Friday, October 31, 2014

Wizzy Gizmo: In His Image

Wizzy Gizmo: In His Image
Old Testament Bible Series
Ages: none specified...many ages can benefit from this resource, but I would suggest 3-12
Price: $12.99

Wizzy GIZ-WHAT?!?!  What can possibly come out of something called WIZZY GIZMO?  Can it be legitimate?  "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"  As a Member of the Home and School Mosaics review team, we were generously given a product of our choice and then were able to download some of the others if we chose to do so.  I chose The Wizzy Gizmo Old Testament Bible Series Book Two: In His Image to review because we were just about to start our Worldview series on a similar topic.  I had NO IDEA what was coming!

Before we move on, let me share with you a little more about Wizzy Gizmo...if you are like me, you are probably just scratching your head, perhaps a bit perplexed...from their website:
We are parents, pastors, worship leaders, Sunday School teachers and Homeschoolers who are committed to equipping our children for life, by planting them firmly in God's Word; and we want to help you do the same.  Why? Because we believe that, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."

Learn more about Wizzy Gizmo and the team that is creating these materials.  These links were informative and fun to read.

Some of these points are probably covered in the above mentioned links, but here are some of the things we LOVE about Wizzy Gizmo: In His Image

The story is wholesome.  There is nothing inappropriate to censor out while reading.  It is funny too...which I will need to see Qwacky's nose blasting incident in Chapter 2 for this.  I just love the sweet feel of this book.

The illustrations are colorful and fun, but are not overwhelming.  The characters are also fun!  Qwacky and Pepe, Wizzy Gizmo, the children...The many different personalities were blended together well.  This would be a great book to use as Bedtime Bible Stories.  Read a chapter each night and leave your children wanting to know each night what happened next and eager to come back the next evening to find out.

Vocabulary words are in bold type within the text of the book and then there is a glossary in the back.  Words like Cacophony, askance and inerrant are sprinkled in the text...which also makes me think...this book does not dumb down the Word to a child's level, but teaches them and allows them to reach for greater understanding...I LOVE THAT!

As you read along, doctrinal issues like Trinity, ex nihilo, and inerrant are brought up within context and explained.  These do not feel forced to meet a certain criteria, but has a "when you walk along the way" (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) feel to them.  This is how I would explain these things to my children as they come up.  Besides being introduced in a natural manner, your children will learn theological truths like: God created everything out of nothing, the Bible is without error and God sustains all things.

There are comprehension questions after the story is done.  This is a valuable resource and reinforces what the Bible says and teaches, not what the story was about.

In the book I received, you get to see many instances of what it means to be made in God's Image while stepping through Genesis chapter 2.  The story leaves you wanting I look forward to seeing many more Wizzy Gizmo books coming down the line. I HIGHLY recommend Wizzy Gizmo!

 I got the chance to review the other items too and one product I would like to share with you is the Fast Track Bible Pack New Testament Card set.  This is a set of 5 x 9 cards that are really a survey of the Bible books.  Right now, only the New Testament cards are available, but the Old Testament cards are in the works.  On each card, you have a Bible book summary, key chapters and verses, theme and doctrines covered.  This is such a FANTASTIC tool in an easy to understand/teach manner.  When I saw a sample, I had to have these.  They are sturdy, colorful and very helpful.  I cannot say enough about these.  At $14.99 for the set, they are an affordable Bible Study Tool.  You can find ways to use these cards for different ages here as well as see an example of the card for yourself.

One last thing to share that I am excited about, Wizzy Gizmo is continuing to produce tools to help us in our Christian parenting.  At some point, these will be a product that you will be able to purchase, but they are works in progress.  52 Bible Verses Every Kid Should Know caught my attention when I was poking around the website.  These are fun devotions that focus on a verse and then give some simple instruction so that it can be applied.  There is a worksheet available to print.  Let me tell you, I will be spending more time in here in days to come.  I love that the verses seem to have themes: Thanksgiving, Confession, Christmas...I look forward to seeing this become finalized.  Justin, from Wizzy Gizmo, says that these will be a baseball card size.   Wizzy Gizmo also has a Weekly Devotional in the works that looks like it will focus on the names and attributes of God.  It is not quite ready yet, but you can subscribe to their newsletter to find out when it will be ready.  Justin said these will be similar in style to the Fast Track Bible Pack cards.   It looks like Wizzy Gizmo is really helping families by providing great Training Resources for Kids to support us as we teach them to walk in the way they should go.
Doesn't that look neat?  Sign up to receive Wizzy Gizmo's newsletter for more information about these cards.

