Review:Andrea Carter’s Tales from the Circle C Ranch

4379 cvr 5.inddAny good book is a treasure.  I try never to pass up the opportunity to review something fun.  Recently we had the opportunity review the new book, Tales from the Circle C Ranch by Susan K. Marlow from Circle C Adventures. We also received a downloadable copy of Andrea Carter’s Tales from the Circle C Ranch Learning Lapbook to supplement the book. This book is intended for children in the middle grades, late elementary into middle school.

Both of my boys, ages 7 and 9 who are strong readers, enjoyed reading this book.  Each of them finished in one sitting of about 2 hours.  Tales from the Circle C Ranch is Christian fiction.  It is a collection of short stories from Andrea Carter’s childhood. She is the main character in the Circle C Ranch series of books.  This book is a lot of fun because it fills in a lot of the details that children might want to know about but were left out of the other books.  A lot of different questions are answered. 

Andrea, who is often called Andi, is a fun girl.  She’s the youngest in her family and as the baby she gets teased yet protected by her big brother’s and sisters.  Her dad dies when she is just a young child so her oldest brother fills in the fatherly roll.  Andi herself is full of crazy ideas and is always getting into some sort of dust-up.  The stories greatly appeal to children.

The book itself is your typical paperback with 160 pages.  There are 11 short stories all covering different points in Andrea Carter’s life. The stories are arranged by date. We have read some of the other Circle C Ranch stories before but that isn’t necessary to enjoy this book.  It is a very good read all on it’s own.  The first four books are from the The Early Years and represent the time period from the Circle C Beginnings book when Andrea was a young child.  The other seven stories The In-Between Years- come from the time of the Circle C Adventures books.  These are all new stories though and a lot of fun to read. 

tales_lapbook_cover_zpscsguvgpbWe also received the Andrea Carter’s Tales from the Circle C Ranch Learning Lapbook as a pdf download.  For each story in the book there are usually two lapbook projects related to science, history, or even literature. This was a lot of fun and added so much to the learning.  It drew out discussion on how life was lived at the time, clothing, California history, Us History, ranching, and more.  

How We Used These

Well, I would have liked to have read the book along with my boys and discussed it story by story.  But they snatched it from the mail pile and had it read by bedtime the same day it arrived.  I read it after they did and then we did most of our discussion over the lapbook project.  We didn’t do every project.  I allowed them to choose which stories they wanted to work with.

So What Did We Think?

My boys loved the book and they enjoyed the lapbook.  My older son Noah has a huge love of anything western like, horse related, ranches, California Gold Rush, American History.  So this was totally up his alley.  My Ezra just loves to read anything he can get his hands on so of course he’d give this a go too.  The book is a nice read.  It’d work great a read aloud.  Many of the stories are short enough to read in a short sitting even with a few wiggly kids listening.  Though it is a children’s book the stories are so fun that any adult should enjoy sharing them too. The lapbook is fabulous and adds just so much to the reading experience. Lots of learning and ample opportunities for discussion.  A great literature study!

Dynamic Literacy Review

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Review: S is for Smiling Sunrise Alphabet Book by WordsBright

I have a sweet little book to share with you today.  It is called S is for Smiling Sunrise by WordsBright.  WordsBright is a small little publishing house for educational children’s books.  S is for Smiling Sunrise is their debut book.  I think it is an excellent choice.


When you open the first page there is a space to write in the child’s name and the name of the person giving the book.  I remember when I had my baby shower for my now 9 year old son lots of people gave us books instead of cards.  They inscribed a little message to my yet to be born son.  We treasure these books now almost 10 years later.  I could so see giving this book to another expectant parent.  What a sweet little gift.

As you turn the page there is a dedication and then a note that says

At least ten percent of net earnings from this book will be given to health and education projects for disadvantaged children.

Clearly WordsBright publishing is more than just another children’s book publisher.


S is For Smiling Sunrise is a twist on your traditional alphabet book where every page brings fort a new letter with a corresponding word that starts with that letter and a sweet little poem, plus more!  I’ll get to the more in a bit. We begin with…

look-inside-51-825x660A is for Artwork

Drawing and painting

Singing and dancing too

Art makes life interesting!


