This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives raising and educating our children for His glory. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 15th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Literature based approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Torchlighters: The John Wesley Story ~ a TOS review Review

Are you looking for new faith-filled movies for your family movie nights? Today I am pleased to share with you Torchlighters: The John Wesley Story from is a family owned company by Lukas Media. The company’s owner and staff firmly believe that God is honored by hard work, good service and quality products.  With a goal of helping spread his message while you spend quality time with your family they seek to honor God in every way.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men

Colossians 3:23-24

With their business philosophy  grounded primarily by two passages found in Colossians they seek to deliver media and entertainment that are gifts from God.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,

giving thanks to God the Father through him

Colossians 3:17 Review

Our family was granted the chance to review the Torchlighters: The John Wesley Story over the last six weeks. This is an action-packed 30 minute episode featuring the founder of the Methodist movement, John Wesley.

As a young boy, John Wesley was miraculously saved from his burning family home leading to his mother calling him a "brand picked from the burning", believing he was spared by God for a special purpose.  In the video Wesley is shown trying to live out his special purpose by his own strengths and good works, only to find repeated failure and frustration.

Finally after several years of struggle Wesley is able to embrace his saving grace. However, his message is not welcomed in the established churches of the time. So forced with a decision to make, we learn that John breaks the rules of his time and takes his message to the needy, outcast citizens beyond the church walls.

Special features included on this DVD are:

~ Comprehensive PDF leader guide

~ Reproducible PDF student handouts

~ English and Spanish language and subtitles

~ 55 minute documentary on John Wesley

The Torchlighters series is geared toward youth aged 8-12 and presents the lives of true-life heroes from Christian history. The John Wesley DVD retails for $9.99, a great price to help children see what God can do through a “Torchlighter”.

Torchlighter: well-known and little-known Christian men, women and children who in response to God’s call, dedicated their lives to a life of whole-hearted commitment and passionate service to Jesus.

Our family watched this DVD for the first time together one evening. Since then my youngest daughter, McKenzie {5} has watched the DVD 3 or 4 more times. She loves it and says “it is filled with God’s love”! I can’t argue with that!
Overall, we have enjoyed this series and I hope to add more of the Torchlighter series to our DVD collection. Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of this DVD and the other DVD’s being reviewed by clicking the banner below:

Exploring Ephesus
Privileged Species
Unbroken Legacy of Faith Edition
Flight AND Metamorphosis Review


Company ~

Product ~ Torchlighters: The John Wesley Story

Price ~ $9.99

Ages ~ 8-12 year olds Review


Crew Disclaimer

©2008- 2015 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Happy 1st Birthday Micah!!!

Major 12 months 034

Oh my, the year has flown by so quickly! I can’t believe that this little guy is already ONE.

Major 12 months 117

Micah is such an easy baby. He just goes with the flow most of the time and really only cries when he has been in his car seat too much. He just has his two bottom teeth and his smile makes my heart melt!

 Major 12 months 103

While he is not walking unassisted yet, he does take a step or two here and there. But who needs to walk when you have 5 older sisters who dote on your every need :-)

Major 12 months 079

Micah can say Mama, Dada, and {w}Rawa for his oldest sister. He can sign milk, juice and sometimes thank you.  He is all boy too! Climbing is his favorite sport and he is quite proficient at it, climbing the stairs, chairs, and couches.

Major 12 months 116

Cars and balls are his favorite toys. You can find him pushing his cars and trucks around the floor and on the walls {which drives Mama crazy :-)} and his throwing arm is quite strong.

Here is a look back at him every month, starting from birth.

Galaxy Note 3 Pictures 1101 Major 1st month misc 072 eNTRADA hALL OF fAME 737Major 3 months 006 


Major 4 months 037 Major 5 months 018EDIT  Hunger games party 6 months Mboy 376   misc pics 001


 Aunt Janice visit misc 116 Aunt Janice visit misc 332 gymnastics birthday 147 Strawberry picking 004

Major 12 months 007

I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for this little guy as he grows stronger and bigger with each passing day.


