Monday, August 31, 2009

Daybook for August 31, 2009

FOR TODAY, Monday, August 31, 2009...
Outside my is sunny and looks warm.
I am thinking...that I can't believe it's already September tomorrow!
I am thankful for...a really good church where we can just be ourselves and really learn and grow.
From the learning rooms...well, we are definitely working on subtraction this week (yuckity yuck); on the bright side, we're learning about the Medes and Persians in history, and we're making a sun clock in science, since we're studying day/night and seasons....woohoo!
From the kitchen...tonight will be chicken fried rice and spring rolls.
I am wearing...jean capris and gray t-shirt that gets so many comments because it says Volleyball Mom (seriously, I got it at Goodwill, and I used to play volleyball; do I really look old enough to have teenagers playing volleyball? Maybe so with all this gray hair that keeps appearing.... I never dreamed I'd get so many comments on an old t-shirt).
I am creating...working on Mamabuzz; we're launching this week. Oh, and I have to make peach freezer jam this afternoon. This day looks neverending right now.
I am going...nowhere today, hopefully, except Jacob does have Tae Kwon Do tonight.
I am reading...Lost Mission by Athol Dickson.
I am hoping...that Jacob will get the hang of subtraction again; the summer kinda lapsed his memory or something....urgggg; is it possible for the brain cells that held math to just up and leave? Urggg....
I am hearing...someone mowing outside and Jacob working on math.
Around the house...oy vei, I'm so behind; I have laundry to catch up on; dusting, vacuuming, and mopping to do today; etc.
One of my favorite things...singing with the choir and the song bringing me to the point of tears because it is so powerful.
A few plans for the rest of the week: school; Jacob to Tae Kwon Do; Jacob starts soccer practice this week too; choir practice; writing assignments/reviews/Mamabuzz work; errands/library; try to keep and maintain a better schedule (I feel like all I do is work, work, work, and I have to spend more time with Dan); get the kids to the pool one last time; I'm taking Jacob back to the stables again this Friday; possibly go to car show at church; etc.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing...(Jaden always runs in and gets into Jacob's bed at bedtime; :) I think he needs a regular bed really soon)
For more Simple Woman, link up with Peggy.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

"God Has You Covered"

This is a story that I've wanted to share for a while now, but I was just waiting for the right time....and after this morning, I just feel that God's wanting me to tell it. It's very personal, and it comes from my heart. I just hope that maybe it can encourage someone who is feeling as if the world is closing in on them, as if they are losing the battle....

In 2007, Dan and I bought our first house. It was September actually, and we were so excited. We were expecting Jaden at this time; in fact, I was about 7 months pregnant when we signed the papers to close. I was working at our church's (a previous church we attended) Christian school at the time, and my husband had his computer shop in Mountain Grove. At the same time, we were desperately trying to get the house remodeled before Jaden came. The house was in pretty bad shape; the owners before had let animals in the house (and the animals had done "their thing" all over, it seemed); there were fleas and evidence of roaches and mice; it was, honestly, in nasty, filthy shape. We (Dan, Jacob, and myself) were building new cabinets, putting new trim in, painting all the rooms, remodeling the bathroom, scrubbing and cleaning every surface, putting in new flooring; putting in a new kitchen sink; you name it, we were working hard every single night and day so that we could move in. I remember people telling me I needed to go home and relax, put my feet up (since they were literally the size of grapefruit). We didn't stop, though; determination had set in.

This one particular night I was on my way home, and Dan had already gone on home with Jacob. I was going to go do some work, but for some reason, I went on home instead. This actually turned out to be a great blessing, because if I had gone and worked, I might not be here today. It was about 1am when the phone rang. We were all asleep; I could hear it ringing in my dreams, but I guess I just thought Dan would go get it; but he didn't, and it kept ringing. My first thoughts were that something had happened to someone in our family; at that time my nephew was getting ready to undergo major surgery to remove the tumor/s associated with his neuroblastoma. So, I finally dragged myself (and my big belly) out to the phone. I remember hearing a man's voice on the other end of the line, asking me if we owned an old Jeep Cherokee out on Top Road. I said yes we did, but I wondered why he was asking me. Had someone stolen it? We had it sitting at the new house. Then he gave me the news that just made me want to sink to my knees. Our house was on fire, and when I asked him how bad it was, he said it was pretty bad and that we needed to come as soon as possible.