Written for the early childhood set (prek-3rd grade) this book is vibrant in color, flowery in language and vocabulary, and an overall delight to read for both adults and children.

I chose to read this book with my daughter Joyanna who is just shy of 5 years old.  She already has a good grasp of her letters.  She is able to identify them easily and she knows MOST of their sounds.  This book was a fun way for her to just practice hearing them all in new way.

The book itself is a hardback book and the pages are made of a high quality paper.  This is a book that can handle the demands of multiple readings and the rugged handling of little hands. There is an  audio CD, with MP3 available via download and Teacher’s Guide as well. The CD makes the words in the book into sing song like rhymes that were quickly burned into everyone’s minds!  Joyanna loved repeating them.

The teacher guide helps you use the book to teach your children values and virtues that are mentioned in the pages of the book itself.  How sweet!  As I said before, this is a book that more than just another alphabet book.  You are given some ideas for question to help you start conversations with your child both before and after you read the book.  There is help with laying down new vocabulary words and over all just a great deal of information to help your family really get the most from this book.

If you are looking for something fun to ready yet enjoy digging into books and really soak the most out of them then S is for Smiling Sunrise by WordsBright just perfect! 

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Wordsbright Review

Review: Orphs of the Woodlands by Star Toaster

I don’t often start off a review by gushing about the product.  I am blessed to love most of (though not all) of the things I get to review but even still, some things go above and beyond by craziest expectations. Orphs of the Woodlands by Star Toaster is one of them.  Don’t even bother reading this review.  If you have a young child, particularly a boy who adores reading… get this for them.  If you have a young child who would rather do just about anything BUT read… get this for them!

4 Orphs Banner_zpswcv7smkh

What Is It?

Orphs of the Woodlands is an online reading adventure geared towards children in 4th through 7th grade.  Notice I said online. This program definitely requires a computer with internet access.  To begin each time you use it you input your log in credentials and away you go.  

We read Treasure of High Tower which is the first interactive book in the Orphs of the Woodlands series.  However it is so much more than a book.  There is an adventure game woven throughout the story that provides the children with in depth topical learning as well as motivation to keep right on reading the story.  A subscription for this program is good for 2 months though extensions are possible upon request.

The story is based on a little gray squirrel that the children get to name.  Ezra named his Luke (we are in a Star Wars phase here).  The squirrel was made an orphan by Night Creatures.  There are many orphaned creatures (known as Orphs) in the forest.  It is up to the squirrel to not only find the Night Creatures but to care for the Orphs as well.  As if that isn’t enough for one little squirrel he must also become a spy and locate treasure before the Night Creatures.

I was wondering if the Night Creatures might be a bit scary in some way… they aren’t.  They are just described as the things at night we are all afraid of.  That’s it.


As the child reads through the story he can mouse over highlighted words where he learns more information about the creature, recipes, vocabulary, and other facts.  Letters from various characters add even more depth the experience.

Book of Bird Shoes_Cricket_zpsijjf4gqx

After completing each chapter the games begin.  It is up to Squirrel to rescue as many Orphs as possible.  The Orphs live in a place called Ivythwaite in the forest which is where your child must visit.

Game Map_zpspsunttea

Professor Forp is critical to the learning.  He teaches your child math and science through videos hidden throughout the experience.  Ezra and Noah both really enjoyed these videos.  There was a lot of new and interesting content. Professor Forp is a bit of a character who might have your child laughing a bit.

The child also has jobs to complete that are organized into categories like Arts, Vocabulary, Math, Science and Thinking Skills.  The jobs earn you gold stars that the child uses to buy things the Orphs need.


One of the many unique aspects of this program is that there are opportunities for real life hands-on experiences.  While absolutely not required to progress in the game or the story there are recipes for cooking, disappearing ink, and more!

For parents that want to be kept in the loop and up to date on their children’s learning emails come straight to inbox.  They include a progress report with information like pages read and lessons completed. Statistics on how many Orphs have been rescued and so much more.

How We Used It

Both of my boys, ages 7 and 9, used this program daily and very independently.  They could get through the chapter and corresponding games and lessons in about a half an hour.  The reading material and difficulty is perfectly suited for children in the middle grades. Both of my boys are super strong readers even my 7 year old cruised through the story quickly and with ease.  They logged on every day and worked diligently and quickly always begging for more.

