person so I love to have these hanging around my home whenever possible too :)


As quoted by Ghandi

I am a firm believer in ‘walking our talk.’ Our faith talk that is. And it does NOT include picket signs *grin*


Mark 9

No, not name it and claim it as in if I ‘believe’ then anything I want will come to pass. God is NOT a genie. But I do believe in miracles and if you hang out here long enough and/or visit my archives, you will know why!


One of my favorite hymns no matter how it is sung. I love Contemporary Christian music as much as the next person but there is just something about hymns. I don’t know-they aren’t so ‘me’ focused. And they ALL carry a story. 

I’m linking up with: 

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The Good, The Bad, And The Grace of God~a book review

We enjoy watching Duck Dynasty as a family-the laughs, their openness in sharing their faith, and well…Uncle Si. I have read nearly every book they have put out but I have to say that this one is my favorite so far. 

Very candid, holding nothing back, Jep and Jessica share “The good, the bad and the grace of God.” Written in first person, alternating chapters, I love how this book flows. It’s like sitting in on a conversation. The chapters are also short which is how I prefer it ;)

You will laugh but you most certainly will cry, when you read about these two. Their candidness, honesty and transparency is refreshing. 

There are also family pictures included in the book from their earlier days. 

My 15 year old son also read and enjoyed this book. It’s encouraging to see faith walked out day to day in a believer’s life. Word of caution: while not graphic or overly detailed there are some themes which may not be suitable for younger readers. That said I found it handled more cleanly than any other biography and I had no trouble reading it. 

May God continue to bless Jep and Jessica as they recover from October. 

This book is very difficult to put down once you start reading it!!
*i was given this book by BookLook in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are solely this author’s. 

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SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers~a TOS Crew Review

SmartKidz Media Review

Many times in our homeschool, we enjoy adding media to round out our studies. Media, whether video or audio, can offer a fun alternative to your book or text work. Sure, we can read about the Sahara Desert, but how much more is it likely to stick if we actually saw it?!? Being a media fan, I was glad to be chosen to review the SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers by SmartKidz Media.

What it is:

This is a subscription-based website that offers a digital media library for homeschoolers. Topics range from things such as Ebooks, Baby Signs Program, Living Skills Program, Learning Special Needs and more. Included in those topics, areas such as international cooking, history and science are included. Study guides and some games (located in the Fun Zone) are also included! When you, or your child log in, you won’t have to worry about any pop-ups, ads or links to other websites. SmartKidz Media offers monthly or annual subscription plans.

Media can be accessed, and played, on any mult-media device such as a computer or tablet. (We used an HDMI cable and hooked the laptop up to our regular TV!)  The website states that the company is currently working on an App for the iPad/iPhone. Digital media may also be played using a Roku (disclaimer: we were not able to do this-we tried multiple times and downloaded several apps). They are also working on adding more videos.

What we received:

A one year subscription to SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers. This includes everything they offer.

How we used it:

Our family includes the dad and I, and our kiddos: 17, 14, 8, and 6. All in various stages of learning. All with various interests. The children and I did the majority of the viewing. I even played some of the games!! ;) Until the youngers caught me and then they wanted to play! We watched multiple videos to add to our current learning.

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Hooked up via HDMI cable streaming from my laptop to the TV.

Our oldest is a History buff so he enjoyed watching the many videos that have available in this area, specifically those on ancient history. He is also intrigued by Roman history and how it coincides with today. We decided to watch a few of those as a family.

Right out of the gate with the first video we noted a problem, at least for our family. The video wasn’t young earth friendly (which isn’t necessarily always a problem-we aren’t sure ourselves how old the earth is), however with our youngers I try to avoid age as much as possible. Especially theories. Call me overprotective or whacky, that’s just what works for our family. Another precaution is that it isn’t particularly geared toward Creationism either. Some of the images were graphic, and at times, violent. There are also images of less than desirable clothing–again, something we as a family take issue with. I understand the rationale-the native culture-but 6 and 8 are too young to introduce that too. We stopped the video immediately.

The next stop was the food videos. We were intrigued by the International Cuisine and all of my kids LOVE to cook and watch those types of shows. It was really neat to watch all of the different ways food is prepared from all over. My youngers got very squeamish, however, especially when an eel made an appearance ;)

Probably the youngest girls favorite part was the games-particularly finding the object hidden in a picture. They did have some trouble “matching” the item to the picture perfectly-as in getting in lined up correctly, and gave up after a while.

Final thoughts:

There has been tremendous thought, time and talent put behind the creating of this amazing virtual library. And with new titles coming soon, I’m excited to see what is in store. While some of the videos didn’t work for us, the beauty of this program is that there are SO many choices!

Crew Disclaimer
SmartKidz Media Review

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CTC Math~a TOS Crew Review

CTCMath Review

Math is the archenemy of our homeschool. My husband is a Math genius, AND loves it, but apparently that only trickled down to maybe one or two of our four-it’s too early to tell. He also works insane hours and isn’t able to give the day to day help that they really need. That has led me to try almost EVERY program on the market and still scratching my head. CTC Math is one I have looked into for a while, but was never in a place to use it. I was so thankful to be chosen to review it with all four of my kids.

