Friday, November 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday–Oh, third child…

This child of mine is in. a. hurry! I don’t know if it’s because he’s trying to catch up with his sibs or just a look at his personality, but he’s a wild thing. He turned 10 months on the day that he was doing this:

Shane cruising

2012-11-30 Shane Stuck Standing (3)

Kahlen walked on her first birthday. Nate walked at 15 months. Looks like Shane is out to set a record!

~S
(Yep, it’s Friday…so? We can just pretend I posted this two days ago, mmm-kay?)

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is day 2 of our Thanksgiving celebration around here. Yesterday we had a fantastic feast with hubby’s parents and siblings. I did most of the cooking because my mother-in-law has a broken part on her hip replacement, ouch :/ Anyway, today we are home, with just the five of us. I made a smaller feast, only cooking the things that we love, and the way that I like them. While I really don’t mind cooking for other people and their tastes, sometimes it’s nice to just prepare things the way *I* like them. 2012-11-22 Thanksgiving Feast (2)

I’ve been thinking today about what I am thankful for. I have been super duper busy this month and haven’t really had time to pick something every day or stop and reflect on what I am thankful for, so I want to spend time doing that today. Here’s my list so far:

  1. Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior! Without Him, joy and peace and love and all the other fruit of the spirit are next to impossible.
  2. My wonderful husband.
  3. Kahlen, my first born and my only daughter.
  4. Nathanael, my middle child and first son.
  5. Shane, my baby boy.
  6. My mom and how close we’ve become, especially in the last few years.
  7. My stepdad and what a good match he is for my mom.
  8. My father and the love he shows my kids.
  9. My stepmom and fun times with her and her nanny charges at the park.
  10. Amazing friends, both old and new.
  11. Homeschooling co-op. Couldn’t do it without you, Melissa!
  12. Homeschooling in general.
  13. Our house. It may seem small at times, but it’s just where we need to be right now.
  14. My van. Man, I’m spoiled! I asked for a Honda Odyssey, and that’s what I got.
  15. Sunday school. I’ve been blessed and challenged teaching these same kids for the last five years.
  16. Our church.
  17. Monday morning prayer time. A group of faithful women getting together to pray for our kids almost every week for two (I think?) years.
  18. My DSLR camera. Kids move at the speed of light, how else would I ever catch anything they do?
  19. Warm weather in November.
  20. Lessons in pie making from my mother-in-law.
  21. Cherry pie and whipped cream that I did not have to make.
  22. Stuffing the traditional way…cooked inside the turkey. Mmm, yummy!
  23. Costco.
  24. Funny faces from Shane.
  25. Listening to Kahlen read to me.
  26. “Tickle me again!” from Nate.
  27. Sleeping in. (a rare treat given to me by hubs and the kids this morning)
  28. Baking.
  29. Trying new recipes.
  30. Cooking old recipes that I don’t have to even think about.
  31. Food Network Magazine.
  32. Cooking delicious dinners.
  33. Wine.
  34. Sunlight.
  35. My collection of Thirty-One bags. Makes spending the day somewhere else a lot easier to stay organized and find what I need (like a diaper and wipes, NOW!)
  36. Hubby’s help with assembling calendar kits.
  37. Good health. Not just mine, but that of my family as well.
  38. Music.
  39. Running. Even if it’s a struggle for me.
  40. New running shoes.
  41. Handmade Christmas Cards.
  42. The library and all the resources available there.
  43. My adventurous girl who wants to go camping, even if it does get down to 30 degrees at night right now.
  44. My foodie son who wants to help me cook all the time.
  45. Nursing my baby boy. Even in the middle of the night.
  46. Shane’s “Cheese” face
  47. Cuddles with Nate
  48. Pudding pie with Oreos. Sometimes it’s nice to just have something simple for dessert.
  49. The blogosphere. I’ve had a lot of fun blogging and reading other’s blogs over the last several years. I’m really hoping to get back to more consistency, maybe after the first of the year??

And more each day! What are you thankful for?

~S

PS I would highly recommend reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp. It’s an excellent look at ways to be thankful for the everyday, to “live fully right where you are”. Her writing style is not for everyone as it’s very poetic even though it’s a nonfiction book. However, I really enjoyed it, especially the audio version which I bought through Audible

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday–Veggie Straws

All three of my kids at almost 10 months :)

2007-11-09 Kahlen Eating 0032010-04-02 Veggie Chips (3)2012-11-08 Shane in Highchair (4)

~S

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday–Crawling

2012-11-08 Shane Crawling (1)Aaaaannnnddd he’s gone…2012-11-08 Shane on the Stairs (2)Wait, pulling up on the stairs in the same week?? Don’t think I’m quite ready for that!!

~S

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Speak Up Saturday–TOS Review–Your Child’s Profession of Faith

Speak Up Saturday

Wow, my last crew review!! It’s been a busy reviewing year, and while it’s been really good, and we’ve received a ton of products that we have loved, I’ll be taking a break from the TOS crew for the upcoming year. That doesn’t mean that you still can’t go find out about some excellent homeschooling products, though, simply go to Schoolhouse Review Crew to see what is being reviewed now!

