Friday, June 29, 2012

Is This Bragging??? Maybe a little :-)

Well... maybe not bragging.  Needless to say, we're very proud of our boys in blue.  6 NBA Draft Picks!  Yes, our family will soon be heading to the VOL state, but I assure you we are taking our BIG BLUE NATION allegiance with us.  I better stock up on UK tee's before we move!

Oddly enough, Caleb drew an orange T on his DSi the other night since we are moving to Nashville.  How did he even put that together?  Guess Grandpa has rubbed off a little :)  Then, he proudly scrolled to the blue UK he drew for the Wildcats.  Sadly, there was a red C for the UofL Cardinals.  Daddy had him promptly delete that picture.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Please Join Me as a FUNGUS FIGHTER!!!!

Fungus...  no not usually found in my blog topic repertoire, but today, I'm excited to share with you!  Two years ago, after returning home from Ethiopia with our precious Jeremiah and Rachel, we had lots of "new" to get used to.  However, one "new" thing brought into our household I didn't want to get accustomed to... I wanted it eradicated for good.  You see ring worm followed us home.  For months, we spread it back and forth.  I washed sheets and towels religiously, and we were constantly covered in cream.  Still 5 people sharing a living space, and the fungus was having a hey-day.

Now, can you imagine many, many children sharing a small living space in less than pristine conditions?  Fungus runs rampant.  That's why I need you to join me as a Fungus Fighter!  I have partnered with AHOPE for Children, which cares exclusively for HIV+ children in Ethiopia.   One of the very hardest things for AHOPE to collect in sufficient quantities is medicinal creams. Basic over-the-counter items are desperately needed to treat skin conditions, cuts, scrapes, etc., that you would expect from kids in general and specifically in a large group of kids living in close quarters. 

 Profile Picture

Other supply drives are being held to collect hydrocortisone and anti-itch cream.  I have volunteered to spear head a drive specifically for the anti-fungals.  I do realize that these are a little more costly to purchase, so you may consider buying the store brand.  The important thing is to make sure that it contains one of the active ingredients listed below.

Antifungal – Specifically Tinactin (Tolnaftate) and/or Lamisil (Allylamines)

I will be collecting the antifungal creams through Sunday, July 15th.  The goal is to collect 100 tubes.  I know if we all band together as "FUNGUS FIGHTERS" that we can meet this urgent need.  Please share this with your friends, family, church, co-workers, neighbors, Mom's groups, homeschool groups, etc.  Anyone have connections to a pharmacy that likes to make charitable donations??? 

As far as getting the donations to me, local friends contact me, and I'll be happy to arrange and come pick it up.  Louisville friends - I'll probably have a specific day to head that way.  Lexington friends - I'm there often and can arrange pick-up as well.  Wonderful blog readers scattered throughout, I definitely don't want to leave you out.  If you are willing to pick up a tube, two, or ten, you can message me for an address to ship it too.  Another option that might be more cost-effective would be to PayPal or send a check, and I can make the purchase for you. 

If you have questions and or want to get involved, please email me....

Let the Fungus Fight begin!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Another Big Announcement

In my life this week…

Last week, we announced to family and friends that Jon accepted a new position, and we would be moving to Nashville, TN.  For some reason, some missed that announcement (maybe in denial?).  However, it seems that this week's BIG ANNOUNCEMENT traveled much faster.  So, if you are one of the few who haven't already heard, then I want to share some more exciting news with you.

Guess who is???? - ME!!!!

Our little one will be making an arrival the end of December.  The due date is Dec. 30th, so we could have a Christmas gift, anniversary gift, or a New Year's gift.  No matter the birth date, a good and perfect gift from our Father above!  We're very excited!
In our homeschool this week…

What a shock... Jeremiah didn't do any math.  Oh my, if I want this boy to finish first grade math, I've got to get myself together.  However, all the kids have been working with some of the review products and curriculum we have!  Be watching for me to share some great stuff with you in July!

