Book Wishes

Our Journey through Books, Happiness, and Home Education

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Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) Fix It Grammar **Review**

Fix It! Grammar Review
Are you looking for a fun way to teach grammar to your children? If you are a homeschooling family or a family that has children that attend school in a building,  Fix It Grammar from Institute for Excellence in Writing can help you. IEW’s Fix It Grammar is a wonderful way for children to get the grammar lessons that they need. Heck, I could use a little help in grammar even as a college graduate. We received the student, as well as, the teacher’s manual for IEW’s Fix It Grammar Book 1 The Nose Tree for free, for us to review for our readers.

Fix It! Grammar ReviewThere are 5 books in Institute for Excellence in Writing’s Fix It Grammar program. We chose book 1 for my daughter, Curie, who is in the 6th grade. Fix It Grammar is a great product for 3rd grade and up. I personally chose book 1 for my daughter after taking the placement test that IEW offers. I must admit, even as a homeschooling mom who loves to teach, grammar happens to be my least favorite. I happen to be a science and math, gal. So, when I was given a chance to review a product that offers an innovative way to teach grammar to my children, I snapped it up. I am sure glad I did.  IEW makes learning grammar for children so much fun and easy!

Fix It! Grammar Review
Fix It Grammar Book 1 The Nose Tree cost 19.00 for the teachers manual and 15.00 for the Student Book. Both books are soft cover, spiral bound, and of good quality for your student. I also liked how the grammar cards are printed on hard card stock and ready for your students use.

How We Used IEW’s Fix It Grammar Book 1 The Nose Tree:

Curie wasn’t too excited about adding a grammar program into her daily home-education routine. That is because of her home-education teacher (myself), I cannot stand grammar. It’s not that I lack the knowledge of grammar, I just do not take the time to look over things. If I was given this curriculum when I was younger, I would have loved grammar. I witnessed my daughter,  skeptical at first but quickly changed to excitement, learning grammar and I was excited to teach it.

Before Curie started her student book, I did my homework as the teacher. I found the teacher’s manual to be super easy to understand. You have to approach this curriculum as a series of modeling excersices. I did not think this approach to grammar was going to work. Guess what? It Does! AWESOME SAUCE! The lessons are not long at all, in fact, they break them up into 33 weeks. To complete the curriculum in 33 weeks, you only have to do 15 minutes a day, 4 days a week. We chose to do the curriculum in half that time by doubling up on the lessons so that we can move on to book 2 by next semester. Curie, did 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week. I was surprised how much Curie wanted to learn grammar. A subject I found hard to teach became so much easier with Fix It Grammar. The guided lessons, I as a teacher, just flowed through. Curie asked many questions that I was able to answer in the teachers guide. We started together on week 1 and took the lessons as Curie wanted them, she was eager to get through the lessons because Fix It Grammar is telling them a story as they go along. What do I mean a story? Let me explain:

The Nose Tree is set up in sections so the lessons take no longer than 15 minutes at a time. First you read, then you fix with your student the passage of the story. Just a small passage at a time. We picked out any words that Curie did  not know the meaning of and then looked them up. In this particular book, Curie was familiar with most of the words and their meanings. After the fix its and vocabulary look up, we then moved on to the re-write. For Curie, the re-write was the best part of this curriculum. She loved writing each passage in a separate book. The story came together through all her hard work. She thought about the story at first; but, as the weeks pasted, she thought about the grammar and where things were supposed to be. Curie began to edit her own work which can be difficult for children, as well as, adults.

My overall thoughts on IEW’s Fix It Grammar Book 1 The Nose Tree is excellent. I glided through the teacher’s guide, with ease. I actually enjoyed teaching grammar. I cannot believe it myself. Fix it Grammar lets your student know that its ok to make mistakes and that is how we learn. My daughter was excited to learn with IEW! Curie’s favorite part is reading a wonderful story of soldiers with magic items that unfolded as she learned her punctuation, parts of speech, and other wonderful techniques. I am a college graduate and sometimes even a college graduate can learn new things while teaching. I learned wonderful lessons right along with my daughter. I also loved that as the weeks progressed Curie took over showing me wonderful new things she was learning. I could go on forever about the wonderful things Fix It Grammar has to offer. I, honestly, could not write anything negative about IEW’s Fix It Grammar. The proof is in the pudding as they say. I can see a difference in my daughters writing already and it is wonderful!

