Friday, December 28, 2012

And then there were two….

For the twenty-one years we have lived in our home, one of our Christmas morning traditions has been to take a picture of the children on the stairs before they came downstairs to look in their stockings. Since we adopted Emily in 2000, we’ve had four “children”  in the picture.




christmas 04 019


Christmas '05 045





This year, only Katie and Emily were here for pictures, although John Michael did come over a little later. We had a pre-Christmas celebration with Allison on the 22nd, but she had to be back at work in Mobile on Christmas Day.

2012 Only two left….



Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wondrous Works of God (Review)

Wondrous Works of God: A Family Bible Story Book  -     
        By: Starr Meade
        Illustrated By: Tim O'Connor

As a reviewer for Crossway Homeschool Book Review Program, I was recently sent this lovely Bible storybook to review. Wondrous Works of God, by Starr Meade, is a sequel to her first Bible story book, Mighty Acts of God.

This Bible story book is most appropriate for older elementary aged children, although my 12 year old is enjoying it as well. I liked seeing that many less-familiar stories are included, introducing children to figures like Jehoshaphat, Nehemiah, Josiah, and Hezekiah. Each three page story is followed by several discussion or follow-up questions. For example, the story of “Uzziah’s Pride” includes these questions:

  • We no longer depend on human priests to offer sacrifices for us, but we still need a priest and cannot come to God without him. Who is the priest we need now?
  • We often hear people say things like, “Oh, I believe in God, but I don’t go to church. I worship God in my own way.” How does that demonstrate pride before God?

Each story also includes Bible references for the story and a focus verse.



Wondrous Works of God stands out compared to many other Bible story books because of the discussion and application questions. Although I prefer my middle schooler to be reading the actual Bible rather than story books, I am confident that her use of this book will not only help her learn more of God’s Word, but will help her to apply it and will be a good supplement to her Bible study.

I received this book free through the Crossway Homeschool Review program in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Spiced Mocha Mix


We made this drink mix in mason jars as gifts for some of our neighbors and relatives. Yummy!  Allison made the adorable tags.


Spiced MOcha Mix

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/2 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 3 T. powdered instant coffee
  • 1/2 t. ground allspice
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in large bowl. Store in airtight container. For single serving, place 3 T. mix in mug and add 3/4 cup boiling water. Makes 2 1/2 cups mix.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

O is for Ornaments

I’m jumping back into Blogging Through the Alphabet with Marcy at  “Ben and Me.” Since this is “O” week, Ornaments is the logical choice!
I’ve been collecting ornaments since I was in college…about 30 years ago, so we have quite a few by now. So many, in fact, that they don’t all fit on the tree. Or at least so many that we’re tired of decorating before we get to the bottom of the boxes!
Some of my very favorite ornaments are angels. In fact, a couple of years, I even put up a second small tree with an angel theme.
We made each of these as gifts a few years ago…

We  have a golf tee angel…
And as Alabamians, we even have a cotton boll angel!
Hop over to Blogging through the Alphabet to read more about ornaments, ordinary, odd, and more!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas in Apple Ridge (Review)

Christmas in Apple Ridge

Are you looking for some good Christmas reading? Christmas in Apple Ridge is a 3-in-1 collection of Cindy Woodsmall’s Christmas novellas. 

I discovered Cindy Woodmall’s books last year and have really enjoyed the books I’ve read, including The Christmas Singing, which is one of the three novellas included in this volume.

Each of these stories tells an Amish love story set at Christmas time. In The Sound of Sleigh Bells, Beth is determined to live her life as a single Amish businesswoman. Her wounds from a previous failed relationship had caused her to close herself off emotionally from others and she has convinced herself that she is happy in her current life. However, a chance encounter with a woodcarver and the meddling of her aunt make her reconsider her plans.

The plot of The Christmas Singing deals with an Amish woman who has been jilted by the man she loved. Several years later, after moving away, finding a new relationship, and opening a business, her old beau comes back into her life and she begins to discover that  the past was not what she had believed it to be.

