Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Amazing Spiderman 2 Discussion Guide -- Review & Giveaway #Spiderman

We are definitely Spidey fans at my house.  We enjoy action-packed films, villains who get their due, and good guy heroes that come out ahead.  We love Marvel Comics Superheroes the best -- actually my Senior says they are the only ones that count.  We've read the comic books, watched the television shows, and seen the movie.  My Princess even dressed as Spider-Man for the handicapped prom she helped host last weekend.  

With The Amazing Spider-Man 2™ movie about to hit theatres in May, we are excitedly making plans to attend together and I am thrilled to be able to share a must-have, family-friendly resource with you.  The Family Discussion Guide will get your kids talking in a way that will make you proud as it incorporates movie trivia, Scripture, and questions to make you think.

We're using the Discussion Guide each day to delve a bit into the true character of Spider-Man.  We've always known that Spider-Man's most important battle has been within himself:  the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man are tough.  But in The Amazing Spider-Man 2™, Peter Parker finds that a greater conflict lies ahead and his greatest battle begins.  Using the Discussion Guide, we've been able to explore the topics of self-esteem, GOD-given talents and abilities, positive responses in times of trouble, and loving others.  We've spent time reading Scripture together, discussing positives and negatives as seen in movie characters and in ourselves, and praying that GOD would open our eyes to those hurting people around us who we can pray for and help.

Family Discussion Guide
The discussion guide for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a great resource for families to discuss a range of important themes that include the relationship between personal choices and destiny, living a life that counts, sacrificing yourself in service to others, and the nature of power. Each discussion opens with Scripture, is followed by a brief description from the movie, and ends with 2- 3 discussion questions.  This guide will help parents start (or continue) conversations with their children that will inspire them to think outside themselves and challenge them to live lives that matter -- lives with JESUS as the center.  The conversations that will result from using this guide will reveal that even the most explosive summer blockbuster can leave lasting, positive impacts on its young viewers. And that's a major win in my book.

Don't you wish more movies offered Family Discussion Guides to help you really dig deeper into your hearts as you look deeper into the movie characters and plot?  I sure do.  It makes it easier to teach discernment if you can discuss issues from a Biblical worldview.  We've thoroughly enjoyed discussing together and I think your family will enjoy diving into the conversation as well.  I'd love to share a copy of the 5-page Family Discussion Guide with you. If you would be interested in your own copy, leave me a comment with your email address and I'll be happy to send you the PDF file.  

In this day and age, we have to be extremely careful in what movies choose to allow our families to watch.  The influence of the world can be a dangerous thing.  Here's what Movieguide® has to say about The Amazing Spider-Man 2™:   Movieguide® gave an award to the first Amazing Spider-man by director Marc Webb, and the second looks quite good as well. Though we haven’t seen the entire film, the clips show a theme of standing up for what is right even in danger, even though no man is eternal, not even Spider-man.

Now for the giveaway:  I have the opportunity to share one AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2 Prize Pack (t-shirt, paper mask and phone case backstrap protector as pictured) with one of my readers.  If you are a Spider-Man fan, then I know you'll want to sign up for a chance to win this Giveaway.    When our Prize Pack arrived, everyone loved it and started laying claim to the goodies. For your chance to win, simply leave a comment and share your favorite thing about Spider-Man for your first entry. Share your favorite Bible verse for a second entry.  (For additional chances to win, please like this page on FB and/or follow my blog through GFC or Linky Followers. Leave a separate comment for each of those that you choose to do for additional entries into the giveaway.) I'll be choosing one winner on Friday, April 25.  That's my Spider-girl's birthday so we would love to celebrate with you.  

Official website for the   

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

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bible Drill Success

All 19 NHBC Bible Drillers made it all the way to State Bible Drill this year.  That means they've passed Church Drill, Associational Drill, AND qualified for State Drill. Several even went a step further to the 6-second Drill and have qualified for the Selection Tournament.  I am so proud of the hard work they've put into learning GOD's Word and hiding it deep in their hearts.

I'm also incredibly happy for the two girls that completed their NINTH year of Drill. They are the first in our church history to commit to all nine years of Bible Drill. What an accomplishment and testimony of perseverance to know they saw the value in Bible Drill and made it a priority from 4th grade to 12th grade.

