Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Z is for Zacchaeus #abcblogging

I'm sure you have heard the children's song about Zacchaeus:

Zacchaeus was a wee little man ,
and a wee little man was he.
He climbed up in a sycamore tree
For the Lord he wanted to see.

And when the Savior passed that way
He looked up in the tree.
And said, 'Zacchaeus, you come down!
For I'm going to your house today!
For I'm going to your house today!'

We find his story in Luke 19: 1-10.

Just like the song he was short and climbed a tree.  Jesus speaks to him and goes to his house to fellowship.  Zacchaeus wasn't a nice man - he even confesses his sins right then and there to Jesus.


That day his life is complete changed!

Why?  Because he meets Jesus.

Have you had a time where you've met Jesus?  Where you asked him to become your personal Savior?  Confessed that you are sinner and that there is nothing you can do, no good work or deed to get yourself into heaven?  Have you asked Jesus to forgive you?

When it all comes down to it the most important thing you can do is have a personal relationship with Jesus!

This post is part of' s blogging through the alphabet.  Click on the image below to see what others are saying about the letter Z.  

Ben and Me

This is the last post of this series.  I'm not sure if I'll blog through the alphabet again but look next week for a recap of all the post in this series! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

French Course by Middlebury Interactive Languages #REVIEW

Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

My seventh grader asked to take French this year.  On of the beauties of homeschooling is that he totally has a say in what electives he takes during his school year.  We were fortunate to be part of the SchoolHouse Review Crew and to be picked to review Middlebury Interactive Languages this fall.  

There are 4 languages Middlebury offers:

Spanish Courses
French Courses
German Courses
Chinese Courses

Each course is offered in four levels: Elementary, middle school, high school and AP.  The courses start at grade 3 with the exception of Spanish which has a kindergarten level.  
Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

There are two options when choosing your language.  You can choose between to have a teacher graded course or without the teacher.  (Without a teacher is graded online by the course - it just doesn't have the teacher interaction.  I also wanted to note that the 'with teacher' option offers transcript credit - if you need that for your state or umbrella school.)

Courses are broken up into semesters.


Without a Teacher (per semester) - $119
with a  Teacher (per semester) - $175

We received Middle School French Semester 1 without a teacher for this review.  

How we used this course:

My seventh grader is pretty handy with the computer so for the first lesson I sat down with him and showed him how to navigate the lesson screen. For us it was easier to go by the table of contents to complete lessons.  However there is a calendar that shows you which lesson to do each day if that works better for your learning style.  Our semester consisted of 9 units.  Each unit included 5-10 lessons for a semester total of 90.  There is also a midterm/final section.  It was super easy for him once I showed him how to log on and where to find the lessons. 

His lessons would include various styles.  Some days he did a matching lessons, other days he had to pronounce words.  The lesson would introduce new vocabulary to him and  have occasions to read/write what he was learning.

Xander would log in in the mornings and work through  1-3 lessons a day typically we did this 4-5 days a week as recommended for middle school level by Middlebury.  We purchased (optional) a headset / microphone set cheaply off of amazon for him to use.  This worked well for us because we have a 9th grader doing school as well as our preschooler who likes to disrupt things.  Xan was able to concentrate on the course without too much distraction.  

It is helpful to have a printer and notebook for the course.  We printed out a few sheets here and there with vocabulary.  There was also a great little guide for navigating your keyboard for accents on words.  

Our Thoughts:

My son has been enjoying this course.  He likes that it is self-paced and that he can work as slowly or as fast as he likes.  For example there was a quiz coming up and he was able to take 2 days to really study and review for it.  Typically though he is flying through the course.  We are about a week ahead of the suggested schedule and I hope he keeps that pace up so it will not be a challenge to finish during our 6 month time.  

I like how everything is graded and I can see at a glance how he is doing.  Foreign language is one area of teaching that totally intimidates me.  I have a little bit of knowledge of quite a few languages and frankly it all blends together for me.  The ability to purchase a course for my kid that is going to do all the teaching and grading is a huge relief for me!  I'm almost positive Xan will be asking to complete semester 2 after we finish this one.  Overall we are both pleased with how this course is progressing. One really sweet thing has been quizzing my son on the vocabulary.  I took a year of college French and while I retained very little - I can read the words off the page.  So I've had fun sharing in his learning with French. 

Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Friday, October 17, 2014

Y is You for #abcblogging

We are at the end of the alphabet and it sure does get hard to write things for these letters.  I can only imagine how hard next week's letter Z will be.

So the letter Y

I think of


Let's start with YOU:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. -  John 3:16 KJV

In this verse the whosoever is talking about YOU!  


As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.  - Psalm 42:1 KJV

Are we longing and yearning for God like our psalmist David was in this psalm? 


 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: - Ruth 1:16

Are we willing to say yes like Ruth was?  Yes to where God will have us go in our lives? 

