{Review} Chara Games

Commissioned {Chara Games}
Do you like playing board games?  I have a fun game for you!  The game is Commissioned by Chara Games and my family and I had the pleasure of reviewing this game.

Commissioned {Chara Games}


Commissioned {Chara Games}

Commissioned is a doubled sided board game for 2-6 players ages 14 and older.  With 5 unique scenario cards, various faith and trial cards, and the choice of 2 different degrees of difficulty game play is never the same. Everyone works together in the game, except there are a few situations where talking is not permitted, and everyone has the opportunity to be the Elder.  Game play takes approximately one hour and is over when you have achieved victory conditions, all 5 of the candles are extinguished or the last trial card is drawn.  Do expect for the game to take longer the first couple of times you play the game.

There is a learning curve to setting up and playing the game for the first time.  Chara Games has created a ‘How to Play’ video (linked below) that explains how to set up and play the game.  I found the video to be helpful and I was able to see the game in motion.  Also, included with the game is a Theme Appendix which shares some of the historical background of the people, places, and events that you come across in the game.

How to Play Commissioned Video:


img_2102The game starts off by choosing the scenario card.  The recommended scenario card for first time game players is “Acts of the Apostles” and then suggested the remaining scenarios be played in chronological order (“Peter’s Gentile Outreach”, “The First Missionary Journeys”, “Appeal to Caesar”, and “To the Ends of the Earth”.  The scenario card determines which side of the board you will be using, the setup of the pieces, special rules, victory conditions, and what failure means.  As you can see on  “The First Missionary Journeys” scenario card to the right, we will use Board Side A, the Apostles that we must use, as well as where everything goes.  There are no special rules.  We achieve victory when we have a church established in red, orange, and yellow cities, we have collected the faith cards for Romans, Galatians, Thessalonians, & Luke, and all Apostles must return to Antioch.  This all has to be completed before the 5 candle have been extinguished.  Failure to do this means that the church never reaches Europe.

Commissioned {Chara Games}After you have selected the scenario card, every player choses an Apostle.  Certain Apostles are required per rules on the scenario card.  Every Apostle has their own set of Faith Cards which are different from each other.  For instance if you have Barnabas his cards allow you to remove one growth stop from one church in the Elder’s region and with James you can make an additional move on the board.  Also, every card are worth different faith points.

There are three phases of the order of play: Arm, Live, & Mature.

In Arm, you draw cards based on the number of players playing Commission and prepare for the Live phase.

In the Live Phase, there are five steps (Trials, Pray, Share, Move & Grow).  The current Elder draws a trial card and applies the instructions on the card.  The effect could be losing church members or a growth block (where you cannot add any new members until the block is removed).  After applying the trials the play moves to Pray.  In the Pray step every player chooses 2 cards from their hand to share and then the elder may choose 2 cards out of all of the cards that are face up.  Unless otherwise specified players may offer advice to the Elder.  Once the elder has made his/her choices they apply the steps on both cards.  The final two steps are Move and Grow and they are based .  The Elder may choose to make two moves either moving members to an existing church (Fellowship Move) or establishing a new church (Mission Move) as long as there are no blocks in place.  You also want to make moves strategically as removing the last piece from a city during a Mission or Fellowship will cause the church to be extinguished.  The final step is church growing.  Any churches on the game board that have a minimum population of three will grow by one additional member.  Once all of these steps are completed, the Elder stick is passed on to the next player and they become the new Elder.  After the Live Phase is repeated a certain number of time (ours was 3x since we were playing with 5 players) the play moves on to the Mature Phase.img_1362

In the Mature phase, the players use the 2 remaining cards left in their hands to purchase new Faith Cards.  The total number of faith points determines how many cards you can buy.  You can choose to buy any combo of cards that total the number of faith points that you have or buy nothing at all.

Another round begins in the Arm phase and you continue until all of the Trial cards have been played or 5 candles have been extinguished.

While the game is designed for ages 14+, this game can be played with younger children.  We played Commissioned with our oldest three children (8, 7, & 6) and they have enjoyed playing the game.  I highly recommend playing Commissioned at least once before introducing younger children to the game.  The very first time we played we had the kids join us and we didn’t expect it to take as long as it did.  We also did tweak the game a little, including laying the cards face up on the table instead of holding them in our hands, to allow us to help the children.  We are enjoying this game and are looking forward to introducing others to the game.
Commissioned {Chara Games}
Chara Games has just released a new card game called 3 Seeds which I will be posting a review on it very soon but would like to give you a quick sneak peek.  3 Seeds is a 2-5 player strategic card game that takes about 30-45 minutes to play.  In the game time, money, and labor seed cards are used to complete tasks.


