Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Jim Hodges Productions - In the Heart of the Rockies - Review

Audio books have always been some of my favorite. There is something very relaxing, just being able to get all cozy and listen to a wonderful story. I was recently able to do just that when my daughters and I were able to review In the Heart of the Rockies MP3 CD and the accompanying Study Guide in PDF format from Jim Hodges Productions.

Jim Hodges Productions is a company that produces lively, fun, and professionally recorded audio book editions of G.A Henty Classics.

In the Heart of the Rockies is an adventure story set in the unexplored areas of the Rocky Mountains. The story follows a young gentleman by the name of Tom Wade. Young Tom has lost both of his parents and decides to leave England and a young sister to head west. So he sets sail for America to find his Uncle Harry, who was prospecting for gold, in the Rocky Mountains. He finds a whole lot of adventure. He arrives in Denver, where he finds his uncle and makes new friends. During his adventures he encounters Indians, participates in big game hunts, and learns how to survive the cold mountain winters. When he returns home to his sister he is no longer a young sixteen year old boy, but a young man. There were so many areas of the story that had us at the edge of our seats, waiting to hear what was next for Tom. The story is set in the 1860s.


My daughters and I felt that the story started off a little slow and it was a kinda hard to get use to the period language at first, but after a while, we became so enthused with the story that we had a really hard time stopping. Overall, I thought it was a fabulous story with a wonderful ending. I wasn't use to G.A Henty's writing, therefore I didn't exactly know what to expect. I'm certain now that I would love to read or hear more of his classics. I felt that not only was it a wonderful story filled with fun adventures, but that it also gave great descriptions of Colorado. It was fun to hear and learn more about the area. Listening to this family friendly story certainty made me eager to take a vacation to Colorado.

In the Heart of the Rockies has a total run time of 10 hours and 53 minutes. There is 19 chapters. Below is a list of the wonderful chapters.

1: Tom's Choice 33:47
2: Finding Friends 32:07
3: On the Plains 37:52
4: Leaping Horse 30:15
5: In Danger 34:38
6: United 32:09
7: Chased 33:43
8: In Safety 32:55
9: A Bad Time 34:22
10: An Avalanche 33:24
11: Winter 34:10
12: The Snow Fort 32:45
13: A Fresh Start 37:32
14: An Indian Attack 35:35
15: The Colorado 34:19
16: Afloat in Canoes 34:54
17: The Grand Canyon 37:30
18: Back to Denver 33:06
19: A Fortune 38:08

How did we use the Study Guide in PDF format?

Study Guide in PDF format is filled with wonderful information. You can use the study guide by viewing it on the computer or by printing it. We choose to print ours. We used it both verbally and by completing some of the activities. The study guide is full of vocabulary words, questions that correspond with all the chapters, and fun activities such as researching, making charts, crafts, and learning about various subjects talked about in the story.

My daughters had a ton of fun completing some of the hands-on activities. They learned a ton of new stuff, such as new words, the gold mining process, clouds, also about life-saving skills. I thought the study guide was put together very well and the amount of information learned was pretty cool. I have plans to go back through the guide and complete some of the activities that we didn't get around to doing.

The study guide also features quizzes and the answers to the questions are included in the back of the study guide. I loved that it did indeed have those answers, as it made it easier for me to check my daughters responses. Also another wonderful page is the very last page of the study guide. It is a page filled with character traits. We actually took that page out of the guide and placed it on our refrigerator.

~Final Thought~

We loved In the Heart of the Rockies. I'm pretty excited about actually ordering more of Jim Hodges Productions audio book CDs and study guides. I was very happy with the study guide and loved how many different subjects it covered. Not only do you hear a wonderful story, you also have a wonderful study plan laid out for you as well. We definitely recommend it. 

What does it cost?

Who is it recommended for?

Jim Hodges Productions audio book CDs are recommended for ages 10 and up. 

Want to connect with Jim Hodges Productions?

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Clued in Kids - Treasure Hunt - Review

My daughters absolutely adore treasure hunts and they recently had the opportunity to participate in quite a few. It was exciting for them, because it had been a while since they had done one. Many thanks to Clued in Kids for letting us review Homework Reward Treasure Hunt and five Multiplication Dragons treasure hunts.

What is Clued in Kids?

