Monday, August 31, 2009

Not So Fast ... It's a Winner!

And the copy of Not So Fast by Ann Kroeker goes to (drumroll....):

Leann!

Leann, I'll pop it in the mail to you soon and thanks everyone for reading Ann's review and commenting over here! (If you missed Part 1 and 2 of the interview, check them out!)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Felicities ::: August 28

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Happy Friday!

My happy list for this morning:

  • dinner with good friends tonight
  • a good week of school this week
  • a pediatrician's office that I love and that loves us (and yes, we made a trip there yesterday for my middle girl)
  • thinking and planning for a little girl's sixth birthday ... pretty sure it will involve something along these lines (although these are much cheaper at Target) :)
  • time to sit this weekend and plan for the week ahead
  • a second cup of coffee, which I will be getting right now!

Link up at Becky's!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Frontierman's Daughter

If you are a fan of historical fiction, this is a good meaty book to dive into. Set in early colonial days, specifically in the wild lands of Kentucky, The Frontiersman's Daughter explores life for a woman (and unmarried woman) during that time and the dangers that existed in this uncivilized area.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Frontiersman’s Daughter
Revell (September 1, 2009)
by
Laura Frantz

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I was born and raised in Kentucky and my love of history goes deep - way back to the 18th-century when my family first came into the Bluegrass State. It will always be home to me, even though I now live with my husband, Randy, and my sons, Wyatt and Paul, in the misty woods of northwest Washington. I go back as often as I can to visit family and all the old haunts that I love.

I grew up playing on the original site of Fort Boonesborough and swimming in the Kentucky River and climbing the Pinnacle near Berea and watching the great outdoor dramas of the early settlers. Often my cousins and brother and I would play in my Granny's attic and dress up in the pioneer costumes she made us and pretend to be Daniel Boone, Rebecca, Jemima, or the Shawnee.

As I grew up I began to write stories and they were always historical, filled with the lore I had heard or read about. It's no accident that my first book (which is actually my fifth book - the others were practice!) is about those first Kentucky pioneers.

I feel blessed beyond measure to write books. My prayer is that you are doubly blessed reading them.

Note: Laura Frantz credits her 100-year-old grandmother as being the catalyst for her fascination with Kentucky history. Frantz's family followed Daniel Boone into Kentucky in 1792 and settled in Madison County where her family still resides. Frantz is a former schoolteacher and social worker who currently lives in the misty woods of Washington state with her husband and two sons, whom she homeschools.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Lovely but tough as nails, Lael Click is the daughter of a celebrated frontiersman. Haunted by her father's former captivity with the Shawnee Indians, as well as the secret sins of her family's past, Lael comes of age in the fragile Kentucky settlement her father founded.

Though she faces the loss of a childhood love, a dangerous family feud, and the affection of a Shawnee warrior, Lael draws strength from the rugged land she calls home, and from Ma Horn, a distant relative who shows her the healing ways of herbs and roots found in the hills.

But the arrival of an outlander doctor threatens her view of the world, God, and herself--and the power of grace and redemption. This epic novel gives readers a glimpse into the simple yet daring lives of the pioneers who first crossed the Appalachians, all through the courageous eyes of a determined young woman.

Laura Frantz's debut novel offers a feast for readers of historical fiction and romance lovers alike.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Frontiersman’s Daughter, go HERE

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Not So Fast ... the Nightstand edition

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Yesterday I posted part 1 in my interview/Q&A with Ann Kroeker, the author of Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families. I'm tying part 2 in with my What's on My Nightstand post (sponsored by Five Minutes for Books) because it was on my nightstand in August! :) You can read part one here and if you leave a comment on THIS post, you can be entered to win a copy of the book. (Please make sure and leave a way for me to get in touch with you on the original post.)

Stephanie: You talk in the book about how sometimes it’s not a matter of choosing between “bad” and “good” choices on how to fill up our family’s schedule, it’s that there are so many good choices to pick from! What makes a good choice one to follow or one to set aside for your family? What does that decision look like for you?

Ann: Learning how to choose carefully what works for one’s family and say no to perfectly good opportunities is a healthy skill to develop. I encourage parents to pray and ask the Lord for wisdom regarding schedules, activity, and pace of life.

