Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wow! Black Friday Sale!

Come Shop With Us

You know how I've told you how much I love the
Old Schoolhouse Magazine, right? It's exactly what I want from a homeschool magazine...the perfect mix of inspiration and practical help, all wrapped up in a beautiful, glossy package. Well, The Old Schoolhouse Store is having an awesome subsription deal for their Black Friday Sale and the best part don't have to wait till Friday!

That's right, Black Friday starts today at The Old Schoolhouse Store. And from today until Sunday you can get a whole year's subscription (4 issues) for only $7.95!!! That's how much one issue of this magazine usually costs! And when you sign up for the you'll automatically receive their weekly Teacher's Toolbox in your email inbox each week. I never miss reading this weekly's themed with helpful ideas, freebies, and links (like a unit study).

As well as the great subscription deal, TOS is also giving away packages of free stuff when you order $50, $100, and $150. Since TOS never charges shipping, you can be sure I will be spending some time at the Old Schoolhouse Store this week ordering some Christmas gifts for the littles. Maybe I'll see you there!
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Last Minute Thanksgiving Links

Okay, so I know you're probably not even going to think about homeschool tomorrow as you are preparing for THE BIG FEAST on Thursday. But just in case, I thought I'd share a few Thanksgiving sites that I came across...

Over at you'll find a complete list of passengers of the Mayflower. Click on the names to read short bios on them. is a neat and informative site, though this is a secular site and you may want to view this site with your kids. Included there is an interactive lesson called You Are The Historian and also a Talk like a Pilgrim Page. (That one's for you, Jenn. ;-) )

There are some adorable Pilgrim Hat cookies that I am SO making tomorrow. Yummy!!

And another neat site with lots of interactive learning including this Journey on the Mayflower.

You can check out more Thanksgiving links at Marcy's blog as well.

And don't forget...HAVE A HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! Pin It Now!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Meet Splish!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I have been given the wonderful opportunity to review many homeschool products over the next several months. I feel truly blessed to be participating in this review group and I'm looking forward to trying out the products and giving you my honest opinion.

There is something so precious about reading with little ones. I just love gathering my six as close to me as possible to enjoy reading a good book. And you know they have to be extra close when the pictures are colorful and engaging. This is exactly what took place in my living room yesterday as we read And Then Mama Said...It takes Time to Learn to Read written by Gena Suarez and illustrated by Keven Scott Collier.

This sweet story is all about Splish, an adorable little frog who is struggling to learn to read. His siblings and friends who live in Bliss Hollow have all learned to read, but his time hasn't yet come. Splish is homeschooled by his mother and she is patiently teaching him, but he is not quite so patient.

Our children are the perfect age for this story. My oldest is now reading fluently. My six year old is struggling, but trudging along. My five year old is just starting to sound out words. And my preschooler is learning her letters. Each one of my children sympathized with this little frog's plight and it was a good reminder to all of us that sometimes these things just take time.

It has been my goal for this school year that my children would learn to love the written word. And Then Mama Said...It takes Time to Learn to Read is a story that teaches children that reading is fun, rewarding, and worth all the hard work it takes to learn how to do it. Splish is aching to read... and I know it sounds silly, but I actually found myself tearing up when he finally learns at the end. I, too, am passionate about reading and this book is a tool to help me pass that passion on to my children.

You can order your softbound copy of this book for only $9.95 at The Old Schoolhouse Store. What a great Christmas gift this will make for your children and any homeschooling families you know. You'll also receive a free "Splish Activity E-book" with your purchase. This E-book is 36 pages of fun including science and copywork activities. My kids especially liked the alphabet maze and coloring pages.

To learn more about Splish you can visit his blog, or watch this video about his new book. I'm certain you and your children will become fast friends with him!

Don't forget you can read more reviews of this product at the TOS Homeschool Crew blog.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

We have a winner!

Congratulations to......
CarrieJoy won my copy of The Missing Link: Found by Christina and Felice Gerwitz. I'll be emailing her tonight and if I don't hear back from her by Wednesday, I'll draw again.
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Timely Reminder

"See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first."
-Hebrews 3:12-14
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Friday, November 21, 2008

Pocahontas Lapbook

We concluded our studies on Jamestown and Pocahontas at the end of October, but I'm just now getting around to posting the pictures of the lapbook we completed. We read both Pocahontas by D'Aulaire and Jamestown from The Adventures in Colonial America Series. Our lapbook componets came from HomeschoolShare's free Pocahontas lapbook.

