Saturday, October 29, 2011


Tonight, my heart is heavy.  It aches for those around me. For those that are watching loved ones last days, for those who are sitting over a baby's hospital bed, for the ones that are losing sleep over where tomorrow's meal will come.  These are requests from friends, internet acquaintances and others with which I have a connection.  The world is full of pain and suffering.  It is broken and filled with sin. My life isn't any different. There are dark hidden places in my life that are stained black.

In fact, I often battle with a blackness that wants to consume my heart.  It's just a tiny seed. But it is totally depraved. Hateful. Sin.  And there are times, I let it out of it's box.  You know. Those times when you say,
 "I know I shouldn't do this or think this  BUT..."

And there are times when you get hurt. Those are the things that scare me the most.  I can feel that darkness wanting to seep through my heart. It grows. It takes over. And I want to give in. I don't want to fight it. To give in to the dark would mean my heart wouldn't have to break or hurt over a situation.  That darkness whispers to my soul that all will be well once I give up control.  And it's right.  But for only a short while.  Because I know that serving that black stain will only lead to more hurt, more devastation, more pain.  And then I listen to that still, small voice. The one that says,

"My yoke is easy."
"I long to carry you through the night"
"Come, find rest at My feet"

I cannot fight this alone. I serve the ALMIGHTY. The Creator, my Sustainer.  I am reminded that we all must serve one of two masters. 

Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? Romans 6:16

I watched part of the Spiderman movies the other day. Maybe it was the third? And watching that black blob consume Peter was much how I envision the war in my heart sometimes.  But I will not be a slave to it. I WILL NOT give it a foot hold. So I must let go of the me, and become the slave to righteousness.

Guard your heart dear friends. Do not let even that tiniest seed of bitterness into your heart. It is consuming. And deadly.  Cling to the Father.

If you don't mind, please pray for those around you. Your friends who are hurting, for people you don't know that hurt.  And then, pray for your heart.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Northstar Games~ Wits & Wagers

When you were little, do you remember there used to be TONS of game shows on T.V.?  I loved to watch those games!  I was always so much better than the actual contestants. They didn't seem to know very much, and weren't really in tune with the prices of things in the world.  And at ten years old, clearly I was an expert.

Well, recently our family was given our own copy of the game Wits & Wagers, produced by Northstar Games.  It has really been fun.  There are questions asked, and family members write down their best guess as to the answer. When all answers are written, the one closes to the actual number wins! Kind of like Price is Right.  Questions are like, "How many different colors of Froot Loops are there?"


The game comes ready to play for up to 10 people.  But if you don't want to play teams, you can play up to five.  Since our family is so big, we adapt and use a marker board to keep up with our answers and scores.  It is also suggested players need to be ages 8 and up.  You can let the littles play as well. They have no concept of the real numbers, but it's fun to write numbers down just like the big kids.

This game is available online, or from some national retailers. The price can vary depending on the retailer. With Christmas coming up, this would be a great idea for a gift for the children and families on your list!


I was given a copy of this game for the purpose of review. All opinions are mine. For other reviews, please visit the Homeschool Crew Blog.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Educating the WholeHearted Child


"A Christian Home is never defined by what the children are doing; it is defined by what the parents are doing." Clay Clarkson

Where do I start with this review? The Clarkson's and Apologia Press tied together is an awesome combination! Educating a Whole Hearted Child has been revised again and is an incredible resource for Homeschoolers and I think the average Christian home. The Clarkson's have such incredible insight on education and it has been a blessing to read.
"Home Discipleship is how you as a parent not only instruct your children about Christ but also model the life of Christ for them and lead them into a relationship and daily walk with him"
Honestly, this was a book I really wanted to read. And when I first started it, I was thrilled. And then terrified. It has given me so much to think about, discuss, and ultimately, lay at Jesus's feet.  It lays out a plan that rids the home of conventional learning, and that is completely terrifying to me.  I love that time and again the authors state this is what works for them, and not an all-inclusive method that will make my children perfect little learners.
The book is sectioned off into 4 Titles and then sub-sectioned in each Title:
I loved that the book is in workbook form.  It just appeals to me.  But then again, I was the nerdy kid in school who lived to get a new workbook!

Educating a WholeHearted describes a "WholeHearted Learning Model" The 5" levels" build and are all intertwined together. "

"The Model is designed to enable you to provide a range of coordinated learning experiences for your children, moving from structured learning to more unstructured learning and from more teacher-directed learning to ore directed learning" page 114 , Educating A Whole HeartedChild
In the columns of this book are various nuggets from Authors, Educators, Presidents. Also suggested resources and Scripture. This is one of my favorite aspects of the book!

