7/26/10

Bible Challenge Week 4

Bible-in-90-Days1 I have not been blogging about this Bible Day Challenge and tonight I was ready to give up.  Though I started on July 5th with everyone else, I quickly slipped behind.  I am so far behind by now that I just didn’t think it would be possible to continue.  I’m not sure why but I decided to head over to Mom’s Tool’s Box and I read tonight’s check in.  Wow!  I feel very encouraged to keep on trying.  Maybe, just maybe I’ll actually finish the challenge!  

Are you participating in the 90 Day Bible Challenge?  Perhaps you are doing a different reading challenge?  I’d love to hear what you are doing and you don’t even have to share if you are right on track or, like me, seemingly hopelessly behind.

7/24/10

Blog Walk Tour Week 5

Blog Walk

    (Thanks to Debbie at Debbie’s Digest for the Blog Walk graphic.)

1.  Cheryl blogs at Buckaroo Days.  Her son is adorable.  In addition to TOS Reviews, she says about what they are learning.  Check out the post about the rain gauge.

2. Christine is the mother of one daughter.  She blogs her reviews and blogs about her curriculum over at Our Homeschool Reviews.

3. I just love the title of this blog: Reed, Party of 6.  Maybe it appeals to me because my family is also a “party of 6”.   Her family certainly looks like they enjoy being together.

4. Training Hearts at Home What a great blog title.  She has a beautiful family as well as a beautiful blog!  I’ve enjoyed the ;pictures she has posted.

5. Cindy at  Along The Way has a well established blog.  What is it about blog title this week.  I am just really enjoying these titles.  The Full title of Cindy’s blog is Along the Way Our Journey as We Laugh, Learn and Play.  She has a zucchini pizza recipe that would go well with my zucchini brownie recipe.

6. I Love Science! This is Cindy’s blog for reviews.  You can read a bit about her from post from February.

7.  I have been following Through the Calm and Through the Storm for a long time.  Cristi is a friend of mine from a homeschooling email loop.   I’m so thrilled that she and I are both on the crew this year.  Be sure and read about her daughter’s journey.  It is an amazing journey that glorifies God.

8. Created for Home has a beautiful blog design!  Her children are so adorable and it will be fun to read about Bugs’ first official school year.

9.  Over at Tractors and Tire Swings the homeschool mom of 2 boys shares about her homeschool and homestead. I also found another recipe to add to my “try list”.  I love the names she uses for her two boys.

10. The author of  Guiding Light Homeschool  has been such and encouragement to me since the Crew started in June.   One of these weeks I plan to join in her Walk with Jesus meme.

You can click here for my other Crew Blog Walk tours.

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7/23/10

Five Favorite Friday July 23rd

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On Fridays, Susanne over at Living to tell the Story hosts a Friday Five Favorite Meme.   Today I have decided to participate. So I’m going to list my 5 favorite things from this week.

1. Visiting 3 Waterfalls  After picking up 2 girls from the Girls’ Retreat we took a slight detour on our way home to visit the Columbia River Gorge.   Here’s some pictures:

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2.  Being Stuck in Traffic  I know that is an unusual item to list as a favorite thing.  How does becoming stuck in traffic become a favorite thing?  When it leads to being, silly, creative and having fun with the family!   Coming back home from the waterfalls, we ran into horrendous traffic.  What should have been a 3 1/2 hour drive ended up taking over 5 hours!  For a two hour period the traffic was stop and go.  During that time we stayed sane by making up silly license plate and I spy type games.  Not only did it make the horrible traffic bearable, we made a great family memory.

3. Hearing My Children Laugh  Earlier this week the girls were required to conquer the clean laundry mountain by folding several loads worth of clothes.   I heard them laughing, talking and giggling and it just warmed my heart that they were making special memories as sisters.  It’s so wonderful to hear them laughing together.

4. Having the Walk Through Completed  We do not own our home.   The owners of the house use a property management company and periodically they come out to a check on the house and property.   As tenants we want to practice the Christian ideal of doing to others as we would have them do unto us. It was just wonderful  to hear C say “wow, the yard looks great.  You guys are such great renters”

5. Lunch with Turtlegirl  This week I left three girls at home and took Turtlegirl out for a mother/daughter date.  It was a blessing to hear her tell me what was on her heart and to just enjoy spending time one on one with my middle daughter who tends to get lost in the crowd.

What are your favorite things from this week?  If you write a blog post about your favorite things and post to Living To Tell the Story, please leave me a comment here so I can visit you or go ahead and post a comment on your favorite things from this week.

