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Butterfly Box Review & Give-Away

Butterfly Box Review & Give-Away

I love subscription boxes! I’ve subscribed to a few and its’ always a lot of fun- it’s like getting a present in the mail and it’s fun to explore new products.

I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to review the Butterfly Box. Like many busy homeschooling Moms, who are working, running a house, participating in ministry, AND homeschooling, sometimes the most important things get pushed aside.

The Butterfly Box is a wonderful way to reconnect to the most important part of life- your faith!

Each month a thoughtfully curated and themed box arrives to help you reclaim those quiet moments with God, build your intimacy with Christ, and live out your faith in the world around you!

What can you expect from your Butterfly Box Subscription?

  • A monthly theme to encourage and equip your spiritual growth
  • 5-6 specially curated and high-quality items that might include artwork, jewelry, books, décor, personal pampering items, cards, and other specialty items,
  • The knowledge that you are supporting a faith-based or small Christian business
  • The assurance that each carefully curated and crafted box will be themed and color-coordinated. I love how all of the items in my box were so beautifully color-coordinated!
  • A sweet and simple newsletter that explains each item in the box and words of encouragement.

What was in my Butterfly Box?

Included in my Butterfly box were two tea drops. I am an avid tea drinker (I’m drinking my daily green tea right now) and I’ve never heard of a tea drop; I received Sweet Peppermint and White Vanilla- shaped loose leaf tea that dissolved in hot water! Tea is such a simple comfort and goes perfectly with one’s daily devotions! One for you and for a friend!

Next up, a prayer bracelet. Mine was a lovely silver toned butterfly to wear as a reminder to pray.

Also included was a laminated prayer guide that suggests circles of influence to pray for throughout the week. The card is beautiful and could easily slip into a 5 x 8-inch frame to put on one’s desk, or into your Bible cover, as a regular reminder to pray.

Then a beautifully bound book: The Power of the Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian. I’ve loved Stormie’s books for years and this one is no different. It includes 31 chapters covering specific prayers, such as, “Keep Me in the Center of Your Will,” and “Comfort Me in Times of Trouble.” Each short but powerful chapter includes encouragement, Scripture references, and Stormie’s blessed brand of exhortation! Published by Harvest House, the book is a visual treat, with a soft stamped turquoise cover and a ribbon bookmark. Each chapter includes a brief introduction, a page titled, “My Prayer to God,” and then a page titled, “God’s Promise to Me.” Sweet, thought-provoking, and do-able, even for super busy, swamped Mommas like you and me!

And even more fun, these would be totally appropriate to read with your kids!

Last but not least, included in this month’s Butterfly Box, a prayer journal, in the same beautiful turquoise as the book, with a title of, “Be Still and Know” on the front cover. Did I mention how I love the color-coordinated theme of this box? It’s a visual treat!

Self-care or the perfect gift!

A subscription to the Butterfly Box would be a perfect holiday present for a teen or adult daughter, an older relative, or a new momma. We can all use an extra dose of goodness in our lives and this little gift box delivers! And honestly, with all of the talk of the value of “self-care”, this is the real deal. If you really want to take care of yourself, the best place to start is with your relationship with the Living God!

Special Offer & Enter to Win

Join the Butterfly Box and use code WELCOME10 for 10% off!

Enter to win 6 months of the Butterfly Box. You have until October 30 to enter! 

This little box is chock full of truth, beauty, and goodness and will offer encouragement to any recipient.

Image of the items in the Butterfly Box

 

Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to our Children

Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to our Children

Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to our ChildrenGeneration to Generation

Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to our Children is a great primer on Biblical Feasts and Festivals.

We have studied them utilizing great resources, such as Robin Sampson’s, A Family’s Guide to Biblical Feasts and Festivals, and Celebrating Biblical Feasts by Martha Zimmerman, along with the Bible and good Jewish friends. I have shared some of what we have learned in my unit study, The Celebration of Sukkot.

