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

Friday, November 30, 2012

Need Safe Email for Your Kids?

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Praying with Passion

Do you find yourself falling into prayer ruts? I know I do. It can become a mindless task to repeat the same prayer day after day, night after night. I recognize it quickly when my children say the same prayer verbatim more than a time or two. It's harder to realize when I am doing it! I find myself praying the exact same prayers for my children, asking for blessings upon them that they come to know a real relationship with Jesus, that His hand is over their future spouses, that the embrace obedience and love for one another, etc. Well I was ready to be out of that pattern. Then I found Upside-Down Prayers for Parents. Lisa T. Bergren is encouraging you to pray HARD prayers for your children!

Just like other authors (Platt, Chan) are encouraging us to step outside the box ourselves, Bergren says step out of the box in your prayer life for your kids. The book is set up in 31 devotions which is perfect because I'm going to need to pull this out again and again to remember and it's only a short month's worth of readings. Each day is followed with a prayer, a writing prompt for you, AND questions to ask your kids. She even has a question for younger children and an alternate one for older kids. I'm going to read it all the way through once and then go back and do the discussion questions for my kids.

I've gone through quite a few of the devos and while it is scary to ask God for hard things for Apple and Speedy, it is exciting to be outside of that box. "Day 1: I pray you'll get caught doing things wrong- and find the good and true path." AMEN! I mean at first glance we think we don't want our kids to do things wrong, but ya know what? They're going to. We do. All the time. And so will they. I so want them to gain that discernment to realize which path is good and true and to seek it! How about "Day 6- I pray you'll sweat- and learn what it means to work for what's wothwhile...."? Hallelujah! A special prayer for an end to the sense of entitlement that we are all battling against. Check the links above for more info on the book and the author.

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This post is part of a promotion from my involvement with US Family Guide Bloggers. It is a direct ad copy and I was given a free product in exchange for the post.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Spanish for Speedy

I love checking out new language learning programs for kids. We've been slowly working on Spanish with Apple and Speedy for sometime. I have one program via computer that both children use and Apple has a workbook that she uses. Speedy has been a little jealous that he doesn't have a workbook as well. Now I think I've found something better! Through an Influenster complimentary clip, we were able to check out Dino Lingo.

Dino Lingo can be purchased as a DVD and they offer so many different languages! Even Swedish and Tagalong! I'm very impressed with the variety that they offer. We checked out the Spanish animals clip. Speedy was instantly hooked on the colorful cartoons and phrases and words that were presented so simply. The music kept him interested which is a big plus! (5 yr old boys don't have the longest attention span ya know!)

If you are interested in learning more about Dino Lingo, you can check out a free Spanish lesson here. The world is quickly becoming so accessible to everyone via air travel, television, and the internet. It will be so important for our children to have a working knowledge of additional languages. Our plan is to get both kids to a great point in Spanish and then add in an additional language.

I watched a free clip from Influenster. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.


It has been ages since I listened to a book on tape. That should tell you something. It was books on tape, not books on CD. I loved listening to them while I was driving when I was in high school and college. As I've gotten older, I'm totally distractable so the idea of books aloud hasn't been very appealing. I also haven't read anything from Dickens in about that long. In middle school and high school, I got my fill of Dickens and haven't visited him since then. When I got the opportunity to review Oliver Twist in Radio Theater form, I was intrigued.

This really is a piece of art. From the beautiful cover to the wonderfully done audio work, the whole thing is fantastic. The story comes to life through your speakers as the actors portray each part in voice. With sound effects and voice inflection it's so easy to imagine the scene as you listen. The bonus DVD includes behind the scenes footage in documentary form as well as a look at the orphan epidemic we face today.

I think Focus on the Family has done a great job of bringing this story back to the fore front as the orphan crisis gains attention. Please pray with me for the orphans of today. Pray for foster families, adoptions, and babies in cribs with no one to respond to their cries. Pray for families that desperately want to adopt but don't have the resources available to them.