We love you Micah!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Homeschool Legacy: Birds of a Feather ~ a TOS review

Homeschool Legacy Review

Imagine spending a week or more studying any topic that peaks your interest. Or just for fun, learning something totally new for enrichment or afterschool. Whether it be Native Americans, Knights & Nobles, Weather, or digging into our Constitution Homeschool Legacy has you covered with there Once-A-Week Unit Studies.

Homeschool Legacy Review

Over the last six weeks we have had the opportunity to review the Once-a-Week Unit Study called Birds of a Feather published by Homeschool Legacy. Once-a-Week Unit Studies were designed by Sharon Gibson, a veteran homeschooling mom of 16 years.

For the purpose of this review I received a digital copy of this unit study in PDF format by e-mail.  Once-a-Week Unit Studies purchased from Homeschool Legacy are also available as physical, hard copies also.

Homeschool Legacy’s Once a Week Studies are a great companion for busy parents. Preparation time is minimal and you only need to make a quick stop to the library to pick up corresponding literature books. Unit studies are a great way to learn about any topic you fancy all the while covering the basics like Bible, reading, writing, history, and/or science.

Want to know something else? These Once-A-Week Unit Studies correlate to your Boy Scouts or American Heritage Girls merit badges. How great is that! Your Boy Scout or American Heritage Girl will be able to earn merit badges all the while completing their everyday school work.


We were able to review the Birds of a Feather Unit Study that is spread out over a four week period. It retails for $14.00-$18.95, depending on whether you choose digital or physical copy and is appropriate for grades 2-12. The best part is that it can be used by the whole family and is easily adaptable so your younger children can participate too.

Birds of a Feather unit is divided into four weekly studies:

Week 1 ~ Bird basics and your backyard habitat

Week 2 ~ Bird identification

Week 3 ~ Ornithology

Week 4 ~ Birds of prey

The unit study covers a wide variety of subjects and activities  to help you get the most out of your studies.

Subjects and Activities included:

Family Devotions from the Bible

Independent and Family Reading

Language Arts



Traditions and Culture


Music Appreciation and History

Arts and Crafts

Life Skills and Gift Giving

Field Trips

Family Trivia Game

Family Movie Night

Fun and Science

Like other unit studies from Homeschool Legacy, the author provides a suggested schedule to show you how to fit it all in throughout the week.


Your regular daily studies

Unit Study library reading selections

Unit Study Family Read-Aloud


Your regular daily studies

Unit Study library reading selections

Unit Study Family Read-Aloud

Wednesday - Unit Study Day

Eliminate regular daily studies

Unit study Family Devotional

Unit study library reading selections

Unit Study Family Read-Aloud

Unit study Activities


Your regular daily studies

Unit Study library reading selections

Unit Study Family Read-Aloud


The 3 R’s (including your unit study reading)

Unit Study Family Read-Aloud

Unit Study Field Trip (or on Saturday with Dad)

Family Movie Movie/Game Night (unit study related)

~ Scheduling your unit study from website

I was able to use this unit study with Montana {8} who loves all kinds of animals. While we were not able to keep up with the schedule provided and fit this study into 4 weeks, instead we have taken each week and stretched it to fit two weeks. we have enjoyed our time learning all about birds and will continue to use this study over the summer.

Homeschool Legacy Review

OVerall, the unit studies from Homeschool Legacy are fantastic! They provide such rich learning experiences that they make homeschooling with unit studies an easy experience for all. I would love to see these unit studies somehow line up to Girl Scouts badges if possible in the future. Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of this study and the 12 other studies {pictured above} that were reviewed by clicking the banner below.

Homeschool Legacy Review

Company ~ Homeschool Legacy

Product ~ Birds of a Feather

Price ~ $14.00 - $18.95 *depending on format

Ages ~ 2nd - 12th grade

Format ~ digital PDF file or hard copy

Homeschool Legacy Review




Crew Disclaimer

©2008- 2015 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

S is for Smiling Sunshine ~ a TOS review

Are you looking for a fresh take on the A-B-C’s for your little one? Well, today I have a real treat to share with you!

Smiling Sunrise Review

The past 6 weeks we have had the pleasure to read and sing our A-B-C’s  with an exciting sing-along book called S is for Smiling Sunrise from WordsBright.