7/22/10

TOS Review: Travel Kits

As a member of the The Schoolhouse Review crew, I received the e-book Travel Kits: A Simple Way to Bless Others by Donna Rees. This e-book retails for $12.45. Photobucket

Containing 14 chapters plus an introduction and a bonus section, Ms. Rees walks you through a definition of a travel kit and gives a variety of suggestions for items to put into a travel kit. She has included lots of pictures so you can see examples of travel kits or types of containers.  Included in this 93 page e-book are photos, tips, suggestions, instructions for making games, and web site links for some suggested items.

So what is a Travel Kit? Ms. Rees says, “a travel kit is a collection of items that will entertain and/or delight the passengers (especially the younger passengers), thus making the trip more pleasant for everyone.” p.7

When I first started looking through the e-book, I thought, is this just for younger kids?  What about the other passengers?  Can I use this to make kits for my family?

No, the suggestions are not just for younger kids. She has many suggestions for gift ideas for the teens, parents and even the grandparents! And Yes, I can use this to make travel kits for my family. 

As a mother of 4 children, who were once quite young, I would have appreciated this e-book for suggestions on how to entertain my little ones on those long drives. Though I was very organized for our cross country army moves, it never occurred to me to make something quite like a travel kit.  Sure, I had books for the children to read to themselves and books for me to read aloud to them.  I had back packs with treasures of toys for them to play with and separate toys to make the hotel nights a little easier but I think they would have enjoyed it more and it would have created wonderful memories if I had used some of the suggestions that Ms. Rees gives such as wrapping the toys as gifts or at the very least not allowing them to have access to ALL the van toys right from the beginning.

Although I can see this e-book as being perfect for those whose “love language” is gift giving, I would be very uncomfortable with receiving a travel kit as a gift from someone.  I am also uncomfortable with the idea of making a travel kit for another family.  I’d be afraid that what my family finds fun and entertaining, the recipient would find boring or inappropriate for their family.  I can, however, see using Ms. Rees ideas and suggestions, modified for my family, to create a fun travel kit for my own family.

If you are looking for an e-book with suggestions on a creative and different type of gift to express your love to someone, I recommend Travel Kits.  Even though, I can’t see myself making a full travel kit for another family, I could see myself using some ideas as an individual gift for another occasion.  Chapter 12 discusses some alternatives to the travel kit including gifts for grandparents.

If you do a lot of traveling or spend a lot of time in the car or waiting for appointments, this e-book may bless you with suggestions for making those long drives to town or long doctor appointments a little easier for the children.  I do wish I had known some these ideas for our cross country trips when the girls were very young.

Be sure and check out The Old Schoolhouse Store!

This Graphic contains the FTC Regulations statement for Reviews.

All information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews to find more great products.

7/21/10

Blog Under Construction

I received a notification from Cutest Blog on the Block that my design was not going to be available after Friday!  I am quite bummed as I had finally tweaked the colors, background and layout to suit me.

So here I am tonight playing with the new Design tab of Blogger.  I think I’ve found something that I can live with for now.

Someday I’d love to completely design my own background and upload it to my blog but for now, I’ll just keep searching and playing and experimenting.

Do you like the new colors?  Do you have any suggestions? 

7/20/10

I don’t have time.

I so often hear myself saying “I don’t have time for this (or that)”  or I will say to the children “We don’t have time.”

Hate is a particularly strong word, that I don’t encourage my children to use, but I have found myself growing to hate that phrase.  It sucks the life out of me. 

Just what am I doing that is so important that I don’t have time to do the things I want to do? What is keeping me so busy that I don’t have time to enjoy spending time doing “nothing” with my children?

Some of the life (time) suckers for me include computer time.  I enjoy spending time on the computer looking blogs, or reading a couple of forums or  some emails.  But…. sometimes I find that I use the computer as a distraction to keep me from doing something that needs to be done.  Then all of a sudden it is time to leave the house and I start shouting “I don’t have time.”

But I can’t blame it all on the computer.  I think a good chunk of my “don’t have time” issues are a lack of good routines or habits.   Everybody has a routine.  It is part of human nature to have a routine; yes even those “free spirits” who don’t schedule anything have routines.  Those routines become habit.  Some of my routines are good and some are not so good.

