Terri's Take... » History /blog Living a Proverbs 31 Life in a Romans 1 World... Sat, 12 Jul 2014 08:30:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Experience History Through Music /blog/2014/06/experience-history-through-music/ /blog/2014/06/experience-history-through-music/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 22:45:29 +0000 /blog/?p=1898 We began homeschooling 16 years ago when my oldest was just 5 and entering kindergarten. About two years into our journey, we decided to read the Little House books and do a unit study with them. We used Margie Gray’s Prairie Primer as our spine and then added all kinds of fun supplemental books and resources to go along with it, such as The Little House Cookbook, My Little House Craft Book, Laura Ingalls Wilder Country and Diana Waring’s Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder, part of the Experience History Through Music series.


This last resource became a family favorite. We listened to the music long after we finished reading the Little House books. In fact, we just kept the cassette tape (remember, this WAS the 90′s) in the car for entertainment while running errands around town or during long road trips. Our little family of 4 memorized all of the songs and wore that tape out. We eventually purchased the other tapes in the series – Westward Ho! and America – and did the same with those cassette tapes… played them over and over until we wore them out.

As the years went by, our little family of four – two parents and two kids – grew to become a bustling family of eight. We continued our homeschooling journey and each child in turn read through the Little House books as they reached school age. However, the youngest two never had the chance to listen to those beloved Diana Waring tapes because they were no longer around when they were born into our family.

Fast forward several more years…

This past spring I heard a rumor that Diana Waring was bringing BACK this amazing folk music, combined with the fascinating stories they represent in American history! The Experience Music Through History series was going to be back in print. I couldn’t wait! I asked if I could be first in line to write a review because I wanted to get my hands on these before anyone else did!

After the books and CDs (yes, I said CDs! This is 2014 after all) arrived in the mail, I told my kids it was time to hop in the car to pick up their dad from the airport. I even had one of my adult children with me that day. I said nothing, but I just inserted the CD into the player and waited for reactions. My oldest began singing all of the songs by heart and the younger ones joined in the fun with clapping and knee-slapping and giggling over the wonderful lyrics.

And since that day, we have been singing the songs nonstop. Enter our home this afternoon and you might hear any one of these tunes:

1. Wait for the Wagon
2. Green Grows theLaurel
3. The Old Chariot
4. Buy a Broom
5. Sweet By and By
6. Rock Me to Sleep
7. Buffalo Gals
8. A Railroad Man for Me
9. Beware
10. Pop! Goes the Weasel
11. Oft in the Stilly Night
12. The Girl I left Behind Me
13. My Sabbath Home

I think Wait for the Wagon, The Old Chariot and Buffalo Gals are our three favorites. If you want to have a knee-slapping good time, check out Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder along with the other two volumes in the series. I wonder which songs your family will like best. Enjoy!

EHTM1EHTM2EHTM3By the way, the individual titles in the series are $18.99 each, but if you purchase all 3 during the month of July, you can get them for the special price of $50 for the set. Great deal!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Experiencing History Through Music in exchange for my honest review of the materials. What you just read is my honest review.

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Road Trips Should Be Fun /blog/2014/05/road-trips-should-be-fun/ /blog/2014/05/road-trips-should-be-fun/#comments Fri, 16 May 2014 23:16:07 +0000 /blog/?p=1842 Are you wrapping up your school year or homeschooling through the summer? Because we live in the Pacific Northwest, we take a summer break to enjoy the glorious weather. There is no place lovelier than Oregon in summer. Well, that’s what we think anyway.

As an aside, when we lived in Texas, we schooled though the summer and took longer breaks during the spring and fall when it was more fun to go outside.

Anyway, we are thinking through our summer plans and the trips that we will take. We’ve got two trips up to Washington and a trip down to California planned. Plus, we’ll go camping at least once or twice.

In any case, it looks like we’ll be spending some time in the car. We don’t mind the kids watching a movie or two, but prefer that they spend the majority of their time in the car reading good books or playing games.

How about you? Do you have any road trips planned?

