Sunday, August 2, 2015

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth K. Vogt #bookreview #summerreading

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

I had the pleasure of reading Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth K. Vogt this summer.  I have to tell you THIS is what summer reading should be!  Fun, fast, romantic trials!  It had it all!!!  We meet Vanessa as she is about to plan her destination wedding - only her fiance wants it at the same place she lived with her previous husband!  Vanessa has to go back to the town where friends know her and plan out a new wedding when of course who would be at the same destination then her ex-husband.  You can imagine the scenario!  Never expecting to see each other is awkward and fiery at the same time.  Are they really over each other? Are the able to make amends with the past?  Crazy events keep pulling them together - seriously this was a FUN FUN FUN read!

Paramedic Vanessa Hollister has put her adolescence behind her, including the unwanted label of being the new kid in town over and over again, thanks to her father's military career. She's overcome what her mother called "the biggest mistake of her life" and is planning an elegant destination wedding in Destin, Florida with her new fiancé. But will the reappearance of her first husband from her what-were-you-thinking teenage elopement disrupt her dream of an idyllic beach wedding?

As a professional storm chaser, Logan Hollister is used to taking risks. However, a reckless decision during the last tornado season has him questioning the future of his team, the Stormmeisters. Coming face to face with his ex-wife eight years after their divorce compels him to confront his greatest regret: losing Vanessa. Does their past give him the right to interfere with her future?

A fast-moving, powerful hurricane throws Vanessa and Logan together as they evacuate to a storm shelter along with other residents of the Florida Gulf Coast. Forced to spend time together, the pair battles unexpected renewed feelings for each other.

Vanessa and Logan are faced with a choice: Should they accept, once and for all, their teenage marital mistake? Or is God offering them a second chance at happily ever after?

Get your copy at your local book retailer or online at stores like Amazon!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Funtastic Unit Studies - Science for Homeschoolers! #REVIEW

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

Funtastic Unit Studies sent me their Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers for review.  This is a physical book that includes science unit studies for ages 4-13.  The studies are broken up into two age groups:  4-7 and 8-13. 

Chapters for ages 4-7:

Our Senses
The Human Body
Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life
Insects and Their Kin
Fun with Magnets
Stars and Planets
Beginning Plants
Animal Ecology

Chapters for ages 8-13:

Microscopes and Invisible Creatures
Atoms and Molecules
Chemistry Fun
Force and Motin
Simple Machines
Light and Color
Plants II

For this review I worked on the first unit Our Senses with my 4 year old.  It was a topic I wanted to cover with him this year. Each unit starts with a large supply list.  Most of these things were items we already had (toothpicks, paper, ice, rice, food coloring ... to name a few.) Having a 4 year old I had to do a little prep work by reading the chapter and seeing what he was truly capable of doing and enjoying.  (I want science to be 100% fun at this age.) Since their were 7 activities it was easy to see which ones would work and which wouldn't.  I was even able to modify to make it fit better.  I feel like he has a full grasp of this unit - senses- after working through the activities and stories! 

For example one activity was to get a potato, toothpicks and some veggies.  Then have the child use the veggies to make the different parts for the senses.  I didn't have enough variety of veggies (and my son has some sensory issues with foods) - so we modified by using a Mr. Potato Head.  

My Thoughts:

I really like this book.  It was exactly what I was looking for in a science book for my little guy this year.  Plenty of activities to explore science - great for hands on learners like Jace.  It was easy to modify things to fit my child's age and sensory issues which was a big plus for me as well.  The units don't take long a week or two at the max which is also nice because you can cover quite a bit over a school year.  I also liked that the age range of 4-7 means we can revisit this again next year and he will pick up more as he matures. 

