Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Schoolhouse Library

***This post includes affiliate links.*** 

$25 is a trip through a drive through for my family... a couple pizzas and a Redbox... a new toy or game.  Yeah... $25 is easily spent and often there is very little to show for it.  However, there is a homeschool library awaiting you.  Currently, there are over 175 e-books, audio books, lapbooks, unit studies, and more included in the Schoolhouse Library.  Guess the cost...  yep, $25!  Now, that is a lot of bang for your buck.   
Here are a few highlights from the Schoolhouse Library to wet your whistle:

  • All 10 of the Wannabe unit studies (occupations)
  • All 18 of the Curiosity Files unit studies (We have used a couple of these already!)
  • 2 study guides from YWAM (Got some of these books at Teach Them Diligently)
  • Map Trek: Atlas and Outline Maps of World History from Knowledge Quest
  • A Journey Through Learning Lapbook
  • In the Hands of a Child Lapbook
  • Draw Write Now Sampler (Also, a resource my family has used.)
  • Ruth Bible Study from Grapevine Studies
  • Philippians in 28 Weeks memory verse cards from Homeschool Adventure
  • 3 eBooks from Lee Binz, the HomeScholar, about homeschooling high school
  • 15 audio books from My Audio School
  • Teaching Writing eBook from WriteShop
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. I have no idea what the total value of this package is, but I promise you, the Schoolhouse Library is a steal for $25. Plus, whenever new things are added, you'll get those, too -- all for this $25 price tag!  
*Disclaimer: As a reviewer for TOS, I will be granted access to this resource free of charge in exchange for promoting it. This is NOT a review.  Because I personally see the value in this resource, I have chosen to share with my readers.

Paperless Organization (Review & Discount Code)

Know something that makes me just a wee bit giddy?  A brand new planner and an arsenal of rainbow gel pens :-)  There is something that excites me about color-coding each member of my family and neatly jotting down their activities in the calendar squares.  Honestly, it pains me just a tad to bust out the white-out for the first time if I get off a square in the grid or the details of an event change.  (Yep - self-admitted GEEK!)

While I love the feel of the pretty paper between my fingers, it really isn't practical to lug the big, bulky thing around.  Since it operates as my brain, it is inconvenient when I leave it behind.  Thankfully, Simplified Pantry has come to my rescue and pushed me out of my comfort zone.  Mystie Winckler has introduced Paperless Home Organization.

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Paperless Home Organization brings home management into the digital age.  In our home, I have access to a desktop, laptop, Kindle Fire, and my iPhone (extra appendage).  While I use all of these devices, I haven't been taking advantage of them and allowing them to work for me.  Thanks to Mystie's guidance, I'm now employing these gadgets to make my life simpler.
No doubt about it... I'm cheap, so the price tag of Paperless Home Organization is right up my alley.  It can be purchased for only $3.99 in PDF or Kindle format.  (Download a free sample.)  Even better, the whole premise of the ebook is teaching the reader how to get organized using only free, web-based applications that sync with free apps.  Did you catch that?  Free - no other investment!!!Both Apple and Android users alike can get excited about that!  
Mystie begins the book by discussing what organization is and is not and moves directly into the benefits of paperless organization.  She then thoroughly presents Gmail, Google Calendar, Remember the Milk, and Evernote.  I appreciated the step by step instructions for setting up accounts, and I found the screen shots extremely helpful.  In the book's conclusion, Mystie offers sage advice on how to maintain all the systems through daily and weekly reviews.
Of the apps that Mystie presents, I already used Gmail daily and loosely maintained a Google Calendar.  Paperless Home Organization did teach me a few tricks I was unaware of in Gmail and impressed upon me the great benefits of better utilizing the Google calendar.  Jon and I can sync our calendars, so rather than waiting till we are both home to consult my "master" paper calendar, we can make scheduling decisions while out and about.  Remember the Milk was an app brand new to me, but basically, it serves as an online to-do list. 
Evernote was definitely the jewel I found in this book.  I had heard of the app and knew others who used it, but I had never explored it myself.  Basically, it is the replacement for all of my notebooks, record keeping, files, etc.  It is a storehouse for information, and even better... it is searchable!  Forget a wasted morning flipping pages of paperwork.  When I'm looking for something, a simple keyword search is all I need.  Housekeeping, homemaking, homeschooling, and blogging can all be managed in this one place!

