The Mom Conference ~ Free & Amazing!

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There is an amazing and incredible….and FREE…online conference for moms, coming up October 13-15, 2015!
Mom Conf image 1

How long has it been since you’ve been encouraged and equipped to do the job only you can do:  be the mom to your kiddos?  For me, it has been a WHILE.  But now, there is a solution to that!

And best of all, you don’t even have to leave your house to experience all this conference has to offer!


The Mom Conference is a totally FREE three-day online event featuring some truly amazing speakers and YOU are invited to attend!

Join over 100,000 moms around the world on October 13, 14, and 15th and come away armed with powerful new strategies for everything from sibling rivalry to healthy eating to finding more joy in motherhood.

Register for FREE now at the following link:  THE MOM CONFERENCE



Being a mom can be overwhelming at times, right?! The Mom Conference involves 20 online classes to make motherhood more enjoyable. 20 rock star speakers (mostly moms) will be teaching you how to:

  • Help your children to embrace healthy foods while teaching them to cook
  • Get your kids to listen without yelling, nagging, or reminding (this will change your life)
  • Get in shape and eat the right foods to feel and look better (you’ll learn you can actually eat MORE than you’re eating right now and lose fat and inches!)
  • Simple ways to teach your children – babies through teens – the values and character traits that will help them be successful and happy
  • Organize any space and keep it that way (what?!)
  • Get in shape and come away with an even BETTER body than you had before babies
  • Actually accomplish the things you need to accomplish WHILE prioritizing motherhood
  • Understand what’s going on in your child’s brain (it’s amazing how much better we can parent when we understand what’s going on in those little heads!)
  • Find more joy in motherhood

Sounds amazing, right?Mom Conf image 2
Here is a list of the incredible presenters:

  • Dr Laura Markham, Clinical Psychologist, bestselling author and discipline expert at Aha Parenting (Raising Siblings to be Best Friends)
  • Jordan Page, family finance expert and founder of (Simple Ideas for Serious Family Fun)
  • Katie Kimball, expert on healthy eating for families and founder of Kitchen Stewardship (Want Responsible and Healthy Kids? Teach Them to Cook and Eat Real Food)
  • Jonathan Bailor, NYT #1 Bestselling author of The Calorie Myth, founder of, and CEO for the wellness technology company Yopti® (How to Turbocharge Your Energy & Mood Immediately with the Right Foods)
  • Amy McCready, positive discipline expert and author and creator of Positive Parenting Solutions (The Positive Side of Misbehavior – Consequences That Work! )
  • Dr. Carrie Contey, expert on personal growth through parenting, founder of (Slow Down for Way more Space and Joy in Family Life)
  • Rich Christensen, NYT #1 Bestselling author on business, goal-setting expert and founder of The Zigzag Principle (Raising Teenage Titans)
  • Richard and Linda Eyre, NYT #1 Bestselling authors who run Valuesparenting (Simple and Powerful Ways to Teach Children Values)
  • Holly Rigsby, fitness expert who runs (5 Key Strategies To Get an Even Better Body After Babies)
  • Jill Nystul, author and founder of (Dealing with Depression and Other Big Bumps in the Road)
  • Shawni Pothier, founder of the popular mom-blog, 71 Toes (Finding More Joy in Motherhood)
  • John C. Maxwell, NYT #1 bestselling author, coach, and speaker who has sold more than 25 million books in fifty languages. (How to Be Present in a Distracted World)
  • Crystal Paine, financial and lifestyle expert and founder of Money Saving Mom (The Money-Making Mom: How Every Woman Can Earn More and Make a Difference)
  • Rachel Ramsey Cruze, author and financial planning expert at, daughter of Dave Ramsey (Smart Money, Smart Kids)
  • Marla Cilley (a.k.a. the Fly Lady), author, home organization and cleaning mentor, founder of (Are You Living in CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome)?)
  • Christy Wright, business coach, speaker, Dave Ramsey personality, and writer at (Creating Better Life Balance)
  • Dr. Robert Mellilo, a clinician, professor, brain researcher and bestselling author at and Tammy Bingham, researcher, autism and developmental expert, entreprenuer (Helping Children Overcome Learning and Developmental Challenges)
  • April Perry, productivity expert and co-founder of Power of Moms (Five Steps to Getting More Done with Less Stress)
  • Saren Eyre Loosli, family organization expert and co-founder of Power of Moms (The Three Basic Systems Every Family Needs)
  • Desiree Ward, healthy eating expert and founder of Unconventional Kitchen (Simple Ways to Feed Your Family Healthy Foods)

