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.



Friday, October 28, 2016

CrossTimber: Name Meaning Gifts ~ a TOS review


What’s in a name? Do you know the meaning behind your name? Every name has meaning to it and John and Katie Dehnart from CrossTimber are in the business of researching the history and meaning of names. If you are looking for a special gift for someone during this upcoming holiday season then I have the perfect gift idea; a Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse. Let me tell you more about it.
Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews
CrossTimber offers many products to choose from including:
 ~ 8x10 or 5x7 framed plaques 
~ Music boxes 
~ Coffee mugs
 ~ The Names of God Plaques

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews

For this review, we were offered a 5x7 Personalized Framed Plaques with Name Meaning and Bible Verse. The total measurements with the frame are 7x9 and the price starts at just $25 for a basic frame. I choose to upgrade our frame for just $2.00 more to the dark brown, antique colored frame. It is solid plastic and made from 85% recycled materials, yet looks like it comes from the craft store that offers custom framing because of its intricate scrollwork on the edges.

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews

It’s beautiful in my eyes and I have had several compliments on it from house guest and matches our décor which is a plus too. The hardest part of this review was picking what name to choose! After much thought and prayer, I decided to pick our last name, Caffey. There is a back story to our last name and it stems from my husband’s birth. Long story short is that he was given this last name as it was the name of his older brothers but not the name of his father. His name should have been his mother’s maiden name, or that of his birth father whom we do not know.

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews

This used to bother my husband but he has grown into his name of Caffey and I think God knew what he was doing even if we don’t understand it. You see, Caffey’s have a strong characteristic of individuality that makes them outstanding leaders and peacemakers. They are independent, confident and self-assured, qualities that has helped him in life and during his Naval career.

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews

Overall, we love our plaque and love that our children can see the plaque with their name displayed on it. It is the name that God has chosen for us and we are grateful for it. The verse that goes with the name is Matthew 5… Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of their items ordered from CrossTimber. Some of the stories behind the names are pretty neat.

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews

And be sure to click the banner below to enter into giveaway for your chance to win your own personalized name plaque.

CrossTimber 2016 giveaway

Company ~ CrossTimber 
Product ~ Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse
 Price ~ $25 and up depending on options
Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews
Social Media Links:

  #hsreviews #name #namemeaning #CrossTimber #gift #personalizedgift


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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.

Wednesday, October 26, 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.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Familyman: Christmas Treasury Audio Collection ~ a TOS review

There are officially 10 Saturdays until Christmas! Let that sink in a bit…I know you were just so excited for everything pumpkin but I for one am super excited as Christmas is my favorite holiday season! Any excuse I have to listen to Christmas music or stories is an A+ in my book! Today I want to share with you The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection from The Familyman. These are also available as Digital Downloads.
The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection {The Familyman} Reviews
If you are looking for some wholesome family entertainment by the fire, then this is the collection for you! You don’t necessarily have to be by the fire as these are great to listen to in the car too. We were blessed to receive the six audio books in this collection along with two bonus stories. All are narrated by master story teller, Jim Hodges and produced by The Familyman and point teach a lesson that points back to Jesus. The stories we received in digital MP3 format are:

Cootie McKay's Nativity – “1956 was the year of the best Christmas our town ever had...it was also the year we almost didn''t have Christmas. But Cootie saved the day. Yes, sir, if it hadn''t been for the talent and vision of Cootie McKay, the folks in our little town would have been mighty disappointed...”

Captain Chaos and The Manger Blaster – “Imagine Christmas without the manger. Jason, a typical ten-year-old boy, has grown tired of the traditional "manger story" and is pretending to blast it to bits with Captain Chaos and his manger blaster. "It's so boring," Jason tells his sister, "it needs something to make it more exciting!" Jason is sent to his room where an unexpected adventure awaits him as he comes face to face with Captain Chaos. The spacehero shows up in answer to Jason's wish... to rid the planet of the manger and to allow Jason to experience what the world would be like if the baby had never been born.”

The Stranger – One day a homeless stranger shows up in town and visits the members of the same congregation of the local town church. Instead of welcoming the stranger with open arms, he is sent away repeatedly until he visits the home of the Pastor. The stranger is Jesus.

The Bishop's Dream - This short story tells about Bishop Nicolas who goes around sharing the love of Jesus with the children who are poor. One night while reading his Bible, he falls into a deep sleep and begins to dream about how commercialized Christmas has become.

Harold Grubbs and the Christmas Vest – Each year Isaac’s dad wears his Christmas vest. Isaac is not sure why until one day after Thanksgiving his dad digs deep into his closet to find his treasured vest.

Gladys Remembers Christmas – “Gladys hated Christmas as much as she hated her name. Gladys was named after her mother, who died when she was only six-years-old. That's why Gladys hated Christmas, because it was a reminder that everyone else was happy, and she wasn't. But a visit to an old house on a cold, December day changed...EVERYTHING.”

