Saturday, April 26, 2014

Review - The Brinkman Adventures CDs

Brinkman Adventures Review
The Brinkman Adventures is an exciting Christian radio series that we were fortunate to get to review! We were sent The Brinkman Adventures Season 2: Episodes 13-24  which contains 12 episodes and over 5 hours of entertainment on 4 CDs.

Ep. 01 - The Mystery Ring 
Ep. 02 - Blue Hat and T-Shirt Bible
Ep. 03 - How Big Is Your God 1
Ep. 04 - How Big Is Your God Pt. 2
Ep. 05 - Mexico By Bus
p. 06 - Treehouse Academy
Ep. 07 - Pirates of Mayan Island
p. 08 - Sapphire Slave Pt. 1
Ep. 09 - Sapphire Slaves Pt. 2
Ep. 10 - Hadi's Choice
Ep. 11 - Castle of Secrets 
Ep. 12 - On the Run 
We chose to listen to most of these in the car so we could all enjoy them. The roughly 26 minute episodes are short enough that we could finish one in a trip into Tulsa and another on the way home. We listened to the final few over dinners - playing them in the kitchen while we ate.

Brinkman Adventures ReviewThe stories are actually fictionalized but based on true stories from actual missionaries. The names have been changed and some details embellished, but the missionaries play themselves in the part and it's neat to hear all of their voices. The series is completely action packed and Bible based. The family very much has a heart for winning people to Jesus. It wasn't a preaching CD, but their mission was weaved into each story. The family truly cares about people.

A particular set of episodes that stirred up emotions in us were the ones titled "Sapphire Slaves". Without ruining any surprises, these episodes show how slavery still exists in the world today and sadly, children are not immune from it. This one bothered P actually and I am glad I listened with them so we could discuss it together.

We have listened to a lot of audio stories in our days. These definitely kept us interested throughout the whole episodes. They were dramatized with the family preforming each part and lots of sound effects, not like a typical audio book. It was more like listening to a movie! They had little "commercial" spots filled with the kids reading Bible verses or telling about their website, where you can watch videos of some of the events and learn more about the family and the true stories behind the episodes. I was half expecting an Ovaltine commercial to pop up in there. HAHA! This was like a blast to the past and I enjoyed them along with the kids.

They say that they are family adventures and for all ages, but Mr. Brinkman cautions at the beginning of several episodes that if you are under 10, you should get a parent to listen along with you. I'd agree with this for sure. Some things in there are a little intense and it was good for us to be able to talk about them together after each episode. I'm not sure I would go much younger than 10 actually. We all enjoyed these and no one spoke when they were on, for fear of missing something important. I might have even  said to "shhhhh!!!" a few times while listening so I could pay attention. I enjoyed that they sprinkled in facts about the area or animals or land in the stories. Educational and entertaining.

The Brinkman Adventures operates on a donation basis.  The suggested price is $25.00 for Season 2.You can also purchase them as a MP3 download for a suggested donation of $17.00.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Zoo

This was 4-17-08, the last time we went to the Tulsa Zoo. Oops! I don't like the zoo, so never think to take the kids. I want to go back this summer, just so the kids can remember a time they went. In the last two years, they have been to the Birmingham Zoo, OKC Zoo, and Animal Kingdom so don't feel too sorry for my kids. Someone plan a trip and invite me. I'll suck it up and go.

This trip was with T's preschool class....and he's in 5th grade. Hmmm...might be time for another visit.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bring on the Son...

Princess P took this picture with my phone recently and I love it. Makes me think that even when things are gloomy down here on earth, the SON is shining bright in heaven. What a glorious day it will be when we are on the other side of those clouds dancing with the Son.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Random 5 ~ April 18th

 The Pebble Pond

1 - I have gotten so far behind on housework and grocery shopping these past few weeks that we were about 4 hours away from eating popcorn for lunch. So the kids and I braved Wally World and Sams and stocked up today. yay.

2 - I love having boys. T is out mowing now. Loaded him up with lavender, lemon, and peppermint and will hit him with it again when he comes in. He really wanted to mow, even though he is highly allergic to grass. I'm excited for our first spring/summer with Young Living. YeeHaw!

