Sunday, May 28, 2017

Rest and Reset {Scripture & a Snapshot}

My soul found rest.

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, May 26, 2017

Random 5 on Friday (May 26)

1.  You really do need to push the reset button every once in a while.

 That tiny dot in the middle of the lake?  That's my graduate/birthday boy way out on the paddle board.

And this hot guy?  He's the MainMost.  Always and Forever.

2.  Friendships are your biggest commodity.  Treasure them.

THIS is what 30 years of friendship looks like.

3.  GOD is the MASTER ARTIST. 

 The view from the boat at sunset.

4.  Your dog loves you.  Love him back.

He missed us.  Ignore the luggage in the foyer, but check out the back of my couch.  He was lonely while we were gone and totally squished the couch down -- even though he had company come and play three times a day.  #spoileddog

  He's up-close-and-personal now that we are home.  Not letting us out of his sight.

5.  Life is good.  Don't forget.

Heart connections were made this week  My heart is full.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Homeschool Review: Thin Stix by The Pencil Grip, Inc. #hsreviews #MessFreeCreativity #ThinStix

We had so much fun with Kwik Stix at Christmas a few years ago that we couldn't wait to get our hands on the Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors.  This newest product from The Pencil Grip, Inc. makes creating your newest masterpiece easy-peasy -- especially since there is no nightmare set up (just take them out of the box and begin) and absolutely no mess to clean up when you are finished (simply place the cap on the sticks and put away until next time).

Thin Stix by KwikStixLike their predecessor, Thin Stix are solid tempera paint sticks that offer painting fun for children of all ages (and even adults, too.  Ask me how I know?).  Did you catch that?  Thin Stix offer tempera PAINT in a stick form.  They are fast drying tempera paints that look like markers and can be used on the same materials that regular tubs of paint can be used on -- but they require no smocks, no brushes, no cups, no water, and even better, they leave NO MESS.  Not only are they easy to use, but they dry to the touch in about 90 seconds.  That means your young (or old) Picasso can paint a masterpiece without turning your kitchen table into a disaster area and you can hang the finished work on the refrigerator for all to see within minutes.

I love these things.  I love the boldness of the classic colors and I love that my girl can use them for fine details within her artwork and that she can write with ease with Thin Stix in her art journal.  The ease of use helps keep her creative juices flowing.  She enjoys pulling them out whenever inspiration hits -- and she feels confident sticking them in her purse as she heads out the door in case she finds herself with freetime at church, Girl Scouts, or other activities.  She says that the Thin Stix are convenient to use (she even uses them in the car) and the finish is fabulously professional.  Believe me, she would know.  She's an artist through-and-through.  Creating beauty is in her veins.   Her life's motto is seen on the cover of her art journal and she takes it to heart:

She is VERY particular about what types of pens and pencils she uses on the insides of this journal, so when she shared this artwork with me I knew Thin Stix had received her stamp of approval.  That's the ultimate compliment so I thought you might like to see the "up close and personal" on this one.  Don't you just love the colors?  They are deep and luxurious and do not bleed.  There is no smudging and the rest of the art journal pages are not left wrinkled like other paints tend to do.  Because the paint is in stick format, the book remains in perfect shape.  The paint doesn't bleed through to the back of the paper, so my girl can turn the page and keep right on going.

An easy medium that makes art on the run a viable option, Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors make my daughter happy.  She's interested in acquiring some of the other color sets, too, and thinks the neon set would be super cool addition to her collection and would allow her to add even more pizzazz to her journal.  I think she just might be right.

For now, she's packed up the Thin Stix and her art journal for our trip to the lake and plans to spend some time painting while we relax on a houseboat.  I'm just hoping she'll share the wealth and allow me to create a thing or two myself.  I am looking forward to this week away and am certain it will be the perfect reset for me after a super busy school year and before an even crazier summer.  Won't painting be a fun activity for us to do together?

The Pencil Grip, Inc
For more information about cool projects you can make with Thin Stix, Kwik Stix, and more from The Pencil Grip, Inc., make sure to visit the following Social Media pages:

Twitter  @thepencilgrip

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors from The Pencil Grip, Inc. as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this marvelously creative paint set that we reviewed (or just click on the banner below.)

No Mess Art with Thin Stix Classic Colors {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}
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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Bubbles of JOY {Scripture & a Snapshot}

Be Joyful!