Our family life has been nourished by ancient traditions that have fed our souls as we practice the Old Testament Feasts and Festivals and recite what have now become familiar prayers and sing traditional songs, such as Dayenu.

There is great learning to be had about one’s faith and tying together Old and New Testament relevance when you study the Biblical Feasts and Festivals. This is one of the reasons we are offering Biblical Feasts and Festivals as a one-semester class, taught by Rabbi Arthur Fischer.

If we want our children to never give up and never give in when it comes to their values and beliefs, we must teach them hope. Hope is what led the bruised and battered nation of Israel back to our homeland, and it is hope that will lead our world to the Messianic Era.

~ Yael Eckstein from Generation to Generation

When I had a chance to review Yael Eckstein’s, (of International Fellowship of Christians and Jews), latest book, Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to our Children, I jumped at the chance.

Ms. Eckstein takes a unique approach to the importance of Biblical Feasts and Festivals, by focusing on the theme of each one.

The main focus of the book is l’dor v’dor- from generation to generation.

She begins, naturally, with Shabbat, and covers eight holidays – showing us ways in which we can pass on important lessons through each one.

 

The Lessons

  • Shabbat – Teaching our Children Priorities
  • Passover – Teaching our Children to Seek Knowledge
  • Shavuot – Teaching our Children Gratitude
  • Tisha B’Av – Teaching our Children Hope
  • High Holy Days – Teaching our Children Forgiveness
  • Sukkot – Teaching our Children Faith
  • Purim -Teaching our Children Courage
  • Tzedaka – Teaching our Children Generosity

Each chapter begins with a Scripture verse, then a quote from a Rabbi or Jewish teaching, and an explanation of the holiday, including how Yael and her family celebrate each holiday.

At the end of the chapter, there is a page-long explanation of how the feast or festival is celebrated in the New Testament; ways to teach our children the theme of each chapter, a special note for parents and then Scripture Memory verses from both the Old and New Testaments. Sprinkled throughout is Jewish vocabulary that illuminates the Scripture.

This is a jam-packed little book, easy to read and very accessible; and a lovely way to learn about and incorporate the deep meaning of Scripture into your family culture.

Perfect for families who are just beginning their exploration of Biblical Feasts and Festivals as well as those who have already jumped into understanding the rich correlation between Old and New Testament. Yael Eckstein, as expected, does a beautiful job of integrating the importance of Jewish meaning and themes with New Testament faith.

An important and accessible book for families who long to see their children raised and living in the living faith of The Book.

Enter to win a FREE Copy! 

For more information on the book, visit the website at www.generationbook.org.

About the Author

The author, Yael Eckstein, is President and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the largest provider of humanitarian aid in Israel. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews was founded in 1983 by Orthodox Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, whose vision for building bridges of understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews has been translated into the largest Christian-supported humanitarian agency helping Jews in Israel and around the world.

You can learn more about the organization and Rabbi Eckstein at the website International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.

For more than 2,000 years, the Jewish people have preserved and maintained their faith from generation to generation, despite being exiled from their land and suffering persecutions, pogroms, and even the Holocaust, where six million Jewish women, men, and children were killed at the hands of the Nazis. In her book, Generation to Generation, Fellowship President, and CEO Yael Eckstein unlocks the keys to how the Jewish people have successfully passed on the legacy of faith through the family and offers insights into how Christians can incorporate these principles within their own families to pass on a strong and living faith.

Find IFCJ on FB 

If you are interested in learning more about Biblical Feast & Festivals, check out the semester-long class from True North Homeschool Academy which is taught weekly live online from Israel. We offer Biblical Hebrew and Modern Hebrew which both include some study of traditions and culture also taught by Rabbi Arthur Fischer.

The Homegrown Preschooler – Curriculum Review

The Homegrown Preschooler – Curriculum Review

The Homegrown Preschooler – Curriculum Review

The Homegrown Preschooler – Curriculum Review: I first came in contact with the Homegrown Preschooler when Leslie and I were vending in Duluth this spring. I loved the booth! As a closet artist, it is everything I want my house to be: warm, inviting, neat, hands-on, practical, and beautiful.

