Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Barbour Publishing- A Book Review

Our most recent review opportunity is one that Popper was excited about! He enjoys reading books about adventures. He could not wait to get a chance to read Imagine...The Great Flood by Barbour Publishing. I knew that this book would be right up his alley! Plus, anything that make him want to read, is definitely a winner in the Crunchy Household.

IMAGINE... The Great Flood

We received a physical copy of Imagine. Popper immediately took it and began reading. He loved this book so much that he was finished within three days! This is such an unusual occurrence in our home. I started asking him all about the book, as I was flipping through it, to make sure that he actually read the whole thing. It gets even better, everywhere we went he told all his friends about his new favorite book! 

Because this is Popper's book, I decided to let him tell you about it in a question and answer style. 

What is the name of the book and who wrote it? "Imagine...The Great Flood" by Matt Koceich

Who is the book about?   Corey a ten-year-old boy. 

Where does the book take place?  It starts in Texas present day, but it ends up during the Great Flood of the Bible in 2400 B.C. Mesopotamia.

Can you tell me a little bit about the story without giving away the ending? Corey has just found out that his family is moving to Florida and is very upset.  He takes his dog, Molly, for a walk and begins playing fetch with his her. Corey throws the ball into the woods and notices that the sky is filling with black clouds. When Molly doesn't return with the ball immediately, Corey goes after her. As he is running to get her, his foot gets caught and he falls down. The fall knocks him out.
When Corey wakes up, he realizes that he is in a boat surrounded by water on all sides, and being watched by lions. Shem, the son of Noah, calms him down by telling him that the lions cannot hurt him because Noah has a staff that keeps the animals from attacking the people.  He is given a tour of the boat. 
Corey and Shem are then transported to before the flood began. This is where things get crazy. Shem accidentally lays down the staff and walks away. The chaos starts. The rest of the book is Corey, Noah and Shem trying to get back to the boat and retrieve the staff. 

Do you or would you recommend this book to your friends?  Yes!

Do you think that you will want to read the next book?  YES! It's about the ten plagues!

I think it's safe to say that Popper enjoyed this book! This was a perfect addition to our family library. Popper and his friends are excited about this book and the next one, "Imagine...The Ten Plagues" coming out in March 2018! We parents are thankful for a clean, safe, adventure book that our kiddos can (and want to) read! 

Barbour Publishing

You can connect with Barbour Publishing online:


Other members of the Crew received a copy of Imagine as well! You can read their thoughts by clicking the link below:

Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich {Barbour Publishing}
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Carole P Roman- A Review

We love books in the Crunchy Household. When I come across an author that we all enjoy, I can't wait to share it with all my friends!  Recently we had the opportunity to review 3 books by Carole P. Roman. He books are both fun and educational. The books that we received to review were If You Were Me and Lived In GermanyIf You Were Me and Lived In The American West, and Being A Captain Is Hard Work. We loved them and couldn't wait to share them with you!

Books by Carole P Roman

If You Were Me and Lived In Germany provides a glimpse at life in Germany from a child's perspective. There are both photographs of actual countryside and buildings as well as illustrated images throughout. The Crunchy Kiddos liked that the book included the types of foods that are popular in Germany. They love trying new things in the kitchen, and currently have me searching for a recipe for knodel to try!
We were able to discuss the differences in the euro compared to the US dollar which they thought was neat. They found the German names funny at times. We talked about how the German kids would probably think that their names sounded funny too!

Books by Carole P Roman

If You Were Me and Lived In the American West was a perfect fit for our school this year. We are studying early US history. The talks of gold rush caused quite a stirring here. The kiddos thought searching for gold would be fun. They were not as excited about how hard life in the west was. The trail rides would be exhausting, and we all decided that the long winter nights would have gotten boring. 
The kiddos decided that we should go camping in a tent and cook like the pioneers. I think that would be a great way to experience a glimpse into what life was like for them. However, I reminded the kiddos that we have a car and so it wouldn't be as realistic. They exclaimed how thankful they were for our car and that they didn't have to travel for days just to get to town! 

Books by Carole P Roman

Being a Captain is Hard Work was a great story with an incredible message for both adults and children! We used this one as a bedtime story. The characters made the kiddos laugh and joke about animals talking and how their voices would really sound. The idea of sailing a ship was intriguing until the storm hit, then reality was none of us wanted to be on board that ship! Captain No Beard learned a valuable lesson on listening to his friends! I plan on using the cloud guide in the back of the book in the future as part of our science lesson!