3 - Parenting is hard sometimes, y'all! Just hard!

4 - Monday is our last day of Classical Conversations this year. WAHOOOOO! It has been a wonderful year, but I'm ready for the break! C has two more weeks though so we are quietly wahoooooing so he isn't annoyed with us.

5 - He is not here; He is RISEN!!! Happiest of Easter seasons to you and your family. We are heading out to our Good Friday service soon, which is such a good, visual reminder of all Jesus did for us. Also, T was saved on Good Friday a few years ago so this day is always extra special for us.

Come link up with others posting Random 5's today at The Pebble Pond.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Random 5 on Friday

1 - I'm slightly obsessed with ice, thanks to my sister, and found the best place to buy soft, yummy ice. I buy a 20lb bag at least one a week. Yum!

2 - I haven't paid taxes yet. I'm waiting until the last minute because of stupid self employment taxes. Now that we are down to the last minute, I better get it done so I don't add penalties to the already stupid taxes we have to pay.

3 - I'm sooooo ready for summer. I'm sick of school. The kids are sick of school. We do school throughout the summer, but it's different. I like it then because it's not the full load.

4 - I think about and pray for little man all the time and am so, so, so thankful that we still get to see and talk to him. He's doing well and we even got to play at the park with him this week. So great to see him and hug his neck!

5 - I haven't cleaned my office in  months...and it shows. I promise to clean it soon but don't promise before and after pics...just after maybe. ;o)

I'm linking up with the Pebble and the Pond. Come join us and post your random 5 too.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday - 5 years later

Where has the time gone....We did class pictures this week and it hit me again how grown up the kids are getting.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Review: Victus Study Skills System

Victus Study Skills Review

When I first signed up to review Victus Study Skill System, I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into but knew that we could use some help in the organization area around here. We were graciously sent the Student Workbook and Teacher Edition to review.

When the spiral bound books arrived, the first thing that caught my eye was a quote from Dorothy Sayers on the cover. I knew this had to be good if they quoted her. I have read her essay The Lost Tools of Learning several times and it goes right along with our Classical Conversations beliefs.

I started out reading the Teacher Edition on my own to get an overview of the course. It begins by talking about how we tell our kids to just "go study" but really, this is a skill that they must be taught. It doesn't just come naturally for everyone. After reading this intro, I decided to use this program with Terrific T. Study skills do come more naturally for Captain C so I thought it would be good for me to spend some time teaching T how to study.

The entire course can be taught to older students in 5 days, spending about an hour a day. I chose to do it a bit differently, and T and I used the hour a week that I had to sit and wait for little man at speech/OT to do this. So we broke it up over 5 weeks and did an hour at a time. It would be great to do on a week when you are low on core schooling - like an off week of CC. You could easily do an hour a day and knock it out in that week.

There are 10 lessons in the book. It is suggested that you teach lessons 1-2,  3,  4-6, 7-8, and 9-10 on separate days. We just went for an hour and stopped - some lessons took longer and some were were able to get through quickly.

The first day we worked on this, there was a "test" to discover what your learning strength is. T was highly kinesthetic.  It then gave ideas on how to play to those strengths. This was eye opening for ME and for him. I get so annoyed with his pacing and doodling and such, but if this is the way he learns, I needed to "loosen up" and let him learn how he does best. He LOVED this (haha) and enjoyed reminding me that this was just the way he learns when I would try to get him to just sit still! He has talked about these aids often since doing that lesson.

The lessons continue and teach about making a schedule, how to be an active listener and taking good notes. This was a fun lesson because we were able to integrate some of our IEW skills here and show him how they can relate to taking notes on anything. He is good at making key word outlines - same idea here! I love when "subjects" overlap!

We learned about goal making and test taking. This really was a great course to make him aware that these are skills that need to be learned and applied. Even though C is a good student, this program would have been so smart to do before he started Challenge. Hindsight, right? I still am planning to go through it with him when he has some free time next month. I think the skills learned are very relevant to all of the kids. We talked about how T can use these skills in church as well as school.

We also learned that we waste a lot of time! There was a section where you put what is important to you in order, then you put what you spend time on in order too. Oops! Our priorities and our time spent don't match. We are working on that more now that it was brought to our attention. All of us. Not just T!

