A FINCHNWREN Beauty Giveaway ~ Ulta Eyes & Lips! (Ends 6/27)

Welcome to a new FINCHNWREN Beauty Giveaway!



Today, we’re giving away an Ulta beauty trio for eyes and lips!  One winner will receive:

  • Ulta Beauty full-sized Maximum Lashes Defining and Lengthening Mascara in Jet Black
  • Ulta Beauty Matte Lipstick mini in Mulberry
  • Ulta Beauty Color Rush Lip Gloss mini in Olivia

You can wear the lipstick alone if you’re looking for that matte look, or pair it with the gloss for a shinier evening look.  And the mascara is fabulous for adding emphasis to a day or night eye look!

How to enter

Simply click on the pink “Enter here!” link below to visit the Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter in a variety of ways.  One winner will be selected after the giveaway closes on 6/27/18.  Best wishes!

Enter here!


Enjoy!  –Wren


My Top 10 Favorite Quotes from “The Incredibles”

Are you a film lover?

We love movies in our family.  And this has been an exciting year for us with the various Marvel movies, Star Wars, and other films in the action genre (including the upcoming newest Jurassic one) premiering.



I am SO excited that FINALLY Disney Pixar is releasing the sequel to one of my all-time Pixar faves—The Incredibles!  I hope the movie is going to be as amazing as the trailer implies.  We cannot wait to see Bob & Helen Parr, Violet, Dash, and of course, Jack-Jack, again.  And Edna!  And Frozone!  (And at least *hear* Honey…although maybe we’ll get to actually see her this time!)


In honor of the best family of supers ever, here are my top 10 favorite quotes from the original The Incredibles.  (In no particular order.)  Enjoy!


  1.  “Where. Is. My. Super. Suit!”  (Lucius/Frozone, to Honey)
  2. “You heard her.”  (Smarmy big-sister tone of voice from Violet to Dash.)
  3. “I love our family.”  (Dash in the limo after defeating the Omnidroid)
  4. “You keep trying to pick a fight, but I’m just happy you’re alive!”  (Bob to Helen as they run through Syndrome’s jungle)
  5. “I mean either he’s in trouble, or he’s going to be.”  (Helen to Violet about Bob)
  6. “Shhh.  It isn’t your fault.  It wasn’t fair of me to suddenly ask so much of you.  But things are different now, and doubt is a luxury we can’t afford.  You have more power than you realize.  Don’t think, and don’t worry.  If the time comes, you’ll know what to do.  It’s in your blood!”  (Helen to Violet on Syndrome’s island)
  7. “Edna Mode.  And guest.”  (Edna to her security system.)
  8. “Your suit can stretch as far as you can, without injuring yourself, and still retain its shape.  Virtually indestructible, yet it breathes like Egyptian cotton.”  (Edna to Helen)
  9. “He starts monologuing!”  (Lucius/Frozone, to Bob)
  10. “I’m not happy, Bob.  Not happy.”  (Bob’s boss at Insuricare)


I just love this movie so much!  So many amazing moments and incredible voice acting–and animation.  I mean, how on earth does Brad Bird do Edna?  And Samuel L. Jackson, Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson.  It is just stellar.

So we are looking forward to #2!

Do you have a favorite line from The Incredibles?

Enjoy!  –Wren


The FINCHNWREN Blog’s Privacy Policy

Thank you for being a FINCHNWREN blog subscriber!  We’re so happy that you have allowed us to hang out with you and we love sharing our thoughts about life, books, homeschool, and our giveaways with you.

We’d like to share our privacy policies with you.

When you subscribe to the FINCHNWREN blog, you will either receive emails when we add new posts or you will see the posts in your WordPress news feed (depending on how you subscribed).  We hope you’ll continue to subscribe, but you may unsubscribe at any time via email or the Follow widget in your WordPress Admin page.