While my own children do not need motivation to read I want you to have a vision for what this program could do for a more reluctant reader.  To be successful on their own in this program a child has to be a reader.  However, I could see a child who doesn’t typically care to read without being told to DEVOURING this program.  The story is intriguing and fun.  The adventure game is exciting.  The lessons are in depth and informative.  Even advanced readers can gain so much.

Free Trial

Star Toaster is offering a free trial so that you can get a taste for the for first chapter and the games.  What a great program to supplement, offer as a reward, or to use as part of summer fun on rainy days.

7 Free Trial_zps9nh3wgwu


We loved this!  Adored it!  It was just fun and educational and challenging too.  Both of my boys ask me nearly daily when the next story in the series will be available.  I may not be able to keep them from finishing it all in a day or two once it finally comes out!

Star Toaster Review
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Review: Before Amen by Max Lucado

421I received for for review Max Lucado’s new book Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer!  Prayer.  It’s that amazing and power thing that can keep you in close communication with God and help you align yourself with His will.  It’s also that elusive thing that can be oh so difficult to do consistently and passionately.  Am I doing it right? Is God hearing me?  Am I selfish because of what I’m praying about? Am I being appropriate because I don’t want God to think I think He is a wish granter.

Our intentions to pray are also good and no matter what we all pray some even if perhaps we don’t realize it.  Long tired days, distractions of the world, time moving at the speed of life.  These things can all derail us easily.  The sure do derail me!

Then there is the past.  Our history with prayer.  Those times we’ve prayed earnestly, with abandoned, down on our knees begging God and yet that prayer was not answered… at least not the way we had hoped.

I think everyone has experienced struggle with prayer.  Even Jesus’s own disciples struggled and they outright asked Him for guidance.  Jesus answered by telling them just what to do.  He didn’t get into theory or idea.  He simply gave them a prayer they they could use.

Max Lucado’s new book Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer
can help you and me with these dilemmas by giving us a prayer as well.

In the book, Lucado shares something he likes to call a pocket prayer:

“Father, You are good. I need help. Heal me. Forgive me. They need help. Thank you. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

Each and every chapter will walk you through a portion of this prayer.  Lucado gives hope to the prayer wimps like me. A simple place to begin.  A way to connect.  The words in this book are convicting but as the reader I am not left feeling beat or the head or as if I am just not cut out.  Instead I’m left recharged and ready to put new things into practice.  Lucado reminds us that prayer is a heart felt connection with our God.  Nothing is more worth while.

Motivate Your Child Giveaway!


Lately I’ve been sharing little bits about a book I’m reviewing called Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told.  I previously read another book by the same authors called The Christian Parenting Handbook. That book has a huge positive impact on my parenting and our family life in general.  Of course I was eager to read another related book.

Both books come at the idea that the best way to have a positive impact on short term behavior and long term character is through heart parenting.  Heart parenting is essentially impact a child’s heart, feelings, inner ideas through actions, consequences, and role modeling.

I loved The Christian Parenting Handbook and so far I love Motivate Your Child just as much.  Of course a full review is coming but in the meantime! Let’s have some fun!

To celebrate the release of Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told,  members of the Launch Team are sharing a wonderful giveaway filled with a Go Pro Camera, $50 Mardel Gift Card, $25 Amazon Gift Card, and book bundles from both the National Center for Biblical Parenting and Thomas Nelson Publishing! Three winners will win prizes with a total value of nearly $800!

motivate your child giveaway

Here’s what you could win:

GRAND PRIZE  ($500+ value)

Go Pro HERO3+ Silver Camera ($300 value)

HERO3+ Silver captures gorgeous, professional-quality 1080p60 video and 10MP photos at speeds of up to 10 frames per second. Built-in Wi-Fi enables you to use the GoPro App to control the camera remotely, preview shots and share your favorites on Facebook, Twitter and more. Compatible with all GoPro mounts, you can wear it or attach it to your gear for immersive POV footage of your favorite activities. It’s waterproof to 131’ (40m) and built tough for all of life’s adventures. Combined with stunning low-light performance, high-performance audio and an ultra wide-angle glass lens, HERO3+ Silver makes capturing and sharing your life easier than ever.