In The Dawn of Christmas, Sadie lives an very unconventional life for an Amish woman. After a broken engagement, she left her community to live in a Mennonite community and feels a calling toward foreign missions. However, her family is determined to bring her back home.

Although they take place in the same communities, the novellas stand alone. Characters from previous books make an occasional appearance, but reading them in order is not necessary.

As you might tell, all three of these novella plots have a similar theme. Still, the stories are different, and I found each of them enjoyable.  None of the stories were the type I’d stay up all night to finish, but I did find them well-written and entertaining.

One of my Christmas traditions is to spend time curled up near our tree with a cup of tea reading Christmas-themed books. These stories were perfect!

Want to know more? Read Chapter 1 of Christmas in Apple Ridge here.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Super Star Speech -Expanded Edition

I just got Super Star Speech--Expanded Edition back from the printer and am so happy with how it turned out!


This newly expanded edition includes the content from ALL of the individual Super Star Speech books combined into one integrated 315 page book:
Super Star Speech: Speech Therapy Made Simple
Super Star R and L
Super Star S, Z, and Sh
Super Star Ch, J, and Th
Super Star Speech Supplement

This volume includes an articulation test, instructions for teaching every speech sound, practice pages and drills  for every sound,  over 600 picture cards, and dozens of practice games. You will find this to be a huge resource for helping your child correct his or her speech errors.

Available at Super Star Speech for $39.95. Use "Dec12" for a 20% discount; good until 12-31.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Studying Ancient Rome

Emily has been studying Ancient Rome for the past few months. As we wrap up the study and begin to move into the Middle Ages, we’re doing a bit of reviewing.  This week, we’ve played “Roaming Through Ancient Rome” several times. I’ve been pleased to see that she actually does seem to have retained quite a bit. (Sometimes I do wonder!)



This is one of the games I designed that’s for sale at Currclick. It is quick to print out the game boards and cards, laminate them if you desire, and jump right into playing. We’ve found that games are a fun way to review what we’re studying, either to wrap up a unit or to come back and play months later as a delayed review.

Roaming through Ancient Rome ($2.62) and all of my other Super Star Speech books and Super Star Games are now on sale for 25% off at Currclick’s  annual “Stocking Up Your Shelves” sale, which runs  until December 16.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cover Girl BlastFlipsticks (BzzAgent Review)

As a Buzz Agent, I was recently sent several CoverGirl BlastFlipsticks to try out.  Each lipstick has two sides—one soft shade for day wear and one “dazzling” shade for night wear. What makes this lipstick unique is how blendable the shades are. One color can be applied right on top of another to make another shade.

Since I have 3 tubes (6 shades), I’ve had a lot of fun trying out all the possibilities. One shade was brown. I thought, “Why would I want brown lips?” But it’s perfect mixed with another shade that’s a bit too bright for me. The glittery, shimmery sides of the stick are something new for me, but kind of fun!

BlastFlipstick feels really nice and moisturizing on my lips, not cakey, and the color lasts a long time.

Here are some of the looks I’ve gotten with this product (although the color is actually more vibrant in real life).P1020643









I received this product free from BzzAgent and Covergirl in exchange for sharing my honest opinion.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Say Goodnight to Boredom of Goodnight Moon


“Say Goodnight to Boredom of ‘Goodnight Moon.’”  This headline in our local newspaper caught my attention Sunday.

The picture book, Goodnight Moon, was one of my children’s favorites when they were small. I have fond memories of my little ones snuggled on my lap while Baby Bunny said, “goodnight” to the telephone and the red balloon and the three little bears sitting on chairs, and so on. The simple text held the attention of the youngest of toddlers, I enjoyed the simple poetic rhythm, and the story was short enough to read night after night, often after we had read a few other picture books first.  Sure, we had some books that made be think, “Aak! Not that one again!” But not Goodnight Moon.

Apparently not all parents feel the same way. According to the article,

“In the 65 years since it was published, the classic children’s book, “Goodnight Moon” has lulled countless youngsters to sleep--not to mention doing almost the same to their parents, who often find themselves struggling to stave off boredom as the read Margaret Wise Brown’s repetitive bedtime tale over and over again, night after night.