  • Our blog is set up via WordPress.com, which does not give us access to personally or legally sensitive information from our subscribers by default.
  • FINCHNWREN does not sell or share your information with others.
  • When we host giveaways, we utilize Giveaway Tools’ entry forms/widget.  Once the giveaway is concluded and we have contacted the giveaway winner, that particular giveaway entry form and all its entries are deleted.  (See Giveaway Tools privacy policy for more information.)
  • If a FINCHNWREN giveaway is co-hosted with another blog, company, or organization, only the personal information you share with them will be collected by them.  (For example, if you choose to follow a company’s blog or Twitter account and enter your own subscriber information or email address.)  If that blog or company is awarding the prize, they will receive the winner’s mailing address information so that the prize can be shipped.
  • This information is collected via WordPress.com:  follower and subscriber information; comments on the blog; contact form submissions; search queries; site registrations; technical data from visitors (like the info web browsers, mobile devices, and servers typically make available about visitors to a Site, such as the IP address, browser type, unique device identifiers, language preference, referring site, the date and time of access, operating system, and mobile network information.); info on visitor interactions such as “likes” and “ratings”; location information to (for example) tell about visitors from different geographical regions; Akismet commenter info (to filter out spam comments, for example); cookies.  (You can visit Automattic.com Privacy Notice for Visitors to Our Users’ Sites for more information on these.)

Thank you for hanging out with us!  And thanks for reading.


Enjoy!  –Wren










“Courageous Women of the Bible” ~ A Review & Giveaway (Ends 6/20/18)

Hello friends!

I have a lovely new book to tell you about!  The BlogAbout Blogger Network was kind enough to send me not only a copy of LaTan Roland Murphy’s newest book, Courageous Women of the Bible, to review; but a copy for one reader to win as well!  (You’ll be able to enter the giveaway at the end of this post.)  This beautiful (inside and out—I just love its cover as much as the book’s insides) book is something that women will find inspiring, courage-producing, and uplifting, whether they are single, married, mothers of young children, moms of older kiddos, or retired…or any other life stage a woman might be in.  Whatever your life experiences are in this stage of your journey, you’ll find something here to relate to.



Courageous Women of the Bible

What are you experiencing in your life today?  Are you in a smooth patch of life, or are you facing challenges with your job, an illness, your relationships, your parenting, or even on a larger scale in your nation?  All of us have faced some of these and some of us may have even faced them all.  When we face life struggles, sometimes we can drum up the courage to meet them head-on.  Yet other times, we wonder how on earth we will possibly endure them.  What if I told you that courage can look a little different than we might imagine?  What if all we have to do, to be courageous, is to set our feet toward obedience?

Author LaTan Roland Murphy knew that she–and we–all need courage.  So she wrote a book about courage and how we can have it.  She delves into the lives of 11 women of the Bible who faced a variety of circumstances that demanded courage: everything from leading a nation; to giving unsparingly; or defeating an enemy; to believing in miracles when all hope seemed lost; and stepping into leadership when the actual leader wouldn’t do it.  And that’s just a few.

In Courageous Women of the Bible, you’ll have the opportunity to meet:

  • Deborah
  • The woman with the issue of blood
  • Jael
  • Bathsheba
  • The Samaritan woman
  • Jochebed
  • and 5 others!

In each chapter, the author describes a Biblical woman and what’s happening in her life that demands courage.  She includes the Bible passages that inform us of these women and each one’s state of affairs.  Then, LaTan pulls out for our edification the particular character qualities, choices, strengths, and evidences of faith that these women exemplify.  She introduces us to these gals and describes them so richly that, by the end of each chapter, we feel as though we might actually know them—or recognize them if they were to step across our paths.  Lastly, each chapter ends with a courage quest, a list of 5 questions designed to help us identify our own need for each type of courage and help us to embrace and build it in our own lives.

LaTan has also included a journaling chapter at the very end of the book, to give readers the opportunity to mine their thoughts and emotions for the things God would like to show them–and do in them–through the experiences of the Biblical women of each passage.

My impressions of Courageous Women of the Bible

I have to say that God used this book in my life in a somewhat curious yet fascinating way.  I received it while my teen son and I were wrapping up the end of his 10th grade homeschool year.  And the last 6 weeks of the year (the last part of April and May) were so packed and, at times, exhausting.  (You know the drill:  finals, finishing courses, end-of-the-year projects/papers, teacher appreciation days, drama performances, art shows, final coop classes, etc.)  I had this lovely book sitting on my bedside table.  I wanted to read it.  I had made it 4 chapters in and loved what I’d already read.  Yet, I could *not* find a moment to delve further.

This is one of those moments when I get to say, looking back, “But God!”

