Tag Archives: reviews

Parenting Made Practical ~ a Crew review

Being a parent is hard, so resources to help us along the way can be terribly beneficial. Parenting Made Practical strives to help parents raise their children well through materials such as the DVD and workbook combination  Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works?

parenting made practical

Parenting Made Practical was created by Joey and Carla Link. The Links are parent educators who have worked for many years in various ministries and educational settings. Much of the material they have created and share have been developed because of needs that they saw and dealt with during the ministries, as well as how they handled the parenting of their own children, now grown. The goal of Parenting Made Practical is to “encourage, equip, and empower parents to raise obedient, respectful, and responsible children in today’s challenging world.” I love this goal! This is what every parent I know wants to do and the Links have set about helping parents the best ways they know how.

Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works? is part of the Parent’s Night Out workshop that the Links present. It is presented here separate from the rest of the workshop and is directed both at parents and at teens/young adults old enough to be thinking about dating, in any form.

Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate...What Works? DVD & Workbooks

The DVD and workbooks are set up in two sessions, each running approximately 50 minutes. The first session is titled Developing Your Dating Philosophy. The second session is titled How to Make It Work.

In Developing Your Dating Philosophy the Links present three different dating “philosophies” or ways of getting to know someone of the opposite gender. They share what they see as the pros and cons of each philosophy. After looking at Cultural Dating and Courtship Dating, the Links present Friendship Dating. This is, obviously, their preferred approach to dating. They spend quite a bit of time presenting the framework for how they approach this type of dating. They explain the four corners of growth and then define the levels of a relationship leading to marriage within each area. They also look at the areas of concern to address, and how the couple in the relationship take responsibility for growth in all of the areas.


In How to Make It Work, the Links present ideas about how to approach Friendship Dating with young adults, and how to put this process into action. They review the four corners of growth and the levels of the relationship. Then they share possible goals for each area. This is the “practical application” part of the DVD and workbook. The Links walk parents and those in the relationship through setting up goals, putting a plan into place, and getting affirmation by parents.

Due to the background of the Links, I expected there to be a much more direct biblical approach and application to this workshop. I was disappointed that the biblical direction was not very strong.

As parents, we had really looked forward to this DVD, hoping that it would give us more practical information on how to develop a philosophy on guy/girl relationships before our oldest daughter reaches the age at which she wants to talk about it. The session about Developing Your Dating Philosophy did not actually guide us in developing a philosophy. Rather it was expected that you would adopt the one presented on Friendship Dating. We did not feel that there were any fresh, new ideas presented here and the guidance for parents to create their own philosophy was missing.

This DVD did not resonate with us and seems very difficult to implement. It is not realistic to expect a couple to begin their relationship by mapping out a series of goals and lists, ignoring emotion and feeling. When there are so many lists to check and goals to meet, the human element and emotion is missing. Yet that is what drives deep and meaningful relationships. Why would we choose to hide this part of God’s plan?


If you choose to purchase this, be aware that it takes some work to use the workbook alongside the DVD. There are paragraphs of additional information shared in the workbook, which is good, but makes it difficult to follow. Not all of the important ideas from the video are shared in the workbook and they flash on the screen fast. The workbook is a useful resource and could be used without the DVD, though it doesn’t appear to be sold that way.

The video quality of the DVD is very good. The lighting, video quality, and camera angles were well done. However, the sound quality was disruptive. There were significant variations in the voice levels and I had to constantly turn the volume up and down, depending on who was speaking. I normally listen to things with our volume level at 15. I had to turn Mrs. Link up to 35 most of the time but immediately turn it back down when Mr. Link began speaking. Addressing this would definitely help make the DVD a much more pleasant workshop to view.


This could be a good program for parents who are confused about what they want to present to their children about dating. The examples on types of dating and the issues/concerns about them are helpful. There are good examples of how to deal with questions children may have and ideas of how to guide students as they grow into the area of wanting to spend more time with someone of the opposite gender.

