Thursday, October 27, 2016

CrossTimber a Homeschool Crew Review

What’s in a name? Historically, we know that names are full of meaning in just about every culture. Even modern day a lot of emphasis is put on selecting a name for our children. Are you a bit curious to see what your name means or the origins? The owner of CrossTimber has an amazing selection of personalized Framed Plagues with Name Meaning and Bible Verse. CrossTimber also can customize bookmarks, NameMugs, music boxes, Names of God, and an assortment of framed plaques in several sizes.

I received a beautiful 7x9 framed Custom Bible Verse Plaque in Hebrew! My favorite scripture is Deuteronomy 4:6. This verse is also known as the Shema among the Jewish and Messianic Believers. It’s a very personal statement of my faith with my Savoir Jesus.

I also received a lovely NameCard with the meaning of my name. The NameCards are 2.5"x3.5" laminated cards. As you can see it's very colorful. There are a lot of options in backgrounds to choose from. I think mine is pretty stunning.

CrossTimber was very generous to customize my plaque for me. I emailed first wanting to know if they would be willing to do this verse in Hebrew if I provided the text in Hebrew. John searched for the Hebrew text himself and emailed me the text asking if it was appropriate. We ended up using the text I provided as the one he had was great but, had the lines for Cantors that help chanting the verses. I was completely impressed that he went above and beyond searching for the verse in Hebrew.  Customer service seems to be a lost art form these days but, CrossTimber was exceptional. We had several good theological conversations by email on several topics in which was very enjoyable.

I debated at first what to do as far as framing and even which background. I knew I wanted something in either the sunset or sunrise background as the Shema is traditionally recited at these times. At first, I wanted the frame to be in darker wood.  I decided to let the artist do what he does best-create masterpieces with names. I called  him and told him that I was going to leave it in his capable hands to choose a background in the sunset or sunrise with what frame he thought looked the best.  Trust me not my typical ordering procedure. I guess I just wanted to be surprised until the package to arrive. It was kind of fun~ like waiting to open a present.

You can also order online as the website looks like it is very easy to navigate when placing an order. 

*You basically choose what type of gift you want.

*Using the drop down tabs you select your background you want.

*Select the frame or wood color, or mug you want.

* Add your name in the note section.
Very simple step by step procedure to order gifts from CrossTimber. You will receive a confirmation email. The nice thing is that orders can be mailed worldwide. The hardest part is choosing what to order.
When the package showed up in my mail, my kids wanted to open up the package. This one was for me-yippee and I wanted to open it! The frame was welled packed in a tight fitting box and wrapped and taped in bubble wrap.  

CrossTimber selected a beautiful sunset background with the clouds at the bottom of the graphics. The frame is ornate on the corner in brass with an imitation mother of pearl inlay surrounded by the brass frame on the edges. Did I like it? Yes, I actually like it better than what I thought I wanted. It’s unique and makes a statement on my sofa table and goes with my d├ęcor nicely.

CrossTimber is an excellent and affordable way for gift giving. They would make nice gifts for birthdays, graduations, wedding gifts, Bar Mitzvahs, Bat Mitzvahs, Brit Milah-(after they announce the child’s name of course), Hanukkah, Purim, and other special occasions.  The prices are affordable and they offer discounts if you buy more than one item. You can do all your shopping in the comfort of your home.

I was actually planning on ordering a Multi-Name Plague with my children’s name on it. Let’s just say that the night before I ordered my son had his first ride in an ambulance. He’s okay now-it was a scary moment for the family. After the dust settles on the bills I’m going to make it happen. I'm eyeing the music boxes also.

A few things you may want to consider if you’re wanting your name for its Biblical Name is that some have different origins. I would ask to make sure or see if it has different origins. Like my son’s name is a very Biblical Name but, I noticed that in another review that it was listed in an Old English name. The name was used in that culture often-so it wasn’t incorrect just used by other cultures. Just a heads up if you have your heart set on a name you know that has multiple origins.

I didn’t see a gift certificate option available. That would be a nice feature especially if you’re giving a present for a Brit Milah and you can present the gift that day and let the parents order themselves.

I’m very pleased with my 7x9 framed customized Bible Verse Plaque and NameCard. It’s a unique and special for me.

