Wednesday, October 18, 2017

God's Great Love For You

I absolutely love that my collection of beautiful children's books is growing!  Yes, I know I don't have any little people in our lives currently, but one can hope that someday there will be grandchildren around.  No worries- I will be ready to read!!

God's Great Love for You, by best selling author Rick Warren, will be at the top of the stack!   This 30 page hard back book is a gem.  It begins by telling the reader that God's great love created the universe, then page by page shows how great that love is.  From the oceans to the skies- no matter where you go, and no matter how your day is going, God's love is "perfect and will never end."

Written in very simple terms this cute book is a great way to show young children that God loves them regardless of location or circumstances.  It reminds us all that God is everywhere.   With only a few words per page, it is a quick read and certain to hold young children's attention. 

Illustrated by the award winning Chris Saunders, you will love the beautiful artwork that fills each page.   Gentle colors and soothing lines make it a peaceful book to start or end your day with. 

How perfect that we can fill our children's reading lists with books that tell of their mighty God and the loves He has for them.  Can you even imagine if that was all they heard from sun up to sun down?  What a beautiful thing!

I know that you can not read non stop to your little ones, but I think you will enjoy reading this precious book over and over again. 

Flyby has once again graciously offered to provide a copy of God's Great Love for You to one of our readers.  Just leave me a comment and tell me who you would read this sweet book to, making sure you leave a way for me to reach you if you win.  One winner will be chosen randomly next Wednesday!  This would be a perfect addition to your Christmas list or to gift to a new momma!

You can buy this book and others by Rick Warren here!

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Monday Menu- The Short List

Good morning, my friends!  The sun is shining BIG today and it is the start of a great week for us!

But a great week for us, means a short menu for you! ;)

You see, we are headed out in a few days to see Riley, daughter #2, in her college performance of Into the Woods!  No worries, the dogs and the house are being well watched!

The exciting part is that means I only have to, I mean will, cook three days this week.

Well, the other exciting part is seeing this cute face!

Excuse me while I do a party dance!

Don't get me wrong, I do love cooking for my family, but sometimes it is nice to have a little break.  Plus let's face it, it only takes a few meals out to make you appreciate home cooked ones even more!  So on that note-

Our short list-

Monday- Egg rolls and Fried rice

Tuesday- Meatballs

Wednesday- Breakfast Burritos

Together soon!

Friday, October 13, 2017


Are there days that you just struggle to get through?  Days that you are tired of being sick?  Or days that you are tired of stress?  Or days that you are just- TIRED?

Oh friends, I have been there a lot lately.

Tired of pain and not feeling well.  Tired of struggling to school a child that wants to fight me every step of the way.  Tired of sadness and stress.  Tired of- well, a lot honestly.

And sometimes most of all, just tired of pretending all is well.

Sometimes all is not well.

But who wants to say, yeah, I am struggling right now.  Or yeah, things stink right now.

I get tired of myself some days.  I can only imagine how others feel.

But here's the thing.  We all go through rough spots in our lives.  Some are mercifully short lived and some are not.   When you are in them, whether short or long, they are no fun.

Refining, but often no fun.

I am pretty sure God is doing some refining in my life.

  • Teaching me that there is a time to share and let others help bear my burdens and a time to just simply turn to God.

  • That there can often be times of great pain and sorrow in our lives and that of our children's, but then he sends joy and hope when you least expect it.

  • That there are times that we are healthy and then there may be times when we have to slow down and allow God to restore our bodies.

  • That there are times when we are ministered to by friends and times when we must do the ministering. 

And all the while, God is using it all to refine us.  To draw us closer to Himself.  To make us more like Him.

Sometimes it is a long, painful road.

Always it is a worthwhile one!

If you are reading this and are in a rough season of your life, I want to encourage you today.  Know that you are not alone.  Know that you are loved.  And know that  you will get through.

God is with you and He loves you!


Monday, October 9, 2017

Monday Menu Meets the Freezer

Another week, another menu!  Does anyone else feel like they spend a lot of their days in the kitchen?  Thankfully with a planned menu in hand it does cut down on the time a little.  Hey, I will take what I can get.