I received this set from Tyndale Blog Network for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.


I've talked to you about purpose in the past. I started praying about and studying God's purpose in my life years ago when I first read The Purpose Driven Life. It had a great impact on my life and it was one of the first Christian living books that I adamantly recommended to everyone that I saw. To celebrate the 10 year anniversary, Rick Warren has released The Purpose Driven Life expanded edition. It's fantastic! Great new cover art makes it bright and appealing.

Inside, it is just as compelling as the original edition. In 42 days you can delve into God's purpose for your life. The appendix is filled with resources but my favorite is the list of verses for each day. That's so helpful! You can read a devo and the verses each day or you can read the devo one day and the verses the next. Either way you will be impacted. The new edition also includes a QR code that will take you to a short video from Rick Warren that goes with each devo. Again you can add this to your daily devo or spread each lesson into 2 or 3 days.

I love that Warren always emphasizes community, church, and relationships. In this day and age it's so easy to fold into ourselves and tuck our families away from the world but that isn't what God intends for us. We must develop relationships with purpose to draw us closer to God. How often does a friend speak words that God means just for us? It happens to me all the time. Iron sharpens iron and Warren will take you farther into those concepts.

I still recommend this book. It would be a wonderful Christmas gift for a high school grad, college student, new Christian, co-worker that's looking for fulfillment but doesn't know where to begin......It would be a wonderful gift to yourself! A fantastic way to begin the first 42 days of the New Year. 

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

Monday, November 26, 2012

Reading Through History

There are 3 subjects that my kids just CONSUME. As in we have to buy multiple books for each of these subjects each school year: Bible, Science, and History. They are totally enthralled with them. Now the love of history comes straight from me, the love of science comes straight from hubby, and the love of the Bible comes straight from God! Of course we indulge them in learning in these areas whenever possible. It is, of course, difficult to come up with enough curriculum to satisfy their curiosity.  I'm always keeping my eyes open. When I recently saw an ad for Pages of History Volume 1, I was immediately compelled to find out more.

Now I will admit, anything from Veritas Press intimidates me! We have several friends (Hi Jen-nay & Holliday!) that LOVE Veritas and proclaim praises for them. I was not "classically" educated and feel unworthy of Veritas myself. However, how could I pass up the chance to review this history text? I couldn't. It wouldn't be fair to my children to let my fear interfere with a chance for them to learn history with a Biblical basis. Now I've long said that Apple can learn anything that is presented to her in story form. She must not be the only one because Veritas created this history book in exactly that format!

Pages of History Volume 1 is simply the story of James (a Christian) and his friend Lance (an unbeliever) and an awesome adventure that leads them through history from Creation to the Reformation. Now that sounds overwhelming and it would be in any other format. This text is 445 pages but the simple story form makes it very easy to understand. For independent study the target age range is 11-13 but the format and story line would be easy to read aloud to younger students. Apple has the ability to read this text on her own and she will. We will have discussions after each chapter. The discussions will solidify what she has read and also will give us an opportunity to discuss some of the material. Personally I was a little put off by the description of the "unbeliever." I'm not sure that younger children will interpret it as a true to life description of the way SOME unbelievers feel about Christians. Instead I'm afraid it will shed a very negative light on unbelievers for our children. Now obviously I want my children to be believers their whole lives but I don't want them to discriminate against unbelievers in any way that might make them forget to witness to them or to dismiss them for their opinions. Also in the book it refers to the "Great Cleansing" which I've actually never heard about before. Now the premise makes sense but later it refers to a final Cleansing and says that every Christian knows the date July 7, 2077. Hmmm.... I'm a Christian and have been for sometime and I've never heard of that or that date. I would've left that out myself.