Just some simple words and questions for the letter Y.  This post is part of 's blogging through the alphabet.  Click on the image below to see what others are saying about the letter Y.
Ben and Me

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Apologia iWitness Books #REVIEW

We have been big fans of Apologia Educational Ministries ever since we started homeschooling three years ago.  We have been using their science curriculum for three years with great success.  This year we are also using their Bible curriculum for our seventh grader.  To say I was excited to have the opportunity to review books from Apologia is rather an understatement!  

What we received:

iWitness Biblical Archaeology - $14

This book digs into biblical archaeology and allows the reader to see the a glimpse into these findings.  Filled with pictures and facts this book studies events from the Old and New Testament.

New Testament iWitness - $14
Do you wonder who the authors were of the New Testament?  This book dives into the historical facts behind the forming of today's Bible.  Learn how it was copied and how many copies along with many other facts.

Old Testament iWitness -  $14
This book explores the Old Testament and bit of the history around it.  Taking a deeper look at what we know about how our bible was made.  Learn how each book made it into our bible and what books didn't.

About these books:
Each of these books is soft covered.  They are written in what I would call a mixed media look.  Meaning there are pictures and drawings along with text. On each page the text is broken down into paragraphs each in it's own little section.  Each of these books were written and designed by Doug Powell.  There are two more books planned for this series being released sometime in 2015:  iWitness World religions and iWitnesss Heresies & Cults.  I think I will have to check those out as they sound fascinating!

Age Range:  Reading level is 11+ but could be used for school age and above.

How we used these books:

Before seeing the books in person I had planned on sitting together during our bible time and reading them out loud.  However upon receiving them I realized quickly that wouldn't work as easily as I thought.  The books are fairly quick to read with short paragraphs on each page for each topic.  For me it worked out for each of us to pick a book of interest and read individually.  Then switching so we have all read each of the books.  This worked out great for my kids who are 12 and 14.  They were able to read their books alone.

After reading we would discuss a bit of what we learned.  The size of these books allowed for travel to piano lessons - so each of the boys took their down time at lessons to read.  We added these in addition to their current bible curriculum. Of course for me as a mom, I read when I could.  Grabbing my books here and there.

Our thoughts:

These books are FILLED with information.  I honestly could read each several times and still glean more.  The boys feel the same way.  We love the history we are learning by studying deeper into our faith and bible.  The facts, history and pictures included really make these books special. They are just very visually pleasing.  My oldest has been very interested in learning more about our history pertaining to Christianity.  He has been studying and these books just helped put a lot of information in one place for him.  It is an easy read and a quick way to learn more. 

Please click on the image below to see what the other Crew members have to say about these book:

Click to read Crew Reviews

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Family Toolbox Program #REVIEW #familytoolbox #heartparenting

We were recently sent the Family Toolbox program by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN for review.  I honestly was so excited because our theme this year with our homeschool is character training.  I have found that I don't have all the 'tools' I thought I did as I embarked on that theme.  Family Toolbox couldn't have come at a better time!

What is it?

The Family Toolbox is a DVD/video-driven program that brings parents and teens together for constructive dialogue around significant issues of discipleship. Conversation is sparked by engaging video clips. Sixteen Life Success Principles are communicated through eight lessons that give parents and teens biblically-based, practical topics for discussion. The format grabs teens and gets them interacting.

The Family Toolbox has 8 lessons. Each one has a 1-2 minute scene of a family living life and experiencing common challenges in their relationships. A discussion guide prompts dialogue between parents and teens and a 10-minute teaching session for parents featuring Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN gives practical tools to use right away.

How we used it and overall thoughts:

For this program you as the parent first watch the segment.  Then you are to watch the short skit with your kids and answer some questions in the workbook.  What we did is I actually read the questions out loud to the kids so that it was more of a  workshop session for our family.  Each chapter doesn't take very long to complete but it does have an impact on our daily future.  The workbook also includes special pages for the parent to complete alone. 

I like that as the parent you get practical advice in each session.  Something you can apply right away.  This is so important because while the problems being pointed out are helpful - you want to know what you can do about the scenarios right away.

I loved how this program opened up dialog between my bigger boys and I.  We had heartfelt conversations after watching the skits.  It was very easy to pick out the problems with other families and then identify in our own lives as well.  Ultimately I'm thankful because both my boys were open to the program and working harder on making our family better.   I also love the use of scripture through out to back up the course and changes needed in our lives.

What this course didn't do is make the kids out to be the bad guys.  It showed that most problems are formed together - with issues from the parents and the kids.  It also shows how working together to change is a great way to start. 

Be sure to join us at the official Facebook party - October 16 at 8 pm ET - There will be additional information and some prizes!

Monday, October 13, 2014

THE MASON JAR #REVIEW & Kindle Fire Giveaway from @JRLingerfelt!