Clay Clarkson keeps it real! He recognizes the struggles in the balancing act of choosing to homeschool. That is why one of my favorite parts of the book is a little section called "In Our Home." These short paragraphs gave me confidence that the Clarkson's applied these various model methods in their home and what that looks like. This is one of those books that I will read every year.

This book is chalked full of invaluable information. Over 350 pages worth! The book cost is $22.00 and can be ordered right on the Apologia website. You can also view a sample of the book on the Apologia Website.

*I was given a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest opinion. To see other reviews, see The Homeschool Crew Blog.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Over the past month, I have had the privilege of reviewing E-Mealz, a resource for busy moms who still want to put a yummy meal in front of their family at the end of the day.
What is E-Mealz?
E-Mealz is like a menu planning central for moms who really need help with planning their dinner time menus. The site provides you with meal plans that are complete with recipes, grocery shopping lists that are printable, and more.
How Does it Work?
You choose the store. They provide the plan! Each week you will receive a brand new plan with a complete grocery list organized by sections. Each meal plan is ONLY $1.25 per week!!
There are over 20 meal plans for you to choose from:
diet specific: low carb. gluten-free, portion control, vegetarian, or a regular diet
shop specific stores: Kroger, Aldi’s, Wal-Mart, Public’s, Ralph’s, or choose any store
They even have plans for just two people!
Here is what a sample menu plan looks like:
While this is a good program, there were a few things that I wish were different.

~There is no way to substitute meals: What’s on the menu is there. You don’t have the option to change out a meal if your family does not like the ingredients. You can leave it off, but if you are new to menu planning, then this might pose a problem. For someone like myself who is a seasoned menu planner, I knew I could just fill it in with a meal from my own base of menu plans.

~You can only change your meal plan option once: This was a little aggravating for me, because I first chose “any store” when I signed up because I live in a very small town–20 or 30 minutes away from most Wal-Marts and Aldi’s. The any store was okay but then I chose the Wal-Mart menu and after that I was stuck with it.

~It just doesn't work for a large family: Unless I double up the family sized plans or go with the special occasion plan, there isn't a working plan for us.  Plus, we don't consume very many processed foods, and I found myself trading many things.

All in all this was an okay program that I think works best for a new menu planner. Like I said, I do wish it gave you the option to switch out each night’s dinner plan with a different dinner plan, but other than that–I give it two thumbs up!

I received a complimentary subscription in order to write my review for the TOS Review Crew. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Always Icecream

As much as I would love to tell you that I "always let my kids have ice cream", I actually am writing about a website called "Always Icecream".


This is a website for girls that really has a little bit of everything.  It is geared for 7-12 year olds, with an emphasis on education. It's really a melting pot of different popular kid's sites into one. 

As the "Always Icecream" site says:
     With Always Icecream, we’re trying to combine three important aspects of child-appropriate online learning in a unique way:
- Motivation: Girls experience Always Icecream as a fun “play” site, with a friendly community (parents can turn off the social features).
- Learning: Girls practice a wide variety of academic and practical skills in a playful way.
- Rewards and Recognition: Girls earn “$coops,” our in-game currency for playing learning games. This currency can be used to take care of online pets in PetWorld and decorate homes in MiniWorld. Achievements are recognized through medals and special awards as well as progress reports to parents.

My daughter, who is 11, has loved the site.  She has practically begged to play. There are a few features I'm not fond of, specifically the social media part. But the best part is, I can just turn that off, so she's good to go. 


The geography is one of her favorite spots.  She does quite well with it, and has really developed her U.S. Geography knowledge. I love watching her perk up when she hears news and says, "I know where that is!"

Of course, I think EVERY girls absolute favorite section is the pet section.

What young girl doesn't dream of having a pet to care for. And this is Mom's favorite kind. Nothing to clean up after! 

To check out the site for yourself, head to and see for yourself.  With memberships starting at $4.99 a month, it really is a good deal.


I was given a membership for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are mine. For other reviews, please visit the TOS Homeschool Crew website.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Scruble Cube

A new word game has entered our house.  We love word games around here. Malcolm's Kindle is loaded with about 10 different games, there is lots of Scrabble played in our house, as well as BookWorm.  So when the Scruble Cube showed up at our house, it was game on.
If cube is like the love child of Scrabble and the Rubik's Cube. And then it took some steroids.  I cannot even begin to tell you the gaming potential here.  Malcolm enjoys playing by himself, and I often find the other kids playing with it trying to work out bigger words.  It promotes itself as appropriate for ages 8+.  My eight year old gets extremely frustrated with it. He doesn't quite "see" the 3 dimensional aspects of the game, and gets very mad nearly all the words he can find are 3 lettered.  My 10 and 11 year old enjoy playing together. They are pretty well matched in their vocabulary, and if they spell a word wrong, the other one assumes it to be right. Playing with Malcolm, who is 13, and a human dictionary, you better bring your spelling game.  He's like the Spelling Nazi! 