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

Support your state homeschool conference.  Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE going to the big homeschool conventions where the schedule, booklet, and vendor hall completely overwhelm you, and there is more to see and do than you could possibly complete in weeks let alone the few days available.  However, there is something special about attending a conference with like-minded, Christian, Moms and Dads in your very own state, catching up with old friends, making new ones, and seeing what vendors reside in your own backyard. 

This weekend, I was blessed to be able to attend a portion of the CHEK Conference in Louisville.  I enjoyed time with a good friend and saw others that I knew.  I was able to see fellow Schoolhouse Review Crewmate, Marcy, and meet TOS Publisher, Gena Suarez.  Gena was so sweet to have a "thank-you" tote bag of goodies and Starbucks gift card to give me.  Love being a crewbie :-)

I am inspired by…

My friend, Melissa!  She is an incredible Mom in a position she never would have asked for, dreamed of, or imagined.  However, she very clearly sees the hand of God at work in her situation.  He is holding her precious little girl, her family, and writing her story.  She has great strength and great faith, and I am privileged to call her my friend! 

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

Purposely, the calendar is clear this week.  There is soooo much to do to get the house ready to sell, so we're camping out at home and working hard. 

My favorite thing this week was…

Sharing our baby news with the ones we love!

Thoughts I have…

Simplicity.  That is the thought that Jon and I are really focusing and concentrating on for our family.  As we survey our home, we see so many "things."  This is not what makes us happy.  In fact, they clutter our space, stress us out, and rob us of our peace. 

Originally, when thinking of the monstrous task of packing all the stuff, we determined to donate things and have a yard sale.  This week, I came to the conclusion that there was no reason for a yard sale.  1.) The thought of tagging it all and giving up a weekend we could be working on one of our many projects is not at all enticing.  2.) It's not about the money that has been spent or could be made.  It's about a renewed focus on what is truly important, what makes us happy, what allows us to connect as a family, and what will encourage us to more freely show hospitality and serve.  3.) Others in need can benefit from our things... several loads have gone to Goodwill and will continue to do so.  Some furniture and appliances will be going to our church's Helping Through Him ministry. 

Things I’m working on…

Decluttering, Purging, Cleaning, and Organizing.... the entire house!  It's exhausting, and I've only just scratched the surface.

I’m grateful for…

My best friend.  We don't see each other near as much as we used to, but our chats are just as meaningful and important.  God has given us our friendship not just for a season but for a lifetime - no matter where we live!

I’m praying for…

a smooth pregnancy and healthy baby!

A link to share…

You know how I love all things adoption, but in-process adoption Momma's hold a special place in my heart.  I remember the roller coaster of emotions, the hope, the stress, the excitement all wrapped up in a not-so tidy package.  If I can do anything to encourage or support one of these Momma's, I really do try to do it. 

While at the CHEK Conference this weekend, I got to meet and briefly chat with Ami.  I've been familiar with her work through Homeschool Share for a few years.  If you haven't been to this site, you must check it out.  She has an incredible library of unit studies and lapbooks... best of all, completely FREE!  More recently, I've been following her personal blog, Walking by the Way.

Ami and her family are currently in the process of adopting children from Columbia.  As a fundraiser, they are selling beautiful, hand-crafted, paper bead bracelets.  The wonderful thing about this fundraiser is that the money is divided, so both the Haitian artisans and the adopting family are supported. Win-win!!!  The bracelets are only $8 and available only through the end of June.  I purchased a beautiful bracelet... you know you want one too!!!!  Learn more HERE!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Spring Reading Thing - RECAP

As you may recall from this post, I decided to participate in the Spring Reading Thing 2012 hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days. The Spring Reading Thing ran from March 20-June 20th, and my goal was to read 12 books in the 3 month time frame.  Did I meet my goal?  Not quite... I only got 10 completed, and as you will see, I spent the majority of my time reading non-fiction.  I stuck somewhat close to my original list reading 7 of those titles.  They are highlighted below with a few of my thoughts underneath.  My three additional reads follow.

