Sunday, May 1, 2016

Pure Heart {Scripture & a Snapshot}



For her 15th birthday this week, we presented our "baby" with a purity ring and a challenge to focus on the true, the noble, the right, the pure, the lovely, the admirable.  The MainMost reminded her to always guard her heart and focus on GOD.

I loved her face as she opened the box.  May it always glow with the LOVE of GOD.




I'm joining with my friend Jennifer over at a glimpse of our life as we give glory to GOD through our photos.

Scripture and Snapshot




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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Schoolhouse Review: Devonian's GREEMU #hsreviews #naturalbodycare #greemuoil #vegan

Greemu Devonian Review
I really do enjoy reviewing homeschool curriculum, books, and Bibles with my children, but sometimes the opportunity to try out new products comes along for me on a personal level and I am excited to give it a go and share my experience with you.  Such was the case when GREEMU (a plant-based emu oil alternative) by Devonian Health & Beauty arrived.  I was intrigued to read about a luxurious blend of all-natural plant oils and butters that would erase fine lines, moisturize dry skin, and tame flyaway hair.  Comparable to emu oil but without the emu, and distributed by my friends over at Koru Naturals (which I LOVE and am still using products from), GREEMU arrived at my house with perfect timing.  I couldn't wait to try it out.

Greemu Devonian Review

I had planned to use it on my face, the backs of my hands, and my feet -- all of my problematic areas.  I had no idea there were so many tiny little lines on my eyes until I took a close-up look at the pictures from my daughter's wedding.  I had taken off my glasses for many of the pictures to help prevent the glare from the flash.  What was I thinking?  Oh.my.stars!  There were tiny little lines everywhere.  I couldn't wait to see if the  GREEMU oil could help erase them.  And I've shared with you before how age and the dry southern humidity have changed the texture of my skin.  I have been working on my hands and feet for quite some time now and couldn't wait to see if GREEMU might be just what I needed to completely remove the age lines and stress that is showing on them.

GREEMU worked wonders on all of those problem areas, but it's what it did on other areas that I need to share with you today.  You just never know what's going to happen in life, do you?  Four weeks ago, I woke up sick and thought I surely must have the 18-hour stomach bug that my daughter had dealt with the day before.  To be honest, what I REALLY thought was that I had the worst stomach bug in the history of mankind and I wasn't sure how to deal with the unbearable pain.  I felt like possibly the worst mother ever because I was certain I did not give enough sympathy to my girl the day before.  Thirty hours later I was no better -- actually worse -- and it was decided that I had to go to the doctor.  Tests were run and I was sent to the hospital for a CT.  Turns out, what I thought was a stomach bug was actually a 6 cm kidney stone that was going nowhere.  My first, and if I have any control over it, my LAST.  I came home to survive through the weekend and then headed into the hospital for lithotripsy surgery first thing Monday morning.

That, my friends, is where the miracle of GREEMU comes into play.  Now I don't know if you've ever had a lithotripsy procedure done to you, but it absolutely beats your body up.  The pictures below don't even begin to do it justice.  The top picture is my "after surgery but before GREEMU" shot and you can't even see the red scaly skin that surrounded the actual bruise or the "road rash" appearance of raised bumps and burns that extended out for about an inch.  Trust me, they were all there.  The bottom picture is the REMARKABLE change in appearance from just TWO applications of the GREEMU.


Okay, so is that impressive or what?  Not only did the GREEMU help diminish the bruising and tame the intense itch that came along with the beating my body took, but it also served as a deep moisturizing barrier as my skin healed.  Best of all, there is no scarring and I'm feeling better and better every day.   I'm convinced that this blend of Macadamia Seed Oil, Organic Palm Oil, Shea Butter, Sunflower Seed Oil, and Rice Bran Oil was a miracle worker for me.  I will continue using my 4-oz. bottle (a little goes a long way) on those other areas of dry skin because I like the results I'm seeing.  Next up, the Princess and I are going to see how it works to tame our crazy hair as the humidity levels rise and our hair "expands" throughout the summer.

