The Beginner’s Bible {Crew Review}

The Beginner’s Bible

Homeschool Review Crew


The Beginniner's Bible


Do you use a Bible with your youngest children?  We love The Beginner’s Bible from Zonderkidz and recently received a copy of their new and improved version through the Homeschool Review Crew.  This Bible is geared towards ages 4-8.  It’s to be used as a read aloud with ages 4-6 and children ages 6-8 can read it independently.

Why a redo of a great classic?  Well, it’s the 25th anniversary of The Beginner’s Bible so they redid it to include new three dimensional artwork.  How cool is that?  My girls are loving this new Bible.  It’s great for our read aloud time.  The girls I have using this are ages three, six, and six.  One of my six year olds is able to do some beginning reading on her own.  She’s been reading us some of the stories with a bit of help while the other two just listen and enjoy the new art work.

The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}

So, how are we using this new Bible?  I find that The Beginner’s Bible is amazing added to our school day.  As we start our day I do a devotional with the kids after breakfast.  While the younger girls can sit and listen they rarely take away any of the big picture that the older children get from the devotional.  I wanted something that they could understand and also glean something from.  Something that was going to stick with them.  

Enter The Beginner’s Bible.  We read one story a day as we start their school.  I use one curriculum for my older kids and one for my younger girls.  There are just the three younger girls in their curriculum so I work with them first.  We read a story from our new Bible and talk about what the story means and how we can apply it to our lives.  Next, it’s easy to step right into our school lesson.  I particularly enjoy it when I can match a Bible story with what we’re learning that day.

My older kids even like our new Bible!  They had the original edition as part of their school curriculum when they were little and are loving comparing the artwork in the two editions as well as reading it straight through like a chapter book.  I’m blessed with kids who love to read so I’m not going to discourage them from grabbing this Bible geared to younger kids and reading it quickly in a sitting.  Who knows what they might pick out from a story that they didn’t understand all over when they were younger?

I personally recommend this Bible and think that The Beginner’s Bible makes a great gift for the young children on your gift list.  Whether it be for Christmas or a birthday or a just because they’re going to enjoy this book.  Definitely a book I feel should be on every homeschool library shelf and every little kid Sunday school shelf.

Want to learn more about this new Zonderkidz edition of The Beginner’s Bible?  Check out the main Blog Post where everyone has linked up their reviews.  You can also find them on facebook, twitter, pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.  


Homeschool Crew Review Disclaimer

Prayer Journal for Kids {TOS Crew Review}

Prayer Journal for Kids

TOS Crew Review


Spiritual Circle Journal
Recently we received a prayer journal for kids.  I wasn’t too sure what to think of it as I myself have never even used a prayer journal.  Spiritual Circle Journal sent us one of their Spiritual Circle Journal for Kids and Teens.  This is a physical product.

This prayer journal for kids is probably not what you’re thinking.  It’s not just a blank journal with notebook type pages.  It is instead a very pretty and colorful journal with a scripture passage for your child to read.  They then fill in nine unique shapes where they apply the scripture they read to those areas of their life.  

The nine areas of life that the scripture is being applied to are:

  1. journal entry
  2. lyric/verse
  3. message 
  4. confession
  5. God moving
  6. Lesson Learned Light Bulb Moment
  7. Prayer
  8. Thank you/Adoration
  9. Actions


Prayer Journal for Kids {TOS Crew Review}

What is it?  How do I use it?

The prayer journal for kids has a sturdy plastic cover and is spiral  bound.  There are three pages of parent instruction at the beginning which help you teach your child how to use the journal.  This journal is geared for ages 8 and up.  They will write a few sentences under each heading, so it’s best if they can read and write of course.  We found that this helps improve penmanship if you have someone who writes really big too.  When they only have a small space to write in it helps them make their letters smaller for sure!

There are 66 blank journal pages within the Spiritual Circle Journal.  It’s up to you whether you want your child to use a page a day or a page a week or even one a month.  The recommendation is that you as the homeschool parent(or possible Sunday School teacher) assign the child using the journal to one page per week.  Monday is the recommended day.  

Our Thoughts

My 11 year old daughter got to be the one using this prayer journal for kids.  She did her page per week on Wednesday since this is a day that our school schedule is a bit different due to children having therapies and being out of the house. It’s also our homeschool group day so it’s a day we’re more lax with structured school.  I really like that this requires them to think.  The answers to go under the bubbles or in the spaces aren’t just easy to find within the reading.  It requires thought on the part of the child. 

The last 15 pages of the journal are summary pages to write down and share what they have learned and how they have grown through using the Journal.  I like this concept.  It brings back to their minds what they have learned and causes them to dwell or think on them again.  This also allows them to see how they’ve grown and what areas they now don’t even have to really think about anymore in their prayer life/quiet time.