You may just need some great books and activities for all that time that you will be trapped (I mean, blessed!) with your kids in the car. Even a 2-3 hour car ride can get awfully long if you do not plan some activities or bring some good books for the trip. We have hand-picked our favorite KQ resources to make the time you spend in a small, crowded space for long periods of time… well, bearable!

In fact, there are only a couple days left to get some great resources for up to 50% off. You can check it all out here:


Perhaps you are planning now for the 2014/2015 school year already? Good for you! You can never plan too early. If you are planning / hoping to include any of these resources – What Really Happened, A Child’s Geography, Presidential Scrapbook, Star-Spangled State Book and more – this is the time to stock up! Many of these titles will not be discounted below retail prices again this year. Prices discounted from 25-50% off. Enough said… the prudent shopper will know what to do.

Here is the link to the sale again:


Sale continues through Monday, May 19th at midnight. If you have any questions or need any assistance, write to helpdesk@kqpublishing.org.

Bon voyage and may the wind be ever at your back!

Question: What are your best tips for making family memories on a road trip?

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Kickin’ it to the Finish Line /blog/2014/05/kickin-it-to-the-finish-line/ /blog/2014/05/kickin-it-to-the-finish-line/#comments Mon, 05 May 2014 19:17:44 +0000 /blog/?p=1828 We’re nearly there! Pat yourself on the back for reaching the finish line! You are a superstar – a champ! Most homeschooling parents like to take a summer break of some length even if it does not last a full 3 months. And we’re so close, we can almost touch it. But with the sun shining brightly outside and the weather warming up, it can be difficult to stay focused and finish the school year strong.

And speaking of summer, check out our Road Trip Sale if you are planning to take one this summer!


Here are 3 ideas to add some “kick” as you approach the finish line:

1. Change it up! Do something new to keep interest high as you compete for your kids’ attention. We asked our friends on Facebook what they do to regain their children’s attention or to stop fighting for it. Here are their ideas:

  • Go outside and run!
  • Turn up the music and dance!
  • Read aloud a chapter from an engrossing book
  • Do a unit study (like the free New Zealand one here)
  • Take a hike in the woods and collect something
  • Do push-ups or laps
  • Go to the park
  • Go to the library
  • 10 minutes on the trampoline
  • Play a board game
  • Take the dog for a walk
  • Do an art project
  • Watch educational videos
  • Play educational computer games
  • Play Globalmania

2. Look Up! If you have been homeschooling your kids since August or September, then you might have your head down with your shoulder to the wheel. Sometimes we are just putting one foot in front of the other, homeschooling by rote, just to get by. Sometimes that is all we can do. But I encourage you to take a deep breath and look up!

Look into the faces of your children and truly see them. Take a hard look at your schedule and determine if it needs tweaking for your final weeks of school to make it work better for you (it’s okay to lighten it up). Open your eyes to the opportunities around you and make the most of them. Sometimes we are in so much of a hurry or so determined to accomplish something, that we lose the joy. Don’t lose the joy!

3. Throw an End-of-the-Year Party! We like to throw historical feasts 2-3 times a year, with one to finish up the school year. We dress in costume, cook period appropriate dishes and follow the social customs of the day. On our final day of school, we will also give out evaluations for our students up through 8th grade and updated transcripts with grades for our high school students. It is a fun night of recognition and makes for very fond memories. These memories last throughout the summer so that the idea of starting back to school is pleasant and doesn’t produce groans from the kids.



Question: What are you doing to finish this year strong?

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It’s Survey Time! /blog/2014/04/its-survey-time/ /blog/2014/04/its-survey-time/#comments Fri, 04 Apr 2014 13:14:51 +0000 /blog/?p=1797 Fill out our survey and get a free ebook – That Decisive Battle: How One Small Town Brought an End to the Great War - upon completion.

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Why Use “Living” Books? /blog/2014/02/why-use-living-books/ /blog/2014/02/why-use-living-books/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 05:35:21 +0000 /blog/?p=1772

Why and How You Should Use Living Books

As I write this, we are halfway through the school year. We are definitely in our groove when it comes to school and have a solid routine. Eventually though, the comfort of routine wears off and monotony settles in. How can you keep your children excited about learning? The answer is to supply them with “living books.”

