Review of Barbour Publishing’s “Imagine…The Great Flood” by Matt Koceich



As I have stated before, our family loves books.  So anytime we get the opportunity to review a new book, we take it. We’ve lots of historical fiction over the years but recently we just finished reading a Biblical fiction for kids book called Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich from Barbour Publishing.  This book details the experiences of a young boy named Corey who travels back in time to the days of Noah and the Ark.

This is the first book in a Christian Kids Series by Matt Koceich.  Mr. Koceich is a school teacher who created this series with children ages 8 to 12-years-old in mind.  However, I can say after reading the book myself, I believe almost anyone of any age would enjoy this book.

`This book begins with Corey Max and his mom taking his dog Molly to a park in Texas to avoid the chaos at their house where a moving truck was being loaded with all their belongings.  The family was preparing for a move to Florida.  In the typical fashion of a child, Corey does not want to move and leave everything familiar – even though they are moving for his father’s job. Corey’s mom tries to help Corey understand and recognize God will be with them and will care for them wherever they go.

While at the park, a storm comes up quickly with lightning, thunder, and rain.  Molly had rushed into the woods, so Corey has to go after her.  While running after his dog, he trips over the log and finds his surroundings changing to new ones he did not recognize.  Unexpectedly he encounters a lion.  He begs for God to show him mercy.  The story then chronicles Corey’s encounter with Noah and the Ark, Noah’s sons and getting the animals onto the Ark while dealing with individuals who try to interfere with their plans.  The Great Flood is chronicled in a way which made me feel as though I was actually there.

I read this book and then had our 14-year-old daughter read it as well.  When I asked her for her opinion of this book, she had definite opinions.  She felt the beginning of the book was excellent.  However, she felt like the ending was rushed.  She thought it was a good book to read.  She stated she would have liked to see more details about the motivation of the antagonist.  Overall though she thought it would be a good book just to read for fun.

I felt the author did a great job with pulling the reader into the story.  I felt like I was actually in the story.  I could feel Corey’s pain and frustration over the move to Florida, which he had no control over.  I also felt the love and compassion of his mother.  I felt Corey’s amazement when he realized he had traveled back in time.  I enjoyed reading the details about Noah’s sons gathering the animals and preparing them to get them on the ark.  At the same time, I felt Corey’s fear as he encountered the unknown enemies and faced danger.  I won’t spoil the story for you, but I will say that Corey returns safely to his own time and finds the move to Florida better than he expected.

This is the first book in the Imagine series, and I personally can not wait to read more.  If you want to read more reviews on “Imagine…The Great Flood” by Matt Koceich, click here or on the graphic below.

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Book Review – More Than Just Making It


I was really thrilled to be a part of the launch team for Erin Odom’s book – “More Than Just Making It”. This is one of those books I picked up and had a hard time putting back down.  This is a down-to-earth, heart-warming book that examines realistically finances, public assistance and more.

I love Erin Odom’s conversational style in the book.  I felt like I was sitting with her in one of her homes while having a real conversation.  This book touched my heart as well as provided inspiration and memories of what our lives where like when our children were younger.

And while I planned on writing today about this book.  I felt like I needed to talk more about my own #kissesfromJesus as a result of being part of this launch team.  About a year and a half ago, we moved from Pennsylvania to Texas thanks to the United States military.  We have no real family to speak of in the state.  So when Hurricane Harvey decided to come calling, we were in a dilemma about where to evacuate to for the storm.

Initially, we planned on hunkering down in our home.  But when the storm was upgraded to making landfall as a Category 3 “or higher”, I knew we needed to find somewhere to evacuate to for safety.  Somehow the topic of the storm came up on the book launch Facebook page.  A generous lady offered to open her home to our family in the event we needed to evacuate.  I filed the information away for future consideration.  Once we found out we were under a mandatory evacuation order, I sent a message to this amazing lady and asked if she was serious about allowing our family to evacuate to her home.  She quickly replied that we were more than welcome to come.  So that evening, I had our four children and my mother who all live with my husband and I pack in preparations to leave.

Another giant blessing was when we found out her husband was lactose-intolerant like our oldest son.  On Friday morning as Hurricane Harvey was preparing to making landfall in Texas, our family took to the highways to go to Dallas.  We were blessed with reasonable traffic and reasonably good weather for our travels.

Once in Dallas we were welcomed like honored guests.  Truly our family was blessed to meet Dominique and her husband.  She cooked amazing meals and had wonderful touches that made us feel incredibly welcomed.  We received #KissesfromJesus with this act of kindness.

So if you are looking for a new book to read, I recommend this book.  Trust me, if you read it, you will be blessed.

Review of Apologia Educational Ministries’ Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set






Ever since our family began homeschooling about eleven years ago, science. has been a course I have looked to Apologia Educational Ministries for our textbooks, notebooking ideas and more.  Looking for a homeschool marine biology course? I suggest Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set from Apologia Educational Ministries.  Ever since I met my husband twenty-six years ago, he has expressed an interest in Marine Biology.  At several points, he even considered pursuing it as a career.  So when I saw the opportunity come up to review this course, I immediately called my husband to see if he would be interested in reviewing it.  He answered with a resounding yes.

For this review, we received the hardback textbook with over 500 pages, the student notebooking journal, the tests, the solutions, and tests manual as well as the Marine Biology 2nd Edition Audio CD read by Marissa Leinhart. This course is meant to be done after completing a traditional Biology course as well as Algebra I.


Apologia Educational Ministries offers a range of products and services including science courses for elementary school through high school, resources for writing or reading or literature as well as ones designed for parents.  I love the variety and the quality of the products offered.

As I previously stated, my husband was the one to use the materials.  However, I did listen to the audio cd with him.  So here is his review of the textbook and notebooking journal.  At this time, he is not planning on using the tests since this is strictly for his own knowledge and interest.  We do plan on having our daughter, currently, a freshman in high school, do this course.

At first glance at the text book, I saw that it contained a lot of illustrations. That’s important because it captures the attention of the reader. As I endeavored into the text, I noticed that there are also a lot of bold lettering to identify key words and phrases. At the end of every segment, there are questions posted so that it would quiz the reader on what was read. This is all good so that the reader can learn as he or she reads the subject. Labs are also inserted in places that correspond to the information that has been read. This is good because it is a hands-on way to remember certain information. At the end of each module, there are also questions that are posed in a different manner than how the questions are stated in the material itself. This would enhance one’s mind to think of different ways of approaching information and help to remember important facts.


The student notebook is exceptionally great in the fact that it follows the text book on every question and Lab. There is also a reading plan to follow which makes it easy to develop a plan of action for the student. Grading tips are also given to help the instructor. What is extremely helpful are tools recommended to use to take notes, a place to answer questions from the text, fill in the blank questions, and recording Lab data.


The Solutions and Tests come in a separate softcover book.  This solutions manual includes helpful information to use before beginning the course including grading and course administration.  The solutions for the study guide are included as well as the answers for the summary of each module.  There are also blank copies of the tests (which can also be found in the separate test booklet) as well as the solutions for the tests themselves.  These are laid out in a manner that makes it easy to find when looking for something.

My husband, who reviewed this product, highly recommends the setup of the text and student notebook. He truly is excited about it and is looking forward to continuing the course.

The Marine Biology 2nd Edition Audio CD is meant to only be used on computers and does not play on regular CD players.  So this could be a disadvantage for those who prefer to listen to audio on a regular CD player.  At first, I downloaded the files to my computer and tried to play them for my husband and myself.  However, doing it that way meant I had to click on each individual file.  Later, I decided to download the files to my computer and then upload them to my iTunes account.  Once I did that, it was easier to manage the files.  Also, by doing it this way, we can hook my tablet or phone to the audio system and listen while driving.  We both thought Marissa Leinhart did an excellent job reading the textbook.  My husband was pleased he could listen while looking at the textbook to follow along.  I strongly recommend getting the audio version along with the set.


Once again, we really recommend the Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set from Apologia Educational Ministries.  If you want to read other reviews of this product, click here or on the image below.

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Review of “Raising Leaders Not Followers by Kerry Beck


“Raising Leaders Not Followers” by Kerry Beck is a thought-provoking book about stepping out of the traditional thoughts on education and raising children. She encourages parents to raise leaders rather than followers by focusing on God, developing character and stepping out into an education model that focuses on God, a parent’s goals for his/her child and the gifts and talents a particular child has.

The book was easy to read and captured my interest. I would definitely recommend this book to any homeschooling parents who want some new ideas for homeschooling. I loved her use of Scriptures from the Bible, quotes and other visual methods of displaying information. There is a study guide available along with a remarkable list of resources to refer to if a reader desires. I definitely needed the reminder to focus on God and character rather than checking off boxes to match what public school students are doing.

Kerry Beck brings a wealth of knowledge, experiences, and insights on how to raise students who can think for themselves and be visionaries rather than just regurgitating answers that have been fed to them by classroom teachers.
Once again I definitely recommend this book highly.

You can purchase the book here or click on the picture below.



If you buy the book today, you will receive $180 in free resources.


Also, you can register for a free workshop on starting homeschooling right.



Our Oldest is now 21


Today our oldest son turns 21.  We have been so blessed to have him as our son.  Normally, I talk about his birth and so forth.  But today, I want to talk about some of his activities.  Specifically, I want to talk about him assisting at our church’s Vacation Bible School.  It began when they announced at church they were looking for volunteers.  He immediately stated he wanted to help – and his desire was to be a crew leader.  We managed to get him signed up in time to get the last crew leader post.  Our youngest son also decided to volunteer.

As a result of his younger brother, Jacob – our oldest and Joseph – our second son along with Nathan – our youngest son were all asked to help with decorating the church for Vacation Bible School.  Now in honesty, I have to say they were asked because they are all right around the six-foot mark.  So because they are so tall, they could have an easier time with reaching using a shorter ladder.

Then, Vacation Bible School began and my son’s crew absolutely loved him.  Other children even made various comments during the week about what a great leader.  From his days as a boy scout, he had to make a flag to carry around and he had his assistant leader and his boys all sign the flag.  He did a really great job with it.

When our family attended the closing exercises, I heard from various adults involved with Vacation Bible School how fantastic our boys were and what a great job Jacob and Nathan did helping.

I love all four of my children, but today I want to wish our oldest son blessings and happiness on his 21st birthday.

Review of the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series


American history comes to life with the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series from Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh.  When I saw the opportunity to review these books, I had to have them to add to our family library.  I have been a fan of Rush Limbaugh’s talk show for years.  So I knew our family would love these books.

Rush Limbaugh and his wife Kathryn Adams Limbaugh have written an amazing set of books that pull the reader into events from America’s past.  The stories are intriguing and pull the reader both into the current time period as well as major events from our history.  These books portray the true Christian background of our country.  With the combination of the present and the past, these stories have a definite dramatic flair that lends to being read out loud.  Every time I read a portion of these books to family members, the books enthralled our family.  The books provide laughter, humor, suspense, and all kinds of other emotions.

When the books arrived, they came wrapped in a beautiful ribbon tied in a bow.  So I had to get a picture with the ribbon.  The covers have amazing colors and details.  The paper inside makes the reader feel as though they have gone back in time.  These books contain amazing photographs, charts, maps and depictions of great events from history.  There are five books in the set.  Each one investigates important people, places, and events in American history.


I planned on reading the books first and then having our children read them or possibly reading the books aloud as a family.  So as soon as the books arrived, I jumped right into reading the first book.  “Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims” starts with the story of Rush Revere and his talking horse, Liberty.  Rush Revere serves as a substitute teacher at Manchester Middle School.  The story opens with Rush and Liberty aboard the Mayflower.  The story chronicles the events of the Pilgrims and Strangers on the Mayflower along with the crew responsible for getting them to their new home.  Myles Standish, William Bradford, William Brewster along with Squanto and Samoset are some of the important people mentioned from history.  This story includes traveling on the Mayflower right up to the First Thanksgiving.  Tommy and Freedom enjoy traveling with Rush Revere throughout time.


The second book is “Rush Revere and the First Patriots”.  This book includes Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, and even Paul Revere.  This story begins with the most unfortunate incident of Liberty bringing Benjamin Franklin to the present.  The idea of actually getting to talk to these fathers of the United States of America brings wonder and amazement.  Unfortunately, we have only gotten about half way through this story.  But we are enjoying it as much as the first book.  One of the key parts of this story is the introduction of a new character named Cam, who becomes a good friend to Tommy and also participates in the group’s time travels.


The third book in the series is “Rush Revere and the American Revolution”.  This book begins in the year 1775 and examines the time of the American Revolution.  So famous individuals like Dr. Joseph Warren and George Washington play an important part in the story.  In the present, Cam’s father is serving in Afganistan and Cam is relatively angry about the situation.  As the wife of a soldier, I can relate to Cam and his father, especially since we have other family members and friends who have served in the military overseas.  The story also includes the signing of the Declaration of Independence.


The fourth book in the series is “Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner”.    In this book, our group from the future is “Rush Rush Rushing” to the year 1787,  Our time-traveling crew causes a major incident at the National Archives before traveling to the past.  I am really looking forward to reading this story.



The final book in the series is “Rush Revere and the American Presidency”.  This book includes on of the time-traveling students deciding to run for school president.  So Rush Revere and Liberty take the students back to the start of the United States of America.  So it deals a lot with George Washington as the first president and the difficult decisions and issues the country faced in those initial days.


These books do an amazing job of making the reader actually feel he or she is present at the time of the events being described.  At the end of some stories, a list of discussion questions can be found.



These are books that should be shared and make excellent books to be read aloud. Another option is to buy them as audiobooks to listen to on long distance travels or for students who better hearing stories instead of reading them.  By visiting the website for Rush Revere, a variety of resources including specific ones for homeschoolers can be found.  Another section of the website I really liked is the section entitled Revere Riders, which includes a history of how the series began, book summaries, scholarships and even wallpapers that can be downloaded.

Our family definitely recommends this series.  If you would like to read other reviews from other members of the Homeschool Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Thin Stix 6 Pack of Classic Colors


Basic CMYK

I am always looking for new products to do mess free art with, so I was thrilled to receive Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors from The Pencil Grip, Inc.   Our 14-year-old daughter was excited to receive this product and to try it out.

Thin Stix solid tempera paint sticks allow painting without the mess. No special items such as cups, smocks, or brushes are needed.  The quick-drying formula allows them to dry in around 90 seconds while providing a paint-like finish.  They come in a variety of vibrant colors.  They work great on poster paper, cardboard, wood and even canvas.

I love the lack of mess with this product.  Being a homeschooling family, Thin Stix products would travel nicely and could even be used in the vehicle while traveling without having to worry about what kind of a mess will be left behind.  We frequently travel to see family and attend various events.  This is a product that wold be perfect for traveling.  You simply uncap, twist and paint.  Then when finished, you just put the cap back on and put the Thin Stix away.  There is no extensive clean-up required.

Thin Stix will be a powerful asset to families with children of all ages.  Regardless of the ability of the children in a household, the possibilities for use are endless.
The Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors comes with the colors: black, brown, blue, yellow, green, and red.  The company also offers other sets in a larger variety of colors including neon and metallic packs.  I feel this product would be perfect for families with children of all ages.  This to me is a tremendous advantage to this product.  Traditional tempera paints would provide the potential for incredible messes with younger children.  But with Thin Stix, you can avoid those issues.  So this allows for no more messy art while also being toxic free.

My daughter enjoyed using these, but she had found two major issues.  She felt like the tips were too large to allow for detailed work.  She also wanted to use them in a mixed media environment, but when she drew her picture in pencil, again she found the tips were too bold for the detailed work she wished to do.

One of her first pictures was of flowers she created.  Here is a picture of her working on the picture and then another of the completed picture.

Working on her picture
Working on her picture

img_2312Here she is holding the finished work.  She sets very high standards for her artwork, and she felt like the wide tips did not let her complete the picture as well as she would have liked it to be.  I think if they offered sets with thin tips as well as the wide tips, it would allow for greater creativity.

Here is her working on another picture.

img_2307And here she is still working on it.



And here she is holding her finished picture.


All in all, I would say our daughter enjoyed using the Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors from The Pencil Grip, Inc.  You can find these on The Pencil Grip, Inc website as well as on Amazon.  If you visit The Pencil Grip, Inc website, be sure to check all the other amazing products they offer including pencils grips, Kwik Stix, school and office supplies and more may be found.

You can find The Pencil Grip, Inc. on social media at:



If you would like to read more reviews on Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors from The Pencil Grip, Inc., click here or on the graphic below.

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