Friday, March 5, 2021

Review~ Maestro Mastery- Explore the Composers from Byron's Games

Disclaimer~ I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Recently, we were given the opportunity to review Maestro Master- Explore the Composers from Byron's Games. This is a fun card game to help kids and adults learn about and discover 52 classical composers from the Medieval to Contemporary time period.

Byron's Games is on a mission to help children learn something new and discover a few new passions while having fun playing some games. It all started when young Byron was six years old. During a month long stay at the hospital, after enjoying a game with a friend of keeping track of all the Olympic medals during the 2016 Olympics, Byron created a game about flags and continents. He wanted to share this new game with his fellow patients at the hospital. He wanted to help children, like himself, have fun during their hospital stay, but also learn a few things along the way. 

For this review, we received a physical copy of the game Maestro Mastery- Explore the Composers from Byron Games. It's a fun, educational game and sells for about $25. Who doesn't love a game that helps children learn too?

The game is geared for children 5 and up. All you need is two players to play the game, but of course the more the merrier! The playing time of the game is about 30 minutes. This is a great time frame, little ones will not lose interest and if they want to play another round there is plenty of time to do that too!
The game comes with 104 matching composer cards that feature 52 composers, one music timeline card, one fold-out poster to continue the fun learning about composers, and instructions so you know how to play. They are kind of important, wouldn't you say?

What is Maestro Mastery- Explore the Composers?

Maestro Mastery- Explore the Composers is a game that is so much more than a simple matching game. Players will not only learn about composers, but their countries of origin, eras of music, and their life spans. As you play the game, players will learn more than just matching composers. They will grow their memorization skills, increase their concentration and cognitive functions, learn to pay close attention to details, and have fun all while learning!

How do you play Maestro Mastery- Explore the Composers?

The game is fairly simple. Think about those early matching games we all played as children, with our children, or are currently playing with our children. One player takes one deck of cards and places them face down in rows and columns. Players then take turns (clockwise) around the table, turning over 2 cards only. The players then read the card aloud: composer's name, years they lived, country they were from, era of music, and the text description. Older players may need to help younger ones with this task. The player than places the pair down face up, in front of them, grouping their matching by era. The cards are colored by era, making this easy for younger players to do. 

Once all the cards have been matched, players will then count their matches. The player with the most matches wins the game!

For an optional way to play, include the music. Players can go to the Byron's Game website and enjoy listening to the masterful creations of each composer presented in the game.

For an even greater challenge, players can change up the game a little. Players can listen to a sample of the various composer's works and try to guess which composer it is and what era the music is from.  

What did we think of Maestro Mastery- Explore the Composers?

Maestro Mastery- Explore the Composers is a fantastic way to help children (and adults) learn about great composers. It would be a wonderful addition to any family's music curriculum.
When Michael and Therese were little, we listened and learned about various composers. I created my own lesson plans, bought CD's to listen to their music, found coloring pages and worksheets to help them learn. I always believed it was important for children to learn about great artists and composers. 
After playing this game, we realized we remembered a lot, but also realized that we missed a few great composers along the way. I love the added bonus of listening to the composer's music.
I would highly recommend this fantastic game to any family! I promise your family will have a tremendous amount of fun and learn a few things as they play!

Learn more about Byron's Games!

The Review Crew was given the option of reviewing two products from Byron's Games. To learn more about Explore the Composers or The Family Journal, click the image below and learn all about these two amazing products!

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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Review~ Hamelin Stoop Series~ The Ring of Truth from 12 Gates Publishing

Disclaimer~ I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

I was thrilled when we were given the opportunity to review the 3rd book, The Ring of Truth, from Robert B. Sloan in the well-loved Hamelin Stoop Series from 12 Gates Publishing  

Since we were new to this series, we were gifted the first 2 books in this series as well. What a generous gift from this amazing company. If you have enjoyed the first two books in the series, then you will love the third one as well. The best part is there are more books coming in this series, so stay tuned for future updates. 

The Hamelin Stoop Series is a wonderful collection of books classified as young adult fantasy. There series is geared for middle schoolers and high schoolers. Of course, adults can read this series as well. Don’t worry if you have younger kids, these books make a great family read aloud!