Overall it was a hit in our house.  My only suggestion would have been to have the supply list broken up by activity as well as the master list.  It would make things a tad easier to plan.  I also added a reading book about senses to our unit and I would probably do that for the others as well.  While there were no suggested reading selections - it was easy enough to look on my shelf for an apprioate go along. I'd also like to note we only used the younger kids section - but the older kids section includes tests and worksheets to make it completely age appropriate for the big kids.  This is really a book that will last you many years so to me that is a great investment.

Want to see more?  Check out two sample units here

Check out what the rest of the Crew has to say about Funtastic Unit Studies! 

Funtastic Unit Studies Review

Crew Disclaimer

‘Among the Fair Magnolias’ Southern Hearts Kindle Fire Giveaway & Review! #WIN

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

There is something sweet about collaboration novels.  You get a sweet peace of writing from several authors.  If it is a beloved author - then your probably like me and want to read everything they write. If it is the first you've heard of an author - you get a good look at what their writing style is and an appetite for more!

Among The Fair Magnolias was just delightful.  I loved the length of each of the stories - perfect for summer reading on the go.  I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and getting a taste of southern lifestyle post-war.   Can each of our leading ladies overcome life's obstacles?

About the book:

To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander
Savannah Darby would do almost anything to revisit her family home. So when new owner, Aidan Bedford, a Boston attorney and former Union soldier, seeks to redecorate the house for his fiancée, Savannah jumps at the opportunity. But the clock is ticking. Can she find the box her father supposedly hid there during the war before her assignment is completed? And before she sees yet another battle lost on the home front. This time, one of the heart.

An Outlaw's Heart by Shelley Gray
When Russell Stark returns to Fort Worth, he's determined to begin a new life. But when he arrives at his mother's homestead, he discovers she's very ill, and the woman he loved is still as beautiful and sweet as he remembered. With time running out, Russell must come to terms with both his future and his past.

A Heart So True by Dorothy Love
Abigail knows all too well what is expected of her: to marry her distant cousin Charles and take her place in society. But her heart belongs to another. A terrible incident forces Abby to choose between love and duty.

Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser
Emily has a secret: She's in love with one of the freedmen on her family's plantation. Meanwhile, another man declares his love for her. Emily realizes some things are not as they seem and secrets must be kept in order to keep those she loves safe.

additional information:

Join the authors in celebrating the release of Among the Fair Magnolias by entering to win their Southern Hearts Kindle Fire Giveaway and RSVPing to their August 13th author chat party!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HD 6
  • One copy of Among the Fair Magnolias
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/13. The winner will be announced at the Among the Fair Magnolias Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Tamera, Dorothy, Shelley, and Elizabeth, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!


RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 13th!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Doozers DVD Giveaway & Review! #WIN

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

Do you remember the Doozers from Fraggle Rock?  Well now they have their own series!  I'm so excited to share the two new DVDs with you.


Welcome to Doozer Creek where the Doozers Live! They're green.  They're cute. They're three inches tall and they're full of energy, ideas and enthusiasm!

Meet The Pod Squad:

 Meed the Pod Squad: Spike, Molly, Bolt, Flex and Daisy Wheel, who bounce from one fabulous kid adventure to the next. They love to DESIGN, CREATE and INNOVATE.  These Doozers are DOERS- they put their ideas into action and always manage to have a fantastic time!  Enjoy eight STEM-based adventures with the Doozers!

Pod Squad Boogie!

The Pod Squad is performing in the Starlight Concer, but when they hear other Doozers singing, the group decides they need to do something quinque to stand out from the crowd. Using the sights and sounds around them, they each discover their own favorite sound and invent new instruments inspired by them. Enjoy seven other stories focusing on music, dance, and art all with science tie-ins!

Our Thoughts:

This is a cute show.  The Doozers are cute, friendly and helpful.  Perfect for preschool television.  My little guy watched and enjoyed them.  I liked how they problem solved with each other.  They also are into inventing which is what J is telling us he wants to do when he grows up. I'm sure it will encourage him to build with his legos! 

Doozers DVDs are now available at Target.  Or for Pre-Order at N Circle (available 9/25).

