Friday, May 30, 2014

Do you Trust?- 52 Weeks of Family Scripture Memorization

After a busy vacation week (that sounds like an oxymoron) we are settling back into the groove of things here, including a new summer school schedule.  I have fretted over the schedule more than I care to admit, looking forward all the way to next summer, counting weeks.  Yep, I know, that is pitiful.  Go ahead and say it.

With a move on the schedule for next summer, I am super aware of timing being everything and wanting to make sure we finish early enough to not be schooling right before the move.  Gotta get those "36" weeks in, regardless of the fact that I school year round.

Anyway, that leads me to trust.  Putting down my worries.  Actually, more than that- leaving them at the feet of Jesus.

And THAT is what I want to teach my kids this week. (and the next, and the next...)

That in relationships,

in sickness,

in the unknowns,

and our earthly worries-

when we don't understand,

when we can't figure it all out,

we need to TRUST!

How about you?  What are you trusting in God for this week?
And how can we pray for you?


For the Display of His Splendor

Missional Women

I Choose Joy!

Remembering May- the one where we do Texas!

May was a crazy busy month for much so that I did not take nearly the pictures that I wish I had.  (We did manage to make forts one day in the living room)   But here are a few highlights-

Our co-op did an acting class and performed a skit at the end of the year program.  My 16 year old had a blast! (and the starring role)

We started a new science- Nancy Larson Science.  This is NOT a review item. Just a leap of faith change in science for my now 2nd grader and I am thrilled.  So is he. I promise to write about it soon!

Yes, we butchered chickens this month.  40 of them.  It was a great learning experience and we hope to do another round in the fall.  For those of you that are really interested, I will be posting about it soon with more pictures and a video!  Anyone know what this is?  Beside Farmer Dan and his bride? ;)

My two girls and a bestest friend got to go see Wicked!

With the help of a friend and some training from dad, the 12 year old has started a lawn mowing business!

And this dear friends-

is not only proof that we went to Texas for a week, but also is what makes my husband happy.  Other than me, of course!

This lovely group makes my heart sing-

This sweet boy still will love on his momma-

This boy is a fish!

 And this amazing man drove his family 13 hours to visit friends!  He is my hero!

Praying you had a great month as well.  Let the summer fun begin!


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What on Earth Can I Do?- TOS Crew review

Apologia Educational Ministries again?  Yes!  And YAY!  We have been anxiously awaiting the fourth book in their Biblical worldview series and were blessed to be able to review it once again.  Here's what we received:

What on Earth Can I Do? (hardback book) -$39.00
What on Earth Can I Do? (notebooking journal) - $24.00
What on Earth Can I Do?  (coloring book) - $8.00
What on Earth Can I Do?  (Junior notebooking journal) - $24.00

Before I gush and brag on it all (you know I will right?) let me give you a quick glance at what each are.  Then I will gush and brag!

What on Earth Can I Do? is the fourth book in Apologia's Biblical What We Believe worldview series, geared for grades 1st- 6th. This 294 page hardback book, covering 8 lessons, is simply amazing and beautiful.  While helping to teach children that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, this book covers the truths-
  • Your life is a beautifully crafted story written by God
  • God owns everything and we are His stewards
  • We need to be faithful stewards
  • We need to put God first- before money and possessions
  • God expects us to invest our time wisely, making prayer and the Bible priority
  • My life and my body belong to God
  • Jesus is returning and we need to be prepared by living for Him now

Apologia Review
Each chapter is broken down into multiple sections to include-
The Big Idea which introduces the main topic,
What Will You Do which states the learning objective,
A Short Story which features kids that are of similar ages as yours,
Think About It containing comprehension questions,
Words You Need to Know introduces vocabulary,
Hide It in Your Heart identifies two specific memory verses,
Integrated Learning sections introduce related topics,
What Should I Do? concentrates on character traits,
Prayer which is just what it says,
Parables of Jesus are adapted stories from the Bible,
Going Deeper contains more discussion questions,
 and House of Truth is a a four part memory aid model.

What on Earth Can I Do? notebooking journal is a companion activity guide for your children to use.  While not mandatory, it is a beautiful spiral bound notebook with places for journaling, answering questions, prayer report,s and additional activities. By the end of your study you've created a quality keepsake.  Each lesson in the notebooking journal is followed by a Find Out More page that has additional things to do, as well as a song list, book list, and movie list.

