“Hey Mama!” Schoolhouse Planner for 2019/20 ~ A Review

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As a homeschooler, one thing that is vital for me each day (and each year) is lesson planning. Each year I purchase a paper planner to use. This year, The Old Schoolhouse® kindly sent me the Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 to review. I’m so excited to use it starting later this summer! Let me share more about it and how it can help you in your homeschool year!



About the author

The Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 is a 1-year homeschool planner with enough space for one through five children. It’s authored by Gena Suarez of The Old Schoolhouse®,who, along with her husband, Paul, publishes The Old Schoolhouse® magazine. They are the parents of 7 children and are longtime homeschoolers themselves. Gena brings this lifelong experience to bear in the wonderful new Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20. The result is everything you’ll need for the 2019-2020 school year!


What you’ll find in this planner

First, I have to say, it is absolutely GORGEOUS. The front and back covers are a white background with lovely flowers superimposed across them. The flowers have sort of a native cherry blossom look, but the colors are blue, purple, and a little red/brown/yellow. It’s pretty and quite appealing to look at; even before you open it! It opens and closes without a hitch. It’s spiral-bound and the covers are laminated, so it is durable and lays flat for desk work or closes like a spiral notebook would if you’re only planning to work on the first (or second) part of the week.

The Hey Mama! planner is chock-full of practical helps, weekly/daily/monthly calendars, lesson plan pages, attendance records, and other important record-keeping pages for the homeschool year. There are also encouraging notes and devotionals from Gena to the homeschool mamas on such timely topics as; anxiety, God’s provision, trials, adventure, perseverance, dread, failure, and joy. I love Gena’s words to us homeschool moms. Homeschooling is a wonderful vocation, an adventure, and a delight; but it’s also, on some days, a task we may not feel equipped for. These devotionals will bless the user on those days!



Here are some of the practical helps you’ll find in the Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20:

  • Tips on creating a transcript, and a form to you for your high schoolers
  • A checklist for skills learned and courses studied
  • 2019-2021 mini-calendars
  • Monthly large calendars with big squares to jot notes and appointments on each day
  • 90 pages for each week’s lesson plans, with spaces for up to 5 students
  • Planning pages for each child, including curriculum planning, attendance, books read over the year, yearly and semester goals



My thoughts

I haven’t begun to use my new Hey Mama! planner yet. We have JUST (and I mean, JUST) finished my son Jackson’s junior year as of last Friday. So at the moment, we’re all breathing a huge sigh of relief.

However, our minds are beginning to turn to the 2019-2020 school year, which will be Jackson’s senior year. We’re considering curricula, coop classes, volunteering, driving lessons and practice; all the things that will comprise his last year of high school. As this planner starts in July 2020 and runs through May 2020, I’ll begin filling it in soon, I’m sure!

I love everything about the Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20. I love the feel of the beautiful color; the nice white pages inside just waiting for my pencil to begin writing; all the practical helps that will lead and support us on our way in this coming year. I can’t wait to get started!


How you can get your own Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20


It’s easy! Simply follow this link Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20  to purchase your own Hey Mama! planner from The Old Schoolhouse® .  Prices start at $22, with planners also available for shipping to Canada and to international addresses.

And, don’t delay. The Old Schoolhouse® has sold through 98% of their print planners. If you’d like to get one of these planners for your 2019-2020 homeschool year, this is your moment to do so!


Thanks for letting me share this with you! Have a lovely first week of June!


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.

Holiday Craft with Kwik Stix Solid Tempera Paint Sticks–and a Giveaway/Review! (CLOSED)

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Hello, friends!

It’s time for another Kwik Stix project, and giveaway!  Earlier in the semester, The Pencil Grip, Inc. sent us a fabulous 12-pack of Kwik Stix Solid Tempera Paint in Metalix to review at FINCHNWREN.  We loved them so much, and enjoyed our art projects with them so much, that we and The Pencil Grip, Inc. decided to do another art project and review!  The Pencil Grip, Inc. is providing a 12-pack of Kwik Stix Thin Stix Solid Tempera Paint in Classic Colors for one FINCHNWREN reader to win.  Read on to find out more about Kwik Stix, a fun holiday art project you can create at your house, and the giveaway!




What are Kwik Stix?

Kwik Stix are the coolest art medium ever, and they are perfect for creating no-mess art projects!  Kwik Stix are solid tempera paint sticks.  They are non-toxic, designed for ages 3 and up, and are also nut-, egg-, and gluten-free.

