Book Wishes

Our Journey through Books, Happiness, and Home Education

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The Mermaid Collector by Erika Marks **Review**



The Mermaid Collector by Erika Marks is a well written book, I must have more! I would love Erika Marks to write another book about this wonderful story of lives that come together through time. When I ended the book. I was disappointed not with the ending, with myself for reading this book so quickly! This is a story of present day with a woman, Tess, that is dealing with her mother’s death. Tess, is trying to find herself throughout the story. In a small town in Maine called Cradle Harbor, for Tess, finding herself is a hard thing to do. She has never been accepted by the town. After her mother threw herself into the sea, Tess struggles even more. To make matters more unique in this story, this is not the first time the sea has taken a life, (or lives). There is a legend of mermaids taking men some time ago. Cradle Harbor celebrates the legend by having a mermaid festival every year. For Tess, this year changes her life!

Erika Marks writes with ease, she pulls you into a very different tale of legend mixed with present day in this little town in Maine. I really loved Tess the main character of present day. She wants to be strong show the town who she is, in reality Tess doesn’t know who she is at all. As the story progresses in the present time Tess opens up to finding herself. Although, I really wonder how one can do that always needing someone else. Tess is one of those women that need a man, I think Tess makes the right decision in the end. As this story goes back and forth in time, I found myself pulled to the past. Maybe that is the historical fiction lover in me.

Linus, (character of the past), the lighthouse keeper is somewhat bewitched after returning from a tragic event at sea. I rarely like when the author does not explain exactly what happened to change Linus and the other men that were on the vessel, (even in the ending). However, in this case author Marks was leaving it up to the reader to fill in the blanks. Linus’s wife is forever changed with this event, because the man that has come back to her after the tragic boat accident is not the husband she knew. Lydia,(the lighthouse keepers wife), upon his return finds herself in a bit of a pickle. She wants to be happy, wants to be excited about the events in the future along with the return of her husband but cannot because she feels he has not returned himself.

My heart ached when I read the past, (1800’s) with Linus and Lydia, I began to sympathize with Lydia. Bring your tissues for parts of this book! Compelling!

Some things that I did not like in The Mermaid Collector, was the swearing. A little over half way through the book a character gets introduced into the book by the name of Dean, he is Tess’s love interests brother. Dean is an alcoholic and likes to be bad. The character himself swears too much, although the book is clean otherwise in content. This character I wanted to skip over, as I do not like swearing-in books. It was my choice not to put the book down for the compelling story that I was almost through.

I will admit the legend was really my motivation for reading this book. I needed to read what happened in 1800’s. What the legend was all about, as well as, see how the characters ended in the story. If you are looking for an adult read, be warned this does have curse words in a quarter of the book. I also was very interested in mermaids, this is not a book based entirely on mermaids. In fact, the mermaids are not really present or talked about much in the book. I wanted more about mermaids!

I liked the drama, the issues, the way all the characters lives came together to connect in some way, (past and present). The way the book flowed, this is definitely a chick lit book. Add The Mermaid Collector to your Goodreads!

My rating 4 out of 5 Stars-Is there ever an adult book without swearing. I would have given this book 5 stars had it not been for the swearing! I will rally have to watch the publishers that I read.


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Prioritize, Organize and Simplify your Life with The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner **Review**

7minplannerIf you are looking for a basic calendar to write things down, The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner is not for you. However, if you are looking for a daily planner that is made to fit your life and help you get on track with your priorities, then  The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner  is for you.  The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner will help you now ,as well as, in your future. If you have goals that you have always wanted to achieved but haven’t or if you would like less stress in daily life, then The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner is for you! This planner can never be mistaken as a simple write it down and leave it calendar, because there are so many wonderful aspects about this planner.  I have the wonderful opportunity to share them with my readers. I was given one 7 Minute Life Daily Planner to review from The 7 Minute Life to share with our Book Wishes readers.

