Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wizzy Gizmo Review and Giveaway!

Wizzy Gizmo.  Go on, say it.  Wizzo Gizmo.  Fun, no?  But what is it?

Wizzy Gizmo is a company that is dedicated to "Equipping children for life by exploring God's word."  They are doing that with a few different products- audio dramas, books, and Fast Track Bible Packs.  For this review, I took a look at the Fast Track Bible Pack, but I also got a chance to check out the other products digitally so I have an idea what they are like too.

The Fast Track Bible Pack currently is available for the New Testament.  Designed to be used by all ages, these cards give information about each book in the New Testament.  The front of the card provides the basics- who wrote the book, when, why, and to whom, as well as the theme of the book and key verse.

The back of the card provides a deeper look, beginning with a brief outline of the book, followed by key chapters and their themes, key passages, key doctrines and key people.

OBM says:  The cards provide a wonderful amount of information at your fingertips.  They are just colorful enough to allow for discrimination of the information without them being distracting or childish.  Their website gives some suggested usages for them beyond just having them as a reference tool so that you can use them with your children even at a young age.  But for me, their value comes in the fact that I am a leaky sieve.  I forget things that I know that I know...or at least I know that I should know.  Like when a book was written or who the audience might have been.  These are great Bible study tools to have handy to remind me of those things that might have slipped my mind.  The Fast Track Bible Pack retails for $14.99, and is available directly from Wizzy Gizmo.

Wizzo Gizmo's other products include two books: Who Created Everything (Genesis Chapter 1) and In His Image (Genesis Chapter 2).  They tell the Bible stories, but within the context of the town of Sunnyville and Professor Wizzy Gizmo whose Gizmovision allows some of Sunnyville's kids to experience the Bible stories firsthand as if they are really there.  The books are $12.99 each.  They also have an audio drama that lets you listen to the Bible.  Geared toward children ages 4-12, it tells the same story as the first book above, just brought to life with a cast of characters and full sound and songs added.

The audio dramas retail for $9.99 as an MP3 or $14.99 for a CD and digital download.

In today's day and age, you know everyone has their favorite site for social media, so here are all Wizzy Gizmo's links:

Now here's the really cool part.  I get to do a giveaway!  One of you can win either a Fast Track Bible Pack or the Who Created Everything audio drama.  Just enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Follow Up Thoughts on a Previous Post

Inspiring title, no?

So a few weeks ago I made a Three Things Thursday post about how there was someone in my co-op class that seemed to always disagree with me, and how that bothered me and how it was really affecting my wanting to contributed to the discussion in class.  First, I want to say that things have been better since I posted that, maybe because our topic of conversation has changed a bit, or maybe for other reasons (like some of you praying that God would just clamp His handover my mouth ;-).  But I also felt the need to elaborate a little more ever since I put that post up.

See, the issue isn't that someone can't disagree with me.  (My family does it all the time, LOL.)  I mean, don't get me wrong, I like to be "right", and like most people, I think I'm right probably more than I really am.  But really the issue is that one of the greatest areas God has really done a work on in my life is my competitiveness and my obsessive need to be right, to win the battle.  I'd like to think that most people who met me today wouldn't even think that was one of my character traits.  But I've always been argumentative. And sometimes even in a good way.  I'm really good at debate, and at seeing both sides of an issue.  Yet I still struggle with that innate, sinful desire to WIN the argument.  And to find myself facing that situation on a weekly basis was uncomfortable for me because debating really isn't the purpose of the class, and being argumentative isn't how I want to be known.   So I was really struggling.  Personally.  NOT because she was doing anything wrong, but because my response was wrong.