If you’ve ever used a glue stick, you’ll immediately recognize and be able to use the Kwik Stix containers.  Housed in plastic with a cap and roller so that the child can roll the tempera stick up and down, they completely remove the usual supplies for painting.  You’ll never need water, cups, paint, or paintbrushes to use Kwik Stix.  Everything you need to paint is contained in the plastic Kwik Stix container!


However, while they remove the messy aspects of painting, the Kwik Stix keep all the beauty and vividness of paint.  The colors are rich and gorgeous, and they can be used on a wide variety of art surfaces, including; paper, wood, canvas, cardboard, plastic, rocks, and sometimes even ceramic!  The paint dries where it’s applied almost immediately.  The Kwik Stix also come in two styles:  the regular sticks, which are 3 1/2″ long and 3/4″ wide; and the Thin Stix, which are 5 1/2″ long and 1/2″ wide.  The regular-sized Kwik Stix are perfect for preschoolers’ hands, but both can be used by students of any age, as long as they’re at least 3 years old!

We also love Kwik Stix because you can easily transport them anywhere, and use them to make art anywhere as well!  You can take them in the car (and use them there), to the park, or to any other place your kids would like to make art.


Our Holiday Art Project with Kwik Stix

We had fun recently making some faux “stained glass” pictures with our Kwik Stix that looked just like a snowy December.  I’ve taught art to coop groups for years, and I love using transparency sheets (remember those from your overhead projector days in school?) to create art.  You can use Sharpies or many kinds of paint—including the amazing Kwik Stix—to  make cool art!  Here’s how we did it…and you can too!


Kwik Stix Solid Tempera Paint sticks (any color pack)
A black Sharpie
White printer paper (one sheet per child)Pencil
Clear transparency sheets (we used 3M Transparency Sheets, available at office supply stores or Amazon) Clear Scotch tape (or other brand)


  1. Draw a simple wintery scene on a piece of printer paper using a pencil.  You could draw trees, a Christmas tree, gifts, a manger, angels, a Hanukkah menorah…whatever catches your fancy!  (If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas just head over to Pinterest and browse there.  They have tons of fun holiday ideas, and I bet you could get some ideas!)
  2. Once you have your line drawing, lay your transparency over the printer paper.  Use two small pieces of tape (1″ to 1 1/2″ or so) to secure your transparency to the line drawing.  (You want to do this because otherwise, your transparency may slide around while you’re working on it.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  3. Now, get your Sharpie and trace over the line drawing.  You’ll end up with an outline (not unlike the lead portions of a real stained glass window) that will tell you where to put the colors.
  4. Using your Kwik Stix, color in your drawing!  Depending on which colors you’re working with, you may find that you need to color several layers if you’re wanting a deeper final color.  However, the transparencies really do take the Kwik Stix well and they dry pretty quickly.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  5. Last, take your picture and tape it up on one of your windows!  You’ll love seeing the art and the light  shining through the drawing.


Where can you find Kwik Stix?

Kwik Stix are available to buy:

-in-store at Walgreens

-in-store and online at Michaels: http://www.michaels.com/search?q=kwik%20stix

-online at Target: https://www.target.com/s?searchTerm=kwik+stix+paint

-online at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=kwik+stix


You can enter to win a set of Kwik Stix Thin Stix!

The Pencil Grip, Inc. has provided a generous gift for a giveaway!  One winner will be selected to win a Kwik Stix 12-PK Thin Stix set.  To enter, simply click on the pink “Enter here!” link below.  That will take you to a Giveaway Tools page where you can enter to win in a variety of ways.  Giveaway closes 12/25/18.  Best wishes!

Enter here!


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.


Introducing the gorgeous Ellie Claire 365-Day Devotional Journals~A Review and Giveaway! (CLOSED)



I imagine that this is a BUSY time of year for you.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had a few moments to simply rest, reflect, and read some thoughtful devotional and Scriptures?  Thanks to Worthy Publishing and their division Ellie Claire, I have just the thing to share with you…and even a giveaway for one person to win!  Ellie Claire generously sent me three of their lovely new journals to use and review.  One of these will be gifted to a FINCHNWREN reader, just in time to jump-start 2019!  The journals are entitled: Peace Begins with Me; Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus; and The Earth is the Lord’s and Everything in It.  Let me tell you more, and show you!



