Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Hamelin Stoop Series ~ A Review

The Hamelin Stoop Series by 12 Gates Publishing are the first two books in the fictional series by Robert B. Sloan. The main character Hamelin Stoop is left in a tomato crate at an orphanage in West Texas when he is only weeks old. The reading level for this series is 6th grade and up, or an advanced middle school series. This series is a fantasy series and if these books were movies they would be considered PG due to some violence and difficult life situations. 

What my 12-year-old daughter had to say about The Eagle, The Cave, and the Footbridge (Book One) and The Lost Princess and The Jewel of Periluna (Book Two). 

"The Eagle, The Cave, and the Footbridge is about a boy who decides to run away when they forget his birthday at the orphanage. He finds a cave and in the cave he finds an eagle. The eagle leads him through the cave until Hamelin decides to go home. Ever since then all he can do is think about the cave and the experiences he had. A few years pass and he decides to go back to the cave. When he finds the cave again the eagle warns him not to come back unless he is summoned. Hamelin does not know what that means so he confides in his friends to see what to do. They all decide to go back to the cave and figure out what is going on. When they do go back to the cave they see that the entrance is covered up and strange music like noises are coming from inside. They leave and decide not to go back unless they decide as a group to go back. After his friends leave Hamelin feels he is summoned so without telling his friends he goes to the cave. The eagle greets him and says that they have a long journey ahead. I don't want to tell you the rest of the story and spoil the ending so I will stop here.

I personally was not a huge fan of this book. First of all, I thought it was geared for a younger age group. Secondly, Hamelin is kind of a dull character and needs to be built up a bit. Third, I tended to loose interest about half way through after his first trip to the cave. Fourth, there was not enough conflict. The characters were way too nice. Fifth, the book is kind of cheesy. Why do I say this? Hamelin has been summoned to save the world at a young age when you know that, that is quite impossible. He wears special gloves that give him super human strength.

The Lost Jewel and The Princess of Periluna is about Hamelin finally gets across the footbridge with much difficulty. When he finally does he realizes he didn't have to go that far after all. The eagle leads him to a mysterious garden in the cave for the night. When Hamelin wakes up and starts to explore the garden he sees that there are thrones in each corner. He knows that this must be a very important place and wants to learn more about it. When the eagle finally wakes up and Hamelin asks him about the garden the eagle won't tell him anything about it. The eagle leads Hamelin through the Water of Death and Life and into the Land of Gloaming. Hamelin ends up in a war between Chimera and the Ancient One. He must help them find a kidnapped princess and recover a stolen jewel. I don't want to spoil the rest of the story.

Again, I was not a fan of this book either for pretty much the same reasons."

A third book will be coming in the future. Even though my daughter was not a fan of the books I would highly recommend that you read what other reviewers had to say about these books by clicking the read more reviews link below. I always say that what one person doesn't like another may absolutely love! My daughter is a voracious reader and definitely has strong opinions when it comes to books. Check out The Hamelin Stoop Series for yourself. 

Social Media
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To read more reviews click HERE.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

A Brave Face

A Brave Face is written by Barbara Marlowe and Teeba Furate Marlowe. The book is 256 pages in length and is published by Tommy Nelson Publishing. Once I started reading this book it was impossible to put it down. Teeba's life would forever be changed by a roadside bomb that would disfigure her face at the tender age of 4 in her home country of Iraq. On the other side of the world, Barbara Marlowe would see an article in the newspaper and a picture of little Teeba. In that very moment Barbara was instantly drawn to this little girl. In the beginning her goal was to get little Teeba a wig to cover the severely burned, bald head that the blast had caused. Soon, Barbara's little project turned into finding a way to get Teeba to the United States for medical treatment to help lessen the scarring that the blast had caused. This would turn into a HUGE ordeal as the United States was at war with Iraq. After a yearlong fight to get clearance and visa's in place Teeba and her grandmother arrived in the United States to start treatment to help alleviate the painful scarring due to the burns. What everyone thought would take months or a year would turn into YEARS! How would Teeba's family feel about this. Would Teeba's parents Farat and Dunia agree to this. Dunia, wanted nothing more than for her daughter to be safe and get the medical care she so desperately needed. By this time, she knew that Teeba was in a wonderful home and very loved. She had already told Barbara and her husband, Tim that she wanted Teeba to stay in America. It wasn't that she didn't yearn to have her daughter, but she knew that life for Teeba would be unsafe and no good if she came back to Iraq. Over the years Teeba thrived in the United States. At the age of twelve her American parents and her mom and sibling from Iraq would meet up in Dubai for a joyful reunion that would bring healing and a time of togetherness that the two mothers had looked forward to for so many years. Teeba and her mother reconnected as if they were merely picking up from where they had left off. Dunia was extremely proud of the beautiful young lady Teeba had become and was grateful for the amazing work that the doctors had done to restore the damage done to Teeba's face. Over the years God's hand could clearly be seen time and again in the smallest of details. God truly wove together two cultures, to faiths, and two families. 

