Friday, October 31, 2014

Reviewer's Bookshelf: Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund

Book Summary: All she's ever wanted was a home. But stranded at Presque Isle port after their steamboat sank, Emma Chambers and her brother, Ryan, couldn't be farther away from security. While Ryan at least can find work, Emma can't even find a place to stay. An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper, who recently lost his wife and is struggling to raise his young son, arrives in town. A traveling preacher believes they might be the answer to each others' problems, and after a hasty marriage, Emma is headed back to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger.

But nothing in her wandering life has prepared her for suddenly being asked to raise a child and keep a house. Struggling at every turn, Emma also suspects Patrick may be keeping something hidden from her. In town she hears whispers about strange circumstances surrounding his previous wife's death, and it seems as though Emma's answered prayer for a home and family may actually be something much more dangerous.

My Thoughts:  Jody Hedlund is easily one of my favorite authors.  Each book I've read by her has not only taken me through a whirlwind of emotions, but they have also reflected a moment in history.  Some of her characters are fictional, but many are based on real life people and events.  I love that.

Her newest novel, Love Unexpected, takes us on a journey to Michigan and into the life of a lighthouse keeper, a job that is dangerous in more ways than one.  The weather can go from calm to torrential storm at the blink of an eye, and there are those who would want to sabotage the keeper's efforts in order to pirate the ships coming through the dangerous waters.  The light must be lit every night, without fail, or someone could be harmed.  It is a demanding life, but one that Patrick has found honor in doing.  When his wife dies, leaving him with a young son to raise on his own, he is desperate to find a way to keep his little family together.  This is the situation that Emma enters in to.  

There are several themes going on throughout this novel, but the aspect that I enjoyed the most was the romantic tension.  Hedlund is a master at creating those heated moments that make you wonder what will happen next between the hero and heroine.  It may be something as simple as words that are spoken, a moment where two hands touch, but they are moments that carry so much weight in the attraction between two characters.  I like the way that this can be created and still keep the novel clean.  For me, this is evidence of a skilled Christian fiction novelist.  The attraction between Patrick and Emma was obvious, but it was some of the other themes that hold them back from fully trusting each other with their hearts.

Patrick has a dark that he is not very open about with Emma.  She is unable to see who he truly is because he is unable to trust her with his past...for fear that she will reject him.  Emma is unable to trust Patrick fully and ask him about where he spends his time.  Instead she relies on a busybody from town for advice.  There is a push and pull between the two of them as they are unable to communicate openly.  It would be hard to do this given their quick marriage, but it is also the root of several of their issues.  The growing love between them allows them both to trust more, forgive those who have wronged them, and allow God to soothe their wounds.  Trust, forgiveness, and honesty are themes that run throughout Patrick and Emma's love story.

Once again, I definitely recommend this novel.  Before I read Love Unexpected, I picked up Jody's FREE e-novella, "Out of the Storm", which is a prequel to this novel. It's not necessary to read it, but it does offer a little bit of background.  I enjoyed it as well.

Hope you enjoy Love Unexpected!

I received an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of this novel from the publisher in order to give an unbiased review.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Little Backtracking...Cycle 3, Week 9: Compromise of 1850 and the lymph system...and a free printable!

Last week I was pretty tired...this week I've got it together a little better.  BUT...I accidentally skipped week 9 so we went ahead and did week 10 last week and we're going to go back and cover week 9 this week.  Make sense? : )

And if you think about it, please pray for healing for my left knee.  I know I've got fluid and arthritis in it but it was doing much better after my second shot several weeks ago.  I've been playing with the kids, taking a few walks, but after a busy weekend with a lot of walking, I feel a lot of pressure in there.  : (  I'm praying it'll get better soon!

Week 9
History: Compromise of 1850, Fugitive Slave Act, Dred Scott decision
*I love these little videos.  This would be a great idea for an end of the year homeschool project, too (pick your favorite week of cycle 3 history/science and do a video of it like this)

*Dred Scott video (I would say more appropriate for older kids)
*Fugitive slave act video...I thought it was informative and interesting

I thought this was helpful, too.  I pinned some more videos and things on my Classical Conversations Cycle 3 board.