This is pre-school at it’s best. Charlotte Mason inspired, classical methodology, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, all wrapped into one beautiful package that is guaranteed to inspire and encourage parents of preschoolers! Educating one’s kiddos is do-able. More than that it CAN be fun, lovely, and cause one to push beyond their normal to something truly inspiring.

Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water bugs, tadpoles, frogs, mud turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb. Brooks to wade, water lilies, woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hay fields, pinecones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries, and hornets, and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of education. ~Luther Burbank.

The Homegrown Preschooler – Curriculum Review: About the Curriculum

I received The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live by Kathy Lee and Leslie Richards, along with A Year of Playing Skillfully, by the same authors.

The book is divided into nine chapters in two different parts:
  • Homeschooling- Harvesting a Bountiful Life
  • Learning Through Play
  •  Sowing the Seeds- Preschool Learning
  • Setting the Stage
  • Home Life=Learning- Slow Down and Teach
  • What has Time for this?
  • Organizing it All
  • Days and Seasons that Don’t Fit in the Box
  • Special Circumstances

Part Two – the Activities

  • Home Life
  • Science
  • Gross Motor
  • Fine Motor
  • Math
  • Language and Emergent Literacy
  • Art
  • Social-Emotional

Each chapter is chock full of activities, suggestions, ideas, recipes, adorable pictures, quotes, and color!

It is visually delightful and crammed full of ideas and resources.

The Appendix is wonderful as it gives you building plans for the awesome play/activity tables that Homegrown Preschooler has in their booth. The tables are perfect for sand, water, little animals, colored rice, cork letters, and more.

The Activities portion is, again, full of ideas and pictures of kids enjoying themselves as they build language and number literacy and life skills. I love this book- it would be a wonderful shower present for an expectant Mom who already has a pre-schooler, especially if you included provisions to do some of the activities.

The Homegrown Preschooler – Curriculum Review: It’s also a lovely homeschooling primer for those who compelled by homeschooling but are not sure where to start. If you have a pre-schooler- this is where!

It would also be an amazing Grandparent gift! Have this at the ready at Gramma’s house for fun and wholesome engagement when you are watching the littles. This is a great way to build memories across generations.

Over the years we have done many of the activities that are included, but the beauty of this book is that you can pull it out and have ideas at the ready. Also included are supply lists. How perfect is that?

A Year of Playing Skillfully is what really caught my eye. This is an actual Charlotte Mason inspired, classical curriculum for preschoolers.

I took my copy out of the packaging and put it in a 2″ binder. Some of the pages are cardstock/printables and I put those in page-protectors; other pages are 3-hole punched, but if I was going to use this for multiple kids, in a co-op or day-care, I would definitely put those pages in page protectors as well.

What You Will Find – Nine Months of Activities

Each month has a FacePage printed on cardstock that outlines and details the month. Each month includes a Theme and a Character Trait as well as ideas in each of the following areas:

  • HomeLife/ socio-emotional
  • Art/Music
  • Language/Literacy
  • Math/Manipulative’s
  • Field Trips Science/ Sensory
  • Outdoor/Gross Motor
  • Scripture Verse.

The pages are visually lovely and colorful but not cluttered. You can use the face pages as a checklist if you like or they can be a general guide.

Next comes a month-by-month detailed Activity Guide.
The guide is a detailed, month-by-month plan of activities, books, music, chores, inspiration, recipes, living skills, reading and math readiness, art and science projects, nature journaling, gross motor play, field trips, and more. Complete with lovely pictures of adorable kids participating in them. In other words, these things are DO-ABLE for real Moms, like us. At the end of each month’s activities is a supply list by activity as well as a place to record memories.  Brilliant!

