Sharing new authors, books, movies, and products with you is such a joy! If you are looking for homeschooling reviews from a transparent relaxed learning eclectic lifestyle with two active middle school boys - - you may enjoy my main blog - .

Monday, May 26, 2014

Signed, Sealed, Delivered, a Review


The show aires SUNDAYS, 8/7c on Hallmark

  • Website: Hallmark - Signed Sealed Delivered
  • Facebook: Signed Sealed Delivered
  • Facebook for creator Martha Williamson:


    I am delighted to share a new Hallmark Television show with you, Signed, Sealed, Delivered. I just watched an episode and I enjoyed it. It has the standard Hallmark reactions, smiles, giggles, struggle, triumph – all packed into one episode. I enjoyed the post office lost letter theme of this episode. I will assume by the title of the show, that we will meet many people through lost mail.

    My family enjoys watching series on television. Generally, it is difficult to watch a pilot or even the first three shows and form a solid opinion. With this one show, I got to know the staff at the post office. Their working and personal relationships with each other were established. I liked all of the characters. The sets are simple yet beautiful. I am not sure what time period it is, other than a clue about when the person wrote the letter, but I’ll assume it is written for present day.

    The interactions are a bit cheeky. Hallmarky. Many of the exchanges are expected, the story line runs as expected – with one mystery revealed in the middle of the program.

    The characters are adults, talking about adult topics – not as in worldly, just probably not very interesting to young children.

    We do not have cable, but I’ll be looking for this series to post episodes online. I am always looking for entertaining simple shows to watch. Their inclusion of scriptures in the music score and over all theme of morality is a breath of fresh air.

    I hope you all get a chance to check it out on Hallmark Channel on Sundays at 8/7c.

    From the Producers:
    Signed, Sealed, Delivered

    The new original series "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" is a wonderful combination of romance, comedy and drama that follows the lives of four postal detectives who transform themselves into a team of detectives to track down intended recipients of undeliverable mail. Their missions take them out of the office where redirected letters and packages can save lives, solve crimes, reunite old loves and change futures by arriving late but somehow always on time. The team includes charming Oliver O’Toole (Eric Mabius), the group's leader is a man of faith who prayerfully approaches his work with the goal of making a difference in people's lives; new team member, Shane McInerney (Kristin Booth), a technophile who brings 21st century sensibility to the group; free-spirited, “girl next door” Rita Haywith (Crystal Lowe) who has a photographic memory; and lovable Norman Dorman (Geoff Gustafson), a master in conventional research methods.

    This incredible series even incorporates scripture in its themes and in the conversations between characters.  In FACT, The American Bible Society has built a bible study to go with the series, Sign up for that here:

    Disclaimer:  I received a viewing link from FlyBy Promotions Blogger Network for one episode to base my review on. No compensation was given for this review.

    • Wednesday, February 12, 2014

      For Every Season, Bk 3, A Review

      For Every Season - Cindy Woodsmall

      I have enjoyed following Rhoda Byler, Samuel King and Jacob King to Unity, Main as they continue in their Orchard business and starting their new Amish Community. This volume brings us further into their Orchard business and into the lives of the other people in Unity, Main. We learn more about Rhoda’s visions and what she is hearing. I like Jacob’s character; his behavior never seems to follow typical Amish Fiction story lines. The trusting of Rhoda as the horticulturist also goes outside the boundaries.  This is volume is more about the Orchard, the Amish Communities, finding out mysteries from the past and future, and wondering if the new community will bear fruit – than it is about an Amish Romance.  A delightful read, great for a weekend!



      Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exhange for this honest review.

      Sunday, February 2, 2014

      Unstoppable, Kirk Cameron, A Review

      unstoppable dvd

      I was stoked to be available to review the movie Unstoppable by Kirk Cameron. The boys and I were away on a surf trip when the movie arrived. I planned for a day when all four of us would be free to watch the movie together.

      With all of the hype that we’ve seen from Cameron about the film, I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to be encouraged, excited for the boys, excited for hubby – Excited.

      The movie is played out slowly in the beginning. Kirk walking around talking about coming home to find out his friend’s son had passed away due to cancer. He tears up and wrestles with the question of “Where is God”? 

      We are swept to amazingly graphic images of Genesis. Truly, this is is the one saving portion of the film, the portrayal of creation, man’s creation, Eve’s appearance. Wow. Stunning cinematography.