Clued in Kids is a company that offers treasure hunts that are already completed for you with clue cards. These hunts teach logic, math skills, social skills, reading, and teamwork. As much as I have loved putting together treasure hunts in the past, I have enjoyed being able to do them with my daughters without all the planning.  All the treasure hunts are recommended for ages 4 and up. Right now the are offering Christmas products and they are also having a special treasure chest giveaway. You can find all the details on their blog

Homework Reward Treasure Hunt is a fun and entertaining treasure hunt that contains puzzles, activities, jokes and more. Set up is fairy easy. This treasure hunt is printable. So we downloaded it and printed out the pages. We then cut each clue in half so that we had separate clue cards. Each card is numbered so that makes it easy for set-up and completion. Also, each clue has a line on the top to write their name. If you have multiple children going on the hunt together it is recommended that you write their names on specific cards so there won’t be any arguing over the cards. I thought this was a fantastic idea! It's only suppose to take 8 minutes to set up. I was actually able to set it up in around 5 minutes. it was fun to hide them all throughout our house.  It was even more fun watching my daughters take turns completing each clue and then head off to find the next. They thought it was so much fun. After they complete the last clue you are suppose to provide a treasure. The girls treasure for this hunt was pumpkins. They loved them. 

What is the Multiplication Dragons treasure hunt?

Multiplication Dragons treasure hunts are five printable, teaching treasure hunts that will motivate your children to learn their times-tables . This hunts also contain puzzles, riddles and fun activities. These activities teach multiplication (2x - 6x) while leading your child on an adventure around the home. Again, each hunt takes about 8 minutes to set up. The hunts provide about an hour of fun for up to 10 kids. The set-up instructions are very clear and I had no trouble setting them up. Well, I did have a little trouble, but it was only trying to keep my daughters from peeking. I used these with two of my daughters. They are 10 and 11. They had a ton of fun with these hunts as well. The best part of all is that they have so much fun with them, they didn't even care that they were doing math. A treasure is also offered at the end of these hunts. The treasure I offered for these hunts was candy. Fun treats for super fun hunts.

~Final Thought~

Even though we have done treasure hunts before, I would have never thought about doing them in such an educational way as these hunts have provided. I loved how easy to set up they are and that they only require things already in your house! I thoroughly enjoyed watching my daughters participate and work as a team. I was very surprised to see how well they worked together and how rewarding it was for them to finish. I also liked that the treasure can be anything you choose to place in the last location. Anytime a product leaves a smile on my daughters faces is a huge win for them and for me as well. I recommend the Clued in Kids treasure hunts for everyone. 

What do they cost?

Homework Reward Treasure Hunt - $5.99 (At this time, you can receive this hunt for free by signing up for the newsletter.)

Want to connect with Clued in Kids?

Twitter: @cluedinkids

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Friday, October 24, 2014

New Liberty Videos ~ Anthem for a Nation DVD ~ Review

My daughters and I recently had the opportunity to review Anthem for a Nation from New Liberty Videos. We were very thankful for this opportunity. We had never heard of New Liberty Videos before this review.

What is New Liberty Videos?

New Liberty Videos is a company that produces Christian DVDs. It was founded by a wonderful husband and wife team, Brian and Marilyn Barkley. Mr. Barkley has been working in the motion picture business for 40+ years.

Anthem for a Nation is a 42 minute history documentary DVD that explores the qualities that made America great. New Liberty Videos believes these qualities must be reinstilled in our generation if we are to preserve for our children and grandchildren the freedom which God has so graciously entrusted to us. I also very much agree and that is why I was thrilled to review Anthem for a Nation.

Why has America prospered like no other nation in the world? Anthem For A Nation, seeks to answer that question.

I read that New Liberty Videos has dedicated the Anthem for a Nation documentary to freedom-loving Americans everywhere with the prayer that God will raise up in our day a new generation of men, women and young people who will walk with Him and are committed, whatever the cost, to see His righteousness restored in the hearts, homes and institutions of America. Could you imagine what it would be like to see His righteousness restored? Oh friends, what a joyous day that would be in my opinion. I know that having documentaries such as Anthem for a Nation is a great way to get people talking and thinking. 

I remember many years ago, when I was very young, I was in a discussion with an acquaintance about what American was founded on. While I was trying to explain my opinion, he was confidently explaining his own. Obviously his opinion was greatly different than my own. While I do believe it is everyone's right to have their own opinions, I was deeply saddened. I wish I would have had Anthem for a Nation. It says everything I wished I had known and understood at the time. 

