Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Pencil Grip, Inc. -Thin Stix Review

The Crunchy Kiddos and I were so excited to receive a set of Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors by The Pencil Grip, Inc. to review! We reviewed their Kwik Stix last year and loved them. Popper had actually asked me then if there were any that were thinner. Who knew that a year later he would get a set to try! 
Thin Stix by KwikStix

Thin Stix are solid tempura paint sticks. The kiddos say that they have the same feel as a glue stick. They are thinner than the original which allows for more detailed painting, which Popper was absolutely pleased to find out! My favorite part is that they dry in 90 seconds and are almost completely mess free! That means no paint shirts, no newspaper protected surfaces, no prep or clean-up! I love that on those days when I am not in the mood for the creativity to take over my house, I can still say yes to painting. My kiddos love the freedom they have to create almost anytime! I know it sounds a bit cliche, but it really is a sanity saver in our home.

I always remind my kiddos that they have to use Thin Stix carefully. Brother Bear and Sister have a tendency to press too hard and crush the paints. It makes them very upset when that happens so I make it a point to remind them each time. I also remind my kiddos that the paint stays on the paper. 

I decided to use Thin Stix the first day while we were listening to an audio book. I thought it would be a great way for them to keep hands busy and listen to the book. I had secretly hoped for pictures that went along with the book we were listening to about early US History, but I did not give instructions for them to do so. 

Here are the works of art that were created during that time:

Popper has really been enjoying all our readings lately. He created a picture of the Mayflower and the Pilgrims that were aboard. 

Brother Bear has found humor in the Boston Tea Party. He thinks it is funny that they dumped so many cases of tea. He says he wants to dive into the harbor and see if he can find some of the tea bags. (I explained that tea was made differently then and that it was a very long time ago). 

Sister was sad when she heard what her brothers had created. "Mommy, mine isn't anything about the book. I didn't know." I assured her that there was no rules that it had to be. She explained that her picture is of her and her cousin flying in a butterfly machine to the top of a building to see inside. 

I think all the kiddos did a fabulous job on their artwork! They really enjoyed the new Thin Stix and the freedom to paint. We used them mainly during free art and audio book time. There were several works of art created during the last few weeks. I decided to let the children pick a their favorites to showcase for you! Below are the ones that they chose to share:

These are a great addition to any classroom that wants to allow kiddos to paint and be creative, but doesn't want the mess. We love our Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors. There are several different sizes and color combinations available on The Pencil Grip, Inc.'s website. We have already begun making a a wish list for our next purchase!

You can connect with The Pencil Grip, Inc. online:

Other members of the Crew received a set Thin Stix as well. You can read how they used them in their homes by clicking the link below:

No Mess Art with Thin Stix Classic Colors {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Focus on the Family- A Review

We are a superhero loving family. The influx of movies that are superhero based, but not always family friendly have made it difficult to allow our kiddos to enjoy their favorites. We have struggled to help our boys find a way to enjoy the world superheros, and still honor God's word by being careful what they watch on TV.  Needless to say finding out that Focus on the Family had created a superhero named Captain Absolutely made this momma incredibly happy! 

 Captain Absolutely

I learned that Captain Absolutely was originally written for Focus on the Families Clubhouse Magazine by Wooten Z Bassett and Illustrated by Dennis Edwards. It was ran over a 5 year period and has now been compiled and turned into a 105 page full colored comic book.
A little summary: Captain Absolutely was originally a librarian names Josiah King. One night there was an explosion caused by sunflower seeds, a computer, and of course nuclear power (this is a superhero comic after all)! This turns Josiah into Captain Absolutely! He finds himself trapped in the library reading the Bible! After he gets out of the rubble, Captain Absolutely begins to battle Dr. Relative using the Word of God and the truth that it holds! 

Popper was thrilled when this book finally arrived. He disappeared into his bedroom and began devouring it! He excitedly came in from time to time to tell me that he would pop-in and tell me things like:
"Hey Mom, Captain Absolutely was a librarian and there was this big explosion...." 
"Did you know that Captain Absolutely helps others by using the BIBLE! That's so cool!"
"Look, Bible verses in the pictures, that's awesome! Where's my Bible?" (probably my favorite comment!)

I loved that not only was he reading (which is sometimes a struggle for my boy) but he is reading a book that is based on the truth of God's Word! 

There were several times that I went searching for him and found him up on his bed reading. It was so good to see him excited about reading! Usually, reading is a struggle and can sometimes lead to tears. Not with this book! He was/is thoroughly enjoying every page.

It wasn't long before the other 2 caught on that this book was a good one and began to beg for Popper to read to them. This is how I found them that night as they were supposed to be getting ready for bed. He was reading (out loud!) to his younger siblings! I cannot adequately express my excitement when I saw this other than I cried. They all are hooked on Captain Absolutely and his adventures battling Dr. Relative! My favorite part, they are getting Biblical truths that they may not even be realizing!

In the back of the book there is a character outlines that teach more about each character, but also includes a Bible verse that corresponds with each character. 

Also in the back, two pages entitled "Big Questions." These are questions that help put the truths learned in the story into real life scenarios for the children. These are great discussion points for us as we help our kiddos navigate life in Christ!

I decided to ask Popper what his thoughts were on Captain Absolutely. Here are his responses:

What is Captain Absolutely about?