The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner is a spiral bound 7.3″ by 8.5″ physical planner. The price of The 7 Minute Daily Planner is 24.95. Considering the cost of the average planner that does not transform your life, I found the price to be spot on (worth every penny). The 7 Minute Daily Planner is for adults to use in their daily life.

Before getting started with The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner, I watched this video. It is very helpful in learning how to simplify your life with this amazing product.

7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review
When first opening and using The 7 Minute Planner, I quickly became overwhelmed with the amount of things you have to do to get started in just using this planner. As I was going about the first few pages, I realized the reason for the first few tasks. The beginning of The 7 Minute Planner is for the planner to fit you as a person, (individualizing). What planner  has ever been customized to fit your life? I cannot think of one. The beginning tasks were:

  • Prioritizing your Top Ten Values
  • Creating Your Purpose in Life
  • Establishing your 90 day Goals

I like how The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner made me think. I really struggle with anxiety in my life, so anything less stressful would be great. I made 7 Minute Life my own by tweaking it just a bit to fit my needs as a homeschooling mother and not a mother in the work force.  When using the prioritize section, I made subcategories next to the words. Let me explain. On page 20 of the planner there is a priority list of values. Going through the list, you are to mark which priorities fit you personally. Then from those, you make your top 10.

My Personal Top Ten Priorities (yours are made to fit you, these are an example of my own)

  1. Family
  2. Faith
  3. Love
  4. Teaching
  5. Happiness
  6. Learning
  7. Financial Security
  8. Serving Others
  9. Change
  10. Nature


I made subcategories for myself for instance on number 3. Love I would add next to it, making more time for my spouse. It was important to me to state what I wanted with those priorities or what they were all about. Making this list was extremely hard for me, so I am glad that I did it! This is only the beginning.

In using The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner, I was impressed. This planner is life changing from start to finish. I really liked the 90 day goals, however, I again tweaked the pages to fit me as a homeschooling mom. In using washi-tape, I changed the 90 day work goals to 90 day home-education goals. There are 2 sections, 90-day personal goals and 90-day home-educational goals (or work goals, depending on your life). Instead of just writing down my personal goals, I included my husband so we could make those goals together. My husband and I are one, even in personal goals, and I do not want to be working alone; therefore, I included him. We also did the home-education goals together. I want us to work towards these goals together. Goals are something, when married, that I feel you work on together, not separate. Working on them together will only strengthen our marriage.

Goals are something I struggle with in life. I might say, “I really want to read my scriptures, every morning.” I say it but find myself not waking up in time, therefore, not making that personal scripture study every morning. “We still have family scripture time,” I say to myself. The 7 Minute Life doesn’t just have you write them down and leave you with a page of written down words. Underneath your goal is the word, action, then right beside that is, what was the outcome (completion date). WOW! You mean I don’t write it then leave it, NO! You actually complete the goal or try to complete the goal. Showing progress not making you feel like a failure. You can see clearly what you have to do in order to get the goal completed. You will find the goal sheet I mentioned, along with other pages I mentioned on FREE Time Management Strategy Tools.

If you are a mother, (home-educator) like me, or heck just a human, then you have a list a mile long of Unfinished Tasks. Especially if you are in the work force.

7 Minute Life Daily Planner ReviewThe 7 Minute Life Planner helps you organize even your unfinished tasks so you feel less stressed. Quote from page 15 in The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner, “In a sense these list create a written contract you make with yourself. By creating these list, you are making an emotional commitment to complete these daily activities.”

Other items I found helpful in my life:

  • Annual calendar at a glance
  • annual projects and task
  • The 90-day worksheets

This gave me a chance to look over my month at a glance or  the next 3 months. I was able to have less stress in seeing everything spread out before me simplifying my life, as well as, organizing my life.