NONFICTION:Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis
  • Amazing!!!  Katie is so very inspiring.  Her dedication and love for the least of these should compel all of us to greater service! 
Infinitely More by Alex Krutov & Jackie Davis
  • Remarkable!  A story of redemption for a Russian orphan who is now working tirelessly on behalf of those who are where he once was.
A Place at the Table by Chris Seay
Stumbling Into Grace by Lisa Harper
  • Lisa is a master at real-life application, yet goes beyond the surface and digs deep into God's Word.
Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider
  • My latest read - perfect for this season of my life and all we have going on in the near future!
Pajama School - Stories from a Homeschool Graduate by Natalie Wickham
  • This books was actually a disappointment.  I found it to be somewhat scattered.  Even still, it is pleasing to see a homeschooled child achieving success and standing strong for the Lord as an adult. 
Raising Kids with Love and Limits by Julie Barnhill
Quitter by Jon Acuff
  • I think this would have been more applicable had I read it a few years ago.  However, still things I could glean from Jon's words.
Loving by Karen Kingsbury (releases March 27th)
  • I was always a Team Cody gal, but by the book's end I was converted to Team Brandon.  Even though, I do think he's the sappiest guy on the planet.  Ahh yes... he's fictional!
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
(So I didn't quite succumb to the peer pressure yet... still haven't read the hyped up Hunger Games trilogy.  Admittedly, having two children who have known the pain of hunger and starvation, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around reading of the same things for pleasure.  It just seems a little off, yet the books remain on my Kindle.  We'll see if I ever get around to reading them.)
Gazelles, Baby Steps and 37 Other Things Dave Ramsey Taught Me about Debt by Jon Acuff
  • A short, humorous read with some financial truths mixed in
The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary D. Chapman, Ross Campbell and Ross Campbell MD
  • Review coming soon
The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis
  • Review coming soon (Review)


PhotobucketCurrently used in over 150 countries, is an online math program covering Pre-K through Algebra curriculum.  It is all inclusive insuring that your child won't miss out on any important content.  There are unlimited questions in over 2,000 skills.  The questions adapt to each individual child's ability.  As they continually improve, the questions increase in difficulty. 

IXL Screen Samples

PhotobucketIn working with, Rachel was really my focus.  It appears that she is having the most difficulty and struggles some with learning.  However, a lot of her issues seem to stem from the fear of being wrong.  For this reason, I chose to start at the very beginning of the program and have her work through the Pre-K material.  She had early success and immediate positive reinforcement which really helped to build her confidence.  I feel like the work she is doing in will definitely better prepare her for the fall when we are really going to hit Kindergarten hard this year. 

I want to call your attention to a few things I really appreciated within the framework of the program.  First, the inclusion of a speaker icon in the Pre-K through 1st grade sections is incredibly helpful.  This allowed my non-reader to be able to work more autonomously.  Yes, she had some difficulty maneuvering the mouse and working the numeric keypad at first, but with practice that became easy. 

Next, the rewards board was a hit.  While she didn't pay attention to the wording on the right explaining what the number of questions answered, what concepts were practiced, and what had been mastered, she was all about clicking the squares to reveal what reward she had earned.  In the Pre-K level, Rachel has been earning various familiar childhood toys. 
IXL Awards and Games

Finally, as Mom and teacher, I welcomed the weekly email updates on Rachel's progress.  Likewise, I had detailed reports available to me.  I could easily identify Rachel's strengths and weaknesses.  This is helpful when our focus is really working through the trouble spots in preparation for Kindergarten Math. 
IXL Family Reports

Membership Costs:

IXL Fee Buttons
****Please note that these prices are based on one student. Additional students can be added for just $2 per month or $20 per year.

