Art, Coloring, and Cursive? My Review of THE ART OF CURSIVELOGIC

Readers of the finchnwren blog might remember that we’ve reviewed CursiveLogic’s quality curriculum before.  Designed for both children and adult learners (even those who’ve never written in cursive before), their handwriting lessons are logical, understandable, and easy to follow for both instructors and learners alike.  Now, CursiveLogic has an incredible new product that I’m very excited to tell you about: The Art of CursiveLogic.  CursiveLogic sent me a free sample of this gorgeous new book to review.  And yes, it’s as gorgeous on the inside as it is on the cover!

 

Cursive Logic’s unique method…

is something that is designed to help students understand the way cursive works, and to be able to reproduce cursive letters successfully, based on these precepts:

  1. Grouping letters together by shape:  Instead of teaching each letter alone, CursiveLogic teaches about groups of letters which are shaped in similar ways
  2. Teaching a group’s letters in “strings”:  Students learn to connect letters together right away as they work on the letters in a group
  3. Using color to “code” letter strings:  Students are helped to remember the letters in a grouping because they’re all in the same color
  4. Mnemonic phrases to teach letter groupings:  Students learn rhymes for each string so that they can remember how to form the letters
  5. Students are encouraged because even by the end of the first lesson, they can write real words by using the CursiveLogic process

(You can read about our experiences with CursiveLogic in my review at this link.)

Now, CursiveLogic has taken these methods and incorporated them into a combination cursive writing program AND a gorgeous art coloring book!

For anyone who’s loving the current wave of coloring books for adults…

and would also like to practice or learn cursive, The Art of CursiveLogic is a truly beautiful and effective purchase!  (You can preorder this book via the link in the previous sentence; orders are expected to be shipped in May 2017.)

Adults or teens who need to practice their cursive, or really who’ve never actually learned cursive, will love this book.  CursiveLogic employs its effective teaching process (listed above) to enable students to practice and learn cursive quickly and logically.  The Art of CursiveLogic has the additional bonus of providing not only coloring pages (that are real works of art themselves), but coloring pages which incorporate cursive letters in them as part of the decoration.  It’s pretty astonishing!  You can see in the picture above a segment of the page I colored.  It’s from a decorative artsy page featuring a quote from Vincent Van Gogh.  (You can also tell that he’s being featured on this page because of the swirly nature of the drawing, CursiveLogic’s take on “Starry Night.”)  You can see that, tucked in among and actually becoming part of the art itself, CursiveLogic’s cursive letters are everywhere.

How I used The Art of Cursive Logic

I know that I can always work on improving my handwriting.  But really…as an adult/wife/mom/homeschooler/art teacher/reviewer, where I am going to find the time to work on my cursive?  Probably nowhere.

But.

When I received the sample of The Art of CursiveLogic, I absolutely fell in love.  No, I may not have time to sit down and purposely work on my handwriting.  In my leisure moments, that’s probably not what I’m going to choose to do.  But sitting down with my colored pencils and other art supplies, to create art using an astonishingly beautiful coloring book that will also help my handwriting?  That’s a definite yes!

As I mentioned before, we’ve done a few reviews for CursiveLogic.  I have the highest respect for the company and the work they do, and the way their curriculum really does work with students of all ages.  So when CursiveLogic offered to send me a sample of The Art of CursiveLogic, I was happy to try it out for them and share what we thought with our readers.  I knew to expect excellence.  But I didn’t expect to get truly blown away by incredible art coloring pages that I, myself, could use and delight in!

The sample book that CursiveLogic sent me has their time-tested instructional pages for the cursive alphabet.  But it also has 4 coloring pages that are designed around a particular quote plus a bonus one on the back inside cover that’s design-only.  (Obviously, the complete book will have many more than that!)  The coloring pages are fairly intricate (meaning that you won’t complete it in one sitting, perhaps) but all use cursive lettering as part of the art.  Both the art and the quotes are uplifting.  I always came away happy and encouraged after working on a page!

I’ve only used my colored pencils in The Art of CursiveLogic, and they worked well.  The paper is high-quality and accepts color quite richly.  You might be able to use oil pastels as well.

 

Where can you find The Art of CursiveLogic?

Simply click through this link The Art of CursiveLogic to find the preorder page.

And I’ll let you in on a little secret.  I have loved this so much that when someone asked what I’d like for a gift for International Women’s Day, I told them that I wanted The Art of CursiveLogic!  So I’ll also be receiving the complete copy of this fabulous coloring book when it’s sent out this May!