This might sound crazy.  But I honestly believe that God halted my reading by using the circumstances of our very-full family life because there were two very significant–even crucial–chapters that I would need at the very end of May.  And oh, when I read them!  What refreshment, encouragement, and strength they provided.  Timing is everything, sometimes, my friends.  And God works with the seasons and events of our lives to bring strength, comfort, and yes, courage, just at the very moments when we need them.

I won’t tell you which women were so deeply meaningful to me, simply because ALL the chapters in this book are going to minister to you, and on different levels, depending on what you’re experiencing in your own life.  I do want to share some lovely quotes from the book, though, that ministered to me:

  • “When every single angle you have tried is met with a dead end, know that you, yourself, are an overcomer with God as the voice of wisdom.  God wants you to experience life and freedom—to experience all that He is.”
  • “…God had challenged Moses to use what was in his hand to perform miracles that would set the stage for God’s chosen people to be freed from four hundred years of bondage and persecution.  God asked Moses:  “What is that in your hand?”
  • “Never forget that one willing woman with a tiny ounce of faith, grit, and tenacity can do amazing things; there is nothing too big, too hard, or too impossible with God.”
  • “I wonder if the Samaritan woman felt the same sense of awe as she experienced the rushing power of heaven’s truth spoken over her empty life.”
  • “The story He is writing in your life will be way better than the one you have been working on.”
  • “Friend, God still has His pen in hand and He is writing a good story across the pages of your life.  He is in the process of answering your prayers and He’s not finished yet.”

And as wonderful as this book has been for me, I’ve even more excited that I have a copy to share with one special reader via a giveaway!  You can read a little more about Courageous Women of the Bible and its author LaTan Roland Murphy in the next section; then scroll down to the bottom to enter the giveaway!


About the author

LaTan Roland Murphy is a published author of books and articles as well as her own website and blog, latanmurphy.com.  She wrote Becoming a Woman of Interior Elegance and co-authored God’s Provision in Tough Times.


Her articles have been featured in WHOA women’s magazine and other publications as well.  She was a founder of The Colors of His Love Women’s Conference, and lives in North Carolina with her husband Joe.  She’s the mother of three adult children as well as several grandchildren.





How to enter:

Simply click the pink “Enter here!” link below, which will take you to the Giveaway Tools entry form.  There you’ll be able to enter in a number of ways.  One winner will be selected after 6/20/18, when this giveaway closes.

Enter here!

Best wishes, my friends!


Enjoy!  –Wren

DISCLOSURE:  From time to time, we at FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.


6/21/18 UPDATE:  Giveaway closed.  Congrats to the winner, Lori H.!


Our Experiences with Bridgeway Academy’s Apologia Biology Course & Lab 2017-2018 (Plus a Coupon)

I can hardly believe it, but we are in the final few weeks of my son Jackson’s 10th grade homeschool year.  We were incredibly blessed to be able to partner with Bridgeway Academy this year, and Jackson took his high school biology course–Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Biology (FYC Biology Course w/Lab)–online with them.  I couldn’t be happier with Jackson’s experiences, and I’d love to share our final thoughts with you as the semester winds down!



Bridgeway Academy

Are you familiar with Bridgeway Academy?  The company provides accredited homeschool options that can fit any family’s lifestyle. From customized textbook and online options to live online and blended learning, Bridgeway helps families find exactly what they need for a successful homeschooling year.  Live courses, which are attended online by students in first grade all the way through 12th grade, provide fascinating academic experiences for families. In fact, thousands of students have participated in Bridgeway Academy Learning Lab classes from 1989 to the present day.  And parents will be interested to know that 92% of Bridgeway Academy enrolled students proceed to their first choice college!


High School Biology & Lab with Apologia

Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Biology is the course I had always hoped and intended to use with my son for his high school biology credits.  The textbook is both rigorous and intellectually challenging, and covers biology in an interesting way.  Chapters cover the following topics:

  • the definitions of life and biology plus classification, taxonomy, and biological keys
  • Kingdoms Monera, Protista, and Fungi
  • the chemistry of life
  • the cell, cellular reproduction, and DNA
  • Mendel and Genetics
  • Evolution
  • Ecology
  • Kingdom Animalia (invertebrates, arthropoda, chordata)
  • Kingdom Plantae
  • Reptiles, birds, and mammals

Each chapter also includes two challenging review sections (for test preparation), experiments, and question-and-answer portions in addition to text, vivid photos and diagrams.  This is the textbook that is utilized by Bridgeway Academy in the FYC Biology Course w/Lab, along with the company’s Biology Lab Kit.  The lab kit provides everything from a stainless steel dissection kit, lab supplies, and 7 lab specimens (earthworm, grasshopper, perch, crayfish, frog, cow eye, and fetal pig) for the dissections that are covered in the course.  When the student completes this course (with a D average or above) he’ll have accumulated 1.5 academic credits for both the biology course and lab.


