Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It only took 14 years

Oh-My-Shizzle!  I had no idea how differently boys and girls learn.  Did you know that boys hear and see differently with girls!  OK, here's how it plays out in my house.  "Mommy, we're out of milk!"  Me from the living room, "No we're not.  Look on the bottom shelf."  "No.  There isn't any there."  Then my husband says, "I'll go take a look" ...a few minutes later..."Hon, they're right.  We don't have any milk."  Then I sigh (loudly and very dramaticly).  Get up from where I was working or crocheting or knitting.  Walk into the kitchen.  Open the refrigerator door.  Move whatever was in front of the milk and pull out the milk carton.

But here's the deal-i-o...boys see differently then girls.  Boys hear differently than girls.  Boys experience pain differently than girls.  How do I know this?  "Teaching Boys and Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day"  This is an 80-minute DVD of a presentation given by Dr. Andrew Pudewa from Institute for Excellence in Writing.  This DVD is available on the IEW website for $10.  There is also an MP3-Audio version available for $3.    I'm telling you, GET THIS DVD.  You will learn things about your children that you've never known before.  You will watch the presentation and go, "Oh my gosh!  That's why he does that!" 

While watching Teaching Boys, our oldes son, Big Mac age 14, came into my room and stretched out on the bed.  He was soon hooked.  He laid there and said things like, "Oh that's why T-Bone and I do that!"  "Oh, yeah, we do that all the time!"  It was totally eye-opening for him, as well as for me. 

I was all prepared to watch this once and then hand it off to someone else on the crew who wishes to watch it, or maybe pass it on to a homeschooling friend.  Well, I'm so sorry if you were wishing to get this DVD from me.  I need to watch it about 50 more times.  It's so packed full of information that I truly want to remember!  This one isn't going anywhere for a while.

This is simply a video of Dr. Pudewa giving a talk at a church to a group of parents.  The camera stays on him as he presents.  It's not lots of activity or entertainment, but he is easy to listen to and the subject matter was totally interesting to me.

On the web page for this product there is a link to a companion PDF which is a list of books for boys who would rather make forts all day!  I love book lists and this is a good one.

Every public school teacher should watch this DVD.  It would change how they teach and how the mostly female teachers love their male students.  Boys get a raw deal in the public school.  But, all moms and dads should watch Teaching Boys too!  Even if you don't homeschool, it will change how you discipline your boys and your girls.  If you're a homeschool parent, you must watch Teaching Boys.  It's inspiring.  It's educating.  It's worth the time.  And worth so much more than what you have to pay for it!

IEW has a thorough help and support page on their website here if you have any questions about their products.  They are an industry standard for writing/language arts curriculum.  Their specific contact information can be found here.  Other crew members have reviewed this same video.  You may be able to glean more information from their reviews here.  But check out this DVD.  You really should watch it.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the Teaching Boys DVD from the Institute for Excellence in Writing in order to complete this honest review of the product.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Our New "Go To" Game

We've been having so much fun playing Wits & Wagers Family from North Star Games for the past few weeks.  This game has quickly become a family favorite.  The boys won't let me put it away with the other games.  We keep it on the piano bench as a "go to" game when we're looking for a game to play after supper.


The game is recommended for ages 10 and up, but a VERY young child can play this.  Players "guesstimate" answers to trivia questions.  All the answers are numbers.  Then all the guesses/estimates are placed in the center of the table and players bet on which number is the closest to the correct number without going over.  So, even though your guess might be completely off-base you don't have to bet on your guess, so you can still be right.  A complete game can be completed in 30 minutes.  Most evenings the four of us play 2 or 3 games in an hour after supper.  This would be lots of fun to play with a larger group.  You could have teams instead of individual players too.   It would be a great party game.

I could really imagine playing this game with small children.  They would be a blast!  Our guys are 12 and 14, but were not at a disadvantage at all.  As a matter of fact, the Big Dog was at the biggest disadvantage for this game.  We still tease him about his guess of how many children under the age of 13 owned cell-phones!

Amazon has Wits & Wagers Family for $17.24 here.  And I've already seen it at various retailers in our Central PA area.  We like to get a game for the family each year as a Christmas gift.  If you're still looking for your Christmas game, check out Wits & Wagers.  It's a hoot!

If you would like to contact North Star Games about Wits & Wagers, you will find their contact information here.  And if you would like to read the reviews of my fellow-crew-mates who have also played Wits & Wagers, go here

I received a complimentary copy of the game Wits & Wagers Family from North Star games in order to complete this honest review.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My New Favorite Christmas Book


I received *Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball* A Novella by Donita K. Paul, yesterday, November 29, 2010.  I finished it last night at 10:30 PM.  I just couldn't stop reading.  This has become my new favorite Christmas book in 24 hours time.

The setting and plot read like a classic old movie.  Cora is a single Christian woman living alone.  Simon is a single Christian man living as the head of his household which includes a learning-disabled sister, his mother, his aunt and his uncle.  An unlikely pair, they are thrust together at an obscure bookstore neither has visited in the past.  With a cast of mysterious characters, and the setting of a beautiful but busy city decorated for Christmas, I imagined the scenes in my mind as I read the book.  It would seriously make a great movie!

Although this is a quick read it is by no means pulp fiction.  I filled five notebook pages with quotes I wanted to remember.  I couldn't pick a favorite, but here's one that spoke to me:  "He didn't know what to do with the immediate future or what to do with the long-range future.  These questions should be fairly easy to address.  Follow God's direction, plain and simple.  Now to do it." -p. 142

The book is one that feels good in your hands.  The cover is beautiful.  The pages are thick and creamy.  And the words do not disappoint.

Please read, *Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball* A Novella by Donia K. Paul.  You will be glad you did.

I received a copy of Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball from Multnomah Publishers as part of their Blogging for Books program.  I received no payment, other an a complimentary copy of the book.  This is my honest opinion.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

One of my favorite resources...

CurrClick
I have shopped at CurrClick even before they were called CurrClick!  They only sell e-books.  I've gotten lapbooking and unit study resources there.  I've gotten books to read aloud there.  I get lots of seasonal items at CurrClick.  I have shopped there for years.

Every Monday, I get an e-newsletter from Currclick.  In that e-newsletter is an informative article about homeschooling or some aspect of raising a child.  There is also information about Currclick's bestsellers.  But my favorite part is the freebie.  Every Monday, they send a free resource.  If you do nothing else after reading this article, go to Currclick and sign up for the newsletter.  You will get a free unit-study, or some other e-book every single Monday.

And this Monday is the granddaddy of all freebie days at CurrClick.  Sign-on early to start downloading 20 freebies!  Yes, you read that correctly.  20 free e-books.  And there are a ton of really great sale deals too.  Check them out today!  They are one of my favorite resources for homeschool e-books.

How to Make a Marriage Last


We spent Thanksgiving Day with 29 people we love.  It was mostly my family, but we have widened our family circle to embrace girlfriends, boyfriends, and friend-friends.  This year, our number included two of our best friends and their son who had no nearby family for Thanksgiving day. 

During our conversation, our friend, Mark, looked at my mother and said, "How long have you been married?"  When she told him that they were approaching 60 years, he said, "What's the secret to making a marriage last?"  My mom made a joke and never really answered the question.