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I have found Paperless Home Organization to be very helpful.  I'm still processing all the information and familiarizing myself with all of the apps.  I know it will take time to increase my comfort level and improve functionality, but I am well on my way.  If you are interested in purchasing the product, you will be excited to know that Simplified Pantry is offering my readers a fantastic discount code.

Exclusive Discount
Enter TOS2013 at checkout to receive 30% off!
The discount will work on any or all of the eBooks, through June 3, 2013!

Along with Paperless Home Organization, you may want to give a couple other Simplified Pantry products a read.  Some crew members reviewed Simplified Dinners and others Simplified Dinners Gluten Free/Dairy Free.  Click the button below to read the Schoolhouse Review Crew's thoughts and experiences. 


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Friday, May 24, 2013

The Lights Came On... Literally!

***This post includes affiliate links.***
Following our wonderful weekend at Teach Them Diligently, there has been so much to digest! Aside from math and phonics, we've never been workbook type families.  From Amanda Bennett's Download-N-Go's to Five in A Row, we've been hooked on lapbooks and unit studies.  I've always known that this is the way my kiddos learn best.  However, if you are a Facebook friend of mine, you may recall a recent status update where I shared that I was 95% certain that our family would be using a high ticket curriculum next year.  I polled my friends, talked with a rep from the company, joined yahoo and FB groups for the curriculum, and was sold.  Thankfully, I had enough forethought to post that I was waiting until I walked the vendor hall at Teach Them Diligently before I made the big purchase.

Well, it wasn't the vendor hall that swayed my decision after all. (I walked away from the exhibits with some books, audio CDs, and Lego DVDs - no curriculum per se.)  It seemed the resounding theme from the various speakers and sessions I attended was student choice.  I heard, "Throw the scope and sequence out the window!" "Affirm your child's God-given talents."  "Interest-based learning." "They will gladly learn what they want to learn!" And the list goes on and echoes in my head.  As a homeschool teacher, my focus isn't on curriculum and checking boxes off "my to-do/kids' to-learn list."  My focus should be DISCIPLESHIP and relationship with my children.  That message resounded so deeply with Jon and I, so you could say the LIGHTS really came on!  We engaged in wonderful conversation the whole way home, before bed that night, and into the next day.

Jon and I were discussing our children's talents and interests Sunday afternoon.  Caleb came into our room and announced that while we had been gone Rachel had installed light bulbs in her floor lamp.  Jon and I exchanged, "Yeah, right!" glances, but Caleb was insistent.  Curious, I ventured upstairs to learn that my 6 year old daughter (who took 2 years to learn the letters of the alphabet and their sounds) had indeed found light bulbs that the movers must have shoved in the craft drawers and twisted them in herself when Grandma and Grandpa weren't looking.  Now, she didn't unplug the lamp and had it turned on the whole time, so we had to have a quick discussion on safety measures and asking permission.  However, we shared how impressed we were that she was able to complete this task.  (Seriously, I can't remember ever changing a light bulb... that's what I keep my 6'5" hubby around for, right?)  My goodness... The lights came on LITERALLY!  Who would have ever thought Rachel could do that?

Thus began a conversation with our children about things that interested them and what they would like to investigate, discover, and learn more about.  No surprise, Rachel mentioned cooking... not one of my strong points.  Jeremiah suggested cars (definitely not an interest of Jon's) and computers (now Jon's happy).  Caleb through out the ideas of gardening and building with wood & metal.  Of course, animals... this has been the pass the test of time interest.  He also said he'd like to learn more about spies.  When questioned for more specifics, he went on a discourse about Sam Davis, a scout during the Civil War.  Ha!  Here I thought he hadn't paid any attention when we visited the Sam Davis home earlier this month. 

Because we have always been somewhat eclectic homeschoolers, I review so many different items, and I rarely pass up a field trip, I would have classified a lot of our learning as fun and delight-directed.  However, I'm coming to realize that it was rather contrived and that I was still at the helm in all the decision-making.  Sure, the kids have been exposed to a lot of wonderful things, but I failed to seek their input 9 times out of 10. 

