Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Classical Historian Medieval History for Kids- REVIEW

The Classical Historian recently partnered with the Mosaic Reviews team to get the word out about a few of their products.  I was lucky enough, I got to review the Medieval History Memory Game. 

The team at The Classical Historian works to make fun ways to learn history.  You can play this game one of two ways, as directed by the instructions that are included with the game.  You can play as a memory game for ages 3 and up, or you can sort the cards by the 4 categories of: Europe, The Americas, The Far East, and Arabia.  During the second version of game play, the play is timed and it is a "race".

Specifics of this game can be found HERE
The game is $14.95 by itself, but can be purchased in two different bundle options with other games as well. 
You can find The Classical Historian at their website and on facebook.
The game includes 64 playing cards that you have to punch out from their frame.

The Classical Historian offers many other products, including games, books, and even classes!  Check them out to see if there is anything to fill in the gaps of your educational supplies.

Personal thoughts:
This game is a great variation on a well known and well loved childhood game.  The company has chosen to use sturdy, quality materials, which is something we greatly appreciate in our home!  The box has held up to the boys, which says that they didn't pick junk.  The game offers pictures that are not nearly as common as many of the other games of memory that we've played and get a child thinking. 

I would LOVE to see a small guidebook added to this game, or even a simple brochure with a bit of info about each of the cards.  While most parents know the significance of the pictures or topics, children may not yet know, and having a little guide to add to those teaching games would be VERY valuable to me. 

All in all, we had a lot of fun with this game and it is a nice departure from just your average memory game.  I like having a purpose to our play, and I LOVE having more than one play option offered by a publisher!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

How Do We know God is Really There? - REVIEW

How Do We Know God Is Really There?
The latest item that came my way as a part of the Mosaic Reviews* team is a thought provoking little story book that tackles the big question:

How Do We Know God Is Really There?
How Do We Know God Is Really There?
How Do We Know God is Really There?

ISBN: 978-1-935495-96-3
ISBN: 978-1-935495-96-3
Melissa Cain Travis, ©2013
Apologia Press
A division of Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc.
1106 Meridian Plaza, Suite 340/220
Anderson, IN 46016
ISBN 978-1-935495-96-3

It can be found, along with a preview in PDF form, at this link:

This quick little read has a page of text complemented with a full page illustration on the opposite of each page that brings the words to life.  It is classified as a picture book, but it is more than just pictures.  As you read the story, you get a glimpse of the big childhood question, "How do we know God is really there?".  Thomas and his father come upon this question in their nightly routine, and come to their conclusion through logical reasoning.  The illustrations almost tell the story by themselves for the youngest of readers. 

This book is a fun, gentle approach at a very tough question.  It doesn't tackle theology or scientific evidence but a child's perspective of faith and understanding in a very simple, delicate way.  This is a great bedtime story, or a book to just read.  It isn't heavy on scripture, only having one verse cited, Psalms 19:1, to back up their final conclusion. 

I have to say, I am a book lover, and this little hard cover book is sturdy, with heavy duty paper for the pages.  At 48 pages, it is a bit intimidating for new readers, but great for the intermediates if they are planning to read independently.   With a bit of digging to learn more about this book, I found that this is expected to be the first in a series of books that tackle questions for young readers digging into the details of their Christian faith.   I look forward to seeing future offerings, I believe this one was well done.

*Check back for an updated link that will link you to all the other team member reviews for this item!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Some linked love to share with my friends for Fun and Fast Friday

Some days, I sit at the computer and I have great ideas that I want to share.  Some of them are HUGE.  And then, I get distracted for a moment or two and start reading other posts and realize that there are messages from various friends that are even more important in the moment than mine... some are cool, some are inspirational, some are very sobering. 

Today, I just want to share one that is revolutionary. Create your own portfolio for your homeschool student with ease!  Using Pinterest, you can easily collect details from the year and create a nice digital portfolio.  My friend, and one of many mentors, Brenda Emmett, has laid it all out clearly in her blog post:

Used with permission from Brenda Emmett, Copyright 2013

Tell me what you have learned that can be Fun and Fast and save time in your home!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Every day is a gift

Today I had the pleasure of running into a woman whom I've known for about 15 years.  This elderly woman is soft spoken, but full of life.  We chatted about her family, the weather, the crops (farming community that we live in, whether you are a farmer or not, it is a rather regular topic for most anyone).   All the chit chat faded quickly in my mind when she turned to her husband as the topic. 