Who is Anthem for a Nation recommended for?

Anthem for a Nation is rated for a general audience. Some of the material will be over the heads of younger ones and there are some subjects you might not be ready to discuss with them.

How did we use Anthem for a Nation?

Like with any movie that is watched in our home, we prepared to watch it, by preparing some yummy popcorn. We placed the DVD in the player, got comfy, pushed play, and were more than ready for an amazing history lesson. I don't quite think amazing history lesson, even sums it up. It was much more. I was blown away at the amount of knowledge that was given in those 42 minutes of the documentary. I felt like my children learned so much and my heart was full. I loved that it was filled with spectacular scenery of  America and beautiful patriotic songs.  There was a moment in the DVD that left me speechless. We were asked to close our eyes, while we listened to the sound of BBs. Each BB represented the amount of lives lost in our wars. The one that stood out the most was the war on unborn babies since 1973. The sound of those BBs was more than a heartbreaking. I didn't think they were ever going to stop dropping. It was an incredible learning moment not only for my children, but for myself included. I wondered how I could not have known about the extent of the information given. I loved that Anthem for a Nation provided my family with the opportunity to learn and discuss very important topics. Topics that my daughters, who are 8, 9, and 11 didn't really understand that well. It was great being able to discuss these topics and I absolutely loved that Anthem for a Nation did such a wonderful job in stating facts.   

One of the cool things that Anthem for a Nation explores is, all the monuments and places in our nations capital that have Christian words inscribed or displayed. After watching the DVD we had a study of our own. We looked up these places and virtually explored them for ourselves. We have never had the opportunity to actually visit these places in person, but we would absolutely love to one day. My daughters thought it was very cool to learn that Washington monument has a plaque on the very top that reads Laus Deo, which in Latin means, Praise be to God.  

~Final Thought~

I'm sure you could already tell, but I absolutely adored Anthem for a Nation. I very much recommend it to everyone.  I'm so thankful that we were able to review it and I'm glad that we have the chance to watch it as many times as we like. While it is stored away right now, I foresee using it again in the future. 

What does Anthem for a Nation cost?

You can currently purchase Anthem for a Nation for only $19.95


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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

FREE Then and Now Printables

I know my daughters love hearing about the past. It can be so fun to learn things, that you didn't get to experience first hand. I have created some very fun printables for your child to use to look back at the then compared to the now. One of our favorites is the changes in prices printable. They can use this printable to interview a relative, friend, ect. It's fun to see how their prices compared to ours have changed so much. 

Click Here to Download our FREE Then and Now Printable 

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

Easy Peasy Tater Tot Casserole

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Field Trip - A trip to the sky

A couple years ago my daughters learned about many wonderful pilots and they absolutely fell in love with the concept of flying. We read a ton of books, watched movies, and did a flying & floating unit study. It was fun for them, but something was still missing. A real plane ride. My husband knew how much they wanted to fly so he arranged a day to do just that. Fortunately, for my daughters, their daddy's friend is a pilot.

When we arrived at the hanger, I could tell the girls were anxious. They were excited but unsure. After all, it was their first time and they had no idea what to expect. The plane was much smaller than they anticipated.

Our friend did a wonderful job explaining the parts of the plane and procedures. One by one we climbed in and buckled up. We were handed our headsets and we talked into them to make sure they were working. We went over the checklist and then it was time to fly. As we entered onto the runway, I peered over at my oldest, who was sitting beside me. She had tears in her eyes. I was nervous for her and asked her if we should stop, but she wanted to continue on. I then looked back behind me, looking for tears from my two youngest. There were definitely not any tears. Those two had the biggest smiles I had ever seen. They were ready to go. We paused at the end of the runway, bowed our heads, prayed and off we went.

My oldest was no longer scared. She was excited and began pointing out all the wonderful things she had never seen from such an view. It was absolutely perfect. I've flown many times but had never had the opportunity to see the view so close to home. I loved it. We all did. The girls thought it was fun to see our house from the sky. We also got to see those huge wind turbines. The ones that look so big from the ground, looked so small from the sky. Our lake, well... it's been in some desperate need of some water and you could really tell from the view we had.

 We all had a wonderful time. The girls have already been asking when we could go again. I actually had a different question for my husband.....Do you want to buy a plane? While a plane may not be in our future, I do anticipate more plane rides with our girls. It was a wonderful moment and will one day be a wonderful memory.

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