One lucky reader will win Meet The Pod Squad and Pod Squad Boogie on DVD! 

With Lee in Virginia ~ A Heirloom Audio Productions #REVIEW

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

Heirloom Audio Productions has been one of my favorite assets homeschooling my family.  Why?  We love read alouds.  Typically for read alouds I (mom) read a book to the older two children.  However sometimes when I'm not feeling well it is hard to read two-five chapters.  This year has been particularly hard since I'm pregnant and frankly feel bad all the time.  What's a girl to do?  That is when Audio productions come in handy!

What we received:

With Lee in Virginia - an Audio CD

Study Guide printable


First let me explain a little about the difference between Heirloom Audio Productions and a standard audio book.

With an audio book you have a narrator telling the story.  You might get a few voice changes but for the most part it is a flat telling of a book.

With Heirloom Audio Productions it is like a full theater production.  There is a cast of actors/actresses for each of the parts and their voices add to the story telling because you know when someone is talking.  It allows you to get a feel for each character.  Their is also music and sound effects.  It is a full production.  Reminds me a bit of the old time radio shows but with a completely modern feel because of current technology.

As you can see there is a big difference!

The Study Guide we received was a downloadable PDF.  It is full color and contains so many wonderful facts about G.A. Henty (the author of our story), General Robert E. Lee, and General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.  Discussion questions and suggested vocabulary are included as well.  It was a great asset to make the audio cd into a full unit study.

How we used it:

For this review my two older sons and I listened to the program.  It was quite easy to gather in the living room on the couches and relax for a bit of time.  The program is 2 1/2 hours long so we did it over the course of two days.  It would be a great choice for a long car ride too but we didn't have any of those this summer.

 Our Thoughts:

This production was full of action pretty much from the first second on.  I love how it is narrated through out - which makes it easy to follow along.  The subject matter slavery and the Civil War are topics we've been discussing with my bigger boys lately so this was a nice piece of the puzzle for them to see what the time was really like.  We truly live in a different world than that time period.  We have really enjoyed all of the Heirloom Audio Productions and this one is no exception.  The action, the narration and G.A. Henty's amazing story make for a wonderfully entertaining production. 

Social Connection:


Have you seen my previous reviews of Heirloom Audio Productions?

Under Drake's Flag

In Freedom's Cause

Click on the image below to see what other Crew Reviewers are saying about With Lee in Virginia! 


With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review

Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Our 8th Grade Curriculum Choices for 2015-2016

I'm still shocked that my middle son is already in 8th grade!  Where did the time go!  His school year was fairly easy to narrow down since I had quite a bit from his older brother to pass down.  This is just the bare bones - we will add electives through out the year.

Math:  Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra
Science:  Apologia General Science with Notebooking Journal 
History:  Masterbooks World History
Bible:  Lifepac from Alpha and Omega
Wordly Wise
Lightning Literature (review coming soon!)  
Music:  Piano lessons 

We will most likely add a foreign language to his schedule in the next month or so.

I expect this to be a good year.  We have used Teaching textbooks, Lifepac, wordly wise, Lightning Lit and Apologia in previous years.  We are already into week 2 of World History from Masterbooks - and loving it.  I'm suspecting General Science will be the hardest course as it is very heavy on facts but we will get through it.

Monday, July 27, 2015

UnLock Pre-Algebra #review

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

I struggle with teaching math.  Yep I said it!  I frankly just don't remember the higher maths from high school and I find it easier to buy a program that will teach it for me (with me just helping here and and there.) I feel more confident when I have a complete program that can do most of the teaching work.  Plus it is a nice break in our day for my older children to have a course that is done entirely on the computer.

I was very excited to be part of the  UnLock Math review for this very reason.  We were given UnLock Pre-Algebra for this review. That is the math level my new 8th grader needed for the upcoming year so we were excited to try out the course and see if it is a good fit!