This week two of the recipes we are using, both new to us, were specifically chosen with saving time in mind.  A blogging friend raved about a cookbook called, Fix, Freeze and Feast so I broke down and ordered it from Amazon.  With over 125 recipes, it concentrates on meal prep in bulk and then freezing for later meals.  One thing I like is the simplicity of it.  Some meal recipes only make two serving , while some make 4 plus.  But none are made to break the bank or consume all your day cooking in the kitchen.  Instead of making them all at once, I am choosing one or two a week for a while, eating one immediately and freezing the others for later use, whether for us or to bless someone in need.

I also love that the recipes are simple to make and are family friendly. (think picky kids!)  There are also cooking instructions included you can print off and tape to the extras that go in the freezer for easy reference when cooking time comes.  How cool is that?!

So here we go!

Monday- Italian Chicken

Tuesday- Rose City Teriyaki (from Fix, Freeze & Feast)

Wednesday- Chicken Cordon Bleu (from Fix, Freeze & Feast)

Thursday- Left overs

Friday- Chicken Quesadillas

Saturday- Hamburgers

Sunday- Baked Potato Chowder

And for an easy recipe-

Italian Chicken

Cover Chicken Breasts in Italian dressing and generously sprinkle with garlic salt. 
Bake covered for 45 minutes at 375. 

Yep, that's it! ;)

Told you it was easy.  I often put it in the crock pot as well.  If you prep meals once a month, this is an easy one to freeze in a baggie and is simple to pull out and cook quickly!

Have a beautiful week, my friends! 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Daring to Hope

Ah,  yes.  Another book review.  Because what is life without books, right? ;) 

I have just finished reading the soon to be released book Daring to Hope- Finding God's Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful, by Katie Davis Majors.  You may vaguely recognize the author's name from 10 years ago, when Katie first wrote and published the best selling book, Kisses From Kate.  Now married and still doing life in Uganda, Katie tells of her continued journey with God and the people she ministers to in a country far away from her homeland.

I have to start by admitting I did not LOVE Katie's first book.  There I said it.  To be honest, though it was well written, I struggled with some of the things she shared, especially leaving her home and staying in Uganda, seemingly at the time without her parents' full permission or blessing.   Whether or not that was reality, it was how I perceived things and I could not shake the feeling that God would not have called her to do something that went directly against honoring and respecting her parents.  Again, just my feelings.

But I have always been intrigued by missionaries and the remarkable work that do for God's Kingdom.  I also had no doubt that this young lady was indeed furthering His Kingdom with the work she was doing, so when I had the opportunity to read her second book I jumped at the chance.  Because of events in our lives this past year or so, the subtitle Finding God's Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful jumped out to me.  I mean, whose life is not broken in some way?

This book I liked and would recommend.  Far different from her first, Daring to Hope is about just that- HOPE.  It does indeed reference Katie's story of living in Uganda and eventually adopting 14 young girls, but that is not the focus of this book.  Instead, page after page of this 204 page book, focuses on Hope.  Through stories of various struggles Katie has encountered in Uganda, she uses the lessons learned to point herself, and us, back to hope every time.  From having to allow one of her daughters to return back to her biological mother, to the loss of numerous friends and the healing of others, Katie relays how God used EVERY circumstance to point her back to hope and the One who gives it to her.  And us!

In times of crisis, Katie learned time and time again to be faithful and put her hope in the Lord, knowing that no matter what the outcome was, she had a God who was even more faithful.  It was often a gut wrenching lesson to be learned and Katie shares each story with love and compassion.  She has wrestled with God and known His goodness.  She has asked hard questions and gotten beautiful answers.  She has remained faithful and so had God!

I am in awe of the maturity of this young lady, inspired by her stories, and challenged by her faithfulness.  I think you will be too!


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Grab a Friend for Dissections

It is no secret that Science is not my favorite subject to teach.  In the younger grades, there are always "cool" experiments to do that in my opinion, are just like art- messy and usually a pain.  By the time you get to science in the older grades, things just get complicated and I want to throw the towel in.  I mean, do we really need Biology and Chemistry?  Please, just don't even answer or I might cry.

And yet, here I am, just having finished teaching Biology for the third time.  Please note I only have one more time to go, and I am making him do it in a class of some sort.  Any sort, really, as long as it does not require me teaching!

I am proud to report we made it through successfully.  And with a little help.  Because you see, I did not do dissections alone.  Nope, this was another time I grabbed a friend,  and in this case a teacher as well, to help me.  I learned the hard way two too many times!

Plus, just like we have found with art and many other subjects, some things are just better done with friends.  There are also some other perks-

  • Knowledge- Not all of us are science people.  That's ok.  There are some people who are and they are happy to help.