Mom Conf image 3And to help you avoid procrastination (we know how it goes!), if you register RIGHT NOW, you’ll have access to the following FREE GIFTS as soon as your registration has been completed!

– FREE Video: Simple Tips for Teaching Children Values (by NYTimes #1 Bestselling Authors, Richard and Linda Eyre)

– FREE Program: Clutter Buster Kit from Power of Moms

– FREE Guide: 75 Quick and Healthy Snacks

Come listen ONLINE and be inspired October 13, 14 and 15th!

Register for FREE at the following link today:  The Mom Conference

See you at The Mom Conference!

Enjoy!  –Wren


Things we love….Asian Markets!







The Great Food Truck Race came through our town earlier this year and our episode aired a few weeks ago…pretty fun show!

On the show there was a team called the Pho Nomenal Dumplings (they won the show and $50,0000.00)! Well obviously their specialty was Asian based cuisine; so when they were in our little town, they shopped at an Asian market we had never known about. Last weekend we decided to go exploring.

I can’t possibly explain how amazing it was in one post (4 aisles of just noodles)! But what captivated us was the produce section…flown in from FL and CA it was amazing. Not to mention the vast array of exotic fruits and vegetables never seen in your regular supermarket. I have dreams about the Oyster and Shiitake mushrooms!

Here is a sampling:

Rambutan: The rambutan is native to southeast Asia and is closely related to the lychee fruit. The skin is red and covered with hairy spines. The flesh is semitransparent or pale pink and has a mainly sweet flavour. The single seed is glossy brown and not edible.


Chinese eggplant: Compared to the American eggplant, Chinese eggplants have thinner skins, a more delicate flavor, and not as many of the seeds that tend to make eggplants bitter.

Chinese eggplant

Chinese okra: Surprise! It’s not okra at all it was just named that because of it’s resemblance. It’s a gourd, in the cucumber family. if harvested young it has a sweet, delicate taste and can be used like summer squash. If allowed to fully mature it becomes that Loofah common to bathrooms (crazy)!

Chinese okra

Durian: From Southeast Asia, many regard the durian  as the “king of fruits” the durian is distinctive for its large size, strong odor, and large thorn covered exterior. The edible flesh emits a distinctive odor that is strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as having a pleasantly sweet fragrance; others find the aroma overpowering and revolting. The smell has been described similar to rotten onions, turpentine, and raw sewage. The persistence of its smell has led to the fruit’s banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in Southeast Asia. (Side note: I spoke to a woman that loves durian, but has to eat it outside her house because her husband likened it to smelly feet).


The fruit featured at the top of the post is Dragonfruit; Dragon fruit is a beautiful fruit grown in Southeast Asia, Mexico, Central and South America, and Israel. It is actually a type of cactus, and the fruit comes in 3 colors: 2 have pink skin, but with different colored flesh (one white, the other red), while another type is yellow with white flesh. A very nutirtous fruit that is high in vitamins and low in calories, it is sweet and crunchy, with a flavor that’s like a cross between kiwi and a pear!

We bought mushrooms, noodles, coconut milk, plaintains, siracha mayo, etc. and my husband made some amazing dishes that weekend. We’ll definitely be back! Dragonfruit yes, Durian, no!


