Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Write for Life: Volume One by Karen Lange

by Diane Estrella

Write for Life Volume 1 offers lessons that guide teens through the process of writing the research paper.


Write for Life: Volume 1: Writing the Research Paper

This book offers ready to use lessons for grades 7-12 that guide students through the process of writing the research paper. Suitable for homeschool families, co-ops, or other student groups, these eight lessons break down the process from start to finish with helpful instruction, encouragement, and practice.

Lesson topics include:

  • MLA style research paper basics, topics, and sources
  • Thesis statements
  • Outlines
  • Developing content
  • Rough and final drafts
  • Citing sources

No matter what we do in life, good communication skills are an important ingredient for success. Strengthening students’ writing enhances verbal and other interpersonal skills and helps prepare them for a lifetime of good communication.

Since 2005, Karen Lange has used these lessons to teach homeschool teens at the Homeschool Online Creative Writing Co-op. She believes that everyone can improve their writing skills with a good balance of instruction, encouragement, and practice.

karen langeAbout the Author

Karen Lange is a homeschool veteran, homeschool consultant, freelance writer, and online writing instructor for adults and homeschooled teens. Karen and her husband homeschooled their three children for grades K-12 in southern New Jersey. They now live in north central Kentucky where Karen enjoys reading, walking, and playing with her grandson. She is a fan of dark chocolate, hockey, and historical fiction.

Book synopsis

No matter what we do in life, it is necessary to communicate. We interact with and express ourselves to others daily, so good communication skills are important. Improving students’ writing skills can enhance other means of communication, thus equipping them with lifelong skills.

This book provides ready to use lessons that help provide the tools develop necessary skills for lifelong communication for grades 7-12. It is suitable for use for homeschool families or co-ops or other student groups, it guides students step by step through the writing process. Each unit includes user friendly lessons and assignments that provides instruction, friendly encouragement, and practice.

These are designed to stretch skills and imaginations to help students write and think more creatively. It provides interaction with peers and personalized feedback and guidance from the instructor. This co-op is designed to develop and reinforce good writing skills. Think of it as cross training for writing. Using a variety of lessons, assignments, suggested activities students are encouraged to develop their skills. No stress allowed! Writing is a process – with practice and the right tools anyone can improve.

Volume 1: Writing the Research Paper, 8 lessons and assignments that guide students through the writing process of writing the research paper.

Volume 2: Essay Writing

Volume 3: Creative Writing

Volume 4: Flash Fiction

My Review

My daughter, who is in the ninth grade, seems to have above average writing skills (I’ll say she gets that talent from me… ahem). Don’t we wish expressing one’s thoughts was so easy for every child?!? My son just started seventh grade, and I will be the first one to admit his writing skills are less than glorious. He does not enjoy reading and hence also does not enjoy writing as well. I think Karen’s book, Write for Life, may have some useful tips that I can apply to his English homeschooling curriculum.

Volume One discusses writing a research paper. I like how the author broke down the eight lessons into weekly projects for the student to accomplish. This book shows the student the correct formatting involved in a research paper along with tips on how to put their own unique personality into it. I like the examples the author includes and how she stresses the importance of getting different eyes on it to see it through different viewpoints. There are also “fun” activities included, that I’m sure my son will not think are fun, but this gives additional practice to struggling students.

This is a short but concise book that I think would be of benefit to many students. Whatever your age or the subject, being able to clearly share and discuss your findings with the world is important. I think this book will help build confidence in your child’s writing process and teach them the tools to successfully write a research paper.

Buy it Here

The author sent me the above e-book for review purposes. She will allow me to keep the book. I have no other connection to and have received no other compensation from Karen Lange.

adovia sulphur soap

About the Soap

Adovia natural sulfur soap is highly enriched with minerals curated from the Dead Sea. The sulfur soap however, when used on a gradually increasing level, does not cause dry skin as it is infused with lush Olive Oil and aloe vera, as well as sought-after Dead Sea minerals. Softly yet thoroughly cleansing skin with 3 percent sulfur content old skin cells are removed and pores are unclogged. Harmful impurities and oils can embed themselves into the deepest levels of our epidermis and this is one of the best sulfur soaps on the market to target and dissolve them. To help keep skin supple and hydrated, Adovia Sulfur Soap is also packed with Palm and Palm Kernal Oil as well the already mentioned Olive oil and Aloe Vera. That said, it is still recommended to start using this soap slowly so your skin can adjust to the healing sulfur that is not in more common soap products.

