Today's Wisdom

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Homeschool Highlights | Week 10,11,&12 | Let's Catch Up

I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is next week and that I am 3 weeks behind in catching up here with our life journal!

So here goes...

First up a little at home Halloween fun.

First time voter and a little election fun!

We had the Geography Fair presentations - Stephen chose Chile.  

Sarah chose Canada. 

Life is full of basketball until February and Sarah hasn't even started yet!

Okay, so there are no school pictures here but believe me we did have school! Same old same old. :)

We're taking a break next week for Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!

I'm linking up with Homeschool Highlights. Click the button to link up for yourself and to find out more!

Homeschool Coffee Break

Also linking up with Weekly Wrap-Up.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Review of Biology 101 from The 101 Series | #101series #homeschoolscience

Physics, Chemistry & Biology 101 {The 101 Series}

I am a huge advocate of homeschooling through the high school years but I am also willing to admit that some courses are out of my league. The beauty is there are so many options available for homeschooling families today that tackling these courses head on is not a problem. Science, for instance, has never been a favorite course of study for me so teaching Homeschool science doesn't exactly excite me. Thankfully, I don't have to do it alone so I was thrilled to review Biology 101 from The 101 Series
Physics, Chemistry & Biology 101 {The 101 Series}

One of the characteristics I look for in a Biology course especially is that is creation based and Biology 101 is exactly that! We were also looking for simple labs and again we have found success with this course. I really cannot praise this course enough and have finally found a high school Biology fit for our homeschool.

So what is Biology 101?

It is DVD course that teaches students Biology through the days of creation as found in the book of Genesis. Now, you can simply watch the DVDs which include over 4 1/2 hours of instruction but if you would like to dive in more, resources are available for that too. The course includes a thorough 118 page Guidebook and a 12 page Accreditation Booklet. If you do this course as suggested, it is broken down into 11 segments which create 27 weeks of course work, at approximately 5 hours per week.

The segments are broken down like this:

  • Introduction: Defining Life and Life Classification
  • The 3rd Day - Plants
  • The 5th Day - Aquatic (water) Creatures and Avian (flying) Creatures
  • The 6th Day - Land Animals Part 1 and 2
  • The 6th Day - Mankind Part 1 and Part 2
  • Conclusion: Cells, Genetics, and a Brief History of Biology
A typical week includes watching the DVD segment, reading assigned pages in the guidebook, and sometimes a field trip or simple lab option is given.  The reading material reiterates what was taught in the video and adds in additional information and fun facts too.  The course includes 20 hours of lab work none of which are dissections.  You may add those in additionally if you wish.  Labs are also easy to complete and don't require complicated materials.  Sample lab work includes identifying plants in your yard, identifying parts of fish by catching one or using a goldfish, making a simple drawing of anatomy using a household pet, and many more.   Additional activities include other video recommendations, reading juvenile science books, and writing simple reports with a 200 word minimum.  

Quizzes are available at the end of each segment in the guidebook. They are multiple choice quizzes and the answers are included as well.

Here is a sample of how the credit hours can be given per segment and a glimpse as some of the weeks' activities.

Our original plan was to use this course to supplement our current Biology course but after seeing what was included we have decided to use it as our main course of study. My son has been able to comprehend this so much better! The course really takes complicated terms and breaks them down simply. For instance, he was taught a very simple way to remember the female and male parts of a plant that we had never seen before but made so much sense! Stamen can be remembered as the male part because it has the word men in it. Stigma can be remembered as the female part because it has the word ma in it. We both love learning by connecting simple truths like that!

The visual, auditory, and kinesthetic processes of the video, guidebook, and activities have helped him learn more about Biology than any other course he has taken so far.

The 101 Series offers two additional high school science courses as well, Physics 101 and Chemistry 101. You can purchase the entire set of 3 for $168.95 or each one individually for $69.95. Click the banner below to see reviews on those too.

Find out more about The 101 Series by visiting them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Physics, Chemistry & Biology 101 {The 101 Series}

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Let Groupon Coupons Save You Money | #GrouponCoupons #ad #spon

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine. 

Are you ready for the Christmas countdown? 39 DAYS!! Say what? Okay, we can do this. Let's save some money! 

One of my daughter's favorite stores is Rue 21. She's 13, pretty tall, and slim. Finding the right size to fit her is SO hard but Rue 21 often has a great selection that she likes the look and fit of. 

What makes this deal even better is searching Groupon Coupons to see if they have a coupon I can use. Score! They have both in store and online ones available right now for both stores.

Did you know Groupon has coupons? I was so excited to find out about Groupon Coupons and that they have coupons to some of my favorite stores including Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Staples, and Lane Bryant just to name a few. There are currently over 77,000 coupons to over 11,000 different stores. Christmas shopping just became more budget friendly! Woohoo!

One of the coupons that caught my eye was from Express. There are a lot of clearance items available now too! Does anyone else ever go Christmas shopping and find the perfect present for yourself?  

I also noticed they had discounts for movie tickets so maybe we'll just make it a girl's day out before tackling Christmas shopping. I always enjoy our Mother/Daughter days so finding a deal to make it even sweeter rocks.