Introducing Lisa from A Rup Life ~ Family, Fun & Homeschooling

Welcome back to Family, Fun & Homeschooling!

F,F & H


Today, my featured blogger is Lisa from A Rup Life.  Lisa is a fellow reviewer with me for the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I love her head shot; I always think she looks like such a glamorous homeschool mama!  She has a very interesting homeschool story as well.  Read on to meet Lisa!

Lisa R head shot

Tell us about your blog.  What was the spark of the idea that enabled you to
create your blog?

My blog’s original purpose was to showcase my crafting but as I had more children I had less time to craft so I started sharing more about our little life and changed the name to A Rup Life. Now I share a bit about our homeschooling journey, faith and some product reviews/giveaways.

Do you have a favorite blogging topic that you return to again and again?

I don’t know if it is a favorite, but I share a lot about homeschooling.

Tell us about your family.  How did you and your spouse meet?  And what
would you like to share about your children?

My husband and I have been married for almost 16 years. We met at a local church and married there. We have 3 boys and one on the way!  The one on the way was a complete surprise because I had my tube tied with #3! So it is very exciting. Can’t wait to meet this special little boy, God has for our family!

Lisa Rup family

What made you decide to homeschool?

My big kids were originally in a private Christian school. My husband was laid off and we knew we could not afford tuition so we prayed about the situation and felt like God was calling us to homeschool.  That was 4 years ago and we are still going strong.

What does a day in your homeschool look like?
We are pretty relaxed. We get up around 8-8:30, eat breakfast and do chores. Typically I start my day with blog work while the big kids do their scheduled work. Then later in the morning I do about 20-30 minutes of structured learning with my 4 year old about 3-4 times a week. I don’t look at this as a race because I want the kids to enjoy their school time so they get done when they get done, which is between 2-4 depending on the day.

Lisa Rup bannerDo you have a favorite “date night” you love to do?

Since I’m pregnant I really don’t have much energy for date night anymore. So we’ve been staying in and putting the kids to bed or a camp out in the living room while we go in our room and enjoy a movie and special snacks.

What are some of your favorite mama­-child activities?

I love reading aloud to the kids and taking them on special activities or field trips. Seeing them experience new things has always brought me joy.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?

My life is a crazy fun ride for sure! I’m so thankful for the blessings God has given me with my family and even this little blog project that has grown into a part time job! I’d also like to Thanks Wren for having me on her blog and sharing my story!


I’m thrilled to have featured Lisa–and so excited about the new addition to her family!  Be sure to head over to A Rup Life and check out Lisa’s blog!  One of her posts lately that I really enjoyed was her review of the YWAM biography for kids, Abraham Lincoln: A New Birth of FreedomSince I’m always looking for good books for my son to read, I love the YWAM books.  And, Lisa’s review is excellent.

Enjoy!  –Wren

Project Tentacles–Our Newest Amazing EEME Kit

*affiliate links are included in this post*

What happens when you combine transistors, a buzzer, and a circuit?

Project Tentacles Banner

You get the newest EEME product we’ve put together!  Project Tentacles is the third project in EEME’s Builder Basic 6-Project Set, and it is every bit as cool and interesting as its name implies.

What is EEME?

EEME is a company devoted to making science, technology, engineering and math accessible to children, especially those aged 7-12.  EEME Dad Jack has created excellent kits which teach children how to build electronic projects.  These kits teach the kid builders  about electricity, programming (we’ve built a project based on binary programming already), and engineering principles.  Designed for parents and kids to do together, EEME’s kits are easy to understand and fun to build, even for those with no engineering experience!


Project Tentacles pic 1How does Project Tentacles work?

