Friday, December 30, 2011

And the countdown is down to...


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Another's New Year's goal – helping others.

My New Year's goals is to pray more for my children. I've been thinking a lot about specific things prayers that I want to pray for each one of my sons. Naturally, my wife and my biological children are the most important things in my life next to God and I'll be talking a lot about my family goals in future posts. I'm also developing prayer goals for my Compassion International  kids as well, which brings me to my topic for tonight - Missions In Action. Quite a few weeks ago, I introduced you all to an online video series that is being produced by Missions In Action. Missions In Action is a fantastic organization whose desire is to "enable people to make a difference by taking action to help others around the world". Their goal is to post two or three short videos a week highlighting an organization that she can partner with to do just that "help others around the world". My goal was to post each one of their videos on my blog unfortunately, I am way behind. They are already on episode 13 and I've only posted two of them. So, today I went to post two more, both highlighting the work of Compassion International. If, after watching the videos, you would like to know more about Compassion International,  just click here or on any one of the highlighted links above. If you want to know more about Missions In Action, just click here.

Episode Three

Episode Four

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

And the excitement builds...


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Can healthy eating really be less expensive?


I asked that question on a forum that I belong to recently. There were mixed answers. If you've read some of my latest blog posts you'd know that one of my goals this year is to eat healthier. I'm wondering though whether eating healthier is also going to mean a more expensive food budget. Unfortunately, as full-time missionaries we don't have a very big food budget.. So, I've been looking for ways to eat healthy and not break the budget. In my research so far, I've rediscovered gardening, learned about food co-ops, educated myself about CSA's (Community Supported  Agriculture), and found lots of good recipes, but I want to know how you all do it.

  • What are some ways to eat healthy without spending a lot of money?

  • I want my family to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, but how you do it without ending up in the poor house?

  • I don't mind baking my own bread (yes, I can bake bread as long as the breadmaker), but how do you do buy healthy flour and whole grains without spending a lot of dough (bad joke I know)?

  • And, speaking of fruits and vegetables, I got a juicer for Christmas, which I know is another thing that's going to squeeze me of all my money. (Okay, okay, I'll quit while I'm ahead).

Really though, I'm open for any ideas or hints that you can give me. I'll even share them in a post and give you the credit. Just leave a comment below. Thanks ahead of time.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And the Big Blog Changeover Countdown Continues...


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New Year's Resolutions or New Year's Goals?


A couple of days ago I wrote a post on my New Year's resolutions. One of my readers commented that she doesn't  make new years resolutions she makes New Year's goals. What she does is make monthly goals and then blog about them.. Her readers are her accountability partners.  I kind of like that idea. Since my blog is switching to a new blog platform I've been thinking about making some changes to it anyway.. I'm thinking about setting goals at the beginning of the month and then commenting on my progress on a certain day every week. Maybe on the first Monday of the month I'll set my goals and then on each Monday after that I'll give an update as to how I'm doing.

One of my main goals this year is going to be eating right, exercising, and reducing stress. I hate stress. Unfortunately though,  it's all around us. There's stress and our families. There is stress on our jobs. There is even stress and things of theirs not supposed to be stress in..  Just today I went through a stressful situation that had to do with one of my stress outlets. Last week the stressful situation had to do with ministry.

I think that a healthier lifestyle, along with one of my other New Year's goals, reading the Bible,  will really help me reduce my stress.. I'm looking forward to setting goals,  blogging about, and conversing with you all about ways to eat healthier and lead a healthier lifestyle. Hey,  maybe I'll even start a meme  – I think I fill my creative juices flowing. Who knows what will come of this?  So, what do you think? Should I start a goal setting meme? Or,  does anyone know of  a goal setting meme me that's already in existence?  Let me know which you think. We could be each other's accountability partners!

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Let the Countdown Begin!

No, not the New Year's Countdown, the New Blog Countdown.

Oh, I've been blogging on my new Families Again blog - -  for about a month now, but I've also posted on my old Families Again blog - . Well, come January 1, that will all end. I will officially be a one blog person again. My blogspot blog will be the only blog on which I blog daily. Oh, I'll probably visit my other blog occasionally, but it's really time to say "Goodbye" to it. It has given me many great years of blogging. Really, I will miss it, but it has an outdated platform and Blogspot is up to date and looks really nice.

If you haven't been over to see the new blog yet, please do! Again, the address is - . The name is still the same - Families Again, and the content hasn't changed (although I'm sure some of you wish it would!). If you subscribe to my blog using NetworkedBlogs, Google Friend Connect, or somethng else, and you are still getting feeds to the old, green, refrigerator blog, then please let me know and I'll work on the problem right away. If you haven't subscribed to my blog yet, then please do. Just make sure you're on my new blog and then subscribe using one of the methods in the left had column.

And now, let the countdown begin!


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Monday, December 26, 2011

Do You Make New Year's Resolutions?


I've been thinking a lot about New Year's resolutions this year. I don't know why. In years past I've sometimes made them and sometimes I haven't. Lately, however, I've really been thinking about what things I want to change about myself and ways that I can help to improve my family.

I'll save the family ones for later, but here are a few of my personal resolutions:

  1. Learn how to use this infuriating Dragon program. (See yesterdays post.)

  2. Read through the Bible at least once.

  3. Eat healthier. (I got a juicer for Christmas to help with that.)

  4. Exercise.(Time to get out the Total Gym again.)

  5. Clean the basement.

  6. Work outside more.

  7. Plant a garden. (That should help with number three.)

  8. Do A L O T of fixer upper projects around the house.

  9. Start earlier getting ready for our summer day camps.

  10. Be more organized in homeschooling. (The kids should love that.)

Well, there you have it, my top 10 personal resolutions for 2012 – not necessarily in that order. I'm sure I'll think of more before 2012 actually begins. I'll keep you posted as to how I'm doing.

So what are your New Year's resolutions for this year? Have you made them yet? Do you usually make them? If you want to share just leave me a comment. We'd love to hear from you.

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

I'm Playing With My New Toy

Yes, I indeed wrote the following all using my new Dragon - Naturally Speaking program. I know this is a cheesy post, but I really wanted to play with this new toy! Check it out by clicking here - Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home, Version 11. In all fairness though, I must tell you that I am an Amazon affiliate and if you click on the picture or the on the link, it will take you to the Amazon website and I will earn a small percentage if you buy anything. 