If you’re interested in hearing more about this new prayer journal for kids please head over to the Main TOS blog page and check out all the reviews linked up.  You can also find out more about Spiritual Circle Journal by visiting their facebook, instagram, and twitter


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Charlotte Mason Copywork {TOS Crew Review}

Do you want your children to follow a Charlotte Mason approach?  Having a hard time finding a Charlotte Mason copywork that works for you?  Recently with the TOS Crew we received a Lifetime Membership to Homeschool Copywork.  This to me is so awesome!  

I’ve had a hard time finding good copywork for my children.  We follow more of a Charlotte Mason approach and I didn’t just want them copying silly phrases.  I wanted them copying and reading and memorizing things that had meaning.


Homeschool Copywork Review

If you’re like me you’re going to love this Charlotte Mason copywork.  With our lifetime membership we get access to upper and lower elementary copywork for a lifetime as well as a junior and high school level.  I can go in and print off whatever I want whenever I want.  There are also some extra resources that we have access to.  

Homeschool Copywork offers two membership levels.  You can get a full membership which is for only a year or a lifetime membership(which is what we received) which is good for the lifetime of the site.  


Charlotte Mason Copywork {TOS Crew Review}


We have a great variety of Charlotte Mason copywork that we get to choose from to use.  There are also different writing styles and manuscript versus cursive that you can print out and use.  I like to print them out and put them in a folder with brads or in a binder so that each copywork book is together.  As far as the variety, you can choose scriptures(we love the KJV ones she has) or artist studies, or nature studies, hymns, quotes of composers, and so much more!

The object of the Charlotte Mason copywork is not to just copy the words.  But to read and memorize the words.  To fully understand their meaning and to do your absolute best while writing that phrase.  You don’t need to write the whole copybook in one day.  That defeats the purpose.  Each page and each study should be done slowly and with great care.  

We’ve used several of the coypwork books as I do have several children.  I had my two five-year old girls start with the ABC copywork.  Just short little phrases like A is for and B is for.  It helps to familiarize them with their letters and how they’re formed. It also includes an area where they can trace the words.  Oh and a good-sized picture of whatever animal is being referenced so they can color it too.  I really like this because at this young age we are definitely still working on coloring inside the lines and doing our absolute best.  One of my five-year olds is more advanced and did a better job on her copywork.  The other will have to do it again probably at some point.  


Charlotte Mason Copywork


My favorite Charlotte Mason copywork for my older kids is the Character Building Copybook.  I printed off the entire book to start with.  Then I chose the writing styles that I wanted each child to use.  If more than one child was using the same writing style I printed off an additional cover and then copied the pages they would need.  Most of the time we printed in black and white as with 8 of my 9 kids using the copybooks it is definitely a lot of ink.  I highly recommend making sure all your cartridges are full before starting printing!  I did however go full color on the cover page.  You want it to be enticing!  


Charlotte Mason Copywork


The description for the Character Building Copywork is copying scriptures to train the heart.  That’s definitely something I think my children are still needing to work on at their young ages.  It’s done in KJV which is the version we like to exclusively use for memorization.  And each page does have a smaller picture to color as well.  This is from the Early Elementary section but also included in the Upper Elementary section.  I used it with anyone who could read as I wanted them to be able to read and understand what they were being asked to copy and memorize.   

I do want to mention that not all the scriptural copybooks are done in the KJV.  They also do use the ESV for several of them.  Another we used was the Armor of God.  It’s a great one for boys but done in the ESV instead of the KJV.  So we made sure to look in our Bibles while we were doing that one so that we could see what the difference was.  It was easier for the kids to memorize what was on the pages for this but I did want them to be familiar with where it was in the Bible and how it read in the KJV.  


Charlotte Mason Copywork


Amy Blevins is the creator of this site and does a wonderful job with the Charlotte Mason copywork.  I’m excited to see what new things she’ll add over the year and years to the site.  There are some great copybooks that I also can’t wait to get my older children working on.  Quotes from famous authors who happen to be favorites of mine to start with!  My oldest daughter can’t wait to do the some of the author quotes as she loves to read while my boys are all in awe over the Dragons one!

Want to see what other reviewers thought and what Charlotte Mason copywork pieces they chose to use?  Head on over to the Main TOS Blog and read all the reviews.  I did not use much of the upper elementary level so make sure you check out some of those.  My main focus was as you’ve seen on the lower elementary in particular the K-1st level.  You can also find more about Homeschool Copywork on facebook, twitter, instagram, Pinterest, and Google +.



