Thursday, October 27, 2016

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse from CrossTimber ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

Christmas is literally right around the corner, and gifts that are meaningful are so much better than something you pick up at your local big box store. Are you in the market for something different and unique? We have been able review a beautiful product, a Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse, from a fantastic company called CrossTimber.

What is CrossTimber?

Have you ever wanted to know what the meaning of your name is? What is the history of your name? John and Katie Dehnart over at CrossTimber have over 15 years of experience in researching names. They believe that there is a lot of importance in a name, and that it's a representation of who you are! I have to completely agree. When I had children, I made sure that their name was meaningful to me. I spent a long time researching names, and making sure it was something that would match each one of them. One child didn't even get the name that I called her for the 9 months I was pregnant with her, because her name didn't match her! Names are important!

I was really excited to find out that the owners of this fabulous company are also a homeschooling family! John and Katie, along with their children, all work together to make these custom and meaningful gifts. John has a really lovely story of how his Name Meaning business came to be, and I encourage you to go read it HERE.

What did we receive for the review?

CrossTimber was very generous and allowed us to choose a Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse, or upgrade to something else of our choosing. As soon as I saw the owl background, I knew it would be perfect to use for my gift. I chose to do my granddaughter's name to use as a gift for my daughter for Christmas. The owl background was an upgrade, so I chose to upgrade that rather than get the frame. I am having a frame custom made for it anyway. I was hoping it would be ready for the review, but it's not.

I was having trouble getting the perfect lighting so this picture does not do it justice. The colors are beautiful and vibrant! The text is clear and easy to read. I absolutely LOVE the meanings of her name, and the bible verses that were chosen to go with it. 1 Corinthians 13 is one of my absolute favorite verses of all time!

The pictures with the name and meaning are not all they offer. They have so many more gifts to choose from. Bookmarks, coffee mugs, and music boxes are just a few.

The ordering process was absolutely one of the easiest I've done. I was in contact with Mr. Dehnart from the beginning. He responded to my emails very quickly, and was more than willing to make a change for me. I decided I wanted to put both of Mila's names rather than one, and he made it happen with no issue at all. On top of that, there are so many designs to choose from, so you can definitely find something for anyone, no matter what. They have some beautiful scenic backgrounds!

What did we think?

I am really impressed with not only the craftsmanship of their product, but also the character and integrity of the family that does this. They are willing to go the extra mile for their customers, and that says a lot to me. This family loves to share the meanings of names. Do you want to know what a specific name means? Head on over and email them, no matter how unique the name, they will be able to do it!

Here's a cute video of the family announcing some exciting news!

They are going to be holding a FREE GIVEAWAY through December 1st. Who doesn't like a giveaway?? Be sure and head on over to get signed up for your chance to win!

Click the banner below to enter!

CrossTimber 2016 giveaway

I also want to mention that they do a quantity discount on their products, so the more the merrier!

If you still need some Christmas presents, or even a gift for yourself, be sure and head over to CrossTimber, and get your orders in today. You won't be disappointed!

Be sure to follow CrossTimber on Social Media!

CrossTimber was very generous, and allowed 90 of us to review their products! Click the banner below to read other reviews!

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews
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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection by The Familyman ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

There are two things I love, Christmas and audio books. Combine them both together and I'm a happy girl. We have had the chance to review The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection with digital downloads from The Familyman for the last few weeks just in time for Christmas.

There is something about curling up by the fireplace (if you have one) with a cup of hot chocolate, a blanket, and some good, family friendly, Christmas stories. Even though it's only October, that's exactly what we did (minus that whole fire place thing lol). I love being able to get back to basics and listening to a story, letting your mind decide what characters look like, and where they are.

A lot of times, my kids don't want to pay attention to that because there's no screen, they can't see it, and all of those excuses. I have to say, after listening to one of these stories, they wanted more. They couldn't wait to hear the rest. So, if my kids are asking for more, then they must be GREAT.

Who is The Familyman?

Todd Wilson, the man behind The Familyman Ministries, is a writer, conference speaker, former pastor, and most of all, a dad. He believes that being a dad is the most important job you have, and that you will only have one chance at it. Todd and his wife, Debbie, travel around the country with their 8 kids encouraging other moms and dads.

