Little House on the Prairie is Back!

Growing up, one of my favorite things to read was the Little House book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It was so fun imagining what it would be like to live on a prairie, in a log cabin, or even in a house in the ground!

Little House on the Prairie is Back! |

I don’t remember when I first saw the Little House on the Prairie television show, but I loved it, too. I loved to not like (we don’t hate, right?) Nellie Oleson and just watch Laura and Mary live out the scenes that I had played in my head over and over again as a child.

Fast forward a few (many) years, and I taught a Little House class for our homeschool co-op. It was a huge class. We read through Little House on the Prairie, which is book number two in the Little House series. As we read, we did a few activities and discussed what prairie life really was like. I learned a lot in the class, I hope the kids did, too!

Why do I tell you this? So you will understand why when I came across the opportunity to review the newly relaunching tv series on DVD, I jumped on it! I was sent a DVD copy of the first season and a documentary about Laura.

Mail days like these are one of my favorite parts about blogging!

A photo posted by Vicki Arnold (@vicki_arnold) on

Little House on the Prairie is Back!

My kids have seen several episodes of the series from when we had a satellite dish a few years ago and we all came down sick when there was a Little House on the Prairie marathon on one of the channels. But we have never watched them in chronological order and I thought that would be fun to do with them.

The series has gotten a digital facelift, remastered is actually what they call it. The covers for these are gorgeous, such vivid colors. See?

The series is just a great as I remember it. It’s not overly dramatic or cheesy like some family friendly television can be. The picture of the remastered DVD looks great on our big screen. We will likely be adding seasons two and three to our movie library as we go through the series.

Little House on the Prairies is such a wholesome show, it’s one that the whole family can watch. There are hard times and death is a theme that is dealt with, so if you have particularly sensitive littles, you may want to preview each episode to know what scenes (or possible episodes) to skip watching with them.

The first season includes the pilot movie that chronicles highlights of their journey from the Big Woods to the Prairie. I think the actors/writers did a good job of showing how it wasn’t just a fun, easy going trip, but keeping it balanced so that it wasn’t depressing either. Simple little things like voice tones that I can relate to as a parent, facing hard times, but wanting to be strong for your children.

The episode Harvest of Friends was particularly heart-warming to me. I loved watching how the community came together to help a family in need that had given so much to so many previously. It was a great episode for showing the concept of reaping and sowing.

Little House on the Prairie Is Social!

This is kind of funny and would likely be a foreign concept to Laura and her family, but Little House on the Prairie now has a great website that recently launched. And it is just lovely. Perhaps my favorite find on the website to date was article on Pioneer Kitchen Gardens, but there is a LOT of information on the website that you will want to explore.

To celebrate, they are hosting an awesome giveaway so be sure to check that out, too. I’d love to read that Pioneer Girl book!

You can also find Little House on the Prairie on social media:

Be sure to check out all the new Little House on the Prairie fun and the digitally remastered DVD’s today!

Little House on the Prairie is Back! |

7 Tools for Cultivating Your Child’s Potential

7 Reasons 7 Tools for Cultivating Your Child's Potential by Zan Tyler Rocks!

Have you ever read a book that was just what you needed in that season of life? This book was that for me.

Back in May 2014, I attended the 2:1 blogging conference in Chicago. I had a fantastic time meeting bloggers and being encouraged in blogging, homeschooling, and parenting with purpose by the speakers.

One of my favorite parts was getting to meet part of the Apologia team. Apologia was very involved in the conference as a sponsor and they were very generous with their books. I came home with several, a few of which to review with you here. This is one that I requested to review and they were gracious enough to allow me a free copy.

I am so, so, so glad to have picked up 7 Tools for Cultivating Your Child’s Potential! I had the privilege of hearing Zan Tyler speak and left encouraged, but when I started this book, it was like I was being washed in encouragement…and a little conviction.

I really can’t say enough about this book, please read it for yourself. Seriously. That said, I will give you my top 7 reasons why I recommend the book so highly.