Other Schoolhouse Review Crew members are sharing their thoughts of on the crew blog

Disclaimer:  I was provided a complimentary full subscription in exchange for my honest review. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Creation Illustrated (Review)


Fellow homeschoolers, Tom and Jennifer Ish, edit and publish Creation Illustrated.  This quarterly magazine is a private, nonprofit, non-denominationally owned ministry.  Each issue is solely dedicated to sharing Biblical truth through the blessings of God's creation.  The family obviously grasps the eternal as evidenced by their mission statement which reads:  "Our purpose is to share the wonders of God's creation. By revealing fresh insights of His infinite wisdom, gentle touch, undeniable justice, redeeming love, and flawless design, pure truth shall bring renewed peace. Each part of this publication is offered as a reprieve from the daily rigors of life so that all can look to the future with unbridled gratitude and hope."

Each edition of Creation Illustrated is divided into three sections: Creation Illustrated in Nature, Creation Illustrated in Scripture, and Creation Illustrated in Living. I was impressed by the attention given to the Word of God throughout the magazine.  Yes, it is aesthetically very pleasing, but it is spiritually uplifting as well. 

While the magazine is full of stunning photographs and includes many stories, lessons, scripture verses, poems, recipes, and even contests, I especially liked the Instructional Guide and Educator Resources.  These pages provided tools to assist in discussion and character study.  There were also suggestions for extensions and additional activities. 


For my kiddos, the brilliant wildlife photography was the highlight.  They are completely enamored with animals, and the stunning pictures within the magazine captivated the little ones.  They flipped pages repeatedly looking at the photos and asking questions about the animals, their habitats, etc.  Paired with the information about the great outdoors and plant life, this magazine would be an excellent resource for those that utilize nature study in their homeschools. 

While I am far from a chef, there is a particular section that may really appeal to others.  Whether you are a master in the kitchen or simply enjoy trying new dishes, you will want to pay special attention to the Genesis Cuisine. The recipes are unique and possibly something that you're family will beg you to make over and over again. 

In addition to the content, Creation Illustrated is a quality product.  The magazine is printed on glossy paper, and the pages are quite heavy... especially in relation to most available magazines.  The magazines could definitely be perused over and over again and added to the family library and weather the passing of time just fine.        

Magazine Subscription Costs:
1 year (4 issues): $19.95
2 years (8 issues): $37.95
3 years (12 issues): $53.95
If you pay by credit card, you will save $5 on your subscription. 
Additional shipping fees apply outside the U.S. ($5/year for Canada & $10/year elsewhere)
As always, when given the opportunity to "try before you buy", I recommend it.  Request a FREE Trial Issue and check it out for yourself!  While you are at it, read what other Schoolhouse Review Crew members are saying about Creation Illustrated here!


Disclaimer:  In exchange for my honest review, I was provided with four issues of Creation Illustrated.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Caffeinated Kids

Most often, summer field trips find our family enjoying the outdoors.  We regularly hit our favorite spot, the zoo, and the local Salato Wildlife Center.  Picnics at the park with good friends are another favorite.  However, a few weeks ago, we tried something new.  Perpetually behind, I'm just now getting around to blogging about it.

With a group of friends, we toured the Ale-8-One factory.  If you are a Kentuckian, you are familiar with this soft drink, sweet nectar, or KY Swamp Water... a matter of opinion on the taste :-)  (I have always been a fan!)  Bottled in Winchester since 1926, Ale-8-One is the only soft drink invented in Kentucky still in existence. 

First, we watched an informational video that explained the history of Ale-8-One.  Then, we were able to walk out into the warehouse and view from behind the glass the trademark green glass bottles being labeled, washed and sanitized, filled, and capped.  Following the tour, each person received a complimentary bottle of Ale-8-One. 

To my knowledge, prior to this, my children had never had a caffeinated beverage.  In fact, my husband feared them going and taste-testing.  He was sure they would begin having heart palpitations, get the "shakes," or totally spaz out!  You see among Kentuckians the myth is that the green glass bottle contains more caffeine than even the dreaded Mountain Dew.  I learned and then shared with the hubs that is fiction and not fact at all.  Point proven on the product info.  Take a look and see how it stacks up to your drink of choice. 
The whole crew posing, primed and ready for their first test taste!