Experiment with how many activities are appropriate for them. Ask: How much can we really handle? Which ones increase stress levels to the point that the stress negates the good that the activities would provide? Which ones truly contribute to our definition of success? Are these activities keeping me or any of the family members from a rich relationship with the Lord and each other? Will this keep me from being free to serve others?

Think through each decision using questions like these, because sometimes we just sign up for things because the neighbor said it was a good idea, or we did it last year and just sign up automatically when the e-mail reminder pops up or the papers come home from school. Just taking time to talk about it as a family is a step people often skip.

Your kids are small, but when they get even just a little bit older, involving them in the discussion is critical. Maybe they don’t really want to do one of the many activities we’ve signed them up for, but go along with it to please mom or dad. Some kids do need to be pushed sometimes, but sometimes we push too much.

A friend of mine loves to drive, so activities that have her on-the-go don’t stress her out. But I hate to drive and get easily stressed in traffic, so we have done our best to centralize activities. If the activity is within biking distance or only requires a short drive, I am more likely to consider it if it meets other criteria. A few years ago we made the mistake of piling on too much, so we had to see those commitments through to completion and then chose fewer the next time signups rolled around. Life is full of wonderful moments of work, fun, free play and together play without having to run all around town chasing after multiple events.

This fall, all four kids will be in a recreational soccer league. This is at one location, so we all go together, and pack snacks, books and games for the lag time between matches. We’ve gotten to know other families and enjoy chatting with them along the sidelines. The kids get the benefit of playing on a team, making friends, listening to other leaders’ instructions, and learning the game without us having to invest thousands of dollars and drive all over the region. The season is also very short. If one of our kids was extremely motivated, we might have considered having her try out for an elite team, but this simpler, slower situation has worked well for all of us.

Three of the kids take piano lessons that are a short bike ride away, so that doesn’t require the hectic cross-town kind of commute. The other child, 15 years old, takes flute lessons that are close enough to bike, though we drive for safety/traffic reasons.

So we’ve turned down additional sports and stuck with one that pulls us together as a family, and we don’t race around town taking advantage of every free event that’s offered. Sometimes we see something interesting and make plans, but the kids and I just can’t handle living out of the minivan.

You could ask them, and they’d tell you they prefer it this way. One daughter is currently building a cardboard castle and restoring a used bicycle. Another is writing a short story. A third is working on a movie script with a friend of hers that they hope to film over time this fall. And the little one has been playing with a bunch of Lincoln Logs we bought at Goodwill—he has an entire village full of, well, I’d have to say it’s full of imagination. We love that.


Thanks, Ann! Remember, leave a comment on the original post to be entered to win a copy (and if you tweet or post about it on your blog, leave me a second comment for another chance to win). For more Nightstand posts, visit Five Minutes for Books.

Previous Nightstands posts, if you still need more ideas of what to read:
July
May
February
January
November 08

Monday, August 24, 2009

Not So Fast ... it's a giveaway!

I was recently sent a copy of Ann Kroeker's new book, Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families. What a great resource and encouragement to the family that wants to make some changes towards a life less frenzied. I have an extra copy of this book and I'm excited to be able to give it away this week! Leave a comment on THIS POST and I'll draw and post the winner next Monday. And, if you tweet or post about this giveaway, come back and leave me a second comment for a second entry.

Ann and I emailed a little last week and I was able to ask her a few questions about the book. Over the past few years our family has been working towards deliberately slowing down so I used my chance to question her to ask for some specifics about how she made changes in her family. I'm going to post one of her great answers to my question today and another tomorrow. You can also find Ann at her personal blog as well as the website for her book, NotSoFastBook.com. Enjoy!

Stephanie: In your chapter “What are We Trying to Achieve?”, you mention that our call to greatness - to be like Christ and to be a servant first of all - is so different from the world’s view of greatness, whether is education, power, money, etc. Can you give some examples of how you model this for your children or have taught them these truths? I have a 5, 3, and 2 year old and we hear a lot of “me first” around here at this age.

Ann: “Me first” isn’t limited to the preschool set. I feel it, too … the tug toward “me first.” But it’s why we need Jesus, isn’t it? Because of our self-centered, sinful nature? And we have to keep on this all the time or we’ll all slide right back into selfishness. And by “all the time,” I mean All. The. Time. Every single day. And by “we’ll all,” I mean every single one of us—I, as well as the kids. We need to figure out what it is to walk with Christ and live like Him vs. what it is to live according to the world’s view of greatness. Then we need to remind ourselves over and over to indeed walk with Christ and live like Him, yielded to Him.