In closing out this review, I want to share a thought that has stuck with me since I watched the DVD. I think it is a highlight of their video, though it really doesn’t have anything to do with dating philosophies.

If a teen doesn’t trust parents for help in guy/girl relationships, the bigger question is this – will they trust God?

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The Homeschool Review Crew was able to review several different materials from Parenting Made PracticalPlease take a look at some of their other materials, as well as find other families who looked at the DVD  Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works?. The other programs reviewed include:
Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think (book)

Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave (book)

Navigating the Rapids of Parenting (video)

Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think (Video) 

What Every Child Should Know Along the Way (book)

Click the banner below to read more reviews.


Parenting Made Practical {Reviews}

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CursiveLogic ~ a Crew review

Crew review

Miss J has worked on her handwriting in various ways over the past couple of years and so when the CursiveLogic review became available, I thought it would be a good way to cement the cursive that just hasn’t really transformed her writing yet. It has been a very good experience for her using the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack and The Art of Cursive.

CursiveLogic is a company that has developed a unique way of teaching cursive. It is a process that works well for young students just beginning but also works well for older students and adults. This cursive program is different than any other I have ever seen and I am so excited about the help it has given Miss J.

CursiveLogic workbook

The CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack includes one CursiveLogic workbook and access to a teaching webinar. If you have more than one student who will be working on CursiveLogic, you will need an additional workbook for each student. These workbooks can be purchased separately.

The workbook is thoughtfully created. Bound of the top of the page instead of at the side makes it easily used by either right or left handed writers. While both sides of the page are used, you progress through the workbook on the front side of the pages, turn the book over, and go back through the remainder of the lessons on the back sides of the pages. Miss J would tell you that the very best part of the workbook is that there are dry erase pages at the back to practice on. She would practice her letter string, erase, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Until I told her to move on. She loves the dry erase pages.

dry erase pages

getting started with CursiveLogic

CursiveLogic gives us a wonderfully fresh approach that is multi-sensory. There is the physical, or kinesthetic, component of writing, both with the writing implement but also by finger tracing and big muscle movements to help ingrain the pattern. In addition to this physical aspect, there is a visual cue (color), a auditory cue (a statement for each letter string that reinforces the motor skills), and quick paced curriculum that moves the student very quickly to practical application, writing words by the end of the first week. This multi-sensory approach appeals to the student.

CursiveLogic has a shape-based approach that guides the student through letter connections from the very beginning. The letters are not learned in a vacuum but rather are learned in a connected string. There are four of these connected letter strings. You will notice on their website that there are basic shapes that letters share and these are grouped together to make the student’s grasp of the connection simpler. It is a logical program that students seem to really respond to, if Miss J is any indication.

practicing letter strings

Miss J has done very well with CursiveLogic. The combination of letter string, color cue, and catch phrase has been really helpful to her. I have seen great improvement in the few short weeks we have been using this program.

In addition to the workbook, the Quick-Start Pack gives access to a webinar on teaching cursive with the CursiveLogic program. I learned a lot listening to the webinar and seeing the program in action. The webinar will walk you through a lesson with the program and help you see how to guide the learner. Some tips I learned included how to phrase things in teaching to help reinforce the program and the purpose and order of the letter learning. This was a very informative video to watch and I found it useful to prepare myself to teach this program.

The Art of Cursive

If you are an adult who is wanting to refresh or tidy up your own cursive, The Art of Cursive might be for you. This is an adult-style coloring book, with intricate images and copywork. The images to color are actually made up of connected letters and the copywork quote. They are lovely! They provide some different ways to practice letter connection and to work on the uniformity of the letter formation, while providing the relaxation and fun of a coloring book. This also served as an incentive to Miss J to work hard on her cursive since I told her should could not use the book until she had completed all of the lower case letter strings. She was successful and got to use The Art of Cursive.

One note about The Art of Cursive: While it can easily provide a practice for a youngster, it is not intended to teach a child cursive. It is intended as a refresher for an adult or to help an adult learn through abbreviated lessons. There are reference pages in the front of the book that show letter formation and give practice, allowing an adult to learn cursive through the shortened lessons. This book is not intended to teach cursive to a child; the CursiveLogic workbook is where children need to begin.

