Monday, November 30, 2009

FREE LAPBOOK~Night In the Museum

Movies today ARE NOT all created equal, but this Ben Stiller is a steller for the whole family imho. It's loaded with HISTORY~ We LOVE it and even have seen the second installment~I think the neatest part was the "aged security guards." Whoohoo~

Night In the Museum Lapbook~FREE
This is usually a $12.95 lapbook, so get it now~Currclick is an awesome company~cruise around and check out what they are offering! 
Merry Christmas!

Christmas Carols Are Absent...

from many children's Christmas experiences.  Just talk to many kids. They know Santa and Rudolph, but do they know the traditional sacred carols giving glory to God? I have found the neatest website Christmas Songbook that when you click on the song it will play in an organ or other beautiful arrangement for you to hear AND the music and words are present as well! What a resource to learn carols this holiday season and teach wonderful traditions.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Daughter

Girl Thing One has a birthday tomorrow~she's quite the lady now, but I remember when she shook her sassy curls at me and clinched her little fist in determination~I remember her sparkling eyes, yet they do still sparkle, in delight of all things lovely! I remember her zeal for learning, her love of her Daddy and her brother, her kindness and fun! She was and IS a pure delight! Honey, this Mama couldn't be MORE PROUD of YOU~but I am a wee bit sad, if I allow myself to think too long, so forgive me, dear.  I will say that seeing you grow up is my greatest joy~my GREATEST aim!
Love you sooo much and I am intensely PROUD OF YOU!
Happy Birthday Honey!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

How to Do Lap Booking

SisterChickSteph's kids did a TOS video on YouTube on how to lapbook. Down on the righthand side is a button to link you to all The Old Schoolhouse Store lapbook resources. Check out this cute video:

There are many lapbooks out there for all sorts of subjects. It does seem to be the newest homeschool craze! I used notebooking and copywork when my kids were younger! Lapbooks will bring a few more skills though, like the fine motor with the scissors that the other two options won't give.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Throwing Myself a Party!

I have just a few more years homeschooling my two. With high school students, it won't be long, and while in some ways this makes me sad~I think I'm going to throw MYSELF a big party~BECAUSE I will have graduated! Oh I know, it's the kids who will literally graduate, but the whole thought of the years of work and prayer that will have gone into these two, maybe it's your 3, 4, 5.... at your house, it will definitely be a time for this MOM TO CELEBRATE!

AND I am going to party!

Today it looks like a long way off~I am casting my eye toward the horizon and plotting our course. COURSES to be exact! In fact, I plan much of what we study, and I also record what we study...but did you catch the "WE" in that? I think I have learned a ton too~Do I need a diploma as well?? Actually I am kidding about giving myself a diploma, but the idea of celebration is really appealing.

My party~

FOOD:  I will have a wonderful menu of all the great things I like to eat...I love ice cream~yup! That's what I'm going to have!

FUN:  Fun will mean doing something I want to do without asking, "guys, do you want to...?"

Fellowship is going to mean my hubby and I are going to get to talk without anybody else in the room or in the house or maybe even on the property~at least until I pack my bag to go visit the kids~which might be in an hour so so LOL! It will feel pretty strange I think, but my party is going to divert my attention from any ill feelings I might have over this whole business~Maybe I will take a cruise with all the money I won't be spending on educational supplies or maybe I'll go back to university myself~Ya think the kids will let me ride with them???

I am looking forward~straight into *my* party when this whole homeschool 'gig' is over! AND it's looking gooooooood! Yeah...Party Down! How many years did I say this will be?? Oh wait...a tear,'s coming~and I am planning...

You want to come to *my* party?
See you there!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Blog Hop Theme: Favorite Book

Hello Everybody!

Fantasy fiction just isn't my bag, but I have found that my favorite books of all time are historical fiction.  As a teenager I read the St. Simon's Trilogy by Eugenia Price based on the real inhabitants of the area as researched by the author.  The three novels so intrigued me that in early adulthood I visited the historic church, Christ Church which today still has the original Tiffany stained glass and was the parish of the renouned minister and hymnist, Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley.  John Wesley was rector of Christ Church in Savannah, Georgia for a short time while it was still Anglican who later became the father of the Methodist Church.

History has ALWAYS grabbed me...I am a native Savannian.  I am well aquainted with these areas Price writes about, and her story telling abilities make the characters come alive! 