Intentional Delight-directed learning - here we come!  Recipes, living books, seedlings, apps, tools, field trips to The Corvette Museum, Lowes, and Home Depot, historic site visits... all things now on my radar.  Why?  Because I took the time to ask my children their interests... how hard was that?  Now, fear not Mamaw, the kids still have to learn multiplication tables, proper grammar, etc.  I haven't forsaken all things necessary and practical, but my methods even for those important subjects most likely will change.   

More wonderful lessons were learned at Teach Them Diligently, and as I process, I know I'll be sharing more.  I must say that this homeschool convention was far different than any I have attended before.  It was unashamedly Christ-focused.  The speakers spoke truth and life and didn't seem to be there primarily to sell a product or make a buck.  Overall, every one involved seemed to display a genuine interest in seeing families succeed by entering into close relationship with one another and in Christ.

Teach Them Diligently will be in Omaha, May 30-June 1.  Online registration has closed, but you could still register on site.  If you are closeby, I encourage you to attend.  There are also 9 upcoming marketplace events.  I'm most excited that the TTD Convention will be coming back to Nashville in March 2014.  Jon and I are already making plans to attend!


Scaredy Cat Reading System Level Two (Review)

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Joyce Herzog is a well known educator with years of experience teaching children with learning disabilities.  She has developed a unique reading system and countless other resources to simplify learning.  Her products reach out to students who are failing and provide them with many opportunities for success and mastery.

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When given the opportunity, I chose to review the Scaredy Cat Reading System Level Two with my son, Jeremiah.  The product retails for $75 and includes: a Teachers Manual, Student Activity book, Fun Learning Pack, magnetic letters and pictures, The Story of LetterMaster, student reader, and an audio CD.

Download a sample of the Teacher's Manual.

Download a sample of the Student Activity Book.

Download a sample of the Student Reader.

Scaredy Cat Reading System Level Two is a mastery based phonics system for young and/or struggling readers in the K-2 range.  Reading, spelling, comprehension, and language skills are all taught.  SCRS L2 focuses primarily on the mastery of short vowel sounds. Mastery is obtained when the student is able to read 30 words per minute and spell 9 out of 10 randomly chosen words.  Jeremiah had previous experience with the short vowel sounds, but because he still confuses "i" and "e" sounds and struggles with fluency the placement test landed him in level 2. 

Upon receiving the materials, I familiarized myself with the various pieces of the program and spent time reading the teacher's manual.  It contains an introduction to the program, entrance and exit exams, teacher training, the concepts of the Scaredy Cat system, instructions to teach spelling, explanations of the games, daily menu plans, activity extensions and more.  There are lists of fabulous ideas for working with words, sentences, and spelling.  I encourage you to take a few days to digest all the information and to prepare the materials. 

Another interesting concept in SCRS L2 is the daily menu.  Joyce suggests to add variety to your days and to always quit a few minutes before a student becomes restless or bored.  "Appetizer Days" simply whet the appetite for bigger and better things to come.  "Main Course Days" are heavier loads while "Salad Days" are a bit lighter.  If the student is in need of some positive reinforcement or a fun reward, go with a "Dessert Day!"  Multiple suggestions are offered for each day and the teacher/student have the freedom to choose what they deem best.

I envisioned this program being our "be all - end all" in Jeremiah's struggle to read.  I wanted to LOVE it, but unfortunately, it proved not to be a good fit for our family.  From a Momma standpoint, I'm an attention-to-detail kind of gal and the many typing/grammatical errors within the teacher's manual and student text really irked me.  In fact, I even found the student book mislabeled a lesson page.  I was also disappointed with the print quality of some of the materials.  Several of the student activity pages and the magnets were very blurry and/or faint.

For Jeremiah, he never really bought in to the premise of "scared" and "brave" vowels.  "They're just letters, Mom!" was his response :(  He did not resonate with The Story of the Letter Master at all.  However, he did enjoy playing the games and completed 5 of the 10 lessons.  Moving forward, I will have Jeremiah finish the remaining four lessons.  If for nothing else, his fluency has improved, and for that I am grateful.  Rather than follow the system verbatim, I'm picking and choosing tasks I believe will be both beneficial and enjoyable...  lots of games and selections from activity lists.