Well, you can just imagine what happened then. I went and hurriedly woke Dan and Jaden up; all the while I was crying, almost hysterically. I was sure I'd go into labor early. Keep in mind this was November now. I just remember throwing some kind of clothes on and jumping in the car, and we sped to the church to give Jacob to our friends so that he wouldn't have to see the house. Then I remember driving to the house, and from the hilltop road we were driving on, I could see the red flames in the sky.....I just remember crying and asking God, "Why? Why?" Dan was in tears too, but he was holding out some kind of hope. As we approached the house, we could see that there was nothing left....all of our hopes and dreams and hard work was gone....just like that, gone. I remember sitting on the front step, just miserable and at a loss to say anything or to even move. One of the firefighters came up and got me and wanted me to move away from all the smoke because of the baby.

At this time, I looked over in the driveway, and I saw something that made me so angry....there was a gas can (not ours) laying in the driveway. Come to find out, the screen door (which was melted, but we still had the hinge from the top) had been propped open in such a way that you could tell someone had forced their way in.....whoever had done this knew what they were doing because they knew how to light that fire in such a location and way that it would burn quickly. We still, to this day, do not know who burned our house down, and we don't know why. We suspect it was meant for the previous owners, but we're just not sure. We also suspect that the investigation is a possible cover-up....but again, this is all suspicion.

I share this because over the past couple of years, I've had my angry moments. I've questioned God and wondered why this happened to us. It's been a major struggle for me. As our pastor talked about this morning, I was in the pit. I was in that valley....and it was something I was hanging on to. Now, though, (and my husband came to this realization a lot sooner than I did), I can see the hand of God in this, even this, such a terrible thing. Thank God that we weren't there; the firefighters told us that if we had been, we would most likely not have gotten out. I thank God too because His provision has been at work; He knew that we had bitten off more than we could chew in buying the house. If we had kept on, we might have lost that house; we couldn't have afforded those payments. Thank God. Thank God. This is what I say now. Thank God. Even though my character may not have initially passed that testing, I thank God now. I also thank God for my blessing that came 3 days after this fire, a little early, but healthy as could be. Our Jaden entered our world at a time when we thought hope was gone....but actually, he gave us hope.

I'll leave you with this. As our pastor said this morning, "Don't let Satan put a period where God put a comma." That period that I'd been letting Satan hold over me for the last couple of years is gone, and in its place is the comma that God has longed to put there. What is next? That is what I'm asking now because it can only get better. God is in control, no matter what you may be going through. He truly is; give that period up to Him, surrender it; and let Him place a comma in its place.....I'll end with another choir singing the song that we sang this morning in the choir; it brought tears to my eyes and a healing to my soul, and I hope that it inspires and encourages you as well.

MySpace Playlist at

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Funnies- Staples Commercials

I am not sure why this first one cracks me up, since we homeschool, but it just does....:)LOL. The dad is just too happy! LOL

The second one cracks me up because of the first part: the mother has her easy button, while her son is spelling the word, Bugar, on his calculator.....yep, definitely something my Jacob would do. LOLOLOL Laugh it up!

For more Friday Funnies, check out Homesteaders Heart.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

TOS Crew: Maverick Books- Hank the Cowdog

Recently, thanks to the Crew, my family and I were introduced to Hank the Cowdog.
Hank logo
Oh my goodness, I have laughed and laughed, listening to Hank and reading the book. We received the 8th book in John R. Erickson's Hank the Cowdog series, The Case of the One-Eyed Killer Stud Horse; we also received Hank's Tornado game with a cassette tape, and the Tales and Tunes from Hank the Cowdog CD.

I've always tried to dive into the brains of the dogs I've had growing up and even with our last dog, just wondering what is going through their heads. I always used to make up what they were thinking, giving voices to their thoughts, trying to be funny.....well, this series does just that, and it is so hilarious! I especially love the Tales and Tunes from Hank the Cowdog CD that we got, because I can play it in the car on the way to Tae Kwon Do, choir practice, soccer, or wherever we are going. Warning, though: you might laugh so hard that you can't pay good attention to the road, or you might cause other drivers to wonder if you are "ok." LOL I found myself giggling and laughing out loud over the stories and songs because I could so see some of these things in my own life, even growing up. I especially appreciated the story of Hank and his run-in with Sally May, the rancher's wife.

