Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Thoughtful Tuesday ~ 7-29-2014

Over the weekend we watched Heaven Is For Real. And as I sat watching it for the second time, my thoughts went to those who have lost children, to my FB friend who was sitting by her husband's bedside as he was finishing the good fight, a fight against a rare form of cancer. He gave up that fight yesterday and left her and their 4 children to rest in the arms of our Lord. My thoughts went to another friend who had surgery yesterday, she'd been dealing with pain for months and finally was able to have the surgery and is now recovering and looking forward to being healed and feeling wonderful. Being able to do all that she does instead of laying in bed in immense pain.

In the movie, Colton speaks of meeting his sister - the baby who died in his Mommy's tummy - they didn't name her because they didn't know if they were having a boy or a girl. He speaks of meeting his great-grandfather, only he was young, and not wearing the glasses of his old age.

My thoughts went to the mothers who have lost a baby to miscarriage or stillbirth and to the possibility that they will see those babies when their time on Earth is done. 

I've often wondered if when my time is through will I see my loved ones again. Will I see the face of my father who died when I was so young? I often tell my children that their father and great-grandfather had a hand in picking their little souls for me to watch over. And when they are being particularly ornery, that my father and grandfather are sitting with God and having a big ol' laugh.

A woman in the movie who lost her son in the war speaks of a broken part she carries with her. She can't understand why God would take her son yet return Colton to his parents.

I understand that broken part, I've carried it for 41 years. For years, I raged at God for taking my father. I couldn't understand and still don't. Even though my husband tells me it's not my place to understand. And although I have made my peace with God, I still carry that part, the lost birthdays together, not being there when I graduated high school, not being there to give me away when I married. Not being there when his grandchildren were born and getting to hold them for the first time.

I often struggle with my faith. In those times when I am struggling most, God speaks to me. Through something I read, or hear; through the sight of a dragonfly, or the shape of a cloud; through the words of a friend or my children, or even through a movie.

I know He is here, with me always. I just have to reach out....

As I'm sitting on my front porch writing this and watching my children play, I look up to see my front yard full of dragonflies.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Flourish ~ Balance For Homeschool Moms {TOS Review Crew}

I love it when the Mom's on the Review Crew get the opportunity to review something just for US. When I found out I was going to be reading and reviewing Flourish ~ Balance For Homeschool Moms by Mary Jo Tate,from Apologia Educational Ministries, I was literally dancing for joy. Little did I know just how much of a help it would be!

Flourish Book Review

Women, mothers are known for overloading ourselves. As homeschool moms, we tend to overload ourselves even more. Many of us probably have a problem saying "No" when someone needs our help for something. I'm not only a homeschool mom, I'm a wife and ambassador for a health and wellness company. Between lessons with the kids, keeping up with laundry, meals, dishes, cleaning house, taking care of things for the husband, and working my business, I'm busy from sun-up to sun-down.

In Flourish, Mary Jo Tate speaks to us as if she was sitting at our dining table with us, having a cup of coffee (or tea) and chatting with us about how our days go and how we can learn to better handle everything we have piled on ourselves. 

In the book we learn how to get out of our comfort zone, how to stop juggling, find peace in the space between the ideal and the reality, keep track of our time to figure out where we're spending it; setting goals,making memories with our children and managing our home. She even talks to the single moms out there, and those of us who have home businesses.

In Chapter 4, she talks to us about where our time goes. She tells us to keep a time log, to write down how we spend our day in half-hour increments for at least a week. And NOT to skip it. She also talks about whether your run better on a set schedule or a routine. I am definitely a routine person. Set schedules don't work for us, I've tried and failed, too many times to count.

At the end of each chapter, there are questions to work on and step by step exercises to work on to help you to implement the steps she talked about in the chapter. There are some wonderful downloads available for those who purchase the book.

Flourish Book Review

Mary Jo Tate is a homeschool mom to 4 sons, and became a single mom in 2001. She went back to her skills as a freelance editor to support herself and her boys. Eventually becoming an author in her own right, book coach and international editor. She also does speaking engagements and one-on-one coaching. 