While Scaredy Cat Reading System Level Two didn't prove to be ideal for our family, I could see it working well for a young emerging reader who enjoys fantasy and make believe.  The beauty of this program is that it is unscripted, unscheduled, and designed to move at the student's pace.  Read other crew members experiences with this program as well as several other products offered by Joyce Herzog.


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Monday, May 13, 2013

Papa's Pearls (Review)

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While reading Papa's Pearls: A Father's Gift of Love and Wisdom to His Children and Grandchildren, my latest Schoolhouse Review Crew product, I couldn't help but be nostalgic and think of a special man in my life.  My PaPa (pronounced Paw-Paw) was such a treasure, not only to me but to all his grandchildren, children, friends, and even strangers.  His large hands and big ears were dwarfed by his enormous heart and love.  He demonstrated going out of his way to love and be of help to those that others would often ignore.  Hard work, strong morals, dedication to family, and an unshakable faith define his life.  Oh what I wouldn't give to talk to him today, to sit by his side and glean even more of his precious "pearls"!!!

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Aside from reminding you of a cherished loved one, Diane Flynn Keith's book, Papa's Pearls will both entertain and teach you.  She chronicles the life of her father and shares his pearls of wisdom.  Papa, also known as Carol Joseph Flynn, was actually a street kid during the depression-era.  Running with the wrong crowd and involved in criminal activity, it appeared he was on a steady path towards incarceration.  Thankfully, he had a series of encounters that altered his course.  He chose to strive for personal success and lived life happily. 
Papa wasn't a man of many words, but those that he did speak held so much weight, truth, and meaning.  Diane took these nuggets of gold - priceless pearls! - and penned this precious 112 page memoir.  Each of the 17 chapters concentrate on one or more of Papa's pearls.  Some illustrate his business savvy:  "Where's the money?" "Get it in writing!"  "Keep a foxy pocket." and "If you want to be successful - spend your time with successful people."  Others offer basic wisdom for a life well-lived: "Everyone deserves a second chance." "You gotta roll with the punches." and "Be Grateful Every Day!" The most endearing show his love and care for family:  "Where's my hug?" and "I love you. You know that, right?"
I read Papa's Pearls myself.  However; I can see the value in having your preteen/teen read the book individually, or even using the book as a read-aloud.  It is a delightful story, and there are sound tidbits of wisdom from which everyone could benefit.

Papa's Pearls is available directly from the author.  Click HERE to purchase an autographed copy for $21.97.  It is also available for purchase in both paperback and Kindle format through Amazon.

Author, Diane Flynn Keith, is no stranger to education or the homeschool community.  She is a sought after speaker and expert on alternative education.  Her desire is to liberate families from conventional schooling, and she provides so many resources to assist in that task.  She has written a book entitled: Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games & Activities To Turn Travel Time Into Learning Time. Diane also maintains several popular websites including:


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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Spotlight Time


I LOVE being a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew!!!  Yes, I get to review and use lots of fabulous curriculum, software, games, and online subscriptions with my kiddos... a huge draws for a  curriculum junkie like me!  However, what I enjoy most is the online community.  I've developed dear friendships with some amazing women.  They encourage me, answer questions, make me laugh, and pray for me.

Each week the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog showcases one crew member.  This week the spotlight is shining on me... crazy, huh?  I'd love it if you clicked on over and read my article Homeschooling English Language Learners.  I share a bit about our adoption journey and offer 5 tips from our 3 years homeschooling.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Regret - It's What I'm Afraid Of!

Day 7 of the Blog Every Day in May Challenge and the topic is: The thing(s) you are most afraid of...

Years ago, I would have said something trivial like admitting my fear of dogs.  With some age and maturity and having taken some things for granted, my greatest fear is regret.  In regards to my family and serving God, I don't want to look back on this season (or any for that matter) and realize there are things I "coulda, shoulda, woulda" done.

