Who Was Jonah? & Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? from the Kingdom Files series by Barbour Publishing: A TOS Crew Review

Barbour Publishing
 For the last year or so I have included reading a chapter from a biography every day as a part of my daughter’s schooling. They have the chance to choose any person they want and read an age-appropriate biography of that individual. They have had the opportunity to read about a wide range of individuals. Since most of these have been from more recent history, Beth and Grace were both excited to get to read 2 books from the Kingdom Files series: Who Was Jonah? and
Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? from Barbour Publishing.
Kingdome Files Who Was Mary Mother of JesusKingdome Files Who Was Jonah
Biblical biographies are a lovely way to continue our historical study of Scripture. Materials like these are an excellent way to reinforce our worldview that Scripture is 100% historical. These fantastic little biographies are quite engaging! They are structured in a modern way and are written so that even early readers could enjoy them. As long as your students can handle small chapter books, they can read these on their own. If they are not quite there yet, or you would like to engage with these titles as a family, they would also make very nice read aloud selections.  

These two read through the books in less than a week! Even though I only assigned one chapter a day, they eagerly read much faster. They also decided to take a chance to read each other’s books. 

The books are illustrated beautifully inside and out. The color cover invites the reader to dig in and learn more. Within the pages are beautiful drawings which feel like sketches. The pages art structured like a notebook “clipped” notes which are shadowed to give a 3D appearance. 

As far as the information, it is historically accurate and completely compatible with Scripture. I love knowing I can send my girls off to read material which will supplement and never contradict God’s Word. That is a rare find in children’s literature and it is important to know a company is trustworthy. Barbour Publishing has proved themselves to be a trustworthy resource in our household time and time again. 

My favorite part is the “Power File” section towards the end of the book. This creates greater substance beyond just the facts. We are a family who wants to study God’s Word as a historical text, but also as the living, active Word of the Lord. It should and does teach us if we are willing. There are 10 life application lessons directly written to kids so they see that God’s Word is for them too! This is such an awesome feature.

Seeing my girls snuggled up reading is one of the greatest blessings of homeschooling. They get great pleasure reading and learning from what they read. Including biographies in our daily structure. These are great resources for your family to start the habit as well!

The best news is, these are not the only books in the series! Take a look at all these great titles available in the
Kingdom Files series…

The Kingdom Files  WOW! Check out what my Crewmates have to say!   Kingdom Files {Barbour Publishing Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Traveling Made Easy with Adventures in Odyssey!

 Every road trip we takes starts out about the same. We pile in, pray for our trip, and turn on Adventures in Odyssey! We used to travel with our entire case of every Adventures in Odyssey set, but now with the Adventures in Odyssey Club we will usually load on several episodes and listen that way. It’s also nice at bedtime when we are away. The girls are always excited and sometimes have a hard time settling in to sleep. Not to mention the grown ups stay up late playing games, which aren’t always so quiet! This helps them not mind going to bed before the rest of us do. 

On this trip we were very excited to get to hear the beginning of the newly released episodes! We left on a Thursday and returned on a Thursday which is release day for the newest episodes. If you haven’t had a chance to try out the club this is a great time because you will get to hear the newest episodes before anyone else! 
Even when the girls fall asleep (2 out of three here!) my husband and I still enjoy listening to Adventures in Odyssey. It’s a great way to be entertained and we didn’t even bring a DVD player for the 13 hour drive this time! Our favorites are the sagas… Novacom, Dr. Blackguard, The Green Ring Conspiracy, etc. This time we were listening to the Blackguard episodes. So fun every time!
What is your favorite Adventures in Odyssey for a road trip?
Disclaimer: In exchange for promoting The Adventures in Odyssey Club I receive a membership to The Adventures in Odyssey Club. I am not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Advanced (5th & 6th grade) & Intermediate (3rd & 4th grade) from Bible Study Guide For All Ages: A TOS Crew Review

Bible Study Guide for All Ages  Discipleship has been a part of our home since my children were born. One of my first things my husband did as he held our girls in the hospital was tell them how much he loved them, and how much God loved them. He told them of Jesus and sang Jesus Loves Me as he rocked them to sleep. We have always implemented family Bible time as a part of our regular routine and have graduated from using the sweet children’s Bibles when they were young to the girls each having their own Bible. Sometimes it’s hard to find Bible material that is suited to their background. Simple devotions are really not going to cut it for my kids, but they also need to be reminded of the historical facts of Scripture. The Bible Study Guide For All Ages is a wonderful tool for my kids. We used the Advanced (5th & 6th grade) for Rose and Beth and the Intermediate (3rd & 4th grade) for Grace.  