A Rup Life received a copy of this book for review purposes. This post contains affiliate links.

The Mason Jar by James Russell Lingerfelt blew me away!  This book is written by a man and in a
man's perspective.  I loved hearing a strong male character speak of love and loving.  It is so rare these days that a man can even express his feelings but "Finn" does just that.  The story goes from telling what happened in the past - to the present.  We meet our characters Finn and Eden and go on their whirlwind love affair.  Then something happens and that is all shaken up.  Finn finds himself adrift in life not really living in the now but living in the past.  He tries to fill his life with good works but it always comes back to Eden.  This is really a lovestory that will stay with you - reminded me a bit of The Notebook.  The letters he shares written back and forth with his Grandpa are the icing on the cake!


What if your old college roommate called, raving about a book someone sent her, calling it the most beautiful book she's ever read? "But," she said, "it's about you." The author is your college ex.
In The Mason Jar, Clayton Fincannon is a Tennessee farm boy raised at the feet of his grandfather. He and his grandfather leave letters for each other in a Mason jar on his grandfather's desk---letters of counsel and affirmation. When Clayton attends college in Southern California, he meets and falls in love with a dark debutante from Colorado. However, when an unmentioned past resurrects in her life and she leaves, Clayton is left with unanswered questions.
Clayton goes on to serve as a missionary in Africa, while he and his grandfather continue their tradition of writing letters. When Clayton returns home five years later to bury his grandfather, he searches for answers pertaining to the loss of the young woman he once loved. Little does Clayton know, the answers await him in the broken Mason jar.
A story about a girl who vanished, a former love who wrote a book about her, and a reunion they never imagined.
Written for the bruised and broken, The Mason Jar is an inspirational romance that brings hope to people who have experienced disappointment in life due to separation from loved ones. With a redemptive ending that encourages us to love again and written in the fresh, romantic tones of Nicholas Sparks, The Mason Jar interweaves the imagery of Thoreau with the adventures and climatic family struggles common to Dances with Wolves, A River Runs Through It, and Legends of the Fall. 

You can purchase your copy of The Mason Jar online at Amazon. 

additional information:

James Russell Lingerfelt's debut novel, The Mason Jar, is hot-off-the-press and causing quite the buzz. It's even been optioned for a feature film and is in pre-production.

Catch the spark by entering James' Kindle Fire giveaway!
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Mason Jar by James Russell Lingerfelt
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 19th. Winner will be announced October 20th at James Russell's blog, Love Story from the Male Perspective.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

THE SEA HOUSE #Review & Kindle Fire Giveaway from Elisabeth Gifford

A Rup Life was sent a copy of this book for review. This post contains affiliate links.
I recently was sent The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford for review.  This was an intriguing tale.  The main character Ruth has a rough past and is working through all of that to find life in the present.  I found her struggles real and heartbreaking but they made me want to root for her journey in life to be successful.  The present story is of Ruth but she is trying to unravel the past of their new home.  Through that story we learn of a mermaid child and some mysterious past.  I quite enjoyed the mystery in the book.   I felt like it was just enough to carry the story and keep me reading more!  This really was an intriguing tale. Gifford weaves a tale that keeps your interest up until the last word.

You can purchase your copy of The Sea House at your local retailer or online at stores like Amazon.

About the book: 

Scotland, 1860.
Reverend Alexander Ferguson, naive and newly-ordained, takes up his new parish, a poor, isolated patch on the Hebridean island of Harris. His time on the island will irrevocably change the course of his life, but the white house on the edge of the dunes keeps its silence long after Alexander departs. It will be more than a century before the Sea House reluctantly gives up its secrets. Ruth and Michael buy the grand but dilapidated building and begin to turn it into a home for the family they hope to have. Their dreams are marred by a shocking discovery. The tiny bones of a baby are buried beneath the house; the child's fragile legs are fused together --- a mermaid child. Who buried the bones? And why? Ruth needs to solve the mystery of her new home --- but the answers to her questions may lie in her own past.
Based on a real nineteenth-century letter to The Times in which a Scottish clergyman claimed to have seen a mermaid, The Sea House is an epic, sweeping tale of loss and love, hope and redemption, and how we heal ourselves with the stories we tell.
Additional Information:
Don't miss The Sea House, a stunning fiction debut from the UK. Set in a house on the windswept coast of the Outer Hebrides, Elisabeth Gifford's haunting tale effortlessly bridges a gap of more than a century. Adeptly interweaving two tales involving residents of the titular house, Gifford sets up an absorbing mystery revolving around local lore and myths about mermaids, selkies, and sealmen. Stretching seamlessly back and forth through time, layers upon layers of secrets are slowly and effectively peeled away in this evocative debut (Booklist).