Another notable thing about Ms Price in that she also wrote for a Christian radio theater program that is still on air, Unshackled of the Chicago Pacific Garden Mission.  Hubby and I visited this mission in 1990 when we were engaged~I have listened to this program for years without realizing that my favorite author had written for it! (You can still listen too as these are the stories of how Christ freed the teller from their sins to follow Christ in their life. It's carried by Moody Christian Radio on many local Christian stations.)

There are four books weave the history of the 13th colony and its founding city, Savannah. They will weave for you the tales of the past with the grandeur of the present in a facinating way.  Titles are:


To See Your Face Again
Before the Darkness Falls
Stranger in Savannah

These are wonderful and only preceed my love for the first Price books I have read:
The Beloved Invader
New Moon Rising
(St. Simon's Trilogy)
If you get the chance to either visit Savannah or tule on to St. Simon's Island, look up these wonderful historic novels for their wonderful captivating style and insight! Or if you are in Chicago, go to the Pacific Garden Mission and see the wonderful work they do in sharing Christ!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will find pleasure in meeting Eugenia Price
Wikipedia or GA Encyclopedia.

You are invited to subscribe to my RSS to read all sorts of info on homeschooling and inspriation!

Happy Blog Hop,

MckLinky Blog Hop

Friday, November 13, 2009

HSE Digital FREE Magazine

Check out Homeschool Enrichment Magazine's FREE digital edition magazine! Oh yeah!
You have to sign up or login if you are a print subscription subscriber.

This is the ministry of the Lewis Family from TN:

Inside you will find:
  • Is There Not A Cause?
  • Remembering the Cost of Not Homeschooling
  • Family Matters: Seven Keys to Communication
  • Raising a Creative Child: Part 2: How You Can Understand Your Creative Child
  • 29 Wonderful Books to Enjoy With Your Family This Holiday Season
    • PLUS: A Christmas Bible Study Activity
  • Adventures in History: Good Duke Wenceslas
  • Inventions that Changed the World: The Wheel and Axle
  • Unit Study: Is There a Letter for Me?
  • Give it a Try: Fun Holiday Gifts the Scientific Way!
  • Who's His Hero?
  • From Creation to Bethlehem
  • Thankful for Homeschooling
    • PLUS: Grandma's Time
    • PLUS: Reasons We Can Be Thankful
    • PLUS: The Makings of a Homeschooler
  • How to Help Your Children Master Writing
  • Celebrating Christmas: How to Have a Christmas That Lasts the Whole Year
  • Once Upon a Homeschool: Another Tale of a Famous Home Scholar From the Past
  • Beginning Homeschooling: Evaluating the Options
  • Early Learning: Fresh Ideas to Help You Teach
  • High School: Staying the Course - Appreciating the Time, Maintaining the Vision
  • Bible Thinking vs. Greek Thinking
  • Homeschool Legal Minute: Basics for Record Keeping
  • The Underwhelmed Homeschooler: Choosing the Better Part
  • Management for Life: No Regrets, No Debts Holiday Celebrations
  • Mom Time with Kari: The Lesson of the Ivory Brooch
  • A Closer Look: Eight reviews of great homeschool resources!
  • Homeschool Chuckles: Are You a Homeschool Vet Yet?
If you haven't subscribed, this is a wonderful magazine in print that offers a FREE membership to Homeschool Legal Advantage which is the Christian Legal Defense Law Firm's arm for homeschooling families! Oh yeah, another wonderful advantage! AND YOU GET BOTH with a one year subscription which is an awesome deal!


HOW Did We Get Here and NOW WHAT?

Homeschooling is one of the journeys a family undertakes in life that has many dips and bends in the road.  I KNOW this.  I know it in my head and heart, but sometimes it's good to take a good hard look and make some evaluations about where we are, where we've been and most importantly WHERE we are going. 

I have had three conversations, yeah, I do get to talk to adults ;-)) this week where the discussion has been homeschooling our kids and our paths we are on.  I have some wonderful friends who like me have felt the call from God to train their own children in the Lord and home educate.  Could it be this time of year that has us ALL looking at what's working and what isn't in our lives? Is there something about November that causes self introspection and examination of a sorts to bring homeschooling moms into a thinking process about directions?  I suppose that Thanksgiving and the season of looking at our blessings could have an impact, but more importantly it could be that we all have our finger on the heartbeat of our homes and our children...

