Sunday, October 23, 2016

Refreshing JOY {Scripture & a Snapshot}

These two headed off to the Holy Ghost Hog Roast last night with friends from our High School Ministry.  They bring me such refreshing JOY.   He's dressed as Russell from the movie UP and she's dressed as Sandy from the movie Grease.  Best part about these costumes?  They had all the supplies at home.

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

Pin It Now!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Random 5 on Friday (October 21)

  1.  Little things make me happy.

2.  My oven isn't super clean (#letsgetrealyall) and yes, potatoes can explode.  Those bits and pieces burn and smell just lovely if you forget they are in there and preheat the oven a day later.

3.  Bible Drillers are the best.  I LOVE that they are dedicated to hiding GOD's Word in their hearts.  And I'm proud of my Senior as he completes his NINTH year of Bible Drill this year.  #dedicationpays

4.  I finished the foyer.  Next up:  the mantel and dusting the living room.  Dusting = not my favorite task

5.  A night out with the MainMost and one of my besties is good stuff.

I've known her since I was 6 and she was 5. 

He's had my heart for 27 years.  He had me at "wow, what a tan!"

How's that for random?  Welcome back and I'll see you again next Friday!
Pin It Now!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Artsy Decor {virtual refrigerator}

I'm working on adding a few Fall touches to my house and I'm pretty sure that decor IS art.  Don't you think?  The tiny pumpkin was created for my oldest daughter when she was only 5.  It's been a fun part of our decorations for 17 years.  What do you think?

Pin It Now!

Homeschool Review: The Familyman's Christmas Treasury Collections #hsreviews #christmas #Audio #audiobook #digital #familymanministries

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat.
Please put a penny in an old man's hat.
If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do.
If you haven't got a ha'penny, GOD bless you.

That's one of the first Christmas songs I remember learning in school and I begin singing it about this time every year.  As decorations and lights and trees and yard art hit the aisles at stores I frequent, we begin to turn our hearts toward Christmas.  Christmas is coming!  This year, we've had the extra privilege of adding a treasury of Christmas stories to our preparations for the holidays with Todd Wilson's newest audio books.  The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection (also available separately as Digital Downloads) offers six stories to help you and yours prepare for Christmas.  Additional stories are available.  Written by Todd Wilson  (aka The Familyman) and read by master storyteller Jim Hodges, these charming stories will warm your heart and touch your soul.  For purposes of review, I received the digital download set and one physical CD.  The quality of both is wonderful.
The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection {The Familyman} Reviews
The stories that make up the audio collection are shared below.  I thought it would be fun to give you a brief synopsis of each one and a Bible verse that GOD placed on my heart as I listened to them.  I count it all joy when GOD speaks to my heart through HIS Word as I go about my day-to-day.  Don't you?
  • Book One:  Cootie McKay's Nativity (31 minutes)  When old Mrs. Nichols takes out the town nativity with her car, Cootie McKay comes to the rescue with a most unique version of his very own that brings the birth of JESUS to life and reminds us that JESUS is alive!   "JESUS looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with GOD; all things are possible with GOD.”  Mark 10:27
  • Book Two:  Captain Chaos and the Manger Blaster (19 minutes)  Jason finds out the chaos that ensues when we remove the manger from Christmas and JESUS from our lives.  "In HIM was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."  John1:4-5
  • Book Three:  The Stranger (18 minutes)  Sam and his family learn the true meaning of Christian hospitality when they welcome a stranger named Jessie into their home on Christmas Eve.  "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."  Hebrews 13:2
  • Book Four:  The Bishop's Dream  (20 minutes)  Bishop Nicholas learns about the modern-day celebration of the birth of CHRIST and cries over the replacement of JESUS with the activities of Saint Nick.  "For we do not preach ourselves but CHRIST JESUS as LORD, and ourselves as your bond-servants for JESUS' sake."  2 Corinthians 4:5
  • Book Five:  Harold Grubbs and the Christmas Vest  (13 minutes)  Isaac learns that GOD can change even the hardest of hearts because the CHILD that was born in the manger was also crucified on the cross.   "Therefore if any man be in CHRIST, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."  2 Corinthians 5:17 
  • Book Six:  Gladys Remembers Christmas (23 minutes)  Gladys hates Christmas until she's forced to look through boxes of old Christmas decorations long hidden away in her father's attic and comes face-to-face with sentimental memories when she finds the family's long forgotten creche.  "And she brought forth her firstborn SON, and wrapped HIM in swaddling clothes, and laid HIM in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."  Luke 2:7
  • Book Seven:  The Secret of the Snow Village  (21 minutes)  The streets of grandmother's tiny snow village come to life as Katherine searches for JESUS.  "This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."  Luke 2:12
  • Book Eight:  It's Called Christmas (27 minutes)  What happens when Christmas is erased?  Does JESUS disappear?  How do we stop the madness?  "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6
Fun stories that grab your attention, the books from this Christmas Treasury collection offer much fodder for discussion.  Todd Wilson writes with a relevant passion to share JESUS that speaks to children and adults alike.
The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection {The Familyman} Reviews
You can connect with The Familyman Ministries through the following Social Media Sites:
Google +

Treat yourself and those you love to this treasure.  I can't wait to share these stories over and over with friends and family in the months to come because Christmas is coming.  It's on the way.  May GOD bless you as you prepare and anticipate HIS coming.

