Friday, November 22, 2013

DIY for Christmas...

This past Monday I had a pretty major surgery and had to spend the night in the hospital.  After coming home, I have been pretty out of it!  Needless to say, we haven't been having school this week.  I have intentions of trying to pick it back up after Thanksgiving, so hopefully I'll be able to tackle week 12 then.  Mainly I want to focus on getting back to feeling good.  My kiddos have also been sick this week unexpectedly...Sophie having a 24 hour virus/throwing up thing and Seth having a virus/high fever thing...both of which I've been trying to avoid getting.  It wouldn't be good for my recovery. Normally I'm right in the middle of any sicknesses going on.  Thankfully the hubby had already made plans to be with us during this time and I'm so thankful!  I'm also very thankful for my friends, family, and church family who have ministered to us tremendously!!  They have encouraged us so much through prayers, food, and help.  What a blessing!

So I hate to skip right over Thanksgiving celebrations....but I'm curious about what different families do in terms of Christmas gifts?  Do you get up in the early hours after Thanksgiving and go Black Friday shopping?  Cyber Monday shopping?  Make homemade gifts?  

Until a few years ago, I NEVER did Black Friday shopping.  Honestly, we don't do a lot of gifts for Christmas.  I try to think of a few things that my kiddos will really enjoy and find those at the lowest price possible.  I'm not ashamed to say that I buy stuff second hand and if someone is getting rid of something that I know mine would love for Christmas, I'm all about it!  But, I also get a little excited when I see all the deals on Black Friday.  It's hard not to want to go crazy and get things at such a great price.  It takes a lot of self-control!  This year, though, I've found some really cute homemade projects that I'd like to do for the kiddos.  I have high hopes....but we'll see.  Maybe I'll be able to get it done!  Here's what I'm thinking...

DIY washer necklaces | Small for Big           washer bracelet 
I think these are really cute!

  What is Your Style? <-- blog="" div="" diy="" girls="">

This would be so adorable!  Include a book with little dollpin models to go with it!  Great for a gift, too! (couldn't find the link)

craft stick braceletsTrendy Simple Stick Bracelet- These awesome diy bracelets are made from popsicle sticks!!! Oh my goodness these are gorgeous and CHEAP!              

I LOVE this fabric charm necklace
....and this bird's egg nest necklace   
Bird's Nest Necklace Tutorial
This is just so pretty....IMG_0237

For grownup gifts....
Cloth napkin love..
ms_sewing_book_embroid_coaster_det.jpg    Queen Ann Flower Cocktail Napkins - Off White Linen with  Flowers -  Set of 8 Linen Napkins - Embroidered cloth napkins

I've got to stop myself, because there's just too many things out there! find the time to do all of these projects!  : )  I did find a bag of stones...the rock kind and some glass ones...for $1/bag at the Dollar Tree.  SO....I'm already getting started! : )  Stocking stuffers!

I'd love to hear your ideas.  Mission: Don't Spend Too Much for Christmas is ON! : )

Friday, November 15, 2013

"Wanted: A Kindred Spirit" article

Hey friends!
Today I am featured on a beautiful blog called Dearly Beloved.  This blog was created to help encourage young women in their walk with the Lord, but I have found that even as an "older" woman I am challenged by it.  The women who are writing it have done a great job in covering a variety of topics, including evangelism and discipleship.  

Dearly Beloved

My article is entitled, "Wanted: A Kindred Spirit". I have struggled over the years off and on with having those deep connections with a sister in Christ that I've had in the past.  I felt the Lord leading me to share what He has shown me about seeking out a kindred spirit.  Stop by and check it out! 

God bless!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Letter K, the French Revolution, solar bodies, and Eastern Europe (cycle 2, week 11)

The hubs and I are going out of town part of this week, so I wanted to go ahead and put out some resources for this week.  It won't be as many as I usually do, but I think it'll cover a good bit of the French Revolution in particular.

Science: solar bodies
I haven't tried it, but I think if I just Google some of these solar bodies (asteroids, meteors, etc), I can see images of them pretty quickly.  Sounds good to me!

Sola Gratia Mom posted a great idea to illustrate the different solar bodies.  If we have time I would like to do this...or we might just do a much smaller scale version with black construction paper.  I think that would probably be more doable! : )  She also includes a costume idea for the French Revolution and a fun snack idea.

I would still love to go to the planetarium in the biggest town nearest us (about an hour away) if we're able to.  I'm sure it would give the kids a great experience looking at some of the things we've been studying.

History: the French Revolution
These Horrible History videos are kind of cheesy, but I think they tell the story of the French Revolution really well!  It honestly helped me understand it better.  Just beware of some little cartoon angel statues that are naked...for just a few seconds.  I know, I'm kind of overly sensitive about that kind of stuff...but I like to let you know!

 Social Studies for Kids has some more in-depth French Revolution info.
Here is another site that gives some good info as well.

Geography: Eastern Europe
Look here to see all of Melody Stroud's (And Here We Go! blog) songs that she's done for some of the geography work.  My kiddos love these!

You can also check out her blog to print out the Geography Cards for the first 12 weeks.  We like these, too!