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New Testament Study for Kids {TOS Crew Review}

I have a hard time incorporating actual Bible time into our school plus art.  We use the Bible with almost all of our subjects but I often forget to just read a Bible story or do a memory verse because we get too caught up in getting all the subjects we have to have in.  Lately though we’re getting both with a New Testament Study for kids thanks to Grapevine Studies.  We received several levels(Beginner with Traceable, Level 1 with Traceable, and Level 2) of their New Testament Overview Part 1 to use and review through the TOS Crew.


Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry {Grapevine Studies Review}

All of the levels we received are downloadable.  You download them and then print off the copies you need for your children.  You get the Level your child needs as well as the Teacher’s Guide that corresponds.  I like to print off the whole thing in as many copies as I need immediately versus printing off one or two pages a day.

This New Testament study for kids covers the Birth of John to Jesus’ Ministry.  It’s labeled as part 1 so you can guess there is a part 2 as well!  It’s actually a four part series.  Each book contains 12 weekly lessons or 45 daily lessons.  Because we’re doing this four days a week we could easily do all four parts in one school year.  Sounds like a great plan to me.  And as your kids get older and move from one level to the next you can do it over again as well.  We spent approximately a half hour on this daily.  There is a nice little schedule worked out for you in the Teacher’s Guide so you don’t have a lot of prep work of your own to do.

Because of the range in ages of my children we received several levels of the New Testament study for kids.  The first level we received was the beginner with traceable level.  The beginner level does NOT work with the other levels but is geared towards preschool and kindergarten age.  Because I have a two year old I wanted something more geared towards her.  I also have a 5 year old who’s more around a 3 year old mental level.  The beginner traceable level worked wonderfully for them.  It gave me time to work one on two with the two of them and made them feel super special to have their own books that were different from all the big brothers and sisters.


Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry {Grapevine Studies Review}

If you’re looking to do ALL your kids at the same time and have a vast array of ages I highly recommend doing the Level 1 with traceable and levels that follow up to where you need.  The Level 1 is geared towards ages 5-7 with the traceable that goes along with it being used for ages 3-5.  I did print off the traceable to go with Level 1 and used it with my 5 year old who is in kindergarten and she did wonderfully.  If you have kids who are actively learning to read and write, this is perfect for them.


New Testament Study for kids {TOS Crew Review}


I used Level 1 with my 7 and 8 year old boys as well as my delayed 9 and 10 year old girls.  They did really well with this level.  Because I had two others using Level 2 I was able to look at it and decide which of the two levels to put my other children in.  Because of where they are grade wise I felt it a better decision to leave them in the level 1 versus bumping them to where they should have been age wise.  

Looking forward I will use Level 3 probably with my other two who used Level 2 this time.  They are doing 4th grade work.  One was 10 when we started and just turned 11 so she was the one that I wasn’t really sure which level to put her in.  But her brother is 9 that works at the same level so I went with Level 2.  While it worked well for them I could easily see them moving up a level to be a bit more challenging.  


New Testament Study for Kids {TOS Crew Review}


The New Testament study for kids from Grapevine Studies really is awesome.  We’ve reviewed with them before and greatly loved our Old Testament study.  I knew we’d like this study as well but I wasn’t totally sure what levels were going to work for us.  I knew I’d need the Traceable to go with the Levels 1 and 2 but wasn’t sure if I wanted Level 3 or the Beginner.  

I felt for a while that doing the Beginner would add too much work when I’d already be doing the regular levels too and they don’t go together.  Yes it was more work.  Yes it took twice as much time. But it was worth it to actually see my two little girls engaging and doing their “school” work for the day because it gave them special time.  I don’t normally worry about doing actual school with any of my kids until they hit age 7 which is the compulsory age for schooling in our state.  Some of my kids beg to start sooner so I let them and some just aren’t ready before then.  


New Testament study for kids {TOS Crew Review}


I loved working with Grapevine Studies as they are very understanding and want to help you find the best product for your kids and their ages.  When I was talking to them about my ages they recommended just using the Level 1 and 2 with the traceable because it would work all the ages together at the same time.  Great advice and definitely something I would recommend to others who are wanting to streamline school and have everyone do it all at the same time.

For our family we worked on these four days a week.  You can do whatever schedule works best for you, but we tend to have one day that we don’t do as much school because it’s our errand day.  That’s the day that I have to leave the house for midwife appointments or the day that one of our kids has speech etc.  We still do school but keep it to the core.  I love that this New Testament Study for kids works well with our schedule.  It isn’t designed to be used only x amount of days a week.  


Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry {Grapevine Studies Review}

We love their studies in our house and love that we could do a New Testament study for kids that included Bible and art all at once.  I personally love that I can even do their stick figure drawings because I’m definitely as far from an artist as you can get!  You can also check out our previous review with Grapevine Studies.  

