Families Again
Families Again
Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!
« September 2011 »
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30

Who I Review For

Download N Go

Promote Your Page Too

My Affiliates



Search & Win Families Again

Promote Your Page Too
Follow tink38570 on Twitter
Great Memes and Blog Carnivals:

Families Again
Wednesday, 28 September 2011
This is Really Cool Dad!
Mood:  happy
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

Aletheia Logo - Oval border  

Now, I don't know about you, but when one of my kids says something like "This is really cool" to me, I stand up and take notice.

Especially if it is something educational!

ESPECIALLY if it is my teenage son saying this about something educational!

That's what my teen son, John Allen, said about Aletheia Writing Magazine, a new quarterly Christian magazine that features the artwork and writing of teenagers. Aletheia (pronounced - Ah-LAY-thei-uh) is so new that it has only published three editions so far. Some members of the TOS Homeschool Crew received the fall edition and we were also given the code to read the summer edition online as well. Also, the premier, spring edition is available for all to sample on the Aletheia website. So, we got to look at all three!

I must say that I am very impressed with this magazine. Each copy is chock full of poems, short stories, artwork, photography and even book reviews - John Allen really liked the book reviews! All written by teen-agers. I really like the fact that Aletheia is a magazine where a Christian teen can write about their beliefs.

Don't get me wrong, however. Writings sent in by contributors don't have to be syrupy Christian writing. In fact, the publishers don't want sentimentalism, apologetics or preachiness in the things that they publish. But, stories and poems sent in have to "convey a message of hope".; After all, they say, "This is what differentiates Christians from the rest of the world- they have hope."

And, that is exactly what I saw. Messages of hope that were done very well. This is no classroom newspaper where everyone has something published whether it's good or not. Everything about this magazine is well done - from the poems to the photography to the pictures done for the stories to the stories themselves. And, as I said, it's all done by teens.

Pictures and stories...that may make someones heart beat a little quickly. It would mine. After all, if I had to have pictures for stories I'd be doomed. I can't draw and I don't know anyone that has the time to illustrate a story for me. Well, with Aletheia, you don't have to be a  good illustrator to submit a story, and you don't have to have a story to submit drawings. They will match up good drawings that have been sent in with submitted stories and poems. If you're the type of artist that they think would match up well with a story, they may even contact you to completely illustrate that story!

And, don't forget the photography. They have two categories for budding picture takers. They have a fun contest called "Photo Write". A black and white photograph is printed (taken by a teen of course) and readers are challenged to write a poem about the picture. There is also a ""Glory to God for the Beauty of Nature", feature where you can submit a colored photograph.

Has your teen read good book lately? Why don't they write a book review and send it in? Who knows? Their review may be published. That was one of John Allen's favorite parts. Remember, I mentioned a few months ago that he was asked to be a teen book reviewer for a company? Well, that hasn't come to fruition yet because of his computer problems. But, the book review section in Aletheia has inspired him once again. He's going to send in a book review. I'll let you know what happens.

Aletheia Spring 2011 Magazine Cover 

Here's a few other things that John Allen said about this great magazine:

  • "The artwork is amazing."
  • "The poetry is really cool."
  • "I like that it is a Christian based magazine where kids can send there stories, art and poetry and actually have it published."

If you want to know more about how to submit something to Aletheia, just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Don't think that you have to be a creative writer, artist or photographer to enjoy this, though. It's one of those magazine that is just plain fun to read. And, although it is published for teens and everything in it is done by teens (have I mentioned that before?), adults would enjoy it as well. Aletheia is very reasonably priced at $26 a year (prices include shipping and handling). Let me know if any of your kids are published and wish them "Happy Writing" for me!

As usual, a bunch of the TOS Homeschool Crew members reviewed this product and you can find out what they had to say by clicking here.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent two free copies (one physical and one online) of Aletheia magazine to use with my teen and give my honest review on my blog.

Subscribe to Families Again

Posted by tink38570 at 3:42 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, 29 September 2011 9:44 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Monday, 26 September 2011
He Escaped and Sarah Cried
Mood:  happy
Topic: Ministry


We had a surprise visit the other day.

Sarah and I were standing outside of the mission and "R" pulled up in his truck. "R" is young man who used to come to our Bible club years ago.

He seemed excited to see us. We hadn't seen him in quite some time so we were thrilled to see him as well. 

He said that he had come to visit his mom and decided to stop by to see us as well. We warmly greeted him and asked what he had been doing lately. He answered that he was living in Algood with some friends. Algood is a town about 15 min. away from us.

He was now working at McDonalds and had saved up enough money to buy this truck. It wasn't anything fancy. Just an old red truck. But "R" was proud of it. It was his!

After a few more minutes of conversation "R" said that he had to go and pulled away.

Sarah and I both looked at each other. We were speechless, but we both knew what the other was thinking.


He had escaped the projects!