NCBP Book Bundle ($115 value)

The Christian Parenting Handbook  and Companion Guide

Parenting is Heart Work

God’s Awesome Story

Hero Training Camp Children’s Curriculum

Thomas Nelson Book Bundle ($90 value):

The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst  Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine

All Pro Dad by Mark Merrill

The Passionate Mom by Susan Merrill


FIRST PRIZE ($165 value)

$50 Mardel Gift Card

NCBP Book Bundle ($115 value)

The Christian Parenting Handbook  and Companion Guide

Parenting is Heart Work

God’s Awesome Story

Hero Training Camp Children’s Curriculum


SECOND PRIZE ($115 value)

$25 Amazon Gift Card

Thomas Nelson Book Bundle ($90 value):

The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst  Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine

All Pro Dad by Mark Merrill

The Passionate Mom by Susan Merrill

To enter, use the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway dates: January 12, 2015 @12:00am ET through January 28, 2015 @ 11:59pm ET

Terms and Conditions: This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  Void where prohibited by law. Must be at least 18 years of age. This giveaway is in no away associated with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Amazon. No purchase necessary for entry. Odds are determined by the number of entries. Selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.

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Book Review: Purposeful Design

Purposeful Design Review

The Earth’s creation is probably the most miraculous event ever known.  It is unfathomable to really wrap your brain around.  Life is a miracle all on it’s own yet it is something we don’t think of very much.  The perfect balance created for us to live and thrive…. how was it all done?  Where can we look to some answers?  I had the opportunity to review an amazing resource to help me teach my children all about God’s creation. Purposeful Design sent me Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation, a hardback book by Jay Schabacker,a  former aerospace engineer.Purposeful Design Review

What Is The Book Like?

There is one word to describe this book… GORGEOUS!  The photography, the thick sturdy pages, the background images, the graphics.  Wow!  It is just a beautiful book.  Artistic as well as informative.  It takes a special book to showcase and teach you about God’s creation and this is certainly a special book.

The book is broken down into short chapters. Seven chapters to be exact.  One for each day of creation. Each chapter usually took just a short time to read.  The book is just over 90 pages long.  I read one chapter per day to my 4, 7, and 9 year old children.  I think this book is suitable for just about any age… preschool through adult I do have to say that it help the attention of my older two children the best.  My 4 year old was totally mesmerized by the pictures.  She tended to pick up the book at odd times and ask me 101 questions about everything she saw.  That provided me with the opportunity to share with her as well.


Within the book the author quotes the biblical account in Genesis and provides lots of scientific detail.  He thoroughly dissects the details that make life on this planet possible.   Complex subjects are broken down into very understable explanations. The overall message of the book is that God is not only an intelligent designer but a purposeful one as well.



Purposeful Design also has a great resource for older elementary students called the Young Explorers club.   It contains a Kid’s Workbook, Teacher’s Set, and a Certificate of Completion.  You can obtain this for FREE from their website.  The workbook pages consist of scripture and fill-in-the black responses that are associated with each chapter of the book.  This is followed by more scripture verses and questions that help the child dig a little deeper and reflect on what God is saying in His word.  Then you’ll find a place for your child to draw a picture related to what they have learned.

Our Thoughts

Honestly we loved it.  We used it as a nice break from our usual science studies.  There is plenty here with the curriculum for this to be your sole source for science for a couple of weeks.  I could also see it as being a catalyst for a much deeper science study on each of the days.  For example a study of the sea or birds etc…  I might use this one book for an entire year or more revisiting it each time we begin a new study of another part of God’s creation.


You can purchase the book HERE for $18.95 which is 25% off the retail price.

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Book Review: If He Had Not Come

Christmas is coming! So too are opportunities to really honor Jesus and reflect on what the world would be like if He had never come to this earth as a man to show us how to live and take our punishment for our sins.

Our family had the opportunity to review a book called If He Had Not Come which was put together by David Nicholson.  David Nicholson originally heard this story, which was originally written by Nan F. Weeks in 1938, during Sunday School at church.  David was so taken by it he decided he would share the story with his own children every Christmas. Now a grandfather he is bringing the story to life in a new book.