So those are some main topics I will look to discuss with her. I love the charts, timelines, and drawings in the book. Those are sure to hold her attention! We can also condense some of our discussion for Speedy's level as well. He doesn't want to be left out! Veritas is running a launch special through Friday night at midnight (11/30). Use this link to order and you can get a $10 Veritas credit with every order and volume pricing of 40% off orders of 5 copies or more!

I received a copy of this book from Veritas Press for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner with a Twist

 Each year we try to incorporate something new into our Thanksgiving meal. We have our staples- turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, corn, rolls, sweet potatos,etc- but we like to try a little something different to keep it interesting. Who knew I could spice up our relish/ garnish tray this year? And on the cheap! Kroger's Private Selection label helped me do just that. I started with their premium stuffed olives. I had a hard time choosing between the garlic stuffed olives, blue cheese stuffed olives, and the jalapeno stuffed olives. Hubby loves a little spice so I went for the jalapeno stuffed olives and that set the whole trend of the try! Next I added some Buffalo Monterey Jack Cheese from the deli. I simply broke it in half to make triangles and in the tray it went with the stuffed olives, regular olives, Private Selection Classic Water Crisps, and some gherkin pickles.

The tray looked great and the foods tasted even better! The tray created lots of buzz around the tables as we were eating. The overall consensus was a thumbs up! Many were surprised at the smooth flavor of the jalapeno stuffed olives and the cheese. The kids snagged most of the crackers and regular olives.  Everyone was surprised that such fancy foods came from the Private Selection label and they were all excited to hear about the low prices.

Dinner was topped off with dessert (of course!) and coffee. Now many of you know I am a Keurig Vue obsessed coffee fan BUT for this meal to be economical I had to put my Vue away. With a crowd of 25 we drank a LOT of coffee during our Phase 10 tournament. Thankfully I pulled out my old loyal coffee pot and some Private Selection Costa Rican Tarrazu ground coffee. The smell was fantastic and the taste was great! Again everyone was so surprised it was the Private Selection label.

We have several gatherings coming up in the month of December. I will definately be utilizing Private Selection items to save my budget but keep things on the classy end!

I received free products because I am a BzzAgent. I was not required to write a positive review.

Need a Great Holiday Dress?

So once again Old Navy and Crowdtap hooked me up! And a friend! We were able to go into the local ON and pick a dress. Now this is HUGE for me right now! My hubby graduates from his intensive training very soon and I feel so blessed to have a wonderful new dress to wear to this momentous occasion. One of the things I love most about the Sample & Share opportunities from Old Navy is that I try on so many things that I would normally skip right over. On a normal shopping trip I am rushing in and grabbing whatever I know will fit me and will look decent.

For the Sample & Share opps, I send the kids to Nonna's and I go take my time trying on as much as I want. A great example is this little black dress. I typically veer away from any tops or dresses with a belt. I've never had one look good on me so it seems silly to even try them on. But I had plenty of time the night BFF J & I went so I decided to take the chance. Look how cute it looked:

It ended up being one of the ones in my final selection pile! Now I was disappointed that the local ON didn't have ANY of the gorgeous maxi dresses that I had seen at I am not a fan of my legs and y'all know I stress over modesty so I really wanted to try some of them on. Please forgive my photo quality. I know it's less than perfect. BFF J did have her little buddy with her so we were limited on extra hands to take photos!

I tried on this little black number with the cowl neck also. I didn't like the neck on it. It was an abundance of fabric. BFF J said the same thing when she was looking at them.

Here she is in a blue number that is the same style as earlier one with the skinny belt. 

This was the basic selection at the store that evening. Definately not as many as we had seen online. We were still able to try on 6-8 each.

Here is another skinny belt dress that I tried. The color makes a HUGE difference. I did not like the way this one looked AT ALL. It went immediately to the discard pile.

They had this dress in several colors. I liked the color and I liked the fit but the material was too thin and it was clingy. 

