Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A Bible for Your Girly Girl

My tween girl was all kinds of excited over her new Girls Slimline Bible that we received to review from Tyndale Blog Network. It has a fuzzy blue cover with the word "LOVE" in block letters complete with a heart for the "O". This is a girly girl Bible. I'm not a fan of glitter, but this Bible is edged in a glitter "look" whick won't leave sparkles all over my house so I'm good with it. This Holy Bible is in the NLT version.

It is a full Bible with the Old Testament and New Testament included in this slimline version. Even though this is a slimmer, easy to carry version, it includes eight pages of color maps. There are references throughout the Bible and the back contains a NLT Dictionary/ Concordance. There's also a 365 Day Reading Plan and a list of Great Verses to Memorize. The pages are edged in a pinkish purple color to continue the girly theme. It also holds an attached bookmark ribbon, and this is a red letter edition Bible.

As I said, Apple (11) was estatic over this Bible. She has faithfully been carrying it around with her. It fits in her favorite tote bag, but she says it is also easy to carry in hand. I've heard several of her friends "Ohh" and "Ahh" over it. I would have loved it at her age as well! She's been very faithful in her daily Bible reading and has done well learning her memory verses this semester. I told her this is just another version to add to her personal Bible study time. We did have to look up what the crosses at the end of verses mean in the NLT. I guess neither of us had noticed that in one before. It is just a reminder that there is a scripture reference at the end of the section.

This is a great Bible for tween girls to carry in boldness! It would make a lovely gift or a fun surprise for the end of the school year.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mess Free Art Makes Mama Happy

Art is messy. The Pencil Grip, Inc company made non-messy Kwik Stix just for people like me, and they sent me some to review! The Kwik Stix 12 pk are vibrantly colored solid tempera paint sticks. These non- toxic paints work on a variety of mediums and don't require water or brushes. The sticks dry quickly and come with caps to ensure that there are no messes.

My kids still manage to get markers all over themselves when coloring. So far they haven't gotten any paint on themselves using the Kwik Stix. Both children have commented how easy the Kwik Stix are to use. Apple has made replicas of famous art using art paper. She has also used regular computer paper to make colorful fish. She's had these paint sticks out several times a week using them for one purpose or another. Speedy has used them a few times and has enjoyed them. He's not a big fan of messes either so these may inspire him to do more art!

This kid would be happy to paint and do art everyday. Definitely didn't get that from me!

The Kwik Stix 12 pc set we received came with white, yellow, orange, red, pink, light green, green, blue, dark blue, purple, brown, and black. Kwik Stix are also available in neon and metalix sets.

Apple says, "I like them, but I wish the tip was thinner so I could do more detail work. I really like how vibrant they are, and I'd like to try the other colors. I think I'd really like the metalix set."

I gave one a try. It's a lot like a tube of lip balm. The tube is larger, but it is the same concept for rolling up the stick. When you finish painting, you can roll it back down and recap it for easy storage. The design would make it very easy for younger children to grip. It really does take less than 90 seconds to dry! It also didn't bleed through on a regular piece of paper. I tend to be very sensitive to smells and the Kwik Stik did not bother me. If you stick it up to your nose then you can smell a light scent. I didn't smell it at all while I was using it or while the kids were using theirs. No mess, easy to use, no overwhelming smell, dries fast- even I could like art like that!

Don't mistake it for lipstick! 

About as fancy as my art gets!

I keep thinking these Kwik Stix would be PERFECT for Sunday School classes and co-op classes. Usually thinking about the mess will keep me from pulling out paint with a group of kids. With these there would be no worry about a mess and no need to tell parents to send their children in old clothes or with an extra t-shirt. The kids wouldn't even need paint brushes! This would make craft time so much fun without extra stress!

The Pencil Grip, Inc was generous enough to include one of The Pencil Grip Original grips along with a pen and an extra Kwik Stix. I have an odd pencil hold and both of my children have similar holds. Apple has messy handwriting but it is legible, so I haven't worried with her's too much. Speedy's handwriting needs loads of improvement. I've bought other grip aids, but he hasn't liked any of them. The minute the one arrived from The Pencil Grip, Inc, he took it and has used it daily! Thank you to the company for including that extra freebie!

See how other members of the Crew used Kwik Stix:
Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Hospitality Update

I did a better job of living up to my word of the year in April. I still didn't accomplish any great amount of hospitality, but I did have people in my house who don't live here.