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and had an enjoyable day with your family. I sure did. First we read the Christmas story out of the Gospel of Luke and opened up presents at our house. Then, we went over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house where we had dinner and opened up more gifts.

I was very blessed this Christmas. I am really enjoying the new toy that I received. If you never had one you really need to look into it. It's called Dragon Naturally Speaking. Dragon Naturally Speaking is a voice recognition system that allows you to dictate and it will type the words for you. This is really going to come in handy during the next year since I plan on blogging every day. All I have to do is put on my headset, talk into the microphone, and voilà my words appear on the paper. In fact, I'm using it right now. What fun.

Well, again, I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas and don't forget what the real meaning of Christmas is, to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to All


Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Luke 2:11

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Shopping for Christmas is Hard Work! Is it Really Worth It?


John Allen and I went shopping today. Sarah had done all of the shopping for the boys and for me. She had shopped online and in store. She had shopped on the way home from therapies and while out with the girls getting ready for the big meal last week. She has shopped a little for the family, and a lot for others. She has shopped until she has dropped. Making lists and checking them twice to make sure everyone got something on the list whether they were naughty or nice. She has even baked cinnamon rolls for those that we couldn't buy for. She is good hearted that way. BUT, with all of her shopping and dropping, she hasn't left me time to go out and shop for her.

So, today was the day. Oh why do I do this? Why haven't I learned that the closer to Christmas the busier the stores are. Maybe they have been this busy. I don't know. All I know is that it I'm tired. The crowd were nice, and there were no incidents, but I am tired. Sometimes I wonder if it is worth it all.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy shopping and giving gifts. And, many of the gifts that were are buying this year are going to help us live healthier and better. We never give really extravagant gifts. Still, I have that gnawing feeling that we are just doing too much in a wrong way. Do the kids really need that toy or video? Do we, even in the name of health, need that extra kitchen gadget? Should we even be giving to each other for Christmas? What am I teaching my children?

Oh, they know that Jesus is the real reason for the season, but do we really celebrate that? What are we teaching our children?


I don't know if I am even "speaking aloud" and asking you, my readers, this question, or if I am just musing to myself. My children do see us in action at Good News Mission - the ministry that we direct. They know that Mom is often gone helping this lady or that lady (she has a vibrant ministry helping the low income ladies in our town). They lived through the weeks that led up to and the day of our Christmas Meal where we fed 400 (with a lot of help from others). They write to our Compassion International kids and love getting the letters from them.

Still, with all of this, are we teaching that Christmas is a time of giving and celebrating the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ? Especially when I hear comments like "I don't know if I can keep myself from peeking at my gifts." or "Can't we open a gift early?". I think enough is enough. I really think that tomorrow and the rest of this holiday season we are going to focus on honoring God in all that we do. Talking abut the true meaning of Christmas. Talking about the birth of Jesus. Talking about giving more than receiving.

I don't quite know how we are going to do it, but it needs to be done. And it will be done. I need to think some on this and I'll let you know. Stay tuned for some interesting blog posts, and if you think of any ideas please shoot them my way! Thanks ahead of time.


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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Do You Pinterest?


A couple of months ago one of my online friends asked if I did Pinterest. I had no idea what they what they were talking about. Then I found out that a bunch of my online friends are really into Pinterest so I thought I would check it out more. It intrigued me at first. I thought it was a neat concept. For a little while I was "pinning" a lot of things. Then, to be quite honest, the luster wore off and I haven't pinned anything in weeks. Really, all I was doing anyway was just using it as a glorified "favorites" tab.

What am I missing? I know there must be more to it. I really do want to take advantage of it in the right way. How do you all use it? What can you do with it? Is it more than a glorified "favorites" tab? Please leave me a comment and let me know. I'd love to learn more.

Oh, and by the way, if any of you want to befriend me on Pinterest, my pinterest ID is - tink38570. I'd love to hear from you.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Best Christmas Video I've Seen in a Long Time!

I'd never seen this before, but apparently it has been around. I love it! Enjoy.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The World's Greatest Stories


A couple of years ago we had the great pleasure of reviewing a book series where, when it came time for the books to be put on tape, the author read his own works. The fun thing about this children's book author was that he used a different voice for each character in his books. The results were hilarious and very entertaining. It made the book on tape a lot of fun to listen to.

Imagine how entertaining the Word of God - the Bible - would be if the reader used different accents and voices. If it were done half as well as the author I described above, then children would flock to it. Well, that's exactly what George W. Sarris and the folks at "The World's Greatest Stories" has done. George W. Sarris has taken the Bible and read it like a real storyteller. Here's an excerpt from the website of "The World's Greatest Stories":


I couldn't agree more with that description. The day that I received our copy of Volume 1 - The Prophets, we had Bible Club scheduled for that afternoon. I decided to scrap what I had planned and have the kids listen to the stories on the CD. They loved them! They didn't want to stop listening to them. Even the adults in attendance enjoyed them.  I had never heard something like this before and neither had they. I was hooked immediately.

The World's Greatest Stories is new, but George W. Sarris is not. He has been around for many years entertaining folks with his storytelling style of reading the Bible. And, that's exactly what he does. I may call it storytelling, but that's just the way that he reads the scripture - in a storytelling fashion. He is actually reading from the Bible, and paraphrasing or reading from a children's storybook. In fact, there are two versions of each volume available - a King James version and a NIV version. Actually, he isn't reading when he does the recordings at all. That's because he has memorized each passage so that he can concentrate on making it come alive. He has meditated and thought through each passage that he reads.