  • Peer pressure- In this case, that is a good thing.  When everyone else around you is excited to dissect or at least willing to take a chance and try, other more reluctant kids are more willing to try as well.  

  • Safety in numbers- There are also some kids who just can barely stomach science things like dissections.  I get it.  When there are many kids working together, those kids can often get by with standing in the back and simply observing.  Yes, their hands may not touch the frog or other specimens but I assure you they ARE learning!
  • Wider Age Range- I have found when you teach kids in a group you can widen your age range in teaching.  It is an interesting phenomenon but it seems that the young kids step up to the plate when challenged by the bigger kids, and often the big kids jump in at helping and mentoring the younger kids.  It is quite a sight to see and I love it!

  • Cost- Science experiments can get costly, ya'll!  Luckily, when you order as a team and pool your resources with supplies you might already have, you can keep the costs down.

So are you ready for dissections?  Just grab a friend, or two, and go for it!


Monday, October 2, 2017

Monday Menu

It's that time again!

Sometimes menu planning is a breeze for me, other times I can sit and stare at a blank plan for a very long time.  I am going to be honest, food does not impress me much these days.  Since my gall bladder surgery at the end of June, I have struggled with severe stomach issues.  Yep, traded in the gallbladder for a new problem.  Nice huh?

But despite my lack of interest in food, my family does need to eat, so I am trying to stay on the cooking bandwagon.  Meal planning helps keep me accountable, and as someone mentioned last week, it DOES help save money!

For example, this week I saw turkey breasts on sale for .99/lb.  Yes, I got a $30 turkey breast for a about $8.  Well, actually I got 5 of them!  Stocking up on deals can equal huge savings.  Plus, because of their size, one of those turkeys will feed us for three meals as you will see with this week's menu.  I also love to keep things like that on hand for unexpected times when I feed others through our church's meal ministry.

So here we go-

Monday- Chicken Stir Fry

Tuesday- Sliced Turkey

Wednesday- Flounder (because a certain child who does not love seafood will not be eating with us!)

Thursday- Turkey Enchiladas

Friday- Hamburger Gravy

Saturday- Spaghetti

Sunday- Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

See, easy peasy!

Next week, I am going to introduce you to a few freezer meal ideas, a few oldies but goodies and a few from a new cookbook I treated myself to that I LOVE!  Can't wait to share!

Have a beautiful week!


Friday, September 29, 2017

The Secret of the HIdden Scrolls

Another day, another book.  Well, two books!  And yay us- we love books.  Thanks to Worthy Kids/Ideals, we have enjoyed reading and reviewing The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning (Book One) and The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: Race to the Ark (Book Two).  

Written for ages 6-9, these two paperbacks are Christian Fiction with the Bible in mind.  Book One- The Beginning introduces siblings Peter and Mary.  The two are dropped off at their eccentric great-uncle’s house to stay while their parents are away.  After entering Great-Uncle Solomon’s library, which he says is filled with more treasures than just books, the siblings find a glowing pot filled with scrolls. Their uncle tells them that he discovered the scrolls during his work as an archeologist, and that he believes they are the Hidden Scrolls of the Bible and will only work for those that are chosen.

When the seal is broken on one of the scrolls, the kids are transported back in time to the beginning of time.  Their real adventure begins as they experience first hand the days of creation.  As they walk through the creation of the world, Peter and Mary have a puzzle to solve to be able to return to the library and their uncle.  In doing so, they encounter the serpent in the garden and the arch angel Michael, as well as many truths about God and the Bible.

In the second book, Race to the Ark, Peter and Mary’s adventures continue as they hear the lion roar and a second seal is broken and they are transported back to the time of Noah’s Ark.  In this book, Michael appears again to rescue the kids from being chased by two unfriendly kids and reminds them that God is always with them.  Peter and Mary meet Noah and his family and watch the flood events unfold before their eyes.  With another puzzle to solve and a Dark Ruler to avoid, Peter and Mary must once again find a way back home.

Our experience and thoughts- 
 I say it often, but it is worth repeating, I love books with Christian themes for kids.  No, they should not learn their theology from them, and yes, they should learn of God's truths from the Bible, but it is also refreshing to be able to let them read a book big on Christian themes and low on controversy and questionable topics or bad language.  And by low, I mean NONE!

