Showing posts with label reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reviews. Show all posts

Monday, March 11, 2013

Give Away and Review: VeggieTales, The Little House That Stood DVD

There is a new VeggieTales that came out this week and because I am a cutting edge blogger, I am blessed, I was given a chance to share not only my thoughts, but those of my pre-K Sunday School class with you. This was perfect timing, we incorporated the movie into our lesson on building your house on the Rock. If you happen to be too old for my class, read on for your own chance to win the DVD.
My Thoughts:
VeggieTales continue to amaze me with their creativity by combining current culture, biblical truth and humor. ***Warning*** If you are too religious, you may not enjoy their spin on the Bible.  The godly values are there, but this in no way should be the only source of scripture for little ones. I always enjoy VeggieTales because not only are they entertaining, they carry a great message.
Their Thoughts:
Little Guy: I love the new Silly Song, Happy Tooth Day.
My Pre K Sunday School Class:
Gweneth "I loved Humpty Dumpty!"
Mercedes "I liked the three little pigs"
Marcella "I learned I can help my friends."
Aiden "Bob the builder was funny."
Caleb "My favorite part was Happy Tooth Day"
Brandon "Oh, Yeah, I loved the fake teeth song."
The great thing about this movie is it included coloring pages for the kids and a discussion guide, which is a valuable tool for reinforcing the lesson. After the movie and popcorn, our class made a terrific craft about a wise builder. It was one of our best classes.

Learn more about the movie here:

To win your own copy of the DVD, you must leave a comment for each entry below. Just leave a comment and tell me that you did each little mission. Comments=Entries. I will randomly draw a winner on Thursday, March 14th. It takes a little work, but the more you work at it the more chances you have to win.
  1. Tell me who in your family would enjoy this DVD the most, nicknames are o.k. with me.
  2. Follow Accidentally Homeschooling or let me know that you already do.
  3. Follow me accidentallyhs on twitter. 
  4. Tweet about this giveaway using the tweet this button. 
  5. Subscribe in the box below.
  6. Like
  7. Follow VeggieTales on twitter #/veggietales
  8. Visit and learn more about this cute movie.

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"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Cry From Egypt: A review, Paperboy shares his opinion

Today's review is from a company that I can totally relate to. In fact, I may adopt their sogo as my own family logo.

As a reviewer for the Old Schoolhouse Crew, I have had many opportunities to read fantastic books. I have to admit, this has been one of my favorites.  I've always enjoyed historical fiction, but this story really has found a place in my heart. My initial plans was for Paperboy to write the review, but after beginning the book myself, I have to add my two cents in.

Paperboy first had the pleasure of reading "A Cry From Egypt". This is the first in a series from Great Waters Press. What fascinated me about this book is the author, Hope Auer, a homeschooled student began writing this book when she was 14 years old.

I interviewed Paperboy for this review.

Were the characters believable?
Yes the characters were very realistic and their responses to the events was accurate.

Did it hold your interest? After chapter two, it had me gripped. It was an interesting read that I wanted to finish.

What age group would enjoy this book?
11 to 15 year olds would be my target audience for this book.

Who was your favorite character? Even though Pharoah was not the main character, his stubborness was realistic and consistent, she did a great job on his personality.

What was the theme? It was a battle between the beliefs of two groups. Each one was portrayed vastly different.

Do you think it could it have a sequel? It may be difficult to top this story line. Mom's note, it is the first of a series.

Was the story predictable?
If a reader has knowledge of the Bible, obviously, they will know the ending. What makes this story unique, is the main characters and their interactions, growth and credibility. For example, even in the times of ancient Egypt, young people has similar struggles, whether slave or free.

My thoughts:
I loved this story! I was in awe as I thought about how well written this story is. Hope Auer has an incredible way creating believable characters and weaving multiple story lines together. This book is a must for anyone who is studying Ancient history with their family.

Don't take Paperboy's and my word for it. See what other reviewers thought about this fantastic book here.

This book is published by Great Waters Press, a new publishing company that offers Christian books, I'm looking forward to their future books.