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Read other wonderful reviews on IEW’s Fix It Grammar, (also the other books IEW offers for Fix It Grammar)

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Losing a Loving Pet and Friend


Not too long ago in July 2014, our pet cat Max became ill. So, naturally we took him to the vet. At that time, Max was not showing any signs of a serious illness. A blood test, confirmed that he had an infection in his liver. After being treated with antibiotics, our loving Max was back to normal in no time. We thought the seas were going to be smooth sailing from there. However, we were wrong! Recently, about a week ago I noticed Max losing weight rapidly, but, his belly was increasing into a pregnant like state. After another visit to the vet, Max was diagnosed with FIP; (read more about the signs and symptoms). Our family is just devastated by this diagnosis. In a matter of days our wonderful, caring, family friend has taken such a downward spiral. I cannot express my grief, in words. Some may say this is just a cat, but, to us this is a family member. Our children, are ranging in age from 4 years of age to 12, the oldest. Hard lesson for a 4-year-old to understand. How, do I explain it as a mother. I am grieving for a friend, I am grieving for my family, (especially our children). I never knew losing an animal could be this hard. I do not know how his last days will be? I have read articles saying to put the animal to sleep, relieve their pain. Am I so cruel that I would rather my friend die with his family around him, in his home? Where Max is loved so much by each and every one of us. Our plans are to have him cremated, keeping his ashes with us. The vet does a wonderful paw print, as well as, a tuff of hair. I would love to place the paw print, tuff and picture of Max with our children in a special frame. I have been looking for just the right frame for our family, I have not found it yet.

I am no stranger to seeing death in my life, being a former nurse. This loss is harder on me, because my family is so involved in this life, (Max’s beautiful life). Anger comes over me, I feel we did not have enough time with him. Most cats with FIP don’t live past 3, (if lucky), and Max is 2 1/2. We are grieving, I have watched so many emotions from my children this last week. As a mother I want to comfort, love, take away that grief. These last 2 years have been difficult, in August 2013, our family lost a grandmother. My husband’s mother died at the age of 71. Grandma will be missed, she lived 2 streets over from us. Then this year in 2014, we are losing our beloved cat Max. My words cannot express my sadness.

In my faith we are taught to, Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding~Proverbs 3:5

Why then is it so hard in times of grief for us to do this? Death is not supposed to be this hard. Being a mother with 5 little ones under foot. My prayers have been long, my comfort much. I have told them this is not, “Goodbye” this is “See you later.”


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Good Music Brighter Children by Sharlene Habermeyer **Blog Tour and 50.00 Giveaway**


Good Music Brighter ChildrenGood Music Brighter Children

Good Music Brighter Children is written for parents, educators or anyone who wants to build a bigger, better brain using music. Scientific studies indicate that children introduced to classical music at a young age read earlier and perform better on achievement tests. Adults can also revive tired brain cells using music. This book gives you a step-by-step program that any parent or individual can follow. You’ll discover how introducing your children to good music can accelerate language development, improve math and science skills, enhance physical coordination, strengthen memory and reading retention, and benefit children with learning disabilities. Discover how to choose an instrument and music teacher for your child; how to get your kids to practice and how character traits such as confidence, responsibility, creativity and teamwork are taught when learning a musical instrument. Learn how to introduce your child to the music community and how to appreciate all kinds of music. Last, if you want to advocate for music in your schools, this book gives the ammunition and data to do so. Also includes a 35-page Resource Section on the best music, books, and DVDs for kids.