Christmas Book Review
This came to me as a large hardcover book full of glorious illustrations that highlight the story well.   The hardcover edition of this book retails for $18.95.  As soon as I laid eyes on it I knew this would make a great addition to our Christmas traditions and the holiday books we hold dear.  I instantly shared this book with my children ages 4, 7, and 9.  Right from the start they sat riveted, totally engrossed, and eager to listen and view the pages. The book is written for children ages 6 and up.

The story is set through the eyes of one little boy named Bobby who spends his Christmas Eve with his parents reading about Christ in the Bible.  As he is getting ready for bed Bobby’s heart is filled with anticipation as he admires his family’s Christmas tree and traditional decorations.  Christmas morning and presents are on their way.  As he heads off to dreamland Jesus’s words from the Bible ring in his head… “If I had not come…”

Bobby wakes up to a world without Jesus.  There are no presents and the Christmas decorations are gone.  Bobby heads out of the house to find out just what is going on.  He asks person after person about Christmas and none seem to know what on earth the boy is talking about.  Stranger still other things have disappeared as well.  There are no churches, hospitals, homeless shelters, or anyone who cares enough to help Bobby care for a sickly man he encounters.  It is a sad, depressing, and harsh world.  Just as it seems things are going to get truly ugly Bobby awakens at home in his bed to the sound of his mother calling his name.  It is Christmas morning just as Bobby had anticipated.  It was all a terrible dream.

After we read the story we of course had to look up the full verse  of John 15:22, which said,

If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.

Here Jesus is explaining to his disciples that the world hates Him and will hate His followers too.  But since Jesus did come there would be no excuse for sin.

At the end of the book there are pages of interactive topics for families, lots of information to help you dig deeper and investigate many scripture passages, and most importantly the Gospel Message is clearly spelled out.  Such a wealth of great things that make this so much more than just a nice Christmas story.  It is an opportunity to really bring the family closer to Christ and even share His message with someone who might be joining you for the holidays.

This truly is a fantastic book.

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Review: Preschoolers and Peace

Preschoolers and Peace Review
What a season of life I am in right now.  I am currently homeschooling two boys who would be considered 4th grade and 2nd according to their age.  I also have a preschooler and new baby.  What a juggling act!  How on earth do I make sure each every child gets what he or she needs emotionally, spiritually, and academically?  How do I make sure I get what I, the momma running this ship, needs physically and emotionally?  How do I care for my husband and my home? How do I care for my friendships and other relationships.  Ok, I just exhausted myself writing all of that.  I’m headed back to BED!  Just kidding!  That won’t help much.  However, I was given this new ebook, written for mothers to review, by Kendra Fletcher who blogs at Preschoolers and Peace titled Preschoolers and Peace: Homeschooling older kids with success while loving the little ones at your feet.  God surely knew what He was doing when He sent this book my way!  What perfect timing don’t you think?

Preschoolers and Peace Review
What a treasure this book is!  Truly! There is no denying it. I knew it would be!  Kendra is a homeschool veteran and mom of many!  She’s spent 15 years homeschooling, pregnant, postpartum, and/or nursing baby. This lady has the wisdom I NEED right now!

In this 47 page ebook (isn’t that sweet? 47 pages! I read this in a day over a couple of nursing sessions) Kendra brings you right back to the place we should all begin.  To that thing all Homeschooling Moms need… in prayer with God. The opening pages renewed my commitment to begin each day laying it all out with God and asking Him to guide my every step.  I know I can’t run this crazy life without him and our days go so better when I start sitting at the feet of the one who truly knows all.

A few other chapters really jumped out at me. I really appreciated the chapter on Planning Around Preschoolers. She and I think alike as we both believe in getting kids into good habits that not only make our days run smoothly, but hopefully they will take with them one day when the fly the nest.  Getting our days off to the right start, first with prayer and then with good habits, truly sets the tone for the day.

Even in this section where Kendra talks about creating schedules she takes it back to where we really need to be.  The very first step? Pray and ask God for direction.  I don’t do that the way I should.  I admit, I’m guilty of creating a grand plan and asking God to bless it instead of ask Him what His plans are.  I’m always more successful when I ask Him first.