Project Tentacles, like Project Genius Light (#1) and Project DIY Display (#2), works on the breadboard from the first project.  So, we reused the breadboard and battery set.  However, EEME did send us the following additional components:

  • A buzzer
  • Wires, both long and short
  • Resistors
  • Transistors

And, as always, a complete video tutorial is included from EEME, along with clear step-by-step instructions.  The video tutorial for Project Tentacles contains 33 sub-lessons.  These sub-lessons teach safety tips; what each component in the project does; and assign questions which review what the students learn as they complete each project.

Project Tentacles pic 2a

And the cool projects students build in Project Tentacles?  Completing a circuit so a buzzer sounds.  Adding wires to the buzzer circuit, for a more complex project.  Using resistors in the circuit.  Working with two different types of transistors, with different results.


Project Tentacles pic 3How we used Project Tentacles:

Since EEME includes many different projects in each kit, we’ve found that we learn best when we break up the projects over the course of a week or so.  That means that we’ll do about 5-7 sub-lessons on a given day.  And, each day that we worked on some sub-lessons, Jackson built something fascinating that taught some specific scientific principles.  Here’s a short list of some of the principles he learned with Project Tentacles:

  • The function of a closed circuit in electricity
  • What a resistor does to the flow of electricity
  • Different kinds of transistors and the way they work
  • What each pin on a transistor accomplishes
  • How electricity affects sound


Project Tentacles pic 4aOur conclusions about Project Tentacles:

I have said before how much we love EEME and the EEME projects we’ve built.  There really is a beauty in working through all of the Builder Basic 6-Project Set, and I’ve been able to watch it happen.  Even though we’ve only completed the first three projects of the 6, I have watched Jackson become very comfortable working with breadboards, electricity circuits (which are powered by 2 AA batteries), and all the different components that are included with each set.  He understands circuits and the flow of power through the resistors, wires, and transistors.  And, he’s learning that there are very practical uses for these projects!  (How about setting up an alarm with Project Tentacles on your door or dresser drawer?)

Just as important, he is able to follow the step-by-step instructions which direct the student in completing the projects.  And, when he gets to the end of several steps and doesn’t achieve the desired end result, he can work back through them to find his mistake and correct it.  How important is that problem-solving skill?  I’d say, it’s a crucial one!

So, Jackson and I wholeheartedly recommend both Project Tentacles and EEME’s Builder Basic 6-Project Set.  These projects are fun, exciting to complete, and fantastic for teaching excellent life skills and STEM knowledge!

You can purchase Project Tentacles and the Basic 6-Project Set at EEME’s website, where you’ll also find excellent and free STEM curricula.  Check it out!  You truly won’t be disappointed.

Enjoy!  –Wren

DISCLOSURE:  Finch and Wren have affiliate relationships with a number of excellent companies.  If you purchase an item through our affiliate links, finchnwren will earn a commission.  However, you will never pay more for the item when you purchase it through our links.  And, we only recommend products that we truly believe in.  Thank you!






Here’s what my son Jackson said about Project Tentacles:

“It works in a very fun way.  And is pretty easy and also very fun to build.  I would definitely recommend it once you have done all the previous EEME projects.  The buzzer is fun.”

FINDING NOAH ~ Special Film Review

Will scientists ever find Noah’s ark?  That is the question posed…and explored…in FINDING NOAH.

Finding Noah quote

Filmmaker Brent Baum and a team of scientists, archaeologists, wilderness experts and theologians believe–and hope–so.  For this group of men, finding Noah’s ark is a goal they’ve spent years pursuing.  And now, with state-of-the-art technology assisting them, finding the vessel that saved civilization is suddenly a real possibility.

They begin with the location of the resting place of the ark, mentioned in the Bible:  Mount Ararat.  Mount Ararat is the tallest mountain in eastern Turkey and is nicknamed “Agri Dagh.”  What does that mean in English?  “The Painful Mountain,” which defines the many difficulties surrounding it.

Mt. Ararat is surrounded by three geopolitical entities:  the Eastern Anatolian region of Turkey; generational lands claimed by Kurdish rebels; and Armenia, which claimed the mountain as its own until newly-drawn country boundaries settled it in Turkey.  This can potentially add dangers to the already-perilous mountain climb.