      However, my family was asking  a bigger question of ‘What”. Everyones eye brows knit together as Kirk tells us that since the beginning of man, we were destined to sin, death, separation, murder, death. It’s OK that we face death today, because we’ve been facing it since Genesis. It’s OK that we have a smidgen of hope now, because God had to kill his own son to make death a little more bearable. Death. Destruction. Lies. Murder. Gore.

      And I’m watching with 2 tween boys and my husband. And they are a bit weirded out about the film. I would definitely not watch it with young children.

      I was asking myself – who is this film written for? The pre-believer? If you didn’t have a reference to the Biblical stories, much of the film would not make sense. My 13 year old son had to keep asking what was going on, and we’d explain what story Kirk was on, and he’d get back into it.

      Is this film for the believer? Is this to encourage the believer? The stories ,although beautifully executed are pretty much elementary Sunday school lesson stuff.

      There is a section where he talks about Noah’s Flood and we all agreed that Grandma didn’t stop class to really think about what it would have sounded like while all of the people drowned.

      He wanted us to see that death has been a part of every story. Since time began.

      There were scenes, I hope, recreated of his friend’s funeral. It just seemed so creepy. Like we were peeking in on their suffering. Or that Kirk was using their suffering to promote this film. All four of us turned away.

      I got up to do dishes and the boys rushed off to their activities. My husband spent time on the extras of the DVD. He said he was looking, to see if there was something we missed. It seemed that the only thing unstoppable is death and hurt and sin. I know we were supposed to get that God is Unstoppable even though there is sin that caused death, but it was pretty heavy the other way. So very visual.

      I posted on FB wondering if I was the only one? Was I the only one that found this highly promoted film just a bit – off? Many of my friends chimed in that they felt the same way but felt bad to talk against a project of Kirk Cameron.

      I don’t recommend this film for kids. Or teens. I don’t recommend you make your husband sit through it. I think if you have a kid that wants to be in film, that it was amazingly made. I think Kirk gave a few images and questions to make you think outside of the box. Like – if Adam and Eve took the advice of an animal, a beast, is that why God made them clothes from the beasts, so they could resemble who they followed? Um. I guess that’s something to think about.

      A bit disappointed. -


      About the film:

      Inspired by the death of Cameron’s close friend who succumbed to cancer at the age of 15, Kirk Cameron takes viewers on an inspiring and hope-filled visual journey to better understand the biggest doubt-raising question in faith: “Where is God in the midst of tragedy and suffering?”

      Going back to the beginning—literally—Kirk investigates the origins of good and evil and how they impact our lives … and our eternities. UNSTOPPABLE will prompt audiences to consider the role that pain and suffering has in our lives, as they affirm their personal views on faith, and encourage conversation starters about God, suffering, and hope. 


    • Visit the official website:
    • Facebook:
    • Twitter:
    • 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 movie, My 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.

      Friday, January 31, 2014

      The Dancing Master, Julie Klassen ~ A Review

      I should post a photo of the book after I was done with it. I’d put it up there on the shelf with the ‘most tattered’ review books I have. It’s been through a lot the last couple of weeks.

      I started with an electronic copy on my Kindle, but the download didn’t go well and Bethany sent me a physical book. I brought the book on our 11 day Surf Camp this month. With the difficulties on the Kindle, I confess I wasn’t too excited about the story at first. Starting over with the physical product changed my mind.

      Set in 1816 in Devonshire, England, this historical mystery reads like a Jane Austin story. So much rich detail with the town and countryside. An abundant supply of rich characters keeps your mind full as you travel page to page. There are three main families, and you get to know their homes and family members well. You also get to know the folks in town that they interact with in detail. I really like that about a story. I don’t like the setting were it feels like the two main characters are the only people alive at that moment.

      This is a Romantic Mystery – you can pretty much assume who will end up together from the start of the story – however, you have no idea how or why until the last page. Don’t make any assumptions about any of the characters until the last chapter.

      I spent many nights with my flashlight flipping pages in my tent snuggled in my sleeping bag being transported to their world. Their struggle  of living in an area where much if not all of the income came directly from one family. What if your profession or values clashed with that one person? Would you stand for your passion no matter what adversary came your way? Would you cave to work in a manual labor job if that wasn’t your heart? Although it was the 1800’s, many of the cultural expectations cross over to every generation.