Celebrate with Elisabeth by entering her Kindle giveaway!
E.Gifford, The Sea House Giveaway

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 19th. Winner will be announced October 20th at Elisabeth's Blog.

Watch the trailer:

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Weekly Recap

This was a fun and busy week!  We three field trips!! We went to a Sahl's Corn Maze, The Garden State Discovery Museum and Sahara Sam's!  It was a really awesome week.  We met close friends at the Corn Maze - which had 3 different levels and it was a great day with beautiful weather.  The next day we did the hands-on museum which was awesome for my little guy - he invited another little friend for a nice playdate.  (My big kids love the Discovery Museum too!)  Last we rounded it out with Sahara Sam's which was AWESOME!  We had a private Cabana, food and splashtastic fun!  The big kids had Dad go on all the attractions with them because Mom can't swim and is a scaredy-cat! 

Now onto the Blog!

The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski #EmbraceTheSacred FREE Book Offer #REVIEW


X is for X-Mas #abcblogging


What About Living? #BrittanyMaynard


Fortuigence - A Writing Course #REVIEW


Mike & Molly: The Complete Fourth Season #REVIEW


The Wiggles: Wiggly Halloween! #WIN


Planes Fire & Rescue - Fire Safety Activities!


Gustafer Yellowgold​'s Wisdom Tooth of Wisdom DVD/CD

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mike & Molly: The Complete Fourth Season #REVIEW

A Rup Life received a copy of this DVD for review purposes.  This post contains affiliate links. 

Parents need some laughter and Mike & Molly: The Complete Fourth Season totally delivers on that! I loved Melissa McCarthy in Gilmore Girls and Samantha Who?  - and now I love seeing her in MIke & Molly! 

You can purchase your copy at your local retailer or online at stores like Amazon. 

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) brings the fourth season of the hilarious hit comedy Mike & Molly to DVD September 30, 2014. It’s a season full of delightful surprises and exciting adventures for one of TV’s most lovable couples. When Molly (Emmy® winner Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids, Gilmore Girls), quits her job as a school teacher to pursue her literary aspirations, her Chicago cop husband Mike (Billy Gardell – My Name Is Earl) supports her decision and encourages her to follow her dream. Together they embark on the next chapter of their lives as their crazy, but comfortable, love story continues to unfold. Mike and Molly: The Complete Fourth Season will retail for $38.99 SRP.

In the Season Four premiere episode, “Molly Unleashed,” Molly abruptly gives up her job teaching elementary school to follow her dreams of becoming a writer. With the support of her family, Molly sets out to become the woman she was always meant to be. This life-changing decision gives way to a fourth season filled with off-the-wall surprises and hilarious escapades, including Molly tagging along with Mike in the squad car for “research,” driving a forklift at Vince’s warehouse and meeting her literary idol (guest star Susan Sarandon). This season, Mike and the rest of the world experience what Molly unleashed can really do!

Mike & Molly’s fourth season is as fresh, funny and exciting as ever. It’s no surprise the show was quickly able to establish itself as a fan favorite, said Rosemary Markson, WBHE Senior Vice President, TV Brand Management and Retail Marketing. She added, “Melissa McCarthy shines as Molly and the rest of the cast is outstanding. It’s a combination of great casting, smart writing and brilliant performances that make this show truly stand out. We are delighted to offer the complete fourth season on DVD.”


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fortuigence - A Writing Course #REVIEW

Fortuigence Review
For the past few weeks my oldest son has been working on our latest review from Fortuigence.  This is an online writing course where you work with a real life teacher through online videos and email.  

There are four courses you can take with Fortuigence:

Essay Rock Star Personal Statement Writing Course - $57.00

Essay Rock Star Persuasive Essay Writing Course - $57.00

Essay Rock Star Textual Analysis Writing Course - $57.00

Essay Rock Star Expository Essay Writing Course  - $57.00
Essay Rock Star which includes all four above for $197.00

For our review we choose to do Essay Rock Star Personal Statement Writing Course - which is designed to help students with a common essay often required for college entrance.

There are 8 lessons for this course.

All of the courses are  designed for ages 12-18.

Fortuigence Review

How we used this course:

My oldest son who is in 9th grade was the one working on this writing course.  He would watch the videos then complete the assignments.   He did most of the watching and writing on his personal tablet (which is more like a mini-laptop.)  Then he would actually email me the work so we could go over it together.  After that we would submit his work to our teacher Ms. Lily. From then  we would wait for a response from her.  Her responses varied - either good job move on or tips on how to re-do the assignment and resubmit. 

Some of the work - watching the videos- is spent online but the bulk of it is writing and re-writing is offline.  We set up a notebook for Austin to put his printables (which were occasionally available for a lesson)  - I thought he would like to hand-write his work but he wanted to type everything which was much more convenient.  We printed out copies for his notebook of each draft.