The Ellie Claire 365-Day Devotional Journals provide a place each day for readers to quiet a heart, think upon the Lord, and dwell on Scriptures and the Lord.  Each devotional is organized around a theme or idea.  The covers of the journals are vividly and gorgeously illustrated, and the books have an elastic band to hold the books closed (as well as an attached ribbon bookmark).  Inside, you’ll find pages for entries on each one of the 365 days of the year.  Each page begins with a quote of some kind, followed by a devotional writing.  Scripture verses are included, as well as blank lined sections at the end, for the reader to jot down thoughts, prayers, and ideas.


Peace Begins with Me

Peace Begins with Me has a lovely green/blue/white watercolor wash cover, with a golden title.  The inside is just as restful and pretty, containing white pages with green borders and a clear, readable font.  This journal’s theme is, of course, peace; specifically, gaining peace for ourselves by learning, knowing, and dwelling with the Prince of Peace Himself, Jesus.  Each page begins with a verse of Scripture that directs our attention to God, and explores who He is.


Who is Jesus?  In Peace Begins with Me, we’re reminded that He is:

  • The Lamb, whose glory lights the New Jerusalem
  • The One who gives us strength in suffering
  • The Maker of heaven and earth
  • The One who calms the storm
  • and more!

Some of my favorite devotional passages from this journal include the following:

“God, however, is not like us. He is not limited in what He can see and do. God sees full scope and far range, from an unhindered perspective. His view is not hampered by a cluttered past or the baggage of sin or the clouds of fear. We cannot even imagine what is known to Him in a glance. But we can ask and we can seek, and in Him we shall find.” (September 12)

“We human beings often talk about God’s will. When life is going well, we totally support the Lord’s plan for us. When the road gets bumpy or flat-out painful, we’re confused at best, despairing at worst, and hardly able to believe that the Almighty’s will is good or perfect….To be specific, our God is mighty to save you from death and gracious to redeem your life…” (December 5)



I love a lot about this particular journal.  What I Iove the most is how it takes me out of my day-to-day routine and points me at an aspect of God that perhaps I’ve forgotten about.  As a busy homeschool mom of a high school junior, my days are filled with a LOT.  Training my son, teaching him upper-level subjects, supervising the classes he takes online; and getting out of the way so that he can develop skills and become more and more the person he’s meant to be.  My daily prayers are focused on that, on my husband and family, on strength so that I can manage my day and responsibilities well.  But over and above all that is the God who loves me and my family; who has amazing purposes, and is working out things I can’t even imagine.  To move my focus to Him?  Yes, it really does bring peace.

Where you can find Peace Begins with Me:

Amazon: http://bit.ly/PeaceonAmazon

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/PeaceonBN


Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

From the title of Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus — if you’ve ever sung from a hymnal before — you might surmise that this journal’s theme centers on quotes from hymns.  If you did, you’d be correct!  Each page begins with a line from a hymn (or a praise and worship song), that tells us something about God and His character.  Then, the devotional develops that idea more fully, followed by Bible verses to read.  The pages close with lines for journaling.

If you are someone who loves worship music (both old and new), you will love this journal.  I personally love the old hymns for what they show us about God.  Newer worship songs do the same, in different ways.  Here are some of the lovely words found in Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus:

From August 21’s entry:

“Broader than the scope of my transgressions, greater far than all my sin and shame, O magnify the precious name of Jesus, praise His name!” –“Wonderful Grace of Jesus,” Haldor Lillenas

“Fortunately, as believers we know the battle for our souls has been won.  Jesus, the Son of God, understood the threat of sin, waged war against the enemy, and rose victorious over sin and the grave.”

Or, another great reading, from March 3:

“He bled, He died to save me; and not alone the gift of life, but His own self He gave me.” –“I’ve Found a Friend, Such a Friend,” James G. Small

“Times of adversity reveal who our true friends are.  The good news is, you never have to wonder with Jesus; He is always a friend.  A friend to those who feel friendless–the Companion who endures with you through loss and sadness.  In fact, He is more than a friend–He is Savior and Lord.”


I love Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.  Beautifully, it reminds me of all the steps in my journey of faith; from my grandmother singing hymns in her kitchen, to my days at camp where I first heard the gospel, to my time as a missionary and even my current life, as it reminds me of God in all His glory and goodness.  How amazing to remember that God is at work, has been at work, and always will be at work in us all!


