Wednesday, July 26, 2017

  Ahhhh...what says camping in Maine better than cooking fresh scallops at 10:30 at night?!  DELICIOUS!!!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

ACTÍVA Products - my REVIEW

Do you have crafters in your family?  More to the point, do you have non-crafters in your family?  :)  This most recent review product is something you might want to look into when it comes time to make a prop or something to go along with a history lesson or to illustrate a talk or so many other things.

ACTÍVA Products has a product which is called Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit and an accompanying free e-book called ACTÍVA Products' Favorite Sculpture KIDS CRAFTS which gives ideas and instructions for projects you can make using this clay-like product.  

Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit

We received the products and upon opening them discovered that there are two rolls of a wrap material that kind of looks like it is plaster-impregnated and then a bag of a powdery substance. 

My kids read through the e-book and got an idea about how the products are used and what kinds of things they could make with them.  The e-book gives instructions for different projects such as little model animals, beads, bowls, decorative items, and more.  By reading through these projects they got the idea as to how to se the materials correctly.  

Next it was time for my kids to choose a project.  My 15-year old son and 12-year old daughter were the ones interested in giving it at try.  My son chose to make a Darth Vader mask :) and my daughter wanted to make a bowl like the peppermint candy bowl in the e-book instructions.

They found the objects they wanted to replicate and covered them with plastic wrap to protect them from the sticky stuff.    They followed the directions to moisten the Rigid Wrap and applied it to their chosen form.  (By the way, in case you were wondering what it is like, it reminds me of the old cast material they used to use on broken arms!)

They let their projects dry (it took several days, but it was pretty rainy and humid here, so that might have lengthened the drying time) and then my daughter painted hers with acrylic paints.  My son wanted to leave his white and plans to hang it on his wall.

There is another part of this product and it is the CelluClay.  The texture of it reminds me of finely shredded paper or something similar (with a name like CelluClay I assume it is some sort of cellulose type product?)  This powder is mixed in a ziplock baggie with some water (the amounts aren't given, but you can add till you get the right texture).  My son didn't like the feel of the clay so he didn't use that part, but my daughter did--she made a tiny knitting bowl and ball of yarn with toothpick needles in it for her mini dolls :) She also experimented with a few other different things with this CelluClay, but wasn't happy with the end result.

So...what did we think?  Well, we didn't love it.  The wrap material was pretty neat to use, but we didn't really enjoy the CelluClay.  It was hard to figure out how to use it with the initial directions that came with the kit, but the e-Book was helpful for understanding how to mix it up.  I think that these materials would be great when you have a craft that you don't want to take too much time--it's much faster and easier to use than papier-mâché and it is nice and easy to paint.  We had a difficult time getting it smooth, especially the CelluClay It would be good for younger kids as well, because the process (other than drying) is pretty quick and easy.  I will say, also, do this over newspaper or something, because it is messier than it might appear.  My kids used it on our island and we washed it like 5x or so to get it clean.  

Oh yes, all the mini dolls seemed to have some "major accidents" this week and find themselves in need of casts :)  haha :) that works too :) 

If you'd like to hear what others think about these products, be sure to click on the box link below!

Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit {ACTÍVA Products Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Gathering the Threads by Cindy Woodsmall -- my REVIEW

I usually like reading Amish fiction, often I feel it's just kind of "fluff" but oh my, this series of three Amish fiction books in the series "The Amish of Summer Grove" by Cindy Woodsmall are not really fluff, though they are easily readable and VERY interesting!

This book, Gathering the Threads, is (as it sounds) a culminating book in a series.  I would REALLY suggest that you read the first two books in the series, as they are wonderful reads as well (but if you don't have the opportunity, this book very nicely gives a little summary at the beginning of the book to tell you the high points of what has happened already in the series, which will be helpful to many.)

Ariana is a young woman (early 20's)  who was brought up in an Amish family with younger and older siblings, and even a twin.  She is dedicated to her Old Order Amish lifestyle and attempts to talk her sibling out of leaving the group.  Her world is completely shaken when she (and her parents) find out that she was mistakenly swapped at birth with another baby girl and she is actually not their biological child.  Ariana's parents find their biological daughter and her parents and, at the threat of a lawsuit by the English father, the girls go for a trial period with their biological families.

The biological child of the Amish family is Skylar, who is addicted to drugs and a very worldly lifestyle.  Her parents are not married to each other, and they are anxious to find a "fix" for Skylar's destructive lifestyle.

As Skylar enters an Amish family, she has struggles to find her place as well as coming to grips with her heritage.  Ariana, thrust into an English lifestyle, has a very hard time, and her bio father has many demands on her as he tries to broaden her horizons.  Through this all, a childhood friend of Ariana's (Quill) who has left the Old Order Amish life helps her out immensely.