Hank #8
Reading the book, Hank the Cowdog and the Case of the One-Eyed Killer Stud Horse, was a whole other story because Jacob and I could barely get through a chapter without laughing our heads off. He would start giggling at something, then I'd get going, and there was no stopping. Hank is just that funny! He gives life to dogs everywhere, and I have to say, that Erickson has a pretty good handle on what dogs do and how they act. I so appreciate his sense of humor. Growing up in the Ozarks, on a farm, the stories feel like home to me. In fact, I plan on introducing my dad to these stories at Christmas; he drives a truck, and I know that he would enjoy listening to them on the road.

Tornado game
The Tornado game we received was basically like a marbles board game, if you have ever played that. You have three character pieces, and you have to get them around the board to home before the other players. Jacob loved it; it's a small board, so it was awkward at times, but it is meant as a travel game, so the compact size could be easily slipped into a backpack or suitcase. The game came with a cassette that had parts of another Hank book, The Case of the Swirling Killer Tornado, but my tape player chose to quit on me that very night, so we could not listen to it.

There are 54 books in the Hank the Cowdog series, and there are audio CDs or cassettes as well. I love the fact that I could put a CD on and have Jacob follow along in his book if I chose to do so. That would give him practice with reading and recognizing words, which would be helpful for beginning readers. It would also speak to both visual and auditory learning styles. The books run $4.24-$5.24 for paperback; you can get both a book and CD for $19.99-$20.99; or you can get just the CD for $17.99. Right now, as a special for my readers, you can get the Tales and Tunes from Hank the Cowdog CD for just $3.00! You can listen to samples of it here. Trust me, you won't regret buying this CD because it will be something to turn to if you do, indeed, need a good laugh.

Now there is only one negative I would have to bring up. Some of the stories use words like "moron" or "stupid," but for me, it only served to make the stories that much more hilarious. My children are taught not to call other people names, but in the context of these stories, which is what they are, stories, I did not feel in the least bit offended or bad about reading these books to my kids or listening to the CD. We enjoyed this review thoroughly, and we plan on listening to and reading much more of Hank the Cowdog.

For more Crew reviews on this product, head on over to the TOS Crew Blog.

Things I Love Thursday: Celebration Worship Choir

I used to never think I'd want to sing in a choir, until I heard the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sing....and then my whole view of a choir changed. Their music inspires me beyond belief; I could listen to it over and over. It's the kind of music that either makes you want to stand up and shout and clap and dance, or it brings you to your knees.

Since we have started going to Ridgecrest Baptist, I decided to join the choir.
The first time I heard them, their music had the same effect on my soul. It just refreshed my soul; there's no other way to explain it. So, off I went to join up, and boy, am I ever glad that I did. It's a ministry, that as a busy mama, I can do and not take a whole lot of time away from my main ministry right now, my family. It refreshes my soul to go and sing and practice and get to know my fellow choir members, and believe me, there are a lot of them to get to know!:) The picture above is only part of them. I couldn't get the whole choir in my picture because I hurriedly stood up during practice to take the picture, and everyone was staring at me (probably thinking I was the enthusiastic newbie, which I am!). On Sunday when I sang with them for the first time during the worship services, it was like I was on a "God high." There's just no other way to explain it.....I could not wait for the next service to go back and do it all over again.:) I'm looking forward to the music ministry retreat this Saturday....I love music, and I love the choir!:)

What do you love? Join in on Things I Love Thursday over at Diaper Diaries.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mmmmm.....Peanut Butter and Chocolate

Yesterday I got the urge to make something sweet; it was either that or snack on the bag of chocolate chips I had.:) So, I made peanut butter cookies, only I added some chocolate chips into the recipe....after all, can't leave the chocolate out.Mmmmm....they are so delicious! You might just want to make some yourself. They are Crisco's Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies....and don't forget the most important ingredient, chocolate! Enjoy!

Chivalry, Part 11: Commemorating His Transcendent Cause

As our boys grow up, there is one time in their lives that, perhaps, may mean more to them than any other....that time is when they come to believe in Christ and not only accept Him into their hearts, but decide to follow Him and be baptized. As a parent, baptism is not something that I want my son to take lightly. It's something that I feel he should really be sure he knows what he's doing and why he's doing it. Baptism signifies a life change, a heart change, a turning over of a new leaf and a fresh start, living a new life in Christ. Sometimes it almost feels like we push baptism as something that absolutely MUST be done right here and now as soon as someone receives Christ into their hearts; but I don't feel that baptism is something to be taken quite so lightly. Baptism signifies a true change of heart and must be understood.