At a spiritual level, I think there’s a lot that the Holy Spirit has to do in our kids—in all of us—to keep our eyes on the prize. So praying for that Christ-centered vision is a powerful first step so that He can be free to change us. I think that God can not only get us thinking more biblically/Christianly about serving people, but also put service, other-centered ideas and opportunities in our path.

At a practical level, any way we can get their eyes off their own little world is helpful.

When our kids were little, we would do things like simply encouraging them to let others go first (and applauding them when they did). For example, we have the kids hold the door for others at the library. Or at the grocery checkout, if we notice that someone behind us has a few items and we have a full cart, we can take the opportunity to invite the person to take our spot—and because we seek to live “not so fast,” we often have the time to do that without negatively impacting our schedule.

Learning to notice other people and their needs starts very simply. Small, everyday choices gradually reinforce the mindset that it’s better not to grab for the first thing at the potluck dinner, race to be first in line, or shove someone out of the way to get the next piece of candy tossed from a float in the parade. We keep reminding them to serve, to look out not only for our own needs, but also for the needs of others.

Some neighbors who are dear friends have gone through a very difficult time dealing with cancer. They were overwhelmed with all that had to be done to keep up with their son’s medical needs. It was too much to try to keep up with lawn mowing, shopping, laundry, and cleaning when they were always at the hospital. The kids worked with my husband and me to serve them as best we could—and other friends helped, as well. We offered to feed their pets, do laundry, and pick up groceries. Our involvement in their lives caused the kids to think about our friends at the grocery store. Instead of obsessing over the chocolate-coated cereal and begging for it (or in addition to that), they’d look at something and think of our friends. “Should we call and find out if they need any orange juice?” they’d ask.

We try to point out and praise any servant-minded action we observe in the home. It’s easy to get excited about an academic honor or a sports achievement, but it’s important to communicate to our kids the high value we place on serving. We call attention to it within our family and thank them. We remind them that it is helping out the family and pleasing the Lord. A small example from the other day: our youngest wanted to fill everyone’s water glasses at dinner. For some reason, one of the older kids was aggravated and wanted to pour her own glass. But we pointed out that he was serving her. “Can’t you let him serve? It’s a good thing!” He glowed, and she acknowledged that it was indeed a good thing and accepted his offer to pour.

We’ve pitched in at church moving chairs, encouraging all the kids to help instead of letting them run around and play. We all loaded up items from a church garage sale for donation—the kids toted boxes to the truck along with the adults. We try to look for ways to give financially, which is another way to focus on others (though I don’t like to talk too much about that publically, as it seems too much like letting the left hand know what the right is doing.)

Praying for others is also another way to get the focus off of ourselves and on the Lord’s work in others’ lives. Regularly bringing other people’s requests and needs to the Lord reminds us to serve people by talking with the Lord on their behalf. It reminds kids—well, again, it reminds all of us—that life and prayer are not always centered on us and our needs.

I recently memorized Philippians 2:1-11, which includes “[I]n humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who…made himself nothing, taking the very nature a servant.” Memorizing and reciting this is keeping it fresh in my mind. The kids know portions of it, as well. So we talk about living it out.

I think we all need ongoing, daily reminders, because the world is going to be telling us to do the opposite. In fact, billions of dollars are invested in getting us to focus on our own interests and desires. We need to counteract that with God’s idea of success by talking, praying, memorizing, and modeling it.

Thanks, Ann! Come back tomorrow for another brief Q&A with Ann, and don't forget to leave a comment to enter to win this book.

Friday, August 21, 2009

North or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson

I was recently sent a copy of the book 2 in Andrew Peterson Wingfeather Saga, North or Be Eaten. I knew of Andrew Peterson the musician, but had never read any of his writing before. My first questions was, What's the Wingfeather Saga? (Let's just pretend that we're doing a little interview here with Mr. Peterson instead of his website, okay?) :)

It’s a series of five (but possibly three) fantasy adventure novels about the three Igiby children, Janner, Kalmar, and Leeli. At the beginning of the story Janner is twelve, Kalmar (who’s nickname is Tink) is eleven, and their little sister Leeli is nine. They’re accompanied by Leeli’s dog Nugget, their mother Nia, and their ex-pirate grandfather Podo Helmer.
They live in a world called Aerwiar, which is exactly like our world–except they don’t have electricity or gunpowder, and there are all sorts of creepy animals, like
sea dragons and toothy cows. Janner, the eldest, is about to discover that the ordinary little town where they live is anything but ordinary. In fact, he and his family are at the center of a great mystery that will change their lives forever.