Where to buy Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus:

Amazon: http://bit.ly/EyesonAmazon

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/EyesonBN


The Earth Is the Lord’s, and Everything In It

The Earth Is the Lord’s, and Everything In It journal pages begin with a Bible verse.  Then, the authors connect that verse to a particular aspect of creation, or to one of their own experiences in nature.  (You can tell that these coauthors have spent a lot of time enjoying and experiencing the great outdoors!)  Each page then ends with a short prayer and blank lines to journal in, along with corner decorations of colorful peacocks and flowers.

Have you ever experienced God through the riches of creation?  As Romans 1 reminds us, “ For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen…”  Perhaps you’ve taken your family camping and marveled at meteor showers or constellations in the night sky, away from the bright lights of the city.  Or, maybe you’ve taken a walk when a light snow is falling, and felt the quiet and hush as you’ve trodden the snowy ground.  Or, delighted in the roar of the waves on beach trips.  This book will take you through these experiences and more, and remind you of the God whose hand is behind them and in them, speaking to you through His creation and Scriptures.


Some of my favorite passages include:

“Likewise, God is a compass for our lives.  When we face important decisions, He will guide us if we will listen—“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.'”  (Isaiah 30:21), from November 16

“I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit.”  (Leviticus 16:4) “Even as a child I saw the difference between what I could offer and what God could do…I’ve not forgotten the lessons learned in Dad’s garden…”  from March 17


Where to buy The Earth Is the Lord’s and Everything In It:

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/EarthonBN


In closing…and a giveaway for you to enter!

Each of these books is lovely in its own way; and if you’re looking for a beautiful and thoughtful journal to gift to someone special, do check out these books!  I’ve included some Amazon and Barnes & Noble links for you, in case you’d like to bless someone (or even yourself!) this December.

I am giving away The Earth Is the Lord’s and Everything In It journal to one FINCHNWREN reader!  To enter, simply comment below and tell me something you love about nature.  Entrants from the continental U.S. only (48 contiguous states).  The giveaway will close on 12/26/18, and one winner will be selected to win the journal.  Best wishes!

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.

BELOVED Devotional for Young Women Review & Giveaway (CLOSED)

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Are you looking for a new devotional for young women?  FlyBy/Propeller Promotions kindly sent me Lindsay A. Franklin’s newest book, Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women to review.  It has been a pleasure and an encouragement to read and use this book in my own daily Bible reading times.  And I’ll be able to share a copy of Beloved with one FINCHNWREN reader, because FlyBy also provided a copy for me to give away!



About Beloved

Have you ever wished you had all the Bible information about women all in one place?

If so, you will love Beloved!

Beloved is Lindsay A. Franklin’s newest devotional for young women.  It contains a full year’s worth of daily devotionals (yes, 365!) in a beautiful hardback book that’s sized at just over 7″ x 5″.  It’s sturdy and has a nice heft, but it’s just right for holding or opening up in a lap or on a desk.  The pages are a creamy white with black text, a lovely pink, green, and yellow floral border, and journaling lines at the bottom of each page.  And, its subject matter is perfect for young women (but really, women of all ages will love it).

Franklin has delved deeply into the Bible and has drawn out the life stories and experiences of about 60 biblical women, both named and unnamed.  Then, she penned devotionals with life direction, lessons, and Scriptures that young (and older!) women can learn from.  The stories and choices Franklin explores are not just the good and beautiful ones, interestingly enough; because we can learn not only from women’s positive choices, but the negative ones, as well.


In Beloved, you’ll find meditations on the lives of many women, including:

  • Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah
  • Delilah
  • Jael
  • Shiphrah and Puah
  • Rahab
  • Hannah
  • Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth
  • Abigail
  • The Shunammite woman
  • and so many more, including meditations on the Proverbs 31 woman!



While this book is designed with a reading for each day of the year, I often read several pages at a time for the purposes of this review.  I found my reading times so rich, beautiful and encouraging.  Each daily devotional is tied to a verse (or collection of verses) of Scripture.  So, it’s very easy to turn to those verses and read an entire Bible section or chapter to get the expanded story of the women being discussed, alongside the devotional passage.  Each day’s reading is concise yet still full of wisdom and understanding.  Franklin is able to, quite effectively, connect these ancient women’s experiences to the things we need to know and live by in our own present day.