My overall thoughts on The 7 Minute Daily Planner were good. I complained at first because the time it takes to start the planner was long. As I started to read just the preface, I was a bit bogged down by everything. As I began to complete each section, I felt more and more accomplished along the journey. I can relate to Allyson Lewis, the founder of 7 Minute Life. She tells us why she created this for her life and wanted to bless others. Allyson talks of a personal struggle with health. I  could also relate to having a personal struggle with health (being a cancer survivor).  I thought I would struggle with this planner. I told myself it was going to be a challenge. I will admit the daily progress reports are a bit of challenge still for me. I like seeing them knowing I have ideas, goals, tasks, and lists laid out before me along with my accomplishments. As a homeschooling mother, I am hard on myself and feelings come over me like I am not doing enough. The 7 Minute Planner has changed that and changed my life. I mentioned before that my husband was included in the goal part, however, I am including him in so much more of this planner. I have even included our children in planning. I personally struggle with organization, not because I cannot get organized but because I like a little chaos in my life. I will continue to use The 7 Minute Daily Planner, (not every page), I have made The 7 Minute Life Planner my own.

7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review









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I Almost Forgot! I Said I Never Would!


Life has taken me away these last two months. I almost forgot something I said I never would. You see I am a veteran and 9/11 is a day that I promised to never forget. So when I saw a post today regarding 9/11 I was surprised that I almost past this day by. However, I have kept my promise and did not forget. How could one forget the thousands that lost their lives on those 2 towers that day.

Some of us watched on a TV screen; some of us where there. Some of us emerging from a dust cloud ; some of us died.

The fallen that day will never be forgotten, for American’s light shines bright for you.

Too all the men and women after that fought to defend. For all the hero’s that lost their lives.

For the mother that will never again hear her husband’s footsteps.

For the husband that will never hold his wife (until life on earth ceases).

For the innocent children that were robbed of their life.

Remember this day 9/11, stand tall and proud that we did not stand down.

For no apologies ever, we are AMERICANS! Remember this day, never almost forget (like me).

Remember the cost of our freedom because it is never free.

I am so glad that I did not forget I made a promise. How could I even come close to forgetting a day like 9/11. Please take time to have a moment of silence for all who are affected by this tragedy including America.



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Children’s Books to get ready for Fall!

childrensbookstogetreadyforfallLiving in the mountains fall comes upon us quicker than most. I love this time of year when you can start to notice the slight changes in the leaves. The weather is getting cooler at night. Time to bring out the blankets, snuggle in, read a book with a little one in your lap. Here are some of the fall books my little ones recommend for your family to get ready for the Fall. Along with some great book activities!


The Bumpy Little Pumpkin by Margery Cuyler, is a fun 30 page picture book that my daughter loves! This is more than just a pumpkin story, the moral of this fall story is to be yourself. Little Nell falls in love with an ugly little pumpkin that she loves. Little Nell shows that beauty comes from within!

The Bumpy Little Pumpkin Project:

Projects from Teachers Pay Teachers Grades K-3 cost 2.50


My children love Clifford, although, we do not watch Clifford on TV they are still growing up with the BIG red dog through all his wonderful books. I love apple picking in the fall, the smell of apple pie baking! Apple Picking Day by Samantha Brooke, a children’s picture book about when Clifford, the big red dog, is little. Emily takes Clifford apple picking, there Clifford has fun but faces many challenges! Apple art and printables are so much fun to do with your children so we have linked some of are favorite FREE apple resources for you.

Apple Fractions Math File Folder Game from Itsy Bitsy Fun

Johnny Appleseed Coloring Pages from Blessed Beyond A Doubt

Apple Cinnamon Tree from The Well Nourished Nest

I have a few art themed boards on pinterest for children check them out!


I have so much fun reading this book to my children. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams is so much fun! If you are looking for an interactive book this is one. Your child can follow along with all the special events that happen to the little old lady as she is returning home from a walk!

Fun Activities:

Story sequencing from Helping you be your child’s first teacher

Pumpkin Homeschool ideas from Aprons and Apples


I was always worried at first letting my children read these books. I felt at a certain age they are not OK because a child might put something in their mouth that was harmful. However, I sometimes don’t give my children enough credit. Interestingly enough, I read all the There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed _______; my children never attempted to put leaves or anything else harmful in their mouth! LOL I adore these cute books that make us all laugh. This fall she swallows some leaves!