Science: lymph system
*A blog post with some kid-friendly ideas; different post on the same blog with links to printables and ideas about the human body
*A helpful diagram from this page
video about the lymph system (about 8 min and animated)

I posted this free printable report card on my facebook page last week, but I wanted to pass it on here, too, in case you're like me and about to do report cards.  I LOVE these free, cute printables that you can customize for your specific needs.  I used them last year and really liked them.

Hope you have a great week!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week 10, Cycle 3...President Polk and the respiratory system--printables, video, info, and a field trip idea

Ok, friends.  Today has been rough.  Some days being a mom feels like the hardest job in the world. I'm also making this big goal to get up and exercise in the  morning...and try to start eating better...and make healthy smoothies for my kids...and get more I definitely need your prayers.  In light of all that...I'm going to do my best to post some good resources for history and science for this week.

History: President Polk/Manifest Destiny
I'll have to say...I know pretty much nothing about either of these!  Should be an informative week!

Here is James K. Polk.  First president to be photographed while in office. He is buried in Nashville, TN.

*Free James Polk coloring page

What is Manifest Destiny?
 Man·i·fest Des·ti·ny
  1. the 19th-century doctrine or belief that the expansion of the US throughout the American continents was both justified and inevitable.

*Background info on the Mexican-American War and how it related to "manifest destiny"
*Background info on the Gadsden Purchase

Science: the respiratory system
*free worksheet showing a respiratory system diagram with some fill in the blanks
*Love this paper bag lungs demonstration to show how the lungs work.  I'm pretty sure I've seen paper bags at the dollar store.  This would be easy and fun!
*"Meet the Lungs" video from Khan Academy (kind of long)
* Great webpage with several videos, book resources, and experiments that go along with the respiratory system

Geography: states and capitals
*free states and capitals matching game (printable)
*I'm still printing our flashcards from

Field trip idea
*Even though it'll be another week before we start studying the Civil War, there's a great opportunity this weekend to go to Living History Weekend at Andersonville, GA, which is the site of a former Civil War prison.  It will be pretty neat to see history come to life!  And it's free!  Even if you're not close to this park, there may be similar events at your local National Park.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ten Things I Love About You

(Photo by Kay Kelley)

Today is a big day.  This day 10 years ago, this man and I said, "I DO!" and began this roller coaster called marriage.  We've had our ups and downs, thrills, scary moments, but I would do it again...and again.  I definitely wouldn't want to go on this journey with anyone but him.  In honor of this momentous occasion...I thought I'd do a tribute to this guy.

Ten Things I Love About You
10...I love the way we can laugh together.  Laughter is so important in marriage.  And I'm glad I'm learning not to take everything so seriously : ).  I love those moments that something cracks us up so much that we do those crazy laughs and can't stop!

9....I love your sense of adventure.  You love a good roller coaster and would go anywhere around the world that God calls you to.  It compliments my love of travel and culture just perfectly. 

8....I love your patience.  Oh, how I love it.  I can think of so many moments that I have received that patience when I was upset, accusatory, frustrated...and you just sat there and listened.  In so many decisions I can hear you say, "Let's wait a while and pray about this first." God has led us in the right direction so many times through that patient seeking of His will.  I could go on and on...I am blessed!

7...I love the way you relate to others.  You have such a natural, easy way with people.  You can have a conversation with a kid, teenager, or adult...and they are at ease with you.  When there are people that aren't the easiest to talk to, you speak with them with respect and dignity.   

6...I love the way you lead me.  I'm not the easiest to lead sometimes.  I still have a little independent streak in me.  There have been lots of times that I thought I knew the best way and that's the way I wanted to do it.  You always try to steer me along the best way, even when I don't see it at the time.

5....I love your sense of direction.  I'm so thankful that the Lord put me with you...because if it were up to me, we'd always be lost!  lol  

4...I love the way you minister to me.  I am specifically thinking of the way you so willingly watch the children so I can get out of the house, have a girl's night, or even a girl's weekend!  You never act like it's an inconvenience to you when I'm at my wits end.  In fact, on more than one occasion you've encouraged me to do something for myself.  May I always see this as a privilege.