I was thinking about that this morning.  There are lots of answers you could give.  Many of the standard/pat answers are "Keep Christ as the center of your marriage."  or "Never go to bed angry."  Once, another friend named Mark told us that his grandfather had given him this advice, "Always do the dishes together."  I can see how that is a clever marriage strategy.  By doing the dishes together after the evening meal, you and your spouse get a little bit of alone-time to talk about the day, or the kids, or whatever.

I thought about all this as I was making the morning coffee.  And that's when I realized why my marriage to The Big Dog has lasted.  Here's the secret.  Are you ready?  The secret to a lasting marriage is, "Always make his coffee first."  Deep huh?

In our house, we are a two-pot family.  I drink decaf.  Ever since having the boys, my heart has had a very negative reaction to caffeine, but I'm my mother's daughter and LOVE coffee.  So it's decaf only for me.  The Big Dog has an immunity to caffeine, he can drink regular coffee right before bed without a problem.  So we make a pot of regular coffee in the morning, and then a pot of decaf.  Generally, whoever is up first makes the coffee.  On the weekdays it's usually the Big Dog.  On the weekends, it's either of us.  Whenever he gets up first, he usually makes my coffee first.  If I'm half awake I'll tell him to make his, but he usually makes mine.  This morning I was up first and I made his coffee.  It's not a huge sacrifice.  The coffee is done and put in the thermos within 15 minutes, so it's a short-wait and a small sacrifice.

But a sacrifice it is.  We were talking about sacrifice yesterday.  There are those in our life who have never seen another person sacrifice anything for them.  Their parents are selfish.  Their spouses are self-centered.  It comes as no surprise that those people don't know Jesus.  How can you understand the supreme sacrifice Jesus made for you if you don't see anyone making small sacrifices for anyone else.  And so, we make sacrifices for each other in our marriage every day.

I would much rather crochet than do the laundry.  But I do the laundry.  The Big Dog's job is very frustrating and unpleasant.  But he goes everyday to supply healthcare and mortgage money for us.  The boys see us sacrificing for them and for each other.  And we make each other's coffee before we make our own.  That's our secret to a long-lasting (well 18 years so far) marriage.  Sacrifice.

Now go make some coffee.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Christmas Shopping from Last Year's Reviews

Recently someone asked for a list of items reviewed last year that we would suggest as Christmas gifts.  I went through past blog entries and made a list for the requestor.  That's when I thought, this would make a great blog entry!  So here goes, my recommendations of items I've reviewed that would make great Christmas gifts:
Virginia Soaps and Scents.  Pick anything from this fabulous family-owned company.  You can't go wrong.  I reviewed their shampoo bar, which I loved, and two soaps.  The soap lasted a long time and always held it's scent. 

For readers, I loved Bertie's War by Kregel's publications.  I would recommend this for a pre-teen early teenage girl, but truthfully this spoke to me, a 40-something adult.

The boys and I loved the Andrea Carter book we read last year, Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure.  We received this from Kregel, too.  If I were buying it for a gift, I would print out the unit study/activities to go with it.  That's what we did and we had a great time.

For a homeschool Mom I'd give a subscription to ABC Teach.  hmmmm...I have a friend who's a first year homeschooler...hmmmm  I thought this on-line resource had a plethora of things to do, supplemental activities, unit study ideas and worksheets.  It would make any homeschool mom's life easier.

A study pod packed with a few fun school supplies would be a fun gift for a college student.

For preschoolers/early elementary aged children, I'd get a Maestro's Classics CD.  We enjoyed the Tortoise & the Hare a lot.  It is a fun listening activity but also comes with a beautiful color picture book and suggested activities.  We enjoyed listening to this CD.
Another early childhood/Elementary product that I loved was the readers from All About Spelling.  A little person who is just falling in love with reading will love these beautifully illustrated books.  They feel good and sold in your hands.  The pages are creamy and thick.  And the text is as beautiful as the illustrations. 



And there you have it.  If I was Christmas shopping based on last year's reviews, this is what I would buy!  How far are you in your Christmas shopping?  Ours is "coming along."  (interpret that to mean we have LOTS of ideas, but not a lot finished!)

Merry Christmas!

-Lori Lynn

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What Grade can you do Physics?

I love the Christian Kids Expore series of science books and recommend them to everyone who is exploring science with their middle-graders.  The books are clearly laid out.  I literally am able to pick up the book and teach.  I don't have to do a lot of reading or preparation ahead of time.  Every few lessons, I'll need to gather or purchase a few supplies but they are always readily available at a craft store.  I love the way these books mix an almost classroom-style learning with hands-on activities in each lesson.  By classroom-style I mean that there are reinforcement questions after each reading, which I sometimes use as quizzes.  There are also unit tests.  But there are hands-on activities for each lesson which keeps our boys involved and interested. 



I recently received a copy of Christian Kids Explore Physics from Bright Ideas Press.  This book is $34.95 on Bright Ideas Press' webiste.  It is a 400+ soft-bound book full of information and extra activities and resources in addition to those found in the lessons you are completing.  You can use these as you study physics with your 4-8th grader.  If you click here you will see all the resources available for Christian Kids Explore Physics, plus there are a couple sets of sample pages so that you can see what I'm talking about!

I also received a PDF file which contained all fo the student worksheets from the book on one file.  I highly recommend purchasing this file.  It will make life, and physics lessons, SO much easier!  This file retails for $12.95 on the Bright Ideas Press website and is available for all the "Christian Kids Explore" books. 

As always, please read the reviews of my fellow crew-mates here.  Different crew members received different products so you will get a really good feeling for all that Bright Ideas Press has to offer by reading the other reviews.  But, Bright Ideas Press can also be contacted by using the information found here.  They offer a ton of quality products/curriculum for the homeschool that could also be adapted to the classroom.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Christian Kids Explore Physics along with a digital file of the student worksheets in order to complete my fair and honest review.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Another Great Worksheet/Activity Resource


I have had so much fun these last few weeks exploring KBTeachers !  It  is a web site full of information, printable activities, worksheets, etc... for classroom teachers, but especially for homeschoolers.  Most of the worksheets I looked at or used were very suitable for the homeschool. 


KBTeachers offers a free trial for you to explore the site and see if it will work for you.  After that the price is $29 for a one-year subscription and $49 for a two-year subscription.  There is definitely enough information there to warrant a two-year sub.   And they are adding new activities and re-vamping what they have all the time.


One activity category they have that I really liked a lot were the webquests.  Usually a two-page printable, the first page contained a brief explanation of the topic, say Veteran's Day.  Under the explanation is a listing of websites to use to learn more about the subject.  So the children go to each of these websites and learn about the subject.  Then page two is a set of discussion questions on what they've just learned on the webquest with space for the children to write their answers.   I've not seen any other sites with information in this format.  The questions were often thought provoking and would require a paragraph more than just a few-word answer.  I really like the webquests.