I had never thought out the fact that a shape based approach to cursive might be a more logical and helpful way to teach writing but this type of approach has really made a difference with Miss J. Her writing still has a way to go but whose doesn’t at age 9? She has made significant progress in the past month using CursiveLogic and is able to write in cursive now. Her letters are more uniform in size and it is becoming a more automatic way of writing for her. Progress has definitely been made.

Before CursiveLogicafter using CursiveLogic

I definitely would suggest you check out CursiveLogic and their products: CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack and The Art of Cursive. During the month of March 2018, CursiveLogic is offering a 20% discount on the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack, which is the combo of the webinar and one workbook.  Use the code CREW2018 at checkout. Now is a great time to get this program.

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Other Homeschool Review Crew families used this program, as well, and you can see their results by checking out their reviews. Click on the banner below.

The Art of Cursive & Quick Start Cursive {Cursive Logic Reviews}

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Magic Stix markers ~ a Crew review


We had an opportunity to review Magic Stix Washable Markers from The Pencil Grip, Inc. If you remember back in December, we had a chance to try out their set of 12 markers. This time, we were able to try out their set of 24 markers.

We have enjoyed having these Magic Stix Washable Markers. They are vibrant and bright. They are smooth to write and color with. And they bring artwork to life. Okay – I guess that is a bit boastful but they do really show it off well because of the intensity of color.

Magic Stix 24 set markers

The Pencil Grip, Inc. created these markers with children in mind. There are several features that show that to be true.

  • They are non-toxic. I know, most things for children are these days but it doesn’t go without saying. It needs to be said and the Magic Stix say it right on the front of the package.flowers colored with Magic Stix
  • They have a cap that is vented. It took me a bit to figure out what this meant. Basically, the cap that cover the marker tip is solid and keeps the air out. But around that, there are open spaces that allow the air to flow. This is important for children because we all know that one child who puts everything in their mouth. Well, if this ends up in their mouth or worse – in their airway – the air can still pass through while medical attention is sought. That is quite a safety feature!
  • There is no odor. I am not one that is bothered by odors but some people, and particularly some children, are. The no odor factor is huge if your child is sensitive.
  • Magic Stix are washable. This is important. When it got on our table cloth, it took a couple of washes to get it out but it did come out. When it got on a melamine table top, it took some scrubbing and it came off. Mostly – I knew where it was but when someone else who didn’t know was asked, they couldn’t find the spot, so that counts as coming off, right?
  • The plastic case is wonderful! It has a handle that is easy to grip and the plastic latches are easy to lock and unlock, even for little hands. The case is rigid and study. It has a slot for each of the markers and they snap into place. I don’t need a case for markers but this is one of those things that is just a step above other companies. It brings just a tad bit of a smile to my face to have everything neat and organized in a solid case.Magic Stix washable markers
  • They don’t dry out. This claim is one that I have mixed feelings about. Our first experience, we felt like the markers dried out so that is one of the big reasons we wanted to try them again. This time, we feel like they have done much better. However, we still have experienced the warm colors (red, orange, yellow) not working as well as when we first received them.  And definitely not as well as the cooler colors – blues and greens. We did not do a cap-off test. (Some other families did so make sure you check out the other Crew reviews.)

When you get this set of Magic Stix Washable Markers, you get 24 vibrant, bright, bold colors. There are multiple shades of blue and green. The red, orange, yellow, pink, purple, and brown each have a couple of shades. There is a gray and a black in this set, also. There are plenty of colors to make every picture you are coloring come to life with bright colors. And, if you are familiar with how to layer light colors on the bottom and darker ones on top, there is a lot you can do with these colors.

Miss J absolutely adores these markers and uses them often. Several times a week, I find her using them to color her geography page or decorate a card for someone. She has used them to color while someone reads to her. They stay out constantly and are definitely a favorite.

coloring geography pictures

Overall, I do like the Magic Stix Washable Markers better than other markers we have had or used. I do wish the warm colors worked better for us but I enjoy having them and using them regardless. They still make bright marks with a bit of effort and the other colors are all working fantastic. Besides, coloring is good for our spirits, so a little extra time with a few of the colors is not a problem.

coloring together

Check out The Pencil Grip, Inc. and their selection of products for creative minds, including the Magic Stix (previous review), Kwik Stix (review of 12 pack, metallic colors), and Thin Stix (creativity pack review, six pack review).

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Read reviews by other families who used the Magic Stix Washable Markers, some of whom did the 7-day cap off test. Find out how it went!

Magic Stix Washable Markers {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}

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Drive Thru History Adventures ~ a Crew review

experience history

History is one of those things that we either tend to love or hate. Drive Thru History Adventures is a program that helps foster that love of history; it brings history to life.

One of my favorite Bible teachers has always said “Put on your Greek glasses, your Roman toga, and your Jewish sandals to understand the Bible.” Drive Thru History Adventures basically allows us to do this and shows us what it is like because of that. We get to visit the places history happened, listen to experts who know what life was like, and read about the accounts of history by those who saw or experienced it first-hand. And all of this happens through the genius of the Drive Thru History Adventures online curriculum site.

You can access the Drive Thru History Adventures site through an annual subscription or with a monthly subscription. This subscription gives you access to the Drive Thru History Adventures site and also to Adventures TV. What are these two areas? Read on.

Drive Thru History Adventures

Drive Thru History Adventures site

This site is the hub of all adventures. It is the setting for the three courses currently available – Bible History, American History, and Ancient History – and their other materials. Each course has a series of videos that is accompanied by additional resources and materials. In Bible History, each lesson includes:

  • video
  • a piece of artwork
  • summary of the lesson
  • Bible readings that cover the lesson topic/time
  • Side Road – something related to the time or place of the lesson
  • Discussion Questions – a few questions, generally about 5, to initial discussion and thinking deeper
  • Printable worksheet and answer key
  • Dig Deeper

As you scroll through the lesson, there are images, artwork, and pictures that help you place the history in context and get a feel for what it was like. The lessons are set up like this in all three of the curriculum topics.

Bible curriculum

Bible History – This 18 week curriculum takes you through the life of Jesus, through The Gospels. It is the same video series we reviewed last year but it is now part of this curriculum, as well. These videos are so jamb-packed with material that you can watch over and over and learn more each time. Adding these to the curriculum on the Adventures site means that there is even more perspective and understanding being built. The readings for each of the videos is from the Bible, from the gospel accounts. These are done in readers that are embedded right in the site so you don’t have to leave the site to do the readings. Same thing with the additional videos and articles – the Adventures site is hosting them so you stay on their website while doing all of your work with this curriculum. It does take you to a different page for each of the articles or additional videos so you will have to navigate back to the episode or lesson you are working on to access the next resource in Dig Deeper. This is the one thing that I wish were more streamlined but it is not that big an issue; we have a back arrow, right?

American History – This 12 week series take you from Columbus thru the birth of America and the Constitution. We have not watched these in order at this point. We have ventured into this area and watched a couple that went with a discussion we were having. I noticed that the readings are often primary source documents here – for example, the Mayflower Compact is one of the readings. This really helps build the foundation of understanding of the background and growth of America.

Ancient History – This 12 episode series takes the students through the ancient societies of Greece, Rome, and Asia Minor. While our family has watched several of these at one time or another, we have not ventured much into this curriculum area during this review period.

Drive Thru History Adventures

Each of these are appropriate as a curriculum for age 12 and up. High schoolers will possible need to do some additional work if you are looking to count this as a credit but it is a solid foundation towards that or as a supplement. A couple of suggestions on the site include doing additional research and writing papers. Younger students can definitely benefit by watching the videos and there is much to learn. My youngest enjoys these videos and can even answer some of the discussion questions without any problem. There is much here to be used by the whole family.

When you are logged into the site, there is a plethora of information that is available in addition to the curriculum mentioned above. There are expert papers and articles, research, side roads, dig deeper, worksheet and answer keys, and more. Many of these are the same material that is found in one of the curriculum topics but these make them available outside of those curriculum lessons. You can access them by what you are looking for (say a side road or an article) or from the Dashboard.

The Dashboard gives you access to the newest videos or featured videos quickly and you can scroll down and find more. Drive Thru History Adventures has done a fantastic job of putting up some videos to help you get started by taking you around the site and showing you where to find things once you are there. It is an easy start program, for sure.

Drive Thru History Adventures

Adventures TV

This is a streaming site for Drive Thru History Adventures. It is only streaming; you do not have access to the curriculum resources (if you click on curriculum at the top, it takes you away from the Adventures TV site to the regular site) but you can access the videos. In fact, I love the way Adventures TV is set up. It groups the curriculum videos by time period, puts all the Side Road videos together, and all the Dig Deeper videos are together. Each is labeled with its topic. There are videos for additional adventures Dave has taken that he wants to share and some Behind the Scenes videos on things like the Museum of the Bible and the upcoming series on Acts to Revelation.

This site has been where my youngest and I have spent the most time together. From here, it is easy to access a video that might be of interest or might fit something we are talking about in another subject. That makes this a wonderful supplement to many other programs. We have greatly enjoyed the videos related to holidays (Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, and President’s Day). We even may have watched some related to the Christmas holidays because they were interesting.


Our Family’s Thoughts

Miss E is in 8th grade and wanted to go through the Bible History curriculum for history this spring. She really enjoyed learning about the background to so much of Jesus’ life when we reviewed The Gospels last year that she felt she would really enjoy going through the curriculum created to accompany it here on Drive Thru History Adventures. She is going through about three lessons every two weeks. She is accessing it each day and working for 20-30 minutes. The first day she watches the video and reads some of the selected readings. The second day, she finishes the readings, prints out and answers the questions and goes through the rest of the material in Dig Deeper. Sometimes, this takes her into day three if there are several additional resources in the Dig Deeper section. She has been using the printed worksheet to take notes on the additional resources. If you have to keep track of work, this is a great way to do it.

One thing that helps me see how good a program this is? I do not have to ask or remind her to work on her history program. She enjoys it so much that she does it every day. Sometimes, she completes an entire lesson in one day. It is a great fit for her!

Her thoughts:

watching Drive Thru History Adventures

I like it just as much as I did last time we watched the videos. A lot of the material that is in the video is found in the side roads and Dig Deeper, yet it is presented differently. I like that. I like how the whole video isn’t just Dave talking but it includes some fun extra stuff (such as the Car-B-Q). While younger kids could watch the videos, they might have to have things explained to them. I think this is a good level for junior high/middle school students and I really like this.

My thoughts:

Any time we can find a program that takes us right into the thick of history and shows us things we cannot easily see on our own, we have found a treasure. The history presented is clear and based on what really happened. It is a trust-worthy company that shows us Christ throughout time and how God’s hand is in all of the world. This is a Christian company with a Christian perspective. I am pleased to be able to say we fully enjoy this company and think that their new Drive Thru History Adventures site and Adventures TV are fantastic.

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Want to read what other Homeschool Review Crew families think? Click on the banner below.

Drive Thru History Adventures - Subscription {Drive Thru History Adventures Reviews}

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Wulf the Saxon (Heirloom Audio Productions) ~ a Crew review

Wulf the Saxon review

Experiencing history is a memorable way to understand it and Heirloom Audio Productions treats their listeners to an experience of history each time you turn on one of their audio theater productions. Wulf the Saxon follows the tradition of great productions that Heirloom Audio has created. This 2 CD set brings your family almost 2 1/2 hours of entertainment focused on history, values, and adventure.

Heirloom Audio Productions has created a series on The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty, based on the novels written by G.A. Henty. Henty was an adventurer who traveled around the globe to find out as much as he could about the truth of the past and then he wrote novels based on those happenings. Heirloom Audio has taken those wonderful novels and with the help of fantastic script writers, great researchers, and amazing voice talents, they have created a series of audio theater productions.

These are much more than audiobooks; these are audio adventures. The voice talents that participate create an atmosphere that brings the listener right into the story, complete with sound effects and a soundtrack of music that adds to the story. The listener is transported into the story.

Wulf the Saxon

In this case, we are transported into the events and battles leading up to the battle in which the Normans beat the King of England, and then William the Conqueror is named king. At the beginning of the story, Wulf the Saxon is a young man and Edward the Confessor is on the throne of England. Wulf is a thane. He is well liked by the people who work his land and he is considered a fair-handed ruler who keeps his promises.

Wulf is a thane under Earl Harold and spends much time with him. Harold and his men went sailing and were blown off course when a storm came. They ended up in Normandy and were imprisoned. Wulf and another young man escape and are able to make it to the home of a nobleman who is friendly to Earl Harold. He secured the release of the Earl and treats them all well until they are able to return to England. During their time there, there is a battle in which Wulf shows how good his instincts are. Wulf is a significant contributor in the battle win. Harold and his men return to England.

Before too much time passes, the Welsh invade England. Wulf the Saxon once again shows his knowledge and instincts by securing the castle of Prince Lewellyn without any bloodshed.

After about a year passes, the northern areas are in a rebellion against the crown. The king becomes very sick and must pass the power of the crown to Harold. When the king dies shortly thereafter, Harold is named king. Wulf is right there in support of this man who had always treated him and others fairly. As king, Harold almost immediately has to fight off the Norsemen invading the north and finds out that the rulers betray the crown. A slaughter occurs and while this is going on, William of Normandy sails to invade.

King Harold assembled his men to fight when he realized that the Normans were going to take advantage of their weakness. They fought bravely but lost and the king lost his life. While protecting the body of the king, Wulf and others were saved from certain death by the Baron who rescued them years before by providing ransom in Normandy. He took them as captives and returned to his home. This was quite advantageous for Wulf as he had fallen in love with the Baron’s daughter. The end of the story is lovely in that Wulf and Agnes are able to marry for love.

inside CD case of Wulf the Saxon

This is a story that rises and falls with the crown and its power. It takes you on a ride, for sure. There are a lot of people in this story and it isn’t easy to understand who they all are. It is still a captivating story and you can’t help but learn more about the history of England. There were themes thrown into this story that are great life lessons. Some of these:

  • Sacrifice is not in vain – good things can come out of your sacrifice and your sacrifice doesn’t make your life worth less.
  • Love vs. Patriotism – which is more important and how do you make the decision; was it right for Edith to sacrifice her own love and happiness for England when it hurt others?
  • Loyalty – how do you show loyalty? why is loyalty important? when you look at others, how do you determine their loyalty?
  • Betrayal – what is your word worth? what do you do when someone betrays you?
  • Friendship – the ways in which friendship is shown is strong, courageous, and bold in many places in the story.

As always, the minute the CDs arrived, they disappeared into the bedroom of Miss E and were not seen again until I asked for them, knowing I needed to listen to the story for this review. She adores all of the Heirloom Audio Productions and knows so much history because of them. She was able to help me place where this one falls in the timeline of the Heirloom Audio stories.

As a parent, I like knowing that there will be no questionable material on the discs when they come from Heirloom. I can trust that the girls will be exposed to solid history and when appropriate, the Christian values of the characters are brought out. This particular production does not have as many obvious Christian elements as others they have done in the past but it is still full of quality values. As a parent, you will want to note that there are several battle scenes in this, and while they are not gory and blatant, Heirloom does a solid job of sound effects that add to the reality of the scene and experience.

Miss E’s take on this story –
My favorite parts were the beginning and ending scenes where the two young brothers were talking with Mr. George before and after the story. During the story, it was kind of confusing to try to keep track of who was who and what they did. I did like this story but it is not my favorite of the Heirloom stories.

Heirloom Audio Adventure Club

Heirloom Audio Productions has an online community: Live the Adventure Club. As a member of the Live the Adventure Club you will have access to digital files of the stories, listen and learn script read alongs, quizzes that go along with the adventures, and materials to further the learning related to the adventures such as Thinking Further and Defining Words.  There is also access to old-time radio programs, encouragement and devotional thoughts, and other parenting materials. The community forum is also a place where members can chat about the adventures, education, and other topics of interest to them.

other adventures

Heirloom Audio Productions does not disappoint with their latest audio adventure, Wulf the Saxon.

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Wulf the Saxon {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}

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The Crown ~ book review

I honestly had no idea what I was getting into when I started this book but because I am interested in the history that surrounds the Royal Family, I just knew it would be interesting. I was right. And wrong.

I do not watch the TV series The Crown. That made this book a bit difficult. Written by the show’s historical consultant and royal biographer, Robert Lacey, the book is fascinating to read. The full title of this book is The Crown: The Official Companion Volume I – Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, and the Making of a Young Queen 1947-19559781524762285.

Whew! That’s a long, detailed title. And a pretty accurate description of what the book covers.

The history surrounding the crowing of Elizabeth II at a very young age is where the book starts. It covers much of the royal family, jumping somewhat back and forth between people. And since so many of them have similar names, there can easily be confusion about which person is being talked about. There is a House Of Windsor family tree at the beginning and consulting it often helped.

Robert Lacey did a very nice job with this book, relating well between the TV series and the actual history. One of the parts that would have made this easier would be to have seen the series. A big part of what this companion does is to show you where there were liberties taken in the series over the actual history. I found these parts difficult since I didn’t know the series but if you did, I can only imagine that these would be particularly fascinating.

This book was not a fast read for me but I did really enjoy it. And the photos were just beautiful to view. Some of them are historical photos but many are from the TV series. Again, something that was distinguished for me fairly well.

If you are a fan of the series The Crown, then this companion book will be a really interesting read for you. If you find the history surrounding the Royal Family and history in general interesting, this book will also be interesting for you. You may have to work a bit harder at it than if you are approaching it as the companion to the series but still a very interesting read.

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FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Magic Stix ~ a review

frames done with Magic Stix

Coloring with markers is something that every kid (and adult, I think) enjoys. But markers?!? As a parent, I hesitate when it comes to markers.

2017-12-13 13.27.36

What if you could have a marker that

  • doesn’t dry out when the cap is left off, even for a whole week?
  • is odorless?
  • is washable?
  • is non-toxic?


  • provides bold, beautiful colors?

2017-12-13 13.26.48

Magic Stix from The Pencil Grip, Inc. provides a marker that does just that. We have been using them for a bit over a week with tons of intricate Christmas coloring pages and color-it-yourself frames. And they are beautiful. The coverage is smooth and I can get into those tiny little details with these markers. Even though the tip is one I would classify as a bold tip, it is small enough at the point that very fine details can be created.

We have had an issue with these getting a bit harder to use over the course of time BUT we have used them for hours and hours. Miss J has fallen in love with these and wanted to sit and color with Mom for hours on end. It is holiday time, so we did. These markers have been USED! And most of them are still going strong.

Magic Stix coloring pages

When I contacted The Pencil Grip about the issue, they jumped on the chance to fix it (offering to send us a replacement set) and to use the experience we have had to make their product even better. I took the time to answer some questions for the company so that they can use our experience to improve. What an awesome thing!

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I cannot recommend products from The Pencil Grip highly enough.

Purchase Magic Stix Washable Markers from Amazon. They make a fantastic addition to your art supplies.

And if you haven’t read about Quik Stix and Thin Stix, dry tempera paint sticks, please go read our reviews and look at some of the activities we have done. These are an amazing product that we give as gifts often.

Happy creating!

At Home.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of these product from The Pencil Grip, Inc. in exchange for my honest opinion. I was asked to share about them only if I enjoyed them. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

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