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, May 18, 2017

Homeschool Review: Only Passionate Curiosity #hsreviews #homeschoolrescue

I have been homeschooling for 16 years and we have graduated 3 of our 4 children (one as recently as last weekend) and I wasn't sure if I would be a "good candidate" to review Only Passionate Curiosity's Homeschool Rescue, but I knew that I needed what Heather Aliano was offering.  My initial reaction when looking over this website was "yes, please."  And please should probably be typed out as PLEASE -- in great big letters as bold as bold can go.  The bottom line is that after sixteen YEARS, I seem to have lost my way.  I will be the very first to admit that I needed a rescue like none other.  The very idea that Homeschool Rescue might guide me and "breathe new life" into my world, just made me happy and the tears that fall as I type this are tears of JOY.  Having followed Heather's blog for a few years, I could only imagine that her heart would shine through in such a graceful way in this resource, and I knew I wanted to try it out for myself.  I was at the end of my rope and I needed a reset button.  Have you ever felt that way?

Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue

I couldn't help but wonder if this veteran homeschooling high school momma could really get direction, new life, and rescue, too?   I definitely met all three of her "how do I know this course is for me" statements.  I read the titles of the course curriculum and re-read those titles and I sat and pondered on each of them.  The more I looked at the Homeschool Rescue landing page, the more I wanted what she was offering.  Have I mentioned that after 16 YEARS of homeschooling, I still find myself wondering how to do this right?  How about you?

"Create a homeschool you want to teach in."  I can't even begin to share with y'all how that pierces my heart.  Rescue?  Breath?  New Life?  These questions just resonate with me (and if I'm honest -- this is a safe place for that, right? -- they perfectly describe the conversations I've had with myself this year).  It's been a constant struggle for me.
Am I doing everything I can for my kids?
Am I a total homeschool failure?
Would my kids be better off with someone else as their teacher?

I've heard other moms call it "seasons," but y'all -- I've been in a rough season for way too long, it seems.  I've graduated three and yet, at times, I can't help but wonder if I've screwed them up.    You know?  We are busy.  So busy.  I don't know how NOT to be busy. 
Here's what I know:  GOD directed our paths to homeschool.  I have absolutely no doubt about that still to this day, but it's not easy.  It's not hard.  It's just an incredibly tough "season" for this momma as I tend to beat myself up and wish I could go back about 10 years.  Ha!  I was ready for a rescue and Homeschool Rescue did not disappoint.  For real, an online "course" that will help me troubleshoot, improve time management and organization, plan, teach, and balance this wonderful life GOD has granted?  Why, yes, please! Just stop and take a look at all of the wonder and encouragement that is offered in Homeschool Rescue:

Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue
This is for real, moms.  It is what my heart desired and just what I needed.  Homeschool Rescue is made up of 5 teaching modules of 3 - 5 lessons each.  Each teaching module is more of a grace-filled conversation between friends led by Heather Aliano via video.  The videos range from 10 - 30 minutes each -- short enough that I could watch in one sitting between "busy" but long enough to really fill me up and give me plenty to ponder.  And the videos are available forever -- which means it is perfectly FINE for me to watch and re-watch and maybe even watch again.  There's no judgement if {perhaps} it takes me a little longer than some most to get it all together and get a grip.  
Heather opens up her home and her heart and embraces each of us right where we are.  She begins by having you take your homeschool pulse to see what changes you need/want to make and helps you to discover what the future of your homeschool and family environment can and should look like.  She offers suggestions and advice on making your curriculum work for YOUR family and gently reminds you to follow through as you train your children and guide them to become independent learners and thinkers.  She does all of this with mercy and kindness and there is never any condemnation about where you are or where you have been.  Heather offers HOPE -- for brand new homeschoolers and veteran homeschoolers alike.
There are transcripts available for each lesson so you can print them out and make a notebook to read over again and again AND there are even note-taking pages that you can print and use as listening tools as you work through each lesson.  I'm a pen and paper kind of girl myself, so that really appealed to me.  PLUS, it gives me a place to put my homework pages once I've completed them.  Did I mention that there is homework?  Indeed, there is.  BUT don't freak out just yet.  The homework pages are friendly helpers that allow you to think about and work through the suggestions being made in the video conversations.  You won't just watch/listen but you'll make physical plans to aid your rescue.  If all of that's not enough, you will also have access to one of the cutest planners on the planet -- you decide which pages meet YOUR needs and print it right at home.  Oh, and did I mention the LIVE workshops?  Y'all, seriously, Homeschool Rescue is a GEM for us all.  This is a support system and homeschooling convention all-in-one.
Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue
I must say that just calling this a "course" is almost unfair, because it is SO MUCH MORE.  Homeschool Rescue is a community -- a welcoming community of friends who will come alongside you and help to see you through.  Where else will you find a safe place to say "today, I give up" and have an entire community of moms who understand right where you are?  Homeschool moms supporting one another through the good and the bad days -- with no condemnation, no scorn, and even following up with quick Facebook posts to reach out and love on you just a little.  Who wouldn't want that in their life?   Because, yes, even after 16 years of homeschooling, you still have difficult days, difficult weeks, difficult semesters.  We need each other, moms, and Homeschool Rescue offers that community.   I'm not sure that Heather even realized just how much we all needed this when she started putting her course together.  I can only say how extremely happy I am that she did.