So many times we find that living in a low income housing area is generational. Generation after generation kids grow up there and then end up living there themselves. That's all they've known. They don't know any better. They don't know that there is a world out there that is different than the world they live in. They see the struggles that their parents (or parent, or grandparent(s), or aunt and uncle) go through and they think that life is hopeless. They are destined to live there as well.

Sarah and I have always tried to teach them that, with God's help, they can escape. God has a wondrous, special plan for each one of them. Perhaps God wants them to be a minister or missionary. Maybe God wants them to be successful business men and women and use their money and influence to tell others about Him. Could some of them be future doctors or nurses? Or, maybe a teacher? If they obey God's calling, God can use them to do mighty things.

Sarah tries to teach the mothers and grandmothers that things don't have to be the same way for their children that it was for them.

It's hard to break the mold. It's difficult to break out of generational curse that has been on their family for years. But, with God's help, they can break free!

Later that day, as I was driving through the projects, I saw "R's" mother and sister sitting on their front porch. I stopped to talk for a minute. I mentioned that "R" had stopped by to see us. She told us that there were two reasons for his visit that day. One, to see her...and two, to stop by and see us.

When I got home I told Sarah what "R's" mom had said. Again, we were silent. Then tears began to stream down Sarah's face.

With God's help "R" had escaped!

And Sarah cried.

Subscribe to Families Again

Posted by tink38570 at 11:41 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, 26 September 2011 12:18 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (3) | Permalink | Share This Post
Sunday, 25 September 2011
I'm Mad and I Want Everyone to Know About It!
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

Tri-Cross Logo  

Yep! I'm mad!

Who am I mad at? I'm mad at the makers of Tri-Cross and I'm mad at the TOS Homeschool Crew for choosing me to review Tri-Cross!

It doesn't matter that the makers of Tri-Cross were nice enough to send us, not one, but two Tri-Cross games to review. We received the regular sturdily made version and the eco-friendly travel version.

I'm still mad!

The regular version comes with a sturdy playing board, twenty scratch proof playing pieces, a really nice bag to carry the pieces in and the instructions. The eco-friendly travel version still has the scratch proof pieces, but replaces the cardboard box with a cotton bag, a cotton playing board printed using soy based ink and instructions. All of that doesn't matter.

I'm still mad!

Tri-Cross Eco Board Game  

It makes no difference that this is a strategy game like no other and I love strategy games. The fact that I appreciate that, in a world filled with mindless video and computer games, this game really makes you think makes no difference.

I'm still mad!

Even though this game came with very easy to follow instructions - even a convenient computer CD with diagrams of how to play...

I'm still mad!

Even though John Allen and I quickly learned how to play this game and soon found out that the phrase "an easy to learn game that takes a lifetime to master" easily fits this game. And, even though the Tri-Cross motto that this is "A Classic Game of Strategy for the 21st Century" is spot on...

I'm still mad!

John Allen and I played this age 8 to adult game for hours at a time. We played all of the different game variations that you could play with two players (there are also ways to play with three or four players- even teams). Each variation was easy to learn, but, as I said, a challenge to master. Just look how easy it is to play the basic game:

But, all of that doesn't matter...

I'm still mad!

Well...you might be wondering why I am mad. You might think that since it was simple to learn and to play, we had fun, the game came in great condition, and the company is a wonderful and nice company, that there is no reason to be mad...but...

I'm still mad!

And I'll tell you why! John Allen kept BEATING me!

This has never happened before. I've always been the superior one. I mean, after all, I am the father. I'm supposed to be smarter. I'm supposed to be the one that teaches my son new tricks. But, he kept BEATING me.

It didn't matter where we played. We played the regular game at the kitchen table...he still won. We played the travel game while waiting for Joshua and Jacob during speech and physical therapy...he still won. We took the travel edition to the football field and played during Joshua's flag football practice...he still won. There was no problem taking this game places. It was always easy to get out and put away, but, not matter where we played...HE STILL WON!

This is not supposed to happen. He's fifteen and I'm fifty! His growing mind is not supposed to grasp complex thinking skills like my mature mind does!

However, it doesn't matter which version we played...he still won. We played the easier, face up, beginner's version...he still won. We played the more challenging face down version...he still won. We played the "Guts" version and then the "Reverse Guts" version...it didn't matter...HE STILL WON!

Oh, I guess I shouldn't feel so bad. After all, I did win a few games. He didn't quite win all of them. And, shouldn't I feel proud that I was such a good teacher in life that the student was finally able to beat the master? Perhaps I'd do better at the three player, four player, or team version. Maybe I should just try one of those. That's it...my mind is just so complex that it doesn't do well with games of little challenge. It's like one of those gifted children that doesn't do well in the regular classroom because their brain isn't stimulated enough. That's it! My brain just needs more stimulation! I need the challenge of a multi-player game! Tomorrow I shall teach Joshua how to play as well. Maybe I'll even teach Sarah. Then we can have a three or four player game. My brilliant mind will be sure to win then!


