Monday, June 29, 2015

Beyond the Ashes by Karen Barnett #bookreview

A Rup Life received product to facilitate this post. This post may contain affiliate links.

I loved this book! Beyond the Ashes by Karen Barnett tells us the story of Ruby - a young widow and about how she has stopped dreaming and living life.  Set in the early 1900 during the aftermath of San Francisco's big earthquake, the whole city is in a rebuilding place.  Ruby has to come to terms with her loss and decide if she is willing to trust God and love again.  This is book 2 in The Golden Gate Chronicles Series, but it can stand completely alone.  I had no trouble jumping right into the story.

This story also touched a bit on the medicine and medical research at the time with Ruby's brother being a doctor.  He and his partner Dr. Larkspur were working on cancer treatment.  It was interesting to see the research in the book and the interactions with the patients.

I should warn you that I shed a tear or two while reading but overall it wasn't too sad considering the topics of cancer and spousal loss.  I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. 


"Tis better to have loved and lost...," but can Ruby Marshall risk her heart a second time?
Where better to rebuild and face one's fears than in 1906 San Francisco, a city rising from the ashes? Ruby Marshall, a young widow, is certain she'll discover new purpose assisting her brother Robert with his cancer research, but she doesn't anticipate finding new love.

Dr. Gerald Larkspur dreams of filling his empty home with family, but he'd always hoped it would be a wife and children. In the aftermath of the great earthquake, the rooms are overflowing with extended family and friends left homeless by the disaster. When Robert's widowed sister arrives, the close quarters seem close indeed. Ruby and Gerald's fledgling romance is put at risk when Gerald develops symptoms of the very disease they're striving to cure. Together they must ask---is it worth a second chance at love when time might be short?

Additional Information:

Beyond the Ashes Karen Barnett

Enter to win a 5 book giveaway by clicking the image above!

You can purchase your copy of Beyond the Ashes at your local bookstore or online at stores like Amazon.

Friday, June 26, 2015

It's a....

It has been a crazy week here at the Rup house!  On Monday, we celebrated our 2nd son's 13th birthday.  That makes 2 teenagers in our home! We also had our gender scan for Baby Nov 2015 - and it is a BOY!  Yes that makes 4 boys!  God doesn't make mistakes - so we must be some good boy parents here! 

On Tuesday - there was a crazy storm in NJ and actual tornadoes in our area.  We lost power on Tuesday night and didn't get it back until about 5 last night (Thursday.)  That has put a crazy spin on all things blogging - so look for a busier than normal week next week.  We were lucky that our only damage was our fridge/freezer loss.  Some around us had trees fall on their houses and vehicles.  The chicken coop lost the secondary roof but it is in the backyard and will be put back up on Saturday.

Well, that is the scoop here at A RUP Life! 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rocknoceros: Plymouth Rockers CD Review & Giveaway #WIN

A Rup Life received product to facilitate this post. This post may contain affiliate links.

I'm so excited to share with you Rocknoceros' new album Plymouth Rockers.  This is the first album in a series all about the 50 states!  What a fun way to learn about our country will rocking with an amazing band!


 Plymouth Rockers is the first installment of Rocknoceros' long awaited state song project, which will ultimately include a song for every state in the union.  Notes Rocknoceros' Boogie Woogie Bennie, "We've been talking about a project like this since 'Virginia' appeard on our PINK! album in 2008.  Our tenth anniversary year seemed like a great time to roll up our sleeves and deliver!" Track listing:Would You Like To Visit Kansas?SqueakersThe Sunshine StateLouisianaColorado RockiesTennesseeAlohaMinnesotaMississippi RiverI've Got Friends in New JerseyDown by the RiversideGod Bless America

My Thoughts:

I love the theme of this album. You know we are homeschoolers and I'm always looking for entertaining ways to supplement our learning.  It doesn't get more 'entertaining' then singing about your favorite state.  I was happy to see my home state of New Jersey included! God Bless America is a great rendition.  Fun, Folky and perfect for kids!

Visit the Rocknoceros website HERE.
Rocknoceros on Facebook

Rocknoceros on YouTube

Purchase Here! 

One lucky reader will win a copy of Plymouth Rockers!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Two Roads Home - A Chicory Inn Novel by Deborah Raney #summerreading

A Rup Life received product to facilitate this post. This post may contain affiliate links.

