T is for Tree: A Bible ABC Book Review

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Reformed Free Publishing Association

Clarissa usually enjoys alphabet books, so I was excited when we had the opportunity to review T is for Tree: A Bible ABC from Reformed Free Publishing Association. I am always looking for ways to introduce Clarissa to scripture. Reading scripture in an illustrated book is a great way to do this.

T is for Tree: A Bible ABC 

Every letter has it’s own page. It is mostly consistent that the page will say something similar to “A is for Ant.” X is a hard letter to find a verse for so that one is different, it says, “X is in fox.”

Each letter has a word focus with a short, three line poem that rhymes. It has a beautifully illustrated picture of the word focus. Then, a Bible verse is also listed at the bottom of the page. Each page also has a unique border that references the verse.

This book has excellent pictures. They look like they are hand painted and are very professional. The pictures have vibrant colors and the illustrations are lifelike. I can tell that a lot of thought went into each picture and how to make it relate to the words in this book.

For the most part, I liked the focus words and choices of Bible verses. Some of them confused Clarissa when she was trying to read the book to herself. For example, “B is for Bow” but it is a rainbow. “D is for Dawn,” and Clarissa wanted to say sun every time. I was surprised to see that “L is for Leopard.” I expected to see lion, lamb, or even Lord there. However, Clarissa said that L was her favorite because “Cheetahs are my favorite animal and leopards are like cheetahs.” She also enjoyed “Q is for Quails” and “R is for Ravens.” I really liked the verses and illustrations for “T is for tree,” and “P is for path.” Apparently Clarissa likes birds and I like trees.

The scripture references are King James Version, which isn’t my favorite. I prefer something modern like New International Version. This book is marketed to preschoolers but I really don’t think it fits that age group. I think that it would have been easier for Clarissa to memorize scriptures and understand them if they were written in a different version. Older elementary school children would understand better with this version of scripture.

However, Clarissa said she enjoyed the book. I think the beautiful pictures and the fact that most of it rhymes are the reasons why.

T is for Tree: A Bible ABC {Reformed Free Publishing Association Reviews}

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Messy Learning Review

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Panda Parents Kindy Curriculum

Clarissa was very excited to help me review Messy Learning for Preschoolers and Kindergartners by PandaParentsMessy Learning is a preschool program that will send you a digital course to complete with your child each month. Each course consists of story time, learning time, and creating time. There is a book included for each month which will focus on a specific letter and learning theme. A video will read the story to your child as well and also include some additional content that matches the story. Finally, there is a workbook of several activities that expand on the story.

We received three months of course content to review. Each course is designed to be completed in 20-30 minute segments three times per week. Clarissa enjoyed the material so much that she didn’t want to stop in 20-30 minutes per day. She wanted to do hours per day so we completed most of the materials in about two weeks (three months worth of work).

 

The first book, A Jolly Jingling Journey, was two holiday stories where they highlight the letter J. I like that the book was not written in preschool language so there was plenty of vocabulary to expose Clarissa to. There were also plenty of interactive things to do in the book like finding certain pictures or asking questions such as, “what do you think the reindeer are doing?” The video was about the letter J. The video did read the stories but also had some interactive features about the letter J so it was beneficial to watch the video in addition to reading the story. The workbook had activities like put these parts of the story in order, match the animal tracks to the picture of the animal, tracing letters, find what is different in two pictures, and counting various objects.

 

The second book was called Mommy’s Baby. It was really cute and compares several different things like mother to baby or big to small. The book also covered shapes and patterns. This video basically read the book to the child. But the workbook pages were great. There was some match the mother to the baby. I really liked that this workbook introduced new information to Clarissa about animals. She learned about different animal tails and had to match the animals to their tails. There was also work with colors and patterns as well as emotions. This book focused more on science concepts than a particular letter sound so there were several different letters to trace and write.

 

The third book we read was Scotty Skunk Hears a Scary Sound. In this book the main character, Scotty Skunk, gets scared so he keeps trying to find a new place to live. The book explores the different seasons and how the environment would change based on the weather. Scotty moved every season! The workbook actually introduces the word habitat and talks about different places that animals can live. There was plenty of tracing and matching. This workbook had more cutting and pasting which Clarissa really liked. She was able to practice matching a picture to it’s shadow. This workbook talked the most about letter sounds but really focused on the letter S.

Clarissa loved Messy Learning! I liked that she was actually excited to do some writing (because up until now it has been drudgery to get her to write letters). She is also learning some letter sounds as well. I think that she also really liked that each story was so different. She was exposed to some science concepts as well like comparing sizes and the seasons.