You definitely need to spend some time reading the introduction in the Teacher's Edition. I would love to have watched the Classroom Video along with this. I think it would be cool to see how they intended it to be taught. For us, I just read along with T as we went. The Teacher Edition has all the student pages in them (with the answers filled in) and then some other teaching. I ended up just telling him a lot of the answers that went in the blanks, then we talked about them after he filled it in. Older kids would be able to do better with that part, I'm sure. He laughed each time it talked about homework and said all his work is home work. :) The lesson on test taking will hopefully help him when we do standardized tests next month. We don't do a lot of tests during the year, because I am there and know how he is doing, but I'm glad this was included too.

I appreciated that the workbook had pictures through out and wasn't "boring" for T to use. That kept him wanting to do this and not complaining about it!

This course is not just a homeschool course. I can see great benefits in all kids, public, private, or home educated using this. We can all benefit if we "exchange nervousness for self-confidence," right?

The material is appropriate for all ages (even adults!), but I would definitely have to spend more time helping P do this than C. The books are most appropriate for 5th to 12th graders.

Victus Study Skills Review

The Student Workbook sells for $20 and the Teacher Edition is $40. If you click on those links, there are videos on their site that explain this even more.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Oily Update...

Another month has passed and we just keep adding to our Young Living Essential Oils collection. It's so fun and addicting! Captain C was going on a youth mission trip over spring break. I told him to pack some Aleeve, since he randomly gets migraines and didn't want one there. He asked if he could take Peppermint too. He knows that helps him and I was so excited that he asked! He told me last night that he used some yesterday - he still had the little jar from the trip in his room. He also continues to use Lemon when he starts to break out and it really helps. I can tell when he forgets for a few days. Don't forget to only use Lemon at night as it is photosensitive!

One random thing that I noticed this month was with my eyes. I have had floaters in my eyes since I was pregnant with Captain C. They said they were just going to be there forever. I noticed a few weeks ago that I haven't seen them in a looong time - like months! I'm thinking it's from using Frankincense on my face everyday! What made me think this is Big Daddy had a stye in one of his eyes and I put frank around the outside of his eye (like on the bones that go around your eye - not IN the eye) and it was gone the next day. I had heard Frank was good for eye problems but never thought of the floaters! Cool.

I had been hearing about these things called Zyto scans through the YL grapevine. Sounded a little quirky to me, but I bit the bullet this month and asked someone if they would scan me and the kids. It was super cool. It's a little handheld mouse-like thing that connects to the computer. You place your hand on it for a few minutes and it tells you what things are out of whack and how you can fix them. Seems so bizarre, right? I know! But it was cool and the things it said made sense. Weird. I had signed up for the Essential Rewards program the second month after signing up and was able to get some of the things we scanned for and didn't have, and some extras that I just wanted for FREE this month (over $225 free!). I so love freebies! If you are ordering oils, you might as well be on the rewards program so you can be earning 10-20% back in credit each month. is most of my ever growing stash of Young Living.

I'm a teeny-tiny bit obsessed. I picked up a Essential Oils Desk Reference this month too and love flipping through it and learning more. I also got a book called Releasing Emotional Patterns with Essential Oils. I find this one fascinating. Some things are a little out there for me, so I am taking it all with a grain of sand and filtering it through the Word. This book is shows which oils are related to which emotions and where to use them for the best benefit. Interesting.