 I love when an author writes a series. When you come back for an additional book you already know some of the characters and their life experiences.  This book Two Roads Home is the second book in the Chicory Inn series.  This time we focus a bit more on the sister Corrinne and her husband Jesse. Life has become hard when by appearances it should be 'picture perfect'. The married couple faces a crisis and has to lean on God to make some big decisions and changes in their lives. Only then will they lead a truly happy life.  This book touched on sexual harassment which I was surprised by - but it worked well in the story and was well done.  I loved watching the characters grow closer through their trials.  Raney has a knack for writing about marriage and keeping it real.  I honestly can't wait for more books in the series!


 What if it's too late for dreams to come true?

Minor---but-nagging setbacks continue to sour Grant and Audrey Whitman's initiation into the world of innkeeping, but larger challenges brew when an innocent flirtation leads to big trouble for the Whitmans' son-in-law, Jesse. Jesse Pennington's friendly, outgoing personality has always served him well, especially in a career that has earned him and his wife Corinne a very comfortable lifestyle. But Corinne and Jesse are both restless---and for similar reasons, if only they could share those with each other. Instead, too many business trips and trumped-up charges of harassment from a disgruntled coworker threaten their marriage and possibly put their three precious daughters at risk.

With their life in disarray, God is tugging at their hearts to pursue other dreams. Can Corinne and Jesse pick up the pieces of what was once a wonderful life before it all crumbles beneath them?

Click on the Image Below to enter to win!

Two Roads Home Deborah Raney

Be sure to pick up your copy at your local book retailer or online at stores like Amazon!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Weekly Recap

It has been a rather rough week at the Rup House.  Our littlest member has strep and has been running a fever for most of the week.  We had to visit the doctors on Monday.  It is so quiet with him being sick and not really wanting to play or school.  I'm sure next week will bring back our rambunctious little boy and I'll miss the quiet.  We have been just plugging away with our school - hoping to finish at the end of the month.  I honestly am ready for a little break!

Here is the Weekly Recap:

Ready to Read: Sparky and Tidbit #summerreading #win - Giveaway!

Caillou Helps Out on DVD 6/16 #review

Dynamic Literacy: WordBuildOnline #review

 Chicken Update! The Coop! #chickenadventure

Friday, June 19, 2015

Diggerland Exclusive Coupons!

A Rup Life received press to facilitate this post. This post may contain affiliate links.

Summertime is here! That means it is the perfect time for outside fun at Diggerland!  Located in Berlin, NJ - this park is truly fun for all ages.  Featuring all your favorite construction site vehicles, that you get to ride and some operate!

A Rup Life has some exclusive Diggerland coupons for you to use on your next visit.  Either print them out or show on your phone when purchasing tickets!

Disney Nature: Monkey Kingdom coming to DVD/BluRay on 9/15!

A Rup Life received product to facilitate this post. This post may contain affiliate links.

 From Disneynature, the studio that brought you Chimpanzee and Bears, comes MONKEY KINGDOM, a spectacular tale set among ancient ruins in the storied jungles of South Asia. Maya, a clever and resourceful monkey, and her family will make you laugh and warm your heart as she realizes her dreams for her son’s future. Narrated by Tina Fey, own this breathtaking feature film on Digital HD, Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) & Blu-ray Combo Pack on September 15. Enjoy this must-own film and Disneynature will donate a portion of first-week sales to Conservation International to help protect endangered species in their natural habitats.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pirate's Code: The Adventures of Mickey Matson DVD #PiratesCode #FlyBy

A Rup Life received product to facilitate this post. This post may contain affiliate links.  *Additional disclosure at the end of the post*

Finding wholesome family friendly movies is something very dear to me.  When we were asked to review Pirate's Code: The Adventures of Mickey Matson - which is approved for all ages - I was excited.    Frankly, I knew that my older boys would be interested because Pirates equal adventure and action.