I discussed one of our kids with hubby today.  The child who I struggle most to educate.  The summation of the discussion is this: HE WILL MAKE IT! This is such a relief to me...oh what a burden I bare when thinking of his future and the path of educating him~the trials and victories we have shared-both child and I.  Along with this same vein came the discussion with my friend who is struggling with her much younger son in areas we have and continue to struggle.  NOT that I am happy she is struggling, but in the sharing, I can see that our problems are not all that unique. WE ARE NOT ALONE in them either. . .someone else is in this trench! I praise God for knowing of His presence and that I have a friend who understands too~even if it's both of us struggling~we can encourage each other! She said, "God knew we could handle it!" Love you, sister in the Lord for such ample encouragment.  I will engrave this on my heart for the moment of despair when the war is raging!

Then the phone rang with the call from a mother whose child is yet so young whose heart is called to train in the ways of the Lord.  Oh what a joy to find a "like-minded" soul who is praying and preparing now for her later homeschool journey. 

My girlfriend who I've known forever is also in a place of self acessment.  She is looking at what is working and what isn't in her homeschooling and life right now too! Plans are being made and formulated for changes.  You know, homeschooling is a fluid thing, right? We can make adjustments as needed. We should make adjustments as needed! WE MUST make adjustments as needed! 

When looking at my own home and family, hubby and I had some disussion.  It's important to know how we got where we are first.  Sometimes it's hard figuring this out.  Asking ourselves some questions can help though.  We are looking deep into our minds, hearts and circumstances to acess our path in our journey with God and homeschooling.  Hmmm....

AND in this process of looking at the HOW~we are looking for the WHAT NEXT? Where and WHAT does God want from us as a couple and family. 

Thanksgiving is a time of assessment with each of us with our finger on the heartbeat of our family's hearts.  Being thankful makes what we have enough! This is the quote off my girlfriend's email signature, AND it's oh soo true! Thankful first in the journey as we move onward and upward...

So I ask you, how did you get here, and where are you headed? NOW WHAT?
In Thanksgiving,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

FREE Lap Book Resource

Head over to
CurrClick for a Thanksgiving holiday resource AND MORE!
They have so much to offer! You won't be disappointed! The Thanksgiving Holiday Helper is FREE this week only!

Twas the Month Before Christmas~Teaching the Children

The holidays have rolled around every year we've homeschooled, and sometimes I've not always been as "ready" as I would like to have been . . . Ready meaning that I had prepared my family for the celebration of the birth of the Savior and a time to draw closer and enjoy each other more!

The hustle and bustle can really get a family down~but I say, "stop the madness!" and decide NOW just what you are and are not going to do this holiday season.  Do you find yourself involved in activities you wish you'd rather not? Do you find gift giving somewhat obligatory? OK . . . I am hitting it hard, but let's be real! THERE are things we just don't want to do that drag our energy down and out of our spririts when it comes to the season.  While the holidays "should" be the most joyous, often for people they are the most stressful and even fraught with sadness.  There are many causes for these, but just because silver bells are ringing and sleigh bells are jingling does not mean that in each heart is merry with "ho ho ho" or have peace on earth! We must recognize that there are stresses that come with this season and prepare now to focus intently on the meaning of the Christmas season rather than the hustle and bustle . . .

Focus on the Savior can mean many things to many people.  For some it's a Christmas Eve church service by candlelight.  Others it means serving in a homeless shelter soup kitchen or visiting in the nursing home on Christmas day.  For some it will mean reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 with gathered friends and family, while others will participate in various church activities from a live nativity, cantata, or the performance of Handel's Messiah. 

These are all wonderful expressions, but I am talking about something more.  It's now Nov. 10th and there are approx six weeks until the day of Christmas.  What will our children learn about our beliefs and values during this time?  Are we intentionally teaching the Christmas historical account now so that our littles are well prepared to know truth when the see so much secualar "fun" /error around them? Oh don't get me wrong . . . Santa need not be harmful, while some would disagree with me! I just believe in focusing on the truth more! ALL children love to enjoy Christmas, but as they mature the truth of the REASON for the season must be our focus! 

There are many activities you can do to teach the Christ's birth to children.

1. Tell the account as fact.  Focus on its historical nature.  Teach a reverence for the Bible as truth.

2. Do hands on activities to reinforce the story.  I like the NewTestament lapbook from Homeschool in the Woods by Amy Pak.  This is excellent and you can focus just on the Christmas story or in fact, teach the whole New Testament in lapbook form.  There is an emphasis on the prophecies of Christ's birth as well as the fulfillment of those prophecies.  It's excellent.
    You could do coloring sheets and crafts. 
3. Reinact the account of Jesus' birth with your children.  Get out the towels, bathrobes and sandals.  Use sticks, rope and sheets~anything to drape and make Biblical clothing that looks period for your child.  Discuss each part~the stable, the manger, the animals.  Use a baby doll and wrap in swaddling clothes! This is will meaningful for your children as they discover the story and learn of its truth.

