When Calls the Heart {FishFlix Movie Review}

FishFlix.com Review no 2

As seen on the Hallmark Channel, When Calls the Heart, Heart of the Family DVD is an episode in the Heart of the Family series. The episode is inspired by the novel by Janette Oak, author of the Love Comes Softly series. We loved the Love Comes Softly series so I was looking forward to this new-to-me series from FishFlix.com.

FishFlix.com Review no 2
The plot:

Keep in mind that I have not watched any of the episodes up to this point, and I'm jumping into Season 3, so I have no idea of the events that lead up to Heart of the Family.

There are 20 scenes in Heart of the Family beginning with a welcome home party for Elizabeth. Elizabeth returns to Hope Valley to teach and is welcomed by Jack, the small town constable who warms up to Elizabeth by showing her the new schoolhouse. She then offers to take care of a neighbor's homestead and his two children and Jack steps in to help when it proves to be more than she bargained for. Meanwhile, Bill Avery, who is about to bust a counterfeit ring that leads him to Hope Valley, mysteriously declines Jacks help. Then Elizabeth's former suitor, Charles Kensington, who also works for her father, shows up in Hope Valley to do business with (what I think are) hopes to win back the heart of Elizabeth. Just when Jack thought Elizabeth's heart was for him, he is left to wonder if Charles holds a place in her heart. There are some other minor characters and plots interwoven throughout the story as well.

What I thought:

While the Love Comes Softly series was each a complete movie, the Heart of the Family series is more of a television series than a movie, even at 88 minutes long and on disc - DVD. So of course, we were left wondering what would happen next in When Calls the Heart. I feel like we were just getting to know the characters when it ended and worse yet, it ended with a cliffhanger ending. I felt it was an ending appropriate to a television series, but not an ending for a movie, like I was expecting. It looks like an enjoyable series - one that I would want to watch weekly if I had it on air. Since each episode is not a full movie, I feel like there should be at least two or three episodes in a set to make it worth while since each episode cannot stand alone. So, I was a little disappointed at the cliffhanger ending and didn’t walk away with the full satisfaction that you get when watching a movie with a complete plot.

The When Calls the Heart series so far is a wholesome, romantic adventure series set in the wild frontier. I love that When Calls the Heart is set in the early 1900s. I'm thinking I need to back up, start at Season 1, and get caught up!  Produced by Michael Landon Jr., the Heart of the Family film itself is high quality with good actors. I love the wholesome aspect of the main characters and the series in general. I liked that I could watch this with my 8 year old daughter, even with the "television drama" feel and the "shadier" scenes for the time period.

In fact, FishFlix.com movies are designed to be wholesome movies that Christian families will enjoy, and they offer a variety of films on their site.  In fact, you can click below to see what my Crew mates reviewed.

FishFlix.com Review No 2
Crew Disclaimer

Have you watched the When Calls the Heart series? Do I want to get into it? It's always fun to have a wholesome series to get caught up in for those chilly evenings when I just want to snuggle up and watch a good show. I like the modern day Little House on the Prairie feel of it, but I wish there were some children as main characters as well. I'm thinking this may be more for me, even though my 8 year old daughter loved the show and would probably want another girly night with me!


Embracing Slow, Crew Applications are Open, & EO 101

Our way to co-op this past Friday, I found myself behind a slow moving line of cars trailing behind a tractor. I was tempted to take a side street to go faster, but decided to embrace slow. After all, it was a beautiful fall day, and I wasn't in a hurry. One by one the cars passed the tractor until it was my turn. The driver pulled over to the edge of the road so I could safely pass, but I almost didn't want to. I was enjoying slow.

I normally don't embrace slow, especially in traffic. I love using side streets to get where I'm going quicker and will avoid waiting for the train if possible. But after a busy start to fall with soccer, chess, co-op, and the Feast of Tabernacles, I'm about to enter a season of slow and I'm ready to embrace it.

The Crew year is winding down, which means Crew applications are open for the 2016 Crew year. If you think you might be a good fit for the Crew, I encourage you to apply. While I will not be reapplying for the 2016 Crew year, I have served three years on the Crew (the last two consecutive years) and it has been a wonderful experience. The curriculum, friendships, and homeschool community support have been amazing, and I will miss it very much.

Schoolhouse Review Crew 2016 Applications

I will not be reapplying because I need a break from weekly blogging. Many weeks, I have been hard pressed to get a post up and didn't enjoy the process. I put my heart into blogging this summer so I could make the decision to quit on a good note. As I've gotten closer to the end, I'm very much relieved with my decision and feel that the end of the Crew year will be a good time to take a break. I'm not quitting the blog, but will take some time to figure out how this blog still fits into my life. I do think I will write a bit, but I have no idea what that will look like. I just know that I am overwhelmed with relief to be pressing pause. 

As always, I appreciate you checking in and reading, and I so appreciate your comments. ♥

I am still building a business with Young Living. I'm so thankful for these oils, so I'm excited once again to be able to invite you to our Everyday Essentials class. <--- Click that link to join if you are new to Young Living and want to learn more or have already/are willing to allow me to sponsor you as a member. Would love to have you! Look for a special giveaway if you invite a friend.

I have lots of information up on Oily Seedlings if you want to see why I'm excited about oils. I'm 
planning to post a 101 class for sure (I've already started it). After I get my 101 class up, I will be focusing on home classes - 101s and make-and-takes (homemade products using the oils). I'm excited to reach out locally to share the oily love.  

I have a curriculum post coming up for Malachi (5th) and Eliana (3rd), and then who knows - I may have a row to share, or a homeschool mother's journal, or whatever I feel like to get me through the end of my Crew year which will end with my last review on November 6th. One thing I know - if I want to embrace slow, I have to make time for what is important and I'm excited for the changing seasons in life. ♥


Blueberries for Sal {B4FI♥AR}

~Boaz is 4 years, 8 months~ 

Blueberries for Sal is a sweet, old fashioned story about little Sal and her mother, little bear and her mother, and how they get mixed up on blueberry hill.

I am teaching a little learners class at a local homeschool co-op this quarter. My focus is literature based studies and slated first was Blueberries for Sal. My Tuesday class theme is pretend or imaginary play (not my specialty, but there was a need for a teacher that hour) so I planned to make pretend blueberry muffins. I made Berry Koolaid playdough for the blueberry dough and vanilla scented playdough for the batter (using the same recipe but omitting the Koolaid and adding vanilla and a drop of lemon essential oil). The kids really loved it and had a great time measuring, mixing, and rolling and shaping blueberries for their "muffins." And I made tissue paper chef hats for the kids. I snapped this picture of Bo when he came to show me his muffins. :)

The sound of the blueberries hitting the bottom of the metal pail is an example of onomatopoeia, so I taught my little Bo and his friends how to kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk. I used three different sized tin cans to drop the berries in to make the kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk sound - I thought it was a pretty neat discovery! :)

Then we went blueberry picking with homemade tin can pails and blue pony beads in my Friday class.

I saved tin cans from the recycle bin - lids removed with a safety can opener (affiliate) that leaves a smooth edge, drilled two holes for the handle and smoothed the metal with a grinder (at least I think that it what it is called) on the outside, and used a Dremmel tool to smooth the inside where I drilled so little hands can play safe. Then I attached a pipe cleaner handle. 

Then we planted hundreds of pony bead blueberries for the children to find.

I think it was a lot of fun. This was week one of co-op and Bo and I rowed this book at home the next week. At co-op, our theme was apples the 2nd week, so this tied in well with our lessons. (I read The Apple Pie Tree and made felt apple pies for pretend play and I read How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World and did an apple taste test in my Friday class).

Health & Nutrition

We used worksheets from Super Teacher Worksheets (link to my review).

Food Groups

Healthy/Not Healthy

Fruits & Veggie Collage

Make a Fruit Salad

Bo counted 141 blueberries:

I started filming in the nineties. He got stuck at 109, but once past 110 he made it to 141 on his own. He sometimes skipped a number and I think it's because he dropped two in the bowl at one time.  Super good job counting Bo!

Jam Fun

One berry, two berry, pick me a blueberry... 
Jamberry, Bread and Jam for Francis, Peanut Butter & Jelly (affiliate) - all fun books
What I am... is tired of jam. ~Francis
I kind of was too. I did think I would make freezer jam, but didn't feel like it in the end.

Safety & Bears

Lesson from the manual (p. 29)

In the Path of Great Bear was a really great book about bear safety that I found at our library. 


Bo drew the bear on a notebook page on hibernation and we read the bear book.

McCloskey, Maine & Then & Now

We read One Morning in Maine (a Sonlight P 3/4 selection) and...

Then and Now In the kitchen (also a Sonlight P 4/5 selection) to compare an old fashioned kitchen to a modern kitchen.

We also read First Thousand Words - Food, The Store,The Kitchen to compare kitchens, and maybe The Zoo for the bear.

More blueberry fun:

Blueberries for Sal with Mali and Elli
Blueberries for Sal Tot School activities {when Bo was 29 months old}

Blueberries for Sal is a Before Five in a Row selection. There are a lot of Fun Things to do with B4FIAR, but the most important thing is to cultivate a love for learning. ♥

The Before FI♥AR Link-Up is currently closed, 
but you are welcome to visit to see what others did with Blueberries for Sal.
Thank you to those who have linked up over the years!


Middlebury Interactive Languages

 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review
For the past 6 weeks, I have been reviewing Middlebury Interactive Languages, a digital online foreign language program, with Malachi, my 5th grader. He was very interested in taking one of the French Courses, so I selected Elementary French 1, Grades 3-5 as my first choice. This is a one semester course, and we received a 6 month access.