Technology has come the the weary parents’ rescue…”

The article continued to explain that now there is an app for Goodnight Moon. “All you have to do is click on the auto-play button, step back, and let your child enjoy the calm and captivating narration to their heart’s content.”

How sad! Do modern parents really want to let technology take the place of interaction with their children? Do we really want to give up those precious memories of quality time spent with our children, introducing them to the joy of books when they are small? Apparently some do.

Personally, I don’t regret one minute of time spent reading with my children. I cherish those memories and miss those days. I think that the many hours we spent reading aloud helped my children’s intellectual growth and helped develop a love of books in them. But even more important, reading aloud provided a low-tech, quiet time that was just for them. My kids all have happy memories of the books we read together.

Please set aside the technology for a while and read to your kids!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Currclick’s Stocking Up Your Shelves Sale

Our biggest event of the year! Stocking Up Your Shelves sale.  1000s of homeschool resources discounted by up to 75%

Currclick is now running their annual “Stocking Up Your Shelves” sale. If you’re re-evaluating your curriculum choices mid-year or just looking for fun supplements (lapbooks, copywork, games) to add to your curriculum, this is a good time to purchase. Many of Currclick’s publishers are offering their books at up to 75% off from now until December 16.

All of my Super Star Speech books and Super Star Games are now on sale for 25% off.

Super Star Speech and Language Lessons….sss cover tinylang lessons cover







15 different Homeschooling Games—ready to print and play ($2.62-$3.00 each, or even less in bundles)….


Insect Game cover

Covering the continents cover

Galloping Greece

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Matanzas Fort National Park

Fort Matanzas was built in 1740-42, fourteen miles south of St. Augustine by Spain as protection against British encroachments on St. Augustine. 

We had an enjoyable afternoon visiting here. We visited the small museum and watched a film, then took a ferry over to the small fort. A storm was approaching and there were cold 30mph winds on the ferry ride, but I was glad we could squeeze this adventure into our Florida trip. 

The park ranger was quite the talker—he loved his history and went on and on and on! He taught us a lot about the everyday life of the Spanish settlers in the St. Augustine are and it was quite interesting! Did you know that many of the businesses were owned by women? Or that a young man had to have at least 4 teeth to be eligible to marry?

If you’re in the area, I recommend visiting this (free) attraction.






Thursday, November 22, 2012

I Am Thankful…

This Thanksgiving week, as I think about what I am thankful for, a few things come quickly to mind…

  • my family,
  • good friends,
  • a wonderful church family,
  • my home,
  • and life in a country where I am free to pursue my dreams and to homeschool my children,
  • spending Thanksgiving weekend with my parents, three sisters and their families.

There are other things for which I am thankful that are perhaps not quite so typical…

  • I’m thankful for the financial hardship I’ve had over the past few years. I’m learning to fully trust in God and have the privilege of seeing His provision.
  • The years of separation from my husband have been difficult, but I’m thankful for the stronger bond that I have with my daughter since it’s just the two of us now.
  • I’m thankful that I am learning to love even when it is not reciprocated.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Marine Science Center

On Friday, we had a nice visit at the Marine Science Center in Daytona Beach. This facility rehabilitates sea turtles and birds that have been injured. There was also a nice educational area where visitors can pet sting rays, view aquariums, and learn about sea birds and turtles. (I also received my first “senior discount” on admission. Yikes! 50 is a senior? At least I saved a dollar! )
We learned about the protection of nesting turtles and were able to view the area where injured turtles are cared for before they are released back into the ocean.
Petting sting rays—They feel very soft and a little slimy.
The bird rehab area….
We also were able to view a talk on predatory birds.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fun at the Beach

We are so blessed to be staying just across the street from the beach this week. It hasn’t been quite warm enough for swimming, but we’ve enjoyed taking long walks on the beach each day and Emily has enjoyed playing in the sand and wading.