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection 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 and other puzzles as well (or just click on the banner below.)

The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection {The Familyman} Reviews
Pin It Now!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Homeschool Review: #hsreviews #kidsemail #emailforkids Annual Subscription Annual Subscription

Our kids are connected.  Through a HUGE variety of social media opportunities, they are connected to this world in a BIG way whether we realize it or not, whether we approve or not.  The power of words, the power of good and evil, is at their fingertips through email, apps, and the internet in a way that we often don't even understand.  I work with young people on a daily basis.  I serve as Preschool/Children's and Middle School Minister at my church and I have four children of my own.  In a recent lesson about pursuing excellence in our conversation, I had the middle schoolers list all of the different ways that they can communicate elecronically with one another.  In about 2 minutes, they had listed over 26 ways that they chat with each other.  And I'll be honest . . . some of those I'd never even heard of.

Our kids -- kids of ALL ages -- are connected in ways that we don't even get.  And they need our help to keep them SAFE.  An Annual Subscription to offers a great way to do just that.  Now, more than ever, we MUST do our due diligence to protect our kids from themselves, from each other, from the evils of the world.  It is absolutely, positively imperative that we do so -- and it's NEVER too early to begin.

This summer I helped out at a local elementary school with a Literacy Boot Camp for 3rd grade students.  You know what?  EACH and EVERY ONE of those students has an email address and uses it on a daily basis to log into educational software.  They aren't the youngest children to do so either.  As technology comes marching into our lives, it affects our kids.  There is no hiding them from that fact, but we can help them to embrace it in a safe, controlled environment that offers accountability NOW so that they will not misuse or abuse it as they grow up. offers a completely customizable way for children/teens to learn how to connect with the world around them.  From login screens that are teen- or child-appropriate to friendly graphics on the emails, there is a cool factor that makes this email fun.  And believe you me, a cool factor makes all the difference in the world of a pre-teen/teen.

Aside from the cool factor, the SAFE factor is the biggest deal of all.  With not just anyone can connect with your child. puts YOU in control of who has the right and privilege to be a part of your child's world and online presence.  First, all of those who SEND email to your children must be APPROVED by YOU.  Here's how that works:

If an email comes to your child from someone that you have not approved, they get a message that lets them know that your precious one is only allowed to receive email from approved senders.  They are immediately notified that the email will be delayed until the PARENT has been able to review and approve your message:

You are simultaneously notified that someone has tried to email your child and they are not on your approved list.  Maybe it's Great Aunt Gertrude and you simply forgot that your precious one shared their email address with her at the big family reunion so you can quickly approve the message as a one time thing OR you can approve Great Aunt Gertrude and add her to the contact list so future emails go through as well.  Maybe it's a random spammer and you have no intention of letting them chat with your precious one.  If so, you can opt to reject the message.

Once you have approved the message and/or the sender, your sweet angel can respond and enjoy visiting safely online.  How cool is that?

And that's just the beginning of how you can help your child be safely connected.  Each email sent from the account lets everyone know that any response will be "automatically evaluated for appropriateness."   Parental Accountability means that YOU decide who/when your child emails and who/when your child can be emailed.  It also means that YOU can opt for a copy of EVERY email sent and EVERY email received to be sent to your own email address.  It means that YOU decide IF your child can send/receive pictures or attachments -- and to/from whom.  This insures there are no surprise images popping up to scare your child or cloud their judgement.  It's all about being accountable to what we say and do and we all need that.  Additional control settings allow you to set up time restrictions so that kids don't access email during specific time periods like when they are supposed to be working on school, or at church, or quietly tucked into their bed AND give you access to all activity logs so that you can see EVERYTHING being done through email.  You can see when your child logged in and when they sent (or tried to send) emails out.  YOU can also flag certain words as unacceptable and help keep the heart of your child pure.  If you notice problems with following the guidelines you've set and discussed, you also have the option of setting a "time out" from technology.  You can make it so that your child can't access their email for a certain period of time (decided on by you) or even until a specific date has passed (like Christmas!).

Now, is this an absolutely foolproof way for your kids to be connected?  No, but it's as close to foolproof as I've seen.  I know you want what's best for your children and that means keeping them safe while they learn to function in this world we live in. makes it easy to do both and you can try it out for FREE.  There's nothing for you to lose and everything for you to gain. Annual Subscription

For even more information about keeping your children SAFE online. please visit the following Social Media sites:

It's just that easy.  So, seriously, mom . . . what are you waiting on?

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review 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 and other puzzles as well (or just click on the banner below.) Annual Subscription
Pin It Now!