4. Read a Christmas book: I highly recomment One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Grahm.  This is an awesome story that weaves in God's plan of salvation from Creation to the Cross.  This particular book is a worthwhile investment for every home of young children.  Read it every year! It's beautifully illustrated, and they will love it! It's a favorite of mine!

5. Do your children know the traditional Christmas hymns? Now is the time to dust off your singing voice and teach those songs of yeaster year. Away in a Manger, The First Noel, Silent Night, Carol Sing, Joy to the World!, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and more! These songs are not played nor taught to children anymore, but Rudolf and Frosty sure are! Teach them the hymns of the faith surrounding Christmas now so when they are in church, they can sing too!  Do your young children know how to read a hymnal? It takes practice and if you teach them now with sheet music or borrow your church's hymnal (with permission of course) to teach how to read the stanzas and words.  It will make the church services more meaningful for your child.

6.  What about the Lord's Supper?  Is this observed in your church? What practices are there concerning your children?  Teach about these now.  Prepare your child to understand each elements' significance.  Allow your child more than an observational knowledge by your teaching prior to the experieince whether your child participates or not.  You child is watching~teach so he will understand what he sees!

There are many things to teach and prepare for the celebration of the birth of the Savior.  Don't get caught up in the trivial. . . of course I am going to discuss all aspects, but the most important is forcusing on the reason for the season, Jesus the Lord.

blessings this Christmas!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Twas the Month Before Christmas~Decorating!

Ever notice that the stores are already stocked and chocked full of Christmas already? I've written about getting ready with gift giving~man o man, this is something we really need to do all year long~but that's a whole nuther post lol!

Decor is huge for this season for many people! What do you like to see at Christmas that without, it would not be Christmas? Is it the tree all decked out? The stockings hung? The mistletoe? What about the manger? Is this symbolic for you and your family? I've docorated big and small homes.  As a pastor family we have moved a few times and the style and size of our homes have varied.  Of course I have a certain "flavor" to my docorating.  It's pretty ecclectic.  I like lots of different stuff.  STUFF might be the operative here! But I want to suggest something I am going to do this year, just like I did last...less is more!

So I like to put out nativity scenes.  I have a confession: My house right now isn't really set up for a spare spot for one~not a surface clean enough without stacks of stuff or books...but I am working on it...and GUESS WHAT? I have my favorite nativity this year for our home.  It's one my mother hand painted in china paints in the 1970's that has been around most of my's gorgeous. The camels have jewels, there is a stable and star...she did such a nice job...I will have to take a pic for you to see~I like to decorate with fresh fruit and evergreens too...something about that smell...


Applesauce Cinnamon Ornaments
NOW here's my addition to what they've said:
I use puff paints to decorate them...use a straw to put a hole in the top for a hanger too before it dries...these will last and smell good for several seasons!  Any of the recipes there will work..I use the applesauce and just cinnamon one...but you pick...I like the heavy smell of cinnamon...I've hung these on the tree and in windows so the sun will heat them to make them smell divine!

Also another homemade neat ornament I love:

Orange and Clove Pomander
  • Take an orange
  • fork
  • whole cloves
Punch holes in an orderly manner to cover the entire orange with the fork.
Stick in the clove end all over the orange.
Tie with a ribbon or enclose in tulle with ribbons to hang, or you can just set in a pretty dish on a table or counter top~oh the wonderful aroma!

I also like pine cones for decorating:
I like to put them in baskets and set them around~beside the hearth or on a table.
I have soaked them in oil essence for aroma plus the pine smell...I have tipped them with glitter and hung them too...

 Evergreens and Fresh Fruit
When I had fireplace mantles, I would use evergreens (O the wonderful smell) and then I used fresh grapefruit, oranges and apples to set with white taper candles in holders throughout.  This was very Williamsburgish and smelled sooo good!

This year, I already have my basket of Buckeye nuts setting pine cones are can use magnolia cones too...

So how are you decorating for the season? NOW is the time...Christmas will be upon us and if we do this now, we can be free to enjoy our families and friends!
God bless,

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Excellent Literature for Children~QUALITY!

There's a HUGE SALE going on HERE!