What a crazy time for GREEMU to come into my life -- and what a difference it made in such a short period of time.  You should most definitely try this out for yourself and see how much it can do for you.  You deserve it.  Check it out.  You can find some more ideas about how to use the Devonian products in your home by checking out the following Social Media sites:



Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review GREEMU as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Greemu Devonian Review


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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Schoolhouse Review: YWAM Publishing's Milton Hershey #hsreviews #christianheroes


Years ago, my mother-in-love gifted us with a set of books that shared the inspiring stories of  Christian heroes and missionaries and we all fell in love with them.  We've enjoyed reading quite a few titles from YWAM Publishing ever since and were super-excited to read Heroes of History -- Milton Hershey:  More Than Chocolate  and use its corresponding Digital Unit Study this semester.    This Heroes of History book (192-pages, softcover) tells the rags-to-riches story of a Mennonite farm boy from Pennsylvania who refused to give up on his dream despite failure, hardship, and family members who didn't think he could succeed.  Even more than a rags-to-riches story, though, the life of Milton Hershey shares a strong testimony of faith and the willingness to do what GOD calls you to no matter the consequence.

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}


The kids and I had absolutely no idea how the good ole chocolate bar came to be -- and we were shocked and amazed at just what it took to find the perfect combination of ingredients for Mr. Hershey to consider it ready to sell.  How perfect to begin reading all about this candy adventure as we stuffed Easter eggs for the church Eggstravaganza.  And to think that all of the candy we eat today started as "novelty" ideas many, many years ago.  Reading the historical tale of Milton Hershey has given us all a new appreciation for sweet treats -- and has us reading labels to see how many of our favorites are actually Hershey brand.   Isn't it fun when literature and real life collide?  Having read this book makes our visit to the HUGE Hershey store in Chicago last Spring even more special.

Did you know that Hershey's chocolate drops were originally called Sweethearts?  Isn't that the coolest name?  Do you even know what a Hershey chocolate drop is?  Today we call them Kisses and they come in a multitude of varieties with fillings and coatings galore, but they started out as penny candy and were each individually wrapped by hand.  Interesting facts that make learning fun -- and require that you purchase a bag or two to munch on while you study.

Reading the book together has been great, but being able to take learning even further is a real treat.  What I especially love about YWAM Publishing is that they create Digital Unit Studies that direct us to want to study even more.  Beginning with Key Quotes and offering Review Questions for each of the 18 Chapters (with answers in the back), the 71-page Unit Study Curriculum Guide is the perfect tool to turn a book into a literary unit.  My kids were beyond excited as they compared Milton Hershey's tour of Chicago and visit to its World Exposition with our trip to Chicago last year.  It is super-cool to know that we've walked where he walked and visited the very same buildings where he was selling his first candies from a push cart.

The Digital Unit Study makes for the perfect companion as you relate history to the world around you through essays, collections, vocabulary, social studies (and geography lessons), and community links.  Milton Hershey was generous to a fault and made significant improvements in his surroundings as he gave back to his community.  He treated his workers as family and founded a school for boys that poured LIFE into those less fortunate.  We are encouraged to give back to our community as well and to remember to speak LIFE to those around us.

We are working on our vacation plans for this summer and trying to figure out how to include a "side" trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania.  And this is just the tip of the iceberg.  We've used the book Heroes of History -- Milton Hershey:  More Than Chocolate  as our starting point but combining it with the suggestions in the Digital Unit Study are adding a new dimension to our living history.  I highly recommend all things YWAM to you and yours.


Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

For more information on finding quality literature for your study of Heroes of History and Heroes of the Faith, please visit the following Social Media sites:



Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review YWAM Publishing as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)



Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}
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Friday, April 22, 2016

Schoolhouse Review: Writers In Residence #hsreviews

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review

We've put a HUGE emphasis on writing WELL this year at Long Leaf Academy so I was excited to use the newest resource from Apologia Educational Ministries with my Princess.  Writers in Residence is an all-in-one Student Text and Workbook -- a consumable worktext., if you will -- that covers writing, grammar, spelling through editing, and vocabulary while teaching students to be creative as they study and learn the writing process.  What is most unique about this approach to writing is that it actually engages students in writing tasks that they will use on a regular basis in work and fun as they grow older.  Instead of writing assignments that fit into the traditional forms of writing (personal, expository, persuasive, and narrative), my girl is being asked to remember, to imagine, to investigate, and to think.  And she is loving it.  So much so that she requests to do writing first thing every day.  It is by far her most favorite of all the subjects on her plate.
Apologia: Writers in Residence Review