7 Reasons 7 Tools for Cultivating Your Child’s Potential Rocks!

  1. God Centered. Like all Apologia materials I have read, God is where He should be. There is a high regard for His written word and much encouragement to seek God’s will and truth.
  2. Personal. I love Zan’s writing style. The tone is conversational, like you are sitting down with a godly, Titus 2 woman who knows how to relate to you.
  3. Relational. The first five tools she profiles are all based in having a solid relationship with your child. It is from that foundation that you can implement the tools that cultivate your child’s potential. I think this is so very important.
  4. Experience. Zan and her husband have been there, done that. They have raised their 4 children and walked out these principles, not perfectly, but with commitment over 30 years. I respect that.
  5. Practical. Zan gives practical tips for implementing these tools in your child’s life, but provides no formulas for creating perfect people. That’s quite refreshing.
  6. Timeless. When you base your philosophy on the Word of God, your principles tend to withstand the test of time. This is a book I will be reading again. In fact, I have already started.
  7. Legacy. There is a section at the back that is titled “Notes From My Children” that is exactly that. To me, this is the proof in the pudding, so to speak. Her children’s words speak volumes.

Please don’t take my word for it, pick up 7 Tools for Cultivating Your Child’s Potential by Zan Tyler and be encouraged in your parenting.

Picture Smart Bible K-3 Curriculum (a Review)

The Picture Smart Bible for K-3: Old Testament - a review from

About Picture Smart Bible

The Picture Smart Bible comes from Picture This! Ministries, founded by Dan and Juanene Peters. The goal of the ministry is to “get people into the inspired, dynamic, life-changing word of God, so that God’s word can become implanted in His people.” They do this because they believe the Bible is the inspired, only infallible word word of God.

This is a mission I can get behind.

The Picture Smart Bible is the original Bible study curriculum and is a comprehensive overview. The study covers history, doctrine, geography, and more. The study is aimed for students in 4th grade to adults. You can purchase The Picture Smart Bible as a printed text, a digital download, on cd, or a combination of the above.

K-3 Picture Smart Bible: Old Testament

Up until early 2014, there was no option for younger students, but Picture This! recently released the study of the Old Testament in The Picture Smart Bible specifically for grades K-3. It can be purchased as a book or a download. I was provided with a free copy of the download so that I could share a review with you lovely people.

Each book of the Old Testament is covered in an overview of 25 lessons. The book gives you an overview of how the study is designed to flow with a breakdown of each component (and why it is used). There is also a section on teaching tips that covers several areas including preparations and how to use it in a classroom setting. There is a chart for the “Power Symbols” and then you dive into the study.

For each lesson, you are given a master copy of the student’s coloring page and then the lesson itself. Each lesson is laid out and you are walked through each component of the page step-by-step. Lesson supplies and optional crafting materials are spelled out. The key people and object of the lesson is also listed so you can reinforce that throughout the lesson.

There is an “orientation” section that gives you wording to give your student an overview of the lesson as you start. The lesson includes an exact script you can use with lots of Bible references, some are specifically marked to be read, others are supportive that you could use for further study (copywork?). The lesson ends with some review questions and a key Bible verse for memorizing.

After the 25 lessons (some books are combined into one lesson), there is a resource section with printable maps, timelines, and other illustrations. The last section contains all of the student pages.

My Review of Picture Smart Bible: Old Testament

I had never heard of the Picture Smart Bible Curriculum before this review. As I’ve read through the text and used it a little (more on that in a minute), I really like it. The lessons aren’t terribly long and the teacher’s script is very easy to use. I go back and forth on whether I like scripts in curriculum, but sometimes it is just nice to have it laid out for you so you can pick it up and go.

I appreciated in the teaching tips that they break the preparation down into parts: spiritual, physical, emotional, and family time. When we do Bible study with our children, it is easy to forget that this is an eternally important matter and we have an enemy who would love for it to not happen.

