Monday, June 30, 2014

J is for Just June

I was going to wow you with amazing things, but honestly, it has been Just another June!  Fun things, yes, but mostly just everyday life.

Sewing and school for Ashton

School and drama classes for Riley

Two weeks of a Drama 3 class with Ellie!

Two weeks at "grandparent camp" for Salem

And life with a busy, newly-turned 7 year old who learned to rock climb!

We did get to go up towards Minneapolis to a Dinner Theatre and see The Little Mermaid and took a sweet friend along.  So much fun.  

Oh, and my mom came to visit for am entire week and we did not take one picture other than at the Dinner Theater.  Typical!

And we are continuing on with our summer school schedule.

Veritas Press Self paced History

I was afraid the kids would be bored this summer.  Ha!  No time!
What are you doing at your house this summer?



Friday, June 27, 2014

A Winner and the Next Verse- 52 Weeks of Family Scripture Memorization

The winner of Scripture Talk giveaway is Lori H!  Congratulations!

Happy Friday!  So how have you done so far?  The first verse was pretty easy, right?

So, let's add on!

Remember, as we add on it will get a little more difficult so make sure you keep up the hand motions and have fun.  Kate, from Scripture Talk Ministries, has kids of all ages memorizing!

Scripture Talk is an engaging DVD that teaches children 10 scripture passages.  Notice I said passages, not verses.  This is not your typical one line memory verse, but rather chunks of scripture from the King James translation.  Passages include:
  • Psalm 1
  • Matthew 7:24-27
  • Mark 12:28-34
  • Ephesians 4:25-32
  • Ephesians 6:10-18
  • James 1:2-8
  • Romans 8:31-39
  • Philippians 2:2-11
  • Philippians 4:4-9
  • 1 Corinthians 13
Each verse is recited and motions demonstrated by a group of children.  Then one of three adults, Kate included, breaks down the passage verse by verse for you, teaching you the motions.  In addition, there is a little lesson to help explain the verse and how it is applicable.

We were wowed by the quality of this DVD and the professionalism in which it is done.  This is no fly by night project.  The picture and sound are clear and the menu is easy to navigate.  Most importantly, it is fun and engaging.  Children of different age groups do the various verses which I think helps engage all ages, not just little ones.  Kate and her two helpers are energetic and encouraging.  They make you believe you can do this.

I believe you can too!  Hope you are joining us in this adventure!  It is not to late to get started.


The Scripture Talk DVD can be ordered for $17.99.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Experience History Through Music shout out and TWO giveaways!

Have you ever noticed that I speak highly of most of the products I review?  Someone asked me about it recently, so here's the scoop...

I am pretty picky about the things I review.  Surprise!  I choose only things that I feel we will enjoy and use. There have been a few times that things have not been the perfect fit for our family, but never have the products been bad.  I do my research, and so far it has paid off almost every single time.

This one, well, this one is no exception.

As a matter of fact, the Experience History Through Music three book and CD set has blown me out of the water.  Really.  I was not really sure what to expect from it, as I mentioned in our giveaway post, but I knew that music and history combined would work for our family.  It has!  I cannot wait to share my full review with you next week.

What I did not realize is how this book launch would bless me personally!

Let me tell you a little bit about Diana Waring.  I knew "of her" from her books Beyond Survival and Reaping the Harvest and so I was pretty sure I would like anything she was a part of.

Here's what her bio says...
Author of Beyond SurvivalReaping the Harvest and Diana Waring's History Revealed world history curriculum, Diana discovered years ago that "the key to education is relationship." Beginning in the early '80s, Diana homeschooled her children through high-school—the real life opportunities to learn how kids learn.  Mentored by educators whose focus was honoring Him who created all learners, and with an international background (born in Germany, university degree in French, lifelong student of world history), Diana cares about how people learn as well as what they learn.  Audiences on four continents have enthusiastically received her energetic speaking style.

Here's what her bio doesn't say...

