“Parenting-14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family” ~ Review & Giveaway

So….how are things working in your parenting world?

Are you encouraged in what you’re building into the lives of your kids?  Or are you exhausted, worn out, and clueless as to what you need to do to replace what’s not working so well?

Or—is it a mix of these?



Regardless of exactly how you answered that question, I have a book that could seriously be transformational for you.  And I even have a copy to bless one reader with!  Propeller/FlyBy Promotions very kindly sent me Paul David Tripp’s newest parenting book to read and review.  It’s called PARENTING 14 GOSPEL PRINCIPLES That Can Radically Change Your Family.

Now, I don’t know about you.  But I can tell you about my own experience.  Suddenly our only child is in high school!  And all those other years of parenting; the infant and baby years, the toddler years, preschool, elementary, and middle school years—they are behind us.  I honestly do not know where they have gone.  But we have this awesome kiddo who’s in the stretch of life where he’s preparing for college and beyond.  How am I going to make these years the very best I can?

Paul David Tripp’s book is going to help me.  Despite the fact that this book’s subtitle is “14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family,” this is not a sort of “five steps to parenting success” kind of book.  Rather, it’s more of a vision-casting book; but one with very practical, down-to-earth actual perspectives that really can transform our parenting.  I knew when I read Mr. Tripp’s preface that I was going to love what he shared.  And I was right.

So what will you find in this book?

Paul David Tripp’s beginning perspective is that we are not the owners of our children.  Rather, we’re the ambassadors that God has chosen to raise the kids He has given us to know Him.  They’re not given to us to meet our own needs; to promote our identity; to make us look good.  They’re here so that we can love them, show them God’s grace, and His amazing love for them as we follow His path of life for them.

Mr. Tripp has (as you might imagine) 14 categories of gospel principles that he recommends we rely on to inform our parenting choices and outlook.  They are:

  • Calling:  I am being called to form a human soul
  • Grace:  I am not alone–God is with me in this ginormous task!
  • Law:  Our kids need to know God’s law, but that law alone can’t fulfill the work of God’s grace in their lives
  • Inability:  I need to know what I cannot do, to be a good parent
  • Identity:  My identity is Christ, not the successes of my kiddo
  • Process:  Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint!
  • Lost:  The wrong we do isn’t just bad choices, it’s a condition in all of us
  • Authority:  How can I express authority lovingly and well–not harshly–to my child?
  • Foolishness:  Where does this come from and what does it do to my child?
  • Character:  Informs all of our actions and choices
  • False Gods:  What things, pursuits, satisfactions are we valuing too highly?
  • Control:  Controlling my kid isn’t a good parenting goal.  Character formation is.
  • Rest:  How can I rest in the midst of this vast job?
  • Mercy:  Am I a perfect person?  Or do I need mercy as much as my kid does?

Of course, these are very short summations of chapters that are full of beauty and value to me as a parent.  But they really have the power to shape me as a parent, and to help me to do well in the life of my child.

How this book impacted me

I admit it.  I so, so needed PARENTING 14 GOSPEL PRINCIPLES That Can Radically Change Your Family.  You never quite know where life is going to take you, do you…or the hard times you might have to endure.  (It’s probably for the best that we DON’T know that!!)  Our family has faced a number of challenges in recent years.  Illness, surgeries, poor health, other challenges.  But hard times do pass (even if they don’t feel like they ever will).  And eventually, we came out of some of these.  God has done some cool things, to be sure.

Yet still, I have been praying for a fresh outlook.  For my teaching, my parenting, my life and relationships.  And along came this book!  It has been everything I needed…and the breath of fresh air that I was longing for in my home.  I needed every single reminder that Mr. Tripp has included in this book.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • “If you don’t have this “who you are” perspective right, you will miss the essence of what God has called you to…”  (p. 13)
  • “Your work as a parent is a thing of extreme value because God has designed that you would be a principal, consistent, and faithful tool in his hands for the purpose of creating God-consciousness and God-submission in your children.”  (p. 30)
  • “It means that if you are God’s child, it is impossible for you to be left to your own limited package of resources.”  (p. 37)
  • “If you want to be part of the Father’s process in the lives of your children, you have to commit to being part of doing it his way.”  (p. 94)
  • “Children do what they do because of what they worship.”  (p. 150)

There is so much more that I could share.  But what I’d really like to do is to tell you to get a copy of this yourself, if you are a parent…or if you know someone who’s about to become a parent.  Paul David Tripp has taken a lifetime of experience, of study of God’s Word, and pastoral care, and distilled it into a visionary handbook that can truly transform our parenting.  Really, do this:  get a copy of PARENTING 14 GOSPEL PRINCIPLES That Can Radically Change Your Family for yourself!