UnLock Math currently offers Pre-Algebra, Algebra I and has Algebra II coming soon.   

Unlock Math Review

About the Course:

To get started you click a rocket ship icon to 'launch the course'.  Then lesson flows in the following order:

  • warm-up exercises (usually covers previous lessons)
  • Video featuring the founder Alesia Blackwood - who is on screen teaching the lesson
  • Practice Problems (which go with the lesson)
  • Stay Sharp ( additional problems which can include previous lessons)
  • Challenge Yourself (which is a challenging riddle type problem)
  • Reference Notes (printable notes for the lesson - optional)
Alesia Blackwood

How we used it:

My son was able to navigate this course pretty much on his own.  The onscreen prompts follow an easy order that he could manage by himself. I was pretty hands off for the most part because he is old enough to log on and do the lesson.

The course has a pacing guide that parents can print - which will show you what lessons are covered and you can see where your child is across the course.  There is an automatice grade book accessible from the student's pages.  This is pretty complete in showing each area individually  (practice problems, warm up exercises, stay sharp and challenges) and your child's scoring.  

Unlock Math Review
Our Thoughts:

My son liked this course.  He enjoys doing work on the computer and the pace of different activities switched up really appealed to him. He never complained about the work and overall he was done math for the day in no more than 30 minutes - which is perfect to him.  

I liked how the course was entirely online.  It is set up nice.  Alesia Blackwood is pleasant to watch on the screen and easy to understand.  I liked that it was a real person we were seeing and not just graphics. I do wish that the parents section and grade book were a little more abundant. I would like to see a break down on how the grades are calculated on screen in the grade book.  I would also have loved a weekly email telling me how my student was doing and what they completed each week.  This way I wouldn't have to check online to get that.     

Overall we enjoyed the approach to math and the course layout. Xander has really enjoyed this math and would like to continue it for the school year.  

Want to learn more about UnLock Math?  Click on the banner below to see what other reviewers are saying!

UnLock Math Review

Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Melissa Jagears’ ‘A Bride at Last’ Book Review and a $100 Memory-Making Giveaway #WIN

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

Can two people who have faced their share of loss come together and find a new beginning filled with hope and love?  That is the story A Bride at Last by Melissa Jagears shares with us.  Kate is a strong woman of good moral character, she is devoted to her dying friend and taking care of her young boy when the friend passes.  Things get heated in her life when two father's show up claiming the boy - and Kate really has no stake on the child she has come to love as her own.  Only wanting what is best for the boy she teams up with the best choice and sets to making things good for them.  Along the way she sees that maybe their life might be good with her in it but can she overcome hurts of the past?  Can Silas allow himself to trust again and fall in love?

This was a sweet book - I really enjoyed how the characters were developed.  Jagears writes a book that is believable for that time which I truly appreciated.  Kate isn't written as a modern woman under the constrains of her time but as a practical women in her time, knowing her appropriate role.  The romance was slowly built and I liked that too!  Overall an enjoyable summer read! 

about the book:

Abandoned by his mail-order bride, Silas Jonesey has fought an uphill battle to recover from a pattern of poor choices. Now his prayers for reconciliation have finally come true and his estranged wife has contacted him with her whereabouts.

Kate Dawson was supposed to be a mail-order bride, but upon realizing she'd been deceived about her intended groom, she's now settled into life as a schoolteacher. When the mother of a student passes away, Kate assumes she'll take on care of nine-year-old Anthony-until two men suddenly show up in town, claiming to be the boy's father.

Silas can see Anthony loves Kate, so he enlists her help in reaching out to the boy and attempting to prove his paternity to the court. When a common interest in Anthony leads to an interest in each other and Silas and Kate begin to think they can overcome their rocky start, neither is prepared for the secrets and past hurts that have yet to come to light. Can Silas, Kate, and Anthony's wounded souls bind them together or will all that stands between them leave them lonely forever?