Some of my favorite readings…

…came from most unexpected places.  Like these words, about Lot’s wife:

“We never get to hear words directly from Lot’s wife in the Bible.
She doesn’t have one line of dialogue, so it’s hard to know who she might have been.
But, because of her ultimate end, she has gone down in history as an example of
what happens when we look backward instead of forward.”  (p. 43)

But I also loved these words about Sarah (Abraham’s wife), whom we’d consider a better example than Mrs. Lot:

“We can draw strength from examples like Sarah’s story. She wasn’t perfect
in her patience or in her belief that God would follow through for her,
but we don’t tend to be perfect in those areas either. We have the benefit
of being able to see Sarah’s whole story, many millennia later, and so we can
easily understand that God works out his will in his timing. It takes strength
to be patient, but letting God’s plan unfold is always worth the wait.” (p. 35)


Or, these beautiful words drawn from the life of Samuel’s mother, Hannah:

“The long-term solution is to understand that we aren’t created for comparison.
You were created with unique gifts to use, particular trials to overcome, and
specific triumphs to celebrate. When you embrace your own path and avoid
falling into the comparison trap, you can find contentment, as well as the
motivation to be the very best you possible.”  (p. 198)


For many years, I spent much of my Bible study time on the Epistles, Psalms, or Proverbs.  Sometimes it’s comforting (and instructive) to read the actual instructions that the Bible has for us.  However, it can be just as rich and absolutely as valuable for us to observe the lives, choices, mistakes, and faithfulness of different Bible persons.  Beloved is wonderful to read; to stop and take some time each day, and to look at these ancient women.  If we stop for a moment, to look, read, and pray, we can grow and become more equipped in wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and maturity as we seek to follow Christ.  Definitely check this book out.  It is so worth your time, and worth the time of the young women you parent and mentor!

For more information, click on the Zondervan link below:




And…I have one copy of Beloved to give away!

Simply click on the pink “Enter here!” link below.  That will take you to a Giveaway Tools form, where you can enter to win a copy in a variety of ways.  The giveaway will close 12/10/18, and one winner will be selected from all entries.  Best wishes!

Enter here!


Enjoy!  –Wren



Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


Our Fall Recap of High School Chemistry with Bridgeway Academy (Plus a coupon AND a giveaway valued at over $80!) – CLOSED

#sponsored #partner


We have been so fortunate to partner with Bridgeway Academy again this year for another of my son Jackson’s high school courses.  Last year Jackson took Apologia Biology with Bridgeway and had an exceptional experience (PLUS got his high school biology and lab credits!) throughout the year.  For this, Jackson’s junior year, he is taking their FYC Chemistry with Lab, which is in Bridgeway’s Live Online Classes category for high school students.

Keep reading for more on our chemistry experience PLUS a giveaway and a discount code for you!


How do Bridgeway Academy’s Live Online Classes work?

Bridgeway Academy excels at providing fascinating online classes for students using certified teachers, exceptional curricula, and top-notch web technology.  Each week, students meet in an online classroom where they’re able to connect with instructors and fellow classmates to learn, collaborate, and complete assignments.  Following each’s week’s online class, students read, work on projects, write, and (in the case of the science courses) perform experiments at home.  In addition, Bridgeway Academy‘s Moodle site enables students to take tests, submit assignments, work on course content, and view their grades.  Students need a computer, high-speed internet, and a headset with an attached microphone in order to attend these live online classes.


FYC Chemistry with Lab

Bridgeway Academy‘s FYC Chemistry with Lab course is designed for high school students and is taught in a regular school year (fall and spring semesters).  Completing the course provides 1 1/2 credits for the course and the lab work.  This chemistry class is taught by a certified science teacher (as well as a high school advisor for Bridgeway), Melissa Lindahl.  We purchased the textbooks for the course, which are the Integrated Physics and Chemistry Textbooks and Activity Books from Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum.  (We are only using the chemistry texts from this set which comprise a full year’s course; the physics texts would cover a year’s worth as well.  But we’re not taking physics this year so we don’t need that portion!)  Because experiments are part of this course, we also purchased Bridgeway Academy’s Chemistry Kit and Lab Manual.