But there is so much more on KBTeachers for all age students.  By all-age, I mean all-age.  There are K-2 worksheets as well as 9-12 worksheets and everywhere in between.  The subject range encompasses just about everything you may cover...language arts, math, sciences, health, even art and history.  I will be on this site for a long time and still not use everything available.   And the site will grow with you.  If you look on the art page, there were activities beginning with grades K-2 and ending with grades 9-12.  And, truthfully, there wer some K-2 activities that I would do this year with our 7th and 8th grade sons!


But do your research.  Check out their website.  You will find their contact information here.  And, as always, don't just take my word for it.  Check out the reviews of my fellow crew-mates here.

Harnessing the Power of the Wind

Today was windy.  Really windy.  After we finished lessons, our oldest son, Big Mac, was outside.  He was supposed to be shaking the kitchen rugs, but I looked out the window and he was flying a huge blue tarp!  It didn't take long for our youngest, T-bone to join him.  Check out these pictures and please don't mind the mess in our yard.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Frugal Entertaining

I've been relistening to the October Schoolhouse Expo and blogging about it here.  This week I listened to Molly Greene's talk, "Company’s Coming! Friendly, Frugal Hospitality for Real Families." 

In this talk, Molly gives so many great ideas for hospitality.  She talks about what hospitality truly is and then gives great ideas for your own entertainment.  And her ideas are so easy to implement!  You can find things for your entertaining at dollar stores and thrift stores. 

When you finish listening to this audio, you will be brimming with ideas for reaching out to those around you and opening your home to friends and family.  Give it a listen today and then join the conversation here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Learning to Write-NonFiction

Paragraph Writing Instructions from The Write Foundation is a very thorough writing curriculum.  This is not a creative writing course, but a solid non-fiction, paragraph-building, essay course.

The courses come in three levels, Sentence, Paragraph, and Essay/Composition.  They have information about which level to use by age group here.  You can also see sample on their website for each level of writing curriculum offered.   I choose the Paragraph Writing level because our boys have really only been required to do creative writing in the past.  They were a bit beyond the sentence level, but no way near the essay level of writing.

What arrived in my package was a package of student worksheets, and a comb-bound lesson plan book with 15 lessons.  I was also e-mailed a digital package of additional resources that included grading information and game ideas.   Each lesson can be worked out over the course of a few days.  The book includes activities that can be done using a critical thinking book that is a separate purchase, but we chose not to do those as we didn’t have the materials.  Each day’s tasks are listed for you in the lesson plan book.

I found this to be a vey thorough writing curriculum and I plan to continue it with the boys later in the year.  It is a not one of those curriculum packages that you can unpack and use immediately.  I would suggest that you as the teacher read through all the materials to gain a firm grasp on what is exactly required.  I tried jumping into the first lesson, and it did not go smoothly.  Preparation is definitely required. 

As I said before, you can break each lesson into multiple days.  I didn’t realize that until we had spent 1.5 hours working on lesson one in its entirety.  Breaking each lesson down over the course of a week, would work much better for our lesson plans.  I like to cover a subject in 15-30 minutes each day.  If you carry a much more rigorous time schedule, then you may be able to work through these lessons much quicker.

There are lots of different ways to order from The Write Foundation, so instead of giving you that information here, I'm going to send you over to their order page.  You can select the level you want to purchase and then review the order options for yourself.  The suggested ages page of the website lists the earliest age as 11 years old.  This product can be used through age 17, also.

If you would like more information from The Write Foundation, you can get their contact information here.  And if you'd like to read the reviews of my fellow crew-mates, go here

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of the Paragraph Writing Instructions curriculum from The Write Foundation at no charge in exchange for this fair and honest review.

Meet an Incredible Cast of Characters

The book Cast of Characters by Max Lucado was so beautifully written, and spritually inspiring, that I was sad when it ended.  Each chapter introduces you to another character from God's Word.  At the end of the chapters you are presented with a series of discussion questions.  These would work well in a small group setting, but I simply answered them each day as part of my daily devotions.

The questions took you into scripture and required that you look inward for many of the answers.  In each chapter, I saw glimpses of myself in these biblical figures that I have known since childhood.  It was very eye-opening.

I love Max Lucado's conversation style of writing.  Quite often I found myself smiling or laughing out loud at a comment or story he presented. 

This book is available for under $15 and is well-worth the cost.  The cover is beautiful.  And the creamy heavy pages are a pleasure to turn.  It's one of those books that feels good in your hands.

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of Cast of Characters by Max Lucado from Book Sneeze in exchange for this fair and honest review.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Learning More about Tyndale

Soli Deo Gloria Resources specializes in quality unit studies for all ages in a variety of subjects.  Recently I had a chance to use the William Tyndale Unit Study.  Retailing for $8, this PDF download is 21 pages long.  I loved that because I could print out the unit and not feel like I was breaking the bank with paper and printer ink. 

Another thing I really liked about this unit study was that the purpose of the study was stated at the beginning of the file.  I like to think about "why" we are doing things.  This unit can be used with all grades.  There is a thorough list of resources that are pretty readily available at your local library.  This William Tyndale unit study is liad out to be used over the course of five days.  It would be a great break to your normal routine.  You could take a week off and complete this unit study to cover all your courses (with the exception of Math).  The daily instructions are very clear and the parental preparation is minimal...which I love!

All-in-all, this is a solid well-done unit study.  And Soli Deo Gloria is a great company.  The owner splits her time between the US and Sieera Leone, where she helps to direct a mission to women there.  You can get to the other unit studies from Soli Deo Gloria by clicking here.

If you would like to know more about Soli Deo Gloria, their contact information can be found here.  You can read the review of my fellow crew-mates by going here.  The crew-mates had different unit studies to review so you can get a great overview of the company by checking out the different reviews.

If you give Soli Deo Gloria a try, I'd love to hear about it!  Leave a comment for me.  I love to meet new people through the blog and reviews.

I received a copy of the William Tyndale Unit Study from Soli Deo Gloria Resources in order to complete this fair and honest review.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Buckets-O-Fun

We got the most fun package in the mail a little over a month ago!  I got the opportunity to review a product from Buckets-O-Fun.  I didn't know what I was going to get, but take a look at their website... I would have been thrilled with anything!  Well, let me tell you, I was not disappointed.

This company out of Portland, Oregon has a ton or really neat items that you could use in your homeschool or just for fun family-time.  You can contact them by using the information you'll find on their website here.  If you check out their website you will see that they have a ton of really fun products, so much more than I'll tell you about today.  Check them out, definitely.



We received a sampler of their "yuck" products.  There are four products available in various quantities and prices here.  From the day we received the envelope to the day we actually played around with these products I heard, "Can we play with the yuck yet?"  It was like waiting for Christmas morning!

Our results and review:

We spent several hours adding water and playing with this product.  We used our favorite plastic lunch counter trays, one for each item.  Each of us took an envelope (Big Dog played too) and then we traded products after we played with ours for a while.  We experimented by mixing a small quanitity of each together.  We also experimented with the amounts of water each would absorb.  We left each substance on its tray for a few days to see if it would dehydrate but it was very humid that week and we didn't see much dehydration if any.  Eventually we disposed of the substances and cleaned off the trays.  But each day the boys spent some more time playing with yuck.  They couldn't keep their hands out of it!  I would suggest this product for children from about 6 to 100.