 See the twins? Well actually these are the dresses that we both got! 
We laughed at ourselves, tried to pick others, and came to the conclusion that we would just 
 make sure that we didn't wear them at the same times. If the selection had been larger, I'm certain we would have chosen different styles/ colors. However it wasn't and we just decided to make the best of it. I'm getting leggings to wear with mine that I will pair with either boots or flats. I love the dress! I'm looking forward to wearing it to hubby's graduation and Apple's choir concert.

We loved our night at Old Navy! I can hardly wait for the next Sample & Share! It's always so much fun to browse the whole store. I was surprised to see a great new jewelry selection in the store. They had some really fun, classy pieces.

Now while you are checking out all the fun dresses we tried on if you see any that you LOVE, make sure to check out Today and tomorrow (11/25 & 11/26) you can get 30% off your order with the code "CYBER."

I received a free dress and a free dress for a friend from Old Navy and Crowdtap. I was not required to write a positive blog post. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

72 Hour Flash Sale!!!!

Kelly Kits encourage art play using a wide variety of creative tools & materials beyond what coloring books can offer and are the perfect holiday gift for your creative kiddo!  For 72 hours only Kelly Kits is having a site wide sale where all products are 10% off!  Get your favorite little artist a years worth of art kits or a special gift pack with 5 activities that explore the five discipline of art:  Drawing, Painting, Print Making, Collage & Sculpting!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Black Friday Deal You Don't Want to Miss!

Lovable Labels, Disclaimer, Facebook Page, Twitter, Contact, Label Me Crazy, Pinterest, You Tube Lovable Labels Disclaimer Facebook Page Twitter Contact Label  Me Crazy Pinterest YouTube

Remind Me Daily

I told you awhile back about the book I am Second. I'm so excited to be a part of a blogging group for the release of Live Second 365 Ways to Make Jesus First. I read lots of books (duh) and I've reviewed several devos for you. What makes me excited about THIS devo? Because I need to be reminded every single day that He is first and I am second. In the midst of everyday life it is SO easy to make myself the priority. Too easy. I don't want Him to be first only when it is convenient (like Sunday morning), I want Him to be first every hour of every day.

Friends & I were recently discussing this very subject. Our society blasts us with what we "need." While Hubby is still doing intensive training that keeps him away from home a lot, everyone I talk to says "Oh you NEED a break. Oh you NEED some time to yourself. Oh you NEED a trip with hubby. Oh you NEED a maid or a babysitter or a chef or whatever." I fell for it at first. "YES I DO NEED ALL THOSE THINGS because my lovely children are making me crazy and I'm exhausted and the house is a mess and I miss my hubby and we've eaten sandwiches for 3 days." Right. Then God spoke gently to my heart and reminded me that HE is what I need and HE is right here with me. He is first, I am second.

We are called to be servants. We are called for His glory, not our own. Let's read Live Second so we can be reminded daily. Coming soon (Dec 9-15) you will see some (4)  special blog posts dedicated to a few of the daily readings from Live Second. Look for them here on the blog and be sure to tell me what you think!

I received a copy of Live Second as part of a blogging group for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. Are you a blogger that is interested in participating in this book launch? If so email 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Awesome Christmas Gift Idea for Kids That Love to Build

Continuing on with the great gift ideas for the kids in your life, let me present Laser Pegs. Apple & Speedy are getting to the ages where they really love to build things. Laser Pegs is the most creative new way to do that! Who wouldn't want their creations to light up?

To learn more about this HOT toy check out the Laser Peg Network. There you can find out more about Laser Peg toys and your child can join the Laser Peg Network where their creativity could earn them special prizes!

I've got 2 exciting things to tell you about.

1. Every week from now until December 16th, Laser Pegs will giveaway one Laser Pegs play table! This table is valued at $549!!! The first one will be given away tonight so hurry over to this Rafflecopter to register!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Now a Gift for the Athletic Child on Your List!