I found this map of Powhatan's Indian village while surfing the internet. I didn't save the site so I'm not sure where it came from.

All the kids worked together to make this lapbook, each one making different booklets.


Mapping Jamestown.

Pocahontas marries John Rolfe.

How the Indians help the Englishmen and the gifts that were given to Chief Powhatan from the King og England (his 'Royal Brother').

Pocahontas saves John Smith's life twice.


Even the little ones help with the lapbook, practicing letters. Pin It Now!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Our house

Some of you have asked about us having our house for sale...

We began building our home about four years ago. We were careful in picking a lot and plan to a home that would grow with our growing family. Currently we were living an hour away from our family, our church, and my husband's work. It was a three bedroom, 1100 square foot home. No basement, no garage, no storage. I was expecting baby #4. And admittedly, we were a little feverish...with house fever that is.

While building our budget was stretched and stretched a little more.

We had been in the house for about three months when I felt really convicted. I had been struggling for some time because I knew that we had not thoroughly prayed through our move. I mean we had prayed for the house to get done when I gave birth to our fourth child and we were living in my mom's basement because our house had sold three months prior. And we had praised God when it was finished. But when we began the process, we never actually sought God over whether or not we should build this new house. After all, He might have said no.

At the time I was in a bible study at church called "When God Speaks" by Priscilla Shire and it was all about diserning the voice of God. I was beginning a new prayer journal and was down on my knees. It was at this moment that I knew I had to ask for forgiveness and hand my house over to God. We built this house to raise our children in, but I knew if it wasn't God's will that we raise our children in it, then I had to be okay with that and trust him. Suddenly, my daughter who was four at the time woke up from a nap she was taking on the couch behind me. Sleepily, she looked at me on the floor and said, "Mommy, I love our new house." I smiled and asked her why. "Because Jesus built it," she said. I felt like God was telling me that we would struggle, but we would keep the house.

Fast forward to January 2007. Almost 2 years ago we had a significant loss of monthly income. Our home is our only source of debt, but the high payment was weighing down on us. We had struggled before, but there was no way we could make the numbers work now. Our income was significantly less than our outgo. We prayed and prayed and kept feeling as though God was saying, "Wait."

So we waited and each month we somehow made it. We would have anonymous monetary gifts, huge bonuses and such. But over the summer it became worse and after much prayer decided it was time to put our house on the market. As you know, this is bad time to try to sell a house...oh, that's a gross understatement...houses aren't selling now. It's been over a year with nothing.

I truly thought that when we put our house on the market we would sell, downsize in mortgage, and God would save us from this situation that way. It was desperately hard to let go of the house, but we were willing. I still think it was God's will to put the house on the market, but I now wonder if it is God's will that we actually sell it. We've had some really rough months, but God has continually provided. Rarely has he provided in ways that I wanted Him to provide, but He has and I'm grateful. We will keep the house on the market until it either sells or our income increases enough that we have enough monthly income to afford it. At this point, either of those situations would be miraculous.

God gave me a scripture when this situation first began. It is Isaiah 13:14.

"From now on when your son asks you, 'What does this mean?' you will answer, 'With his great power, the Lord brought us out of Egypt, the land where we were slaves."

I know that we have been enslaved to a mortgage that we cannot afford because of our own ignorant decisions. I believe that one way or another God will bring us out of it and our testimony will be stronger because of it. In the meantime as the psalmist says...

"I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God." -Psalm 69:3

I would appreciate any prayers you may utter on our behalf. Pin It Now!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"The Missing Link: Found" Giveaway!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I have been given the wonderful opportunity to review many homeschool products over the next several months. I feel truly blessed to be participating in this review group and I'm looking forward to trying out the products and giving you my honest opinion.

The Missing Link: Found is the first of The Truth Seekers Mystery four book series published by Media Angels, Inc. It was written by Christina and Felice Gerwitz, a homeschooling daughter and mom duo. I received a letter from Felice with the book and loved this excerpt from it:

"My then homeschooled daughter, Christina, at 14 said she wanted to write a mystery novel. I explained, "We don't know how to write novels" and she said, "That's okay, Mom! We're homeschoolers, we can learn how." (Well, how could I say no?)"

The Gerwitz' wanted to help children stand up for their faith, so they wrote a book with good role models that are not only Christian, but homeschooled kids. These children are along for a wild adventure in The Missing Link: Found, helping out their uncle with his archaeological dig. It is believed that the Missing Link has been discovered which would be compelling evidence for the theory of evolution. This book is full of interesting tidbits and factoids and is written from a Creationist view.

