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 9th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Charlotte Mason approach.

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



Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Cat of Bubastes from Heirloom Audio Productions ~ a TOS review

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

It was like Christmas came early when our newest audio drama, The Cat of Bubastes, from Heirloom Audio Productions arrived in our mailbox! Montana eagerly grabbed it up and plopped it right into the CD player to listen to it while completing her schoolwork.

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

Having reviewed several of the other titles from Heirloom Audio we are quite familiar with the outstanding Christian radio theater they produce. Let me tell you a little more about The Cat of Bubastes.

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

Be prepared to be transported back into the time of Ancient Egypt right into a thrilling story of responsibility, perseverance, and God’s providence with this 2 disc set. Much like the rest of the audio theatres produced by Heirloom Audio, The Cat of Bubastes is also based on the G.A. Henty novel bearing the same name. It tells the story of a young prince, Amuba and his faithful friend, Jethro. Amuba and Jethro find themselves captured by the Egyptians and enslaved in the beautiful city of Thebes. All of a sudden the two find themselves trapped in a murderous plot to attack the Egyptian family they serve and consider as friends. They must flee the city but will they survive? Where will they go? Their loyalty and character is tested and they soon learn of the wonder of God’s providence. There is even a surprise character who appears in the story, Moses!

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

Our package from Heirloom Audio included the 2CD set with access to an account that included a bunch of downloads in PDF and MP3 format. This is the same options you would have if you were to purchase the Family Four-Pack.
 ~ Official Soundtrack 
~ eBook of G.A. Henty’s original book with full color graphics 
~ MP3s of the production
 ~ Promotional poster that shows the cast and cover of the CD case
 ~ Inspirational poster with 1 Chronicles 17:20 
~ Complete study guide and discussion starter set 
~ Live the Adventure E-Newsletter
 ~ Behind the scenes documentary

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

The Study guide is a full color eBook with learning guides to help tie in the story as a whole. It includes sections for comprehension, vocabulary, and Biblical references to scripture as well. There are several purchasing options. You can order directly from Heirloom Audio Productions including:

 • $19.97 for an audio MP3 download that gives you instant access and includes bonuses like the Study Guide and printable copy of the inspirational quote from the centurion Julius.
 • $29.97 plus $6.95 shipping gets you the two CD set plus the two bonuses above and the MP3 soundtrack download
 • $99.97 plus $9.95 shipping gets you the Family Four Pack this gets you 4 CD sets, all of the bonuses mentioned above, plus 5 additional bonuses:
Unlimited access to the Live the Adventure Letter, The Cat of Bubastes eBook, printable poster with the star-studded cast, behind the scenes documentary.

All of the prices listed below come with a 90 day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied.

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

So, what’s the bottom line?! We love this CD! I love that the Henty stories from Heirloom Audio Productions not only entertain and educate the listener, but they always point back to Christ. I wholeheartedly recommend this product to any and all looking to add a bit of family friendly audio / radio drama into the homes.

Be sure to check out what my CrewMates think of this product by clicking the banner below.

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

Format ~ physical 2 CD set 
Price ~ see above for prices 
Ages ~ 6 years and up
Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

Social Media Links:
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
Instagram: @HeirloomAudioOfficial 


 #hsreviews #HeirloomAudio #TheCatOfBubastes #LiveTheAdventure #BringingHentyBack #AudioAdventures 


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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wordless Wednesday





©2008 - 2016 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, September 27, 2016

Ultimate Phonics Reading Program ~ a TOS review

Ultimate Phonics Reading Program {Spencer Learning}

Did you know that by 8th grade, statistics show that only 4% of students are what is called an advanced reader, while 22% can’t even read at all! That is mind boggling to me, especially since I have a child who struggles with reading and comprehension. Lately, we have been testing out the Ultimate Phonics Reading Program from Spencer Learning to improve overall reading skills in my beginning and struggling reader.
Ultimate Phonics Reading Program {Spencer Learning}

For over 50 years the Spencer family has been teaching reading to tens of thousands of people. From beginner readers, older students with learning disabilities, and even to adults who struggle, Spencer Learning has been there to teach reading with direct, systematic phonics instruction.

