Archives for May 2014

K5 Learning {Review}

We just finished our trial period using K5 learning. Both my girls (5 & 4-years-old) tried this out and loved it!

K5 Learning is an online reading and math program for kids from kindergarten through grade 5. Our intent is to help kids build reading, math and study skills through independent study. K5 is designed for home use and can be used for after- school, weekend and summertime supplemental study or in conjunction with a homeschooling program.

We started by complete and online assessment with 8 key reading and math skills. From there, the girl work independently at their own pace. They offer over 3,000 online lessons and activities. The lessons have cute animation and are simple enough for my four-year-old to interact with them by herself {after showing her how the first round}. K5 learning automatically chose lessons for the girls (based on their assessment and past lessons), track their progress and provide reports for me about their progress.

In the short time we tested out this program, I did see my girls begin to learn essential reading and math skills, develop good study habits, and reach their academic potential. This supplemented what we were already doing in 'school' and gave my girls one more tool to practice these skills with the added benefit of learning basic computer skills.

It did require me to walk them through some of the basics of the program but after that they could navigate most of it by themselves. With my girls being 4 and 5, I'm not quite ready for them to have this much independence. Eventually, that will be a great benefit of the program but I noticed they were slightly irresponsibly independent, getting off track, being lazy going through the lessons, and guessing just because they wanted to click around like it was a game rather than actually listening, learning, and answering as if it was a lesson.

In general, we enjoyed the program. It did seem a bit like handing my kids a smart phone to play "educational games" but I feel like this was much better at teaching my children actual lessons in a way that I wasn't able to. I liked that it wasn't costing me tons in printer ink to create workbooks.

The girls loved being able to "play on" my computer but I was uncomfortable with that. For this program to be used to its fullest potential, they should be doing the lessons on a regular basis. Since we only have my laptop, if they are using it for K5, I can't work at the same time and it made me nervous the machine would get torn up some how rendering me unable to work. If we had a some sort of tablet or simple computer for them to use for school, I would be much more likely to allow them to use the program more often.

At this time, we won't be purchasing the program at its monthly rate although it would be a comparably inexpensive price for the reading and math curriculum.

The K5 program includes:
  • an initial online assessment of each child’s math and reading skills,
  • award-winning, curricula based reading and math content,
  • over 3,000 online multimedia activities, personalized for each child based on his or her assessment,
  • a highly structured environment which allows the student to proceed through the lessons in a logical fashion at his own pace,
  • ease of use which allows even 4 or 5 year olds to work independently,
  • attention to child safety with no external links, advertisements, chat or similar,
  • comprehensive reporting to parents,
  • 24/7 availability and no downloads
Program Costs

K5 Learning is available on a subscription basis for $25/month or $199/year with substantial discounts for siblings. Each subscription includes a free math and reading assessment and unlimited use of each of K5’s four programs, K5 Reading , K5 Math, K5 Spelling and K5 Math Facts. A 14 day free trial is available.

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Mom’s Night Out {Movie Review}

The movie, "Mom's Night Out" is about a stay-at-home-mom who has three small children and desperately needs a night "off".

Mom's Night Out {group pic}

I know some of you reading are in this same boat, some may not have kids, and some may be intrigued by the life of a SAHM. I started a simple review of the movie Mom's Night Out and turned into a deference of the life I {and my husband} have chosen. Where did that come from?

There have been some hate-filled critics out there that motivated my defense so in short:

Some will proclaim "anti-feminist".

Some will cry "man-hater".

Some will argue "not-'Christian'-enough".

People? Get over it. This is one snap shot of a made-up life, albeit a pretty accurate depiction of some of our lives with all its "chaos and confusion". Life just gets messy and in no way is Pinterest-perfect in any sense of the meaning.