This was an awesome product!  The pictures will show you the fun we had.  And the boys learned something too.  The colorful handouts sent with the product were informative and well-done.  We could have spent DAYS exploring all they had to offer.   I'm not sure if I would have a reason to purchase a pound of it, but even now as I type that I'm thinking, "Buy a pound and divvy it up for children's Christmas gifts."  That's a definite possibility!  Our favorite was the sticky yuck.  But all the products were totally fun.  You can order your own sample by sending an email to order@buckets-o-fun.com.  AND they sell yuck accessories here.  Our boys would TOTALLY love any of these accessories with some new packs of yuck.

T-bone's Review:

My favorite was the sticky yuck.  The only problem about the sticky yuck was that it's nearly impossible to get off your hands.  And it's not digestible so I would suggest not having this around little kids.  They might think it's something edible and eat it and become sick.  But if you have a 8 through 10 year old kid, I think this would be a good experiment for them because it's very fun to play with.  But overall you need to be old enough to realize that this stuff sticks to furniture.  Overall it was fun.  But I think a little bit dangerous.  So if you are going to be playing with this stuff I would suggest playing with it at the table or outside at your picnic table or in the grass.

Big Mac's Review:

Yuck was a very fun and interesting experiment.  It was very odd how as soon as you put the water in the yuck already started to change.  The yuck that was able to take the most water was chunky yuck.  The sticky yuck was probably my favorite because it looked like boogers.  The snowy yuck was fun because it stuck to your hands a little bit.  In fact they all stuck to your hands a little bit.  Overall I'd give it a five out of five stars.

As usual, don't just take our word for it!  The crew has been playing with yuck for a while and my fellow crew-mates are all blogging about it.  Find their links here.

I received a sample pack of the four types of yuck from Buckets-o-Fun in order to complete this fair and honest review.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm Joining Fit Mommy

One of my crew-friends has a blog meme called "Fit Mommy Friday" and she has laid down the gauntlet.  It's the Fit Mommy 10-week challenge


Here's how it works: 

The challenge runs from today (Monday, October 25, 2010) until December 31, 2010.

You set a goal for yourself.

You check in regularly and post your results.

On the 31st you give your final results and a winner is selected who achieves their goal.

So, here I go.  I'm going to post everything out here for you in the cyber-world to see.  I'm calling it accountability.  Please be kind.

I am 43 years old.

As of this morning on Wii fit+, I weigh 229.9 pounds.  (on a positive note, I was 27 years old in my Wii fit+ age!)

My goal is to weigh at least 15 pounds less by December 31st.  That is about 1.5 pounds a week, which I think is realistic.

I will meet my goal by counting all my calories daily.  My goal is 1600 calories.   I will drink 8 glasses of water a day and take my vitamins each day.  I plan to exercise using Wii Fit+ 5 out of 7 days a week.

I would appreciate your prayers and encouragement.  I actually did lose a little weight at the beginning of the Summer.  I was surprised to see that after almost 2 months off the Wii I had only gained 5 pounds back.  So that is a bit of encouragement. 

Well there it is for all the world to know.  I'm going to post, at least weekly, results of my efforts.  Stay tuned...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Groupon

I just signed up on a site called Groupon today and I wanted to tell you about it. 

On Groupon you select a city near you and then they send you "deals."  The deals are usually for restaurants, outtings such as plays or theme places, or hotels/resorts.  The deals are like $20 for a $70 gift certificate.  So they are REALLY good deals. 

With Christmas fast approacing finding these deals could REALLY come in handy.  So check out Groupon today.  You may find something fun for a gift or a treat for you!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Review: The Peleg Chronicles, Book 1: The Foundling

When I pulled this book from the envelope, our oldest son grabbed the bookmark and book and marveled over the graphics.  He was immediately intrigued. 

Foundlings, the first book of the Peleg Chronicles is by Matthew Christian Harding and published by Zoe and Sozo Publishing.

My book was autographed, which the boys thought was really cool.  You can order yours for $11.95 here.   And book 2, Paladins is also currently available.  The third book in the series will be available around May 2011.  (The author used the term "Lord willing" when discussing the publish date for book 3.) These books are also available through Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com

If you click on either of the graphics in this post you will be taken to the summary of the book from the author/publisher.  But now, I'm going to turn this entry over to our boys to tell you what they thought of Foundlings by Matthew Christian Harding, published by Zoe and Sozo.  They dictated their reviews to me and I wrote them verbatim.

T-Bone, age 12,  says:

It took a while to pick up.  But once it did it was a phenominal book.  My favorite part was Thiery's part.  And I think that the characters should have intertwined.  And I also think that whenever there was the peak of action he switched to another character and that was pretty stressful.  But overall it was a good book.  The action scenes were very elaborate.  I liked how they went to all these different places.  Suzie was very adorable.  And I think Oded was funny because he had the brain of a seven-year-old if not younger but the body of a full-grown man in peak physical condition.  I would recommend it to anyone who liked comedy infused with intense sequences of action. (at this his older brother exclaimed, "It's NOT a comedy!")

Big Mac, age 13, says:

Foundlings was a good book.  I didn't like how long it took for it to pick up.  But once it did pick up, it was something I wanted to keep reading even if we had been reading for four hours.  I just didn't want the book to end.  The action scenes were done very well.  It was one  of those books that gets to me and I'm like, "Why can't everything just work out?!?"  Still a good book though.  Very intense action sequences.  All around four stars out of five.

Mommy says:

I agree that this book took a while to "pick up."  But once it did, the boys and I got very involved.  I would not read this to a child under the age of 12 because it has some serious darkness.  I LOVED the scripture references where the characters just spoke scripture like it was their own words.  The boys would quote along with the characters when they said verses or psalms that they had also memorized.  This book follows a biblical timeline, speaking of Noah, the tower of babel, and Job.  Dragons exist with humans which follows the bible where dinosaurs or dragons existed with man.  Now that we have finished the book, I really want to read book 2.  But I may not have said that until I was about half-way through book 1. 

As always, don't take my word for it concerning this product.  Go here to read the review of my other crewmates.  You'll find LOTS of other opinions :)  And you can always contact the author by emailing him.  His email address is listed on his website as: Matt.Harding@earthlink.net

I received a copy of this book in exchange for this unbiased review.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Give Me Jesus

I wish I could give Jesus in pill-form to all my friends with troubles.  Bad day?  Take this pill and you'll gain perspective.  Friends betray you?  Swallow this and you'll have a best friend like no other.  Marriage crumbling?  Here take this pill.  He's the answer.

It sometimes seems trite to look into the eyes of friends who feel devastated and say, "Jesus will make it all better."  But the truth is Jesus will make it all better.  I'm speaking from experience here. 

I've always been a good student.  I graduated 2nd in my highschool class.  I don't say that to brag, it's important to the story.  My parents wanted me to go to the local community college and live at home.  I wanted to go away to school.  Not far away, but far enough to gain my independance.  You couldn't tell me anything.  I was smart...I was 18...I knew it all.  So, my senior year of highschool I applied for every scholarship for which I was qualified and I got a lot of them.  I got accepted to a school less than an hour away and my dad only had to pay a few hundred dollars for my first year of school.  Scholarships paid for over 75% of my tuition and room and board.