CrossTimber is a family-run, American business out of Ohio. 

CrossTimber is having a name gift giveaway. The giveaway ends December 4th. You never know you might win!

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John & Katie thank you for all your hard work that you did for the Homeschool Review Crew.  I’m enjoying looking at everyone’s amazing gifts. Don’t forget to see what others on the Homeschool Review Crew received. There are over 90+ projects. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

My son has been learning another language using Middlebury Interactive Languages and their Elementary Chinese 1: Grades 3-5. We received a full 6 month subscription to the full course.
My son and husband are already pretty fluent with the Hebrew language. Little Man told me that he wanted to learn Chinese for over a year now. He was a bit hesitant learning two languages at once. Recently, he has felt that he was comfortable to learn another language. I was a bit surprised and actually delighted that he wanted to learn Chinese.

What is Middlebury Interactive Languages?

I have to say that Middlebury Interactive Languages has been absolutely amazing. Middlebury Interactive Languages is an online foreign language course that has courses for grades K-12. Currently they offer Spanish, German, French, and Chinese. You can choose courses that are advanced AP level courses, High School, Middle School, all levels of Elementary School.

This is a top notch multi-sensory approach to learning a foreign language. Not only are you learning how to speak the language and hear it spoken clearly, you are learning about the culture, and how to write it. You can even record yourself speaking the language to see if you are saying it correctly.

They have several downloadable PDF worksheets to print off a put in a notebook.

You will need a PC or laptop, internet access, headphone/microphone, and a printer if you want to print out the PDF worksheets.

No former knowledge of the language is needed as you begin with the basics. It is suggested to work on this 3x’s week.  The lessons are not very long. They are very engaging lessons. The Elementary Chinese 1: Grades 3-5 are broken down in Units. In which they have 16 Units. Every Unit consists of 6 lessons.

Unit 1: Numbers
Unit 2: Greetings
Unit 3: Family
Unit 4: Home
Unit 5: Adjectives/Colors
Unit 6: School
Unit 7: Food
Unit 8: Review 
Unit 9: Animals
Unit 10: Friends
Unit 11: Nature
Unit 12: Seasons
Unit 13: Clothing
Unit 14: Places
Unit 15: Professions
Unit 16: Review

Navigating the site is easy after you log in. You can begin your lessons using the Calendar which is a suggested lesson for the calendar day or you can go through the Table of Contents to access the lessons. My son liked the Calendar portion as he thought it was easier keeping track of what he has completed. A Gradebook is provided to check your progress. It is automated checking of your work and on the test. You can see your grade easily from the menu.

The lessons start out teaching basic concepts like numbers, colors, family social context, and get into other topics. Overall, the lessons are all in Chinese. The stories and such are read in Chinese. You pick up the story and figure out the meaning of the words. The culture teaching and writing portion is done in English. My son liked that many of the lessons start out with a Chinese fable or legend. Some of the lessons have games, or a speaking lab, or a video.

 At first we couldn’t locate our headphone/microphone. The fun part of moving is not remembering where you put things at in a new home-even after a year in the home. We did find our microphone finally. I would recommend a microphone. The program helps you hear how you are pronouncing the words and it also checks your pronunciation. Your grades are graded on the first try on test. You do have the option to redo your recording but, it won’t change your grade. I think Mandarin Chinese is a harder language to grasp than other foreign languages. Being able to hear yourself speak Chinese was a big help.

How did I use Middlebury Interactive Languages in my Homeschool?

As I mentioned earlier my 10 year old son has been working through this program.  I planned on using the program 3 days a week to finish it in one semester. That hasn’t been the case as my son has been highly motivated learning Chinese. He is basically doing his lessons 5 days a week. Usually, he is doing more than one lesson a day. I like that he is actually taking it serious and going over some of the lessons more than once. He wants to make sure he can say and remember the vocabulary. He does think that some of the words are hard to pronounce and that is why he wants to do some lessons more than once. Did you catch the words, “he wants”!

He loved trying his hand at writing the letters. He even pulled out his calligraphy set for writing the letters.