Disclaimer ~ Reviewed for BookLook Bloggers

Sunday, April 21, 2019


Luke 24

The Resurrection

24 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Mazie ~ My Daughters' Adrenal Insufficiency Service Dog

I am your service dog and I'm here for you,
we've got places to go and things to do. 
Our friendship is special, loyal and true,
you take care of me and I'll take care of you. 
As long as I live, I will love you the most. 
For me, no one's finer from coast to coast. 
I will always work hard and do my best.
I'll strut with a smile and pride in my vest.
I'm a lucky dog, that's plain to see,
lovingly serving and happy to be.
We are perfect together, you and me!

~ Jinger Rosalez-Fergus ~

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Stopmotion Explosion ~ A Review

Stopmotion Explosion has a pretty awesome product that my daughters have been having so much fun creating animated videos with called, Stop Motion Animation Kit. Let your imagination go wild and create amazing high-definition animated films with this kit. The kit is suitable for all age and ability levels. 

The Stopmotion Explosion Quick Start Guide walks you step-by-step through the set up process of getting started. Links are also included on their site for those that prefer to watch video tutorials. 

  • Includes 1080p HD video camera with internal microphone, manual focus, and clip, the 290+ page Stopmotion Explosion book, and animation software.

  • No CD-ROM drive required, install via CD or download from our site. 

  • Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10 & OS X 7.5+ compatible.

  • Learn how to animate gigantic explosions, gunfire, laser blasters, lightsabers and rocket-launch effects.

  • Learn how to build sets.

  • Learn about lighting and sound.

  • Learn about video editing.

  • Animate battle sequences with detailed breakdowns of roundhouse kicks, uppercuts, and punches.

  • There is a great help desk if you need additional support via e-mail. 

    The Stopmotion Explosion Animate Anything and Make Movies book is a 294 page book full of how to get the most out of your camera and your Stopmotion Explosion purchase. There are 17 chapters which include:

    1. How Movies Work
    2. Animation Actors
    3. Creating Stories
    4. Building Sets
    5. Cameras
    6. Lighting
    7. Composition
    8. Animating
    9. Flight
    10. The Art of War
    11. Sound
    12. Video Editing
    13. Files and Formats
    14. Frame Conversion
    15. Sharing Your Animations
    16. Animating with DSLRs
    17. What Next?

    My daughters ages 12 and 16 had so much fun creating short videos with the Stop Motion Animation Kit. At first they were a bit confused as to how to get started. My daughters would be considered technology challenged. They know how to use the computer to write papers for school and search the internet and such but beyond that, that is about it. This was definitely out of their normal scope of interests. I really wanted to challenge them to try something new. They enlisted the help of their 18 year old brother. Once they understood how to work everything they were off and running. They both love Harry Potter and so of course they decided to create many Harry Potter short videos for fun. They actually were quite impressed at how easy it was to make their own animated videos. After awhile they were laughing and having so much fun. My 16 year old said, "Who knew that a nerdy bookworm could have so much fun with something like this." When my son was helping his sisters get stuff all set up he said, "Wow, I sure wish I would have had a cool set-up like this when I was a couple of years younger and I was doing stopmotion stuff on my computer. I was doing it the hard way. This would have made it so much easier." 

    Here is one of their videos that they created. 

    I would most definitely recommend this kit for those that have kiddos interested in film and animation. 

    To read more reviews click here.

    Social Media
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/App-Page/Stopmotion-Explosion-104732269687187/
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/StopmoExplosion
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1ich35AhOSQcXwrSHqrJdg

    Monday, April 15, 2019

    Arcade and the Triple T Token

    Arcade and the Triple T Token by Rashed Jennings is Book One in The Coin Slot Chronicles. This book is 256 pages in length and is written for children 8 and above. The book is published by Zonderkidz. The main character in the book is 11-year-old Arcade Livingston. He is dealing with multiple challenges. Upon moving to a new city, Arcade is confronted by the Tolley twins who are bullies. Next, at the library, an old woman gives Arcade a golden arcade token which grants him a unique gift. The token lets Arcade travel in time past and future. Arcade and his sister Zoe travel back in time as well as into the future and go on many amazing adventures. 

    My 10-year-old daughter said, 

    "Arcade and the Triple T Token is about a kid named Arcade. He and his big sister Zoe just moved from Virginia to New York City. Arcade is 11-years-old. He is in the 6th grade. Zoe is 14-years-old and in the 9th grade. Arcade is a very smart kid, probably because he loves to read. His friends call him a bookworm. In fact, the library is where he met his first friend in New York. He spends most of his spare time at the library and that is where the story begins. One day he was at the library looking for some books and suddenly out of nowhere an old lady comes up to him and gives him The Triple T Token. She says happy travels and walks away before he has a chance to give it back. This is when Arcade and his sister begin going on adventures into the past and the future. I give this book 3 stars." 