      I also enjoyed the quotes at the beginning of each chapter from real sources. They would give you a teasing peek into the pages ahead. Which meant less midnight sleep for me.

      There is a reader’s guide included as well. 

      I am less inclined to read romantic fiction any more, it is not my first choice. I was worried that this book would be that alone. With the characters, town, history, profession, horses, families – the relationship between the two romantic characters took a back seat. For that, I was glad. You spend most of the book hoping that young Alec and his family get a fair shake, that the mystery be revealed, and that you’ll find out who is behind it, rather than spending all the pages wishing the two people will just realize they like each other and the book will end.

      This was the perfect book to keep me entertained while on the Surf Camp!



      Finding himself the man of the family, London dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire, hoping to start over. But he is stunned to learn the village matriarch has prohibited all dancing, for reasons buried deep in her past.

      Alec finds an unlikely ally in the matriarch's daughter. Though he's initially wary of Julia Midwinter's reckless flirtation, he comes to realize her bold exterior disguises a vulnerable soul--and hidden sorrows of her own.

      Julia is quickly attracted to the handsome dancing master--a man her mother would never approve of--but she cannot imagine why Mr. Valcourt would leave London, or why he evades questions about his past. With Alec's help, can Julia uncover old secrets and restore life to her somber village...and to her mother's tattered heart?

      Filled with mystery and romance, The Dancing Master brings to life the intriguing profession of those who taught essential social graces for ladies and gentlemen hoping to make a "good match" in Regency England.

      The Dancing Master

      I received a free physical copy of The Dancing Master in exchange for linking a review with Bethany House Publishers, A Division of Baker Publishing Group. All opinions are my own. About is given by the publisher.

      Saturday, December 21, 2013

      The War on Christmas, Bodie Hodge, A Review


      I’ve been wanting to share The War on Christmas, Battles in Faith, Tradition, and Religious Expression by Bodie Hodge with you – and I finally have minute to share.

      I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. I have so many different ideas about the time period between Thanksgiving and New Years. I’m not that into the whole “Happy Birthday Jesus” part of Christmas, since it isn’t His birthday.  We’ve run all away around the block as we came to terms as a family what our traditions would be. We’ve settled for paying attention to Advent – the Coming of Jesus as a baby, and the anticipated coming of Jesus in the future. We also live in America, and have fun enjoying the traditions of our community, stories and movies.

      So I was surprised that I really enjoyed The War on Christmas. I thought it was going to tell me that “Jesus is the reason for the season” or that I needed to teach my kids to give to homeless and the hungry in December.

      What it does, is break down several areas regarding Christmas.

      In What About Christmas the book talks about Jesus, his name, when he was born, the history surrounding the day and making it relevant to this generation.

      Confusion and Misconceptions dig into XMas, the Wise Men and singing Angels.

      The 5 Areas presented are What About Christmas, Confusion and Misconceptions, It’s All Baby Jesus, How Christmas Came to Be, and The War on Christmas

      Each part of the 5 parts of the book are straightforward and give what we have learned, that most Americans Church Goers really have quite a few bits of the story off.

      In the end, it is worth celebrating, which is what we came to terms with as a family. Truth is good. Communication is great. This is a Master Books book from New Leaf Press. It holds the bar with what I’ve come to expect with presenting truth in print.

      The 5 Areas presented are What About Christmas, Confusion and Misconceptions, It’s All Baby Jesus, How Christmas Came to Be, and The War on Christmas.

      I received a copy of this book which was published by Master Books, a division of New Leaf Publishing Group for free in return for a blog post and a review on a company such as Amazon. My opinion is my own, and I’m allowed to be fair positive or negative. I think this is a great book, worth ordering and discussing with your family.

      Thursday, December 5, 2013

      The Sound of Music Live!

      (This is an ad post)

      There are quite a few fun opportunities that come my way, being part of a great blog team. I was asked to host a Faith & Family Viewing Party featuring THE SOUND OF MUSIC, live on NBC!  - They sent me monies for snacks and prizes to give out – and I said YES!

      So tonight, a few of my friends are going to gather with me to watch The Sound of Music.