I’m so excited.  In the meantime, I’ll just be working on finishing the other coloring pages in my sample book!

I’m happy to recommend The Art of CursiveLogic to you.  (Clearly!)  If you’re:

  • an adult who loves to color and would like to practice cursive writing at the same time;
  • or if you’re a teen who needs handwriting practice;
  • or an adult or second-language learner who’s learning English cursive for the first time;
  • or you just love to color amazing art;

…then you’ll want to check out CursiveLogic‘s The Art of CursiveLogic!

 

 

You can download a free coloring page here…

by clicking on this Share The Art of CursiveLogic link and sharing on Facebook.  Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to download the bird coloring page to print and color.

Enjoy!  –Wren

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.

 

 

 

D is for Deduction: Blogging Through the Alphabet

Welcome back to Blogging Through the Alphabet!  My friends Amanda from Hopkins Homeschool and Annette from A Net In Time are co-hosting Blogging Through The Alphabet.  This week’s letter is D.

 

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D is for Deduction

Social deduction, that is!

Is that even a phrase you’ve ever heard of?  Until recently, I hadn’t.  Social deduction games involve hidden identities; secret plans or agendas; and trying to figure out those secrets by social interaction with the other players.

And now, Chara Games has a Kickstarter project for their newest game, UNAUTHORIZED.

Why we are fans of Chara Games

We were fortunate to review Commissioned and 3 Seeds in 2016, and we had great experiences with each of these games (you can find out more about them by clicking on the highlighted links).   Chara Games was founded by Patrick and Katherine Lysaght to create Christian-themed games to bring families together for fun and fellowship.  And joy, because the definition of the Greek word “chara” is “unshakeable joy.”  Both the games we’ve played from Chara Games have been creative, interesting, and really fun to play as a family.

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UNAUTHORIZED

So, the newest game from the Lysaghts is called UNAUTHORIZED.  I’m sure that you know that there are countries in our world which forbid the practice of Christianity.  Churches in those countries often operate in an underground fashion, and the church members can face job loss, imprisonment, or even death if they’re discovered.

UNAUTHORIZED is designed for 6-12 players and a 30-minute game play time.  Players’ identities (individuals from the Church attempting to grow, or the State desiring to crush it) are determined by the draw of cards.  No one knows who is doing what, but during game play try to figure that out AND either grow the Church or eradicate it.  There are 12 different Role cards (Police, Pastor, Matchmaker, Clerk, Thief, and more) and 97 Experience Cards (State Education, Enduring Joy, and others) which influence what the player does.  There are also Reference Cards and a complete Rule Book.

And you can get UNAUTHORIZED now via Kickstarter!

You can join the UNAUTHORIZED Kickstarter Project (like we did!) and receive a copy of the game yourself for only $15.  (You can also become a Project Backer for less than that or more, depending on what level you choose.)  Just click on UNAUTHORIZED Kickstarter Project  to learn more.  The game’s base funding has been met (which means that the game will be shipping out in November 2017), but further funding will enable Chara Games to meet further game goals.

Just check out the UNAUTHORIZED Kickstarter Project page.

Who would like to play UNAUTHORIZED?

  • Families who love game nights
  • People who enjoy getting to get together with friends for tabletop gaming
  • Those who’d like to teach their kids what it’s like to be a Christian in a society that forbids it
  • People who appreciate social deduction games
  • Those who are drawn to high-quality games

In closing

UNAUTHORIZED will be our family’s very first social deduction game.  I love the idea of it, and can’t wait to investigate another amazing experience from Chara Games!

Blogging Through the Alphabet Linkup

Just click on the button below and you’ll be taken to the linkup.  You’ll be able to see lots of others’ ideas about the letter D!

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Enjoy!  –Wren

Can There Be Creativity in Prayer? ~ Reviewing DESIGNED TO PRAY & Giveaway (CLOSED)

How is your prayer life going?  Do you need a boost?  Are things there seeming like the same old, same old?  If you’re needing something in this area, but you don’t know exactly what, then you’re going to love this book.  The BlogAbout Blogger Network was so very kind to send me a copy of Kelly O’Dell Stanley’s Designed to Pray: Creative Ways to Engage With God to use myself–as well as a copy for one special reader to win!

 

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So how is your prayer life, anyway?

I will admit to you that my own times of prayer have really undergone a beating in the last four years.  Two abdominal surgeries (which left quite a mark on my overall stamina and energy) plus job challenges took my own faith to a place that I never expected it would go.  Did I believe in God?  Yes, of course.  Did I spend time in God’s Word?  Yes.  But even as I read the Bible’s truths, I struggled to apply them to myself; to believe that God really was FOR me, in my corner, loving and upholding me.