Jacob recently accepted Christ into his heart, but he hasn't been baptized yet. It's not that we don't want him to, but we just want to make sure that he understands and that he understood what he was doing when he asked Jesus into his heart. With young children, sometimes it can be hard to tell if they really understand what they are doing, yet maybe that's the adult in us....after all, just to have that child-like faith is really what we need.

baptism Pictures, Images and Photos
Lewis suggests that possibly the greatest, finest moment in Jesus' life was when he was baptized, and the Father sent the dove down, affirming Jesus' life and ministry. After all, Jesus was human, and the Father's love meant the world to him as a Son. Lewis suggests making our sons' baptisms a special's the time when their transcendent cause becomes real. A father's affirmation and acceptance at that time, along with a special celebration, could mean the world for that son.

This all got me thinking that maybe it's not wrong for us to want Jacob to wait a little while longer. Baptism for him could be that time in his life when he truly decides and sets out to honor and serve God with his life. I can't think of a moment that would make me more proud as his mama.:)

Stay tuned next week....any thoughts?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

No Greater Joy

Little boys Pictures, Images and Photos
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth- 3 John 4 (NKJV).
I read this verse tonight while reading another book, and it got to my mama's heart....this is my heart's greatest desire as Jacob and Jaden's mama.

TOS Crew: Web Design for Kids (...And Curious Grown-Ups!)

Have you ever wanted to learn how to navigate the world of html, but you felt overwhelmed even trying? I have, especially with blogging, I've wanted to learn more about it for a little while now. I've tried getting books at the library to help me, but most of them are so big and heavy that I can barely lift them up to my desk, let alone fumble through them trying to find the pages I need for help....ok, so I exaggerated a little there, but you get the general idea.:)

Today, though, I was fortunate to have received a dvd for the Crew called Web Design for Kids (...And Curious Grown-Ups!) put out by Click Drag Solutions.
It's full of basic information on how to build a website and how to use html. It's directed toward kids, and I did think about trying it with Jacob, but I'm just not sure he's ready to try this. I think by the middle to end of this school year, he might be ready to tackle something like this, though, and I plan on using it with him to teach him some basic computer skills. I think his own website, secure and guarded, of course, would be a great way for him to keep in touch with his grandparents.

The dvd is about an hour and a half long, and Brian Richardson, the host, takes you through various steps to start your own basic website. He has two kids on the video with him, and they are following along as well.He works on basic html, adding
pictures and color to your background, making a marquee screen, etc. I liked how sometimes he would pop up just by himself to give you a shortcut or tip, embellishing on something similar to what you were already doing. For instance, he gave tips on the cosmetic look of your blog and how to match the colors, so that it is completely readable by your readers. He also taught shortcuts, such as using the F5 button to refresh. Just these basic things thrown in can teach your child and you how to basically use a computer.

The most interesting part for me was learning how to code with html. It was very basic, but that is what kids and beginner grown-ups need, to start out. He used the sandwich metaphor, teaching how to sandwich certain things between the vital bits and pieces of code. He also showed what could happen by leaving just one tiny detail out, by having you create real mistakes, then correcting them. There was a helpful game/quiz thrown in to see if we could find the incorrect code. Even the kids who were learning with him would make mistakes, and he would show how to correct them. It was interesting to see all of the different colors that can be used for a blog background; I didn't even know Thistle or Tomato were colors, but I used Thistle for my basic page shown here. He also gave helpful sites or programs you could use to add pictures to your site. At the end of the video, he gave a visual example of how to organize your online files, using a file cabinet and folders as visual objects portraying your computer folders.

