Friday, April 28, 2017

Flash Curricumlum Sale!

We are having some fun over on our Family, Faith and Fridays Facebook page!

Tome to get ready for a new school year!

Curriculum for sale!

Just comment sold,  pay via pay pal, and I will drop it in the mail tomorrow.  (US only, please!) Easy peasy shopping.  Prices do include shipping!


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Drive Thru History- Homeschool Review Crew Review

Not going to lie- it was EASY to say yes, please to Drive Thru History®'s new DVD series Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”.  We are a history buff family who likes watching videos together and hey, who doesn't love Dave Stotts?

Don't know who he is?  Dave is a big wig in production and video media, working behind the scenes as editor of numerous video productions.  He now works with ColdWater Media in front of the camera in their Drive Thru History Series.  He is a master story teller with a sense of adventure that draws you in and brings to life whatever historical event he is telling you about.  That, combined with his quirky humor, tends to entertain the whole family, making you forget you are getting a history lesson.  

Drive Thru History The Gospels

In this latest DVD series, "The Gospels", Dave and his crew traveled to over 50 ancient sites in Israel in an old, but trusty Land Rover, to bring the story of Jesus alive.  Taking accounts from the first four books of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Dave walks you through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus in a very factual way, citing not only scripture but other ancient writings and history accounts as well.  

Three disks are divided into 18 episodes (almost 9 total hours of watching):
  • The Historical Landscape
  • The Announcements
  • Jesus is Born
  • Jesus Grows Up
  • Jesus Starts His Ministry
  • Jesus Returns to Galilee
  • Jesus Begins His Miracles
  • Jesus Teaches with Authority
  • The Sermon on the Mount
  • Jesus Travels the Sea of Galilee
  • Jesus Travels North with His Apostles
  • A Final Trip to Jerusalem
  • Jesus Arrives in Jerusalem
  • The Last Supper
  • The Trail of Jesus
  • The Crucifixion of Jesus
  • The Resurrection of Jesus
  • Who is Jesus?

Included in the set is also a 118 page study guide.  The study guide begins with a key scripture and summary for each episode.  The following pages have additional pictures from Dave's journeys, additional Bible readings, and 5 study questions for you to use with your family or even in a group setting.  A small section called Side Roads also gives more historical information.

Our Experience-
The timing was such that when these first arrived at our doorstep we were headed out on a long road trip so we popped them in the car for the kids to watch.  That worked for about two episodes.  After that my husband and I called foul, because we actually want to SEE, not just hear, what was playing.  They were that exciting!  We saved the rest until we got home and have been watching them during our family movie nights, usually one to two at a time.  The discussion questions are mostly "were you paying attention" comprehension type questions so we have not stuck to reading those as much.  I do think those questions would be a great addition, however, if you were leading a small group through the series, to help you get the conversations flowing.  What has pushed our conversations truly though have been just the videos themselves.  There is so much information and especially historical facts presented that there has been no lack of discussion on our part.  From Geography, to customs and traditions, we have had a lot of fun discussions.

I love that "The Gospels" series is suitable for all ages.  We are a family of 6, ages ranging from  9 to 47, and we ALL enjoy them.  Finding videos we can all watch and enjoy together is a rare treat for us.  I love that we can enjoy learning history with our our faith based world view, and that while it is presented in a very matter of fact way, it is backed with scripture after scripture.  

I love the these are done with such professional quality.  The videography is stunning and flawless.  No second rate filming here!  The narrative is factual, but easy to understand and the scenery alone is enough to take your breath away.  As one of my children said, it is much easier to envision a particular Bible scene in your head when you are actually looking at the very location it took place. 

We love Dave's humor.  Let's face it, history can get tedious at times.  And when talking about the life and DEATH of Jesus it can also get very heavy at times.  We appreciate that Dave sprinkles in his dry humor here and there allowing for some tension relief.   From when he cooks ribs in foil on his car engine to his video man correcting his pronunciation, he gets you to laugh a little and that is just plain fun.

We love the accuracy.  Because Drive Thru History is not about opinion, but based on historical facts, it is not easily disputed or can really be seen as controversial in my opinion.  When facts are presented they are usually backed with a reference and when the Bible is quoted it always includes the scripture reference.

Drive Thru History
Can you go wrong with  Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”?  I think not.  Whether for use in your home or for teaching a small group of any age, I think you will learn a lot, be entertained and most certainly be blessed!

You can watch an episode for free by clicking here!