You can connect with Mary Jo at:


Facebook: www.facebook.com/FlourishAtHome

Twitter: www.twitter.com/maryjotate

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/flourishmom
The book is available through Apologia Educational Ministries, for $15.00. Even though I received it as a review item, I'd be likely to purchase it if I hadn't! It's worth every cent!

Don't forget to check out the reviews of my fellow homeschool mom crew mates! 
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Monday, July 14, 2014

Tissue Paper Flowers ~ A Tutorial

We recently had our daughter's birthday party and I made some Tissue Paper Flowers to decorate with. Several of my friends asked for directions to make them, so here you go!

First, you need to assemble your supplies. Tissue paper, scissors, ruler, and pipe cleaners. I also had fishing line because I planned on hanging them up. I purchased both the tissue paper and the pipe cleaners at Dollar Tree. 

Each flower takes 10 sheets of tissue paper. The packs from Dollar Tree had 5 sheets of each color, so I had to open to packages to make 5 flowers.

Once you have your 10 sheets, line them up nice so the edges meet. Then make your first fold. I did 1 1/2" folds. Once you make the first fold, you shouldn't need to use the ruler again.

Keep doing an accordion fold until you have it all folded.

Don't worry if all the folds don't meet perfectly. Some of mine didn't and they still turned out fine.

Find your center by folding it in half just a bit. Then "tie" your pipe cleaner around it to hold it.

If you're going to use the fishing line, tie it around the pipe cleaner on one of the outer sides of the folds.

Then you'll want to cut your "petals". I tried different options and decided the round looked best.

Pull one side of the accordion open and start peeling your layers apart. You'll want to pull them in the direction opposite of where you've tied the fishing line, if you go that route. So that the line is on the back side.

Keep pulling the layers apart till you're all done. Then do the other side.

This is how the backside should look one you're done.

Flip it over and "fluff" your petals. And there you have a Tissue Paper Flower.

You can also combine colors. I used 5 of each color. It doesn't matter what order you do them in, it will turn out pretty!

We ended up tying them around the posts on our patio, so I cut the fishing line off. 

We put them up the morning up the party and they stayed up until it rained a few days later. I was able to save two from the rain and tied them on her curtain rods in her room.

Have fun!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Moving Beyond The Page - American Heroes/Lifecycles {TOS Review Crew}

Moving Beyond the Page Review

This is our second year to be able to review Moving Beyond The Page. This time we used Language Arts Package - American Heroes and Science Package - Lifecycles. Both packages are in the 7-9 age range, for students reading on a 3rd to 4th grade reading level, can answer comprehensive about a chapter in a journal and are able to write 3 to 4 sentences on a topic.

Although my children are in the age bracket, they're not reading at that level yet, but I knew they would both love the subjects and would be able, with some help from me, to answer the questions and write the sentences on each topic.

With the Language Arts Package, we received the online portion of the curriculum, American Heroes, which included Spelling Lists, Reading and Questions and Student Activity Pages, all of which are downloadable PDF files. We also received the book 50 American Heroes Every Kid Should Meet. This package is available for $27.88.

In the Science Package, we received physical items which included the curriculum, Lifecycles, and the books What Is A Life Cycle and Who Eats What? Food Chains and Food Webs. This package is available for $45.92

In American Heroes, we learned about our Founding Fathers; George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. My son's favorite was the Heroes of Freedom, which covers the Civil War era.

My daughter enjoyed learning about Female Heroes such as Martha Graham, who was a choreographer and dancer who didn't start to study dance until she was 22! I grew up reading about Helen Keller, but my daughter didn't know who she was until we read about her in 50 American Heroes Every Kid Should Meet. She has been learning a little bit of sign language watching a show on PBS, but she never imagined that language was learned by Helen Keller. Taught to her by her teacher and friend, Anne Sullivan.

In Lifecycles, we learned how the body design of living things helps them to progress through their life cycles. How some animals hatch from eggs and some are born live from their mother. What a pupa is, and a chrysalis; photosynthesis and decomposers. Energy and food chains, food webs and energy pyramids.