My Thoughts:

We are still working through this course.  I really thought it would be quicker but there is some wait time between submitting lessons and getting your response back from the teacher.  We had to go back and edit a few times too.  So while I think you could complete this course in 4 weeks I think with a busy schedule like ours 8 weeks is more realistic.  I would like to note that Ms. Lily was very quick to respond (typically within 24 hours) - but that didn't always leave us time the next day to actually move forward.  For example, if my student worked all day Monday on his writing assignment and then submitted it by 3pm and then we heard back by 2pm the next day - our school day was basically  done.  So he would work again on Wednesday.  I hope that is clear - on how working on the course worked out for us. 

I also thought that I wouldn't have to do much work with my student but that wasn't our case.  He still wanted my opinion on everything! I'm thinking that is 'our' unique problem and most students would use this completely independently.

We both like that we received real feedback from Ms. Lily.  This is really the best part of this course.  It was so helpful that it wasn't just 'moms' opinion.  When Austin asked to revise his essay - Ms. Lily said the same things I did!  However they were received much better from her. The break down of the lessons is also pretty awesome.  You brainstorm and free draft.  He even created a thesis statement.  All of this is preparing him for college and college entrance exams.  I find that so beneficial because it has been almost 20 years since I had to do those myself.  

We will continue working through the course for the next few weeks and finish before Halloween!  I also wanted to add that this course is fairly short so it is easy to fit in along with your other work during the year.  I also think it would make an awesome summer course!  The timing of 4ish weeks would be perfect for summer learning schedules.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

What About Living? #BrittanyMaynard

When I read the story about Brittany Maynard - I can't tell you how sad I am about this.  See I've seen family members fighting cancer.  I've seen my cousin at death's door quite a few times with little hope yet he managed to bounce back several times - from terminal brain cancer. 

I watched my mom fight breast cancer once and it come back again.  I watched how she fought the second time but didn't win. 

What did I learn...

We are ALL dying.  Just some of us are sick for a long time before.  I don't think anyone really 'wants' to die.  (Even though as saved Christians we hear all the time that we can't wait to get to heaven - I really don't believe we are jumping at the opportunity.)  If we are saved - trusted in Jesus who died for our sins- then we know this life is not the end.  We know we go to a better place.  That gives me peace for dying.  It gives me peace to know I'll see my loved ones again.  So I'm not afraid of what is next.

So we are all dying - every day a little bit at a time.  And you know what?  That is okay.  So what if your given 2 weeks, 3 months, 1 year.  Well, then you have a bit of knowledge the rest of us don't have.  You have the opportunity to LOVE MORE, HUG MORE, LAUGH MORE, LIVE MORE, LEARN MORE  and honestly we all should be living like we are dying!  Just like that country song by Tim McGraw. 

I would hope if I was faced with the same path as Brittany that I would choose to cling to Jesus.  That I would trust in HIS PERFECT TIMING for my departure.  I would hope that I would show my kids how to die.  How?  With love for them, for my husband, for my extended family, for my friends and for My Jesus!  I hope I would take each breath as a chance to remind them how much I love them. I hope I would count each day as a blessing. 

See I just can't imagine ending my time before I needed to.  What if I didn't have that last Christmas with my Mom (the one we didn't know would be her last.)  What if I didn't get to see my cousin Mark at his last Easter completely healthy? 

What about that elderly couple that plans on dying together?  They feel they are only a burden on their children and society.  What has happened to our thinking that we no longer value life?  When we go down this slippery path of assisted suicide (and yes it is suicide - make no mistake about that - no matter what fancy label they attach to the whole thing) - where do we stop?  Do we start encouraging the chronically sick to think of the 'bigger picture' or 'society's needs'.  Do we only value the young and healthy.  Is their life the only one worth living? 

Do we play god?  Deciding who gets a quality life and who should pass on for the greater good? 

See I believe every life is of value from that first cell until the last breath.  I think about this sweet couple that knew that their baby wouldn't survive outside the womb.  The spent the month's leading up to Baby Shane's birth celebrating the life he had.  The didn't choose abortion - the chose life! 

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment - Hebrews 9:27

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

X is for X-Mas #abcblogging

It is almost that time of year when I see so many posts on Facebook about keeping Christ in Christmas.  They want to banish X-Mas from everyone's vocabulary.  Did you know that X-mas actually has a bit of a Christian background?

It is taken from the Greek letters χ (Ch) and ρ (R) from the word: Χριστος which is Greek for Christ.

You can read more about that on Wikipedia  or we did a fantastic lapbook from Hands of a Child that went into all the different symbols/ traditions of Christmas. 

Why do I bring this up?  We as Christians need to be careful when we start thinking we know everything.  Looking at the history or origin of something might give you knowledge of a true meaning rather than relying on a meme on facebook.