Ultimate Phonics Reading Program {Spencer Learning}

With 262 progressive lessons the Ultimate Phonics Reading Program is geared to help students work: ~ towards fluent reading 
~ improve reading, comprehension, and spelling skills 
~ eliminate whole word memorizing, guessing, or skipping of words
 ~ accelerate reading development for beginning readers and struggling readers regardless of age
 ~ achieve excellent results with just a few hours per week usage

Ultimate Phonics Reading Program {Spencer Learning}

Normally this program sells for $69.95, but if you purchase before Friday, September 30th you can take advantage of the $20. off sale. For the price you get:
~ A complete phonics program that teaches all the phonics sounds and rules of English and accelerates reading levels for all ages
 ~ one time payment, no expiration and no subscription fees 
~ Free updates forever 
~ All 262 lessons
 ~ More than 4,400 words sounded out and more than 2,100 sentences sounded out up to a 5th grade level 
~ Progresses from basic to advanced Level 
~ Complete online User's Guide 
~ All lessons are downloadable and printable

Ultimate Phonics Reading Program {Spencer Learning}

Installing the program was super easy and quick! I didn’t have any trouble at all installing the program on the kids computer after I received the product key code. You can use the program on multiple computers which is nice if you need to take your lessons on the road like we do most times. I simply, used the product key code and installed the program on my laptop too. System requirements for the program suggests Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP; or for Macs, OSX 10.5.8 or higher. And like I mentioned earlier, updates are free!

Ultimate Phonics Reading Program {Spencer Learning}

Over the last 8 years we have used many different phonics programs in our homeschool and I tend to not like online programs, but the Ultimate Phonics Reading Program from Spencer is a real keeper in my book! I love that it is portable and we can bring it with us, especially with our travel season quickly approaching. Mikayla (13) has been working through the program, slowly, but I have seen improvement in her reading and comprehension overall. Because Ultimate Phonics Reading Program is geared towards beginning readers, middle/high schoolers, adult literacy, struggling reader/ remedial reading, ESL / ELL, dyslexia suffers, and those with Autism, the program provides something for everyone to get them reading.

Check out what my Crewmates think by clicking the banner below!

Ultimate Phonics Reading Program {Spencer Learning}

Company ~ Spencer Learning
System Requirements ~ Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP; or for Macs, OSX 10.5.8 or higher 
Price ~ $69.95 
 Ages ~ beginning readers to adult literacy
Ultimate Phonics Reading Program {Spencer Learning}

Social Media Links:

Facebook
Twitter  @spencerlearning

 #hsreviews #phonics #phonicsapp #dyslexia #strugglingreader

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©2008 - 2016 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, September 23, 2016

KidsEmail.org ~ a TOS review

KidsEmail.org Annual Subscription
Montana has expressed interest in having an email account but there are so many dangers out there in the online world that I have been hesitant, until now. My youngest two daughters, Montana and McKenzie, now have their own kids email address! They both have been sending and receiving emails with the Annual Subscription from KidsEmail.org.

KidsEmail.org Annual Subscription

KidsEmail.org has been around since 2009 and was designed to help protect children and families while online by providing aceess to safe email for kids. I wish I would have known about this when I was signing Mikayla up for email a few years ago. It would have saved me the heartache of deleting all the *junk* she gets in her email box.

KidsEmail.org Annual Subscription

With KidsEmail all the power is in the hands of the adult with this safe email service. Pricing is super reasonable for all of the many features you receive and you have the option to create up to six accounts:

Mail Monitoring ~ parents are able to receive a copy of all incoming and outgoing, if you choose, mail so you know just what is being received and or sent. 
Time restrictions ~ set time limits or restrictions on your childs account. They will only be able to log on during set times. A friendly message will display if they try to log on during restricted times. 
Mail queue interception ~ this feature allows the parent to intercept an email that did not follow the prescribed safety rules for the account. After reviewing the email the parent can then approve or deny the message all together. 
Blocking senders ~ block senders you don’t want contacting your child, even if you allow your child to receive email from anyone. 
Contact manager ~ manage your child’s contact list of who can send or receive emails. 
No ADS ~ THIS IS THE GOLDEN TICKET, NO ADS at all! 
Custom mailbox folders ~ create custom mail folders to organize mail. 
All accounts get the features listed above and also these powerful features too:

 Remove Links and Images 
Control Attachments Types 
Offensive Word Filter 
Spam Filtering 
Template Options 
Activity Log

KidsEmail.org Annual Subscription

With so much to offer, we are super pleased with our subscription! One of my favorite parts has to be the Read It Feature. McKenzie is still a beginning reader, so being to select the “read it” feature on an imcoming email is so helpful. She can check her own email, like a big kid. I also appreciate the fact that KidsEmail grows with my children. As they grow I can switch them over to the teen and older address seamlessly and know that they still have all the same features as a little kid account.

In fact, I have just recently switched Mikayla to the teen account and have disabled her orginal email because of the questionable emails she has been receiving. Setting her up was just as quick and painless as when I opened Montana and McKenzie’s email accounts.

KidsEmail.org Annual Subscription
Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought by clicking the banner below. And if your kids want to be email pen pals, drop me a line and we can set something up for Montana and McKenzie.

KidsEmail.org Annual Subscription

Company ~ KidsEmail.org
Format ~ online
Price ~ see pricing chart above
Ages ~ Little Kid to teen
KidsEmail.org Annual Subscription
Social Media Links: 
 #hsreviews #kidsemail #emailforkids

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©2008 - 2016 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. 
 http://astablebeginning.com

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wordless Wednesday









©2008 - 2016 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, September 20, 2016

The Pray-ers ~ a TOS review

Today I have a book review to share with you about prayer. Do you believe in the power of prayer? Prayer is our direct connection to God and one of the most powerful tools at our disposal everyday. Author Mark S. Mirza has written a powerful, fictional story about the power of prayer in his new Christian historical fiction novel, The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles published by CTM Publishing Atlanta.

The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles

Mr. Mirza is quick to admit that prayer does not come as easily to him as one would think. He has to work at it and keep praying himself. Mr. Mirza has had the privilege of leading the men’s prayer ministry for a well known preacher, Dr. Charles Stanley, at First Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA. He also started the Common Thread Ministries to help individuals and churches with prayer.

The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles

In his first novel, Mr. Mirza tells the story of the power of prayer in three separate, yet interconnected storylines. These stories take place in three different time periods, a 1st century Christian - Epaphras, a contemporary of Paul., a 18th century circuit preacher named Alexander Rich, and during a current period through the eyes of a college professor - Dr. Dale telling of the troubles each of the men face in their life and how they respond in faith. Tying all three stories together is the common thread of one 9 ft tall angel, Hael, and a host of demons.

I received a physical copy of this book in paperback format. There is however, an ePub edition available if you like reading on a digital reader. I read this book myself, I am about three-quarters of the way through it and have found myself intrigued the whole way. The book starts off very slow, and is probably one of the reasons I have not finished it yet. Well, that and the fact that I really needed peace and quiet to read it so I waited until everyone was in bed most nights before digging into it. This is not a book for children, as it contains several topics that should be discussed before turning it over to your preteen or teen.

However, this book reminds us that it is essential to pray every day, even if you think it is a trivial prayer. Give it up to God and watch what he can do. I really appreciated the fact that scripture reference was provided at the bottom of the pages when necessary to support the Biblical evidence. I loved being able to look up the full verse for myself and dig into the word a bit more.

Check out what my CrewMates thought of this book by clicking the banner below to see what they thought.

The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles


Company ~ CTM Publishing Atlanta 
Format ~ paperback book 
Price ~ $23.95 paperback, $4.99 ePub download 
Author ~ Mark S. Mirza
ISBN ~ 978-0-9972365-0-7 
Genres ~ Christian Historical Fiction
The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles
Social Media Links:
Facebook
Twitter  @ThePrayersNovel

 #hsreviews #prayersnovel #christianfiction

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©2008 - 2016 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, September 15, 2016

Help Teaching ~ a TOS review

Help Teaching Pro Subscription {HelpTeaching.com}

McKenzie and Micah are my kids that love to do worksheets. Doesn’t really matter what’s on them for Micah he just wants to do school like sisters. However, for McKenzie I really like to have quality worksheets to fill her time, especially when she is on a roll learning and asking for more and more. The printable worksheets from HelpTeaching.com through the Help Teaching Pro Subscription make it so easy for me to give her practice with anything from art to history.