    Disclaimer - Reviewed for BookLooker

    Sunday, April 14, 2019

    The Trials of Life

    When I am discouraged, God is my strength. 
    When I feel like I can handle no more, God is my refuge. When I feel isolated and alone, God is my all. When I feel like giving up, God is my stronghold.

    This past week has been a filled with many trials both health wise and unexpected news, beyond our control, that will be affecting some of our family members in a great way. To say that I was devastated would be an understatement. Devastated that my child was yet again having to endure another health crisis. Then, the news that one of our key specialists, and one that just happens to be of our most favorite, who cares for several of us is moving to another state. Talk about feeling like being hit by a load of bricks. Many who deal with chronic illness know the devastation that news like this brings.

    I am trying so hard to cling to the words of the book of James and what it has to say about trials and the purpose of trials in our lives. "Consider it all joy, my brethren when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who give to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. Butt he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. for the man ought not to expect that the will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rick man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away. Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." 

    It is hard to see God's perfect plan through such a storm. It is hard to not worry and give it all to Him knowing that He already has it worked out, when we see no possible ways. I cannot imagine walking this journey without the Lord. I am grateful that when my faith is weak, He is carrying me though. 

    Friday, April 12, 2019

    Everyday Education ~ A Review

    Everyday Education  has a helpful tool to make navigating the high school years a bit easier with this 136 page eBook entitled, Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High School Paperwork

    Navigating high school as a homeschooler can be at times challenging and OVERWHELMING, especially for the first time. Having a resource and guide to help you navigate the way is very helpful. I remember the first time I journeyed my way through the high school years with my firstborn. I had so many questions, felt so lacking, and stumbled my way through those four years feeling like I could have done so much better. 

    Transcripts Made Easy

    Part One ~ Meet the Transcript
    Part Two ~ Plan with the End in Mind
    Part Three ~ Keep Simple Records
    Part Four Grades, Credit, and the GPA
    Part 5 ~ Create a Transcript
    Part 6 ~ Reference, Resources, and Reproducibles 

    I really like how Janice answers the question, Who will see the transcript? "Like a resume, the transcript is designed to provide information to the gatekeepers of opportunity." All high school graduates should have the basics such as literature, writing, speech/debate, math, history/government, fine arts, science, physical education/nutrition, foreign language, and then electives. Depending on what your child's interest of study in college is they may take classes in that area of interest. They may choose to do dual credit at the local community college. There are so many options for homeschoolers today. You also need to be aware of your states requirements for high school graduation. Each state is not created equal. We are very fortunate to live in Texas where homeschoolers do not have to follow set guidelines during the homeschooling years. Colleges do require students to follow the Texas requirements for high school graduation though. We have opted to utilize our community college for dual credits starting at age 16 for our second and third children. Once my children started taking classes at the local community college their advisor helped my kiddos navigate their academic interests and their necessary classes needed to take. Record keeping for me got much easier at this point. 

    A sample high school requirements chart is given in the eBook.

    Skills and Habits to Cultivate in High School 

    • communication skills
    • writing
    • research
    • organization
    • time management
    • test taking 
    Not only does the eBook talk about college preparation but it also talks about college alternatives. One does not necessarily have to go to college in order to be successful. This section talks about skilled trades, entrepreneurship, apprenticeships, guilds, and military. I am so glad that this was covered. College today is very expensive and so many graduate and have a hard time finding jobs in their fields of study. Society, often tells us that without a college education you cannot be successful and that is not true. My firstborn is a dancer. It is her love and passion. She started teaching dance at the age of 18 right out of high school. Today at almost 23 she is teaching 10 dance classes a week at a local dance studio to children. She loves her job and it is what she wanted to do. She also helps head a local MOPS program. 

    There is a great High School Q&A section that answers some common questions such as:

    • Does the student need an accredited diploma?
    • My homeschooler did high school algebra in seventh grade. Can I cont it on the transcript?
    • What about too many credits?
    Calculating a Grade Point Average


    There are many wonderful chart examples of transcripts so that you can see what a transcipt should look like and have included. Here is a great Check-Off list of classes needed or that may be needed in your state. 

    I would definitely recommend this eBook to others. 

    To read more reviews click HERE.

    Social Media
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    Tuesday, April 9, 2019

    YWAM Publishing ~ A Review

    YWAM Publishing has two amazing series of books that are both inspiring and motivating. The first series is called Christian Heroes: Then and Now and is comprised of 47 books in the series. The second series is called Heroes of History. This complete set has 29 books. My daughter and I had the privilege of reading, Milton Hershey: More Than Chocolate. This book is 192 pages in length and is written for ages 10 and above. Along with the book we were given access to the companion study guide via downloadable pdf file. 