I am blessed beyond measure to have the privilege of working with these kids each week.   Here are a few pictures from the year:

The Gang's All Here

Associational Bible Drill -- a room full of blue

Awards Time at State Bible Drill

my Boy Scout

my Princess

my Senior

9-year Bible Driller Award -- a nice (and HEAVY) study Bible

6-Second Drill

Awesome Children's Drillers and friends

Too much downtime?  The many selfie faces of my Boy Scout

Love these kids

Serious Faces -- Let's Do This

Is this Good Cop, Good Cop?

Official Timekeeper

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Scrambled Comfort

I miss Guatemala. My heart aches to return.

One of my favorite foodie blogs shared a recipe for Migas a week or so ago.  I recently read the book Kisses from Katie.  Those two things have absolutely nothing in common, but their coming so close together to one another has fueled my desire to return to Guatemala.   Katie cooks simple meals that nourish the children she serves.  Migas reminds me of a simple meal that nourished my stomach when I was sent to serve.

Every page of Kisses from Katie calls to my soul.  As I read the thoughts of a girl I'll probably never meet, I am reminded of that small village that beckons to me in Guatemala.  Katie Davis listened to GOD's call and traveled to Africa.  I heard GOD's call clearest in an enclosed churchyard/school/orphanage/food kitchen that still sits waiting for someone to come and run it.

The recipe for Migas is very similar to one of my favorite breakfast dishes in Guatemala.  Every morning before we ventured out, we were served an egg dish that was simply scrambled comfort.  Eggs cooked with fresh onions, tomatoes, and peppers with black beans on the side and fresh fruit and "cookies" were a great way to start each day of ministry.

And so I determined it was time to bring some Guatemala to Mississippi.  Of course, we don't have all the fresh ingredients that were readily available in the market there, but close (and easy) is good.  Right?  

Scrambled Comfort

Here's my version of Guatemalan Eggs -- pure Scrambled Comfort:

2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
Onion, chopped -- I had 1/2 of an onion in the refrigerator so that's exactly what I needed.  :)
Eggs -- I used a dozen because there were four of us eating.  They came fresh from my friend Jennifer's farm, but any eggs will do.
Can of Rotel Tomatoes w/Green Chilies
Shredded Cheddar Cheese -- I just dumped in two handfuls.  Cheese is good for anything, right?
Salt & Pepper to taste

Saute onions in melted butter.  Whisk eggs together with Rotel tomatoes.  Add cheese (if you like).  Add egg mixture to sauteed onions and scramble.

I didn't have black beans or corn tortillas, so we cooked bacon and biscuits instead.  That's the Mississippi for you.  It wasn't quite Guatemalan fare, but it was close.

My MainMost said the eggs were just as good as the ones we had in Guatemala. The only thing missing was that green sauce.  (And I'm still not sure what all was in it -- just that we liked it.  Maybe next time I'll try to re-create that one.)

Enjoy . . .

 photo 9c2d3d39-9e5d-4351-b060-d6251ee13eaa_zpseda17cd5.jpg
I'm linking up with my friend Lisa at Home to 4 Kiddos.  Hop on over and try a new recipe today.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Scripture & a Snapshot: Praising Together

Watching the sunset with my love.  It was a beautiful ending to a beautiful day.  Praise GOD from whom all blessings flow.

I'm joining with my friend Jennifer over at a glimpse of our life -- I love when GOD speaks through HIS WORD straight to my heart.  Don't you?

Scripture and Snapshot

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ending of the Day

Ending of the day,
The sun's in the west.
The sky is purple and pink.
What a wondrous time, a perfect chance, to stop and think.

Look at all you have . . . 
At all that you are.
The love, the bounty you drink.
What a joyous world, a perfect place, to stop and think.

Oh, the dance that you dance.  The song that you sing so well.
All around, the people you love,
Your family, your dearest friends.

Take the time to see whatever you can.
This time may pass in a blink.
What a precious view, a perfect way, to stop and think.

What a wondrous time, a perfect chance, to stop and think.
Stop and think.