Some of us are have chosen an "archaic" role in life but that doesn't mean we don't think women are capable of anything. But in the true sense of "feminism" shouldn't we all be supporting one another in our chosen profession? This movie is only giving a picture of a single women's chosen profession, just like any other movie. Hate is fueled by ignorance. Stop hating and use this to educate yourself on the struggles in the life of someone else and not deeming them lesser because their stress is different from yours.

I consider myself a feminist, but there is a spectrum to it. When we start turning on other women and bashing anything that they CHOOSE to do, then we are not following the point of being feminists. I despise when this sort of thing happens between women and about women. The point of feminism is that women should be able to do anything they want as a career, be seen as equal, and being supported in that endeavor. Being a stay-at-home mom and homeschooling kids is HARD. I am with others commenting here - I have sincere respect for those who can do it. -Angela, Therapist at Resilience Counseling Center

Some of us have amazing, hard-working, and involved husband who are just like the main character's husband. He supports us as part of the team that we are and encourages us to take a rest when needed. He doesn't have to be convinced to watch his own children. But let's be realistic. There are all types of dads out there. I think this film shows a glimps of all those. There's the dad who feels inadequate. Then there's the man who doesn't have any kids who seems to dislike them but may surprise you.

Some of us struggle in our Christian walk. WHAT!?! Yes, it's true. There are lots of us like the main character who don't have an accountability partner. To be honest, this chick is ahead of most of us in that she's part of a bible study with women, during the Day, WITH childcare. The film doesn't show this women praying or reading her Bible in her time of desperation probably for a couple of reasons, 1. it's targeted to give lost people a hope without bombarding them and 2. in fairness, even when you're seeking God, some days you still just need a break. Mom's shouldn't be made to feel like monsters for needing one.

There's a wide variety of personality types shown in this film among the men and the women. You can't get mad because they didn't show every type {that's impossible} and you can't complain that you just didn't like one of the types {we all know there are lots of personalities that rub us the wrong way but that doesn't mean they don't exist}.

I've seen Mom's Night Out twice now. Once with my husband at a preview night. The entire time I was glancing around as I laughed,  sniffled, and shook my head wondering what the others {hubs included} thought of my life that I was watching being splashed across the screen. The second time, I felt even more validated in my life as I laughed, sniffled, and shook my head in unison with hundreds of other women in the same theater. I wasn't alone. It was okay that I too have hard days. There were others that were seeking God's will for their life but just needed a break to put some pep back into their every-day.

Dear SAHM,

When others slam the life you've chosen. Make your struggles seem unworthy of a second glance. Deem you as not enough in this world.

You are God's masterpiece. Although you are nowhere near being complete, He's still at work. He hasn't left you on a back shelf of His studio. He sees you. He sees purpose in what you are doing. You are important. You are making a difference. This world would not be the same without the unglamorous, daily, unseen, mundane faithfulness.

If you feel "unhappy" with life right now, even if it's "all you ever wanted"- step back. take a break. refocus. God may have a different "YES" for you or you my just need the confidence boost to continue faithfully.

Do all you do for the glory of God.

You are loved!

See the movie, Mom's Night Out! Be encouraged. Laugh. Sniffle. Nod your head because there ARE women out there with the same struggles you have. God's compassion is for the #firstworldproblems AND #thirdworldproblems.

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Ministering Outside the Wall of “the church”

If you've been here for any time at all, you have heard me share about both The Church not being a building but the people chasing after Christ as well as The Valley {church} we have been blessed by helping plant here in central AR a little over a year ago.

worship on the slab

The Valley came to this community looking for where God was at working and join Him there. Along with this, we are contentiously choosing to work where others aren't already hard at work. We are here to "build the heard not steel sheep." Because of this, it has been fun finding ways to minister in original and sometimes random ways.

Being the new kids in town, for a year now, we have been fighting to find ways to love on the people her but sometimes shut out because it "wasn't needed". Well, H.E.L.L.O. God is bigger than practicality and also a bigger redeemer than natural disasters.