Book Activities: Story Stick by Making Learning Fun

Additional Fall Books we recommend:


Books by Steven Kroll are wonderful, he has one for almost every season and holiday for your family to enjoy! This is an easy read or a great bedtime book.


Wonderful learning to count book for your PreK or Kinder student to get ready for fall counting pumpkins. I made a felt raccoon and 16 pumpkins to go on my daughter’s, (Elion), felt board. This book is great counting fun!

Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White

Why Do Leaves Change Colors by Betsy Maestro

The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano

What books are you going to be reading your little ones this fall?




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Under Drake’s Flag (The Extraordinary Adventures Of G.A. Henty) **Review**

Analytical Grammar Review
Take your family on an exciting adventure with Sir Frances Drake himself in Under Drake’s Flag, available through Heirloom Audio Productions. Under Drake’s Flag takes your imagination to another world with pirates from long ago, shark attacks in the high seas, and the hero of England himself , Sir Francis Drake! If you are looking for some fun for the entire family while getting away from the everyday movie or TV program, Under Drake’s Flag will give your imagination a work out as you sit around the CD player listening to this remarkable epic adventure! Our family was so excited to receive a 2 disc set of Under Drake’s Flag, along with a study guide for review to share with all our awesome readers.

Under Drake’s Flag is great for ages 6 to adult. I personally listened to Under Drake’s Flag before my children and after listening, I allowed all my children to listen to Under Drake’s Flag. Our entire family enjoyed this story in its entirety. So, I suggest if you have small children to listen first and to see if it is a good fit for your entire family.

If you would like to purchase your copy of Under Drake’s Flag, a 2 CD set is 29.95 (that is the pricing for the physical CD set), other pricing options are available. Under Drake’s Flag website has options for every family!

I listened to Under Drake’s Flag before we had a family evening enjoying this thrilling adventure. Under Drake’s Flag is 2 hours in length to enjoy. After I was done listening to Under Drake’s Flag, I read the history behind Sir Francis Drake (main character in the story)  presented in a study guide that is available with the 2 set CD. The study guide is a  good resource to teach children the history behind the story. I personally connected to The Prayer of Sir Francis Drake’s, 1577. The following is my favorite verse of the prayer:

“Disturb us, Lord to dare more boldly,

To venture on wider seas

Where storms will show your mastery,

Where losing sight of land,

We shall find the stars.” – Under Drake’s Flag Study Guide Pg. 6

I did not have my children use the study guide physically; instead, I chose to read the study guide myself. Explaining the history, then going over the defining words before they listened to Under Drake’s Flag. Also, each of my children wrote down The Prayer of Sir Francis Drake as copy work.  I love the study guide for homeschooling or non-homeschooling children. The study guide breaks down the story adventure for children so they really can get the best out of the experience! I will have my children use the study guide in the future; currently, I just wanted this to be less school for our family and more of a relaxing family fun time. That is the beauty of this listening experience, you can use this as an educational tool for your children or  relaxing enjoyment for your family.


When my children listened to the story, it was so fun to watch them! Our CD player is in the hallway just above a small bookcase. All my precious little ones gathered pillows, chairs,  and snacks. As we listened as a family, I watched their eyes light up as their imaginations went on a journey. The room was quiet except for the beautiful sound of the narrator taking you on a quest of bravery, selflessness, courage and morals. My children, even my 4-year-old, listened for the length of the CD. We took a bathroom break when we changed to CD 2. I asked if they wanted to listen to part 2 later, however, the quick response was, “NO!” All 5 of my children, including myself, enjoyed the story of Sir Francis Drake (Under Drake’s Flag). My daughter’s favorite part was when Ned Hawkshaw (one of the boys in the adventure) rescues  a girl from a shark. My daughter, Curie, thought that it was a “HUGE” act of bravery. Ned finds in the future that his act of bravery will help him along his journey as well!