He has had rather rough health the past year, and given all of us many scares.  She proceeded to share how he had a heart attack 27 years ago, and she never expected to bring him home from the hospital.  She said that every day when she wakes up, she gives thanks for one more day with him, knowing it is truly a gift.  Wow.  I know that is the case, and I have had that lesson many times in my life, but seeing her sincerity today just hit me all over again. 

Every day with him is a gift, she said.  There is something mighty powerful in those words.  It was even harder to hear her admit that she knows her time with him is short and it is time to say goodbye.  The strength in her voice began to shake and I fought hard against the tears that wanted to let loose with those words coming from her mouth while standing there in the grocery store.  I do not know her husband well at all, though we have met a time or two.  Her devotion to him, her appreciation for him, her fondness for him hasn't faded in more than 50 years of marriage.  What an amazing legacy to leave their family.  What an amazing glimpse into her faith in just those few words.

Every day is a gift, and I sure hope that some day, I will be able to embrace it like she has and truly absorb and appreciate every moment with those I love and not be muddled by the daily grumblings and disappointments, but be thankful.  Every day IS a gift.  Will we receive it or cast it aside?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Surviving frequent travel for medical needs

As I get more comfortable sharing our story, I have a lot of ideas and tips and experiences.  Our household has some chronic health issues that are life long and require regular, specialized care.  Among the many tips are my travel tactics that have helped us to stay somewhat sane.  We travel to a world renowned clinic for care for 2 members of our household, at nearly 400 miles each way.  We do this on a regular schedule, and have come to learn that packing and unpacking are big time wasters for us.  There are certain things we try to keep in the vehicle at all times, and a few that are in the closet, ready to go at a moment's notice.  At the height of our medical needs in the past, we were making this trek once a week.  We've had varying schedules since then.  Every 3 weeks was nice, but got to be too much.  For now, we are spread out a bit more and finding a groove to it.

Among the things we depend on to get us through:

A bag that is always packed with toiletries and laundry supplies just for purpose of travel, as well as a few odds and ends for the "kitchen", such as a can opener and a microwavable container with a lid, and a small stash of napkins.  I also keep a dish cloth or microfiber rag or two in there to help with dish washing as needed.

Dollar store supplies for in the vehicle:
plastic shoe box
zipper bags
basic medicines-pain relievers, antacids, cold/cough essentials, and an allergy med or two
garbage bags
bowl or 2 with lids
garbage can/basket
basic cleaning wipes

These things do not have to be high quality or all that durable.  They are the "oops! I forgot to grab..." part of my plan.  Plastic, or even cheap metal utensils can always come in handy for a meal on the go that didn't get the needed items or a quick pick up from a grocery store. The zipper bags can contain quick leftovers from a meal on the go to be saved for later.  The medicines, I just get for the emergency times when we can't get to our regular prescriptions in our luggage or when we meet someone else who is without.  It happens regularly.  Most of those supplies fit in the shoe box.  Garbage bags and can?  Well, travel is messy.  Especially with little ones.  It gets even worse when someone gets carsick.  An ice cream bucket lined with a plastic shopping bag is my favorite. Bags lining a bucket are EASY to clean up, and in my opinion, more sanitary than wiping out a bucket with a paper towel and trying to dispose of things in a rest area.  Cleaning wipes need no introduction. 

I also try to always keep a small coin purse with several dollars in coins in it for parking meters, toll roads, and incidental needs from a vending machine.  I try to keep another in our luggage but that doesn't always happen,.

A blanket and a change of clothing and a few diapers or feminine products and baby wipes for each traveling person is ALWAYS nice.  Even if it is only a day trip, things happen.  You could have someone spill on you, your clothing get snagged getting in or out of the vehicle, an unexpected change in weather, anything can happen and you are left with clothing that isn't what you'd be comfortable wearing for the rest of the day.

Phone directories.  Either your own essential and possibly used numbers or a regular old phone book.  We have learned to never count on cell phone reception in all areas, and having numbers on hand has been a life saver. 
Charging cords for all phones.  We keep one for each phone in each vehicle so that there is no concern of being caught without one.  I also keep one in my luggage at all times for indoor charging needs.

I am sure there are things that I am forgetting, but we often find people who are caught off guard and have traveled hundreds of miles and are "stranded" without one or two essentials.  It is well worth the time to share the ideas that have worked for us.