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August 31st, 2011

Do You Use Apps in Your Homeschool? Do You Want To?

Our family has only recently entered into the world of using apps on our iPod Touch and iPad as a supplement to the homeschooling education of our children (this year in fact).  New as we may be to the scene, it is abundantly clear  to me that there is HUGE educational potential to be had in educcationally-based, engaging, interactive apps.

Sooo…I’ve started a new website!  Apps for Homeschooling just launched last week but we already have many great reviews and giveaways planned – both in the week to come and for our grand opening, September 12th-16th.

In fact – we already have a giveaway in progress – it is open until Thursday night and is for promo codes (that means FREE downloads) of Park Math – a great app for Kindergarten early math studies.  So, head on over to enter and don’t forget to sign up for email or RSS updates in the right hand sidebar – there are many more giveaways scheduled!

Happy educating!

August 18th, 2011

Don’t Miss the Thomas Nelson Survey and Cash Giveaway!

From Thomas Nelson:

One of the highlights of our days in the Fiction department at Thomas Nelson? Receiving reader letters—either directly addressed to us or passed along from our talented authors. It’s critical to be reminded that at the end of our long days acquiring, editing, designing, selling, marketing, and publicizing books, those stories are reaching readers, striking nerves, changing lives. We want readers’ feedback. How stories have given you hope. Which authors’ series you can’t help from sharing with everyone you meet. We want to know what makes you stay up late in the night to finish a story, and conversely what turns you away.

We’re conducting a series of surveys—seeking answers from readers who love Christian fiction. Up for grabs is a free ebook for every respondent who completes the survery, as well as a $10,000 prize for one entrant. The responses we gather will help shape the future of the books we publish for years to come. As well as the data we’re collecting here, we’ll also seek more in-depth feedback from a panel we’ll develop over the next year. More details to come. The note below from one of authors gives a specific picture of how reader feedback shapes her work. In short, your opinion matters! We thank you for your time and appreciate your responding.

Thomas Nelson Fiction

Dear Friends–

Your opinion matters. It really does. I love hearing from readers about what worked for them in a story and about what doesn’t work. Reader feedback changed the balance between romance and suspense in my novels. After the Rock Harbor trilogy, I wanted to write more suspense in my novels because that’s what I personally like. But readers really wanted more relationship and romance in the books so I moved back that direction to about the same mix of 50/50 that the Rock Harbor novels contained. I write for you even more than for myself.

I had no intention of setting a whole series of books at Bluebird, Texas. It was going to be only one book, but readers sent me requests in droves for more books. The fourth book in the Lonestar series, Lonestar Angel, will be out in October. The Rock Harbor novels were going to be complete at three. There are now five and I’m thinking about another one! All due to reader demand.

I’ve often asked for reader input on names and locations too. When I was struggling for a name for my hero in The Lightkeeper’s Ball, I turned to my readers. Harrison really fit my character, and my readers told me. Love that! When I was trying to decide on a location for the new Hope Beach series I’ve started, I asked readers. Their overwhelming response was for a series set in the Outer Banks so guess what I’m writing?!

That’s why we’re coming to you for answers. We want to give you what you really want! Don’t be afraid to let us know what you really think. We value your honesty and the time it will take to share with us. Looking forward to hearing what you have to say!

Your friend,

Colleen Coble

August 17th, 2011

Evaluating a Houston Counseling Center Guest Blog By: Sandra T.

Patients should consider several factors before selecting a Houston counseling center that will best meet their needs. The types of services offered, the comfort level patients feel with their counselors, accreditation and other qualifications, are all necessary for effective counseling to take place.

Counseling centers may have different specializations, including career counseling, addiction recovery and so on. Patients can begin by researching the services provided and evaluating centers to determine which ones offer the services that seem best suited to their personal counseling needs.

Initial consultations with counseling center staff members can help patients develop a greater understanding about the appropriate services for their needs. These consultations can also help patients gather information and decide if they have a good rapport with counselors and other staff members. Patients can then consider the center’s recommendations on how to proceed with counseling sessions.

In addition to asking about what services would be recommended for their individual needs, learning about centers and their staff members can help patients make a selection. Considering counseling centers’ overall missions and accreditations, as well as the qualifications and backgrounds of the counselors they employ, can help patients determine which center is the right one for them.

Patients who evaluate counseling centers by considering services, rapport, recommendations and qualifications before beginning treatment can make informed decisions about their care. Patients should continue to evaluate their counseling center as they proceed with their sessions to ensure that it continues to live up to their expectations.

August 17th, 2011

WW: Our Family (Late July 2011)


August 17th, 2011

Tips for Getting St. Louis Orthopedic Spine Surgery Guest Blog By: Jennifer M.

When back pain gets to the point that you can no longer function or enjoy your life as you have become accustomed, then you need to do something about it. However, before you rush into St. Louis orthopedic spine surgery with the first doctor you find, you should consider the following tips for finding the right back specialist:

•Find a Reputable Spine Specialist

In all likelihood, your physician can recommend a back doctor, but the Internet puts the world at your fingertips. Shop around and find the spine specialist with whom you feel comfortable.