Commissioned {Chara Games}

Social Media Links:

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


Please click the banner below for more Homeschool Review Crew reviews of Commissioned.

Commissioned {Chara Games}

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{Review} Kwik Stix



When most mom’s hear the question, “Mom, can I paint?” they cringe at the thought of the paint and the mess that comes along with it.  The water that gets spilled.  The paint that gets all over not just the kids but random places around the house.  Then either grudgingly they say yes and pray that the paint stays in one place or they say no, not at this time and have disappointed kids.  Let me introduce you to Kwik Stix from The Pencil Grip, Inc.  Kwik Stix, the paint that you will not hesitate to say yes to!

My family was first introduced to Kwik Stix earlier this year when we had the opportunity to review the product as a part of the Homeschool Review Crew.  The Pencil Grip, Inc. contacted me recently to see if we would be interested in reviewing their Neon & Metalix sets.  We said yes!  My kids love them and so do I!

I was once that mom that I mentioned above.  I cringed at the thought of painting, especially with 5 young children and Kwik Stix changed that!  I find myself now saying yes nearly every time they ask to paint and the two youngest (4 & 3) love to paint with Kwik Stix.

Kwik Stix are solid tempera paint in stick form about the size of a standard glue stick and are perfect for little hands.  You uncap, twist, & paint.  No water is needed so no mess when the cup is accidentally tipped over.  You don’t have to worry about the colors mixing because they do not bleed!  The best thing about Kwik Stix is that the paint dries in 90 seconds!  Yes, 90 seconds!  Kwik Stix are also great for classrooms and co-ops (96 ct & 144 ct sets are available!).  Clean up is a breeze!  Other than putting things away and making sure the caps are on tight so the Kwik Stix don’t dry out, clean up is minimal.

The colors in the Neon set are nice and bright & I love the glittery shimmer of the colors in the Metalix set.  Both sets are a great addition to the classic set we reviewed earlier in the year.

With Christmas quickly approaching Kwik Stix by The Pencil Grip makes an awesome stocking stuffer or gift.  They also make excellent gifts throughout the entire year!  You can find them in variety of colors and sets.  They can be found on Amazon (Metalix – Set of 6
Neon – 6 Pack, Classic – 6 Pack, Classic – 12 Pack, 24 ct Classic, Neon, and Metalix Combo set, 96 Pack, and 144 ct Classic – 12 of Each Classic Color) & at Target (online & in stores).

My older girls recently painted pictures of the characters from the movie ‘Inside Out’ (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger).






This is a picture that Little Man (4) made for me.


Lil’ Bit made a crown.  Since the paint is dry in 90 seconds she was able to wear the crown almost instantly!!




Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/KwikStixPaint/

Disclosure: I received one or more of the items mentioned above for free in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

{Review} Critical Thinking

Language Arts {The Critical Thinking Co.™}
All five of my kids are enjoying Fun-Time Phonics!™ Software – 2-PCs Win Download which is part of the Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic Before Kindergarten!™ software bundle from The Critical Thinking Co.™.  We had the pleasure of reviewing Fun-Time Phonics!.

Language Arts {The Critical Thinking Co.™}


Fun-Time Phonics!™ is a fun mastery based reading program for Grades: Prek-2.  The program is based on data from the National Reading Commission and you will find the program to be a comprehensive reading program.  Two robots keep children engaged during 126 lessons.  Students will learn through listening, thinking, speaking, and reading activities.  The lessons are not flashy and they are short which is perfect for the younger crowd!

Fun-Time Phonics is a downloadable program available for Windows systems only.  The System Requirements:

  • Platform: Windows® 10/8/7
  • CPU: 1 GHz or faster
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Disk Space: 500 MB

Fun-Time Phonics is composed of four sections:

  • Section 1: Teaches children that words are made up with sounds. Activities include beginning sounds, ending sounds, vowel sounds, and words that rhyme.
  • Section2: Teaches children each short vowel sound and the letter that makes that sound.
  • Section 3: This section teaches consonant-vowel coarticulation, so children learn that each consonant uses short vowels to make different sounds that are used to form words that are read.
  • Section 4: Teaches children to combine their new knowledge of consonant-vowel coarticulation and ending sounds to read their first words.

When Fun-Time Phonics loads, the last student who used the program is up on the screen.  If you wish to switch users you must click on Admin/Score in the lower left hand corner.  Then you have 15 seconds to type in the first three letters of the word teacher to gain access to the admin section.  If ‘tea’ is not typed correctly within 15 seconds, the screen returns to the screen that you were on.  The admin screen can be accessed while the student is playing Fun-Time Phonics.  One thing I have noticed when accessing the admin page while the student is in the middle of playing is that the student is penalized for not answering their question correctly/quick enough.  I don’t like that the student is penalized for not answering the question because the teacher is going into the teacher/admin interface.

The Admin page is simply laid out.  The menu (About, Other Products, License Agreement, Clear Data, Success Percentage, Manage Users, Print, and Exit) is across the top of the screen.  On the main part of the screen is the lesson information for the student that is currently logged in.  This includes what is covered on every lesson, the percentage that the student received, and if you feel a student needs to repeat a lesson, you can select the lesson and click on the Replay Play Lesson button (Note: Your score will reset and the lesson will show ‘incomplete’ instead of the percentage.  You can also skip around in the lessons.  To change students click on ‘Manage Users’ and select the student that you want and click the green continue arrow.  You can print a very simple data record page for each of your students.  The information included is the lesson number, score, and percentage.  If you need to clear the data for a particular student, you click on ‘Clear Data’.  From there you will be prompted to go ahead and clear all of the data for that student and be reminded that it cannot be undone.  As the admin, you can also change the percentage required for moving on to the next lesson.  The options are 65%, 75%, 85%, and 95%.

Fun-Time Phonics!™ Software – 2-PCs Win Download is a big hit with all of the kids.  The older kids have been playing Fun-Time Phonics 2 to 3 times a week and sometimes have asked to play it more.  The first time Little Man (4) saw one of his older sisters playing Fun-Time Phonics he wanted to play it too!  He needs some assistance playing but he sits on my lap with the biggest grin.  Munchkin (just turned 3) likes to do everything that her older sisters and brother do and wanted to try it herself and I set up an account for her as well.

The first photo is Sweet Pea reviewing sounds.  In the second photo below, you can see Munchkin trying to “help” Sweet Pea out while Little Man is watching the screen while she is reviewing sounds.  In the third photo Lil’ Bit is working on rhyming.





Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Critical-Thinking-Co/46128092293
Google+: https://plus.google.com/114500823774999703181
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/source/criticalthinking.com/


For this review, members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed various software downloads and paperback books.

Software Downloads:

Alphabet Song Game™ Software – 2-PCs Win Download (Grades: Toddler-1 | New Version 2.0)
Letter Sounds Song and Game™ Software – 2-PCs Win Download (Grades: Prek-1)
Vowel Sounds Song and Game™ Software – 2-PCs Win Download (Grades: Prek-2)
Fun-Time Phonics!™ Software – 2-PCs Win Download (Grades: Prek-2)

Paperback Books:

Sentence Diagramming: Beginning (Grades: 3-12+)
Language Smarts™ Level E (Grade: 4)

Please click the banner below to read more Homeschool Review Crew reviews of  products from The Critical Thinking Co.™.

Language Arts {The Critical Thinking Co.™}

Crew Disclaimer

{Review} Homeschool Legacy

Once-a-Week Studies {Homeschool Legacy}

With Thanksgiving approaching Once-a-Week 6 Week Micro-Study Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims by Homeschool Legacy was a great study for my family and I to review.  Unit Studies & Micro Studies are fun filled studies to learn about one particular theme or topic as a family.
Once-a-Week Studies {Homeschool Legacy}Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims is a Once-a-Week 6 Week Micro-Study and is designed for children grades 1 to 8 and is packed full with information.  This is a downloadable Grab-N-Go Micro-Study.   During the six weeks of the study, every week has a different theme and you will learn American History, Bible, Literature, Vocabulary, History, and Government throughout the study.

The weekly themes:

  • Week 1: The Scrooby Separatists
  • Week 2: The Voyage
  • Week 3: At Home in Plymouth
  • Week 4: Happy Thanksgiving!
  • Week 5: The Puritans
  • Week 6: Merry Christmas!

Everything was easy to understand and plenty of information to study and explore.  For older children you may be able to work on the study once or twice a week but my younger children (Third, Second, and First grades) found it to be a bit overwhelming and enjoyed working on it in 20-30 minute chunks.  There are suggested read a louds that are provided but we chose to read books that are already in our home library.  Also, included are a couple of games and recipes to try out.  Due to allergies in the family, we did not try the recipes.

One of the things that I loved is that throughout the study there are clickable links that connect to websites with more information and my kids and I could explore.  While the information was not necessarily included in the study ebook itself,  I had the information readily available.   Between the study and the links provided in the study my girls were able to explore where the Separatists came from, where they were headed, and where they eventually wound up.  They had fun trying to figure out possible routes that the Mayflower during the pilgrimage to the United States.  I even learned (or relearned) some information about the Pilgrims.  The one thing the girls kept asking for were coloring pages to color while we were reading the books and information from the study.  They enjoy having something to do while I am reading to them.

If you would like to check out a sample of Once-a-Week 6 Week Micro-Study Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims Week 1, please click here, and the link to the sample is at the bottom of the page.

Homeschool Legacy was founded by homeschool veteran Sharon Gibson.  She uses unit studies with her family and it helped her family to build a strong, loving, Godly, family legacy.



Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homeschoollegacy/


Homeschool Legacy offers various Once-a-Week Micro-Studies and Once-a-Week Unit Studies.  Members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed either one of the micro studies (Pirates or Privateers: You Decide Cooking up History with the Founding Presidents, Victoria and Her World, Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims, or Many Nations) or a Once-a-Week Unit Study (Christmas Comes to America).  Please click the banner below to check out the other reviews of Homeschool Legacy products.
Once-a-Week Studies {Homeschool Legacy}
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{Review} Accountable2You ~ Family Plan

Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}
Computers and the internet has changed drastically over the past 20-35 years.  We have gone from DOS based computers to being able to find just about anything by a simple search of the internet.  I grew up seeing this transition.  My dad’s hobbies were and still are computers.  We have had a computer in our house since I was little.  I knew how to type the word ‘run’ to run my DOS based games years before I could write the word on paper.  Back when I was young, my parents didn’t have to worry about what I could see on the screen or what I could possibly download.  Accountable2You is an accountability software to help keep everyone accountable when they are using the computer and their mobile devices.

Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}
Accountable2You began as a small accountability program that owner and co-founder Ben Lawrence wrote for himself and his wife.  Following the Lord’s lead he & his wife opened up Accountable2You to the public in 2006.  There are four plans available: Individual Plan, Family Plan, Churches & Groups Plan, as well as a Small Business Plan.  My family received a 12 month subscription to the Family Plan to review.

Features of the Family Plan include:

  • Real time reporting
  • Accountability partners per device
  • Daily or Weekly email reports
  • Hourly Alert reports
  • Instant Text Alerts
  • Manage Objectionable word list



Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}
Through the Accountable2You software you can monitor up to 20 devices across various platforms.

The available platforms are:

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Android
  • iPhone/iPad/iPod
  • Chrome
  • Linux

We installed Accountable2You on 2 computers with Windows and 1 iPhone.  The installation on the Windows computers and the iPhone went effortlessly.  The instructions were step by step for both platforms and each included pictures with the instructions.

With the iPhone, Accountable2You works a little differently.  Instead of monitoring activity on everything, it is a browser and replaces using Safari (which you can disable access to) or another web browser and monitors only the internet activity.  One thing I noticed was that the default setting for ‘On launch’ is ‘Continue where I left off’.  I received a pop up that I could not get rid.  I tried closing the app and restarting the phone but upon opening the app I was brought back to the same pop-up.  The only way I could get rid of it was by uninstalling the app and reinstalling it.

Uninstallation is simple and the program uninstalls itself easy from both the iPhone and the one computer I tested it from.  However, there is no password to protect it from being uninstalled by someone trying to avoid the accountability or being accidentally uninstalled.  As an accountability partner I received an email stating the program & app were uninstalled on the respective platforms.  I would like an option to receive a real time text as well.  Upon uninstalling the program you lose all data that has been stored for that device.  I wish there was a way to be able to keep the data, especially in the case of needing to uninstall and re-installing as mentioned above.

An accountability partner is an important piece of Accountable2You.  This partner may be a parent, spouse, sibling, trusted friend or family, and even an adult child.  The person(s) who have been selected to be an accountability partner will receive an email from Accountable2You notifying them that they have been selected as an accountability partner for which device and how often to be expecting the reports.  They will receive a link where they can view the records anytime as well as an option to unsubscribe to the email notifications.  They will receive real time reporting with emails and/or instant text alerts when an objectionable word, non objectionable word, or a time limit alert have been triggered.  Hourly reports are sent as well as a choice to be sent a daily or weekly email reports as well.  Accountability partners can monitor one individual device or multiple devices that have been registered.  As well as multiple accountability partners can be assigned to one device.