She is spunky, fun, and living a life full of adventure.  Like meeting two of the Von Trapp sisters at homeschool conferences and hanging out with THE Almanzo Wilder at those same conferences.  As a part of her book launch team we have had the privilege of hearing many of the back stories of these beautiful books and their accompanying CDs.  This one I have to share as it touched my heart, made me cry and reminded me of how God weaves his way int o our lives daily!
Sometime in the mid 1990s, the partnership that had originally produced "America," "Westward Ho!" and "Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder," decided that it was time to let a "real" publisher take over. So, we signed contracts with a company that was quite large in the homeschooling movement at the time. We were excited to have others doing the day-to-day details, as I had moved from the Portland area to South Dakota, and this was going to make things so much easier for us all.
However, when this business went bankrupt in the late 1990s, something happened that was past my comprehension. I still don't know why, but when they declared bankruptcy they simply threw everything in the dumpster—including our masters. When I heard this, it utterly devastated me. These wonderful projects were gone, and to reproduce this again seemed too hard without the audio masters. Between having to start over from scratch with all of the images and graphic design and having no audio masters, I thought the entire project was gone forever.
People would ask us about them from time to time, as they had read about them, or heard of them, or had owned the original cassette tapes, but we always told them sadly, "I don't think they will ever come back into print."
Then, several years ago, Gena Suarez of The Old Schoolhouse contacted me to see if we might have any remaining stock of this product. She had heard of a family who had gone through a fire and lost everything, and her company was trying to help them rebuild their lives. I guess that the mom specifically talked about these American folk music in history books/audios, and this prompted Gena's call to me.
To read the rest of the story go to Diana's websire- you won't want to miss it.
BUT, this is what you REALLY won't want to miss.  Just after sharing the story with us, Diana decided to post it on her site.  Shortly thereafter this is a message she received-
from Joanna. . .
"That lady with the house fire was ME! We so miss our "Yankee Doodle Tells A Tale" cassette! I'm so excited about the launch! My first round of kids loved these and now we are homeschooling our second round since we adopted two little ones out of foster care and I know they are going to love these songs, too."
Here's what Diana said to her launch team-
"Can you believe it??? For all of these years, I have wished that I could give the three books/CDs to this woman, but I never knew her name and I didn't have the products!!"

Well, now she does have the products and you can have the chance to win them through a special giveaway valued at over $700.00!
We also hope you will join us on Tuesday, July 1st for her facebook launch party!

You can also win a copy of the Encouragement for Homeschool Moms Collection, a collection of 8 articles and 4 MPs downloads that will bless your socks off!  Just leave me a comment telling me what you like BEST about homeschooling!  A winner will be randomly selected next Friday!

Wow, did you get all that?  I hope you can feel the excitement and I look forward to giving you a full review on Friday the 4th of July!  I am even trying to sneak in a video of my girls playing a few of the songs from the books - shhhhhhhhhhh, don't tell! ;)


Monday, June 23, 2014

I is for Icy Treats

Welcome back to another letter in our Blogging through the Alphabet.  Each week we join up many others for the next letter- this week being I!  Click on the pretty blue button at the bottom of this post to see what others are blogging about this week!

So the letter I it is!

We LOVE ice cream and anything icy in this house.  Both have long been staples in our house.  Ice creams, shakes, floats, popsicles- you name it, if involves ice cream, we love it.

Here is the problem with that.  Dyes and preservatives. And then more dyes and preservatives.  When our family decided to try to avoid both to the best of our ability, we knew this was one area that was going to get us.  Through a lot of trial and error, and some occasional cheating, we are finally happy with most of the the alternatives.
First, we have learned to make many homemade popsicles.  I bought several different molds and in the summer try to keep them on hand.  With just a few ingredients for most recipes, these are quick to mix up and much healthier.

See all that red???

  Just strawberries!  Yay me!

Here is the recipe we have adapted and like the most-

Fresh Strawberry Popsicles

4 TBSP honey
3 cups fresh strawberries
1/2 cup liquid (apple juice or lemonade)

Remove stems from strawberries and half.
Blend ingredients until desired consistency.
Pour into molds and freeze.