I’m really impressed with how clear the speaking is in the program. I love the systematic approach of learning. It’s clearly laid out step by step. I have been dealing with being sick and he was able to do this independently without my help. Granted he likes me to listen to him speak Chinese with what he recorded on the lessons. Other than that it was very stress free on my end.  I was able to step back and let him do his lessons without needing my help. Other than 2 weeks off and on of dealing with the junk I had I enjoyed sitting with him on the lessons. This was so different with Hebrew when I had to be by his side with every lesson.

The graphics are great. Little Man loved the comic style on the fables. Not all of it is done with a comic style as a lot of it is done in a realistic graphics also.

In the end I have to measure the program by if he is grasping the language, speaking some of the basic vocabulary. The answer is, ‘YES”!  

I’m really happy with what I am seeing. Little Man plans on completing the program after the review period. I’m absolutely thrilled that my son wanted to learn another language and that he is doing while he is young. He is soaking it all in like a sponge. If only I could soak it up that easily!
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Don’t forget to see what others on the Homeschool Review Crew have to say as we have all done different levels and languages.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Shabbat Shalom

The NKJV, Study Bible, Imitation Leather, Blue, Red Letter Edition: Second Edition Book Review

The NKJV Study Bible, Second Edition is the most comprehensive study Bible available! It has the most complete study system for pastors, teachers, or students who desire accurate study in God's Word. Using the trusted New King James Version, The NKJV Study Bible has "the mind of a scholar and the heart of a pastor." Thomas Nelson's skilled team of scholars has produced the study system to reach for when accurate study in God's Word is the goal.

Features include:

·         More than 15,000 verse-by-verse study notes
·         150 Bible times and culture notes
·         114 articles on key Bible doctrines
·         350 word studies with Strong's numbers
·         "Christ in the Scriptures" feature
·         Topical index
·         Deluxe Nelson concordance
·         Full-color maps

My Thoughts:

There are so many Bibles out there to choose from these days. There is something for everyone likes when it comes to choosing a Bible. 

This Bible has a lovely imitation leather cover framed in a rich dark blue with a light blue in the inside of the frame. It looks real classy and very pleasing to the eyes with the color combination. The imitation leather is very soft to the touch. There is a dark blue ribbon marker. The edges of the pages are silver. With first glance this is what you see before you open the pages of this Bible.

This is a NKJV. The pages are not so thin that they look like an onion skin. I have seen a lot of Bibles recently with thinner than average pages. The pages are pretty typical thickness of Bibles and won’t tear easily. With the Bible highlighters the pages shouldn’t have any bleed through. 

Included in this Bible are study tools for more in-depth understanding of the messages, maps and charts where needed. There are timelines to help follow the progression of time. At the beginning of each Book is information pertaining to that book from the   historical settings, information about the author and date. A section labeled “Christ in the Scriptures” which ties Christ to the Old Testament. There are 2063 pages from Genesis to Revelation. Followed by an impressive, “Tools for Bible Studies” in the back.

“Teaching and Illustrations of Christ” gives you a subject that our Lord and Savior spoke about and then gives you the reference of the scriptures. Say you are wondering what Jesus had to say about, “salt” it gives you some verses to look up.

The next portion is, “Prophecies of the Messiah Fulfilled in Jesus Christ” this is laid out in their order of fulfillment. It’s laid out in this structure-Prophetic Scripture-Subject- Fulfilled.

“The Parables of Jesus Christ”- all the parables and where in the Gospels they are found. I like this portion and being able to quickly find where all the same parables are in one of the other Gospels. There are 39 of them.

“The Miracles of Jesus Christ” -37 miracles our Lord performed along with all the Gospels they are found.

“Prayers of the Bible” -Different prayers from several individuals in the Bible and where to locate the scripture verse at.

“Subject Index to Annotations and Features”- the subjects are arranged in alphabetical order for finding them quickly. This is arranged with a main heading of the topic and any general references with the scripture verse, map, articles, word study references, culture notes, charts, and Bible times. This is a pretty extensive study tool in this Bible.

“Concordance”- this is arranged in alphabetical order with 195 pages of a Deluxe Nelson Concordance.  

8 Full-colored maps at the very back of the Bible.
Overall, this is a nice study Bible that would make a nice gift or for yourself.

I received a free copy of this product from
BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this information accordance with the FTC Regulations.


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