The monthly subscription for Messy Learning is $9.95 per month. Your child will be exposed to some great vocabulary and even some science and math concepts. If you are looking for something fun and educational to do with your preschooler, this is a great choice. But, this isn’t a program that will teach your child to read. So if that is your goal, you would need a separate program.

This is a digital product, but a printer is very helpful. We would read the story together on my kindle. Then, Clarissa would watch the video on my laptop. You could do that over two different days. The workbook is usually 30+ pages, so that takes several days to complete. I downloaded the workbook to my kindle as well and we did several pages on my kindle to save on paper and ink. But you can’t write letters or cut and paste on a kindle, so we still had to print at least half of each workbook for her to complete the work. That is another thing to keep in mind as you consider if this program would be a good fit for your family.

Messylearning For Preschoolers and Kindergartners {PandaParents Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Planet 316 Story Bible Review

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Planet 316

We have several different children’s Bibles that we use regularly. Or rather, we did. Since we received the Planet 316 Story Bible and the companion Planet 316 Story Bible app by Planet 316 and Worthy Kids/Ideals in the mail, Clarissa has decided that she doesn’t like the others. She only wants this one for Bible for story time. The Planet 316 Story Bible and the companion Planet 316 Story Bible app really do help to make the Bible stories come to life.
Planet 316 Story Bible and Bible App

The Planet 316 Story Bible has all of the stories you would expect to see in a Children’s Bible. Old Testament and New Testament stories are included. You can read them straight through like a normal book or there is a Table of Contents if you want to find a specific story.

The Story Bible itself is very nice. Each page is illustrated. The illustrations are very vibrant and colorful. Clarissa really enjoys them. She will sit on the couch and “read” the stories to herself.

The companion app is wonderful! I have never seen an app that makes the illustrations in a book move before. You can download the app for both apple and android for free. The app works with any device that has a camera. We downloaded it both on my phone and on a tablet (so we could have a bigger picture).

During our Bible time, we will find our story in the Bible. I read the page to Clarissa. Then, we turn on the app on either the phone or tablet. Clarissa can hold the device over the page of the book we just read. It scans the page and then the illustrations on the book pop up on the screen. If you touch the screen illustrations with your finger, they come to life. So when Jesus feeds 5000 with the little boy’s lunch, you touch the little boy and he says, “Here Jesus. You can have my lunch,” as he lifts his bread and fish to Jesus.

The app is easy to use so Clarissa can use the Bible without me. She can sit on the couch and look at the pictures. She knows how to scan them and wait for the picture to load on the phone or tablet. She can touch the screen to make the picture move or talk. She seems to really enjoy the sound effects and illustrations.

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I am thankful for a book that makes my daughter excited about reading the Bible and learning more about God. The Planet 316 Story Bible and companion Planet 316 Story Bible app would be a wonderful addition to a family’s home library or family devotion time. It would also be a great addition for a church or classroom. I used the Bible and app during a Sunday School lesson about Jesus’s burial. The kids were so excited to see the story come to life. I think it made them understand what was happening more than just telling them. The children in the class range in age from two to eight, so I think that children through elementary school would really enjoy this Bible.
Planet 316 Story Bible and Bible App {Planet 316 Reviews}

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Princess Cut Movie Review

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Watchman Pictures

I love a good romance movie, especially one that doesn’t have any inappropriate scenes or themes in it. Princess Cut by Watchman Pictures, is one of those movies. The movie would be appropriate for elementary school students to see, but I think they would be bored with a love story. They use the word “intimate” instead of “sex” in this movie. There aren’t any kisses either. Someone tried to kiss Grace and she stopped him and said, “Not until you put a ring on it.” This is a movie that I definitely plan to watch with Clarissa when she is in middle school because it provides so many discussion points about relationships but also family dynamics.

Princess Cut The Movie

The movie is about Grace and her hard working, Christian family who lives on a soybean farm in North Carolina. At the beginning of the movie, Grace is kind of your typical college girl who just happens to be a Christian. She is so focused on her relationships with boys that she isn’t really paying attention to the people around her. She has two relationships before she realizes that something needs to change.

By this time, her dad has been encouraged by his pastor to study about the father’s role in his daughter’s relationships. He learns that the giving the daughter away during the wedding ceremony actually comes from Jeremiah 29:6. Grace and her dad have a conversation about how things need to shift so that they can do this God’s way. Her dad encourages her that “it’s not as much about finding the perfect person as becoming who God made you to be.”