One downside was that I was unclear whether I was supposed to draw these out on my own (ha!) or simply lead her through her page step-by-step like the lesson has laid out. I chose the latter (in the future, I’ll likely color along with her). You may find it a fun, creative exercise to draw your own.


  • Easy to use format. Lessons laid out step-by-step.
  • Hands-on, especially good for kids who like to color.
  • Option of download or printed book. Download saves space.
  • Illustrations are good. They aren’t too “babyish,” but cartoony enough to be fore kids.
  • The tracing format is good for kids who don’t feel they have drawing skills (like me).
  • It all comes back to Jesus!
  • Helps kids connect the books of the Bible as one, verses just a book of books.


  • Kids who find coloring boring will likely not connect with the coloring page.
  • Download format. I have a love-hate relationship with downloadable books/curriculum. I love how easy it is to store them, but hate how easy it is to forget them.
  • Need a printer. There are not a lot of pages to print, if you only print the student pages and use a tablet or laptop for the directions, there are only 25 pages to print.

My new third grader and I did not get to use this extensively due to some illness and holiday timing issues. However, I have read the curriculum and we will continue using this for her Bible study this coming school year. I think it is a great tool for connecting with your child over the most important book of all time and leading them to the Savior who loves them so much He was willing to die for them.


Picture This! Ministries has generously offered a download copy of K-3 Picture Smart Bible: Old Testament for a giveaway to you lovely folks. Simply fill out the Giveaway Tools widget below and choose the entries you would like. Giveaway ends July 17, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. EST and is open worldwide.

An Amish Garden (a Review)

An Amish Garden - A 4 novella collection. Looking for some easy summer reading? Read my review to see if it's for you at

Summer Reading With Tricia Goyer

A couple months ago, I came across a summer reading initiative for author Tricia Goyer’s work. In exchange for reviews, I would receive some books for free. I chose three books for a few reasons.

One, I was getting serious about including more reading in my days and that fit well with the overall vision of the initiative. Two, I’ve been wanting to read a few of her books as it is and this seemed like a great way to do that. Three, there are three months of summer. Genius, I know.

I’ll be reviewing one book for each month of summer. You can follow along with all the summer reading fun on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #triciagoyersummer. I’m not the only blogger participating so you won’t get overloaded on me.

Want a sneak peek of what I will be reviewing? Check out my summer reading list, all three books are included.

About An Amish Garden

An Amish Garden is a collection of four Amish novellas. They are written by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Tricia Goyer, and Vannetta Chapman. The book is published by Thomas Nelson, runs 416 pages, and includes a reading group guide for each novella.

The novellas included are “Rooted in Love” by Beth Wiseman; “Flowers for Rachel” by Kathleen Fuller; “Seeds of Love” by Tricia Goyer; and “Where Healing Blooms” by Vannetta Chapman. All four revolve around an Amish garden. Shocking surprise, I know.

My Review of An Amish Garden

This was my first Amish novel of any length. I think the only other work from the Amish genre I’ve experienced has been watching The Shunning and being rather annoyed with the sudden ending. Apparently, there’s a sequel, but I digress.

An Amish Garden was a great read. I very much enjoyed the novella format. I am one of those readers that gets sucked into a black hole with a good story. Forsaking everything else, I must finish the story! This is actually why I rarely read fiction. I have too much work to go “forsaking everything else” too often.

I found the novella length to be perfect. The stories read quickly and I didn’t lose too much of my day(s). The stories are easy reads that have just enough mystery of backstory to keep you reading to find out what happened and what is going to happen.

I was going to tell you which one I enjoyed the most, but I don’t know if I could pick. So instead, I’ll tell you what I most enjoyed about each one.

  • Rooted in Love – I could relate to Rosemary’s lack of gardening skills. Shocking for someone who writes gardening posts, yes? It’s something I have to be intentional about, it doesn’t come naturally to me.
  • Flowers for Rachael – I actually loved all the references to flowers and their meanings. The way Rachael and Gideon use the flowers is sweet.
  • Seeds of Love – I’m a big fan of heirloom seeds and I love how they are included here. I love how strongly Sadie wants to preserve her heritage and the touching turn of events at the end.
  • Where Healing Blooms – I love the non-traditional aspect of this one. Emma is an older woman and it was such a heartwarming story. I loved the Naomi and Ruth-like story line of Emma and Mary Ann.