Makes 6-8 popsicles.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As for ice cream, our friends sold us on this little beauty. (this is NOT an affiliate link...just making your life easier!)

I waited for it to go on sale, it often does on amazon, and then I bought it for our family gift for Christmas.  Again, with just a few ingredients and only 15-20 minutes we can have ice cream that is safer for us and hopefully a few less calories.  Well, maybe I am just fooling myself on that one, but let me camp there for a while please.

The reason I like this is because it is so fast and easy.  If someone says "let's have ice cream" it is as easy as saying YES.  Gotta love being the hero, right?  Here are two hints- you can thank me later. Buy two freezer bowls.   That way you can make two different flavors back to back.  Once the freezer bowl defrosts you will have to wait for it to refreeze to start over.  Hint two- we have found that we can use half and half in place of cream without altering the taste much.  It may not be quite as creamy, but it does cut calories AND is usually less expensive.  We go back and forth, depending on what's on sale.

There you have it- Icy Treats the quick and healthy way!


Each week we join Marcy over at Ben and Me for Blogging Through the Alphabet!

Ben and Me


Friday, June 20, 2014

Shaking up the 52 weeks of Family Scripture Memorization

Ok, I think I have been a little easy on us.  We have been learning short verses, some already pretty familiar to many...

"Kids are tiny, they need short verses" and on and on...

Then I was contacted by Katie to take at look at her DVD Scripture Talk.  And I feel rather lazy!

You have got to see this video:

Friends, I am challenged and I hope you are too!  We are going to learn a BIG chunk of scripture.  I am convinced if those cute kids can, we can too!

Phil. 4:4-9

Each week for the next few we are going to add a verse to the one before and the next thing we know we will be reciting verses like those kiddos.  OK, we may not be as cute, but we ARE as capable!

Some of the things that Katie and her family use to help kids memorize scripture are hand motions and actions.  Since I know you all do not not have the video to help you, you are going to have to get creative here....but you can do it!  I wish you could all send in videos to show us what you have done, but I can just imagine!  I have seen from our own experience that this method works, kids love being active.

So here goes, First verse-

This first verse should be pretty easy to make up motions for.  Make it fun, get the kids excited and maybe even make a plan for your kids to show a special someone the fruit of their labor after the next few weeks.  Goals are good and often motivating!

Oh, and Katie and her family have sent me an extra copy of Scripture Talk to give away to one of you!
Just enter the rafflecopter for your chance to win!  I will announce the winner next week when we add the second verse to memorize!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Until then, get practicing and be blessed!

Missional Women

For the Display of His Splendor

I Choose Joy!

Diana and Friends Experience History Through Music Giveaway- $700+ value!

If you have been hanging around my Facebook page, you knew I had one right?, you may have seen me talking about a new History book series with music.  As a member of the launch team for Experiencing History Through Music I have had the pleasure of seeing these books and listening to the music for several weeks now.

Experiencing History Through Music by Diana Waring is a three book and CD set that includes Western Ho!  Heart of the Old West, Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder and America- Heart of a New Nation.

I love music!  And my kids love history, so I thought this would be a good combination for us.  I was right!  I have a review going up about all three books and the music included next Friday, but until then I want to give you a chance to enter to win those and more!  This is something you will not want to miss.  Even my mom, who is visiting this week, has been walking around humming the tunes from the Laura Ingalls book.  We have been so inspired by that book in particular that we are purchasing tickets on Groupon (is the timing perfect, or what?) this week to go visit the family homesite in DeSmit, SD!

Diana and Friends Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Experience History Through Music, I am joining members of the Diana Waring Launch Team for an amazing giveaway. Friends of Diana have joined in and as you can see, someone's homeschool is going to be greatly blessed!  Here's what you could win! 