As a member of the Old Schoolhouse Crew, I am given the opportunity to review many home school products. I am not paid or compensated for my reviews, I did receive this product for free in exchange for this honest review. 


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Friday, August 10, 2012

King Alfred's English: A review, a revelation and a promotion

When my son was enrolled in the Defensive Language Institute in Monterey, California, the Gman and I picked up these great t-shirts. On the front is the school logo and this witty saying is on the back.  And yes, I just fetched this from the hamper, grin.

I understood what it meant, but never really appreciated the logo until now. Lori White has given me a fresh appreciation for the history of our language.

As a member of the Old Schoolhouse Crew, I am given the opportunity to review many home school products. I am not paid or compensated for my reviews, I did receive this product for free in exchange for this honest review.

King Alfred's English: A History of the Language We Speak and Why We Should Be Glad We Do

Today's book review is King Alfred's English by Laurie White of I received an eBook which I downloaded on my Kindle app for my iPad. The book is available in hard copy here for $14.89. Since prices change, you may want to check at, Rainbow Resource, and Grace and Truth Books.

Laurie White spent 5 years working on this book, here she describes why she began this project:
I'm a homeschooling mom (kids are grown) and English major, who initially just intended to write a long article on the history of English. I knew I needed some kind of empty-nest-filler when the last of our 3 children graduated from our homeschool, and I had always wanted to put together something more substantial on the history of English than just the notes from my college class I'd used with my own kids. I thought it was a shame that this material was usually reserved for English majors when younger students might be fascinated with it too. I knew mine were!
My thoughts:

This books is a delightful, rich read. It offers a brief history of the world and how our language has evolved. She cover the many invasions and the results of each on the English language. While filled with history, her conversational tone and ability to weave in such a variety of facts makes this a terrific supplement to middle and high school English lessons. Paperboy, who loves history will be in for a treat this year. He loves to dazzle others with his various history trivia. This will offer him endless anecdotes. (WE INTERRUPT THIS POST FOR A CONFESSION>>>I am the one who read this book. Contrary to my children's opinion of me, I am a nice mother, who gives her children a summer break from home schooling.) I appreciate how Laurie clearly explained the history of the church and how we ended up with our Bible. Her style of writing is easy to read and is written in short sections. This will make it easy to break down into a weekly schedule using the free student pages.

My Revelations or Ten Things I learned:
  1. The original meaning of the word berserk.
  2. The Grimm brothers didn't just write some cool children's stories, they were philologists.
  3. Philologists are linguists who study written texts.
  4. Why the SAT's are more difficult to study in English.
  5. Who Dolly Pentreath is?
  6. Grammars rules and how I shouldn't be so hard on myself for breaking so many on my blog and in my daily life.
  7. What courriel is and that I have been doing it daily for years.
  8. The English toilets were named after the man Crapper, not the contents of the bowl
  9. A great site for word studies
  10. I have been butchering John Wycliff's name for years, it is pronounced WI-Cliff.

Knowing I sound sexist, but not really caring I need to say this.

This is a terrific book for boys. My boys. O.k. I am sure girls will love it too, but I need to say "Thanks Laurie, you have an understanding for boys and how to teach them, while captivating them."

It's obvious that Laurie has a vision to educate children on the history of English and the Bible. She generously offers teacher and student pages on her website to enhance the book. She reccomends movies, websites and resources that complement her book. She even offers chapter tests if we choose to use this a a curriculum for our students, which I highly suggest doing.

SSSSSSSSSS, I have a secret...
If This King Alfred's English sounds like a book you would enjoy, let me know. Send me an email and I will share a secret promotion with my most faithful readers. If you contact me within the next two weeks, I will email you a code which allows you to purchase your own copy at a discount rate.

If you are not yet convinced, see what other crew members thought about Laurie's book by clicking the banner below. It will take you to other reviews on this wonderful history book.

In case you skimmed over my disclaimer...
As a member of the Old Schoolhouse Crew, I am given the opportunity to review many home school products. I am not paid or compensated for my reviews, I did receive this product for free in exchange for this honest review. 
Thanks for stopping by,


Monday, June 18, 2012

Pearson My Math Lab, Algebra 2: A Review and Test

I was given the opportunity to try an online math program with Paperboy last month. While we were planning for his 11th grade courses, he mentioned he would like to try some online courses. This was perfect timing to try Algebra 2 and see if we wanted to make the transition from paper and pencils to keyboard. 