This mountain is also almost 17,000 tall, and has an ice cap at the top.  It is an active volcano, with a gorge as deep as the Grand Canyon.  And climbing it is incredibly hard.  Those from the FINDING NOAH group say it is an “unpleasant, difficult, challenging, life-threatening place to be.”  However, GPS imagery and radar have located two “rectilinear forms under the ice.”  Armed with this information, which gives a definite location for the researchers to dig, the group of explorers sets out.

What will they find?  And how will they be tested?  Climbing Mt. Ararat is not only a physically taxing effort.  It also requires mental and emotional, and for this group, spiritual, strength.  Will the men make it to the top of the mountain?  And, will they locate the ark?

Finding Noah poster

This excellent, gripping film will be in theaters for one night only:  October 8, 2015.  You’ll definitely want to see this record of a journey that will test the faith and endurance of all those who made the climb.  You can also discover more about the film, the explorers, and even purchase tickets at Finding Noah.  And, you can watch the trailer there as well!

I was really moved by the perseverance of this explorer team and the film crew, and their devotion to faithfully exploring Mt. Ararat.  Faith and science truly can coexist.  Be sure to check out Finding Noah when it premieres in theaters October 8, 2015!

Enjoy!  –Wren

A Journal to Make You Happy!

I received the most charming book!

Instant Happy Journal

Karen Salmansohn’s fabulous new journal, Instant Happy Journal, is as gorgeous on the inside as it is on the outside.  Its subtitle is “365 Days of Inspiration, Gratitude, and Joy.”  More than just an empty book with pages to be filled, it’s designed to actually enable its writers to, as the old song goes, “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.”

And how, actually, does Salmansohn do this?  She has created a journal with a blank page for each day of the year.  But, the pages aren’t completely blank.  Instead, each one has what the author calls “happiness prompters.”  It’s a wide variety of quotes, lists, thoughts, and information that will cause the user to stop and think, and to purposely call to mind things about each day that are good.  Or happy.  Or joyful.

August 220In the journal’s foreword, Salmansohn mentions a study done at the University of California. Study participants were divided into three groups, and given three different assignments.  The first group was to write once weekly about 5 good things they were thankful for.  Members of the second group wrote 5 irritating things that had happened in their days.  The third simply wrote down five random things that had occurred.

August 219Overwhelmingly, the first group (the ones who wrote things they were thankful for) noted that they were happier and that they looked forward more to good things in their futures.  Perhaps most surprisingly, they experienced more improvement in their health!

I was particularly interested in this book because I can see that it is and will be a very useful tool for me.  I’ve always been a pretty positive person.  But, difficult struggles in the past few years have really had an affect on my outlook.  I would love to be more grateful and more thankful for the blessings I have.  What a cool way to record these…at night after the day’s events, or in the morning as I recall the neat things of yesterday.  And then, there’s a wonderful record of all those very good things, any time I might need a lift!

Karen Salmansohn’s Instant Happy Journal is beautiful to look at, full of amazing prompts for your writing, and is, I think, something that will enable users to think about GOOD things. It’s a joy!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Enjoy!  –Wren

Meet Crystal from Castle View Academy in Family, Fun & Homeschooling

Welcome back to Family, Fun & Homeschooling!

F,F & H

Today, I have a new friend from the Schoolhouse Review Crew to introduce you to!  Crystal from Castle View Academy.  She is an expat living on the Emerald Isle (wouldn’t you love to be able to say that?), and she is an experienced homeschooler.  Not only that, I really enjoy her sense of humor.  You’ll love meeting Crystal…and here she is!

Tell us about your blog. What was the spark of the idea that enabled you to create your blog?
My blog began as an advertisement for childminding, but grew from there to the homeschooling blog that we now are.