So far there are six volumes with more planned. We received volume one, but I'd like to order more. Here's what they have available right now:

Volume 1 - The Prophets

The Blazing Furnace

The Handwriting on the Wall

Daniel in the Lion's Den

Elijah & the Prophets of Baal

The Prophecy of Jonah

Volume 2 - The Life of Christ

The Real Story of Christmas

The Baptism & Temptation of Jesus

The Healing of the Blind Man

Things Jesus Said & Did

The Real Story of Easter

Volume 3 - Beginnings

In the Beginning

A Lame Man in Lystra

A Jailer in Philippi

The Story of Ruth

The Raising of Lazarus

Volume 4 - Joshua & Esther

The Battle of Jericho

The Book of Esther

Volume 5 - Joseph & His Brothers

Joseph & His Brothers

Volume 6 - Defeating Giants

David & Goliath

Namaan the Leper

Micaiah the Prophet & Jehoshaphat the King

The Sacrifice of Isaac

Gideon & His 300 Men

I'm not sure how long each of the CD's is, but I know ours was over an hour long. As mentioned before, each CD comes in either King James or NIV and you purchase them in either CD or audio tape. But, here's the best part. Each CD is only $7.95! You can find out more about The World's Greatest Stories read by George W. Sarris by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Also, other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew reviewed different versions and you can find out what thy had to say by clicking here. Happy Homeschooling!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free copy of The World's Greatest Stories Volume 1 - The Prophets in order to use and give my honest review on my blog.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Finally the True Story!

No more teasers. Yes, of course, that was me in thase ridiculous platform boots. Why was I wearing them? Well, this is little known fact number "who knows what"...

I enjoy acting!

We have a fantastic drama committee in a local church, First Baptist of Livingston, that, thankfully, allow folks that don't necessarily go to their church to participate.We used to go to this church years ago, and still love the people. We are still friends with the pastor and many, many folks that attend there. But, because of various reasons, the Lord brought us to another church. Anyway, I digress.

The drama team for First Baptist graciously still invites me to join them in some of their major productions. This is our fourth of fifth time doing "A Christmas Carol" and I revised my dual role of "The Ghost of Christmas Past" and, later, "The Undertaker". The folks who direct and put on this program are fabulously talented and the setting on the stage are first rate. The stage has three smaller revolving stages on it. Each side of the smaller revolving stage has a different scene. My oldest, John Allen, was a stage hand this year and helped revolve the stages between scenes and acts.

These pictures are from our final dress rehearsal. Yes the tall white gowned person is me. The only thing missing is my makeup. Sorry, I can't reveal everything. You'd have to come to one of our productions to see me in full gear! Enjoy the slide show!

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Vintage Remedies - Get Back to A Healthier Lifestyle!


I remember growing up on a small farm when I was a boy. It was my grandfathers farm. We had moved back to the house that my grandfather owned - the house that my mother was born in, when I was in second grade because Grandpa was getting older and needed someone to take care of him. At various times, during the ten years that we lived there, we had cows, goats and pigs, but we always had a pony or two and we always had chickens. We also always had a very large garden. Every summer I would be down in the fields working with Grandpa. Grandpa would hitch up the pony to the old fashion plow that he had and we would plow the fields that way. We would grow hay for the ponies and all sorts of good things to eat. We grew green beans, corn, potatoes, rhubarb, mint, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, name it, if it grew in central Pennsylvania, it was in our garden. Grandpa even financed a strawberry business in order for me to make a little money during the summers. Harvest season was always an adventure. We would sit out in the yard and snap beans. Dad was always busy cutting thing up with the electric knife. Mom was busy freezing and canning the vegetables. The rest of us stayed busy picking the crops and bringing in the hay. It was a busy time, and hard work. I didn't appreciate it until much older. Grandpa was very old fashioned and could be pretty stern and rough at times. He was, however, very loving as well. 


It was also a very healthy lifestyle. We had fresh eggs and vegetables either straight from the garden or preserved using old fashioned methods with no chemicals and artificial preservatives. We would often have meat from grass fed or natural fed cows, pigs or chickens. We didn't go out to eat much, because there were no places to go out to eat in the small town where we lived. We didn't have as many processed foods because there weren't as many on the market.

When unhealthy foods finally did make their way on to store shelves, the research wasn't there to tell us these things were bad.  Pre-packaged ready to eat foods; microwaves; things that lasted longer on the shelves - they were all great! Weren't modern things wonderful? Weren't we making leaps and bounds in the world of science and food preparation? It was truly the best time of our lives!

It wasn't until years later that we realized that things weren't as great as we thought they were. Oh, many of the advances in technology were awesome and great, but many of the things that we thought were fantastic really weren't good at all. Not for us, and not for mankind!

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm no green earth fanatic who thinks we should limit the population so that we can save the world or something as equally extreme, but, I do believe that God gave us our bodies and our planet, and we shouldn't be flippant about the things that we put into our bodies or into our environment. But, is it too late? After all, a whole generation or two has grown up with this unhealthy living. Have the old, healthier ways, been forgotten? Can we relearn them? Can we blend the old, healthier things with the good technological advances that have occurred these past four or five decades?

I think we can, and so does Jessie Hawkins and the folks at Vintage Remedies. Vintage Remedies began in 2005. Here is what the Vintage Remedies says about their beginning:

In the summer of 2005, Vintage Remedies was established to be the part hobby / part occasional job of founder Jessie Hawkins. She would offer her consulting services for local families and professionals that needed to learn more about healthy and natural lifestyles.

The website goes on to say that her consulting work quickly grew into a part time online school to teach more individuals about healthy living and then, even more quickly, turned into a full time business. Since then, over 500 individuals have gone through her courses and she has begun writing books for all ages.


Recently I received the book Vintage Remedies for Guys a healthy living workbook for boys ages 7-13. This neat workbook can be used informally in your home, or, more formally as a one or two year homeschool course. This great book has 18 chapters that are divided into three sections. Section One: Food, Nutrition and Culinary Skills covers such things as Healthy Drinks, Snacktime and Growing Your Own Food. Section Two: Health and Body talks about Healthy and Clean Bodies, Immunity and Prevention, Coughs and Colds, and Summertime Fun among other things. Finally, Section Three: Natural Living covers things such as Hospitality, Cleaner Cleaning and A Natural Home.

Joshua, our 11 year old asperger's son and I have been slowly going through Vintage Remedies for Guys and have so far covered the first two chapters, "Real Food", and "Kitchen Basics". We have loved the easy conversational style of the writing and have learned so much. Joshua has learned the history of real foods and processed foods and has learned how to identify real foods. He has begun to learn how to cook with real foods. Already we have made homemade pizza and baked bread together and we are going to learn how to make cheese (YES, I said cheese) and homemade yogurt soon! All using natural ingredients! Of course, all of these new things that we are trying require parental involvement. That's why I'm saying "we", but I am learning just as much as Joshua and having just as much fun.