What is My Math Lab?

Pearson offers all levels of Math courses online. Paperboy, while wrapping up Geometry, tried Algebra 2.
MyMathLab Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 are two fully-digital programs by award-winning author Elayn Martin-Gay that provide parents with rich and flexible course materials that will engage your child. This personalized learning experience ensures your child’s success in Algebra 1 and Algebra 2.  
This is a fully-digital course.  The Student Access Kit is $49.97 while the Parent Access Kit is an additional $30.00.  Instructions are included for registering and setting up your course.  The accounts include everything you need to complete the course including teaching instruction, practice problems, homework, quizzes, and tests.

Pearson offers much more than math.
I poked around their web site and I was impressed with all of their resources. They have links to all of the state standards for math. There are chances to win their courses. Every homeschooling parent should visit their resource page. You can find out your child's learning style, read other reviews of curriculum, and learn how to help your child in all areas of learning.

My thoughts:
While I am pretty confident with my computer skills, I had difficulty navigating the web site. After the initial sign up for the teacher and the student, I felt like I was going in circles trying to find the login for the lesson. Paperboy's experience was neutral. After the initial start up, he decided he would be happy with or without it. Of course I can't always expect each curriculum to cause a stir of excitement. I appreciated that each lesson offers clear explanations, videos, immediate feedback for students and reports for the teachers. The total price of $79.97 for a full high school course with all of the support is a phenomenal deal. 

Who Could Benefit from Pearson My Math Lab?
Parents who are new to homeschooling.
Parents who are math phobic.
Students who need remedial help.
Students who travel, online based programs can be used anywhere with online access.

The Homeschool Crew reviewed other programs created by Pearson. You can click here to read their experiences with their social studies, math and reading programs.

I was provided this course for free in exchange for my honest opinion. The opinions are entirely my own.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Amazing Science! Volume 1 DVD's, A Review

Homeschool Confession Time:

I am not always organized in the area of science. In fact, one of my children spent a month waiting for me to buy the ingredients for his science experiment. Because we do not belong to a co-op, science experiments have always fallen on me, so they don't always happen in a timely manner. Today's product is fantastic to ease the mother guilt of skipping the experiments. In the early years, a membership to the Boston Museum of Science, blocked out those guilty pangs. Now, I have the ability to expose my kids to 23 great experiments with a rocket scientist from NASA. 

As a member of the TOS Homeschool crew, this year I am reviewing many homeschooling products that I have received for free. I am not paid to say nice things about the products, but I am obligated to use the products with my boys and share my honest opinions with you. I had the pleasure of Sharing Amazing Science with Little Guy and his friends.

Amazing Science! Volume 1

What is it?
Amazing Science is a video of 23 fascinating experiments performed by scientist Jason Gibson. These experiments use common household items and the students are taken step by step through each one.

What did we like about it?

  1. Jason Gibson presents the experiment in a simple clear manner. There is nothing distracting, each experiment is in the same place with the same format.
  2. He performs the experiment and then slowly reviews it while giving the scientific explanation for the reactions in basic terms. The material was above the 4 to 7 year olds, but they hung onto his every word.
  3. I love his accent and gentle voice, I could listen all day to his lessons.
  4. Little Guy could not get enough of this. He was thrilled when he realized there were two DVD's.
  5. When we watched it with his friends, he kept saying "Watch this, it's so cool." I loved hearing his excitement for the science.
  6. We can do the experiments if I choose or just watch the movie. I don't feel bad for forgetting the items at the store.
  7. The price. For under $20, I can teach chemistry, physics, electricity and magnetism. For $17.99, you can download all of the experiments to your computer. If you are someone who likes having the DVD, it is currently on sale for $19.99 plus shipping.

As always, don't take my word for it, see what other crew members thought of this mom friendly product here.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

God's Great Covenant or I Changed My Mind! A review.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool crew, this year I am reviewing many homeschooling products that I have received for free. I am not paid to say nice things about the products, but I am obligated to use the products with my boys and share my honest opinions with you.