Not only is this a vocabulary builder, but I think it is a fun tool to help those prepping for ACT/SAT, or other college entrance exams.  You are always trying for the next bigger, better word, and is addicting!

The website is extremely helpful, and beneficial. Especially for people who cannot keep up with the rule sheet. *ahem* There are tons of ideas for play and use. Videos to help explain the game, and a place for educators.  You can buy one for your family for $24.95, and I think it would make a great Christmas present. 


This product was sent to me for the purpose of review. The opinions expressed are mine. For more reviews, please check out the TOS Homeschool Crew review site.

Monday, October 10, 2011


It has been months since we've had rain. And here in my small farming town, we've only had a couple of inches all year.  Last night, as we were leaving church, it began to rain. The normally restrained farmers were giddy with delight. It was already dark outside, but the feel, sound, and smell of the rain was perfect, even though we couldn't see it. I'm not sure if it was rain coursing down their weathered cheeks, or tears, but I cannot even begin to express the joy of that moment.

Oh Lord, I praise you for your faithfulness.  You, God of the universe, redeemer of my soul, still care for our needs. You hear us cry out, and are faithful to sustain us. I trust You, and believe in You.  Do not forget me in my unbelief.  And just as the land is parched, and dying, so my soul feels. Bring the rain, Lord to my soul, so Your life may burst forth and produce.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Scissors and Little Boys

Perfect shoes
My sweet Anderson has the most adorable hair. It is a gorgeous color. And it hangs so perfect. I love watching it flop and fly when he runs and plays. That is until this week.

"Reading his Bible"
This week, he cut it. Not once. Or even twice. But three times that boy found the hidden scissors and cut his hair. And after the third cut, I couldn't just trim it and hit his work. I had to drastically cut his hair. And while I cut last night, with trembling hand, and teary eyes, the child fell asleep. It was quite the experience to cut a little boy's hair who was soundly sleeping in the chair.

I think, however, that he is more adorable now than ever before. And this is the perfect look for the soon to be three year old child.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

If the shoe fits

So Georgia Beth turned one in mid-August.  She is finally beginning to take a few steps this last couple of weeks.  And I was hit with a dilemma.  The child doesn't have any shoes.  This is not for lack of trying.  I bought her a pair back in February, and apparently lost them in the next store.  Mom bought her the most adorable pair of slide on black and white shoes for her birthday, and they are still too big. And that is the biggest problem of all.  Her foot is TINY.  We're talking, the size TWOs Mom bought her are too big. Not a little big. Way big.  And, since it is no longer 150 degrees outside, her feet stand the chance of getting cold. She doesn't keep socks on, plus, it's hard for a learning walker to be in just socks. They slide too much.  So, Saturday night, I decided she had to have a pair of shoes for church the next morning.  Thankfully, I had a pattern, scrap fabric, and an hour in which I could spare.  The pattern is by SweetPea patterns, and I LOVE them.  I have sewn a couple of pairs of shoes before. Slippers really.  They were freebies, and sewed just fine.  Shoes aren't the easiest always, but I got by.  SweetPea has two tips in this, the Jack and Jill, that is worth the entire price of the pattern!! Anyway, I found some fabric left over from skirts I made my niece five or six years ago, and away we went.

Just to tell you how small the sweet peach's feet are, I put the pattern to her, and the 12-18 month size was GINORMOUS! The 9-12 month size was HUGE. The 6-9 month seems slightly big, and the 3-6 looked like it would be a perfect fit.  She's almost 14 months old y'all.  I went ahead and made the 6-9 month size to give her room to grow. Plus her feet are really tall fat.  Does that make sense?  They aren't wide, and not really like fat.  But they are tall. Fat.  Well, that makes sense to me, and I was the one sewing, so that's the decision I stuck with.  They are a little too big.  She can rub her heel on the floor and the shoe slides right off.  But for the most part, they work great.  The sole isn't sewn in to this shoe.  I really like the look of a sole, and so I keep trying to keep it in the shoe.  My glue gun mysteriously doesn't work (AACK!), so for now, I just set the sole in the shoe each time she wears them. Other than that, I am SO pleased with the shoes! Sew on the vintage buttons I found in my Great-grandmother's sewing box, and you've got a recipe for success!

Now, hopefully I will have time to make her a few more shoes. I have a couple more patterns I'm dying to try out!