•Get the Problem Diagnosed

Just because you have back pain doesn’t mean you need surgery. Once you’ve selected a spine specialist, go in for a complete examination. Make sure diagnostic tests are taken – x-rays, CT scans, and MRI tests. The back specialist should discuss these tests with you and examine your options. If you go for an examination, and the spine doctor omits any portion of this treatment, then you need to find another doctor.

•When You Need Surgery

Back surgery is only recommended when there are no other options. If your back pain has resulted from a compressed spinal cord, a severely pinched nerve, or an unstable spine, then you will likely need surgery to correct the problem. If you have pain, numbness or tingling in your arms or legs or lose bowel or bladder control, then you need surgery now, so get help.

August 17th, 2011

Giveaway Winner: Peril in the Palace AND Revenge of the Red Knight

We have a winner for a copy of BOTH Peril in the Palace and Revenge of the Red Knight!

Congratulations to Shani who wanted to win a copy of these Adventures in Odyssey books for her daughter!  I know my daughters certainly enjoy them, so I hope these titles will be a blessing to your family’s library!


Stay tuned for more giveaways!

August 17th, 2011

Finding the Best Medical Specialists in Your Area Guest Blog by: Timothy K.

There are many steps you can take when looking for the best Medical Specialist in your area. Of course, you want to find a Physician that is well known, and has a trustworthy reputation. Careful evaluation of a possible Physician is a vital step in making a worthwhile choice.

Where Should You Begin?

The best place to start is at your Family Doctor’s office. Ask your family Physician for their recommendations at Since you have been seeing this individual for years, you should trust his or her decisions regarding your health. If you do not desire assistance from your Doctor, then you should research the Internet for all of the available Specialists in your area.

Check References and Licenses

Another important step when investigating a possible Specialist is to ensure that the Physician is legit. Meet with the Doctor in their office, and ask to see their license. When meeting the prospective Specialist, make sure that it is someone who makes you feel comfortable. Additionally, ensure that they will make time, and not try to rush you away.

Finding the Best Medical Specialist in your area is far more complicated than it seems. It takes a lot of effort to find the perfect Specialist for you. Depending on your condition, you may be spending a lot of time with this Doctor. Therefore, it will require several phone calls and office visits. Take the above precautionary steps to ensure the Specialist you are interested in, is the right Physician for you.

August 16th, 2011

Book Review: Across the Wide River by Stephanie Reed

acrossthewideriverI have had Across the Wide River on my mental list of wishlist books for several years now.  I’m happy to say that it has surpassed my expectations.  Possibly one of the most fascinating works of historical fiction that I have read, author Stephanie Reed shares with young adult readers a concise yet in-depth look into the world of slavery in the 1830s.  Though written with young people in mind, adults will surely enjoy it as well.  There are some scenes of brutal violence against slaves that may make it unsuitable for younger children however.  Deeply and firmly set within history itself she is careful to provide far more historical detail than most novels do – from the politics, culture, and agricultural practices of the time and region through to the conflicts between Ohio (a free state) and Kentucky (a slave state).

When his abolitionist minister father moves young Lowry Rankin’s family from Kentucky to Ohio, he finds it difficult to adapt to the new state.  Teased for his accent Lowry finds himself withdrawing into himself while also being unexpectedly drawn into a key role in the Underground Railroad at the tender age of eleven.  Across the Wide River follows young Lowry’s life into early adulthood as he deeply commits himself to the cause of abolition (freeing slaves) goes through personal hardship in service of this vision, and tries, awkwardly, to court the object of his affection in the scant free time he is able to eke out.

Reed makes Lowry an authentic character.  He struggles with selfish desires that he must continually put aside in order to aid slaves on the road to freedom, he counts himself a failure as he fights to balance the many demands placed upon his overburdened life, but in all of this, he is an excellent example of diligence, faithfulness, and loving kindness who will inspire readers both young and old.  His courtship of Amanda Kephart, though introduced very early as a childhood crush, develops into a noble sort of love that is very honorable.  Lowry is an inspiring young man who achieves much for God despite his tender age, making him an excellent example to all young people of today.

Some readers have pointed out that Reed includes too much historical detail, and indeed, there is far more here than you find in most works of historical fiction.  This is, however, exactly what kept me glued to the pages of Across the Wide River.  She sets Lowry firmly within his actual environs.  Two of his professors at Ohio’s Lane Seminary are the father and husband of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (though she had not yet penned it in this novel).  The historical fabric of this work is thick, rich, and full of meaning.  I can truly say that my understanding of the Underground Railroad and of the cultural division between states and individuals at this time has been greatly enhanced by this book.

When the book came to a close I found myself re-reading author Stephanie Reed’s introductory notes about her interest in the family, visiting the Ohio Memory website to look at photos of the Rankin home, the river which divides Ohio and Kentucky, and photographs of the Rankins themselves.  John and Jean Rankin (father and mother) are shown there in a 50th anniversary portrait, and Adam Rankin (Lowry himself) is also pictured in mid-life.  I hope to find copies of both John and Adam’s autobiographies so that I can delve more deeply into the story of their fierce commitment to the cause of Christ and freedom.  Thank you Stephanie, for introducing me to the amazing story of this dedicated family.