Today's review is another product from Classical Academic Press. I have previously reviewed two other great homeschool resources from this company, The Art Of Argument and Latin Alive

I have always believed the Bible should be studied in the younger years as a family time with the Bible, prayer, and discussion. In our personal Bible time, my children listened, colored, discussed, memorized and studied the lives of missionaries. I am generally opposed to teaching Bible doctrine and history with a workbook until the older years. I entered into this review with a negative view of turning learning God's word into an academic subject.

With my personal convictions aside, I would like to share my unbiased opinions about God's Great Covenant with you.

Classical Academic Press is committed to teaching children the Bible. Below is their approach to teaching the Word of God to children.

Teaching the Bible to young children can be a large task, and is often divided up into many small stories. However, if you would like to teach your students the truly big picture of the Bible, and show them how God has been at work in his people since before creation, you will find God’s Great Covenant to be a unique, surprising, and excellent Bible curriculum. The Bible, taught chronologically, by means of simple and direct stories, chants, and meditation on God’s character define God’s Great Covenant. Even many adults find themselves learning new facts, making surprising connections, and being blessed by reminder of God’s faithfulness, and how he always keeps his promises. Taught from a covenantal and reformed theological perspective, and rooted in Scripture, you will find this series to be a blessing to your classroom or family.

God's Great Covenant, New Testament 1 is a Bible course for children in grades 2 through grade 6 covering the life of Christ. This biblically sound study is broken down into four themes and contains 36 lessons designed to last a whole school year. The New Testament is taught classically, using a variety of methods to solidify the student's understanding of the life of Christ. The student workbook is very appealing with larger print, various short exercises and great illustrations. The author introduces 'Simon', a Jewish boy from Jareth during the time of Christ. This story helps bring the students into the lives of those people who were anxiously waiting for the Messiah. This is what hooked Little Guy, he loves to hear about other children, fictional or real.

The student first reads the introductions and learns the memory work. The next day they read the story or better yet, they listen to the MP3 audio. Next, they complete the exercises in their own workbook. The activities vary greatly. There is map work, who said it?, key facts, think about it, important truths, story facts, crosswords, where did it happen? and other questions. I love the simplicity, yet the thoroughness of the study.  The teacher's guide is so full of commentary and details, I am amazed at how much background, I don't know. You can see the index and a sample of the student book here and the teacher's guide here.

For the early grades, I would suggest doing most of the workbook orally, but from third grade on, this is an excellent program. I wish I had known about this program when Paperboy and Random were younger. It's structure reminds me of an excellent history program we used. But this is not just Bible events, there are personal challenges and application of God's Word throughout the lessons.

For someone who was opposed to Bible seatwork, I have definitely had a change of heart. God's Great Covenant is an appealing program that would work well in a home school or Sunday school setting. Once again Classical Academic Press lives up to their motto; Classical Subjects Creatively Taught. We're looking forward to other Bible courses such as God's Great Covenant, the Old Testament.

You can purchase God's Great Covenant Student Guide for $26.95, the Teacher's Guide for $29.95, and the MP3 download for $9.95 at Classical Academic Press. I recommend the bundle package for $56.95.
Of course, don't take my word for it, see more reviews at the crew blog.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. The opinions in this post are my own.   

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Woodcarver: A Family Movie Review and Giveaway!

One great thing about being a blogger is the opportunity to try new products and share them with my readers. Little Guy and I just finished a neat curriculum (Who Am I?) which featured a master woodcarver. How fitting it was to have a chance to see a new movie called The Woodcarver. He was excited just reading the cover.

About the Movie:
Matthew Stevenson is a troubled kid from a broken home. When he vandalizes the local church to get back at his parents, Matthew has to repair the damage to the church to avoid criminal charges. While working at the church, he meets Ernest (John Ratzenberger), an accomplished wood carver who created the intricate woodwork decoration that Matthew destroyed. Ernest has become something of a hermit, but reluctantly comes out of reclusion to help repair the church. Now Ernest and Matthew must work together to preserve the church's beautiful antiquity, and along the way, they also manage to restore their faith in God and in life.