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SharleneAuthor Sharlene Habermeyer:

Sharlene Habermeyer, MA has spent over twenty-five years researching the effects of music in the brain development of children. She is passionate about how people of all ages learn and how music is a catalyst for learning. She holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Art from Utah State University and a Masters degree in Education from Pepperdine University, Malibu, California.


In 1999, she started the Palos Verdes Regional Orchestra (now the Palos Verdes Regional Symphony Orchestra). It currently boasts over one-hundred members.


Sharlene’s initial inspiration for Good Music Brighter Children came from the extensive work she did with her severely learning disabled son, and finding that music was his strongest catalyst for learning she began passionately researching the effects music had on the developing and mature brain.

A college instructor, a popular speaker, and a consultant, she is the mother of five boys and lives with her husband in Torrance, California. She has spoken at parent conferences around the United States including the Parents as Teachers Conference (PAT) and the Crucial Years Conference in Missouri. In August 2014, she will be speaking at BYU Education Week.

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Praise for the Book


Largest Independent Book Reviewer in the U.S.: Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media, LLC

“With a scientist’s eye and an artist’s voice, Habermeyer examines everything from the benefits of music for the developing brain to music’s ability to improve cultural awareness. This is an encyclopedic, invaluable resource for anyone who believes in music education. A magnum opus, fact-filled and inspiring on the benefits of music.”

-Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media, LLC


National Music Organization: Music and the Brain

“A great resource for both parents and teachers. Anyone interested in music or the overall well-being of children will not be able to put this book down.”

-Lisha Papert Lercari, Director, Music and the Brain


University Professor: Dr. James Catterall

Sharlene Habermeyer outlines why music is important to learning, and provides parents with excellent suggestions for launching and sustaining a musical influence in the lives of their children.”

-James S. Catterall, professor of education and co-director of Imagination Project at UCLA


Mother/Lawyer/Ballet Teacher: Shauna Bird Dunn

“Carefully researched and highly readable, Good Music, Brighter Children is written for musicians and non musicians alike. It is filled with wisdom, insight and helpful tips to bring music into the home for all ages and stages of childhood.”

-Shauna Bird Dunn, JD, MPA

Utah Young Mother of the Year, 2010

Good Music Brighter Children

Chapter Excerpts

**Chapter One: Overture: The Power of Music (page 5)

“In February 1985, as many as three thousand beluga whales were trapped under ice in the Senyavina Strait of Siberia, a narrow body of water across the Bering Strait from Alaska. There were only a few breathing holes in the ice, and the whales had to take turns surfacing for air. Food was running out, the whales were becoming exhausted, and some were even dying. When all seemed hopeless, a Soviet icebreaker, the Moskva, came to the rescue. The ship broke through the ice, making an escape path for the whales, but they wouldn’t budge. Knowing that whales like music, they tried pop and jazz, but still the whales remained motionless. Finally, the crew tried classical music. It was then that the whales followed the music to the open sea and to freedom.”

**Chapter Six: Noteworthy: Learning Values Through Music (pages 121-122)

Gaining Perseverance and Determination

We live in an age of instants: instant photocopies, instant food, instant photos, instant communications of all sorts, and more. Although many of these instants make our lives easier, they can also give our children a distorted view of life and how goals are achieved. Many children grow up expecting instant results in life, never learning to work for or wait for a reward. When things don’t come easily or immediately, they give up. For this reason, studying a musical instrument becomes a priceless lesson. As a child begins to learn to play the flute, for example, she soon realizes that this is not going to be done in an “instant.” It will take time, patience, perseverance, determination, and the ability to stick to the task, day after day, year after year, to play the flute with any degree of proficiency. Learning to read notes, to develop hand-eye coordination, to listen, and to count rhythms is a process involving perseverance. As she works through the difficulties and challenges of learning an instrument, she soon learns that determination and perseverance equal success. Likewise, the perseverance a child learns by practicing her instrument can be, as the experience of many demonstrate, transferred to other areas of her life. For instance, when subjects in school are difficult, she will continue to try her best until the assignment is completed, confident that eventually she will be successful. When life throws her a curve she will not give up, but will work harder with even greater diligence and perseverance until she reaches her goal.

