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Friday, 12 March 2010
Homeschool Library Builders - Prop Up Your Feet and Build Your Library From Home
Mood:  happy
Topic: Homeschool Product Review


If your like me, you spend a lot of time online, or in book stores (used an new) looking for books for your kids. Maybe your a homeschooler, again like me, and looking for specific books that you want your child to read for school. Maybe your a parent that just cares about what your child reads and wants them to devour good literature. Did you ever wish you could find all of those books from a reputable company for a cheap price? Have you looked for a place but not found one? Look no more! I've found it for you! Homeschool Library Builder!

If you are a homeschooler, do you use one of these great curriculums ~ Five in a Row, Sonlight, Beautiful Feet, Veritas Press, Tapestry of Grace, Ambleside Online? You know that you only have two choices ~ either buy the book that they require through the company or find them someplace else. If you buy from the company it may cost an arm and a leg, even with their discounts. If you go in search for them elsewhere, however, you have to search the library, ebay, used bookstores and then if you don't find them there, you end up buying them from the company anyway. Well, Homeschool Library Builder has most of them right on their site. They are just a click away. Some are new at a discounted price, others are used at an even better price. Even the used ones are in very good condition, so you have nothing to use. They even have a search engine that you can search for books by the curriculum that requires them! Need something from Sonlight year 7? Go to the search engine and look it up. It's as easy as one, two, three.

Maybe you don't homeschool, but you are looking for some good quality books for your child to read. How about Newbery Award winners or Caldecott Award winners? Perhaps even classical books? If you want to build a library of rich literature for your children to read, go to Homeschool Library Builder.

Homeschool Library Builder was started in 2001 by a Christian homeschool mother who wanted to start a one stop place to buy good literature. A few years ago the company was sold to two Christian homeschool families that had the same focus and desire. However, just because they are homeschool doesn't mean that they aren't for non-homeschoolers as well. All parents that care about their children would want them to read the books that Homeschool Library Builder offers.

Better yet, even though they are a small company, they offer big company incentives. When you join (for FREE!) their membership program, they give you 1 book point for every dollar you spend. Fifteen book points are worth one dollar that you can use to buy more books. If you refer your friends, for every friend that joins and mentions your name, you get 15 more bonus points. And they keep track of all of that for you. No carrying around a card to fish out and have punched every time you buy something!

So, what are you waiting for? Hop on over to Homeschool Library Builder to check them out. Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. To check out what the other TOS Homeschool Crew members are saying, just click here. Happy Home Educating! 

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was encouraged to become a member of Homeschool Library Builder to check out their site and review it on my blog.

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Posted by tink38570 at 11:58 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, 13 March 2010 12:09 AM CST
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Thursday, 11 March 2010
Joy Comes in the Mourning
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: General

Last night ~ ummm ~ this morning, I was very upset. Not only had my laptop crashed for the second time in the past 5 months, but I had missed my midnight deadline for posting something on my blog. I was trying to write something on Families Again every day for a year. I had made it over four months, but, alas, in all my anger and rushing around to remedy my situation, I forgot to watch the time and post something.

Well, as the Bible says, Joy comes in the mourning. I know, this is taken a lot out of context, but I do believe God does bless even in small circumstances like this.

Yesterday I posted something on the TOS Homeschool Crew forum about my laptop crashing plight. One of my crew mates, Michelle, said that she had the same problem and used a special free, downloadable program to recovery most of the things from her hard drive. My ears perked up immediately. I had lost so many things that are important to our homeschooling, to me and the crew, to our ministry, to our personal life. If I could recover them, it would be a joy. So, I downloaded the program and tried it...

It Worked!

I have regained not only all that I wanted from my most recent hard drive, but also from the first hard drive that crashed. It was wonderful and easy. What is this miracle program? It's a great program from Ubuntu don't ask me what it means, but here's the address -


Check it out, and thank you Michelle!


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Posted by tink38570 at 10:40 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, 13 March 2010 12:12 AM CST
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Is There No Justice in the World!?!
Mood:  irritated
Topic: General

I really, really wanted to post something every day for a year!

I've been working hard all day to recover all of the lost data on my crashed laptop!

I'm on Sarah's computer!

I lost track of time.

Can't I just say that I'm on mountain time and count this post? No? I guess not.

I've failed! I'm doomed!

I went four months posting every day only to be foiled because of a crashed laptop.

Oh the inhumanity!

Life will never be the same again.

How will I ever recover?

Oh well, tomorrow's another day.