I loved everything about this movie. The message, the choice of characters, the conflicts, and the suspense level captivated me during the entire movie. I enjoyed Little Guy's commentary on the parallels between the movie and the story we read. He decided the dad in this movie was worse than the father our Bible studyAlthough it is rated P.G., there wasn't anything in it that Little Guy could not handle. This is a terrific family film that has a great ending.

How can you win a copy of The Woodcarver for yourself?

  • Tweet this post.

  • Visit Christian Cinema and tell me about a movie from their site that you have enjoyed.

  • Like Christian Cinema on Facebook 

  • Subscribe to my blog.

  • Follow me on this blog or twitter @accidentallyhs, I promise not to overtweet you!

  • For each entry that you do, leave a separate comment. You can enter up to 6 times. This giveaway will end next Thursday, March 15th. If you can't wait to see it, it is available now at Christian Cinema for only $10.92.

    Thanks for stopping by,   


    On a side note...
    And now to satisfy the ever increasing need of the government to control our free speech:
    "Disclosure of material Connection: I recieved the movie listed above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and beli8eve would be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in advertising."

    Earn a chance to win The Woodcarver, enter your email address: Delivered by FeedBurner

    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    Over-Achieving, Blossom Soap Studio and 5 things

    I've blogged before about my over-achieving friends. When you are surrounded by greatness, once in a while you reap the benefits of their excellence. In this case, I received some soaps, in exchange for my honest opinion of Blossom Soap Studio's wares. When it comes to Maureen, this Etsy shop owner, even though she raises the bar, you have to love her. Not only is she adorable, she creates lovely things.

    She's crafty, not the beguiling one, the cute one. At our church functions, even her food is adorable. She has an eye for pretty. So when her soap business "accidentally" took off, I wasn't surprised. How could you not fall in love with her soaps?

    She's a secret blogger that hasn't realized it. She has a story behind her soaps. You must read her take on "Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope."

    She gave me one of these adorable sunflowers. It's right above my kitchen sink and smells delicious. I had to resist the urge to taste it. I have to admit, I didn't even want to use it. I wanted it to stay pretty. But that wouldn't make for an honest review. I needed to use the product. And I did. Now I have to fight the OCD compulsion to wash my hands frequently.

    This bar sits in my guest bathroom and still looks pretty after many uses.

    Maureen's soaps are not only for girls. She has created some manly soaps that are perfect stocking stuffers. This power bar for the shower is a one-of-a-kind. This rustic shave soap and brush will be perfect for the Gman.

    I'm excited for my friend and her busy Etsy shop. She has so kindly offered to give away some products to one lucky reader of Accidentally Homeschooling. Since most folks have already finished their Christmas shopping, I thought I'd wait until January to host it, just to give you a good reason to come back to my blog. We'll have a chance to see what she cooks up for Valentines Day.

    Five reasons to shop at Blossom Soap Studio:
    • I'm sorry there is not a scratch and sniff app for this web site. These soaps smell delicious!
    • Blossom Soap Studio prices are incredible. I appreciate that they don't soak you for shipping.
    • Soap is a gift that you can always use. It's great for the person who has everything.
    • For the sensitive skin, these soaps are perfect. 
    • Maureen is my friend and seeing her succeed makes me happy!
    Thanks for stopping by,

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    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Help Wanted! Review Bloggers to travel to exotic locations

    What does a country, a company or a celebrity do when they need a new image? They look to social media to rebrand themselves.

    This story piqued my interest as a blogger.

    I was just asking myself why do I blog? I came up with the usual answers.

    Because it's my hobby and I love it.

    So I can testify of the goodness of God.

    Because everyone once in a while someone tells me, "I read your blog".

    It's cheaper than therapy.

    Because I committed to review a product and I follow through, unless it is hokey historical fiction. Then I procrastinate blogging.

    So I don't forget what I did with my kids last month.

    Do you need a reason to blog?

    Japan Needs You!