"There was an explosion at the library. Josiah King, the librarian, finds the Bible. While he waits for someone to save him, he begins to read the Bible. Then he becomes Captain Absolutely and starts his adventure with Hana, a girl who becomes his side kick. They start battling bad guys using the Bible."

What did you think about the story?

"I think it is a good way for people to learn about the Bible. Because it uses Bible verses throughout the book to show how Captain Absolutely is battling the bad guys."

Do you think other kids your age (8) would like this book?


What was the main point of this book?

"To tell people about the Bible."

I think this book has been a great addition to our home. I have never seen Popper read with such excitement! I think this book would be great for superhero loving kiddos of all ages!
You can connect with Focus on the Family:

Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to review Captain Absolutely as well. You can read what thought by clicking the link below:

Captain Absolutely {Focus On The Family Review}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Radiant Grace Studio Bracelet Giveaway!

I am so excited to share this new product with you! My friend, Amanda, has been making jewelry for a while now, but recently decided to make it available to the public by opening her own Etsy shop! The name of her shop is Radiant Grace Studios!

Amanda makes beautiful handmade pieces (and even takes custom orders)!  I wanted to showcase some of her work here to share with you!

In honor of her opening her studio, she made a bracelet for me to offer as a gift to one of you! You can enter for  a chance to win the gorgeous bracelet below! It is made with Czech fire polished and metal beads with a waxed linen cord. It is adjustable, but the bead length is 6 inches.

It is made with my favorite colors, so, I have to admit I'm having a hard time parting with it! 😉

This giveaway is open to the US residents only. I will announce the winner next Wednesday, May 24th 2017!

You can email Amanda about a custom order or with any questions you might have:

Visit her Etsy shop to see all of her current pieces available:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Only Passionate Curiosity- A Review

We homeschool moms all have times when it just becomes too much. The stress of trying to schedule lessons, doctor/therapy appointments, clean the house, cook dinner, and still manage to stay sane: it becomes overwhelming!  We feel like we are at our breaking point! If you are like me, in that moment you begin to question if you are actually cut out for this gig or if your children would be better off in a public school. Most of the time, in those moments, I feel like a failure, more than that, I feel utterly alone! 

I was relieved to find out recently that this is a very normal reality for a lot of moms. Thankfully, I was given the opportunity to review an ecourse called Homeschool Rescue by Only Passionate Curiosity. Their motto is "Breath New Life Into Your Homeschool." I knew that was what I needed!

Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue

Homeschool Rescue is a 60 day ecourse. It includes 5 modules that each have 3-5 lessons, printable worksheets to help reinforce the videos in your own life, bonus material that is being added to constantly, and online support in the form of a Facebook groups and emails from the creator, Heather. There is also a printable planner that can help keep you on track if needed.

I knew that this would be hard to fit into my already full days. I knew that finding another 20 minutes or so to myself would be almost impossible. What I also knew was that if I didn't figure something out, our homeschooling journey could be over. I needed this course! 

In the beginning, I struggled to find the time to watch the videos and complete the homework. I wanted so desperately to stay on track and be involved on the Facebook support group. Much to my relief, it wasn't long before Heather sent out an encouraging email about working at our own pace. I breathed a huge sigh and kept trucking through, and man, am I a glad that I did! I do want to make a note here that the emails from Heather are not daily or even weekly. In fact, I loved that they seemed almost random, but always right on time for where I was in my progress through the lessons. They were the encouragement that I needed to keep going. 

The lessons are designed to build on each other and start with you evaluating your current homeschool in the first module called "Triage Your Homeschool." The questions were tough and sometimes hard to answer, but I knew change was needed, and since I was the only one reading my answers, there was no sugar-coating them. The reality was a hard one for me to swallow at first, but the grace that I felt from Heather, encouragement that I wasn't the only mom feeling this way or going through this was so reassuring. 

Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue

The second module, "Time Management Systems & Organization" is probably the one that I needed/need the most. I want to be organized, I try to be organized, but I have four children. I feel like every time I almost get there, life happens! This was a great module to remind me, a self-proclamined curriculum junkie, that there is too much of a good thing. It has been tough, but the purging has begun. This is HARD for me, but I am realizing with each box I fill and get rid of and each shelf I organize, that now I have only what we actually use. I know where to find it and quickly. It really has begun to reduce the day-to-day stress of planning, teaching and learning for me and the kiddos!

I am still working through the course, and since Heather has forbidden us from using the word 'behind,' I will say that I am right where I need to be for this stage of my life. I am grateful that I can get serious about each lesson and apply it in real time. I never feel like I am being rushed to finish. Because I have a lifetime membership, if one lesson's homework takes longer than I thought it should, that is okay. I just keep moving forward.

Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue

There is so much more that I could talk about. I am beyond grateful for this resource. It has truly helped "Breath New Life Into our Homeschool!" I know that it could for you too! If you are struggling with fatigue, completely overwhelmed, or may be just stuck in a rut, this course is for you. I absolutely love the support that it gives moms. 

Homeschool Rescue is running a Summer course for a new group of parents starting in June. You can sign-up today to reserve your spot in the live course by visiting their website!

You can connect with Only Passionate Curiosity online:

Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the chance to use this course as well. You can read about their experiences by clicking the link below:

Homeschool Rescue {Only Passionate Curiosity Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer