Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A Review of Math-Whizz from Whizz Education

If you read this blog regularly, then you know without a doubt that I will always encourage my kids to build their math skills.  I believe that a solid math foundation is a key to success in upper levels of math.  This is why I was excited to find out what Math-Whizz from Whizz Education was all about when we got the chance to review it recently.
Math Whizz
Whizz Education is a company that has been around for over 14 years.  They are on a mission to help children around the world in public schools, private schools, and homeschools improve their math skills through individualized learning.  They do this by creating a learning experience that is tailored to each individual student so that they are learning the material they need to learn at their own pace.  It is like a one on one tutoring session for each child.
A Glimpse of Normal
Missy can see the time she is spending on Math-Whizz as she logs in.
A Glimpse of Normal
Math-Whizz even offers this printable planner we could fill out to make goals for Missy.
A Glimpse of Normal
Tutoring lesson on the Likelihood of an Event
Math-Whizz is virtual math tutoring for students in grades K-8.  You can purchase a monthly subscription ($12 per month) or annual subscription ($124 per year) to their services for homeschoolers.  You can add another child to either subscription for an extra fee if you have more than one student using this program.  After you get your parent account set up, you set up your student with their own password so that the parent dashboard and student work area is separate.  This program starts with a very thorough assessment test so that it can figure out your child's math age and exactly what they know.  Don't worry if they see a concept that is totally new to them on the assessment because there is a button they can click that tells Math-Whizz that they have not learned this yet.  After the assessment, Math-Whizz determines your child's math age and then builds tutoring sessions (lessons) to help them build their skills, learn new skills, and polish up the ones they already know.  This site also has games and challenges that your student can play to build and practice their math skills.   Math-Whizz recommends that your student uses their program about 60 minutes per week which sounds like a lot, but if your student is like mine once they are working on the lessons they won't want to quit.  By working on their program for just 60 minutes a week, Math-Whizz has seen the average math age of students improve by 18 months in a year.  Every student gets lessons personalized to what they need to work on and learn for math.  You can see their progress every step of the way on the parent dashboard and through the feedback email, you receive from Math Whizz.
A Glimpse of Normal
Missy received a 12-month subscription to Math-Whizz so that we could review their program.  I got her account all set up for her and got her logged in so she could take their math assessment.  The assessment took her a couple of days to complete because Missy decided to do a little bit of it each day instead of doing it all at once.  Once she finished the assessment, she had a math age of 10.15 which tells me she working right at grade level.  The assessment told me that she is very good at Pencil and Paper math and I totally agree with them.  It also said that Missy needs more attention in Properties of Numbers which I would also agree with.  Sometimes she struggles to see the relationships between numbers and why you do what you do with them.  So this is what Math-Whizz has had her working on in her tutoring sessions, games, and challenges.  It has given her various lessons to teach her the properties of numbers.  She has worked on grouping, military time, number patterns, and more.  She can clearly see how much time she has worked in the program, the bonuses she will earn if she completes a certain number of minutes on the site, and what her tutoring lesson is in her dashboard.  She can go into her "Study" which is set up like a student desk area and access her lessons, see a report of how she is doing, access a topic bank that she can work on, see the credits she has so she can "purchase" reward items for her study, and more.  Missy loves customizing her Study to fit her style.  Missy likes the tutoring lessons, but her favorite part of this program is the games and challenges.  She is a competitive girl so she loves a good challenge and loves to play in this part of the program to compete.  I love that she is building her math skills while even playing in this area.  Everything in the program is designed to help your student learn and I totally appreciate that.
A Glimpse of Normal
The parent dashboard is very user-friendly and contains lots of detailed reports so that you know exactly how your child is doing.  I got notifications when Missy was doing good logging in and playing the games, but she wasn't doing the tutoring sessions as much as the games.  So I had to have her work on balancing that.  I can see exactly what concepts she has struggled with so far and it even shows me how I can give her extra instruction to help her through the struggles.  I can preview what she will work on, see what she has completed, and get reports that break down everything for me.  Missy is currently at math age 10.19 which shows me that she is improving and I can wait to see how much more she will improve as she continues to use this site.  I also like that I get super detailed emails from them on her progress both good and bad.  It is a very, very thorough website and program.
A Glimpse of Normal
A detailed report from the parent dashboard
Like I said up above, Missy starts working on Math-Whizz and does not want to stop.  It is teaching her the lessons, but it is entertaining, interactive, and does not feel like work to her.  I love this part of the program.  I love that she doesn't complain when I have Math-Whizz listed in her assignments.  I usually only put it down for 3 days each week, but every week I have found her in there every day.  If I don't have it in her schedule, she will ask me if she can work on it.  I tell her to go ahead because I definitely want her building her math skills any way she can.  This program works for her because she wants to work on it.  She has found that she can earn rewards, personalize her work area, and have fun learning.  All of this is a win in my book and I will definitely consider continuing our subscription once it ends.  Math-Whizz is designed to be a supplement to whatever math your student is working on.  It is not a full math curriculum, but a tutoring service that helps build math skills.  I am noticing that since Missy has been working on Math-Whizz, her regular math work is easier for her and even when she is presented with new concepts in her regular math she is grasping them faster.
A Glimpse of Normal
This was a quick overview of progress she had made in some lessons.  You can quickly see what she needs to work on more.
We definitely recommend checking out all that Math-Whizz has to offer if you have a student in grades K-8 or a student struggling with math especially since they offer a free trial.  You can learn more about Math-Whizz here and you can check them out on Facebook.  You can learn more about Whizz Education on their website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+.  You can also see how my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew used their Math-Whizz subscriptions and the results their students are seeing by clicking on the banner below to check out their reviews.
Math-Whizz {Whizz Education Reviews}

Monday, October 29, 2018

41 Before 41

Last year after my birthday I created a "bucket list" of things I wanted to do before my next birthday which was just this last week.  I turned 40 and I can honestly tell you that age is a matter of how old you feel and act.  I don't feel 40 and most days I don't act 40.  The number doesn't bother me, it's just a number.  Anyway, last year I really enjoyed having my "bucket list" of items that I could try and accomplish in a year so I thought it would be fun to create another one.  Putting it on my blog is just a way to keep my list in one place so I don't lose it and it gives me a visual of what I want to work on in the course of a year.  I hope to do a little better on my list this year than I did last year since I feel like I didn't actually accomplish much of my list last year.  This year has some new items and some old items because I still want to accomplish some of the things I didn't get done last year.
A Glimpse of Normal, 41 Before 41
  1. Become a runner.  Yes, I still want to accomplish this.  It is a life goal.
  2. Create a better filing system in our house and stick to it.
  3. Freshen up my sewing skills.
  4. Teach my daughter to sew.
  5. Remodel our bathroom.
  6. Finish decluttering the boxes in the basement.
  7. Craft more consistently.
  8. Bake something at least once a week.
  9. Start a school portfolio for my son (the best of the best work).
  10. Start a school portfolio for my daughter.
  11. Lose 20 pounds.
  12. Finish decorating our house.
  13. Read/listen to more books.
  14. Watch less television.
  15. Follow the FlyLady System - It is what works for me and I know it, so I don't know why I don't stick to it more.
  16. Spend more time with friends.
  17. Blog regularly.
  18. Create more recipes.
  19. Organize my craft supplies.
  20. Save more money.
  21. Declutter, declutter, declutter.
  22. Plan out and landscape our flowerbeds.
  23. Start exercising regularly.
  24. Finish 2 cross stitch patterns.
  25. Try 10 crochet patterns.
  26. Put up more pictures.
  27. Start writing a book..
  28. Enter projects in a fair.
  29. Clean out all of our email accounts.
  30. Learn a new cake decorating skill.
  31. Do a family photo shoot.
  32. Say NO to unnecessary stress.
  33. Go on more dates with my hubby.
  34. Expand my menu planning to include breakfast and lunch too.
  35. Create master lists for our house.  
  36. Host more game nights.
  37. Take better care of me.
  38. Do something for me at least once a week - paint my nails, spend extra time crafting, etc.
  39. Try 50 of things I have pinned on Pinterest.
  40. Grow my blog.
  41. Enjoy every moment.
So there it is.  My "bucket list" for the next year.  I hope to do better on this one than I did last year.  I am hoping you will check in with me from time to time and help keep me accountable.  What do you want to accomplish in the next year?

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Update on: 40 Before I Turn 40

Here I am a 40-year-old!  I made it!!!  God has blessed me with another year and I am grateful for every breath he gives me.  Last year after my birthday I wrote this post: 40 Before I Turn 40.  It is a list of things I wanted to do before I turned 40.  I thought it would be great to come back and tell you how I did on my list.  Below you will see my original list and beside it, I will post an update.
A Glimpse of Normal, Update, 40 before I turn 40
  1. Become a runner. - I did not become a runner.  I did get very good at walking and just recently I have been adding in small bits of running.  
  2. Go through all of our paper clutter and file it or get rid of it.  - Fail
  3. Freshen up my sewing skills. - Partial fail - I have done some sewing, but I have not freshened up all my skills.
  4. Teach my daughter to sew. - She can sew a straight line on a sewing machine and she does have an embroidery project started.  I definitely want to teach her more...lots more.
  5. Remodel our kitchen - Not yet
  6. Go through all the boxes in the basement. - We have gone through about 1/2 of them.
  7. Learn new crafting techniques. - I have learned new crochet stitches.
  8. Bake something at least once a week. - Fail
  9. Start a school portfolio for my son (the best of the best work). - Fail
  10. Start a school portfolio for my daughter. - Fail
  11. Lose 20 pounds. - Fail
  12. Finish decorating our house. - I am not done decorating our house yet by far, but I have done more decorating than I had done at this time last year.
  13. Read more books. - Check
  14. Watch less television. - Check
  15. Create and stick to a cleaning schedule. - Fail
  16. Spend more time with friends. - Fail - I have spent time with friends, but then we got crazy, stupid busy and I feel like we haven't gotten to hang out with our friends much since summer.
  17. Blog more. - Check
  18. Create more recipes. - Check - I have created more, I just haven't gotten them all on the blog.
  19. Organize my craft supplies. - Fail - many of them are in the boxes that we haven't been through in the basement.
  20. Save more money. - Fail - I have done well not making impulse buys, but we did put in a pole barn, put in concrete around the barn, and other projects around the house that have used up some cash.  
  21. Declutter, declutter, declutter. - Check
  22. Plan out and landscape our flowerbeds. - Epic Fail...unless weeds count.
  23. Stop procrastinating. - Check and fail - it totally depends on the task.
  24. Finish 2 cross stitch patterns. - Epic Fail - I have spent more time crocheting than cross stitching.
  25. Design a crochet pattern. - Fail 
  26. Put up more pictures. - Check, but I do still have more to put up.
  27. Run in a race. - Fail...see number 1.
  28. Enter projects in a fair. - Check 
  29. Clean out all of our email accounts. - Fail
  30. Learn a new cake decorating skill. - Check 
  31. Do a family photo shoot. - Fail
  32. Learn to take better pictures. - Fail, although I did get our camera repaired.
  33. Go on more dates with my hubby. - Check, most of our dates included the home improvement store, but hey, it counts.
  34. Expand my menu planning to include breakfast and lunch too.  - Fail
  35. Top Secret Backyard Project. - Fail
  36. Start writing a book. - Fail
  37. Create master lists. - Fail
  38. Do something for me at least once a week - paint my nails, spend extra time crafting, etc. - Check
  39. Try 40 of things I have pinned on Pinterest. - Check
  40. Enjoy every moment. - Fail - I try to enjoy every moment, but sometimes I let frustration get the best of me.
I am glad that I made a list of the goals I wanted to accomplish before I turned 40.  I didn't get them all done, but that is okay.  Some things take more time than others and I know what I can work on in the next year.  Even though I didn't get many of the things on my list done this last year.  I still had an AMAZING year.  I got to see God at work several times over the last year.  It is amazing to see how He works things out.  We got to go to New York.  We went to Unity Fest.  We camped with friends.  We spent time with extended family.  We worked around the house.  There were so many other things too.  It has been a great year and even though I failed to enjoy every moment (mostly because I am human and have bad days too), God's blessings were in every day of the year.  I look forward to what this year will bring me.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Happy Birthday Cassandra!!!

Today help us as we celebrate Cassandra.  Not only is it her birthday, but it is also her 40th birthday.  We, her family, are excited for what God has in store for her this year.  You get to catch a glimpse of her here and there on the blog, but we see so much more than you do.  Cassandra loves God, serves her family, her church, and loves helping.  She loves her family and friends fiercely.  She loves crafts, blogging, baking, and cooking.  She loves to read, watch movies, and listen to music.  She loves our life in the boonies in our dream barn.  This year we pray for many blessings for her.
A Glimpse of Normal, Happy Birthday Cassandra
Happy Birthday Cassandra!!!

Mister Man, CJ, and Missy

Friday, October 19, 2018

Friday Fun - A Quick Trip

Happy Friday!!!  Today I thought I would share about a fun, quick trip we took recently.  CJ loves a good demo derby.  That is his favorite thing about any local fair that has them.  Who doesn't love watching cars crash on purpose and cheering them on?  This year at one of the local fairs the company running the demo derby talked about their BIG end of the season derby that was coming up.  It seems every year we have heard about this huge demo derby and CJ has wanted to check it out, but we have had things going and couldn't go.  This year it worked for us to go and it was a lot of fun.  We don't normally do spur of the moment trips, but this one worked and we thought it would be a fun time for everyone.  So off to Gaylord Michigan we went for a big demo derby and to see what else we could find.  Here are some of the pictures from our weekend there...
A Glimpse of Normal, Friday Fun
To qualify they have to do a "Bump and Run" heat in their class.  They can hit each other and flip cars, etc.

A Glimpse of Normal, Friday Fun

A Glimpse of Normal, Friday Fun

A Glimpse of Normal, Friday Fun

A Glimpse of Normal, Friday Fun

A Glimpse of Normal, Friday Fun
Sorry for the blurry photo, it was from my phone, but you needed to see a good crash.
A Glimpse of Normal, Friday Fun
They also did a burnout competition.  Pink smoke filled the air.
A Glimpse of Normal, Friday Fun
It was cold and raining the one day of the event and we looked over as we were parking to see a gorgeous rainbow.

A Glimpse of Normal, Friday Fun
Walking around town, we found this really awesome monument.
A Glimpse of Normal, Friday Fun
We also learned that Gaylord was famous for it's Gaylord Car.  

A Glimpse of Normal, Friday Fun
This was a cool painting on one of the buildings around town.
A Glimpse of Normal, Friday Fun
We had to eat while we were there.  If you are in Gaylord, MI check out the Iron Pig Smokehouse.  This was their Iron Pig sandwich and it is honestly one of the best burgers I have ever had.  Bacon, hamburger, pulled pork....mmmm.....
 We took just a quick trip to see the two-day demo derby, but it was a lot of fun.  Gaylord is a pretty cool little town and the derby was worth the trip even though it was freezing.  We would definitely go back.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A Review of St. Bartholomew's Eve from Heirloom Audio

History doesn't have to be boring.  It can draw you in and keep you on the edge of your seat.  At least this has been our experience in the past with Heirloom Audio and the dramas they produce.  This is why we were excited to receive St. Bartholomew's Eve from Heirloom Audio to review recently.
St. Bartholomew's Eve
Heirloom Audio is a company that we always look forward to working with and we love to see what productions they come out with.  We know that they always produce quality audio dramas.  These dramas not only capture our attention, but they make us feel like we are right there in the middle of all the action with the characters.  As a parent, I appreciate this company because they strive to tell the stories of true Christian heroes while teaching strong moral values.  I love that their priority is bringing real history to life for their listeners.  Their audio dramas are based on the popular book series The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty.  His books are filled with themes of bravery, loyalty, family, and happy endings while featuring moral values like integrity, courage, honesty, and perseverance.  These are great things for my kids to learn.
A Glimpse of Normal
I have to admit that we didn't know much about St. Bartholomew's Eve or the French Religous Wars before listening to this latest audio drama.  Of course, our family knows that the church over the years has faced much persecution and opposition, especially in the early years.  So before we took a listen to audio drama, I looked up both St. Bartholomew's Eve and the French Religious Wars so I could help my kids understand the background of what was happening in history and why this occurred.  The French Religous Wars took place between 1562-1598.  It was a war between the Roman Catholics in France and the Huguenots, which are the Reformed and Calvinists Protestants.  The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre happened in August of 1572 and it was a turning point in this religious war because the Huguenots lost many leaders.  The massacre lasted several weeks and targeted the Huguenots, many of them who had come to Paris for a royal wedding.  There were assassinations, Catholic mob violence, and many other horrible events during this massacre.  This is the basics of what was going on in this time period and what the story was about.  Once we knew these basics, we got ready to listen.
St. Bartholomew's Eve
As the story of St. Bartholomew's Eve opens we learn that the Huguenots are realizing that they must do something in order to protect themselves from persecution and execution from French Nobility that are Roman Catholics.  We meet Francois and his cousin Philip who are learning what is happening in France and deciding what they must do about it.  They learn that this whole religious war was started over disagreements over what is right regarding religious practices.  The Roman Catholics believe it is unholy to eat meat on Fridays.  They believed that you should honor the King of the Country over the King of Kings.  They also did not like that the Protestants worshipped in different manners than they did like singing the Psalms because this meant that more people than the priests could worship.  The Huguenots (Protestants) believed that they should honor God no matter what and although peace was their overall goal, they knew that if they had to fight to protect their beliefs they would do so.  Francois and Philip soon join up with Count De Luc and his troops.  Originally they planned to go to Paris to fight for their religious freedom, but then they decided to launch a surprise attack on Leon.  They attack Leon to the surprise of the city and then move on from there.  Their troops are increasing in size and the Huguenots seem to be winning the war.  As they get close to fighting near Paris, it seems to go back and forth, back and forth.  Philip and Pierre are sent on a mission to find out what the situation is in the city of Paris.  They find that Huguenots have to worship in extreme secrecy and Francois and the Count are captured.  Trying to learn more Pierre and Philip meet Argento, a young boy whose family has already suffered because of being Huguenots.  Argento helps Pierre and Philip find Nobility and Officials who have been persecuting and capturing the Huguenots.  After this, the battles go on and some are won and some...well...  It seemed that for every battle won, the Huguenots suffered other setbacks.  The Nobility and Officials don't forget that Argento helped Pierre and Philip and they retaliate against Argento.  Then the fighting gets fierce and it seems like everyone involved in the story will die.  You will have to listen to St. Bartholomew's Eve to know what happens because if I tell you more...
A Glimpse of Normal
We were on the edge of our seats for this story.  We listened to the entire 2-CD set in just 2 days.  The CD's we received are available for just $29.97 plus shipping and handling.  You can also order them as a digital download for $19.97.  We have listened to the over 2 hour drama again since then so we can hear details that we missed the first time.  Of course, we did hear things that we missed and we thought the audio drama was even better the second time we heard it.  Missy especially liked the "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" hymn that was included in the story.  She knew a little bit about this hymn because she played it last year for her piano lessons.  Hearing it in the context of the story, helped her see what the words to it really meant and how it symbolized the characters' bravery.  CJ liked that they were fighting for God and to stand up for their religious freedom.  He appreciated the roles of Pierre, Philip, and Francois and the way as young men, they stood up for their beliefs even though they faced death if caught.  I appreciated that this audio drama allowed us to learn more about the battles Christians faced.  It gave me an opportunity to discuss what we would think we might do in the same situations.  I must admit that I am not sure I am as brave as these characters were.  Heirloom Audio always produces great dramas that open up many discussions for the kids and me about character traits, Biblical qualities the characters possess, and what we would do if we were part of the storyline. For that reason alone, we love what the dramas they produce including St. Bartholomew's Eve.

We definitely recommend listening to St. Bartholomew's Eve from Heirloom Audio.  You can find out more about this audio drama here.  You can learn more about Heirloom Audio on their websiteFacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Instagram.  Please be sure to check out all that Heirloom Audio has to offer.  I know we will be checking them out to see what other series we can use this year for school.  My friends on the Homeschool Review Crew have also been reviewing this audio drama, so make sure you read their reviews by clicking the banner below.
St. Bartholomew's Eve {Heirloom Audio Reviews}
I mentioned that we have reviewed for Heirloom Audio before.  You can read our reviews of some of the other products by clicking on each title below.
Wulf the Saxon
Captain Bayley's Heir
In the Reign of Terror
The Cat of Bubastes
Beric The Briton

Monday, October 15, 2018

October 2018 Menu Plan - Part 2

October is almost half over and I can't believe how fast it is flying by.  It seems like fall is really setting in here.  Our trees are losing leaves which means lots of raking is coming our way.  The trees with leaves still are GORGEOUS and showing all their glamorous colors.  The days are becoming cool and crisp.  We are hurrying to wrap up some outside projects before the cold sets in for good.  I decided to give you October's Menu Plan in two parts because it is easier for me to plan our menu for two weeks at a time this month and we are trying to use up what is in our freezer before our beef comes.  You can find part one of the menu plan here.  Here is what we are eating for the rest of the month.
A Glimpse of Normal, October Menu Plan, Part 2, Whats for Dinner

15.  Hobo Dinner Packs
16.  Taco Soup
17.   Grilled Pork Chops
18.  Breakfast Burritos
19.  Stromboli
20.  Sheet Pan Pork Tenderloin
21.  Crockpot Chicken Parm
22.  Sushi Rice Bowls
23.  Zuppa Toscana
24.  Spaghetti & Meatballs
25.  Street Tacos
26.  Deconstructed Pizza Casserole
27.  Lasagna Soup
28.  French Dip Sandwiches
29.  One Pan Mexican Quinoa
30.  White Chicken Chili
31.  Cauliflower Mash with Meatballs Smothered in Gravy

I updated my FREE printable menu planner so that you can print it and fill it in with your meals.  Let me know if you use it and like it.

As always you can find recipes for these meals on my October Menu Plan board on Pinterest.  There are lots of other meals on this board too so that you can swap out meals that your family won't eat.  Once I add a meal to this Pinterest board, I leave it on there for ideas and swap meals.  I hope my menu plans help you out.  What is for dinner this month at your house?

Thursday, October 11, 2018

A Review of Season 6: Underground Rising from Brinkman Adventures

One thing we like to do as a family is to listen to real-life missionary stories.  These stories whether they be on the radio, CD, or digital downloads are great ways to learn about real people and their work for God.  This is why I was excited for our family to receive the digital version of Season 6: Underground Rising from Brinkman Adventures to listen to and review.
Underground Rising Season 6 Brinkman Adventures
Brinkman Adventures is a radio show that you can listen to on the radio, audio CDs, or by downloading MP3 files.  These are true, modern, missionary stories that are told through the eyes of a fictional family, the Brinkman family.  These adventures are produced by Beachglass ministries which is a non-denominational Christian organization.  The purpose of the Brinkman Adventures is to inspire, motivate, and promote the next generation of Christian world changers.
Brinkman Adventures
Season 6: Underground Rising that we received can be purchased as audio CDs, but we were sent the audio downloads to listen to.  This season of the show features over 2 hours of high-definition audio.  Each show is full of action, missionary stories, and Christian inspiration.  In this season missionary stories, we got to hear about the lives of Reng and Lynn Van Kesteren, the Brinkman Family, Brian and Kelly Wonder, and Dave and Karen Eubank.  Through these stories, we got to travel to the Netherlands, Wisconsin, India, Thailand, Burma, and Myanmar.  Each story we listened to has an overall theme that honors God.  Here are the stories included in Season 6 along with their theme:
  • Dutch Underground, Part 1 - Resisting Evil
  • Dutch Underground, Part 2 - Helping When it's Risky
  • Twice Born Fly - Salvation
  • I Wonder Why - Trusting God's Plan
  • Free Burma Rangers, Part 1 - Can God Use a Warrior
  • Free Burma Rangers, Part 2 - God Guides Even When He Feels Distant
We got a chance to hear the Brinkman Adventures for the first time last year when we reviewed their Season 4 adventures and we really enjoyed them.  Now that we knew what to expect from their audio dramas, we were all excited to listen as soon as I got our mp3 files downloaded.  We listened to each and every story in Season 6 and then we spent some time talking about what happened in each story, the people in the stories, and how we thought we might react if we were in the story.  We were also able to go on the Brinkman Adventures website and find more information about each story on their "Real Stories" page.  This page had pictures for each story, more information about each story, maps, interviews, and more.  It was like going behind the scenes and finding out the why behind it all which always helps a story stick in my mind.

We all had a different favorite missionary story from this current season.  CJ liked both parts of the "Free Burma Rangers" stories.  He liked learning Dave Eubank's story.  CJ learned that even though Dave struggled to do right for part of his life, he turned his life around and felt God was calling him for a very specific mission.  After training and mission work, Dave and his wife, Karen, founded the Free Burma Rangers which try and help unite people, help people, and present the Gospel.  CJ even got to learn more about what they do on the Brinkman Adventures site.  He liked this story because it shows that a person can turn their life around and serve God in a great way.  Missy liked the "Twice Born Fly" story.  This one tells a couple of stories in one story.  Part of the story deals with Charlie swallowing a fly which made her laugh because she has swallowed a bug or two in her outside adventures.  The second part of the story is a story from Jack that he shares with the family.  The story he tells happened to him one time and it is full of excitement, prison breaks, and an edge of the seat adventure.  When she found out how the story ended (of course I can't tell you because I can't be a plot killer), she was amazed and said she didn't expect the ending at all.  She liked this story because it reminded her that we all change when we get saved.  Jesus takes us from being ugly sinners and makes us beautiful.  My favorite story was "I Wonder Why."  This story is from a family who felt led to pack up everything they own and move to India to run an orphanage.  The little girl in the story, Samantha, struggles because she feels like they gave up everything to go to India where bad things keep happening.  Just when everything feels like it is hopeless and the entire family starts to question why they are in India, the hearts of the orphanage kids are opened and they start accepting Jesus, their son Huck is healed from his allergies, and Samantha finally likes it in India.  It was a blessing for me to hear how God lead the family to India and He was working through them and with them all along, even when they didn't see immediate results.  It reminded me that God is always working even when I can't see it.
We definitely recommend Season 6: Underground Rising from Brinkman Adventures.  It is an exciting and fun way to listen to true missionary stories.  Brinkman Adventures is currently offering a reader special to you from now until October 31, 2018, so that you can get 10% off.  See the picture above for the code.  You can learn more about Season 6 here.  You can learn about the Brinkman Adventures on their website and Facebook page.  You can also check out what my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew loved about these stories by clicking on the banner below.
Brinkman Adventures Season 6 Reviews

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

A Pole Barn - Part 3

I have not updated you on our pole barn for quite some time so I thought this week would be a good week to do that.  You can see part 1 here and part 2 here.  It has been a bit of a process to get our pole barn to the point it is now, but we are so happy with how everything is turning out.  We finally got our concrete floor in the pole barn and we painted it with garage epoxy paint, but it is a disaster right now so I don't have pictures of the inside for you right now.  In the past few weeks, we got concrete put around the one side of our pole barn where the doors are and our friend that did the work for us on that suggested a patio and I loved the idea so we went with it.  We also had the concrete for in front of the pole barn poured so we have more space to work if we are doing projects that need to be out in the open.  So without further ado...here is our pole barn...
A Glimpse of Normal, A Pole Barn Part 3

A Glimpse of Normal, A Pole Barn Part 3

A Glimpse of Normal, A Pole Barn Part 3

A Glimpse of Normal, A Pole Barn Part 3
These pavers will make a pathway that will connect to a path up the hill to the house.
A Glimpse of Normal, A Pole Barn Part 3
Don't mind all the leaves and dirt, we have had a lot of rain that brought the leaves down and we have not raked yet.
A Glimpse of Normal, A Pole Barn Part 3
Can you tell it is time to rake the leaves?
A Glimpse of Normal, A Pole Barn Part 3
We are also in the process of putting in a little fire pit just off of the patio.  CJ has done the work on it for me so far and he is doing an awesome job.  I can't wait for it to be done and be able to sit around the fire.
A Glimpse of Normal, A Pole Barn Part 3

A Glimpse of Normal, A Pole Barn Part 3
We love how it has turned out so far and we can't wait to finish up the work around it. #ireallyliveinabarn