Although most of the great composers suffered personal adversity, they persevered and went on to write beautiful sonatas, symphonies, and operas. Beethoven, despite his progressive deafness at an early age, wrote perhaps his greatest music after going completely deaf. Bach suffered blindness and diabetes, yet continued to compose music. George Frideric Handel suffered a debilitating stroke that put him in a rest home. The world felt that a great life had come to a close. With dogged persistence, he shuffled his way to the organ each night after everyone had gone to bed, forcing his fingers to slowly play each key on the organ. The nuns who heard him were amazed at his unfailing courage and determination. Eventually, he made a complete recovery and went on to write many great pieces of music.

**Chapter Eight: Music’s Impact on Cognitive Delays and Physical Disabilities (pages 205-208)

For the past thirty years, I have had a particular interest in music’s impact on children with learning disabilities because of personal experience. In 1982 our third son, Brandon, was born. It was a traumatic birth. Born six weeks early, Brandon was too high in the birth canal, and as a result he was literally dragged out by forceps. He was an unhappy baby and cried all the time. He had constant ear infections that included a build-up of fluid in his ears, and despite being on daily doses of low-grade antibiotics, the infections persisted. Over time, this constant fluid buildup affected his hearing at a critical time in his development and caused him to experience sounds and language as if he was in a vacuum. I was reading to him daily, playing music for him, and taking him to “mommy and me” classes, yet his language and communication skills remained poor. After having him tested by a professional, we determined Brandon needed speech and language intervention. I naively thought once his language problem was fixed, everything would be fine. I was wrong—this was just the beginning.

When Brandon was six, his kindergarten teacher expressed concerned about his ability to learn. He was not able to do the classroom work and seemed frustrated and distant. We had him tested both at our public school and privately by a child psychologist. The results were grim. Brandon was diagnosed with auditory processing, visual motor, visual perception, sensory motor, and attention deficit disorder. The difference between his oral IQ and written IQ was thirty-eight points, indicating severe learning disabilities.

This team of experts told us that school would be very difficult for him. We were told that he may not graduate from high school, that college was out of the question, and that a trade school would be more appropriate. They said Brandon was “high risk,” meaning that as he got older, he could be a candidate for dropping out of school, experimenting with drugs, or worse. Why? Because kids need a measure of academic success. He needed to experience some kind of school success to increase his confidence level. But how do you help a child achieve academic success when he can’t read, write or spell? When he does not understand even the simplest of math concepts? When he has difficulty paying attention and following directions, and sports confuse and frustrate him?

It was a daunting challenge, and in the beginning I was overwhelmed. I did not know the first thing about learning disabilities, but I was determined to find out and to help him because I wanted Brandon to love learning—not just for success in school, but for a rich and meaningful life….


Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 10/15/14

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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Lady Emma in Her Land of Wonder by Martha M. Harrison


Lady Emma in Her Land of Wonder by Martha M. Harrison is a beautifully written children’s story of Lady Emma who falls into all kinds of life’s “blunders”, however, she picks herself up and goes on. Emma found herself needing help and help was there for her. Every little girl should read this wonderful story of Lady Emma written by Martha M. Harrison, (based on original story of Jennifer Harrison).

I read this story to my daughter, Elion, who is 4 years of age. She adored this magical journey with Lady Emma. Lady Emma encounters witches, dragons , animals, nature and more. The pages pop with color, they are so vivid. My daughter loved the story because the pictures kept her entertained with different animals, or other amazing characters, throughout. I would recommend this book for preschool children ages 4 and up. The message of the story is wonderful for any child. Never let the things in life bring you down, when you fall, get back up. Of course, along the way Lady Emma herself needs help, that’s when her father comes in to help her. He is always there when she needs him, however, he knows Emma is strong. Lady Emma is an outstanding character, written as an example to all girls.

I like to teach my daughters, that things in life will happen. How we handle those things make us who we are. I want my daughters to be confident young ladies, like Lady Emma. I want them also to ask for help when they need it.