Since I’m a stickler for reading books in order, I’m currently still reading the first book in this series, The Eagle, The Cave, and The Footbridge. I hate reading books out of order, and it drives me crazy if I do. 
In the first book, we are introduced to Hamelin when he is only a few weeks old. His parents, in danger and fleeing trackers, come up with a plan that places Hamelin in an orphanage. As he grows, we get to see how Hamelin deals with coming of age, making friends, dealing with bullies, and the hard lesson on figuring out why those that love him always must leave him. 
When he turns eight, Hamelin decides to run away and a whole new adventure begins. He’s faced with battles between good versus evil, kingdoms and rulers, and a journey of a lifetime. I can’t wait to finish the book and dive into the next one!

In the new book, the 3rd in the series, Hamelin returns from a battle of good versus evil in the Land Gloaming to the orphanage in Texas where he grew up. He is looking for the lost princess to bring her back to the Land of Gloaming. He suspects that his friend Layla is the lost princess he is searching for. Layla admits that she has had dreams of another land, but she’s not sure if they are memories. Things don’t go as he has planned, something we all can relate to. A friend disappears, mystical creatures appear, magical objects come into play, and mysterious twist and turns lead Hamelin and his friends on a new adventure. While Hamelin searches for his family and the truth, Chimera has his agents looking for the lost princess too. She is not to return home at any cost.

I am about halfway through the first book. I find myself reading at night once everything has settled down. I haven’t been disappointed in the book so far. My daughter is looking forward to starting the series, once I complete the first book and she finishes a book she is currently reading for history.

The characters in the series engaging and relatable. The plot is interesting and keeps the reader involved. It’s a book you want to keep reading to see what happens next. I love of book with lots of twists and turns that keeps the reader guessing.  I can’t wait for the next book in the series! I’m enjoying my adventure with Hamelin and his friends.

Learn all about the Hamelin Stoop Series

Want to know more about this adventurous series? 
You can find out more over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Sunday Inspirations~ February 28, 2021

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.

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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Review~ Budgeting Game, Stock Market Game, and Curriculum from

Disclaimer~ I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

As a parent, I want both of my teens to understand the importance of creating a budget and sticking to that budget. I was ecstatic to be given the opportunity to review the PersonalFinanceLab Budgeting Game, Stock Market Game, and integrated curriculum from

PersonalFinanceLab is a new online experimental education teaching tool designed to help students learn personal finance, economics, business skills, social studies, and math. Their unique combination of technology, real world market activity, and educational lessons was created to get students actively engaged in the learning process. The more engages students are, the more they will retain the important information provided in this curriculum. Their goal is to bring the classroom to life and to bring real life into the classroom!

What is the Finance Curriculum?

PersaonlFinanceLab is geared for middle and high school students. Students in grades 7th-12th will discover lessons and games all about finances.

PersonalFinanceLab provides students with so many wonderful opportunities. By using the world class portfolio simulation, students will be able to take what they have learned and apply it to real life situations. The curriculum provides students with over 100 integrated lessons on personal finance, economics, business, math, and social studies. This curriculum has everything a student needs to have a strong understanding of finances in today's world. 

In addition to the lessons, there are quizzes to make sure the students have mastered the material. These quizzes are graded automatically. Parents do not need to worry about grading them. The program also contains interactive personal finance and business calculators that help students learn about saving and investing. Something we all need to be aware of in today's world. 

The Learning Center contains over 600 articles, videos, glossary terms, and so much more. They even have tutorial videos for students and teachers if they are not comprehending the material or just need more instruction. If the tutorial videos do not answer your student's question, the company does provide live support from their financial education team during their regular business hours. 

Students can play the Budgeting game, the Stock Market game, or work through the integrated curriculum.

What Have We Worked On?

Since by my teens have had jobs and will have more jobs in the future, we focused on the budgeting game. I felt this game was essential for them to succeed in life. If they can not budget their money, they will surely struggle in the future. 

Setting up the Budgeting game was fairly simple. As the parent, I had my own dashboard. I used my dashboard to set up the information and then sent links for Michael and Therese to join in. Each student has their own dashboard. Their dashboard allows them to see their progress in each area. 