There was a VBS planning session with my co-leader on a Sunday evening. Her children came as well, and we all had dinner together. She's one of my best friends so she's in my house regularly, but I say it counts towards my goal of 1 invitation a month.

My parents came over for lunch twice, and one of my cousins joined them on one occasion. Obviously, I enjoy cooking for people. I wish I could do it more often!

Hubby invited a few co-workers over for meals during the month but the invitations were declined. I know that will happen from time to time, and it's usually a spur of the moment invitation.

Since we are in the thick of baseball season and we had several social engagements on our calendar in April, I felt like we did really well for the month. I'm looking forward to warmer weather and hosting more friends!

Have you had anyone over recently? What's your favorite kind of get together to host in your home?

Z is for Zoo

I'm really a little sad that it is the final week of Blogging Through the Alphabet with Through the Calm and Through the Storm and Adventures with Jude. It has been a fun 26 weeks trying to find topics to fit with the letter of the week.

I clearly remember pondering the letter Z when I was teaching my kids to read. There just aren't that many words we use on a regular basis that begin with Z. They even had a fun Sesame Street video about letters and it was a big joke through the whole thing that so many words start with "A" and so few begin with "Z".

Zoo seems to always be the favorite Z word so here we go...

Our last trip to a zoo was just about a year ago when we visited the Saint Louis Zoo. That was actually my fourth trip to that particular zoo. We really love the Saint Louis Zoo because it is big and includes many fantastic exhibits. It's also free! That's my favorite perk of all.

We've also made several trips to zoos in Memphis and Nashville over the years. Even before having children, Hubby & I enjoyed a day at the zoo. It's amazing to see all the unique creatures God created.

Our kids both love zoo trips as well, and of course everyone has their favorite animals they like to see. Our trips to the zoo always count as field trips because they learn so much every time we go! Where is your favorite zoo?

Check out the other "Z" posts this week:

Blogging Through the Alphabet” style=

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Moisturizing the Mama Feet #naturalbodycare

Winter is gone, and we are left with dry skin. Just in the nick of time Devonian sent me a bottle of GREEMU Beauty Oil for review. This cruelty free oil mocks emu oil with all natural plant based ingredients. This 4 oz bottle packs a big punch! It is distributed by Koru Naturals.

The recommendations for this oil were to use it on the face or hair. I have hair that can be very oily and skin that can be very oily so I was hesitant to use it in that way. I did try it on my face once. I wasn't a big fan of it. While it wasn't an overly oily experience, I did feel like my face was shiny most of the day. I do use oils on my hair occasionally but generally as a finishing product so I never gave this a try on the tresses. I tried it on some dry spots Apple had on her skin. It was very moisturizing on those spots and didn't cause any issues with her sensitive skin. Her skin issues tend to come and go so I needed to figure out a way to regularly utilize it during my review period but what to do? I decided my poor, dry mama feet could use some oil!

Just about every night I have been rubbing a dab of this oil on the soles of each foot. This oil is odorless and fairly light for an oil. It has a slight color to it and a little bit goes a long way. So I put some on my feet before bed each night and put on socks. I'm not a big fan of sleeping in socks, but I figured it was the best routine. Plus it was a double benefit because my hands got moisturized each night as well. I could tell a difference in my feet in less than a week. Over a few weeks time with regular use, my feet have shown great improvement. I mean they're still mama feet and have some dryness to them, but they aren't too scary for flip flops! Using it this way, this small green bottle will last me a long time. I do think I will have to consistently apply it to keep the benefits going. I wish the bottle was a pump. I've made the bottle all oily opening and closing it during use. 

This little bit is more than enough for one
foot and ankle area. 

Nobody really wants to see my feet but
I felt obligated to show you my results. :)

Emu oil is recommended for many uses. GREEMU oil is a plant based formula that is similar in composition. The ingredients include familar names like Macadamia Seed Oil and Shea Butter. It can be used on hair and skin. Since this is a plant based cruelty free oil there is no compromise for vegans looking for beauty products. Apple is an animal lover and was happy to hear that no animals are harmed or used for this product. I think this would be a great alternative product for emu oil users based on my experience with GREEMU. 

