Saturday, June 29, 2013

Thinking thoughts...

  • I feel out of place in stores where there is heavy metal music blasting.  
  • I'm starting to feel stuck in between---too old to shop in stores where all the shop clerks look like the young  models on the wall and too young to be buying clothes where I'm competing with over 60 crowd.  
  • I hate shopping, but needed some shorts.   I found 2 pair and both were sizes that I've never purchased in my adult life...smaller sizes!  WOOHOO!!! That made my entire day.
  • No restaurant or fast food is soooo good that I would wait in a line that wraps around the entire place.  
  • I'm not a jump-on-the-bandwagon-for-a-new-fad kinda person.
  • My children have such lower expectations when it comes to fun times, than I do.  I need to go with their expectations and be happy.
  • I am just finishing a book about the Titanic and got really sad thinking about all those husbands and sons left behind on that ship.  Getting a little too into the story thinking about my husband and my oldest son and how horrible that would have been.  Sad, sad story!
  • I'm working out the details of our school year schedule.  I was reminded that I made it a family priority to be home at least 2 whole week days this year.  I'm rearranging lessons/activities to make that happen.  I really feel like God is wanting us to do this, right now.  It's actually very exciting.  No guilt or comparing ourselves to others.  
  • I hold onto certain things I've noticed:  old magazines, books, clothes and papers.  I just got rid of a stack of magazines, my car trunk full of books, 7-8 bags of clothes, and some old worksheets I'd been hanging onto.  All this in addition to our 1000 thing purge at the beginning of the year.  "I might use it someday!"  is just not going to cut it anymore. I'm not renewing any magazine subscriptions or going to the library book sale for a while.   I love having even more free open space in my house.  I love it that my office is no longer so messy that I can actually open the door when company is over.   That feels good!  
  •  I have such a great life.  I've been blessed in so many ways.  Great husband, wonderful kids, God's peace in my heart, my family and friends, opportunities to share with others, and so much more.  Sometimes it's just so overwhelming!  
  • This life passes so quickly...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Fun Summer Times

Grandma came for a short visit last week...

Tera showed off her culinary skills during Grandma's visit by making lunch- foccacia and stromboli, each made from scratch.  

Friends playing a rousing game of Pictionary...

The gardens are growing so well and look so pretty, I just couldn't help posting another picture.  

A little baseball in the yard....


Today's latest culinary triumph...cinnamon swirl yeast bread.  This is the first time she's ever made this recipe and it looked just like the picture in the cookbook.  This girl needs to pursue culinary arts as a career.  In the meantime, she can practice on her hungry family any time she wants.  

Friday, June 21, 2013

Mosaic Reviews: Classical Historian Medieval History Memory Game

We LOVE history! 

We LOVE games! 

Combine the two and most likely we've got a winner!

Through the Mosaic Review team, we received for free the Medieval History Memory Game from The Classical Historian.   Each game has 64 pieces and have labelled images dealing with various aspects of the time period.  Within the Medieval History game there were pieces on The Last Supper by Leonardo Di Vinci, The Bubonic Plague, Chinese Compass and tons more.  Some were iconic images, but this game also includes more obscure images spanning 4 different land regions. 

There are several ways to play:

You can go solo:

Play with a friend the classic memory style game:  

The 8 and older set will be challenged by the timed categories game variation (answers included with the directions):

Or play with your pre-schooler who whines every time you get a match, because he wanted the Castle, Chinese Compass or the Bubonic Plague or (fill in the blank):

What we liked:

  • Great quality game with high quality images.

  • Good customer service.  Our game came with some minor damage and The Classical Historian replaced the game without us having to return it.  They were prompt, apologetic and took care of the problem.

  • Tera says: "Great for younger kids to participate in a Middle Ages unit." and "Memory game better for little kids- Category game better for older kids."

  • Although at first put off by the 3+ rating on this game, my older children really enjoyed playing and acquiring matches as much as the pre-schooler of the family.

What we struggled with:

At first, I wasn't sure how much my older kids would get from an image based game...especially on Medieval History. That is one of our favorite eras!  Through playing this game,  I realized just how little we knew. I also wasn't sure how much historical facts a game that is only labelled images could teach. 

Then as we played the game,  I started thinking of it as a wonderful springboard for learning.  Within a few minutes, Daniel was asking:  "Who is St. Frances?"  Then we were off to research.  So, what I thought was a negative actually turned into the biggest positive of all.  

A game that spurs the acquisition of knowledge by means of research.  

Each memory game (Ancient History, Medieval History or American History) is  
or buy all three games for only $39.95!

Also available in the game department:  

 Go Fish! games (Ancient History, Medieval History or American History) for $11.95 each or buy the set of three for only $29.95!

The Classical Historian also offers complete history curriculum and other products, you can check out here!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Summer Garden

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Tomatoes, peppers, basil 

 Strawberry pyramid

 One of our first tomatoes

Squash, cucumber, pole beans and sunflowers (JP has the knack for sunflowers, I've tried several times and just couldn't get them to grow)

Sweet banana pepper


The long view...

We planted three blueberry bushes what seems like forever ago and this is the first year we've seen any berries. We'll have about 25 to share among all of us, but at least they're ours. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Mosaic Reviews: How Do We Know God Is Really There?