I've mentioned to you before that Apple & Speedy are all about soccer and basketball. I've also presented Sports Illustrated Kids to you in the past. I'd love for you to take a look at this magazine again now the you are working on your Christmas list! My children both LOVE to receive mail and magazines make them even happier. Would your child or niece or nephew love that too? Check out this special offer:

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Kids is THE magazine for boys and girls who love sports. It presents sports the way kids want to read about them: with great action photos, easy-to-read stories about star athletes, helpful instructional tips from the pros, and humor, comics, and activities. SI Kids is a great way to encourage kids to read, and it has won highest honors from the Association of Educational Publishers and the Parents' Choice Award.

Special Offer:

Receive an entire year of SI Kids in print and on tablet for only $19.95! You can subscribe HERE.

Need more reasons to give the gift of SI Kids this season?

Reason #1: It’s the perfect stocking stuffer.
Reason #2: It promotes reading for children who are reluctant readers.
Reason #3: Each issue is full of exciting stories, photos and games that are a perfect distraction while traveling.
Reason #4: No gift wrapping – it’s delivered straight to your door.
Reason #5: It’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year through.

I hope we’ve put you in the giving spirit! We would love for you to share this exciting SI Kids offer with your readers and start spreading the holiday cheer to all of the kid sports-fans out there!

For more information go to:

Like SI Kids on Facebook:

And don’t forget – take advantage of this great offer by subscribing HERE.

Shopping for Girls?



Shopping Just Got Easier at Rock The Tea!  Girls shopping on-line store.  

Rock the Tea offers crafts, dress-up clothes, make-up and jewelry for young girls. I'm already eyeing several things for Apple like the Hair Chox and the crafts!

My readers Save 15% Off Your Order at

I posted this blog as a member of the US Family Blogger group. I received a free credit to Rock the Tea in exchange for this post.

Need a Great Christmas Gift for Kids?


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Slap On Watches are the hottest trend in 2012 and Just in time for the Holidays! 

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Slap watches are the newest and fastest growing trend. Slap on watches are great for kids, teens and adults. They are easy to put on before work, school, or play! Water resistant and highly durable silicone housing is perfect for all ages. Interchangeable colors make these a great fashion statement, try matching them with your outfit, favorite sports team colors, company colors (we imprint logos as well), or favorite holiday colors!

I posted this blog as a part of the US Family Guide blogger program. I have the opportunity to receive a free watch.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


All 3 of our current giveaways have ended and the winners have been contacted. Congrats to:

 Mummy Reviews- $15 KMart GC

 Christy H- Headline T shirt

 Tiffy- Purex

Thanks to everyone who entered! Keep your eyes here for more giveaways soon!


Monday, November 12, 2012

What's Cooking?

I love my Crock Pot! It gets so much use all year long. I find it so stress free to throw in a bunch of ingredients in the morning and then have a piping hot meal ready for us in the evening. However like all cooking methods, the meals can get a little redundant after a while. That's one reason I was so excited to hear about the new Crock Pot Seasoning Mixes. Wow!

I've tried 3 varieties: BBQ Pulled Pork, Hearty Beef Stew, and Savory Pot Roast. I have to tell you that all 3 were fantastic! I really was surprised. I typically add extra seasoning and spices to everything I cook. I didn't need to add anything to these mixes and you can follow the simple recipe on the back to make a lovely homemade meal. I prepared the BBQ Pulled Pork using a large pork tenderloin. That mix does require vinegar and brown sugar. I also added some chopped onion. I made the Savory Pot Roast exactly like that package instructed. I decided to do something a little different with the Hearty Beef Stew. I cut a roast into big chunks, added the mix and the water the mix called for, and I threw in a whole jar of banana peppers and juice. Whew! By far that was our favorite meal. The kids only ate the potatos out of that one because they said the meat was too spicy but the grown ups that were over to eat raved over it!

 BBQ Pulled Pork

 I loaded a salad with the pulled pork. Oh my!