One thing I appreciated about all four of the books is the reminder of how often hurts are caused by miscommunications or misperceptions. It’s a good reminder to not let hurts fester for days, months, or YEARS, but to attempt to reconcile with open communication. It’s something I’ve been reflecting on a lot lately.

Anywho, if you are looking for some fun, quick summer reading, pick up An Amish Garden. I think you will enjoy it! I did.

Beezus and Ramona Book Study Review

Beezus and Ramona Printable Book Study from Enchanted Homeschooling Mom (a Review) from

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom was created by a homeschooling mom for other homeschool moms and families. Jill prolifically creates educational printables of all kinds. You can find free printables on her blog, but the real treasure is her member’s only website.

On the Enchanted Homeschooling Mom Member’s Only website, you will find over 300 printables. Yes, THREE HUNDRED. You can find printables for all four seasons, language arts, art, math, science, history, and more. She even offers curriculum, History Rocks and Weather Detectives are just two.

She offers these for the very low price of $15 for a lifetime membership. You get all the printables she’s ever created and any new ones she creates. You can’t beat the price.

About Beezus and Ramona Book Study

Jill gave me a lifetime membership in exchange for a review of a book study I was interested in. My favorite childhood author is Beverly Cleary and nothing has been more fun than introducing my kids to the effervescent Ramona Quimby.

I downloaded the Beezus and Ramona book study and set my 5th grader to work. The study is 63 pages long and includes creative writing, plot analysis, vocabulary, and more. The study is divided into chapters (like the book…) and includes a bookmark for your reader.

My Review of Beezus and Ramona Book Study

I like it! I like that it is thorough, but not overwhelming in depth. I like that Jill did the work for me in creating the study.

I think it is a good resource for helping my daughter analyze what she’s reading and I found it helpful to see what she took away from the story. The mix of writing pages with some drawing activities was nice for my artsy girl.

I like how the study walks them through creating their own story, helping them to plan things out and put it all together.

As I mentioned before, the pricing can’t be beat. There are other book studies and printables that we will probably use. And the weather detective curriculum sounds like fun.

The only possible negative I have to report was that it was a little difficult to find the Beezus and Ramona book study on the site because I was not sure which category it would fall under. I went for unit study/activity pack instinctively, but it was under language arts. Yeah, that’s pretty picky of me, but it’s the only negative I could come up with. 😉

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom Membership Giveaway

Jill has generously offered a free membership to one of my blessed readers! Just follow the instructions in the Giveaway Tools widget below and get yourself entered to win this great homeschool resource. Giveaway ends March 19, 2014 at 11:59 EST.

Fleece Lined Leggings from Deborah & Co. (a Review)

Fleece lined leggings (a review) from

About Deborah & Co.

Deborah & Co. is a clothing line with the tag line “Fashion Without Compromise.” The business was started by Caroline Allen when she saw a need for long maternity skirts. She began to sew her own and sell them online under the name The Modest Mom.

In 2010, Caroline lost her mom while she was pregnant with her fifth child. When she later gave birth to a precious baby girl, both her daughter and her business were given the name Deborah in honor of her mother.

Deborah & Co. sells clothing and accessories for women and girls, in addition to their maternity line. They offer skirts, dresses, headbands, belts, and earrings. They also have halftees for layering shirts for more modesty.

They have some items on sale for a great discount right now, too!

About the Fleeced Lined Leggings

I was sent a pair of the fleece lined leggings to review and share about here. The leggings are 92% polyester and 8% Spandex. They come in black, brown, and charcoal. The sizing:

S/M Height = 4’4″ – 5’4″ Weight = 85 – 125lbs.
M/L Height = 5’2″ – 5’8″ Weight = 125 – 150lbs.
L/XL Height = 5’4″ – 5’10” Weight = 150 – 230lbs

The leggings cost $28, but right now are on sale for $23.

