Balancing Diapers and Deadlines from Lisa Tanner Writing: A TOS Crew Review

Lisa Tanner WritingWhen we moved to North Carolina I remember praying the Lord would provide just 5 piano students for me to teach from my home. Initially I was discouraged because I didn’t even have one student! Then I discovered I was pregnant with Grace. After she was born the Lord provided 1 student. That was nine years ago. Last year I was teaching 36 students! Woah! The growth that happened meant I had to quickly figure out how to manage it all with littles all around me! We weren’t homeschooling until a few years into my piano teaching business, but when we did that added a completely different dimension. I floundered around as my time became more and more limited. Oh how I wish I had Balancing Diapers and Deadlines from Lisa Tanner Writing  during those early years of my at-home business! 
Balancing Diapers and DeadlinesSitting down with this course was like sitting down with a cup of coffee and chatting with a good friend. The author’s writing style is easy going and easy to read! You will feel encouraged and challenged throughout every section. I appreciated that they were “bite-sized” and I could work at my own pace. If you have ever tried to get anything accomplished with your kids running around, you know why this is important! Thankfully by the end of this course the author will have guided you so that you can accomplish lots with all of your littles underfoot. For the most part, I have already implemented many of Lisa Tanner’s ideas into our home, but it took me years to figure out these needed changes. As I said before, I really wish I’d had this course years ago! Some of best advice concerns how to handle chores.  


I knew I could relate to the author when she admitted her hatred of laundry! I felt like I could have written what she did about how she used to handle the laundry, and honestly how I often do handle the laundry much to my family’s frustration! I have the beginning of a plan implemented, but the post-drying plan is non-existent so it piles up clean. I appreciated reading her real-life example of her laundry plan and although her particular way of structuring this frustrating chores works for her family, I don’t think that it will for ours. The great thing is that it doesn’t have to! The author has inspired me to think outside of the box and find something that will work so that I have one less stress in my life. 


Another section that has me thinking differently is meal planning. I already typically plan meals, but it does take quite a bit of time and I often think there must be a better way! The author suggests a FULL YEAR of meal planning! WOWZA! That is quite an undertaking. She even provides meal plans for you for five full years which is completely amazing! We definitely could use a different system although, again, I’m not certain a full year will work. I plan to start with a month at a time to see how that works. The one issue we are facing that makes this harder is we have had to make some diet changes for 2 of us in the last 6 months. Buying in bulk is difficult because of our small pantry. However, a monthly plan may work out for us. I can’t wait to give this a try! 


I absolutely loved Making Your Minutes Count and have found this the easiest and best implementation for me. When you homeschool and work every minute counts! Not only that, I have two part-time jobs as well as a slew of church responsibilities since my husband is the pastor. I’m also pursuing free-lance writing more fervently. This means that my “spare minutes” are precious few. Having a game-plan in place ahead of time is just what I needed to make this more reasonable. 

Over the summer I acquired a desk just for me in our schoolroom! I love having this space just for me to sit and work. After getting it organized the next step was to get a plan in place. I have a sweet little notebook I use to organize my various roles, jobs, and responsibilities. On separate pages I use a different color ink for a to-do list. I also include due dates so I have an idea of what needs to be done first. This has worked really well for me to organize the craziness of my life and include some down-time for me as well! 

Productivity is one of the harder areas for me. I’m learning to fight against my natural bent towards procrastination and be as productive as possible. What is beautiful about this course is no matter where you are in your life, how many kids you have, or your personality, you will  glean wonderful helps and insights. If you are a work-from-home mama, or hope to be one day, grab this course and start your journey to productivity!

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines {Lisa Tanner Writing Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Forensic Faith for Kids from David C Cook and Case Makers Academy: A TOS Crew Review

David C Cook
Our kids are under attack. The enemy desperately wants to sway them to his side despite our efforts to diligently train them in Scripture. While it is important to remember that each child will make their own personal choice to follow the Lord or not, we must not neglect the ever important work imparted to us as parents and leaders of children in ministry. The next generation is as different from ours as ours was from our parents. The truth of Scripture never changes, but our methods and modes should reach the culture where they are. We were excited to review Forensic Faith for Kids from David C Cook and Case Makers Academy, a fantastic tool which will help kids learn how to investigate their faith just like a detective investigates a case. 
Forensic Faith for Kids
The structure of this book would make it a great tool for a small group Bible study for kids or for your own family’s Bible study time. While it is geared towards kids in the title, I think this is a valuable tool for any age wanting to deepen the apologetics of their faith. It is simply and clearly written so no matter your age you will gain extensive amounts of understanding. We enjoyed reading this aloud together and then having a good discussion. 


The word apologetics can really make some people nervous. I can assure you that you don’t need to be! The way this is presented as a case will give your kids the tools they need to effectively share their faith. We have several friends in our life who do not know, or even want to know, the Lord as their Savior. Some aren’t certain if God even exists and it can be hard to know how to talk to them about our faith. The practical options presented in these pages clearly guides children and adults to know how to share and defend their faith! The story-like presentation makes the book approachable and I think one of the best ways I’ve ever seen of teaching kids how to share their faith. 
The presented story is engaging! Sometimes when I’ve read what were meant to be instructional Bible material for kids which was written as a story it honestly came off as just sort of cheesy and forced. The writing of this book is anything but that. We all thought it was fun and engaging and were excited to hear what was going to happen next. Combining excellent storytelling with biblical truth which instructs my daughters faith makes this book at the top of my recommendation list! 


In addition to this awesome book there are excellent online resources you can utilize! Each chapter has a video segment to be viewed, a training activity sheet and academy notebook sheet to be used by students to remember and practice what they read, and an adult leader guide to help you in teaching your kids or students at church. I discovered there are also adult versions of this book and others by the author which I’m very interested in checking out! 
I was so pleased with this title I’m planning to get the other two in the series. Giving kids the knowledge of Scripture is wonderful, but it must only be the beginning. Using Forensic Faith for Kids we will be giving them the tools they need to practically live out and share their faith. 


Check out what my Crewmates have to say! Forensic Faith for Kids {David C Cook  and  Case Makers Academy Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

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