You can purchase your copy of A Bride at Last at your local book retailer or online at stores like Amazon

Additional information:

Celebrate the release of A Bride at Last by entering to win a $100 Memory-Making giveaway and RSVPing to Melissa's August 4th author chat party!

bride at last-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $100 gift card to Netflix (for a family movie night), Shutterfly (to create a family memory book), or TablePlayGames (for a family game night)
  • One copy of A Bride at Last
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/4. The winner will be announced at Melissa's 8/4 A Bride at Last Facebook author chat party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Melissa and fiction fans, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!

bride at last-enterbanner

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 4th!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Mia and Me: Friends to the Rescue DVD

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

 It is not too often I get to share something sparkly and pink living in a household of all boys plus me!  However I have a cute DVD to share with you today from Mia and Me!  In Friends to the Rescue  will join Mia in the magical world of Centopia in this 75 minute DVD!


“Mia and me” is an enchanting program which features live action and animation. Mia, a 12-year-old girl, attending a boarding school in Florence, Italy, used to read about the land of Centopia in an ancient book of myths. Now, thanks to a high-tech portal, she finds herself hurled into this wondrous and animated world of elves, unicorns, pans and dragons. But the once idyllic kingdom is embroiled in conflict. The evil Queen Panthea seeks to capture the unicorns and harness their power to keep herself young. As Mia bounces between trying to fit in at her new school, and her life as a fairytale elf, she becomes the key to saving Centopia.
Trumptus Lost
A scuffle with Violetta leaves Mia worried about having her secret exposed and Vincent frustrated with once again being left in the dark. In Centopia, the unusually grim oracle leads Mia to rescue Lyria in the Valley of Vapors, where she becomes lost – and in need of rescuing herself. Though Yuko and Mo find her in time, the invaluable Trumptus is left behind accidentally for Panthea to fulfill the oracle’s ominous prophecy.

The Golden Son
A quick-thinking Vincent helps Mia evade Violetta and her cronies, who are determined to get their hands on Mia’s mysterious book. Still unsure if she can trust Vincent with the truth, Mia disappears to Centopia in time to find Lyria in need of urgent help. With the help of the Water and Wind Unicorns, Mia and her friends are able to get Lyria the help she needs. Mia later witnesses an amazing event: the birth of a golden-horned unicorn who may be the key to restoring hope to Centopia.

Onchao’s Oasis
On a field trip to a museum, Mia and Vincent avoid Paula, the latest of Violetta’s accomplices recruited to spy on Mia. When she finally escapes to Centopia, the excitement over Onchao’s ability to restore dead lands and to locate Trumptus pieces is short-lived when Lyria is taken captive by Gargona and her Munculus army. A newly determined Mia vows to protect Onchao with all her might and to find all of the pieces of the Trumptus so the safety of Centopia can be restored.

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


Thursday, July 23, 2015

SimplyFun Shape Whiz Game #REVIEW

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

We love playing games in our household so I knew the boys would love working on this review from SimplyFun.  They sent us their  Shape Whiz game.

About Shape Whiz Game:

This game was based off of some math concepts - mainly beginner geometry.  It is recommended for ages 10 & Up.  

For the game play your child will need some basic knowledge of:

  • Sides and lengths of shapes
  • Total Area
  • Parallel lines
  • Angles
  • Total Perimeter
  • Lines of Symmetry 

 If they have studied these skills in math they should be able to play with no problem.  (My middle son just completed 7th grade math and had no problem keeping up!) 

Kid's will strengthen their skills in:

  • 2D Geometry
  • Shape Measurements
  • Math Symbols

The game pieces are simple.  There are 80 Shape Cards and 40 Whiz Cards. (with instructions included)

To play you deal out the Shape Cards to each of the players then the Whiz card gets flipped over in the center.  Players frantically search all the cards on the table (theirs and their opponents) to see if there is a match to the clue on the Whiz Card.  If there is a match to the clue, any player can 'play' the card.  Then the card is checked to see if it is correct, new cards are dealt if necessary.  The object of the game is to get through all the cards you are dealt, when a player has no cards left they win.  