 Prepping for the Savory Pot Roast

 Everything goes in....

 Look what comes out! Whoa!

 And the stew. Oh the wonderful stew!

So now that you are drooling on your computer, you will want to go out and get these mixes to try! Go ahead and get one of each. They are all terrific. Also Crock Pot offers loads of extra recipes for their Seasoning Mixes on their website.

I received free Seasoning Mixes from Crock Pot and Smiley360 for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Novel Crossing

I know many of you LOVE Christian fiction just as much as I do! I have found a wonderful new website Novel Crossing that features Christian fiction. On Novel Crossing, you will see many suggestions for books to read and find out more from authors. They have videos and contests too. I am really pleased with the aspects I have seen on the website. For a better look at the types of insight that they will offer check out this video: Ask the Author - What Are You Reading? (Part I) from novelcrossing on GodTube.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bond, James Bond

                               Toystate James Bond Light and Sound Street Agent Secret Agent: Bond Car (Skyfall)

Speedy has a new character to love. We have introduced him to Bond, James Bond. He hasn't actually seen any of the movies yet but that's not stopping him from loving Bond. Or more specifically, Bond's Aston Martin DB5 from the newest 007 movie Skyfall. Toy State has developed a line of toy cars based on Bond's best models that are available exclusively at Amazon! The line includes cars with lights and sounds and R/C cars.

Apple and Speedy LOVED the Aston Martin DB5 as soon as we opened it! To be honest, I was impressed myself! This is no piddly toy. The 007 car has some weight to it and those 3 nifty buttons at the top pack some power! There are sounds, it plays the Bond theme song (!!), it has lights, AND it is motorized. One touch of the button and the thing revs up and takes off. It works equally well on our carpet and our laminate flooring. Our dog isn't fond of the car but the kids sure are! It took them a little while to figure out which function each button activated but once they did it was smooth rolling. I was surprised at how far the car will go! As you can see in the pic above, Speedy picks it up to play with it as soon as he wakes up in the mornings. The ages are 6+ but my nephew got ahold of it and had some (supervised!) fun when he visited this weekend. He was intrigued by the lights and he would stand up and dance when the music was playing. You see that Speedy wasn't letting it out of his sight. 

This new line of James Bond cars will be perfect for any kids (over 6!) on your list! I think they will be a huge hit with any boys (what little boy doesn't want to be a spy?!?) and most little girls too! Apple dressed up as a detective for Halloween so spies and mystery are right up her alley! I appreciate that the kids can use their imagination to play with the car and no other accessories are needed. It's a sturdy car and seems to be well made. That's important because my kids have broken a toy or two in their time. With prices starting under $20, you are sure to find the perfect one! For more gift help visit Toy State and check out their "Find My Toy" selector. And don't forget Skyfall premieres tomorrow!

I received this car for the purpose of review from Child's Play Communication. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.


Dude! I love David Platt. I believe he is THE preacher of our generation. Platt brings the word in a RADICAL way while relating to us (the "normal" people) with every word. I've read the work of many church leaders and I have listened to many sermons but none of them touch me again and again the way that Platt does. He stands out. He has a style all his own. And he uses the word "DUDE!" I was excited to see that Platt has shrunken Radical and Radical Together to give a concise version of each available in one book. The Radical Question and A Radical Idea come together in a mini book.

Why is this necessary? If both books are readily available to the general public, why summarize them and put them in a new book? I haven't seen Platt's reasoning, but I think I understand his reasoning. Radical is an idea that every Christian needs to read/ know about and we all need to know now. Time is of the essence in building God's kingdom. "We" have been lax too long. We need to be radical and we needed to do it yesterday. Radical calls us to live like the Bible tells us the disciples lived. We need to shed the cares and concerns of society and take on the cloak of a Christian. Time is short. People need Jesus now. Radical Together calls the church to step out of the status quo, to shake things up, to serve people in order to guide them to the cross. So I think Platt is thinking that a small book with the meat of both ideas will get people started. Light a fire under the Christians so to speak. Read more here....