All in all, I felt this was a really well-rounded program with really great instruction. Again, I'm not sure my son is quite old enough yet; my main fear was that he might not be able to keep up with it, but then again, he could very well prove me wrong. I was able to sit and watch the dvd on my computer and have Notepad up at the same time, so I could follow along. I would definitely recommend it if you are wanting to learn the basics and just wade into the world of html; it will get you started. It was enjoyable, since I could learn the best by watching and doing at the same time. So, it's very good for visual/kinesthetic learners. The dvd is priced at a reduced, special summer rate for a limited time, of $19.99. Part of the proceeds from your purchase also go to help organizations like the Ronald McDonald House, Children's Miracle Network, The Smile Train, Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, and the American Foundation for the Blind. You can see a clip from the dvd here, and you can check out actual websites that other kids have made here. The websites are really fun to look at; they would make great inspirations for your own kids' creativity.

For more reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew Blog!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Daybook for August 24, 2009

FOR TODAY, Monday, August 24, 2009...
Outside my window...the sun is coming up, and it looks like it will be warm today.
I am thinking...there is so much to do, but one step at a time is what it takes.
I am thankful for...being able to participate in the choir at church.
From the learning rooms...we're reviewing number bonds in math (we started Singapore Math, and Jacob wasn't used to doing those, so I had to take him back a little for some review). We're working on Ancient Greece in history this week, and Jacob has a horsemanship lesson later on this week, where he'll actually get to ride a horse too.
From the kitchen...tonight will be a roast with potatoes and salad.
I am wearing...jammies and robe for a few more minutes.
I am creating...still working on curtains, and I put some fall leaf vines around the top of my kitchen cabinets. I'm starting to decorate my kitchen just a bit more. Plus, I hope to get the boys' room a bit more organized this week with the fabric boxes I got at the Dollar Tree.
I am going...nowhere today, hopefully, unless I go mail my Ebay stuff.
I am reading...Lost Mission by Athol Dickson.
I am hoping...that Jacob will learn how to deal with this new sense of accountability he has....
I am hearing...silence right now.
Around the house...we have to dust, vacuum, and mop today; plus work on cleaning out the freezer.
One of my favorite sitting down and watching a good movie with my family.
A few plans for the rest of the week: school; writing assignments/reviews; work on Mamabuzz; Jacob to Tae Kwon Do; errands/library; Jacob's horse riding lesson; choir practice; choir music ministry retreat on Sat; etc.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing... (Jacob made a shield for a history project last week).For more Daybook, link up with The Simple Woman.

Motivate Me Monday- A New Take on Romans 8:28

Last week at church, we had a concert put on by our pastor and his family. They sang and gave testimonies between songs. His daughter spoke at one point, in so many words, about how God never promised that life was going to be easy, and God never promised that we weren't going to go through hard times. He never promised that life was going to be a piece of cake or that we were never going to face sadness in our lives. BUT He did promise to never leave us or forsake us, and He did promise that He would take care of us. She told about how they'd been through the fire, hearing the doctors make a diagnosis noone wants to immediate family member's diagnosis of HIV, from blood received at a very young age.

Today, one of our associate pastors spoke, and he talked about Romans 8:28:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. He spoke about how God does work things out for the good (for believers in Christ), but that not everything that happens is the will of God. I had never heard it put this way. So many times in my own life, I've questioned why certain things happened; why didn't God stop these things from happening; why didn't He stop our house from burning, or why didn't He stop a horrible tragedy from striking someone I love? If everything bad that happens is the will of God, then how can He be such a loving God? I never stopped to think that this might not be the will of God. Yes, God is in control, but sometimes things happen that He never willed or wanted to happen. There is a war going on between good and evil. Even in the little things, life happens, and when it does, I have to remind myself time and again that I can't just sit and blame God for all the bad going on. I have to look to Him for my support and grace to carry on....

He went on to tell us about a family who lost their only child, whom they had adopted. He heard the pastor say to the parents, "God will never give you more than you can bear." The parents didn't blame God for what happened, until they heard those words. How many times have I heard that phrase or even used it myself, when actually, God is probably in Heaven grieving right along with us? He never wanted to see His children suffer. Yes, this phrase is true, but it's not always appropriate in every situation that is thrown our way. God won't give us more than we can bear, but could it be possible that He didn't instigate this (whatever we are going through)?

As believers, we do have the promise that everything will work out for good, but we aren't promised a life of nothing BUT good. So many Christian films, in my opinion, make it seem like once you give your life to God, everything is going to be "pie," when actually, I believe that once you become a Christian and give your heart to God, Satan is going to do everything he can to deter you in your walk. He's going to fight you tooth and nail. It's just important to remember during these tough times, though, that God will most certainly never leave us to fight alone, and He will work our circumstances out for good, in one way or another. The hard part is just remembering and trusting that He can and will.....