What You Will Find in the Activity Guide

  • Activities
  • Books
  • Music
  • Chores
  • Inspiration
  • Recipes
  • Living SKills
  • Reading Readiness
  • Math Readiness
  • Art Projects
  • Science Projects
  • Nature Journaling
  • Gross Motor Play
  • Field Trips
Also included are printables, ready to use multiple times as they’ve been printed on cardstock. This includes games and other age-appropriate pre-school activities like cutting practice and garden planning.
Again- brilliant. I don’t have to go searching, it’s readily available and I can make multiple copies as needed.
Have I mentioned I LOVE this curriculum? It’s more than curriculum- it life prep for littles. It is lovely, well thought out, pragmatic, and thoroughly delightful. KB and Mr. V can’t wait to use this with little V and I have high hopes to jump in with and do some of the activities with them every now and then.Get A Discount NOW!

Find the Homegrown Preschooler on Social Media:

Check out more ideas on Getting Started Preschool and Kindergarten resources and ideas. Need even more support! We offer live online kindergarten classes that are fun and engaging as well as Charlotte Mason inspired Art & Music Level I and Level II

 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this product in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. 

Homeschooling for College Credit

Homeschooling for College Credit

Homeschool for College Credit – A Review

Homeschooling for College Credit by Jennifer Cook De Rosa is a beautiful how-to manual for hacking college credit.

For anyone with kids who plan to go to college, it is a must-read.

The average student graduating from college takes six years instead of 4 and has, on average, $27,000 in debt. It’s also important to factor in college completion rates. According to Alissa Nadworny, 6 out of 10 students who start a college degree never complete it. Those saddled with debt, without an economically feasible plan to pay it off, may end up in deferment. Currently, more than half of student loan debt is in deferral. This affects quality of life on many levels.

Undergraduates can take out up to $57,000 in school debt and graduate students up to $135,000 in debt. Given the stats, it just makes sense to look for an antidote to the college debt disaster. This book is the antidote!

This 300+ page tome is chock full of fantastic information.

Chapter Headings Include:

  1. Congratulations: You’re a Guidance Counselor
  2. Thirty Ways to earn College Credit
  3. Behind the Scenes
  4. High School Planning
  5. Dual Enrollment Advice
  6. Transcripts and Record Keepings
  7. Homeschool Exit Strategies
  8. Completely Free Tuition

Unique & Worth Every Penny

What makes this book unique and worth every penny can be found in Chapter 2: Thirty Ways to Earn College Credit.

This chapter goes way beyond the standard fare of CLEP, DE, and AP and the Big 3 and includes companies, colleges, hacking MOOCs for test prep, and so much more. My daughter, for example, is studying her 3rd foreign language in High School and is professionally interested in becoming a translator. Guess what? There are exams specific to language mastery, that can be taken from anywhere in the world that rack up college credits if your students have mastery in a foreign language.

This is a pragmatic book, one that talks about how to guide your teen in a way that makes sense. Included is some tough love regarding degree killers: time, money and socialization, the ROI of a degree (Yes! And why aren’t government loan dollars somehow tied to this?) how the trades are worth considering and strategies for teens who don’t want to go to college. This book is chock full of worthy information that every parent of high schoolers should be thinking about and considering, along with their high school student.

One of my favorite chapters is how to go to college for free. I love it because it is creative and thorough and includes eight different ways your student can earn free tuition.

This book is a must-read for anyone concerned about their high school student’s future.

We are entering a massive shift in the world of work, and young adults burdened with debt or lack of skills/training will be ill-equipped to handle the fast, global changes that are already taking place. This book will help you assist those young people in your life to strategize a clear, concise plan as you homeschool for earning college credit as efficiently and economically as possible.

Jennifer Cook DeRosas does the research for you. It’s all here, in her highly informative and easy to read book, Homeschooling for College Credit; Your guide to resourceful high school planning.

I highly recommend it!

Couple this book with Beyond Personal Finance and join us for Life Skills for Teens. You might also want to read some of the resources we have here on the blog, including Yes! Your Child Can Learn a Foreign Language and High School  Dual Enrollment Tips.