Or perhaps, you might win your own copy here!

I have one copy of PARENTING 14 GOSPEL PRINCIPLES That Can Radically Change Your Family for one reader who is going to be SO happy.  Enter below in the Giveaway Tools form.  Giveaway ends on Friday, November 4.

Enjoy!  –Wren


“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


Join me for the FREE “Make One Freeze One Challenge” this week–with free freezer meal plans!

**affiliate links may apply**


Have you had a chance to read our review of the Best Freezer Meals ever?  I posted it earlier this month.  MyFreezEasy is nothing short of amazing.  We loved it!  We loved the ease of preparing and freezing meals; the simplicity of just pulling one out of the freezer for the crockpot, stovetop, or oven; and the taste and healthfulness of the meals.  Just. Love. It!

Now–you can try a week’s worth of MyFreezEasy meals absolutely free!

Erin Chase at MyFreezEasy has created a challenge just for you that is absolutely free:  the Make One, Freeze One Challenge.  If you sign up here for the challenge, you will receive a week’s worth of Erin’s most delicious freezer meals free of charge!  She has selected 4 categories that you can choose from (and she has the meals listed under each one so that you have an idea of what you’re getting to try):

  • Traditional Meal Plan
  • Clean Eats/All Chicken/Gluten-Free Meals
  • Slow Cooker Plan
  • Ground Beef Plan

The idea with this plan is for you to make two meals each time you cook of the same recipe.  Then, you eat one meal and freeze the other for a later date.  Amazing!

You’re not committing to anything when you sign up.  But you are going to love this!  It has been a lifesaver for us the last couple of months to have MyFreezEasy meals tucked in our freezer!

Give it a shot.  Try it out for free…

and check out the delicious, amazing meals from MyFreezEeasy!  I’ll be back this week with more, and sharing with you my own experiences.

Just sign up here to start.  Enter your email address, then you’ll be able to select which of the 4 meal plans above that you want to try out.  You’ll receive 5 recipes from that category.  Then—you’re off!

Be sure to let me know if you try this out.

I want to hear about your experiences!

Enjoy!  –Wren

DISCLOSURE:  In accordance with FTC regulations, we are providing this Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in our posts are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we may receive an affiliate commission, which will never cost you anything. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will add value to our readers.

From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog.  We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews.  We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products.  We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.



Our Review of The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury-Audio Collection

Are you ready for Christmas season yet?  It IS just October…but we’ve just had the opportunity to review a lovely series that your family will love at Christmastime!  The Familyman Todd Wilson has written and recorded The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury – Audio Collection.  We received both a CD copy of one story and the entire collection of Digital Downloads to review for the Homeschool Review Crew.  (It’s also available as a 6-CD set.)  What fun!



What is “The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury?”

How would you like a lovely collection of living stories for your family to snuggle up together and listen to this Christmas?  The Familyman Todd Wilson has written a collection of touching, hilarious, moving, and faith-building  stories which can be enjoyed by the entire family.  He’s put them together in The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury – Audio Collection in either CD format or Digital Downloads.  We received a CD copy of one story and digital downloads of 8 others (one as both CD and digital download).  All of the stories are engagingly read by Jim Hodge, who has a great background in audio stories.  The stories are also available in book form from The Familyman.  The bonus about having audiobooks is that (especially if you’re “read-aloud” fans) nobody has to do the reading; you can just pop in the CD or turn on the mp3 player and listen all together!

The Treasury includes….

six wonderful audio stories.  We actually received 8 digital downloads (plus we received The Bishop’s Dream in CD format); Todd Wilson was kind enough to provide two extra Christmas stories for us:

  • Captain Chaos and the Manger Blaster
  • Gladys Remembers Christmas
  • Cootie McKay’s Nativity
  • Harold Grubbs and the Christmas Vest
  • It’s Called Christmas
  • The Stranger
  • The Bishop’s Dream
  • The Secret of Snow Village

Each story is read by Jim Hodges and lasts 15-20 minutes.