How We Played and Our Thoughts:

It took us a little bit of a learning curve to get a hang of the rules of the game.  My 13 year old and I played a few trial runs to figure things out and then once we had a hang of it big brother came to play.  This is when things got serious!  Those boys were brutal!  They knew their geometry better than Mom and the action was heated to get to the Whiz Card!  Don't feel too bad!  I channeled my 10th grade year of Geometry with Mrs. Williams and managed to win the first game! I think she would be proud since I didn't fair that well in her class 23 years ago!  

We had fun playing this game.  I liked that it reinforced math skills in a very fun way - the kids didn't even realize that they were practicing all those terms from class.  We played rather aggressively but if your family was more mellow and wanted to take their time reading the cards, studying the cards and making a more educated guess - that would work too!  I liked that their were two levels in the cards a harder and an easier level - which works well if you want to play with younger students.  Overall I'd say this was a hit in our household!  

Don't just take my word for it - see what other reviewers are saying about Shape Whiz and Expanders by clicking on the image below!

Simply Fun Review

Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bible Art Work Printable

I know that my bible gives me such peace.  Memorizing scripture has been a big part of that.  I felt inspired this week to share a few pictures that go along with some favorite verses.  Feel free to share, print or copy.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Intro to Economics : Money, History & Fiscal Faith Curriculum Review #WIN

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

 Do you find picking subjects for high school as daunting as I do? There are so many ideas out there but some are just hard to implement.  That is one of the things I love about Masterbooks Curriculum.  It feels like they made these courses with Mom and student in mind.  I'm so excited to share one of my son's upcoming courses for 10th grade.  Economics!

What we received with the Intro to Economics : Money, History & Fiscal Faith Curriculum:

This course is designed to cover a year of Economics and give your student a 1/2 credit in the subject.  Suggested grade level is 10-12th.

My Thoughts:

I love that this course features two types of media.  A Dvd and a book.  I think that will be very refreshing for my student.  We are rather eclectic in our homeschooling approach and like to have different options for learning.  None of my kids would love being stuck on a computer 24/7 or in a book 24/7 - so I feel like this is a great variety for a course.

the Parent Lesson Planner is a wonderful tool.  It includes a weekly lesson schedule, student worksheets, Quizzes, tests and the answer keys.  I love how it is set up.  It doesn't contain a lot of fluff but is concise and complete.

One lucky reader will win a $10 e-certificate to to help with their curriculum shopping!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

LEGO® STAR WARS: The New Yoda Chronicles on DVD 9/15

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

Coming 9/15 - LEGO® STAR WARS: The New Yoda Chronicles!!!  I have some very excited boys waiting for September to roll around! 


Your favorite Star Wars heroes are back with four complete episodes (plus a bonus alternate ending!) that unleash the lighter side of the Force.

After headstrong Luke nearly delivers the good guys into Palpatine’s clutches, Master Yoda and the ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi unearth the Holocrons – last remnants of the secrets of the Jedi – to further Luke’s training. But Darth Vader also seeks the Holocrons, and he’ll stop at nothing to get to them first! Meanwhile, courageous superclone Jek-14, a Force-sensitive clone, comes out of retirement to help bolster the Rebels.  Share all the action-packed thrills of these interlocking, intergalactic adventures in LEGO® STAR WARS: The New Yoda Chronicles!

Space Boy and His Dog by Dian Curtis Regan #summerreading

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

I have an adorable book to share with you - and today being the 46th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon - makes today the perfect day! Space Boy and His Dog by Dian Curtis Regan is a delightful book about a boy with a wonderful imagination.