    10,000 Free Round-Trip Tickets to Japan

    If you’ve ever wanted to visit Japan, this may be your chance.
    In a desperate attempt to lure tourists back to a country plagued by radiation fears and constant earthquakes, the Japan Tourism Agency’s proposed an unprecedented campaign – 10,000 free roundtrip tickets.
    The catch is, you need to publicize your trip on blogs and social media sites.
    The number of foreign visitors to Japan has dropped drastically, since a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Power plant in March. Nearly 20,000 people have been confirmed dead, while more than 80,000 remain displaced because of radiation concerns. In the first three months following the triple disasters, the number of foreign visitors to Japan was cut in half, compared with the same time in 2010. The strong Japanese currency has made matters worse.
    The tourism agency says it plans to open a website to solicit applicants interested in the free tickets. Would- be visitors will have to detail in writing their travel plans in Japan, and explain what they hope to get out of the trip. Successful applicants would pay for their own accommodation and meals. They would also be required to write a review their travel experiences, and post it online.
    “We are hoping to get highly influential blogger-types, and others who can spread the word that Japan is a safe place to visit,” said Kazuyoshi Sato, with the agency.
    The agency has requested more than a billion yen to pay for the tourism blitz. If lawmakers approve the funding, Sato says visitors could begin signing up as early as next April.

    Maybe you fall into the category "and others". Just like me.

    Thanks for stopping by,

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    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    Carlito C. Caterpillar Mathhouse Game Card Set Giveaway Closed!

    This giveaway is closed. Congratulations to the winner, Caterina. She has been contacted. Thanks to all who have entered.

    In my past life before homeschooling and more babies, I had a career that I loved. I was a pre-school teacher at a local Heart Start Program. When I was began to review Carlito C. Caterpillar Mathhouse Game Card Set, the flash backs started. One of the past philosophies of Head Start when I worked there was to educate the parents in the developmental stages of preschoolers. We essentially were role modelling and teaching parents how to teach their children. In each station around the classroom, there were stated educational goals and how a child's play in that area could meet the goals.

    When I began reading through the cards for Carlito C. Caterpillar Mathhouse Game Card Set, I knew the author had a great idea: Teach the parents how to present math to their children in simple games, while having fun. These incremental activities use common household items and free print outs from their web site. The cards first explain the basics of teaching math to young children and their thoughts on learning. The cards have clear instructions for the parent to teach each of the 40 activities. Children can advance through these steps at their own speed. After your child completes each of the three levels, you can print up a certificate to celebrate their achievement.

    Any parent using these cards could quickly have their math teaching confidence boosted. If you are math phobic mom with little ones, run to order this program. Or enter this fabulous giveaway below. You can find more information at their site. To win your own set of these game cards, you can enter below in the comments sections. You have up to 5 chances to win.

    1. Tell that you want to win.
    2. Follow my blog or admit below that you already do.
    3. Subscribe and let me know.
    4. Like Mathhouse Games on facebook.
    5. Tell me what 10 plus 10 equals.
    Leave a way for me to contact you or stalk my blog to find out if you are a winner. I'll announce a winner on Saturday October 15th.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    On a side note...
    And now to satisfy the ever increasing need of the government to control our free speech:
    "Disclosure of material Connection: I recieved the movie listed above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and beli8eve would be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in advertising."

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    Friday, September 16, 2011

    The Shunning: A Movie Review and Giveaway

    Years ago, before homeschooling, career, and chaos, I had the luxury of endless reading. There was enough time to enjoy Christian fiction, and stay up late reading. I particularly enjoyed fiction by Beverly Lewis. One book, The Shunning, I recall clearly. I remember scrambling to order the sequel from my local library. It is part of a series, Heritage of Lancaster County.

    Beverly Lewis has tremendous insight into the Amish community. She answers frequently asked questions on her web site:

    Were you raised Amish? 

    I grew up an Assembly of God minister's daughter in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania—literally, on the second pew! However, my keen interest in Plain culture comes from a close family connection to Old Order Mennonites. My maternal grandmother—Ada Ranck Buchwalter—left the Mennonite community when she married. Many of Ada's family members were Mennonites, so I had Plain relatives on Mother's side.

    I am interested in knowing more about your Plain heritage. How much experience do you have with that lifestyle? 