The Secret of Snow Village – Follow along with this story as you immerse yourself into a Christmas village and discover that Christmas isn’t about decorations, lights, gifts, or snow for that matter.

It's Called Christmas – Everything you know about Christmas is removed and gone in the future. Follow along in this story and find how you can singlehandedly help bring it back!

These audio books are the perfect thing to listen to as I travel up and down the roads to and from the gymnastics gym. Because they are in MP3 format I could quickly transfer them to my phone from the computer which was super simple even for the not so computer savvy (at times). We also received a physical copy of The Bishop’s Dream on CD.

We have truly enjoyed these stories and preparing our hearts for the upcoming Christmas season! I do hope you will check out the other reviews and see if this is something you would like to add to your family’s audio book collection. To read the other 49 review, click on the banner below.

The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection {The Familyman} Reviews

Company ~ The Familyman 
Format ~ MP3, also physical CD’s available 
Price ~ $3.99 each or $25.00 for set of 6 CD’s
 Ages ~ everyone

The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection {The Familyman} Reviews

Social Media Links: 

 #hsreviews #christmas #Audio #audiobook #digital #familymanministries

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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, October 19, 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, October 18, 2016

Educeri ~ a TOS review

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service Reviews

For a little over a month we have been dabbling with the supplemental lessons found on Educeri ....... Educeri a division of DataWORKS . This program has over 1000 lessons for grade K-12 in a variety of subjects in their Educeri Lesson Subscription Service. Let me tell you more about it.


Educeri was developed in 2015 by John Hollingsworth and Dr. Silvia Ybarra. Along with their team of educators, editors, graphic designers, math snobs, and grammar nerds they are passionate about providing awesome educational materials for grades K-12

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service Reviews
We were blessed to receive a 12-month subscription that includes access to all lessons in all K-12 subjects. Educeri is an online subscription service that literally has 1000’s of lessons across many subject areas. A yearly subscription is just $75.00 or $7.00 a month.


Lesson are easily searchable through the database and are categorized by grade level and subject area and are presented in a PowerPoint format with engaging graphics. Subject areas included are:

 ~ Math 
~ Science
 ~ English Language Arts
 ~ History 
~ P.E.
 ~ Art 
~ Music
 ~ Spanish
 ~ English Language Development 
~ Other Resources

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service Reviews

Not all the subjects listed above are included in each grade level. Since this is an online program, Educeri is compatible across all web browsers and operating systems on either PC’s, Mac, or Chromebook.



We spent some time all over the site since I have 1st-10th graders this year. I especially was keen on the high school history section as I am teaching on several of the topics this year as we study the 20th Century.


Navigating through the online site was easy. Just click the drop-down menus to search your grade level and subject area and all your options will be displayed.

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service Reviews

Once you know what lesson you will complete, simply click on it to get started. Most of the lessons also include printable student handouts which are very helpful. When answering questions, the answers will pop up on the screen in red.


Overall, I found these ready to teach lessons a good fit for our homeschool! We will continue to utilize them through our subscription period. Be sure to check them out for yourself, they have a 30 day trial and no credit card info is needed.

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service Reviews

Be sure to click the banner below to see what my CrewMates thought of this program, as 64 others have linked up reviews too.

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service

Format ~ online subscription service
Operating Systems ~ PC, Mac, Chromebook compatible
Price ~ $75.00 a year or $7.00 a month
Ages ~ K-12th graders

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service Reviews
Social Media Links:
Facebook 
Twitter @educeri
Pinterest

 #hsreviews #educeri #educhat #dataworks-ed 

Crew Disclaimer


©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. 

Wednesday, October 12, 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, October 11, 2016

MyFreezEasy ~ a TOS review


I am a busy mom. There I said it! Now I don’t wear this “label” as a badge of honor, rather, I just try to take care of my people the best way I can with God’s daily guidance. Part of that job is feeding them well balanced meals. We are blessed to be a sports family and that keeps us busy and on the go, especially in the winter and spring. Two of my girls are competitive gymnasts who train 15-28 hours a week {a week people! But that’s another blog post :-)}, then I have softball players, a track runner, and a little guy who loves to run and play. Throw in homeschooling, Girl Scouts, AWANA, and housekeeping for good measure and you can see why I am busy sun up to sun down. But don’t get me wrong I love taking care of my family... I am blessed.

MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}

Cooking and baking comes naturally for me as I had the best role model of a gourmet chef from my mother. Although I don’t always enjoy the process because at times I have my own issues with food. On top of that, my youngest daughter has allergies and sensitivities to gluten, sugar (natural and artificial), and lactose, so serving something she can eat has been a challenge lately. That’s why I am so happy to have been chosen to try out the MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership from MyFreezEasy.