I am so glad this book is out just in time for Christmas. Let me encourage you to pass this on to church leaders, family members that are complacent in their walk with Jesus, and the impressionable teens in your life. We need to be RADICAL and we need to let go of what we're told church should be and really delve into what Jesus has called the church to be!

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."

Spanish for Kids

The world's number one Spanish program for young children.  Speekee TV Spanish for Kids is designed so that children can learn Spanish in their own time and at their own pace.  Easy Spanish learning through video, without effort with the multi award-winning Speekee videos PLUS real-time 'virtual' friendships with the Speekee characters. Available only via the web, Speekee TV Spanish for Kids is loved by children and their parents around the world. FastTrack curriculum for homeschoolers. My readers receive ONE MONTH FREE of Speekee TV - Spanish For Kids Program - through this exclusive link:

I received a free trial of Speekee TV Spanish for Kids from US Family Guide in exchange for this post.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The End is in Sight!

Ahh the end of this school semester is just around the corner! So nice to look forward to a nice, long Thanksgiving break and then an even longer Christmas break. Hubby will have an exciting graduation at the beginning of December so I shifted around some other holiday "off" days to that week. That decision has made for some long weeks with no breaks for the kids and me but it will be worth it in the end.

Because we don't use a boxed curriculum, I'm responsible for all my own planning. Every year I drool over the all in one curriculums that come all laid out and pre-planned but they never fit into our budget. Plus I feel like it would be hard to find an all-in-one that would work for Apple. She's so far ahead in reading and some other subjects that it would be difficult to judge where to start. Our eclectic mix of curriculums has worked well for both children and our budget. The only drawback is the planning. I'm very firm about getting the bulk of our work completed early in the semester. I plan each semester so that as we progress towards the end we finish up subjects a little before the end of the school semester. This works well for 2 reasons. 1. If the kids need extra time in a particular area, there are extra days/ weeks at the end for them to catch up so they don't fall behind in their work. 2. We typically don't need many extra days so in comes fun!

I really need to be better about spreading the fun out in the whole semester but it isn't too awful because now we have extra hours and days to do crafts, projects, field trips (like the one to the experiment station pumpkin display above), educational movies, and more! This is perfect for the weeks leading up to the holidays! The kids LOVE Thanksgiving and Christmas arts and crafts and they often double for Christmas gifts. Apple really has a passion for the kitchen and cooking already so we spend extra time making cupcakes (measuring and fractions study along with home ec) and Speedy is really beginning to use his imagination for drawing, building, and dancing! There are so many wonderful plays, displays, craft fairs, and more this time of year that we can enjoy. I will be taking the kids to a play in just a couple of weeks. This will be great for Apple who will soon be old enough to join the children's theater in town if she decides she is really interested.

I must say this mama is looking forward to a break from school. I'm so proud of Apple and Speedy. They have learned SO much this fall. Speedy is reading! Praise the Lord! Apple is multiplying with ease and dividing! Praise the Lord! Speedy is adding and subtracting, doing a better job coloring and writing, learning to tie his shoes, and memorizing our phone number and address. He's also enjoying hidden pictures and riddles. Apple is doing personal Bible studies, beginning Spanish, zooming through every book she can get her hands on, acing reading comprehension, and slowly learning cursive. It has been a productive semester but not an easy one by any means. I'm looking forward to wrapping this up and starting fresh in January.

I saw the idea for a Mommy & Me Journal on Pinterest that you can pass back and forth with your child with little notes, drawings, etc. I made one right away last night when I saw the post. This is RIGHT up Apple's alley and will boost her self esteem and focus in a way that talking with her doesn't. I wrote her a long note in it last night and ended with asking her to read Ecclesiastes 3.


There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.