Okay, I'm interested ... but what makes this book different from all the other children's fantasy books that have seemingly flooded the market in the last few years since the advent of Harry Potter?

... this is a story about light and goodness and Truth with a capital T. It’s about beauty, and resurrection, and redemption. But for those things to ring true in a child’s heart, the storyteller has to be honest. He has to acknowledge that sometimes when the hall light goes out and the bedroom goes dark, the world is a scary place. He has to nod his head to the presence of all the sadness in the world; children know it’s there from a very young age, and I wonder sometimes if that’s why babies cry. He has to admit that sometimes characters make bad choices, because every child has seen their parent angry or irritable or deceitful–even the best people in our lives are capable of evil.

But of course the storyteller can’t stop there. He has to show in the end there is a Great Good in the world (and beyond it). Sometimes it is necessary to paint the sky black in order to show how beautiful is the prick of light. Gather all the wickedness in the universe into its loudest shriek and God hears it as a squeak at best. And that is a comforting thought. When a child reads the last sentence of my stories, I hope he or she drifts to sleep with a glow in their hearts and a warmth in their bones, believing that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

Book one, which I haven't read, tells the story of three gifted children and how they need their gifts and all the love in the world to fight the Fangs of Dang. Book two continues their fight against the Fangs of Dang, but this time they must flee their homeland to find safety and the adventure continues.

If you want to see other thoughts on this book it's also being reviewed at: The 160 Acre Woods, A Christian Worldview of Fiction, All About Children’s Books, Becky’s Book Reviews, Booking Mama, Cafe of Dreams, Dolce Bellezza, Fireside Musings, Homeschool Book Buzz, KidzBookBuzz.com, My Own Little Corner of the World, My utopia, Olive Tree, Reading is My Superpower, Through a Child’s Eyes

This tour was organized and run by KidzBookBuzz.com!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Read Along Thursday :: Reading around India

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This week we have been schooling our way through The Story of Little Babaji. (Review here). Rather than talk MORE about Little Babaji, I thought I would share some of the other books that we have looked at this week that tie in to our theme of India (social studies) and tigers (science).
  • The Story of Little Black Sambo - this is the original story, set in Africa
  • Sam and the Tigers: A Retelling of 'Little Black Sambo' - a little different spin on the original story, again, and not my favorite
  • Pancakes, Pancakes! - at the end of the Little Babaji story, the tigers turn into butter and the butter is used to make lots and lots of pancakes. Eric Carle's pancakes book was a logical one to check out and read before our pancake supper last night! :)
  • Once upon a Mouse - a old folktale (and Newberry winner) about a mouse that becomes and tiger and then has a humble return to being a mouse.
  • Rikki-Tikki-Tavi - the story of a mongoose and his family that he protects.
  • No Dinner!: The Story of the Old Woman and the Pumpkin - a folk story that is from southeast Asia/India.
  • My Mother's Sari - a very simple book about how a small girl finds comfort in her mother's sari. The sari is the traditional dress for Indian women. I found it sweet that no matter what Mama wears, that is what brings comfort to a child - whether it's playing with Mama's sari, or a western child curling up in her Mama's sweater.

For more Read Aloud Thursday, visit Hope is the Word!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kathryn's Fountain


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Kathryn's Fountain

Cladach Publishing (November 8, 2008)

by

David Claassen

ABOUT THE BOOK

Kathryn is resigned to living out her last days at Victorian Manor, a beautiful old home for senior citizens. Then one day a miraculous experience happens to Kathryn at the garden fountain, and she begins living an adventure beyond her wildest dreams. Love and sacrifice take on new meaning as she involves a social worker and a police detective in carrying out what she believes to be her calling -- to rescue a street child named Jasmine.