If you’re interested in learning more about the other levels and what other reviewers have to say please visit the Main TOS Crew blog to see what we all have to say!  You can also find Grapevine Studies on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


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Build Your Child’s Faith {TOS Crew Review}

Does your child like building with Legos?  Do you want an opportunity to build your child’s faith?  Look no further than the new children’s Bible from Zonderkidz.  We recently had the opportunity to receive and review the Faith Builders Bible as part of the TOS review crew.  We were sent a hardcover version of the physical Bible.


Faith Builders Bible {Zonderkidz Review}
This Bible retails for $24.99.  While it does not include an age range that it suits best, I’d recommend your child be reading on their own for this Bible.  It is a real Bible and does contain Genesis through Revelation.  It also includes reading the story and verses associated with each of the building pages.  If they can’t read, it can still be used but you as the parent are definitely going to need a more active role.  

Something to note, there are no instructions.  The pages that show the items to be built to describe the stories do not come with instructions on how to do so.  Your child has to figure that out on their own.


Build Your Child's Faith


My boys love legos.  They love to build and construct things.  They’re 9, 8, and 7 years old.  Reading the Bible can be hard at this age.  It’s full of big words and lists of names that don’t make a lot of sense to little kids.  This Bible is a New International Reader’s Version.  I’d not heard of this version before.  Basically it’s the NIV version but for kids. 

It includes 24 full color pages of Bible stories.  The unique thing about these illustrations is that they are scenes of the Bible depicted in building blocks.  My boys have legos so that’s what they used to recreate the scenes.  Each page also includes a Building Block Verse that talks about the story but that is an actual Bible verse.   Build something fun and build your child’s faith at the same time.  Sounds like a hit in our house!


Faith Builders Bible {Zonderkidz Review}
The concept of the Bible is unique.  Build your child’s faith as they build scenes from the Bible.  We found that it increases their understanding of the stories because they have actively participated in them.  They have learned because they have done.  I know that to be true in so many areas.  You need to be involved and active in something or you’re not going to remember it.  My boys loved building these stories and telling their daddy and me about what was going on and why things were where they were.  

In between the colorful illustrations, you have the whole Bible as well.  So nothing has been taken away to add these cute little colorful pages that allow your child to build and dream.  

I enjoyed that while I have other children who can’t read yet that they could enjoy this Bible as well.  Their older brothers gave them their Bible lesson for the day by telling them what the sculpture they were building was and the Bible story behind it.  I made them be the teachers and the younger girls were their audience.  


Faith Builders Bible {Zonderkidz Review}
A fun thing I noticed and decided to use for teaching was the stacks of blocks at the beginning of the Bible.  These stacks of blocks are for learning the books of the Bible.  They break up the Old Testament and the New Testament into smaller sections such as the Law, History, Poetry, Major and Minor Prophets for the Old Testament and Gospels, Church History, Letters, and Prophecy for the New Testament.  It’s very easy to build these towers and write the Bible books on them to help your child learn the books of the Bible.  They can then be taken apart and rebuilt from the child’s memory.  Great way to build your child’s faith and memory at the same time!


Faith Builders Bible {Zonderkidz Review}
Make sure to head over to the main TOS Crew blog to read what the other reviewers thought of the Bible as well.  We all received the same Bible but everyone is different as are our children so I’m sure you’ll find many different opinions and reviews!  We found this a fun way to build your child’s faith while activating their creativity.  You can also check them out on Facebook and Twitter.  




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Make the Most of this Holiday Season {Odyssey Adventure Club}


What’s on your children’s Christmas wish list? As excited as they might be about that new toy, as every parent knows, the thrill of the gift will eventually wear off. Focus on the Family and Adventures in Odyssey have created the perfect gift for those who want to give their children or grandchildren a present that will provide year-round fun with eternal impact.  This holiday season give them the gift they can enjoy all year long!

The Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC) offers families 24/7 access to 25 years’ worth of Adventures in Odyssey (AIO) episodes in a safe online environment where children can explore and learn. Christmas really is the perfect time to tap into your children’s imagination while infusing faith and fun into their day . . . and every day of the year.

To celebrate the holiday season this year, the OAC is offering free content for everyone, including an Advent calendar, a broadcast download with tips to create a memorable Christmas, AIO cutouts and Christmas stocking stuffer cards. Membership to the OAC costs just $9.99 a month — or even less if parents make a six-month or one-year commitment. Enrollment provides more than enough content to keep kids engaged throughout the year:

  • Access to exclusive content and first looks at books and select Radio Theatre dramas.
  • On-the-go access to the OAC app for both iOS and Android users.
  • 24/7 streaming access to nearly 800 AIO episodes.
  • A new, members-only AIO episode every month.
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine, and more.