The most recent storms that hit our town wiped out close to 150 homes and took the lives of at least 9 here in Vtown. We can't believe the doors God is opening through this. Oh, did I mention, God busted out of our "box" via this storm? Yeah, our meeting space was kaboshed giving us an acceptable excuse to love this community in unconventional, non-church-y ways.

Enter childcare and Mom's Night Out stage left:

The Playplace

The morning after the storm, it was evident to me that I wouldn't be able to serve like the rest of the valley church in the way of clean-up or collecting donations and felt useless. THEN another mom suggested maybe we could take turns watching one another children and working in town. YES! I can do that. So the next day I opened my home for childcare to those in our valley families who needed somewhere for their littles to go.

Little did I know that God was birthing this same service opportunity in the heart of an individual at a sister church in Conway. I was contacted about the idea and God birthed it into a huge community blessing. We were allowed to use the local Primary School's "big room" and outdoor playgrounds, restaurants catered for free, and tons of others including Target, Dick's Sporting Goods Store, and out-of-town friends contributed to hundreds of "summer buckets" full of simple toys that were sent home with the children attending the "Playplace".

When school started back the next week and most of our community went back to work, there was no immediate need for this ministry and again I felt helpless as I tried to "get back to normal".

organized school room

Monday I has glanced at my calendar at once coveted plans and realized Mother's Day weekend was coming up and a girl's night where we were all supposed to be going to see the new movie "Mom's Night Out". That seemed to pale in compassion to the current dismal state of Vtown life.

THEN, I realized maybe I could score some tickets for "needy" women from the movie theater. I mean, Target had stepped up and even though this is way outside my comfort zone, I could try.

They could give me 4...

I decided to compose an email to the Allume team contacting a short briefing on who I/the valley was, what had happened to our town, and how I'd learned about the Mom's Night Out movie via their conference back in October.

Tuesday, I sat and cried as I tried to declutter and reorganize our play/school room. All I could think was "we have Too Much Crap!" I wanted to give it away but all those who needed it had no home to put it in. We were created to bring glory to God and sitting sifting through my stuff, I felt like I was doing the furthest thing from glorifying my God.

Taking a break from it all after my poor hubs tried to comfort my inevitable meltdown, I decided to check out during nap by gracing social media and my email. I was never so shocked to find an email from Elizabeth, of Provident Films saying among other things, "Will you please call me at your earliest convenience and we'll discuss next steps." Call? Next Steps!?


I am terrible on the phone {AWEkward} but I snatched up my phone and ran outside. Never had a I been more excited to make a fool of myself if it meant I could be of use to this community in its time of trouble. My world was a world-wind from Wednesday until Saturday night but well worth it!

Mom's Night Out

The night turned out to be a huge success! We ended up having a banquet room in a Chinese restaurant with comped buffet, pre-movie pampering, and a therapy room movie theater FULL of healing women. {That will be a post in itself.} Later, I was told by a guy from the valley that he was bragging on me to someone who expressed her gratitude for the much-needed MNO. I was excited to tell him that,

God had it all planned before me so I just had to find where he was working and connect the dots.

I really do believe it is that easy. Find where He is already at work, grab your pen, and get to work on the pieces that He has already given you the tools to connect to accomplish the ultimate goal. I have been so energized by what God has freed up the valley to do here and am loving watching our lil valley family grow closer together all while reaching out to a hurting world!

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Homeschool “World View” {Thoughtful Thurday}

Thoughtful Thursdays on as Jules is going

I have looked for a world map for our homeschool room since we moved in. I want my kids to have firm grasp on the tough fact that the world does not revolve around them or even around the US. We are just a small part of all that God created {and the Earth being just a small part of all that}.

Here is the newest addition to our room:

New World Map in our School Room

I love the names of all the countries. Although it's not exact with boundaries outlines and such I really like the way they all seem meshed together while still identifying other countries and their general locations. This vynal wall art and is 64 inches by 39 inches which covers nearly an entire wall. <3

The mailing condition wasn't the most quality, 2 sticker sheets wrapped in bubble wrap and then a center clear wrap with the shipping label on it. It ended up having a natural bend down the middle due to regular ware and tear of shipment. Thankfully it didn't seem to damage the stickers.