Before sufficiently caffeinating the children, we headed to a local park for some play time. Although, after only a few minutes, they were ready for lunch.  We staked claim to a row of picnic tables, opened various assorted lunchables, and began popping tops on Ale-8's.  My boys LOVED the stuff.  Caleb literally inhaled his in a few big gulps, and Jeremiah wasn't far behind.  Rachel gingerly sipped her ginger-based drink.  She milked it through lunch and all the way home.  When finally finished, she decided she didn't overly care for it. 

A special treat... not for everyday, but my 5, 6, and 7 year old survived their caffeinated state.  I'm sure the return to the playground after lunch helped to burn some energy.  Don't you just love parks?

Every state has something "unique," a "claim to fame," or even an oddity.  What is yours?  Could you make a visit this summer?  It's something to consider.  I know my littles had a great time on our summer veer from the norm. 

Other crew members are blogging about Summer Field trips here.  Be sure to check Tuesday morning, when the link goes live.  You may just get some great ideas for your family trips.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Big Announcement!!!

In my life this week…

We made a BIG Announcement to family and friends.  On Monday, Jon accepted a new position with HCA - the company that owns the hospital where he currently works.  He is working towards his Masters in Nursing Informatics, so this position in HCA's IT&S Dept. is perfect for him.  Since he will be working in the corporate office, our family is making a move.  NASHVILLE, TN - here we come!!!!  We are very excited :-)  Jon will make the move in a few short weeks since he begins the new job mid-July.  The kids and I will split our time between TN/KY until our house sells.

We shared the news with the kids, our families, and friends, and all seem to be supportive and happy for us.  It will be an adjustment for us all, but we are close enough to easily make weekend trips home to see the family often.  The flexibility of a homeschooling schedule will be very accommodating as well!

For some, the thought of us moving isn't a shock, the fact that it is to a metropolis like Nashville opposed to a hut in Africa is probably throwing some for a loop.  We are still very much mission-minded.  This new position will afford Jon the opportunity to finish school, have more time off and resources to go on medical missions trips, and increased contacts with surgeons/physicians/nurses throughout the U.S. who are already involved in such work. 

Likewise, our hearts still beat strongly for adoption and orphan care ministry.  We feel this move will not only allow for our continued involvement but open even more doors for opportunities to serve and grown our family.  We already know there is a very vibrant adoption community in Nashville - can't wait to plug in!

Aside from our big announcement, this week we celebrated Jon's birthday, went to Divas & Dogs at the Grande Theatre, sold & bought a few things at a Used Homeschool Curriculum sale, visited with Jon's parents, and were able to see my whole family on Saturday for a Father's Day celebration.  It was a full week, but I suppose the next few won't be any different.  Busy, busy, busy!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
  • Monday - another roofer comes to quote
  • Tuesday - kids play at Grandma's
  • Wednesday - a freebie movie (I'll make it this week, now that I know the right time!)
  • Thursday - Silly Safaris library program
  • Friday/Saturday - hope to have a new roof going on :-)
My favorite thing this week was…
  • being with my family!
What’s working/not working for us…
  • Not working... schooling in the summer.  So much going on, but I'm still determined to have Jeremiah finish his 1st grade math and be ready for 2nd in the fall!
Questions/thoughts I have…
  • Any Nashville, TN homeschoolers want to share the inside scoop?  What are the state requirements?  What co-ops are available?  Any "must-sees" or things to get involved with?
Things I’m working on…
  • purging!  The clutter must go!!!  Tentative plan to have a yard sale the first weekend of July.  That's my motivation to clean house.
I’m reading…
  • Infinitely More by Alex Krutov & Jackie Davis (finished)
  • Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider
I’m grateful for…
  • the positive responses to our moving.  Yes, it stinks to be farther away from family and friends, but we appreciate their support and well wishes! 
I am inspired by…
  • Daddy's who love the Lord, love their children, lead by example.  I'm blessed to have an amazing Dad, and to be married to Jon - a wonderful father to our children!