You can find out even more about this WONDERFUL, LIFE-GIVING, JUST-FOR-YOU resource by visiting the following Social Media sites:  (Please, please do.  Seriously, I want this blessing for your life.)

So, here's the deal -- even if you find yourself nearing the end of your homeschooling journey like me -- there is SO MUCH GOOD STUFF included in this online course, you are going to WANT to sign up today.  Actually, scratch that.  You really NEED to sign up today.  For yourself, for your family, for your sanity.

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Homeschool Rescue from Only Passionate Curiosity as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this life-breathing resource (or just click on the banner below.)

Homeschool Rescue {Only Passionate Curiosity Reviews}
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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Charge to My Favorite Son

 At our Graduation ceremonies, the parents usually say a few words to their graduates immediately following a video of memories.   It's a time to tell your child just how proud you are of them, a time to say "I love you", and a time to share special memories.  

I thought I'd share with you what I said to my favorite son last weekend.  Because I couldn't narrow down the pictures that I wanted to share in the video, I ended up having them all fly in at a rapid speed.  We used portions of "Mr. Blue Sky" (his choice) and "This Is Not Goodbye" (my choice) for the slide show.  I'm hoping to link it here on the blog later in the week.

My Charge to My Favorite Son:
If a picture is worth 1000 words then surely 1000 pictures at break neck speed must be worth a book, right?  Whew!  That's what happens with the oft-neglected 3rd child.  There may have been no birthday parties and there certainly is no baby book, but son, there are pictures and memories and friendships. And there has been adventure!  You, my favorite son, have never been afraid and you make the world a better place full of blue sky.
You entered this world with the regal name of Thomas Jenner McInnis and you immediately captured the hearts of those around you -- young and old.  I never knew that one boy could be as loved as you have been.  Your name changed from Thomas Jenner to Jenner to Tom Tom to J-Man to J and each change signifies true affection from the ones who call it.  
I’ll never forget the way you held up your hands and said “hold you, momma” when you wanted me to pick you up.  I’ll never forget that sweet smile and those blonde curls that followed the “big girls” through life and guarded the “baby” sister from harm – even when she didn’t mean for that rock to hit you in the head.  I’ll never forget those awkward middle school years when you were figuring out the proper timing it takes to tell a good joke – and how much you make us laugh now that you’ve finally figured it out.  I’ll never forget the night that you sat next to me on the couch and said “I’m ready to ask JESUS into my heart.”  That night is one of my favorite ever from your almost-18 years of life.  
You have been a delight and it has been an honor for this momma to have you as her son.  In all the years of “teaching,” I’m not sure who has learned the most.   You’ve taught us about army men and dirt, how deep a good foxhole needs to be, how not to ride a skateboard, that it takes diligent practice to be a ping pong champ, that ski school is cool, that there’s no crying in baseball, that sometimes the end of the spear is where life begins, and that life is best when you give it your all. 
You’ve taught us what matters.  You’ve taught us that blood matters – and you’ve taught us how to pray that it will overflow.  You’ve taught us that friends matter -- that every boy needs a band of brothers and you’ve set out to surround yourself with some of the best.  You’ve reminded us all that convictions matter and you’ve set out to be a purveyor of truth to all you come in contact with.   
When I look at you, Jenner, I see that little boy all wrapped up in this confident young man who has the world at his fingertips.  I see one of the most compassionate gentlemen I’ve ever met.  I see grace and love and I see JESUS – and other people see it too.  You are special.  GOD has had HIS hand upon you and HE created you to serve like no one has ever served before.  You were made to change the world.  Go forth in confidence that HIS plan is perfect for you and IN HIS TIME you will know.
You are loved beyond measure, my favorite son.  Absolutely, positively loved beyond measure.  Be who you were made to be and know that you’ve been prayed over every step of the way.

Thank you for indulging this momma's heart and walking along us as we do life.

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Shine {Scripture & a Snapshot}

Shine your light!

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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