It really is fun to learn about living a healthy lifestyle, and this book is fun to learn with. Each approximately ten page chapter begins with a conversational style four or five page explanation of the topic. Some chapters then have a fun one page "tips" section such as "Tips in the Kitchen" or "Tips for a Great Appearance". Then the really fun part begins - the projects. I've listed some of the recipes that we have been trying out (or will be) in the above paragraph, but not all of the projects are food recipes. Some aren't even recipes at all. In future chapters we'll be learning how to make our own natural deodorant and natural cleaning spray but we'll also be going on a "field trip" to our farmer's market and learning how to make "Green Gifts". Finally, each chapter ends with a section for parents who might be using this book for homeschooling or for leaders of a group that might be working through this book together. The appendix of Vintage Remedies for Guys also includes Chapter Quizzes, a section for family, homeschool and group scheduling, and a section that talks about further learning.

We have thoroughly enjoyed this book so far. I've been slowly striving to get back to a healthier lifestyle for a long time, and this book has helped me to accomplish that as well as teach my children how to start when they are young. It has also provided some great discussion times on how folks used to live and to talk about how I used to live. Now, mind you, I'm a little older than the average parent of young children, but you could always use this to open up conversations with grandparents, older neighbors or older folks from your church. The Vintage Remedies website lists this book for $45.00. Just click here or on any of the hi-lighted links above. They also have a Vintage Remedies for Gals and a Vintage Remedies for Kids book that others on the TOS Homeschool Crew have reviewed. You can find their reviews by clicking here. Vintage Remedies sells so much more than homeschool curriculum, though. They have book and courses on all aspects of healthy living. And, they are just a plain old great company to work with and buy from. Check them out today. Happy Homeschooling and Happy Healthy Living!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given a free copy of "Vintage Remedies for Guys" in order to try out and give my honest review on my blog.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Teaser Number Two

I promised I would reveal what the platform booted person was all about, but I am just too exausted this evening. So, I'm giving a second teaser. Where is this place and what is it all about? I would say find out tomorrow, but the last time I said that it didn't happen, so I'll just say find out soon.


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Friday, December 16, 2011

Fractazmic is Fantastic!


Last year, we...err...I mean the father and his son...had great fun reviewing Pyramath. If you recall, Pyramath was a great game, made by "I See Cards" that helped you learn your math facts in a very entertaining way. Well, this year some of the TOS Crew Members were given another set of cards by "I See Cards", but it wasn't was Fractazmic.

Like Pyramath, Fractazmic is another "I See Card" addictive game to help you learn basic math. This time it's fractions that you are learning.

The object of the game is to create as many hands as you can by combining different fractions of the same color to add up to one. There are three colors - suits- of cards. The sixteenth suit is red and contains the cards 1/16, 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 7/16 and 1/2. The blue suit is the twelfths suit and has 1/12, 1/6, 1/4, 1/3, 5/12, and 1/2. Finally, the green suit, i the tenth suit and 1/10, 1/5, 3/10, 2/5 and 1/2.  You are dealt seven cards and you continue to pick up and discard until you can put down enough cards of one color to add up to one! Beware of picking up from the discard pile, because if you do, you have to use that card right away to form a hand (group of cards that add up to one). The rules are even lenient enough to say that you can pick up a card way down in the discard pile if you find that you need it. BUT...if you do you have to pick up all of the cards on top of it as well.

Here's another way to play Fractazmic. This version is called "Trap", but it will give you an idea of what the game is all about.

It sounds like fun, and it is! Imagine the things about fractions that your child will learn while having a blast!

With Fractazmic you learn fraction equivalents:

How many fourths are in a sixteenth?

How many thirds are in twelfth?

What is two fifths if I convert it into tenths?

You also learn to add fractions:

Does 1/2, 7/16 and 1/16 add up to one?

What about 1/2, 2/5 and 3/10?

Or, 1/3, 1/4 and 1/2?

And, the really neat Fractazmic cards make it easier for the kids. Take a look at the picture below and you'll see why.


Do you see how the blue cards had eggs in an dozen egg carton since the blue cards deal with twelfths? The green cards have a water bottle measured out in tenths, and the red card has a ruler that has the usual sixteenth lines on them. Those are visual cues for younger children to look at if needed.

Can you imagine the things in life that this will apply to? Do you remember using some of these skills while baking or building? What if you've lost your 1/2 cup measure, but you have your 1/3? Could you still bake? Do I have enough 6 1/4 inch tiles to cover a 6 x 6 foot space?

Since my two young ones aren't in to fractions yet, I played Fractazmic with John Allen. Even though he is in ninth grade, now, he still has a difficult time converting fractions in his head. This game was excellent for him. I'm going to teach Joshua how to play next. I think if I teach him the "hints" and perhaps play the game a little differently he will really enjoy it. There are a ton of different versions to this game, along with some other ideas for learning fractions on the Fractazmic website and in the free downloadable materials that are available there.

Oh, and do you remember the addictive online version of Pyramath that I played and played and played? You know, the one where you could win a free deck of Pyramath cards? Well, I See Cards has an online version of Fractazmic as well. It's not played quite the same way as the regular version, but you'll get the idea of the game. Just click here - but be warned, it IS addictive!

But, never fear! If you don't win a free deck from the online game, the decks are very inexpensive. They are just $6.95 per deck! That's cheaper than most learning games. Just click here or on any one of the Fractazmic hi-lighted links above to get to the Fractazmic website. You can also check out links to some of the other great I See Card games by clicking here. And, as usual, some of the other TOS Homeschool Crew members reviewed Fractazmic as well, and, I hear, came up with some interesting ways to use the cards to teach their children all about fractions. Just click here to get to their reviews. Happy Homeschooling!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free deck of Fractazmic cards in order to use and give my honest review on this blog.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Who is this man?

Why is he wearing those ridiculous platform boots? Where is he? What is he doing? Tune in tomorrow for the answer to all of those questions and more!