And so, being transparent and all, I blogged about it.  And immediately felt bad.  I realized I had shared my blog address with people in the class because of the reviews I had done.  I realized it might sound like I though *she* was in the wrong.  And I knew I needed to be even more transparent and lay it all out there.  If there were AA meetings (Arguers Anonymous), my intro would go something like this, "Hi, my name is One Blessed Mamma.  By the grace of God alone, I'm a recovering arguer.  I love to be right.  I love words.  I love to craft them.  I love to be clever with them.  I love to win a point...or the whole debate.  In my life, I've caused a LOT of damage with the things I've said, and I couldn't regret it more.  So now, with God's help, I try to pray first before I open my mouth in important situations and ask Him to speak through me or let me know if He wants me to speak at all.  I often fail at that.  Especially with the people that matter most-those closest to me.  I've messed up more this week alone than there are words to express, but I'm grateful that God's mercies are new every morning and He forgives me time and time again."

I believe God's word is true in Proverbs 27:17 where it says, "Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."  One of the things I miss the most about our old church on FL was Sunday night round table where we would intentionally come together and debate that weekend's message or any other topics that came up.  It was a perfect example of that verse, and was the best example of a positive use of my "skills".  Being about to give an account for the joy you have, and for what you believe and why, all while speaking the truth in love-truly iron sharpening iron- is a beautiful sight to behold, and an amazing experience to be part of.  But the difference is that everyone came to that table knowing that was the intention of that meeting, and we all had the same goal in mind.  We all were better for it after each discussion, and our friendships and respect for each other's Godly counsel deepened quickly.  While I yearn for something like that again, I know with certainty that the newcomers' class is not that place :-).

So, I hope that helps to clear things up...not that any of you out there probably thought there was anything needing to be cleared up.  But I did.  I didn't ever want to imply the issue at hand was anyone's problem but mine, and that because of my natural tendency to debate everything and, of course, to be on the winning side of that debate.  But God was gracious that when I confessed my struggle it actually got easier to bear (duh!), and reminded me that it's in the struggle that the refinement happens, so I'm just going to hypomone- my favorite Greek word- until then.
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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Happy Birthday Mimi

Happy Birthday Mimi!!!

I have been blessed with a wonderful daughter.  Really, from the moment she was born, I knew God had special plans for her.  Always one to keep up with the big kids, not matter how incredibly petite she was, Mimi never let anything hold her back.  When she was ready to learn to ride a bike, she did-just like that, all in one bike ride.  She approaches all of life that way, She's very artistic, and everything about her reflects that, but when she is driven to want to learn something, nothing will stop her.  She is currently teaching herself Japanese.
Her love for Manga (Japanese Anime books) and Anime led to her passion not only for the language, but also for that drawing style.  Which led to learning to draw digitally.  Which led to her sharing her digital self portrait on an online site we are reviewing for homeschoolers.  Which led to her getting the opportunity to work on a student-designed video game.  Her talent quickly paved the way for her to become the head background artist, and being in charge of several characters.  As the project grew, they brought in an adult with experience working for Disney and many other animation/gaming companies.  He has made her "lead artist" on the project.  This all happened in the past week, and she's currently in the process of assembling her team that will work with her.  And she turns 15 today. I don't do the gushing mom thing well, but I'm very proud of her.  She has a God given talent, and she is searching for a way to use it to His glory in the opportunities He brings her way.     She's also a great help to me at home, and she helps out with the toddler class at church.  She is truly a blessing, and I'm thankful God chose me to be her mom.

Happy 15th birthday Mimi!

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Three Things Thursday 9/25/14

Hey y'all! (Like that warm, southern greeting?)  Thanks for stopping by!  I'm thrilled that's it's Thursday, and I have an excuse to blog and FINALLY get something else up besides the All About Reading sale promo post that I did eons ago.  I have the best of intentions to blog, but this Thursday thing is sometimes the best I can do, and not even even Thursday.  I'm sorry!  Do you forgive me?  So here, without further ado, are three totally random things.