Smiling Sunrise Review

S is for Smiling Sunrise was written by Vick Wadhwa, an entreprenuer and Ph.D. scientist, after he was inspired by his 2 year old daughter. Vick noticed that his daughter was tired of her regular alphabet books and set out to create something fun and engaging.


The 32 pages of this hardback book were thoughtfully designed with four main goals in mind:

~ to teach and reinforce the alphabet to young learners

~ to increase vocabulary and comprehension with colorful illustrations and music skills

~ support character development through positive words and concepts

~ and most importantly to be enjoyed with your child


Printed in the USA under compliance with CPSIA materials for children you will see and hear right from the beginning that this book communicates universal values of goodness, beauty and wonder to both adults and children alike.


Also included with the purchase of this book are several free items to further enhance the learning experience:

word poster
MP3 song
parents guide
teacher’s guide

Sung like the original alphabet song but with a twist, the rhymes are easily memorized and fun to sing. Following a predictable pattern you and your child will pick up the rhythm and be singing all day long!


I was so excited to share this book with my two youngest children, McKenzie (5) and Micah (11 months). Micah is just starting to get interested in looking at books for longer periods of time. They both love music and enjoyed many hours of listening to the the accompanying CD,  Seriously, I think I have read this book over 50 times in the last six weeks and the CD has gotten a lot of playing time, much to the dismay of their older sisters at times.

Overall, we love this book and I see it getting even more use as my littles grow. But, don’t just take my word for it, be sure and click on the banner below and read what my Crewmates thought of this book too!

Wordsbright Review

 Company ~ WordsBright

Product ~ S is for Smiling Sunrise

Price ~ $16.95

Ages ~ targeted at 3 years and up, but the littles enjoy it too

Format ~ hardback book, 32 pages

Smiling Sunrise Review


Crew Disclaimer





©2008- 2015 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Successful homeschooling MADE EASY ~ a TOS review

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review

The thought of homeschooling can a new parent shake in their boots. There seemingly is so much information to take in and learn as a newbie that quite frankly it can become overwhelming really quick. But you know what?! It doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you break it down into bite sized chunks. That is exactly what Successful Homeschooling Made Easy does!

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Course was started by Stephanie Walmsley, a Christian wife, mother, and grandmother whom started her own school at home journey in 1985. It is a 26-week-long online course for homeschooling parents, whether you are a newbie or a seasoned veteran.

So how does it work?

Immediately after purchase you are emailed a PDF lesson of your first week which is on creating a homeschool schedule that works for your family. Each subsequent week thereafter the course member gets an email with a the next weeks lesson.

So, just what’s on the lessons? A wealth of Successful Homeschooling Made Easypractical information to make this homeschooling journey a little bit less stressful and overwhelming. With helpful scheduling templates and weekly assignments you will not only save time but also money with helpful topics like:

  ~ Practicalities

~ Schedules

~ Lesson plans

~ Organization

~ Planning

~ Teaching

~ Housekeeping

~ Extracurricular activities

~ How to choose curriculum and much more!

I have been on this homeschooling journey for 6 years now. While it hasn’t always been butterflies and rainbows, we have made strides and I am happy to say my oldest, Marie will be finished with her formal schooling next week and then graduating in June. We have tried many schedules and many more curricula during these 6 years and have finally settled into a comfortable groove to our day.

Following along with this program is super easy. You can either print out the weekly lessons and store in a binder as I have done or just read on the computer or Kindle. I will say that some of the lessons are quite long, but printing double sided has helped me.

While I did not change our schedule as the topic covered in week one suggested, we did tweak our schedule. I have been racking my brain these past few weeks before getting the opportunity to use this subscription program. Things just were not getting done each day.

Taking the time to read the first lesson and really think and focus on our schedule helped me to see that I needed to go back to the 4-day school week for my younger girls, Montana (2nd) and McKenzie (JrK), so that I could really focus with Mikayla (6th) and Madison (8th) on that 5th day. Just that little reminder has made a world of difference over the last 6 weeks in our school. Things are getting down and that makes this box checking Mama excited!!!

