Sunday, November 22, 2020

Eternal Rest Grant Unto Papa...

You rarely know when the last time you'll be able to hug someone is. 




You rarely realize how treasured an ordinary moment can become.


You often think there will be another opportunity to sit and share love all together...


Then, between one goodbye embrace...


... and another, you blink.

A year begins to turn into two, and sickness comes. Earthly goodbyes happen in person for some and at a distance for others...


The swing stands empty.

Sorrow sweeps in. 

And smiles, too.

Smiles breaking through tears.


Memories and gratitude and love.

Love with no earthly bounds.

Today, may I ask for prayers for my extended family as we mourn the loss of our beloved Papa.
A man missed - and treasured!

We are so very grateful for times together - simple times of making paper airplanes, flying kites, sitting on the swing, him waiting in the breakfast nook for us to arrive from our looooong journeys down to visit and always having food cooked up to greet us, visiting Nana at the nursing home together, going to the park, and so much more... Times of love shared from afar with phone calls and cards - oh, how the kids loved waiting and knowing a card would come from Nana and Papa.

Special times like his surprise visits here, him hearing our girl's "hummingbird" heartbeat in utero, him coming up to see "his girl" when she had a (canceled/rescheduled) surgery, him eager to give each infant grandchild sink baths, him sharing ice cream.... Oh, Papa we wish we could serve you homemade french fries...

Sit around a fire together...


Share hugs...


Hang out in the sunshine...


Sit on your lap...


And just spend time on the swing with you...


We wish such ordinary moments of last times together could be just "ordinary" again, not "last".

But you are gone now. Still, your love, your wit, you smile, your dedication, your quiet strength, your enormous impact on our lives will always be here as will our prayers that you and Nana find eternal glory in Heaven.

We are so very grateful for having known you, for having shared so many extraordinary ordinary times together, for the love you showered on us. We are blessed.

Papa, Nana, we love you.

Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of Nana and Papa rest in peace. Amen.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Get Personalized Name Gifts {A CrossTimber Review}

  Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

About four year ago, I gifted my youngest a beautiful Personalized Frame Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse and accompanying bookmark from CrossTimber for his First Reconciliation. He loved these unique-for-him gifts.


Thus, recently, when I was offered an opportunity to receive 5 Name Bookmarks or Name Cards and some AmazingName Print Activity Sheets for review, I took it. 

Each of the five members of my family likes to read, and one of my godchildren will be learning the letters of his name soon. So, I new that the bookmarks and activity sheets from CrossTimber - a
 well-run family business - would be appreciated here.

Ordering Was Easy

soon as I received a code for ordering, I had each member of my family get online with me to check out the myriad designs for bookmarks that we could choose from - with each of us picking a vertical or horizontal book mark, an image, and if a quote or Bible verse was preferred. I also put in the information needed for our activity sheets.

This done, I completed our orders and awaited the arrival of our CrossTimber packages.

The wait was not long at all, and, when I opened things up, I was happy to see the 25+ pages of activities for my godchild and his siblings to do - mazes, word-searches, coloring pages, handwriting pages, and more personalized with his name



There were a good variety of activities.


With different levels of difficulty.


 I look forward to gifting him these.

I also was happy to open the bookmarks for my family. 


However, when I did, I was surprised to see that the quality of them did not match the quality of past products we have received from CrossTimber. On the bookmarks, there was a misplaced comma, some font size issues, etc.
 
They Care about Their Customers

I wrote to CrossTimber about these things and, immediately, received a warm response, apologies, and a new set of bookmarks sent out to me ASAP.


I was thoroughly impressed with the speedy, personal, yet professional customer service I received!


Seriously - the response came right away...


They addressed issues with punctuation, font size, etc. I had I brought up...


Plus, they extended a true human touch...

In short, the communication and follow-up made it all the more evident to me the CrossTimber is a true family run business and that the Denharts - who own and operate the business - truly care about their customers and take the time to build relationships and make things right. I love that!


We are happy with our new bookmarks, and I know my godchild and his family will enjoy the activity sheets made especially for him. I am also, as I said, impressed with CrossTimber's warm, genuine, and speedy customer service. 

My daughter suggested that the bookmarks would be great to get as confirmation gifts - with the chosen confirmation name as the name on the bookmark, and I think that is a great idea.

With all this in mind, I do not hesitate to recommend CrossTimber to you if you are looking for name gifts for your family and friends.