I'll be honest, the first time I picked up this book I wasn't all that excited. I mean, we're talking about an action book written for pre-teen/teenagers with an explosion and military helicopter on the front cover. Not exactly my style. So, I handed it over to my husband thinking it might be a fun read aloud for him and the boys. Not surprisingly, my 7 year old was asking for "just one more chapter" after hubby announced he was done reading for the night.

Since the kids were enjoying it, I thought I'd give it one more try. This time I found myself getting in to the fast paced read. This isn't classic literature, but it had an intriguing story. I would say that the best target for this book would be the 8-14 year old range (depending on the reading level of your child). The author also mentioned that she wanted this to be a book that even the reluctant reader would enjoy, and I feel certain that she has achieved her goal.

So far three of the four books in The Truth Seekers Mystery Series have been released and you can purchase them for $8.99 at Media Angels, Inc. ... Christmas gifts, anyone?

But wait! I'm offering up the chance for you to win my copy of The Missing Link: Found! On Sunday, November 23rd at approximately 9pm I will randomly draw a winner. Here's what you need to do to enter:

1. Simply leave a comment to this post below making sure to include your email address and/or blog address where I can contact you...This is very important as you cannot win if I cannot contact you! You will be entered once into the drawing for commenting.

2. If you have a blog, you can have 5 EXTRA ENTRIES by posting about this contest and linking back to this review!!! Make sure you leave me a comment to let me know where you posted.

3. To all you non-bloggers...don't worry, you can have extra entries too. Just tell a friend about the contest and make sure you tell them to MENTION YOUR NAME when they leave a comment to enter, and you'll get 5 EXTRA ENTRIES, too!!!

I'll contact the winner by Monday morning, but if I don't hear back from them by Wednesday, I'll draw another name. Good luck and start commenting!

Oh, and keep checking back as I will be giving away another book sometime in the next couple of weeks!

Don't forget you can read more reviews of this product at the TOS Homeschool Crew blog.

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I just wanted to let everyone know I'm still here. I feel like my blog has turned into a walking advertisement as all I seem to be posting are the way, I have another one coming tonight (it was due yesterday!), but I'll have a giveaway with it as well. Fun!

Actually, I've just managed to overwhelm my schedule to the breaking point and haven't been able to find the time to post.

What have I been doing, you ask?

Well, last week was the last week of our co-op and we had our Dessert and Display Night.

We also ended the Creative Memories fundraiser I had been organizing with a Mom's Night Out Scrapbooking event (again, that I had organized, set up, cooked food for, brought 10 boxes of inventory for, etc., etc.)

I am in the process of reviewing so many products I cannot even think of them all to count them (very cool that I get all the free stuff...but a bit overwhelming).

We are still dealing with our realtor and the fact that the only people that look at houses call at 11:30 in the middle of my homeschool day and want to see the house at 2 in the afternoon. (Really, it just happened last Friday.)

I'm now organizing our homeschool group's Christmas party plus planning to teach two classes next semester at co-op.

I'm attempting to get hand sewn Christmas projects done.

I just finished a chapter submission last night for an ebook that I am trying to get published in. (I'll let you know if my chapter is chosen.)

And, oh yeah, I have six kids and I homeschool.

Okay, I think I'm done venting. I have to get back to actually doing...I really hope Chad doesn't come home today and ask, "So, what did you do today?" Pin It Now!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Amusing Mathematics

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I have been given the wonderful opportunity to review many homeschool products over the next several months. I feel truly blessed to be participating in this review group and I'm looking forward to trying out the products and giving you my honest opinion.

When I first found out I would be reviewing the November Planner Module: Amusing Mathematics from TOS, I thought, "Oh, G7 likes math. He'll love this." I wasn't fact, I was a bit surprised.

You see, Amusing Mathematics isn't just for the math lover. Possibly more importantly, this ebook is for the student who really doesn't like math. TOS has put together 48 pages of FUN math!

I'm talking...
Math riddles and tricks to amaze your friends,
printable pattern blocks and tangrams,
multiplication help,
copywork of math rhymes,
coloring pages,
links to fun math sites,
and more!

Now you may be wondering what exactly a Planner Module is. Well, remember the TOS Planner that I reviewed a couple of months ago? The Old Schoolhouse magazine has designed the planner modules to accompany this planner. Each month a new themed module is released. (July was "All About Inventors" and August was "Celebrate the Holidays"). These modules can stand alone, so you don't need to purchase the planner in order to enjoy them.