Overall thoughts of Under Drake’s Flag:

I am impressed by the sound quality of the audio. The length of the story was fitting for children 6 and up. My children were never bored with Under Drake’s Flag leaving me feeling good about the decision to make this a family listening affair. Even though there is a message about Heavenly Father in this story, you do not have to be religious to enjoy listening to Under Drake’s Flag; so, the content is appealing to all families and faiths. My faith is very important to me being a Latter Day Saint. Personally, I enjoyed the message my children were given about Heavenly Father. I almost forgot to mention that in the back of the study guide, it has a bible study with some wonderful verses for yourself and your children to study. Under Drake’s Flag does not lack in quality and when you listen to the CD you will agree.

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Back to Homeschool!

Last week was officially our first week back to school. Although, we did have some schooling during the summer. I wanted the summer months to be fun and light for the kids! We had a wonderful summer, went on so many hikes. Visits from family, that is always the best (shout out to cousins who are the same age as my kids). We moved in all the heat, thank goodness for family help, thanks to my brother and sister-in-law.  Trips for business with hubby to Idaho, as well as, Montana. I discovered how badly I would love living in Montana! Fishing escapes, nothing like a worm on a hook , to brag about. All of that and there is more, laughter, love and so much learning! I am reassured every year that homeschooling is a calling for me as a mother, my children cherish the moments. I love to watch them grow.

Our Week Back to Homeschool:


We enjoyed our first field trip of the year to Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum! Learning so much history about Utah and our Latter Day Saint ancestors. The kids were fascinated with the old clothing, they said, “The clothes look uncomfortable” “I am so glad I don’t have to wear that!”   This museum is a FREE resource to everyone in our area or visiting our area. One thing I did notice when we signed the register, locals do not go here much. I was sad to hear some of my friends here in my area have never been there. We love checking out FREE or low-cost things to do that are educational. I try to do a field trip every 2 weeks that way we are learning while having fun outdoors, or in this case in another indoor place. LOL


My 3 oldest started a music study, I am very impressed with. Maestros Classics: My Name is Handel I received a used copy from a fellow homeschooling family. My children loved it, we are doing more classical music study this year for my 7th,6th and 4th grader!


We went on a Junior Ranger Hike, if you live far from the National Parks, your children can still be WebRangers through the National park service. The children loved seeing signs of fall coming in the mountains. Fall is our favorite season, well my favorite. LOL


Along with all our other studies this year I am focused on Home Ec, one of my goals for last year was to have Home Ec every week. Teaching my boys to sew, girls to cook, woodwork, auto shop and such. Last year I was able to teach our oldest to knit hats (we will be sending those to hats for the homeless). Home Ec is so much fun and you allow your child to really learn something they love or a life skill.


At the end of our week, we have slow down day. That is a day that I make for the kids, usually Friday, were we snuggle in and do things as a family. I do not teach individual lessons we learn together. I love doing secret acts of service for others, I even do them for my children! My children love doing them as well. Slow Down Days are not lazy, just fun, slowing down to remember what is important in life. Each Other

So starting the school year can be stressful if you let it, I am thankful for being a homeschooling mom. No rush to the bus, no being without my little ones, no hurrying to get dinner on the table so we can get to homework then off to bed. Our homeschool starts out with a prayer, ends with HUGS and the stressful moments; do we sit down at the table for literature or would the floor be better to spread out? Stress sometimes get the best of all of us. I know I suffer from panic attacks, less stress is always good.

This book loving, homeschooling mom’s week in a glance. I will be sharing our homeschool curriculum with all our readers next week. I have had some emails about that and what books we are reading this year! More Book Fun, along with our journey!