Apologia ReviewThe What on Earth Can I Do? Junior notebooking journal is for slightly younger children who are not as proficient in writing, and therefore has more coloring activities and less writing required.  It allows younger students to "work" like their older counterparts without being bogged down with too much work.  Scripture memory work is in print, word finds are in larger fonts, and crossword puzzles are more basic.

The What on Earth Can I Do? coloring book is just that.  A corresponding coloring book with large pictures that correspond to the lessons.

How did we use this?
I was so excited to be able to really use this as a team this time around.  In the past, my youngest son often sat in and listened to our reading, but was not a true participant.  Because he has just finished 1st grade, I felt like he was ready to truly join in this time.  I loved being able to teach my two boys Biblical Worldview together! Apologia offers several ideas for scheduling.  In the book is a 2 day a week schedule that allows you to complete a lesson in three weeks, and the notebooks each offer a simple day by day schedule.  We decided to use those schedules, doing three assignments a week and therefore completing a chapter in 2 weeks.  For each of those mornings, I would just check the schedule in the notebook for the assignments and start right in.  Because we used both the notebook and junior notebook, I did have to do a quick glance at each of the separate lesson plans, as they differ slightly for separate levels.  Many of the activities are similar and could be done at the same time, while a few are slightly different due to age and maturity level with reading and writing.  We did not find this to be a problem though.

Often while I would read, I would have our youngest color the pages in his notebook.  We found that we did not use the separate coloring book as many of the pictures were the same ones offered in the junior notebook.  I would be willing to guess that if I had been dealing with a girl, every single picture would have been colored! ;)  My oldest son chose to do his activities after I was done reading as he felt like he got distracted trying to do two things at one.  Sometimes there are natural breaks in the reading that will allow you time to do a specific activity and we used those when needed.  

Heads up- some days are reading heavy.  Not all, but a few- especially the story that is woven throughout the book (one of my boys' favorite parts) and the scripture reading. On those days we often moved from the table to the couch to take advantage of snuggle time.

Our thoughts-
Well, of course, we loved it, because truthfully there is nothing that Apologia puts out that is not exceptional.  The What We Believe series is no exception! While each of the books in the series can stand alone, I do recommend that you read them in order.  Because we homeschool, I love the notebooks for additional writing and eventually as a keepsake of our journey, but I do believe that any family would be blessed to read through these books, even without using the notebooks! I asked my oldest son which book he preferred and he said this one. Bet I can guess why...

Each of the four books in the What We Believe series centers around a story for the book's theme.  World War Two is covered in this book.  What boy doesn't like reading about war?  While a pretty deep topic, I felt it was handled in such a way that was appropriate for the age recommendation.  Along the way you learn about heroes of that time such as Corrie Ten Boom. One thing I do feel like I should caution you about is that in talking about Joseph and Potiphar the word rape is used. (p.104)  I only tell you that so you can replace with a different phrase if you are reading to younger children and are uncomfortable with that wording.

I love that numerous History lessons are sprinkled throughout the reading as well as scripture.  The boys really enjoyed learning about people like Charlie Chaplin and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who were both new to them, as well as following the fictitious story of brother and sister Colin and Jenny, and their WW2 experiences.  "Just like Narnia!" said the 7 year old child who has NOT seen the movie!

If you have not had the opportunity to check out What on Earth Can I Do?  and the What We Believe series I highly recommend them.  My family has been blessed by them for several years now and expanded our worldview knowledge by leaps and bounds.  I look forward to starting over with the series next year so my youngest can cover them all!

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Monday, May 26, 2014

E is for Elphaba

You know, when I started this blogging through the alphabet thing with my friend Marcy, from Ben and Me, I thought that a couple of letters would cause me some problems.  E was one of those letters.

Oh, how wrong I was!

E is for Elphaba!

"What?" you say.
"Who?" you question.

Well I'll tell you. But first some backstory.

Remember I told you that I had a teen who loves all things theatre?  and Broadway! and musicals!


Because of Riley's love for all those things I took her to see the musical Wicked a few weeks ago.  Actually because of MY love for HER.  In case this is all foreign to you, Wicked is based on The Wizard of Oz, the one story I loathe in life.  Really.

The other part of the story is that it was one of her dearest friends' birthdays on opening night, so we drove down to surprise her and all go to see Wicked.