Each week, Jackson attends a virtual class online with Mrs. Lindahl and his classmates, who are from all over the U.S.  The class lasts for an hour and a half.  Mrs. Lindahl teaches the week’s material.  She also spends time in class covering some additional chemistry equations (math).  Then, for the rest of the week the students have reading assignments, activity book Q&As, fill-in-the-blanks, and short essay questions to do.  There are also experiments assigned that students complete at home, and record in their lab manuals.  Most of the materials utilized in the experiments are in the lab kit (except for some household products like distilled water). Tests and quizzes are administered online.


Our Experiences

We have, truly, loved everything we have done with Bridgeway Academy.  Their classes are well-organized, well-taught, and are both effective and challenging at appropriate age levels.  Josh spends about an hour working on and studying chemistry each school day.  He spends more time on chemistry than he does on most of his other homeschool subjects (except for math, perhaps).  That is not that surprising, honestly; chemistry is a subject that requires substantial effort from its students.

From September through mid-November, this class has covered the following topics:

  • The periodic table of the elements
  • Chemical symbols
  • Lavoisier and his list of elements
  • Sulfur, carbon, graphite, coal, platinum, zinc
  • Alloys
  • Cobalt, nickel, manganese, molybdenum, tungsten
  • Gases and the atmosphere
  • Hydrogen, humidity, and barometric pressure
  • Balancing equations (and other chemistry math equations)
  • Acids, bases, and pH

He has also completed several experiments.  (They haven’t been too freaky.  But they have included chemicals that required careful use and gloves, as well as meticulous cleanup afterwards!)

He is learning a LOT in this class.  It is interesting and challenging at the same time.  The experiments effectively illustrate the principles being taught.  And frankly?  High school chemistry is so not my area of expertise.  I am grateful for a teacher who can teach this subject to my son!

I am also appreciative of Mrs. Lindahl’s responsiveness.  I emailed her several weeks ago about a difficulty Jackson was experiencing with the math equations they were learning.  She responded really quickly, understood our concerns, told me that there were other students experiencing the same thing, and that she planned to address these issues in class.


Here’s what Jackson has to say about his chemistry class: “The weekly class is put together incredibly well.  The teacher explains things well.  The interaction between the teacher and students is well-balanced.  The schedule is good.”  He likes his teacher and his classmates, and the time he spends with them each week.

Again, from the homeschool mom’s perspective, I am so happy that Jackson is able to take Bridgeway Academy‘s high school chemistry class.  I just have so little to offer in this arena!  And since the colleges in our state require high school chemistry class and lab on entering students’ transcripts, we really needed this.  I can rest assured that Jackson is getting an excellent education in chemistry; something that I would have been quite challenged to provide.


And, Bridgeway Academy has a coupon for you to use!

Bridgeway Academy is happy to provide a 15% OFF one of their classes, when you use the coupon code FINCHDEC18!  You can register now for spring semester classes; registration for those closes December 15, 2018.  Check out the Live Online Classes by following the link.  Then when you register, just enter the code FINCHDEC18 for 15% OFF the course price!  (This does not apply to textbooks or materials, just the courses themselves.)

Perhaps you, like me, find that there are courses that your homeschool student needs to take that are just not in your skills set.  Or, maybe your homeschool needs a breath of fresh air and you think that an online class might really benefit your student.  Or perhaps your elementary, middle school, or high school student would enjoy an online class with students from all over the country.  There are many reasons that Bridgeway Academy could be amazing for your family.  Check out the course link above.  I’m certain that you’ll find something captivating!


And Bridgeway Academy and FINCHNWREN have a giveaway for you to enter!

We’re so happy to cohost this fun giveaway!  With the fall school semester heading to a close, and the holidays right around the corner, we thought it was the perfect moment for our readers to get the chance to win a #Pampering Gift Set!  (We’ve definitely got a blue and pink theme going here!)  One FINCHNWREN reader will win the following goodies:

  • A gorgeous, soft, pink big-knit infinity scarf from Old Navy (valued at $16.99)
  • A blue, pink, and white plaid flannel throw (sized 50″ x 56″) from Old Navy (valued at $10)
  • A chunky wooden verse block plaque with Psalm 143:8 scripted on it ($4.99)
  • Blue peacock fleece socks (also) from Old Navy (valued at $5)
  • Vanilla Bean Noel Fine Fragrance Mist from Bath & Body Works (valued at $14)
  • OPI Nail Lacquer in refreshing blush pink “Let Me Bayou A Drink” (valued at $10.50)
  • Bridgeway Academy’s beautiful blue travel mug (valued at $15)
  • Renee Green’s funny & encouraging new book, The Breaking Point

This #Pampering Gift Set giveaway will run from 11/27/18 through 12/15/18.  To enter, just click on the pink “Enter here!” link below.  That will  take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter in a variety of ways.  When the giveaway closes on 12/15, one winner will be selected and contacted. Best wishes—and don’t forget to check out Bridgeway Academy‘s amazing classes for your student!