The Gospels {Drive Thru History® Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, April 24, 2017

34 Weeks of CleanRinse and Repeat: Week 16-The Master Closet

You knew it was coming, right?  We cannot simply do our bedrooms and skip our closets, though trust me, the idea did cross my mind.   Let's face it, most of our closets are pretty dungeon like.  At least mine is.  I have had ONE closet in my lifetime that I loved.  In our Virginia rental house, the closet was the size of a small bedroom.  Seriously!  It had a wonderful window in it that lit the place up and I even had my treadmill in it with plenty of space to walk around in.  I loved it.  That is no longer my reality sadly.  This is-

His side

Her side

Yep.  Small and piled high with junk.  As usual,  I have allowed it to get completely out of hand.   It is an easy place to just toss things in and not look back.  It is one of the few places guests don't see so I let it slide.  Often.  And dresser drawers, don't even get me started.

So this week- Master Closets and Dresser Drawers are on our attack list!  

Here we go!
  • You know the drill - take everything OUT!  Trust me when I say this, it WILL make things easier in the end! Closet and drawers.  It truly is the only way to really see how much you have.  Time to face reality, ladies.

  • Once everything is out, wipe down the shelves and rods and vacuum the floor in the closet and wipe out dresser drawers.  Now is your chance before things go back in!
  • And now, for the hard part!  Put it back.  Notice that I did NOT say put it ALL back in.  Because that is not what we are going to do.  Shake your head up and down to indicate you understand, please!
If you will remember back with me, one of our goals is to declutter.  This means we are NOT keeping extra stuff we do not need or wear.  

    - Throw away things that are stained or torn or 100 years old.  Some of you know I am looking at YOU!
     -Donate things that do not fit you or that you do not love!  NO keeping stuff just because.  Touch every piece and ask yourself, does it fit and do I love it?

Helpful hints

When you wear something, wash it and then put it on a hanger facing backwards.  When a month is over, the things that are are still on front facing hangers are the things you have avoided for a month.  hmmmm- do you need them?  

Or try this- I hang all my shirts together in a row and then each day choose the one on the far left to wear.  From there I pair it with whatever else I need and off I go.  If I find myself skipping the same shirt over and over again I take that as a clue that it is not something I like or need and should pass on to someone else.

This also helps me avoid wearing the same few things over and over again that I love.  Because, yes, I would do that.

Really evaluate what you have and what you NEED.  There are plenty of good sites out there that can help you decide what looks good on you (and what does not) and how to mix and match with fewer things.  I have found that when I keep my clothes to a few colors, it all goes together AND it keeps me from buying more.  My oldest does something similar and has just started a capsule wardrobe which she has blogged about for me!  One thing I have learned from all the traveling we do is that you can create many different outfits with few pieces if you plan well.  Let's commit to stop buying random stuff just because it is cute or on sale!  If you don't need it, don't buy it!
If you have a high shelf in your closet, invest in a few dividers that will help you stack things without the risk of an avalanche every time you open the closet door.  Or just get rid of stuff and clear the space! ;)

Hang your dress clothes separately.  It makes Sunday mornings and special occasions easier to get ready for when those clothes are separate.
Make piles like TRASH, GOODWILL, or SWEET DESERVING FRIEND who will fit better into it! ;)

One bag for the trash, one for Goodwill

You can do this!  I know it is hard to let go of things, but let's not make things an idol.  Clothes especially.  They simply cover our bodies and do not make us who we are.
  • This is also the time to go through scarves, shoes and jewelry if this is where those things are housed.  
              -My kiddos gave my two scarf hangers for Christmas that I love.  (yes, I have a thing for scarves, especially in the Midw cold months!)  It is a great way to organize them, plus once you run out of space you need to be done! (note to self)
               -I also love having my jewelry in my closet so it is easy to match to an outfit on the way out the door.  I recently pared down my jewelry to only the pieces I love.  Hard, but necessary.  I use a spool holder for ease.  Trust me, this is pared down!
               -Shoes!  Let's talk shoes for a minute.  How many pairs do you own?  Actually, how many pairs can you wear at once?  That is a better question.  I love shoes as much as the next person, maybe not as much as my mom, but I realized that shoes were one of the areas that was going to get the best of me if I was not very careful.  So I donated a lot of pairs last year!  I realized I only wore the same pair of boots all winter anyway, and because of a hip and leg problem (steps are a very dangerous thing!) I wear almost the same two pairs of summer shoes all summer long.  All the others, except for two pairs of church shoes and two very dressy pairs, were extra.  As in not needed! 
              -Bags and pocketbooks.  Now we are getting personal.  If you know me well, you know I have a thing for both.  Don't know why, but I cannot seem to pass up either.  I love changing purses with the seasons and I can find any excuse to have a new bag.  In my defense, I use them.  But, again, not all are necessary (did I really say that?), and I did get rid of a few.  Ok, 2 more this season, it is a work in progress, I promise!

YOU DID IT!  Stand back and look at what your hard work accomplished!  And don't panic- you have a week to finish this project!