Hard times.

But (and here’s where we insert a “yay!”), I’m journeying back.  Receiving healing.  Able more and more to receive God’s truths for myself.  But I still could see that my prayer life needed…life.

 

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Enter Designed to Pray: Creative Ways to Engage With God

I will not be exaggerating if I tell you that this book has made more of an impact on my prayer life than any other resource I’ve ever found on prayer.  It has been a delight.  It has caused me to see God differently–more truly what He is.  It has enabled me to desire prayer more fully, and to enjoy connecting with Him.  It has made my morning prayer time SO FUN.

It has been just what I needed at a moment when I really needed SOMEthing, but didn’t know exactly what.

 

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So how can a book do all that?

Kelly O’Dell Stanley, who already authored a book on prayer called Praying Upside Down, kept having ideas about journaling prayer.  Designing something for people to use that would help them see God, hear Him, know Him, get closer to Him, that could engage them both individually and creatively.  A book that could take the reader on an interactive & joyful journey.

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Designed to Pray provides a unique journey on prayer that I’m pretty sure nobody has ever taken before.  O’Dell Stanley has designed 8 weeks’ worth of daily exercises on prayer which will enable the reader to use her own creativity, colored pencils and pens to venture into prayer in ways that are exciting, encouraging, and uplifting.  The weeks’ titles include:

  • “Fumbling into God’s Presence”
  • “The Faith of a Child”
  • “Creativity…or Connecting the Dots to See God”
  • “We’re All in This Together (Praying with or for Others)”
  • “A Personal God (Knowing God, Knowing Yourself)”
  • and three more

Each of these chapters begins with an introduction from O’Dell Stanley that sets the tone for the week’s activities and prayers.  Then, the reader is given 7 different activities, one each for every day that week, Sunday through Saturday.

 

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How can art & creativity take you into God’s presence?

It’s all about the activities, the grace and fun behind them, and what Kelly O’Dell Stanley has designed them to do; engage with God on a heart level.  Sometimes, I started with a page the author designed with some beautiful doodles in one corner, and doodled more…then wrote prayer items in the spaces.  Another time, I wrote lists of things I was thankful for like rays of the sun.  Once I lettered the words to a children’s song about Jesus’ love.  Sometimes I got to color!

One pivotal day, I wrote down fears that kept me from praying.  Honestly, these were sort of buried in my mind and I wasn’t consciously aware of them.  But when the author asked the right questions, out they came…and I was able to progress beyond them.

 

designed-to-pray-4My conclusions

I like artsy stuff.  I teach art at our homeschool coop.  I have just jumped into Bible journaling.  I like to “do” art with my child.

I am not, however, a “trained” artist.  But I’ve found over my years as a mom and a homeschooling mom in particular, that art does something in me that nothing else does.  It encourages me.  It removes me a step from life’s pressures and helps me to take a breath.  It provides cool times for connection with my son.

So, combining creativity with prayer?  It felt very natural.  It created real connection points between me and God (okay, He was there already, but it helped me to reach for Him).  It moved me to pray and think about things that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

Best of all, it breathed new life into my prayer times.  It made me WANT to pray.  It showed me that connecting with God can happen in new and beautiful ways.  It helped me to start my days with joy and a real knowing that He is there.

To me, that’s an amazing outcome from a book!  (I have to tell you that when I finish this book, I am thinking that I need to purchase a fresh one and work thru all the exercises and activities again!)

 

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Who could use this book?

  • Someone who is worn out with legalism and the “right” way to do things
  • A mom who wants to pray but doesn’t feel like she has a lot of time
  • A person who’d like to pray but doesn’t know how
  • Someone whose soul needs touches of beauty
  • And anyone else who’d like to know that God loves and cares for them

 

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My recommendations…and a chance for you to win!

If you see yourself in the list above…if you’d like to bring more beauty and joy to your prayer times…or if you’d just like to connect with the God who loves you in a new way, get a copy of Kelly O’Dell Stanley’s Designed to Pray: Creative Ways to Engage With God!

And, you can enter to win a copy now!  (Giveaway ends February 10, 2017.)  Just click on the pink link below to go to the Giveaway Tools form to enter!

Enter here!

 

WINNERS SELECTED:

I loved DESIGNED TO PRAY so much that I selected 3 winners!  (1 gets the copy from Blog about Network, and the others from FINCHNWREN.)  Congratulations to Diane P, Kayla F, and Savannah H!