In keeping with AIO’s rich heritage of teaching children about biblical principles — such as the importance of giving — a portion of each OAC membership benefits Focus on the Family partner organizations. Here are a couple of examples of what has been accomplished through Odyssey Adventure Club members:

The Odyssey Adventure Club wants to reach beyond fleeting entertainment this Christmas, partnering with parents in helping their kids grow deep in faith and find their place in God’s story.


Speaking of the holidays, you can prepare for Christmas with Thriving Family‘s 2015 Advent Activity Calendar — Tales of Christmas Past: 25 Inspiring true stories of the season. Assemble a beautifully designed Advent poster to help your kids focus on Christ this Christmas. Then read Scripture passages and stories that relate to individual flaps on the poster. You can also create easy-to-fold booklets for each story. Get more information about this year’s free Advent calendar at, or sign up to download it.

To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

There are more awesome things happening to so stay tuned!  I personally can’t wait for the Advent Calendar!  This is our first year celebrating Advent and I’m at a bit of a loss.  I’ve never done it before and don’t know a lot about Advent. Plus Hanukkah falls in the middle of Advent so we’ll be double celebrating!  I’d love to hear your Advent traditions!



blog disclosure

Drawing the Bible {TOS Crew Review}

Do you like to draw?  Are you good at it?  I don’t and I’m not.  But I was still excited when GrapeVine Studies was offered as a review item through the TOS Crew.  My kids like to draw and I knew this would be good for them.  We were allowed to review several levels which was awesome for me since I wasn’t going to have to try to make an older level work for younger kids!  We received Old Testament 1: Level 1 Creation to Jacob, Old Testament 1: Level 2 Creation to Jacob as well as the Traceable to go with Old Testament 1 and the teacher’s version.  


GrapeVine Studies



We don’t have a specific Bible program that we do for school because I just haven’t found one that fits us.  So instead we do a character trait and a verse of the week to go with it.  We also read several other verses that go with that trait but they only memorize one.  Hearing about GrapeVine Studies and their drawing the Bible approach made us want to give it a try.  

While I knew that my kids were going to adore this, I was a little hesitant for me!  I’m horrible at drawing.  Like really bad.  I know it, my kids know it, and so did my teachers growing up!  I’m a great at coloring though.  I was pleasantly surprised with how laid out everything was.  I didn’t have to come up with my own drawings but could just put on the chalkboard whatever was in the teacher’s book.  Nothing was very elaborate which was great!  I can draw a good-looking stick figure!  After reading the Teacher’s manual I knew that drawing the Bible with my kids was going to be easier than I had thought.

A bit more about our levels that we used.  All levels were doing the same stories and parts of the Bible, so drawing the Bible together as a family.  They moved together so we were always studying the same thing!  Another awesome thing in my book.  I’m a mom of 9 kids.  I like for us to all be on the same page and not have to discuss Moses with one child while I’m talking disciples with another.  It’s confusing to me and to them when they hear me discussing a different event with their sibling.


GrapeVine Studies Choosing Levels


The lowest level is the Traceable.  It covers the same stories and material that the older levels do but it has the pictures there where the child can just trace them instead of trying to overwhelm them with drawing their own.  This level is for ages 3-5 or roughly PreK-K.  I used this with my two 5 year olds.   One is doing about Kindergarten work and one is doing PreK.  It was nice for both of them as they’re not very advanced with drawing yet and they still got to study with their older siblings.  

I do want to state that my two-year old often had a copy of the traceable lesson for the day that she could scribble on or color on as well.  She hates to be left out and since she has to be in the school area with us anyway(this little one knows how to make a mess) it was easier to give her a page and let her feel involved.  She kind of thinks she’s big stuff anyway.  It was above her level but she did great coloring!

The next up level that we used is Level 1.  Level 1 is for ages 6-8 or grades 1-2.  I have four children who fall into this category so we had four using this level.  For this level the primary focus is getting them to understand and know the timeline of events in the Old Testament.  They loved that they got to draw their own pictures(in comparison to their younger sisters).  A few had some frustration at not being able to get their drawings perfect which led to some great discussions about how we’re not perfect and God loves us anyway.  Young children are perfectly capable of talking theology and debating.  Just letting you know.  

Up another level places us at Level 2.  Level 2 is for ages 8-10 and grades 3-4.  I have two children who fall into this category.  One is 9 and one is 10 but they’re both doing 4th grade work.  They did great with the drawings and timeline practice but they also got to do more of the memorizing and retelling of stories.  Anytime a curriculum asks for children to memorize something I have them “teach” the lesson to their brothers and sisters and their daddy the Saturday of that week.  I think teaching really helps to solidify something in our minds whether we’re young or old.  It makes us have to really understand and know a concept.  


GrapeVine Studies


Okay now.  We’ve talked about each level and what they’re doing.  First, you need the student book and the teacher book.  I could not have done this without the teacher’s book.  I just don’t think it would work out well at all.  Make sure you get the teachers book.  All our books came via ebook download so I did have to print out the lessons prior to using them.  I printed out the whole book for each of the kids and put them in a binder.  I love binders.  You also are going to need colored pencils for the kids.  Each of my kids gets a new box of 12 colored pencils at the beginning of each school year so with some sharpening we were ready to go.  They recommend you have a whiteboard for the teacher with at least 8 colors of marker.  My whiteboard is used for our memory verse each week so I used our chalkboard wall instead and bought colored chalk.  It might have been easier for me to draw on a whiteboard but the chalkboard worked well.

The teacher’s book that I have covers Levels 1 and 2.  The next teacher’s book covers Levels 3 and 4.  I loved that I only had to have one teacher’s book to teach all 9 of my kids.  Less paper for me to have to shuffle through.  The teacher’s manual does have a section to read if you’re teaching multiple levels.  It’s really very helpful.  

Please jump over to the Main TOS Crew Blog to see all the levels that our reviewers were able to try out and what they thought of them.  I’m sure even that even those of us reviewing the same levels have different things to say!  Also check out GrapeVine Studies on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +


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Do You Struggle with Prayer?

 Are you struggling with prayer?  Not sure how to pray?  Do you sit down, fold your hands, and then have no clue where to start?  Have a perfect prayer in your head that gets jumbled coming out of your mouth?

These are all problems that people face today.  But did you know people faced them back in the days of Jesus too?  The one thing that the disciples consistently asked Jesus to show them, was how to pray.  I am taking a quote from Max Lucado’s new book Before Amen when I say that prayer was the only tutorial that the disciples asked for.  


do you struggle with prayer, before amen review


I recently received a copy of Before Amen by Max Lucado to review from Family Christian.  They have also named this book as their 2015 Book of the Year which is a great honor.  

First let’s start with why I wanted to review this book.  

  1. I like Max Lucado.  I’ve read many of his books and really have enjoyed them.  They’ve imparted knowledge and guidance upon me.  My children also love his children’s books and the movies that he has done for children.  I have yet to see a bad anything come from him.
  2. The cover intrigued me.  I think we can see a lot of the personality of a book through the cover.  Face it.  People look at the cover before they read the description on the back.  This is a cover that draws you in and makes you want to pick up the book!
  3. The subject matter.   It’s about prayer.  Prayer is one of those things that I think everyone questions whether they are doing it right.  It’s something we try to teach our children while some still have a hard time doing it for themselves.

I don’t know about you, but I think we all struggle with prayer to some extent.  Have you ever not known what to pray?  Not known the right words or how you should start?  This book is for you.


the power of prayer, before amen


I have to confess before going further on with my review that I could have posted anytime between January 1 and January 31.  But here I am posting on the 30th because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say.  There were so many ideas floating around in my brain.  So much about the book that I wanted to tell you.  Yet it boiled down to me about being the parent and I knew that I needed to post this today because today is my oldest daughter’s birthday.  She is 10.  I have a lot of emotions and feelings surrounding her growing up, but I also am so proud of her.

I’m proud of the way she can carry on conversations with grownups.  I’m proud that she knows she can come to me with ANYTHING.  I am also proud that she is a Christian and has  accepted Christ as her Lord and savior.  But you know something else?  I am so proud of HER because she can pray.  That girl can PRAY!!  Anytime.  Anywhere.  Over Anything.

We used to tease my daughter because every time she prayed for snow it would snow.  She’d ask God for snow so she could play in it and build a snowman.  And the next morning she’d wake up to a winter wonderland.  Okay, so maybe it wasn’t always the next morning, but she learned at an early age that God answers prayer.  And she has never been afraid to ask God for what she wants or to pray to ask him to help other people.

Often in the Bible we are told to come to Jesus as a little child, to humble ourselves like a child.  Basically to be a child.  I think we can learn a thing or two from children on prayer too.  Max Lucado says something about this in his book as well.  He talks of how children talk to their fathers here on Earth.  The way they talk to them.  It’s not formal, no pomp  or ceremony to stand on.  It’s just full of love and eagerness and a want to spend time with them.  But mostly, they know they are loved.  Now granted, not all children know the love of an earthly father but they can all know a Heavenly Father’s love.

When we pray we should pray to God like we are talking to our father.  He is after all our Father.  No need to resort to old English or talk to him in Ancient Greek.  You don’t have to read the Bible in Hebrew or Latin.  You don’t have to bow your head a certain way or at a certain time.  You just have to want to have a conversation with God.

This is where Before Amen comes in.  Inside this book you are introduced to what Max Lucado calls a Pocket Prayer.  A short little format for prayer that you can follow.  It’s short.  It’s simple.  And it has success.  After reading the book I knew that this was a great little template for prayer and that  wanted to make sure my children knew this format as well.  So I have written it on a piece of printer paper and taped it to the wall in our school room.  I plan to do a better job and make it a bit nicer, but the words will still be the same. 


You are good

I need help, heal me and forgive me.

They need help.

Thank you.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen


That has to be one of the shortest prayers ever.  But it’s to the point.  Father you are good, not just good but great, the epitome of what is good.  See you can expand, but you don’t need to expand. It already says it all in those few words of  Father you are good.  

I need help, heal me and forgive me.  This is where you can list where you need help, what you need healed from, and what you need forgiven for.  He already knows, but sometimes the telling is for us.  Sometimes we just need to say the words and feel the weight lifted off our shoulders.

They need help.  Have a friend going through a rough time?  Lift them up.  Have a random person in front of you at the grocery store who seems to be carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders?  Then simply pray Father, you are good, this person needs your help, please help them.  Thank you, in Jesus’ name, amen.  So simple yet so powerful.

We have the power to pray.  We have the privilege to be able to pray.  We also have the wonderful liberty to pray anywhere at anytime without our life being in jeopardy.  That is just so amazing.  What are you doing with this power you have?  What are you doing with this gift you have been given?  

To me prayer is truly a gift.  A gift that we were given by God.  Our gift lets us talk to Him just like anyone else.  That is how I find that I best pray.  I pray to my Father in my head as I bake, as I wash my babies, as I wrap that gift for my little girl growing up way too fast.  I have always struggled with praying aloud though.  Will others judge what I say?  Am I doing it right?  Will they laugh at me?

So once again I ask, do you struggle with prayer?  Do you need that confidence to pray?  Well this prayer that Max Lucado calls a Pocket Prayer is for you.  It’s for everyone.  Remember to take it out of your pocket often.  Remember that it is there and that there is POWER in it.  Yes I meant to capitalize that word.  I want you to take away something from my review.  I want you to see that prayer is power.  Not a superpower, but a power that you hold.  You hold the power to help someone.  In the book a story is told of a man who died of cardiac arrest.  He was dead.  There was no question as to whether he was dead or not, his heart was no longer beating.  But the man with him held his head and prayed for him.  They did CPR and prayed for him.  Everyone around PRAYED for him.  And guess what?  His heart began to beat again.  He later said that lightning bolts came through heaven and those were the prayers, and when they lit up the sky he was sent back down to earth.  That is the POWER of prayer.

Who will you pray for today?  Who needs to be lifted up?  Don’t worry about the words all you have to say is instead of they need help, Father she needs help or he needs help.  Just place their name in there.  If you’re not comfortable adding more to your prayer,  don’t.  It’s such a wonderful place to start.



Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer, Before Amen, Max Lucado




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Jesus is the Good News! @FamilyChristian

Have you ever wondered how to get your kids more interested in the Bible?  Wanted something that teaches them truth?  Well we’ve found that in What’s in the Bible.  What’s in the Bible is a great video series by Phil Vischer(one of the Veggie Tales creators).  Recently we received a copy of Volume 10 from Family Christian to review. Volume 10 Jesus is the Good News!  

Sounds like good news to us!  We have watched some of the What’s in the Bible movies and really couldn’t wait to watch this one.  They’re catchy, they’re cute, and they pack a punch with the kids.  My kids LOVE them!  


What's in the Bible


Buck Denver is the news reporter who hosts this series.  He’s a great guy!  Unless he has too much coffee, then you’ve got problems!  Maybe he’s a bit like me. . . . .   Anyway!  This dvd takes us into the New Testament and learning all about the Good News that Jesus brought.  Basically as the title says, that Jesus is the Good News.  We visit Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in this dvd.  

The whole dvd is 60 minutes in length.  There are two episodes within the same dvd.  They cover things such as Jesus calming the storm, and feeding the 5000.  We learn of Jesus dying but then we hear the “Good News” that Jesus wasn’t in the tomb when the stone was rolled away.  You get the whole salvation story all rolled up in a cute little show with catchy tunes and puppets!

My kids really have enjoyed this dvd.  We’ve shared it with friends who have enjoyed it as well.  I know some people who don’t like dvd’s like this because they take away some of the seriousness and sacredness of the Bible.  I like things like this for children because it brings the truth from the Bible to a language they can understand and a fun way for them to learn.  I approve of these for my kids.  They are based on the Bible and have sound teaching in my opinion.


What's in the Bible

The Discussion Guide for parents that comes inside the movie case.


My kids love the songs as well and go around the house singing them!  We love the singing cowboy and the pirate who never seems to fit in but always seems to get a part nevertheless.  Oh and don’t forget Sunday School lady.  It’s a great cast of characters(puppets) to go along with Phil Vischer himself.  The puppets as him questions and he then tells them the Bible stories that go along and explains them.  While he explains we see little clips of the puppets or flannelgrams or any number of cute sketches.  