What it is:

Delivered solely online, CTC Math is a comprehensive tutorial program that includes Kindergarten through Trigonometry. This product requires internet access. The pace is set by you. The videos are able to be rewound and watched multiple times, cementing retention. The videos are appealing to any age. A very interactive program, there are questions at the end of each lesson with the opportunity to add more. You get instant grading when you enter your answer. It even tracks and records grades for EACH student for you—BONUS!! You get weekly email summaries that tell you what lessons your child did, how they are doing, and even how long they were logged in :) We LOVE this feature!!! CTC Math also gives “awards” that can be printed, and levels like Gold, Silver, etc. which offer much in the incentive department.

There is a free trial, and demo video at their website, CTC Math for more information!

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What we received:

The 12 Month Family Plan. This package allows up to TEN children and is rated at a 60% discount. I’m not sure that I have ever seen one that allows up to this many, so this is a HUGE blessing for larger homeschool families. This plan gives you access to all lessons for up to 10 children for a FULL YEAR (calender, not school!), of lessons. Need a refresher in the summer? This is your answer!

How we used it:

Four children, four different levels!! We used it daily as both review, and for the olders, their primary Math as they were mostly finished with their other.

This is the oldest, 11th grade working on Geometry

This is the oldest, 11th grade working on Geometry

  • 11th grader~ Geometry. Perhaps the one who dislikes Math the most, I was excited yet hesitant to ask him to try yet ANOTHER Math program. But, I did and I am so glad! He raved to me about it daily! His biggest praise was that he understood the method and explanations that this teacher used. And even as a 16 year old, he enjoyed seeing what “levels” he was at–gold/platinum, etc. It really drove the type A in him without stressing him out! It also encouraged him very much. In fact, he has asked for CTC to stay :)
  • 8th grader~Basic Math and Pre-Algebra. A little more picky in his choices, and struggling a little more, we decided to try this with him. He enjoyed it overall, but wished for more depth in the explanations. He often asked his dad questions. He is my child that does better with me, or his dad, teaching vs. a computer or reading it on his own.
  • 2nd grader~ primarily used to a textbook/workbook format, I had high hopes that this interactive form would open up new things for her. We currently use a highly rated textbook approach, but find it lacking. CTC Math was actually WAY ahead in scope!! We started out slow because she got a little discouraged when she didn’t know HOW–or when a topic she hadn’t yet covered was introduced. READ: this is a GOOD thing. It just proved to me that this top rated text we were using was repeat overkill and introduced very little new stuff.
  • Kindy~ primarily text/workbook approach as well. She is actually doing the First Grade book. I noticed that it seemed like a lot of repetition from Kindy, although it is more mastery and introduced more new topics. She has trouble reading, so we had to read the directions for her. Initially she didn’t like it at all (mom’s note here: she got in a hurry and because she can’t completely read yet, she answered without knowing what they wanted). Once we remedied that problem she LOVED it!!!

Final thoughts:

CTC Math was all I hoped and prayed it to be. It didn’t promise without delivering. It’s also a lifesaver for this mom of 4 who finds it difficult to grade 4 levels of Math everyday. CTC Math has made Math doable for this family and we will continue to use it!


Crew Disclaimer
CTCmath Review

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To live…but for what?!?

Redeem the time
My heart is so heavy tonight as I type this. It’s 2 a.m. here and I can’t get a breaking story out of my head. A gunman entered a church in Charleston, South Carolina during a prayer meeting and opened fire. As of this typing, 9 were killed. A church…a place of refuge…a hospital for the sick…quickly became a place of total devastation. It makes one ponder their life, their service, their very reason for going to church sometimes. It seems to be cropping up everywhere–the slaughter of the Jewish in synagogue up north not long ago. Christians, believers dying by the sword daily in large numbers. All in the name of religion.

Prior to hearing about this, I was reading my daily reading from our Love God Greatly study of Psalm 119. Ironically, verse 17 was one that I had journaled about:

Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live and keep Your word.

I had noted this, “when faced with a dilemma, or crisis-we often petition God for more time on this earth. Others do the same–“but they are too young, they still have life to live” or “they have their whole life in front of them….” No matter the age, it seems we all need more time for something. Me included.

How humbling it is to read this verse, and see the Psalmist crying out to God to live. The petition startles me–he wants to live to “keep Your word.” Can I live like that? Can I say that? Can I truly die to my desires, in order to live to KEEP His word?

This is something I have been pondering on lately. Psalm 119 will do that to you. It’s a record of looking into the word of God *to obey* and it is spoken of with deep passion.

Multiple places we see the Psalmist mention “meditating” on the word. This isn’t some altered mental state, some awakened awareness, or some mind bending pose while we pray. Meditating in Hebrew is siyach, and it means “talk to oneself.” HUH? Don’t worry-this means to speak the word of God aloud to yourself. You don’t have to yell it or yell AT it, you just speak God’s word. This, I believe is our *key* to verse memorization. Simply utter the verse repetitively as you go throughout your day. This is your only offensive weapon listed in the armor of God.

My mind immediately flashes back to the story of that church. A prayer meeting. Where the word was being spoken. Where conversation was happening with God. And then my mind wanders….were they speaking to God aloud here on earth one minute, and then in person the next? I’m not sure……

God bless those people; the families….and continue to #PrayForCharleston

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