So….what are these stories actually about?

All kinds of subjects and family events that would have to do with Christmas.    And without sappiness, but with lots of great redemptive storylines, and truths about what Christmas really is!  Here are some summaries of some of my own favorites, just to give you a bit of flavor of these stories:

  • In Gladys Remembers Christmas, a woman who sort of hates both her name and Christmas is packing up her widowed father’s home after he’s had to move into assisted living.  She enters the big dark house to find a particular box her father has asked for, that is tucked away in the attic next to the Christmas ornament boxes and supplies.  What she finds inside the box is –not to oversell the story– transformational.
  • On a kid-friendly note that still tells a meaningful story is Captain Chaos and the Manger Blaster.  Jason thinks that Christmas and the manger would be a LOT more interesting if Captain Chaos and his trusty blaster had participated in the story.  He is TIRED of that story and thinks it needs some livening up.  Or maybe he just wishes it hadn’t happened.  In a way that reminded me of “The Man Without A Country” updated and reshaped around Christmas, Jason gets a taste of what things would be like if baby Jesus hadn’t ever come to earth at all.
  • Cootie McKay’s Nativity tells the engaging tale of a wrecked town nativity scene and the town oddball who fixes up a replacement nativity set when the town’s budget won’t cover a brand-new one, told from the eyes of a boy and his dad who see the whole thing from start to finish.  Wonderful!
  • Harold Grubbs and the Christmas Vest provides a moment for a dad to tell his child why he hauls out the garish, outlandish vest every Christmas–and what it means to many.
  • There’s also The Bishop’s Dream (what if the read St. Nicholas traveled forward through time and saw what Christmas is like today?); It’s Called Christmas (what if in the future, “Merry Christmas” has been replaced completely with “Happy Holidays”?); The Stranger (what happens when a homeless-looking man knocks at everyone’s doors at Christmastime–do they let him in or not?); and The Secret of Snow Village (if you were a little girl, wouldn’t you want to step inside your grandmother’s tiny snow village for yourself?).


thefamilyman-logoHow we used them:

As I mentioned, we received The Bishop’s Dream on CD.  That made it easy to pop into the CD player in the car for trips around town.  All the rest of the stories were downloaded digitally.  I saved some of them to our PC and the rest of them to my Kindle Fire.  (I find that I’m not always able to be at my computer, but I usually have my Kindle with me, which made listening easy to do!)

Our family is in a season (we’ve just started high school homeschool) during which it seems as though we don’t have as much time for listening to audio stories.  (We made time for these though!)  We still love read-aloud stories though, so adding “living-books”-type stories continues to be a value for us.  We listened to these either just playing from the Kindle, or sometimes with earbuds via the computer.

What we thought

First of all, there couldn’t have been a better choice for an audio performer than Jim Hodge.  He is the best storyteller ever!  (Now, can I just find a way to bring him to our house to do our family read-alouds….)  He makes things so interesting and it’s always clear what’s going on in the story.  Just fabulous.

The audio is beautifully-recorded as well.  I really don’t enjoy it when we listen to audio books or stories and constantly have to turn the audio up (when there are voices) or down (when the background music swells, but swells so loudly it hurts our ears).  That just makes us less likely overall to listen to those books or stories.  I can happily tell you that we didn’t have to do that one single time with this Christmas Treasury!  The audio levels were just perfect.

And of course, I have to mention the stories.  Without being saccharine or sappy, these stories are sweet.  But in many ways, they pose interesting questions, like “What would things be like if Jesus hadn’t come?” or “can that weirdo do anything right?”  Or, they show us what Saint Nicholas might think if he were able to observe how we “do” Christmas today.  Todd Wilson has asked some fascinating questions in his stories, and answered them in ways that are believable, redemptive, and memorable.  And I can’t forget to include the adjective “enjoyable!”  Your family, with kids who are younger or older, will enjoy listening to these stories.  Grab a cup of hot cocoa, a warm blanket, and cuddle up together to hear stories that will not only show you the true meaning of Christmas, but get you in the mood for joyful celebration at the same time!

Visit Todd Wilson, the Familyman, at the following links!