    I have lived with Old Order Amish on two separate occasions, while doing continued research on The Heritage of Lancaster County trilogy (The Shunning and subsequent sequels). My connection to the Plain community comes from my mother's Old Order Mennonite heritage. Growing up, I was surrounded by Mother's family at reunions and church gatherings. I remember going to water baptisms and all of us singing without any musical instruments—the rich four-part harmony of voices—happily watching relatives and friends being completely immersed in the Susquehanna River, just as I was baptized later at the age of 12.

    What, if any, has the reaction been from the Amish community to your books? 

    I have received a lot of mail from Amish people. (Some who have been shunned.) Many ask, "How do you know so much about our tradition and culture?" Others from the New Order Amish have requested that I portray their communities, as well, such as Ohio, Indiana, and other states.
    My thoughts on  Beverly Lewis' the Shunning

    Years later, her book, The Shunning was turned into a movie. A good movie. 

    I am not what you would consider a movie buff, much to the Gman's disappointment. He loves the rare times when I sit still with him for a movie. He even jumped at the chance to watch a chick flick with me. I loved it. Because I had read the book and he hadn't, I knew the secrets. He kept asking me questions about what happens next and I replied in the manner of one who is surrounded by men.
    "If I tell you, I'll have to kill you!"
    I won't give away any of the ending, but this movie will have you waiting for the sequel or reading Lewis' books if you haven't already.
    Beverly Lewis' The Shunning - About the Movie
    Before she succumbs to cancer, the dying wish of Laura Mayfield-Bennett is to be reunited with the daughter she never knew. Unfortunately, that daughter, Katie Lapp, is a member of the Amish order. Katie is about to be married, but uneasy about the path ahead.  Now she discovers the secret her parents have kept from her: she's adopted. 
    The film is based on the celebrated first novel of the best-selling "The Heritage of Lancaster County" book series from author Beverly Lewis. Stars Danielle Panabaker & Sherry Stringfield.

    Visit the movie website or visit them on Facebook here to find out more about this great movie.

    If The Shunning sounds like a movie you would enjoy, I am happy to offer you a chance to win your own copy. Just leave me a comment below saying you would like to win. For extra entries, leave additional comments telling me you shared this link in any of the following ways:

    • Tweet it using the following tweet: I entered to win The Shunning DVD here
    • Share this on Facebook.
    • Follow The Shunning on Facebook.
    • Subscribe to my blog.
    • Follow me on this blog or twitter @accidentallyhs, I promise not to overtweet you!

    This giveaway is open to all U.S. residents. I will be drawing a winner next Thursday, September 22.

    If you don't win, don't worry. The Shunning DVD is available to purchase for $16.99 from Amazon.

    Thanks for stopping by,
    Terri G.

    On a side note...
    And now to satisfy the ever increasing need of the government to control our free speech:
    "Disclosure of material Connection: I recieved the movie listed above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and beli8eve would be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in advertising."

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    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    The Grace Card: Review and Give Away!

    Thrifty Thursday: Win a Free Movie

    I was given the opportunity to review the movie The Grace Card. This movie is produced by Affirm Films, the same company that gave us Fireproof and Facing the Giants. Over the years, I have endured hokey Christian films that have some silly scenes which can be too distracting to portray the gospel message effectively. This film was a breath of fresh air...

    What it is all about.......
    Everything can change in an instant ... and take a lifetime to unravel.
    When Mac McDonald loses his son in an accident, the ensuing 17 years of bitterness and pain erodes his love for his family and leaves him angry with God ... and just about everyone else.
    Mac's rage stonewalls his career in the police department and makes for a combustible situation when he's partnered with Sam Wright, a rising star on the force who happens to be a part-time pastor and a loving family man.
    Mac's home life is as frightening as anything he encounters on the streets of Memphis. Money is tight and emotions run high as he constantly argues with his wife and his surviving son Blake, who is hanging with the wrong crowd and in danger of flunking out of school.
    Sam Wright also never expected to be a police officer. He has a calling—to be a minister like his Grandpa George. But leading a small, start-up church doesn't always put enough food on the table for a young family, so Sam doubles as a police officer. With his new promotion to Sergeant, Sam starts questioning if his real calling might actually be police work rather than the pastorate.
    Can Mac and Sam somehow join forces to help one another when it's impossible for either of them to look past their differences—especially the most obvious one?
    Every day, we have the opportunity to rebuild relationships and heal deep wounds by extending and receiving God's grace. Offer THE GRACE CARD ... and never underestimate the power of God's love.

