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2017 TOS Crew Reviews

2 In 2017 TOS Crew Reviews

Brinkman Adventures // Review

I don’t listen to too many audio tapes. Although they worked well when my kids were younger, it’s hard to find a good fit for my older kids.  Sometimes an audio series comes along that you know will have a lasting impact on not only your heart, but the heart of your chidlren.  Have you heard of Brinkman Adventures?  We were introduced to their missionary stories when we received Brinkman Adventures Season 4 to review.


Brinkman Adventures

Brinkman Adventures is an exciting radio show that tells true, modern, missionary stories through the eyes of the fictional Brinkman family.  There are 12 episodes included in Brinkman Adventures Season 4 providing over five hours of exciting audio drama.  (Each episode is about 30-45 minutes in length.)  The episodes included, along with their central theme, are:

37 A Paradise Lost (God is in control)
38 Remember Nhu (Persevering)
39 Aisha’s Fear (Overcoming Fear with Love)
40 Heart Song (Tenacious Faith)
41 The Crashed Kitchen (God Doesn’t Make Mistakes)
42 Crisis In The Congo (People Over Projects)
43 The Mysterious Palm Feller (Confronting Evil)
44 War of the Raccoons (Faithfulness in Work)
45 The Five Guys (Listening to God)
46 Toughest Man (Surrendering Everything)
47 Cambodian Quest (Going Deeper with God)
48 What Brings Us Together (Glorifying God in Every Vocation)

These adventures follow the Brinkman family from Wisconsin who interact with missionaries in Cambodia, the Middle East, Russia and The Congo, as well as some “undisclosed” locations.  I listened to the first three episodes with my oldest son (14) and oldest daughter (17) and the majority of the other episodes myself, although my kids were in and out. Without giving away too much, here are summaries from a couple of my favorite episodes:

Summary of Episode 38 – Remember Nhu

This episode picks up the Brinkman family at family camp. Their guest speaker, Carl Ralston, opens up with a verse from Galatians 2:20, how we are crucified with Christ and how others can experience the love of Christ through us.  Carl shared how he was struggling to know that God was working through him but wasn’t feeling like he was hearing from God.  Desperate, he attended a service where a missionary was speaking about a young girl from Cambodia named Nhu.  At 13, she had been born again and was in love with Jesus, but her family sold her into slavery. At that service, God spoke to Carl and said to “Remember Nhu”.  Carl ends up going to Cambodia on a couple of occasions to look for Nhu. God leads Carl to people who help him on his journey.

Summary of Episode 39 – Aisha’s Fear

In this story Nik Ripken (not his real name) returns from the Middle East and meets up with Mr. Brinkman to share stories of hardship, death and persecution overseas.  One story he shared was about Aisha, a young woman who was being abused by her husband.  Aisha’s husband dislikes Christians and refuses to sell to them in his store.  In the story we learn that Aisha’s husband has Stage 4 cancer and the doctors are not hopeful. Aisha is filled with fear.  As Nik comes to the aid of Aisha’s husband during his last day, he is led to the Lord and dies a changed man.  Aisha falls more in love with Jesus due to her husbands salvation, but meets persecution and fear of imprisonment for her faith.

Final Thoughts

Overall, we really enjoyed these audio dramas. They are filled with real life stories that share about overcoming fear, hardship and impossible situations. In every one, God is the victor and lives are changed.  They helped to reinforce how important the position of a Missionary is in today’s world.


Brinkman Adventures
If you are looking for a way to bring missions into your homeschool, consider Brinkman Adventures. You and your children will have hours of sound, real-life stories with which to help aid in your discussions about missions.

Be sure to click on the banner below to read what others are saying about Brinkman Adventures Season 4.


Brinkman Adventures Season 4
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0 In 2017 TOS Crew Reviews

Carole P. Roman Books // Review

I enjoy receiving new books to add to our homeschool. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I have previously reviewed books by Carole P. Roman for my then middle school son. You can read that review here. This time around, I was excited to review a few different books geared for a younger audience by Carole P. Roman.


Carole P Roman

About Carole P Roman

Carole P. Roman is an award-winning author of over fifty children’s books which have enchanted educators, parents, and her diverse audience of children.

For the purpose of this review, I received three books. Two of them, One To Ten: Squirrel’s Bad Day and Rocket-Bye I requested. The third book was a mystery book entitled Fribbet The Frog And The Tadpoles.

One To Ten: Squirrel’s Bad Day (ages 4-8) is about a squirrel who losses all of her acorns in the river after running and tripping. She gets so upset and just doesn’t know what to do with herself. Her friend Rabbit says that if she would stop and rate her problem on a scale of 1 to 10 that it may help her not be so overwhelmed. Throughout the story Rabbit helps Squirrel to rate various problems helping her realize that life isn’t so bad after all.

This is a cute story, but it wasn’t our favorite. I had my son read it and although he is 14, he had a little trouble with the type font at first as some of the letters are blacked out and this was a little confusing to him. I like the thought of rating our problems from 1-10, with 10 being of biggest concern, but I’m not sure all children in the 4-8 age range would understand this concept.

