TOS Review: Parenting Made Practical

parenting made practical

It’s funny to me how every stage of parenting presents its own challenges. When kids are little there are midnight feedings, endless diaper changes and the constant challenge of keeping them out of trouble. As they get older you face different struggles like teaching them to make good choices, dealing with friends, and peer pressure. Parenting older teenagers certainly isn’t any easier, though the methods change. Sometimes I feel like I am in a constant cycle of lecture my kids, see minor improvements, things go back to how they were and then I lecture again. So, I was very interested to check out the book Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think from Parenting Made Practical.

Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think Book

This short book offers many valuable pieces of advice to help you stop the lecture cycle and get your kids to start thinking for themselves about the choices they make. Written by Joey and Carla Link (the founders of Parenting Made Practical) it is based on their own experiences raising their three children. They intersperse the information in the book with highlights from their own lives, which I always appreciate. I hate when I read a book that offers advice, but doesn’t show you how the author has lived it out in their own life.

The book begins with descriptions of failed lecturing techniques with some real insights into why this doesn’t work and how kids think. This helped me to look at lectures from a kids perspective (believe it or not, it’s been a while since I was their age). I could see how, from my child’s perspective, lectures can easily go in one ear and at the other. I could also see how my constant lecturing was only feeding the cycle and in some ways, encouraging my kids to remain exactly where they were.

After the background information, Taming the Lecture Bug moves into describing real and practical ways you can change your own behavior (which should also lead to changes in your kids behavior). I found much of their advice easy to implement and I look forward to applying more of it in my life. This book also includes a lot of scriptural background for the techniques given, which is something else I appreciate.

At the end of the book is an appendix that includes the steps in the Repentance, Forgiveness, and Restoration process, helpful charts and book recommendations for teens that will encourage them to lead the life God has for them. I already have some on reserve at the library for my son.

So, what you really want to know is how did this affect my child? Well, at first he was pretty surprised at the lack of lectures he was receiving on a daily basis and I’m not sure he knew exactly how to react. He was skeptical to say the least. However, as time has progressed I have seen him taking more responsibility for himself and taking care of things on his own that I would have had to lecture him on before. Now, I am only human and I can’t say that I will never lecture my child again, but when I feel a lecture coming on I try to take a step back and review what I have learned. I expect that with time this will become easier.

If you feel like you spend more time lecturing your kids without seeing any results than I would definitely recommend checking Taming the Lecture Bug out. To learn more, connect with Parenting Made Practical on social media here:

Parenting Made Practical on Facebook

Parenting Made Practical on Twitter

Parenting Made Practical on Pinterest

To see what other members of the crew had to say about this book and the other products we received, click here:

 Parenting Made Practical {Reviews}

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Menu Plan Monday 3/11/18



Hello everybody! I hope you are having a great week. We have been enjoying lots of time outdoors lately, mainly working in the yard doing some landscaping and getting my garden set up. I am so excited to start growing my own vegetables and herbs again!! Here’s what’s on our menu for this week:

Monday: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Tuesday: Spaghetti

Wednesday: Chili Corn Casserole

Thursday: Chicken and Black Bean enchiladas

Friday: Beef Roast with Mashed cauliflower

Thanks for stopping by for Menu Plan Monday! Have a great week.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

chicken tortilla

I love a good chicken soup, and I’ve made a ton of variations. This is my favorite.

2 lbs. boneless chicken thighs
1 small onion
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow squash
4 oz. green beans
1 can diced tomatoes
8 oz. tomato sauce
4 oz chopped green chiles
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro
2 cups chicken stock

1. Chop the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat some oil in a pan and cook vegetables for 2-3 minutes until soft.
3. Combine the chicken, cooked vegetables, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chiles and chicken stock in a crock pot.
4. Stir in the cumin, oregano, lime juice and cilantro.
5. Cover and cook for 3-4 hours.
6. Serve garnished with chopped green onion, jalepeno, crushed tortilla chips, and sour cream as desired.