What a precious view

The people you love

What a joyous world

A perfect chance to stop and think.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Schoolhouse Review: Curiosity Quest DVDs are fun! #hsreviews

Curiosity Quest Review

My kids are fascinated by science and history documentaries.  They are curious. They want to know how things are made, how myths are debunked, and just how dirty jobs can be.  They CHOOSE these shows over other things -- like sleep! It never fails that I'll be discussing something in science or history with them and they'll say "Oh, yeah!  I know about this, Mom.  I watched a show about this last night (or last week) and it taught me all about this."  With that said, I KNEW they'd enjoy the Curiosity Quest DVD episodes and I couldn't wait to have my 12-and 14-year-olds tucking away even more knowledge through such a fun avenue.

Fast-paced and energetic, show host Joel Greene takes families on a quest to fuel their curiosity and helps answer questions in an adventurous setting. Fielding letters from children that tell what they are curious about, Greene sets out to answer all of their questions and teach more than you ever imagined. He'll go anywhere at anytime to explore what kids are interested in.  Be it Wisconsin cranberry farms in pelting snow or swimming with penguins in Monterrey Bay, Joel Greene is not afraid to tackle any subject of curiosity.

Featuring 30-minute segments on given topics, the DVDs offer educational fun for kids of all ages (specifically geared for ages 7 - 14, but I enjoyed them just as much as my children did).  We've spent the last few weeks studying Sea Turtle Rescue, Penguins, and Salmon on the DVD Combo Pack -- Swimmers of the Sea along with Mushrooms, Cranberries, and Orange Packing on the DVD Combo Pack -- Produce.  You can get either of these DVD Combo Packs for only $24.95.

Curiosity Quest Review
Curiosity Quest Review

Throughout the videos, kids are asked specific questions pertaining to the subject being discussed.  It's fun to hear the different guesses made on-camera by other children and adults in a "taking it to the streets" manner before the question is answered in full detail for real.  For example, on the Sea Turtles quest, kids were asked "What do Sea Turtles eat?"  Funny answers were "other fish," "seaweed," and "sea food."  How interesting to find out that they actually eat their veggies stuffed with cat food pellets as extra protein or squid stuffed with shrimp for special treats.  Hmmmm . . .yum?

Curiosity Quest Review
Fun Facts are sprinkled throughout each video that share short fun and interesting facts with you and then explain them in detail.  Did YOU know that sea turtles have soft noses and they can "cry"?  I didn't.

I am fascinated with the spawning of the salmon in Alaska.  Did YOU know that most of America's salmon comes from Alaska?  I had no idea -- and I didn't know that salmon are almost as picky as I am about the type of bed they choose.  Neat, huh?

Can you guess how you grow a mushroom?  The first step in making mushrooms is HAY.  Who would have guessed that?  And it's not an overnight process either.  I had no idea how long it actually takes to grow "edible fungus" OR that you can determine how big (or small) a mushroom will be.

And wouldn't you just love to smell the orange blossoms on the trees in California?  I'm so thankful that Christopher Columbus shared oranges with the world.  Who knew that they are harvested was in the middle of winter and can be injured just like us?  These are just a few of the fun facts we've learned watching our Curiosity Quest DVDs.

Curiosity Quest Review
Cranberries are heart healthy.
New vocabulary words are introduced throughout the videos and definitions pop up on the screen to make sure that you not only hear the words, but that you also see them.. What a great way to help children learn new words and concepts and understand how to use them correctly.  Floating cranberries was the perfect setting to learn about the word buoyant and it's interesting to see the different types of harvesting farmers do.

With over 100 Curiosity Quest topics to choose from, there is definitely a DVD video to spark the interest of everyone in your family -- including you.  I promise you'll find something of interest and from the very first viewing you'll be hooked.  I'd love to take the Behind the Scenes tour offered on DVD and the Bread Baking DVD is definitely calling my name.

You can find even more cool stuff to quench your family's curiosity by checking out Curiosity Quest in the following places:


I'm loving the educational potential found in ALL of these DVDs.  Which one do you plan for your family to watch first?  We can't wait to explore the Boy Scouts DVD for my new Eagle Scout and the Horseback Riding DVD for my horse loving Princess.  There's even an episode that teaches all about making drums that my MainMost will enjoy.  There is truly something for every curious person in your world.  Enjoy.