During the second half of the movie you really watch Grace grow into this beautiful woman of God. She really wants to honor God and her family in the things that she does, including any romantic relationships. She goes to the library for some books about the subject and actually picks up some that I really enjoyed during that season of life, When God Writes Your Love Story and Boundaries in Dating.

A young doctor named Clint does get to know their family and asks for Grace’s parents permission to get to know her better before he even talks to Grace about it. When he talks to her he says, “Your heart is too precious a treasure to play games with.” That is the kind of young man that I would like to pursue Clarissa. I don’t want to give away the whole story. I will say that I really enjoyed it, which means it did have a happy ending.

There are so many good things that I will discuss with Clarissa when we watch this movie.

  • It’s not about waiting for the perfect guy. It’s about trusting God.
  • I want you to be able to talk to your dad and I about anything. God. Boys. Life. No matter how bad you think it is.
  • Trust your gut. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.
  • Know what your boundaries will be physically before you start dating.
  • Not everyone believes that same things that we do, so you need to be careful about who you are receiving counsel from.
  • What kind of a friend do you want to be? What kind of friends do you want to have?
  • How should you treat your parents? siblings? How should they treat you?
  • What blessings has God given us that we can share with others?
  • How can we serve other people as a family?

I have seen a few “Christian” movies. Often you can tell they are lower budget than something that comes out in the movie theater. The actors were pretty good in this one. There was one scene that Grace was supposed to be crying and it wasn’t super believable. There were a few times when the camera angles were odd. For the most part, the acting and the sets were great.

Princess Cut {Watchman Pictures Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Bee – bim-Bop!

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Clarissa has been very literal with her books lately. If it’s in a book, we have to do it. One such book is Bee – bim- Bop! by Linda Sue Park.

We got this book from the library before our Hong Kong trip to learn a little bit about Korean culture. My favorite Korean dish is probably bibimbap so I thought it would be fun to read about it. In the book a little girl and her mom go to the grocery store to buy ingredients and then come home and make bibimbap together for the family dinner that evening. At the end of the book, the author lists her family’s recipe for bibimbap, with specific instructions for children and adults.

Clarissa asked if we could make it for dinner. I assured her that we would after we returned from vacation. She would not let me forget! The day after our return she demanded to go to the commissary to buy the ingredients. She fought with Daddy one night about dinner because Tim wanted pizza and Clarissa wanted to make bibimbap.

When it was time to make the bibimbap, Clarissa was excited to help. She helped measure the rice and the water. She measured the ingredients for the marinade and mixed it up. She even helped with the eggs.

At which point, we had been working for at least 20 minutes and she was tired of helping. She went to the couch to read some books while I sautéed the meat and vegetables.

I think they should charge more for bibimbap in restaurants! It is always less than $10 and it takes a while to make. We all enjoyed our meal and plan to put it in our meal rotation. Clarissa even ate eggs and carrots with her rice. I am hopeful that she will continue to try new things and enjoy the other vegetables as well.

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Ingredients:

1 cup white rice
1 pound sirloin or other beef steak
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped spinach
1 cup mung bean sprouts (optional)
4 eggs
PAM cooking spray

Marinade:
2 teaspoons minced garlic
5 tablespoons gluten free tamari sauce
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar

Directions:
1. Pour one cup of rice and two cups of water into a saucepot. Cook on high until the water boils. Then switch to low heat until the water is absorbed into the rice.
2. Mix all marinade ingredients into a large bowl.
3. Slice beef into thin slices. Place sliced beef into marinade and mix thoroughly.
4. Whisk eggs in a bowl. Spray small frying pan. Pour egg in sections into . Cook like a pancake. Slice eggs into strips. Put into small bowl for serving.
5. Spray frying pan. Saute carrots until tender. Put into small bowl for serving.
6. Spray frying pan. Saute spinach until tender. Put into small bowl for serving.
7. Spray frying pan. Saute mung bean sprouts until tender. Put into small bowl for serving.
8. Spray frying pan. Saute beef and marinade until beef is cooked through. Put into small bowl for serving. Pour marinade into small container for serving as well.
9. Serve with rice in bowls. Each person adds the ingredients that they want to their bowl and mix it all up.

Zirrly Bead Review

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*******Clarissa and I have seen some fun bead kits in stores over the past year. But they always need an iron to make the design permanent. We didn’t bring an iron to Korea (because I don’t iron). I even thought about buying an iron just to do these crafts with Clarissa. I was so excited when I found out about this Zirrly review! Clarissa and I get to create without needing an iron. We received the Super Beads Mega Pack because we couldn’t decide which individual projects we wanted to try.