Just this past week, I again read of a friend whose child was exposed to a bunch of JUNK from a book from the library.  And just like that shocked and outraged mom, I simply do not have time to read every book that my kids are reading beforehand.  I wish I did, but the reality is I do not.  

When you can find publishers like Worthy Publishers and books like The Secrets of the Hidden Scrolls, I chalk it up as a win!  No worries about content found here!

Colby, age 10, read both of these books on his own, although I did read them afterwards- on my own! ;)  He read the first in one sitting and the second he read over two days.  They are written at a 1-3rd grade level so it was a very simple read for him.  None the less, he loved the stories. 

With simple sentences and fun ink drawings every few pages, I have no doubt young readers will be able to read, enjoy, and comprehend these books.

He said the puzzle part of the story was "fun" and he wished he could go back in time like Peter and Mary did.  When asked what his favorite part from the first book was he said, "I like when Peter threatened to release his karate on the serpent and the serpent said he did not know what karate was. Peter said 'you are about to find out' and then Mary kicked the snake.  It was hysterical!"

Would I recommend these books?  You bet!  And we hope more are coming in the series. Although the author, M.J. Thomas, very much uses creative license in telling the stories of Creation and Noah's Ark, both of these books are worthy of your bookshelf in my opinion.  They are fun adventures with a beautiful overarching theme of God's care and love for you! The lesson in the first book was God Created Everything.  The lesson in the second book was Trust God and He Will Rescue You.  Not bad themes to teach your kids, huh?!

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls. {WorthyKids/Ideals Reviews}
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Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday Menu Take 3!

Welcome back!  If you missed our first two weeks of menus, you can find the first week here and the second week here!  So glad you came along for the ride, and thanks to all of you who have left your menus for us on the blog FB page.  You have inspired me to think outside the box.  Or to book plane tickets to YOUR houses! ;)

This week the kids and I will be traveling for a few days, but I will be leaving food for my hero so I will give you the full menu.  If we ever miss a meal we often just move it to the next week.  If one meal doesn't line up well with our day, we simply swap it.  Just like any schedule, let it work for you, not complicate your life even more so.

As fall gets closer, I know it is out there somewhere, you will notice our crockpot gets put to more use.  One, because I love the smell of cooking food all day because of the comfy factor and two, it makes my life easier when I have been teaching the boys all day and then have other things to do.  Like I said earlier, for us- food is about need, not about show.  We love our family time at the table, but I want it to be centered on whom we are eating with, not what we are eating.

This week-

Monday- Chili
Tuesday- Hamburgers
Wednesday-  Chicken Pot Pie
Thursday- Pizza
Friday- Beef Stroganoff (recipe posted last week!)
Saturday- B- B- Q Chicken (crockpot)
Sunday- Nacho Chicken Dip (crockpot)

A recipe for you all this week- Chicken Pot Pie!  This came from a dear friend of mine a long time ago.  As a military wife that took food to people a lot, this became my standby.  It is great for those who just had surgery or are sick, as well as for new nursing moms who can't do spicy.  Comfort food at its finest.  It is also a dump and go recipe.  I often add additional veggies to it and have been known to make it only with fresh veggies and make my own cream sauces, but let's face it, sometime simple and easy is what we need!  Enjoy-

Chicken Pot Pie

1 can Cream of Potato Soup
1 can Cream Of Chicken Soup
16 oz. can of Veg-all
1 small can of mushrooms
2 C. cooked chicken, shredded
1/2 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp.pepper
1/2 tsp. of paprika
1 pie crust

Combine all the ingredients and spoon into a pie crust.  Cover with top crust, seal and vent.
Cook at 375 for 45 minutes.
Let sit 15-20 minutes before serving.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Who Is Up For Some World Traveling?

Oh my word, friends, you know that sometimes I find a curriculum that I love and gush about, right?!  Well, get ready because Let’s Go Geography is one of those programs.  Seriously, let me tell you about this three year Geography program developed for Grades K-4th that we were able to review for the Homeschool Review Crew.  The one year subscription we reviewed can be used by one teacher for one child to multiple children at home as well as even for a co op group!

