Nothin' 2 Prove

The building of Gunn Ranch Academy one caliche rock at a time; our friends, family, passions, learning adventures and our little piece of HIStory in the making!


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Crew Review: Picaboo Yearbooks

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With more and more families turning to homeschooling to educate their children, we are seeing lots of fabulous resources created to fill a special niche in our community. Picaboo Yearbooks  is one such company that has made it easy and fun to create a special keepsake for your kids just like the ones you used to flip through and have your friends sign at the end of your school year. Now even homeschoolers can create their very own yearbooks!

For review I was blessed with the opportunity to design our very own 8.5 x 11 20 Page Softcover Yearbook.

I was really surprised when I found out the cost  is only $8.49 plus $10.99 shipping, making our memories easy to flip back through over and over for under twenty bucks. But even better than that, the shipping price has now been lowered to $8.99! There are also many options such as hardcover books, and adding pages for an additional cost.

When I first clicked over to the website, my brain went into overdrive. I became so overwhelmed with ideas and possibilities that my creative juices started flowing and I just couldn’t imagine how I’d ever decide just what to include!

***Do I make a yearbook for each child? One for the family? Oh wait…I’ll include our 4-H activities, or maybe I’ll make a book with all the awards, or just do one for horse judging…

   And then it hit me.  This past year our family has been on a most spectacular journey! From finding just the right stud, to the ultrasounds, to the waiting and watching, breeding our mare and welcoming our new baby foal into the world has been the adventure of a lifetime for our family. My oldest daughter put so much time and research into genetic testing, breeding, and imprint training that it seemed perfect to put all those precious memories into a book for her and our family.

But that was only the beginning! Once I created an account and watched the introductory video, I couldn’t wait to get started. I began by choosing photos to create a wrap-around photo cover. It was super-easy to upload the photos and the format is totally self-explanatory. I adjusted a photo of our mare and  foal on the right half of the wraparound cover and then placed a close-up photo of Sparky the foal on the left half that would be the back of book. I centered the title of the book “Spark Up the Awesome” which is our foal’s registered name. I quickly found the “Birds Eye View” which let me see how the whole thing would look. Cool!

    I was actually surprised at how easy it was to use the program.  As I thought about the photos and time period I was dealing with, I easily labeled 20 pages, and was ready to start filling them up.

For the first page I created I used a picture of our mare and the stud-horse. I clicked the photos and placed them on the page, re-sized them just how I wanted them and then dragged the photos to just the right places. The program asks if you would like it to arrange the photos for you, which is especially nice if you load several. I ended up using this feature on a couple of pages.

Next it was time to play with the backgrounds. There are tons of really cool backgrounds, and it’s easy to click through and place a background on your page either before or after you have your photos in place. You can change the backgrounds at any time if you decide later you want to use a different one. I found some really awesome backgrounds with fireworks in many different formations and colors, and chose one that fit perfectly!

Next I played with the text. It was fun to look at all the different fonts and make it bigger and smaller until it looked just right.

Once the page was finished I was able to lock it for safety, but it remains easy to edit any of the pages right up until you submit the book for publishing.

The next two pages featured a collage of some favorite photos of my oldest daughter Morgan and our mare Grace.  Following this was pictures of the kids with the mare showing off her big belly, getting ready for the birth, pictures of the pH test strips my daughter used, then pictures of the birth of the foal followed by newborn photos, imprinting pictures, trailering, bathing, a page with a photo of the front page of the newspaper that featured an article on Morgan and her foal, and the last page is a picture of the APHA registration papers on a flag background. Whew!!

Some of the cool backgrounds I used were denim, hay, stars, tooled leather, western stitched border, scrolled hearts with wings, and the American Flag. I also added a few “stickers” to some of the pages like a blue heart block on the page where I put the ultrasound pictures when we saw the foals heart beat.

 

I should mention that I was nervous about being able to upload my photos for this project because of my country-fried internet, but I’m happy to report I had absolutely no issues. Once I was satisfied with my book, I locked each page and submitted it.

While the website states that there is a three-week turnaround, I received my book in two weeks! It was packed securely in bubble wrap inside a sturdy box. I screamed when I opened the box. It is the most fantastic and beautiful, professional-looking thing I’ve ever created!!

I chose matte finish (as opposed to the glossy option) and the pages are so very awesome. They are thick, high quality and the texture is amazing. Each page is bright and colorful and vibrant!

When my daughter opened it, she squealed with delight as well. She said, “Oh wow, you just have to tell them how professional and amazing the quality of this is! It’s awesome!”

***I totally wish I could hand it to you right through this blog post so you could experience for yourself. Everyone who has had their hands on it has just gasped in amazement.***

My daughters are just tickled pink with it! What an amazing keepsake of our family’s incredible mare and foal journey!!