About the Film:

 In this follow up to Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Treasure, Mickey Matson is at it again; this time pitted against the evil Admiral Ironsides and his gang of pirates who are intent on destroying civilization.  They're new invention, the Tesla Coil, is a weapon of mass destruction that will send an electromagnetic pulse throughout the world, destroying every electronic device in existence.  With the help of a secret organization, Mickey and his best friend Sully embark on a mission to stop the pirates from taking over a submarine and stealing the last part needed to complete their devastating weapon.  If Admiral Ironsides succeeds in his plan, civilization will be sent back to the Stone Age.  It's a race against time, and the fate of the world hangs in the balance. 

Our Thoughts:

This was a fun action packed film. It is a sequel but we had no problem following along.  I loved seeing Christopher Lloyd on screen again.  We all laughed during the film as some of the characters were real characters!  It was also neat to see all the high tech stuff on screen.  The training facilities were awesome and the kids thought that was neat too.  All in all I was super pleased.  It was a great flick for the family. 

Social Connection:

Official Website:

 Purchase Your Copy Here! 

One lucky reader will win a copy of Pirate's Code: The Adventures of Mickey Matson DVD


"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Chicken Update! The Coop! #chickenadventure

It has been awhile since I updated on our chickens.  Last Saturday they went out into our chicken coop.  I had big plans to paint it and make some garden boxes but honestly, I'm pregnant and tired.  So for now it will be the beautiful natural wood color!  My husband designed and built this based off of some coops we saw.  I don't have measurements or plans we did take plenty of pictures.

 photo 080C8057-822C-4D63-AEF1-FD808ED87FDA_zpshvpfrmax.jpg

This is the frame which will become the bottom of the chicken run

All framed up  

Front view of the door

Beginning of the coop with the roosting ledges

Inside View

Girls learning how to sleep

 photo ADE591B7-EA5A-4F89-9975-E46855A74F4F_zpsf56tmewj.jpg 

Almost ready

  photo 756CEA59-DE14-4DB2-BD5B-7F33BD4403B8_zps95tgij6o.jpg 

Finally we have chickens

Just a little extra - we used a small gauge chicken wire which you can see in the pictures.  That isn't really recommended (which we found out after we did the coop and will probably need to be changed at some point - due to predators).  Also there is a drawer my husband built under the coop that slides out and makes for easy cleaning. Lastly he put some kind of plastic roof on top of the plywood to keep out the rain. 

So far the girls have been happy.   They were scared at first and we had to teach them to go in and out of the coop but now they are pros! 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Dynamic Literacy: WordBuildOnline #review

A Rup Life received product to facilitate this post. This post may contain affiliate links. *Additional disclosure at the end of the post*

JazzEdge  Review

 Literacy and Vocabulary skills are probably one of the biggest concerns for homeschooling Moms.  Online I see many questions for both of these topics.  We worry because we know these skills are foundational, and we know that our children need a firm grasp.

The Schoolhouse Review Crew was sent several products from Dynamic Literacy to review.  I'll share the products and then tell you which one we were chosen for!



WordBuild: Foundations, Level 1

WordBuild: Elements, Level 1 Set (Includes WordBuild the Game)

For this review we were given a subscription to WordBuildOnline.  This is completely online as the name suggest (some of the other products included physical books.)  The subscription came for two students to have their own login. 

JazzEdge  Review

What it is and How we used it:

The online program is based on learning through Greek and Latin Morphemes.  According to google a Morpheme is:

  1. a meaningful morphological unit of a language that cannot be further divided (e.g., in, come, -ing, forming incoming ).
    • a morphological element considered with respect to its functional relations in a linguistic system. (as per google)

So to break that down - studying morphemes basically is breaking down words by prefixes, suffixes and root words.  By learning the meanings of these parts you can take a big word and break it down to figure out the meaning.

WordBuildOnline uses fun activities to help kids learn these morphemes.  We had my middle son who is just finishing up 7th grade work on this program. I thought it would be a good fit for him because he had just finished up his current vocabulary program but wasn't quite finished school for the year.  He had the time and the place in his schedule. This was easy for him to use, he was able to login without any help from mom and do the activities.  First he would watch the 'lesson' video then he had 5 activities to complete.  Each activity had time limits on them for 15 minutes so that your student didn't get stuck in one place. Xander had no problem completing any activity before the 15 minutes.  In fact he didn't really need much more than 20-25 minutes each day to complete the video and activities.

JazzEdge  Review

For the parents - the program would email me the progress the student was making.  I liked knowing that my son had completed the task like he said.  It helped with accountability.