Carole P. Roman books were a great addition to our family library. We are enjoying reading them over and over! I think any family would enjoy her books. Especially if you are studying a country or a specific time period. These are a great way for children to get a feel for what life is like for people of different countries and how people lived during different periods in history!  

Carole P Roman Blog

You can connect with Carole P. Roman online:

Good Reads

Other members of the Crew received these and several other titles from Carole P. Roman you can read about their books by clicking the link below:

Oh Susannah, Bedtime Stories, Captain No Beard, If you were Me ... {Carole P. Roman Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, September 11, 2017

Monday Moments

We've been so busy the last few weeks as our Community Days have started with Classical Conversations. We are enjoying our time with friends, and, even though we are working harder than we ever have, we are enjoying our days more than we ever have. I tried to post this last night, but due to technical difficulties I was not able to load pictures. The name was supposed to be Sunday Snapshots, but instead is Monday Moments. I hope that you enjoy this glimpse into our world:

Popper has the biggest change this year. He is in both Foundation and Essentials. Here he is working on a presentation on a Bible story. He chose Moses and the Plagues.

The songs!!! There is so much memory work involved with Classical Conversations and of course the easiest way to learn is through song. Popper is working to memorize charts for his Essentials class by listening to the song on my computer. 

Brother Bear is loving CC as well. His least favorite part is the presentations. He is my shy kiddos. He gets all excited to share, but when it is his turn, he whispers and rushed through it. Here he was sharing about his monkey, Velcro.

 Sister is the most nervous on community days. However, that is changing quickly. She is starting to make new friends and she loves her tutor, Ms. Jenny! Here Ms. Jenny is teaching her about lenses by dropping water on a penny.

Of course, at home is still where the bulk of our learning happens. I love that we can still add our own style to our days. My art loving kiddos enjoyed getting to paint skeletons while learning the parts of the axial skeleton. 

Our days are full of learning together and the kiddos and I are loving it! I hope that your school year is going well too!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Big News for Quik Stix!

If you follow me at all, you know that we LOVE Quik Stix!

They just announced big news: they are now available at ALL BJ's Wholesale Club! Even better the 24pk is only $19.99!

If you haven't tried these yet, you definitely should! You can read my reviews of them here and here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks- A Review

New school year means changes. One of the biggest changes in the Crunchy Household is that we joined Classical Conversations. We are beyond excited to have community and accountability. I have been using this summer to find ways to help reinforce what the kiddos will be learning this year. I had found something for Popper, but still struggled with Brother Bear and Sister. Then I heard about A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks. We were blessed to be given the opportunity to review their Classical Conversations Cycle 3 JUNIOR Activity Book.

We received a pdf copy of the Classical Conversations Cycle 3 JUNIOR Activity Book. I printed off a copy for both Brother Bear and Sister. I took my copies to the local office supply store and hos the front and back laminated and them spiral bound. I wanted them to look nice, but I also wanted them to hold up through 24 weeks of CC.
These activity books do not stand alone! You will absolutely need a copy of Classical Conversations Foundations Guide 4th Edition in order for any of it to make sense.  There is not complete memory work in the books. It is simply activities, recommended for Kindergarten to second grade, that help them remember what they are taught each week.

My favorite part was that the activities within are still able to be changed up depending on the level at which your child is learning. For example, the above history page, Brother Bear will be able to write the name of all 3 ships and the year that they sailed. However, Sister may just color the picture and me write the names that she tells me. It really is made to work for both ages. 

There are activity pages for the seven major subjects of memory work: History, Latin, Geography, Science, Art, Math, and English. Each one has a fun activity or coloring sheet to reinforce the information found in the Foundations Guide each week. The Crunchy Kiddos loved all the fun pictures! They couldn't wait to get started. 

This really is a great resource for anyone that is looking to help their kiddos remember their Classical Conversations memory work each week. For Sister, I am simply using it because she wants to have a workbook or 'school' (as she calls it) like her brothers. With all of us drilling memory work each week, it is sometimes nice to have a new, fun way for the kiddos to review, these activity books are perfect for exactly that purpose!

