Deepen Your Knowledge of Jesus this Season of Lent with Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery.

How are you doing in your Lenten goals? Have you been able to spend some extra time in prayer or scripture? What about other spiritual learning? Have you considered replacing some of your media/tv time with spiritual subjects?


CNN has created a new 6 part series–Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery. The series will air beginning Sunday, March 1 at 9pm ET/PT and will investigate the value & authenticity of various relics as well as explore the relationships and events during the life of Christ. Among the relics covered will be the Shroud of Turin, the gospels of Judas & Mary Magdalene, relics of the cross, and others. Among the experts providing insight & commentary are James Martin SJ (author of Jesus: A Pilgramage) and David Gibson, a filmmaker who specializes in following the Catholic Church.

I was able to preview the first episode on the Shroud of Turin last weekend. Each episode is an hour in length. I had originally intended to watch it with my kids but it was a little intense, which explains why it isn’t on in prime time :). I was a little wary of the series due to the fact it was on a mainstream station, but I was pleasantly surprised at the tone. They did a great job at showing the artifact with the story of Jesus. I thought they did a masterful job at presenting the argument that the Shroud was not authentic, followed by other people who have reason to believe that other results may be inaccurate. It ended by stating that they are valuable pieces that will continue to be studied as more scientific research methods are developed.

Not only was the tone of the video friendly to Catholics, but it was friendly to all Christians. There was respect for the people who believe in Jesus and these relics and religious items. I liked that there were viewpoints from people on both sides of the authenticity issue as well as from Catholicism & Protestant denominations.

If you are looking to convert some of your screen time to a more faith-oriented, Finding Jesus would be a good place to start. Knowing about more of these relics and items related to Jesus can help you deepen your faith journey and even help with apologetics.

Due to some of the topics (the gospels of Mary M. & Judas and the brother of Jesus), I might stick with high school aged students or older middle school students who are excellent critical thinkers. I’ve noticed that my younger kiddos take everything they read or hear as truth & gospel ;). They simply don’t have they base of knowledge to draw from yet. Overall, though, I really recommend checking it out as part of your Lenten learning.

Jen S.

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Beautiful Bedtime Bible Stories & Prayers {Tommy Mommy Review & Giveaway!}

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.


We have a firmly entrenched bedtime routine. You’ve heard of high 5 charts? Ours are more like high 10. Seriously. Pj’s, teeth, hair, bath, stories x2, prayers, water, potty, tuck-in and a song. Just typing all of it makes me tired! Lately we’ve been cutting bedtime short due to time constraints.

words to dream on review giveaway

For normal nights, Words to Dream On is an addition to other stories. On short nights, it’s the ONLY story. To review this book, I decided to skip to the New Testament. Easter is coming and I can only read about creation, Noah & Joseph so many times :). I wish I could buy picture from the book. The pictures are gorgeous!

This hardcover book was written by Diane Stortz and illustrated by Diane Le Feyer. This is a gorgeous book! It feels good and sturdy and has a blue ribbon bookmark. Even the introductory and concluding pages are fully illustrated. And they are no ordinary illustrations. They are bright. And colorful. And detailed & artistic. The kids catch me pausing in reading to study the fabulous artwork.

words to dream on inside 2

The reading is fabulous, too. Each story (there are 52) has a title followed by where the story can be found in the bible. Next comes Words to Dream On, a bible verse relating to the story. Each story is 2-3 pages long and is told in a storybook way. Ms. Stoltz does a masterful job of being faithful to the language of the story and also casual. And she does it without being irreverent or sounding ridiculous.

…He turned and saw the woman who had been healed.

Oh dear! Was Jesus angry with her? The woman bowed in front of Jesus. “I’m the one, sir,” she said…


words to dream on inside

There is a short Bedtime Blessing and a Sleepytime Prayer that works perfectly as a transition from story time to prayer time. Words to Dream On is my favorite bedtime resource that I have reviewed and it will be staying on our tv room table for bedtime for the foreseeable future.

Interested in having this gem in your home? Use the widget below to win a copy!   Please note that a comment is mandatory and you will be disqualified if you do not do this.

Good luck!

