Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Basketball Season

I really enjoyed watching Emily’s basketball game on Saturday. The girls played hard and competitively, and the game had an exciting finish when, with 60 seconds left on the clock  and the game tied, one team made 2 baskets, pulling into the lead for the final score. But that isn’t what made me enjoy the game so much—it was the attitude of the girls.

The first thing I noticed was that the girls were all smiling. They really seemed to be enjoying themselves. At times, they all broke into giggles, such as when a ball went out of bounds and rolled between the legs of the referee.

Second, although the girls were fiercely competitive, they were kind. On several occasions, when a girl tripped or was hit with a ball, a player from the opposing team would help her up or ask if she was okay. I witnessed one incident when a player from Emily’s team blocked a shot from an player on the other team, causing the shot to go short. She then patted the girl on the shoulder and said something to her—I suppose “good try” or something similar, before quickly turning her attention back to the game.

It was a joy to see such good sportsmanship and Christ-like behavior. I’m sure it was partly because it was a girls’ game and girls tend to be more social and partly because it is an Upward league, which encourages positive attitudes.

Last year, I pulled Emily off of her (city league) soccer team mid-season because she was being bullied by some of her teammates, so witnessing this just made this mother’s heart feel warm! P1020744


Monday, January 28, 2013

Free Children’s Mystery—Today only

The Kindle version of my children’s novel, The Secret of the Missing Locket is free through today.  (It’s usually only $.99,  so if you miss it as a freebie, I hope you’ll still be interested.)

Here’s the book description: 

Twelve-year-old April Matthews has just moved into her great-aunt's creepy southern mansion. Within days, she uncovers a century-old family mystery, tales of ghosts, and the long-lost diary of her great-great grandmother. Are the mysterious dreams she is having related to the secret? Will she be able to solve the mystery before time runs out? This mystery is a fun read for 8 to 12 year olds.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Art Museum Field Trip

Our local art museum recently hosted a traveling exhibit of medieval and Renaissance era religious art. Since we are studying the middle ages in our world history studies, this was great timing for us!




Emily’s favorites were probably the sculptures depicting the gruesome deaths of Christian martyrs. Yeah….strange child.


We also enjoyed some of the other exhibits.  This terra cotta sculpture exhibit was fun…


In the children’s area, there is an “walk through time” exhibit with reproductions  of art  from ancient times to the present.  I was pleased that Emily recognized many of the masterpieces that we have studied, such as works by Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Kandinsky and Seurat.



100 Bible Verses Week 4

(Graphic by Marcy at Ben and Me.)
Our verses for week 4 are:
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.   Rom. 5:8
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  Rom. 10:9
Bible verse reciting position!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

100 Bible Verses Week 3

We’ve memorized our first 4 verses for 2013 and are working on the next two. So far, the project has been quite easy, since I already know many of them.

Our verses for week 3 are:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Rom. 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.  Rom. 6:23

To help Emily practice the verses this week, I wrote the first letter of each word on the chalkboard and had her fill in the missing words.


(She won’t let me give away her Little Tykes chalkboard even though she has to sit on her knees to use it!)