You won't go wrong introducing your children to literature, well written books from the late 19th and early 20th centuries! There are several great collections: The Emma Leslie Early Church History sets along with others~these books are awesome! We read Glaucia the Greek last year and loved it as part of our history studies.  You can read my review HERE!

There are great discounts AND FREE shipping in November!
Also for the NEXT 4 DAYS~buy 3 get one FREE! 

You can't beat this in wonderful children's literature!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Christmas Is Soo Near!

2009 Holiday Digital Supplement/Idea Book
Another TOS FREEbie~Check out all the others on the FREEBIE FRIDAYS button!!
Christmas is just around the corner.  Right around the corner! I have been thinking about what I am going to do in order to be ready.  Do you decorate? Do you make any of your gifts? Do you buy much of them? What activities do you participate in?   Oh I know it's only November 2nd...I am still in the Autumn, Thanksgiving mode myself, but with a little planning the holidays can be less stressful and a time for the entire family~THIS IS YOU TOO, MOMS to have some quiet and peace!  I am beginning a series called Twas The Month Before Christmas! where I going to share all the tips and ideas I can for you to glean for your holiday season.  Let me say I want to hear all that you are planning or your favorite things or anything you like to do this time of year too! I love your input and comments! Thanks for being so responsive!

So today, over six weeks out . . . let's consider Gifts.

Gifts has to be one of the most stressful things about the season for those of us on a budget.  If money is tight, and who isn't going through that right now? You can reast assured that when you make that list you will want to check it twice.


1. Make a gift giving list.
    Who can come off, who stays and who gets added.
2. Decide what you want to give each recipient.
    Of course your young children and spouse are a high priority.  But what about your husband's coworkers, bosses or anyone he works with or yourself for that matter?  Is this a tradition that can't be broken or one where you can say, "this year, let's don't..."  I did this some time back, not because we cared less, but because we had less with some closest friends.  They had more than we, but even with the "Oh you don't have to get me anything..." statement made us feel so bad, that the gift recieved was worse than recieving nothing from that friend.  Do you understand what I am saying that it's more blessed to give and when you can't just getting can be painful.  Don't get me wrong, we have had and continue to have wonderful gifts, but for those close enough to know we are on the budget and's such a sticky matter! You have to do what makes you comfortable, but remember that you can only DO WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD~ONLY! This goes for your personal and extended families also.
3. Now that your list is "checked twice" and you have decided on what gifts, consider finding them for as little as you can.  Shop ALOT and buy occasionally! Look for the lowest prices on items you are looking for in a price you can afford! Don't get lured in with the Christmas music and sights of the season with beautifully merchandised items CALLING YOUR MONEY! I hate going into the national discount retail stores . . . but I really hate it this time of year!  Why? Because they want my money! AND often they will get it unless I am VERY careful! So stick to your list and if isn't on your list, and you think it's the perfect gift for Great Aunt Matilda, then WRITE IT DOWN, the price and place and KEEP LOOKING! Retailers are countning on impulsive buying to put them in the black this Christmas season, and they are working hard to get our money!  Do you want a trampeline for the kids this year? What do they cost now? When is it on a good sale~by knowing the cost before the season you will KNOW when the sale will occur!

4. Make your items.  A word of caution goes here! I have cruised the net, and true there all ALL KINDS of pretty handmade ideas out there~I am not a Scrooge about this, but I do want to say that if you are planning to make any gifts, consider your time and money as part of the gift for what you will give.  An example of this is recently I made a handmade throw for a newlywed couple we love~I owned the yarn and it was my time I offered really.  Now I am paying shipping to send it because we live away, but I wanting to send something nice for my money.  While I wait to hear if they like it and HONESTLY may never know if they don't~remember gifts that are handmade are a toss up! Sometimes they bomb! Have you ever gotten one that. . .uh..well...uh...well...??? I know I want my gifts to be loved and well recieved by the person I am giving to, and while most are gracious, and we all KNOW it's the thought that counts, handmade UNLESS you KNOW the person can be a toss up! Just be careful.  NOT saying DON'T~just be cautious! Sometimes a card is enough~or some candy if it's not ill health affecting! I've done that~bought candy and a pretty container when I didn't know what else to do!

Gifts are one of the big things about the holidays that can cause stress for the homeschooling family! Let's consider everyone in the family including both parents who may feel extra burdened this time of year~for some enjoyment and relaxation!

We are schooling right up to the few days before as we want to finish when the weather breaks in Spring!  Of course this is your decision how you want to proceed.  For now, I wish you a wonderful Autumn day looking forward to twinking lights and sweet smells and sounds!