This was a fun program for my son.  He likes having some computer time each day and this was a great program to fit in (rather then playing a game!)  It was good for supplementing our current vocabulary and I know it is preparing him for the future when he has to take the SAT test.  The main thing we liked is that the graphics and activities felt like games so it wasn't a chore to complete.  The added emails for parents was also a great bonus!

Check out the other products that The Crew Reviewed by clicking on the link below. 
Dynamic Literacy Review

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, June 15, 2015

Caillou Helps Out on DVD 6/16 #review

A Rup Life received product to facilitate this post. This post may contain affiliate links.

PBS Kids has some of the best children's television on today.  Caillou has been a long time favorite in our home - probably because the star of the show is a little boy, and we have 3 little boys running around!  The latest release Caillou Helps Out features seven great episodes and releases on June 16th (pre-order on Amazon now)


Caillou loves helping out! From helping his dad or giving in a hand in the classroom - he is your man!  Enjoy seven wonderful stories featuring our favorite preschooler Caillou with his friends and family! 

Caillou Makes a Meal
Caillou makes pizza for dinner with his family, and learns that home-made pizza can be just as good as the fast-food pizza they have delivered to their door...and it’s fun to make!

High Flyers
Daniel comes for a visit and thinks he knows how to put together a model plane...without the instructions. When the plane doesn’t fly properly, Caillou finally gets the courage to point out a poorly connected piece. They fix the plane and Daniel acknowledges that Caillou knows a lot for a little kid! 

The Untidy Classroom
When Caillou complains about having to tidy up, Miss Martin suggests an experiment – they won’t tidy up the classroom for a few days, and they’ll see what happens.  At first, the kids think this is fantastic...until they can’t find their puzzle pieces, they keep stepping on toys, and they can’t even do their morning exercises. Caillou finally realizes it’s time to tidy up, and decides to lead the clean-up crew! 

Follow Me
Caillou tries to befriend his new classmate, Andy, but finds he isn’t getting very far. When Caillou tries to see things through Andy’s eyes, and realizes he prefers quiet activities – such as drawing – Caillou finally finds a way for them to be friends.

Emma’s Extra Snacks
Caillou is confused when Emma is allowed to have extra snacks at preschool. He’s even more confused when Miss Martin explains that Emma has type 1 diabetes. Worried about his friend, Caillou becomes very protective of Emma, not wanting her to do anything – not even go down the slide!  But when Emma outruns Caillou in a race, he soon realizes Emma’s diabetes isn’t like a cold or flu. It’s something Emma has to live with every day...and she’s doing a pretty good job of it.

Smooth Sailing
Caillou likes sailing with Daddy and Grandpa. Only, he wants to be Captain!  Grandpa and Daddy try to convince him that his job – as Lookout – is very important, but Caillou isn’t convinced...until he helps them find Treasure Cove by spotting various landmarks and leading the way.

Captain Caillou
Captain Caillou and Fantastic Leo are enjoying ‘flying’ around the house, pretending to be superheroes. Only, they can’t seem to share the task of saving the world!  Each wants to be the big hero in charge of their important ‘rescue’.  When Daddy asks them to lend a hand in weeding out the wild weed ogres, Caillou and Leo come to realize things would go a lot smoother if they worked together.

Our Thoughts:

My preschooler loves watching television.  (Yes, I admitted it) We really try to keep it educational and Caillou is perfect for that.  The episodes help us to talk about things in our life that correlate to what is happening on screen.  Jace really enjoyed this DVD and has watched it many times since we received it.  I'd say it is a big hit with him!

Be sure to pick up your copy at your local retailer on June 16 or online at stores like Amazon.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Ready to Read: Sparky and Tidbit #summerreading #win

A Rup Life received product to facilitate this post. This post may contain affiliate links.

Can you believe we are just about half way through June?  That means it is time to think about summer learning loss.  One thing we do with our kids is have them read each day.  They have a set amount of time and they have to complete this task before they get to do anything electronic for the day.  

I have an adorable Level 3 reader to share with you today.  Sparky and Tidbit by Kathryn O. Galbraith.  Level 3 simply means that the story has challenging vocabulary and a longer more complex story plot.  Perfect for kids ready to dive into chapter books. 