Monday, January 14, 2013

How To Teach the /s/ and /z/ Sounds

This is an excerpt from Super Star Speech: Speech Therapy Made Simple that explains how to teach the /s/ and /z/ sounds to your child.  /S/ and /z/ can be tricky for many children to learn, so I hope these ideas will be helpful!
I have several more free speech practice ideas and “how-to” tips on my Speech and Language Resources page and LOTS more in my books.
sss cover tiny
S and Z
S and Z are produced with the front of the tongue raised against the roof of the mouth. The tongue is wide and thin and makes contact with the teeth and gums at the sides and front of the mouth except for a narrow central opening through which the breath (S) or voice (Z) passes. The breath passes over the center of the tongue and hits the front teeth creating a hissing (S) or buzzing (Z) sound. The teeth are slightly apart.
S and Z can also be made by placing the tongue tip against the lower teeth and raising the tongue just behind the tip against the upper gums. This technique can be taught if the first technique is difficult for the child to learn.
The most common S and Z errors are a TH for S substitution and a “lateral S” with the air flowing over one or both sides of the tongue instead of the center of the tongue.
1. S and Z can be difficult sounds to teach. Often much trial and error is needed to find the technique that will be successful with any given child. The parent should experiment with different tongue positions and shapes in order to be able to identify the child’s error and to better explain to the child how to change his sound production. Subtle variations in tongue position can make a great difference in the sound produced for S and Z.
2. Demonstrate the sound using a mirror. Emphasize the need for the breath to travel only across the very center of the tongue. Suggest that the child direct the breath “between the front teeth.” Hold a finger in front of the child’s mouth and ask him to direct the airflow right to the finger.
3. Practice raising and lowering, widening and narrowing, and grooving the tongue.
4. Develop S or Z from T, D or N by lowering the tongue tip just enough for air to leak over it. Practice t-s-t-s or n-z-n-z.
5. Develop S from TH by slowly drawing the tongue into the mouth. “th-ssss”
6. Develop S from SH by moving the tongue forward slightly. “sh-ssss”
7. Ear training should be provided so that the child can distinguish a correct from an incorrect production of the sound. Play “listening games” until the child can reliably distinguish the correct sound of S or Z.
8. Instructing the child to bite his back teeth together to produce S or Z can help him to learn more accurate tongue placement. As he becomes more proficient, the teeth should be opened slightly.
9. To correct a lateral S, remind the child that the tongue must be wide with the sides touching the back teeth. Use a popsicle stick to stroke the sides of the tongue that should be in contact with the teeth. Fold a piece of paper to demonstrate the groove that should be down the center of the tongue.
10. For Z, instruct the child to say “ssss” and “buzz with his voice.”
Any questions? Please comment here or send me an email at: debbie@superstarspeech.com.

Friday, January 11, 2013

100 Bible Verses, Week 2

These are week 2’s memory verses. Emily and I have the week 1 verses in our notebooks and memorized and are working on our next set.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14

For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16


Our Bible Memory Notebooks



We’re also participating and linking up with Beth Moore’s Siesta Scripture Memory Team, by posting 2 verses a month there. Our notebooks will be our tickets to a weekend Beth Moore conference in January, 2014 (if we choose to attend). I would LOVE to go, but Houston is a long trip for us. Smile But maybe….

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Seize the Year Calendar (Giveaway)

2013 Calendar (DryErase)
My calendar use has evolved over time. For years, I used a monthly calendar that I hung on the wall. Anyone in the family could see at a glance what our plans were for the month. Occasionally, I would take the calendar off the wall and tote it with me to meetings or other locations where I thought I might need to reference our schedule, but it stayed hanging up most of the time.
Two years ago, I decided to become even more organized and switched to a planner. Once I got used to the new way of doing things, I loved it. I was able to do more detailed planning for work projects and blogging as well as merely keeping track of a schedule.  The only problem with this was that Emily was constantly asking me, “What are we doing today?” or “Where are we going this week?” because she had no central calendar to refer to.
In November, I got a Kindle Fire and, trying to make the most productive use of it, am now using it for my calendar and planning. I am still on the learning curve, but think I’m really going to like it.
When I was first given the opportunity to try out the new Seize the Year Calendar by NeuYear, my first thought was that I didn’t need it. Then, I stared thinking some more. 
  • First, it’s a really neat concept, because I can see the whole year at a glance, yet the daily squares are still large enough to write in (almost 1 1/2 by 2 inches).  The months are labeled, but the calendar is laid out week by week with no gaps between months.
  • Second, the idea using the calendar to plan out my blogging schedule was very appealing, since I’m trying to get in the habit of blogging a little more this year. 
  • Third, this would give Emily a way to keep track of her schedule without asking me every single day!
The Seize the Year Calendar fits perfectly on the back of my study door. The reverse side of the calendar is printed in a horizontal orientation, which might work better in other locations, such as over a desk. 
I’m color coding activities—blue for blogging,  black for my activities, and red for Emily’s.  While I’ll still be using my Kindle Fire apps for my main calendar, planning, and list-making, the Seize the Year Calendar will be used for all my blog scheduling and scheduled commitments. I can already tell that it will be very helpful for making long-term plans, such as vacations because it shows the “big picture” of the year well.
I think it is attractive, with the monthly splashes of color. However, since this will be hanging up all year, I’d love to see the company make a prettier version with maybe a decorative border in addition to this utilitarian style.
Seize the Year calendars are available at Neuyear in both academic year and calendar year versions and sell for $30.
Would you like to win a free NeuYear Calendar to help organize your year?
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received a free calendar from NeuYear with no obligation to blog about it, but am choosing to share my experiences. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Scripture Memory Goals for 2013