Jen S.

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Simplify Everything 2015 {Task 16 – Teacher Supplies}

Today is the day for you to go through your office supplies.

simplify 16 office supplies

We’ve done the kids school supplies and the art/craft supplies.  Today it’s time for your office supplies.   Go through your drawer, shelf or closet and purge your office supplies.

Do you have more post its than you will ever use?  Or notepads?  Markers? Pens?  What ever it is that you have a ton of and won’t use in the next few years (depending on size & expense), consider purging or reducing.

simplify everything 2015

If you recently done this, pick something else or take the day off!

Do you need to simplify your school and office supplies?  Subscribe to my RSS/email feed to get each new post so you don’t miss a thing. Share your results with the hashtag #simplifyeverything2015 on twitter.

Jen S.

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A Day in the Life {2015 edition} – Ages 7, 4, & 21 mos

homeschool day 2015

6 am – The chatterbox is up. The boy is not. Hubby gets in shower while I slowly work up motivation to get up.

6:20 am – Motivation provided in the form of a request to “help me go to the bathroom.” Crawl back into bed & check email and FB. Get back out to brush teeth. Boy wakes up & nurses.

7 am – Take thyroid meds, shower & dress.

7:30 am – Warm up breakfast. Get worksheets for week for oldest (copy work, science) and start her on Math. Serve breakfast & eat at counter while helping oldest with her math. Got manipulatives from downstairs to help.

8 am – Decide to do circle time at table while waiting for slow little people to eat. Oldest works on worksheets while eating.

During reading, I get up to add applesauce to everyone’s plates, shush the chatterbox 3,448,235 times, tell both to sit 2429 times and “pause” for a potty break. While reading, my oldest brings over Carnival at Candlelight which is somehow related to St. Peter’s/Vatican/the Pope? It’s a mystery which is not explained even when I ask about it…

8:30 am – Diaper duty, put away breakfast, start oldest on catechism to catch up before I need to go to work. Empty d/w. Briefly wonder why boy is naked. Decide I don’t care since he is still in a diaper :).

Haven’t heard from sitter. That’s a good sign! She will be here soon.

Hang diapers, throw in kitchen linens. Turn hot water heater back on. Or off. I just know that the boy turned it all the way around.

9 am – Check the school work, get out geography & grammar, check HSO. Do the dancing raisin experiment from the MSB kit. Get book & nurse the boy before our sitter comes.

9:15 am – Take computer, water & phone down to my office. Work. Swap out two more loads of laundry. Got emails down to 40!!


Plus, I painted the faces on peg dolls for Easter baskets while talking to sales guy about our next drip campaign launch. I filed a bunch of documents on my computer, too.

12:15 pm – Went upstairs to warm up lunch. Picked up a little. Got vitamins for all. Interrupted to nurse in short order. Played 2 games of Candy Land with the chatterbox.


1 pm – Boy finally ready to sleep. Nurse him and read the Burgess Animal Book for science. Also did a lesson from First Language Lessons.

2 pm – Snack & mom break. Played Frozen FreeFall until I ran out of life, purged email, checked FB & Feedly. The oldest read The Bobbsey Twins next to me on our Kindle and chatterbox talked at me for a solid hour about a party she wanted to throw.

“God made me to plan parties. God made you to clean the book corner.” From the chatterbox. LOL!

3 pm – Boy woke up and nursed. Sisters mauled him, as usual. Apparently the stinky feet & nose tweak games never get old :)

4 pm – Started dinner, puttered on computer, cleaned kitchen/dining room, ran d/w. Served dinner. Read Catholic Digest while oldest read her new Frozen magazine. Got cookie dough from freezer to make cookies. Kids were busy playing.

5 pm – Unplugged toilet, washed hands, ate dessert. Waited for oldest to stop screwing around and eat. Went downstairs to watch VeggieTales. Not sure when hubs will get home and I’m about out of gas.


6:15 pm – Hubs gets home & I go upstairs to heat up his dinner. I got our new cursive folders ready to use tomorrow & installed a plug in on my blog. Then went back upstairs to refire–it was WAY undercooked :(. Did some paperwork & unloaded the dishwasher & cleaned up after dinner.