If you are looking for a book that will help teach your child confidence, this is a book you will want to have on your home library shelf. Lady Emma is not a lengthy read, only 18 wonderfully illustrated pages. Both of my daughters loved this book, I feel this book is geared toward little girls so I do not know how a little boy would like it. We have read Lady Emma again and again! We received a hardback copy that is beautiful quality along with a strong, durable dusk jacket.

The ending of Lady Emma in Her Land of Wonder. Author Martha M Harrison wrote, “The End but really only the beginning of the dream.” Reminding the little reader there is more to come to all our wonderful stories!

5 out of 5 Stars – My girls eyes light up reading this cute story! I loved the moral of the story.

Author Martha M. Harrison




Creating New Ideas to Make READING Fun!


I must admit creating new ideas to make reading fun for your family is sometimes super easy and other times rather hard. Books are a wonderful journey into another world, different time periods and much more. Thinking of an activity or a special way to bring that book alive, (beyond the pages), takes some imagination! I have often relied on others to come up with ideas; giving them to me in a book or a blog. Not anymore, I love coming up with them as a family!

In creating new ways to make reading fun I have used my children as guinea pigs! I get them involved, using their likes and wants to make the book fun, or the book activity fun. For my preschooler,Elion, I found that she loves to have her brothers and sister involved with her books! When it came time this week to learn the letter B for Elion, I presented her with a list of books. Of course, she is too young to read so the list had all the book covers. I asked her to pick out 4 of the books she wanted for letter B. I know she needs options, I want to give that too her! Giving a preschooler options allows them to feel as though they have control over the books they are listening too!

I then had everyone get involved, they all picked a B book to read to Elion! Everyone had so much fun with their book. She was all smiles, in creating a story time that was not just mom reading, I made reading, as well as, learning so much fun!

You have to create the ideas that fit your children, do you have a child that likes to run and play outside? We have 5 children who love to be outside! So after we read When Lightning Comes in a Jar by Patricia Polacco.


That night I had a special surprise we took jars outside in our backyard and searched for lightning we could capture in a jar! It was so much fun as a family. After the kids could not wait to read more books that had to do with catching things in a jar. If you have any recommends for us please let me know!

Your creativity does not always have to be HUGE. After reading a book on apple picking! Love this book How to Make an Apple Pie and see the world by Marjorie Priceman


We decided to do some simple apple painting, by drawing our trees, then if you wanted a small apple on your tree. We used q-tips to dot them, but if you wanted a big apple, I cut a small apple in half using it as a stamp! Of course I make apple pie as well, (Gluten Free)!

In creating any new idea with a book to make reading fun. Whether you choose to read it differently, have an outdoor activity. Keep your child in mind, some children love art, some do not. Little children get inspired by you as the parent. I find coming up with something creative can depend on the book, have fun with reading. Have fun with your child. For older children reading challenges are wonderful. For our older children, every 300 pages they read we do something fun. If your child loves animals, you could always just visit a zoo. Or, play charades after reading, only doing animals!  So children walk into a bookstore, library, or see someone with book in hand to know the endless possibilities of a book!


My Student Logbook **Review** (A Family Must Have)

My Student Logbook ReviewMy Student Logbook has become a must have in our homeschool. My Student Logbook is a life saver in helping homeschooling families manage subjects, lessons, goals, extra activities and so much more. My Student Logbook is wonderful for 2nd grade all the way up to high-school. I was looking for a logging book that would be easy to use for my children. If you are a homeschooling family with a son or daughter in high school, or taking high school courses, My Student Logbook is an exceptional tool for high school transcripts! We have had the wonderful opportunity to review a physical My Student Logbook. My son Einstein picked the Sea Life Cover, for us to review. My Student Logbook does offer many cover designs to choose from on their site, as well as, some PDF logbooks for an instant printable My Student Logbook.