And...for a GIVEAWAY...Receive one copy of either the Fast Track Bible Pack New Testament Cards OR the Audio Drama by leaving a comment about why you think this would be a great resource in your home.  This giveaway will end on November 7, 2014!

See what my Friends at Home and School Mosaics have to say about Wizzy Gizmo

Anybody want some salad dressing ice cream?

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Taco Soup

Today, I am going to share my adaptation of Lisa Taylor's Taco Soup recipe...Her Grande Cooking technique was used by my homeschool support group every so often as we would gather and prep meals for our families.  It was a fun time of fellowship and many hands making light work.  What I love most about this particular recipe is that it is SO EASY to throw together and get into the freezer.  You cook the meat and pretty much open cans and dump it in a bag.  Some may shudder, but let me tell you...I NEED meals like this to keep my sanity...and it is MANY steps away from the Golden Arches!

Here are the measurements for one meal's adapted by me for my family's preferences.

1.5 lbs ground beef, cooked with onion and garlic.
3 cups tomato puree- we do not care for tomato chunks in our soup
1 c tomato sauce
1 15 oz can refried beans- slightly thickens the soup and we LOVE refried beans
2 cups salsa- we have a produce stand that sells a pico style salsa that is DELCIOUS...but Costco's Organic salsa is also very careful though, sometimes it has a bite.
1 can pinto beans
1 can chili beans- not chili
1 can kidney beans
3 c water
1 pkg. taco seasoning

After the beef is cooked, dump everything in the bag.  I use empty #10 cans to set my bags in to help with finishing this recipe.  That is one of the best things I learned from our freezer meal sessions.  Sometimes I stir everything up in a LARGE pot first to break up the refried beans and just measure into the bags, but most of the time I just dump it into the bags. I HIGHLY recommend using 2 gallon bags for this OR making a double batch and dividing it between three bags.
You can use Rotel or diced green chiles in this if you like, we prefer it without.

To cook: Thaw and pour contents of the bag into the crock pot...cook on low 6 ish hours or heat in a pan until hot.  Serve with cilantro, sour cream, cheese and corn chips.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Love Letters from God

Love Letters from God
Written by Glenys Nellist
Illustrated by Sophie Allsopp
Zondervan Publishing
Ages 4-8
Price: $16.99

I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions are my own.
From the website: Love Letters from God, written by Glenys Nellist and illustrated by Sophie Allsopp, is a whimsical collection of eighteen iconic Bible stories that include little love letters from God written especially for the reader.

Love Letters from God is a Bible Story book, with beautiful illustrations for children ages 4-8.  Retelling some of our favorite Bible Stories, one thing that makes this book unique is a lift the flap letter that you can personalize for your child (Or children) that gives an application that is at the child's level.  Children love to get letters, and it is fun to lift the flap and read the letter at the end of the story.  My son was a bit old for this book, as he is reading the Bible on his own...but he still enjoyed looking through the pages and lifting the flaps.
I think this book would be best used to read one story/letter per session, whether you do it daily, weekly or as you think of it.  It is too much to take in all at once and it would be sad to rush through it just to get to the end.  There is a lot to see in the illustrations and much to talk about in the story and letter.  There are some good lessons in, for Joseph: God will never leave you...or David and Goliath:Do not be afraid of the giant things in your life.

One thing that I did not care for were the little extras the author added in to fill in details or make the story more interesting to read.   For instance, In the first story, the author refers to the day as one magical morning...well, that sounds pretty harmless, but are we unintentionally taking away from the majesty and power of our God by saying that?  Was it magic or did God speak everything into existence.   In The Lions Who Lost Their Lunch, the author seems to give the lions a voice in this retelling of the story.  They knew Daniel was coming, they were looking forward to eating him, he smelled good, the lions almost laughed out loud...It seems to just make the word a bit ridiculous.  In the Very Smelly Belly, Jonah prays while holding his nose and when he gets vomited out onto dry land, it says he did "several flying somersaults".   I could go on, and these are little things, but  I do not think we need to dumb down the Word of God and God's Word does not need embellished. You might want to look through this book and see if those things bother you or not before you purchase it.