You can purchase The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury – Audio Collection  in a 6-CD format or as Digital Downloads at The Familyman.  Other Crew members also reviewed these, and you can read about their experiences by clicking on the banner below.  And don’t forget to visit Todd Wilson, the The Familyman, at the social media sites below!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/youdadad
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/toddwilsonthefamilyman/
Pinterest: https://au.pinterest.com/familymantodd/
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/107435990705080484154

Blog: http://familymanweb.com/blog/

Enjoy!  –Wren


The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection {The Familyman} Reviews
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Best Freezer Meals Plan Ever! finchnwren’s Review of MyFreezEasy

How thrilled I was to be selected to review MyFreezEasy for the Homeschool Review Crew!  My family received MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership  to use and review.  I only have three words to say about this:  love, love, love!


MyFreezEasy is…..

…hands down the best freezer meal resource I’ve run across.  What is a freezer meal, you ask?  A freezer meal is a recipe that you’ve made ahead of time, placed in ziplocs or foil pans, and popped in the freezer.  Ideally, you prepare several at a time.  Then throughout the week, when both meal creativity and energy might be at a low point, you have all the ingredients for a delicious and healthy meal ready to go.  You can either cook it in the evening or put it in the crockpot in the morning.  Either way, you have something healthy and delicious to feed your family, but all you have to do is provide heat of some sort!

myfreezeasy-1Erin Chase at MyFreezEasy has created an incredible array of delicious, healthy freezer meal plans.  Via subscription, you can access these meal plans, which come in all these different varieties for different taste buds and preferences.  With the Basic Plan, you have these meal types available:

  • Traditional
  • Gluten-Free
  • Slow Cooker
  • Clean Eats
  • and the 20 Meals Plan, which has a variety of protein and meal categories

With the Premium Membership, subscribers have access to the first five plan types, plus the ability to customize their family dinners by adding or subtracting meals.  Each month, subscribers get brand-new meals for that month, which also correspond nicely to the seasons the months fall in.

Erin’s meal plans contain the recipes themselves, shopping lists (by recipe, category, or store section), assembly instructions, and actual cooking instructions.  Each of these enables home cooks to prepare amazing meals and save money,  time and energy!


myfreezeasy-2Here’s how we used our membership:

With the Premium Annual Membership, we had access to *every*single*recipe* on the MyFreezEasy website.  (For the current month, that is; menus are rotated, so you’ll want to save each month’s to a file on your own computer so that you can access your faves again.)  So to begin, I saved a number of menus for September to our PC: the Clean Eats Plan, the All Chicken Meals Plan and the All Ground Beef Meals Plan.  I selected the following 5 meals to prepare for my first week, and printed copies of them so that I had ready access:

  • Paleo Minestrone Soup
  • Dutch Oven Italian Chicken and Potatoes
  • Chicken Fajita Bake
  • Peach & Balsamic Chicken Skillet
  • Frito Pie filling
  • I also threw in soft taco filling

On a Saturday afternoon (which is prime meal prep time for me), I laid out the 5 printed recipes around my kitchen.  Next, I got out 5 large bowls or pans.  I then got out 6 (remember, the extra taco filling) ziploc freezer bags, wrote the names of the recipes on them in Sharpie (Erin Chase also provides printable labels you can tape onto the bags), and opened them and placed them in the bowls.  (This gives me a stable way to fill them and keep the ingredients from spilling out of the bags as I prepare.)

Next, I got out the canned goods and spices that would go in each bag.  I chopped any fresh veggies I’d be using (onion, carrots, zucchini, etc.) and got out any frozen fruits and veggies necessary.  I opened the cans so that they were ready to go, and pre-measured the spices into ramekins.  I browned 3 pounds of ground beef and drained the fat (that was the only protein I had to pre-cook).  Then—filling the bags!

Following the recipes’ assembly instructions, I dumped the veggies, the spices, and the proteins into the bags.  (Often, I’d leave out any extra liquids to be added at cooking time for two reasons: first, that takes up less freezer space overall; and second, it’s important to add room-temperature liquid to frozen crockpot meals to prevent shock or breakage to the crockery liner.)  Once I’d finished filling the bags, I sealed them, squeezed out any excess air, and put them in the freezer.  Ta-da!  A week’s worth of meals!  (It did take me a little over an hour to prep all of these; but I really think that much of that is due to the fact that all these recipes were new to me.)


myfreezeasy-3What about the recipes?

