And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Balance

Ahh it is almost the New Year. I was really a grumpy person throughout the Christmas season this year. I just could not get into the spirit of things. I wanted Christmas to be over and done! I even took down the tree and all the decorations the day after Christmas. It felt so good to pack it all away. I hope this was just an off year for me and that in 2012 I will resume enjoying Christmas as my favorite time of year! Anyhow I am really looking forward to sweeping 2011 off my feet and embarking on a new year with new plans and goals!

My word for 2011 was purpose. Looking back over the year, I think we did a good job of being purposeful with our time and resources. We spent more quality time together and with others and we found activities that had a purpose other than pleasing us. We could have done more but purpose will continue to be a work in progress for us. I think our biggest accomplishment was letting go of several fluff activities and that gave us more time for purposeful activities. I also put a lot of purposeful planning into homeschool this year and it has really shown. Things have flowed smoothly even though we have become 3 in the schoolroom instead of just 2. I also "repurposed" some of the rooms and spaces into our home (like the schoolroom) and that has been a wonderful blessing to all of us

.

I have been praying and listening and waiting and God has given me my word for 2012. It will be balance. I am the serious parent, the one who stays on task and tries to keep everyone else there, the one that scoffs fun for responsibility. I need to better balance that. Fun activities can be purposeful and are important not only to my health and stress level but also to the other family members. This year I hope to balance some fun with our responsibilities and also to encourage the other members of the family to do the same.

Hubby and I have set some lofty New Years goals and we will both need lots of balance to accomplish them. We are coming up with a healthier eating plan for the whole family, and he and I both are setting a goal to lose 50 lbs each. It will not be easy but after losing 30 lbs 2 years ago, I know we can do it! We also have big plans of getting our finances in order and we are praying some big things to God for Him to help us succeed in that area. The economy issues have not been kind to us and after struggling for 3 years, we need God to intercede in that area.

Balance is an important goal in every area of life, we need to learn to be balanced in our temperments, our diets, our finances, and more. Balance is also necessary in our lives as we strive to serve the Lord while living in the world.

Are you making any goals for 2012?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Still Emotionally Involved





When I read When the Heart Cries, I became totally involved in the story of Hannah Lapp. Very few series grab my attention and hold onto it like the tale of Hannah, a young Amish girl who suffers a terrible attack and ends up shunned by her community. After finishing the first book in the series, I quickly scooped up the second and finished it in one night. I could barely wait for the third installment to arrive in the mail! When the Soul Mends did not disappoint. Although I was feeling very impatient in finding out Hannah's end result, Cindy Woodsmall did a terrific job of weaving the tale and leaving me guessing about Hannah's future until the very end.

What a mess things have become as Hannah is drawn to return to Owl's Perch after a frantic call from her sister Sarah. Hannah doesn't want to leave the comfort of her home and her life as a nurse and student. Hannah is quickly confronted with all the pains from her past- Paul, her Daed, Sarah, and the community that is still shunning her. How will Hannah work her painful past into her content present? How will she balance her life with Martin versus the care her sister needs? Will Hannah run away again?

The Sisters of the Quilt series is one I won't quickly forget. The stories are intriguing and well written. Cindy Woodsmall has a great voice to share the Amish community with the "Englischer" world. Pick up the series today and you won't put it down until you reach the very end!

I received this book from WaterBrook Multnomah for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Biblical A-Z for Littles


There is nothing better to get a preschooler or kindergartner's attention than a big colorful flip board! I was so excited when I saw A is for Adam! It is a homeschooler's dream! This colorful BIG flip board book covers the alphabet from A to Z using the book of Genesis to correlate a story to each letter. Of course it begins with Adam and it goes all the way through "Z is for Zip, so quick will it be, When Jesus comes back for you and for me." Each letter is given a full size colorful illustration and a "quick guide" for discussion, verses, questions, activities, etc. If you want to expand this beyond PreK or K, there is an additional page of discussion and more for each letter.

The more I explore this teaching tool, the more excited I get! The possibilities for using this to learn are endless. This resource is perfect for homeschool, Sunday school, before bedtime devos, and more! If your child isn't quite ready to learn letters yet, use this to introduce the beautiful illustrations and stories from Genesis. With all the activities, discussion ideas, and more, this book will last you a long time. Once Speedy is reading, I will use it for daily short readings for him since the wording on the pictures is only a sentence or two.