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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

On the 6th Day of Christmas... true love gave to me:

Six Turkeys Cooking (Only 12 more to go!)

Five People Cleaning (Three were Tinkel kids and they actually did a good job!)

Four Trips to Hardware (For parts for the broken furnace - See below.)

Three Cats a Eating (Only one was ours and they were eating the bones from the cooked turkeys.)

Two Tired Tinkels (Both over the age of 30.)

And a broken furnace in the basement! (Thanks Harley - a good friend of ours - for working on it and putting up with one very unhandymanish person helping.)

Yep, this was my day today. Can I add in play practice, passing out flyers, deboning turkeys, decorating, and, and, and, to the list? The next two days aren't looking much better! Please pray that everything will come together for the big meal this Saturday. We already have about 150 take-out plates to shut-ins and the elderly that we are delivering meals to and we aren't finished!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Don't Have a Cow - Give a Goat!


I remember how excited I was to get the Sear's Wishbook Catalog when I was young. I would flip it over (the toys were always in the back you know) and I would pour over every page. Well, maybe not the Barbie and other doll pages - although it was interesting to see what new thing Barbie had going - but I digress. Anyway, I would pour over every page and even circle the things that I wanted. It was always an exciting time. It provided many a day of dreaming for a young boy like me. Of course, when I didn't get what I really, really wanted, I would sometimes be a little upset. I was terribly dissapointed - even as an adult - when they discontinued Wishbooks. It's an annual tradition that my boys are now missing.

Well, tomorrow is going to be another big catalog day. No, not the Wishbook, but another catalog. And this time it's not going to be innocently, but perhaps selfishly, looking for things for themselves. This time they are going to be looking for others. You see, the catalog that they are going to be pouring over is going to be the Compassion International gift catalog called "Gifts of Compassion". This is going to be our first year doing this and I'm hoping and praying that it becomes a tradition. Here's a short video that tells how "Gifts of Compassion" works.

This is going to be a real test of faith on my part. I'm actually going to let the boys choose which gifts to give. I'm planning on giving them $35 at the most to spend. I'm anxious to see what they do with the money! What combination will they come up with?

Mosquito Net - $10.00  +  Garden Seeds - $10.00  +  African Drought Survival Kit - $13.00  =  $33.00

Household Items Kit - $15.00  +  Building Materials - $20.00  =  $35.00

Soccer Ball - $13.00  +  Chicken - $16.00  +  Bible - $5.00  =  $34.00

The combinations are endless. There are more expensive things as well. Have a look by clicking here.

I want my kids to know that earth does not revolve around them. I want them to realize that there is extreme poverty all around the world.

Don't get me wrong. I believe in helping the poor and the needy around us as well. But, you have to remember, we are full time missionaries and direct a ministry to the low income folks in the town where we live. Our kids see the poor and the needy around us every day. This is a chance to give to others around the world that need help as well.

I want my kids to learn not to have a cow, but to give a goat - which, by the way, is only $45.00 through the "Gifts of Compassion" catalog.

So, this year, why not consider having your kids give a gift or two from "Gifts of Compassion". And, hey, if they really want to have a cow, they can give one of those, too. It's only $100. Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above.

Thanks ahead of time and have a very Merry Christmas.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Tinkel Family Christmas Newsletter

Sarah's done it again! She's created another great newsletter. For those of you who are on our email list, you will be getting one via email soon. I wanted to share what's going on with our family and Good News Mission with everyone though. So, here is our Christmas 2012 newsletter.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Ephesians 1:3

Dear Friends and family,

It is so hard to believe that another year has come and gone….where is the time going? Around our house we have been very busy with family, ministry, church etc. God is and has been so good and faithful! He has blessed us with wonderful prayer and financial partners, a wonderful church, great Bible Studies, great friends, awesome family etc.

Our boys have been doing very well. John Allen is a 6’ 1 fifteen year old young man who is starting to ask if we would teach him how to drive!! We are SO not ready for this!! LOL!! On a serious note we are concerned about teaching him to drive and him being blind in one eye. We knew this day was coming…but time has gone by so fast that it is now here and we are a little bit jittery about this new phase in his life and in ours. Please pray with us that God would give us wisdom and discernment in this new season. This month our middle son Joshua turned 11 yrs. old! Again time is flying by way too fast for my liking. It just seems like yesterday I was holding him in my arms and now he is a tall inquisitive young man who loves Jesus.  Jacob, our blue eyed boy who thinks he can do anything that his big brothers do, is growing like a weed. Pray for us this month concerning Jacob. Three months ago the eye doctor found a freckle in his eye. Because of our history with eye cancer for the next year we will be going every three months for the doctor to take measurements just to make sure that it is not growing. The doctor doesn’t think anything will come of it but it does bring back memories of another time with John Allen.

Tim and I are staying busy with the Mission. One of my ladies went into preterm labor in November and had to have an emergency C section. Little Chioz Jean weighing in at 3 lbs. 13 oz. is our newest member at Good News Mission. I love this part of ministry…being able to hold the babies and counsel young mothers on good and Godly parenting skills. We have started our Bible Clubs and are averaging about 12-18 children and adults. Here lately God has laid it on my heart that the people need to know the heart of Jesus. We have been learning how to pray for each other and learning how God loves our praise and how He loves to hear from us…and forus to listen to Him. They are learning to recognize His voice and most importantly of all learning Truth!!!

On December 17th from 12:00 – 2:00 PM we will be having our annual Holiday Meal at the Mission. (We call it our Holiday Meal because it is in between Thanksgiving and Christmas.).  Last year we were able to feed 250 individuals. The majority of this was take-outs to the shut-ins. This is one of the bigger events of ministry that the Mission does during the year. Pray for the volunteers and for the hearts of the people to whom we will be serving. This is such a wonderful ministering opportunity for my ladies who help deliver and help serve. They look so forward every year to being able to be a part of what the Mission is all about…being Jesus’ hands, feet and voice. If you would like to help in some way….PLEASE let me know. We would be so blessed and honored for your help!!!

We would like to thank you so much for all that you do for us!! We don’t tell you enough how blessed and thankful we are for each one of you…we are tremendously blessed!! May God richly bless you over Christmas and in the New Year to come!!!