Bible Study Guide for All Ages
Bible Study Guide for All Ages

 We used materials from this company about 5 years ago and one of the really awesome things was when they saw me pull this out they got very excited remembering how much they enjoyed it! 5 years is quite a length of time for kids so that was a good indication of how much they liked it the first time around. Grace had missed out before because she was too young, so she was super excited to get to participate.  

I love the way the characters are drawn and the study is laid out. It almost looks like a comic book with the little boxed which is one of the reasons it is so very kid-friendly. Each box is numbered so it is easy to stay together if you are working in a group. We don’t usually do very much “together” learning as I like the girls each placed uniquely at their own levels. Bible study like this is a little different in that I love having the opportunity to discuss. I did have to call on them to answer because they just wanted to shout out all the answers!  

The absolute BEST part about this curriculum is kids use their actual Bibles to learn. They look at short passages (just a few verses) and then answer questions or fill in blanks on the page. What a beautiful way to begin teaching your children to study God’s Word for themselves! This is truly kid-friendly inductive Bible study in that they dig in to understand what is going on in the historical accounts.  I personally liked the Bible Summary Cards the best. Each book is summarized with pictures to help recall what each book of the Bible is about. This is excellent for all ages, even up through adult! I put these into plastic sheet covers and into a 3-ring binder for easy storage. The back of each card has a series of questions to help you remember the key ideas and important structure of each one.  

Bible Study Guide for All Ages

 There are also beautiful wall maps and timelines for young and old which are fantastic teaching aids if you have the room. Our home just doesn’t have the wall space, but it is a great idea for a church setting or if you have empty wall space in your home.  Bible Study Guide for All Ages   One interesting aspect is that this study starts in Genesis, jumps to Daniel, and then to the New Testament. This is a bit different from others I have used, but I like how it ties the whole Bible together. It really is a logical progression for the way it is laid out even if it isn’t a traditional progression. My girls were absolutely in love with this. They looked forward to doing Bible time together for a change of routine and really enjoyed the work. It only took about 15 minutes each day and they were left with solid Bible teaching when they finished. Using 2 different levels was not at all difficult. The Intermediate level was just a bit more simplified. In the future I would probably get Grace the older level because she is more advanced and could totally hang with her sisters for this aspect of learning. 
This comes highly recommended from our family whether for your homeschool or Sunday School at church!  Make sure to click below to see what my Crewmates have to say!  Bible Study Guide For All Ages {Reviews}Crew Disclaimer  

My Story 1: A New Book Review Crew at NLPG Review

 When we started homeschooling in 2011 I remember looking around for what I remembered as a traditional social studies when I was in grade school. What I found was a lot of textbooks from traditional schools and very little written for the homeschool family. The traditional textbooks were okay for what they were, but what I really wanted was something written from a Christian perspective that did not feel like it was geared towards kids in the 1950s.
My Story 1 from Master Books is exactly what I was looking for 7 years ago and I was thrilled to have the chance to check it out! 
Each page of this curriculum is beautiful to behold. I love how vibrant the photos are and the composition of each page is clean and eye-catching. Many cultures from around the world are represented and valued. Each lesson includes simple writing, drawing, and discussion activities to supplement the written information. It reads in a familiar, story-like way which will surely delight children. I particularly like the journal prompts which strive to help students think beyond facts and infer new ideas.
I really love that the family unit is central to this social studies course. When the world is trying to downplay the importance of family, Master Books once again strives to support parents and teach the biblical basis for the traditional family unit. Also woven throughout are Scripture verses to show God’s hand in all that we see in the world around us. 

My own kids are a little older than the target age group (1st grade). There is a second book for the following year which continues in the same learning style. I really wish I had this available when the girls were younger and highly recommend it. I love how this broader social studies curriculum will prepare students for America’s Story and The World’s Story in following years.  

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the New Book Review Crew at NLPG in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

The Memorization Study Bible: A New Book Review Crew at NLPG Review

One of the most important disciplines of our Christian faith is memorization. Unfortunately, it may very well by the least practiced. I sadly must confess it is not a discipline I have practiced as often as I should. For some people memorization comes easily, but I am not one of those people. I find memorization of anything difficult and tedious. Sadly our facts-in-an-instant society does not help any. We don’t feel a need to memorize because we have such easy access to Scripture. Since this is the case, does it even matter? It does indeed! 

The Memorization Study Bible by Thomas Meyer from New Leaf Publishing Group is truly a unique resource for effective memorization. I greatly appreciate how the author supports the importance of Scripture memorization with Scripture. Looking at both Old Testament and New Testament verses I was reminded of the commands given to early believers which should not go by the wayside. If I truly believe the Bible is as applicable today as it was when it was first written, I must abide by these same commands.

Thankfully this book doesn’t merely state the need to memorize, but also gives resources to do so effectively! The author’s own personal technique is clearly outlined in a usable way. This particular Bible does not appear as most do because it is intended to be used as a tool for memorization. It’s unique layout intends to make the memorization techniques outlined easy to implement.The entire New Testament is broken down in small line segments in order to help aid your memory. 

I especially like the introductory page for each book which gives a brief historical background, themes, and purposes. There are also several appendices which include passages with which to begin memorizing as well as the historical development and traditional memorization techniques of both the Jews and Christians. I found these sections to be particularly fascinating. 

The only disappointment I had was that only one Bible version is available. Other than that, I think this is an incredible resource and highly recommend it as a unique and important study Bible.
Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the New Book Review Crew at NLPG in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Gospel Reset: A New Book Review Crew at NLPG review

Have you noticed that our society has changed rapidly? It seems that almost daily something new an different is the trend and it is hard to keep up. One thing that never changes is the truth of God’s Word. Paul talks about reaching others for Christ by determining how to relate to those around him in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. Romans 12:2 then guides us to remember to be conformed to God’s will rather than the world’s. The pairing of these two ideas is the theme behind Ken Ham‘s new book from New Leaf Publishing Group, Gospel Reset: Salvation Made Relevant.

Ham does an excellent job of outlining the reason for a change in how we take the gospel to our culture. In all honesty, reaching the lost has become a bit of a cross-cultural experience for those of us who grew up in solidly Christian homes. Where as the generation before me had a basic understanding of and respect for the Bible, my generation generally does not. 

The most insightful moments of how the culture has changed were the percentage graphs broken up by age. One of the reasons this really hit me was that the small congregation my husband pastors is generally older and we are often trying to answer the question why there aren’t more young people in the church. These graphics give a clear, visual understanding as to the shift in culture based on generational breakdowns. 

The conclusion is that we must reset our thinking and presentation of the gospel in order to meet the masses where they are, a place of very little knowledge or understanding of the God of the Bible. I think the greatest benefit of this book is opening the eyes of the generations who continue to lament the overall social change of the American landscape, but still assume the average person has a basic working knowledge of the Bible. This is simply not true. My one disappointment was that there was only one chapter dedicated to how to do this now. The information presented in this chapter was excellent and I agreed 100%, I would just like to have had more. 

I personally think this is an excellent tool for anyone within an aging congregation. The first step to fixing any problem is fully understanding the problem. The significant problem now is not knowing how to effectively share the gospel to a generation who has no working knowledge of the Bible. We need to know the Word of God so we can share it with the world!

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the New Book Review Crew at NLPG in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible: A BookLook Blogger Review!

I love all the new resource Bibles now available for kids! I had a Precious Moments Bible when I was a kid and a Teen Adventure Bible when I was in middle school/high school. Do you remember those? One of my favorite parts of those Bibles was the “extra” features. There were little tidbits that let you dig deeper into various parts of Scripture. There were also beautiful pictures I very much enjoyed just looking at over and over again. The key with a resource Bible it to give kids the desire to dive in on their own. This is exactly what the NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible does.

One look at the cover and my kids were ready to dive into the pages. They are very busy pages for sure. This is not a bad thing, but if your child is easily distracted or needs a simpler reading experience, keep this in mind. My girls really enjoyed finding out the history. I did note, however that in Sunday School they would often forget to listen to the teacher (Sometimes me, sometimes not) because they were reading all the extras. Again, it’s just good to know if this would best suit your home environment or church.

The one thing I do not prefer is that it seems to be only available in the NIV. I’m not anti different translations, and I do know this is one of the easier to read versions for younger kids, but we do all of our studying out of a different translation. It is nice to keep things consistent through AWANA and school as much as possible. NIV is not mine or my husband’s preferred version for a few reasons, but this is the only version option. I would like to see this and other Bibles provide at least a few translation options. I realize there is a cost factor to it, but I do think your audience is limited when you provide a beautiful resource Bible like this but only use one specific translation. The side elements should still relate and be the same as cultural and historical facts won’t change from one translation to the next.

Overall my kids loved this and I do recommend it as a great resource for studying more in depth about life and times of the Bible.

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Deceivers: A New Book Review Crew at New Leaf Publishing Review

We live in a world of deception. The prince of this world thrives upon deception and our culture has done more than merely accept it, it is glorified and honored through media and pop culture. So how do we wade through the mire of lies and falsehood presented to us in a constant stream? Deceivers: Exposing Evil Seducers & Their Last Days Deception, a new title from New Leaf Publishing Group, is a collection edited by Terry James and written by a variety of authors. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of religious and social deceptions around us offering unique perspectives and approaches.

Sometimes we have a hard time discerning truth in our culture. A good lie sounds appealing, it is something we want to accept. It usually contains an element of truth, but is wrapped up in packing of falsehood. It is especially difficult if you do not have years of experience walking out your faith. In these pages you will identify the deceit presented as “religion” and be better equipped to recognize it. 

Prepare yourself: A lot of incredibly trendy names from the 1990s through today and named as falsely teaching the gospel in the first chapter. While I am in no way opposed to this naming I felt the it was perhaps too focused on this. I was not surprised by who was listed or what was stated because I already had come to those conclusions myself. If someone is coming out of the emergent church movement or prosperity gospel movements this could be extremely helpful, but I would have appreciated a bit more Scripture to help back up the statements. 
Subsequent chapters contain a bit more practical information although I am cautious to accept all that is written here as absolute fact, especially the chapter concerning prophecies. It is very important to study biblical prophecy of the end times and it is equally important to recognize we are living in the “last days”, but I believe the authors of prophecy, especially in the New Testament, firmly believed they too were seeing signs of the end times and that Christ’s return was imminent. I’m cautious anytime a current teacher assigns particular current events to specific prophecies in Scripture. They may be correct, but they may not. 
The chapters I liked best were ch 4-6: Cultural Craftiness,  Tracking Truth in Deceptive Times, and The Schoolroom Seducers. These particular chapters contained the most practical information as well as what I felt was the most biblical backing without adding personal opinion as fact to the mix. 

One chapter left me feeling rather uncomfortable and a bit confused. It focused heavily on UFO sightings and reports of animal mutilation. The final conclusions in this chapter were that all of these events are actually satanic occurrences carried out by the ancient false gods of the Old Testament and many ancient cultures that require blood sacrifice. I believe the author of this chapter contends that this is part of the spiritual warfare occurring in a realm just beyond our own we cannot fully behold. I absolutely believe in spiritual warfare as the Bible teaches, but this particular chapter left me with little conclusion to the UFO sightings and supposed abductions. 

Overall there is some good information in this book, but I was not as pleased with it as I usually am with titles from New Leaf Publishing. Too many chapters dealt with author opinions, but stated as fact without much for biblical backing. I would be cautious to recommend this particular book in its entirety even though some chapters were useful and of great benefit. 

Books I and II in the Remnant Trilogy: A New Leaf Publishing Group Review

I love reading a good book. The written word captures my imagination and draws me into new worlds like nothing else! These days my free-time is limited, so when I read I only want to read quality literature that is also going to be edifying. I also love historical fiction, but didn’t really delve into biblical literature until the last year or so. I have found that I really love it! 

I was very excited to have the chance to review the first two novels in the Remnant Trilogy by Tim Chaffey & K. Marie Adams and published by New Leaf Publishing Group. Everything I’ve read from New Leaf Publishing previously has been nonfiction in nature. The writing is always engaging and keeps my interest and I was excited to give these fiction reads a try. I am pleased to say I was definitely not disappointed! I was captivated from the start and am greatly anticipating the third in this series!

You might wonder, as I did, how in the world could there be enough about the life of Noah to require three entire books! There are only a few short chapters in the Old Testament and a handful of verses in the New concerning this man of God in Scripture. I was warily curious initially. I have read plenty of historical fiction which took way too many liberties with the facts. This irritates me to no end! I’m fine with a little creative license to fill in the gaps, but not at the expense of historical facts. I am pleased to say these novels do nothing that contradicts Scripture. Don’t get me wrong, the authors absolutely take creative license, but in a beautifully artistic way that does not take away from the Word of God. It was really fun to imagine along with the authors what Noah’s life may have been like, what his relationship with his parents or siblings may have been, more details about the society. It was so much fun to imagine the possibilities! I don’t want to give away the stories, but if you like biblical fiction you will really enjoy these reads! 
In addition to a really great story-line there are some other features of these books you won’t want to miss. There are several sections at the end of the novel that provide further information I found completely fascinating. The first is a section intended to answer questions which you may have as you read the novel. They are focused on the apologetic side of faith and they are very well explained. This could provide some wonderful discussion for a book club. 
Because the novel intentionally breaks stereotypes many believers have about Noah which aren’t actually grounded in Scripture, the next section is very helpful in detailing what is found in Scripture. To be honest, there isn’t that much concerning the life and times of Noah in the Bible so having this factual list really helps clear some of that up, showing where the authors greatly used their imaginations. 
The final section is incredibly fascinating if you have had or plan to have the opportunity to visit the Ark Encounter! There is a fabulous list of details found in the novel which you can see in the various exhibits on the Ark. We had the opportunity to visit the Ark Encounter in May. It was an incredible experience. Reading this novel makes me want to go back and take it with me to find all of these elements! 
You won’t be disappointed by this novel. I also would encourage middle school and high school students to read this as well. This would make an excellent read alongside your studies in apologetics! 
Disclaimer: I received digital copies of Books I and II in The Remnant Trilogy from New Leap Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

How Adventures in Odyssey Helped us Survive a Week in the Hospital

So we had a really difficult time in November with one of my girls. We were in the hospital for seven days and some of the reason is still a mystery. 
If you have ever spent time in the hospital you can agree that no matter how wonderful the care you receive, it’s not a place anyone would choose to be. That was definitely the case for us. We are beyond grateful to the Lord for His provision of incredible medical care, but surviving that week was not easy, especially for my sweet daughter. We had lots of visitors and wonderful friends who brought her coloring books, games, movies, and more. Although she appreciated all of these, there was one thing which helped bring her the distraction and comfort she needed more than anything:
Adventures in Odyssey

I grew up listening to Adventures in Odyssey and my girls have listened to this fabulous series since they were in the womb! Nearly every night they listen to at least one episode, sometimes more than one.

While we were in the hospital my girl would listen to these stories over and over again and they gave her comfort while she fell asleep, when she had her blood drawn multiple times a day, and when she needed to be distracted from all the poking and prodding.

They were my comfort as well. I can quote many episodes almost word for word now. Having these stories to distract my worried mind in the middle of the night was an incredible blessing. 


Streaming access within the hospital made finding just the right episode fast and easy. If you know a child who is not feeling well this holiday, whether at home or in the hospital, consider a gift of the Adventures in Odyssey Club. I can tell you from experience it will bring healing of the soul for the family who listens. 

Disclaimer: I receive a membership to the Adventures in Odyssey Club in exchange for this blog post. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.