Please keep in mind when setting up your alerts is your data and text plans and those of the accountability partner(s).  The way Accountable2You is designed, whenever you type or read a objectionable word the accountability partner can receive a text or an email.  Emails and texts quickly add up!


With the Family Plan you can also create a child user account.  With the separate accounts you can assign a different set of parameters for the alerts such as different time limit alerts, and objectionable & non-objectionable words.

Another feature of the Family Plan is the ability to set time limit alerts per account.  When someone is using the device during specific hours the accountability partner will receive an alert.  Great for seeing if someone is accessing the internet when they are not supposed to be.

Setting up the objectionable and non-objectionable words were the most time consuming part as they have to be individually added per user account.  An option to add the words by bulk and then be able to select the same words for other user accounts would be a wonderful feature.

One thing that Accountable2You is not.  It is not a filtering program to restrict access to websites.  Accountable2You does offer a couple of suggestions should be looking for such a program.

If you are looking from an accountability software this is it!  As a mom, I love that it is web based.  I can make any changes directly from the Accountable2you account and I don’t need to be sitting in front of the computer/device to make the changes.
Please click the banner below to read more reviews by the Homeschool Review Crew of Accountable2You Plans.

Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}

Crew Disclaimer

Sneak Peek #1

As the Crew year is coming to close, there are only a few more reviews left.  WOW!  It is hard to believe that my first year with the Crew is almost complete.  Here is a sneak peek of a couple of upcoming reviews, both of which are games.  The first game we have already played and the second one arrived earlier this week.  Peanut, is waiting patiently for her turn in the first photo and Sweet Pea is opening up the package in the second photo.



The Homeschool Review Crew is looking at expanding the Crew.  Please check out my post, What it means to be on the Crew as well as check out 2017 Crew Requirements!  If it sounds like something you are interested in doing then I highly encourage that you apply to join our team!  It is a wonderful group of moms & one, yes one, dad.

Have a blessed weekend!

{Review} CrossTimber

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews
Are you looking for a gift for someone but not sure what to get them?  CrossTimber has a great selection of personalized gifts including the Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse.  For this review, Crew members received a gift certificate equivalent to value of the Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse.  We were also given the option to upgrade the frame or choose another personalized item such as the mug or jewelry box, as long as we paid the difference.
Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews
CrossTimber has a wide assortment of products to personalize.  There are Name Plaques, music boxes, and coffee mugs!  Each one comes personalized with the background of your choice, the name(s), the meaning of the name(s),  as well as a Bible verse.  A great gift especially for people who have unique names or spellings of their names like our kids.  It is very hard to find something personalized in their names.  The backgrounds are very beautiful!  There is something fore everyone!  As you can see in the photo below, there are many different backgrounds to choose from and they are available options for the coffee mugs and music boxes as well.

The name plaques have a choice of 4 frames to choose from.  You can also choose to receive a 5×7 printable name plaque via email, receive a matching bookmark, pocket card, or greeting card.

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews 

I had a difficult time deciding what I wanted to purchase.  There were so many choices! (Not a bad thing!).  Did I want something for one of the kids or my husband.  Even the Names of God plaque caught my interest.  It was hard to choose something for just one of the kids because I wanted to get everyone something with their name on it!  I ultimately selected one of CrossTimber’s coffee mugs to personalize to represent the family!  The design that I chose was the Couple’s Sunset with my husband’s and my names, meaning of our names, and a Bible verse.  On the back of the mug, I had the names of our children added.



About CrossTimber

CrossTimber is a family owned business and has spent years researching names and their meanings.  If you would like to find more information on the process of how they research name meanings please click here.  CrossTimber’s customer service is A++!  You can contact them by email, phone, and they have an on-line chat feature.  Any correspondence that I have had has been seen to in a prompt and courteous manner.  In the lower right hand corner it will specify if CrossTimber is online or not.  If John or Katie is online while you are visiting their website one of the two will open the chat and see if you need any assistance.  No pressure to buy anything.  They want to see if you have any questions.


GIVEAWAY!  Now through December 4, 2016, CrossTimber is hosting a Name Gift Giveaway!  There will be 10 winners.  One Grand Prize Winner may choose between a: Personalized Mug OR a Name Plaque OR an 8×10 Plaque!  Nine additional winners will receive a $10 gift certificate.


CrossTimber 2016 giveaway
Please click the banner below for more reviews of CrossTimber and to see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew received.

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} ReviewsCrew Disclaimer