From Diana Waring Presents

american history -- never this fun

Experience History Through Music - set of 3 books with CDs ($50/set) Diana Waring Presents is about to bring back into print the BEST folk music you have ever heard, combined with the fascinating stories they represent in American history!   The Experience Music Through Historyseries includes: America - Heart of a New Nation, Westward Ho! - Heart of the Old West  and Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The musicians are amazing, every instrument is real, lots of great vocalists, and more toe-tapping music than you can imagine! The books tell the stories behind the songs.  Together, they bring American history to life through it's music!!With fascinating history books and toe-tapping folk music CDs, American history has NEVER been this fun!


Encouragement for Homeschool Moms Collection ($25) Every mom needs that word of encouragement from someone who has been there, who has grownup children and can speak with assurance about the journey. Homeschool moms have an extra portion of the journey to navigate, and often wish for an extra voice that will offer direction but without nagging or prodding. Diana Waring has that voice.  

From A Journey Through Learning

Logo New 300 trans

$50 Gift Certificate $50 to spend in the A Journey Through Learning store, applicable toward any digital download purchase.  

From Homeschool Legacy

westward ho I 300x400

Westward Ho! Part I ($19.95) Load up your wagon! Discover the extraordinary times of adventurous frontiersmen and brave pioneers as you travel cross-country along the Erie Canal,  Oregon Trail, and even “remember the Alamo” in Westward Ho Part I. Westward Ho! Part II ($19.95) Continue the exciting saga begun in Westward Ho! Part I as you journey with the forty-niners, ride the rails of the Transcontinental Railroad, experience life on the prairie, and discover the exciting era of cowboys and cattle drives in Westward Ho! Part II.  

From Knowledge Quest Maps


Map Trek: Atlas and Outline Maps of World History ($55) Map Trek is a historical atlas plus outline maps that allow you to teach geography alongside history. This is a resource that any homeschool parent can use with brilliant success, even if you don't remember a thing from your history or geography classes in public school.  

From Home School Adventure Co. 

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Philosophy Adventure™ Digital Download ($39.95) Philosophy Adventure™ is designed to help students 6th-12th grade cultivate and defend a biblical worldview by teaching them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately as they explore the history of ideas.  


From Heidi St. John (The Busy Mom and Real Life Press)


Firmly Planted Family Devotional Digital Volume 3 ($39) The Firmly Planted Family Series is divided into ten-week studies and is your key to making sense of the Bible—even if you’re learning right along with your children. Each lesson provides a core idea, a simple narrative, memory verses and discussion questions for children of all ages. And the companion student workbook is filled with age-appropriate, full-color, reproducible activities for children of any age!  

From Raising Real Men


Free Registration to Boyhood Boot Camp or Boot Camp 9-12 LIVE webinar series (winner's choice) plus Mom & Dad Special Raising Real Men (Book for Mom to read in the bathroom + AudioBook for Dad to listen to on the commute) ($62-69)

Free Registration for Marriage Retreat Online plus His & Hers Special of My Beloved and My Friend: How To Be Married To Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses (book + audiobook), ($65)  


From Institute for Excellence in Writing


$50 Gift Certificate $50 to spend in the IEW store, applicable toward any purchase.  

From The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

ST-Affiliate-300x300_zpsb38aa8ae ($139) A one year membership to the curriculum arm of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Nearly 100 classes for Pre-K to High School, taught by expert teachers, and lots of extras including the Schoolhouse Planners, Schoolhouse Expos, monthly free ebook downloads and more.
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine 2014 Print Book ($15) Be encouraged, enlightened, and educated with the all new 2014 Annual Print Book published by The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.You’ll get a year’s worth of homeschool support in almost 300 pages in this full color one-of-a-kind print magazine for homeschoolers, by homeschoolers. This is a magazine you’ll refer to again and again.  

From Writing with Sharon Watson


The Power in Your Hands ($53.96) With The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School, they’ll learn what they need to know for high school and will be prepared for college writing.

  Writing Fiction [in High School] ($35) Are you raising the next C. S. Lewis or Jane Austen? Help your students develop their fiction-writing talents with Writing Fiction [In High School]: Bringing Your Stories to Life.

To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter below. Residents of the U.S., age 18 and older only. Other Terms and Conditions can be found in the Rafflecopter. a Rafflecopter giveaway