My Review of the Fleece Lined Leggings

I have had these leggings since November and have worn them many, many times. It really could be summed up in just a few short words: I LOVE THEM! They are so soft, so comfortable. Let me break it down a little more for you:

I am NOT a fleece wearing person. It never keeps me warm and it makes me sweat, double ick. These leggings have neither of those issues. It’s almost like wearing nothing, but you’re warm.

These are meant to be worn under something like skirts or dresses. These are NOT pants. They fit like tights. Please, have some decency and cover your tush when wearing leggings/tights in public. No one wants to see what kind of underwear you are wearing or if you aren’t wearing any! Seriously. I’ll step off my soapbox now.

These are great for the cold weather we’ve been having all season long. My favorite way to wear them is under a long denim skirt. Yeah, I know how cliche that sounds, but I’m not gonna lie. It is like walking around with a cozy blanket on all day. Makes me understand how women can wear skirts/dresses all the time.

Back to the leggings! I am 5’3″ and 190ish lbs. and I bought the L/XL. They fit very nicely. I’ve even slept in them.

The only negative I’ve found is the pilling of the fabric. However, I didn’t pay attention to the care directions on the tag (story of my fashion life) and washed them and dried them with a regular load of laundry a couple times. I now wash them with my clothes, but hang them to dry. So take that negative with a grain of salt.

I will probably be picking more of these up for next winter. They are worth every penny.

Connect with Deborah & Co.

Josephine (a Review for Multicultural Children’s Book Day)

Josephine (a Multicultural Children's Book Day Review) on

About Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children’s Literature is the brainchild of Mia Wenjen of Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr of Jump Into a Book. The mission of Multicultural Children’s Book Day?

“Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Mia and Valarie are on a mission to change all of that. Their mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. Another goal of this exciting event is create a compilation of books and favorite reads that will provide not only a new reading list for the winter, but also a way to expose brilliant books to families, teachers, and libraries.”

You can read about Multicultural Children’s Book Day for more information.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day Sponsors

I received the copy of my book from the lovely people at Chronicle Books. I would like to thank them for that, so….Thank you, Chronicle Books. I’d also like to thank Valarie, Mia, and Becky (the fearless project leader) for the opportunity to work with them on this project.

Other companies and authors that made this possible: Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books, and Susan Fayad,

Josephine (a Multicultural Children's Book Day Review) on

About Josephine

The book I received was called Josephine by Patricia Hruby Powell. The book was illustrated by Christian Robinson. It is a picture book about the life of the famous Josephine Baker. The book was written by a dancer turned children’s book writer and librarian.

“In exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. Meticulously researched by both author and artist, Josephine’s powerful story of struggle and triumph is an inspiration and a spectacle, just like the legend herself.” – about Josephine on Chronicle Books

The book is a hardcover picture book measuring 8″x10″ and is recommended for ages 7-10 years old. It is 104 pages long. The book retail for $17.99.

My Review of Josephine

I read this out loud to my kids (11, 9, 7, and 2). The toddler wasn’t too impressed, but that doesn’t really say much considering he is two and not a fan of sitting still. The older kids loved the pictures and found Josephine’s story interesting. Particularly my oldest daughter (11), who recently read the story of Bessie Coleman and made comments on the similarities in their stories.

The artwork in this book is stunning. They are acrylic paintings. Vivid colors come to life on the page. There isn’t a lot of white space in this book, even text pages are printed on textured, colored pages. I love that. It is not hard to read that way either.

The book is divided into sections that make reading the book easier to remember where you are, similar to chapters. They are divided by time period: The Beginning, 1906-1917; Leavin’ With the Show, 1917-1921; My Face Isn’t Made for Sleeping, 1921-1925; et cetera. As you can see, some of the section titles are witty.

The literary style the book is written in is blank verse. This was rather different from our usual reading. It was a little hard for me to find a rhythm for reading it out loud, but I got better the more I read. The words paint as vivid of a picture as the beautiful illustrations.