So why not give Little Johnny a break from another textbook math lesson today? Remind your child that math can be fun with Amusing Mathematics! You can purchase Amusing Mathematics from TOS for $7.95 and you'll receive it immediately as a download in your account upon checkout.

Don't forget you can read more reviews of this product at the TOS Homeschool Crew blog. Pin It Now!

Freebies and discounts!

The Old Schoolhouse Store Spotlight blog is offering midweek markdowns (a new item 1/2 off every week), interviews with the companies whose products they carry, and random FREE products! You won't want to miss a day. Also, they are giving away a $100 store gift certificate once they reach 1,000 subscribbers! They are already over half way there. Pin It Now!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

November Creation Club

Last week we had our November Creation Club. We had about 15 children and we all met at a local nature preserve. It was such a beautiful day and the temperature was just right.There was a 200 year old house on the property and this area above is called Mayhem Lane. It was the road that led to the house 200 years ago. We walked down this lane to enter in to the wooded area. It was neat to imagine the horse and carriages that surely traveled down it.

A woman who worked at the nature preserve was so kind as to take us through the woods and tell us about the trees and area.

They had even set up an "outdoor classroom" to sit and learn in the middle of the woods.

They had a bait box set the night before and the kids attempted to identify tracks left by animals nibbling on the food. I'm pretty sure over 10 animal tracks were identified.

This is a picture of snake weed (or is it snake root??). Anyway, this poisonous plant was actually the cause of Abraham Lincoln's mother's death. Apparently she drank milk from a cow that had consumed it.

The kids played for awhile at the end of the day. Here A6 poses in the tree that she was climbing.
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Saturday, November 8, 2008

"Look what I made!"

So, do you remember my post about babywearing? My sweet little Baby L is attached to her more ways than one! Even when we are home, I rarely go a day without putting on a wrap so that I can tote her around and get some work done. Actually, if you look closely at my picture in the sidebar you will see that I took the picture myself while holding Baby L. The light pink fabric is the original wrap I made and the dark pink is actually Baby L's arm.

At you can find all you need to know about babywearing, including videos and tutorials on how to wrap your baby on your front, hip, or back. It also gives instructions on how to make a no-sew baby wrap. You can also purchase wraps from companies, but they are very pricey.

One wrap that I fell in love with was the Moby D wrap, but since they run $60-$70, it was out of the question. What I like about them is the middle section of the wrap (the part you pull up to support the baby's back) is made of a pretty, patterned fabric. The rest of the wrap is a solid color.

Now, I don't know a lot about sewing, but I know how to sew a straight line, so I was pretty sure that I could make this myself. So I splurged a little at the fabric store and bought about $50 worth of fabric. But I was able to make 4 wraps (2 different styles) and still have left over fabric.
You start with 5-6 yards of solid color fabric (I like to use 6, but a smaller woman would probably prefer 5). It should be 2-3 feet wide and since most of the fabric I purchase is usually about 6 feet wide, I generally just cut it in half. Your patterned fabric should be about 3 1/2 feet long and the same width of the wrap.

Find the very center of your wrap and pin the patterned fabric to it with the front of the patterned fabric facing the back of the solid fabric. (Note: If the fabric is solid it will most likely be the same on the front and back.) Use a sewing machine to sew along the top and the bottom (the long sides). Once these sides are sewn, pull the fabric inside out (like you would a sleeve). Thanks, Connie, for helping me figure that part out! Now the patterned fabric will be attached, hemmed, and showing right side out! You can hand sew the sides of the patterned fabric to the wrap or leave them loose.

The solid pink in the above wrap is made of a crinkle fabric. I prefer the jersey knit to all of the other fabrics I have tried, but the crinkle makes a pretty wrap. What you can't see is that the solid fabric is wrapped and crossed around me and between Baby L's legs. She's very secure in there and loves to be worn! Once I put her legs into the crossed section, I pull the middle section (with the pattern) up behind her back. Here, the wrap is pulled all the way up to her head supporting her neck. If she falls asleep in the wrap, I can tuck her head into one side of the solid color fabric so that her head does not roll around while I am moving.

This wrap is made of fleece and now that the weather is turning cold, I'm using it quite a bit. In this picture, I haven't pulled the fabric all the way up Baby L's back. Now that she's bigger she likes to be able to move around a little more and see the world. Also, her legs are tucked inside the wrap. With a bigger baby, usually their legs will dangle out the bottom. She's in an in between stage and doesn't seem to mind it either way. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tales of Glory Nativity Set

A few years ago I purchased a miniature nativity set for the kids to play with during the Christmas season. Unfortunately, when I got it home it was much smaller than I had anticipated and was also ceramic....uh, yeah that didn't work. I don't think there is one piece of that nativity that is now in one piece.