For more Motivate Me Monday, link up with Composing Hallelujahs.

Friday, August 21, 2009

TOS Crew: Quarter Mile Math

Math can sometimes be the dreaded subject around our house, but lately, we've added something fun into the mix to help with review. It's Barnum Software's Quarter Mile Math, that allows Jacob to practice his math concepts on the computer, and it's really been enjoyable for him.
Quarter Mile Math
So far, we have been using the addition games quite a bit, as well as the number games, making the smaller or larger number. Basically, Jacob has to answer a set of questions while racing. The faster he answers, the faster his car or horse will go; he is actually racing against other cars or horses.
1/4Mile Image
He loves that he can choose whether to race cars one day or horses the next. Personally, I like the horses for the sound effects.:) If you'd like to see what I'm talking about, there is a video on the Quarter Mile Math website that you can watch, and it only lasts a couple of minutes, but it's very informative. You can also download the Free Demo on their website.

We received the Quarter Mile Math Deluxe Levels 1, 2, and 3 Bundle. This bundle covers many topics, including keyboarding, the alphabet, counting, place value, grouping, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, rounding, fractions, decimals, percents, estimation, equations, and so much more. Here is a complete Topic List. The topics cover from kindergarten age through 9th grade, and they are well-rounded, covering things I would never have thought of, like Morse Code. Level 1 is considered Grades K-3; Level 2 is Grades 4-6; and Level 3 is Grades 6-9. For the Standard version, which is just a one-time purchase, you can buy each level separately, or you can buy them in bundles. If you were to buy Level 1, 2 or 3 separately, your price would be $39.95; to buy the bundles of Level 1 & 2 or Level 2 & 3, it is $64.95; to buy the bundle with all 3 levels, the price is $89.95. Now, the Standard version has limited tracking when it comes to your child's progress, and there are other differences as well. The Deluxe version is the bundle of Levels 1, 2, & 3; the prices are according to how you want to pay:
$2.95 per family per month, $19.95 per family per year, or $34.95 per family for two years. You should really look at the Comparison for both products in order to make a more informed decision as to what's best for your family. For myself and my family, I like the Deluxe version because it will track Jacob's progress more thoroughly; and another plus is that if he wants to race against his Pappy up in PA, he can do that.....which would actually be really fun for him. Plus, with financial budgeting, it makes more sense to spend less right now; yes, it costs more in the long run, but at the moment, it would make more sense, budget-wise, to go with the lower payments. Do I think it's worth it? Oh yeah, I do, at least for us, because I know it works with Jacob.

To me, the tracking feature of this program is one of the best features. It allows me to see how Jacob is progressing or areas where he might need more help. It also allows him to race against himself; his old times are used to race with him, so that he can try to beat them. It's just something fun that we can add to our math load if we have a short lesson or if he needs review. I like the fact that I can feel confident in leaving the room to go do something else while he's playing but learning at the same time.

For my readers, Quarter Mile is offering you a $5 discount on any product, Standard or Deluxe; all you have to do is put the following code into your order form:
7P7A7. The code is good until September 30, 2009.

To read more reviews for Quarter Mile Math, check out The Old Schoolhouse Crew Blog.

It Happened in Italy by Elizabeth Bettina

Stories from World War II have always fascinated me. Usually, once I start a book that concerns the war or the Holocaust, I can't put it down; and if it concerns Italy, my dream retirement destination, then I am there. This book was somewhat different for me, though.
It Happened in Italy is the untold story of how the Italians helped to save some thirty thousand plus Jews and "undesirables" during World War II. They were very kind to them and hid them, and although some of the Jews were placed in internment camps, they were nothing like the concentration camps of Hitler. The "prisoners" were sometimes allowed to live in the towns, and they became close friends with not only the villagers, but also with the police. They were even allowed to visit family kept in the actual internment camps. The internment camps themselves were just basically a home away from home. The people were treated very well. They were not allowed to work, so they found other ways of entertaining themselves. I was fascinated by the stories of the survivors, and sometimes I was very sad to find out that most of their families who were not in Italy or, in some cases had left Italy, had not survived.