Rocket-Bye (ages 3-8) is a wonderful bed time story for any child who loves space. I requested this book with my 2-year old grandson in mind. Written in nursery rhyme style, you will climb aboard a rocket ship and sore through the sky, seeing the moon, stars, milky way and all of the planets in the galaxy.

My grandson loved this story. He kept pointing to the pictures and saying “sky” and “rocket”. It was just the right amount of words to keep his attention and he often asks for this book to be read to him before bed.

Fribbet The Frog And The Tadpoles (ages 3-9) is a great story about a Frog who is upset because things are changing at home. All of sudden tadpoles have appeared at his house. They started changing and growing legs and using his toys. Then they starting jumping around everywhere and taking up all of his mommy and daddy’s time. Fribbet’s friends put him at ease by sharing with him how wonderful it is to have brothers and sisters.

This was my grandson’s favorite. His mommy and I got to talk with him about family, and having a brother as his own baby brother is just 3 months old.  He loved the frog and kept saying “Ribbit, Ribbit” the whole time we were reading.

Overall, we were very pleased with the quality of these books. The artwork is colorful and pleasing to the eye and the books we received were the perfect number of pages for their intended audience. If you are looking for some quality books for children in various age ranges, be sure to check out Carole P. Roman. Click on the banner below to see what other books the Crew members have received.

Oh Susannah, Bedtime Stories, Captain No Beard, If you were Me ... {Carole P. Roman Reviews}
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0 In 2017 TOS Crew Reviews

Progeny Press – The Silver Chair E-Guide // Review

While I love to read, reading is not my 9th grader’s strength. He struggles with comprehension so we look for material to make reading fun, interesting and to help him with comprehension. One such program is Progeny Press. We have reviewed for them in the past (you can read that review here) and were thrilled for the opportunity to review The Silver Chair E-Guide.


Silver Chair - E-Guide

Progeny Press is a faith-based company that offers literature guides and interactive E-Guides for students from lower elementary through high school. There are a variety of titles to choose from in each grade level. While there are paper copies of the guides available, for the purposes of this review, we received The Silver Chair E-Guide, which is intended for students in grades 5-7.  Since I have a struggling high school reader, we chose this level so as not to overwhelm him.

This e-guide is 61 pages long (which includes the answer key) and includes the following:

  • Background on the authors and story
  • Prereading suggested activities
  • Vocabulary activities related to the story
  • General content questions
  • Literary analysis and terminology questions designed to give students a good understanding of writing technique and how to use it
  • Critical analysis questions designed to help students consider and analyze the intellectual, moral, and spiritual issues in the story and weigh them with reference to scripture

While the books are not included, we happened to have ours. You can also find books at the library or half priced retailers.

You will of course need internet access to download and save the guide. It is also recommended that your student have on hand:

  • a good dictionary
  • a thesaurus
  • a Bible
  • a topical Bible or concordance.

You can either print out the pages your student is working on, or you can record your answers right on the interactive e-guide. But if you do that, remember to save a copy of your file otherwise you will lose your answers. (I found this out the hard way!)

Although Progeny Press recommends the student have already completed reading the book before working on the guide, it is much easier for my son to read a few chapters and follow along in the guide because of his comprehension issues. The key for us is to always avoid frustration.

There are several pre-reading activities that you can choose from. My son opted to do some research on caves using various internet searches as well as YouTube videos.

My son worked in the E-guide about 3 days a week. He really struggled with answering the questions as it related to the story, so we are actually still working on most of the guide. However, he did well with vocabulary and other aspects of the guide that were easier. Here are a few of the pages he’s completed.

As a parent, I love these study guides. I cannot say the same for my son, but he struggles with reading in general. Even though we obtained a lower level, we could have gone even lower to assure he would not struggle as much with the comprehension. Even though he was able do to the vocabulary exercises using a dictionary, it is clear he’s not understanding the higher level words.

I love that Progeny Press has so many different titles to choose from in various levels. We are sure to obtain more titles as we go along in our homeschooling efforts.

To find out more about Progeny Press, visit them on social media:


Are you looking for literature guides for your student? Check out what other Crew members have reviewed from Progeny Press by clicking the banner below.

Study Guides for Literature {Progeny Press Reviews}

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2 In 2017 TOS Crew Reviews

Is There Anything Better Than Candy? Box-Tract // Review

As my children have gotten older, we do less and less with regard to Halloween. However, there is a whole community of children at our church, both from church backgrounds as well as those with little exposure to church, who I love to bless with treats during Halloween. And what is better than treats but a Halloween Tract that shares about Jesus.  Let the Little Children Come provides tools for child evangelism such as their Is There Anything Better Than Candy? Box-Tract.


Let the Little Children Come Halloween Tract

The Is There Anything Better Than Candy? Box-Tract comes in a package of 20 pumpkin shaped boxes which are perforated for easy assembly. On the outside are the words “Is There Anything Better Than Candy?” and on the inside are six messages that share about Jesus.