In the budget game, students take on the role of a working young adult who is going to school too. The game is set up just like a monthly calendar. Each day requires the student to roll the dice twice, once for AM and then once for PM. As the students go through the month, on a daily basis, they will encounter real life situations, unexpected emergencies, and simple decisions that affect their daily lives. Along the way, the students will learn to manage their budget.

As the students work through the game, they will earn their paycheck. When their paycheck is received, they will be prompted to deposit their paycheck. Students then can decide how much to keep and how to set aside to save. Smart financial planning!

Students will have monthly bills (phone, rent, car, TV, internet) to figure out. Unexpected expenses will also pop up asking the student if they want to use debit or credit. Throughout the game, students will get a pop up with a math lesson in it. They can not go any further until they complete the math question correctly.

As they go along in their monthly schedule, students will be asked how they want to spend some of their free time. Depending on how they choose, students can end up earning a little extra income or must pay to go out and have some fun. I love how it allows them to make personal decisions and that they get to see what the results might be. If you decide to go out and socialize all the time, the money will disappear! If they choose to work an extra shift, they can see what hard work and dedication can do to their bank account!

What Have I Liked About the Budget Game?

I love how the game is set and follows real world lessons. Students can easily see what is coming in (green $ amounts) and what is going out (red $ amounts). Rent, phone, internet are expenses our teens will face. I love how they how given the option of going out with friends, working extra hours, or studying. It helps reinforce making the right decisions. Responsibility first, then have a little fun!

I will admit that when I first logged in, the dashboard was a little overwhelming to me. It seemed a little cluttered and I was not quite sure on where to begin. I still need to sit down and look more closely at the lessons and the stock market game. The stock market game scares me a little probably because I have no clue about it.
I'm hoping that once my teens complete this course, they will have a strong understanding of the financial world around them! I know they will have a better understanding than I did when I entered the real world!

Learn more about

Be sure to stop in and see what the rest of the crew members had to say about this fantastic finance curriculum!

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Monday, February 22, 2021

Happy Homemaker Monday~ February 22, 2021

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.

Hello there! I missed last week, but I'm back.
Another month is almost over! Today is the last Monday in February. How in the world did that happen? I guess that means spring is getting closer which I am extremely happy for. 

Not much has been happening here. Therese and I have been sick for a week now, so we've been staying home. The only outing we had to do was take her sweet Guinea pig to the vet. She was sick too. Sadly, she passed away. It's always hard when a pet dies. I think one of the hardest lessons in life is when you're a parent and there is nothing you can do to take away the pain your child is going though. When you can't take that pain away, you feel helpless as a parent. It sucks!

The boys are making progress on the laundry room. It's framed in, the walls are up, and they have mudded the seams. Now to sand, paint, and all the rest.

Let's get started with Happy Homemaker Monday. Let's join our beautiful host, Sandra over at A Diary of Stay at Home.

This little snowman is perfect for today!

❀❀~The Weather~❀❀

More snow today, but then look at those temps. I'm so excited. I actually just sang that in my The only problem with this warm up, all the snow will melt and it will be so muddy in the back yard. Ugh...mopping the floors every day will be on the schedule.

Monday~ Freezing rain/snow, 31*
Tuesday~ Mostly Sunny, 49*
Wednesday~ Partly Cloudy, 59*
Thursday~ Mostly Sunny, 47*
Friday~ Partly Cloudy, 44*
Saturday~ Showers, 50*
Sunday~ Showers, 49*

❀❀~How I'm feeling this morning~❀❀

Not horrible, but not 100% percent. I still have a fever, s light headache, and a runny/stuffy nose. I know it makes no sense but that's the best way I can describe it. I've been taking it easy. If I do too much, I get hot and a little dizzy. I've been reading a lot this past week. 

❀❀~What I'm wearing~❀❀

My usual comfy outfit. Leggings, wool socks, a t-shirt, and a cozy cardigan. My Uggs are down on the floor ready and waiting for when I have to get up.

❀❀~What I'm doing right now~❀❀

I'm currently curled up on the couch typing this post and then I'll work on a review and my businesses for a bit. I need to vacuum and mop the floors. I'll vacuum, rest for a bit, and then mop.