I’m praying for…
  • our transition as a family... especially during the time we have to spend apart
  • productivity - lots of work to do on the house in the next few weeks
  • for our house to sell quickly so we can all be together
A photo to share…

The kiddos with their Daddy.  Happy Father's Day, Jon!  WE LOVE YOU!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"Mom, Can I play on your phone?" (Review)

Gone are the days when a crayon and a menu/placemat/activity page all-in-one will entertain a child while waiting for his food at a restaurant!  Oh, we might do a maze or play a few rounds of tic-tac-toe, but then the inevitable question is asked, "Can I play on your phone?"  Hmmm... Angry Birds, again?  Then, I ask, "Why is drawing on my phone better than the crayon & placemat you already have?"  We are definitely inundated with technology, and our children are no different. 

If I'm going to hand over my phone in Chili's or Applebees, at least, I can take comfort in the fact that
my children are interacting with educational apps.  Enter Mobile Education Tools!  Birthed from a father's desire to help his special needs daughter, this company has developed apps to assist elementary children in building their language skills.  While initially created for children with high functioning autism in mind, the apps have proven to be beneficial and exciting for all students.  Therefore, these apps have been embraced by healthcare professionals, educators, ESL teachers, and parents of students in need of extra practice or remediation. 

Why are the apps so successful in all these situations?  Being that they are user-friendly while including incredible graphics and clever animations, children are drawn to them.  The apps engage and utilize the visual, audio, and tactile senses.  This multi-sensory approach and involvement from the children promotes both learning and retention.   
In our home, we had the opportunity to review StoryBuilder - an app made for the iPhone or 4th generation iTouch ( the ones with a camera). This program has 3 goals for students.
  1. Improve paragraph formation
  2. Improve integration of ideas
  3. Improve higher level abstractions by inference
StoryBuilder features: 
  • Record feature allows students to record narrative in their own voice
  • 3 levels of play
  • Simple and intuitive interface to record narrative
  • Recorded answers are stitched together to create complete narrative
  • 50 distinct story lines to create narratives from
  • Over 500 audio clips of questions to guide narrative
  • Optional question text and answer introduction reinforcement


Within StoryBuilder, there are 3 different levels.
  • Level 1 - Students are asked four questions. After seeing an animation, they are primarily answering Who? What? When? Where? to construct sentences based on the facts from the story. When all answers to the questions have been recorded, the child is able to press the play story button. Then, the entire story is read aloud.
  • Level 2 - Students are asked seven questions about the cartoon. These questions focus more on the Why? or How? of the story. The child is making inferences and thinking about the sequence of events.
  • Level 3 - No questions are asked. While reminded to use complete sentences, the child has the freedom to create his own story based upon the picture he sees. 

I believe this app to be an excellent tool for children who are working to improve their narration skills and speaking skills.  Methodically, the app teaches a child the basics of story construction by allowing him to record a sentence at a time.  Then, the sentences are compiled and re-played as a whole.  The upper levels encourage both inference skills and creativity. 

While as a mom, I'm impressed with the educational benefits.  The huge draw for my kiddos was recording their own voices on my phone.  I'm not sure why, but children gravitate toward recording devices. I know as a child I loved to play with a tape recorder.  I'd record songs, commercials, radio shows, etc. and then quickly replay it to hear.  These tapes have gotten in the wrong hands - a.k.a. my parents - and have been replayed for years to provide many laughs.  All at my expense!  

Pairing my love for the educational benefits and my kids love of the fun factor, the app gets our seal of approval.  The great thing about apps are the inexpensive cost.  Storybuilder can be purchased in the Apple App store for only $5.99.  That is excellent news for any homeschool budget!  Visit Mobile Education Tools today to find some iPhone Educational Apps or iPad Education Apps to add to your collection.  Also, be sure and read what other Schoolhouse Review Crew members have to say about the Mobile Education Tools apps they reviewed.  Find their thoughts on the blog


Disclaimer:  I was provided a complimentary app in exchange for my review.  All opinions are honest and my own.