Content of the course includes:

  • Welcome 
  • Unit 1: Greetings 
  • Unit 2: Numbers 
  • Unit 3: Family 
  • Unit 4: Body 
  • Unit 5: Animals 
  • Unit 6: Colors 
  • Unit 7: Days of the Week 
  • Unit 8: Review 
  • Unit 9: Calendar 
  • Unit 10: Weather 
  • Unit 11: Clothes Unit 12: Food 
  • Unit 13: Home 
  • Unit 14: School/Classroom 
  • Unit 15: Professions 
  • Unit 16: Review  

The Welcome unit consists of a welcome video, tutorials on how to drag and drop, highlight, work in steps, and record audio clips, as well as authentic stories, course vocabulary, songs, and translations. The stories, songs, and translations open up in a PDF file for easy printing.

The 16 units each contain 6 lessons. The lessons contain a unit introduction, objectives, a watch and listen story, a song, practice exercises, speaking labs, review, culture and conversations explorations, summaries, quizzes, and tests all in fun, interactive, and colorful animated lessons.

Middlebury teaches an immersion approach to learning a foreign language through the songs and stories and exercises, but the instructions are in English and the translations are available to guide the student.

Malachi has completed 4 units for a total of 24 lessons in the past 6 weeks so he has averaged 4 lessons per week, but he has doubled up to get in few extra lessons. Malachi likes that Middlebury is interactive, colorful, and animated, and says it is fun for kids. He says it’s not hard, but not too easy. The stories and songs are a fun way to learn French. The translations are a must have to understand the stories and songs. Malachi’s favorite story was The Two Brothers. His favorite song was Bonjour ma cousine then The Farmer in his Field.

The lessons are easy to navigate once you get started; although, it would be nice to have the application open up to where he left off. To navigate to his current lesson, we click on a calendar and look for the last lesson completed and then click on the next lesson on the calendar. Because we received access to the semester unit after the semester started, we have not been able to catch up to the current date on the calendar. Also, the lessons this past week are not being checked off as completed, even though they have been up to that point, so it is becoming increasingly harder to find where we left off. We have to remember what unit and lesson we are on to find the next lesson. This is the only downside to the program.

In the Gradebook, I can view each assignment and Malachi’s answers. We do not have a teacher with our subscription, and I have not figured out how to manually grade Malachi's speaking tests, but all other quizzes and assignments are automatically graded. His grade report in the Gradebook is currently a 93%. He bombed his first quiz with a 20% as he didn’t fully understand what to do, but he’s on a streak of 100% since getting the hang of it.

Middlebury is a high quality, fun, engaging, and interactive program that my son looks forward to during school hours. The songs are catchy and I find myself singing them at times. I love that the program immerses my student in the language and the culture of the French though authentic stories and songs. I would have loved to see authentic French people and images, but the animated characters are appealing to a child and I think the older grades use authentic images. I love that it starts in English and weaves the French in as it goes. I also love that it is offered as a self-paced independent study ($119) or with a teacher ($119 plus an additional $175).

Middlebury could meet all your foreign language needs through high school. Malachi took Elementary French 1, Grades 3-5 so his next course would be Elementary French 2, Grades 3-5. There is also an Elementary French 1, Grades K-2, Middle School French 1 & 2, Grades 6-8, High School French I, II, & III, Grades 9-12, High School French Fluency I & II, Grades 9-12, and AP French, Grades 11-12. Middlebury also offers courses in Spanish, Chinese, and German.

We love Middlebury. I would absolutely continue this for as long as Malachi is interested (and he is very interested), so when I ventured over to the main site to check out the price, I was honestly surprised at the price for one semester. I don’t often look at the cost of a product I am reviewing because price is very subjective, but in this case the price is more than I am willing to pay for a non-core class for one semester, especially because it is a consumable product that cannot be used again by another student. I do consider it to be a high quality program worth the cost, but it is not in our current budget to afford. If Malachi was serious about learning French, I would consider adding it to our budget next year if I could not find another high quality program that we love, but I’m hoping for a more suitable program for a large homeschool family.

Please click below to visit my Crew mates reviews to see what they reviewed.

 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

Crew Disclaimer
I personally love that Malachi chose French. According to the site, French is the second most commonly taught language worldwide. My husband and three older boys all chose Spanish as their second language, and learning Spanish makes more sense in the U.S., but I took French in highschool and was delighted to see Malachi choose French. It’s been fun recalling some of the things I learned, and I hope that Malachi will continue to desire to learn French. If I can’t find another high quality program, I will consider Middlebury in the future for sure. After reading my review to my husband, he asked if it was possible to audit the course with a second child (this is possible with our online history program), but this is not possible with Middlebury. The videos and learning activities can be watched again for review, but most of the exercises, quizzes, and tests cannot be repeated.