Enjoy!  –Wren

 
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DISCLOSURE:  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.

 

 

The Fabulous New Kwik Stix Thin Stix ~ My Review

The Pencil Grip, Inc. produces some of my most favorite art supplies, which we have adored using in our home.  Recently, they sent me their newest version to review: the Kwik Stix Thin Stix 12 pk.  I’m so excited to share our thoughts and art results with you!

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What are Kwik Stix, anyway?

If these amazing art media are new to you, you really will want to know all about them!  Kwik Stix are solid tempera paint sticks which can be used in any situation that the artist would normally use regular paint.  The paint sticks roll up and down (sort of like a glue stick, but with paint instead of glue!) and have a cap which helps keep the paint moist when not in use.  They are safe to use for children from ages 3 and up.

Best of all, you get all the benefits of paint without the mess!  You don’t need paintbrushes, water, painting smocks, or all the other equipment you’d normally need for a paint adventure.  All you need are the Thin Stix and something to paint on!  In our home, we’ve used everything from art journals, to canvas, to stock card, to regular paper, and more.  (Read on to learn about our newest discovery!)

The 12-pk we received contains the following colors:  white, yellow, orange, red, pink, lime green, green, light blue, blue, purple, brown, and black.  Unlike the regular-sized Kwik Stix, which are shorter and chubbier (which enables little hands to hold them well plus provides a nice thick line when painting), the Thin Stix are longer and thinner, measuring at 5 1/2″ long with a 1/2 wide paint tip.  They apply paint that’s both rich and vivid, which a variety of surfaces take well.  The Thin Stix glide smoothly across the page and are just a pleasure to use.

You can read about our experience with the regular-sized Kwik Stix in Metalix and Neon, which we tried and loved last fall.  We used them as we did an art study of Pop Art and two of Vincent Van Gogh’s master works, and they were just incredible!

 

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 Kwik Stix’ Thin Stix are wonderful for:

  • Art Journals

Since we’d used our Kwik Stix beautifully for artist study when we reviewed the Neon and Metalix versions in the fall, I wanted to try the Thin Stix for different types of projects.  This time, my son and I used them in our art journals, which have a thick, creamy, textured feel to the pages:

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You can see some of that texture in the tulips picture above, which took the Thin Stix paint quite well.  The paint dried quickly (Kwik Stix’ paint sticks are designed to dry in about 90 seconds), so there was no ending up with paint on my hand from working in a small surface.  I was also able to layer additional color over the tulips to add a bit of shadow and shading; you can see the orange I applied on the left side of both the red tulips and the yellow ones.  This was a free-hand project; we just decided what we wanted to draw and went to town.  Fun!

  • Coloring books

I’m sure you’re familiar with the whole coloring-books-for-grownups movement that’s been so popular lately.  I have a couple of those, and my newest one seemed that it would be perfect for my new Thin Stix!  Because coloring books have more lines that you’ve got to work within, I imagined that these Kwik Stix, which have a narrower tip, could work well within those margins.  I was pleased with the outcome!

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  • Art lettering

Recently, I’ve been venturing into the world of creative lettering.  I started with some calligraphy in the fall and, last week, tried a new font that starts with a big penciled letter with space inside.  After you have your outlined letters, you take a fine felt-tip marker and doodle inside the spaces.  Then, the doodles become the letters.

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I thought I’d add some paint and color to my recent word doodle BRAVE.  I used the Thin Stix to make the colors pop.  Actually, this is a photocopy on card stock of my original doodle.  The Thin Stix didn’t smear the copy at all, just slid right over it!

 

  • and even Bible journaling!

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It occurred to me when we received the Thin Stix that they might work well for Bible journaling.  One challenge with Bible journaling is finding art media that doesn’t bleed through the thin Bible pages to make the other side unreadable.  I’ve wanted to use paint for awhile in this journaling but have limited myself to colored pencils and felt-tipped markers, just because of the thin pages.  I not only loved the way the Kwik Stix brightened up my drawing, I was astonished at how little they showed up on the preceding page!  (You can see the back side in the photo below on the right.)

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Really, your own imagination and the sky are the limit!

 

ks-thin-stix-pic-3A few more thoughts…

My son, who’s a 9th grader, really liked the new Thin Stix a lot.  He says that they are more accurate, and he likes them even more than our original ones.  (No doubt due to the thinner tips!)

So…who would enjoy these fabulous new Kwik Stix Thin Stix 12 pk?