TOS Review: CursiveLogic

Many people would say that since the advent of the computer, cursive writing has slowly become a lost art, and they wouldn’t be wrong. However, I’ve always felt it was important for my children to learn to write (and read cursive) and at the very least, be able to sign their names on documents and forms. For my oldest, this was not a problem. However, my youngest struggles with writing in general and so far, we have had no luck with cursive. For this review, we got to try out the updated CursiveLogic Quick Start Pack and The Art of Cursive from CursiveLogic.

Cursive Logic New Edition

This program teaches cursive in a very systematic way and is appropriate for all ages. Basically, anyone who wants to learn cursive, from kids to adults, can use this. My son is a junior in high school but he didn’t feel like this was babyish in any way (most of the books I had gotten from the store had cartoon pictures etc. He hated that). The Quick Start Pack includes a webinar for parents that goes over how to teach the program, step by step. This is very helpful if you don’t know where to start.

Cursive Logic Sample Page

The workbook itself includes information for teachers about the different parts of the program and how it is set up. I would highly recommend reading this information thoroughly before getting started. You begin with proper posture and instruction on how to hold the paper and pencil for both left and right-handed students. As a family of lefties I really appreciated this.

Exercises start with teaching simple shapes, that eventually help form letters. Students engage with CursiveLogic in multiple ways, not just through tracing forms on the page. The program encourages using their fingers to trace letters, reciting while learning and more that apply to different senses, making it an immersive learning experience. As they progress through the program, students learn more and more shapes and how they are connected and go on to forming strings of letters and eventually, words.

For my son, this approach seems to be very effective. I structure lessons for about 20 minutes per day, and he doesn’t seem to mind doing them, which is a big thing because he has found handwriting tedious in the past. The verbal cues he has learned help him to remember how to form the letters and it seems to be coming easier and easier to him.

As part of this program we also received the cursive coloring book, The Art of Cursive. I’ve noticed that coloring is kind of a big thing even for adults these days, and I have to admit I find coloring verses in my Bible very relaxing. This book includes gorgeous illustrations that incorporate many of the same movements from the workbook, accompanied by quotes from famous poets and people and Bible verses. You could easily use this yourself if you wanted, or you could allow your child to color pages one day a week (which is what I did). My son actually really liked this part the most I think.

The Art of Cursive Logic

Overall, we are very satisfied with how things are going so far. If you have a child who wants to learn cursive I would definitely recommend checking this out. To learn more, connect with CursiveLogic on social media here:

CursiveLogic on Facebook

To see what other crew members had to say about this program, click here:
The Art of Cursive & Quick Start Cursive {Cursive Logic Reviews}

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TOS Review: Drive Thru History Adventures

Drive Thru History AdventuresHistory should be an adventure! Unfortunately for a lot of students (including mine) typical textbook instruction just doesn’t bring the stories to life. My youngest enjoys hearing and seeing things that relate directly to the topic he is studying. So, we were excited to check out the Homeschool Video Curriculum from Drive Thru History Adventures.

Drive Thru History AdventuresThis curriculum is a combination of videos/discussion questions and activities that let you explore history where it took place, all at your own pace! There are three specific topics offered: American History, Ancient History, and Bible History. My son decided to check out the Bible history portion of the course for this review. It offered 18 different lessons on topics all about the life of Jesus.

drive thru 1.PNG

The lessons include a video portion hosted by Dave Stotts, whom you may know from the TV series. He is an affable host as always, delivering information while making you feel like you are there with him the whole time. Videos typically last around 30 minutes or so, which was a good length for my son. In addition to the videos, you have access to discussion questions that are great for reviewing what your child learned after watching the video.

I also really liked how each lesson also includes the scripture it is related to and fabulous pictures and artwork as well. “Side roads” offer extra information about the people and places discussed in the lesson, and at the end there are additional links to articles and other websites that you can research for more information. The part that really ties it all together are the printable PDFs that go along with the lessons. Basically these are printed copies of the discussion questions along with the scripture readings, a lesson summary important quotes, and the side road from the lesson. So, you could actually use these to do the lessons if you didn’t want to watch the whole video (but I don’t know why you would do that because the videos are great!). Answer keys are also included.

drive thru 2.PNG

With this subscription you also get access to Adventures TV. Here you get all kinds of great extras including videos of extra side roads such as the history of recent holidays, Biblical sites, and random fun stuff like “the history of cheese”, behind the scenes looks at the filming of the series, and a separate set of “Dave’s Adventures” where you can check out the host talking about a manner of things serious and not so serious! My son really enjoyed a lot of these because they were short and usually humorous and he could watch them before or after completing a lesson.

