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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Own It and Grace Unplugged the Novel Review and Give Away


Grace Unplugged the Novel

Grace Trey is an 18-year-old singer as passionate about her Christian faith as she is her phenomenal, God-given musical talent. When Grace encounters her own music break of a lifetime, the sudden dive into the "real world" puts her deeper beliefs to the test. Pop superstardom is just within reach but appears to require some spiritual compromise. Will Grace reject her faith, or will she own it?

Own it mirrors the film by asking what it means to really "own" your personal faith rather than just automatically following in the footsteps of parents, friends, or other influencers. Best-selling authors Hayley and Michael DiMarco help readers understand what to do when faith meets real world challenges.

Stay Connected:
Grace Unplugged Movie Facebook:
Grace Unpluggled Movie Twitter: @GraceMovie
Grace Unplugged Website:
B&H Facebook:
B&H Twitter: @BHpub
And remember to check out the Grace Unplugged movie trailer.

These books are wonderful. Grace Unplugged is a story all teens and young adults should read if they have a dream they are pursuing. Okay, even if they don't have a dream like Grace in the book they should read this book. It is relevant to life today and will inspire them to live life according to the Bible. And Own It should be mandatory reading for all teens and young adults. Adults too. We can all use encouragement to make our faith our own and to really Own It.

Here are some quotes from Own It that I really liked.

"The difficutly of faith doesn't come from the lack of feeling or even action but from the lack of divine knowledge--the knowledge of who God is and of the depth of His love."

"What you feel for something you own is completely different from how you feel about something that isn't yours."

"When you are faking something for the approval of others, even the approval you get is painful because it's based on a lie, and the real you never truly finds acceptance."

"...for many the statement "I'm a good person" carries the same amount of weight as "Jesus died for me."

"In fact, the amount of time your relationships get points to the health and depth of those relationships."

"The degree God intervenes in your life will be directly proportional to the time you spend with Him."

I highly recommend both books. I enjoyed them so much and am requiring all of my girls to read Own It when they are teenagers!

**I have a copy of both to give away! Yay! Just leave a comment and you are entered. Be sure to leave your email though. I will draw a winner on October 2nd.


**"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the 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 Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Catching up on blog reading

So I haven't been the best blogger around. I just get busy living life and great things happen, bad things happen, and I just forget to come here. I really want to because I print out books each year as a record of our lives for the kids. I need to do better. I do.

I also need to do better about reading and commenting on others' blogs as well. I know as a blogger I love comments so I should give the love to others as well.

I spent a few minutes scouring Feedly and found a few things that stood out. I thought I would share them here. Yes, I did comment on each post (I think!) but wanted to share them here as well.

Here they are:

**Mama Katz over at Blogging Transparently for Christ has a great article on Homeschooling with Netflix. She gives a list of Christian movies you can watch with the family.

**The Homeschool Post has 10 Ways to Simplify Your Homeschool. Who can't use some advice on simplifying life?

**Jenn at Chesnut Grove Academy shares their Titanic Unit Study. There are some really great ideas for studying the Titanic.

**Rachel at Finding Joy shares Normal Moms are Amazing. I was blessed by this post and hope you will be as well.


I hope all of these links was early and before coffee that I copied and pasted! And the toddler was having a meltdown the size of WW3 while I typed. lol

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bash and the Pirate Pig Review and GIVE AWAY

"For Stupid reasons that weren't my fault, I was tried, convicted, and sentenced to a summer with my wacko cousin Bash on the Farm of Doom."

I was sent an adorable book to review. Bash and the Pirate Pig is a great book for the tween age group. It is listed as Juvenile Fiction and it is perfect. It is a good mix of Christian principles and storyline that isn't an 'in your face' Christian message that seems forced. I recommend this book for any tween looking for a good read. Boy or girl, they will love this book!


About Bash and the Pirate Pig

Bash and the Pirate Pig, by Burton Cole, is the story of a cranky city kid named Raymond "Beamer" Boxby who must spend summer vacation at his younger cousin, Bash's, farm.

Beamer prefers air conditioning and video games. He can't see what good can come of this so-called country fun that includes riding cows, river rafting with a pig, or playing with skunks.

But hang tight, Beamer, because Bash's zany adventures with his "Fishin' and Farmin' book" (The Bible) just might lead to the coolest discovery of all.

About the Author
Burton Cole is a Pulitzer Prize nominated journalist with thirty years of experience and more than fifty humor writing awards to his credit. He grew up on a farm in northeast Ohio and attended a small-town church with a slew of cousins and buddies. That same boyhood inspires his colorful stories today.

About the Illustrator
Tom Bancroft has more than twenty years of experience in the animation and illustration industry and worked with Disney on films including Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Aladdin. Other clients have included DC Comics and Big Idea Productions.

Bash and the Pirate Pig
Written by: Burton Cole
Illustrated by: Tom Bancroft
Publisher: B&H Kids
Hardcover: 224 pages

Stay Connected:
B&H Kids Facebook:
B&H Publishing Twitter: @BHKidsBuzz

Isn't that adorable? The cover of the book is so inviting and fun. This is a story you want your kids to read!

**I do have a copy to GIVE AWAY!! Simply tell me your favorite childhood story and you are entered. Be sure to leave an email so I can contact you if you win.

Disclaimer:I was given this book in exchange for my honest review. The opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.

Here's a picture of one of the chapters:

'How I became a calf's uncle...' That makes me giggle every time!

Monday, September 16, 2013

School, Oh School

I once had a student who worked on Algebra

She didn't understand it

Not one little bit

She slammed the book and cried, "Mad you are!"

School was going fantastic until we got into Algebra. I should know what I'm doing by now. I took it in high school (I cheated btw) and I had one go through it two years ago. Bethany and I muddled through it and she did some of it alone as well as with her dad.

Fast forward to two years later and we have another in Algebra 1. I'm not gonna lie, our personality faults are bubbling to the surface and they aren't all pretty. It is getting ugly with no foreseeable end.

Our personalities clash anyway because we are both strong, dramatic, and quick-tongued. We have a lot of fun together but when we go head to head, watch out!

Algebra 1 will not will not. We will figure this out. No, she will probably never use it in her life after high school but I had to do it and so does she. lol

For now, we will be doing Algebra 1 long into the evenings and if you hear screaming or doors slamming don't worry-we'll work it out when dad gets home!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Joseph at Sight and Sound Theaters Review

While we were in Branson this summer we had the privilege of seeing Joseph at the Sight and Sound Theaters. I had heard about their show Noah but we weren't able to see it. So when we had the opportunity to see Joseph we jumped at it.

Sight and Sound Theaters has a long history of quality productions. They are a first class theater that offers amazing, well, Sights and Sounds! It is family friendly and worth every penny.

Joseph is the story from the Bible that most people are familiar with. But one that we should all revisit often. The thread of forgiveness and God's providence are woven throughout this incredible story. Sight and Sound Theaters does an amazing job of setting the story to music and dance and visual effects and...

Yeah, it was that good.

I wasn't sure I would like it because I am a pretty tough critic. I direct plays and demand a lot from my actors and seeing a show that does not meet my standards is very disappointing. If the actors don't believe what they are acting it comes across and completely takes me out of the moment. Even if the actor isn't the best actor or singer, if they believe it I believe it. I was so thrilled that the actors at Sight and Sound believed what they were portraying, therefore I believed it too. I was transported to Joseph's family and felt like I was a part of it.

The sets were GORGEOUS, FANTASTIC, AMAZING, SUPERB. Seriously. They were phenomenal. ThePharaoh's palace really looked like we had been transported back to Egypt and the nomadic tribe of Israel included animals! My 3 year old was enthralled with the camels that walked by her. The costumes were lush with colors and textures. They used not only the entire stage but also the sides of the stage out in the audience. There were levels on each side of the audience that enhanced the sets and story. There was also a screen that was used to show videos that blended in with the action on stage and made you look twice to be sure it was really there.

The music was not cheesy. I had to get that out there. Sometimes when we go to a production the sets, costumes, and everything else will be fine but then the music starts playing and it sounds like they recorded it in their basement closet. Not at Sight and Sound Theaters. The music was full and gorgeous. The orchestrations were beautiful, the lyrics were simple and not dorky, and they were both delivered beautifully. I enjoyed listening to them and would even buy the CD. My husband said the same thing and he is a professional singer with CD's of his own out there! That's saying something.

I just really can't say enough about our experience at Sight and Sound Theaters production of Joseph. It was simply wonderful. The theater is beautiful, the people were helpful, and the quality of the production was fantastic. This is a family show that is appropriate for all ages. If you have the chance to go...Do it!

There are videos you can watch on the website but I couldn't get them to load here. I highly recommend watching them if you need to see for yourself how amazing this show is. You can find ticket information there as well. Tickets are Adult: $43.00,Teen: $25.00,Child: $18.00. You can buy tickets Here. Just don't forget to choose either Branson or Lancaster! But hurry because Joseph is only running through October 18th and you won't want to miss it.


Here is a little about the theater. You can find out more Here.

Sight & Sound Theatres is the largest faith-based live theatre in the country and has been described as "Christian Broadway." Last year, nearly a million people from around the world came to experience a production at one of Sight & Sound's theatres in Lancaster County, Pa., and Branson, Mo. The Lancaster County location is one of the top three theatre destinations in the country.

In 2013, the organization celebrates 37 years of public productions, but Sight & Soundâs roots go even deeper. Founder Glenn Eshelman, a native of Lancaster County, began to develop his gifting as an artist as a young child on his familyâs farm. His landscape painting led to photographing inspirational scenes that were then presented to churches, schools and civic organizations across the U.S. with a single slide projector and screen, along with a turntable and microphone to provide sound.


I know if you go to a Sight and Sound Theaters production you won't be disappointed. We can't wait for the next production, Jonah!

I received free tickets in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.


Dixie Stampede Review

We took a family vacation this summer to Branson. We do it every year but this year we decided to spice it up a little!

I sent a few emails to some shows to see if they would be willing to let us review their shows and the Dixie Stampede said yes! We were thrilled to put it mildly. Steven and I had been many years ago and really wanted to share it with the kids this year.

As the day drew closer to us going we tried to rack our brains to remember what would occur. The girls had tons of questions about it and couldn't contain them. All of them-the older ones anyway! The 3yo was just along for the ride.

We answered their questions as best we could and showed up for the pre-show. First of all, let me say that you should not miss the pre-show if you can help it. The pre-show we saw was a juggler and his step-son. They were AMAZING! We all just sat there with our jaws on the floor watching them juggle balls and balance golf clubs. It was seriously cool.

After the pre-show you are ushered into your seats in the arena. Yes, the arena. It is just like the horse barn we went to with our uncle when he was buying horses. Except the smell of course! Also in this arena there were tables and chairs to sit in. ;-) We quickly found our seats, which are assigned thankfully, and our server was waiting for us. She was friendly and very helpful.

We were served drinks first. Lots of drinks! Our waitress was refilling our glasses everytime they were a little past the half-way mark-we never ran out of our chosen drinks. Then the food started coming out and it seemed like it didn't stop. We were eating and eating and eating. It was so delicious we didn't not want to try anything! A bonus for the kids was that there were no utensils. They were supposed to eat with their hands! Everyone except the 3year old thought that was a great idea. She just looked at the table and tried to find the silverware. She eventually ate with her hands but went through a bunch of napkins. ;-)

We were completely stuffed. The food is incredibly delicious and the service was fantastic. And they have a vegetarian meal as well!

The show was amazing as well. The horses, buffalo, ostrich races (my favorite, I think), lumberjack races, singing, dancing, magic tricks, pig races, and more all while the North and South compete for flags to win the day.

This is a family show that all ages will not only enjoy but ask to go back again and again.

From the website:

Minutes from miles of everything, including Silver Dollar City Family Adventures Theme Park, family members of all ages and groups of all sizes agree that Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede Dinner and Show is the perfect combination of world class entertainment and fantastic four course dining!

If that wasn't enough, in addition to our main event, every Dixie Stampede ticket also includes pre-show entertainment in our world famous Carriage Room featuring our Opening Act where the entire family can enjoy the fun and excitement of our fabulous opening act.

Only Dixie Stampede brings you this diverse mix of talent in such a family-friendly atmosphere. You won’t want to miss it!

Here is some additional information you should know:

  • Children under the age of 3 are free only if they sit in a parent's lap and eat from their plate. If you wish for your child to receive a seat or a meal, a regular children's admission will apply.
  • The Carriage Room Opening Act begins 50 minutes prior to our exciting show. Plan ahead so you don't miss our fabulous opening act!
  • Each Dixie Stampede Show Ticket includes general admission, a fabulous four-course feast, and spectacular show.
  • Delicious Vegetarian meals are available upon request.
  • Our facilities are fully accessible for individuals with special needs. Please advise us if members of your party have a wheelchair, hearing assistance or other special needs and we will gladly accommodate you.
  • The Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction involves live animals, dramatic lighting, sound and pyrotechnics. If you or anyone in your party has allergies or medical conditions, please be advised to take the necessary precautions prior to entering the facility.

Ticket Prices vary according to show and time of year. But generally the Adult prices are $50 and the kids $24.61. Always check ticket prices through their website or calling to make sure you know your total. Like I said, it is pricey but oh so worth it!

You can contact Dixie Stampede here:

3849 Parkway

Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 453 4400

Or visit their website.

I recommend the Dixie Stampede for the whole family. It is good, wholesome, amazing fun that everyone will enjoy.


I was given discount tickets in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are my own and companies are not guaranteed positive reviews.

Grand Performances!








Four Course Meal