CrossTimber does a fantastic job researching names, offers a wide selection of designs for the personalized gifts, and stands by their work.

You can see more of the designs they offer by clicking through to the Homeschool Review Crew site to find links for 70+ blog, video, and social media reviews.


You can also find CrossTimber on social media:

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Secretly Give Bread of Baked Goods in Honor of St. Elizabeth of Hungary {FREE Printable}

Sometimes, it is fun to do secret kindnesses for others.


Saint Elizabeth of Hungary's feast day on November 17 is a perfect day for committing such an act. For, just like St. Elizabeth sometimes secretly delivered bread and essentials to the sick and poor around her, we can share with those that we know are facing needs, troubles, or sorrows.

This November 17th, we can remember how St. Elizabeth imitated Christ and saw Him in those she served, looking beyond our own challenges to see how we might recognize and honor Jesus amongst our friends, family, and community members.

Surely you can think of someone who is down on their luck, facing a challenge, or just needs to know they are thought of and loved.

If so, I encourage you to  begin a new annual "secret service" tradition by printing a FREE Remember St Elizabeth of Hungary and Know that You Are Loved printable, pairing it with some bread or baked goods - and anything else you feel inspired to give, and secretly delivering it to the person you are thinking about right now.



Then, each year, choose a new person to secretly make a delivery to on St. Elizabeth of Hungary's feast day - sharing forward her story, her love for service, and her dedication to Our Lord.


If you like this ideas, you might also wish to deliver secret St. Nicholas baskets in December... 




...and make Secret Blessing Boxes on St. Teresa of Calcutta's feast day in September.

Random acts of service are a wonderful way to teach young people to honor God and love one another.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for us.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Ooo... A School of Mary!

If you are looking to learn more about Our Lady, you may want to begin following the School of Mary, a new series by Fr. Matthias M. Sasko of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.



Fr. Matthias and the other friars are truly wonderful spiritual fathers and brothers and I, personally, am grateful for their teaching through the years. I am also excited about this series, so wanted to share it in hopes that it may bless you, too.

In these crazy times we all need a little something to be uplifted by - especially when it is filled with truth and love.

Blessed Mother Mary, pray for us.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

How Does Archeology Support the Bible? {A Bible Unearthed Drive Thru History® Adventures Review}

  Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.


My children have long appreciated Dave Stotts from Drive Thru History® Adventures, so when we were offered an opportunity to review their new Bible Unearthed series with an early access pass, we took it!

What is Bible Unearthed


This 12-part series invites you to sit in on discussions between Dr. Titus Kennedy (a PhD archaeologist) and Drive Thru History® Adventures Dave Stotts, and Randall Niles. As the three discuss Biblical archeology, they show artifacts and models, present pictures, refer to slides, play video clips on location, etc.

In doing so, they cover 12 mini-topics and give details about the world of archeology and its importance to understanding the Bible and ancient world.

Dr. Titus Kennedy's expertise, Dave Stotts' beloved sense of humor, and Randall Niles' organization work together to engage you as you are immersed in the following episodes:

  1. What is Archaeology?
  1. The Impact of Archaeology
  1. Locating Archaeological Sites
  1. The Life of an Archaeologist
  1. What’s Being Discovered Today?
  1. Archaeological Mysteries
  1. Top Discoveries in Bible Archaeology
  1. Getting Involved with Archaeology
  1. Trends in Archaeology
  1. Weird Archaeology
  1. Accidental Discoveries in Archaeology
  1. What’s Left to Be Discovered?

These episodes are brief and can be watched in an academic way - following a suggested lesson plan which refers to additional materials/options that you have access to, including:

  • Full Written Expositions & Breakouts for each episode
  • PDF Worksheets with full Answer Guides
  • “Dig Deeper” Articles
  • Fun Activities
  • An exclusive Facebook Community just for other Adventurers

They can also simply be enjoyed - and even binge-watched - in a more relaxed way.


Or, you can do as my family did - watch a number of episodes in one sitting, then have Mom look at the downloadable PDF Worksheets which are included and use them as inspiration for casual oral quizzes before moving onto the next series of episodes.  

Truly, the materials offered with Bible Unearthed can be used any way you like them - as family screentime, as a more in-depth course, or somewhere in between.


Summaries of the video episodes, Scripture readings, discussion questions, suggested optional activities, and answer keys in the downloadable materials are all included as are online summaries complete with full color pictures and much more. There are even internet linked to articles on the Drive Thru History® Adventures website that can make a great addition to the study for those that wish to dive in!