If you don’t already follow the Life Skills for Homeschool Teens Facebook page, you will want to bookmark it to keep up with other parents of teens and get the latest scoop on resources for teaching those essential life skills plus encouragement and fun with other homeschool parents who have the same concerns that you do!

college graduates

Red Fish Blue Fish-Restaurant Review

Red Fish Blue Fish-Restaurant Review

Red Fish Blue Fish-Restaurant Review

 

Red Fish Blue Fish-Restaurant Review. Look, even though we are in a time of social distancing, we are planning for our next grand adventures. As you dream and plan, I hope you would consider this amazing restaurant chain in Florida. Even its name is compelling!

We recently returned from a trip to the Emerald Coast in Florida, via a conference in Atlanta. When asking my on-line travel buddies about what to see and do in Pensacola, the restaurant Red Fish, Blue Fish was a “must-see” recommendation. How good could it be?

How good? My daughter said it was the best restaurant we’ve ever gone to. To put this in perspective, we’ve done a lot of traveling across the country and in the past several months and have visited SC, MT, TX, GA, TN, ND, and MO.

We’ve eaten the best hash-brown casserole ever in Red Lodge and amazing cheese grits and shrimp at a shack in Texas, serenaded by pouring rain. We’re not foodies, per se but we love sampling native fare and we love fresh, wholesome food.

What makes Red Fish Blue Fish so amazing? So many things.

  1. It’s in Pensacola, on the Bay. You walk into the restaurant and then right back outside to some amazing seating and beautiful views. I mean, you are sitting outside. But you probably aren’t sitting.
  2. Because there are games: Yard sized Connect 4, Corn Hole, and big wooden blocks. Throw in a couple of campfire rings, a hammock, a telescope, green grass, along with puppies and it is fantastic fun! The group next to us -picnic tables, y’all- brought puppies, and between the puppies and the games, our grands were in heaven!
  3. Food. I am not kidding. We’d been at the beach all afternoon and were slightly windblown and thirsty so we ordered what we knew would be yummy and filling: Fish and Chips, Yum Bowls and Greek Salads. Ok. The fish and chips- I ordered it grilled and tried to change to fried. Too late, and I am so glad. BEST fish EVER. Complete with 2 grilled corn on the cobs, coleslaw and fries. I love coleslaw but I hate sweet coleslaw. This was perfect. Crunchy, not bitter, not sweet, just right. My two daughters both ordered Yum Bowls: one blackened fish and one chicken. Oh, my word. Complete with fresh grilled asparagus and fragrant jasmine rice. Dr. Dh ordered a Greek Salad to round out his meal and it was delightful with charred tomatoes, pickled onions, fresh cheese and green olives. He shared. I smiled.
  4. The Food. We came hungry. Dr Dh and I, our 17-year-old and our adult daughter, her 6’4” husband and our 2 adorable grands. We’d been at the beach all afternoon, shelling, walking, playing, jumping in the water. We shared, the kids played, we ate. We were stuffed and still, we took food home.
  5. The Bay. We ate, the kids played, we took turns following them around, eating, laughing, talking to the puppy owners, playing corn hole, watching the pod of dolphins in the bay. Yep. Ended our fine meal with a dolphin pod display. I doubt #RFBF can guarantee that for every visitor, but it was a magical end to a wonderful evening and practically perfect day.

Besides all that, why would I recommend you add Red Fish Blue Fish to your must-eat places?

The wait-staff at Red Fish Blue Fish. Attentive and fun. Great service.

Affordable. I felt that the dishes were reasonably priced given the freshness, taste, and portions.

They have fun selections: Alligator stew, Fish tacos, gumbo, calamari for the more adventurous souls. The sides were delicious veggies, beautifully prepared. Drinks, cocktails, beer or wine available and served in plastic cups so you can still play corn-hole and build with blocks while quenching your thirst.