We would start our lessons with American Heroes, where the kids would complete the activity sheets, and then I would read to them from 50 American Heroes Every Kid Should Meet. The second portion of our lesson time would be centered on Lifecycles and doing the activities. We read the books What Is A Lifecycle and Who Eats What during our story time.

The lessons in MBTP are laid out in such an easy to use format that even a homeschool mom like me, who has trouble doing the actual lesson planning, can follow the schedule.

Each lesson tells you what to talk about with your child and how to integrate each activity in to the lesson. They even provide flexibility so if you have to focus on a certain area where your child needs more practice, you can. You can also allow him to focus on topics of interest, such as the Civil War like I did with my son.

I like the fact that Moving Beyond The Page is not only a comprehensive curriculum, but also allows you to purchase the individual units you would like to work on with your children.

Don't forget to check out the reviews from my fellow Crew mates!

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Veritas Press ~ {TOS Review Crew}

Veritas Press Review
History was one of those subjects in school that I struggled with, there were only certain periods of time that peaked my interest. In particular, the Civil War. And so, having a child who LOVES history, is causing me to revisit that subject that I has issues with in school. When the opportunity to review Veritas Press came up, I knew my son would love it. What I didn't expect was I would be learning right along with him! Their Self-Paced History program is for grades 2nd through 6th. They also have a Self-Paced Omnibus 1 that is for ages 12 and up.

Veritas Press Review
For us I chose the period of 1815 to Present,since alot of what my son shows interest in falls in that time period. We also received a set of flashcards that go along with the online course.

The online course starts with The Monroe Doctrine, which is reviews in 4 lessons. During each lesson there are quizzes and puzzles to do, along with the History Song, where they sing through all of the periods covered in the course. I was afraid he wouldn't like the song, but amazingly he does!

While his sister is working on something of her own, he and I will sit at the computer and watch the videos and then I'll read him the questions. Most times, he's giving me the answers before I've gotten all the way through the choices. When you're done with the quiz, the screen will give you a "Good Job", or similar message.

When you complete the test, you can see your score and print off the certificate if you choose. I usually print them off so he has something tangible to show for his good work, and he can show it to Daddy. 

I like that fact that each area is discussed in 4 lessons. So he's not expected to know it all in one lesson and then go on to the next one. I've noticed that when a map pops up and we have to label it, he does an awesome job. One map he did really well on was covering the Great Lakes. They even give a suggestion on learning the names of the Lakes.

H - Huron
O - Ontario
M - Michigan
E - Erie
S - Superior

We have The Oxford Guide to United States History that we have used to supplement some during the first lessons. I'm planning on using the library to supplement as we get to the lessons he shows more interest in, such as the Civil War. 

I've done research on our family history, and he's enjoyed tying that in with the lessons, by asking if our ancestors had come to the States during a certain time. I think that's why he has such an interest in the War Between The States, because we had several ancestors who fought in the War.

We try to do all four lessons in one week, but it doesn't always happen. At the end of May I was out of town for a week, and he didn't want to do the work with Gramma, so we've had to play catch up. But with it being self-paced, it's helped him to not feel stressed that he's falling behind. He is thoroughly enjoying this program, and I'm enjoying watching him learn history. If I could just get him to stop asking when we will get to the Civil War. 

The Flashcards are a nice card stock, full-color and loaded with information along with the resources used for the card. I'm planning on laminating ours so they will last through two kids.

Veritas Press Review
Veritas Press Review
Tuition for each course is $199, and they offer a sibling discount of $100. The Flashcards are available for $19.95. 

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/veritaspress
Twitter -- https://twitter.com/veritaspress
Pinterest –  http://www.pinterest.com/source/veritaspress.com/
Google+ -- https://plus.google.com/100404634762414542020/about

Make sure you check out the reviews from my fellow Crew Mates, who have reviewed everything from the Old Testament to the Present!

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Go Science {TOS Review Crew}

Go Science Review
I have two kids who LOVE Science, and watching them is a good way to keep them occupied for more than 5 seconds AND they're learning something at the same time. So being able to review the Go Science DVD's, Series 2 from Library and Educational Services, was right up our alley!