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Our pack included beads, four plastic bases, a plastic tool, two water spray bottles, and some design sheets with directions. We were surprised that the beads didn’t come pre-sorted. It wasn’t a huge problem though. We simply got out some bowls and sorted beads into bowls by color. We didn’t do the whole pack, but enough to do a few designs.

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Next, Clarissa chose a pattern. She decided to try the apple. We placed the pattern design under the plastic base. We also put a pattern sheet next to our base so we could see the colors better. Then, we started placing the beads on the plastic base. It was pretty easy to do. Clarissa started with the green leaf. I did the outer edge and then we did the white inside together. Her little four year old fingers were big enough to do the job. She didn’t get too tired either.

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After we finished, it was time to spray the design with water. The directions say to spray the entire design, but don’t “flood it with water.” Clarissa and I were both spraying, so we must have “flooded” it. This wasn’t a huge problem, except that it took longer to dry. It said it would take 60 minutes or more. Some of the project was dry. But the rest was sticky, so we decided to leave it overnight. It was dry enough in the morning.

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While we were waiting for the apple to dry, Clarissa asked to do another one. This time, she chose the elephant. So we put a pattern under another base and started placing beads. She did the tail and then started to get tired. She did the white parts on the pattern and I did the rest.

We repeated our water spray with the elephant. Again, I think we sprayed too much. Clarissa checked on it before she went to bed and some of the beads were still sticky. Part of the tail came off as well as one of the white pieces. It wasn’t a huge problem, the directions say to just put them back on the base and spray again. We did that and in the morning both beaded creations were finished.

In all, we were really pleased with our projects. I am so happy that Zirrly came up with their Super Beads products. Now Clarissa and I can do bead projects without having to worry about an iron. I definitely recommend the Mega Pack that we received. There are also specialized packs you can order as well to make jewelry, 3D animals, or even cars and trucks. Feel free to click through the other reviews to see what others had to say about their individual packs.

Super Beads {Zirrly Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Magic Stix Washable Markers Review

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The Pencil Grip, Inc.

Clarissa loves to do art projects! We were very excited when we were chosen to review the 24 pack of Magic Stix Washable Markers made by The Pencil Grip, Inc. Clarissa said the markers looked beautiful and wanted me to take her picture immediately.

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After the picture was taken, it was time to open the box and start coloring. Clarissa was impressed with the amount of markers in the box. She didn’t know that you could get 24 markers at a time. She claimed them as “her markers” and started coloring immediately while I was making dinner.

The box made several promises that I was eager to try out. The box claims that these markers are washable, odorless, have bold and bright colors, and that they will not dry out if left uncapped for seven days. That last promise was hard for me to believe, so we created an experiment to test it out.

These markers claim to be washable. I think that is true. We didn’t get markers on our clothing at all during the testing of these markers. But we did get marker on our hands. The ink did wash off during bathtime very easily.

These markers also claim to be odorless. This is also true. There is no smell to these markers, good or bad.

The markers are bold and bright, as they claim. The colors are vibrant. I was amazed at how many different shades of blue and green and yellow we had in the box. However, the markers do bleed through the back of the paper. Clarissa colored in a coloring book and on normal paper. Both times, the colors bled through to the back.

The final promise was that the markers would not dry out, after left uncapped for seven days, guaranteed! I was doubtful, but thought that we should try it out because surely, if they dried out they would have to replace our markers. Clarissa usually likes to perform experiments so I thought that she would be excited about this. She was not. Apparently, I have made a big deal about capping her markers until now. So she had a hard time understanding that we were supposed to leave the caps off these markers. She actually snuck back into the kitchen to put the caps on later that day. I had to hide the experiment from her until the week was over.

For the experiment, I numbered each of the markers. Then I made a grid for each color. Every morning for seven days, I filled in a circle for each color on the grid.

I was surprised to discover that the markers did actually keep their full, vibrant colors, even after seven days of being uncapped.

Now that the experiment is over, Clarissa is back to using her markers regularly and putting her caps back on. We use the markers for school on a regular basis.

I highly recommend the Magic Stix Washable Markers from The Pencil Grip, Inc. They sell markers in both 12 and 24 packs on Amazon. Click here to enter my first giveaway, a 24 pack of the markers, new from the manufacturer.

Magic Stix Washable Markers {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}Crew Disclaimer