Once on my own, however, I made poor choices.  I chose to "fit in" rather than be a good student.  For me that meant sitting up all night and talking to a friend instead of studying for a test or doing my homework.  It also meant drinking alcohol in excess because others around me were doing that, even on school nights.  By my 5th semester I was on academic probation.  At the end of my 5th semester I had failed out of college.

Yep, in 2 1/2 years I went from 2nd in my class to failing out.  As I was packing up my dorm room, I called my Mom, crying.  I said, "I didn't do it Mom.  I failed out."  And this is where my mother get's the most-amazing-mother-in-the-world award.  She said, "Well, God has a plan."

And, I know you'll find it hard to believe (haha), but God DID have a plan.  I was completely devastated.  What kind of future did I have without a college degree?  I just didn't see how anything good could come from this disaster.  I took a job in retail which quickly turned into a career in the corporate world of retail.  While in that corporate position, one of my friends came to me one day and said, "I've met the guy for you."  To make a long story short.  I married that guy 8 months after meeting him.  Our 18th anniversary is next month.  I don't know how God would have gotten me to the Big Dog had I gotten my teaching degree.  I'm sure He would have figured it out.  But I could see God's hand in my life after failing college.  He brought me right where I needed to be to meet the man He had made for me.

To that crying 20-year-old in her dorm room I would say, "Here, honey, take this pill.  Just follow Him.  He'll fix it."

Last Summer I wrote to you about my husband tearing his achilles tendon.  When I left my giant hulk of a husband connected to tubes and monitors in medical intensive care because of two blood clots that passed THROUGH his heart, I cried like I've never cried before.  But this time I didn't need a Jesus-pill.  I cried out to my Comforter like I never had before.  I felt His closeness to me.  We SAW His plan for our lives as the days played out over the few months of Big Dog's illness.  He was an ever-present help in times of trouble (ps 46:1) for us.  And as we look back we can totally see God in everything that happened.

But you say, "You don't know what I've done Lori Lynn.   There isn't a pill big enough."  Jesus is big enough!  He is!  Oh, find Him in your troubles.  And then keep Him for your calm times.  He's good for all the times.

So, how do you find Him?  How do you get Him to fix your problems?  Well, you start with prayer.  It doesn't have to be on your knees.  You don't even have to close your eyes.  Just get somewhere where you won't be destracted and tell Him what you've done.  Don't hold back.  He can take it.  Lay it all out before Him.  Seek His forgiveness.  Then ask Him what to do next.  Wait.  He'll answer you.  Be quiet before Him after you've poured it all out.  Just wait.  But then, and here's the big part...you have to keep the conversation going.  You keep talking to Him, all the time about everything.  That's what He wants.  He wants to be your best friend and your closest confidant.  He wants to be on your mind and in your heart all the time.  Just that constant contact with Him will bring you peace like you haven't known in a long time.

Just like an asprin finds the pain and relieves it, Jesus will find your pain.  Take Him.  Take all of Him.  He's the only true relief.

Friday, September 24, 2010

KDO

Each year my BFF and I plan a fall trip to the metropolis of Enola, PA for KDO.  What is KDO you ask?  It's KNITTER'S DAY OUT!   There's a big vendor hall and classes to take.  We take two classes each year.  There's a yummy lunch and lots of fun with people who have similar interests to ours.  We have a group of girls who all attend together but we don't necessarily attend the same classes.  My BFF and I always attend the same classes.


One other feature of this event is the hat contest.  With your admittance fee to KDO you are asked to bring one hat to donate to charity. (Caps for Kids)  If you like, you can enter into a hat contest.  The first year I entered, I won!  Ever since then we've had a friendly competition over this contest.  Last year, none of us won.  But my girlfriend and I won the raffle and split $100 to spend in the shopping area!


This year, I had an idea for my hat but just didn't get it made.  I stayed up too late last night and have done nothing this morning so that I could get my hat finished.  I have to tell you, it looks pretty close to the vision I had in my head.  Praise God!  Here are the pictures of it.  I'll let you know if I win.  If you don't hear from me...I didn't win.



It's supposed to look like an upside down terracotta pot with the flowers spilling out the bottom.  Oh and ps, my husband laughingly calls KDO a cult!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

"I'm talking about how to stay in one piece.  Try to get hold of the things that are important, the good and true things about your life.  Up there is some kind of lovely.  And maybe you need to have something in your heart, you know, something even more lovely.  To hlep you find your way home.  Otherwise maybe you could be beguiled."  p. 236 Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce published by Walden Media

I received a copy of the book Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce from Walden Media to review on this blog.  Truthfully, I received a copy of this book MONTHS ago, maybe even a year ago.  But I put off reading it.  I was afraid.  I was afraid I would be sad.  I hate to read things that make me sad.  Life is sad enough.  I don't want my entertainment to be sad as well. 

Cosmic is not sad.  It's a really sweet book about a boy named Liam.  His biggest problem is also his biggest blessing.  He's very tall and physically mature looking for his age, which is 12 years old.  He's a very bright boy and is easily mistaken for an adult on many occassions.  In Cosmic, he is mistaken for a grown-up in a major way!  But you have to read this book to find out about that major way.

Ironically, I could identify with Liam, the 12 year old boy, as he was mistaken for a dad.  He was trying to be fatherly at 12 when he should have been worrying about his next video game.  And, actually, he did a great job of being fatherly.  I often find myself thinking, "I'm a mother?  How did that happen?"  In my mind I feel the same as I did at 12.  Can our boys tell?  Yes, I could identify with Liam.

I enjoyed this book and am now handing it off to our boys for their bedtime reading.  Our oldest has taken to reading aloud to our youngest before bed each night.  I think they will find Cosmic to be just the thing for their evening adventures.  But for now, I want to leave you with one last quote:

"Maybe everyone's got their own special gravity that lets you go far away, really far away sometimes, but which always brings you back in the end.  Because here's the thing.  Gravity is variable."

p. 308

Cosmic

by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Published by Walden Media

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Review: Salem Ridge Press

Several weeks ago I received a physical book and two e-books in order to tell you about the publishing company Salem Ridge Press.

I received a physical copy of "Out of the Mouth of the Lion or the Church at the Catacombs".  This book retails at Salem Ridge Press for $14.95 in softcover.  Hardcover is $24.95

I received an e-book copy of  "The Martyr's Victory"  This book retails at Salem Ridge Press for $14.95 in softcover.  Hardcover is $24.95

And I received an e-book version of "Yussuf the Guide"  This book sells for $16.95 in softcover and $26.95 in hardcover at the Salem Ridge website.

These books are appropriate for those over 12 years of age.  I read Out of the Mouth of the Lion for myself and there were parts that are definitely not appropriate for a child younger than 12.  I definitely want our 12 and 13 year old boys to learn of the faith-challenges undergone by those who came before us.  And Out of the Mouth of the Lion does just that.  Also, these books are a little difficult to read language-wise, so I would not go with a child younger than 12.  I read "Yussuf the Guide" outloud to the boys and I sometimes stumbled over the language.  But for those 12 and up, these are great character building books.