In His Service,

Sarah & Tim Tinkel

Tim & Sarah Tinkel                             BCM Intl.
829 Hi Tech Drive                               201 Granite Run Drive Suite 260                                        
Livingston, TN 38570                          Lancaster, PA  17601
931-823-9320                                     1-888-226-4685
931-319-2551 (Tim)                  
931-319-3113 (Sarah)
Acct. #0642

When sending in a love gift make checks payable to BCM Intl. and on a separate sheet of paper put our name along with our account number.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

How Many Turkeys is Sarah Going to Cook This Year?

It's that time of year again! Time for our annual holiday meal at Good News Mission. This has been going on at the mission since before we became the directors of it and is a lot of work, but a lot of fun as well and, the rewards are great. Last year Sarah cooked, if I recall, sixteen turkeys in all. She always has four five turkey's going on at once in an oven or a roaster. Then, she de-bones them and stores them in the refrigerator. She'll used to start on Monday and the delicious turkey smells would be with us throughout the whole week. This year the refrigerator in the mission is broken and we don't have as much shelf space. So, she's going to bee cooking them all on Thursday and Friday. So, how many is she cooking this year? Well, I won't tell you how many she's doing yet, I'll save that until the end of this post. We advertise on the radio and pass out lots and lots of flyers. Last year we fed around 250 folks, but weather complicated our efforts. This year we are planning to feed around 400 shut-ins, elderly and folks that live in the projects. We do take outs from 10 am to 12 pm, then feed the ones who walk in. Here's the flyer we are giving out:


Now, I know most of you can't come, although you are invited and welcome if you live or will be in the area, but what we really need is your prayers. In fact, we covet your prayers. Pray that we will be a blessing to many in our area. Pray that Sarah will get everything done and all of the churches that said they would supply things will get them here and on time. Pray for all of those that will be helping. Quite a few have said that they will come to help. We need many that would be willing to deliver, serve, pass out goody bags and mingle and talk to folks to make them feel at home. Pray for our family, as this is always a busy week. On top of the holiday meal, John Allen and I are involved in a large production of "A Christmas Carol". I am in the play and John Allen is a stage hand. Please pray that all will get done and that no one will lose their sanity. Thank you ahead of time for all of your prayers.

So, how many turkeys is she planning to do? How about TWENTY! Yes, I said twenty in a two day period. Call us crazy, I know, but the blessings are immense.We are probably just as blessed by the people that come as they are blessed by our feeble efforts.

Lord I ask right now that you bless this weekend. Bless Sarah for all of the hard work that she puts in to this. Bless the workers that volunteer their time. And, Lord, bless the folks that we will be serving. Please be with us and among us. Thank you so much for the blessings that are going to be poured out this next Saturday. Amen.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Oh, why do I do this to myself?!?

Visit My BlogFrog Community!

I've started Blog Frogging again! Why I do this I'll never know. Don't I have enough to do with Facebook, and Pinterest, and Twitter, and my own blog, and the TOS Homeschool Crew, and the different Yahoo groups that I'm a member of and...and...and? I do it because I love my blog and I want my blog to be known. Not because I want the fame, but I do blog for the Crew and a couple of other reviewing groups and I want to do right by them. I also blog for BCM International and for Compassion International, and I want them to be known. And, not to forget, my own ministry and family. So, I get involved in these social groups. Anyway, sometimes I wonder when enough is enough. Can't I just wave a magic wand and get a 1000 hits a day? No? I guess not. So I get involved in all of these social sites. So, that's what I have been doing this evening, until I looked at the clock and realized I hadn't even written a blog post today. Oh well. If you want to join my Blog Frog community I'd love it. Just click on the Blog Frog badge in the margin. You can join in my misery. Really it's not that bad, I don't want to scare you off. But, you do need to watch that it doesn't suck you in! Happy Blogging!

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Friday, December 9, 2011

A lump of coal for Christmas? Why it could really be good for our kids!


Okay, I'm not really going to advocate giving lumps of coal for Christmas, but did you ever think about the things that you really played with as a child? Really, what were your favorite toys?

I remember that burning the trash was one of my jobs when I was a boy. I actually loved playing in the ashes and punching the trash down into the can with the long metal poker that I used. It was actually a lot of fun.

I know! I know! I must have had a rough childhood!

Realistically, though, are kids spoiled these days? I mean, with all of the computer games and videos and electronic toys and gadgets? Or, maybe we were the ones that were spoiled.

There are only a handful of bought toys that I really  remember being my favorites. Sometimes the least expensive things are the best. After all, you always hear the complaints of parents when their kids play with the box more than the toy that came in it!

I read a blog post today that talked about "The 5 Best Toys of All Time". It's funny, but, in a big way, it's true. I'll let you click on the link to find out what they are. It really got me to thinking about what is really valuable in life. Is all of the glitz and all of the expense really worth it? Is it good for our kids? At Christmas time this is something that maybe we all should think about. I'd love to hear your comments. What do you think?

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Missions in Action - Episode 2


A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the very first episode of Missions in Action. Missions in Action is a really neat organization that was started to help promote missions. They are partnering with different mission organizations to help get the word out about how everyday folks can have a big impact in the world of missions and just the whole world in general. Compassion International, a group that you all know that I love, is one of the mission organizations that they are working with. Episode one and two both talk about how sponsoring a Compassion International child can have a big impact not only on the child's life, but in the life of the child's family as well.

Do you have all of your Christmas shopping done yet this year? Why not give a gift that will not only bring joy to your family but also the life of another? Pray about sponsoring a child. Sponsoring Compassion International children has made a big impact in our lives. We sponsor six children - one financially and we are correspondence sponsors (we write letters to) five others. Each one of our children are special to us. They are members of our family. I pray that the letters that we write and the small sum of money that we send will be a blessing to these children. The amount of money that it cost to sponsor a child for one year is less than some parents spend on one child for Christmas. Please watch this video and prayerfully consider sponsoring a child. For more information just click here or on the links that will be provided after the video.

Compassion International -

Missions in Action -

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Letter of Thanks to Pitsco Education - From Tipster the Cat.