Also, we are not supposed to be easily offended.  When someone says something like Happy X-Mas to you - maybe try not to correct or take offense.  You can easily reply with Merry Christmas!  While that is what I choose to say when I'm out and about to strangers, family and friends.  I also choose not to be offended by the alternative anymore.  Keeping Christ in Christmas is so much more than a holiday greeting.  We make a big focus on reading the Christmas story from our bible on Christmas morning and we have a cake for Jesus and sing Happy Birthday.  That is really keeping Christ as the focus not being rude to possible unbelievers or perhaps believers that know the bigger meaning behind X-Mas.

One of my husband's favorite verses is this:

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. - Psalm 119:165 KJV

This post is part of's blogging through the alphabet.  Click on the picture below for more posts on the letter X.  

Ben and Me

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski #EmbraceTheSacred FREE Book Offer #REVIEW

A Rup Life was sent a copy for review. This post may contain affiliate links.

 The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski is my latest book up for review.  This book takes a journey with the author after a meeting with a local monk.  His life was going fast and he was lost, disenchanted and unfocused. While I was reading this book I kind of had a chuckle to myself.  The author spends some time staring at an apple.  He looks at it from all angles, checking out the dimples, and bruises.  As a Mom, I've done this with each of my babies.  Not just once either.  Many times in the first year of their lives.  Looking at their knuckles and fingernails, the hair on their face... memorizing their littleness.  I think maybe perhaps men don't slow down like that in life.  This book was interesting.  I liked how the author shared personal stories and his thoughts on his spiritual journey. 

About the book:

Frustrated and disillusioned with his life as a Christian, motivational speaker Michael Yankoski was determined to stop merely talking about living a life of faith and start experiencing it. The result was a year dedicated to engaging in spiritual practices, both ancient and modern, in a life-altering process that continues to this day. Whether contemplating an apple for an hour before tasting it (attentiveness), eating on $2.00 a day (simplicity) or writing simple letters of thanks (gratitude), Michael discovered a whole new depth through the intentional life.
Stirred on by the guiding voice of Father Solomon, a local monk, Yankoski's life is slowly transformed. Both entertaining and heart-wrenching, Yankoski's story will resonate with those who wish to deepen their own committed faith as well as those who are searching --- perhaps for the first time --- for their own authentic encounter with the Divine.

Purchase a copy:

 About the Author:

 Michael Yankoski is a writer, aspiring theologian, and urban homesteader who dreams of becoming a competent woodworker, musician, and sailor. He received his MA in theological studies at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, is a (novitate) Oblate of St. Benedict, and has authored four books. Michael grew up in Colorado, feels at home on the Pacific Coast, and currently resides in Indiana, where he and his wife are pursuing PhDs at the University of Notre Dame.

 Additional Information:

God is at work everywhere. And every-when. We only need to open our eyes and take the time to notice.

Michael Yankoski became jaded and disillusioned with his life as a Christian motivational speaker, feeling as though he was another act in the “Christian Carnival.” Religion started to become a façade instead of a deep, nourished, lived experience of faith. He knew he needed to stop talking about his faith and begin living and practicing it. In a sort of desperation, Michael dedicated the next year to engaging various spiritual practices, and The Sacred Year is a firsthand account of the downs and ups, the failures and successes of an honest search for answers to the human yearning for life, love, and God. It’s time to stop talking about your faith and begin living and experiencing it.

Join Michael and #EmbraceTheSacred—seek out God at work in the mundane and attend to what God is doing in your life. Share those moments on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and make sure to use the tag #EmbraceTheSacred.
 As a thank-you for ordering The Sacred Year, Michael is giving away a free ebook! Email your proof of purchase of The Sacred Year to, and you will receive A Straightforward Guide to Three Essential Spiritual Practices ebook for FREE! Learn more here.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Weekly Recap

This was a busy week - as they all seemed to be anymore.  Running errands, schooling, doctors - it just never ends!  I hosted a demonstration for Lilla Rose.  I haven't done a in home demo in years!  I loved the product and can't wait to receive my hair items.  (If you would like to check it out - click here-).

On top of all that we went to a charity event last night for my cousin Markie's charity - ReMarkable Strides.  It was a fun night with food and a Chinese auction.  My table won at least 18 things!  Of course it was shadowed with the loss of my dear cousin Mark.  If your interested in learning more from this charity, or donating.  Visit  

Ok, now onto the bloggy bloggy stuffs!

The Family Toolbox Giveaway! #WIN


Treasury of Bible Stories Review & Rhythmical Rhymes Kindle Giveaway!

Ella the Elephant Season 1 Volume 1: The Magic of Friendship #review #WIN

Diggerfest Happening Weekends in October at Diggerland! 

 Preschoolers and Peace E-Book #review

 W is for Willingly #abcblogging


Keeping Fit from A to Z / Mantente en forma de la A a la Z #review

Digglerland's Diggerfest! Fall Fun for All!! 