The Familyman's Christmas Treasury

Included in this collection will be the first 6 stories of the collection which are:

  • Captain Chaos and the Manger Blaster
  • Cootie McKay's Nativity
  • The Stranger
  • The Bishop's Dream
  • Harold Grubbs and the Christmas Vest
  • Gladys Remembers Christmas
Here's a little bit about each story. I got my 11 year old to tell me about each one for you so that it would be from a kid's point of view. 

Captain Chaos and the Manger Blaster - Jason is a 10 year old boy who thought the story of the manger was boring. He gets into trouble and has to go to bed early. This is when Captain Chaos comes into the picture, and changes everything, including the birth of Jesus. What happens in a world with no Jesus?

Cootie McKay's Nativity - This was our favorite! The Nativity scene in this small town gets ruined unexpectedly. The townspeople didn't know of anyone who could build it until someone suggests Cootie McKay as their only hope. Everyone doubted that Cootie could make it happen, but after he learned what the Nativity meant, he started building the best he could. But..was it good enough?

The Stranger - A stranger, Jesse, shows up to town and everyone thinks that he's homeless, and is afraid of him. He knocks on several doors and no one will let him in. He ends up at the the Tucker family's home and even though they are having a really rough night, they welcomed him into their home. What happens next will give you the warm and fuzzies because it's a really beautiful story.

The Bishop's Dream -  Bishop Nicholas went and took care of the homeless children everyday, and they loved him so much. One day after spending time with them, he has a strange dream. People are celebrating "Christmas" and he doesn't know what it is. He sees children laughing and having a good time with Santa Claus. He quickly realizes that it's not all about Jesus, which saddens him, and finds out where Santa came from.

Harold Grubbs and the Christmas Vest - Every year a young boy's dad digs out an old vest right after Thanksgiving. The boy wonders about the vest and where it came from, so his dad tells him about Harold Grubbs, the meanest man in town, and how he ends up having the vest. What happens to Mr. Grubbs that changes him?

Gladys Remembers Christmas - Gladys grew up feeling very unloved after her mother died when she was young, and she ends up really not liking Christmas. While cleaning out her father's house she finds a box that takes her back to Christmas past. What happens to Glady that changes her feelings?

What did we think?

Honestly, we were super impressed with these stories. My son already wants to listen again, so I think we will turn these on while putting up our tree this year. I think these would also be great on those long car rides for the holidays, or just for some family friendly entertainment. Order these now so that you too can enjoy The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection.

Be sure to follow along on Social Media!

The Familyman was generous enough to let 50 of us review these stories, so click the banner below to read more reviews!

The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection {The Familyman} Reviews
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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Why do I love being on the Homeschool Review Crew?

About a year and a half ago, my good friend Brenda Prince over at Counting Pinecones, told me she was reviewing homeschool curriculum, and that it was something that I might consider doing. At first I thought there is NO WAY I could do that since I had never really reviewed much of anything. She told me that I needed to get started on a blog, which I had already considered doing, and make a post once a week. That sounded simple enough so I thought, "Why not?", and ABC's and Sweet Tea was born.

Here I am at the end of my first year on the crew and reflecting back, I have realized that this has been a HUGE blessing to us. When I started homeschooling, I tried to utilize as many free options as I could since we didn't have a lot of extra money to put into it. It is very possible to do this, but it does take a lot of time and effort. After applying to be on the crew, I knew that it was going to be fun, and that I might get some cool things here and there, but I don't think I realized JUST what an awesome opportunity it would be for us. Let me tell you, when I received that first package in the mail, I was so excited. As time went on, I had the opportunity to review some pretty awesome products that included not only curriculum, but also games, art supplies, educational websites, and more!

By the end of the Crew year, I will have done 55 reviews! 55 opportunities to review products that I might have never heard of had it not been for the Crew. Some of these I could have never been able to afford had it not been for the Crew. So, being a part of this fabulous team of people has been a true blessing!

There were reviews that I absolutely loved and some that just didn't work for our family. There were some that I knew we needed, and some I found that I needed and didn't even know it until I used it.

One review that sticks out because it was such a blessing to our family was the Forbrain. This product was right at $300. It would have been a luxury to own this awesome piece of equipment, but because I was able to review it, Edyn has gotten to use it over and over again. It is such a treasure for her since she has ADD and has a lot of trouble focusing while reading.

