Monthly Archives: January 2012

Seeing friends hurt and learning from them….

Seeing friends hurt and learning from them….

It’s sad to see friends hurting.  I am tired of seeing marriages falling apart, given up on, and the people left hurting afterwards.  I wish that it didn’t happen.  But it does…Besides praying for them and supporting them what else can we do? We can learn from them.

One of the things that I have taken away recently from another hurting relationship heading towards separation and divorce is that things don’t get better by themselves.  I am sure you are saying, “Duh, Sacha, I know that.”  But just hear me out.

Too often many people avoid conflict.  I mean who really likes it and wants to deal with it?  Fact of the matter is that those issues don’t go away on their own.  Whatever hurt or frustration that you “forgot” about, or didn’t feel like dealing with was just swept under the rug.  Problem is that the more you sweep under the rug, the bigger the dirt pile gets.  It doesn’t magically disappear, get smaller or better by itself.

You may think for a while that you have managed to avoid dealing with something, but you haven’t.  The dirt isn’t visible on the exterior, but it will continue to build up as you sweep more under the rug.  After a while you won’t know how it all got there or how to even clean it all up.  Trust me, it is much easier to deal with messes as they come, than to let them go under the rug for later.  Once it gets so big, you are completely overwhelmed and don’t even know where to begin or how to clean it all up. Mentally, it is easier to give up than to deal with it.

Just like you need to keep your home clean and picked up, you need to do the same thing with your relationships and most importantly your marriage.  Although it is easier to brush aside issues for the short term, it won’t help your marriage for the long haul, and that’s what matters most!

Ephesians 4:26-27 “In your anger do not sin. ”Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.


Homemade Gifts….it’s never to early to get started for Christmas!

Homemade Gifts….it’s never to early to get started for Christmas!

I made a lot of homemade gifts for Christmas this year. The only way I managed to do it was to start in March! I wanted to post along the way this year what I had worked on but couldn’t because my family and friends might have seen what I had worked on! But now, they all have their gifts in hand so I can share what I did. I will show you the pictures now and as the year goes on I will give you explanations as to how to actually go about making these gifts!

These are the towels I started in March.  I borrowed my mother-in-law’s embroidery machine to do these!

This pillow was made from old ties that my dad was done with.

Another pillow made from my dad’s ties!

This is a quick and easy table runner to make.  I dressed it up by embroidering on it before I put it together!

These ornaments are made from old keys, which I painted!

This was a double batch of homemade caramel, that I made to put in mugs I had decorated, for Tim’s side of the family…I made 5 batches of caramel the week before Christmas!

This was the gift that took the longest to make…you can start homemade vanilla up to 6 months in advance. LOVE THIS VANILLA!!!!

I hope these might inspire you to start thinking about what you can do for Christmas gifts now or in the near future.  It is never fun to leave it all to the last minute!  I will be posting the how to’s along the way this year.  Leave me a comment if there is a specific one you want me to post about first!

Z-Guide to the Movies: A TOS Review

Z-Guide to the Movies: A TOS Review

Z-Guide to the Movies: A TOS Review

Sacha’s<25: These movie guides are a creative way to teach kids using specific movies. They incorporate questions, hands on activities, a worldview activity, and A Filmmakers Art Activity.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time?  10 stars
Did it help us learn?  10 stars
Is it worth the money?  9 stars
Is it useful to me?  10 stars
Practicality-  10 stars
Quality-  10 stars
Kid Rating-  10 stars


These Z-Guide to the movies are such an amazing resource. The Zeezok website has the Z-Guides organized by historical time periods.  Some movies are for high school, while some are for the younger set.  I was able to review the Z-Guide for Kit Kittredge: An American Girl.  I had this movie already, but if you don’t have the movie most are available from Netflix.  You could also try to find them at the library or purchase them from Zeezok.  We received this review right before we took Christmas break.  I was a bit afraid that I wouldn’t get my daughter to go along with trying this out, thinking she would think it was “school”.  Boy was I wrong.  She jumped at the opportunity to try this out, even the research part of it!  Check out more about it below and then I will tell you about our experience!

From their website:

If your student enjoys watching movies, we just made it easy for you to incorporate them into your curriculum. We have dozens of guides— each of them falling within a specific time in history. All of the guides contain ten educational activities that build upon the movie. The guides are movie specific. We tell you exactly which movie we used, and almost all are available thru Netflix. Most you can probably get through your local library. So you don’t even need to buy the movie to use our guides!

Each guide starts out with a topic overview. This overview provides the student with more information regarding the specific time period in which the movie is based. Next is a movie synopsis. The synopsis will assist the student in understanding what is going on in the movie and how relationships, situations, and events all relate together.