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Posted by tink38570 at 12:59 AM CST
Updated: Thursday, 11 March 2010 8:44 AM CST
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Tuesday, 9 March 2010
Men's Monday Meme - Am I Allowed to Scream?!?
Mood:  not sure
Topic: Men's Monday Meme


I really wish that we could put more than one topic for some of my posts. So many of them involve more than one thing. This is one of them. It sort of includes the Men's Monday Meme, ministry, family, Compassion International, BCM International, the works! But, alas, I can only put one topic, so Men's Monday Meme it is.

OK, now for the "Am I Allowed to Scream?!?" title. My computer crashed again! I am sort of at a loss right now about it, I'm kind of in shock. Once again, all of the downloads I have received from different homeschool companies, all of my records, everything is gone. Hopefully I can recover some of them, but I know I won't be able to get them all back.

But, although I'm in shock, I'm not as glum as I could be. You see, I've been reading the posts of the every day bloggers that have been sent by Compassion to Kenya to visit and write about what Compassion is doing there. Have you been reading them? If not, here is a link to the Compassion Bloggers website that includes excerpts and links to the different blogs participating. When you go there, though, take along some Kleenex. You'll need it. The posts and pictures are both heart warming and heart wrenching at the same time.

If you read them, you may never be the same. It makes you really think about the poverty of this world and how rich we are in America. Sarah and I are poor in comparison to most folks in the US. In fact, although God has always provided for all of our needs, we are considered in the poverty level. Even with how poor we are (in the world's eyes not in ours Smile), we are rich compared to others in our world. If you really open your eyes and look around at the poverty that is in this world, you will find that you are extremely wealthy. I may have less money compared to some, but I have a good roof over my head, plenty of food to eat, warm clothes to wear...really, I'm rich.

After going into one of the poorest slums not just in Kenya, but the world, one of the bloggers, Shaun Groves, made this statement on his blog -

Because the wealthiest Christians in the world have become blind. We don’t see the extent of their poverty or our riches. We can’t see the good in sharing and the wrong of being an average American.

Reading it really struck me. I've heard of spiritual blindness, and, if course, physical blindness, but can a person be financially blind? Can a person be so blinded by their wealth that they miss the poverty of the world? And, if so, what can they do about it?

Those are my questions for this week's Men's Monday Meme. Let me repeat the statement and the questions.

Because the wealthiest Christians in the world have become blind. We don’t see the extent of their poverty or our riches. We can’t see the good in sharing and the wrong of being an average American.

Questions - Can a person be so blinded by their wealth that they miss the poverty of the world? And, if so, what can they do about it?

Here's a reminder of the Men's Monday Meme rules:

  1. This is a man's meme, so the answers must be the answers from a man. Either the man can answer on his blog, or a wife can interview her husband for her blog. However, if the wife puts it on her blog, she must stay true to what her husband said.
  2. You are encouraged to put one of the Men's Monday Meme buttons found to the left on your blog. Just copy the code below the button of your choice. The more folks who link, the more readers you may have to visit your blog.
  3. You may answer the question any time during the week up through Monday, March 8. After you answer the question, add the address to your post to the Mr.Linky below. If you could, please only add the direct link to the post to make it easier for readers to find the entry.
  4. My answer along with a new question will be posted next Monday. The new Mr. Linky will be added at midnight Monday night.

And here's the Mr. Linky -


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Posted by tink38570 at 9:58 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 9 March 2010 10:31 PM CST
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Monday, 8 March 2010
Graphics Toolbox - Have I Mentioned that I Love This Product?
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

I know that I've said a lot about this product already, and have raved about it. Let me tell you honestly, though, that I wasn't always a fan of Graphics Toolbox. When I first began using it, nothing seemed to work. I would read the guidebook and watch tutorials, but still couldn't seem to create anything. This product wasn't like anything I had ever used. Nothing was the same. It wasn't until I played around with it more, watched and participated in more of the training sessions, and just plain used it, that I began to see the value and love this graphics program.

So, what is so different between this graphics program and so many of the others? To answer that, let me give you some history into Graphics Toolbox. For years, Lynda Hollar was a fashion designer. What I didn't know until recently was that fashion designers very often use elaborate graphics programs that allow you to mix and match clothing; take one item of clothing and changing the color of it; take an item of clothing from one picture and put it in another, all kinds of things. As Lynda was using this, she thought about how great it would be if everyone had a program like this to use. A program that they can use for their business to make a professional looking pamphlet or sign. A program that a student could use to make A+ projects. A program that a scrapbooker could use to improve their scrapbooks. A program that anyone could use to make almost anything. The only problem was that the program the fashion designers use is for...well...fashion designers and can cost into the thousands of dollars. So, Lynda went to the maker of the program that she used with her idea of a graphics program for everyone, and Graphics Toolbox was born.