My Student Logbook ReviewThe cost of the physical student logbook (that we received for review) is $15.00 along with additional pricing for the PDF logbooks. Have your child pick out their favorite design or surprise them with a special cover of your choice. The physical My Student Logbooks are spiral bound with good quality paper, as well as, a plastic cover on the front with quality plastic backing. Your student logbook is durable and not going to fall apart with student use. We chose a dated logbook and there is an option to choose an undated logbook as well.

Our son Einstein is in 7th grade. Our decision to have him try My Student Logbook was based on his courses. Einstein may be in 7th grade, however, he takes high school courses. I have been in need of a great way to keep track of his schooling for his college transcripts. I also needed something that he would not be overwhelmed with using. Einstein has autism so adding new ways of organizing his time, course work, or anything that is off his regular routine is hard. I was so happy that Einstein was able to take part in his own design of the cover! Once we received My Student Logbook we both went over the instructions on how to get started. I wanted Einstein to do everything himself, therefore, I highly suggest My Student Logbook set up guide and video. My Student Logbook is very simple to use. Even though they have simple instructions, I think the set up video is a wonderful help for children to feel involved in the set up of this logbook.

My Student Logbook is set up in sections:

  • Weekly Assignment Pages
  • All About Me Page
  • Prayers and Goals
  • Bible Verse Memorization
  • Books Read
  • Events, Projects, Field Trips and Activities
  • Tests
  • My Favorite Memories from This Year


When starting My Student Logbook I was clueless on how to go about starting a high school transcript. I owe a huge thank you to the makers of The Student Logbook for making this homeschooling mother of 5 life so much easier! My son and I, Einstein, started with the weekly assignment sheet after we set up the logbook. Einstein took to this logbook very quickly and the change was good for him. Weekly assignments have an area next to them with a box that states, Time. You can use that time box for many things. I used it for time requirements, in doing this, a lot of pressure was taken off me. Einstein asks me with many assignments or subjects how long he has to work on something. Now with the help of My Student Logbook it is right there in front of him. No questions, he knows what has to be done for how long.


Also the author of the logbook, states in the set up, make this logbook your own! That is exactly what my son did. He put dividers in the logbook to make it easier for him to get to his weekly assignments, prayers, goals, and so on. I used so many different lists before My Student Logbook came along; so, everything was consolidated in one book for my son to simply use each day. As Einstein used My Student Logbook, I could see a change in his schooling. He has always been a wonderful straight A student, however, this is not just a grading book or assignment book. He was impressed at how many bible verses he memorized in the last few weeks. Einstein loved keeping track of events such as Boy Scouts of America activities. He will now have a forever record of the field trips he went on in his 7th grade year with his family.

Einstein used the Tests Records page to track his progress on tests that he would take in his online lessons and offline lessons. He believes that seeing them on paper gives him help on what he should improve on and in what subject.

My overall thoughts with My Student Logbook are SUPERB! After using My Student Logbook I would not be able to homeschool without it. This may seem like just a student logbook, it is not. My Student Logbook is a record for now, a collection of courses/grades/hours for my child’s future in life, and a memory keeper that will be shown in the future. My favorite part was how my son took control of his own assignments. He had more control in his schooling. I did not want to be a “strict” homeschooling parent. My Student Logbook is your own while making it fit your style of homeschooling. My son made his logbook fit him! My Student Logbook is an AWESOME product that I will continue to use in every year of homeschool. My Student Logbook takes the work out of records and transcripts for homeschooling families! As a parent, reading your child’s goals for their education is something I never thought to ask individually. We always come up with a homeschool goal and motto or mission statement at the beginning of the year, (for the entire family not individually). My Student Logbook gave my son the opportunity to have his very own personal section along with his own personal goals for his education. I have kept his prayer page personal to him after he let me read his goals. Although my son has a prayer journal of his own, I like having that section in this logbook because it made all the difference for this mom. This is not your everyday logbook. My Student Logbook is so much more! I cannot think of any negatives to state for this 5 star review! AWESOME SAUCE!

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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.



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









To Read Other Wonderful Thoughts On The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner

Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

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.



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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