All I can say is—-delicious!!  The process itself is so easy to do and really does save time and money.  But all of that would mean nothing if the recipes themselves weren’t tasty.

But they were.

And not just tasty!  Delectable.  Filling.  Full of fiber, protein, veggies.  And most definitely tasting like they came out of a great home cook’s kitchen!

Our family’s favorites, so far, were varied.  The Dutch Oven Italian Chicken and Potatoes.  (What an imaginative use of baby potatoes!)  And the Italian Sausage Skillet.  (My son’s absolute fave so far; it’s one we’re already repeating.)  The Peach & Balsamic Chicken Skillet (because what could be better than balsamic vinegar in a sauce?).  Also, the Chicken Fajita Bake.  Sadly, the minestrone and the Frito Pie filling had to be pitched before we could eat them, because I discovered that our favorite organic grocery store had sold us some bad ground beef.  (Fortunately, I was the only one who ate it…so that’s something!)

But let me tell you what’s on this week’s menu.  Slow Cooker Red Pepper Chicken.  Italian Sausage Skillet (again).  Chicken Fajita Bake (again).  Best Meat Loaf Ever.  Red and Green Chicken Enchilada Bake.  I can’t wait!


myfreezeasy-4And this is why I love MyFreezEasy!

After a full day of homeschool, piano, and/or coop classes, I am not as energetic as I was when I woke up at 6:00AM.  (Understatement.)  So coming up with dinner at 4 or 5PM?  Not my best hours, for sure!  So, to have a meal plan in which all I have to do is to select the meals, then print the recipes and add the ingredients to the grocery list (my awesome husband is our grocery shopper), then assemble the meals, so that all I have to do on a given day is put them in the crockpot or into the oven?  (Or maybe into a skillet on the stovetop.)  Most definitely a lifesaver!  Here are my top reasons why I love MyFreezEasy….and why I think you will too!

  • The meals are healthy! and delicious!
  • They are incredibly easy to prepare beforehand
  • They help keep our grocery bill low
  • They make my family happy
  • The variety is interesting and ever-changing
  • MyFreezEasy makes meal planning and prep easy and non-stressful
  • The meals can be customized for our own family’s needs

I really could go on and on.  But I think you get the idea!


myfreezeasy-5You can find MyFreezEasy here:

Visit MyFreezEasy.  Check out Erin Chase’s awesome MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership.  It is worth every penny…and then some!  You can also read about other Crew members’ experiences with MyFreezEasy.  And you can also learn more by stopping by  MyFreezEasy‘s social media links!

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/freezeasy
Instagram:  http://www.instagram.com/freezeasy
Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/5dollardinners/freezeasy

Enjoy! –Wren

MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}
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Learning Calligraphy with “Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting” ~ My Experiences And Review

If there were ever a language arts curriculum that could be described as multi-purpose, it would be Everyday Education, LLC‘s Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting.  I have just had the great pleasure of reviewing this program in its digital version for the Homeschool Review Crew.  With it, I’ve been able to progress on a goal I’ve had for years; learning and perhaps more importantly, being able to successfully write in calligraphy italic!


What is Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting?

Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting is a program which can be used to teach children to read and to write.  It’s available in printed form, as an ebook, or in a combined form of print and ebook.  In 60 days, you can teach your children to read using this program!  And, as your children are learning to read with this resource, you’ll also be teaching them to write beautifully.  Because it’s based on phonics, even children as young as 4 or 5 can learn to read with their parents.  Or, if your older child needs some extra help with reading, Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting can strengthen his ability to utilize phonics and read more effectively.  This program can also not only teach children to write for the first time, but to learn to write more legibly or beautifully.  Or, as in my own case, it’s great for adults who wish to improve their handwriting by learning italic calligraphy.

The writing program starts with single italic letters written in a vertical format; then, progresses to writing in a slanted format; and lastly, to writing with the letters connected to one another.  If you’d like to see an actual lesson, you can download a PDF of lesson 31 from Everyday Education, LLC’s web page Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting.  Just click on that link and scroll down until you see the red download link, and you can see, download, and practice it for yourself.



everyday-ed-1How I used Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting

We are years past our times of learning to read in our homeschool.  However, when I discovered that Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting could also be used as a calligraphy learning program, I was thrilled!