Enter here!


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.







Win Chris Tomlin’s new CD “Holy Roar”! Review & Giveaway (CLOSED)

#sponsored #partner

CONGRATULATIONS to winner Gracie M! Gracie will receive the Holy Roar CD.  Thanks to everyone for entering!

Hello friends!

I have a fantastic new giveaway and review to share with you!  Propeller/FlyBy Promotions sent me a free CD to check out…and they’re providing another one for one special FINCHNWREN reader to win!  This time, it’s worship leader Chris Tomlin’s newest, Holy Roar.  Read on for more!

We have loved Chris Tomlin’s worship music for years.  In fact, you’re probably familiar with a lot of them!  Like “How Great Is Our God,” “Here I Am to Worship,” “I Will Rise,” “God of Wonders,” “Holy is the Lord,” “Everlasting God.”  Or one of my personal faves, “Famous One.”  (I LOVE that!)  Chris has always penned and recorded songs which help listeners focus on God’s incredible qualities while enabling them to enter into a place of worship.

What you’ll find in Tomlin’s newest, Holy Roar

Holy Roar contains 12 new songs performed by Chris (or, in two occasions, with other artists).  The album as a whole reflects the songwriting and performance styles we’ve come to associate with this worship leader.  You’d definitely recognize this as a Chris Tomlin album.  The songs include:

  • the title track “Holy Roar”
  • “Satisfied”
  • “Goodness, Love and Mercy”
  • “Is He Worthy?
  • “Praise is the Highway”
  • and more

The focus of this album is very much upon God and His goodness.  This time, however, I see a lot that centers on our personal experiences with God and how God interacts with us, as a loving Father and Savior to His own children.  God is not that heavenly clockmaker (as the early Deists would have described him) who winds up the universe, steps back, and lets it run down without any more interaction from Him.  No, He creates, He intervenes, He expresses, He loves us both corporately but also individually.


Some of my favorites…

I enjoyed the entire album, for sure.  But some of the songs in particular grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let go.  Like “Nobody Loves Me Like You,” which says:

Morning, I see You in the sunrise every morning
It’s like a picture that You’ve painted for me
A love letter in the sky
Story, I could’ve had a really different story
But you came down from Heaven to restore me
Forever saved my life

Or, the incredible words of “Is He Worthy?”:

Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave…
Is He worthy of this? He is

I also love “Praise is the Highway”:

The rocks will cry out
The oceans will roar
The mountains will bow to the name of the Lord
He is our God, He will be praised


In conclusion

Holy Roar is another fantastic CD for anyone to add to a personal worship collection.  This album will encourage you, help you to quiet your soul, and enter into a beautiful time of worship.  Check it out!  Or…enter to win a copy!

And the giveaway!

I have one copy of Holy Roar to give away to one winner!  To enter, simply click on the pink “Enter Here!” link below.  That will take you to a Giveaway  Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter to win in a variety of ways.  Giveaway will close 11/5/18.  Best wishes!

Enter here!


How to purchase:

Visit this link to purchase your own copy (if you’re not the winner!): https://christomlin.lnk.to/HolyRoarQW



Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

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.

Intentional Bites Planner from MyFreezEasy ~ My New Love! (And Review)

#sponsored #affiliate links included

Hello friends!

If you’ve read the FINCHNWREN blog for awhile, you know how my family and I just adore MyFreezEasy. I love their freezer meal planning system and recipes; in fact, those help my family eat healthily while they keep me from freaking out at the last minute every weeknight because I’m exhausted or I don’t know what to cook.

Now, Erin Chase, the MyFreezEasy creator, has developed an amazing new tool to help us track, design, and determine the eating and healthy living plan that we need.  It’s called the Intentional Bites Planner, and MyFreezEasy kindly sent me my very own copy (free!) to try out and review for you.  Better yet, it launches today!  And I have a code for a $10 discount for you that I’ll share at the end of this post!