So how did you do last week in your Master Bedroom?  If you haven't shared your pictures on our Facebook page, please do!  We love seeing your hard work in action!  Plus, pictures entered every week get you in the drawing for some fabulous prizes from 621 Gifts, Redeemed, and ME!  Let me show you the sign Redeemed has just for one of you-

I love it!

Thanks for working hard and having fun with us!  Keep cleaning and organizing- you CAN do it!


Friday, April 21, 2017

Keeping Your Homeschool Alive- There's A Light At The End of The Tunnel

Day 5 of our 5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop is here!  It has been an exhausting week, but so worth it.  If you have not had time to explore the linkys this week, I would encourage you to spend this weekend catching up- there are some great posts out there that I KNOW will bless your life.  I do, after all, work with an amazing group of women!

For our last day, we are going to look ahead a bit.  There is, after all, a light at the end of the tunnel.  Although for some of us the tunnel seems pretty long.  27 years total long.  Excuse me while I go hyperventilate.

Ok, here we go.  What do we do when that light is drawing near?

Be thankful!  No, not that you are almost child free, but that you have been blessed with this experience.  I often tell people I cannot imagine my kids not being home all day.  Although every day has not been easy, I consider it a huge blessing to have the opportunity to teach my kids at home.  We have learned together, cried together, and rejoiced together.  I am thankful.

Reach out to others!  Everyday there are people who are just beginning this homeschool journey.  They have a million questions and are looking for answers.  Lots of answers.  You, veteran mom, have a lot of knowledge.  You have learned and grown a lot in those years and you have something valuable to offer.  Offer it!

Bless others!  I bet you have a lot of curriculum sitting around.  I know I do even now and I still have 8 years to go!  Loan it out, or even sell it.  No need for it to gather dust when someone else can be using it.  It really is one of my greatest joys to loan out curriculum we are not currently using.

Develop you!  I don't know about you, but I chose to put myself and a lot of what made me me to the side when I started homeschooling.  It was just what I needed to do so I could focus on the task at hand with fewer outside distractions.  But soon (well, in 8 years), I will be back to just me in the house during the day.  While my hubby is at work, I would like to do more than sit around the house and twiddle my thumbs.  Whether it is professional development or just returning to old hobbies, be looking for things to do with your time that will bring you joy.

So that light at the end of the tunnel you see?  Embrace it.  Celebrate it!  Look to the future with joy and anticipation.

You deserve it, friend!


5 Days of Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Keeping Your Homeschool Alive- Even Veteran Moms have Doubts

Day 4 of our Homeschool Review Crew 5 days of Homeschool Blog Hop is here!  I hope you all have had time to explore the linky as there are some great writers out there with some great words of wisdom.  I love learning new things- trust me, even after 19 years of teaching there are still new things to learn!

19 years???

Yep!  I can hardly believe it some days.  You would think by now I would be facing each day with complete confidence and NO doubts!

HA!  Right?!

Yes, even after 19 years I still swim in doubts some days.

Am I teaching them enough?
Am I teaching them at ALL?
Could they learn more from someone else?
Am I preparing them for the future?
Is this really the best idea?
Are they even listening to me?
Should they go to public school?
Have I lost my mind?  (Don't answer that one, please!) 

Of course, most of those questions are rooted in fear and should have no place in my thought process.  But yet, they pop up from time to time. Even after 19 years.

So what is a homeschool mom to do?  Where can we go to get support and encouragement when we need it?

Our Spouse- Hopefully you entered into this as a team.  You should have.  And if not with a spouse then at least with some support.  Knowing what you are doing, and more importantly, why you are doing it, is vital.  Having someone on your team who can remind you of those things is also vital.  On the days that are my hardest, just sitting down with my husband to talk about why we first made the decision to homeschool is a huge lift for me.

Our Friends- Here again is where team is so important.  Walking through life with others who are doing the same things we are just makes life easier.  Knowing we are not the only ones struggling, that we have friends in the same boat, just helps, right?  If you do not have friends doing what you are doing, find some.  Whether through your local homeschool group or friends in your neighborhood, find someone that you can encourage and can encourage you.

The Word- Around our home we often say to our kids "what does the Bible say?"  I think it is a good question to ask ourselves as well.  When we fear- what does the Bible say? "Do not fear for I am with you."  Isaiah 41:10  When we worry about the future, what does the Bible say? "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself."  Matthew 6:34  When we wonder if we know what to teach- what does the Bible say?  "Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deut. 11:19  God has given us the truths we need, we just need to speak those truths to ourselves.  All. The. Time!

Is it easy?  Not even close some days!  But it is possible with a little help.  Rely on your spouse, your friends, and most importantly, on God to get you through!

You WILL get through.


5 Days of Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017