Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Christy Nockels: Let it Be Jesus (Album Review/Giveaway)


I do enjoy hearing new music! The new album (Released today!)by Christy Nockels: Let it Be Jesus was sent to me for review. I am not familiar with her, so was interested in hearing her work. 

As this was a digital download, I did not have the benefit of having liner notes and lyrics, which tell me a lot about a song~ Lacking that I can only give you my impressions on the general "Feel" of the songs, I can't comment very well on the content without seeing it written down. 


I do not typically listen recreationally to what is considered mostly contemporary worship music, in part because I find it to often lacks content, and is very formulaic. I have to say that this album follows that to a degree~ many of the songs have a soft start, build to anthem volume, bridge, and then die back. Taken individually each of those songs are good, but too much of a good thing all at once becomes a little much for me. If it weren't for the formula dynamics, I think this would be an album I would turn to on a regular basis, as there seems to be some good stylistic variety~ mountain tunes, rolling rhythms, driving beats, etc...

That being said, this is something that I wouldn't mind using as a background to getting work done. Also, even though I am not typically a fan of live albums, this is an extremely well done recording that doesn't come across as live which speaks to the musicianship of all those playing, and to Christy's vocals... very impressive. 


I think my favorite song might be Jesus, Rock of Ages (7th track), which never reaches the "anthem build" of most of the other tunes, and is one of the more dynamically cohesive songs.

All in all, this is a very listenable album, although perhaps not as an "album" but interspersed amongst other selections, as I find the down/up/down/up/down dynamics to be somewhat exhausting taken as a whole. 



About Christy:
As a worship leader for many years, she has been an integral part of Passion Conferences from its inception in 1997.  She's seen first hand music sweep people into the presence of God in a powerful way. A pastor’s kid, who was born in Fort Worth and raised in Oklahoma, she grew up singing in church. She met her husband, Nathan, in 1993 at the Christian Artists Seminar in Estes Park, Co. They recorded an independent record with fellow worship leader Charlie Hall under the name Sons & Daughters that led to an invitation from Louie Giglio to participate in the first Passion conference in Austin. Christy’s voice gained a national platform when she and Nathan formed the duo Watermark, recording four acclaimed albums before that musical season ended, paving the way for Christy’s solo career. In 2008, the couple moved to Atlanta to become part of Passion City Church where she serves on the worship team with sixstepsrecords labelmates Chris Tomlin and Kristian Stanfill. The following year, Nockels released her acclaimed solo debut, Life Light Up and spent much of the next two years touring with Tomlin and Passion.
Christy can be found on FACEBOOK,  INSTAGRAMTWITTER, and her album can be purchased on iTunes 

Now that you've heard my opinion, and read a little more about Christy, you have the opportunity to win a digital copy of her album for you own~ where you can listen to it as is, or scatter her songs throughout your playlists. ;) 

Please wait for the Rafflecopter to load
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
#LetItBeJesus

Blessings~








"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, 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.”

Saturday, April 25, 2015

From Boston to Guatemala and back

It's amazing how short and simultaneously how long a single week can be. 


One week ago I dropped my eldest off at the airport to send her off 
on her first international trip... 
without any blood relatives along, I might add... 


With the exception of a couple of photos after she arrived...


and a little messaging later that evening, 
we didn't hear from her until last night. 

The team spent most of their time at a children's camp located on a mountainside, 
Where they engaged with 11-13 year olds 
(who were experiencing their first time away from home).
They also planted avocado trees and painted some. 

Heading off to the airport to pick her up before today turns to tomorrow~ 

Thank you to all who supported and prayed, 
As they put feet and hands and hearts to 


I hope to have a wrap-up of the trip to post at a future date. 

Blessings~




Tuesday, April 21, 2015

ARTistic Pursuits: Early Elementary K-3, Book 3: Modern Painting and Sculpture


This Spring I was delighted to receive a new (to me) ARTistic Pursuits manual to use for review with my youngest. I have previously reviewed various manuals in 2009 (Early Elementary Book 2 and Junior High Book 1), 2014 ( Sculpture Technique: Model) with my older two,  and you can check out those reviews for some of my general impressions about ARTistic Pursuits. However, this is the first time I'm reviewing a manual with my youngest, and I'll be focusing more on the specifics of this manual and how we used it.

Because I am already fairly comfortable with some of the Renaissance and Impressionist artists, I chose to review Early Elementary K-3, Book 3: Modern Painting and Sculpture, to see if it could give me (and my 2nd grader) an appreciation for some of the more modern art... 

This Modern Art manual does include Impressionist art in the first half, and the second half covers Modern Painting and Sculpture. 

We read through the first couple of lessons, that deal with Art and the Subject ~ showing how artists conveyed information about the subjects they were painting,  and Lines and Solid Shapes. Both of these lessons gave background information on how to properly use gouache (watercolor) paints and paintbrushes. 

We also read through the third lesson in the book which included more gouache paint techniques, and he completed the color wheel project, mixing from the primary colors to create the secondary colors and a variety of browns: We both found the variations of brown to be quite interesting! 

I felt the technique and color lessons were very important topics to cover before moving on to the "Modern" artists and more projects. 

The lessons in the book are typically one to two pages which cover the art concept for the lesson as well as some information and examples from an artist who employed the specific technique, as well as art study comprehension questions relating to the pictured artwork. Following, is a one page project that employs either a technique or material covered in the lesson. 

We read through a number of the lessons in the Modern Art and Sculpture section, including an introduction to Fauvism, Cubism, and Assemblage, as well as Futurist Views and Abstract Art. From these we chose projects to work on. 

Here are a couple of the projects that we completed: 
Lesson 21: Cubism
Youngest drew and painted a self portrait, which then was to be dismantled into a Picasso-like piece of art. Because he didn't want to cut his portrait, we made a color copy and let him use that for his "Cubism/Picasso" piece. I thought it was interesting that he kept the nose and mouth in the traditional place, framed, and mixed up everything else (somewhat symmetrically, because that's the way he rolls). 

Lesson 25: Abstract Art 
This lesson focused on the art of Wassily Kandinsky, and complimentary colors. You can see a bit of the lesson page as well as the project page, and his finished artwork and materials. This was one of those projects where he did a little bit of his own thing and mixed colors around the outside border, instead of using the oil pastel to delineate color changes. 

Bonus Character Training: A couple of non-art lessons came into play here:
  • Following instructions~ sometimes it's quite alright to go off and do your own thing, but occasionally it is important to follow instructions~ for instance, using pencil to draw the color wheel before trying to paint it~ having pencil guidelines is very useful!
  • Letting go of perfectionism/being persistent~ Youngest often thinks that his first attempt should be perfect, and gets upset when it turns out to need a little work. We had to work on "letting go" of the perfectionism, as well as being willing to attempt something more than once in order to get a result more to his liking. 

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
We have been happy with the art instruction in every ARTistic Pursuits manual that we have seen/used, and feel that it is a great option for art education in the homeschool. The manuals are written to the child, and include projects that are interesting, with materials that are fairly easily acquired (indeed, you probably have many of them in your home already). You can see sample instruction pages (Scroll down) on the website. 

If you have absolutely no art supplies in your home (Or a very limited supplies), Brenda Ellis has put together art packs for each book/level, including a canvas bag for storage.

You can visit Brenda Ellis and ARTistic Pursuits on Facebook for more information on the books, as well as general happenings in the homeschool art world, and more. 

Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say about this manual as well as other manuals in every age group from Pre-K to High School.  As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.

Blessings~



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Friday, April 17, 2015

Star Toaster: Orphs of the Woodlands (TOS Review Crew)












I don't know about you, but my older children have enjoyed stories with animal main characters that were fantasy/medieval based. My youngest hasn't yet been introduced to those literary treasures, but we have discovered that he does enjoy that theme in general, thanks to our latest review from Star ToasterOrphs of the Woodlands is on online educational experience that incorporates a number of different learning opportunities and styles, all couched in a medieval fantasy storyline. 

The basic concept is that your child reads an adventure story from the perspective of the journal of the main character (an orphaned squirrel, my son chose to name his “Peanut”). Peanut has been recruited as a spy for the WAK underground. The WAK is trying to find the treasure of HighTower before the night creatures (who are responsible for creating the orphans (Orphs) of the woodlands). 