About this book:

SPARKY AND TIDBIT is the story of Sparky, a dog just itching to be a hero. He tries to scare away bone robbers or chase off mean hissy cats, but there are no robbers or mean kitties to be found. Then Sparky bumps into Tidbit, a neighborhood pup with a problem -- he's not as good at reading as the other pups in his class. But when he reads to Sparky, he's no longer embarrassed when he sounds out the words. Soon Ms. Beagle makes Sparky the Official Listener at Little Pooch Puppy School and all the pups practice reading to him. Sparky is a hero after all!

SPARKY AND TIDBIT was inspired by the many great reading programs that include dogs as patient listeners. It's perfect for encouraging confidence in young readers. 

My Thoughts:

This was a sweet book about a dog helping his fellow dog friend learn to read.  Can't get any cuter than that!  My middle son was always a big fan of dogs - and would have loved this book when he was ready to read on his own.  The book contains 40 pages broken up into 6 chapters.  While my little one isn't ready to read on this level he is content to sit for a chapter so that is how I read it to him.  Perfect bite sized pieces for reading time.  

You can purchase your copy of Sparky and Tidbit at your local book retailer or at online stores like Amazon!

One lucky reader will win their own copy of Sparky and Tidbit

Friday, June 12, 2015

Cinderella on Blu-ray Combo Pack 9/15 + Sneak Peek Alternate Scene!

A Rup Life received press to facilitate this post. This post may contain affiliate links.

I don't know about you but I'm super excited about this one!  I missed it in the theaters so I can't wait for the release!

Additional information:

Disney’s beloved and empowering fairytale told in a new beautiful way, Cinderella, arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere September 15th! The bonus features includes over 12 minutes of additional scenes, the “ Frozen Fever” theatrical short and more! 



Laurie Berkner to release 6 themed albums on June 16th! #kidsmusic

A Rup Life received product to facilitate this post. This post may contain affiliate links.

Laurie Berkner is seriously my favorite kid's artist!  Her songs bring every day life alive in fun ways kids can relate to!  We have just about every album and have enjoyed them since my oldest son was a little guy!  In fact my big kids still sing along in the car to her CDs now that we have our littlest listening!  This new release will make it easier to find themed songs when your looking for something specific!  (As a homeschooler I appreciate that!)


Beloved children's recording artist and preschool television favorite Laurie Berkner will release six fully remastered, "themed," digital albums on June 16th (Two Tomatoes Records, distributed by Razor & Tie). Titled Laurie Berkner's Animal Songs, Laurie Berkner's Classroom Favorites, Laurie Berkner's Food Songs, Laurie Berkner's Movement Songs, Laurie Berkner's Nature Songs, and Laurie Berkner's Transportation Songs, these albums were personally curated by Laurie to support teachers, parents, or anyone needing a song with a particular theme.

Laurie Berkner's Animal Songs, Laurie Berkner's Classroom Favorites, Laurie Berkner's Food Songs, Laurie Berkner's Movement Songs, Laurie Berkner's Nature Songs, and Laurie Berkner's Transportation Songs will be available for download at all digital retailers, including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, and more for $5.99 each.

Social Connection:

Check out Laurie's website HERE.
Laurie Berkner on Youtube
Laurie Berkner on Facebook
Laurie Berkner on Twitter

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Pregnancy Update Week 18

This week marks 18 weeks of being pregnant.  I am finally into the 2nd trimester and feel 100% different than I did during the horrid first trimester!  This time around has been very different than my other pregnancies.  It is harder emotionally and physically than the other three.  I asked the doctor and midwife about this and they attribute it entirely to age.  I'll be 39 in August so I'll accept that!

Another big difference is the cravings.  With my three boys I craved cheeseburgers - like ALL THE TIME.  This time I don't even want to look at a cheeseburger.  I have a new craving.  Potatoes!  Mashed, or baked preferably.   Maybe this time we are having a girl?

In two weeks we have our gender ultrasound so we will find out soon what we are having.  I'm looking forward to this simply so I can shop!  I really feel content - and I'll be happy with another boy or a girl.

So that is the update for those that have been following. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Reviva Labs: Nourishing Cream #WIN

A Rup Life received product to facilitate this post. This post may contain affiliate links. 