So, what are “living books” and why should you use them for teaching your children? Here are some definitions of a living book:

A living book is written by a single person, a real and knowable person.

A living book is a literary expression of the author’s own ideas and love of the subject.

A living book is personal in tone and feel. It touches the heart and emotions, and the intellect.

The author of a living book addresses the reader as an intelligent and capable thinker.

In a living book, ideas are presented creatively in a way that stimulates the imagination.


This idea of a living book stands in stark contrast to a textbook. So what then is a textbook? Read on:

A textbook is a non-literary expression of collected facts and information.

A textbook is impersonal in tone and feel. It touches only the intellect.

In a textbook, facts are presented without creativity in a way that deadens the imagination.

[Excerpted from Educating the WholeHearted Child (copyright 1994, 1996 Clay Clarkson). Used by permission. For more information, contact Whole Heart Ministries (P.O. Box 3445, Monument, CO 80132, 719-488-4466) or visit their website at www.wholeheart.org.]

Charlotte Mason, a British educator from England in the previous century, whose ideas are currently experiencing a rebirth among American home schools, wrote this in her volume 1 of The Original Homeschooling Series, “The fatal mistake is in the notion that he (the student) must learn ‘outlines’ of the whole history… just as he must cover the geography of all the world. Let him, on the contrary, linger pleasantly over the history of a single man, a short period, until he thinks the thoughts of that man, is at home in the ways of that period. Though he is reading and thinking of the lifetime of a single man, he is really getting intimately acquainted with the history of a whole nation for a whole age.”

Have you ever experienced this in your home schooling adventures? You set out to cover a certain amount of history in a particular year, just to find out that your child becomes fascinated by a single character or time in history. This happened to us a couple of years ago. We were studying modern history with the goal of getting through the years 1850 to the present. I had allotted 4-5 weeks for studying the Civil War, which I thought was plenty. What I didn’t realize was how fascinated my children were to become with not only this event in history, but the general time period as well.

After 6 weeks of reading the books I had planned to read and doing the activities I had planned to do, my children were begging for more. I reluctantly gave in and let them guide their own education for a while. They chose more library books from the time period. My daughter sewed some period clothing, complete with snood and gloves. My son converted some cast-off clothing we found at Goodwill into a union soldier’s uniform. We went to a Civil War reenactment, made a soldier’s meal of hard tack and goober peas, and talked Dad into crafting some wooden rifles in the shop.

We stayed on this topic for probably a total of 9-10 weeks. Since that time, I have realized that learning does not follow a set pattern. In fact, more learning often takes place when allowed to progress naturally rather than on a set schedule. Last year, we studied the medieval time period. We were supposed to get to the year 1600, but only studied through a portion of the 15th century. And we did not get to all of the historical figures that I would have liked. But those events and people that my children gravitated toward allowed them to soak in the particular time period in history and gain more depth than if I had pushed them through on my schedule.

I am not saying that a schedule is bad. A schedule is a wonderful and necessary tool, but let it be your servant and not your master. Take the time to slow down and read “living books”. Read the first part of this article once again to remind yourself what a “living book” is and learn to identify them when browsing your library’s shelves.

I would like to conclude with a couple more quotes. Karen Andreola, author of A Charlotte Mason Companion, writes, “If we want the mind of a child to come alive, we feed him living ideas. Ideas reside in living books,…”

I am a rather eclectic homeschooling mom and do not follow the Charlotte Mason method completely. Still, I would like to end with a final word from Charlotte Mason herself:

“…the only vital method of education appears to be that children should read worthy books, many worthy books.” ~Charlotte Mason

For a list of great books to read, I would recommend that you check out these books from your library:

Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt

Books Children Love by Elizabeth Wilson

Valerie of Valerie’s Living Books writes, “I have chosen Living Books as my primary curriculum because I want to see my children loving learning rather than enduring an education! In this, my interest has never been in books and resources designed to entice reluctant kids with short attention spans, but rather in materials carefully written with an evident passion to challenge children, encouraging them to reason carefully and respond wholeheartedly.”