1)  Can I be shallow for a moment?  I just found out that they are shutting down the ride at which I started my Disney career, and I'm devastated.  It's like finding out they are taking a wrecking ball to your childhood home-very unsettling.  While I had had one brief job before that, working at Disney was my first "real" job in my mind, and it also was a dream come true.  I know rides come and go there often in the name of progress, and the Studio Backlot Tour was a shadow of its former self compared to when I started there, (when I began, it was the Backstage Studio Tour, the tour guides actually spoke the tour instead of pushing a button for a recorded tour, and the tour was combined with the walking tour for one REALLY long tour) but I am devastated nonetheless, and hate that I'm not in FL to say goodbye one last time.   (The above picture was taken when we reopened the tour as the Studio Backlot Tour in its new location at the end of Mickey Ave.  And in case you are wondering, of the 3 standing in the very back right under the tour tram on the sign, I'm the one on the right.  The guy in the front row two people to the left of the one in regular clothes?  He's a big shot Imagineer now :-))

2)  September is my favorite month.  It's starting to cool down, The trees are starting to change color.  The tomatoes I planted in February are finally starting to bear fruit. (We aren't going to talk any more about that, we are just going to celebrate our successes when they finally DO happen.)  September is glorious!

3)  At our co-op, I'm in a newcomers class.  I though it would be a great way to meet people, and I have, but really the class is very structured and the focus is largely on encouraging and instructing those new-ish to homeschooling.  Besides the facilitator, whom I really like, there is one other lady there with an older child (college) and then 4 all younger than TJ.  So sometimes the facilitator asks the other lady and I to chime in on what she is saying as it pertains to kids and homeschooling "for the long haul".  And here's the thing.  There is this women, who otherwise seems very nice to me as we chat before and after "class", who seems to disagree with almost EVERYTHING I say during class.  Everything.  It is really getting to the point where I've just decided to keep my mouth shut. (Because getting into a debate about everything really isn't the way I want to be remembered as I am trying to meet people, and really, whatever we are talking about is not that important in the long run anyway in light of eternity.)   But then I think it's funny, in a terribly uncomfortable sort of way.  Really, I'm a nobody and I don't want this to come across like I think that I'm important (just more, like Paul, to give a little "street cred" to what I am saying), but I ran a homeschool group of 300+ families giving advice to countless people.  I've reviewed curriculum for years.  I write about homeschooling for an internet based home and homeschool website. I've done that all through God's grace, because He is the one who placed me in those situations.   And yet she insists my every word is in error.  It's humbling to be sure.  And it definitely has made me check my motivation-is it for my glory or for God's?  Am I sharing to put the spotlight on me, or at the prompting of the Holy Spirit?  I know that right now I am really at a point in my life where I am acutely aware that, "The more I learn, the more I learn how much there is to learn."  I know I, for one, am less and less certain about most things.  I can only speak from my own experience and the experience I have had as a group leader and a blogger and a reviewer networked with hundreds of other homeschoolers around the globe, and the struggles I have seen them face, and the successes I have seen them have.  I'm a cracked, broken pot, and I don't know much for sure except for Jesus, and my desperate need for Him, but I do think that the instruction in Titus 2 is there for a reason.  We are supposed to help each other.  Those of us who have walked the path already are supposed to help light the way for those coming behind us.  So I'm praying about what to do...but in the meantime, I hate the uncomfortable feeling I have every time I walk through that door.

If you want to link up with Three Things Thursday, just go to Heidi's blog.

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

All About Reading Level 4 is Here!

I ordered THIS yesterday!!!

Because I'm high maintenance, you know I had to call them TWICE to make the order go through, LOL.  That's just how I roll!  Can I tell you how nice their customer service people are?  Really, truly nice folks!  And in the end, it was just technology glitching for me as it always frequently does.  Don't miss your chance to order All About Reading Level 4 at this $20 off discount!

***affiliate link used because we love and use All About Reading***
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Friday, September 5, 2014

Three Things Thursday-9/5/2014 (Yes, That's Friday, if You Are Playing Along at Home)

I should just give up on ever doing this on a Thursday.  Sigh.  But here, on Friday evening, are my three things.  Better late than never, right?