  • Parents with little ones
  • Homeschoolers
  • Art teachers
  • Bible journal aficionados
  • Any kids, from toddlers all the way up to high schoolers!
  • Basically, anyone who loves working with quality art tools

We love them.  Honestly, every time we have gotten a new set of Kwik Stix paint sticks, we have fallen more in love with the company.  I regularly make art on my own, and I teach art at our local homeschool coop.  But I also like sitting down with my son to create, whether we’re working on an artist study project or just sitting down to play with creating.  It’s a high value for me, because it gives the two of us time for great side conversations.  I also find that creating art is healing, encouraging, uplifting.  Just the process of it builds something in your soul, I believe.  So having our amazing Kwik Stix products, especially our newest Kwik Stix Thin Stix 12 pk, makes creating art so easy and so mess-free.  Plus, in addition to all these great reasons to create, you also end up with beautiful artwork that it’s a pleasure to display!

We happily recommend all the Kwik Stix art media, and especially their newest Kwik Stix Thin Stix 12 pk!

 

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Where can you purchase Kwik Stix Thin Stix?

Kwik Stix Thin Stix at Amazon
Other Kwik Stix products by The Pencil Grip, Inc. at Amazon
The Pencil Grip, Inc.
Kwik Stix on Pinterest
The Pencil Grip, Inc. on Facebook

Enjoy!  –Wren

Disclosure:  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.

Another Amazing Game from Chara Games: 3 Seeds

We’ve been so fortunate to receive another cool game to review from Chara Games.  You might remember our fun with Chara GamesCommissioned, earlier this fall (you can see our Commissioned review here).  This time, we were introduced to and played 3 Seeds, and I’m excited to share our experiences with you!

 

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What is Chara Games?

Chara Games was created by Patrick and Katherine Lysaght back in 2014.  Their goal is to provide amazing Christian gaming opportunities for families, with tabletop games.  The name of the company, chara, comes from Biblical Greek and means “unshakeable joy.”  Just the emotion we want to create with our families in not only our daily lives together, but our fun times and activities!

 

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Our first experience with Chara Games was with Commissioned, the tabletop board game focused on the growth, trials, tribulations and joys of the early Christian church.  We were so impressed with our Commissioned gaming experiences, and couldn’t wait to try out 3 Seeds.  Although the games are extremely different (a board game vs. a card game), our experiences were equally as amazing!

 

What is 3 Seeds?

 

Commissioned {Chara Games}

3 Seeds is a quick, fun card game for 2-5 players, ages 12 and up.  It takes about 30 or 45 minutes to complete a game.  In 3 Seeds, each player starts with a different crop card (Resilient Raspberries, Attentive Avocados, Limber Lettuce, and so on), drawn from the Crop deck.  Each player has a color-coded 3 Seeds pack (with a matching color game cube playing piece), which contains cards that are played on the crop card, in the categories of Time, Money, and Labor.  Each crop, in order to be harvested, requires a certain number of these cards played upon it (by any of the players).  Event cards can be played on the crops with a number of outcomes on them, such as Harvest Bonus, Time Bonus, Wild Seed, Crop Swap, etc.  Harvest cards are applied when crops are completed, and add a point value to the players’ crops.   Points are tallied on the numbered scorecard, and each player moves his colored cube (matching that player’s 3 Seeds cards) along as crops complete.  The game is finished when all crops are scored and the Crop stack is empty.  Total points are added up for each player and added to their totals, and the winner has the highest overall score.

 

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How we played 3 Seeds

We’re a 3-person family, so we followed the instructions for 2-3 players (removing the Crop cards with a 4 in the corner).  We played at our dining room table.  There is plenty of room on a tabletop (or even an ottoman) for game play.  My husband, 14-year-old son and I played together.  The first time we played, we kept out the instruction booklet and referred to it off and on, but we got the hang of the game really quickly.  The person-to-person play moves quickly, and it’s exciting to watch what we play ourselves and what the other players do.  Each player tries to complete his own crops, but helps the other players complete their own (which everyone then receives point value for).  The Event cards and the Harvest cards add extra excitement and intrigue to play.

 

3-seeds-pic-1What we thought:

My husband LOVED it.  He particularly loved adding up the point values when crops were completed.  He says, “I liked the mathematical aspects of it.  And, it was fun and easy to play.”  My son enjoyed it too.  When we played it the first time, he loved it immediately.  Later on, as a matter of fact, one night when our choice of family activity was either a favorite movie or something else, he said, “Let’s play 3 Seeds!”