Kendra also reminds us to ask our husbands for their input.  After all, they should be involved where they can be too.  Other points include writing down what needs to be done, determining what can be done with toddlers about, brainstorming how to keep the little ones busy, and using your schedule as a tool that serves you.  I love that she even lays out a sample schedule for you so that can start gaining some sort of vision for where to start!

Another chapter that I had to skip right too is titled… How Do I Get Any Preschooling Done?  Oh my word!  Trying to fit some great school time in with my preschooler is HARD!  I was dieing to learn how Kendra does it in her big family.  Her number one piece of advice… RELAX!

At the end of the ebook you’ll find tips for meal planning, additional encouragement, and some great handy resources.  She includes some fantastic links to great places for more help.

This book is just $2.99!  I encourage you to download a copy for yourself today!  Just visit her website…

Preschoolers and Peace: Homeschooling older kids with success while loving the little ones at your feet

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Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms a Book Review

Book reviews are a lot of fun! Especially books meant just for me as a homeschooling mom! Summer is a fantastic time for such books as it is the time of year when I spend some time reflecting on the past year and planning for the year ahead.  I was recently given the opportunity review  Mary Jo Tate’s latest bookFlourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms from Apologia Educational Ministries

Flourish Book Review
Those familiar with the homeschooling community have certainly heard of Apologia before.  They are well known for their Biblically centered science and world view curriculums and we use both in our homeschool every day.  They also serve as publishers for great books that help the homeschooling families thrive.


Flourish Book ReviewMary Jo Tate, the Author of Flourish is a long time homeschooling mom to four boys and a successful business woman. She works as an editor, a book coach, author of several books, and is the host of the “Flourish at Home” show on the Ultimate Radio Network. In a quest to help us all flourish Mary Jo has taken her experience as a busy mom and poured into her latest book.  
Flourish Book Review

In her book Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms, Mary Jo shares her story and the lessons she has learned as a single homeschooling mom building a business that will provide for her and her family. She shares with us the reality of her life and what has worked for her while always providing grace for the reader to find what exactly works best for us.  She certainly does not preach to the idea that there is only one way to run your life as a business woman and homeschooling mom. Her writing style is personable and friendly.  You feel like you are chatting with an long time and caring friend over a cup of coffee.

In the pages you’ll find sound wisdom.  My new mantra after reading her book is… “find peace in the space between the ideal and reality.”  This one phrase, this one golden nugget, hit me like such a ton of bricks that I wrote it out on sticky notes and posted in visible places around my home.  That one little sentence was a life changer, a wakeup call, a reality check for me.  It freed me to be a better mom.  And that was just in the first couple of chapters.

I love how she reminds us that no one does it all.  Not one mom out there in the world get’s it all done.  Sometimes when you are in the trenches day in and day in and day out it can be easy to lose sight of that reality. Mary Jo helps us concentrate on three areas in our lives… what we can’t change, those things you refuse to change (homeschooling for example), and those areas of life that are really preferences.  Preferences are things you can compromise on if need be bring life more into balance.  

Mary Jo provides a lot of help identifying these areas.  At the end of every chapter she provides you with activities or action steps to move you toward and more balanced and flourishing life.  Do them! They make a tremendous difference in how much you get out of this book. 

Also provided at the end of the book are Planning Forms!  You can even find customizable versions that you can download from the website.  I tell you Homeschool Moms she has thought of it all! 

This book is about enjoying our lives as homeschooling moms.  She helps us get over the “I can’ts” in life to figuring out… “How can I?”  She helps us set goals and evaluate our progress, prioritize, find flexibility, and establish routines.  Provided in the pages is advice on everything from how to organize your home, training your children, feeding your spiritual self, disciplining your children and more.

Book Details

16 chapters and about 300 pages total.