Letter K
Here are some letter K words that might inspire some ideas:

We're going to read the book, "King Bidgood's in the Bathtub" by Don and Audrey Wood.

I saw a cute idea on Pinterest to do a kicking jug...
k for kick jug activity for learning letters and words

Cute, right?  But instead of using a jug, I'm using a two liter Coke bottle.  I drew all kinds of "k" things and letter k's on it, and tomorrow we're going to have fun kicking it!  The goal is to say the k sound or some of the k words when you kick it.

I also printed an itsy bitsy book for letter K.

Even though I didn't see a letter K printable on this blog, she had so many other cute printables for other letters that I hope to use...several of which were free.

That's about all for now!  Hope you all have a great week and God bless!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

**winner announced!**"Coming Home for Christmas" dvd review and giveaway...AND a Nativity Story app review

**'re the winner! Please message me your mailing info to receive your dvd! Thanks to everyone for the comments!**
I LOVE this time of year!  Christmas movies are playing on tv, Christmas trees are going up...and it's not even Christmas yet!  I had the special opportunity to receive a Christmas dvd to watch, review, and one to give away!  Watching it has definitely put me in a Christmas frame of mind!

Here is the trailer:

My impression of Coming Home for Christmas?  If you like Hallmark movies, you'll enjoy this story! (and I do!) As the trailer shows, Coming Home for Christmas is about two estranged sisters who haven't been on speaking terms. They reunite in hopes that having a family Christmas all together for the first time in years will bring their Mom and Dad close again.  They plan to do this in their old family home...the only problem is someone else lives there now.  Fortunately, Kate, one of the sisters, has gotten to know the current resident and he has agreed to be a part of their Christmas homecoming.

The scenery in this movie, from the towering mountains to a huge waterfall, was breathtaking.  I also loved the actors' singing.  It really drew me in and felt like a natural part of the story.  I did think that there were a few cheesy parts, dialogue-wise, but I could look past it as the overall story was sweet and entertaining.  This is not a spiritual movie, as there is little mention, if any, of God or spiritual things.  One of the characters mentions praying about something, but I don't consider that being very spiritual.  There is no cursing or sexual content, unless you count an innocent kiss.

If you'd like to have your name put into the drawing for a FREE COPY of this dvd, just comment on this blog.  Tell me your favorite Christmas movie!  I'd love to hear about it : ).

If you don't win the giveaway, but would like a copy of this movie, it will be available at Walmart, along with the soundtrack featuring holiday songs performed by George Canyon.

I also wanted to tell you about an app I received to review.  It's called "The Nativity Story" and it tells the story of Jesus' birth.  If you buy it for your Iphone it's only $1.99, $3.99 for the Ipad.  It's an interactive app in which kids 2-10 years old can either have the story read to them or read it themselves.


There are also opportunities to push a text bubble button and hear individual characters speak.  There are other interactive features as well.  My daughter really enjoyed the app.  I thought the graphics were beautiful and that the overall message of Christ's birth was being conveyed in a way that kids could understand.  My only criticisms of the app were with a few of the character lines.  At one time Joseph said at the beginning, "Mary, I love you so much.  I think I'm going to go make something for you!"...or something to that effect.  I thought, "Really?  I'm not sure Joseph would say that."  There was also a minor female character in the story but when she spoke, her voice sounded like a man's voice.  When I asked my daughter what she thought of the app, that's the first thing she pointed out. I think that if other female characters can have female voices, then that one could have, too.  I would recommend this app if you're looking for a good way to show the message of Christ's birth that your children can look at over and over again!

Don't forget to comment to have a chance to win a copy of "Coming Home for Christmas"! We'll draw a winner next you'll have a week to comment...even if I post other things in the meantime.

Happy holidays and God bless!

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Some helpful Cycle 2 resources...and a few other things, too : )

I was looking through some of my favorite blogs the other day as I was prepping for this week, and I stopped by Suzanne Shares' homeschool stuff.  I'm glad I did....because there is some neat stuff on there!  I wanted to pass on her ideas.  I'm going to link to her blog, but I just wanted to share some of the neat stuff she mentioned:

*First of all, she added some more free printables...these are for demonstrative and interrogative pronouns.  I really love her printables.

*My kids LOVE The Magic Schoolbus.  Apparently, if you're on CC Connected (I'm not, but some of my friends are), you can look up the Magic Schoolbus video match-ups to what we're studying in Cycle 2.  We've been watching several, but it might be worth getting the free trial of Amazon Prime when we start back in January so we can see some of these!

*I didn't realize this, but there is a CC Cycle 2 app!  It's $15, which is a little much for me (I know, I'm cheap), but I might consider it if it has a good bit of stuff on there.  Sounds like it does!  The only issue...we don't have an Ipad, so I would have to put it on my Iphone.  Might be an issue...I'm not sure if it'll take up too much memory on my phone or not.

*I thought having a sleeping bag for your tin whistle was a cute idea!  I think we need to do this!