Monday, June 11, 2012

THMJ - The Camp Edition

I'm a little slow, but my Monday morning re-cap should suffice.  I've got lots of blogging to catch up on, but at least I'm making a dent in it. 
In my life this week…
  • Sunday - Wednesday, the kids and I were at First Chance Camp at Camp Calvary.  We LOVE church camp, and the kids especially liked the critters who came to visit
  • Thursday - We met friends for a picnic and playtime at the park.  Then, I scored some great finds at a local Used Homeschool Curriculum Sale.
  • Friday - We had dinner with our besties...  we miss seeing the Redmon's more often!
  • Saturday - Yummy dinner with the fam at The Chop House to celebrate Jon's birthday and his Dad's retirement. 
My favorite thing this week was…
  • seeing my kiddos excitement at camp!  They had a blast!
In our homeschool this week…
  • With all of our comings and goings, there was no homeschool this week.  Despite my original thoughts and plans, we really are being quite lax this summer.  My only real goal is to have Jeremiah complete his Math and to spend time with the kids reviewing some great products coming our way. 
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
  • Monday - The PSPL Summer Reading Open House
  • Tuesday - Freebie Movie @ Great Escape & Jon's Birthday
  • Wednesday - Dogs & Divas program @ The Grande Theatre
  • Thursday - the kids play at Grandma's and I attend another Used Curriculum Sale
Things I’m working on…
  • tagging items for the Used Curriculum Sale.  My shelves are overflowing, so it is time to pass some items along to others who can make use of them.
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
I am inspired by…
  • The staff at Camp Calvary!  They work hard to keep the grounds beautiful, the facilities maintained, and the campers fed... both physically and spiritually.  Each and every person brings their unique, God-given gifts and abilities to the ministry of Camp Calvary, and it wouldn't be the same without them!  I've enjoyed attending camp since I was 7 years old, and I'm thankful that my children have the same opportunity.  I pray they take away the same fond memories! 
I’m reading…
  • Pajama School - Stories from a Homeschool Graduate by Natalie Wickham (finished)
  • Infinitely More by Alex Krutov & Jackie Davis
I’m grateful for…
  • Time spent making memories with my children!
I’m praying for…
  • Children who are alone this summer... fending for themselves, longing for someone to give them attention, a hug... LOVE!  Praying God uses His people to intervene and be His hands and feet!
A photo to share…
  • I love this pic that Kenzie captured of my sweet Rachel praying at camp.  Soooo precious!!!

Programs, Incentives, Rewards... Start Reading!

If you are looking for programs, incentives, and rewards to encourage youngsters to read, summer is the best time of year.  All of these abound... you can find them in your hometown, a short distance away, and even online.  Summer is definitely a time for reading.

Believe it or not... my kids have and/or will participate in all of these programs.  Try one or do them all.  Either way, your kids will be reading this summer, and what parent doesn't want that?

1. Local Public Library
  • Not only will each of the kids get a log to record what they have read, but when it is completed they earn a prize... a book of their very own to keep and take home.  They are also entered for the grand prize.
  • The library also offers summer story hours, book clubs, family fun nights, and special programs that we like to attend. 

2. Barnes & Noble
  • Read and record 8 books.  Turn in the completed reading journal and receive a free book!

3. Joseph Beth Booksellers Adventure to Summer Reading
  • Buy and read any book from Joseph-Beth
  • Each time you finish a book bring in your passport to be stamped.
  • Receive a free kid’s dessert just for being such a good reader & 20% off your next book purchase from the Summer Reading table (10% off any kid’s book not on the Summer Reading table)
  • Read 6 books and get a 7th book FREE! 
  • 6 lucky winners will get a North Face or Vera Bradley backpack filled with books, school supplies, stickers, and other cool stuff worth over $100!
4. Half Price Books Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program
  • Read for at least 15 minutes each day for a month.
  • Add up your minutes and have your parent or guardian initial each week.
  • Once you've read 300 minutes, turn in your completed reading log to earn your $5 HPB Back-to-School Bucks reading reward for the month.