  • Adovia sulfur soap, is highly enriched with minerals and sulfur from the Dead Sea.
  • Your skin’s natural moisture levels are balanced and optimized with Olive Oil, Dead Sea minerals and Aloe Vera extract.
  • Sulfur has Antiseptic, Anti-Fungal and Antibacterial properties
  • This soap thoroughly cleanses your face and body and leaves your skin gentle and smooth.
  • Our sulfur soap has a 3% sulfur content.

My Review

A great soap for all ages….

My daughter is 14 and I am 43 years old, and yes, we both have acne, blackheads and troubled skin. We have been using the Adovia Sulfur Soap and enjoying the benefits from it. After cleaning my face and neck with the soap, my skin is very soft and smooth feeling afterwards. My daughter’s face seems to be even-ing out from the hormonal extremes that it is currently prone to. I love the incredibly mild scent that the soap has and feel confident that it can be used daily, if necessary, to clean my skin without drying it out. The bar is enriched with natural oils and leaves my skin feeling healthy and happy.

I think for anyone, of any age, this would be a product that is worthwhile, to see if it can help clear up problem skin conditions. Keeping one’s face free from breakout’s is still a priority and challenge regardless of your age.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bend Your Brain by The Minds Behind Marbles: The Brain Store

by Diane Estrella

bend your brain

Want to get your frontal cortex breaking a sweat? Make your blood pump to your cerebellum? Stretch your occipital lobe to its limits?

Then you need to bend your brain! This first book from the team behind Marbles: The Brain Store, a chain devoted to building better brains, offers puzzles and brain teasers to help enhance memory, build problem-solving skills, and reduce stress.
Since Marbles started helping people play their way to a healthier brain, they’ve sold, solved, and been stumped by more than their fair share of puzzles. Along the way, they’ve learned which puzzles tie people in knots (not in a good way) and which ones make the neurons downright giddy. With the help of their in-house team of BrainCoaches and access to cutting-edge neuroscience, they’ve designed these puzzles to keep your mind flexible and fit.

Arranged in five key brain categories—visual perception, word skills, critical thinking, coordination, and memory—Bend Your Brain offers a variety of puzzles ranging from mind-warming (easy) to mind-blowing (hard!):

·  Connecting the dots? More like working your spatial-orientation skills.
·  Identifying famous smiles? Flexing your visual memory.
·  Taking a closer look at your keyboard? Coding, storing, and retrieving.
·  Word-doku? Summoning cognitive abilities like appraisal, inference, impulse control, and evaluation.
·  Word scrambles? Tapping your brain’s association areas.

Your brain is your most important muscle, so let the brain-building begin!

My Review

Sometimes your brain bends…. and sometimes, it just plain breaks!

This was just what my head needed. It seems like my brain is in a pattern of only doing what it needs to do daily to survive. Routine thoughts consume me and not challenging myself at all to think any deeper. Bleh.

This book changed all that. I actually forgot how much I like doing puzzles and stretching my brain to do more and think further. I really enjoyed the different exercises in this book. I warn you to make sure you use a pencil and have plenty of erasers on hand. There are a great variety and puzzles to consider. My favorite’s were the dot-to-dot’s that were over 600 dots large and the numerous word puzzles.

Great for when you have five minutes or hours of time free, to just lose yourself and your thoughts and dig in a little deeper and see what you can retrieve. I think instead of “losing my marbles,” I may have found a few that were misplaced and dusted them off. I enjoyed this book very much.

Buy it Here

Waterbrook Press sent me the above book for review purposes. It will allow me to keep the book. I have no other connection to and have received no other compensation from Waterbrook Press.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Louie’s Big Day! by Maria I. Morgan

by Diane Estrella

School is back in session. A bright yellow bus lumbered through our neighborhood this week bringing back memories of school years gone by.

I remember jamming books in my backpack, walking to the bus stop and being excited to catch up with my friends after summer break.

Year after year, not only was I learning the basics, but I was also becoming aware of the subjects that really interested me. My purpose was becoming clearer.

Louie Lawnmower Front Cover for Kindle export

God cares

It’s neat to look back on those formative years and see how God was already at work. I’m convinced that in spite of the billions of people on the planet, the Lord loves and cares about each person individually.

The Lord has a purpose and plan for each person He has created. And part of His plan includes relationships with others.