What is the Intentional Bites Planner?

Erin Chase is a master at planning meals, getting the most for her grocery buck, and (of course) freezer meal planning.  However, she noticed in her own life that she felt better when she ate certain foods and not as well, when she ate others.  She thought, how could she begin to track those foods that helped her as well as eliminate those that did not?  Out of that experience, Erin developed the Intentional Bites Planner.  It is designed around these steps:

  • Deciding on your own eating plan
  • Keeping a journal and meal plans
  • Making movement a priority
  • Tracking for best results

All of these steps have the goals of enabling you to feel better, look better, and be better.


How I used the Intentional Bites Planner

The Intentional Bites Planner is divided into 3 sections; My Intentional Bites, My Food Journal, and My Meal Plans.  In the first section, I did a personal assessment.  (Which sounds overwhelming but wasn’t, at all.)  I recorded things like how I wanted to feel, or meals that were my favorites.  Then I wrote ideas for meals at home that I could plan ahead of time.  (It was a longer list than I thought it would be!)  There were also sections for hydration, supplements/vitamins/meds, and exercise.  (Don’t even ask me how this happened but once the homeschool year started I’ve hardly done ANY exercise!  Ack.)



Section 2, My Food Journal, gave me a place to record my food and drink intake each day.  Now, THAT was truly eye-opening.  I really thought I was doing a LOT better on food and daily hydration than I actually was.  I start out well.  I drink 16 oz. of water every morning when I get up.  Then I have a cup of coffee.  And I often eat fresh spinach and eggs for breakfast.  (I know that may sound gross to you…but I try to get a certain amount of fiber in each day and a breakfast salad really helps me on my way.)

But, the longer the day goes on and the more tired I become, the more I may depend on a Dr Pepper or as much coffee as I can stuff into my body.  Wow.  I sort of knew that…but seeing it in black and white on a page was pretty eye-opening.  However, each page is pretty encouraging at the same time because you can also list how you actually WANT to eat and drink.  And, how you feel as a result.

Section 3 provides shopping list/meal plans, and weekly meal planners.  I loved those!  I haven’t had a calendar page before which gives me space to write out every meal I’m planning for the week.  That was the best visual image plus it also helped me to not have the same kind of meal or the same kind of protein every single night.


What I think about this planner

I have to admit this to you.  I LOVE planners.  Lesson planners, personal planners, school planners.  I love them all.  So, it wasn’t a huge leap to think that I would love the Intentional Bites Planner as well.  And, I did!  It is well made and sturdy.  The pages are nicely printed, the spiral works beautifully, and the whole thing is just gorgeous.

But it is so much more than a pretty package.  I think that we all imagine or know that we could eat better, or plan our days and meals more effectively.  However, actually making that happen can feel horribly overwhelming.  And even though I really enjoy to-do lists and planning, I never really got past weekly meal planning or freezer cooking.  And when life got crazy or my schedule got too full, it was way too easy to just default to takeout or fast food.  I was really missing the consistency portion of choosing the foods that were best for me and my family…and then making those meals happen.

The tools in the Intentional Bites Planner have really helped me to stop, take a serious look at my schedule and my days, and then begin to make choices and plans to help me and my family.  When I first heard about this planner, I wasn’t really sure that it was a tool that I needed because I think I choose good foods overall; and I’m not needing to eliminate certain types of foods or pursuing a diet per se.  However, what I needed most was what this planner provides; a tool to help me consider my eating and scheduling choices, to think through my life (and the margin I so often have lacked in the past) and to create a plan that will help us pursue health.  What an incredible gift.

I do, happily, recommend the Intentional Bites Planner to you.  It is a fantastic, non-overwhelming tool for anyone who wants to develop a healthy life and a healthful eating and exercise plan.  And, it is fun to use!  And, I believe, over time it will enable us to build the habits and tools we desperately need or want to live well.  And, for those of us who have children, it will help us model these things for our kids as well.



How to order your own Intentional Bites Planner

Just click through on this link for Intentional Bites Planner.  That will take you to the website where you can purchase your very own copy.  And, if you use the launch code IBP10, you will get $10 off your copy!

Do check this out.  I truly believe it can be a life-changing tool for most (if not all) of us.

Enjoy!  –Wren



In accordance with FTC regulations, we are providing this Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in our posts are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we may receive an affiliate commission, which will never cost you anything. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will add value to our readers.

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.