Niko may live on boring old Earth with his family, but he’s always finding a new adventure. Using the spaceship that he built from a box in his backyard and a little imagination, he flies off into space with his robot, Radar, and his dog, Tag. The only one NOT invited is his sister Posh who keeps trying to insert herself into Niko’s story. Space Boy and His Dog is the first in a planned trilogy of adventures with Niko and crew (and perhaps even pesky Posh).

 photo 617A1EA6-60FA-45CB-A2A5-2037B4209199_zpsuja44lvv.jpg  

Our thoughts:

This was a cute book.  The story is was fun and engaging to keep my 4 year old son's interest.  In fact after reading it he looked at the illustrations (by Robert Neubecker) for quite some time.  I loved Nico's imagination and how we had glimpses of what reality really was.  Having 3 sons and 1 on the way - I appreciated the truth in the story.  This is exactly how my boys play and imagine their little worlds!

You can purchase your copy of Space Boy and His Dog at your local book retailer or online at stores like Amazon.  


One lucky reader will win a copy of Space Boy and His Dog!  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Should You Homeschool? 4 Questions to Ask Before You Take The Plunge! #homeschooling

When we decided to homeschool we had a good friend that was already successfully doing it for years.  She sat down and asked us a few questions to determine if we had what it took to make it.  I value that conversation because it made us really reflect on why we wanted to take our family on that adventure.  So are you thinking of homeschooling?  I have a few questions for you!

Why is the main motivation for homeschooling?

For us it was simply that our local public school was not a good option.  They had been in the news for some not so good reasons and we were not willing to send our children there.  Private school or homeschooling were really the only options.

Do you have the time to homeschool?

It takes time. The planning and grading take up time.  Then there is the actual teaching.  My days are full. We can't really go out and do things or the work won't get done. Family sometimes doesn't get that - so we have to gently share that we have school work to do.

Is your spouse on board?

The husband and wife have to have unity on the homeschooling front.  If not things will get hard.  On the bad days you need your spouse to support you.  On the good days you want to have someone that shares the joy of your kids learning.

Do you have the money?

While you will see all over the web that homeschooling can be done for free or next to nothing - that isn't always realistic. I truly believe having a solid curriculum for the main subjects helps us to be successful.  We don't have to worry about missing chucks of learning because most curriculum spirals. I also have control over the subjects that we cover and their world view. 

I hope these questions help you decide if homeschooling is the right choice for your family!  If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or email.  I'm happy to talk 'homeschooling' with friends!

Liquid Chalk Markers by Stardom Crafts #REVIEW

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

I'm so excited to share with you a unique product today.  I don't know if you know this - but this blog actually started out as a way to showcase my craft projects. I don't really get to craft as much these days with homeschooling and the kiddos - so it was a real treat to get to play with Stardom Crafts Liquid Chalk Markers!


  • Non-Toxic
  • Easy Wipe Off
  • Water Based

For use on: Glass, Plastic, Metal, Glossy Boards, LED Boards & Non-Porous Surfaces

How We Used The Markers:

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The first thing I did was test out the markers to see how vibrant they were.  As you can see these are BOLD and BRIGHT!  You do have to 'prime' them to get the ink flowing but it didn't take very long.  The only color not shown is black - simply because it wouldn't show up on the dark paper.

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Next I choose my canvas.  Which was actually little chalkboards I got at the dollar section at Target.  I decided to do two signs for my house.

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I love how this turned out!  It will be perfect for my kitchen!

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This is my favorite project! The classic white on the chalkboard and the pop of red really make this cute.  I plan on using it to decorate for Back To School season! 

My Thoughts:

I loved these markers.  They are super easy to work with and very forgiving.  I free-handed pretty much everything.  I made a few mistakes and they wiped away so I could start fresh.  I can see me using these for MANY more projects in the future. 