Sahara Sam's October Splash Savings & Birthday Party Coupon!

Sahara Sam's October Splash Savings & Birthday Party Coupon!

My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic Spooktacular Pony Tales #review






Thursday, October 2, 2014

W is for Willingly #abcblogging

I asked my kids for help with the letter W.  I was drawing up a blank and they came up with WILLINGLY.

Their example:

Hannah gave her son willingly to the Lord :

For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there.  I Samuel 1: 27-28

So going along with what they said I was thinking about how God blessed me with three sons.  Am I willing to give them willingly to The Lord for his service - for him to use them for His will? 

This is rough!  What if my child is meant to suffer - be a martyr.  I think of Pastor Saeed who is being held captive.  Has his mom prayed that God would use him as he will and given him willingly?  

What if my child becomes a Pastor.  Am I going to be able to handle the criticism that he will face as a leader of a flock?  Will I be happy to watch him serve or sad to not have him spending more time with me.  

I hope that I can move to that willing point in my life - as I believe it is as God intends things to be with grown children.  I'm working hard to raise them right and enjoy this time in my home.  It is fleeting and before I blink my oldest will be out the door.  

Are you giving your children willingly?

This post is part of abcblogging at  Click on the picture below to see what other's are saying about the letter W.  

Ben and Me

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Preschoolers and Peace E-Book #review

Preschoolers and Peace Review

Preschoolers and Peace has sent me their latest book to review.  Preschoolers and Peace: Homeschooling older kids with success while loving the little ones at your feet comes in an e-book format and is priced at $2.99. 

This book features 14 chapters (listed below) and is perfect for Momma's teaching different ages - especially if you have little ones at home.


  • What a Homeschooling Mom Needs
  • Preparing Yourself to Homeschool Older Kids With Little Ones Underfoot
  • Planning Around Preschoolers
  • How Do I Keep Them Busy?
  • What Does a 2-Year-Old's Day Look Like?
  • How Do I Get Any Preschooling Done?
  • How Not to Just Kill Time
  • Circle Time: Or How We Pull the Little Ones In
  • Preschool Boys
  • When All of Your Kiddos Are Preschoolers
  • Preschool Chores
  • Planning for Preschool
  • When Mama is Worn Out (or Pregnant)
  • Meal Planning 101
Author Kendra Fletcher is a married homeschooling Momma to eight children.  They range in ages from 21 down to 6.  She has been homeschooling with littles underfoot for many years and shares what has worked for her in this book.

I read my book very quickly, in fact I think it took me just a few hours.  Of course I am a fast reader so that helped - but also the subject was something I really wanted more information on as I have a 9th grader and a preschooler.  Our preschooler really does cause distraction ALL DAY LONG.  So I was hoping to glean some helpful information to use in our homeschool this year.

This is an e-book so I sent the book to my Kindle for ease of reading for me.  I love that Kindle lets you email books/documents to your Kindle so you can read them on there.  (For more information on how to do that check out manage your kindle in your Amazon account.)  Of course if you don't own a Kindle, or use the kindle app (available on other devices such as phones, ipads, or tablets) you can always read this book on another tablet or on your computer.  I just found sending it to my Kindle was the easiest option for me.

I like how this book opened up with preparing yourself as a Mom.   Especially the focus on prayer.  I know that is something that is important to me.  It is how I start my day and I love that it is the start of this book! 

The next part about planning with your preschooler in mind is really good info.

Here is a quote from the book:

We teach our little ones to do five things when they get up in the morning:
1. Get dressed
2. Make their bed
3. Brush their teeth
4. Tidy their room
5. Pray for their day

This is really priceless information.  I think I've been teaching my preschooler to sit on the couch and drink juice!  I felt conviction just from that little blurb!  This book includes lots of suggestions for busy activities for little ones and ideas on when to include them as well. One thing we've been focusing on is circle time with my little guy.  So far we only do scripture memorization and a calendar activity - but I have more planned for this time. 

Overall I felt this book was very helpful.  It is a quick read with tons of helpful information.  It is something I likely re-read several times over the next 2 years (until our littlest reaches first grade).  I felt like this book spoke to my Mommy heart and it knew the words I needed to hear!

Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Diggerfest Happening Weekends in October at Diggerland!

Join South Jersey's construction theme park - Diggerland for Diggerfest! Happening every weekend in October!  Guest are invited to come and enjoy the regular theme park as well as some new fall attractions. What is New for Diggerfest:
  • Children get a special ticket to pick their own pumpkin from our pumpkin patch
  • Access to the Pumpkin Decoration Station (decorate your pumpkins)
  • The DiggerFest Hay Maze
  • Diggerland’s Hay Ride
  • Pumpkin Launching! (purchase of pumpkins to launch is additional)
  • A special Stunt Show for DiggerFest
  • Themed Costume Contests (for children in costume)
All of this is included with your Full-Day Admission ticket!
If that isn't enough they will be having costume contests each weekend with the following themes:
  • October 4 and 5: Farmers and Animals
  • October 11 and 12: Superheroes and Princesses
  • October 18 and 19: Everyday Heroes!
  • October 25 and 26: Construction Workers and a GRAND PRIZE for Best Construction Equipment Contest!