This third book, Gathering the Threads, is Ariana's re-entry into Amish life.  Three months away have changed her in many ways.  She has longed to return to her Amish family and fiancee and now that she's there, she is confused.  She has learned that God's Word, the Bible, is what is important to follow, and is unsure about how the Amish bishops' rulings fit in with this.  She earnestly wants to do what is right and unfortunately the church leaders give her an amazing amount of trouble.  Her family is confused as well, and her Amish father exercises his strictness.

In the end, Ariana chooses her pathway--but of course, I'm not going to tell you what it was :)

It's hard to summarize this all, but I will say that it is a very good book, and I would totally recommend it.  It gives a bit of a different look at the Amish life, and makes the reader think a bit as well.  This is definitely a book that will make you want to stay up at night to read just one more page. :)

So -- yes, yes, yes--read it!  Enjoy it!  Struggle a little bit along with Ariana to figure out Who is really in charge.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

GIVEAWAY!!!!  I have the first two books in this series, Ties that Bind and Fraying at the Edge to give away!  What a great way to prepare to read the third book in the series!  This giveaway will start today (7/20) and will end on Saturday July 29th at 8 p.m. Eastern time.  Oh, and you must have a US mailing address  To enter, please leave a comment below!  I don't have a fancy setting on here that has you enter your email address, so if you are not someone I have a way to contact, please check back here the evening of the 29th or the next day, July 30th and let me know how to contact you :)  If the randomly chosen winner does not respond by Aug 1, I will have to choose another winner!

Z is for zoom!

I have a daughter who is driving!  She's been driving on a learner's permit for a year now, and has taken driver's ed, and is doing a great job.

Today we had the opportunity to go to a teen driving clinic put on by Ford, called Ford Driving Skills for Life.  It was amazing!  The teens learned so much from this course!  They drove a Mustang with casters on the back wheels to make them skid and spin out so that the teens could learn how it feels and how it feels to correct.  They learned about why distracted driving is so bad (did you know that just looking at your phone to see who texted you makes you take your eyes off the road for THE DISTANCE OF A FOOTBALL FIELD????!!!???  (yes, I meant to all-caps that, it is shocking!))  They practiced driving fast and stopping, so they could feel the ABS braking system engage.  They drove fast-ish in a smaller car and had to quickly maneuver into a lane (randomly selected by the machine just before they had to move) to avoid an "obstacle".

I took my daughter and a friend of hers who is a timid driver.  Both girls enjoyed it and said that they really learned so much.  They both said they felt so much more confident, having actually done these things now, as opposed to just learning about them in driver's ed.  For instance, they both had learned what to do if their rear wheels skid, but they'd never felt it before and had never gotten to actually perform the correction.

Definitely a great time.  Great learning.  Great instructors.  I'd highly recommend this program if it comes to your area!

Oh...and believe it or not, it was FREE!!  Amazing.  What a blessing to have something like this come to our little state :)

Here's a clip of my daughter in the mustang.

High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin -- My Review

Do you enjoy historical fiction?  Are you looking for something to read?  :)  It sometimes seems like historical fiction is all set in the old west, a spinster schoolteacher or a widow looking for a husband...and it turns into just a plain old romance.  Well, that is not the case for this book!

High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin is a book set in World War 2, in Belgium!  It is about a British nurse, Eve,  with Belgian family ties who loses her husband to war, moves with her mother to be with family in Belgium, loses her siblings and uncle to the war, and serves as a nurse while trying to survive the German oppression/slaughter.  She not only serves as a nurse, she is also a part of an espionage ring.

Eve is hurrying to a rendezvous with a British plane when she happens on a plane crash...the very plane she was supposed to meet.  She finds the pilot dead and the passenger severely wounded--and the passenger's face sends her into amazed shock because it is...(ummm, did you think I was going to tell you?????  You'll have to read it yourself!)

Eve's mission becomes more complicated as she tries to save the life of this person as well as two other people who she has learned are alive in France.  She continues her work with the wounded, gathering information and sending it to the Allied forces, while working to save this other soldier and retrieve and ensure the safety of the other 2 she is searching for.

This story is very complex, you have to think while you're reading it :) I wouldn't call it a light fluffy read at all.  It is hard.  It is war.  It doesn't overly-romanticize war.  Eve has her own ghosts to reconcile (a lot of them, actually) and peace to search for.  She has lost hope in one sense, while she works guided by hope in a different sense.

I know my review is a bit enigmatic, but so many of the key points are things you should discover for yourself.