MyFreezEasy has made the freezer cooking so simple! With a membership to MyFreezEasy in less than an hour you will make 10-12 delicious meals. I know you are probably thinking that these meals will be bland and boring, right? NOPE, not one bit. With a basic membership ($7 a month, or $77 for a year) you have access to 8 meal plans each month, while premium membership ($10 a month, or $95 a year) gives you access to all existing meal plans plus the option to create your own meal plan and to adjust the serving sizes of the meals.

MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}

With so many different meals to choose from and at least 8 new meals added each month you are sure to find a meal to your liking. The monthly meal plans available are:


 • Traditional Plan – 10 meals: a mix of different types of meals 
• Gluten-Free Plan – 10 meals: completely gluten-free including sides 
• Slow Cooker Plan – 10 meals: all freezer to slow cooker style
 • Clean Eats Plan – 10 meals: all “clean ingredients” • 20 Meals Plan – 20 meals: mix of different types of meals 
• All Chicken Plan – 10 meals: all recipes using chicken breasts/chicken thighs, so you can get the chicken on sale and stock your freezer
 • All Ground Beef Plan – 10 meals: all recipes using ground beef so you can get the ground beef on sale and stock your freezer
 • All Pork Chops Plan – 10 meals: all recipes using pork chops or pork tenderloin so you can get the pork on sale and stock your freezer


MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}
Each meal plan includes how to serve it tonight or how to prep it to freeze and serve later with helpful prep and meal assembly instructions. In addition to all the meal plans offered you have access to assembly videos for each meal. Plus meal plans are also broken down into helpful shopping lists:

 ~ shop by recipe 
~ shop by store category or aisle 
~ freezer meal prep day shopping day by recipe
 ~ freezer meal prep day by category or aisle

MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}
For our first meal plan I used the create your own option and created:

~ slow cooker Teriyaki Chicken 
~ upside down nacho skillet 
~ cornbread pork chop casserole
~ slow cooker beef stew 
~ best meatloaf ever 

All of the meals were a hit with everyone in the family so I didn't have to worry about any wasted food. The reminder email at the beginning of the month is a lifesaver for me. Just having that gentle nudge to remind me of new recipes is a huge plus in my book. I also love that printable labels are included for each meal. There is no need to try and guess what exactly is in the freezer bag. Cooking instructions are also included so you won’t have to look up just how to reheat the meal.

MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}

Because I know my own limitations I had never tried freezer cooking before now. The thought of batch cooking meals used to scare me, but with the gentle hand holding that I get from MyFreezEasy it takes away some of the anxiety. I also love that I can tailor the meals to my low carb, high fat way of eating by switching a few ingredients here or there. Knowing I have prepared meals in the freezer with the help of this membership makes freezer cooking so fast and easy there is no excuse as to why we don’t have a warm cooked meal on the table each night even with our busy schedule.


Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of this program by clicking the banner below and reading their reviews. We have thoroughly enjoyed the freedom our MyFreezEasy membership brings to our family table. Check it out and you’ll be sure to find a tasty meal to add to your menu rotation!

MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}

Company ~ MyFreezEasy 
Format ~ online
Price ~ basic membership: $7 a month, or $77 for a year; premium membership: $10 a month, or $95 a year

MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}

Social Media Links

 #hsreviews #freezeasy #freezermeals #5dollardinners #freezercooking


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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, October 7, 2016

Excellence in Literature: Handbook for Writers ~ a TOS review

Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}

Writing can be a daunting task at times. There is a lot to remember because the subject covers so much ground. Having a middle and high schooler this year there is so much to cover on the subject, that at times it is overwhelming for me. But it doesn’t have to be if you have access to a writers handbook. My daughters, Madison (10th) and Mikayla (8th) have been using Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers from Everyday Education, LLC to help them transition from middle/high school level writing to college level writing.

Madison is a writer. She likes to write and does so a lot in her free time. In fact she has had contact with a publisher for her novel, which is super exciting! Even though she has written this novel and several other short stories, etc we still have to put pen to paper and crank out essays and research papers for school. So I have been especially pleased with having access to the Handbook for Writers.

We received an eBook PDF version of the book and it is HUGE! 420 pages huge! However, I think it covers everything one must know to be a successful high school and college age writer. It is simply put a one-stop reference book on how to write everything from essays for high school and college to also covering punctuation, usage, and style. Seriously, this reference book has got you covered!

The book is broken up into two sections:
 ~ instructions and modeling arguments for writing essays
 ~a mechanics section that goes over usage and style

Need to know:  How to construct a logical, interesting argument (focus) for an essay, debate, or research paper?  How to structure different types of essays, paragraph by paragraph?  How to use inductive and deductive reasoning? How read thoughtfully and write about literature, including short stories, full-length classics, and poetry? How to construct Topic sentence outline for papers in literature, social studies, public policy? No problem, it’s all included in this whopper of a book!