You can connect with A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks online:


Other members of the Crew received copies of the following to review:
Classical Conversations Cycle 3 JUNIOR Activity Book
Classical Conversations Cycle 3 Activity Book
An Overview of the 20th Century
The Greatest Inventors 

You can read how they used their lapbooks and their thoughts by clicking the link below:

Lapbooks for Classical Conversations, Apologia, Inventors & 20th Century {A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Solar Eclipse

I was so sad that I missed Wordless Wednesday this week. I have some amazing pictures from the solar eclipse that I wanted to share. So, here is my Almost Wordless Sunday? I'll work on the name :)

I was able to purchase glasses that were in compliance with NASA requirements to view the eclipse. We added paper plates around them to ensure extra protection for little faces.

My favorite part of the day was playing with shadows! I am not sure why this was so intriguing to me, but I loved it!

The solar eclipse was probably by far the coolest science day we have had for school! A group from our Classical Conversations Community got together at the park to experience it. I think the adults had more fun than the kiddos. It was a great day where I learned as much, or more, than my kiddos did!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Everyday Homemaking- A Review

I love cooking and baking. So it should come as no surprise that I am always interested in trying new recipes. That is why I was really excited to get a chance to review Everyday Cooking by Everyday Homemaking. I received a pdf with my choice of a red or blue cover, I chose blue!

Everyday Cooking

Everyday Cooking is a cookbook written by Vicki Bentley, a homeschooling mom of eight. She used more natural, whole foods to cook with, that and the large family aspect is what drew me to this cookbook. She also includes sample menus, time saving tips, cooking skills checklist, and much more! I could not wait to get my copy printed out and bound! I also added tabs to mine to make it easier to find each section. I like the convenience of being able to flip to the specific section quickly.

My first recipe that I tried was zucchini bread. Our garden has produced so much zucchini this year that it is everywhere. I thought this would be a great way to utilize some of our overstock.  This recipe was pretty simple. I had made some similar to it before minus a substitutes, like applesauce instead of oil. I thought the bread turned out beautiful! The Crunchy Kiddos and Daddy T must have really enjoyed it too because it was gone the next day, and I made two loaves!

My second recipe was a basic muffin (I might have a weakness for bread products).  I was out of applesauce so I had to use oil instead. Also, I chose to add pumpkin and cinnamon into my mix, we are not big raisin fans so I skipped that additive. The recipe called for sucanat to sweeten the mix. I have to be honest, I had never heard of that before this book. I now know that it is an organic cane sugar. I chose to use her suggested substitute of plain white sugar. I also doubled the recipe because our family of 8 would not be okay with only 12 muffins!
They turned out beautiful and they were super moist. However, I felt that they were bland. I had to add honey butter to them to get the kiddos to eat them the next morning. I loved the simplicity of the recipe and how quickly I was able to put them together. I think with a few tweaks this could be my go-to basic muffin recipe. 

Overall, this cookbook is a great addition for any family looking to add a few new menu ideas, learn more about menu planning, or add new all natural ingredients to their cooking. I am looking to try her bread recipe next. I also would like to try my hand at making homemade ricotta cheese! I am sure there will be many more uses for this book in my future. I am glad that I was able to add it to my kitchen shelf!

Everyday Homemaking

You can connect with Everyday Homemaking on Facebook.

Other members of the Crew received a copy of Everyday Cooking or The Everyday Family Chore System. You can read about their experiences by clicking the link below:

Everyday Cooking and Chores Systems for your Family {Everyday Homemaking Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Veritas Press- A Homeschool Crew Review

I love finding new ways to help Sister continue to learn her letters. I was thrilled to discover that we were chosen to review the Phonics Museum App from Veritas Press

Veritas Press Phonics Museum

The Phonics Museum App uses a multi-sensory approach to teach children ages 3-7 how to read. It was developed by Classical Education leaders and like the title suggests uses a museum as its location.  Because of our recent transition to Classical Education, I was excited to learn that it uses history and fine arts as well as phonics to teach reading and engage the students! It's like classical meets technology, a bit of an oxymoron, but effective for my Crunchy Kiddo!

Veritas Press Phonics Museum

In the beginning Sister was able to create her own avatar that traveled through the museum to discover and learn. She was introduced to two very fun characters named Miss Biddle, the museum curator, and Percival, a knight from one of the museum exhibits. Miss Biddle became a favorite because of her quirky fun personality. Sister loved her! I liked that she was animated during the games and songs (the extras) but was a live person during the lessons. I think that helped Sister to take her more seriously and know when the important stuff was happening.

Veritas Press Phonics Museum

There are games throughout that are both engaging and educational. My favorite part was that Sister didn't actually realize that by 'playing' she was reinforcing the phonics that she had just been taught. I think her favorites were the songs. She is always singing! Since music is a major part of her world, the songs seem to help the concepts 'stick' better.