Crystal McClean button

Do you have a favorite blogging topic that you return to again and again?
Culture and crafts are always favourites of ours, and it’s even better if we can combine the two!

Crystal McClean familyTell us about your family. How did you and your spouse meet? And what would you like to share about your children?
Phil and I met over the photocopier at work. I was making plans to leave the country (I’m a Canadian in Northern Ireland) and find new adventures when we met. Little did I know then that I would be here for this long!

Tristan was born 11 weeks premature, just 8.5 months after our mountain-top Canadian wedding. It threw me into a tail-spin, and it wasn’t until after Kallista’s birth 2 years later that I started to feel ‘normal’ again.

Doing things together as a family is very important to us, as we know that life is precious.

What made you decide to homeschool?
The mandatory school starting age here is 4, and nursery (kindergarten equivalent) starts from 2 years and 10 months. It’s the youngest starting age in the world. I was still getting to know Tristan and didn’t want to send him off every day so young when he didn’t even know himself yet. Add the pressures and exams from a young age as well, and I started to consider home education as a viable option. Home education isn’t common here, but my husband has always been supportive right from the moment I first mentioned it to him. We haven’t looked back since.

What does a day in your homeschool look like?
Our days vary so much depending on any appointments or Phil’s rotating days off, as well as our energy and moods. But a ‘typical’ day could be like this:
The children have breakfast with Phil before he leaves for work at 7am. Then they cuddle up with me for some reading, and sometimes a little extra sleep.

Tristan will work on 15 minutes of English while Kallista gets herself ready for the day or dances around the house.

Next the children will have a little play time and a snack, which always a highlight in their day!

Some math or English on the internet or trying out a program or curriculum that we’re reviewing is usually next on our agenda.

If we’re going to the library, this is usually the time we’ll head out and walk down there. Some days we just go for the books, and other days we take some work with us to do there for a change of scenery. If the weather is lovely we’ll go for a walk by the sea and appreciate nature.

We have a late lunch and then the children play while I do the dishes and tidy up.

In the afternoon the children will finish up anything that still needs to be completed. Some afternoons we all have a little quiet time and relax for an hour or so. Silent reading or playing with Lego are Tristan’s top choices. Kallista enjoys making meals in her play kitchen or doing puzzles. I read a book or scroll Facebook…and sometimes actually nap.

Phil arrives home at 7pm and we have supper together before the children get ready for bed, have a bedtime story, and get tucked in for the night.

Phil then works on creating 3D images on his pc. This is the time I do most of my blogging. Five times a month I head out to meetings at the camera club and the RSPB.

Crystal McClean campingDo you have a favorite “date night” you love to do?
We’re pretty rural and frugal, so our weekly date night is to have a meal together after the kids go to sleep (frozen pizza, curry, lasagna or nachos are always popular treats and a departure from our usual homemade meals). Then we either watch a movie or catch up on a TV program.

What are some of your favorite mama-child activities?
My children love to craft as much as I do so time spent together doing this is always special. We also like to read to each other before getting out of bed and facing the day on the mornings that Phil goes to work.

Crystal’s bio:

Crystal McClean is a Canadian who is homeschooling her young family in Northern Ireland. She is a Mom, wife, homeschooler, virtual assistant, frugalista, and much more. If you’re looking for fun activities, educational ideas, recipes, multiculturalism, reviews, freebies, and giveaways, you’ll find it all with a little dose of inspiration thrown in for good measure. You can learn more about their adventures at Castle View Academy or follow along via Facebook, Twitter, G+, or Pinterest.

I love hearing about how homeschooling works in other countries.  Wasn’t it fun meeting Crystal?  Do visit her on her blog or social media hangouts; I especially enjoyed reading her recent blog post Everyday Bento.  Just perfect for moms looking for cool ways to present lunch!

Join us next week for another cool homeschooling blogger at Family, Fun & Homeschooling!

Enjoy!  –Wren

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