Let the Little Children Come Halloween Tract

The Box-Tract is made of sturdy paper and is very easy to put together. You basically fold up the two sides that have the stems, and then each of the other sides has a slit and you fold those up and over the stem. Each box only took me a minute or so to assemble.


Let the Little Children Come Halloween Tract

I allowed my daughter to pick the candy we would use for the box. She choose the small Crunch bars. At first, I was afraid they were going to be too big, as they hug over the side as I was assembling.  However, I was surprised that they actually fit!

There are many different ways you can use his Halloween Tract. I plan to give them to the teachers of our Sunday School Classrooms to use as an object lesson as they discuss Halloween and the love of God, as well as to use during their annual Harvest Festival Party.

Some of the other ways you can use them are:

  • Hand them out to trick-or-treaters.
  • Assemble the boxes with kisses to represent “kisses from God” and take them to a nursing home. My kids love to perform musically for residents at nursing homes, and these could be given out after the performance.
  • Hand out to teachers at the local public school.
  • Take them to a local shelter to bless the moms and children who live there.
  • Assemble the boxes and leave them in the restrooms at local restaurants.

There are so many ways to use these nifty Halloween Tracts.


Let the Little Children Come

As a parent, I think the Is There Anything Better Than Candy? Box-Tract by Let The Little Children Come is a fabulous way to share about the love of God with a sweet twist. Are you interested in reading about how others plan to use them? Check out the other reviews from the Crew by clicking the banner below.

Is There Anything Better Than Candy? {Let The Little Children Come Reviews}
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5 In 2017 TOS Crew Reviews

Cooking Made Easy With Everyday Cooking // A Review

As a busy mom who juggles work, homeschooling and so many other things, I’m always on the hunt for new recipes to incorporate into our family’s meal plan. Over the last several weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to cook some recipes using Everyday Cooking by Everyday Homemaking.

Everyday Cooking

For the purpose of this review, I received the ebook version of Everyday Cooking, which is about 198 pages. There is a spiral bound book available for purchase as well.

Everyday Cooking was created by a busy mom, who at one time homeschooled 8 children. Her recipes are budget friendly, practical and easy to make. While the emphasis is on whole food, this is not a “healthy food” cookbook. Rather, Vickie provides options and substitution of ingredients for many of her recipes. Vickie also gives some great ideas for “do ahead” meal prep, things you can do on a weekend to prepare for the week, such as making a large pot of rice and freezing the remainder in small freezer bags. Another idea is to cook up hardboiled eggs, and bag up cheese and carrots to have on hand for salads during the week. Another great ideas is to double up on casseroles, freezing the extra one to have on hand for the week or another time when you need to pull something together.

Everyday Homemaking

How We Used This Book

When I first downloaded this book, I spent the first week or so reviewing the intro material, looking over the helps sections and browsing the recipes. While there are so many awesome recipes, I just couldn’t make them all.

The first recipe I made was one of dessert. I am a really good cook (or so I’m told), but one thing I need a lot of help in is in the area of desserts. Since we were having company one night, I opted to make the Marbled Chocolate Chip Cheesecake.  I love that Vickie included a way to make this into Mini Cheesecakes, which is exactly what I did. I failed to get a photo of the prep, but the basic ingredients are graham cracker crumbs, margarine, sugar and cocoa for the crust and cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs, sour cream, cocoa, flour and semi-sweet chips for the filling. Vickie even includes a way to make this cheesecake in an electric pressure cooker.

Putting the mini cheesecakes together was very easy. I fear I may have added the wrong amount of sugar to the base, but I didn’t notice. The only thing I did wrong was that I forgot to put the mini-morsels on the top until half way through the cooking time. I thought once I added them on they would melt, but they didn’t. So we just had mini marble cheesecakes with mini morsels on top.

Everyone loved this cheesecake. I was surprised that it wasn’t as rich as I was thought it would be, which made it harder to not eat more than one. The only critique I got from my husband is to put less crust. In other words, I put too much crust on some of them. But overall, he loved it.

The other recipe I made was something my son picked — Dorito Casserole. I knew as soon as I saw this recipe that it would be on my son’s list. He was eager to make and eat this one, consisting of Nacho Cheese Doritos, chili, diced tomatoes, mushroom soup and cheese.

Here is my son prepping this dish:

This cooked in the oven for about 30 minutes. He couldn’t wait to dig in.

And the verdict is:

HE REALLY LIKED IT! He was expecting the chips to be hard still and have it be more like nachos. I had to explain to him that this was a casserole. Overall, he said the flavor was good and he would make it again.

Everyday Cooking is a great resource for busy families. The recipes are simple to follow and budget friendly. We are going to have fun continuing to make and try recipes from this book. If you are looking for a new resource to help you add meals to your menu, check out Everyday Cooking by Everyday Homemaking. And, if you are looking for a great resource to get your family involved in the home, you might consider The Everyday Family Chore System.

Be sure to check out the reviews from other Crew Members for both of these wonderful resources.

Everyday Cooking and Chores Systems for your Family {Everyday Homemaking Reviews}
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