    What I thought about the movie...............

    I rate a movie by it's ability to keep me engaged and awake. My attention can only be held by a lot of action, drama and captivating plot lines. The Grace card had the ability to keep me awake long past my bedtime.

    Make sure you have tissues, because it can be a tear jerker.

    My favorite feature of this film was the numerous themes running through the movie. It multi-tasked with it's themes. The issues that were addressed while entertaining the audience would speak to any one's heart. Prejudice, bitterness, unforgiveness of others and self, teenagers, financial pressures, and marital strife. It was able to portray these themes while still interjecting humor and even some great music.

    The way things were wrapped up at the end was a little incredible, nevertheless, it was a great drama. It was not based on a true story, but many of the characters has striking similarities to people I know in real life.

    The movie will strengthen your faith, challenge you and entertain you.

    If you want to read more about The Grace Card visit their web site here.
    Good News!!!!

    You can win your own copy of the Grace Card.

    The first entry is mandatory:
    Just leave the word Grace in the comments with a way to contact you.

    The rest of the entries will increase your chances of winning. Just leave me an extra comment for each one.

    1. Be one of the over 50,000 people to like the Grace Card on Facebook. #/thegracecard
    2. Follow the Grace Card on twitter, #/#!/gracecardmovie
    3. Tweet about this giveaway using the the following tweet.
    4. Follow my blog on GFC.
    5. Subscribe to my blog with feedburner.
    6. Tell me when you first have experienced grace in your life.
    I will draw one winner on Thrifty Thursday, September 1st.

    On a side note...
    And now to satisfy the ever increasing need of the government to control our free speech:

    "Disclosure of material Connection: I recieved the movie listed above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and beli8eve would be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in advertising."

    If you enjoy reviews of great movies with a great messages, enter your email address: Delivered by FeedBurner
    Thanks for stopping by,

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    Leary Tales: An Inspiration for Families

    When my friend Jan, one of my most faithful blog readers, asked me to review her book on my blog, I was a little shocked. Not that she asked me, but because I had no idea that her family worked together creating this wonderful book. You see my friend Jan is already one of those over-achievers. You know those friends we love but that keep raising the bar. She does everything with excellence. She sews, acts, she's incredibly funny, her house is beautiful, she grows things that don't die, she's a prayer warrior, and she has an amazing faith. I forgot to tell you that she eats as much chocolate as she pleases and is still skinny. And now she is an author who was featured in our local newspaper!

    Leary Tales is a compilation of poems written by Jan, her husband, Bob and illustrated by two of her very talented sons, Jon and Ben. They spent their Sunday afternoons together creating these funny poems and drawings. I was amazed at the variety of subjects they wrote about. Knowing this family and reading their book was a treat.

    One of my favorite poem and illustration in the book is My Calico Cat. First of all, the painting is beautiful and it reminds me of Sabie's lovable Miss Kitty. The poem fits Miss Kitty perfectly. Jan intricately describes the prey she hunts for. I can't tell you what it is, but it is disgusting! It really invoked giggles for me and Little Guy.

    The pictures are a combination of paintings and drawings done while their boys were younger. Seeing the change in their styles was fascinating. There are watercolors, textured drawings and cartoons. These boys have been gifted, it will be interesting to see what direction they go in after college.

    This book has poems for all personalities. Baseballs, penguins, birds butterflies, golf and a day in court are visited in such unique ways. "Spenderella" about a wife who loves to shop is one I can't relate to, but it leaves me wondering who can he be talking about? Their rendition of "Now I lay me down to sleep" has a delightful, humorous ending.

    If you are interested in owning your own copy of Leary Tales, you can purchase this 97 page softcover book at Author house for $20.00. Hurry up before Spenderella buys them!

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