Although their stories fascinated me, the book left me begging for more. The author seemed to talk a lot about her own personal life and travels, and, I hesitate to say this, but there were places like this in the book where I became very bored. When the survivors' stories were on the page, I devoured it, but a lot of the book did concern the author, and it was just not what I had expected. It is a wonderful story, and it should be told; but I think that it could have been told in a different way without all the personal anecdotes and sporadic self writings.
I do like how she lists all of the survivors who were interned in Campagna and all the survivors who she interviewed. This allows for better research.

I'm not sorry that I reviewed this book, however. It has left me with a thirst to find out more about this subject. I would not have known about this, had I not read it, and I totally agree with the author and the survivors that the world needs to know their story.

If you'd like to read more reviews about this book, you can find them at Thomas Nelson.

Friday Funnies- Man Stink

Oh my goodness, I laughed until I cried with this one. Besides the "swimsuit calendar" innuendo at the end (which I still don't understand why they have to put something like that in a kids' show anyway), this is hilarious! We watch this show with Jacob; it is one of the few kids' shows out there that cracks me up....especially Jackson, Oliver, and Rico's escapades. This one particularly hits home, seeing as I live in a house full of boys and their "man stink.":)LOL Laugh it up!

For more Friday Funnies, link up with Homesteaders Heart.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

TOS Crew: Grapevine Studies

Jacob and I have been using a new Bible curriculum shared with us via the Crew. It's the Old Testament Overview put out by Grapevine Studies.
Jacob has really been enjoying this book, and I really think it's because it has a lot of hands-on activity. He's able to visually see me drawing the lesson on the board (in stick figures), and he's able to copy what I'm doing, tweaking it to his own style. He's basically learning the Bible in stick figures!

When we received this curriculum, it came with two books; one is the Teacher's Book, and the other is the Student Book.
It's important to note here that you can not only receive these books as hardcopy in the mail, but if you'd rather download them, you can do that instead. The great thing with the Teacher's Book is that it covers Levels 1 & 2, whereas the Student Book we are using is just for Level 2. So, you get 2 levels for the price of 1 with the Teacher's book.

In the beginning of the Teacher's Book, there are pages that describe the Grapevine method of teaching, their statement of faith, goals for the curriculum, and
instructions on how to teach and schedule the lessons. The lessons are laid out in such a format that it's easy to teach how your family doctrinally believes, and it's also very easy to prepare for the lesson every day.

Each lesson covers a specific portion of the Old Testament timeline, and before we ever started the lessons, we went through and drew out the timeline, giving Jacob an overview of what he was going to be learning about this year. When I say draw, I mean in stick figures; it is so easy for a non-artist like me to do; plus, what kid doesn't like to draw stick figures, especially for a Bible lesson?:) (Update: here is a picture of Jacob's drawings on the paper beside my drawings on the board; just thought I'd
share for those commenting about the drawing portion of the lessons). Personally, I wanted to make it really upbeat and fun for Jacob, so I went out and bought a cheap little set of colored dry erase markers to use on our board. He has his own markers, and he grabs a piece of paper and follows me along through the lesson. We cover one page in his book every day, which puts us to about a whole lesson every week. The first page of the lesson is a timeline review from previous lessons and a memory verse review. There are one to two memory verses to work on with each lesson. The second and third pages cover the main part of the lesson; for example, the lesson could be on The Tower of Babel. I usually have Jacob read over the verses for each section as we go, and we take breaks to draw out the different points and talk about them. At the end of each lesson, we do a character or event card, where he writes out, on an index card, the main points that he learned; he usually copies from the board. That way, he'll have that card to review later on. We also write out the memory verse/s. Other memory work might include learning the different books of the Bible in order, etc. Every so often, throughout the book, there are bigger reviews to cover a portion of what we've been studying, and we can play trivia games or review over parts that are harder to remember.

So far, we've both really enjoyed this. As a busy homeschooling mama, I love the fact that it's so easy to organize and teach; there's little to no prep time, unless I just want to read over the verses for that day's lesson. Each day's lesson is so short that it keeps his attention quite well, and again, he benefits from the hands-on learning. This is also a curriculum that you could use across broader age gaps; so, if you have multiple children, you could more than likely teach all of them from the same books, tweaking it to their levels, of course.

The best part is that through September 15, 2009, Grapevine is honoring a 30% discount to any of my readers who go and purchase any of their books. All you have to do is use the coupon code: Crews, when you checkout. The price for the Teacher's book is $45.95, and the price for the Student Book is $25.95.