Another huge blessing for us was the Lifetime Membership to I had literally wanted a membership for this for so long, but couldn't justify spending the extra money for it. Well again because of the Crew, I got not only a membership but will be able to use it FOREVER!

One vendor that really surprised me was Heirloom Audio. I have had the privilege of reviewing 3 of their awesome audio adventures!! The Dragon and the Raven, Beric the Briton, and The Cat of Bubastes were all amazing. The funny thing is, I would have never dreamed that I would like that kind of story. After listening to them, they have really become one of my favorite reviews.

And guys, those are only 3 out of the 55...I honestly could go on and on with Veritas Press, Grapevine, IEW, and more and more.

I am just so happy, thankful, and blessed that I have been able to be a part of such a great group of people. It's not only about reviewing products, because there's so much more to it than that. It's about the friends I've made, and the lessons I've learned being a part of the Crew. It's about being able to go to the forum and ask these awesome people for advice or even prayer, and know they are there for you.

Are you a homeschool blogger? Would you want to be a part of this awesome team? If you think that you would be interested, you can read through the Crew requirements HERE.

If you're interested in applying, then click the banner below! You won't regret it!


Educeri Lesson Subscription Service by Educeri.....Educeri a division of DataWorks ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

I love to find programs that the kids can use the computer to work on. In a house that doesn't have much extra space for more books, it is so much easier to log onto a program and put them to work. I was excited to receive this review to Educeri Lesson Subscription Service from Educeri....Educeri a division of DataWORKS. They were very generous and gave us 12 months of access to their program to use for this review.

What is Educeri?

Educeri is a fairly new program, and was designed by John Hollingsworth and Dr. Silvia Ybarra along with their team of specialists. This is not a program that is only designed for homeschool students. It's actually perfect for public school kids as well, or anyone that is in need of a little supplementation. Educeri offers over a 1000 lessons in all different subjects, so that you can get some extra help where it's needed. The subjects they offer for grades K-12 are:

  • Math - 413 lessons for all grades
  • English Language Arts - 525 lessons for all grades
  • Science - 22 lessons mostly for middle-high school grades
  • History - 26 lessons mostly 5th grade and up
  • Art, P.E, and Music - They only have a lesson or 2 each.
They have made it easy to get started with this program, and will even provide you with a free demonstration on how to use it if you need it. They seem very willing to help you succeed with this, and that's definitely a plus.

How did we use Educeri in our homeschool?

First of all I want to comment on the layout of this program. It's very easy to navigate which is important to me. It's no fun using a program that you have to try and figure out how to use. With the search feature, it makes it very convenient to just type in what I'm looking for, and get to a lesson quickly. Other than the search feature, the lessons are easily accessible through drop down menus for subject and/or grade. Using this makes it easy to see all lessons offered for either the grade you are looking for or whichever subject you are looking through. Both are efficient.

The format of each lesson is set up as a Powerpoint presentation. I have to be honest and say that my kids did not care for that format. I think while working on the computer they would rather something with a little more sound and interaction. I also think that all of the extra boxes and words distracted them a bit. I believe that this is more for the "teachers" considering it's supposed to be lesson plans, but it did not work well here at our house with our kids. They got to the point that they were asking if they had to do it because it confused them. I told them not to worry about the extras on the page and just try and focus on the main subject, and that seemed to help a little bit. This was particularly a struggle for my child with ADD. It was just too much going on for her, and she stopped using the program almost immediately. My son continued on and we did several lessons together, and he did have a little more success than my daughter did.

What did we think of this program?

Well I think that this program would be a good fit for some people even if it isn't for us as a family. They are Common Core aligned, and even though we do not align with anything Common Core, I can see where this would be great for certain families that need it, especially a supplement for students who attend public school. I also wish they had a few more options in the science and history section since that is always a favorite subject here. Of course I can also understand that there is more of a demand for math and language arts.

If you are looking for a supplemental program that is also CC aligned, then I think this would be a good fit for you.
Be sure to follow along on Social Media!


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Educeri Lesson Subscription Service
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Monday, October 17, 2016

I deleted all of my pictures on my phone. Ugh.