Because I love her.  And her friend, Hannah.
Hannah and Riley
Elphaba.  The Wicked Witch of the West.  She's evil, mean, and well, wicked.

Not in Wicked.

Wicked tells the tale of Oz from a slightly different perspective.  Kind of the back story of the two witches- Glinda and Elphaba.  (Did you know they were friends?)

It really is a fun show.  I enjoyed it.  (once I got over that the first characters on stage were the flying monkeys.  I loathe the monkeys.)
Riley and Hannah loved it, of course.

It really is a fantastic show: the music is fun, the performers are some of the best, the costumes are stunning, and the scenery was amazing. Wicked asks you to look at things like "bad" and "good" a little differently. You will leave the theater pondering heros and villains, you will have a song or two stuck in your head for days, and you might even loathe The Wizard of Oz a little less!

I do.  Mostly!

What about you- do you have a favorite musical?  Or do you feel about Oz the way I do? ;)


Ben and Me


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Signed, Sealed, Delivered Review

From the executive producers of Touched By an Angel, comes a new show on the Hallmark channel called Signed, Sealed, Delivered.  As part of this review I was given advance access to the episode that aired tonight at 8/7c.
Most of you know that we are not big fans of television around here.  With conservative values and kids ranging from ages 6-20 it is just tricky to find anything that is family friendly.  We are also usually very careful about recommending anything to others as we know that everyone sees things differently and the spectrum of what is okay or not okay is wide.

This one I am taking a chance on!

I like the Hallmark channel.  Occasionally the shows may seem a little sappy to my kids, but I like shows that are touching, make you think and challenge you a little.  Okay, sometimes I am a softie for sentimental shows, I admit it.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered is one of those.  A weekly show, Signed, Sealed, Delivered is a combination of a little romance, comedy and drama.  It follows the lives of four postal workers who work to find the intended recipient of mail that is seemingly undeliverable.  Minor detective work is involved, but don't think of it as a detective show.  It centers more on the recipients and senders, and the lives that are changed in the process. The team includes charming Oliver O’Toole (Eric Mabius), the group's leader who is a man of faith and prayerfully approaches his work with the goal of making a difference in people's lives; new team member, Shane McInerney (Kristin Booth), a technophile who brings 21st century sensibility to the group; free-spirited, “girl next door” Rita Haywith (Crystal Lowe) who has a photographic memory; and lovable Norman Dorman (Geoff Gustafson), a master in conventional research methods.

Each episode is centered around a particular scripture, without being preachy.  This particular one, "The Future Me" highlights scripture about being equally yoked and follows the dream of marriage of two adults with Downs Syndrome.  When a dad is afraid of their marriage, they struggle to assure him that they are able to love and care for each other. It is sweet, touching and challenging.

The timing for this review could have not been more perfect! Don't you love when God works like that?  We were on vacation all last week and due to a quick illness, I was stuck in a hotel room with one of the children while everyone else went out for the evening.  My 16 year old and I watched the episode first and are now eager to see what the family thinks now.  While we were a little behind at first, having not seen previous episodes, we quickly pieced the characters together and caught up with in the first few minutes.  Our favorite character by far was Norman, a cute little guy with a face full of expression!  Makes you just want to go up and hug him!  And root for the underdog!

So here is the neat part- The American Bible Society has built a Bible study to go with the series!  What a great way to take a fun show and make it a family learning experience!  When you sign up, beginning on the Monday after the airing, Bible verses and notes are sent to you via email each day for seven days.

Sign up for that here:
Here is the study schedule for "The Future Me"

Day 1
Proverbs 16:1-3
We may make our plans, but God has the last...

Day 2
James 1:2
Faith and Wisdom My friends, consider...

Day 3
Matthew 7:24
The Two House Builders (Luke 6.47-49) “So then,...

Day 4
Matthew 11:28
“Come to me, all of you who are tired from...

Day 5
Galatians 6:2
Help carry one another's burdens, and in this...

Day 6
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or...

Day 7
Ephesians 3:20-21
To him who by means of his power working in us...

We look forward to seeing what the studies are like!
Wanna know more?

♪ You can also see  the study outlines from previous episodes!
♪ You can see what Focus on the Family's Plugged In has to say.
♪ You can also read their blog post about the series!