Who made God?

Why can't I touch Him?

How big is God?

If you are a parent, you've probably heard these questions and more at one time or another from your kids.  Sometimes the answers don't just roll off our tongues as easily as we'd like them, too.  Michael was really excited when I told him we were getting to review the book:  How Do We Know God is Really There?

We were familiar with Apologia's science curriculum, but I wasn't sure what to expect.  I was quite pleased with what we received.  It's a book I think we'll read over and over. 

Thomas and his dad are having their nightly talk, when Thomas asks his dad, besides the Bible, "How do we know God is really there?"   Thomas' dad leads him through a series of logical questions and illustrations to  answer that question in a way that any kid (or adult, even) could easily understand. 

What we really liked:

  • Written in a style that is easy to read and easy to understand
  • Appeals especially to boys and models father/son relationships
  • Older kids enjoy it as well
  • Simple watercolor illustrations that catch kids' attention
  • Addresses a hard to explain question in a way that makes sense 
  • Using scientific evidence and logic to answer the question "How Do We Know God is Really There?"
  • It's about space!  Michael's favorite page is where Thomas' is driving a race car on the rings of Saturn.  His face lights up every time!   

Apologia says on their website that this is the first in a new series of picture books on topics pertaining to other questions about the Christian faith.  My kids definitely enjoyed this one and we'll look forward to future editions in this series. 
This is the first in an exciting new series of picture books designed to introduce kids to important questions of the Christian faith in terms even pre-readers can understand. - See more at:
This is the first in an exciting new series of picture books designed to introduce kids to important questions of the Christian faith in terms even pre-readers can understand. - See more at:

To purchase:

How Do We Know God Is Really There?
Written by Melissa Cain Travis
Illustrated by Christopher Voss
ISBN:  978-1-935496-96-3

Need more information, check this out:
Sample pages

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Memories of the Heart

Last weekend, Tera and her daddy went to a daddy-daughter ball.  Since our daughter is a jeans and t-shirt kinda girl and our church meetings are casual, we don't spend money to buy her dresses/skirts she'll never wear.  So, we took the day on Friday to go find just the perfect casual outfit that would make her feel comfortable yet fit the "dress code".  JP went out on his own Saturday to get some things as well.  They clean up pretty well, don't ya think?  

The event was geared to the 4-12 aged crowd.  Tera was really pushing the age-appropriate envelope.  She and JP enjoyed the things that were for the 12 year-old set and then went out for Chinese food.  Overall, they had such a fun time.  I'm so glad we pushed for them to do this night.  Our blonde-hair, blue-eyed baby is growing up much too fast for our taste and we're seizing the moments as they come! 

My husband is always a good sport, but refused to take a camera.  So, these photo booth camera shots (from their website) are my fun pictures of the night!

But that's okay because they made the kind of memories that you store in your heart!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Best of Times

We attended a VBS at a church on our street this week. Most of my readers' know that when we moved here, we started having simple church meetings in our homes. We now meet in one other home besides ours and the park sometimes and we just had a new family visit our meeting.   We know God has called us to this kind of gathering, but I still wrestle with things like VBS. I hesitate to attend a church that we have no connections with for various reasons- their pursuit of us as potential members, safety issues, etc.   

I saw their sign for a couple of weeks in advance and then they came knocking on our door inviting us. One of the group canvassing was Michael's teacher and expressed that she hoped he could come.    I decided to give it a try and be up front about attending another church. It felt awkward to me to go, but I was willing to do that because my kids were really interested in going. Oh kids had the best time in the world.   This was one of the best VBS I've ever seen.  I stayed on the scene, but had no worries about my kids or their safety. 

Slip n' Slide night and recreation

 Tera held the Bible the last night during the opening and parent's program.


The two above pictures sum up Michael's week...he found his "mother figure" (as Ernest T. Bass would say) in his escort.  He was stuck to her like glue all week.  He would break line just to run up to be next to her....almost EVERY time.  He skipped around to his own beat all week.  

I volunteered in the snack department all week...these kids ate great and I got to hang out with some really cool people.  The kids brought home lots of little crafts, too. 

We ended our week by starting a painting art class.  (Doesn't Daniel look so tired?)   The kids will be working on a landscape painting in this 6 week class, just up the street from our house. 

I told my kids at the beginning of the week, we'd take it one day at a time and if I saw meltdowns then we wouldn't go back.  These kids kept it together all week long.  Not only staying up way past their bedtime EVERY night but doing flute lessons, piano lessons, starting allergy medicine, TWO 1 1/2 hour art classes, library trip, grocery shopping, ice cream with friends, swimming with friends, shopping for a dress for Tera, and probably some things I forgot.  We made it every night!  I was so proud of them as they learned about serving God through serving their family, friends, neighbors and communities.  

This was our big week of the summer...someone actually suggested that I check the newspaper and find other VBS's to attend for the rest of the summer.  Not going to was fun, but I think we'll spend the rest of the summer hangin' out with friends and chillin' out.  We are so exhausted and tired that it might take us the rest of the summer to recuperate.  It was worth it to let my kids have this experience. 


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