1)  My daughter and I are taking archery.  Our first class was last night.  Apparently, in a world where most people are right eye dominate, and some people are left eye dominate, I am in the strange, confused minority that has competing eye dominance.  So I get to pick whether to shoot left or right handed.  Oddly enough, for now I'm choosing left handed (holding the bow int he right hand), because I have had wrist surgery on both wrists, and the left one gets the most sore with use in the flexed position (like when you are holding a bow).  We'll see how it goes.  Left handed is the way my daughter also shoots.  Last night, I was just thrilled that 9 out of 10 arrows hit the target at all :-).
Mimi's target

My target (two arrows are next to each other, so you don't see both)

"The Range"

2)  We had a nice visit with my mom and her husband.  Things did not go as planned, as the road is too steep in front of our house for their RV fridge to work, and so they could not stay in front of our house :-(.  They ended up at a local lake, so we spent Labor Day swimming and fishing.

3)  We have a dead rat on our back porch.  On purpose.  And we have to keep it there for the next 8 months.  No, I'm not making this up.  Mimi is taking forensics, and she came home from her first class with a frozen rat.  Her crime scene scenario is that her victim was found drowned, clothed, and was a sinker, not a floater, so needed to be held underwater.  Yay (yes, that's sarcasm).  So we had to find a container that was a) suitable to hold the rat for 8 months, b) would not get tipped over or messed with by critters, c) would keep critters from EATTING the rat (ewwww!!!!), and d) would still allow the rat to be exposed to the elements so all the natural processes could take problem.  (EWWWWW).  So I bought a 5 gallon pickle bucket from Firehouse subs for $2, we made homemade sea water (1/2 C salt to 1 gallon water), and Mimi cut an old headband to make clothes for Waldo (the name the rat was given by the teacher).  We found a small rock, tied a tether line to keep Waldo submerged, and poof! instant drowned rat.  (ALL pun intended.  All that remains is for The Hubs to drill some holes in the top for the elements to be able to do their thing, but since her rat is submerged, we know bugs won't play a big role in decomp.  Oh, and she has to check it every day or so...that was gross lovely today.  Have I said EWWWW yet???

To participate in Three Things Thursday, even on Friday or Saturday, just visit Heidi's Blog.
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Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Blessings of Friendship Treasury Review

I love Mary Engelbreit.  Her vintage style illustrations speak of a simpler time, but they are colorful and classic and usually feature quotes that remind the reader of the things that are truly important. This Treasury which focuses on friendship is no exception.  I was keen to review this book because I loved the fact that several of the quotes are Bible verses, and because I wanted my children to have the opportunity to see Mary Engelbreit's style of art firsthand, since so much of her art showcases children.

Besides the Bible, quotes featured in this Treasury come from sources like Oscar Wilde, Henry David Thoreau, William Butler Yates, and many others.  The illustrations all feature different representations of friendship- children with each other, with their stuffed animals, and with their pets, as well as adult ladies with their lifelong "besties".

Personally, I will forever associate Mary Engelbreit's work with a dear friend who has gone on to be with the Lord now.  We served on the steering committee of our local MOPS group together, and the theme that year was about the hats moms wear.  We painted hat boxes different colors to use as table decorations, and then to dress them up a bit, we decoupaged Mary Engelbreit's artwork onto the sides and top of the boxes.  It took hours for my friend and I to trim the little artwork frames (they were from several years worth of day-by-day calendars) and them decoupage them onto the boxes, and it was over that project, as we chose which pieces of artwork to include and why, that our friendship began to grow.  So to me, Mary Englebreit's work is synonymous with friendship.

You can purchase The Blessings of Friendship Treasury for $17.99.  It's a beautiful, hard-covered book with dust jacket, and would make a lovely gift for the friends in your life.

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