Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book Review: Mirror of N’de

One of our family’s favorite series is Chronicles of Narnia!  I remember I read the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a kid, but I think I missed the others.

At this point in my life, I could tell you the entire story about any and all of the 7 in the series.  We own the audio drama CDs and listen to them nearly every time we travel!

The Mirror of N'de: A Novel

When I was offered a chance to read and review The Mirror of N’De by L.K. Malone, I jumped at the chance.  I could see some similarities to the Chronicles Series and I suspect this would become a new favorite!

I was right!  I read this book super fast, I never wanted to put it down, and often got lost reading into the night.

This book is an allegory like the Chronicles series.  It is science fiction-y – in a wonderful way.  It is pure fantasy but based on the truths of Christ. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

All Decorated

Katie and tree close

This past weekend we followed our tradition of getting the tree up and the house all decorated.  I am not sure what the favorite part is for everyone, but I know the kids can hardly wait to dig into their treasure boxes.

We started a few years ago, getting them each a Modge Podge (plain brown) box from Hobby Lobby.  We started to decorate a couple but never finished, maybe another project for this year!  In each box we store each child’s ornaments.  They love to dig into their own boxes to pull out all their ornaments and put them on the tree.  Somehow they are able to remember where they got many of them – amazes me!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Book Review : Names of God Bible

I have been thinking for some time I wanted to get a new Bible.  I was not sure of the translation, just knew I wanted to get a new one.  Then, not too long ago the Names of God Bible arrived for me to review!

Names of God Bible, The


This version of the Bible is God’s Word and it was written to offer a translation of the Bible that translated the Bible from the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts to their closest natural English language.  I found this version very readable for my boys and myself to read and understand.

It’s Here!!

Advent that is!  I think Advent is my favorite part of Christmas!!  The excitement that building in anticipation of the Birth of Jesus!  I know, it can seem silly to get so excited to celebrate someone who was born, oh so long ago.  But I do still get excited!

I love how each day we use Ann’s Jesse Tree Devotion to talk about all the ways God pointed to the cross in the Old Testament, and how he used real people, people like you and me.

The Adventure of Christmas: Helping Children Find Jesus in Our Holiday Traditions

Today we took out Lisa Whelchel’s book ADVENTure of Christmas and talked about what Advent really is.  Last night we did our first Jesse tree devotion and even managed to light our Advent wreath!!

Advent – means to come.  This season is all about us cleaning out the cobwebs of our hearts and preparing for the celebration of Christ’s arrival. 

Each day we are doing something fun for this season.  Today, Day 1 (but not really since I wanted the days to line up with the days of December, we will call today Day 1 Minus 3) we are reading The Quilt Makers Gift (a family favorite) and having some scones and Black Currant Tea (I could not find Blackberry anywhere, so black currant will have to do).

Hope you are grabbing the beauty of this season, and I hope you are teaching your kids what it is really about – not the Santa at the mall (although that is fun too) not about the fun songs like Jingle Bells (which we are enjoying listening to) but it is really about getting our minds ready to celebrate the birth of our Savoir!!

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Discipleship ~ Part II

So, Tuesday  I shared some of the thoughts in my head, bouncing around (I am sure there is lots of open space for such thoughts to bounce….)

What does discipleship really look like?

How do we “do” it?

To whom do we disciple?

Many of these thoughts came from reading Radical by David Platt. 


While reading that book, I have listened to a few great podcasts too like :

Matt Chandler and Mission of God

Michael Fletcher @ Manna ReligionX

The underlying theme in all these places has been that it is not about God saving us to Save Us – it is about saving us so that we can live our lives glorifying HIM.  I just love this.  It is not about us.  Never was.  Never will be.  Wow.  I love this!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Christmas Traditions

I *love* Christmas time! We take time away from our typical studies and we focus on why we celebrate this holiday.

For us, it is really not about the presents, to keep true to this, we limit the number of gifts the kids get to three, from us. We try to find something that they need (this year 2 boys may be getting new comforters), something they want (a toy of some sort: BB gun, Bow & Arrow, games, etc) and the last thing is kind of our choice (this year I think some books). One exception is on Christmas eve they get to open their PJ pants – so, I guess they get 4.