Master Books brings us so many great homeschool resources and this is just another fine example!

 I received this book for the purpose of review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinons are my own.

We Can All Use a Little Help....



One of my favorite books of all time is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It is a terrific book and I'm constantly recommending it.  When I came across Happily Ever After I was so excited to see another marriage book by Gary Chapman. I will be the first to tell you that reading books about marriage should be a constant. Marriage is not easy and if you wait until there's a problem, you're going to need a lot more than a book to help you. I'd say marriage is mostly a roller coaster ride of ups and downs and Hubby and I have had our share of each over the past 10 years.

Happily Ever After contains six steps to make your marriage successful. Mr. Chapman explores each step in length with real life stories, tips, and applications. From conflicts to intimacy to in laws, it feels like he covers it all. The conflicts chapter had to be my favorite. I think we all probably know these things but we all need reminders so we can use them. My spouse is my mate for life and I want our relationship to be at its best.

Of course the number one need in every marriage is Christ as the center and Mr. Chapman certainly understands and implements that. If I was the one doling out the advice my next would be "Love your neighbor as yourself" and as our Sunday School teacher says, your closest neighbor is your spouse. That's about the extent of good advice except read Happily Ever After and then pass it to your spouse so they can read it also.

I received this book from Tyndale Publishers for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Triple Action



Are you looking for a laundry detergent that is easy on your wallet but tough on stains? Look no farther than Purex Triple Action! I was so excited when this bottle arrived just in time for the holidays. Apple and Speedy love to dress up for all the Christmas gatherings but they are messy eaters when there are so many desserts around! I cringe everytime they pick up a plate wearing their holiday best. However Purex Triple Action let me relax the last few weeks. It got every crumb, art mistake, and more out of their clothes. It was gentle on Apple's intricate dresses but tough on Speedy's dirty knees on his pants.

I used it for mine and Hubby's clothes too (since I throw all our clothes together) and it worked great. Generally smell is a concern after being in and out of families homes with pets, cigarette smoke, and more. This was the first holiday where I did not have to run some clothes through the wash twice. As expensive as detergent and electricity is (not to mention time) I do NOT want to do a load more than once! I was so pleased with the Triple Action.

Purex always is a great value with a price way lower than most competitors. I tried Mountain Breeze scent and thought it was fantastic but Purex offers Triple Action in several scents and varities like Natural Elements. Purex Triple Action is good for all machines including HE. Look for coupons and special sales on Purex items in your local Sunday papers.

Purex provided a free sample of their Triple Action laundry detergent so I could write a review. However, all of the opinions expressed here are my own. I love being a Purex Insider!

Little Scientists



My kids take after my husband in the science department. I'm not a huge science person. I always made good grades in science but it's a little too.....messy for me! Plus I just don't think my mind operates the way "scientists" do. I found a Science cheat sheet though! World of Science is a big ol book of scientific facts based on Christian principles! It is filled with section after section of eye catching pictures and mind filling information. Given the chance, Hubby would sit and read this cover to cover!

Apple and Speedy love science. They go on walks with Hubby and learn all kinds of little intricate information about rocks and leaves and the sky. Now they can reinforce all that information with this book! While we are totally enjoying the Science co-op we are in this year, the curriculum we are using is fantastic but it isn't all inclusive since it is for a range of ages. Now when Apple asks one of intense science questions, I can look up the answer in minutes! I'm so thankful for the extensive index in the back.

World of Science is divided into section and includes science project ideas and more. Learn how sharks sense electrical signals and how the North Pole moves. This is a terrific resource for homeschoolers, families, or just those more scientifically inclined than I!

I received this book from New Leaf Publishing for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Emotionally Involved



I love to read and there's nothing better than a great fiction story that I can fall right into. When the Heart Cries did more than draw me in, I fell into this book! I picked it up planning to read just a little and then go to bed. I stayed up past midnight finishing it! It's been a long time since I got so emotionally involved with characters. Cindy Woodsmall paints a beautiful portrait of an Amish girl who is set apart.