7pm – Hubs puts kids in tub. Bedtime routine for girls.

9pm – Boy finally falls asleep.


This was actually a pretty good day. There wasn’t a ton of crabbing, fighting, or temper tantrums. We got all of our scheduled schoolwork done except geography. This is what our school day looks like quite frequently. Small kid issues is the most variable piece. We operate on a block schedule for non-core subjects now and it’s working much better.

Our week looks like this:
Monday – mom’s group, ballet & co-op
Tuesday – science/nature study
Wednesday – composer study, art
Thursday – social studies/American history
Friday – history

So that is what our school day likes like in our classical, Charlotte Mason, book-inspired homeschool with a 7 & 4 year old and a 20 month old. Our preschooler generally gets her school time on Wed/Fri, when I don’t work or read quite so much :).

You can see past years here:

How about you?

Jen S.

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In Freedom’s Cause {Schoolhouse Review Crew}

Winter can get so boring north of the 45th parallel. Last week school was canceled more than once due to windchills of -20! We’ve been mostly stuck indoors for 4 months now with no end in sight. When that happens, it’s nice to have interesting things to listen to while playing. Our latest was a fabulous addition to our history studies, In Freedom’s Cause. This audio drama was created by Heirloom Audio Productions, based on the classic novel by G.A. Henty.


Heirloom Audio Productions

Heirloom Audio Productions produces quality modern audio dramas reminiscent of old school radio programs but with the quality acting and audio you would expect from a modern creation. They produce adventure dramas based on the historical novels of G.A. Henty. Last year, they released Under Drakes Flag and this year I was lucky to receive a copy of In Freedom’s Cause, the story of Sir William Wallace and the fight for Scotland’s freedom. For the purposes of this review, our family received the In Freedom’s Cause Single Package consisting of the Physical CD, a digital study guide, an MP3 download of the soundtrack and a PDF of the prayer of William Wallace.   They were also super generous and gave us some additional items included in the 4pack.

How We Used In Freedoms Cause

Our first run through of In Freedom’s Cause, was an audio adventure while we were cleaning or playing during lazy winter afternoons and weekends. The audio drama is approximately 2.5 hours long and we listened to it for about 20-30 minutes at a stretch and talked about what we heard and explained the confusing parts. It’s a rather grown up story for my 7 year old who is a bit more visual and so there was a lot to explain, but she really enjoyed it, as did my husband & I. My 4 year old has a tendency to be quickly irritated by loud or intense things, but she did a good job with In Freedoms Cause.

Being a war/adventure story, it was really fun to listen to when dad was home to offer his explanation and viewpoint of the Scots fight for freedom. We also listened to the soundtrack occasionally. The digital study guide was broken out by track (37 of them). Even though there were things she didn’t quite understand, my oldest (7) did still get a lot from it though.  We have been reading Fifty Famous Stories Retold and right in the middle of listening to the CD’s, we read the stories of Sir William Wallace & Robert the Bruce. She recognized it instantly. We are on our second listen through :).

If you really wanted to go deep and use this for in-depth history studies, you can listen to each track (about 3-5 minutes) and then pause it to use the discussion questions. In addition, each section includes critical thinking questions for older students as well as vocabulary words. The books themselves are also available very inexpensively for the Kindle if you wanted to include that in a full study of the topic. The intended age for In Freedom’s Cause is ages 6 and up.

They are releasing two new productions in 2015, the first of which will be With Lee in Virginia.

Our Thoughts

Overall, we really liked In Freedom’s Cause. As a mom who is not fond of (any) preparation, this audio drama was a great addition to our studies. Since I am mostly concentrating on exposure & familiarity at this stage, I’m not worried about her absorbing every detail. When she is in the Logic stage, I plan on listening again as a supplement to European history and using the study guide for her to get more of the details and think a little more about it.

My older daughter enjoyed having another audio story to listen to. She had to adjust to understanding the accent because the actors did such a fabulous job. She is very people-centric and listening to stories about people was right up her alley. She asked for it several times, which is high praise, indeed!

Read more about what other crew members thought of In Freedom’s Cause.

Jen S.


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