On Sunday after Thanksgiving, we start our Jesse Tree tradition. We have always done something Jesse tree/Advent related, but last year I used Ann Voskamp’s Jesse Tree Devotion, and trust me when I say it is THE BEST out there!! I have many Christmas tradition books, and nothing comes close in spiritual depth and truth!! In order for us to remember each night, because life around here can get crazy, we get a chocolate candy Advent calendar for each child. (Aldi usually sells these – cheap)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Crafty Christmas

So, while we are still trying to savor Thanksgiving, I am up to my elbows making Christmas crafts!

Normally, I am done about September, making Christmas crafts, this year I started a few weeks ago.  So, you can imagine how much fun I had recently spending half my day making some crafts!!

Going back to Pinterest, I saw this:

and loved it!  So here are a few of my versions :

Book Review : Big Book of History

I have wanted to get a timeline for our school.  I have looked at many, but never really found THE ONE.  You know, the one you know your kids will enjoy.  One that will grab their attention.  Many are pretty, many have good info, but those have not been The One.

Big Book of History

I found it though!  I am so excited!  My kids were excited!  That was how I knew it was The One!!

{This would be a great Christmas present for any families who love to learn together!!}

Big Book of History 004

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Making Hand Soap {DIY}

Oh my, I am in heaven!!

I saw this on pinterest a number of times, and knew I wanted to do it, but when the pin was with Mrs. Meyers soap – it became #1 on my list instead of somewhere lower!!

If you have ever smelled Mrs. Meyers Basil soap, you are missing out!  It is my favorite smell, makes me WANT to mop.  I simply love it.  I have been using a bottle (12 oz) of hand soap for about a year, I stretch is by refilling those foamer bottles.  I put about 1-2 Tablespoons and fill it up with water.  I do this for the kids too, since they tend to waste lots of soap. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Discipleship {Part I}

What does discipleship really look like? 

How do we “do” it? 

To whom do we disciple?

Those are a few of the questions bouncing around in my head these days. 


While reading Radical, and listening to David Platt talk about what it means, how Jesus did it, and how we are called not only to go and tell, but to make disciples, I am chewing on how that looks in my life. 

First, I think I am called to disciple my children.  Why?  Well, before this week I could not specifically tell you, but while I was reading Titus 1:5-9 I read why I am called to do this.

For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, 6 namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.

Paul tells us in Titus that to be a leader in the church you must have only 1 wife, and children who are believers and not rebellious.  Why would he say this?  Because if you do not have your own house in order, how in the world are you going to tell someone else how to get theirs in order?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Book Review : Christmas Shoppe

Yes, this is my third book of three with the Christmas theme!  It has been so much fun reviewing Christmas books, especially reading them this fall!!  It has been easy to transition to holiday planning!!


Christmas Shoppe, The


Melody Carlson wove a beautiful story in this charming Novella.  You can read all about Melody on her blog.  This story takes place in the tiny town of Parrish Springs.  This is another story that captures all the elegance of small town life!  I love reading about little towns and how all the character know each other, I find it delightful to be known in that way.

In this story a quirky lady, Matilda Honeycutt, arrives in their small town, and many people are intrigued, while many others are very upset by her presence.  Matilda brings her own element to this story though, and as she meets the people of this town, she impacts them in a very unique way.

This story offers the reader another quick read that will quickly get you in the Christmas spirit.  Matilda embodies the true, and precious, meaning of Christmas!  I loved seeing how this little old lady impacted this town, for the better!

I would recommend this book as a great Christmas present for the reader in your life, or as a great treasure to enjoy yourself.

When you check out this book, check out many of Melody’s other Christmas Novellas as well, I think you will be happy to read any of them!

Note : I was offered a copy of The Christmas Shoppe in exchange for an honest review on this blog.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Book Review : Day of War(Lion of War Series)

This book sat on my shelf for a few weeks since I had other books in the “queue”, but I was hooked after the first few pages.

Day of War (Lion of War Series)

This is an amazing book that takes place during 998 BC.  The author, Cliff Graham, weaves a story together with information he took from the Bible and other historic documents.  While it is obviously a fiction story, it is as true to life as I think someone could write about this time period.  I felt like it played out like a movie, through the details and depth of characters.