When we finish with the Bible History curriculum my son wants to move on to the American History section. Since both the American History and Ancient History consist of about 12 lessons each, I think you could easily move through at least two sections in one school year. While I feel like the curriculum itself is aimed at slightly older students, I think younger children would simply enjoy watching the videos themselves without the additional activities if you wanted to do this with a family group.

We have really enjoyed Drive Thru History Adventures and would definitely recommend that you check it out! To learn more, connect with them on social media here:

Drive Thru History on Facebook

Drive Thru History on Pinterest

Drive Thru History on Instagram

To see what other members of the crew had to say about this product, click here:

Drive Thru History Adventures -  Subscription {Drive Thru History Adventures Reviews}Crew Disclaimer 


Menu Plan Monday: 2/26/18



Is it spring yet? It sure feels like it should be! I am looking forward to getting my garden going and cooking with all those fresh veggies! Here’s our menu for this week:

Monday: Taco Stuffed Shells

Tuesday: Grilled chicken and veggies

Wednesday: Sloppy Joes and Parmesan Potato Fries

Thursday: Stuffed Peppers

Friday: dinner out

Thanks for stopping by for Menu Plan Monday! Have a great week.


TOS Review: Bytes of Learning

UltraKey Bytes of LearningAs my kids get older, I realize the need for them to become more and more proficient with technology. While my son, a high school junior, is quite comfortable with computers one area that needs work is his typing skills. At this point his style is still more “hunt-and-peck” than anything else. So, I was excited to give the UltraKey Online Family Subscription from Bytes of Learning a try.

bytes 1

This program is completely web-based, which is nice because we can access it from anywhere. It offers pretty personalized lessons, allowing you to set your own goals or choosing to allow the program to set goals for you. It also offers reports for parents on skill checks, games and more. You can easily track your child’s progress, seeing which skill checks they have passed complete with errors. This allows me to know if I need my son to go back and redo something.

bytes 3

Lessons are a mixture of videos and slides, and the narrator speaks in a pleasant, even tone. As students type, a picture of the keyboard is on the screen with a model of where their hands are supposed to be. This was helpful for my son as he became comfortable with the proper positioning. Lessons begin with an introduction and some initial activities with specific keys, then move on to typing words and sentences. Students are given plenty of opportunities to practice before moving on to the Skills assessment. In addition to lessons on keyboarding, there are also very helpful videos on proper posture, finger placement, and even stretches you can use between lessons.

bytes 5

Since Bytes of Learning is a self-paced program it is very easy for kids to complete on their own. They simply log in and start. My son spent about 15-20 minutes a day working on lessons, which was the perfect amount of time, keeping him from getting bored or losing interest. It was also really easy to fit into our already hectic days.

UltraKey Online also offers games which allow students to practice their skills while having fun. I appreciate the fact that the games also allow students to practice other important skills like spelling and even state capitals. My son enjoyed the games and you can get reports on those too and students earn printable merit awards as they complete levels. He liked challenging himself to improve his score each time he played. The rhyming game was his favorite.

bytes 6

The UltraKey family subscription allows you to add three, five, or eight students at a time for a cost of $29.95-$49.95. I think this program is appropriate for all ages, even younger students. As a parent, I appreciate how easy Bytes of Learning is to manage, the interface is very well set up and it’s really easy to review your child’s progress. I would definitely recommend this program if you are looking for an easy typing program to get your kids comfortable with keyboarding.

UltraKey Online Family Edition 

To learn more about the UltraKey Online Family Subscription, connect with Bytes of Learning on Facebook:

Bytes of Learning

To see what other members of the crew thought of this program, click here:

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