Since we received a digital version of this program, I saved it to my computer and printed the first 59 pages (of 218) to start with, which I  placed in a folder. The handwriting program begins with italic handwriting written vertically, and starts with the vowels.  Because children are able to learn best when they look at what they’re writing, author Caroline Joy Adams provides examples of each letter at the top of each page, along with lines for handwriting practice.  This isn’t only helpful for children, though; it really enabled me to be able to form the italic letters!

I worked on one page at a time.  I used either a gel pen or a fine point Sharpie to practice my letters.  First, I’d trace the example letters in both upper case and lower case.  Then, I repeated those letters on the lines below.  Next, I’d continue to practice the letters on a separate blank sheet of handwriting paper (included in the ebook).  In addition to the first learning pages, which have generally two letters and several practice lines on each one, there are reference pages with the entire alphabet.  Later on there are pages with printed words to copy and practice, and sentences as well.  There are just a lot of practice pages for every level of the program.



everyday-ed-2What I thought about this program

This is the second time that I have tried calligraphy.  I bought a book years ago and tried to follow its directions.  But, I really never felt that I “got” its instruction well enough to feel that I was writing the letters beautifully or correctly.

This time—it has been completely different.  Caroline Joy Adams’ program is extremely simple and easy-to-follow…with almost immediate results!

I found the writing font fairly easy to master.  The most difficult letter was the letter A, which was the first one I attempted.  I don’t think it was difficult because the letter was challenging, but because it was teaching me the new method of writing and the new font.  Unlike normal writing, when I (as a right-hander) slant the paper to the left, I wrote on the paper as it was placed vertically on my writing surface (so that it was straight up and down, not slanted).

I haven’t mastered the entire alphabet yet.  I still require practice to shape the letters the same way each time I write them.  (I have, after all, been printing differently for many years!)  But once I have, the curriculum provides pages with actual letters and sentences, so that I may continue to improve and write more naturally.  Eventually, I’ll be able to progress to writing slanted letters, and then to connected italic letters (which will look more like cursive).

Although I haven’t always been a fan of printables in the past, I loved having Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting in digital form.  That way, I was always able to print additional practice pages when I needed a little more help on a letter.

I have found the entire process so enjoyable.  I love the font, I enjoy writing the letters, and I love that, as I continue to practice, I’ll gain the ability to write beautifully in calligraphy!  It’s also fun to have something to practice on during homeschool while my son works on his handwriting.


everyday-ed-3Where you can find Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting

You may purchase Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting from Everyday Education, LLC.  It’s very reasonably priced at $29.  I recommend it most definitely for anyone who’s interested in learning beautiful handwriting!  Other Crew members reviewed other curricula from Everyday Education, LLC, and you can read about their experiences by clicking on the banner below.  You may also visit Everyday Education, LLC at their social media sites:

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/janicecampbell/
FB page: https://www.facebook.com/excellenceinlit/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/janicepcampbell
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JaniceCampbell
Twitter: https://twitter.com/everydayedu


Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}
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Win the newest VeggieTales devotional: “Every Day With God,” for kids!

I have the most wonderful giveaway opportunity for you today!


If your family is like ours, you’ve loved VeggieTales for years.  Yes, our family literally grew up with Bob, Larry, Mr. Lunt, Archibald Asparagus.  Not to mention Silly Songs, or our many favorite videos from VeggieTales.  We have always loved their hilarious humor (funny to BOTH kids and parents), their faithful adherence to Scripture, and awesome life lessons packed into 30 minutes (or more) of fun.

Now, VeggieTales has published fantastic 365-day devotionals; one specifically tailored to girls, and the other to boys.  Since we are a boy-household, we got to review Every Day With God: 365 Daily Devos for Boys (A VeggieTales Book)It’s a softcover book that’s printed in full color on glossy, smooth paper.  As you’d expect, it contains a year’s worth of short devotionals that are perfect not only for the target age of elementary students, but really for older boys who love VeggieTales as well!  Parents can read the daily devotions to their boys, or allow them to read on their own.