It’s never too early to begin teaching our children biblical truths like these. I love the way Moses put it:

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:7

A fun way to teach truth

Teaching godly truths can be done throughout the day in a variety of ways. If you enjoy reading to your kids, my new children’s book, Louie’s BIG day! will help you convey these concepts through a fun storyline:

Louie is a bright red lawnmower who used to live at the hardware store with his friends: Ruthie Rake, Eddie Edger, Bobbie Blower, Terri Trowel, and Henri Hose. Recently he was purchased by a man and his wife and now he’s on his own.

Louie misses his friends, but it’s time to find out if he can do the job he was made to do. Join Louie for his BIG adventure and discover the surprise that awaits him at the end of the day!

Louie the Lawnmower series

The first in the Louie the Lawnmower book series, Louie’s BIG day! wraps up with questions to engage you and your child in conversation and help you re-emphasize biblical truths.

Louie even has his own website where you can download a free copy of the audio version of Louie’s BIG day! Louie’s adventures are just getting started. Keep your eyes open for the second book in the Louie the Lawnmower series: Louie & the Leaf Pile, due out early next year!

Purchase Louie’s BIG day! on CreateSpace or Amazon.

Maria I. MorganAbout the Author

Maria I. Morgan was born with an active imagination that shows up in her endearing stories for children. Originally an inspirational author and speaker for adults, Maria has widened her circle to include kids. She lives in the muggy South with her husband, two retrievers, and two Maine Coon kitties – the perfect mix to fuel her creativity for years to come!

(You can find her devotionals and download a free copy of her eBook, God Speaking, at www.mariaimorgan.com)

Connect with the author:

Website: http://www.mariaimorgan.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WriterMariaIMorgan

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mariaimorgan

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mariaimorgan/

Connect with Louie:

Website: www.mariaimorgan.wix.com/louie-the-lawnmower


Monday, September 08, 2014

Making Marion: Where’s Robin Hood When You Need Him? by Beth Moran

by Diane Estrella

making marion

About the Book

She had been looking for somewhere to stay, but instead Marion Miller finds herself on the wrong side of the reception desk at the Peace and Pigs campground and, despite her horrible shyness, promptly lands herself a job.

Marion came to Nottinghamshire–home of Sherwood Forest–to discover her father’s mysterious past, but all she has to go on is a picture of her father dressed up, it would seem, as Robin Hood.

Life on a busy campground challenges Marion’s formerly controlled life–the pigs roam free, the resident chickens seem determined to thwart her, and an unfortunate incident with a runaway bike throws her into the arms of the beautiful, but deeply unimpressed, Reuben.

Yet, Marion’s would-be boyfriend Jake, and Reuben’s stunning fiancée Erica, conspire to leave little room for Marion to daydream about the twinkling eyes of her rescuer . . . Will Marion ever find peace, and perhaps even love, among the pigs?

Including a large cast of memorable, colorful characters, Making Marion is an outstanding debut romantic comedy that touches on issues of identity and family with a natural ease.

My Review

Quite possibly one of my most favorite books of all time!

Extremely in-depth characters and an incredibly well thought out story. I get nervous when I hear “comedy” in a book’s description, because honestly and truly, is this book going to make me LOL. Unfortunately, it did not. However, I did smile a few times and the plot of the story more than made up for me not busting a rib in laughter.

The journey that our fair Marion takes over a year’s time is beautiful and deep, and so realistic. The internal and external battles she faces and overcomes are to be applauded. The secondary characters were a delight as well, and nobody ended up in the same place as they started. All had grown, and discovered, and blossomed in their own way. Hardships in life and family situations are always complicated, sorting through it all is what takes real courage and bravery.

Although I get why some readers can not condone this book as a “Christian” book, I think the over-riding number one theme this book tries to convey is forgiveness. I think the author did it in such a way, that ANYONE reading this book can see the potential healing that is available to themselves when we decide to forgive. I applaud the author for the richness of both storytelling and believability in this story that has the potential to set many hearts free.

Buy it Here

Kregel Publications sent me the above book for review purposes. It will allow me to keep the book. I have no other connection to and have received no other compensation from Kregel.


Thursday, September 04, 2014

Boycrazy: And how I ended up single and (mostly) sane by Tiffany Dawn

by Diane Estrella

For a sneak peek of her new book “Boycrazy,” scroll to the bottom!