Skin care is something that is extremely important to me.  At 38 (very close to 39), I don't want to look older than I am.  Part of the process of keeping my appearance youthful means taking good care of my skin by using incredible products!  Reviva Labs recently sent me their Nourishing Cream to review.


 As you get older, your skin gets thinner.  After researching skin salons and consumers and learning that rich creams, oils or elastin and collagen weren’t answering the problem, Reviva Labs did extensive testing and made an interesting discovery.  We discovered that, over the years, skin loses Essential Fatty Acids – essential elements for the fullness you see in youthful skin.  Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids lost in skin cell membranes results in skin becoming dry and thin.  Diet-wise, the Omega EFA’s help, but they’re utilized primarily for body organs; not skin.  And Omega-3 and Omega-6 from plant sources is a major deficiency. 

So Reviva presents a first in skin’s external need for already thin skin, or as a preventative cream you alternate in your current skin regimen (2-3 times weekly, for example, or over an anti-aging gel or serum).  Of course, for already thin, delicate even paper-thin skin, daily usage on face, hands and arms can make a dramatic difference you’ll see quickly.  

It’s Reviva Labs Nourishing Cream – for fuller, smoother, more supple skin!   

My Thoughts:

I like that this is a treatment product.  It applies nicely and leaves my skin feeling soft and moist.  It is recommended on the packaging that you eat  more EFA's (Essential Fatty Acids) because the combination works well (food on the inside/skin care on the outside).  I love that philosophy!  I truly believe what you eat affects how you look and feel.  Another unique quality about this cream is that it can be used on face and hands.  We all know that hands show your true age - so I love a spot treatment for that! I have used this a few times a week added into my normal skin care and I have noticed a difference in my skin looking plumper. 

Look for this product and other wonderful Reviva Labs products at your local health food retailers or online at

One lucky reader will win a Reviva Labs' Nourishing Cream!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

MasterBooks Review: World History High School Level by James P. Stobaugh #review

A Rup Life received product to facilitate this post. This post may contain affiliate links.

It is that time of year again.  One year of school is closing and homeschooling moms everywhere are trying to figure out which curriculum to teach next school term.  History was on subject I was struggling on with my highschooler until we received World History from Master Books by James P. Stobaugh.  We were looking for something to cover the beginning up until some current world events.  We also wanted something with tests but without a ton of reading since literature and science were going to be pretty heavy for my son's 10th grade year.  What we found was this fabulous history that will fit in perfectly!


Begin at Eden and travel the globe in this fast paced historical course! Learn of philosophers, leaders, and distant lands including Jewish history, ancient Greece, Egypt, the Roman Empire, Persia, China, European history, the Crusades, China, the Renaissance, Scandinavia, revolution, reforms, Age of Discovery, early church history, and more! Text is paired with thought-provoking short essay questions to help students reinforce perspectives.

  • 1 Year Curriculum
  • 10th - 12th Grade
  • 1 Credit

We received the 2 pack which includes the Student book and the Teacher's guide.

The student guide is a soft bound book that is 288 pages.  This book includes all of the reading for the student's lesson in black and white but is filled with pictures pertaining to each topic.  There are 34 chapters containing 4 lessons.  The idea is to do 4 lessons each week (M-Th) and then complete a test on Friday. Each lesson includes a assignment which is typically some sort of writing activity.

The Teacher's guide is also soft-bound and black and white.  The 264 pages include answer keys, worksheets (the activities listed in the student book - but you can hand a sheet if preferred), student objectives and weekly tests. 

Our Thoughts:

For this review we read through several lessons to see what we thought.  I did the reading aloud to my current 7th and 9th grader then we verbally answered the activity at the end.  This will not be how we use it in the next school year.  This course will be used mostly independently by my future 10th grader - he will read the lesson, answer the activity and then I will grade and we will review if extra help is needed with the lesson question.  Then he will take the test.

While we were reading the text for our review purposes we found it to be very engaging.  The way Stobaugh writes about historical figures and events kept us interested.  We also loved that this text is written with a Christian perspective.  This is extremely important to our family and we were more than happy with this curriculum in that respect.