So, Bible Unearthed is flexible and can be tailored to your needs.

Any which way you use it - just watching the video episodes and chatting about them or going all out with the extra materials, you will definitely come away with a stronger understanding of archeology and how it supports Bible history.

My Children Enjoyed and Learned with Bible Unearthed



As I mentioned earlier, my family chose to take a rather relaxed approach to Bible Unearthed with cozy family watching and informal oral quizzes and chatting.

That has worked for us. We have all enjoyed and learned.

My 13-year-old daughter said:

I was excited to get it, because I have liked the other series in Drive Thru History®

However, when we started this series, I realized it was not quite like the other Dave Stotts videos. It was more of a conversation between Dave Stotts, Randall Niles, and Dr. Titus Kennedy, who is an archeologist. They still showed footage from out in the field, but it was just short clips.

 

They also used replicas of artifacts to show what the artifacts look like. 
This series is different from other Drive Thru History® ones, but it is not bad. I learned a lot about different artifacts and enjoyed - with the company of my laughing brothers - the way Dave Stotts played with, dropped, and otherwise made merry with the models.


 

I also learned that numerous archeological finds prove that parts of the Bible or Bible prophesies are true. For example, the prophesy of the coming Messiah was actually written before the Messiah came. 

When we watch Bible Unearthed, I usually ask to watch more than one episode at a time. 

I would recommend Bible Unearthed to people who like archeology and to homeschool moms like mine who like to click on something and have - viola! - peace. 

The only things I would change in future editions is that the hosts would not say "like" so much in the beginning episodes and that there would be more in the field. 

My 14-year-old son said:

I liked Bible Unearthed. It was not as good as Stotts' other productions, but it was still good. 

I missed having a lot of Stotts in it - his humor, his travels, the way videos are cut together, just him - but I liked that Stotts still had some goofiness and that there was so much information. 

Some things I learned were:

  • There is an archeological site in the middle of, I think it was Sudan, that mentioned something that supports Bible history.

 

  • There are seals that show part of the Bible is true.
Honestly, I prefer the style of the other Stotts' videos, but this one works, too. It is just different.

My 10-year-old son said:

I wanted Bible Unearthed because it has Dave Stotts in it, and also because I wanted to learn more about archeology. 
When we started watching it, I thought it was good, but I prefer the other Drive Thru History® because Dave Stotts was teaching it, and he is less serious, but still teaches you. Still, I liked this one. Some things I learned were that:
  • Stamps are very important archeological finds because they can prove somebody or something actually happened or was real.
  •  The Bible and other historical books help archeologists locate where potential sites are. 
  •  Someone actually found an archeological find while throwing a rock into a cave when watching sheep.

I've enjoyed watching this series and recommend it to people over the age of seven who like archeology and like Dave Stotts.


And, I, as Mom, am well pleased.

Although all of my children - and Mom and Dad, too - missed the style of other Drive Thru History® Adventures we have seen with their snazzy sound and film effects and beloved quirky humor of Dave Stotts as host, we all were drawn in by the expertise of Dr. Titus Kennedy as he shared with Dave Stotts and Randall Niles and appreciated learning more about Biblical archeology through this series.


We especially liked the on location clips and the kids liked bits of Stotts' silliness. 

Watching and chatting about the series together has been an enjoyable and educational addition to our homeschool life and learning and we'd recommend this series to other families who like relaxed learning as well as to those who want to dig deeper using the full array of materials and resources that Bible Unearthed offers.

Learn More

When you purchase Bible Unearthed you get lifetime access to all 12 episodes.

If you'd like to see what other Homeschool Review Crew families thought of Bible Unearthed, click through for plenty of video, blog, and social media reviews.






You can also connect on social media with Drive Thru History® Adventures:

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Give Your High School Student Sound Learning in Personal Finances with PEM LIFE {An Online Course Review}

 Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.


Financial literacy!

Have you ever noticed that many high school curriculums fail to offer students an opportunity to learn sound financial principles and neglect to teach them the knowledge and tools they will need in order to become financially stable adults? 

If so - and if you think this is as much of a problem as I do - then take a look at the comprehensive financial literacy curriculum Personal Finance Illustrated® Homeschool Edition by PEM LIFE

Personal Finance Illustrated® Homeschool Edition is a comprehensive financial literacy course initially developed for college students which is now available to homeschooled high school students as well.