*One December Afternoon*

Dear Pitsco,

As the head family pet, meow Tipster would like to thank you for sending the family children the Medieval Machines Homeschool Pack from your great company. Meow thinks it was wonderfully packed. Meow had a meowvelous time hiding beneath the box and Jo Jo, the family dog had a grand time playing with the plentiful packing that kept everything in the box safe. Things that arrive broken are often met with screams and yells from the Tinkel children. Screams and yells hurt meows ears. Meow does not like screams and yells.

Meow would also like to thank you for the excellent directions for the trebuchet and catapult that were included in the package. Meow does not like it when meows meowster (master - for those of you who don't speak Cat), Tim, has to put things together with unclear instructions. Meowster Tim tends to take his anger out on Jo Jo and meow. Meow does not like anger being taken out on meow.

Meow watched as Meowsters Tim and John Allen (the teenage Tinkel child) sat down together to build the trebuchet (cats are very curious, you know).They didn't know that meow was watching. They thought that meow was asleep but meow had one eye open. Meow heard Meowster Tim say that these kits were recommended for older elementary children (with adult supervision) and middle school/high school students. Meow was sure that Meowster Tim did not have to help John Allen, but that Meowster Tim was just as excited to build it as John Allen so he stayed to help. Meow was very glad that the younger Tinkel children were not present. Bored children tend to get into mischief and like to pull Meow's tail or whiskers. Meow does not like pulled tails and whiskers.

Meow was also glad you included almost everything in the kit. Only a few items were needed. Items such as pliers, super glue and a hobby knife (another reason meow was glad the younger children weren't present). If other things were needed then Meowsters Tim and John Allen would have to go and get them. That would create more of a chance that meow would get stepped on. Meow does not like being stepped on.


Meow watched as they carefully punched out the balsam wood pieces. As meow mentioned before meow was very happy that the instructions were easy to follow. It pleased meow that all pieces were very well marked. Meow breathed a sigh of relief that none of them broke and they were very easy to punch out. Meow thought that it was funny when Meowster Tim's fingers got stuck together with super glue. Meow was glad that it wasn't meow's paws that stuck together. Meow likes to laugh but does not like sticky paws.

It seemed like only a few minutes and the trebuchet was built but meow knows (cat's intuition) that it really took a couple of hours. Then, of course, the glue had to dry over night. Meow was present the next day when Meowster Tim and all of the Tinkel children tested the trebuchet out. Meow listened when Meowster Tim said to stand well back. Meow watched as they formed a small ball with the non-drying clay that meow is glad that you provided and then placed it in the pouch. Meow snickered when the first attempt fell well short of the goal that they had set up five or six feet away, but the weight was finally balanced using the mass plates that you also thankfully provided. Meow remembered to stay well back so as not to get hit by one of the clay balls. Meow does not like to get hit by clay balls.

Meow was not there when the catapult was built, but heard that it was just as easy. Meow wants to thank you for the hours of relaxation that meow has had since your Pitsco Medieval Machines Homeschool Pack arrived. Meow heard that it came with a wonderful book that provided a lot of interesting information and experiments for Meowster John Allen to perform. Meow has slept peacefully without having to worry that the Tinkel children were going to torture meow with some of their ridiculous games. Even without doing experiments the Tinkel children and Meowster Tim have spent many an hour playing with the sturdy machines that they built. Meow would like to thank you very much for that. It has kept them out of meows hair and out from under his paws.Why, meow even heard that they are going to build a real live "angry bird" set to shoot the clay balls at.


*Sudden Interruption*

Hmm?...what's that? Oh what does that dog want now. Doesn't he know I'm in the middle of typing a letter. I'm all paws at this anyway without him interrupting!

You did what:? You told them to make a pig outfit for me and put me in the angry bird set?

I knew it was a mistake when you borrowed that "Lassie Teaches Dogs to Talk to Humans in 100 Easy Lessons" course!

Remember Jo Jo, you're only supposed to use your special powers to do good! You know..."Timmy's in the well!"....that sort of thing?


*Later that Evening*

Dear Department of Paw Services (DPS),

I, Tipster, the Tinkel family cat would like to register an abuse complaint...


*Added by Jo Jo*

Obviously you dear readers are having a ruff time reading this. Like Tipster said, he's all paws when it comes to typing and, when it comes to writing skills, well, let's just say he's barking up the wrong tree. He forgot to mention the price of this wonderful kit and where to find it. I figurrrred that would be good information to have so I thought I would add those details. After all, we don't want anyone growling to Tim about anything.  Pitsco's Medieval Machines Homeschool Pack is only $21.95 and includes a Trebuchet Kit, Catapult Kit, Mass Plates, and the Siege Machines book. The Pitsco website says that it includes hands-on activities that cover three areas:

  • Science: Tension versus torsion, elasticity, gravity and levers, and force and motion

  • Math: Metric conversion, calculating averages, and prediction

  • Experiments: Mass versus distance, testing rubber bands, targeting, and more

You can find out more about this kit and other grrrrrrrreat homeschool kits by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Other TOS Homeschool Crew members reviewed this kit as well and you can find out if any of them tortured any one of their pets by clicking here. I really doubt that any of the other crew members have pets as smart as Tipster and! Well I think that's it. I'm dog tired anyway and I need to think of more ways to agrrrrravate Tipster.


Note number one - Absolutely no cats, dogs, pigs or birds were injured with any of these products. Smiley

Note number two - As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I, Meowster Tim...errr...I mean...I was sent a Pitsco Medieval Machines Homeschool Pack in order to try out and give my honest review on this blog.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Still Looking for A Christmas Gift? Try Bead for Life!

I've mentioned Bead for Life before. Why not consider giving a gift that will not only be a one of a kind present, but also help others as well. Watch this video to see how then click on the above link for even more information. I've bought necklaces and earrings from Bead for Life for Sarah before and she loves them. Why not check them out.

Holiday Greetings from BeadforLife from BeadforLife on Vimeo.

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Test! Test! Test!

Test! Test! Test!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Another Test!

Okay, I've just made another change and I am testing my feed. Please forgive me for any inconvenience. I'm excited about switching blogs, but all of this extra maintenance type stuff is driving me up the wall!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Easy Spanish - It's...Well It's Fácil!