Since what I received was a sampling of books to show me what Salem Ridge Press was all about I would say that they produce quality products.  The books are challenging and deal with men and women of character.  The Emma Leslie series definitely points to Christ.  These books are from a different generation so at times the language can be a bit difficult but, for myself, I found them enjoyable to read.  A young teen may find them challenging, but I definitely think an older teen would be able to read without much trouble.

Go here to see an alphabetical listing of all the books Salem Ridge Press has to offer.

For more information on Salem Ridge Press or the books I've reviewed here, you can contact this vendor here.  Or you may want to check out the other reviews of my fellow crewmates at the Homeschool Crew blog here.

I received a physical book and two e-books from Salem Ridge Press free of charge in exchange for this fair and honest review.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Quotable Quote

"Then thank God thou wert taught to love Him while thou wert young, for thou knowest not now hard it is to give up cherished sins and evil cutoms when thou hast lived half thy life in the practice of them.  I tell thee they are as hard to break as ropes of vine withes, and bind thee just as tightly.  Only the breath of the Lord God Almighty can destroy them at first, and that only can keep thee from being bound again, for they are always trying to creep over thee."

page 120-121

Out of the Mouth of the Lion or, The Church in the Catacombs

by Emma Leslie

distributed by

Salem Ridge Press

Monday, September 13, 2010

OK, I'm still clearing out the closets and book shelves, so hopefully you'll be interested in something I have to offer!  Here's the last list for a while:

Young Minds Numbers and Counting DVD from MathTutorDVD.com  $6

Pre-Algebra Tutor: Volume 1 DVD $12

What Am I? a collection of short stories, All About Reading Level 2 Vol. 1 (this is a beginning reader that's really charming)  $10

Beehive Reader 1, another really charming beginning reader $6

Four Seasons of Faith illustrated books with CD.  I have the 2009 books: You Can't Come In, Seventy-Times Seven, Braving the Storm, and Race with Midnight - $20

The Big Book of Music Games $10

National Gallery of Art Activity Book $5

Jim Arnosky's Nature Notebooks:  I have 1 bug hunter and three (3) bird watcher.  These are really neat guided nature journals with waterproof covers. $1 each

Christian Liberty Nature Reader, books 1, 2, 4, and 5 - $10 for all four, or $3 each.

Keeping a nature Journal, $8

Ned Smith's Wildlife Sketchbook, $5

Learning Through Art (The Guggenheim Museum Collection) $5

The Young Artist's Handbook $5

Creation or Evolution A Home-Study Curriculum by Mike Snavely $8

The Prairie Primer & My Little House Crafts Book, I'd like to sell these together for $25, but I'll sell them separately if you ask.

Jean Fritz Books:  And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? Where was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May? Will You Sign Here, John Hancock? Why Don't You Get a Horse Sam Adams? Can't You Make Them Behave, King George?  I'll sell all five for $10 or individually for $3 each.

Ok that's it for this purge!  I hope you find something you'd like to own!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

For Sale

I am in a purging mode.  I just want to live with less.  I told the Big Dog, "Don't stand still for too long or you might go in the donation pile!"

So I am cleaning off my bookshelves.  Maybe you could benefit from my mood?  Here is the book list.  All books are $6 plus shipping, but if you'd like to make an offer, I'd be glad to consider it!  I'm going to link these books to websites if I can find them so you can see more information from a dealer about the book.  Just post a comment with your email address and I'll get back to you on a first come-first served basis.

The Greenleaf guide to Famous Men of Greece

The Greenleaf Guide to Old Testament History

The Ultimate Lapbook Handbook

Dinah Zike's Big Book of Projects

Dinah Zike's Big Book of Books and Activities

Who Should We Then Read?

Honey for a Child's Heart (mine is not the newest addition as in the link)

Books Children Love (A Guide to the Best of Children's Literature)

For the Children's Sake (foundation of education for Home and School)

Family Fun Boredom Busters (365 Games, Crafts & Activities for Every Day of the Year)

There will be more!  Please take advantage of my purge!

Quotable Quote

"Nay, but when the names of Jupiter and Apollo are forgotten, that of Christ will be a power greater than any the world has yet seen," answered Flavia; "for He will reign from the rising to the setting sun, and all the world will trust in Him as their Saviour God."

page 76

Out of the Mouth of the Lion or, The Church in the Catacombs

by Emma Leslie

distributed by

Salem Ridge Press

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Quotable Quote

I believe He is the Saviour who came to redeem me from my sins and the power of evil.  It is this that makes me love these people, and long to join with them; for I want to know more of this Saviour's love, and I want to prove that I love Him by forsaking all false gods and serving Him alone.

page 36

Out of the Mouth of the Lion or, The Church in the Catacombs

by Emma Leslie

distributed by

Salem Ridge Press

Friday, September 10, 2010

Quotable Quote

It would be a man's happiest lot to depart from mankind without having had a taste of lying, and hypocrisy, and luxury, and pride.

page 14

Out of the Mouth of the Lion or, The Church in the Catacombs

by Emma Leslie

distributed by

Salem Ridge Press

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Math Tutor Dvd

Last month I got the chance to work with two DVDs form MathTutorDvd.Com:

I was pretty excited to receive the Pre-Algebra DVD because T-bone is doing Pre-Algebra this year.  As I hauled out the old textbooks he groaned.  He's great at math, but HATES the text book and ALL the problems EVERY day. (imagine a 12-year-old doing VERY dramatic things with his eyes and face as he says the words in caps.)

I used the pre-algebra DVD by putting T-bone in front of the TV with a notebook.  He watched one chapter a day and worked along with the instructor.  For a pre-algebra DVD I found the subjects to be a little below his level.  T-bone doesn't really need any review so, doing the number definitions (real numbers, prime numbers, etc...) and reviewing the number line were beneath his level.  Here is a list of chapters on the Pre-Algebra 1 DVD:

Disk 1
Sect 1 - Real Numbers
Sect 2 - The Number Line
Sect 3 - Greater Than, Less Than, Equal To
Sect 4 - Absolute Value and Adding Integers
Sect 5 - Subtracting Integers

Disk 2
Sect 6 - Multiplying Integers
Sect 7 - Dividing Integers
Sect 8 - Powers and Exponents
Sect 9 - Order of Operations

Also, if I were wishing, I would like to have worksheets that went along with the DVDs.  You can buy a worksheet CD from MathTutorDVD.com but no worksheets come with the DVDs you purchase.  So, this cannot be used as a curriculum, or even partial curriculum.  So you have to use another resource to get the practice every math student needs.

These videos are very dry, but they get the job done.  You can view samples of the videos on the MathTutorDVD.com website.  Please do that to see how the material is given to the student.

The Pre-Algebra DVD contains 9 lessons/chapters on 2 DVDs with a total runtime of 5 hours.  The TI-84 DVD contains 3 DVDs and runs for 8 hours total.  MathTutorDVD.com has a TON of other products, including a new on-line membership where you view all the videos you want!  You can see the list of DVDs along the left side of the website.  Although the two DVDs I received are Jr. High and High School products, there are DVDs for every age covering math and some science as well!

Contact information for MathTutorDVD.com can be found here.  And our Crew review can be found on the blog.