Monday, October 8, 2018

A Review of CashCrunch Careers from CashCrunch Games

Figuring out what you want to do for a career can be a really hard decision.  We are trying to help CJ explore many options and think about what he would like to do especially because he is in high school.  We want him to be able to learn about many careers and think about what they would mean for his future before he graduates high school (all too soon for this mama).  This is why I was interested in having him take the CashCrunch Careers survey from CashCrunch Games.  CashCrunch Games was very generous and not only did they let CJ review their CashCrunch Careers, but I also got to review it too.
Cash Crunch Careers
 CashCrunch Games was founded by Paul Vasey.  It is his background teaching Business Studies that helped him see that many students associate money with math and because of that it intimidates them.  Paul set out to change that mindset by creating games that teach students to respect money and how it is used while making wise decisions about the use of their money.  He wants to teach students that you can make wise decisions about money without fearing it.  You can try out some of their  CashCrunch Games on their website for free if you create an account.  He also developed CashCrunch Careers to help students answer the "What would you like to do with your life?."  This is the part of this company that we got to review.
Cash Crunch Games
CashCrunch Careers has been created a career database to help give students or adults information that they can use when they are considering potential careers.  They use research from the US Department of Labor to help make their career directory so that there are plenty of options to explore and learn about.  It all starts with a survey of 75 questions that takes about 10-15 minutes to complete.  It asks you to assess your own inherent personality traits and abilities by having you choose the answer based on what you believe about yourself.  Then based on your survey answers, CashCrunch Careers picks careers that best match your work style and the characteristics you think you possess.  They present this in the form of a report that lists your Career Work Styles, Motivators & De-Motivators, Career Attributes, and Matching Jobs.  The report list 20 jobs that could be a career match for you and it puts them in order of suitability according to your results.  Once you have these results you can click on each career suggestion and learn more about it.  Then you can learn the tasks you typically perform on the specific job and the activities typically associated with that job.  It also tells you the attributes, abilities, work values, and skills you need for this career.  You can also find a tab with a list of colleges throughout the U.S. that offer this degree.  Last, there is a tab that has a video that tells about the career and the skills you will need for it.  This website is available for you to access anytime after you take your survey so you have plenty of time to research all the careers they matched you with which you can find in your "Locker."  It has a wealth of information and even though it is $99 to access all this information, it does help a lot for helping direct your student in the correct path before they get to college.  Knowing which careers you are suited for and might want to study before you get to college can help you pick the right college and the right high school path to get to the right college.  It can help you pick a college that specializes in your field and sometimes these schools are not the typical 4-year colleges which can save a lot of money.
CashCrunch Careers has an easy to use "Locker" where you can quickly find everything.
CJ is in 10th grade and starting to plan for his future which is why I thought this career test would be perfect for him.  He took the survey based on the character traits he sees in himself and he was surprised by the results he got.  He is leaning toward small engine mechanics, but that is not very high on his list of results.  What we, his parents, know about CJ is that he has the qualities of a great leader.  He doesn't see this in himself and that is why he was surprised by his results.  His top careers were all management jobs that would require him to be in charge of others.  He understood that the character traits he has are what made the survey choose these types of careers for him.  We think he would do pretty well at those careers even though they are not at the top of his personal list of careers.  He has been looking through all the careers this survey suggested for him and even though it hasn't changed what he wants to do after he graduates, it has shown him what other careers he may be good at.  He still says he wants to do something with small engines, farm equipment, and such. which he is also great at.
They give you a great idead of your work style and what you may prefer according to the survey.
CashCrunch Games was generous and allowed me to take the CashCrunch Careers survey too.  I wanted to take this survey because my kids are getting older and eventually I plan to go back into the workforce.  Now that I have stayed at home for so long, it seems like there are tons of careers I want to try.  I thought this survey would be a good way to find out what I might be good at.  I love to host and entertain so I guess it wasn't that surprising to me that my motivators were helping others, opportunities to form and maintain relationships, and working with others.  I guess it did surprise me a little that the top of my list of jobs was Advertising and Promotions Manager.  I guess that I didn't think of myself as good at creating ads, but I wouldn't mind doing that type of work.  There were several types of management jobs that came up as a good fit for me based on the career survey.  So now I do have several careers that I can research and think about for a few years before I think about heading back into the workforce.  I liked that it told me my motivators, demotivators, and career attributes that I should look for.  I like that I can research all the careers it suggested for me.
They give you a list of your work motivators and demotivators.

They give you a list of possible job matches for you based on your survey answers.
If you are interested in helping your children or yourself find a direction for a career path, then CashCrunch Careers could be a good resource to use.  We like that it suggests careers and then gives you more information about each career and colleges that offer programs in that in one place.  You can learn more about CashCrunch Careers survey here.  You can learn more about CashCrunch Games on their website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.  You can read what my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew found out about their children's careers by clicking the banner below.
CashCrunch Careers {CashCrunch Games Reviews}