2 giant wall sticker pages

The installation of the map was somewhat tricky. Although it's not a thousand little pieces/stickers, it was also not a single sticker making it slightly difficult to apply to the wall. There was no real rim or reason for the placement of the stickers on the 2 large sheets of wall stickers. It was sort of just chopped in any way to make sure it all got on to 2 pages. 

Template for adhereing the World Map Decal how-to adhere the world map decals

It also came with no instructions for the best way to adhere the world map to the wall. It did come with an image of how the map should look when it is complete but it was only about as big as a pencil, making it really difficult for my husband to read the smaller countries. Matt just kinda made up his own template to try to make sure it was centered where I wanted it on the wall. He also pulled up a larger image online and then used a level when applying each sticker to reassure their placement was correct.

the only direction is came with

The quality of the vynal map was as high as you can expect of vynal stickers. I am sure, in time, they will begin to peel away from our textured walls but for now, they look marvelous. When my oldest daughter 1st say it she ran up to feel it because she thought her daddy "painted all those word on there." I think it is a great addition to our school room!

Here's a look at our newest school room arrangement:

school room redo our school room redo World Map in School Room

map was compensation for an honest review of the product
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MNO Unique Ministry Opportunity

In true Valley form, we have been blessed with the unique opportunity to love on our community in a way no one else is: An all inclusive mom's night out: FREE childcare, pampering, shopping, dinner, and a MOVIE!!!

Mom's Night Out

We all know every women could use a ladies night but those in our community dealing with the aftermath of the AR tornadoes have an even bigger need this Mother's Day weekend to cut loose with their girls. Can't wait to share more about this.

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Moms' Night Out Is Here!
For months now, the MOMentum has been building. This evening, let the fun begin! MOMS' NIGHT OUT is showing in nearly all of the 1,000 theaters where it opens this weekend. So, get a jump on the Mother's Day weekend festivities and enjoy the movie that is "is laugh-out-loud funny for Moms AND Dads and yet completely kid-friendly" (Sherry Surratt, CEO, MOPS International).

Watch the TrailerGet Tickets Now!

Mother's Happy Day!
Mother's Happy Day!
This Sunday is Mother's Day .. a day filled with flowers, breakfast in bed, hugs, and everything else fluffy and warm. Unless, of course, you live in the real world. In that case Mother's Day looks like anything but that. Check out this great scene from MOMS' NIGHT OUT and then make sure your celebration is perfect by going to see this wholesome and hilarious family comedy!

Watch the Scene

Everyone Loves Moms' Night Out
Everyone Loves Moms' Night Out
"I love this movie! I wish I could treat every mom to a bucket of popcorn just to watch her laugh."
Beth Moore, Teacher and Author

"Go see MOMS' NIGHT OUT, a family comedy you are going to love!"
Dave Ramsey

"I loved every minute of MOMS' NIGHT OUT!"
Susan Merrill, Director of

"MOMS' NIGHT OUT is a hilarious comedy for the whole family."
Tony Dungy, Super Bowl-winning Coach

"If you're a mom, you need to see this movie!"
Jill Savage, CEO Hearts at Home

"MOMS' NIGHT OUT definitely goes down as one of the top three comedies I have ever seen."
Ken Davis, Speaker and Author

"We laughed and loved this movie."
Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries

"I love this movie and recommend it for anyone who is a mom, is married to a mom, or just had a mom."
Anita Renfroe, Comedian

"It's hilarious and heartwarming and a quality film that the whole family can enjoy together."
Natalie Grant, Recording Artist

"This is a must-see for every mom and just a fantastic, feel-good family comedy. We loved it so much!"
Francesca Battistelli, Recording Artist
In Theaters
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