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Counting My Blessings Before Complaining!**Random Thoughts from a Wife and Mother**

Ezra Taft Benson quotes

Life could be a lot harder and I know it, but often times I find a complaint in my thoughts other than a thank you. Recently, I have had so much trouble with that. I live day-to-day with Celiac an auto immune disease that affects my entire life. To most people they think of celiac as a gluten problem, don’t eat gluten and you will be all right. That is not the case, my body is attacking itself with other foods as well. So in addition to not eating gluten, I personally cannot eat meat, dairy, and eggs. My family still eats meat , as well as , dairy. I have skin rashes, headaches, depression problems and more. There you go that is my complaint, what I should be thinking is I am a survivor. YES, that’s me! A cancer survivor after 4 surgeries 2 years ago and 2 rounds of treatment. I have survived cancer and I am writing this to all of you living life.

Cancer did not get me! I feel given a gift of life that I should be counting as a blessing everyday! I was diagnosed with cancer two years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday. When I received the news, I quickly went home. Gathered my children in my arms (all 5) my husband and I got on our knees. Crying reaching out to Heavenly Father we prayed, the most powerful prayer I have ever felt.

Life gets the best of us sometimes and we forget to think of the good instead of the bad.

Recently I have been thinking of another baby.  Once I became cancer free I was ready to continue going as nothing was wrong. In all my selfishness to have another one, I read a post about a baby that is in the hospital, dying. This post was on a forum for homeschooling moms that I belong too. Here their baby is dying and I am sad about not having another one. I counted my blessings right then and there! I have 5 healthy happy faces in my life! I love being a mother, and wife. I have a beautiful family, I am so thankful for. Our prayers go out to the family, I can only imagine the grief that this mother and father are having right now. We personally lost a child, a son. I am thankful to know that this life is not the end. I will see our son again. I am thankful that no matter what happens with this family and their son, they will be together again as well. Counting my blessings has always been hard.

There is so much to be thankful for why would I complain about life. Even the hardest of times there are blessings. Life itself is a blessing. My focus should not be on negative things. I think as women we get to hard on ourselves that we feel we have to do it all. I have to slow down, smell the roses and count my many blessings that I have to be thankful for, and the first is this precious gift of life! Life is too short to be so focused on what I don’t have then what I do.

When sore trials come upon us, it's time to deepen our faith in God - quote with free printable!  #quote #free #printable #chalkboard

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Essential Skills Advantage **Review**


Essential Skills Advantage is for children in grades K-6. This is an online program to help children with reading and language skills. How is ESA different from every other online learning program? Essential Skills Advantage takes each individual learning style into account with your child. Some of what they will learn is phonics, sight words, spelling, vocabulary building, and reading comprehension with so much more for each child to learn while having fun! Our family was given a 1 year subscription to Essential Skills Advantage premium plan to review and share our thoughts with our readers. You can purchase a premium plan for only 4.99 a month with this wonderful coupon code “TOS50″. This code is for the premium plan. As a “reminder” to our readers this coupon code will expire on October 1st, so HURRY and purchase Essential Skills Advantage! The regular price is 9.99 a month to sign up without the code.

Essential Skills Advantage ReviewWe used Essential Skills Advantage in our daily routine as a home educating family. My 5 children including, Elion (preschool), loved Essential Skills Advantage in its entirety. After all our book lessons are done at the end of the day, I allot my children online learning time. With my older children, I was able to get other things done because the program was so easy for them to navigate and it allowed them to learn with little supervision or help.

My older children, Einstein (grade 7), Curie (grade 6),and Franklin (grade 4), really enjoyed this program. Einstein’s favorite part of the program was the vocabulary builder 6. He had so much fun in the homophones word search. Einstein would set a timer to see how fast he could go through the word search as a game. He had so much fun on this program even though Einstein excels in reading. Essential skills gives him a fun way of going over spelling, grammar and language skills in the areas he needs work on. Einstein is in 7th grade, however, he really liked learning with ESA!

My younger children Hubble (2nd grade) and Elion (preschool) also really liked this program. I did not ever hear any complaints about getting on ESA. From the start, my daughter loved the Kindergarten complete reading. Elion says, “Mommy I make it look so easy!” One of the catch phrases when you do a great job on the lesson was a little dog that came on and shook his hips and said, “You make it look so easy!” I thought that was so cute.