See how the other Crew members used GREEMU:
Greemu Devonian Review
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Monday, April 25, 2016


I love to sleep, but sleep is usually a struggle for me. I've always tended towards being a night owl. I enjoy sleeping until at least 8 am. That has never been possible on a regular basis, but it would be the ideal. When the kids began to have some school time struggles recently, I laid out a schedule.

It is not easy for us to follow a regular time schedule. Hubby works various shifts and so it is harder for me to have a set time to go to sleep each night. However for the last couple of months I've been getting up at 6:30. I'm not going to sugar coat it. I am still struggling. Every. Day. And in reality the schedule has only helped minimally.

Even though the benefits haven't been amazing, the kids really like the schedules. Weird. The reason we've not had a schedule all this time is because Apple always wanted to pick the order of her subjects. Now she seems to like having it lined out. Speedy also likes having a specific time to do certain subjects although he struggles with completing his work in the alloted time frame.

I just made a simple template and filled in the particulars. I've already adjusted it a couple of times as we finish subjects and begin new review items. For the fall I plan to set something a little more long term, but this has been a great period to test it out.

So even though I'm tired. Like chronically exhausted. We're going to keep giving this a go. Do you wake up at a certain time each day? Do your students have a timed schedule for their schoolwork? Yawn. I need more coffee

I'm linking this post up with Through the Calm and Through the Storm and Adventures with Jude as they near the end of this run of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Make sure to check out all the other "y" posts!

. Blogging Through the Alphabet” style=

Enjoying History Through a Read Aloud #heroesthenandnow

Have you ever heard of Louis Zamperini? I had not until YWAM Publishing sent us the book Heroes of History: Louis Zamperini: Redemption to review. The kids LOVE YWAM books and so do I! They are some of our favorites to read aloud together. YWAM also sent me the Digital Unit Study which we utilized too.

Louie Zamperini was an Olympic runner in 1936. In World War II, he was a bombardier for the Army Air Corps. Then he survived a plane crash only to become a POW. His life story is certainly an interesting read! His grit and determination are inspiring. The details of the things he endured are hard to read, but I think it has been eye opening for my kids to hear about circumstances so different than what they see day to day. Some of the things he endured may be too difficult for younger children. His story truly is one of redemption, and I'm so glad this book includes the details of him giving his life to the Lord. His story is told in 19 chapters in this paperback book by Janet & Geoff Benge.

History was one of my favorite subjects in school. We've tried lots of different history curriculums in our homeschool time. The stories and details that always stick with them the most are from stories like these. Real life accounts are a valuable alternative to memorizing dates and events. 
We read a chapter of the book each day. This particular Heroes of History book has 19 chapters. When we finished our reading each day, we would discuss the questions that are included in the Unit Study. There are a few questions for each chapter. The Digital Unit Study also includes a printable timeline, fact sheet, and maps. A large section of the study is dedicated to ideas for studying further. The flexibility of the Unit Study makes it easy to incorporate different age groups into the same study. So you could have an older student work on a paper while a younger student does an art project.
If you are interested in turning this into a deeper study, the unit study has tons of great ideas. There are ideas for collecting items to make a display to go along with the book. That could easily be turned into a project using a 3 flap display board using news paper articles, maps, and pictures from Zamperini's life. If you are searching for end of the year writing projects, the unit study gives several suggestions for essays and research papers. Recommendations for media projects and art projects round out the choices to extend this study further. There's even a section of suggestions for incorporating geography complete with a vocabulary list! I love unit studies like this one that go the extra mile. This downloadable file gives the teacher a 77 page resource full of ideas to continue study beyond reading the book. 
Aside from the Digital Unit Study activities, we continued our study with pictures and quick research on various things mentioned in the book. The kids wanted to see a picture of a B-29 plane so we found one. They wanted to know more about the bombing of Hiroshima so I found images of it as well. The YWAM Heroes of History books always spark their appetite to learn more about certain time periods. If I was a really organized mom, I would make sure we read the books that go along with the history periods we are studying! Truly, I don't believe it matters too much. They love learning about all the different periods in history just like I did! And I'm still learning because I had never heard of Louis Zamperini until now!
YWAM offers Heroes of History and Christian Heroes Then & Now books on many people from history and current times. Last year I reviewed Heroes of History: Christopher Columbus: Across the Ocean Sea. Check out which books other Crew members received and what they thought of them:

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

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Twitter: @YWAMpublishing @YWAMpublishing
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