Monday, September 25, 2017

Review: Heirloom Audio Productions

Captain Bayley's Heir
I am sooooo excited to get to do another review for Heirloom Audio Productions this time with Captain Bayley's Heir. And while we have LOVED all of the productions, this one was, on a consensus vote from our family, our VERY FAVORITE!


(Be prepared to see that theme running throughout this post!)


Quickly, I wanted to flashback to the previous reviews I have done for Heirloom Audio Productions
It is always hard to get good images for my reviews that are audio productions because it is something you are listening to. However, this particular production, we listened to in our rental car as we drove from the airport in Burlington, Vermont to Roy & Joni's cabin for our annual family summer vacation. It was about a two hour drive, and we started the production on the car ride on the way to the cabin and finished it on the ride back to the airport.

I took a video after we finished the production. My husband was lost at the moment I filmed it, so please ignore his frazzled-ness near the end. (He really did love this one too! He just wasn't impressed with my timing of doing a video while we were lost somewhere in New England. Ha!)

I have not listened to all the productions. In the past this is something that John did with our kids. It was one review that I would sort of sign out on a bit. But he and all the kids all thought this was the very best production we have listened to. And I have listened to portions of previous productions, and I agreed.


(Are you following on my theme here?)

I asked Hannah if she would agree to take a picture with the Captain Bayley's Heir CD. She agreed, but she really wanted to hold both sides of her cape out at the same time. This presented quite a dilemma. She asked if we could tape it to her body, and when I said no, she opted to put it in her mouth:

And here she is agreeing to let down one side of her cape:

Captain Bayley's Heir is the story of Frank, an 18-year-old young man who runs off to America when he is falsely accused of a crime. This crime was an incredibly painful part of the story. To see someone accused of something that they did not do but having no means of recourse was really emotional to me as I listened.

This was the era of the American Gold Rush, and Frank finds himself right in the middle of the rollickin' adventures. While some of the adventures were a bit intense, generally everything that occurred while in America had a sort of "Old Western" feel to it and therefore it felt a bit more light-hearted than other productions. His Uncle (Captain Bayley), cousin (Frank), and long-time female friend (Alice) are left behind to grieve his departure and wonder if he was guilty or not.

This time of wondering truly gave us an opportunity as a family to discuss misunderstandings and not jumping to conclusions. And if someone did do something wrong, can we forgive them? Would God forgive them? And why would people do mean things to other people? What is grace. How does God give it? How can we give it? How important is proper communication?


While Frank is gone, another mystery is unfolding back in Europe: that of Captain Bayley and the daughter that has gone missing. Who then is Captain Bayley's heir? Well, to answer that would be to ruin the entire story so I won't go any farther, but trust me, you'll love listening to find out. And there is a wonderful bit of romance thrown in as well for the female side of our family.

(I am always amazed how anti-love and weddings my boys are and how utterly in love with the idea my girls are. God really makes us different from the get-go, doesn't he?)

So WHY was this our favorite adventures? Well quite simply, we thought this was a bit more light-hearted than the other adventures. While there was still some deep stuff, generally, the sadness and death of some of the other productions was muted a bit in Captain Bayley's Heir. In addition, this story had it all. It had family love. It had romantic love. It had loss. It had being found. It had adventure. It had gold and a treasure hunt! (This was one of our favorite parts -- when the group begins a quest to find treasure in a new location.) This story was simply something that had a little bit of something for everyone.

This was also the first time that every single member of our family listened to an entire production including our youngest member (pictured above). Hannah just turned four, and during previous productions, she just could not follow or would lose interest. But this one kept her captivated and interested right along with her siblings. It truly made our road trip fly by. The CD says that this is for ages 6 and up, but I really think this particular production could be listened to with younger siblings pretty "safely" and easily. There is still some mature content, but generally, Hannah did great!

(Can you tell that I simply loved this audio production?!)


I also loved, as is always the case with anything from Heirloom Audio Productions, the lessons learned. In this case, you learn about forgiveness and God's grace -- as well as the grace that we can bestow on each other as human beings.

And also as always, the actors and actresses playing these roles are of incredible talent. Brian Blessed and John Rhys-Davies highlight a long list of individuals who have been involved in many productions both on the screen and on audio.

And no Heirloom Audio Productions CD would be complete without all the amazing bonus materials that come along with it. This time you can get the:
  • E-Book
  • Official Soundtrack
  • Printable Cast Poster
  • Study-Guide and Discussion Starter
  • Inspirational Hymn Poster
  • Desktop Wallpaper Download
I want to make sure to take an extra moment to discuss the Study-Guide and Discussion Starter as this 38-page downloadable document is the highlight of the materials listed above. Included in these pages are:
  • An introduction to G.A. Henty
  • Questions to go with the 10 tracks presented on CD 1 and the 10 tracks presented on CD 2:
    • The "first level" of questions are called "listening well" and are truly designed for younger children and just sort of cover the facts.
    • The "second level" of questions are called "thinking further" and these are non-factual questions. These are thinking questions that make you really analyze what happened in the story.
    • There are also "Defining Words" on each chapter so that you can discuss vocabulary presented in that track.
  • Three separate Bible Studies. These Bible Studies include lists of different scriptures that go with different sub-topics in each of the studies. The main topics of each Bible Study include:
    • God's Grace
    • Becoming A Christian
    • Honoring Your Parents
In addition to all these fantastic parts of your Captain Bayley's Heir purchase, you can also join the Live the Adventure Club. Club Membership includes:
  • Three 2-CD sets shipped to you each year
  • Stream over 500 old-time radio shows
  • Hundreds of fun activities and games
  • Listen & Learn Read Along Program
  • Daily Inspiration and Devotionals
  • Educational Treasures & Teaching Resources
  • Full Access to Live the Adventure Radio
  • Community Forum
I am a part of this club and I love it!!

You can actually get three free months to the club, but in the future, it is $24.75 for a three-month subscription (about $8 a month.)

You can truly make an ENTIRE UNIT of homeschooling out of Captain Bayley's Heir from Heirloom Audio Productions. And if you aren't a homeschooling family, this will be a fantastic opportunity to come together and do something fun as a family! Don't miss this one guys! Order today!!!!

P.S. WE LOVED IT!!!!!!

Captain Bayley's Heir {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}

 Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Vermont #3

Here is my third of four posts from Vermont:

Love this pic of my boys discovering bugs together in the water.

Present time!

These two -- always BFF or WFE (worst frickin' enemies!)

What is with that tongue!? 

I am not sure I can ever adequately explain how much I love this lady. Next to my own mother, this woman is my second-most-loved lady. Truly. Just a Godsend in my life, and I am so thankful for her.

Roy and JB truly enjoy hanging out together. They have a lot in common! 

All I want for Christmas is my ... two front teeth!

Sidge got good enough on the kayak that we let him take Hannah out (with Joni close by).

Oh Hannah.

Love this boys' sense of adventure and animals and nature and outdoors. It is HIS gift, and I know his life with involve the outside in some way.

One of my favorite things about our fifth summer in Vermont was seeing Isaac join in on the water sports. He always does things when he is ready. The last few years he hasn't been interested, and while we pushed slightly, we only nudged. But this year, on his own, he spent an entire day playing with Sidge on the water. It was SOOOO fun!

Joni on the water -- I truly hope I am as agile and with it as Joni when I am in my 60's. (Did I say that? I mean ... 40's :)

This girl is just always so silly!

Mannnnn I love this boy!

Jumping in the boat. Joan loves these jump pictures!

Jumping in the boat. Joan loves these jump pictures!

Sidge really started getting the hang of this thing during our time at the lake. He LOVED being on the water and every day, he'd pace until it was warm enough/sunny enough to get outside!

Me doing the Mom thing sitting on the dock.

My little trouble-maker -- gosh I love her mischievousness 

JB spotted this bird/duck (I can't remember what it is called.) He submitted it to some online bird searching thing-a-ma-bob. It is a rarity for Vermont in this area, and he was super excited!!!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

We Bought a Farm: Truck Etiquette

There are so many things to learn when one moves from the city to the country -- and especially when one joins the rural ranks. Even more if you become a farmer.

But let's start small shall we? Our family has our old mini-van. But we also have a pick-up truck, and JB and I decide who drives what depending on what is going on around the farm. He prefers to take the truck to work. But if we need it on the farm, he takes the mini-van, and the truck stays with me.

I never dreamed of driving a pick-up truck -- especially not a Ford F-250 that seats six. This thing is HUGE. I do not drive it when I have to park it downtown. And even at the grocery store, it truly needs two spots.

But all this truck driving has taught me a thing or two.

I've realized that once I am off the town roads and on any country road, a certain sort of camaraderie among trucks and their drivers takes over.

Okay so let's back up a bit. What do I mean by a country road? Well, it can be any two-lane road that requires you to wait until a dotted yellow line to pass.

It can also be a road that is smaller. Check out this road leading up to our house pictured at right. This is a road for traffic going in both directions. But as you can see, there is only room for one car at a time.

When my family visits from out-of-town, I can visibly observe them gripping the sides of the door as they ride as my passenger. They are looking for their brake on their side of the vehicle. The road is so small. How can cars be going in opposite directions?

Well, you go very carefully first of all. And whoever can pull over onto a shoulder first, does. If you can't, then one car will actually stop and choose to back up until they can find a shoulder. This is sort of done with a lot of hand and head movements as each party tries to decide the best way to keep going in the direction you want to travel in.

You also learn your roads. You learn where you can see a vehicle traveling the other way and where you can't. And you slow down when you can't.

Okay, but seriously. Back to trucks. I have realized that if I am riding in my truck, and I pass another truck, we are supposed to wave our hand. Now pay attention because this part is important. The wave is not to be exuberant. And it isn't girly either. It is subtle and usually involves keeping part of our hand on the steering wheel as you life parts of your fingers.

If I am in my mini-van, no one EVER waves at me. And if I am in my truck, I do not wave at people not also in a truck. If I do, they will be very confused and look at me like they have no idea why I would acknowledge their less-than-a-truck-vehicle.

I should extend this to farm vehicles. They are included in the truck category. Any farm vehicle is also supposed to be waved at. They will then wave back. But if you try to wave at them from your mini-van, they won't be looking for it and will most likely not wave back.

And there you have it.

Now you are ready to be a farmer with me!

Friday, September 22, 2017

We Bought a Farm: Meet Captain Cappuccino

I arrived back home on the farm to a whirlwind of activity. Honestly, I wrote many lines of many Blog posts in my mind as today transpired around me. And now that things are finally settled down, I can't remember most of them.

JB was working today. We were meeting someone at a halfway point and so I had no choice but to be the ram picker-upper.

I arrived home with a new ram in our truck. After much debate, we decided to let Isaac name this ram since Sidge coined the name "Admiral" for our other ram. This one will be called "Cap" or "Captain" and it stands for "Captain Cappuccino." (Just go with it.)

In the midst of figuring out a way (with the help of our wwooffer, Tijmen, and our good friend, Shane) how to move a nearly 200 pound ram into his temporary holding area, I found myself doing a lot of reflecting.

(And we did it brilliantly by following Tijmen's suggestion of putting a piece of plywood under the travel kennel, moving that to the ground, and letting him walk in on his own accord.)

Our farm dog, Arabelle, made the drive with me. (I'm driving around with a farm dog in my truck!) And 'm driving a huge F-250 pick-up truck with a ram in the back.

After the ram is nestled in his new home, I meet a good friend here at the farm to exchange some eggs and tomatoes, and another lady drives up interested in eggs. Her son is battling a very bad allergy. (Like he is allergic to everything.) And she is finding that our food seems to work for him, and she's introducing it to him slowly. I have just said good bye to Shane and sent him on his way with his requested eight dozen eggs, and now I don't have chicken eggs left for this lady. So I find 11 duck eggs in the fridge and give her those instead. She's pleased. I'm relieved.

I get all the kids settled in the house while Uncle Ray is working on electrical issues in the girls' bedroom. Oh, did I mention that we now have a skylight in our bedroom now after someone's foot went through the ceiling during that work? Not kidding. You can't make this stuff up.

Oh and I left out the best part: when I injured my foot in Vermont, I hit my toe. My big toenail chipped. I got an ingrown toenail. Never had one of those before. Holy COW do those hurt badly. Don't worry. JB is helping me fix it. But man oh man doing farm work with that baby is NOT fun.