You can purchase these books separately or as a set (which I highly recommend) - at

GoMacro Macrobars - Organic, Easy, On-the-Go Snacks #gomacro

A Rup Life received product to facilitate this post. This post may contain affiliate links. 

When I'm pregnant I always try to clean up my eating.  This can be a challenge at times because of our on the go lifestyle.  Sometimes I just need something quick and easy to grab while I'm heading to piano practice or something to keep on hand in case my blood sugar decides to wreck havoc on my day.

GoMacro Macrobars have been a lifesaver for me these past few weeks.  Individually packaged yummy bars that include ingredients like chocolate, coconut, and peanut butter - make them a tasty choice to keep on hand when hunger strikes!


Available in 11 incredible flavors, these are GoMacro's original and most popular bars that are guaranteed to satisfy your hunger and deliver plenty of clean-burning natural energy. All MacroBars are USDA organic, non-GMO project verified, kosher, gluten free and vegan certified.

GoMacro Social Connection:


My Thoughts:

I received a box of mini bars for this review and that has been a perfect size for me.  My appetite isn't very big at times but I know I need to eat.  The fact that these bars are all USDA Organic and soy-free is very important to me.  They are tasty and chewy.  Honestly, a fabulous choice for me.  I appreciate that I can read the packaging and identify all of the ingredients.  I love that!

Visit for additional information or to shop for your bars!

Friday, June 5, 2015

KUPO Pizza Cutter #review #KUKPOPizzaCutter

A Rup Life received product to facilitate this post. This post may contain affiliate links.

My oldest son eats a lot of pizza. Like everyday. We have gone through our share of pizza cutters because of this. Recently we were sent the Kukpo Stainless Steel Pizza Cutter to try. I have to say we are enjoying how well this cutter gets through the tough pizza dough and how simple it makes our life!


Treat yourself and your guests to gourmet pizzas sliced just as in restaurants. The number 1 pizza cutter is not just a pizza cutter. You can easily cut all sorts of pies, baked pastries, tortillas, waffles and all the other homemade delicacies. No pizza is too large for the large 4" wheel of this high quality product. The smooth stainless steel body of the kitchen utensil will prevent rusting, thus can be used for years to come without any health risks. Since your satisfaction and health is our priority, we make sure that all the pizza wheels are produced using FDA approved, BPA free stainless steel material.

 photo EA0483EA-3564-4632-96A7-F8D7827DAB02_zpsfr2yseff.jpg

Our thoughts:

We enjoyed this pizza cutter. It is sharp!  Make no mistake this is a high quality and very sharp kitchen utensil. My 14 year old is the one that uses it the most as he eats pizza almost daily and he thinks it cuts very well.  It is easy to clean, rolls well and feels sturdy in hand. We've been more than pleased with this product!

You can purchase your Kukpo Pizza cutter on Amazon

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Homeschooling: What I Loved and What I Didn't Like So Much #homeschooling

It has been three years since we started on this journey.  In some ways it has been amazing and in others is has been hard.  I thought I'd share some honest thoughts about how our journey is going.

What I Loved:

I loved not having to rush my kids out the door.  Our mornings used to be hectic.  I'd be yelling for them to eat and get dressed.  There was always a shoe lost or a belt that couldn't be found.  That doesn't happen anymore.

I love letting them sleep when we've had a late night at church.  No more mornings of 6:00am now if we don't get home until 11 pm I can let them sleep until 8 and still get our day going.

I love being the one that gets to see the learning. When my son shares a something from a book he read with me or when I get to hear my littlest read his first word out loud.  Those moments are awesome!

I love that their education can be totally catered to them.  The middle son wanted to study french and he did.  The oldest loves Greek so we worked on that a bit.

I love that any moment can be a teaching moment and my kids are totally open to it.  A strange bug lands on the window and they want to google and see what it is.  We never stop learning!

Time.  My time is invested in my family. I love that I won't have missed spending time with my kids because that is what my day to day is... being with the kids.  They are growing fast. My oldest graduates in 3 years.  I am so happy I have been able to see so much of him these past 3 years as he has grown from a little guy to a man sized guy! 

What I Didn't Like So Much:

Grading.  There I said it.  I hate grading.  As soon as I'm done there is another worksheet or test to grade.  It never ends! 