You can purchase your Liquid Chalk Markers by Stardom Crafts at Amazon.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Mystery of History Review & Giveaway! #WIN

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

When we first started homeschooling 3 years ago I was first introduced to The Mystery of History.  It was exactly what I was looking for in a Christian History Curriculum.  In that time we've worked our way through the first 3 volumes (almost done volume 3).  This school year Volume 4 was introduced and I'm so excited to start using it this coming year.

About The Mystery of History:

It is a Classical approach to history.  There is writing, reading, research and hand-on activities for each level.

It is Chronological.  If you start with book I - you literally start at the beginning.

It is Christian based.  Author Linda Lacour Hobar shares faith throughout all of the text.

It is for Multi-level teaching.  The book breaks down activities for younger students, middle school aged and high school level.

How We Used It:

When we started I had a 5th grader and a 7th grader.  Now they are just finishing up 7th and 9th.  The way that works best for us is to have Mom (me) read the text.  While they kids use the notebooking pages (sold at to take notes.  They do a few activities lined out in the text each week depending on our time schedule - the idea is to have a solid activity each week, and that usually means a writing assignment of some sorts.  (When they were littler we did more hands-on things like building pyramids or making volcanos!)

At the end of the week we use the Pretest provided as a quiz and do any additional worksheets that go with that week's lessons.  This has worked well for us and the kids retain a lot of the information.  For volume I we kept a timeline which was a load of fun too - and can be done for other volumes. 

My Thoughts:

I love that this is a complete course.  They have thought of everything you need to make the course a wonderful experience.  The kids love it because it is written to them in a conversational style. We have found it opened our minds to learning more about history as we did additional research on different topics.  We have taken a little longer with each book than one traditional school year because we sometimes branch out.  For example when we studied the Egyptians we did a few extra activities which took a few weeks longer.

Now for the exciting part!  One lucky reader is going to win the Volume of their choice!!!  Just enter using the widget below!!

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner: Homeschool Planet #REVIEW

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

I've reviewed and tried out quite a few homeschool planners over the years. Recently I had the opportunity to try out Homeschool Planet from Homeschool Buyers Co-op .  This is a completely online homeschooling planner with so many amazing functions. Seriously it pretty much has everything I've ever wanted in an online planner.

This is a product for Mom of course but actually it has a bit more than that. In fact I plugged my kid's emails in so that they could receive a daily break down of what was required of them schoolwork wise.  When you first start there are videos to watch to give you a good idea on how to use the program. I watched the opening one and then mostly fiddled around with it. The system gives you plenty of prompts which helps when your a beginner like me.

I was able to plug in my two older students and myself - which is all I need for the summer work we will be starting up.  I liked that you could do group tasks or individual.  Both of my kids do piano daily so that is on each of their schedules.

I plugged in the main subjects we will be doing for our 10th grader.  As you can see their is a check off on the screen where I can check off what he has accomplished.  The system automatically will adjust the schedule if you miss a day (it prompts and asks you if you would like to do that.) I find this feature to be one of the best parts!  Say your working along on History lessons and your child ends up sick and misses friday's work.  It will shuffle the whole year's schedule to move friday's work to Monday if you like. With just a click of a button! 

It also allows you to type in one course and will come up with a consecutive lesson plan - without having to type each additional lesson.  As you can see above with History - Lessons 1, A-D and below is where it was plugged in to generate the above:

That cut a lot of my lesson planning work down. It only took a few minutes to plug in each course. This program also lets you add daily chores. I love that feature too!

I feel like it really has thought of everything a homeschooling parent is looking for.  There is even a to-do list for mom - that can be emailed or sent to your cell!

I feel like I've barely scratched the surface on all this program can do in this review but I wanted to highlight the features that appealed to me the most. I can honestly that this is what I was looking for. The easy of use combined with so many amazing features makes this the best planner out there.  It was like they read my mind when creating this program and put together exactly what I was looking for.

Don't just take my word for it - check out what the other Crew Reviewers are saying by clicking on the banner below! 

Homeschool Planet Review

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