Sound Financial Literacy Lessons

The Personal Finance Illustrated® Homeschool Edition  by PEM LIFE gives parents and students access ttwo instructional paths:

1. The Proctored Path: This option allows your student to move through the content of the course more or less independently by watching the video lessons and completing the included reading assignments, quizzes, and other assignments. This process can simply be overseen by you, the parent, and provides material that was developed to meet all the requirements of a 3 credit-hour collegiate level course.

 2. The Instructional Path: This option allows you to take a more hands-on approach, using an Instructor Guide that has been developed for each Unit. The guide contains lesson plans, instructor coaching videos, key points, Powerpoints, additional documents etc., and is designed to help you deliver the curriculum to your student directly without any previous knowledge or experience required.
Of course, for maximum flexibility, these two paths can be combined in any way you and your child see fit and both work together to help your child gain the knowledge and skills needed for financial responsibility as an adult.

With 15 Core Units, 64 Individual Lessons, 30 Financial Calculators, and Hours of Video Instruction, the Personal Finance Illustrated® Homeschool Edition is both thorough and completely customizable.

My oldest child and I have not made out way through the entire course yet, but we have completed enough of it to feel comfortable recommending it as 
a sound and helpful way to develop and deepen practical financial understanding for the real world! 

Our Experience with PEM LIFE

Since my 14-year-old son has begun working for pay this year, we were delighted to receive 6-months access to PEM LIFE to review.

My son has been working through the course - sometimes with me at his side - at fairly regular intervals around his other courses, commitments, and life happenings.

When I asked my son his thoughts for this review, he said:

PEM Life is an online high school / college level personal economics course. It can be done either with a parent/teacher or independently. 

The course is made up of videos, documents, quizzes, and resources which are put together to create the overall course.  

The approach I took to taking the course so far was to watch the videos, take the quizzes, and use The Personal Economic Model® and some of the other resources.  

 

I chose not to read the downloadable textbook yet nor to participate with the discussion forum. I also have not done much with the Instructor's Guide or written assignments.  

 

This may seem like a bad idea, but it is necessary for me right now, because I need to manage my time between another college level course I am taking that has an urgent and strict deadline, my paid work, other lessons, and some unexpected family responsibilities. Therefore, I have appreciated the flexibility offered by PEM LIFE.  

By just watching the video lessons, playing with the calculator, taking quizzes, and conversing a little with my maternal figure, I have been able to learn some new things and progress through the course.  

My favorite part so far has been the The Personal Economic Model®.  

I can interact with it and goof around to see what will happen if I do different things. I like that it gives a one-shot view of your financial life and that you can test what will happen if you make different choices.

Two things I have learned or had driven home by the course so far are: 

(1) Taxes are awful and tax rates can go very high.

(2) College may be a money-sucking machine that drains you of millions of dollars over time. Everything has an opportunity cost, and I am going to try to live without debt.

I like the course so far.

The only fault I find is with the way the course is formatted so that it is hard to find where you left off. Besides this minor flaw, the entire course is well written and well organized

PEM Life is a great resource for anyone who wants to better their knowledge of personal economics and money.


As you can see, my oldest son likes the course and is progressing with it even if he does not do every part of it and interprets things he is exploring in his very 14-year-old way.

Let me assure you, the course does not say anything bad about college. It just shows the impact of college loans as it does other life choices.

Also, it also does not place value judgements on taxes or much else. Rather, it gives background, offers facts, and allows students to apply scenarios through the calculators. It also shows an interesting factual history of tax rates in our country that shocked my son.


During the portions of the course that I have sat with my son for, I have been impressed with the clear explanations and content of the course.

I have also wished that the The Personal Economic Model® had been around when I was younger and that I had more time to play with the model/calculators myself and/or take the course. For, while I started my adult life with a basic understanding of personal finances and went into marriage with a decent financial footing, different life happenings have eroded some of our family's financial security. Thus, I know that my husband and I have some catching up to do with financial planning and prep before retirement, and I believe material in this course could be helpful as we do do.


The calculators and models in this course can make taking a hard look at where you are at, where you are headed, and what changes you can make easier. I do hope to utilize them fully myself before our 6 months access is up. I am also grateful that my son has exposure to them at his young age and is getting a head start with financial literacy through this course. It is a good one.

Learn More

Want more information, thoughts, and opinions about this helpful financial literacy course? Click on through to find links to over 20 blog, video, and social media reviews.


You can also connect with PEM LIFE online at:

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