Kathryn's Fountain celebrates the gifts that the generations can bring to each other. The conclusion is a resounding affirmation that it's never too late to make a difference.

If you would like to read an excerpt from Kathryn's Fountain, go HERE

Monday, August 17, 2009

Proverbs 3:5-6

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Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him
and He will direct your path.

This is our verse of the week for school with my kindergartener. Already this has been such a gift to me this morning.

I'm no stranger to anxiety attacks. Long story, MUCH abbreviated, I started having them in 1999 as I was wrestling through some doubt and frustration with my faith. God was faithful and brought me through that and He truly does get the glory. I had some issues when baby #3 arrived while we were in the hospital, but thankfully since that time almost 10 years ago, they have been very few and far between.

This morning I started feeling that familiar tightness to my chest and whirling in my stomach. What a comfort to know that I don't have to understand why I have these sudden unexplainable panics. He does and I trust Him. I was able to acknowledge that even though my faith in Him was weak this morning (and for which I was so so sorry), I acknowledged His omnipresence with me and that He would walk with me through this day. The words of Elisabeth Elliott popped into my mind ... "Do the next thing." I was already up fumbling through my quiet time, so I pressed on. Making sippy cups of milk. Curling up on the loveseat with a 2 year old to cuddle and watch a little Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Making a husband's lunch. Starting school with our circle time, singing "Deep and Wide" and reading the story of the tower of Babel.

Probably to most, the name of my blog seems pretty obscure. (How does this tie in with the verse above, etc.? Just hold on...) :) It's taken from Psalm 52:8-9 which says:

I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of the Lord,
I will trust in the unfailing love of God forever.
I will praise his name for what he has done; in His name I will hope.
His mercies have no end!

So thankful for these verses on trust this morning and that He is the only one that is worthy of my complete unwavering trust ... and so thankful that when I do waver, He doesn't give up on me.

Glory to Him. :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Felicities :: August 14

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Things that are making me happy this week ...
  • the county fair
  • the flexibility of homeschooling
  • my diet coke :)
  • blog posts that may not seem out of the ordinary to some, but totally encourage me
  • Friday night pizza and movie nights ... I know I say this every week but it is so simple and we ALL look forward to just hanging together. Tonight's feature film presentation: Mary Poppins! (Sometimes I feel sorry for T with all these girls. :) Last week, we let him pick and watch what the girls call "the Daddy movie" ... points to anyone that can guess what Disney flick that might be!)
  • notes that N1 leaves me everywhere .... they usually say something like "Mom I love you and I lick [like] you and your pretty" and "when can we go to the zoo?"
  • gmail chats with the niece
  • a God that is there and present and knows my frustrations ... helping me along sometimes when I don't even know why I am frustrated
  • videos my husband makes of our girls ... this is a music video he put together of our night at the fair. Enjoy and enjoy your Friday!

Williamson County Fair 2009 from Travis Shepherd on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Read Aloud Thursday ... sort of :)

Babaji

Some time back I reviewed The Story of Little Babaji for a Five Minutes for Books Kids Pick. I'm highlighting it again this week because we are focusing on it as part of kindergarten school work. Hmm? How does that fit into your school plans you ask? I thought you were doing mostly American History?

Well, I shifted gears. :) After two weeks, it was more than obvious that what I was working towards with N1 in terms of social studies was a little ambitious. (I blame most of that on the fact that once-upon-a-time I was a social studies teacher ... for secondary education! I guess I still am at heart!) Instead, Plan B, we'll be taking books (a la Five in a Row) and visiting different cultures around the world and rolling with that for the next few months.

India is going to be our first stop on this route! We had recently re-checked out The Story of Little Babaji from the library because my girls LOVE this book so much. The story of a little boy who meets up with some hungry tigers and manages to bargain with them to not eat him by giving them some of his clothing. We were able to use our book yesterday to talk about India - we found it on the wall map the globe, and talked about how it was part of Asia. That led to a conversation about continents and how they related to countries, states and towns. So fun. :) Homeschool Share has a study of this book which will be a huge help to me in planning and suggested things we can talk about.

Now, that I have realized the error of my ways in my first draft of planning (hopefully I'm not the only mom that has done this!) I'm thinking of books that we can use to jaunt casually around the world this next year. I would imagine that some of them will show up as a Read Aloud Thursday post!