Although Hannah is stepping outside of the norm, she is woefully mistreated by circumstances beyond her own control. The journey that she takes emotionally and physically following her abuse is heart wrenching. The series of events that take place are so frustrating as she is met with misunderstanding after complicated misunderstanding. Just when you think it can't get any worse, new tragedies strike her family and then Hannah. Cindy Woodsmall again has done a great job of bringing you into an Amish community. This story focuses mostly on one family but you can see the influences of the bigger group.

If you looking for a fiction read that you won't be able to put down, pick up When the Heart Cries. Make sure you have a few hours to finish it!

I received this book for the purpose of review from Waterbrook Multnomah. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Please take a moment to rate my review.....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Really?!?!?!

So I just caught a preview for a new series that will be airing soon. It's called "I Hate My Teenage Daugher" and the description basically said the series is about 2 single moms that allow their teen daughters to do whatever they want. Sigh......and we wonder why our teens are all rebelling, why the family structure is totally breaking down, and why we can't communicate with our children. Here is the show's information site http://www.fox.com/i-hate-my-teenage-daughter/.

Dear Hollywood, we have NO NO NO NO NO use, need, or want of these ridiculous shows. If you can't do any better than this then please just rerun episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show", "The Cosby Show", and "Little House on the Prairie." Thanks. UGH!

#Smurftastic


 
Have you seen the Smurfs movie? We were given the chance to hold a Smurftastic bash complete with coloring pages, blue foods, the movie and more!! Our original party plan had to be cancelled due to obligations this time of year, but we were able to host a fun sleepover with some favorite friends!!

The kids enjoyed blue punch, blue yogurt, blue and white cookies, and popcorn with blue M&Ms! They were so excited! They watched the movie and then colored some of the great coloring pages we were sent. Their favorite scene in the movie involved a Smurf loose in a toy store! Everyone wanted to buy him!

This movie is fun, family friendly, and made me remember all the great times I had watching the Smurfs as a little girl! It's available now on Blu Ray and DVD!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Old Navy Bundle Up Bash

I was SO SUPER EXCITED when I was given the opportunity to host an Old Navy Bundle Up Bash! Old Navy and Crowdtap gave me the opportunity to take 3 friends into my local ON and have a great Girls Night Out!! We spent a couple of hours in the store, trying on TONS of great clothes, laughing, chatting with employees, and eventually choosing an outfit each to take home. The managers and other employees were so accomodating. They made sure we had everything we needed and then set us free to invade the store, take tons of pictures, tweet live from the party, and try on almost everything in the ladies department!!

Right now Old Navy is FILLED to the brim with cute hats, cuddly sweaters, fantastic jeans, and lovely scarves! Between the 4 of us I think we tried on everything! We planned out all sorts of different looks from super casual to super dressy! Our favorites were jeans paired with all different sorts of shirts and sweaters with hats, gloves, and scarves to accessorize!

Is that the Wendy's girl?

Sherri actually tried on jeans!!!

She got mad model moves in her green sweater!

Hoodie style!

My mama got all bundled up!

This was the 70s look!


 I was going for the snow sled look..... could only pull it off in the Antartic!!!


Here is a much cuter look on me but everyone else was looking for more great clothes so I had to take my own picture!!



At the end we were all so excited!!!!! We were given coupons for one outfit each and we loved choosing them!! Total saved thanks to Old Navy and Crowdtap- almost $400!!!! THANK YOU ON & CROWDTAP!!!!!!



If you want great clothes at reasonable prices for the whole family- check out Old Navy! If you want to try free clothes and more check out Crowdtap!

I received coupons for free products in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review and I was not required to blog about it.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

NLT Bible Giveaway.....plus a chance for an Apple iPad 2!!!!!!

WOW look at the details of this Giveaway by Tyndale!!!!


We wanted to let you know about a great giveaway happening over at the New Living Translation Facebook page!!!

Here are the NLT Facebook page giveaway details:

Starting on November 29th until December 24th at the New Living Translation Facebook page we're giving away lots of great prizes and something free for you just for singing up.