So, look them over, and see for yourselves. Personally, for myself and my family, I can't say enough good things about Grapevine. The search for a good Bible curriculum can be tough, but I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to review this particular product.

If you'd like to read more reviews on Grapevine Studies, head on over to The Homeschool Crew Blog.

Things I Love Thursday: Library

Well, I think it's safe to say that I (nope, make that we) love the library! We do! We really do love it! Since we've moved, we're able to go to a bigger library, and they have so many books and audiobooks and movies and just anything that you could honestly want. It is so amazing! Jacob, of course, has to look for Transformers or Spiderman books; and he does love audiobooks. I love it fact, I can get a little carried away; can't you tell? Although I must say that a lot of those books in that basket are for school. When I walk into that huge building, though, and walk down the long entryway, the anticipation of a good hunt builds up. Then all the shelves filled with those delicious books come into sight, and I'm off like a banshee. There's just nothing like the smell of a good book. My husband thinks I'm crazy because sometimes when I get a new book to review (we're talking new here), I'll fan the pages, just smelling them. I know, I guess that does sound crazy....LOL. Jacob's inheriting it from me too, though, because he's starting to get excited when we hit the sidewalk into the library.:) It's just too cool!

For more Things I Love Thursday, link up with Diaper Diaries.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Chivalry, Part 10: Powerful Memories

Since this chapter dealt with ceremonies again, I really am not sure what to write here. This chapter gave examples of manhood ceremonies that fathers had done with their sons. It really was interesting. Lewis does start out, though, by saying how ceremonies leave everyone involved with "powerful memories." This is so true.In my everyday life as Jacob and Jaden's mommy, how can I create those "powerful memories?" I've been reading Sarah Mae's blog, Like a Warm Cup of Coffee, and she talks a lot about "Intentional parenting." Intentional parenting could create a lot of those powerful memories. Taking my time to listen to my kids instead of simply nodding my head, while tons of other thoughts race through my brain....taking the time to actually get up and kick the soccer ball or ride bikes with my kids instead of working while watching them play.....taking time to teach my sons how to do their chores instead of just giving orders....taking time to teach my boys how to make cookies instead of just hurrying to get it done myself....all of these would be examples of intentional parenting, and all of these would be the starts to some pretty great memories, not to mention the pictures I could get out of these times with my kids.

Maybe that powerful memory can come from the birthday party I plan for them, or maybe it can come from that trip to the lake to go camping and swimming. Maybe it can even come from just telling them, "Great job!" for something they did.....

These powerful memories can only add to the teaching we give our boys, when it comes to chivalry. Some day, maybe they'll even be inspired to create some "powerful memories" with their own kids.

Stay tuned for more next Wednesday....we're winding down on the Chivalry series. Any comments/thoughts?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Home" in 140 Characters

Over At the Well, Sarah Mae did a topic today on "Home" in 140 characters. Here's my vision of home:

Home is a haven and really is what you make of it. It's a place to love and be loved, to laugh uncontrollably, and to live life together.

What's your vision of "Home" in 140 characters?

Gratituesday- A School Room

Last year at this time, I was honestly wishing for a school room. We lived in a really tiny house, with barely enough room to get around our desk in the living room. Jacob did most of his school on the couch with a binder to write on, squeezed in at my desk, or at the kitchen table; don't get me wrong; learning can occur anywhere, anytime; but sometimes, it just got a little hairy.:) This year, though, we are sooooooo blessed to have an actual school room. I'm so excited! I'm so grateful for this room....I just can't say it enough! I've been so excited to decorate it up and get it ready, so I thought I'd show you a few pictures.:) Yep, I got a little carried away....:) This is my messy nook....:)where all my thinking, planning, and writing occurs....Here's my little pre-preschooling man....have several things up my sleeve to try to keep him occupied this year....(note to self: Good luck with that!):)LOL The best part is that most of the stuff came from Dollar Tree with just a few things from Mardel....can you believe that I got those two very cute, fabric storage boxes at the Dollar Tree for $1?! It's just too much fun! Anyway, just to say, I'm so thankful for our school room; God is good, isn't He?!

For more Gratituesday, link up with Heavenly Homemakers.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

  © Blogger templates 'Neuronic' by 2008

Back to TOP