For more info or to post your Read Aloud Thursday, visit Hope is the Word!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


Or not so ... wordless. N1's rules for her sisters:
Do not climb on my chair.
Do not interrup me.
Do not talk to me
No noise at me.
The checks with names are the offenders. Hee hee. :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Adventurous Children's Classics!

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This week's Children's Classics theme is adventure! As I was thinking of what books I could mentioned the two that popped into my mind could easily be considered the easy way out on this post. But truthfully ... can life get much more adventurous for a little one than The Complete Adventures of Curious George or the life of Laura Ingalls?

We are big fans of the mischevious monkey at our house. :) His antics are timeless and my girls can listen to his stories over and over (and over.) My favorite adventure of his is the original story, however, there are so many to choose from - how he earns a medal, when he goes to the hospital, and what happens when he takes a job. Did you know that George was originally going to be named Fifi? The life of the author, H.A. Rey is an adventure story in it's own right, and I reviewed his story (set during World War II) here.

Second, the Little House books ... right now, my girls and I are reading our way through By the Shores of Silver Lake. The book starts off with a bang - the Ingalls family is moving! Pa has been offered a job with the railroad and the family decides to take it. Most of the family is just recovering from scarlet fever, Mary is now blind, and they are in debt to the doctor. This move will get the family back on its feet and put them a little closer to family for a time. Within the first few chapters we get to see what riding on a train was like for Laura and her family - I had to laugh a bit because Laura was amazed that they would be able to travel a full twenty miles on the train and it wouldn't even take the full day. (Nowadays, my girls think that a twenty minute drive in the car is forever long! Hmm, not sure how well they would handle that train ride.) :)

For more Children's Classics with a hint of adventure, head over to Five Minutes for Books!

Past Children's Classics:
A.A. Milne
Beatrix Potter (specifically, the Tale of Jemima Puddleduck)
Make Way for Ducklings
The Little House
Ella the Elephant & The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians (Future Children's Classics)
Henry Reed's Journey (travel theme)

Monday, August 10, 2009

From the Weekend...

I finally took the time this weekend to take a few pictures of our BBoo. She only turned two in May so I'm not too far behind! :) Of all the ones that we took, this one truly shows off her crazy character ... this child keeps me hopping as she is always on the go!

BetsyBoo is Two

BetsyBoo is Two

BetsyBoo is Two

My sister also asked me to take a picture of my niece since I had the camera ready - this girl started middle school today ... and you can't tell me that she's not gorgeous! I'm excited to see what she does this year and this next new step in her life.

Middle Schoolers

Friday, August 07, 2009

Friday Felicities ::: August 7

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What makes me happy...
  • our first week of school is almost under our belts
  • tonight is pizza and movie night
  • goodies in the mail
  • even though there have been some hard things about this week, there have been some good lessons learned for me and I'm thankful for that
  • that our Wii is back up and running, and I can do a little exercise during afternoon rest time :)
  • a good (light) weekend with a little church biz-ness on Saturday, church on Sunday and a birthday party for N1 to attend on Sunday afternoon
  • morning coffee

Hosted by Becky at Joyful Mother. :)

We Have a Winner!

The winner of the Crown Binder giveaway was comment #2:

Amy @ Hope is the Word!

Congratulations and thanks to everyone that entered. Even if you didn't win, I hope you keep Carla's shop in mind as you back-to-school shop!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The First Week

  • Homeschooling kicked off on Monday!
  • As did my WAY cool contest ... if you haven't gone and entered, please do!!!
  • Our days have been busy and good.
  • Kind of like the anniversary weekend I just celebrated with my husband.
  • The big seven. :)
  • We had planned to send the girls to Grandma and Grandpa's for Friday night so that we could grab dinner and a movie without the guilt of making my parents' stay awake wait up for us.
  • However, BBoo started feeling lousy on Thursday. By Friday afternoon she had a fairly high fever and was shunned from the grandparents.
  • Not really "shunned" but my Dad has some nose bleed issues and it really is imperative that he doesn't catch a cold. It is just bad. So, the snotty child was uninvited.
  • That meant our anniversary dinner for two was now an anniversary dinner for three. :)
  • And thanks to my sister, we were still able to go see our movie since we had already Fandangoed the tickets. And at the price of tickets now-a-days, I was glad to not have to try and unload them or lose them. Thanks, K!
  • The rest of the weekend was rather low-key since all activities involved said two-year-old but we did go out to Cracker Barrel for an early lunch and ran several errands before the N's came home.
  • Then I stayed home from church with BBoo since her nose and cough were still not nursery worthy.
  • Then we jumped into homeschooling. :)
  • We have been reading in Proverbs, reading about Christopher Columbus, colonial times and making an All About Me lapbook.
  • We also finished our lunch read-aloud of On the Banks of Plum Creek and jumped straight into By the Shores of Silver Lake today. I forgot that Silver Lake starts off with a bang - in the first two chapters, Mary is blind and then Jack the bulldog dies.
  • It's been a while since I read this book in the series, so I'm looking forward to refreshing my memory.