So this is going to be a very short blog post. I had a big plan to post how to make brown sugar and also bread, but deleted all of my pictures. I am so upset considering I worked really hard on that.I'm frustrated. I'm mad. I'm sad. All of the above. So, I will leave you with a quote instead, mainly because I needed to read it after that. I not only deleted all of my pictures for my blog, but special ones of my grandbaby and kids too :(. Anyway, hopefully I can put something else together soon. I'm ready for my miracle, because I really feel like quitting right now.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 Freezer Meal Plan Membership by MyFreezEasy ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

With 5 different people in the house and 3 different diets, meal planning can be a real task. For the last few weeks though, Freezer Meal Plan Membership by MyFreezEasy has made the task quite a bit easier! We were really excited to receive the Premium Annual Membership for this review.

What is MyFreezEasy all about?

I have never done freezer meals even though I've always wanted to. They always seem to be a lot of trouble and honestly extremely time consuming. Just like the name implies, MyFreezEasy makes the process more than easy to do. It will help you save time and money in meal planning!

MyFreezEasy is designed to help you get 10 to 12 meals in your freezer in less than an hour. They are easy, flavorful meal plans and recipes that keep this in mind.

The way it works is, you buy a monthly subscription to MyFreezEasy which is very affordable for what you get. The Basic Meal Plan, which is $7 a month or $77 annually, will get you access to 8 monthly meal plans each month, and the best part of all is it has options for almost any kind of diet. You will get new recipes every month with no repeats!

The different types of meal plans include:

  • Traditional Plan - 10 meals: mix of all different types of meals
  • Gluten Free Plan - 10 meals that are completely gluten free including the sides
  • Slow Cooker Plan - 10 meals that are all straight from your freezer into your slow cooker
  • Clean Eats Plan - 10 meals all clean ingredients
  • 20 Meals Plan - 20 meals that are all different types of meals
  • All Chicken Plan - 10 meals using all chicken so that if chicken is on sale, you can stock up and get meals ready to go in your freezer
  • All Ground Beef Plan - 10 meals using all ground beef to use the same as the chicken meals
  • All Pork Chops Plan - 10 meals using all pork chops so again you can stock up when it goes on sale

With the Premium Meal Plan you will still get access to the 8 monthly meal plans, but you can also create your own, and also change the amount of servings which works best for us! It's still very affordable at $10 a month or $95 a year.

With both meal plans you also get so much more than just a meal plan. They have included everything you need to not only plan, but also get you completely organized to go grocery shopping. They include shopping lists, assembly details, printable labels for your freezer meals, instructional videos, and even dairy and gluten free modifications. They really left nothing for you to do except decide what you want to eat!

How did we use MyFreezEasy?

Since we started this review, we received some news about our 10 year old son Gavin. He has a disease called Eosinophilic Esophagitis. This means that he has food allergies that attack his esophagus. With all of his allergies, he has to eat gluten free and dairy free meals. I also have a vegetarian, plus my husband and I are trying to follow Trim Healthy Mama. The awesome thing about this meal plan is that you can get meals for ALL of those different diets in one place. I thought meal planning was going to be a nightmare, but this has honestly been a dream come true.

For September, I chose from the gluten free meals. I made several different ones up and put them in my freezer. Let me say, from the time you choose your meals, to the grocery shopping, to the actual assembly, it was extremely easy. For October, I utilized the build your own meal plan feature that's available to the Premium Meal Plan subscribers.

After you pick your meals, it's as easy as printing them out. I also love that you can save the meals to your computer, so that if you find some favorites, they will always be there. The old meal plans disappear after that month, so if you want them, you need to save them.

I love the grocery list for all of the meals that it comes with because it makes it so much easier than going through each recipe and trying to write it all down, because that's what I've always done. It's laid out so that it makes everything easy to find.

So for example I'm going to talk about one of the meals that was a real hit here. It's the Dutch Oven Italian Chicken and Potatoes. After I chose my meals and printed out my lists, it was so easy to throw into a freezer bag and into the freezer. Some recipes I kept ready to cook, and a few I decided to freeze. This meal was a freezer meal and it worked out perfectly.

I literally took the ingredients and put it in a freezer bag. That was it. It took maybe 10 minutes for that one meal, only because I had to open the chicken and wash it. I through it in the freezer and I was done.

When it came time to cook that meal, I had forgotten to take it out of the freezer the night before. Well I let it thaw for an hour or so and decided to throw it in my crock pot. It came out beautifully! I was a little concerned over freezing potatoes because I've had a bad experience with freezing potatoes before, but this turned out just great. You would have never known the potatoes were frozen!

What did we think?