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Curiosity Quest DVDs as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Click to read Crew Reviews
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Schoolhouse Review: Victus Study Skills #hsreviews

Victus Study Skills Review

I recently asked my College Sophomore to think about how I could have better helped her prepare for life as a college student.  Since she was my first, she was the guinea pig and I wanted her advice on making sure the other three were ready for life beyond home education.   She had some great suggestions: more math, more science, more grammar, and an entire course on how to study. Her exact statement about study skills was
"Learning information to take a test is important. There are no do-overs." 

With that conversation in mind, I was SUPER excited when we were given the opportunity to review the Victus Study Skills System and put both their Teacher Edition and Student Workbook to use at Long Leaf Academy.  My kids need study skills -- and my college sophomore reminded me to teach them how to learn.

Spiral-bound, softcover workbooks, the Victus Study Skills System can be taught to students of  all ages (with more teacher input required in the earlier grades) but is most appropriate for students in 5th - 12th grades.  My 7th and 9th graders found it easy to explore and learn on their own with only a bit of hands-on instruction necessary from me.  A systematic approach to learning, Victus Study Skills offers strategic steps and specific tools to help students set goals and accomplish tasks.
Victus Study Skills Review
Although not written specifically for home educated students, the 81-page Teacher Edition ($40) and the 62-page Student Workbook ($20) are welcome additions to any learning environment.  With basic information on organization, goal-setting, and finding life purpose, Victus encourages students to THINK as it equips them for success in academics and in life.  

For my children, it was eye-opening to learn about different learning styles (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic), to figure out into which category they belong, and to relate their own personal GOD-given strengths to studying and learning.  For this momma, it was a good reminder that they are each uniquely designed and must be taught in the way that helps them best.  I am a Visual learner.  Give me notecards and watch me soar.  My Boy Scout is an Auditory learner.  If he hears it, he remembers it.  My Princess is a Kinesthetic learner.  Get those hands to moving and she relates.  Knowing how we all learn best -- and remembering that we all learn differently -- challenges me to keep education at Long Leaf Academy relevant and inspiring.

The Foundational Cornerstones in the Victus Study Skills System help students figure out
  1. Where they are now 
  2. Where they want to be and
  3. How they get there
It all begins here.  First Step:  OWN your education.

Our personal approach to this was to have my children read and work through the Student Workbook as I taught each of the 10 lessons provided from the Teacher Edition.  The Teacher Edition offers step-by-step guidance in teaching through the Student Workbook.  Doing just one lesson a day (for 30 - 45 minutes each day) gives students time to digest what is being presented.  There were a few lessons that did not specifically pertain to how we do school at this time, but they offer great tips and learning strategies for studying throughout life.  It is important that students know how to set goals and understand the steps that it takes to accomplish those goals and we found relevance in applying the Victus Study Skills System to everyday life.

I was encouraged as I watched my Boy Scout put the Victus concepts to practice over the last few weeks as he completed his Eagle Scout Project and Board of Review.  He used the goal-planning sheets provided to work through each step of planning his project and prioritizing how it would be completed.  Once completed, he utilized the PQRST method of study to help prepare him for the cumulative Board of Review as he Previewed, Questioned, Read, Stated, and Tested.  He was confident going into the Board of Review and ecstatic when he passed.  All of the study and prep were worth the effort put into it.

My College Sophomore's biggest hurdle has been confidence in test taking. Although she has a 4.0 GPA, she shared with me that she really "psychs herself out" on test days.  My prayer is that I have better prepared her brother and sisters with an arsenal of test-taking skills and strategies.  The Victus Study Skills System is a good tool to do just that.  The testing strategies and test formulas offered present valuable practice for improving grades and taking the stress out of the many tests that they will all face in school and in life AND act as a superb review for the ACT.  My Senior is studying over the these lessons as she preps for the ACT this weekend.

For more information, you can find Victus Study Skills System on both FaceBook and Twitter.  Be sure to check them out and see how they might best benefit your students.

Twitter: @VictusStudy

Help your children find their great potential every day.  Build confidence through study skills.

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review the Victus Study Skills System as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Click to read Crew Reviews
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