Okay so I told you it is two episodes on one dvd.  The first episode is called God’s Perfect Timing.  It covers the 400 years between the Old and New Testament.  It goes into how Jesus arrives as prophesied and how everything was the perfect timing for His coming.


What's in the Bible

The coloring page that comes inside the movie case.


The second episode is called The Messiah Has Come(pretty self explanatory there).  It covers the life and ministry of Jesus.  

If you’re looking for a fun way to earn more about the Bible with your kids I would highly recommend getting the entire series for them.  It’s a great investment in something that your kids will love.  My kids are ages 18 months up to 9 years and they ALL love these shows.  Heck, I love them too!  You’re never too old to find something like this cute and funny.  

Things I liked as the parent.  Inside you’ll find a coloring page for your kids.  On the other side you have a discussion guide that you can use to discuss what they’ve learned with your kids.  I love that!  It helps to make sure they’ve learned what you want them to learn from this.  We give this show a big ol yes please and five stars!


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Beauty and the Beet #veggietales #review

Are you a Veggie Tales fan?  My kids are for sure!  They were super excited with our latest review from Family Christian!  We got to review the newest Veggie Tales Beauty and the Beet!  Talk about a great movie and a bunch of excited kids! 


unconditional love


First let me tell you about some great deals you can get with Family Christian right now!  These are limited so pay attention to the dates given!  From December 12-14 you can order your copy of Beauty and the Beet for $7.49 as part of the Doorbusters Event!  Pretty awesome price!  I’d go for that one!  If you miss that though you can purchase from December 15-24 for $9.99.  Still a great price!  After the 24th and into the new year it’ll be standard regular price.

Okay, so now that the formalities are out of the way lets talk some more about the movie and how much we enjoyed it.  You know, I’m going to say that “we” a lot.  Because it’s not just my kids that like the Veggie Tales movies, I do too!  I think they’re adorable and carry a message.  It may not always be a specific Bible verse that we can target, but it’s a great principle or life lesson that kids should know.  And who doesn’t want to learn it through cute and adorable vegetables!  Well and maybe a fruit or two.  I always was taught that tomatoes were a fruit.  

Beauty and the Beet features someone new to the world of Veggie Tales.  Kellie Pickler lends her voice to Mirabelle( the Belle of the classic Beauty and the Beast story tale) and so of course there are some Country Western type songs being sung throughout!  

In our story we follow the Veggie Tones, a family band featuring Mirabelle.  All the children in the family are in the band somehow and dad is the manager.  When they go through the mountains in bad weather to try to get to a new gig they get stranded at a run down resort where Mr Beet is the manager.  They can’t pay to stay so they work it off by cleaning, waiting tables, and singing.  Mirabelle even gives the Beast err Beet singing lessons!   But can she help to make him kind and feeling again?

The movie is approximately 56 minutes long so almost an hour of delightful sillyness with a great message.  

There are some bonus features on the disc as well.  You get behind the scenes with Kellie Pickler on playing the sweetest sweet potato, a very veggie jukebox, in the kitchen with Bob, Show You Love sing along, Deck the Halls sing along, downloadable activities, and my favorite—- Offering Unconditional Love: Family Discussion Guide.  I’m  a sucker for these discussion guides.  I love them!  They normally contain a great message and a great way to help our kids understand and retain that message.

I have nine children ages 9 and under.  They all sit and watch this.  They love it!  I think it truly is a great lesson in unconditional love for children.


silly songs with Larry


The new Silly Song with Larry is also cute and definitely silly as always.  It’s called Mac and Cheese and is all about how Larry’s ancestor invented Mac and Cheese and how he did it!

Okay so if you don’t want to see a few spoilers then please feel free to stop reading here.  Really you can stop now.  I’m going to talk about a few of my favorite parts as a mom.

Spoilers ahead.

Stop reading and go watch the movie.

Watched the movie now?

Okay so here goes!

In the movie we have a reporter.  A critic of resorts.  She gives them a one star rating because she came as someone who had no money to stay and they turned her away.  She hears good things starting to be said about the resort after the Veggie Tones come and goes back for a second review.  She is pleasantly surprised.  But the Veggie Tones aren’t there to entertain as they’re trying to get to their next gig.  The Veggie Tones decide to go back and help Mr Beet only to be involved in an avalanche.  True kindness wins out.  The kindness that Mirabelle had shown to Mr Beet, and really not just her but the whole family, has paid off and he is now a nice man who risks his own life to save them.

Great movie.  We loved it.  You will too.  Make sure to go purchase your copy.  


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