About the only thing this curriculum doesn't teach is how to type in Spanish! Fortunately, I can use online translators so I can look up words and then copy and paste them with their accents. But, let's not talk about my Spanish typing cheats!

But, speaking of the curriculum, let me think of some other Spanish adjectives I can use to describe  ¡El Español Fácil! - The Easy Spanish! from "Great Commission Languages". How about genial (great), magnífico (superb), and fantástico (fantastic)?!? It's all of those things and more. This is a program.

So, why is it so genial, magnifico and fantástico? Well, let me focus on why it is so easy - fácil.

It's easy because it is flexible. This one curriculum can be used for multiple age groups. It can be used with younger students (even pre-school) and older students. It can be used with a parent/teacher (even one that doesn't know Spanish) or it can be used with an older student independently. The book has complete instructions on how to use it in different ways. It can even be used multiple ways with each group. If you have a pre-school child that you would like teach Spanish to, you can take two or three years to complete this first course. A high school student can use this book over a two year time or complete it in one year. There are goals and objectives for almost every scenario that you can think of. Since John Allen is also learning Latin, we plan on using the two year plan and alternating Spanish and Latin. Remember, though, that John Allen is in his third year of Latin, so he has a good grip on the language. I probably would not recommend trying to learn any two languages using any two curriculums if you were just starting out. I use John Allen as an example only to show how flexible this program is.

It's easy because it covers a broad spectrum of learning styles.  ¡El Español Fácil! - The Easy Spanish was written with a Charlotte Mason approach in mind, and, if you know the Charlotte Mason, you know that she liked things to be taught using all of the senses to accommodate all kinds of learning styles. The author of this curriculum, Marie Filion, did just that when she wrote these lessons. Each of the 36 lessons begins with the student listening to a short dialogue on one of the two CD's that come with this program. The student is told from the beginning that there will be some English words in each dialogue, but there will also be some Spanish words that they will have to try to figure out the meaning of. It really isn't too difficult to figure it out though. The dialogue may go something like this:

Belicia: Marita, this is mi padre, tu tío, Señor Enrique Cordero Paco Fernández.
Marita: ¡Hola tío Enrique! Hello, uncle Enrique.
Señor Fernández: ¡Hola Marita!
Belicia: Marita, this is mi madre, tu tía, Señora Isabel Charo Viaña Fernández.
Marita: ¡Hola tía Isabel! Hello, aunt Isabel.
Señora Fernández: ¡Hola Marita!

This is taken from lesson two. Do you see how cleverly done it is? Without knowing any Spanish at all, you could probably figure out that "Hola" means "Hello", "Tio" means "Uncle", and  "Tia" means "Aunt".

After the student listens to the dialogue, he listens to a list of vocabulary words that goes along with that dialogue. Sometimes the vocabulary list can be quite long, but that is the beauty of being able to use this course over a two or three year period. You can always cut the lessons down to do over a two to three week period if needed.

The first lessons are very basic and begin with how to introduce yourself. They then progress through learning Spanish words pertaining to your family, food, clothing, numbers, days of the week, animals, adjectives, and more.

Great Commission Languages - Spanish Level 1

The child listens to the dialogue and vocabulary every day during the week and also does other tasks that reinforce what is being learned. Not all tasks are to be done by all students each week (in a two to three year program, some tasks aren't even introduced until the third year) and all tasks can be adapted to fit your family. The following is a list of some of the tasks with a very brief explanation.

  • Activity - as it says, a short activity to reinforce that weeks lesson. Usually for younger students, but some for older as well.

  • Narration - a Charlotte Mason (CM) task where you recount (could be done in various forms) the story you have just heard.

  • Soy yo! It's me! - another CM method where you transfer yourself into the story.

  • CM Activity - usually done by an independent learner.

  • Teacher Helps - for the parent and/or independent learner to help them understand the lesson and language better.

  • Scripture Memory Work -  ¡El Español Fácil! - The Easy Spanish is a Christian curriculum. In fact, the company that produces El Español fácil! - The Easy Spanish is called "Great Commission Languages" and was written to help folks learn another language so that they can have a impact on missions. Each week there is a memory verse that helps with that.

  • Cultural Notes - Just as it says, notes to help you understand the Spanish culture.

  • Trivia - Interesting things about the Spanish people or culture.

  • Notebook - Each student keeps a notebook that goes along with this course.

  • Front Cover Work - For the younger child,

  • Things to Remember - Little reminders for that lesson.

  • Everyday Vocabulary - Extra vocabulary of everyday words that a student should practice.

  • Independent Learner - These are activities geared toward the older student that is working independently.

  • Journal - Again, this is for the high school student or advanced younger student.

These are just brief descriptions of the things that might be part of each lesson. More information can be found on the website and, of course, in the book itself. Not all of these things are done every day or, even, each week. The book tells you what is to be done on what day. It's all very easy.

Another thing that is easy is that everything is contained in the two CD's and book. You need nothing else. And, everything is put together so well that there is hardly any preparation work involved. It is truly an easy program to use. We haven't been too far into  ¡El Español Fácil! - The Easy Spanish yet, but we already know that we are going to learn much from it.

Finally, one of the easiest things about this course is the price. ¡El Español Fácil!, Level I is just $139.95. And, remember, depending on the age and abilities of your student, this curriculum could be used for two or three years. Compared to most other complete language curriculums, $139.95 is even a great price for a one year study. Also, remember, this course can be used with all of your kids at once, or be used later with other kids if you wish. Great Commission Languages also has a Junior Spanish Curriculum if you feel like this book goes a little too quickly for your young ones. They also have a French curriculum that you can buy. Yes, there is also a Level II, available, but, to help cover the cost, Great Commission Languages has an agreement with Wycliffe Bible Translators that if you will donate your Level I curriculum to Wycliffe, you will get a 30% discount for Level II. Just click here or on any one of the links above to find out about this and all of the other "Great Commission Language" programs. Other TOS Crew Members reviewed other things from Great Commission Languages and you can find out what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Homeschooling.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free copy of  ¡El Español Fácil!, Level I in order to try out and give my honest review on this blog.

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