I find that I routinely procrastinate and put off doing until later, much later, what I should do right now.  Then all of a sudden I have far more work to do and it is ten times harder than it ever needed to be and I don’t have time.   Not only do I now not have time to get the job done, but I don’t have time to read a book to Supergirl.  I don’t have time to listen to Turtlegirl tell me about a story she is writing nor time to enjoy hearing BooBear play the piano.  I don’t have time to hear about Tailorbear tell me about her latest game and how silly and fun it was.

I find it heartbreaking to tell my children “I don’t have time to help you sew that rag doll.”  “I don’t have time to play a board game with you”.  “I’ve got to do the laundry or the dishes or the lesson planning or write the review or one of tens of other things that in and of themselves are NOT bad but because of my (poor) choices I now do not have time.

I don’t seem to have time to read the books I want to read, to visit the places I want to see or to just be with my girls.  So I have to ask myself why?  And if those things are important to me why am I not doing something towards  changing?

For whatever reason (and I’m not exactly sure) the house had become a total wreck.   Some basic cleaning got done so that we could live but the clutter got out of control and a circular pattern evolved.   The more out of control the house got; the more overwhelmed I got.  The more overwhelmed I got;the more I distracted myself.  The more I distracted myself; the more the house would get out of control and the cycle would start again.

Thanks to a well timed Church rummage sale, an impending visit and the help of my family, we’ve broken the cycle of the house.   Today, we begin rebuilding those habits and routines that will allow us to have MORE time.  More time to enjoy doing the things we WANT to do.

If I say “I don’t have time" again, I want it to be that I have done such a great job of time managing and prioritizing that I can’t do x because I’ve already made plans to do A, B and C and the house is already clean!

7/14/10

Free Movies for Families during the Summer

I just got home with TailorBear and Supergirl.   We went to see The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything at a local Regal Entertainment Group Cinema.   On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10am they offer two choices for FREE.  Yes that’s correct; the price of the ticket is ZERO dollars.   According the website each week you have a choice of a G rated movie and a PG rated movie.   Both movies are available on both days.

Turtlegirl (the daughter formerly known as RosieBear not to be confused with Prince who was Prince and then he was the artist formerly known as Prince and is now again Prince) and her older sister BooBear are away this week and I wanted to do something special with the girls left behind.   A movie to start the day followed by some errands and playing in the sun sounded perfect.   Next week, I think I’ll take all four of them to a FREE movie.

You may want to visit Regal Entertainment Group’s  Family Film Festival to see if there are any participating theaters in your area.  There is a search box to put in your state.  They are offering this through the end of August.

I’d like to thank Sister Tipster at Tellin’ It for sharing this opportunity.   If you go to the movies, let me know what you see!

7/11/10

Blog Walk Tour Week 4

Blog Walk

  (Thanks to Debbie at Dbbie’s Digest for the Blog Walk graphic.)

1.  Brittney at King Alfred Academy has been blogging for a few years now.  She’s inspired me to work on my morning routine. 

2. Bethany has some great home schooling posts over at Confessions of An Organized Homeschool Mom.  I saw several posts about portfolios that look very helpful.  I enjoyed her post about changing her blog.

3. I can’t decide what I like best about I Can't Decide. <grin>   Briana has some great photos on her side bar. 

4. Mrs. Taffy blogs at My Life on A Taffy Pull.  I especially appreciated her two posts showing her creative ways of dealing with homemade bread that didn’t turn out quite right.


5. Check out the My Story tab at Losing My Tale. What a blessing to read!

6.  Cassie blogs over at Made in His Image.  Cassie and I are FB fans and I’ve been following Cassie’s blog since the end of May but I didn’t recognize it today because she’s given it a whole new look.  Check out how she is celebrating her husband’s new career!

7. Serenades and Solace is a blog about an Australian family of 4.  I’m adding to my recipe “try list” with a couple of soup recipes from this blog but as it is winter there and summer here I’ll be waiting until it is winter here. 

8. Catherine at Our Village is a Little Different is just getting started with her blog.  It will be fun to see her blog develop over this year as she reviews for the Crew.


9.  There is a lot of information over at  SisterTipster's Tell'n It! If you like free stuff or entering give aways, be sure and stop by Sister Tipster’s blog frequently.

10.We are very blessed on the Crew to have a Special Needs Liaison crew mate.  For reviews with a perspective for special needs check out:  Wynfield's Musings .   As a mom of a girl with learning (and other) issues, I’ll be looking for Wynfield’s Musings!

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7/8/10

Boy Did We (He) Work Hard

Just wanted to take a moment to publicly applaud my Honeybear for all the work he accomplished on the Honey DO List this past long holiday weekend.