And finally, if you are studying the Ancient, Medieval, or the Colonial time period this year, do check out our book series entitled, “What Really Happened…” The authors who contributed to these books are passionate about their subject and this delight gets transferred to the student. This is a great way to introduce your children to amazing individuals from these time periods who changed the course of our world. For more details, go to: Historical Biographies.

Question: What “living” book are you engrossed in?

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Write That Book, Part 4 /blog/2014/01/write-that-book-part-4/ /blog/2014/01/write-that-book-part-4/#comments Sat, 18 Jan 2014 22:02:40 +0000 /blog/?p=1762 Okay, chapter 1 is in the works!

This is a mini-blog series to help you finally and thoroughly write that book that you have always wanted to write. You can do this!


I am giving myself 10 months to write the next volume of A Child’s Geography. I am excited about this one. The subtitle is Explore Medieval Kingdoms and I am rather a medieval history nut, so this is really rather fun!

Last week, I told you that I had broken the book down into manageable chunks and was beginning on chapter 1. But you don’t have to start on Chapter 1! That is the beauty of this type of writing.

If you break down your book into topics and subtopics and use a writing editor such as Scrivener, you can begin writing in any part of the book that you choose. My first chapter is about Spain and I was excited to dive right into that country’s history and geography, so that’s where I started.

Have you begun your research yet? I hope so.

Now, I am writing my rough draft. Remember, writing and editing are two very different skills. So different that they use opposite halves of your brain. DO NOT DO THEM AT THE SAME TIME! For now, just write.

Yes, I know, it might be terrible, but don’t worry about it. You will edit later. Just get your thoughts, facts and research out onto the page. Create an outline before you write. I realize that most people hate outlining, but your outline is your map that tells you where to go. Without an outline, you might get lost. And we don’t want that to happen or you might set your book down and not pick it back up for a while.

Here is another writing/re-writing/editing tip for you. Write your book on your computer using a word processing program such as Word or Scrivener (OR a pad of paper and pencil if you prefer). Next, print out your rough draft, three-hole-punch it and place your pages into a binder. This way, you can carry it around with you wherever you go and mark it up as you think about it. I carry my unfinished book around with me everywhere because I never know when I might have a thought that I need to write down or a spare moment to work on it.

Otherwise, if you find yourself without your book in hand and your computer is at home, you can always send yourself a voice memo or note on your phone if you have an inspiring thought or phrase that you want to remember to write in your book.

That’s it for now! For me, I need to get back to my rough draft writing about the many-faceted and truly remarkable land of Spain.

Question: How is your writing coming? Are you following along with me?

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Ancient Egyptian Fashion /blog/2013/12/ancient-egyptian-fashion/ /blog/2013/12/ancient-egyptian-fashion/#comments Wed, 18 Dec 2013 18:11:11 +0000 /blog/?p=1691 Egyptian-Fashion

Ever wonder how men and women dressed in Ancient Egypt. The January issue of Quest Magazine delves into this topic, providing beautiful photos and descriptions of the most common Egyptian clothing worn during the height of the Ancient Egyptian empire. This issue is filled with all kinds of fun and thought-provoking articles that you and your kids will really enjoy. What did Cleopatra really look like? If Cleopatra lived today, would we think she was beautiful?

Also, best-selling author Susan Wise Bauer explores the distinction between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period. Learn how laundry was done for hundreds of years, what medieval cooks were serving up and how to become an inventor like Thomas Edison.

Sound fun? Download Quest Magazine for ipad today. No ipad? No worries! An Android version is coming very soon.

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What did Cleopatra Really Look Like? /blog/2013/12/what-did-cleopatra-really-look-like/ /blog/2013/12/what-did-cleopatra-really-look-like/#comments Tue, 17 Dec 2013 16:09:32 +0000 /blog/?p=1682 Renaissance artists portray her barely clothed. 20th century films characterize her as slim and sultry with soft facial features (Vivien Leigh as Cleopatra on the cover). The profile of Cleopatra as imprinted on old Roman coins display a prominent Roman nose. Not especially pretty by our modern standards.