5. Pottery Barn Kids Summer Reading Challenge
  • Download the reading list and track your child's progress.
  • Download a certificate of completion.
  • Visit local store to receive free book and enter to win a backpack full of books.
6. Homeschool Journeys Summer Reading Club
  • Send an email to register.  Then, download the Summer Reading Club form.  When it is complete and 500 pages have been read, mail it in along with $1.71 postage.  A reward will be mailed to your child.
7. Homeschool Buyer's Co-Op Summer Fun Reading Program
  • Complete and submit a daily reading record for your child online. 
  • Your child earns a chance to win a prize for each hour read.  Every Wednesday in June, July, and August two prize winners will be drawn.
  • August 31st a Grand Prize winner will be drawn for a NEW Apple iPad (16 GB Wi-Fi model).
  • In September, your child will receive a Reading Champion Certificate.
8. Sylvan's Book Adventure
  • Read a book, take a comprehension quiz, earn points, and claim prize.

9. Book It! Summer Break Reading Challenge Sweepstakes
  • Read 5 books, mail in the printable entry form, and be eligible to win 1 of 50 "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" prize packages. 
10. Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge
  • Read, Log Minutes, Win Prizes
  • Help set a new World Record 
Scholastic Summer Challenge 

11.  No Time for Flashcards "3rd Annual Summer Reading Challenge"
  • Use the printable tally sheet to record weekly reading and each week fill out the online form.
  • The goal is for the participants to collectively read 25,000 books. At the end of the challenge, there will be a drawing for a $50 Amazon Gift Card. 

  • Pick a book by Mo Willems to read with your child and do an activity together inspired by the book.
  • On June 18, 2012, share which book you read & any activities you do along with it on the Summer Virtual Book Club linky.
  • While there is no reward, the incentive is reading the same author in community with others.

 Summer Reading opportunities are endless.  Grab a book and your kiddos, and read right now!

At 8 a.m. (EST) Tuesday morning, you can read about other Crew Members Summer Reading plans HERE.  Until then, click the button below to read past cruise topics. 


Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Critters Come to Camp

The Bible lessons for camp included:  Creation, Noah and the Ark, Balaam's Donkey, Daniel and the Lion's Den, Jonah and the Big Fish, and Psalm 23 - the Shepherd.  The animal theme was definitely being carried out, but as an added bonus, some critters actually came to camp to visit.  Then, we made a little excursion to see some too.

Monday morning brought us Woodrow, the horse.  Every camper got a chance to mount the quarter horse and pose for a picture.  See my young equestrians below :)


Tuesday morning brought an assorted mix of critters, all of which, the campers eagerly greeted.  A rooster, a puppy, rabbits, kittens, and a turtle all made an appearance. My cutie-pie nephew was the "not-always-so-gentle" welcome wagon! 
Malachi poking the "wabbits."
Jeremiah was all about loving on the kitten.
Little kitty's claws were diggin' in when Caleb had a hold of him.
Rachel's turn for some kitty love.

Our last live animal counter came by way of our annual wagon ride.  Rather than explore the camp property like usual, we went to the neighboring farm.  The kids got to get up-close to the cows, but not all were fond of this change.  Lots of nose-holding around the stinky cows :-)

Jeremiah, Emmanuel, and Caleb ready for the ride!
Ember, Rachel, and Gillian on the other side.
Taking a look at the cattle... notice Jeremiah's covered nose :-)

Animals were the theme of the week... the teachers and speakers made the ones found in the pages of our Bible come alive.  Then, the kiddos got to use their senses to see, hear, touch, and smell animals as well.  Taste, too!  Jeremiah became concerned that the chicken strips we had at lunch might just be  the very chicken he had seen that morning.