First he left work early on Thursday so that I could go play with some of my Sonlight friends.   It was a much needed time away laughing with some wonderful homeschool moms. 

Then on Friday morning he started clearing out the garage.  We had been putting things in the garage to take to bulk trash or recycling or even to give away.  Got all the bulk trash items out to the dump on Friday.

On Saturday he loaded up the recycling (big boxes that needed to be broken down. We do recycle bi-weekly for the items that fit in the recycle bin) and took it to the public recycling site.  

On both of those days, we sorted through the give away stuff for donations for our church for the rummage sale.  Some items were really not worth giving away so we threw them and we found MORE items that we could donate!

Sunday we took a break from the garage.   We went to church, we relaxed a bit and then we worked on the yard for a bit.    Over the years we had let the landscaped areas go and they needed work.  We have three areas that we are restoring.   Honeybear had previously tilled the areas to remove the grass and weeds.  We finished prepping the areas and then laid out bark mulch.  It smells great!  We only finished one area.

Sunday night we enjoyed the fireworks display that many of our neighbors provided.   Pretty fireworks and the fresh smell of the bark made a wonderful ending to the day.

Monday it was back to the garage.  Now for some cleaning and organizing.   Honeybear put together some shelves that we’d had for years but hadn’t used.  Now we had more space and less junk.   I organized the pantry part of the garage and now I can see at a glance what needs replacing and what does not need to be purchased.

Here are a few before photos:

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And some after pictures:

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Doesn’t it look great!  What projects are you working on this summer?  Have you completed any?

7/3/10

A Blog Walking Tour Week 3

It’s time to take a walking tour through another group of TOS Crew member blogs.  

Blog Walk

(Thanks to Debbie at Debbie’s Digest for the Blog Walk graphic.)

1. All American Family---a background to match the name! What a fun idea. I found a variety of types of posts here by this homeschooling mom including a variety of reviews.  I especially enjoyed her post about purpose. 

2. Wow! I was just incredibly blessed by Amy over at Growing Fruit.  She shares her heart, her struggles and her triumphs as she blogs about her son.  Amy and I share having a special needs child in common.

3. Angela is starting to blog at Learning to Teach.  I like her background and her subtitle spoke me: A journey in learning the Lord’s will for our children.   I look forward to reading what she has to say.

4. Stairsteps Homeschool Academy is Little Farm Mama’s journal of her homeschool.  She also has the cute back ground that Angela has.   Little Farm Mama uses workboxes and has a post with a picture of her workbox set up.

5. Over at  Kingdom Academy, Brandy, the mom of 2 boys, journals about their home school journey.  Like me she is a planner. 

6. Brandi at Living Sola Gratia is a homeshooling mom of 4 who likes to try new things.  You may want to check out her blog for lots of different types of reviews.


7. The Cow Queen is a fun blog!  I’ve enjoyed her recipes posts and I was inspired by her Mommy Corner post.  I want an organized space the way she describes it!


8. Peace Creek on the Prairie—she has a tab called Holy Housewives.  Holy Housewives are having a discussion about the book Passionate Housewives for God.

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7/2/10

Five Question Friday

Here it is the 2nd of July and I’ve still yet to really see summer.  We’ve had a few nice days but today is cold, dark, dreary and rainy.  These questions from Mama M at My Little Life look like fun.  Check out her blog to see how others have answered these questions.

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Questions for Friday, July 2nd:

1. What is one thing you miss the most about childhood? Long, lazy days of endless summer where I rode my bike all over and read books sitting in the tree.  Summer doesn’t seem so lazy and ends far too soon now that I am an adult.

2. Are you still friends with your friends from high school? No.  There are one or two that I do wonder what they’ve been doing all these years.

3. Is there a catch phrase, cliche, or word that just drives you bonkers every time you hear it? YES.  It really drives me insane when people say “anywho”.    It’s anyway people.  Not a who.

4. What is one thing that you think symbolizes America...besides "Old Glory"? I don’t know if it is a thing but rather a concept: materialism.   When I think of America I think of consumerism and materialism.  I love the freedom that I have to be a consumer and I’m grateful for all the material things available.  Usually around the 4th of July I get very patriotic but the lack of summer sun is fooling my brain into thinking it is NOT the 4th of July making it harder to think patriotic thoughts.

5. What are your 4th of July weekend plans? Spend time with my family.  Two of my girls have been gone all week to Youth Church Camp and I”m looking forward to spending time hearing about their adventures.  My husband has a long weekend and that is always special. The “big” plan though is to clean and organize the garage!