High School Biology with Bridgeway Academy

So, what does Bridgeway Academy bring to the table when they’re offering an online course with the already-excellent Apologia Exploring Creation with Biology?  What would you think if I answered, “More than I could have imagined!”

First of all, they provide an exceptional online classroom experience.  Bridgeway Academy utilizes Moodle for its online classrooms.  Collaborate within Moodle allows students to attend classes alongside their peers who are taking the same class.  The teacher teaches the class via video and students can interact with him/her and with each other using their own computers’ cameras or text chat.  Moodle also provides a way for teachers to administer tests and daily or weekly assignments.  Students upload their assignments and projects to Moodle, where teachers grade them and a record of work is kept.  Technologically, Moodle made it very easy for Jackson to interact with his class, stay up-to-date on his assignments, and keep track of his work.  There were a few times where Moodle had glitches but they were few and far between.  And if you are taking an online class, that’s exactly what you need and want!

Secondly, Bridgeway Academy hires interesting instructors who bring years of education and training to the classroom.  Jackson’s biology teacher, Mrs. Carla Berg, is an experienced and accredited scientist and educator.  In every single class, Mrs. Berg brought impeccable scientific training to make her classes interesting and exciting to the students.  But just as important, she brought excellent classroom management abilities to bear as she guided students through their own interactions with the class.  I’m sure that she is also well-aware that students have different learning styles, because I saw her utilize classroom activities for visual learners, auditory learners, and kinesthetic learners in every class.  She also varied classroom activities every week, which helped her students stay engaged and learning all semester long.



Third, Bridgeway Academy provided a learning experience with this high school biology class that truly exceeded the best that I could have done myself.  I am interested in science.  But I freely admit to you that I am not a trained scientist, nor is high school biology my forte.  And honestly, the very thought of dissections…well, those also are not my forte!  But with Bridgeway Academy, I didn’t have to excel at any of those things.  Instead, Jackson was able to take a top-notch, academically rigorous, well-done biology class taught by an experienced teacher whose love for science poured out in each class.



What I’d like for you to know about our experiences

There are so many positive outcomes that both Jackson and I have experienced during our high school biology year with Bridgeway Academy.  (More than I could actually fit into a blog post!)  But there are things I’d love to share about them here.  (And I’ll try my best to keep the list from becoming too lengthy!)

  • He has received an exceptional education in high school biology that has prepared him well for college science coursework
  • He was challenged to produce his best work continuously throughout the year, whether it was on tests and projects, in-class participation, or daily reading and Q&As
  • He had the benefit of a well-educated and interesting instructor who was committed to her students’ success
  • Bridgeway Academy’s Moodle provided excellent record-keeping for each student (including a portfolio download option)



Does that sound amazing to you as a homeschool mom or as a student?  I just cannot speak highly enough about Bridgeway Academy and their incredible classes.  If you’d like to discover more about Bridgeway Academy, visit Bridgeway Academy Learning Labs and check out their extensive list of awesome online courses.  Whether your student is in the elementary, middle school, or high school grades, you’ll find some incredible options.

And just so you know, Bridgeway Academy would like to provide a coupon for you to use when you sign your child up for a class!  Just use coupon code WREN18 when you visit the Bridgeway Academy site to receive  10% off any Learning Lab purchase.  (Coupon expires June 1, 2018.)

Enjoy–and think of Bridgeway Academy when you’re considering your child’s next homeschool courses!  –Wren

Bridgeway Academy on social media:

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/HomeschoolingHelp

Twitter- https://twitter.com/bridgewayvoice/

Pinterest- https://www.pinterest.com/bridgewayacademy/

YouTube- https://www.youtube.com/user/bwacademy

Blog- http://www.homeschoolacademy.com/blog/


DISCLAIMER:  From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.



I’m Guest Posting Today at Homeschooling Help!