Have you ever felt like you need a little helping hand in your school day where you just needed someone else to do the leg work? Whether you are a seasoned homeschooler or a newbie alike, everyone has one of those days where you just need a hand and that’s where HelpTeaching.com comes in!

Help Teaching Pro Subscription {HelpTeaching.com}
I have been using HelpTeaching.com and their Pro Plan to print fun elementary printables for my elementary kis in 4th, 1st, and PreSchool Prep. The ProPlan offers unlimited printable drills, quizzes, and tests for elementary through high school levels. This plan also offers easy to use tools to create custom worksheets and assessments for even more detailed practice. I didn’t find that I needed that detailed practice for my elementary kids, but it is a real help for the upper elementary, middle, and high school years.

Help Teaching Pro Subscription {HelpTeaching.com}
Getting started is as simple as signing up for an account. The Pro Plan costs $24.95 a year and includes:
~ Unlimited use of Test Maker for custom worksheets and tests 
~ Include graphics with questions Up to 100 questions per worksheet or test 
~ Online test room 
~ Pre-made Common Core content
~ CCSS-aligned standards

I have been using the Pro Plan since the beginning of the year with my older girls so adding my younger girls in has been a breeze! These worksheets have been especially helpful in providing extra help for my children in just the areas they individually needed to focus on.

Help Teaching Pro Subscription {HelpTeaching.com}
We have needed to back pedal in math a bit with my 4th grader and because we have access to all grade levels available, it’s so easy to just print what I need and go. My toddler enjoys having printables that he can color on and because he is learning his colors, shapes, and numbers it’s easy to print a stack and let him at it, so to speak.

Help Teaching Pro Subscription {HelpTeaching.com}

Whether you have an elementary student or a highschooler there are plenty of valuable resources on this site to get into. The option to make my own lesson worksheets has proved invaluable to me! Having this option available means I am able to focus on just the areas my individual child need that extra attention. Love it! I recommend you check out HelpTeaching.com and see if it would be a good fit for your homeschool. Be sure to click the banner below and check out what my CrewMates thought of this product too.

Help Teaching Pro Subscription {HelpTeaching.com}

Format ~ online, printable 
 Price ~ Pro Plan $24.95 
Ages ~ elementary through high school

Help Teaching Pro Subscription {HelpTeaching.com}
Social Media Links: 
Twitter @helpteaching 
 #hsreviews #printables #printableworksheets #Math #Science #elementaryworksheets

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©2008 - 2016 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.
 http://astablebeginning.com

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wordless Wednesday





©2008 - 2016 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, September 13, 2016

Happy 10th Birthday Montana!



 Welcome to the best club in the world: the Double Digit Club. You've just finished your very first decade. This calls for a BIG celebration — because you're officially a BIG kid now. Congratulations, you're the newest (and coolest) member! 



Happy Birthday Montana!



©2008 - 2016 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, September 9, 2016

Autumn Bucket List ~ 52 Lists

Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year! The changing leaves, the cooler weather, and FOOTBALL {Go Broncos} !


Today I am jumping into list making with Beautyfull Slow. Normally, you would make a list each week for a total of 52 lists, but I am joining late and jumping right in. Here’s my list of things I would like to do this year:

 ~ a trip to the mountains with my hubby 
~ visit the state fair
 ~ read more for myself
 ~ throw two birthday parties, one for Montana and one for Madison
 ~ visit a farm and go on a hay ride 
~ get back on bedtime schedule for kids 
~ set school hours / schedule
 ~ update our family pictures 
~ go to the zoo
 ~ start family movie nights back up 

That's my list of things to do this Autumn season. Do you have anything on your Autumn bucket list?

52 lists with Chasing Slow


©2008 - 2016 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.