  1. An Invitation to Flourish
  2. Change Your Mind to Change Your Time
  3. The FREEDOM Toolbox
  4. Where Did My Time Go?
  5. Aim High: Setting Goals
  6. What Do I Do Next? Seven Essential Planning Tools
  7. We Interrupt This Program
  8. It’s Time for an Attitude Adjustment
  9. Oxygen Masks and Monkey Bread Days
  10. Training Your Children
  11. Making Memories
  12. Managing Your Home
  13. All of Life is Learning
  14. Solo Act: Flourishing as a Single Mom
  15. Home Business
  16. Moving Ahead


What this book has done for me!

I am in the busiest time I’ve ever experienced in my life.  Between running my home, homeschooling, trekking kids to a hundred activities, doing what I can to supplement our income, ministry, leading a new co-op, and preparing for a new addition to our family… I can often feel overwhelmed.  When I feel overwhelmed I do not know where to begin with my to-do list.  Sometimes that means I don’t do much of anything, which overwhelms me MORE!  It’s a negative cycle that I sometimes have to battle my way out of.  Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms is a book that has taught me the skills to figure out where to start, what to weed out, and how to move forward.  There is nothing better than that.  


This book has given me the energy to figure out where my life is headed next.  I do believe I will find a great deal more success because of the words of Mary Jo Tate.  This is a truly excellent read.

You can find Mary Jo Tate on the following social media pages:

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Review: Peter Rabbit Books Books by Kinder Cottage Publishing

KinderCottageKinder Cottage Review
Our family recently had the opportunity to review Peter Rabbit at the Farm and How Peter Rabbit Went to Sea by Kinder Cottage Publishing. These are just two Peter Rabbit stories published here in the United States. They are just like the Peter Rabbit stories we all grew up with as children.  Kinder Cottage Publishing has released 10 Peter Rabbit books in all. These books are ideal for ages 3-9.  They will cost you just $4 each or $30 for the entire set.storyboard-1128

Peter Rabbit books are wonderful throwbacks to a time when childhood was pretty simple.  Children played outside a lot.  Mischief was certain but consequences were natural.  These books are pure innocence and childhood and not much else.  It is funny to call them refreshing as they are certainly not new stories.  But compared to what one might find now a days, that is what they are… refreshing.

The books come as little 5” x 7″ hardbacks that make them easy to hold and perfect to snuggle up on the couch with for a nice read aloud session.  They feature simplistic yet artful original illustrations.  These look just like the ones you grew up with.  It is very much like a glimpse back in time when you open the pages.


Peter Rabbit at the Farm is a classic story of Peter Rabbit’s misadventures. Peter Rabbit scoots away from home and runs into Little Pollie Possum who trudging her way down the road.  He knocks over her basket of persimmons which she had taken from Mr. McGregor’s garden. But Peter knows how to make amends and Pollie Possum does eventually forgive him.

It isn’t long before Peter runs into Little Goosie Poosie who is so upset as the water has run out of the swimming pond and no one knows quite what to do.  Peter, being a rabbit quite capable of great mischief quickly noticed where the mahem had come from.  It turns out a muskrat family had made such a hole the water in the damn had run out.  So Peter sets about, with the help of all of the animals, to fix it.  Once fixed Peter finds himself in the pool, covered with mud and soaking wet.  And so the story goes as Peter visits many of the animals on the farm and inevitably winds up in some sort of happen stance.  My daughter Joyanna (4) and I had a great time laughing at all of Peter’s mishaps.


In how How Peter Rabbit Went to Sea Peter is left at home his sisters by his Momma.  She leaves very specific instructions for where he should be while she is away.  But of course this is Peter Rabbit, there isn’t a chance he is going to listen and obey.  Despite his sister’s protests, Peter sets out for the brook to play pirate with his sailboat.  Peter gathers materials from Tillie Top-Knot to build himself a boat.  Shortly after Peter sets sail and runs into all kinds of characters on his journey at sea including Granddaddy Whale, Oldman Shark, Johnny Crab, Gruff Old Sword-Fish, and even Sammie Seagull… who eventually helps Peter back home.  It’s a fun little adventure that kept my daughter and I engrossed and delighted.

My two older boys (6 and 8) both pretended to not be so interested.  Funny thing is, I caught them each reading these books when they thought Mommy wasn’t looking.  Apparently the delight the older crowd too.

If you are hunting for classics from a time gone by… you can’t go wrong with these books.  They are simply wonderful.

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