I have a big goal for this year and I’m excited! I’m joining in with a Facebook group who are memorizing the 100 verses from Robert Morgan’s book, 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know By Heart. We’ll have 2 verses to memorize each week.  Last week’s verses were easy!Smile

Genesis 1:1  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Emily and I are working on this together and, while I have already memorized many of these verses, she knows very few of them, so I am thrilled that she wants to put God’s Word in her heart.

One method we will be using to help our memorization is to write the weekly verses on the chalkboard on our kitchen hutch.


If you’d like to join in, visit Learning at His Feet or the 101 Bible Verses Facebook page!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 A year for JOY!


I’ve been inspired to pick a Word for the year—something to focus on, to aim for, and to make a permanent part of my life.

“Joy” is the first word that came to my mind. I pondered some more and kept coming back to “Joy.” I would like our home to be a joyful one; I would like people to see me as a joyful person. Some of my very favorite people are those who always have a smile on their faces and who strive to see the positive in every situation.

My goal for 2013 is to keep this as my focus, ending the year as a more joyful person and with a more joyful home.

I recently bought these alphabet blocks, so I just changed the word to “Joy” to help remind me. I’ll be looking for more visual ways to keep my word of the year in my mind. (I’m open for suggestions!)

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  Romans 12:12

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy.” Psalm 5:11

A Word with Friends 2013

CurrClick LIVE Open House

I’ve never participated in any of CurrClick’s live classes, but they sound really cool. Offerings range from Spanish to Algebra to Taekwondo! There are even free clubs focusing on Legos, American Girls, Chess, and more. If you’d like to find out more, sign up for the free open house on Jan. 7 and 8. I’m going to try to work it into my schedule!



Story Telling, Homeschool Speakers, Class Giveaways, Enrollment Discounts & More. Don't Miss Out. Reserve Your Seat Now!

January 7th and 8th from 6:30-9:00

Find out what CurrClick Live is all about. Meet the teachers, find out about classes, visit with our student ambassadors, get enrollment discounts, and even be entered to win a $40 LIVE class gift certificate in EVERY teacher's session you attend.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Looking Back at 2012

I hope that you had a great 2012! Here are some of the highlights of our year, including my older children that don’t get mentioned here very often!

· Allison  graduated from Univ. of South Alabama Medical School in May. She bought a lovely 1930's historic home in Mobile the same week and began her residency in July. She's doing her residency in internal medicine and pediatrics with the intention of doing family medicine when she finishes in four more years.


· The girls and I squeezed in a quick trip to Disney World after Allison's graduation. The kids are so busy these days, that it's hard to find a week when everyone is free at the same time. clip_image007

· John  is in his senior year, majoring in accounting. He's been experimenting with some entrepreneurial activities on the side, but is mostly trying to finally finish up his schooling! Although he's in town, we don't see nearly enough of him.

· Katie will be graduating (early) in May with a degree  in music composition. She plans to work for a year, hopefully teaching piano and/or violin lessons, while she saves money for grad. school.

· Emily  is about to start her basketball season. She loves playing with our dog Macy, who joined our family last January, and generally doing anything outside.

· Emily and I just got back from several weeks in Florida, visiting friends, and enjoying the warm weather. My whole family—my parents, 3 sisters, and their families (25 of us) spent Thanksgiving at the beach and had a great time. It is rare that we're all in the same place at the same time. It worked out well for Allison, since she was able to drive over from Mobile for the day to join us. Her boyfriend  joined the chaos as well.


· Chris is still in Korea. We don't hear much from him these days, but he is still in our thoughts and prayers….

Best wishes for a wonderful New Year!