I received a digital copy of this title in exchange for this review.  All opinions are genuine and entirely my own.


There are affiliate links included in this post.

August 16th, 2011

Blog Tour and Kindle Giveaway: Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door by Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler

I love apologetics books (my copy of this one hasn’t arrived yet), but if you have teens or young adults, you should check this out for their edification!  This is a beginners apologetics resource :).  They are also doing a Kindle Giveaway, so check it out!  If you want to see what other tour bloggers have to say about the book, you can catch that at the LitFuse website!

About the Book:

dontcheckbrains“Seven in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30—both evangelical and mainline—who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23, according to the survey by LifeWay Research.” (USA Today)

Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door gives teens answers that make sense, even for the toughest of questions. Internationally known defender of the faith Josh McDowell and co-author Bob Hostetler offer clarity laced with humor to expose common myths about God, the Bible, religion, and life to show how Christianity stands up to the test of fact and reason. Teens will be better equipped to stick with their faith as they begin to understand why they believe and why it’s important to make a lifetime commitment to Christ and the church.


(Yep, those are affiliate links.)


To celebrate the release of their new book, Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler have teamed up with their publisher, Thomas Nelson, to give away a brand new KINDLE!

Don’t Check Your Brains At the Door answers many of the faith-related questions Christian youth face. It challenges young readers to test gospel truths found in the Bible so they can learn to give an answer for their faith as they mature into thinking adults. A great resource for teens and college-age. Read the reviews here.

One “brainy” winner will receive a Kindle prize package worth over $150.00:

  • A Brand New KINDLE with Wi-Fi and Pearl Ink Screen
  • Don’t Check Your Brains At the Door by Josh McDowell & Bob Hostetler (for KINDLE)

A perfect back-to-school prize package! To enter just click one of the icons below. Hurry! The giveaway ends August 18th. Winner will be announced on the evening of the 18th during the Don’t Check Your Brains At the Door Facebook Party! The authors will be chatting with guests, answering questions on “knowing what you believe and why” (it’s okay if you haven’t read the book – who knows, you might WIN a copy!), testing your trivia skills, and giving away tons of great stuff! (Gift certificates, books, and more!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Bring your friends and join the fun on August 18th at 5:00 PM PST (6 PM MDT, 7 PM CDT, & 8 PM EDT).

August 15th, 2011

Book Review: Who is God? And Can I Really Know Him?: Biblical Worldview of God and Truth (What We Believe Volume 1) by John Hay and David Webb

whoisgodAs a homeschooling parent one of my highest goals for my children (after helping them come to a saving relationship with Christ) is to equip them with a biblical worldview.  Most worldview materials are geared towards high school age students (and older), so I was very excited to learn of the release of a series of books from Apologia designed to foster a biblical worldview in children between the ages of 6 and 14.

Produced in collaboration with Summit Ministries, the first volume Who is God? And Can I Really Know Him? teaches children the basics of what worldview is and why it is important before delving into teaching children about basic, foundational truths of doctrine.  Likening the development of a worldview to the building of a house (a Summit Ministries model), authors John Hay and David Webb stress that before even building the house, it needs to be built on a rock solid foundation – God.  So, that’s where this book starts out.

Produced in Apologia’s trademark textbook style, it is a sturdy, handsome hardcover with full color pictures and lovely artwork.  Each lesson is broken into chunks that serve various purposes.  There are teaching sections, enrichment sections that share interesting/somewhat related information, story sections that help with illustrations and memorable events, notebooking suggestions – this is a very rich program.  Though there are only ten lessons included – each of them can easily be done over a two-week period.  There is a lot of meat here.

My only concern is that there is a little TOO much meat for the lower end of the recommended age range.  Although there ARE coloring pages you can buy as a supplement to the course, younger children just aren’t developmentally ready to do the sort of comparing and contrasting that this course calls for.  My husband and I were working through this course with our children (our oldest is 8), but it was all going over their heads for the most part.  WE really enjoyed it, but I think it is really best as a study if your oldest is 12 or so.

The early logic stage, 12-14 would really benefit from this course, as well as older students without any worldview instruction. Our young children are more focused on the grammar stage, factual content that they can easily grasp and remember.  Who, what, when, and how are their key learning concerns; when we ask them for more, they simply meltdown on us.  Simple books of children’s doctrine better serve younger children.  Not only were my children blown out of the water by the content, but the notebooking questions were also very high – these are definitely better for students of at LEAST 10.  After moving through a couple of lessons with overwhelmed children we decided to put the course aside for now.

That being said, this is really a beautiful course.  It is richly supported with additional free downloadables (there is a website address included inside of the book when you purchase it) and is filled with vitally important, God glorifying content.  We are definitely holding onto our copy and will be coming back to it again once our children are ready – we are looking forward to it.  If you have children between 10 and 14, I think you will find this a very profitable study for your family.

I received a physical copy of this title in exchange for this review.  All opinions are genuine and entirely my own.


There are affiliate links included in this post.


Jennifer. Follower of Yeshua. Wife of one man. Homeschooling mother of 5.