The main character, in this first book in a series of five, is Benaiah.  I loved this man, his character, his wrestling with who Yahweh is, and his love for his wife.  As I read through this book, in a matter of days, I was amazed by who these characters became.

Mr. Graham did an amazing job writing about David as a real man, but yet true to every facet of his character from the Bible.  The qualities that David posses are amazing and they inspired me through each story.

I loved Benaiah though, because he is a real man, who wrestles with real things that we each wrestle with.  He has seen things in his life, few have seen and dealt better with.  He loves David and follows hi, as a solider in his Army.

My favorite element that occurs throughout this story is the “covering.”  David teaches his men about the Covering – he calls on it when he is in battle, weary and about to collapse and it gives him renewed strength.  Not only does David call on the Covering, but the Three, and many other followers of Yahweh, and soldiers.

David’s band of the Three are in this story and they are amazing!  Not only are they specialists in many weapons, but their love and dependence on Yahweh is inspiring.

I cannot say enough good things about this book.  It is a book that will draw you in for the Biblical elements, but it will keep you through the amazing details of the character, the scenes and every part of this book.  I will be following Cliff Graham in the future and I am already eager to read the next book in this series!



*** Great News!!

While finding links for this review (Author’s blog, and pics) I learned there will be a movie about this book!  Oh, my!  Cannot wait!!  Read it first though!!

Cliff Graham


Cliff Graham :

Check out his Documentary about the research behind Day of War.




This book is not a book I would pass along to my son.  While this is a more masculine book, it is quite adult in nature, and at times graphic with battle scenes as well as some of the implications for the women during this time period.

Note: I was offered a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review, by Zondervan Publishers.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thanksgiving Traditions

It can be so easy to jump from Halloween/Fall festival planning, right into Christmas!  But, I hate to let that happen in our home!  I love Thanksgiving!!  One of my favorite holidays because there is much less stress associated with it!

I love that we usually get together with family, usually have some wonderful food, and usually have lots of down time.  But, it can be missed in the rush for Christmas if we are not careful!

In our home, this year, we are capturing the  Thanksgiving spirit  by our annual listening to Thanksgiving, A Time to Remember.  This is put out by  Family Life Ministries and we LOVE it!!  It is an audio drama that Barbara Rainy put together that tells the real, historic story of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving (A FamilyLife Book): A Time to Remember (Family Life Books)


Book Review : Remembering Christmas

This is the second of 3 books I have to review for this coming Christmas Celebration!!  Reading these books in September and October may explain why I have already jumped into the Christmas Spirit and it is not yet Thanksgiving! I have loved it!

Remembering Christmas

by Dan Walsh

I really enjoyed reading this book.  It is a sweet story about a young  man, Rick, who goes “back home” when his step-father has an accident.  Rick does not have strong faith, in fact he is simply living his life to get the most money and stuff out of it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up : 11/11/11

Happy Veteran’s Day to all who are serving and have served!!  May God bless our friends who continue to stand in harms way!!

homeschool journal

In our homeschool this week…

We started working on our Gratitude Lapbook – the kids are enjoying it and I am hoping to cultivate a more grateful heart in each of them! 

I am inspired by…

Podcasts – this week I have listened to several from Matt Chandler at the Village church in DFW, and Michael from Manna in NC.  I have really enjoyed both and been incredibly inspired!!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

This week we stayed close to home, but next week we head up to Dallas for AG’s heart appt.  She will have an EKG & ECHO on Monday to make sure her heart looks exactly like it should.

Last Sunday I did get to take AG to a Clover Kid field trip to see many animals.  It was lots of fun!!  She got to see a Sheep, goat, many chickens and even work with a heifer!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Planning Time

It’s Wednesday in our week of “vacation” of sorts.  The other little girl who schools with us is on vacation, so we are taking a bit of a break too.   It is nice to get a break every now and then, especially to make you appreciate what you have!!

The extra time I have had has been spent researching a plan for November and December.  While we will keep on track with regular school in November, I wanted to incorporate something dealing with Gratitude and also with the history behind Thanksgiving.  I found a couple different things for these topics, but my favorite, and the one I think we will use is Attitude of Gratitude Lapbook.  It is a 12 lesson plan with some great ideas!! 


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