Hello, friends!



I am guest posting today over at Homeschooling Help, Bridgeway Academy’s fantastic blog that is full of wonderful articles for the homeschooling family.  My post is entitled “7 Ways My Son Benefited From Bridgeway Academy’s Live Online Class,” and in it I share some amazing benefits that Jackson received from taking his high school biology course with Bridgeway Academy.

Just click on the link title to hop over to the blog post.

And, you’ll find an added bonus at the end of my guest post there.  Bridgeway Academy is offering 10% off their online courses with the code you’ll find tucked in at the end of the article!

Enjoy!  –Wren

What I’ve Been Studying This Spring: “Entrusted” by Beth Moore

It’s kind of interesting how things worked out for me this year with my Word of the Year and my current Bible study, this spring.  They’re both called “Entrusted!”



This Bible study is a LifeWay study by Beth Moore.  Her studies are often (maybe always?) set up for teaching in groups.  Normally, in a group study like this participants will gather each week to discuss what they’ve learned in each lesson, and watch an additional Beth Moore teaching session.  This is a wonderful way to do Beth Moore studies; I did that for years with Precept Bible studies.  But in this season of homeschooling and healing from the surgery and chemotherapy last year, I have chosen to study this on my own.  And while I’m sure I have missed the great fellowship and teaching I’d have received had I done this with a group, it has still been incredibly rich and personally powerful for me.  Even, I would say, eye-opening and healing!


So what is Entrusted, anyway?

This study focuses on the New Testament book of 2 Timothy.  That is one of my all-time favorite books of the Bible.  It was the first-ever book I studied inductively (with Precept Ministries, as a matter of fact) and I just fell in love with it.  2 Timothy is Paul’s final letter, sometime before his death, to Timothy, a young pastor and fellow missionary that he had mentored for many years.  They had a close father-son relationship, and in 2 Timothy Paul is giving his final charges and instructions to the young man who will carry on the work of the gospel after Paul’s passing.  It is personal, relational, instructive, and so encouraging.  I loved it the first time I studied it in the 1990s and I still love it today.

The study is set up in an interesting fashion, with daily lessons for each of 6 weeks, theological essays by Beth’s daughter Melissa, sections to fill in with Beth’s weekly video teachings (which I didn’t use, since I’m doing this on my own instead of with a group), and a section at the end of the book for writing the verses of 2 Timothy, passage by passage.


How I’m using it

I work on this study generally about 3-5 days per week.  Often, I split one day’s lesson over two days.  (It is almost the end of the semester, and of an extremely busy year, and I am apparently needing more sleep right now.  I am a morning person but I am waking up later than usual!)  I read the lesson, which includes teaching, cross-referencing other Scriptures, definitions, and fill-in-the-blanks.  It is just a fantastic way for me to be in Scriptures before I start each full and busy day.  It calms my heart and spirit and enables me to look forward to my responsibilities with anticipation and encouragement.

One thing in particular that I have loved is the writing of passages that Beth has the student do in the back of the study book.  As we begin study on each passage, she has us write that collection of verses in the back.  It doesn’t HAVE to be pretty; the key idea is, I think, to help familiarize the student more and more with what is being studied.  But, I reviewed a handwriting/calligraphy curriculum some time ago that I really loved (but never had time to get back to practicing).  So this provided an excellent opportunity for me to learn the Scriptures and the calligraphy method, all at the same time.  The combined activity of pausing to focus on the beauty of the verses plus practicing the italic handwriting just really does something sweet for my heart.  It also makes me slow down (I admit, I am definitely someone who moves fast through life) and really dwell in the moment and in what I am working on.



There have been some incredible moments of learning for me as well.  I learned a lot about healthy boundaries in one section.  In another, I was so encouraged to look over the entire course of my life and see how God has worked in everything, whether it was calling, difficulties, struggles, or blessings.  I’ve also been reminded of key truths that I had lost sight of during times of suffering.

I am someone who loves this type of Bible study.  There is nothing like inductive study for me to teach me, strengthen me, and delight me.  And I’m often so amazed at God’s timing in the various studies I’ve done over the years; the amazing things that I learn, that I NEED to learn, right at that moment.  Entrusted has been that for me again; a joy and a delight.

What have you been learning personally or spiritually that has impacted you lately?


Enjoy!  –Wren