Fortunately for me, I received an early Christmas present from One 2 Believe a couple of weeks ago and I now have exactly what I was looking for in a kid's nativity set. The Tales of Glory Nativity Set includes 17 PVC pieces (Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus in manger, King #1, King #2, King #3, Angel #1, Angel #2, Shepherd #1, Shepherd #2, male camel, male donkey, male sheep, female sheep, stable, tree, and a barrel of hay) plus a mini book that tells the story of Jesus. This set is the perfect size for my little ones and retails for $24.99.

You'll want to note that this is not a toy for children under age three. There are small pieces that could come off, though we've had no problem with this after several playtimes. PVC can also be hazardous for those teethers and toy chewers, so carefully monitor the youngest of your brood. I also found that the included story of Jesus was quite lacking in content. The story ends before mentioning the wise men, which really bothered the kids because they wanted to act out the story as I read it.

Overall, I really liked this cute nativity. I was drawn to the cartoon-like comical figures. I look forward to watching my kids play with this each holiday and I am certain it will be included in our early Christmas morning tradition of reading Luke 2.

If you like the Tales of Glory Nativity Set, you'll probably like the other toys offered by One 2 Believe. They state their their "passion is to help children learn important Bible lessons and to have them come to faith in Jesus. (Their) goal is to provide fun ways of teaching children about the greatest people who ever lived". They are challenging parents to "take back" their children's toy box for the glory of God.

If you'd like to read more reviews, head over to the TOS Crew blog.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

G7's Decision

At our house we often talk about the free gift of salvation that God offers us. Our children have all prayed to accept Jesus into their hearts since...well, since they were old enough to pray. But we want to make sure that they truly understand what this means and that the decision to follow Christ is purely their own. So we revisit this topic often.

We also believe that once this decision is made that it should be demonstrated publicly in baptism. Our church recommends that children be eight years of age before being baptized during service. G7 has been talking about getting baptized for quite some time now and this weekend he decided to walk forward at church. He will turn eight on Thanksgiving Day and then will be baptized the following Sunday. We are all so excited for him!

Here is G7 in 'big church' with me. Chad took all of the other kids to the cry room. They are usually all in Sunday school classes, but we wanted them to see G7 walk forward. He was so big, listening to the sermon and taking notes.

I just kept trying to hold myself together. It's just so amazing that we're here. I remember holding him in that sanctuary when he was less than a week old. I remember dedicating him to the Lord on the steps in front of the congregation. And now, I am holding his hand as he walks down that aisle to show to everyone that our God is his God. I gave him to God not that long ago and now he's giving himself to God. We are so blessed and God is so faithful.

This is G7 with his Decision Guide. When someone walks forward at our church, they are met by a Decision Guide. This volunteer talks to that person about the steps of salvation, about becoming a member of the church, or whatever they need. He talked to and prayed with G7. He gave him a folder and book and pen (G7 was especially excited about having his own cool pen). And he took G7 to the baptistry so he could feel the water. G7 will also take a series of classes called What We Believe to help him grow in his new walk with Jesus.

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

When There's No Tomorrow

Memory Verse: Ecclesiastes 1:13-14
I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Assignment: We only have today. Should God take you today, have you accomplished everything that you wanted to, needed to. Have you said all the things that needed to be said? Let’s have no regrets, let’s make sure we get to those things, so that when we’re standing before the Lord, the only thing we need to do is to worship him.. and not regret not getting to that thing on our to do list. Stop - go take care of that thing…. then, come tell us what you choose to share.

I can't imagine I will ever be able to stand before God and be free of regret. If today were my day to go home, I know there would be plenty. Here are a few...

I would wish that I had prayed more...

worshipped harder...

obeyed Him immediately.

I would wish that I had smiled instead of frowned...

listened instead of scolded...

spoken wisely instead of sarcastically.

I would have wanted more hours spent serving in love and sharing His love with those who had no idea...

I would wish that I truly deserve it when He says, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

But I, in my flesh, do not deserve it.

I am no more than a lowly sinner full of regrets.

How in the world will I ever stand before Him without them?

Perhaps it is because He is the One that changes sinners into saints. He is the One who transforms us from holy to holy. He is the One who makes us deserving.

Because of His sacrifice I will stand before Him. And then I will live free of regret forever.

"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgements, and his paths beyond tracing out!
Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?
Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen."
-Romans 11:33-36
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