You can find Signed, Sealed, Delivered here-

Let me know what you think!


Welcome to summer- 52 Weeks of family scripture memorization

Did you think I forgot you? Sorry, this post is a few days delayed...vacation got the best of me and while I managed to schedule all of the posts ahead of time last week, this one slipped through the cracks.  Maybe I should have changed the verse to one about diligence! ;)

Glad you are still with us!  I know it may seem like here we go again, but I really do feel that scripture memorization is important.  Especially for kids.  They are at a perfect age to learn quicker and more easily than those of us you are, ummmmm, older.  There are so many times in my conversations that I wish I could bless someone with a verse from the Bible but find myself not doing so because of lack of confidence.  What a lost moment!  I want my kids to better equipped!

So this week-

Yep, a pretty short one this week.  If you have slightly older kids, I would encourage you to have them memorize the rest of the verse.  Maybe even have a friendly competition to see who in the family can memorize the longest portion.  Then treat everyone who tries to ice cream at the end of the week.  (sounds like a good motivator to me!)  

Since many of your kids that regularly attend AWANA or similar programs are off for the summer, I hope you will join us in continuing to hide God's word in their hearts weekly.  


Friday, May 23, 2014

Sewing to Summer: May Projects and a Confession

First, the confessions-

Hi, I am Michele and I am a sewing failure.
Or maybe, Hi, I am Michele and I am a sewing wannabe!

Either way, you get the point.  Once again, my little fingers have been busy doing just about everything BUT sewing.

Ashton's little fingers, on the other hand, have been busy once again.

Good thing, or else this would be a really boring post!

She has been hired by one of the local dry cleaners and is doing alterations almost daily!!  She loves every minute of it.

The embroidery project finally became a shirt -

She made a shirt for her sister -

See?  Ashton - yay!  Momma - Fail!


Womanhood With Purpose

I Choose Joy!

Hearts for Home Blog Hop

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Trident Case- TOS Crew Review

 Yes!  We actually got to review an iPad case!  Thank you to Trident Case for the  Kraken A.M.S. Case for iPad 2/3/4.  What fun!
Trident Case Review
The Kraken A.M.S. comes in 8 colors so of course I chose the purple.  I love the color.  Don't ask my husband about it, he can pick his own color when he gets one! ;)
The Kraken has a shock absorbing inner layer with a hard shell cover, built in screen protector, enhanced audio, and ports that are covered for dust protection.  Because of all those amazing qualities (and more) it is the perfect case for anyone, adults to young children.  This thing is built to last and more importantly, to make your device last!

Additionally, the back of the case has a twist and lock feature that allows you to attach additional accessories such as a stand, holder, windshield mount, bike mount, headrest mount, or a hand strap.

Trident Case Review
We were so excited to receive this case to review.  As a blogger I often use a cover with a keyboard for writing but because it is used often it is wearing out.  It also does not offer the protection I feel my iPad needs for use with the boys in my family, the littlest in particular.  That is why I was so intrigued with the Kraken after checking out their website!

As soon as the Kraken arrived on our doorstep, my 12 year old jumped at the chance to put it all together so I decided to let him give it a try.  I figured I would have to finish the task once he gave up.  Amazingly, he had it together in just minutes.  The case is in three pieces, the front hard cover with the protector, the inner silicon layer, and the hard back.  Putting our device into it was as easy as layering a sandwich.  Taking it apart is equally as simple, which I love!  Because of that, if I have switched over to my keyboard case for writing, I quickly switch it back to the Kraken for my children and for when I am not blogging.  It is light-weight and therefore much easier to hold and even slip into my bag when we leave the house.  No more bulky case to travel with.

And one of our favorite specs-
The Kraken A.M.S. meets military standards for drop, vibration, dust, sand and rain.  Yes, my son REALLY wanted to test it out.  No, I did not allow him to!  But it sure makes me feel better about both boys using it. 

Yes, I am one of those moms who swore I would never let my kids use my iPad.  Yes, now sometimes they are on it more than I am.  I take back what I may or may not have said about kids in waiting rooms using similar devices. ;)  With all of the educational apps out there and the fact that several of my sons' school subjects are online, I am thankful for my iPad and even more thankful for a quality case that can take the rough and tumbles of two boys!

Check out the video to see it in action!
Trident Case Review
You can purchase the Kraken A.M.S. Case for $69.95.

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