Each devotion starts with a title, like “You’re So Very Special” or “God Will Lead the Way;” whatever describes what the devotion will be about.  Then the Scripture verse for the day is listed along with its address.  Next, a couple of paragraphs are written about that subject straight to the child, asking some questions and talking more in-depth about the lesson.  The devotions close with a “Thought for the Day” and a “Pray Today” section, which helps kids know how they can think about and pray about what they’ve just learned.

So—how did we use this?  We have been using a teen devotional during this school year.  Honestly, it was sort of on the too-edgy side for us.  Somehow, it felt very legalistic as well.  I think my son came away from it most days feeling discouraged rather than encouraged, which is the opposite of what we’d like to see happen in Bible study.  When I am corrected by God, I think that He wants me to turn with joy to the right way He’s edging me toward; not feeling crushed by the weight of sin or what I’ve gotten wrong.  That kind of so-called correction (which is what I would call condemnation) never causes me to want to turn to the right way.  And really?  I can make myself feel that way all on my own, without someone’s well-meaning but heavily written devotional.  No, I’m always looking for devotionals that draw me further on God’s way, not those which weigh me down with all the ways I’m living life wrong.

I’m happy to say that Every Day With God falls into the encouraging, rather than the discouraging, types of devotionals!  Even though my kiddo is just above the age this book is written for, we have thoroughly enjoyed it!  Instead of having to drag himself to push through his devotional reading, he happily and easily picks this one up.  And, I believe, it’s a blessing to him.

Here’s a little taste of what you’ll find in this book.  Your child will read devotions on subjects and verses like:

  • A kind word (Proverbs 15:23)
  • Learning from mistakes (Ecclesiastes 7:20)
  • Worship (Psalm 95:6)
  • Real peace and how to have it (John 14:27)
  • Being friends with God (Romans 8:38-39)

Each page has a vivid cartoon picture of one of the VeggieTales stars, from Bob and Larry, to Junior Asparagus, to LarryBoy, the French Peas, Jimmy and Jerry, and so on.  (That’s in the boys’ book; I imagine that the girls’ book has Petunia Rhubarb, Laura Carrot, and Madame Blueberry!)

If you’re looking for a sweet, on-target devotional book which will lovingly teach God’s Word to your kiddos, this is it!  And FlyBy Promotions has provided one copy of Every Day With God for one blessed winner of my giveaway!  (Winner will get to select the girls’ or boys’ version of Every Day With God.)

Giveaway ends Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 11:59PM.  Enter below in the Giveaway Tools entry form!


Enjoy!  –Wren

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

“If You Were Me and Lived in…” Books by Carole P. Roman ~ A Review



Recently we were blessed with some wonderful books to review!  Brought to you by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com, the If You Were Me and Lived In…  series vividly opens worlds of the past to children.  We received four wonderful softcover books:

cp-roman-pic-1What are the If You Were Me and Lived In… books?

Author Carole P. Roman has created a wonderful collection of books for children in the If You Were Me and Lived In…  series.  In each one, the stories of life as it was in different parts of the world and in different historical eras are described as if she were talking to a child.  Even more interesting, she talks as if she were describing that child’s actual life in those historical times!  Bright and expressive illustrations accompany the text, and the daily life, foods, transportation, housing, and education are described in fascinating ways, so that the reader (or the child being read to) can experience what life was really like.

Carole P. Roman generously provided four books for us to use.  Let me tell you about them!

eliz-england-romanIf You Were Me and Lived in Elizabethan England

What was life like in under the rule of Elizabeth I of England, in 1578?  If you lived during this era, you lived in a rich and exciting–though challenging–time.  William Shakespeare was penning his exciting plays, Elizabeth I was a powerful and influential queen on the world stage, and both art and architecture were flourishing.  However, you might have been poor, rather than a wealthy ruler.  You might have cleaned homes for a living or grown up on a farm.  Or, you might have lived in London, which, while glamorous, was also quite dirty and sometimes dangerous!

