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Showing posts from October, 2012

Beloved Books {& The Sugar Creek Gang}: a Review

I am really excited to tell you about this great product from Beloved Books!  This particular review product may very well be my kiddos' favorite of all that we have received.  They love listening to books or dramatized stories on cd--and they are big fans of mysteries--so I had a feeling they were going to LOVE the cd set when it came.  And I was so right!

Beloved Books sent us Volume I out of six volumes that they offer of the Sugar Creek Gang books on cd.  If you are not familiar with the Sugar Creek Gang books, they are true treasures that have stood the test of time.  My father ready them when he was just a kid, I read them as a child and now my own children are enjoying these wonderful, Christ-centered, adventure stories.  
Paul Hutchens began writing this series in 1939.  They focus on a group of young boys who call their "club" the Sugar Creek Gang and enjoy many life experiences and adventures together.  They are filled with humor, and just plain ol' real li…

Cleaning Off My Proverbial Plate

Have you ever felt like your life's plate was so full that you needed a to-go box to actually hold everything that was supposed to be on it?  I sure have--more than once!  Apparently that's a lesson that I have to repeat.  I admit it: I'm a chronic over-committer.

Lately I have felt the rising panic as I realize to what all I have committed and what it being expected of me--not just by my family, but many others.  It's an overwhelming feeling, especially when it appears that you have bitten off more than you can actually chew.

I am one who loves to be involved and active in things.  I've always been that way, cramming my calendar full and squeezing in as many things as possible.  I am by nature a very social person (and somewhat of a control freak, let's face it), but it's just not possible to do it all.  Even when you really want to.  It seems like I have to come to this realization about once every year or so.  Slow learner, I am.

A couple of weeks ago…

The Weekly Plan {Oct 29th}

Ah, the plan.  While I may not always follow it to the letter, this little thing sure does help keep my week on track.

How about you?  Do you menu plan each week?  Sometimes I look back and think of how I ever did the whole it's-4 o'clock-what-are-we-having-for-dinner thing.  I did that for years, but after menu-planning for nearly 5 years I can't even begin to tell you how much stress I have avoided--and how much $$ I've saved by planning.

Last week's plan went very well, but I have a couple of roll-over meals due to schedule changes.  Just makes this week's plan even easier!

Monday:
-Homeschool
-Laundry
-Change sheets
-Dinner: Chicken Crepes with green beans

Tuesday:
-Homeschool
-Clean bathrooms
-Dinner: Individual Chicken Pot Pies

Wednesday:
-Homeschool
-Some early trick-or-treating
-Bible study
-Dinner: Hawaiian Baked Ham & Swiss Sammies(my hubby has been just dying to try these since seeing them on Pinterest)

Thursday:
-Homeschool
-Dinner:Beef Stroganoff…

Samson's Classroom: a Review

It seems like my little Mr. B has been getting to help me review lots of great new products lately that are just perfect for him.  Samson's Classroom is another one of those products.  Geared toward grades K-5, Samson's Classroom is an online program that helps kids become better readers.  This site focuses on 3 main areas: Sight Words, Spelling, and Reading.  

Sight Words with Samson gives a young reader a great foundation.  This part of the program teaches the 224 most commonly used words in the English language.  There are multiple ways that the words are taught, each one building on the other and mixing in fun, interactive activities.  The words are spoken and spelled aloud to the student in several settings as the student learns to read and spell them.  

Spelling with Samson has over 5,000 (and counting!) words, making it the most comprehensive spelling product on the market.  There are many interactive, timed, and fun games to help encourage your young speller as they lea…

The Weekly Wrap-Up: Nature, Speeches & a Homecoming

We are so enjoying the beautiful fall color here in Kentucky this year!  This past week I just had to get out and take the kiddos to the Land Between the Lakes and capture some of the beauty with my camera.  
(with Aunt Kari at the Nature Station)
We made our first visit to the Nature Station there and had SO MUCH FUN taking a tour to meet all of their "residents".  They house several different species for various reasons (injuries, breeding programs to ward off extinction, etc.).  Here are a couple of the birds that we met: 
(the barn owl)
(the barred owl~our favorite!)

There were also fallow deer, turkeys, a hawk, a great horned owl, coyotes, a bobcat, a bald eagle, and red wolves.

It was the perfect cool fall day for crunching around in the leaves and taking the tour.  We also enjoyed some time inside the Nature Station checking out all of their fun displays.  They also had some reptiles inside and even some baby flying squirrels.