As a family, we have been looking for a program that our children would love to learn that had multiple learning areas. We found that with Essential Skills Advantage. It is really easy to get started, log into, and navigate. I did not need a HUGE instruction manual to get around. I am impressed at how easy ESA is to use for parents as well. The parents account has updates, as well as, progress for each child. With our youngest daughter, Elion, I had so much fun sitting with her to see her face light up with the lessons. The lessons are not confusing for children. For example, with the Complete Reading for Kindergarten, if your child needs something to be repeated, there is a picture of an ear to have them repeat the word or instructions. I like the voice for our children because it is clear. The pictures were very good for our littlest to understand and there is no guess-work.

We will continue to use ESA next year as well. My oldest son would like to see the grade levels increase so he can continue using this program through middle school. I would love that! My daughter, Elion (preschool), was frustrated when she played the word matching games. With every correct match, the card would disappear to expose a piece of the picture behind it. Sometimes the picture was a dog or some other fun, friendly picture for children. Elion expressed that after she was done with the matching and won, the picture would disappear to fast. She needed more time to see her accomplishment. While we are on the subject of accomplishment, ESA gives the kids printable certificates as motivation for children! In some states, having those certificates is a must. I personally do not live in a state with those laws, however, I like to have them on file for my children in the future!

The only negative that I can find with ESA was the login process. You have to log in and out too many times with each child. I would like a place to login as a family then a simple button to switch users until we log out. I understand to keep good records for each child you must have a login process, however, less time would be great with one family page!

Essential Skills Advantage Review
Overall Thoughts:

I am impressed with Essential Skills Advantage giving my family a program that makes learning happy and fun! My 5 children liked learning through Essential Skills Advantage. With online programs, our oldest son is hard to impress, he would rather write it in a book; however, he really enjoyed this program. I liked how he took to ESA with ease while having fun learning. All my children are gaining confidence in language skills because of this program. As a mother of 5 homeschooling children, I like how this program goes over so many things that are beneficial in my children’s learning needs. ESA is great if you are a home-educating family or you can use it as a supplement program after school as well. I liked how ESA focuses on learning, not games for children that are educational, but real learning!

Essential Skills Advantage does offer a program that is completely free to use. You can sign up completely FREE! As a member, you can enjoy every course that ESA has to offer. However, there will be some of the available features missing with some advertisements included. I did not review the FREE program. Our thoughts and review is on the Premium Plan. Why not log on to sign up for your FREE membership, then if you like it as much as my family, upgrade to the premium plan. Don’t forget to use the 50 percent off coupon code at the top of this review!

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UberSmart Math Facts **Education Review**



Are you looking for software on your computer for math that is not another yearly subscription online math program? UberSmart Math Facts, through UberSmart Software ,is a downloadable program for your computer that you can use for all of your children that are ready to learn or practice their math facts. As a math lover, as well as, a homeschooling mother, I understand the need for children to practice math daily. Wheather your child is in school or home educated,  UberSmart Software is a great tool to help your child excel in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and more.

We were given the home downloadable software for review for all of my school aged children to share our thoughts with our readers. I will admit when I first downloaded UberSmart Math Facts, I thought my children would not like it; however, I was wrong.

UberSmart Math Facts is a Windows-based program that is super easy to download. The home software download is only $24.95 - that’s it! No monthly fees and no other charges. You don’t even have to worry about renewing a subscription.  You also get free upgrades and support with your purchase. As an added BONUS, you can download UberSmart Math Facts for your family with 30% off starting September 1st by using the coupon code “v4 Early Bird”. HURRY because that coupon code only lasts until September 30th!

UberSmart Math Facts Review

I used UberSmart with my children in grades 7, 6, 4 and 2. UberSmart is designed for children K-6, however, this software can be used for any age that needs math facts reinforcement. Before our family started with the math facts themselves, each of my children took a test to see what UberSmart recommended as a starting level. I love the tests (did I just say that?). Most children find tests intimidating. UberSmart re-assures your student from the start to relax, because this is not a pass or fail test. With each student, UberSmart designs a report that is personalized to them which includes their name! Two of our children were recommended to start with the 10-key (keyboard entry) practice before starting the math facts. I love how UberSmart gives parents a detailed report keeping the parent informed with details of what your student needs to work on. There is no guess-work involved at what level your child should start, or what your child should be practicing based on the testing. I personally found it helpful to print the report and gave myself the notes and records of what my children needed to work on and/or practice.