Red Fish Blue Fish! It’s a neighborhood block party that you are welcomed into. There’s an indoor-ish eating area, a bar, and the outdoor eating area. Friendly, kid music played, to add to the festive atmosphere, but not so loudly that you couldn’t hear each other. People started sitting at the fire rings as the evening wore on. People talked and chatted, even if they’d just met. The kids played, puppies scampered, the food was delish and a great time was had by all.

Heartily recommended and a place we’ll return to when we next make our way to the sugar sands of Pensacola.

Beyond Personal Finance

Beyond Personal Finance

Beyond Personal Finance

Beyond Personal Finance by Charla McKinley is a comprehensive high school program. She designed the course to give young adults a thorough understanding of money, budgeting and stewardship before they graduate from high school. The author, Charla McKinley, describes this course as a smash-up of Dave Ramsey and the Game of Life.

Designed for High School

Online live classes for high school students of True North Homeschool Academy on Finances and Life SkillsWhile the Dave Ramsey course is excellent, it is really designed for adults who are in financial trouble and need a way out of that trouble.

Most high school kids have a difficult time understanding what that could look like. Money is, after all, something most of them don’t have much of, think much about or struggle with. A benefit of Middle-class America is that our kids have their needs met and a good portion of their wants provided for, too. As a result, most teens have an abstract rather than concrete understanding of money. As one of the students in my high school class said, “Bills? I don’t have any.”

And that is exactly why Charla wrote this course. To give kids an idea of what kind of money questions and issues they will face as young adults and how to plan for, manage and think about the monkey wrenches that life continually throws in the way of all everyone out there “adulting.”

Lessons Included in the Course

This program consists of lessons in the following:

  • College and Careers
  • Budgeting
  • Car Purchase Apartment Rental
  • Spouse Selection
  • Credit Cards and Interest
  • Baby & Payroll
  • House Purchase
  • Insurance
  • School Choice
  • Investments,
  • Business Basics
  • Layoffs and Reconciliations
  • Income Tax
  • The Dangers of Divorce
  • Retirement

As you can see, Charla does not hold back. She addresses head-on difficult issues like layoffs and divorce. And while everyone says it won’t happen to them, the statistics say that 43% of American workers will be laid off at least once during their working years and 42-45% of all first-time marriages will end in divorce (and that number rises to 60% for second marriages). Monkey wrenches mess up even the best plans and these are life skills that will prepare our young people to overcome some of those obstacles.

Having Fun While Thinking of the Future

Think of this as a High School Cost of Living Project on steroids. One thing I love about this program is that there is vocabulary included in each chapter. Kids get a great overview of things like withholding tax, deferment, and depreciation. This course is meaty but not boring. Each chapter includes information and goofy videos like Identity Theft, that keep everyone laughing as they tackle serious stuff.

The Teacher’s manual is thorough and includes key terms, answer keys, charts and all the information needed to utilize this program in a class or co-op. Not all of the pages in the teacher’s manual are numbered, however, which makes it hard to track. I went through and tabbed sections for easier use. In my perfect world, I would have loved chapter objectives and a more structured, traditional Teacher’s Manual. This one has so much information, it can be overwhelming. But the value of the program makes it worth taking the time to tab each chapter and highlight the information you want to cover for each class period.

I’ve had several of my kids work through a COLA before and facilitated others students as well, and Beyond Personal Finance is the most comprehensive program that I’ve seen that gives kids real-world information that relates to where they’re at in life- as young adults about to embark on a great adventure.

It’s is a fantastic preparatory program- perfect for homeschools, co-ops, class COLA days or UMS programs! We’ll be utilizing this program with our True North Homeschool Academy online Orienteering class!

Scholarship Information

Students who are seniors and have completed the BPF program are also eligible to apply for their $1000 Scholarship Program. Visit the website to get all the details and requirements. The deadline to apply for that is no later than May 1st. Follow them on social media for updates on the program. If your high schooler needs more career exploration, check out our Young Professional Series of e-books.