So, what did Cleopatra really look like? We’ll display this topic along with several others in January’s issue of Quest Magazine scheduled to hit the Apple Newsstand on January 1st. But you can start your free trial today:



Question: Which article sounds most interesting to you?

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Power, Conflict and a Baby’s Birth /blog/2013/12/power-conflict-and-a-babys-birth/ /blog/2013/12/power-conflict-and-a-babys-birth/#comments Mon, 16 Dec 2013 15:41:50 +0000 /blog/?p=1673 Guest Post by Peter Britton of TimeMaps, Ltd.

Christmas is a wonderful festival to look forward to at this time of year. But how many of us have more than the haziest notion of the historical setting for the first Christmas?


As a historian, the Biblical stories of the Nativity always emphasize to me how the events of the New Testament are set in a very real – and very particular – historical environment.

Setting the scene

Let’s first run through a very quick overview of Jewish history during the few centuries leading up to the birth of Jesus.

After their spell of exile in Babylon (587-539 BC), Jewish people re-settled the area around Jerusalem, rebuilding the Temple and re-establishing the worship of Jehovah. For almost four hundred years – first under the Persians, then under a line of Greek-speaking kings – they were allowed to live more or less in peace, running their own affairs. However, in 167 BC, one of these Greek kings, Antiochus Epiphanes, decided to put an end to this situation. He occupied Jerusalem and outlawed the worship of Jehovah.

This provoked the Jews into rebellion, under the leadership of the Maccabees family. A fierce but successful struggle left this family ruling an independent Jewish kingdom. They were able to expand its borders to include the surrounding districts of Samaria, Galilee and Idumia (the ancient Edom). This was an area significantly large than present-day Israel. The leading families of these conquered areas were apparently given the choice – convert to Judaism, or leave.

As time went by, the new Roman superpower appeared on the western horizon. Judea and other countries in the region were conquered by the Romans in 63 BC.

Who was Herod the Great?

At that time, the Jewish kingdom was in chaos, suffering intense power-struggles and civil wars It was able to put up very little resistance to the Romans. Exactly the same was true for the Roman empire as well, on a much larger stage: the political in-fighting in Rome convulsed the entire Mediterranean world in repeated civil wars. In these uncertain times, the people who gained power were often cunning and ruthless individuals, who would do whatever it took to gain power.

Such a man was Antipater, an official at the Jewish court at the time the Romans marched in. He came from Edom (if you’ve read the Old Testament you’ll remember that the Edomites were one of the most bitter of Israelite’s hereditary enemies), and although Jewish by faith, Antipater was certainly not seen as a proper Jew by the Jews in Jerusalem.

He soon made himself indispensable to the Romans, however, and became a close friend and ally of their leading generals, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. They in turn made Antipater the effective master of Judea. When he was assassinated by a Jewish zealot in 43 BC, the Romans put his son Herod in charge of the country, in his place.

The Massacre of the Innocents

Even though of Jewish faith, the Jews regarded Herod with great suspicion, as they had his father. He was even more ruthless and more cunning than his father had been. This is not just the verdict of the gospel writers, it is also that of a famous Jewish historian, Josephus. He wrote about Herod a hundred years after his time. Josephus paints Herod as a complex man – very shrewd and in some respects a good ruler, but with a strong taint of cruelty and paranoia in his character. He killed many members of his own family (including his young wife) when he thought they threatened his power.

There are no records of the killing of the baby boys of Bethlehem outside Matthew’s gospel, and modern scholars tend to doubt it took place. However, Bethlehem would have been a tiny community by modern standards, probably with no more than several hundred inhabitants. The number of male babies involved would have been very few, perhaps only half a dozen. Such an act, terrible though it was, could easily have escaped the notice of the historians – but was very much in keeping with the person Herod appears to have been.


The Roman governor

In Luke chapter 2 we meet Quirinius, the Roman governor of Syria. He is someone we know quite lot about from Roman sources, as he was a bit player in the great events of the time. Publius Suplicius Quirinius, to give him his full name, was born in a small town near Rome called Lanuvium, and pursued the standard career of a Roman politician. By around the time of Jesus’ birth he had risen to fill one of the most important posts within the Roman empire, governor of Syria. Roman governors were not just civilian administrators; they were also the commanders of the forces within their province. “Our man in Syria” was, in effect, the supremo of the entire Eastern Front against Rome’s fearsome enemy, Parthia. As such, he exercised authority well beyond his own province.