      You have a chance to join us online:

      I will be giving away a prize package of a Poster, TShirt and Soundtrack on CD

      Here’s how you can win:

      Tweet with the tags #faithandfamily and #SoundofMusic and tag me in it – @pebblekeeper

      Join me today – you may post anytime before Friday Morning – A tweet about your excitement? A tweet about how you feel with Carrie being Maria? A tweet about why you will watch it after it posts? Anything at all – with the tags #faithandfamily and #SoundofMusic and @pebblekeeper

      Extra Entry – Chat about the movie on Facebook with the tags #SoundofMusic, #faithandfamily and #AngieWright – or tag me.

      I will use these entries, assign a number to each, then use random number generator to pick a winner.

      Additional prizes to be shared (post-party) are: poster, t-shirt, and soundtrack on CD!



      From executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron ("Smash," "Hairspray," "Chicago") comes an instant holiday classic: "The Sound of Music," based on the original Broadway musical. Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer star as Maria and Captain von Trapp in this beloved story of the young novice who falls in love with Captain von Trapp and his seven children, set against the backdrop of Nazi-occupied Austria. The jewel in the Rodgers and Hammerstein crown, "The Sound of Music" contains some of the most famous songs ever written for the stage, including "The Sound of Music," "My Favorite Things," "Do-Re-Mi," "Sixteen Going on Seventeen," "Climb Every Mountain" and "Edelweiss."

      This new version of "The Sound of Music" will be a faithful adaptation of the original stage musical, to retell the story for a whole new generation. And more than that, it will be broadcast LIVE, adding a whole new level of immediacy and excitement. Get ready to reintroduce your family to the most joyful, most emotional and most musical family adventure of them all. 

      Discaimer: I received a $25.00 visa card from FlyBy Promotions Blogger Network to purchase snacks for my party in exchange for a blog post and promoting the movie with hashtags. I will be able to give a prize pack mentioned above through FlyBy Promotions Blogger Network to one winner.

      Thursday, November 21, 2013

      Can’t Wait Willow! Ideals Children’s Books, a Review

      Can't-Wait Willow! from Ideals Children's Books from Ideals Books on Vimeo.

        I was excited to be able to review Can’t Wait Willow! from Ideals Children’s Books. The idea is that Willow will be faced with challenges and be unable to wait, and learn a lesson.

      My son, even though he is 12, did like the book, and we enjoyed reading it.

      However, there are a few weird parts to the book. She is a very young girl leaving her home and walking through town on the way to the circus, alone, with a pocket full of money. She spends all of her money and spends time all over town so she misses the circus and the cotton candy that she desired. 

      Then a man gives her a free ticket for the show the next day.

      She gets to return to the show the next day with a new pocketful of money, buys two packages of cotton candy, is rewarded with a front row seat and gets to ride the elephant.

      My son teased that he thinks the lesson is, spend your money how you want and someone will give you everything if you look sad enough. I sort of wondered where the parents were, and why the parents would let her return again alone the next day to meet the man. He turns out to be the ringmaster, but still, sort of weird.

      That aside, the book is fun to read and the illustrator did a great job, I enjoyed the graphics.

      If you are struggling in this area, as we are with my youngest son, this might be a great book to get to help facilitate the conversation of missing out because you spent your time and money on the good, instead of what you really wanted.

      About Shine Bright Kids:

      The Shine Bright Kids series provides children and their families with a relevant framework to help instill solid values and teach the importance of making good choices. The series teaches principles including: using good judgment, taking responsibility, self-control, having a positive attitude, and demonstrating perseverance.  Check out their website at for free reward charts, activities and other parenting resources.

      About the Author: 
      Christy Ziglar, financial planner, mother of twins and niece of legendary motivator and the world’s original optimist, Zig Ziglar, is bringing the same timeless wisdom and ageless advice to an entirely new, younger audience through her new Shine Bright Kids picture book series. 

      Christy is available for Q&A, author interviews, Skype calls, etc.!

      The first book in the series:  Can't-Wait Willow!

      Willow is so excited that the Over-the-Top Circus has finally come to town! The only problem is, that when left to her own devices, she can’t say “no” to some good things. On the way to the show, she is distracted by enticing treats and fun that she just can’t turn down. Willow arrives late and is sad to find that, not only has she has run out of time, but money, and she won’t be able to enjoy the pink cotton candy she’s been dreaming of. Willow is given valuable advice and a second chance and is ultimately taught the lesson that sometimes in life you have to say “no” to good things to end up with something great!