Veritas Press Phonics Museum

One thing I learned from teaching my boys to read was as soon as they were able to read a book, their learning really took off. They loved the new found skill and couldn't wait to learn more! With that in mind, I was pleased to find that Phonics Museum was designed in a way that children can read their first book in as little as four weeks. I think this is a great confidence builder that helps the student keep learning.  Sister is learning to read slower than the boys did. I also realize that she is showing interest much younger than her brothers. She is enjoying the process! She enjoys her new found knowledge of letters and phonics and will be mastering it all before I know it!

I think this app is a great addition to any family that is trying to teach a child to read. It is a great way to make learning enjoyable! I know that I enjoy teaching more when my children are enjoying the learning process. Even though we have switched to Classical Education, I still want my kiddos to learn to love learning, and I think the Phonics Museum App is a great way to help enforce that with Sister and her learning to read! 

Phonics Museum App is available on iTunes.   

Veritas Press

You can connect with Veritas Press online:


Other members of the Crew received an annual membership to Phonics Museum as well. You can read all about how their experiences by clicking the link below:

Phonics Museum App {Veritas Press Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, August 7, 2017

When the Waves Distract.

Last week at church, our pastor had a special teaching time for the children. It was on Matthew 14:22-31. In this passage Jesus walks on water, but the part that got my attention was my favorite disciple, Peter, and his response. You see, I understand Peter. In fact there are times that I feel like he was included in the Bible for me. I am impulsive, all-in, foot-in-mouth follower, who, if I was incredibly honest with you and myself, fear that I too could deny Him, and do sometimes with the way I choose to live my life (that part breaks my heart)!

Here we find an impulsive Peter, bold enough to ask Jesus to let him come out on the water with Him, if it was indeed Jesus. Peter's faith is big, I believe that his intentions were in the right place. He knew enough about Jesus to know that He was able to allow Peter to join Him. Because of that big, bold faith, Peter walked on water. Can you imagine the high? I think this would have been a major 'mountain top' moment!

"But when..." verse 30 takes the turn. This is where I most relate to Peter. Stepping out in faith, is not the hardest part for me. The distractions of this life, that is where I get messed up. When my focus gets on my circumstances, when I over think another situation, that is when I, like Peter, begin to sink. Sometimes I recognize it immediately and cry out to my Savior. Other times, I allow the other stuff to clog my thinking for too long and that creates a whole lot of mess!

Last Sunday, I knew this story for the kids, was actually just for me! My Savior was reaching down into my pit of mess and once again pulling me to Him. I let the distractions of life, the opinions of others, the 'rational' thinking keep me from walking in obedience. The waves of life had distracted me. It was my time to repent and get things right again!

Being this open and vulnerable is not easy for me. I don't like sharing my mess with anyone. But I know that I cannot be the only one that struggles. We all need a Savior! I am so grateful for Jesus and His sacrifice for me! I can't begin to explain the peace that followed when I let go of my yuck and stepped back into His will and calling on my life. I know that the road ahead won't be easy. In fact, there will be so many days that I want to quit, days where those big waves try to blur my thinking. I also know that I can fix my eyes on Jesus! 

He even gave me verses in His Word to remind me:
Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shames, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Heirloom Audio's In the Reign of Terror- A Review

If you have been following me for any amount of time, you know that we are huge fans of Heirloom Audio Productions. You can imagine the excitement when we found out that we were chosen to review their latest audio drama, In the Reign of TerrorAs usual we stalked the mail carrier waiting for our copy to be delivered. We couldn't wait to get started listening to this new adventure!

In the Reign of Terror

We love audio dramas. In the past we have had the wonderful opportunity to review both Beric the Briton and The Dragon and the Raven. Both of these have become favorites that have been enjoyed over and over again. We love the action and adventure that the audio dramas provide. It is nice to have family entertainment that is fun and educational!

In the Reign of Terror is an adventure that lands us right in the middle of the French Revolution. It opens with Mr George explaining the difference between the American Revolution and the French Revolution. We used this to discuss the difference between the two ourselves. The American Revolution was fought for freedom from the King and England. We discussed how American's chose to keep God at the foundation of their new found freedom.  Whereas the French was a mob style mentality. The people were more focused on destroying anyone of noble blood. I never realized the stark contrast or that The French Revolution was a very dark time for France.
In the Reign of Terror introduces us to Harry a young British boy who is traveling to serve an aristocratic family. He is excited to get the opportunity to travel and serve. He never expected to be right in the middle of the fight against the nobles that he is living with and serving! You'll have to listen for yourself to see if Harry is able to save them from the mob!