 

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I’m the gardener in the family.  So the game’s subject matter (planting and harvesting a crop, along with everything that goes into that)  is automatically interesting to me.  I love the silly aspects of the plant names and descriptions.  I love that it’s easy for everyone to play.  While it does have a competitive element, it’s also very cooperative.  I found that it was a wonderful way for us to hang out together, compete in a gentle way, and master a new family favorite!

In this day and age, sometimes families with full schedules have to really be purposeful about spending quality time together in non-electronic or non-techy ways.  Of course movie nights are fun (and we are a family that really loves movies), but if your goal is to have fun while the family is really interacting, board and card games are a fabulous way to go.

And Chara Games has provided the perfect vehicles for family fun, with both 3 Seeds and CommissionedThe games are very different, yet both are quite incredible.  We both admire and fully support (and recommend!) Chara Games, and we’ll be avidly watching for any and all games they produce in the future, while continuing to enjoy the ones we have!

 

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Where to find and purchase 3 Seeds

If you’re an Amazon shopper, you’ll be thrilled!  Chara Games is selling 3 Seeds there, and you even have time to get it before Christmas!  Just click on Amazon 3 Seeds and you’ll go right to the game page.  It’s the perfect stocking stuffer OR family gift!


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Visit Chara Games at their social media sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CharaGames/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CharaGames@Charagames

Enjoy!  –Wren

 

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.

Kwik Stix’ amazing new Neon and Metalix Solid Tempera Paint Review–& Giveaway!

Earlier this year, we had the pleasure of reviewing the Kwik Stix 12pk for the Homeschool Review Crew.  Now, Kwik Stix has some fabulous new tempera paint sticks, and The Pencil Grip, Inc. sent me and Jackson two packs of their new colors to review:  Kwik Stix Neons 6PK and Kwik Stix Metalix 6PK.  They really are amazing…and YOU can enter to win your very own set of each one!

 

 

kwik-stix-metalix-bannerWhat are Kwik Stix?

Kwik Stix are solid tempera paint sticks.  They look a little like glue sticks, and they roll up and down in the exact same manner.  They give you all of the beauty and fun of tempera paint without the stinky and mess!  They’re appropriate for use by children from ages 3 and up.  The special Neon and Metalix sets we received each had 6 Kwik Stix in the packages.

The tip is fairly wide (almost 3/4″) and rolls up and down easily.  You hold the Kwik Stix in your hands like you would a crayon or like a stick of chalk.  Then, you simply draw on your paper, wood, poster board.  We even found a new medium they could be used on…keep reading to learn more!

Kwik Stix’ tempera paint dries in about 90 seconds.  And it’s really mess-free; no paint ending up in unexpected places.  You don’t need water or palettes; the tempera paint is self-contained in the tubes.  And the colors are beautiful and vivid!

kwik-stix-metalix-7Tell me more about the Neon and Metalix Kwik Stix.

With pleasure!  The Neon and Metalix Kwik Stix sets each have 6 paint sticks in their boxes, with beautiful colors in each.  The Metalix set comes in gold, silver, fuchsia, deep green, deep blue, and deep purple.  Each of these has metallic or sparkly glints of color in them, which really enhance the depth of the color when it’s applied to paper or other media.

The Neon paint sticks colors include (all of which are, of course, neon) bright orange, vivid purple, lime green, light blue, yellow, and bright pink.

 

kwik-stix-metalix-3How we used these Kwik Stix

We’re huge art-o-philes in our home.  We love creating art (whether virtually or in real life) with many different media.  I’m blessed both to teach my own son, plus a coop class of elementary-aged students, in art.  We have used Kwik Stix before (in the larger 12-color pack) and loved the ease and beauty of the tempera sticks!  This time, I thought we’d try something completely different in the art projects we completed for this review.

First, a little Van Gogh!  When I received these tempera paint sticks and saw the Metalix set in particular, I thought immediately of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, with its sparkly stars and moon and accents.  So we began our new Kwik Stix journey with an art project copying Starry Night with the Kwik Stix.  We used both the Metalix and the Neon colors (and I also pulled out our 12-pack of Kwik Stix for extra colors).  First, we drew the outlines of the major landscape items of Van Gogh’s masterwork on stock card paper.  Then, we took our Kwik Stix and began to color.  It was so fun; and I’m very pleased with our results!

 

kwik-stix-metalix-1

Next, I thought we’d try a little Pop Art.  I found some canvas boards for an incredible price last week on Amazon, and while I wasn’t sure that Kwik Stix would play well with canvas, I really thought they would.