This first volume of Writers in Residence is the Apprentice and students are invited to come along on an apprenticeship in writing as they work through the pages of the book.  It is a spiral-bound worktext of 576-pages.  YES!  You read that correctly.  There are 576-pages in the student book chock-full of thorough and systematic assignments that teach students to formulate ideas, organize their thoughts, structure sentences carefully so that they make sense to the reader, choose words wisely, share their personality through their own voice, and use grammar rules correctly so that they are understood.  The full-color pages are perfect for writing and erasing and highlighting.

Students are also taught the writing process of planning, drafting, reviewing, revising, reviewing again, thinking and revising again, editing, evaluating, polishing and publishing.  This last step of the writing process may just be my favorite.  I like that my girl is being encouraged to finish and share her work.  Like so many of the girls her age, she is shy when it comes letting others read what she writes.  There are private journals scattered all over her room and they contain her thoughts and dreams and trials and tribulations.  I'm not often invited to read those pages, but with the fun topics from Writers in Residence, she is happy to let me read about the memories invoked and the worlds imagined.

It was bittersweet for us both as she recalled her "one special place" at her great-grandmother's house, but reading her memory sentences from that time made us both smile, laugh, and cry together.  She is building a writing portfolio through the pages of her own personal childhood memories while also increasing her vocabulary and grammar skills and being introduced to literary scenes from Christian novels.  I am thrilled that she is being encouraged to READ and I am enjoying watching her confidence grow and develop as I see the depth of her thoughts when they make it to paper.



Here's the deal:  Writers in Residence in approachable.  It is written directly to the student in a conversational voice that takes away the "school" and opens the door to imaginative education.  The Princess finds it interesting and gravitates to it enthusiastically.  She is finding the joy in writing -- and she is learning about famous authors who find that same joy in their chosen vocation.  The curriculum begins with an introductory spotlight on Christian writers Bill Myers, Amy Green, Irene Howat, Jason Lethcoe, Amy Parker, and Phil Vischer and each author "teaches" writing concepts throughout the book.  Although each author is different and writes to a unique genre based audience, they are all using their gifts and talents for the LORD.  I especially love that my daughter is reminded on each page that she, too, is special and that GOD has a purpose for her life.  She is continually encouraged to seek HIM in all that she does and live her life according to HIS guidance.  All of that PLUS writing and grammar?  How could you go wrong?   Writers in Residence is all-encompassing as a writing-focused language arts program that touches the heart AND the brain.

And that's not all.  There is an Answer Key that includes all of the answers for the grammar assignments AND sample answers for questions where there is no right or wrong choice and multiple answers might be given.   Checklists for each study module (there are 24) are provided for students to perform self-evaluation and grading rubrics are included for each of the 6 units.  This is a valuable addition as it has guidelines for evaluation and parents are reminded to PRAISE their students as they offer targeted feedback.  I don't know about you, but I often forget to start with the positives as we talk about completed work assignments.

Truly folks, this is good stuff.  I LOVE the new Writers in Residence curriculum and look forward to the next three volumes in this series:  Journeyman (Volume 2), Craftsman (Volume 3), and Master Craftsman (Volume 4).  PLEASE take some time to check out Writers in Residence for your family.  It is designed for students beginning in the fourth grade and is well worth investigating.

Apologia has long been one of our family favorites -- from science curriculum to personal encouragement for momApologia has you covered.  You can connect with them and find out how they can best serve your family through the following Social Media links:





Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Writers in Residence as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review
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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Schoolhouse Review: A + Interactive Math Mini-Courses #hsreviews

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}

I've mentioned before that math has been my nemesis in the homeschool world for quite some time and I'm always excited when we get the opportunity to review math programs.  I especially like the ability to review math programs that help my kiddos hone in on basic math skills.  A + Interactive Math offers a plethora of great products that really do help students "get" math and the new Math Mini-Courses are PERFECT tools to focus on trouble spots or teach specific skillsets,  For us, the Multiplication and Division Mini-Courses were just what the Princess needed to practice as we prepare to move into higher maths.