I like this book, I would recommend it.  It is not my favorite, but it is a good book and does show a different side of the war -- and it's World War I, which I rarely find fictional books set in.  Give it a try!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Doctor Aviation -- my REVIEW

Doctor Aviation
My son has recently joined Civil Air Patrol, and through that organization he has suddenly developed an interest in flight, airplanes, and general aviation topics (he has even been up in a plane!)  I was blessed to be able to participate in a review program for a video-learning series called Doctor Aviation, which is a six-month aviation education course and he was certainly happy to extend his learning through this online class!

Doctor Aviation is a series of fifteen lessons, each of which is about an hour long.  The sessions are basically lectures delivered by an extremely knowledgeable and experienced instructor.  They run the range of topics from aircraft, air traffic control, maintenance, airfield operations, and more about the aircraft (instrumentation and more.)

Each of the lessons contains different parts:  technical trivia, notable innovators, legendary aircraft, and aviation events.  

The style of the lessons is pretty much the instructor standing there, wearing a flight suit, near an airplane, lecturing.   The lectures are thorough and quite interesting to listen to.  A lot of vocabulary is introduced and explained nicely.  There is a historical component, with a student learning historic basis for well as a physics-type component, learning the forces of flight and how we have arrived at this body of flight knowledge that is current today.  There is a focus on those who pioneered ideas and methods and set the stage for what we have today.  There is also a section that goes over different distinctive aircraft and the features that make/made them so special. It's not just "kid stuff" either -- a lot of this information is probably new to adults as well!  (Or it takes info you already might have known about and shows how it fits into the subject of flight.  

There's also a really neat component, and that is the "guided notes" for the program.  There are notes in a fill-in-the-blank format for the student to follow along with, filling in the blanks as the answers are revealed.  I think this is very valuable for keeping the student on track and keeping them paying close attention!  I think this is a great training tool for homeschoolers--so much of my homeschoolers' learning is done from books, rather than lectures, so note-taking while someone is teaching is definitely a skill they need to hone, and these guided notes are a stepping stone to helping them learn to take notes independently.  
As I have told you, it is pretty much a guy standing and lecturing, but my 15-year old son will tell you that though that description may sound a bit dull, it isn't!  He really enjoys the lessons, and the way they are taught.  Here's what he had to say about it:  "The guy really knows his stuff.  He is very clear at trying to get the point across.  It is all really interesting stuff.  He moves at a good pace through the material in order to cover a lot of stuff."

To me, a lecture like this is interesting as well.  I love audiobooks and this reminds me of that...not as huge a need to view the screen (for the most part) and the information is shared in an interesting way.  If my child was younger, I'm not sure if it would be a good format without lots on the screen, but for my 15 year old son, it's great.

There are also tests and activities to take each lesson further.  If you are using it as a highschool course, you will want to make use of these to cover the subject thoroughly.  

There were a few things I had questions about over the course of trying these lessons, and when I asked the questions, I received quick and thorough answers.  I really appreciated that the course creator was so quick to follow through and take care of any issues/questions I was having.  This is very valuable in an online course.  

I'd definitely recommend this course, especially for the target audience of 16 years old and up.  

To see what other folks thought of Doctor Aviation, click the box below! :) 

Aviation Course {Doctor Aviation Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, July 17, 2017

Trust Fund (movie) by Mapelle Films (and a bonus book -- Love Was Near) -- my REVIEW

Trust Fund Movie

Do you enjoy movies? Most of the members of my family do. When we had the opportunity to review the movie Trust Fund by Mapelle Films, everybody was up for it! We settled down as a family to watch the movie--my husband and I, our 17 year old daughter, 15 year old son, and 12 year old daughter.  We also received an accompanying book, Love Was Near, which I'll tell you about as well!

The movie is about a modern day "prodigal son" (well, daughter) as Jesus told about in his parable of the prodigal son in the Bible.  Without telling too much of the story--Reese, a young author who wants the easy way decides that her "tough" life is just not good enough, discovers a secret, and decides to go live her "fun" life in Italy, with a boyfriend, leaving her family, responsibilities, and more back at home.  She encounters difficulties, but has left home after doing something really bad (and she's made a lot more bad choices once she is in Italy)--so what is she to do?  Meanwhile, her sister Audrey is kind of like the perfect child on the surface.  She is working at her dad's company, doing all that is expected of her, being perfectly self-controlled and doing just right.

Reese wants to come home, but is not sure how or if she even can; Audrey resents Reese and the lifestyle she inhabits...and I won't say too much more about the plot :) I will, however, say that it reflects the story of the prodigal son in the Bible.