What is it that makes Graphics Toolbox so different than other graphics programs? Well, if you haven't seen some of the things that John Allen and I have created, let me post them again for you.

This is one of the very first projects that I completed using the Graphics Toolbox software - a story quilt. This project demonstrates many of the really cool things that you can do with this program. You can re-size pictures easily, and using Graphics Toolbox, they don't look distorted when you re-size them. I easily created the picture pattern and used the tonal color change tool to make the picture patterns look antiquish. The ribbon border is actually one of 100's of boarders that come with the program that you can customize any way that you want. And, the lettering is easy to use with dozens of fonts.

This is another creation that I made after attending one of Lynda's online training sessions. Can you pick out the six differences between the two pictures? Lynda is presently in the process of editing and adding these sessions to the website. If you watch a couple of them you may hear some familiar voices as John Allen and I weren't shy in asking questions.

I made this for my blog at the beginning of the Olympics. By this time I was more used to the program and it didn't take long at all. 

Arranging lettering any way you want is easy with Graphics Toolbox. Also notice that I was able to make them transparent so that they don't block out the picture in any way.

I made the two above items just recently for a couple of special occasions that we held here at the mission for some of the folks that attend. The first one was really easy. I found the picture on the internet, used a matching font to add the words, then framed it with a color coordinated border.

The bottom invitation was made using another baby footprint picture I found on the web. I simply cut one of the footprints out - yes, Graphics Toolbox allows you to do that - and colored it pink. I then flipped that footprint to make the opposite matching footprint. I then framed them and re-sized them to make the two different sizes. After placing the large set and using the copy tool and placing the small prints I added the lettering and the boarder.

Now, this is about the extent of the lettering that you can make with Graphics Toolbox. This is a graphics program and not a word processing program. What the makers encourage you to do if you want to add a lot of lettering is to save the graphics that you made and then upload them into whatever processing program that you use. For small jobs like the above, the Graphics Toolbox fonts are fine.

Let me remind you, that Graphics Toolbox is like no other graphics program that you are used to. You really have to throw out all of the preconceived notions that you have about graphics programs and throw out the things that you have learned. The things that you can do with Graphics Toolbox are amazing and really simple after you learn how to do them, but it is a new way of doing things, so it make take a while to get used to. The above is a snapshot of what the Graphics Toolbox program looks like. As you can see, it also looks different than any other graphics program that you have used. But, if you look closely at the buttons on the right side, you will also notice that you can tell what the different buttons mean and do just by looking at them. That's another really neat thing about Graphics Toolbox. The makers wanted it to be easy to use and easy to find the tool that you need. And, even though it is different and will take time to get used to, the very detailed user's manual is quite helpful, and there are many tutorials on the website with many more to come.

I just can't stop raving about this program. I wish there was more room in this post to describe everything. Like the infinite (and I mean infinite) colors that come with Graphics Toolbox, or the way that you can morph a picture into something new, or all the different things that you can do with the fonts, or ... or ... or ...well, you can tell that I really think that this is a special program.

Now, you might be thinking that if the original program costs well over $1000, and if this program is really all that I claim that it is, then it must be worth well into the hundreds of dollars at least. Well, that's where you are wrong. Graphics Toolbox doesn't cost $1000, or even $500. It doesn't even cost $250. Graphics Toolbox sells for just $149.

Yes, I can hear the comments now - "Even $149 is too much to spend for something that you really don't know anything about. Especially in this day and age." Well, you are right. That's why Graphics Toolbox offers a free 30 day full trial of their program. That's right, you can use it for a month free of charge to try it out! Still leery? Go on over and check out their website by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Check out the tutorials that you can view before purchasing. Check out all of the great Graphics Toolbox features. You can also check out what the other TOS Homeschool Crew members think about it by clicking here. Just check it out. I'm sure that after you look around, try it out, and think about it, you'll be convinced that this is one of the greatest things since sliced bread Laughing. And, since this is something that can be used by homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers alike, I'll end by saying - "Happy Homeschooling"!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was sent a free download of Great Software Tool's Graphics Toolbox program to try out and review on my blog.


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Posted by tink38570 at 6:06 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, 13 March 2010 12:14 AM CST
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