The videos are for kids ages 4 to 12, younger ones might have trouble understanding the WHY of the experiments but I guarantee, they'll LOVE the results! Individual DVD's are $8.97 each or you can purchase all 7 for $59.82. And there are PLENTY of experiments on each DVD to keep you busy with Science for a full school year!

Ben Roy, the gentleman who does the experiments, teaches science methods at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is the former director of the News Channel 9 Science Theatre and has produced science videos for the Weather Channel, About.com and a Christian satellite broadcasting network.

Go Science Review
The 2 DVD's we chose were Life Science/Weather and States of Matter/Water

Some of our favorites on the Life Science/Weather were Fire Tornado, Cloud In A Bottle (we had to watch this one numerous times), and Liquid Nitrogen Cloud. One of the things I liked about the experiments is that Ben Roy interacts with the kids, he doesn't just jump in to the experiment. He also associates something from the Bible with the experiment he's doing. 

In the Fire Tornado experiment we learned that the hot air from the fire, and the cold air coming in from the side causes the tornado to form. Much as in a tornado during a rain storm.

In the Cloud In A Bottle, he takes a empty, clean, 2 liter bottle and pours a small amount of rubbing alcohol in it, shakes it around, then pumps air in with an air pump. When he releases the air, the cloud forms inside the bottle.

But our absolute favorite was the Liquid Nitrogen Cloud! He pours a large amount of liquid nitrogen in a clear tub, then takes hot water and dumps it in ALL AT ONCE and POOF!!! A cloud! It was AWESOME!

Go Science Review
One of our favorites from the States of Matter/Water DVD was the Naked Egg. You take an egg and put it in a container with Vinegar. Leave it for a few days and the vinegar eats away at the calcium in the shell, leaving the membrane around the egg. The kids REALLY liked that one. I have a feeling I'm going to be needing to get more vinegar and eggs.

They also enjoyed the Ice Cream experiment where you place salt and ice in a large ziploc bag, then either milk or fruit juice in a smaller one. Place the small one inside the large and either turn it over and over a few times or shake it and you'll have a frozen treat.

While some of the experiments you could do at home, like the Naked Egg, Ice Cream, even the Cloud in a Bottle, there are some that probably shouldn't be done at home, like the Liquid Nitrogen Cloud. 

Be sure and check out the reviews from my fellow Crew Mates too!

You can also connect with them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/libraryanded

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Turning by Davis Bunn ~ A Book Review & Giveaway

Countless numbers of people mentioned in the Bible heard God's voice and obeyed. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elijah and Mary to name a few. I was recently given the opportunity to read and review The Turning by Davis Bunn, and to host a giveaway for a copy!

The Turning is one of THE most thought provoking books I've read in quite some time.  Five different people with 5 different backgrounds all hear the voice of God. They don't stop to count the cost, or question "Why me?" they simply obey.

As I read this book, I often asked myself the question, "Would I do the same?"

People in the Bible were ridiculed when they told their family and friends that they had heard the voice of God. In today's world, with things being the way they are, can you imagine how people would react if you told those around you that you had heard the voice of God? 

If you heard His voice, commanding you to do something so far out of your realm of understanding, would YOU obey?

About The Author

T. DAVIS BUNN, a native of North Carolina, has lived in Europe for thirty-five years. Davis' academic background includes degrees in psychology and economics from Wake Forest University and a master's degree in finance from the City University of London. Fluent in three languages, he has traveled extensively in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Davis enjoys a particularly strong following in the inspirational market, often ranking on the Christian Booksellers' Association bestseller lists. He has collaborated with Janette Oke, one of the leading names in Christian publishing, on a series of novels. Davis is a New York Times Bestselling author and has garnered a number of industry honors, including three Christy Awards for excellence in historical and suspense fiction.

Davis teaches in the Creative Writing Programme at the University of Oxford, where he holds an appointment as a Core Lecturer in the subject of fiction. He splits his time between Oxford and Florida with his wife Isabella.

The Turning is published by River North Fiction, a division of Moody Publishers. You can find it at multiple booksellers, including Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and LifeWay. You can also download a devotional and 40 audio files on the website.

And now for the giveaway!  One lucky winner, US entries only, will win a copy of The Turning by Davis Bunn. Simply enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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