Dear Single Lady,

Sometimes it feels like we’re the only ones left in the world.

Like all the other single girls have dropped like flies and gotten into relationships.

Especially on the holidays.

Those days we turn off Instagram so we don’t see the bouquets every other girl has received.

The ever-present reminder that we – out of all the other people in the world — are still single.

The days we hide every hope and dream under a thick layer of sarcasm and cynicism,

pretending we don’t really care about our relationship status on Facebook.

I’m with you.

As a little girl, I fell in love with the idea of finding Prince Charming and getting some major bling

on my left ring finger as soon as possible, thank you very much. By age 20, I intended to be

married and on my way to the mission field in China, where I would be martyred shortly


Well, here I am in New York, just a few weeks before my 28th birthday. (Feel free to send

gluten-free cookies in the mail with a birthday card.) Funny how time flies, and I’m still alive…

plus there’s no ring on my finger. Oddly enough, I’m finally okay with that.

Girls, here’s what I long to share with you, the truths that have brought comfort to my


Our dreams of romance and forever love are beautiful desires.

They’re not something we have to discard to pretend we’re happy being single. They’re

something to celebrate and surrender.

But our dream of a happily ever after starts NOW, not later.

We’ve heard this a hundred times, but it’s true! All my life I waited for my husband, thinking life

and happiness would start when he showed up. (Preferably wrapped in a sparkly, pink package

labeled: “To Tiffany. From God. Contains ‘The One.'”) I didn’t see the moments I was already

living as truly happy, truly full. Why?

Because I didn’t trust my heavenly Father.

If there’s one thing I long for all of you to know, it’s this:

The One who holds our future in His hands — He is GOOD.

I never trusted God. I didn’t really think He cared for me, not enough, anyway. I thought, “Surely

You need my help finding my husband. Surely I need to take this in my own hands and stress

and worry about it!” But the truth is…He is GOOD. And He is SOVEREIGN.

I’m not saying we should hide in our houses and never go outside. I mean, c’mon, if you

completely hibernated, you’d have no job, no relationships, no life. But at the same time, we

don’t need to worry.

Matthew 6 says not to worry about tomorrow, but to live fully today, knowing the One who holds

our future. Knowing He cares even for the birds of the air enough to feed and house them; how

much more does He care for us.

This birthday will be so different than other birthdays I’ve experienced.

Most of my life I’ve written a sappy, sobbing love letter to my future husband. That’s great, but it

didn’t help my heart very much. I just found myself focused on what I didn’t have, when I

should have been focused on what I did have.

Friends. Family. Job. Passion. Joy.

And above all else, I have a heavenly Father who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, who is

sovereign over all of life, and who sees me. Who knows me. Who loves me. More deeply and

fully than I could ever imagine.

So to all you single ladies, this is what I would say:

Your heavenly Father sees these beautiful, hidden desires of your heart. In fact, He

placed them there.

They’re not wrong, they’re not something to be ashamed of; they’re something to celebrate.

But He also sees beyond our time frame. He sees the whole picture, a greater plan. His ways

are higher than ours. And right here, right now, even in the waiting, we can rejoice in what we

already have.

We can rejoice knowing the One who holds our hearts is faithful, trustworthy, and loves

us more than we can ever imagine.

I pray that today you would come closer than ever before to your heavenly Father, and know

that He cares for you.

He’s already given you a happily ever after. It’s already started. It’s up to us that we live in




boycrazy by tiffany dawn


And how I ended up single and (mostly) sane

This is my story of growing up as a boy-crazy girl, always dreaming of marriage, waiting for life to

start once my Prince Charming arrived. It’s a novel-like collection of heartaches, fears, and (just

for fun) some weird date stories.

But it’s also different from your typical book on singleness. It has all sorts of lessons I wish I’d

learned growing up:

tips on how to date,

how to be yourself around guys,

how to know if a relationship is healthy,

and thoughts on what contentment really is.

If you order your book today [link: www.tiffanydawn.net/store], I’ll also send you a

complimentary download of my song “Someday,” my princess song, about trusting God for the future.

tiffany dawn

At 28 years old, there’s no wedding band on Tiffany Dawn’s finger. She’s an author, speaker, songwriter, adventurer, and for the record, she loves being single. Tiffany has her master’s degree in music therapy, and a not-so-secret love affair with raspberry chai, long walks, and everything CIA. She resides in upstate New York when she’s not traveling.

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