How did you dress?  What kind of money did you have (or not have)?  How did you worship?  All of these questions are answered and accompanied by wonderful illustrations.  A glossary plus a listing of important people of Elizabeth I’s era round out the book.


am-west-romanIf You Were Me and Lived in the American West

After we finished our book on Elizabethan England, we embarked on a journey to the American West.  This book is written from the perspective of a 12-year-old boy, whose family traveled to Oregon on a Conestoga wagon from Ohio.  A covered wagon took his family and all their most important possessions (not that that many could actually fit in the wagon) on a 5-month long trip.  What did the boy wear?  How did they get milk?  (They brought along their own milk by way of a cow, along with some goats and a pig!)  Each family member had jobs to do along the trail.  Food was limited, Indians were feared, and illness sadly took the lives of some on the trip.

But finally, the boy’s family made it to Oregon.  But they couldn’t move into a house; they had to build their own with the help of other new settlers.  And then they settled in, and became farmers, students, and sometimes (at least, the boy hopes!) cowboys.  Ms. Roman finishes this book with a list of important people from the settling of the American West, and a glossary of important terms.

More students might be familiar with this era.  But Ms. Roman makes it fascinating!


ancient-greece-romanIf You Were Me and Lived in Ancient Greece

This is a quite incredible children’s history book.  It has more text in it than the first two we reviewed.  Yet, it’s just as interesting and I believe that children will be equally as engaged with it.  Ms. Roman covers Alexander the Great, the Olympics, ancient Greek philosophers, the Greek pantheon of gods/goddesses, clothing, daily life, the agora, and more.  Children will also learn about the homes, jewelry, food and drink, and even hairstyles of ancient Greek men, women, and children!


viking-europe-romanIf You Were Me and Lived in Viking Europe

It has been a very long time since we studied the Vikings in our homeschool; seems like it was first or second grade!  So it was fascinating to pick up Ms. Roman’s book on Viking life.  Like her book on ancient Greece, this has smaller text and covers much interesting information about life for the Vikings.  Where did they live?  Whom did they worship?  (If you’re a Marvel fan, some of these names might sound familiar!)  The daily work of families, the names they called each other, the food they ate, and the three classes of Viking families are all introduced here.  Lovely and colorful illustrations accompany the text.


How we used these:

This year, we are studying American history again, so I was happy to receive If You Were Me and Lived in… Elizabethan England (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 3) and If You Were Me and Lived in…the American West (Volume 7) to review.  Because our current history book started with native Americans who lived in what would become North and South America, and because England did eventually send explorers to the New World, the book on Elizabeth I’s time was ideal, as was the book on the American West.  We used them as an adjunct to our regular history studies.  Both these books would be fantastic for reading aloud, but because my son is 14, he read them on his own over a period of several weeks in our school time.  We both found it quite interesting; the way Ms. Roman writes makes it quite easy for the reader to put him- or herself into the time frame and imagine what life was like.  (Much harder, I’d say, than life in 21st century America!)  We particularly enjoyed the illustrations as well.  Both Ms. Roman and the various illustrators work together to make reading these books a truly enjoyable, as well as educational, experience.

Ms. Roman also very kindly included two of her other books (that I shared a bit about above): If You Were Me and Lived in…Ancient Greece (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 1), and If You Were Me and Lived in…Viking Europe .  I used these on my own, but I expect we’ll pick them up in our homeschool as soon as we cover those periods of history again.  Lovely!



late-summer-2016-and-ninjago-poster-images-118Carole P. Roman has some excellent free printable materials which go nicely with these (and other!) books at her blog.  Simply visit Carole P. Roman to access and print these for further study.  These include great questions and worksheets which will deepen the understanding of the student.

I only wish that we had run into Ms. Roman’s work when my son was much younger!  He might have felt, at age 14, that he was almost too old for these books, since they include illustrations.  However, we both did enjoy them and learned things we hadn’t known.  (Or that we’d forgotten but needed to revisit!)

We definitely recommend these beautiful, useful books for families and homeschools.  They’re a gentle and beautiful, and engaging way, to learn history!


late-summer-2016-and-ninjago-poster-images-120Where to purchase these books

You may purchase these books at the following links:

Be sure to check them out.  You’ll really enjoy them!  In addition, other Crew members reviewed other titles in this series.  If you click on the banner below, you’ll be able to read about other homeschoolers’ experiences.

You may also visit Carole P. Roman at the following social media links:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/CarolePRomanAwardWinningAuthorAndBooks
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/caroleproman/
Good Reads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5854108.Carole_P_Roman
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/caroleproman


If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}
Crew Disclaimer
Enjoy! –Wren


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