Searching and using the coupons is free so be sure to check Groupon Coupons first to save some money on the items you purchase this Holiday season or everyday.

You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Review of Commissioned from Chara Games | #ChristianBoardGames #StrategyGames

Commissioned {Chara Games}

We are a game loving family and love adding new games to our collection. We have been playing Commissioned from Chara Games for several weeks now and are excited to tell you all about it! We would highly recommend it and it would make a wonderful Christmas gift for any game loving family!

Commissioned {Chara Games}

First of all, this board game is not like any I have ever seen before. What made it totally unique for us was the fact that the game piece players are apostles, missionaries, and church people and their goal is to spread God's Word all through out the land to grow the church. The game takes you through early church history while you are playing the role of the Apostles. However, you do not need to know any church history or theology to play. 
The game is for 2-6 players and takes approximately 1 hour to play. Recommended ages are 14 and 
up. My 13 year old, 15 year old, and myself all played on many occasions. 

Pieces included:
Double sided game board, 5 double sided scenario cards, 6 player boards, 96 faith cards, 27 trial cards, 4 wood missionary meeples, 75 wood church member cubes, 1 Elder's staff, 6 wood player (apostle) pawns, 30 stop tokens, 5 candle snuffer tokens, 1 converted city leader's token, 1 Roman Legion token, 1 die, a rule book, and a themed appendix.  

Pieces come in a sturdy box that is pretty compact considering what is included inside. 

At first glance, the game seemed complicated to me to play but I knew my board game loving son would find it a great challenge and I was not wrong. As soon as the game arrived, he headed off with it to the dining room table and began to set it up for play. He was intrigued right from the start. He's also lover of history but again none of that is required to play.

The object of the game is to grow the church through the regions (seen above in various colors) and also to collect the books of the New Testament. Along the way, the Apostles, missionaries and churches face trials and persecution but if you can successfully grow and build new churches in each region and collect all the books before the five candles (top left) are snuffed out you win. 
We found that to be a lot easier said than done. Fortunately, there are easier levels for beginners and once you get the hang of that, you could move on to a more difficult level as well as 5 different scenarios to choose from too. For instance, in one of the harder levels if the numbers 1-3 are rolled on the die players are not allowed to talk to one another. We really found ourselves thinking about the difficulties and frustrations that the Apostles must have faced as they carried forth the gospel. 
We played several turns at first without the die and took out the harder trial cards. After playing a few rounds, we began to get the hang of the mission. Each player takes a turn being the Elder so the staff is passed to each player after they go through the 3 phrases of play: ARM, LIVE, and MATURE (as seen on the player card below). The LIVE phrase is repeated depending upon the number of players, and the rule book breaks that down for you clearly.

Here you can see the examples of the trial cards. Each card is marked by difficulty. The blue water drop cards (Disciple) are easier to deal with than the red fire cards (Martyr) so when we first began we took the easy route which wasn't all that easy!

Each player also has faith cards and their actions vary as well depending upon the Apostle chosen and are sorted by faith points in the top left corner. These cards help to counteract some of the trials faced in the Trial Deck.

This is just one of those games that it is best to dive right in to and play. The rule books gives great details and instructions as well as the video on how to play but we found the easiest way to learn was to just play and play!

Commissioned became a regular fixture on our dining room table for weeks. We really love challenging ourselves just a little more each time. I especially love that the actions involved to play are named pray, share, move, and grow. What a great reminder to all Christians! So go forth, you have been Commissioned!

Chara Games has also produced a new card game that has just been released, 3 Seeds. We are looking forward to reviewing that one soon too! 

Commissioned {Chara Games}

Chara Games is a fairly new company whose mission is to bring joy to households through their games. Chara is the Biblical Greek word for unshakeable joy. You can find out more about them by visiting their website, Facebook, and Twitter.  

Commissioned {Chara Games}
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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

FREE 2017 Budget Calendars

It's that time of year again! Can you believe it is already November? The budget calendars that I have used and created for the past 4 years are complete and ready to download. Download yours today and be sure to share them with anyone you think would be interested. They are very simple to make and easy on the printer ink so I enjoy making and sharing them! Thank you so much for your feedback and support with these over the years as well. You guys are awesome!

Download your Free 2017 Budget Calendars and be ready to tackle a new year!

Below you will find a look at the updated version. This version is also free but you do have to be a subscriber to download these. By subscribing you will receive our weekly update and be the first to know when the new calendars are ready along with any other free printables available through out the year.

The only difference in these and the originals are that I added in a space for budgeted and actual amounts with a check off area. I also added in an interest section to the debt snowball category. Subscribe here to download these for FREE too!

Happy budgeting in 2017!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Review of Accountable2You | #hsreviews #internetsafety

Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}

Accountable2You was designed to be a internet monitoring accountability tool. The concept is built on the actions found in the book of Proverbs 27:17 : "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." In this technology driven world, Internet accountability is almost a necessity. Accountable2You offered us the choice of one of four plans: Family Plan, Group Plan, Individual Plan and Small Business Plan. We chose the Family Plan.

Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}

Plans Available

The Individual Plan is great for monitoring a single person and their devices or a family that may only have one device each they would like to monitor. It allows up to 6 devices.

The Group Plan is a great option for church youth groups or homeschool groups. Each person is the group is allowed up to 6 devices to be covered. There is an administrator of the group but they do not have access to any of the reports unless they are set up as an accountability partner.

The Small Business Plan is great for small companies especially those whose employees have internet access. The administrator of this plan does have access to all reports and can set up unlimited devices.

With the Family Plan, you can add up to 20 devices for your family including android, apple, and windows. For a detailed list of devices supported, see this page.

Our Family Use

I set up Accountable2You on our family laptop by downloading the software on the computer. I also added the app to my teen's ipods, and my android phone to see how it would work. Since I only set up less than 6 devices, I could have chosen the individual plan but we have growing teenagers who will be adding more devices soon so I wanted to see how the family plan would work. The family plan costs $9.99 per month.

Setting up each device was pretty simple and there are videos to walk you through the process as well.

Features include detailed reports, instant alerts for questionable activity, unlimited accountability partners, GPS tracking, time limit alerts, the ability to add your own objectionable words, and more.

I chose to receive daily emails showing any alerts. You could also receive text messages or weekly emails.  Here is a sample email report with an alert.

  • I love the GPS feature! Especially after a recent escapade with my oldest who was in a wreck and had no idea where he even was at the time. This feature would have really come in handy then. 
  • The reports are extremely detailed. You can completely monitor text messages, emails, facebook, etc. You also have the option to change app settings so extremely personal information is not monitored. I love that it can be monitored for teens and turned off for adults because I could read exactly what was texted in my report. 
  • The app continually ran on my phone. We have a limited data plan but it never came even close to causing any type of overage for me nor did it slow my phone down. The same goes for the monitoring for the computers and ipod apps. We have used internet safety programs before that caused our older family laptop to constantly crash but had no problems with Accountable2You. 
  • The price is reasonable and includes the whole family and all their devices which let's face it, in this technology driven world is a lot.
  • One con was the limitation on the apple devices.  The app took a little more time to get going as you had to use their browser and disable the Safari browser.  IOS devices must use Accountable2You's browser and disable the Safari browser to be monitored. 
  • I would also love it if the apps and software could deny access to the internet instead of just alerting you if someone is on when they are not suppose to be. 
  • You need to use an additional filtering system if you wish to actually block websites.  They do recommend a few but it would be great to have an all in one app or software.  

Overall, we were pleased with how Accountable2You worked. I tested out the timing limits and received an alert right away. It is a great tool to begin teaching kids responsibility for their own actions because when they leave the home, they will have access to a whole world of internet at their fingertips. Staying accountable to each other is a great way to keep those fingers and eyes away from things they shouldn't be seeing and doing. There is a 10 day free trial if you would like to try it out for yourself.

Be sure to check out Accountable2You on Facebook, and YouTube.

Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}
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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Kwik Stix Review/Giveaway | Christmas Gift Ideas

I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. 

We have been having a blast with our new Kwik Stix from The Pencil Grip, Inc sent to us for a review. If you haven't seen these in action yet, you may just want to add them to your holiday wish list or gift giving list. They make crafting so much easier to complete because they are mess free. I love painting but hate waiting for it to dry especially when sending home papers when I taught Sunday School. With Kwik Stix, that is no longer a problem! They dry in 90 seconds!  No water, no paint brush, no smocks, no mess = hours of fun for mom too.

We now have the basics set, metalix set, and neon set so we have a beautiful variety to keep our crafting going.


Here are a few of the crafts we have been working on for the holidays.

For Halloween, I just printed out this coloring sheet and added Happy Halloween.  I love that the paint doesn't bleed through the paper yet the colors still remain vibrant.  This was painted using the Neon Kwik Stix.  You can compare and see how the marker did bleed through.  

Sarah made her own pumpkin using the paint and some old supplies we already had on hand.  

We picked up this Thanksgiving Thankful Tree at Target a while back.  It's made of wood so we added a little pop of color by painting the base and viola - we have a new table centerpiece!

We found this simple Christmas craft idea using toilet paper rolls and used the Kwik Stix Metalix paints to give our trees a special sparkle. Simply paint the rolls, cut them to size, and glue them together -so easy! I think this set of paints is our favorite! What girl doesn't love a little shimmer in her life?!

Since their is no bleed through, I have found these to be a great touch for my planner too! You could paint an entire box for a special occasion or simply color paydays like I did here. Any planner girls out there?

Kwik Stix are now available at Target too making it easier than ever to bring some crafting fun into your home. I love that they are so versatile so you can use them on regular paper, cardboard, wood, and many other surfaces. 

Enter below to earn your own set of Kwik Stix.  These would make great stocking stuffers too!  This giveaway will open at midnight November 2nd and end on November 9th at midnight.  

For more inspiration and creative ideas visit The Pencil Grip, Inc. on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.