3...I love seeing you being a father.  Even though you'd never changed a diaper or any of those "Dad" things before we had Sophie, you jumped right in.  You are such a wonderful Daddy and it shows by the way our kids love you so much.  You are loving and patient with them.  It's not always easy for either of us, but I'm glad we can parent together and encourage each other to keep our cool when the going gets tough. It really warms my heart when you spend "Daddy time" with the kids.  They love it...and I love it, too.

2...I love that you protect my heart.  I have no fear that you will ever embarrass me, talk about me behind my back, joke about's not even an issue.  There are many times, as a woman who has had babies, surgeries, and cancer, that I feel less than beautiful.  But you always make me feel loved and beautiful. You don't always express it in words, but you have always treated me with honor and respect.  I am a blessed woman!

1...I love the way you love the Lord.  That's really the root of all.  You love Jesus...and you want to help others to know and love Him as well.  The work of the Spirit enables you to persevere, speak truth in love, love me and our children, love family members, and share the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  I pray that our children will have a husband/wife who knows and loves God.  With all that we've been through over the past 10 years, I can't imagine making it through without God's presence in our lives.  Praise Him!

There are surely more than 10 things I love about you, Dearest, so this is just a sample.  Happy Tenth...may the Lord bless us with many more!  I love you!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Moving Right Along...Cycle 3, Week 8: Missouri Compromise and the circulatory system

I don't know why, but this year has just been crazy!  We've had SO much going on...almost every week since we started school.  But we're pressing on and moving right along to week 8 this week. Hope all of you are doing well!

History: Missouri Compromise
* Free gives some good info/summary
*I thought this was a cute video

*I love this Social Studies notebook!  This could be used for several other weeks, too...including some we've already done!

I was able to print this page for free from the above link.  LOVE the ideas that are on here.  I'm going to use this image to color in the states with my kiddos.

Science: Circulatory System
*free worksheet on the parts of the heart from
*The Circulatory Song on YouTube
*Blog post with links to lots of Montessori-inspired activities about the heart and circulatory system
*A great webpage with lots of book ideas, videos, experiments, etc.--all about the circulatory system
*One more blog post with fun food activities, projects, and experiments along with some free notebooking pages.  This looks like a lot of fun!

**There are TONS of resources for the circulatory system.  Pinterest has LOTS of ideas!**

And that's a wrap!  Hope you guys have a great week!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Back to School! Cycle 3, Week 7: War of 1812 and the excretory system

We've had a glorious week off for fall break.  Honestly, I think this break was more for me than the kids.  After a very busy summer and 6 weeks of school, I was feeling a little burnt out.  The next couple of months will be pretty busy and, of course, we want to spend some time enjoying the beautiful weather.  So this break was perfect timing.  Starting tomorrow it's back to the routine!

History: War of 1812
I'm so glad that we were able to go to Fort McHenry when we were in Baltimore this summer!  We were able to walk around the site, see an interesting video about the battle that took place there, and even see part of a Flag Day presentation.  We will probably revisit some of our pictures from that this week. There are also some good resources that we might try.

*One thing that looks fun is an interactive powder monkey activity on the National Parks Service site.
*Liberty's Kids also has a video that we will watch
*Teachers Pay Teachers have some really nice War of 1812 printables, but the ones I found are not free.
*War of 1812 for kids with lots of links to activities and sites
*USA coloring sheets page...but I had trouble getting all the ads off
*Online resource with some coloring sheets and some really interesting activities like making baked apples, homemade butter, candle making and making your own ink!
*Another online resource with links to several sites and activities
*Lots of great printables/info here. It has free resources on the flag, key historical figures, patriotic songs, etc.
*A site with American History Crafts and Projects...this could be used later, too!
*Lesson on the Star Spangled Banner and art project
*I just splurged and bought a timeline for the War of 1812 and the Civil War on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Honestly....I think it'll help us to have some visual resources that summarize both wars.  We will use the Civil War one in a few weeks.  Hopefully it'll be $5 well spent!

Science: Excretory system
*We will look at the body systems printable I posted about here
*Nice printable coloring sheet with info
*There are several YouTube videos you could watch...but make sure to preview them first ; ).  "Make Me Genius" and "Crash Course" are two channels that have informative videos.

Geography: states and capitals
*continuing to print state/capital cards on
*I bought a very cute cookie cutter in the shape of the US on Amazon for only $3...with free shipping.

That's all I have for this week! Have a good one!