 

 

kwik-stix-metalix-4I found a fun cat art image on Pinterest, so I drew that lightly on my canvas board, then outlined with a Sharpie.  My son decided to draw free-hand.  We discovered that the Kwik Stix were as fabulous on canvas as they are on paper!  The color is still very vivid and bright; we used mostly the Neons on our canvases but you can also see the Metalix gold and blue in the lower left quadrant of the pop art cat.  It might have taken just a minute longer than the usual 90 seconds to dry, but not much.  And I really liked the finished results.

 

 

kwik-stix-metalix-2One interesting thing that happened while I was coloring in the cat was that I colored outside the lines in a couple of places.  I wanted to fix that, so I took a paper towel and scrubbed the spots with my fingernail.  Most of the color came right off and I was able to color over the spots.  I really like the look of the Kwik Stix on the canvas, so we tried another artwork on canvas.

Last, we did another Van GoghStarry Night turned out so well that I wanted to try the artist’s Sunflowers (from the Arles Series).  The colors were just begging to be reproduced with our Kwik Stix!  I have to say that, if you’re doing lessons on Seurat and the Pointellists, or Impressionist art, or (clearly) Van Gogh, Kwik Stix are the way to go!  Your child can mimic the broad or tiny brushstrokes beautifully with these amazing tools.

 

kwik-stix-metalix-6Our conclusions

You can probably tell that I LOVE these KWIK STIX!  They are so easy to use.  They don’t have a strong smell (or even a smell at all) like many temperas do.  They dry quickly, they glide over the paper (or the canvas), and they are just FUN.  I recommend them to you highly–whether they’re for your homeschool or for a class you’re teaching!

Best of all, The Pencil Grip, Inc. has provided a set of Kwik Stix Neons 6PK and Kwik Stix Metalix 6PK  for one of our readers to win!  Simply enter in the Giveaway Tools form below.  Giveaway ends on Sunday, November 27.  Enter today!

 

kwik-stix-metalix-5Enter to win Kwik Stix Neon and Metalix tempera paints below!

Be sure to visit The Pencil Grip, Inc. at their social media sites below!

You can purchase both Kwik Stix Neons 6PK and Kwik Stix Metalix 6PK for $5.99 at The Pencil Grip, Inc., and for slightly more than that at Amazon.  Kwik Stix Basic 6PKs and Metalix 6PKs are both available in the stationery aisle at Target.  You can simply click through these links to find out more!

Fat Brain Toys Kwik Stix Page
The Pencil Grip, Inc. at Amazon
The Pencil Grip, Inc.
Kwik Stix on Pinterest
The Pencil Grip, Inc. on Facebook

Enjoy!  –Wren

DISCLOSURE:  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.

Our Review of The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury-Audio Collection

Are you ready for Christmas season yet?  It IS just October…but we’ve just had the opportunity to review a lovely series that your family will love at Christmastime!  The Familyman Todd Wilson has written and recorded The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury – Audio Collection.  We received both a CD copy of one story and the entire collection of Digital Downloads to review for the Homeschool Review Crew.  (It’s also available as a 6-CD set.)  What fun!

 

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What is “The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury?”

How would you like a lovely collection of living stories for your family to snuggle up together and listen to this Christmas?  The Familyman Todd Wilson has written a collection of touching, hilarious, moving, and faith-building  stories which can be enjoyed by the entire family.  He’s put them together in The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury – Audio Collection in either CD format or Digital Downloads.  We received a CD copy of one story and digital downloads of 8 others (one as both CD and digital download).  All of the stories are engagingly read by Jim Hodge, who has a great background in audio stories.  The stories are also available in book form from The Familyman.  The bonus about having audiobooks is that (especially if you’re “read-aloud” fans) nobody has to do the reading; you can just pop in the CD or turn on the mp3 player and listen all together!

The Treasury includes….

six wonderful audio stories.  We actually received 8 digital downloads (plus we received The Bishop’s Dream in CD format); Todd Wilson was kind enough to provide two extra Christmas stories for us:

  • Captain Chaos and the Manger Blaster
  • Gladys Remembers Christmas
  • Cootie McKay’s Nativity
  • Harold Grubbs and the Christmas Vest
  • It’s Called Christmas
  • The Stranger
  • The Bishop’s Dream
  • The Secret of Snow Village

Each story is read by Jim Hodges and lasts 15-20 minutes.

 

So….what are these stories actually about?