Overall, Josephine is a beautiful book that would make a great addition to anyone’s library shelf and is a great read for Black History Month!

Other Multicultural Children’s Book Day Reviewers

I am a Multicultural Children's Book Day Book Reviewer at

Be sure to check out the main pages on Pragmatic Mom and Jump Into a Book to see ALL the reviews for many, many books.

You can read more reviews on these blogs:

2GirlsLostInaBook · 365 Days of Motherhood · A Bilingual Baby · A Simple Life, Really? · Africa to America · After School Smarty Pants · All Done Monkey · Andi’s Kids Books · Anita Brown Bag  · Austin Gilkeson · Barbara Ann Mojica ·  Books My Kids Read · Bottom Shelf Books · Cats Eat Dogs · Chasing The Donkey · Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac · Children’s Books Heal · Church o Books · CitizenBeta · Crafty Moms Share · Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes · Early Words · Flowering Minds · Franticmommy · Gathering Books · GEO Librarian · Gladys Barbieri · Going in Circles · Growing Book by Book · iGame Mom · I’m Not The Nanny · InCulture Parent · Itsy Bitsy Mom ·Just Children’s Books- Kid World Citizen · Kristi’s Book Nook · Mama Lady Books · Mama Smiles · Mission Read · Mother Daughter Book Reviews · Mrs AOk · MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter · Ms. Yingling Reads · Multicultural Kids Blog · One Sweet World · Open Wide The World · P is for Preschooler · Rapenzel Dreams · School4Boys · Sharon the Librarian · Spanish Playground · Sprout’s Bookshelf · Squishable Baby · Stanley and Katrina · Teach Mama · The Art of Home Education · The Brain Lair · The Educators’ Spin On It · The Family-Ship Experience · The Yellow Door Paperie · This Kid Reviews Books  · Trishap’s Books · Unconventional Librarian · Vicki Arnold · We3Three · World for Learning · Wrapped in Foil 

A Light for My Path (a Review)

A Light for My Path: An ABC Book Based on Psalm 119 (a review) on Vicki-Arnold.comAbout A Light for My Path

A Light for My Path: An ABC Book Based on Psalm 119 was written by Davis Carman and illustrated by Alice Ratterree. It’s purpose is to help your child fall in love with the Word of God while learning their ABC’s. The book introduces the 26 letters of the English alphabet and 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

Each letter of the English alphabet has a plant or animal and an attribute of God’s word associated with it. The Hebrew letters are introduced with the text of Psalm 119. The New International Version is used for Psalm 119’s text.

This 80 page picture book is published by Apologia. The book is a soft-cover book and is filled with pictures. The book contains an introduction that explains the fourfold purpose of the book.

The book retails for $14 and you can purchase directly through Apologia. You can connect with Davis Carman and the Apologia team on their website, Facebook, and Pinterest. I received a copy of this book so I could provide you with my review.

My Review of A Light for My Path

I love this book. The end.

Oh, I guess that’s not really a review, is it?

I love the illustrations, they are so sweet. I appreciate the vision and heart behind the book.

I love the repetition of the phrase “God’s Word, Law, Statutes, Decrees, Commands, and Precepts are..” I love how it reinforces the beauty, grace, and truth of God’s Word. The attributes chosen for each plant or animal seem to match perfectly, blessings and butterflys, for example.

I appreciate that the book doesn’t solely focus on the uppercase letters. Both letter cases are presented on the same page for your child to learn and become familiar with. I love that each letter has it’s own two page spread.

I also love that Psalm 119 is included in the book, each part of the acrostic broken up with the Hebrew letter headings…just like the Word of God. The only thing I would change about the book is the Bible version used. We prefer the King James Version. However, this is doesn’t take away from the majority of the book, since the focus is mostly on the letters and relating it to God’s Word.

The cost may seem a little high, but when you consider this is more than a “simple” quick read, it’s worth the cost.