Overall, I am really excited for this program. It has definitely arrived at the right time to help me avoid the classical homeschool burnout that comes with Spring. I enjoy checking my mailbox on Tuesdays, the day my email arrives, and finding out what my assignment for the week will be.

If this sounds like something that may interest you, I recommend you preview the course. Whether you are a newbie or a veteran or anything in between there is something for you to gleam and put into action in your homeschool. Be sure to check out what my Crewmates thought of this program by clicking the banner below.

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review

Company ~ Successful Homeschooling Made Easy

Product ~ Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Course

Price ~ $10 (£6) per month. There is a 20% discount if you choose to pay for the full course up-front - $48 (£30)

Ages ~ homeschooling Mom’s

Format ~ weekly email subscription

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review


Crew Disclaimer




©2008- 2015 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Friday, May 8, 2015

31 Days of May ~ Art {8}

8 art

Math Art with Cheerios as we learn to multiply by 10. Little brother wants to eat the cereal.




©2008- 2015 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

31 Days of May ~ Breakfast {7}

7 breakfast




©2008- 2015 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Real Life Press: The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to…Daylight ~ a TOS review

Real Life Press Review

I had the pleasure of meeting Heidi St. John a few years ago when she came to our State homeschool convention. I was so excited and attended all of her sessions. Unfortunately, I left without purchasing any of her books because of time constraints. So, you can be sure I was equally excited to be selected to review The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Daylight from Real Life Press.

Real Life Press Review

Real Life Press is the brainchild of Jay and Heidi St. John who have created this company to help you keep your family firmly planted in the word. With seven children of their own from toddler to adult they strive to guide their readers towards the  age-old Truths as the basis for our sense of self-worth, identity, purpose and happiness.

I received a physical copy of The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Daylight to read.  It is a paperback book with 195 pages of goodness and helpful tips for the Busy Mom’s in their current season of life. With 8 helpful chapters including topics on:

Intentional Daylight ~  develop a Plan of Action to keep things under control

Organized Daylight ~ de-clutter our lives and homes

Scheduled Daylight ~ have a schedule but remember to stay flexible

Hungry Daylight ~ feed your crew without losing your mind

Discouraged Daylight ~ learn to handle set backs and  encourage others  on their journey

Consolidated Daylight ~ consolidate your teaching with multilevel teaching

Wasted Daylight ~ tame the electronics, social media and other distractions

Surrendered Daylight ~ succumb to the worldly pressure and give it all to the Lord to lead your family

For me, my season is filled with a mobile baby to young adults and everything in between. My homeschool experience will not look like yours. Focusing on your current season and not letting the comparison bug into your hear you will succeed on this journey of homeschooling. There is no need to be a ‘supermom” when God is at the center of your life leading and guiding you.


Learn together

Incorporate individual studies into our daily routine

Focus on relationships (*YES! Build the relationships with your children)

Engage your children each day far beyond academic pursuits


Once my copy arrived, I read the entire book, cover to cover that same night. I couldn’t put it down! With so many ideas and tips to make my days go just a bit more smoothly was so exhilarating. I went back and re-read each chapter a second time and took notes of the changes that I wanted to make within our household.

One of the biggest changes we have implemented is the zone cleaning schedule. With Marie about to head off to college I have realigned her chores so that Madison and Mikayla become a little bit more proficient at what she used to do. It really helped in our daily cleaning to be able to tell the girls to clean their zone. Not to mention the fact that the house is so much easier to clean since we have made major headway in de-cluttering! It’s amazing how much “stuff” you can accumulate.

Overall, I recommend this book for everyone, homeschool mom or not! There is sure to be some helpful tips for your household in the pages of this book. Also, be sure to check out the other products being reviewed, Firmly Planted, Gospels, Part 1Firmly Planted, Gospels, Part 2, Firmly Planted, Books of Moses, Part 2, The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Romance , and Lapbooking Made Simple by clicking the banner below.

Real Life Press Review
Company ~ Real Life Press
Product ~ The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Daylight
Price ~ $12.95
Ages ~ Mom’s
Real Life Press Review




Crew Disclaimer

©2008- 2015 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.