Oh...*sob*...who am I kidding. I've been defeated! My mind isn't the same as it once was. I'll never win a game of Tri-Cross again. Even Jo-Jo, our dog could beat me. Hey...that's not a bad idea...teaching Jo-Jo to play. Dog's aren't really complex thinkers. Maybe I could beat him.

Of course if I taught Jo-Jo to play I would have to buy another game. John Allen and Joshua would be fighting us over the games that we have. Well, the Tri-Cross website - which I can access by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above - says that the Eco Travel Version is only $19.95 and the Standard Version is just $24.95. I could even buy a really nice wooden version for $35.95. Let me see now...I could buy one of these award winning games directly from the website or I could buy it from a retailer. The Tri-Cross website has a page that will tell me every location in the U.S. that sells their games.

While I'm waiting for the new game to arrive in the mail I guess I could click on over to the TOS Homeschool Crew blog and see what all of the other great TOS crew members that reviewed Tri-Cross had to say about it. I can do that by just clicking here. Maybe one of them has gotten beat by one of their children as well. That would be nice to hear. Misery loves company you know.

I really need to cheer myself up. Perhaps it would help if I wished myself "Happy Homeschooling" like I always do at the end of a homeschool product review. Here I go..."Happy Homeschooling, Tim!". There now, that wasn't so bad. I do feel a bit better. I think I even feel good enough to play another game of Tri-Cross. Now where did that dog go...?

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free version of the Tri-Cross standard game and a free version of the Tri-Cross Eco-friendly Travel edition in order to try out and give a honest review on this blog.

Subscribe to Families Again

Posted by tink38570 at 11:41 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, 26 September 2011 12:52 AM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (9) | Permalink | Share This Post
Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Subscribe to Families Again

Posted by tink38570 at 10:01 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, 16 September 2011
Before Five in a Row
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review


I have said this before, but it's worth repeating again - our family loves to read. And we love to read together. I treasure the times when one of my children snuggles up to me while I read to them. Well, at 15 years old, John Allen doesn't snuggle so much anymore, but you know what I mean. Even after my children get older, we enjoy good books together. Just recently we laughed and appreciated Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories as a family.

Reading is very important to us. That's why I was excited when I found out that we would be receiving Before Five in a Row by Jane Claire Lambert. You've heard of the great Five in a Row, Beyond Five in a Row and Above and Beyond Five in a Row series haven't you? They use great books and develop unit studies around them. The unit studies almost always contain a social studies/history, science and literature section and quite often also include spelling, grammar and math elements as well.

Before Five in a Row (BFIAR) includes the great children's books and sections to introduce different areas of academics, but that is about as far as the similarities go. Since BFIAR was written to be used with children ages 2-4 the author suggests not focusing on the academics. Those will come. Instead, focus on enjoying time with your children and teach them to love books. If the opportunity comes to "lay a foundation" in an academic area, or if the child shows an interest in something then...great...introduce it. But, the main emphasis should be on, what I mentioned as one of my favorite things, cuddling and reading with your child.


And BFIAR suggests a lot of great books to do just that - enjoy reading with your children. Some of the books were familiar to me, such as Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown, and Corduroy, by Don Freeman. Others weren't as familiar, like Blueberries For Sal, by Robert McCloskey and The Quiet Way Home, by Bonny Becker. There were even some Christian themed books included.

The suggested activities were also wonderful. Jacob loved reading Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? and learning about rhyming (language development), relationships (social studies) and poetry (literature). Jacob next chose The Snowy Day and we discussed snow (science), and growing up. We loved taking about a week on each story and discussing a new aspect of it every day. There are even lap book and other activities that can be purchased to go along with many of the books. Believe me, though, Before Five in a Row is chalk full of activity suggestions for each story. Remember, however, that it's okay just to sit with your child and enjoy reading the book together even if you don't do any of the activities.

BUT, the suggested books and activities are only half of BFIAR. Part two is a whole section titled "Parent's Treasury of Creative Ideas for Learning Readiness". It includes ideas on Activities for Reading Readiness, Coordination, Development of Large and Small Motor Skills, Activities for Bath Time, Activities in the Kitchen, Activities at the Store and more! It's a treasure trove of information and ideas.

Although I have seen the Five in a Row series before, this was my first exposure to really using one of their products and I have become a new fan! You can find out all about their books by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. There you can find sample pages to download for each of their books so that you can see how wonderful they are before purchasing. BFIAR also has "digital resources" and "Fold-and-Learn" items that you can purchase. The book that I reviewed has a suggested retail price of $24.95 and is, in my opinion, well worth it.

Don't forget to also check out what the other TOS Homeschool Crew reviewers thought about this product by clicking here. Happy Home Educating!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given a free copy of Before Five In a Row to try out and give an honest review on this blog.

Subscribe to Families Again

Posted by tink38570 at 9:07 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, 19 September 2011 11:31 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post

Newer | Latest | Older

Subscribe to Families Again by Email
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe to Families Again by Email