I received two complimentary DVDs from MathTutorDVD.com in order to complete this unbiased review

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Boy Who Changed the World

I got a note in my mailbox that there was a package for me.  I love getting packages.  It feels like Christmas morning.  So I headed to the post office to find a really big box.  Inside was a large children's picture book called "The Boy Who Changed the World" by Andy Andrews.  A few minutes ago I published a review of the book "The Butterfly Effect" by the same author.  This is the children's version of that book.

The Boy Who Changed the World is full of history and great story.  It follows a chain of events and people that saved billions of people from starvation.  But it's not a dry-text.  The illustrations are beautiful and colorful.  And the story will inspire a child to remember that every action they take impacts others.  It's a very thought provoking book.



"The Boy who Changed the World" by Andy Andrews is available for around $12 at various book distributors.  It would make a great and inspiring Christmas gift for the 8-12 year old child on your list.  I was glad to have an opportunity to read it to our guys and will pass it on to a book-loving child to be encouraged.

I received a complimentary copy of The Boy Who Changed the World from Thomas-Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze reviewers program in order to complete this unbiased review.

The Butterfly Effect

We were getting a late start with lessons for the morning.  I asked T-Bone to run down and get the mail before we started.  He did and I had a new book to review from "Book Sneeze."  So, I told them to get their lessons boxes and get ready for copywork when I opened the book.  It was "The Butterfly Effect" by Andy Andrews.  It is a gift-type book that felt really good in my hands.  As the boys were beginning their lessons, I began to read to myself.  A few minutes later we abandoned lessons and headed to the sofa.  I read the entire book to them.  It was fabulous, bringing me to tears more than once. 

As I said before "The Butterfly Effect" is a gift book.  It can be read in under an hour.  It has a nice heavy feel in your hands and the 109-pages are thick and glossy.  The suggested retail is $14.99 but you can find it for around $10 at various sites on-line. 

This would be an excellent book to buy for a graduate, newly married couple, or birthday gift to someone coming of age.  I really think it can inspire just about anybody.  I will be keeping my eye out for copies to give to friends and relatives in the future.  It's message is truly inspiring.  I think anyone could benefit from reading this book.  I really loved it and can't wait for my husband to get home from work so that I can make him read it!  Check it out if you get a chance.

I received a copy of The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews from BookSneeze (Thomas Nelson) in order to complete this unbiased review.

Not JUST a Homeschool Planner

I think I've told you before.  I love planners.  My favorite planner is definitely E-Book: The 2010 Schoolhouse PlannerI wrote an article here about how I used the planner pages to plan our homeschool year.  It was fantastic...not the article, but the planning.

But even though the name of the product is the "Schoolhouse" Planner.  It is so much more than a homeschool planner.  This week I started working on a planner for our home and my homemaking.  And, of course, I found all the pages I needed and then some in E-Book: The 2010 Schoolhouse Planner.

I printed an emergency contacts page for the front of the binder.  This time instead of handwriting everything, I sat at the computer and typed in our emergency info.  Then, I actually re-saved the planner document on the computer with all that information on that page.  So if something ever happens to my printed page, I can just re-print without having to re-enter everything.  And I'm really pleased with how neat and clean it looks.



Since I'm not the world's greatest house cleaner, I printed the Monthly Homekeeping Reminder list for my binder.  It's very useful.  And I added one or two of my own items that I want to remember to do as well!

And there are LOTS of other useful forms that will be added as I develop this homemaking binder.  I love the Daily To-Do List page.  There are home-improvement pages where you can develop each project individually.  And menu planning pages.  I could go on and on.

Finally, it's true-confession time.  I had a major explosion over Ketchup last week.  I went to make a recipe, after having driven to town once already that day for groceries, to find no ketchup in the house.  No one had bothered to tell me when they used the last of the ketchup.  So, I exploded.  Not good...not good at all.  My Schoolhouse Planner came to the rescue!  I found this grocery list.  Printed it.  And put it on the refrigerator.  Now, if we run out, everyone has a place to go to write it down.  What I love about this particular grocery list is that it has 16 boxes all labelled with different grocery store areas.  When I went grocery shopping on Saturday, I took it off the refrigerator and went to the store with a pre-sorted list!  Awesome.

So, here is yet another testimonial to this fabulous planner.  I haven't bought other planners, so I can't say for sure that this is the only planner that is so workable.  But The Schoolhouse Planner is REALLY workable.  You can type into the forms.  You can save the forms in the same file you downloaded. (You don't have to do a "save as.")  Many of the really useful forms have different formats so you can choose the one that works best for you and your family.  And there are a plethora of forms.  That's right a plethora.  Not just homeschooling forms but homemaking and home organizing forms.  This is really-truly a great product.

I did not pay for the copy of The Schoolhouse Planner that I am currently using.  But I am giving you my honest opinion of this product.  And I'm not being paid for this endorsement.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sewing on a Sunday

My Mom used to say, "If you sew on Sunday you'll rip the stitches out with your nose!"  Yeah, I don't get it either.

Anyway, Big Mac woke up with pretty severe back pain this AM so we stayed home from our 45 min. drive to church.  I got my sewing machine out to complete a few projects I've been wanting to finish.  I mended Big Mac's Eagles' lounge pants.  Then I took two wool sweaters that I had felted and turned them into tote bags.


They're pretty cute, if I must say so myself.  I used some of the sleeve material to make the Big Dog a case for his binoculars.  He carries them around in his backpack.


Then I wanted to try the 30-second skirt that I read about on life in a shoe.  I had an old orange T-shirt that was too tight for T-bone's tummy. (that's a good tongue twister..too tight for T-bone's tummy...too tight for T-bone's tummy...too tight for T-bone's tummy...)  I gotta tell you, it's pretty cute and really comfortable!  It buckles a little at the hips, but still not bad. Sorry for the glare on the mirror, but it was the best shot of the skirt I could get.  I gotta say it again, this is just the most comfortable skirt!


Well, hopefully there won't be any nose-induced stitch ripping!  What did you do with your Sunday?


 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gratituesday

Every Tuesday Heavenly Homemakers hosts "Gratituesday" where she shares something for which she is grateful.  Since The Big Dog and I just had a gratitude conversation today, I think I need to participate in Gratituesday today.

Big Dog called from work this afternoon.  As so often happens in corporate America,  he was frustrated.  His attitude was not good at all.  He started to talk about his frustration and then in the next breath he said, "Did you hear about the miners in Chile?"  I hadn't.  So he proceeded to tell me about the 33 men who are trapped in a mine in Chile.  They are alive and in good spirits.  But the kicker is that it could take 2 to 3 months before they can get out of the mine.  They will be able to receive food and water, but they won't be able to get out.

And that's when I said, "Well there you go, honey.  Things may be bad, but you're not trapped in a mine."

Big Dog chuckled and then I said, "I'm serious.  Things at your work are frustrating, but you are sitting in a warm dry office building.  You don't go to work each day fearing for your own life."

Immediately his tone changed to one of optimism and he said, "You know, you're right.  And I'm sure I'm paid better too."