The first activity is always review questions. We recommend the student answer these as they watch the movie. We want to be sure they are paying attention and being an active learner versus a passive viewer.

The next several activities all build around the historical time of the movie. The questions in these activities may be more about the people or events that happened in the movie. These questions cannot be answered from watching the movie. (We all know you don’t get accurate facts from a Hollywood movie.) The student will learn research skills because he will need to use either the library or the internet to properly answer these questions. Some of the activities involve writing an essay. For example, in the Scarlet Pimpernel the student is asked to write a one page essay condemning or condoning the actions of the Scarlet Pimpernel. So the student is learning research and writing skills during the process.

Each guide also contains at least one hands-on activity, a worldview activity, and The Filmmaker’s Art activity. The hands-on activities for the active learner vary depending on the guide and include activities such as creating a treasure hunt, completing an art project, or planning and making a meal for the family.

The worldview activity helps the child to understand the movie’s worldview. This activity is not to impress on the student our personal worldview, but to get the student to think critically through what he believes and what is being presented in the movie. Family discussion questions also develop this critical thinking from the worldview promoted within your family.

The Filmmaker’s Art activity helps the student recognize the tools being used to influence the viewer. The various guides discuss how filming techniques, music, lighting, humor, character development, irony, foreshadowing, and even character names are used by the director and producer to influence the viewer to get their agenda across. We want the student to be able to discern not only the agenda of the movie, but also how they are being influenced by it. The goal is that when the student goes to the theatre and watches Harry Potter or Avatar orHappy Feet, he walks out not thinking it was an entertaining movie, but understanding the bigger message behind each film.

We recommend the student completes two activities per day, taking a week to complete. Z-Guides are meant to supplement your current history curriculum. They are not intended to replace your core curriculum for history.

And yes, answers are provided for all of the questions. We tried to make it as easy as possible on you.

Click here to see a sample Z-guide to the movies!

What I liked:

  • They give you a guideline as to how to use this amazing resource….it takes about a week, but you could stretch it out if you need to!
  • Love that they write the questions to be answered DURING the movie, this really helps the student to pay attention to the movie and the details! (this makes them an active learner instead of just a passive viewer)
  • They are age appropriate.
  • The Filmmaker’s Art Activity is really cool.  These guides discuss how filming techniques, music, lighting, humor, character development, irony and foreshadowing are used but the director and producer to influence the view to get their agenda across.  (This is such a great way to teach our kids not just to be fed what Hollywood feeds them, but to finish a movie and understand the bigger messages behind each film).
  • There is an answer key!
  • A family discussion guide is also included…great around the dinner table!
  • It makes learning FUN!

What I didn’t like:

  • Nothing!!!!

Our Experience:

Like I said at the beginning, what I thought was going to be hard to get my daughter excited about was a pleasure to use.  She watched the movie and then answered the questions (Then we realized she was supposed to do them while watching the movie–would have been better that way!)  She moved right along to doing the research portion.  This included researching the Dust Bowl, CCC, 2 women photographer/photo journalists, the influenza epidemic and if a baseball player mentioned in the movie was really a person. The next activity centered around Hobo signs and she got to solve the codes and create a message for her siblings using the hobo signs we researched (from websites they provided!)
Following that:
  • Activity 4 was a vocabulary worksheet.
  • Activity 5-become a newspaper reporter and report about something that happened in the Depression.
  • Activity 6-Create a Power Point presentation of the clothing fashions in America during the Great Depression (it includes a list of questions to help them get started in observing differences).
  • Activity 7-Who Am I?-Gives a general description/clue of a person in the movie and you have to guess who it is.
  • Activity 8-Litereary Devices:Ironic Foreshadowing or Foreshadowing Irony.
  • Activity 9-Worldview-What is prejudice and pride including questions about how they are used or seen in the movie.
  • Activity 10-Filmmaker’s Art and Dramatic License—lighting, irony, music and color.
  • Family Discussion-great questions to share together as a family.
  • Answer Key!

To sum it up: Wow, this is just such a great resource that I am thrilled to have in my back pocket!  Seems like most kids/adults like movies and this is a great way to take a history topic and study it in a fun way, all while learning about a movie’s worldview and helping our children learn how to discern for themselves!   By the way, if you don’t see a specific movie you are looking for they are adding another 25 movie guides this spring 2012!

The important information:


Published by:  Zeezok Publishing, (800)749-1681,

Order from:

Price: $12.99 for e-book or CD. (wanting to used it for a co-op or classroom, they have a license price for that…$49.99)

To read other TOS Crew reviews of this product click here.


Disclosure/Disclaimer:  I received the above product free of charge for review purposes.  I am only expected to give an honest review.