UberSmart Math Facts Review

UberSmart is so much more than just a flash card program. It is a way for your child to succeed in math facts while learning how to be quick in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Our daughter struggles in her multiplication tables, however, with this program I saw her improve on a daily basis with repetition. UberSmart is simple to navigate and easy to use. I thought the program lacked  appeal in some ways. The background was always the same. There were no great graphics of characters or wonderful noises. My 3 oldest children used math facts 3 times a week for 20 minutes. The youngest Hubble (2nd grader) used math facts 3 times a week but only for 15 min a day. I saw so much progress in each of my children within 3 weeks of getting this program. I will be excited to see the progress at the end of our school year for my daughter, who will continue using UberSmart.

One of my children out of the four that tried UberSmart liked this program. I believe if you have a learner that is great with computers, as well as, a visual learner, your child will like UberSmart. If you have a learner that is more hands on with math, this program will not be a great fit for them. I also recommend not having your child be on it for a long period of time. These are practice math facts that when done right will help your child succeed and grow in learning math skills. In my experience with my own children, practice is wonderful while in small amounts, especially with math facts, but anything in excess can cause some children not to like math.

UberSmart Math Facts Review

Overall, even though I saw progress with this program,  I will only have one child continue using this program. My daughter age 11 in 6th grade seemed to be the only child that really liked using this on a daily basis. I might have my children use UberSmart when they want too. I like the concept and believe that this program is a wonderful asset to a family. Not every child will like this program, but if your child likes computers and is a visual learner, this is a good fit; however, if not, this might not be the program for you.

To Read other AWESOME homeschooling mom reviews on UberSmart, click below

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The Secret Bliss of Calliope Ipswich By Marcia Lynn McClure **Book Blast 50.00 Giveaway**

secret blissThe Secret Bliss of Calliope Ipswich by Marcia Lynn McClure

“Oh! Do link arms with me, Calliope,” Blanche whispered, her brown eyes widening with apprehension. She took Calliope’s arm, tightly linking it with her own. “The old Mulholland house still gives me the willies every time I walk past it. I hate to think on what might have gone on inside. It’s truly terrifyin’!”

“Oh, don’t be silly, Blanche,” Calliope said, feigning calm. “Poor Prudence’s lunacy…it’s sad. And besides, her fiendish acts were not committed inside the house. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just…it’s just a sad, empty building.” Calliope Ipswich felt the hypocrite, however, as an uncomfortable shiver of residual dread and unease shuttered down her spine,

More than six months had passed since the All Hollow’s Eve when the dangerous state of Prudence Mulholland’s fracturing mind had been revealed to the townsfolk of Meadowlark Lake. And now, each time Calliope thought of poor Prudence and her family, not only did her heart ache for their family’s unhappy lot but a chill of lingering horror rippled through her being.

In truth, at times Calliope wondered if it had all been simply a bad dream—a nightmare. But it hadn’t. It really had happened—all of it.

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AMAZON * Distractions Ink


marciaAuthor Marcia Lynn McClure

Marcia Lynn McClure’s intoxicating succession of novels, novellas, and e-books, has established her as one of the most favored and engaging authors of true romance. Her unprecedented forte in weaving captivating stories of western, medieval, regency, and contemporary amour void of brusque intimacy has earned her the title “The Queen of Kissing.”

Marcia, who was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has spent her life intrigued with people, history, love, and romance. A wife, mother, grandmother, family historian, poet, and author, Marcia Lynn McClure spins her tales of splendor for the sake of offering respite through the beauty, mirth, and delight of a worthwhile and wonderful story.


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BookBlast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 9/16/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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