Don't we all need a little perspective now and then?  I'm grateful for Big Dog's job.  I'm grateful because God has lead us this far in our marriage that I have not HAD to work since we've had the boys.  I'm grateful that my darling-dear-husband is safe each day.  Grateful.  Grateful.  Grateful.  And it took 33 miners in Chile to show me how much I have here in Central PA. 

Oh Lord God, bless those miners and their families and bring them out much sooner than everyone is expecting.  Maintain their health and their sanity during this trial and bring them to you.  Be glorified in their rescue.  -Amen

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Bouquet of Lettuce

My neice was visiting on Friday when we received our weekly CSA order. (Community Supported Agriculture)  We have been getting a weekly box of veggies with a dozen eggs and a pound of raw-milk cheese every Friday since May.  I really love it.  Anyway, I was teasing her and saying that the two bunches of Kale I received would make a lovely wedding bouquet.  I mean EVERYBODY does flowers.  Do something different...a veggie bouquet! 

Although I'm kidding about the veggie wedding bouquet, you have to admit that this head of butter lettuce is GORGEOUS!  If The Big Dog and I ever renew our vows, I think I'll carry butter lettuce.



Good job God.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Pictorial Tour of My Saturday

Well, Saturday still has several hours left in it, but I just had to take a break!  We have been SO busy!  We hit a nearby flea market/yard sale and I got this gorgeous enamel covered cast iron casserole dish for $4!



THEN we came home and I made T-bone's requested lunch:  grilled cheese sandwiches, caprese salads and chocolate milk.  Caprese Salads are our summer favorites.  When winter comes and the tomatoes taste like the shelf they're sold on, we may try Ina Garten's recipe here.  Here's a picture of the Caprese Salads I made today:



After lunch I gave the boys haircuts.  After The Big Dog finished mowing the lawn, he got a haircut too.  A mohawk for Big Mac and high-and-tights for The Big Dog and T-Bone:



While The Big Dog was mowing, I started cooking for supper.  We're planning on cooking hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, so I made a pasta salad and a sour cream apple pie for dessert.  I sliced the tomatoes and cheese for the burgers and chopped onion for the burgers and hotdogs.

While I was loading the dishwasher from all my cooking, Favor figured out a new trick:



Yep, he's standing ON the open dishwasher door.  What a dog!  He's as crazy as the rest of us.

Now, everyone has fresh hair cuts (we're getting our family pictures taken at church Tuesday evening) and the house is in half-decent shape.  The laundry is ALMOST done...I'm getting there.  And I'm going to make the mock-danish for tomorrow's breakfast and then hit the showers!  What did you do with your Saturday?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What We're Doing This Year

We are actually at day 27 in our little homeschool for the 2010/2011 school year.  I wrote on the Store Spotlight blog about how I planned our year using The Schoolhouse Planner.  I'm tickled because we are WAY ahead of where we were last year at this time.  But of course, last year at this time we were shuttling the Big Dog to doctor's appts. and hospitals on a regular basis.  Praise God for a new year!

Anyway, I think now is a great time to tell you about what we're using this year and what we will be learning.

Language arts is a full subject this year.  Each boys is going to be required to read from a specific booklist I culled from www.amblesideonline.org.  Right now, T-bone is reading The Peterkin Papers and Big Mac is reading Huck Finn. For writing we are using Write with the Best from EduDPS.  We did Write with the Best volume 1 last year and will complete volume 2 this year.  I really love this writing curriculum.  It uses excellent writing as a guide and employs Charlotte Mason's techniques of keeping the work to short lessons each day.  At the end of the unit we are left with a portfolio of beautiful well-tought-out  writing.



We are also hitting up EduDPS for our vocabulary lessons each day.  Roots and Fruits gives the boys a Greek or Latin root word each day with several examples.  The boys copy the words into their notebooks and then look them up in the dictionary and copy the definitions.  Once a week we play a game or use flash cards to reinforce learning the words and their definitions.  Oh, and they're learning the Greek and Latin roots as well!

Our copywork is being taken from Presidential Penmanship.  I reviewed this product at the end of last year from Zeezok Publishing.  So far the boys are really enjoying these quotes from past presidents.  They can't wait to read them to me when they finish copying them.  The quotes are really valuable, and their penmanship is already improving.

For Math both boys are back to Saxon.  I'm sure we will have some review products to supplement.  Last year there was a plethora of math products!  But for our core, we are back to Saxon.  Algebra 1 for Big Mac and Algebra 1/2 for T-bone.

In science we are using Christian Kids Explore Chemistry.  We have finished the first unit and I really love it.  It starts with the basics but I know that the boys will really grasp the concepts of chemistry from this year's study.  We are supplementing with the Elements Newsletter from How to Teach Science where we are working our way through each element on the periodic table.  When I read about an element, the boys color it on their periodic table and then make an element trading card for it.

For art we are finishing Artistic Pursuits Jr. High Book1.  We began it last year and then set it aside because I really wanted to complete it in its entirety this year.  So that's what we did.  Each unit has four days of lessons with four drawing assignments.  I really like this curriculum a lot.

We are learning French this year!  I took a few years of French and have a passing knowledge, so the boys have always been interested in it.  We got an old copy of Powerglide French with a book and audio tapes.  The boys are really doing well with it!  I love Powerglide's approach.  It is not dry at all.  As a matter of fact they are using an adventure story where the boys pretend to be secret agents in a French-speaking country.  This was made for our boys!  And we got to make quiche Lorraine...which makes is a good fit for me :)

We're going to build our history from reading good books and biographies.  We will work our way through the time period from the Revolutionary to the Civil War and then begin a Civil War unit in the new year.

For Geography and a bit more American History we'll use the Star-Spangled State Book and the companion workbook.  I still need to order one more workbook so we haven't started this yet.  At the end of this study the boys should be able to recite all the states and their capitals.

Later in the year we are going to use The Body Book to do a health science unit.  And an old book with biographies of the composers to complete a music unit.  The book is called Stories of Great Musicians by Kathrine Lois Scobey and Olive Brown Horne.  I can't find it on-line anywhere, but there is a similar book at project Gutenberg here.  I plan to read to the boys about a composer and listen to his music on CD. 

Last but always first, we are continuing our memory verses for Bible each day.  I've lost count at the number of verses the boys have memorized.  I used Simply Charlotte Mason's method of reviewing verses with the boys each day.  We have used this system for a few years and it works best for us.  We are also reading each day from the One-Year Book of Christian History.  The boys aren't crazy about these readings because they are often sad.  But I want the boys to know the heritage of believers that came before them.  We are finishing up the last of the worksheets from Your Story Hour and will be earning our final CDs and the case to go with them.  And I read a spiritual book over breakfast each day.  Right now we are reading The Prayer of Jabez.  Afterward, I think we're going to try The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel.

And I always read to the boys over lunch as well.  Right now we're reading The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood.  I'm supplementing that with William Shakespeare and The Globe by Aliki.  I've been wanting to introduce Shakespeare to the boys for a while now.  I have Charles and Mary Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare that I've wanted to read to them.  So this might spiral off into a whole other thing!!!

Ok this has been long.  But plans are long, aren't they?  I hope you enjoyed this curriculum stroll.  I'd love to know your plans.  What are you doing this year?