Honestly I loved this plan more than I ever thought I would. Now that I'm getting the hang of planning meals for 3 different types of diets, I plan on solely using this program. It's just too easy to make meals for everyone that won't get boring. The meals are good, and they are easy to tweak if you need to change it up a bit. I definitely give this plan 5 stars, and I think it would benefit anyone from the working mom to the homeschool mom! 

Don't forget to follow along on Social Media!

MyFreezEasy was generous enough to let 100 of us review their product, so if you would like to read other reviews just click the banner below. Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}
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Thursday, October 6, 2016

If You Were Me Books by Carole P. Roman and ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

We have had the chance to review some pretty great history books over the last couple of weeks. I absolutely love getting books that are not only educational, but fun to read, and these "If You Were Me" books did all of the above! These books are brought to you by Carole P. Roman and They are full of facts and stories that bring that time period to life.

What are the "If You Were Me" Series about?

Carole P. Roman designed these books so that we could get a feel for what it was like to live in all of these different time periods. She tells about what it was like to not only live in that time period, but also what kind of clothes they wore, what they might have eaten, and also introduces us to different cultures of that time.

What did we receive?

We were really blessed to not only receive 2 books, but 4 from this author!

If You Were Me and Lived in... Elizabethan England (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 3)

If You Were Me and Lived in...Colonial America (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 4)

If You Were Me and Lived in...the Middle Ages (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 6)

If You Were Me and Lived in...Viking Europe

They also offer 4 more titles that go with the series:

If You Were Me and Lived in... Ancient Greece (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 1)

If You Were Me and Lived in...Renaissance Italy (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 2)

If You Were Me and Lived in...Ancient China: The Han Dynasty

If You Were Me and Lived in...the American West (Volume 7)

A little bit about each book ~

If You Were Me and Lived in...Elizabethan England:

This book is beautifully illustrated by Paula Tabor. The colorful and well designed pictures give you a good visual of some of the things going on in this time period. 

The kids really enjoyed learning about their houses and what they might look like. We learned that their houses were made of wattle and daub with thick panes of leaded glass. We decided that we would really like these houses, and wouldn't mind living in one!

We also liked to find out what they might have eaten. Here they would have eaten mutton which the kids thought would be "gross" lol. Other than that they decided that the rest of their food including pastries and meat pies sounded pretty good!

If You Were Me and Lived in...Colonial America:

This has always been one of our favorite time periods. This book is also beautifully illustrated, but this time by Sara Wright. She also does a great job giving us a good visual of the people in this time period. 

This book seemed to be more about the Pilgrims and when they came over. We learned why the colonists came over on the Mayflower. and what it was like to have to run away from a life that you've always known in order to worship the way you want to.

They really enjoyed learning about meeting the Native Americans and the first Thanksgiving. Of course they always enjoy learning and discussing what they ate and what they wore back then. 

If You Were Me and Lived in...the Middle Ages:

Again this is beautifully illustrated by another great illustrator, Mateya Arkova. This was probably their favorite book of the bunch. We had recently been talking about going to the Renaissance Festival here in Texas so this was a timely book.

My daughter decided that she really loved their clothing from this time. Although it was elaborate, it was very beautiful, even if it was a little scratchy. She decided though that the wooden shoes, or pattens, would be very uncomfortable to wear all day.

Gavin loved to learn about the Knights, and that you had to be 21 before you could become a Knight.

If You Were Me in...Viking Europe

This is another book beautifully illustrated by Mateya Arkova. We haven't gotten to this book yet, but I've looked through it, and I'm excited to get started on it. Here we will learn that we would have been born over 1100 years ago, around the year 870 AD! I think the kids will get a kick out of studying all about the Vikings, the things they wore, and the things they did for fun. This book like the others goes into full detail about exactly what it was like to be in that time period. 

What did we think?

We have really enjoyed these books. They are so much more than the little bit I gave of every book. My kid's favorite parts are learning about what they wore, and how they lived, but the author goes into much more detail than that. Each book even gave you pronunciation of words that may be difficult for a child to understand. This always makes it much easier for them to read to themselves. At the end of the books, she also lists real people that lived in that time period. So, you can take these books and stretch them out into a unit study very easily. I highly recommend these books to anyone who loves to bring history to life with their kids! 

Don't forget to follow along on social media!

We were blessed to have 100 different reviewers on this product, so click the link to read more!

If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and}

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