After that we walked around Hematite L…

Crossbow Education: a Review

Recently we received a rainbow-colored packet of Reading Rulers from Crossbow Education.  These were specially designed by experts as teaching aids for students with Dyslexia and Visual Stress and are used widely in schools in the UK.  
I had been looking forward to trying these out with my son even though he is not dyslexic and doesn't have eye strain (that I'm aware of, at least).  However, he's a young and often reluctant reader, has a terrible time concentrating and actually sitting still to read.  I hoped that reading rulers would help with his focus.   We received the Eye Level Pack of 10 Reading Rulers.  Each one is 8"x 3" and is made of a nice flexible plastic.  They come in a great variety of colors (yellow, celery, grass, jade, aqua, pink, purple, magenta, sky, and orange) and the process is very simple.  There's no complicated test to do.  Just try each color until you find the one that truly "fits" by reducing eye strain and visual stre…

Our Kitchen Remodel: Phase 2

I'm so excited!!  Phase 2 of our kitchen remodel is done~whoo hoo!!  Some of you may remember last year when we moved in and completed Phase 1.  Remember that prison-cell-gray paint on the walls, the ugly dark cabinets with the dr's-office-plain hardware?  Ugh.  I sure do.  And I'm happy to say that's all g.o.n.e.!  
Of course, we painted the walls right away with a bright, cheery red~which I love, still.  But the room was still dark-ish and dated looking.  So painting the cabinets was the obvious, frugal choice.  I decided to go white, then I realized I have white counter tops (duh) and those just wouldn't look good with white cabinets.  So, then a stroke of brilliance struck me.  I had started seeing (on blogs, Pinterest, in magazines, etc.) some kitchens that had upper cabinets painted differently from the lower cabinets--and I loved that!  And that's what I decided must happen: white on the uppers, black on the lowers.
Now my mom, sister, and hubby weren'…

Abingdon Press: a Review

I was thrilled when I was chosen to review this wonderful new children's Bible from Abingdon Press.    TheDeep Blue Kids Bible is a great choice for your child's first Bible.  My son, who is 7 and a beginning reader still, did not yet have a Bible with the complete text and was very excited to receive this one.  

Deep Blue Kids Biblerecommended for ages 8-12, comes in the Common English Bible translation which is much more easy for young readers to understand.  We received the ImageFlex binding, which is a sort of semi-hardcover, and it seems very durable and sturdy.  This Bible is a nice size also, not too large, but not too small either--just right for a boy of 7 to be able to carry.  

This Bible is filled with lovely, colorful illustrations and notes throughout its entirety.  There are three characters, Asia, Edgar, and Kat, who show up in the notes from beginning to end to help guide your child and answer questions that may arise.  Each book in the Bible has an introduct…

The Weekly Plan {Oct 22nd}

Could somebody please slow this train down?!  Where does the time go?!  Each week when I sit down to write this post and I type that date I just shake my head in wonder at how quickly time is going by.

I sure do hope I'm making the most of it.  I don't want to just rush through life hanging on by the skin of my teeth (whatever that is).  I am currently working toward refocusing, reorganizing, restructuring, and taking some things off of my "plate" (more on that soon).  I don't want to miss out on living!

In the meantime, we've got to eat, right?  So here's the plan, a little sketchy, but a plan nonetheless.

Monday:
-Homeschool
-Do laundry
-Clean bathrooms
-Dinner: Pan-Seared Talapia, Baked Sweet Potatoes, and Broccoli

Tuesday:
-Homeschool
-Put a chicken in the crockpot
-Do laundry
-Take a load to the Goodwill store
-Dinner:  Individual Chicken Pot Pies with Cheesy Garlic Biscuits

Wednesday:
-Homeschool
-Dust/Vaccum
-Bible study/Kids' class
-Dinner: Ch…

The Weekly Wrap-Up: Family, Friends & Co-op Round 2

While we did so some school work this week, it was something of a fall break for us because it was such a busy week.  The weather has been so nice and the kiddos have enjoyed playing in the yard, chalking on the sidewalk and raking leaves (yes, they actually ask to rake leaves!).

Vince is in Alaska this week on a ministry trip with my dad and the night before they left we went to Nashville to meet my dad for dinner and drop Vince off to stay at the hotel with him since he was flying out super early the next morning (I was very thankful not to have to get up in the middle of the night to drive him to the airport).  And then I had a totally unexpected surprise: one of my very best friends from childhood (whom I still keep in touch with-thank you, Facebook) turned up in Nashville on business.  So we all met at the Rainforest Cafe for dinner and had the BEST time!!

It's so wonderful to have friends like Paula, who are truly life-long friends for always!  It had been over 2 years sinc…