The story was so well written, the characters so enticing, the adventure so alive, that we had a hard time breaking for bed! I found myself struggling to not listen to the conclusion without the Crunchy Kiddos! The kiddos are already asking to listen again, but they will have to beat Daddy T to it! He has intentions on taking it with him to listen to on his drive to work. 

We also received a downloadable study guide to help us learn more about the story. It opens with full page biographies of both Maximilien Robespierre, a key leader in "The Terror" part of the French Revolution. Also of Marie Antoinette, the queen of France. Both pages outline the character of each and the part they played in the French Revolution.

Each chapter has several questions to help with reading comprehension, vocabulary words that are used during that chapter, and questions that cause you, the listener, to 'Think Further.'  Every few chapters there are inserts that help you to expand a little further on the topic presented. The back of the study guide includes a Bible study to use along side the audio drama. 

I love that you can use this audio drama as a complete unit study style lesson or just for family entertainment, whichever fits best for your family and learning style. The best part is that these audio dramas are a perfect fit for any family! 

Heirloom Audio Productions has just announced their Live the Adventure Club! Here you can connect with other readers, access a read along script of the story, allow your children to earn badges for quizzes about the story, and so much more! 

Heirloom Audio Productions

You can connect with Heirloom Audio Productions online:
Instagram @HeirloomAudioOfficial

Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew received a copy of In the Reign of Terror as well. You can read their thoughts by clicking the link below:
In the Reign of Terror {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Crafty Classroom- A Review

 If you have ever taught more than one child to read, you know that what works for one child may not for the next.  Painfully that is the lesson that I have learned with all three of my children.  Popper was easy, he basically taught himself. Brother Bear is an online learner. Sister, she is her own person with her own learning style. She likes to color, play with play-doh, and be creative. When I read about Learn to R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook and R.E.A.D. Review Pack by The Crafty Classroom, I knew that this was exactly what Sister needed! I was so thrilled to be given the opportunity to review these!

We received a download of both the Learn to R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook and the R.E.A.D. Review Pack. Sister was excited to get her own reading notebook and begged to start from the moment she saw me printing it out!  

In the beginning of the book there is a pre-assessment. One part is a chart with the letters and pictures that begin with that letter's sound. When I began this with Sister to make sure that she was ready for the notebook, I found that she was farther behind than I had realized. She had forgotten some of her letters and their sounds. 

Thankfully, part of the assessment included some flashcard style letters that we used to identify both the capital and lower case of each one. This activity also included picture cards for the sounds the letters make. We used these for a few weeks to help her to remember her letters. 

Once I had confidence that she knew her letters, we began the Notebook. The book suggests several ways to organize the many pages to keep up with them. It also provides both a 4 and 5 day schedule. I chose the 4 day. I wanted Sister to enjoy learning and not overwhelm her. I also chose to organize my materials by day in file folders. That helped me keep track of her school work with out her coloring all the pages ahead of time.

She absolutely loved the hands-on activities provided by her R.E.A.D. Notebook. My hands-on, play-doh loving girl fell in love with what she now calls "her school work." 

(We ran out of q-tips the day that I decided to take pictures of her learning!) I loved that there are several pages each day to reinforce the sight words and word endings that are being learned each week.  

Sister still hasn't completely mastered reading yet. She can see and identify some sight words. So, we have been progressing slower then originally planned. However, that didn't stop Brother Bear from making more progress in his reading! Here he is using one of the readers from the R.E.A.D. Review Pack. These are 28 early readers that are supposed to be used along side the notebook. However, as you can see, they can be used alone! Brother Bear loved the fun stories and that he could read the entire book all by himself! 

I am so grateful to have found The Crafty Classroom! Sister has been begging everyday to do her flashcards and Notebook. It has definitely made teaching her to read much more fun than work. (which makes this momma very happy!) 

Crafty Classroom

You can connect with The Crafty Classroom online:

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew received a copy of R.E.A.D. and other great products from The Crafty Classroom including
Alphabet Curriculum Notebook
Bible ABC Curriculum Notebook
USA Activity Bundle
How to Write a Paragraph

You can read their reviews by clicking the link below:

Crafty Classroom {Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer