Adventures inOdyssey: Jay Smouse bringing Smiles!

Jay Ice Cream Character Headshot 
We are often introduced to new characters in Odyssey. One of our family’s new favorites is Jay Smouse! Here is a descriptoin of Jay directly from the Adventures in Odyssey website…

Jay might call himself a bully, but it’s only in his own mind. He likes to torment kids with his nicknames and attitudes, but most others don’t take him seriously. He is often his own worst enemy—getting himself into crazy situations of own his own doing. He sometimes hangs out with Vance King, though even their relationship can be adversarial.”

The factor that gives us delight is the comedic nature of this character. The actor (Whit Hertford) brings a likability to a character with a bad reputation. My husband especially really likes this character. When we are traveling and we ask what everyone wants to listen to, he will frequently respond with, “Anything with Jay!” 
Here are some of our favorite Jay Smouse episodes. 
1. Stage FrightBarrett is excited about getting the lead role in the school play. But when his first practice is interrupted by a mysterious booming voice, Emily must investigate the “phantom of the school play.
2. How to Sink a Sub
 When Katrina becomes their substitute teacher, Jay and Valerie rouse the class to revolt, even persuading Olivia to help with a plan to get Katrina fired.
3. Unbecoming JayJay schemes a way to ditch his cousin Cindy by leaving her with Barrett, but Priscilla grows jealous of the new friendship. 
4. Mistaken for Good
 Jay’s visit to a nursing home takes an unexpected turn when an old woman mistakes him for her grandson — and offers him money as a birthday present.
5. Groundhog Jay
 After Jay pushes Priscilla into an unexpected trip in the Room of Consequence, the two of them experience the same event over and over again.
6. The Friend Formula
 Riley is new to town and hoping to find some new friends. For advice, he turns to an unlikely (and unreliable) source – Jay Smouse!
7. Walk Worthy
 Buddy and Jay explore what it means to live with integrity as members of a wilderness troop for boys.
There are many others, and honestly anything with Jay Smouse is good for a laugh and a lesson! Explore some of these stories and more with an Adventures in Odyssey Club membership

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.

Adventures in Odyssey Club: The Essential John Avery Whitaker

Without John Avery Whitaker, Whit’s End wouldn’t exist! Knowing who Whit is and how he came to Odyssey is a complex story which has unfolded in bits and pieces throughout the history of Adventures in Odyssey. The Adventures in Odyssey Club makes is easy to find all the episodes in order! To truly know Whit, listening to the entire series is a must, but here is a listing of episodes in order from the time Whit was a child to give you the essential John Avery Whitaker. 

Whit’s Past
1. Thank You God (Volume 3) 
At Thanksgiving dinner, Whit tells the story of how his stepmother changed his life.
2. The Journal of John Avery (Adventure Club Season 3)
Discover which people and events shaped Whit’s character as a boy, inspiring him to become an imitator of Christ.
3. Blackbeard’s Treasure (Volume 22)
Two young boys, John Whittaker and Jack Allen, venture into a secret cave and fight off pirates in their quest to find Blackbeard’s buried treasure.

4. No Friend Like an Old Friend (Volume 62)
On a bus ride home, Connie meets Wilson Knox, who recalls a tale from his childhood about a science competition and two boys named Av and Al.
5. Great Expectations (Volume 56)
*This one is a little harder to place because it covers several points in Whit’s life*
As Emily pursues her hopes and dreams, she journeys in the Imagination Station to see Whit as a young boy.
6. Rescue from Manatugo Point (Volume 6)
A mysterious letter reminds Whit of a remarkable adventure he had in the South Pacific during World War II.
7. Operation: Dig Out (Volume 6)
An elderly British gentleman named Reginald Duffield arrives in Odyssey to keep a promise he made to Whit many years ago after a World War II battle.
8. The Triangle Parts 1 & 2 (Volume 36)
Jack Allen and Whit tell Connie the story of how Whit met his wife in college.
9. Prequels of Love (Volume 48)
From chicken costumes to phone scams, we hear the stories of how Bart Rathbone, Whit, and Bernard Walton met, or proposed to, their wives.

10. Charlotte (Adventure Club Season 5)

A friendly game of chess ends abruptly when painful memories put Whit and Wilson’s friendship to the test.

11. Memories of Jerry (Volume 27)
An old postcard triggers Jason Whittaker’s memories about the last weekend he spent with his older brother, Jerry.
12. Recollections (Volume 1)
Whit’s best friend, Tom Riley, tells Connie the story of how Whit’s End was created amid tragic circumstances.

13. Clara (Volume 28)
*This takes place in the middle of the Recollections story*
Jack Allen tells Eugene about a shocking incident from his past. Whit gets angry and says that he never wants to see Jack again.
Whit’s Life in Odyssey
14. A Member of the Family 1 & 2 (Volume 1)
When Whit’s grandson, Monty, arrives for a summer in Odyssey, the family finds they are in for more trouble–and more healing–than they expected.

15. The Blackguard Chronicles episodes 1-12

16. A Day in the Life (Volume 11)

A Hollywood film company comes to Odyssey to make a movie about the town.

17. The Mortal Coil 1 & 2 (Volume 16)

Whit programs the Imagination Station to show what life after death might be like. Against the advice of Tom Riley, he tries the program on himself . . . with dangerous results.
18. The Jesus Cloth (Volume 18)
The appearance of a piece of cloth supposedly from Jesus’ robe creates great hubbub in Odyssey.
19. Gone… (Volume 21)
Bernard and Eugene return from their long road trip to Odyssey, where things always stay the same. Or so they think.
21. …But Not Forgotten  (Volume 21)
Tom Riley, Connie, and Eugene find that running Whit’s End takes more time than they thought. Tom asks an old friend of Whit’s, Jack Allen, to help out.
22. The Search for Whit 1-3  (Volume 27)
Jason and Eugene get a cryptic message from Whit in the Middle East, which leads them on a wild investigation that could change Christian history as we know it.
23. Home Sweet Home  (Volume 28)
Whit finally returns to Odyssey–but Connie can’t seem to meet up with him.
24. The Decision  (Volume 28)
Whit must decide whether or not to accept an offer to return to the mission field, and so Connie sets out to prove that he is needed in Odyssey.
25. It’s a Wrap! (Volume 28)
Lucy Cunningham-Schultz and the Kids’ Radio team take an in-depth look at Whit’s End and the return of John Avery Whittaker.
26. For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls 1-3 (Volume 29)
Someone is getting married in Odyssey . . . but who? Is it John Whittaker and Margaret Faye, Eugene Meltsner and Katrina Shanks, or Jack Allen and Joanne Woodston?
27. Faster than a Speeding Ticket (Volume 30)
Whit gets a speeding ticket, and Dwayne Oswald gets a D on a history test. Both believe they were the victims of mistakes.
28. Blackgaard’s Revenge 1 &2 (Volume 33)
A virus implanted in the Imagination Station with Dr. Blackgaard’s personality surfaces and must be destroyed before it takes hold over Aubrey
29.  Novacom Saga*Entire Album*
30.  No Way Out 1 & 2 (Volume 42)
Whit finds himself trapped in a room with no doors or windows. Meanwhile, “Marvelous” Marvin Washington investigates strange happenings around his house.

31.  Silent Night (Volume 45)

*Flashback Episode*
At home alone on Christmas Eve, Whit remembers holidays past that were difficult–but still made for treasured family memories.
32.  The Poor Rich Guy (Volume 46)
Grady McKay decides that the Bible “makes no sense” after Marvin Washington and his sister, Tamika, conclude that Whit can’t go to heaven because he’s rich.
33.  The Ties That Bind (Volume 58)
*Entire Album*
34.  Between the Lines 1 & 2 (Volume 60)
When Connie seems to have a connection with a handyman, Wooton and Penny get the idea to set them up on a blind date. Meanwhile, Whit and Lilly Graham try to get to the bottom of his health issues and Whit’s daughter Jana announces that she’s moving to Odyssey.
35.  The Feud of Mason County (Volume 61)
Whit takes a much-needed prayer retreat to the mountains and lands in the middle of a decades-old family feud.
36.  There and Back Again 1-3 (Adventure Club Season 4)
The Whittakers’ New Zealand vacation takes a dramatic turn after they bump into a friend from Odyssey.
37.  Met His Match (Adventure Club Season 5)
Convinced that Whit is lonely, Penny and Olivia play Cupid in hopes of introducing him to the next Mrs. Whittaker.

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.

Adventures in Odyssey Club: Celebrating a New Year and a New Album!

There is a thrill that abounds in our home when a new album is coming to Adventures in Odyssey! We couldn’t wait for this album, Trial by Fire, knowing there would be answers to much of Buck Oliver’s mysterious past! 

We weren’t disappointed, especially with the 3-part ending to the Mr. Skint and Buck Oliver story arch! If you haven’t heard how this all plays out, you need to go back to their introduction to the town of Odyssey. That would be one of our other favorite albums, The Green Ring Conspiracy

Next you will want to listen to The Ties that Bind. This brings Buck Oliver back to Odyssey and into the lives of Eugene and Katrina Meltzner in an unexpected way! 

Buck is in several more episodes which are a lot of fun, but the most important to this particular story arc is Out of the Picture from Under the Surface

This will catch you up so you have a better background for what happens in The Long End Parts 1-3. This deals a lot with family history and heritage. It also deals with the idea of choosing right from wrong and can lead to some great conversations with your kids. Be aware that there are some subjects which may be a little harder for some kids such as the death of a parent, adoption, and kidnapping. 

We had fun listening to each episode around our kitchen table during the lunch hour. We often do this when new episodes pop into the Adventures in Odyssey Club app, which is the first of ever month for the Adventure Club episodes and several weeks in a row twice a year for the albums. It’s so fun to have early access to these shows! 

You can to by joining the club! It is a wonderful addition to your family entertainment for both kids and adults! 

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

Smart Kidz Radio from Smart Kidz Media: A TOS Crew Review

Smart Kidz Radio   Safe media content is sometimes hard to find for kids. We live in a media-saturated society, but more often than not the available music and video reflect the opposite of our family’s moral values. Parents are ridiculed and made to look unintelligent or at least out of touch and misbehavior goes without consequence. We recently watched a new popular animated movie and were shocked that there were curse words including the use of God’s name multiple times. It is hard to feel the need to say, “No,” to so much of what is available for kids that it is refreshing when we have the chance to say, “Yes!” with excitement. Smart Kidz Radio from Smart Kidz Media is something we can definitely give a thumbs up! 
Smart Kidz Radio  All of the content I heard from this station was 100% safe. It is non-religious, but I did not find anything objectionable or that went against anything in Scripture. I was surprised to hear a section which focused on gender. I was honestly a little skeptical at first, but was pleased that this too reflected our belief that girls are girls and boys are boys. While they can have interests that converge and cross over “traditionally” accepted ideas (girls cook, boys fix things, etc.) it does not change who they are fundamentally. The streaming content is arranged with topics. It is introduced with a short narration and followed with songs along the same theme as the narration. Much of the content was geared towards character education, promoting positive messages and encouraging thoughtful consideration about how to treat others and keeping a positive self-image. I was very pleased that there was a short section about how to view parents. The gist of the segment was that parents aren’t perfect, but they love you and you should always be respectful. This is definitely a different message than what is sent in most media geared towards kids currently. 
Smart Kidz Radio There are a wide variety of music styles, but I felt like the overall it was best suited towards preschool and early elementary. My girls liked the stories which can be accessed in the podcast section the most. They were short and fun versions of some stories they were already familiar with and some which were new to them. I am looking forward to the on-demand programming that will be available soon. Being able to choose the specific content would be helpful when wanting to address a particular subject. I think they would really enjoy the Christmas classics on demand and the bedtime songs as well as some of the Bible stories.
Take a look at what my Crewmates have to say! Smart Kidz Radio {Smart Kidz Media Reviews}Crew Disclaimer