Happy Wednesday. :)

The Sacred Cipher

I enjoyed this book! This is one that I can easily see as a motion picture - adventure, buried treasure, our unlikely heroes working together to unravel an ancient language and unlock a riddle. The main character, Tom Bohannon, stumbles upon a cache of hidden historical artifacts and within is a small scroll. While Tom and his friends work on reading the scroll, little do they know of the danger they are placing themselves in or that they have jumped feet first into one of the biggest mysteries of all time.
If you are looking for a great (clean) adventure story, I recommend this book! It's like going to the movies without the expensive tickets and the long lines for popcorn. :)

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Sacred Cipher
Kregel Publications (July 31, 2009)
by
Terry Brennan

ABOUT THE BOOK

History's greatest secret could be tomorrow's greatest threat. More historically and biblically accurate than The DaVinci Code and just as adventurous as an Indiana Jones movie, The Sacred Cipher combines action and mystery to draw readers into a world of ancient secrets and international escapades.

When an ancient scroll appears in a secret room of the Bowery Mission in New York City, Tom Bohannon is both stunned and intrigued. The enigma of the scroll's contents will send Bohannon and his team ricocheting around the world, drawing the heat of both Jewish and Muslim militaries, and bringing the Middle East to the brink of nuclear war in this heart-pounding adventure of historical proportions. The Sacred Cipher is a riveting, fact-based tale of mystery and suspense.

If you want to read the Prologue of The Sacred Cipher, go HERE

Monday, August 03, 2009

A Giveaway from Crown Bindery

It's been a while since I've been able to do a giveaway on the blog so let's do one in honor of our first day of homeschool today! :) I've been emailing with the very nice Carla of Crown Bindery and she has graciously offered to give one of my readers one of her 9x11 Triple Crown Notebook Binders!

There are a LOT of things that I like about these binders!
  • One, her shop carries a great assortment of different fun and colorful papers so you can have a binder that is your favorite color, or one that is a different color depending up on your mood. :) Yellows, blues, pink & orange - a huge variety.
  • Two, the binders aren't your typical three ring binder. Because she uses binder rings, you can lay them flat in your lap and write in it like you would a spiral notebook. However, because she uses binder rings you can add and subtract paper to your heart's content. (To be truthful, I am kicking myself that I didn't come up with this idea first!) :)
  • Three, she uses a thicker-than-normal laminating film that makes your binder super stiff and strong. I'll be honest again here - when I first saw these binders I thought, "I'm pretty crafty - I can make that!" Well, not with my little home laminating machine! As she says from her shop: Each laminated page is handcrafted by laminating doubled-sided paper. First, paper is hand selected for color and pattern. Each page is then cut to size and painstakingly aligned to assure a perfect fit in the laminate pouch. We run the pouch through a thermal laminator to seal it up tight, three hole punch each finished page and attach the rings. Waalaa! A Crown Binder is born! Her's are much thicker and sturdier than mine which makes a huge difference in the durability. I learned my lesson. :)

Carla has created these binders in several sizes - 9x11 for your standard notebook size sheet, 9x6 for a half-sheet of paper, and then several smaller index card sizes that would be perfect to keep little hands busy in the car or at a restaurant, or for holding your file cards if you are doing research.

I hope you will celebrate back-to-school with me and take a look at Carla's Etsy shop! If you want to be entered to win one of her 9x11 Triple Crown binders, take a peek over at her shop and let me know what you like the best in a comment below. I'll close comments on Friday morning and post the winner that day! Good luck!