The Math Mini-Courses are online interactive math lessons.  Students begin by signing in to the website and clicking to launch their particular lessons.  Currently, there are twenty courses available for 1st - 8th graders ranging from Counting and Identifying Numbers, Time, and Early Elementary Addition to Advanced Fractions, Advanced Geometry, and Percentages.  Truly, there is something here to help students of all abilities and what I particularly like is that students are not stuck in a box based on their grade in school.  If you child has a problem area or just finds certain mathematical operations fun to do, you can choose the exact Mini-Course to meet their need.  This is personalized learning at its best.

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}After initially logging in and launching lessons, the Princess spent a few minutes orientating herself to the website and checked out how it all works.  The Multiplication Mini-Course contains only 13 lessons so she did not feel overwhelmed at all by the work.  A bite-size chunk of math is much easier to deal with for her than a huge book of problems to be answered.  I am especially fond of ah-ha moments as she works and appreciated immensely that the Multiplication Course began with a short introduction and then explained how addition and multiplication go together.  It was a good review for her to see how objects can be multiplied together and to learn a few tricks of the trade when multiplying numbers.  For years she has had a total "hate" relationship with math of all varieties so I was not at all sure how she would do when I asked her to begin this review.  The interactive nature is a HUGE PLUS for her.

Because these are "mini" courses, she's not intimidated by the work.  Each lesson begins with her watching a brief multimedia presentation and there are interactive review questions interspersed throughout.  As she watches the video, she is able to click and offer answers for immediate feedback.  (She has also learned to pay close attention as she goes through the lessons and not get too click-happy trying to speed through and "finish" because answers are scored automatically.)  PDFs are available with the entire contents of each lesson if students would like to read over what they've been taught and worksheets can be printed for each lesson for additional practice.  There are also two tests for the Multiplication Mini-Course that make it easy for me to make sure she has mastered the work.

I find this program easy to use and understand and I like that I can check the progress being made on the Parent Dashboard.  It tells me when she works on a lesson and how many questions she answers correctly.  I can check her status at any time and help to hold her accountable to doing her best at all times.

Although she still finds math to be frustrating, she has shown marked improvement while utilizing this Mini-Course.  Her confidence is growing as she works larger and larger multiplication problems.  The small steps from basic math facts to 3- and 4-digit multiplication are proving to be beneficial.

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}As we continue to work through gaps in math education here at Long Leaf Academy, the Princess will soon be moving into the Division Mini-Course.  The Division course is comprised of 15 lessons that follow the same basic format as the multiplication lessons.  Students are introduced to division and the components that make up a division problem.  They spend two lessons understanding how division relates to subtraction and multiplication and then spend time learning about remainders and division tricks for dividing numbers by 1 or 0 and using a division bracket.  Finally, students learn how to work simple division problems and then progress to division of 4-digit numbers by 2-digit numbers.

Just like the Multiplication Mini-Course, the Division Mini-Course offers pdfs for all lessons, worksheets, and tests.  Students can use these online or can download and print for a notebook if they choose.   The multimedia lessons are engaging with bright colors, sounds, and movements.  I know my Princess is going to enjoy them as much as she has enjoyed multiplication.

There are quite a few FREEBIES offered by A+ Interactive Math, and these offer a ton of help to any homeschool family.  You can check out the placement test and family math packages and see how they each fit with your family.  You can gain access to free worksheets, multimedia lessons, and ebooks, as well.  You will find out even more information by visiting the following Social Media sites:






Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review the Math Mini-Courses by A + Interactive Math as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}
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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hidden {Scripture & a Snapshot}




State Bible Drillers 2016  -- Hiding GOD's Word deep in their lives.




I'm joining with my friend Jennifer over at a glimpse of our life as we give glory to GOD through our photos.

Scripture and Snapshot



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Friday, April 15, 2016

Random 5 on Friday (April 15)



1.  I am hungry and nothing sounds good.

2.  There are reasons I don't do sick.  I've birthed four babies like a champ but one kidney stone has stolen two and a half weeks of my life.

3.  I may actually be craving chocolate.  And I don't even like chocolate.  Something weird this way comes.

4.  I cannot wait to get back to walking.  I never knew how much I'd miss getting my daily miles in.

5.  My baby girl will be FIFTEEN in ten days.  How in the world did that happen?


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