    Who was Milton Hershey?
    I am sure that everyone is familiar with Milton Hershey from the famous chocolate bar 🍫 that is a household name. But I am sure than most people are not familiar with the very humble beginning of Milton Hershey and what it took him to make it to be a famous chocolatier. Milton's father, Henry Hershey, known to the family as a "dreamer" constantly kept his family in debt. Henry constantly read books and was always seeking the next greatest thing to gain wealth. It was Milton's mother, Fanny, and her family, a conservative Mennonite family that again and again rescued Milton and his mother out of debt and crisis. Actually it was Mattie, Milton's aunt, along with Milton's mother that never gave up on Milton and his dreams. Aunt Matttie would continue to loan Milton money for years to come to support her nephew. Fanny and Mattie would work for Milton to help his various job endeavors come true. The Snavely's, Fanny's family, would give up on Milton. They would see Milton as no different as his father, Henry, looking for the next "make it rich scheme" that would eventually go bust and bankrupt not only Hershey but run down the Seavely's resources too. The first true light in Milton's carrier was when he got a job at Royer's Ice Cream Parlor and Garden on West King Street in Lancaster. Both his mother and aunt knew that this job would be the perfect fit for Milton. And a perfect fit it was! Eventually Milton would learn the art of making caramels. Eventually Milton would open up his own caramel shop. Upon visiting the Centennial International Exhibition Milton's dreams grew bigger as he was exposed to new and inventive machines. Milton soon learned that using milk instead of paraffin made caramels last much longer! Soon he was making the best caramels in America. At the next Exhibition in Illinois, Milton visited J. M. Lehmann Company's Chocolate Exhibit in the Palace of Mechanical Arts. It was here that Milton Milton realized that caramel was just a fad and that chocolate would be a permanent thing! Milton set fourth to make a Million Dollar Business in Chocolate! 

    This is what my 10 year old had to say about the book, 

    Who read this book?

    I chose to read aloud this book to my daughter who is 10 years old. I was actually interested in the life of Milton Hershey. What a perfect opportunity to spend time cuddling and reading about a great Hero in History. Our Children grow up so fast and before long they don't want to sit and be read to anymore. She did read parts of the book on her own as well. I love both the Christian Heroes: Then and Now as well as the Heroes in History series. Over the years I have read many of the titles with my children who range in from 22 down to 10. 

    Study Guide

    Milton Hershey: More Than Chocolate covers the time period of 1857-1945 and is under the subtitle The Inspiration of a Nation. The Social Study Topics surrounding Milton Hershey include:

    • History of chocolate
    • Business and enterprise
    • Production and Manufacturing
    • Apprenticeships in American History 
    • Mennonites in America
    • The Great Depression
    • U.S. and Cuba Relations

    Character Qualities that stand out in this book are determination and generosity. 

    There is both a Parent-Directed Study format as well as a Student-Directed Study format available for the homeschooler. Both formats include the following content:

    1. Key Quotes
    2. Display Corner
    3. Chapter Questions
    4. Student Explorations
    5. Community Links
    6. Social Studies
    7. Related Themes
    8. Culminating Event
    9. Books and Resources
    What is great about the Homeschool Study Guide is that it is set up for students of varying academic abilities as well as learning styles. 

    In Chapter 18 it discusses The Great Depression. Most young students are totally unfamiliar with rations and what it would be like to only be able to buy certain amounts of foods or not be able to buy some foods at all. One of the questions posed to the students is, "What specifications did the military require Hershey's Field Ration D bar to meet?" This would definitely be a great rabbit trail to research to find pictures of ration coupons, what the Ration D bar looked like, and what it was like to eat during this time. I remember my grandmother telling me stories about The Great Depression and what it was like. She showed me ration coupons and what it was like to live through that time. Luckily they lived on a farm so that helped. 

    If one had the financial means it would be amazing to be able to tour the Hershey factory in Pennsylvania! 

    So much about this era is "foreign" to the younger generations. What is not foreign to them is that still today it takes hard work and determination to be successful. Failure happens and it is how you react to failure that determines your future. The story of Milton Hershey is definitely a great example of where hard work, determination, generosity get one. 

    I love the idea of making a story quilt using index cards to tell the story of the Hero. By utilizing creativity through painting, drawing and writing the student can create an amazing tribute to their hero. 

    There is a large list of books for various age ranges that the student can read to learn more about Milton Hershey. 

    This unit study has a plethora of incredible activities covering science, geography, writing, art, history, reading, vocabulary, math, business, projects, and so much more. 

    I would definitely recommend both of the series by YWAM Publishing. 

    "One is only happy in proportion as he makes others feel happy."
    ~ Milton Hershey ~

    To read more reviews click here.

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    Confetti Eggs