*This is not a CC idea...but I thought it was great, and you could do it with your CC group.  We did Ann Voskamp's Jesse Tree last year...I thought it was great.  Suzanne had the idea of doing a Jesse Tree Ornament Swap.  It would be a great way to celebrate the holidays and connect with friends.

*I was reading And Here We Go! blog, and she mentioned getting the Where In The World is Carmen Sandiego? complete series...which is only $5.99 right now!  That's 40 episodes!  This would be a great Christmas gift for the kiddos.  I'm seriously considering the free month of Amazon Prime for the holidays...that would mean free shipping!

And there's more to come!  I will be reviewing and giving away a free copy of the movie, "Coming Home for Christmas" before the end of this week.  Stay tuned for the review and giveaway!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Letter J, Russian history, southwest Asia, and the phases of the moon (cycle 2, week 10)

I don't know about all of you, but this time change is not my favorite! least we'll have lots of opportunities to observe the moon phases : ).  There is an abundance of things for our science work this week and I also found some cute letter J activities for my big boy.  So I'm just going to dive in!

Letter J
When I started looking for some letter J activities, I found there were more than I realized.  With the holidays coming soon, I thought this was very cute:
J is for Jesus...LOVE these printables, although the site it directs you to wasn't AS easy as some others I've used, eventually I got the J is for Jesus tracing/coloring sheet printed for today.  We also read a story (Golden book) called "The Story of Jesus" that I thought was ok.  Not spectacular.  I think reading something out of the Jesus Storybook Bible or The Big Picture Storybook Bible would've been better.
Letter J activities with a focus on J is for jellyfish, with free printables
Here is our jellyfish craft that we did...I love how it turned out!
 I cut a piece of light blue cardstock in half for each child, along with small strips of tissue paper (it paid off to save all that tissue paper from birthday parties! : )). I used mini muffin cups because that's what I had, but you could use the regular size, too.  We folded the muffin cups in half, drew eyes on them with a black crayon (the activity I saw used the plastic googly eyes...I didn't have any), and taped the muffin cups to the paper.  Then we put four dots of glue on the inside and let the kids put their strips on each dot of glue.  Perfect for preschool age.  That's it!  I just wrote the Jj is for jellyfish on the paper with a pen.  The kids loved them!

More letter J stuff...I love the Jack and Beanstalk idea...among others.  There are some good links on this page.
*Other letter J ideas:
~Jewels--glue jewels onto a letter J
~Jellybeans--eat them, fun facts from the Jelly Belly website
~Jam/jelly--put some on toast, make a pb and j for lunch, make some
~jacket--fashion show?, sewing?
~jigsaw puzzle
~Jack and the beanstalk--story and/or movie

On to CC for this week:
History--the history of Russia
~Lesson Guide for week 10 by a CC mom.  Lots of good info on here for Russian history and then some!
~Time (magazine) for kids--info on Russia with some pictures
*I'm having a hard time coming up with a lot of links for this one, but I think these two things will give you some good info.

Science--the phases of the moon
There is a HUGE amount of stuff to do with this!  Lots of fun stuff, too.  I'm going to try and put some of my favorite links here, but I've got several ideas on my Pinterest page (Classical Conversations Cycle 2).
~We'll start with this free coloring sheet
~ This looks fun...and easy!
~5 moon activities for kids...these definitely look doable, interactive, and fun for young kids
~Good explanation of the moon is not great, but understandable

~cute moon phase song
~informative video called, "Why the moon changes shape"
~free phases of the moon cookie sheet and questions...I think it would work great with the oreo cookie instructions on this page, which also has some free printables including some observation pages
~make a moon phase record
~more moon phase activities!
~and last...but NOT LEAST...the amazing project on the Sola Gratia Mom blog.  I love looking at the stuff they do!

Love this!

And that's about all for now.  I'm actually finished before midnight!  Yay! : )

Friday, November 1, 2013

Giving Thanks this November

October has sped by and November is upon us.  I don't know about you, but our calendar is already filling up with activities in the coming weeks.  Christmas parties, football games, rounding out school before the holidays...all good things, but they can distract from focusing on the object of our Thanksgiving.  Christ.  He is the reason we have hope in this crazy world.

As my husband and I watch the headlines scroll along the bottom of the tv screen and hear political commentators battle it out, it's easy to feel a little down.  There is a lot of tragedy, deceit, and a general downfall of the moral and political state of our country.  But who can we trust?  Our trust is in the Lord!  Is He not in control?  Can he not guide and direct the hearts of men as He chooses?  When my heart and mind feel anxious, I know I can turn to The One who has the earth as his footstool.

With that said, what is a good way to turn our focus onto Him this season?  It is the month of Thanksgiving...why not give thanks?  Thanks for the shiny new bauble or for getting off with a warning instead of a speeding ticket?  That's not really what I was thinking.

(photo by Ann Voskamp)

I'm thinking that our family will try to do this version of a Thanks Giving Tree.  I've already printed off our "leaves" that were created by Ann Voskamp, author of the wonderful book, "One Thousand Gifts." Her blog is amazing, and the other day I ran across this post.  If you have a moment, read it, savor it, and print off your own Thanks Giving Tree leaves....and be blessed by the Truth!

God bless you!