I have been using this book in conjunction with both of my girls writing programs. Madison is currently using Literature and Composition: English 2 also from Excellence in Literature, while Mikayla is working through the writing program tied together with our history program. Since receiving this eBook it has been my go to book for all things writing and grammar. My only wish is that I had a physical book copy, however, being a eBook is great because we are on the go so much anyways. I currently have the file stored on my iPad for easy reference.

I don’t even know if I am doing this review justice…I hope I am conveying to you that you need to get this book! I don’t take saying that lightly because I know times are tight for everyone. But if you have a middle schooler or high schooler and you are need a little extra help with writing and all the mechanics, then this handbook is the helping hand you need to succeed!

 We have thoroughly loved using this book and I plan on purchasing the physical book in the near future. But don’t just take my word for it, check out what my CrewMates thought of this book and the other two books, Working it Out: Poetry Analysis with George Herbertand Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting , up for review by clicking the banner below.

Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}

 Format ~ eBook, also available in physical book
 Price ~ $39.00 
Ages ~ middle / high school and up
Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}
Social Media Links: 

#hsreviews #excellenceinlit #copywork

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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

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

If You Were Me and Lived In... ~ a TOS review

Some people like shoes or maybe even purses or fancy cars. For me though, give me a quality children’s book any day. I love them! We are so excited to share with you today about four new books we have received, brought to you by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com. So while my shelves may be overflowing with books, I always welcome more. Let me tell you about the books we received.

If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}

If You Were Me and Lived in...the American West (Volume 7) ~ an in-depth look at what life was like in a family traveling to Oregon Trail in the late 19th century. Detailed information is provided about the difficulties experienced along the trail including why some people never made it to Oregon. (54 pages)

If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}

If You Were Me and Lived in...Ancient China: The Han Dynasty ~ did you know that there were four major professions during the Han Dynasty in Ancient China, 150 AD? Doctors, warriors, scholars, and advisors to the emperor. As a son, you were expected to follow in the footsteps of you father and take up his profession, no questions asked. This is a great book that tells all about life in Ancient China. (76 pages)

If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}

If You Were Me and Lived in... Elizabethan England (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 3) ~ is about a poor family and how they lived during this time period. It provides contrast between the wealthy and poor of the time period and includes beautiful illustrations to help make connections to the written text. (50 pages)

If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}

If You Were Me and Lived in...the Middle Ages (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 6) ~ ever wonder what it was like in the year 1072? That’s a long time ago, but this book tells of how the land was worked by peasants who were owned by a Lord. What about family and daily life? What did you wear? What games did you play? Did you go to school? All of these questions and more are answered in this volume. (97 pages)


If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}

Carole P. Roman started writing as a dare from one of her sons and has penned a new groundbreaking nonfiction series about living in different cultures around the world. With what started out as a dare has led to more than 35 children’s books, and over 100 book awards for Mrs. Roman. Including turning the fun game she played with her grandson into her first book “Captain No Beard- An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life”. By combining her teaching past with her love of exploration and interest in the world around us, she has given us the reader a chance to explore "If You Were Me and Lived in..."

Have you ever wondered what it's like to live in or visit another country? Say, Ancient China, The American West, or during The Middle Ages, or Elizabethan England? When you open the pages of any of these books you take a journey back through history and experience life through the eyes of a young person.

Each book is choke full of fascinating information of the chosen time period so you get a firsthand look at life. At the end of each book a list of famous people of the time period is provided. There is also a glossary at the end of each book and it provides pronunciation for words that may be unfamiliar. The pictures in the books are bright and eye-catching making you want to know more. We have happily read and re-read all of these books over the last few weeks. My children have been asking me questions and really digging into the books.

We have compared life back then to now and especially enjoyed the name section by brainstorming up what our own names would be in that time period. These books are geared towards young kids and I know that my young ones (and older ones) have enjoyed reading them. I love that they are affordably priced at just $14.99. Any of the books in this series would make a wonderful addition to a unit study. We have thoroughly enjoyed these books and look forward to adding If You Were Me and Lived in...Renaissance Italy (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 2) , If You Were Me and Lived in...Colonial America (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 4) , If You Were Me and Lived in...Ancient Greece (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 1), and If You Were Me and Lived in...Viking Europe to our collection.

Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of these books by clicking the banner below.

If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}

Company ~ Brought to you by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com 
Product ~ If You Were Me and Lived in… the Middle Ages, Ancient China, The American West, and Elizabethan England 
Format ~ paperback book 
Price ~ $14.99 each 
Ages ~ elementary and up

If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}

Social Media Links: 
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#hsreviews #childrenshistory #historystorybooks #culturalstudies

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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