All kinds of subjects and family events that would have to do with Christmas.    And without sappiness, but with lots of great redemptive storylines, and truths about what Christmas really is!  Here are some summaries of some of my own favorites, just to give you a bit of flavor of these stories:

  • In Gladys Remembers Christmas, a woman who sort of hates both her name and Christmas is packing up her widowed father’s home after he’s had to move into assisted living.  She enters the big dark house to find a particular box her father has asked for, that is tucked away in the attic next to the Christmas ornament boxes and supplies.  What she finds inside the box is –not to oversell the story– transformational.
  • On a kid-friendly note that still tells a meaningful story is Captain Chaos and the Manger Blaster.  Jason thinks that Christmas and the manger would be a LOT more interesting if Captain Chaos and his trusty blaster had participated in the story.  He is TIRED of that story and thinks it needs some livening up.  Or maybe he just wishes it hadn’t happened.  In a way that reminded me of “The Man Without A Country” updated and reshaped around Christmas, Jason gets a taste of what things would be like if baby Jesus hadn’t ever come to earth at all.
  • Cootie McKay’s Nativity tells the engaging tale of a wrecked town nativity scene and the town oddball who fixes up a replacement nativity set when the town’s budget won’t cover a brand-new one, told from the eyes of a boy and his dad who see the whole thing from start to finish.  Wonderful!
  • Harold Grubbs and the Christmas Vest provides a moment for a dad to tell his child why he hauls out the garish, outlandish vest every Christmas–and what it means to many.
  • There’s also The Bishop’s Dream (what if the read St. Nicholas traveled forward through time and saw what Christmas is like today?); It’s Called Christmas (what if in the future, “Merry Christmas” has been replaced completely with “Happy Holidays”?); The Stranger (what happens when a homeless-looking man knocks at everyone’s doors at Christmastime–do they let him in or not?); and The Secret of Snow Village (if you were a little girl, wouldn’t you want to step inside your grandmother’s tiny snow village for yourself?).

 

thefamilyman-logoHow we used them:

As I mentioned, we received The Bishop’s Dream on CD.  That made it easy to pop into the CD player in the car for trips around town.  All the rest of the stories were downloaded digitally.  I saved some of them to our PC and the rest of them to my Kindle Fire.  (I find that I’m not always able to be at my computer, but I usually have my Kindle with me, which made listening easy to do!)

Our family is in a season (we’ve just started high school homeschool) during which it seems as though we don’t have as much time for listening to audio stories.  (We made time for these though!)  We still love read-aloud stories though, so adding “living-books”-type stories continues to be a value for us.  We listened to these either just playing from the Kindle, or sometimes with earbuds via the computer.

What we thought

First of all, there couldn’t have been a better choice for an audio performer than Jim Hodge.  He is the best storyteller ever!  (Now, can I just find a way to bring him to our house to do our family read-alouds….)  He makes things so interesting and it’s always clear what’s going on in the story.  Just fabulous.

The audio is beautifully-recorded as well.  I really don’t enjoy it when we listen to audio books or stories and constantly have to turn the audio up (when there are voices) or down (when the background music swells, but swells so loudly it hurts our ears).  That just makes us less likely overall to listen to those books or stories.  I can happily tell you that we didn’t have to do that one single time with this Christmas Treasury!  The audio levels were just perfect.

And of course, I have to mention the stories.  Without being saccharine or sappy, these stories are sweet.  But in many ways, they pose interesting questions, like “What would things be like if Jesus hadn’t come?” or “can that weirdo do anything right?”  Or, they show us what Saint Nicholas might think if he were able to observe how we “do” Christmas today.  Todd Wilson has asked some fascinating questions in his stories, and answered them in ways that are believable, redemptive, and memorable.  And I can’t forget to include the adjective “enjoyable!”  Your family, with kids who are younger or older, will enjoy listening to these stories.  Grab a cup of hot cocoa, a warm blanket, and cuddle up together to hear stories that will not only show you the true meaning of Christmas, but get you in the mood for joyful celebration at the same time!

Visit Todd Wilson, the Familyman, at the following links!

You can purchase The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury – Audio Collection  in a 6-CD format or as Digital Downloads at The Familyman.  Other Crew members also reviewed these, and you can read about their experiences by clicking on the banner below.  And don’t forget to visit Todd Wilson, the The Familyman, at the social media sites below!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/youdadad
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/toddwilsonthefamilyman/
Pinterest: https://au.pinterest.com/familymantodd/
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/107435990705080484154

Blog: http://familymanweb.com/blog/

Enjoy!  –Wren

 

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