I mentioned that we watched this movie as a family...

and everyone enjoyed it.  It's an almost unimaginable story of forgiveness and who needs it.  We watched it all together and, since it was a review item, we discussed it together.

We all agreed that it isn't very "Christian" -- really it doesn't refer to Christ or Biblical principles, just tells a story that parallels the prodigal son.  We also agreed that it was a nice movie, enjoyable and entertaining.  It kept our interest and showed a father's amazing love.

Although there isn't much Biblical content in the video, there is a great study guide which details the parallels to the prodigal son, speaks of Biblical truth, asks hard questions for discussion or further thought, and helps each of us to apply the prodigal story to ourselves.

Love Was Near Book

There is also a book that is a great accompaniment to this movie, intended to be read/used AFTER viewing the movie.  The book is called Love Was Near by Sandra Martin.  I let my 17-year old daughter have this book and she started right in with reading/using it.  It has since found its place on her bedside table, at easy reach.  She's reading it and enjoying it.  It's not a book about the movie, really, well, it kind of is...It's kind of a journal as if written by the main character in the movie (Reese), in a "Dear Diary" fashion.  The diary entries are interspersed with thought-provoking questions as well as some words of wisdom.   My daughter is really enjoying this book--even though she doesn't like just journaling-type books--she likes to revisit the story, read more about what Reese was thinking/motivated by, and then think about those things as they apply to her life.

Quick overview...Trust Fund is an interesting, well-made, "clean" movie which parallels the parable of the prodigal son in the Bible.  There is a great study guide for families or groups to use (or individuals too!) as well as an "extension" book  called Love Was Near for girls 12 and up to read/learn/journal.  It's a great group of products and I would definitely recommend them!

To read more reviews about these resources, please click here:
Trust Fund Movie {Mapelle Films Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Y is for Yesterday

Just yesterday I had babies and I have teenagers.  When the kids were younger, people would all the time say things like, "Just wait, you'll blink and they'll be grown!"  When you are in the midst of colic, potty training, and just basically kid wrangling that is just an odd sentiment.  When it feels like each day is soooooo long, it is hard to see that time is passing by.

Now I'm one of those people who look back and say, "Where did it go?"  I have always wanted to celebrate it all, even their growing up, and not muddle in the sentiments of wishing they were young again, but now...with one driving, one early-accepted for college, one with a job, one in Civil Air Patrol, one rebuilding motors, and more and more and more...sometimes I do wistfully think of the times when they WERE younger, sitting around with me without deadlines or schedules, playing and reading...

Big picture, though, I keep in mind the end goal of this whole adventure is to grow responsible adults...that's where we're heading and I'm so thankful for the blessings God has gifted us with!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Peanut Butter Pie!

Okay, a new favorite recipe!!!!!!!  About 22 years ago my husband (well, my fiancee at the time!) went several times to a restaurant which served peanut butter pie.  For the next 22 years I have been searching for a recipe for a pie that tastes just as great as the one we had back then.

Well..........   (drumroll..............)

YES!  I found a delicious pb pie recipe that tastes just as good as that one did!  Now, I'm not sure where I got the recipe, I had written it down years ago and never tried it (why not?!)

So here's the recipe!

1 piecrust (if it's a regular crust, bake it and let it cool)
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
1/2 c powdered sugar
3/4 c peanut butter
8 oz cool whip
Beat cream cheese with sugar.  Mix in peanut butter.  Mix in cool whip.  Place in pie crust and chill in fridge for 1 hour.  I sometimes top it with more cool whip.

Give it a try!  DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

X is for x-rays -- dental x-rays -- my magical cure! :)

Here's my true confession.  When I have dental x-rays I gag ... like a lot... like embarassingly.  I'm always so embarassed -- for years and years -- as long back as I can remember, when it is time for dental x-rays I try so hard to retain composure but the minute those bite plates are in, I gag horribly and disgustingly :/ The dentist and/or hygenist always say things like "Breathe slowly through your nose" and the OH so helpful times that they say things like, "Don't worry, it's not going to fall down your throat." Oh really?  Like I thought that would happen?  Nope!  It's just a physical response, I cannot help it, whatever I do.


At least I couldn't up to this point!

Last time that I got my teeth x-rays done I tried something new--I held my breath!  And guess what???  NO GAGGING!!!  Whooo!!!  Yay!!! All the x-rays and no gagging!  It was amazing!  It's so quick, holding my breath for a couple of seconds, so easy!!

SO there's my wonderful suggestion -- if you have this same difficulty give it a try!  After seeing how great this worked for me, the dental hygenist at our dentist's office has suggested this to other patients of hers with this same issue and it's worked for them too!  Hope it will for you as well! :)

A Net In Time Schooling