My Messy house.  It is always a struggle with everyone home.  There is always a meal being prepared and dishes naturally follow.  I can't keep up, we can't keep up. It is just something I'm having to adjust to.

The homework battle ended but the schoolwork battle began! My one child that would prefer to do anything but schoolwork (book work) still feels pretty much that way.  I thought he would want to plow through each day and be done but that hasn't been the case yet.

Time.  My free time is totally 100% gone.  Most of the time I don't mind.  However there are times I would like to just have a day off or just go to breakfast.  That can't really happen to often or we don't get much done.

Judgey people. People have a lot of comments on socialization, learning and all sorts of things about our homeschool. It can be discouraging at times.

What are your loves and dislikes of homeschooling?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Famous Men of Rome by Memoria Press #review

A Rup Life received product to facilitate this post. This post may contain affiliate links. *additional disclosure at the bottom of the post*

For the past few weeks we have been reviewing a set of history books from Memoria Press. Their Famous Men of Rome curriculum is a study of over thirty famous men or groups on men during the Roman Empire.

What I received:

Famous Men of Rome Set which included a Teachers Guide, Student Guide and Text Guide

Let me go into detail sharing about each of these books:

The Teachers Guide includes all of the workbook (student guide) answer keys.  There is a small introduction telling six points on how to use the guide.  Also included are all the student test and test answer keys.  This book is solid bound and 172 pages.

The Student Guide has worksheets for each of the chapters.  Every fifth chapter there is a review which includes additional work for the previous five chapters.  (After completing the review your student would take the test.) This book is soft and bound and 120 pages. 

The worksheets follow the same format for each of the regular chapters - Facts to Know, Vocabulary, Comprehension Questions and Activities.  

Next, is the Text Guide.  This is what the student reads for text.  It includes colorful pictures and illustrations for the stories enclosed.  Each chapter is only a few pages and students can read this easily. There is a glossary and some maps at the end of the book to go with the lessons.  It is soft bound and 157 pages. 

How We Used This Curriculum:

My middle son is just finishing up his 7th grade year.  Since this course is recommended for grades 4-8 I thought it would be a great fit - and it was.  He was able to read the text and do the workbook pages completely independently.  The only thing I modified for him was the Activities.  Each chapter had a different amount of additional activities to do so I just circled the ones I wanted him to complete.  

My Thoughts:

I liked this curriculum and so did my son.  The student text was colorful and the stories were interesting.  It was a nice little study of Roman Men.  We had studied that time period last year so this was a nice little addition - but it could stand alone as a study for middle school history.  I liked that there were worksheets to go with each chapter because that really solidified what Xander read during the chapter.  Overall this was a hit in our home and we plan on picking it up in the fall to complete the book when we start history again next school year.  (We are wrapping up our year.)

 photo 1EBDF657-D1FC-4959-83E5-A1CBD4CBD87B_zpsgdnptvwj.jpg
A picture of completed workbook pages

I did have a suggestion for the Teacher's Guide.  The student test are in the teacher guide and it is completely bound.  Either you have to rip them out (no perforation) or have the student do them in the teacher's guide with all the answers right there.  (The test answer key is the very next page!)  What we did was put construction paper in the book for the start and finish of the test and trust my son not to cheat... I would have loved an option to print test out or tear them out easily - or perhaps have them at the end of the Student Guide.  My other suggestion is a grading key for the test.  I feel like the essay should be worth more than fill in the blank.  It would be nice if the test key told you how to weigh them. 
 photo 448EC4D3-A851-4A37-825C-D6BF4F65D3B6_zpspwmv7uog.jpg
The test I tore out of the book.

We are looking forward to using this book in the near future and it has made us very interested in the
The Book of the Ancient Romans Set which is for grades 6-12 as a next step for history.  

The Crew Reviewed a few products from Memoria Press, click on the link to see what they had to say:

Memoria Press Review

Crew Disclaimer

DreamWorks Dragons: Race to the Edge on Netflix 6/26

A Rup Life received press to facilitate this post. 

 Hiccup stumbles upon a mysterious, ancient treasure while exploring an abandoned, booby-trapped ship. Will he uncover the truth behind this highly protected secret? Find out when DreamWorks Animation's "Dragons: Race to the Edge" debuts June 26th exclusively on Netflix and share a sneak peek with this clip from the series below!