The story is an interactive text, with underlined vocabulary words and concepts that open up for Peanut to read and learn. He loved learning more about things like gem stones (One of his favorite things, as he loves Treasure)



As Peanut shares his story he rescues as many other Orphs as possible and cares for them at Ivythwaite cottage, dipicted in the center of the graphic below by earning minted (toasted?) stars. The stars are used to purchase new land, various buildings and resources that will help to care for the orphs. The startoaster creates the gold star currency that the main character uses to pay for all of these items. 


In order to earn the stars, the main character must complete a variety of jobs. These jobs are short lessons (training) in language, vocabulary, math, science, art, thinking skills and character skills, followed by a quiz (the actual job). As the jobs are completed successfully, the squirrel’s pay is raised. 


EXAMPLE Lesson


EXAMPLE Training Screen



Example Job Screen (Completed)



My youngest is a couple of years younger than the target age for this program, but his reading is reasonably advanced, so he is able to decipher the majority of the story. I have found that he has been able to remember the vocabulary words fairly well, with a little bit of review (which is incorporated into the vocabulary training/jobs). The other jobs also typically have some sort of "review" to teach the concept

As the chapters are fairly lengthy for a young reader (remember, my guy is close to the target age but not quite there), I sometimes will use the story as a read-aloud. He sits by my side, reading along, and we stop at the various vocabulary words, to make sure he hears the definitions the first time through.


His favorite part of the program is earning the stars and purchasing buildings and goods to take care of the Orphs. This is a great incentive to complete jobs. The job content (whether vocabulary, science or one of the other subjects) correlates to the chapters of the story, and the difficulty of the jobs tends to advance as the chapter numbers climb. 

We found some frustration in that when he fails at a job, there is currently no chance to go back and do it again, to earn those stars, he just has to continue with the next job. I would prefer that there be two or three chances to get it right, especially when attempting new material. To counter-act this, I try to sit with him when he does his jobs, and will tell him to go through the job “training” again if I see he is marking an incorrect answer.

Orphs of the Woodlands could be a great "summer bridge" for elementary/middle-school students, whether they are public, private, or homeschool students as well as a fun tool for any time of year. It is an engaging program that will sharpen their thinking skills and help to build great character skills as well. Be sure to check out the video on their about page to see some of what I've talked about clearly laid out.

My Youngest thinks it's "Terrific!" and loves that he gets to build and care for his own community while engaging with an exciting adventure story.
I think it's "Terrific" too! I appreciate the introduction of excellent vocabulary in a great story that we can share together. It fits a "unit study" approach with all of the topics covered in the jobs that the main character must complete, and touches on all of the learning styles, which is also a win/win situation.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 

Check out StarToaster on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter

Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.

Blessings~




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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wordless Wednesday... SPRING!

This is what Spring looks like in our neck of the woods... 



AND


What does Spring look like where you are?

Linking up with Wordless Wednesdays: 
Wordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont


Blessings~





Saturday, April 4, 2015

Musical Nuggets for Good Friday through Easter (YouTube Style)

Here are some of my favorite "Contemporary" Easter Season Songs that I thought I would share with you. Oddly enough it is more difficult than one might expect to find well written, Contemporary songs that proclaim the JOY of Resurrection Sunday

Some are older, and some are newer~

Who but God ~ Wes King

Was it A Morning Like This


Lamb of God ~ Twila Paris



Time in Between ~ Francesca Battistelli


Live Like He's Alive ~ Jonny Diaz


Phillips, Craig and Dean ~ You Saved The Day


Michael Card ~ Known by the Scars


Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me) ~ Casting Crowns (One of the "remakes" of an old hymn that I actually like. :) ) 


Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed ~ Keith and  Kristyn Getty 


Saving the World ~ Clay Crosse ~ this is one of my very favorites, and pretty much distills it down to the simple essence...


If you find that you would like to purchase any of these tracks, feel free to use my affiliate links below, or purchase from your favorite Christian Book Store.

         
             Who but God            Was it a Morning               Lamb of God             The Time in Between         Live Like He's Alive
                                                   Like this?

                                  
    You Saved the Day        Known By the Scars          Glorious Day                Christ is Risen                  Saving the World
   (No link)                                                                                                          He is Risen Indeed


Blessings~



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