❀❀~ What's on my mind~❀❀

Honestly, I want to feel better a week with a fever is starting to get on my nerves. I don't feel bad, but knowing if I push myself, I will. Not fun. I shouldn't complain because it could always be worse.
I just keep thinking about all the stuff I need and want to get done.

❀❀~What they kids are up to~❀❀

After a break last week, they are back to their lessons. Not much else has been going on. I guess with all the winter weather and restrictions still in place here, things are just a little slow. I'm praying life gets back to the old way this spring. I'm so tired of this "new normal." It's not normal at all!

❀❀~What's for breakfast~❀❀

Hot tea...I gave up coffee for Lent. Pray for my kids! I had two eggs. They girls are finally laying eggs again! Farm fresh eggs just taste so much better. I also took all my vitamins. I've actually gotten pretty good at remembering to take them. 

❀❀~My current reading pile~❀❀

I finished two books last week...

I loved both these books and highly recommend them. The Virgin River book is a series on Netflix, but I haven't watched it. I've heard that it's different then the book series.
I love books by Barbara Delinsky. Wonderful women's literature set at the beach. A good beach book is perfect for these cold, dreary winter days!  

I'm getting ready to start In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn. If you have Amazon Prime, you can get it free on Kindle right now in your Prime Reading.

❀❀~What the Kids are Reading~❀❀

For history, they are still reading Animal Farm by George Orwell. We received the Hamelin Stoop series from 12 Gates Publishing for a review. It's a fantasy novel series for young adults. So stay tuned for the upcoming review! 

 ❀❀~Music I'm listening to~❀❀

Lady Antebellum (or Lady A as they now are called) and Carrie Underwood.

❀❀~TV Shows I'm Watching~❀❀

My husband and I just finished up watching Game of Thrones. We're a little late to the party on that one. It was interesting. Definitely for adults only. I didn't care for the last season. It seemed a little rushed and not as well done. 
Now we're looking for a new series to watch. It's hard when you have completely different interests. 

We just got Netflix. Any good shows to watch with your hubby on that?

❀❀~What I'm working on~❀❀

Nothing this past week. The boys have been busy in the laundry room, but since I've been sick I've been taking it easy. 

❀❀~Looking around the house~❀❀

 There's so much to do. Laundry (which I can't at the moment), vacuum, mop, etc. The house is a mess. I hope I feel better by the middle of the week.

❀❀~This weeks to do list~❀❀

Start exercising 
Vacuum and mop the floors
Wipe down the kitchen
Get donations to the thrift store
Go through the kid's old books and get rid of some more
Book a few more parties for my business
Change sheets
Clean the chicken coop

❀❀~Funny Quote/Meme for the Week~❀❀

If you're a homeschooling mama, you totally can relate to this. I hold by breath and say a silent prayer!

❀~What's for dinner this week~❀❀

Monday~ Portuguese chicken and rice (leftovers)- this is a favorite in our house!
Tuesday~ Shredded Chicken and Tacos
Wednesday~ ?

I need to sit down and plan. This past week has been rough. I've eaten mostly rice or soup. 

❀❀~ From the camera~❀❀

❀❀~What I'm praying for~❀❀

Friends and Family
Our nation
All those that are sick (Therese and I included)
All those affected by the winter storms last week
and on a lighter note,,, for spring to get here!

❀❀~Inspirational thought for the week~❀❀

Wishing y'all a wonderful week. 
Stay happy, healthy, and safe!

Till Next Time,

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Sunday, February 21, 2021

Sunday Inspirations~ February 21, 2021

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you. 

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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Ash Wednesday~ February 17. 2021

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you. 

“Why does the Church place ashes on our foreheads today? Why does she remind us of death? Death which is the effect of sin! Why?…To prepare us for Christ’s Passover. For the paschal mystery of the Redeemer of the world. Paschal mystery means what we profess in the Creed: “On the third day he rose again”!…Yes. Today we need to hear the “you are dust and to dust you will return” of Ash Wednesday, so that the definitive truth of the Gospel, the truth about the Resurrection, will unfold before us: believe in the Gospel.”
~ Saint Pope John Paul II

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