Created by Carol Henderson, a school teacher, Let’s Go Geography is unique in several ways.  First of all its focus is on exploring the continents, country by country, not just physical attributes like rivers and streams and mountains you often find in lower graded Geography programs.  This 36 week program, with three scheduled breaks built in, will eventually cover three years and most countries, including the United States.  The first year is currently available with the next two years coming soon.  Each year, two regions of the United States are covered. You can purchase a whole year at a time, or buy by semester if you want.
Let's Go Geography

Another unique feature of Let’s Go Geography is that it is online with live links!  You can download each lesson or just go through it online, using the clickable links to explore specific facts that the author presents. 

When you begin the program, your child can choose from several Travel Journal covers to add to the notebook they can make, as well as print off a “passport” in which they will add flags of the countries they will visit in their studies.  


Another unique feature is that you can study the countries in any order.  While the program is designed to be worked through in order, you CAN jump around. Once you finish each lesson there is a button to click on so you can mark it as completed, making it easy to see what you have done at a glance.

Each lesson is set up in the same way, composed of 5 parts.  After the country is introduced with a page of quick facts such as capital, population, official language and such, a check list of the 5 components is included.

  • Color the Map- This section includes a link to a map you can print out, with directions to color the country, and label it accordingly.  Often other areas around the country are labeled as well, such as oceans and seas.

  • Flag- This section includes a picture of the country’s flag that you can cut out and color, then add to your passport.  There is also an option to add the flags to continent maps. A few notes about the flag and what the colors and symbols represent are presented.

  • The Music- This section has a link to the music that represent the country.  Some times it is the national anthem, and other times it is an example of local music that may be more familiar.
  • Explore- This is the meat of the program.  Here you will find facts about the country.  Most sections have a link to another video that further exposes your child to the subject being learned.  Color pictures are also included for your child to look at in this explore section.

  • Craft- This final section has a craft for your child to do that represents the country they have been studying.  The theme of the craft is presented as well as a supplies list.  Detailed instructions, including picture examples, are included.  There is also a color sheet to print out.

Additional resources include a notebook page for your country for your child to write on if you desire as well as any printables you might need for the lesson or craft.  The ISBN number for related books are listed as well for further study.

Our thoughts and experiences-
Ok, here is where you brace yourself for the gushing.   Yes, this program is aged for K-4th grade.  And yes, Colby is on 5th.  NO worries.  Truly, I think the ages are good, but I think you can easily use this with slightly older children as well.  The information presented is thorough, but you can certainly use it as a jump start to a more detailed study if you wish.  Often the reading and the videos would lead us down rabbit trails to additional information.
I love how organized this program is and how accessible it is.  Colby can pull this program up and do much of it on his own, though I admit I do not let him often, as I enjoy doing it with him.  Each time you bring up your homepage, a list of the year is on the left sidebar and shows what lessons are complete and which ones are not. We have chosen to break the lessons into two days, one day working through the lesson and a second day to write a quick report on the notebook page provided and doing any craft or color sheet included.  Because I am working with a non-crafty kind of guy, he has chosen not to do too many of the crafts and I have to color with him to complete the pictures.  Go figure!  That being said, you can easily do the lessons in one sitting or stretch them out for a week, depending on your child's needs and attention span.

This little gem is made for ALL learning types!  Auditory, visual- you name it, it is covered.  Have a child that loves crafts?  They will be thrilled with the projects like making rainsticks and kites and doing coloring sheets.  Have a more visual learner?  The YouTube videos are short enough to not bore anyone but filled with interesting facts and sights!   

I also love that you can print the lessons out.  While we did work from the computer to access all of the links (Colby's favorite part), I like having a record of what we do.  I print out most of the pages and we are adding them to Colby's Travel journal.  We label each country with a sticky note so he can easily reference them if he wants. 

I love that you can skip around.  I have a kiddo that likes to be in charge.  Obviously, he cannot be very often...he is 10 after all.  But anytime I can allow him to make decisions, I do so.  This has been the case for Let's Go Geography and the reason you will see Afghanistan on the tab up there.  Because his dad was stationed there for a year it interested him.  As did Hawaii because "It would be a cool place to visit!" and Greenland because he thought that might be "cool" as well. Chili is next because it is "close to where I was born."  His favorite video so far?  During the Greenland national anthem video you see an iceberg start to collapse in the background.  It was neat!  I figure if he gets excited about choosing, it is the least I can do. ;)

So like it?  Yes, we do!  
Recommend it?  You bet!

Let's Go Geography has a been a HUGE blessing and great addition to our weekly studies and I am thrilled we found it!

Let’s Go Geography {Reviews}
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