Homeschool Review: Educeri . . . a division of DataWORKS #hsreviews #educeri #educhat #dataworks-ed

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service Reviews
Educeri Lesson Subscription Service Reviews

One of the things that I like about reviewing for the Homeschool Review Crew is getting to take a first-hand peek at a wide variety of curriculum and learning supplements.  Educeri . . . Educeri a division of DataWORKS is an online resource for students in Kindergarten - 12th grades with lessons that range from learning to tell time to analyzing informational texts.  For purposes of review, we were given twelve months of access to the Educeri Lesson Subscription Service which includes all lessons in all subject areas for all grade levels.  How cool is that?  There are over 1,000 lessons available for you to use in Math, Language Arts, Science, History, Art, Music, and P.E. and they have all been given the seal of approval by a group of talented educators, grammar snobs, and math nerds (their words, not mine) whose goal is to help teachers by providing stellar educational materials that can be used anytime, anywhere.  Now I don't know about you, but I can use all the help that I can get these days.  I find that each of my children learns in such a different way.  It's great to be able to utilize ready to teach lesson plans that speak to them on an individual level.

While Educeri offers lessons for students of all ages and my Crewbies have been reviewing every aspect of it, at my house we only have high schoolers (did I really just say that?  Wow!  Where did the time go?) so I headed right on over to the high school portion of the website as soon as I logged on.  The folks over at Educeri really do understand that home educators are busy as they multi-task through their days, so they make it super easy to find exactly what you need to make schooling easier at your house.  You can quickly search lesson plans by grade level, subject area, and topic and you can mix and match lessons within the levels to customize study and activities for your family.  Since history is our all-time favorite subject and there's a huge election underway, I was excited to find a lesson that traces the principles of democracy in historical documents.  This series of slides (17 slides with multiple components to each one) is designated a 10th grade level, but was spot-on for both my sophomore and my senior.  It begins with a guided practice that shows students what is important as they read and fill in a graphic organizer.  Students can use marking tools to highlight, underline, write on the slide directly, or erase (marker tools shown below in the pink box in the top right corner).  There are fill-in-the-blank questions to be answered but students are given an opportunity to think through and formulate their responses before the correct answers pop onto the screen (red print in picture below).  The lesson ends with a series of slides that bring it full circle as it points out why this is relevant to us today.  This attention to detail is refreshing as relevance is key for my daughter.  She needs to see that what we are learning has a point in the grand scheme of things.

Another of the subject areas that I found most beneficial to my children is the English Language Arts section.  There are some great reference lessons available for high schoolers here.  From mastering basic punctuation to learning to critique/analyze/interpret/evaluate literary devices such as tone, rhetoric, point of view, and theme, the wealth of information presented in an "easy-to-understand and connect with" manner is simply a treasure trove.  A series of twelve slides helps students learn to Evaluate the Influences on American Literature from 1620 to 1800 which brought about great ah-ha moments for my girl as she begins to grasp the relevance of reading literature through the eyes of the historical period in which it was written.  Pairing that with a lesson on the Contrast [of] Themes, Styles, and Trends in American Literature was priceless as she could see the correlation of books she's heard of and books she's devoured -- a meeting of the old and new, if you will -- through discussion of Brave New World, 1984, and The Hunger Games and how subjects trend in literature.

What makes Educeri particularly interesting to me as a homeschool momma is the fact that I can pick lessons that my kids need/like, set it up for them to begin, and walk away knowing that they are receiving thorough instruction that is completely self-guided.  They don't need me to stand over them to make sure they learn.  I like that and they do, too.  There's definitely a vein of independence that runs through my household.  How about yours?  Another bonus of Educeri is the fact that there is no annoying background music playing and students can focus on what they are reading/learning.

For even more information about how you can best utilize Educeri in your homeschool, check out the rest of the Crew Reviews and visit the following Social Media sites:

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Educeri Lesson Subscription Service from Educeri . . . Educeri a division of DataWORKS 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 and other puzzles as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service
Pin It Now!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

It's Fall, Y'all -- and it's the little things that make me happy #letsgetrealyall #reclaimingmylife

There's no cool weather yet and the leaves are just starting to change colors, but It's Fall, Y'all!    I used to decorate for all of the different holidays and seasons.  Then I reached a point in my life that I was lucky if I got Christmas decorations up before Christmas Eve and down before Spring Break.  If I'm really honest (let's get real, right?) then I guess this is a safe place to admit there may or may not be a Christmas tree still tucked away in my foyer and my special Santa collection on a shelf above my dining room window.  Please tell me I'm not the only one?

In my quest to reclaim my life, I woke up this morning with an idea to get some "old me" things done.  It really is the little things that make me smile.

  • New flag pole and team colors flying

happy gifts
  • All of my feeders filled and ready for feathered friends

Bring on the birds

  • Fall festive-ness at my front door (ignore the scratches from the grandpup.  He did that the day I painted the door)

Mums anyone?

  • A grateful reminder

Flour sack tea towel on the oven

  • Fall wreaths welcome us home
a wreath of Fall

I also bought sparkly pumpkins for the foyer table and I'll be working on those a bit more tomorrow and decorating the mantel.  Like I said, it's the little things that make me smile as I take baby steps back to me.

Pin It Now!