Ella the Elephant Season 1 Volume 1: The Magic of Friendship #review #WIN

A Rup Life received product for review purposes.  This post may contain affiliate links. 
My little guy has been loving watching Ella the Elephant Season 1 Volume 1: The Magic of Friendship on DVD.  We had never seen this show before receiving the DVD for review but it has quickly become a hit in our house.  The theme song is adorable and Ella is just as sweet.  There is adventure, working things out between friends and of course her magic hat saves the day!


Here comes Ella the Elephant and her magical red hat, with eight delightful stories about fun, friendship, love and laughs on Ella the Elephant Season 1 Volume 1: The Magic of Friendship, available September 16, 2014 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE).   Ella the Elephant is based on the popular children’s book series. Kids will be captivated by Ella and her friends Frankie, Belinda, Tiki, Ada and Ida, as they embark on a series of playful adventures on Elephant Island. Ella the Elephant Season 1 Volume 1: The Magic of Friendship will retail for $14.98 SRP.

Journey to an island of adventures where the magic of friendship has never been so much fun! Join Ella and her kindhearted friends in this all-new animated series featuring eight charming episodes. Elephant Island is home to many curiosities but Ella and her friends’ appetite for fun lands them in some tricky, often hilarious situations. It’s up to Ella’s imagination and her magic red hat to save the day!  It’s a must-own collection of delightful stories centered on highlighting teamwork, lessons and adventure for the whole family to enjoy.

Featured Episodes:
  • Ella’s Got Talent/Safety First
  • Trunk Trooper/Ella in Charge
  • Girls’ Club/Soapbox Squabble
  • Treasure Hunters/Ella Borrows Trouble
  • Ella Bakes a Cake/Camp Ella
  • Ella on the Ball/Up, Up and Away
  • Tea Party Trouble/Home Again
  • Ella’s Carnival/Monkey Business
You can purchase your copy of Ella the Elephant Season 1 Volume 1: The Magic of Friendship at your local retailer or online at stores like Amazon.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Treasury of Bible Stories Review & Rhythmical Rhymes Kindle Giveaway!

I recently had the chance to review Treasury of Bible Stories: Rhythmical Rhymes of Biblical Times.  This is such a delightful book.  I've been using it in the mornings to expand on topics brought up in our homeschool curriculum.  We've read about Noah and Adam and Eve so far and it is ADORABLE!  Totally rhymes like the children's classics from Dr. Suess.

I have personally loved the pictures in this book - the characters are adorably drawn and draws my child in for a look.  Last time I had children's nursery I brought this book and taught about Noah.  We read this story and colored a coloring sheet.  So simple and easy to implement!

You can purchase your copy of  Treasury of Bible Stories - Rhythmical Rhymes of Biblical Times at your local Christian book retailer or online at stores like Amazon.  

About the book:
Featuring lyrical stories that will make you laugh, this colorful collection is perfect for reading out loud. Magnificent Tales are rhyming Bible stories with clever art and clear lessons the whole family will enjoy. The stories and illustrations are so engaging that you won’t grow tired of reading a Magnificent Tale night after night! From “The Salty Tale of Noah’s Ark” to “The Lasting Story of the Last Supper,” the rhyming tales in this book remind us that God loves His people—in the Bible and today! 
Stories Included:
  • Tricked by a Snake
  • Every Beast Times Two
  • Dreams That Were Dreamed
  • Jochebed's Secret Joy
  • "Let My People Go!"
  • A Wall of Water
  • A Silly-Sounding Plan
  • A Shout for the Lord
  • The Biggest and Toughest
  • God's Bigger Plan
  • Daniel for Lunch
  • Food for a Fish
  • Good News of Great Joy
  • The Good Dunking
  • A Better Path
  • The Good Neighbor
  • Lost and Found
  • Friends
  • The Payment for Our Sins
  • He Has Risen!
Additional Information: 

Part of the Magnificent Tales series, Treasury of Bible Stories: Rhythmical Rhymes of Biblical Times will delight children ages 4–8 with rhyming Bible stories pairing spiritual truths with playful illustrations.

Enter the Rhythmical Rhymes Kindle Giveaway 9/15 – 10/12.
Treasury of Bible Stories Kelly Pulley
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • Treasury of Bible Stories by Kelly Pulley
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 12th. Winner will be announced October 13th at Kelly's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Kelly's blog on the 13th to see if you won!