I quickly run out to do animal chores, not paying attention to how hot it is or how little water I have ingested that day. And as I come back in, I find myself feeling light-headed. I'm getting tunnel vision, wanting everyone to just shut up. Mom takes my blood pressure. It's super low. Call JB. I'm dehydrated. Drink a ton of water. Rest. Blood pressure back to normal.

I notice one of our guineas is being "kicked out" and picked on. I note one turkey that JB needs to put down. He's not doing well. Our rams are low on water. We have tons of apples from a local orchard to feed the pigs. And I'm still trying to figure out what to do with all our tomatoes.

In the midst of all of this, I seriously am just in awe that this is my life. How did I get here? Will this ever feel normal to me? Will I ever feel like a farmer? Or will I always feel like a city girl pretending to be a farmer.

And then Hannah, walking out of the house to go show Dad the ram says: "Mom, I just love living on my farm." And during the whirlwind, I send Sidge out to get a video of the ram to send to Daddy at work, and I don't even have to time to watch it, and as I'm going to bed, I watch this, and I realize, this is exactly the life God asked me to lead.

Picking up our new ram

Me and my shadow heading out to go pick up a ram. While Ritter, our boy Aussie wants to be with the kids and family, all this girl dog, Arabelle wants is to be with me. So I even let her ride the 3 hours round trip to pick up our new ram. Stay tuned for ram details!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tribe Life Tuesday: Kindness -- The Immeasurable Currency

A weekly post from my childhood to grown-up friend Carrie ~ 
sharing her awesome life and her desire to have community while doing it!

Welcome to TribeLife Tuesday! We are so excited to have you here. 

Today, I invite you into my world. You set the scene - we can be drinking margaritas laying in our hammocks as the summer sun bathes us in her glory. Or we can be cozied up by the fire drinking lattes watching the snow softly fall and quickly pile up. 

Take a moment and picture it. 

Are you ready to embark on the word journey? 

Here we go!

I recently was out people-watching, because it’s simply the best, and observed masses of people going about their day. That was all they were doing: going about THEIR day, seemingly oblivious to the world around them. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good "zone out" day but the more I watched, the more I realized there was simply no awareness of one another. I thought to myself "if we only just knew what was going on in each of these peoples' lives we would probably be kinder with our actions. Probably with our words too.” 

Then I found myself pondering the concept of kindness: what is it really? What does it look like walked out everyday? Why is it important?

As a wannabe historian, I naturally start from the beginning, searching for great acts of kindness throughout history. These brave acts are all over - Robert Owen was a capitalist who transformed the city surrounding his mill. Zoltan Kubinyi was a Hungarian Nazi officer who helped rescue Jewish prisoners during the Holocaust. The group of Louisiana men and women who dropped everything, grabbed their boats, and drove over to Texas to help rescue people trapped in rising flood waters. There are hundreds of thousands of more stories like these out there. All because our nature is to help - we are made to be kind.

There are many inspirational quotes out there all about kindness, but what is it really? Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Sounds easy enough, right? This is one of those main things in life. Keep this at the forefront of all you do, because it is reciprocal. And friends, this is a quality, something that is built and nurtured through practice, and each of us has the ability to build this stellar quality. Whether you’re not kind yet or you’re part-time kind, this is not out of reach for you. You only have to start practicing. 

How do I walk this out?
Walking kindness out every day looks like slowing down and looking around. Finding a need and fulfilling it. Taking from my pile to give to another. Seemingly, the best stories come from the kind acts that are extended to those who need it the most - the destitute, the marginalized, the broken, the hurting: these people need our kindness. Then there are those who don’t appear to “need” our kindness but it is our duty, as contributors to all things good and beautiful in society, to extend it to them as well. It’s the paying for someone’s order in the drive-thru line or at the counter, it’s giving the person begging on the corner some change. As Aesop says, "no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.”

Why is it important?
Kindness reminds us of how significantly insignificant we are. We all have role to play in society and being kind is part of it. While what happens in each of our individual worlds is very important, it is equally important to make sure we are contributing to the world around us. And may we never get so caught up in our world that we lose sight of others and their needs. 

My hope is that we stay awake to society, giving where we can and loving all over the rest of it. 

Remember, kindness is an immeasurable currency and it should spent lavishly. 

Thank you for reading. 

See you next Tuesday.