A few new oils we are trying this month are:
  • Elemi - this is known as poor man's Frankincense so I wanted to try it out. If Frank wasn't so expensive, I'd use it on absolutely everything. I love it so much. Elemi and Frank are from the same family and are both great for skin. Egyptians used to use Elemi for embalming - kinda cool. The smells are very similar - Frank seems a little "warmer" smelling to me. I almost wished I had another spot on my face to try this on, but I did have a skin tag (yay?). It took about a week but it is gone. I put a drop of oregano on it the first day, and it burned like crazy so switched to using Elemi on it each morning and night. I'm trying to use it anytime I would grab Frank, just to see (and save the Frank for when I "really" need it) and it is working great.
  • Eucalyptus Globulus - YL has several different Eucalyptus products and I decided to try this one. I got it to use as an expectorant but like all the anti things it offers too - antibacterial, antifungal, antiaging, antiviral. YAY. I love the smell of this. I hate actual eucalyptus - hate it - but LOVE this. It smells a little like Vicks to me - haha. I have been diffusing it at night and put it on little guy when he was starting to get congested. This was a cheap one to have on hand for any respiratory things.
  • Deep Relief - I threw this into my freebie order because I have heard great things about it and am glad I did. I like that it's a roller ball (I need to order more of those this month!) and can roll on your neck or where ever is hurting so easily. This one happens to be their freebie with a 190pv purchase this month so I'm hoping to get another one to send with Big Daddy when he travels. It's working great for muscle soreness, which he gets from sleeping in hotels. T had a headache last night and had already used peppermint earlier so I tried this on him. He was asleep in about 4 minutes - haha. I assume it took the pain away so he could sleep easier.
  • Ortho Sport Massage Oil - I also got this for Big Daddy's aches and pains. He's getting old, y'all! I love it! I have been rubbing it on my neck every night before bed and wake up without feeling sore. Sitting at the computer makes my shoulders so sore when I go to bed - I love this stuff. And I love the minty smell. It's not too strong, but smells really good. In theory you are supposed to use this after you work out, but I haven't tried it on that yet - soon! Princess P has been coming home with really sore legs after play practice this week and has been using it too.
  • Essential Beauty Serum - I've had this rash on my face for about 3 years. The dermo said basically sorry - it will be there forever and gave me an rx to use. That didn't clear it up though. I read about this and decided to try it. I notice a big difference...when I remember to use it. I am bad about going to bed with makeup on. I think if I could be consistent with using this every night, I would see a better change. I'll do that this month. I have been using this at night, and still my lav and frank or elemi in the morning.
  • Another new thing we tried this month was their Lavender Mint Shampoo - Princess P has some big time build up going on from not rinsing good enough. I can definitely tell on the days she uses this. I love the smell of this and how it fills the whole shower with lovely smells. It doesn't lather very well, which bugged me at first, but now it just feels clean. I really want to get some conditioner to match, but it's been out of stock for a while. I'll keep looking!
I've also gotten a little but obsessed with Thieves products. P had several spots the dentist was watching on her teeth and after her last cavity, I ordered this Thieves toothpaste. She and I use it every day. She went in for her check up last month and they didn't mention any spots this time - wahoo! T, on the other hand, had several issues. I'm trying to get him switched over to this too. I love the smell of Thieves and the Thieves cleaner - I feel like I can use it anywhere around the kids or food or anything and not have to worry I'm contaminating them with chemicals. I use it to clean just about everything now. Little guy drew with pen on our brand new table. It was deep. We used Thieves cleaner and it got part of it but not all of it. Used a drop of Lemon and it was gone. Phew! I think between those two, you really can clean about anything!

One more thing I tried this month and will never be without again is the chapstick. My lips have been peeling pretty much all the time since I had Princess P. If I put any chapstick or lipstick on them, they peel just horribly. I ordered a couple of these to try them out - Grapefruit because T is obsessed with the grapefruit oil and Lavender. And no peeling - yay!!

This month, I'm ordering a few more of the oils needed for a raindrop. I already have over 1/2 of them, so don't want to get the kit. Instead I'll just buy a few more and by next month, I'll have enough for our first raindrops. :) I also want to get some roller balls. I read a post about someone using their "empty" oils and adding a carrier oil and putting a roller ball on them and then they are "kid friendly" ones. Really, almost all the oils are kid friendly, but this way they could use them anytime without asking. They will be so diluted, but still work.

As always, I'll be ordering on the 8th if you are local and want me to pick up anything for you for my discounted price. Or if you want to become a wholesale member yourself so you can always have the 24% off and get those Essential Rewards freebies I was talking about, you can click here to sign up. You don't have to get the ER kits, you can pick and choose what you want to order each month, with ER, you are just committing to order at least 50pv each month. To stay a wholesale member, you just have to order 50pv a year! Let me know if you have any questions. We are enjoying taking control of our health more and more each month!