And what of the census he organized? Josephus talks about a census in AD 6, well after Herod the Great’s death. However, we know that Quirinius was in the eastern provinces from 12 BC onwards, on and off, and, given that censuses were a normal part of Roman statecraft, there is no particular reason to assume that earlier censuses were not taken before the one mentioned in Josephus. Indeed, with his close familiarity with Roman government, it would have been natural for Herod himself to have conducted one. The census in AD 6 gets a mention in Josephus because it sparked the first popular Jewish revolt against Roman rule. It does not mean that it was the first one to have taken place.

The New Testament as History

Whatever one’s stance in terms of faith, there is no doubt that the New Testament is a valuable historical source for the early Roman empire. It confirms so much of what we know from other evidence. In Acts, every one of the Roman governors Paul encounters were also known from Roman sources (including inscriptions). His appeal to Caesar gives an insight into Roman citizenship which is completely in line with what else we know about it. All three Roman centurions who appear in the New Testament are portrayed as impressive individuals – exactly what one would expect from responsible officers in one of the greatest military organizations the world has known. It is no wonder that modern historians have gone to this collection of ancient writings for a clear and reliable light on this remarkable period.

If you want to re-familiarize yourselves with the original Christmas, why not go to Matthew 1: 18-2: 23, and Luke 2: 1-20?

And if you want to learn more about the context of Jesus’ birth during the height of the Roman Empire, check out this amazing iPad app by team at TimeMaps, Ltd.

Roman Empire TimeMap for the iPad

By Peter Britton




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Help us determine the topic of our next magazine /blog/2013/12/second-magazine/ /blog/2013/12/second-magazine/#comments Fri, 13 Dec 2013 01:22:09 +0000 /blog/?p=1658 This past September, we had the privilege of publishing our first magazine. While we have produced books, ebooks, maps, timelines, apps and courses, we had never published a magazine. The learning curve was somewhat steep, but it was fun to learn the process and figure out how to get ourselves on a schedule so that we can consistently publish content each and every month.

The magazine we decided to publish is called Quest Magazine: The Ultimate Way for Kids to Learn History. It is a magazine for kids and families to learn and enjoy history together. It’s interactive too, which makes it even more fun for the kids. Currently it is published exclusively on Apple’s Newsstand, but next month we will be launching the Android version (and the crowd cheers!).



And here’s the incredible part – last month Quest Magazine reached #1 in the app store in its category. How exciting that was for us!

Now, we have the option to publish a second magazine. We aren’t sure which direction to go. A companion magazine to Quest covering the subject of science would be nice. Maybe something like this… Knowledge Magazine: Family Science from a Christian Worldview.

However, we also have a passion for small business. I mean really small, like “micro” business. You know, the kind of business that you can (should) start from home and grow as you have the time and money. It’s a backward concept in today’s world where new start-ups pitch ideas to investors, get large amounts of funding and then start big. These businesses are either wildly successful or crash hard.

We believe in starting a business because it promotes the kind of lifestyle you want to enjoy at this time in your life, rather than waiting until you retire. Businesses that allow you to spend time with your family while you still have kids at home. Businesses that start small, in a spare room or garage, with little to no debt are a joy to work in. They grow as they succeed, expanding from a solo entrepreneur to a virtual team who all work remotely and live satisfying lives free from long commutes, angry bosses and strict office hours. These are the kinds of businesses we love to help people start and grow.

So, another possibility for our second magazine would be to provide articles on this theme. It could be general for all microbusiness owners or geared especially toward women. Women are starting businesses at a faster rate than men and yet most business magazines are written primarily for a male audience.

Frankly, I devour business magazines. I just love them! But it would be fun to provide a science magazine for families too, which leaves us undecided. So, would you please chime in if you have an opinion? Here are the three choices at this time:


So please use the form above to vote on the topic of our next mag and leave us any ideas you would like for us to consider in the comment box below. Thank you!

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