By visiting the giveaway entry page (located on the NLT Facebook page, the link is under the profile picture) and entering your name and e-mail address you'll be entered to win the following prizes:
One random person each day will win a Life Application Study Bible Family Pack (Guys Life Application Study Bible hc, Girls Life Application Study Bible hc, Student's Life Application Study Bible hc, Life Application Study Bible hc, Life Application Study Bible Large Print hc).
One Random person each week will win an Apple iPad 2!

Everyone that signs up gets a free download copy of the Life Application Bible Study – Book of Luke!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I Didn't Know That!


My kids LOVE animals. No seriously they LOVE LOVE LOVE learning about animals, seeing different kinds of animals, and asking millions of questions about animals. Hubby is very interested in reptiles and has owned several different types of reptiles over the years so I think they got their fascination from him. Anyhow when this HUGE book called World of Animals arrived with a very cool picture of a tiger on the front, Apple & Speedy were stoked! They plopped down and dug right in.

World of Animals is full of interesting animal facts. What poisonous fish is considered a delicacy in some Asian countries? What bug surrounds itself with a froth known as "snake spit"? These and many more unusual facts can be found throughout this reference book. Best of all the book is broken into sections by animal classifications which we just studied in our homeschool science co-op! So the book begins with protists and ends with mammals! And within each animal group the pages are broken down into specific animals like African monkeys and colubrid snakes. This is just a terrific reference book that will supplement so many science curriculums and studies.

I may not be as obsessed with animals as my kids are but I love books like this on our homeschool shelves. That way when my kids are asking those million questions that I don't know the answer to, it's right at my fingertips! There is something timeless about opening a book to find an answer!

I received this book from New Leaf Publishing for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Is it December?

Seems like I was just posting the woes of it being November and here it is December already! We've even had a snow already which is just unheard of in TN! It was a couple of inches of accumulation and my kids loved every minute of it! Apple will probably live in a state that gets feet of snow at a time when she is older. She just LOVES it. Speedy likes the snow but hates the cold so it's a short lived romance for him.

Anyhow we had a lovely Thanksgiving and we were able to enjoy 3 feasts with different parts of the family. I went Black Friday shopping which I have done every year for at least 13 years but may never do again after this year (that's a tale for a different post). The kids and I had a nice long week off to celebrate our thanks and the turkey. And now my shopping is mostly done, the wrapping is caught up until more packages arrive, and tonight we will go to our first Christmas party of the season. But we will and it will be a clear definition of a new semester.

Speedy has begun Math U See Primer and he is really enjoying it. He's finishing up his 5th lesson and has done very well. He will be finished with our modified version of Hooked on Phonics PreK before we go on Christmas break and he's looking very forward to beginning the "purple" Hooked on Phonics. He is progressing much better than I had expected he would. Speedy is enjoying school and has gotten right into the habit. The only place that his progression is painfully slow is writing. He just has little to no interest in it. He's never enjoyed coloring or drawing and it really shows now that he is beginning writing. He can write his name but he doesn't like to so he never does. I've really been pushing him to practice, and he just makes it a very painful process. Sigh......

Apple's painful process is still math. I think it always will be. She has the ability but just no drive. We are still working through Math U See Beta and she will be finishing it up in the spring. We will then move straight into Gamma. I think to keep her on track with math, it will have to be constant. No long summer breaks for math this year. She is doing very well with an English textbook, a Spelling textbook, a Social Studies textbook, and a Health textbook. I have those lessons laid out for the rest of the school year and she will be completed with some of them by spring. She's still consuming books. We went to the library the Wednesday before our Thanksgiving break and I let her get 8 books. I was hoping they would get her through the week we didn't have class. Instead she was finished with all 8 by Sunday night and our break didn't begin until Monday! We are blessed to have TONS of books here at home and many of them she still hasn't read. She is also still reading her way through the Little House series. She's a big mystery book lover and those are the ones she seeks at the library.

Together they completed their Science co-op lessons and we will begin a new book in January! This school semester has really gone well. We've had some tough days (didn't think Apple & I were going to make it through subtraction with regrouping earlier this week) but we have more good days than bad. I can really see that they are learning and I love spending time with each of them. Budget restraints have kept us at home more than ever before but it's been a blessing.

We began our Jesse Tree yesterday and they just absorb the word of God. They love each little symbol and it's wonderful this year to see them rejoice in the true meaning of Christmas!