  I will be making many more of these. My next project will be a book for my 13-year-old featuring her and her horses. Then I will be making one of our 4-H horse judging years, and one with all of our Gunn Ranch animals. I can think of so many possibilities for gifts, for friends, coaches, family, mentors, etc.  I am thinking also, that I will make each child an actual yearbook of their homeschool journey for graduation.

   The possibilities are just endless!

You can create a free account and get started creating now! Go on, what are you waiting for? 😀

Check out my Crew Mates’ yearbooks over at the crew blog!
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Enjoy your journey more with a Picaboo yearbook!!

Dr. Chris

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Crew Review: 25 Truths

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Ed Douglas Publications might just be the website you never knew you were looking for if you are striving to live a happy and fulfilling life, or would love to have the perfect blueprint to hand to someone who is striving for success, or if you are looking for a devotional-type study to share with your family or group.

Ed Douglas’s book 25 Truths is a power-packed little dynamo of short and sweet “truths” to read, discuss, share and live.  This dynamic little 5×7  inspirational guide is full of  important morals and values based on Christian principles. Each concept is presented with a short and sweet “truth” followed by a little story or description from Mr. Douglas’s life experiences, a summary, and some discussion questions.  Each spans only a few pages, and is straight forward and attention grabbing. Nothing boring, flowery or condescending, making you feel as if you should go back into your hole. Instead, this little book lights a spark, motivates and leaves that “I can do this!!” feeling.

The truths are obvious. Things that we have all heard (hopefully from our parents and caregivers from the time we can first remember) that are woven into the fibers of our roots. Common sense.

But here, they are all summed up together for us to see, shake our heads up and down and say “yep, I know that’s right.”

Sadly, I know inside that everyone wasn’t given the same upbringing or opportunity to learn and understand these concepts, and for those, this might be a fresh new look at life!

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Whether these truths are a review, or a brand new outlook on life, the stories and motivation that Mr. Douglas brings to the table are personal and moving.

Protect your reputation.

Don’t be lewd, crude, or rude.

Watch what you say, do and write. (Hello Facebook!)

Be slow to judge.

Tell the truth.

$12.50 is a small price to pay for this awesome little tool to use, to share,  and to live!  Targeted age range is 6th to 12th grade , but I can really see teens and young adults wrapping their brains around it. It is also easy to include younger children in discussions!

25 Truths at Gunn Ranch Academy

When I first got this book for review, I couldn’t put it down. I sped through it like a freight train. It’s cute little size really captured my attention, as I could visualize it traveling in backpacks, little purses and living under pillows or beside tables.

I love how the layout is easy, not cluttered, with the Truth and number at the top, an inspirational quote or scripture following, then the short little story or discussion by the author following. The bold printed summary and questions help distinguish those so you can easily refer back and forth when discussing the principles without losing your place.

This was a great devotional to share with my kids in our busy summer months. My kids are 16, 13 and 7.  As homeschoolers we are used to discussions together, and everyone is usually pretty good about participating.

While I had some blank stares with the open “do you agree” and “what do you think” questions, there were many great opportunities for discussing current issues and encouraging some important character traits.

But my favorite part really is just the chance to high five those little things that don’t always get noticed. We talk a lot at our house. We discuss friends, feelings and relationships often.  I love to have an outside source to reinforce the truths we talk about so often!

I also love that the book doesn’t stop at “tell the truth, be slow to judge, and don’t be mean”. One of my favorites is “never surrender” with a quote from an old song I used to listen to years ago by Corey Hart!  And another my father used to tell me that I have stressed to my kids over and over- “practice makes perfect”.

“Set goals, write them down”,  “get as much education as possible” and “give and it will come back to you”  are some other jewels.

I love the Biblical principles interwoven with our real-life day to day living experiences. While it’s not meant to replace your Bible, it’s surely an awesome little study guide based on Christian principles.

When we finished 25 Truths I asked my kids if they could think of anything else that hadn’t been covered, and to make their own lists including those concepts plus their favorite ones from the book. I asked them to keep that list handy and when they receive their own copies of this book to use it as a bookmark. I believe every kid should have a copy of this book to take with them into life along with their Bibles.

I love that this was a tool to get them thinking of their own truths.  Some of the “truths” we found to be more advice for a succesful life, and those were great additions. Some of my kids’ truths and advice include: learn to speak in front of others, know what you are talking about before you speak, learn how to care for animals,  (and my 7 year old’s most important truth was learn how to handle a gun responsibly, LOL). Each created an amazing personalized list!!

We all agreed that the very last truth in the book “Truth Plus One”  is indeed the most important of all:  All You Need is Love.  I’m thankful and blessed that all of my kids know God is love, and my prayer is that this book will help others to understand that as well.

Wonderful resource, ten thumbs up from Gunn Ranch Academy, highly recommended, and will be used for gifts of all sorts from now on: graduation, going to college, teen birthdays, etc.

Check out my Crew Mates adventures with 25 Truths!

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Enjoy your journey,

Dr. Chris

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