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Okay, on to today’s review! Grace and Truth Books gave us the choice of a few different products, but given the age of my kids, I picked this book ~ Your Child’s Profession of Faith by Dennis Gundersenimage

From the Publisher:

New, updated edition - with a fresh chapter on baptism, and helps for parents and pastors.
Gundersen's unique treatment of this rarely-addressed subject can make the difference between parents who participate in their children's deception and presumption, or parents who truly guide him to eternal life. If a small child tells us he thinks he's saved, do we take his words at face value? How do we test his profession, especially without seeming to doubt the child and discourage him?

The book sounded intriguing, given where Kahlen is at right now, so I was excited to read it. However, it fell short of my expectations. I was hoping it would be more about what a child’s faith looks like, how it differs from a child, and some questions to ask or ways to tell if your child’s profession of faith is real and lasting. While it covered these things, it was only in the last 26 of the 94 pages. The first 68 pages were spent on discussing the childness and immaturity of children. I have three of them. I didn’t really need that many pages to explain that to me. I suppose that if I didn’t have such an awesome church, which emphasizes training up our children in the way they should go, I might have found some of his discussion eye-opening, but such is not the case.

Also, his writing style seemed very cumbersome and unpolished. The thoughts were simple but the vocabulary was more complex. It did not lead to smooth reading. I had to read several sentences multiple times in order to figure out what he was trying to say.

With those things said, I really did enjoy the last three chapters. I could have skipped the rest and just read these chapters on The manifestations of faith, When your child is ready for baptism, and some concluding counsels as well as the questions for pastoral interviews with children about baptism. This part was more what I was hoping for. The main points and the scripture references were very helpful. I still felt like his writing was cumbersome, but if I just read the bolded main points and pulled out the scriptures related to the topic, then I gained something useful in my interactions with my kids, specifically my almost-6-year-old.

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This book sells for $7.50 on the Grace and Truth website. Make sure to check out their other products as well, many of which were reviewed by fellow crew members.

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~S

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product through The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Speak Up Saturday–TOS Review–Activity Bags

Speak Up Saturday
Today I want to share with you all about Activity Bags! There are lots of these types of ideas floating around, but this product that I had the chance to review pulls it all together for you.
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What is an activity bag??
Quite simply, they are self-guided activities that a preschooler can do by himself with little to no help. He can see immediately if the activity was done correctly, and each activity is contained in a one-gallon zipper bag.
These books feature activities that can be independently done and put away by preschoolers. Get children ready for kindergarten with skills on 123s, ABCs, color, motor skills, patterning and more skills they'll learn through having fun! At only around $1.00 per activity bag, activities are frugal and easy to create with household objects and the included reporducibles. Activity instructions are clearly written, with a description of the activity, the skills it develops, supplies needed, assembly instructions, bag contents, label example, and buying tips. Instructions to individual mothers, as well as those running an "activity swap" are included.
There are two main features of these books. The first is the activity bags as described above. The second, and equally helpful, is how to plan an Activity Bag swap. It’s much easier to create 20 of the same bag and swap than it is to create 20 separate bags, so the creators of Activity Bags have laid out the directions for hosting such a swap. They explain in detail what they have found works and how to do each step along the way.  While I did not have the time to host a swap before this review, I am definitely planning on hosting one soon! (Probably in the new year, if anyone is interested in joining in!)
The activities themselves are laid out in an easy to follow and consistent format throughout both preschool books (I’ll talk about the travel book in a bit). At the beginning of each book, besides the swap instructions, there is also a page that includes basic information for each activity including the name, the supplies needed, and the basic skills learned. This was helpful to me doing it on my own because I could just print out this page and gather supplies that I already owned in order to decide which activities I was going to start with. After I did that step, I then selected several activity bags to try out with Nate, who is almost 3 1/2. I assembled a few bags from each book to give him a variety of activities to try out.
2012-10-25 Tot School Zoo Animals (2)
Here he is sharing one of his bags with a friend before tot school started last week.
I was pleasantly surprised how well he did with the activities. I showed him how to do it the first time, and then left them in a place he could get them whenever he wanted to. He has played with the few that I made up several times and enjoyed them. He likes that he can do them independently with success every time! I like that too :-) He’s the kind of kid who wants my help all. the. time. but there’s something different about being able to just go grab his activity bag and do it whenever he wants. 2012-10-28 Activity Bags (1)
I was not as impressed with the Travel Activities in a Binder. I’m not sure what I was hoping for, but that wasn’t it. First of all, the idea of hosting a swap just for a travel binder is rather silly. Why would I spend the effort to do that? I would rather just have people pay me for the whole binder and I could assemble them all, it would be much less work! Also, the activities included were either too old for my kids (they required reading or drawing skills that my kids don’t have) or the activity was a game that needed two people, which wouldn’t work well with my two. The idea of a travel binder to have activities on hand in the car all the time is a great one, but the implementation of this e-book was not all that good.
Overall, I’m excited to use these e-books more in the future and coordinate an activity bag swap so that we can have more activities for Nate to do. I think the idea is sound, and they fulfill their purpose in giving him something to do independently, which is something I really need right now while I try to do first grade with Kahlen. The activities included are simple, cost effective, yet hold his interest long enough. As a side note about the difference in books 1 and 2, I would start with book 2 if I were just going to have one of the books. It’s better laid out as far as printing things out goes, and the activities are equivalent in both books.
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Each e-book retails for $15 or you can get both the Preschool Activity Bag books for $27. They also have several other activity bag books including Science Experiments, Math, Reading Games, and Daily Activity Journals.
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~S
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product through The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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