I have a 6, 7, and 8 year old and the baby is nearing 5 months.... what?!?!  Time is fleeting for sure!  I make more mistakes as a Momma than I'd care to admit.  There are days when I just can't stomach one more tidbit of useless information on the latest super hero, Star Wars, Ninja Turtle, or Lego obsession.  Days where I wish to never be asked a question again... especially the same series each evening before bed.  In fact, there are moments where I turn on the TV simply to babysit while I seek the solace of my bed or the bubble bath.  I realize that these feelings and actions probably aren't unique.  However, I've become keenly aware of some missed opportunities with my children.  Both Jon and I are working to address these areas and are focusing on improving both the quantity and quality of our time engaged as a family.  Family is so very precious, and I fear taking it for granted. 
I don't want my children to ever question my love for them.  I desire more hugs, kisses, cuddles, "good job's" and "I'm proud of you's!"  I want them to have many memories of our times together laughing, playing, serving, and loving.  (Time to eradicate some memories of Momma being frustrated, disappointed, and angry.)

God is up to something, no doubt!  Jon and I are both restless and wrestling... there is a stirring within our hearts.  There is a need for less and a need for more.  There has been both conviction and rebuke.  There is clarity and confusion.  There are questions.... Why? What? Where? When? and How?  Some answers are screaming and others ever evasive.  We've been reminded of our unique God-given gifts and abilities, faced our shortfalls, redirected, and refocused.  Why?  We don't want to live with regret!  We fear looking back on our lives and saying, "Why did we do/act/go/serve/enter in so little?"  Rather than say I led a comfortable life, I want to say I entered into the struggle and pain of others and in love pointed them to The Great Comforter in life.

I realize to some this sounds very "holier than thou."  Not my intent in any way shape or form!  When confronted with my own failures, inadequacies, and misguided thoughts, this is where I find myself... fearing a life of regret!  In this instance only... it is about ME!  God is dealing with ME!  Hopefully, shaping and molding, so I can be about HIS business and shift my focus on to OTHERS.

Monday, May 6, 2013

"What do I do?"

Day 6 of the Blog Every Day in May Challenge and the topic is: If you couldn't answer with your job, how would you answer the question, 'what do you do'?

Sure, I could list every mundane task involved with being a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom, but I doubt my diapering abilities, limited cooking/cleaning skills, and chauffeur expertise would be of great interest.  Instead, I tried to really think... what do I do?

  • seek to serve God and others
  • love my husband wholeheartedly
  • love my kiddos unconditionally
  • passionately advocate for the vulnerable
  • homeschool (through good days and bad)
  • blog (more intermittently than I'd like)
  • pray, pray, pray
  • experience the thrills of victory and the agonies of defeat
  • volley between times of struggle and ease, the need to resist and persist, optimism and pessimism
  • find myself saddened when confronted by apathy (within myself and others)
  • get increasingly annoyed with mediocrity
  • am striving to embrace minimalism while still struggling with the ingrained Western mindset
  • am waiting for God to open and/or close doors/windows/crawl spaces/nooks & crannies....  yes, in 34 years I've learned that God works in all available spaces - great & small! 

Home School In the Woods - Great Empires (Review)

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Having had a poor history experience in her school years, Amy Pak didn't look forward to teaching the subject to her children.  However, studying through living books, writing, and drama, she actually fell in love with history.  She then began using her abilities as a graphic designer to develop beautiful timeline figures, lapbooks, and history packs.  Thus, Home School in the Woods was born, and homeschooling families have been utilizing the high quality, well-crafted, hands-on history products ever since.
As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I had the opportunity to review a study designed for elementary students, Great Empires.  The download version is available for purchase for $18.95.  A CD version can be bought for $19.95. 

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While you may need to purchase a few craft supplies and materials for the activities, everything else you need is included.  Within Great Empires, you will find the following information and printables:
  • Historical overview pages for the 14 Great Empires
  • Activity Summary pages for each empire
  • Detailed instructions for each activity
  • Timeline and Historical figures for each empire
  • A World Map and individual empire maps
  • Games and crafts
  • Recipes
  • Suggested Reading Lists
  • Additional links: pictures, text, videos, and virtual tours
The empires focused upon include:  Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Ancient China, Arab-Muslim Empire, Mongolian Empire, Viking Empire, Spanish Empire, French Empire, English Empire, German Empire, Japanese Empire, Russian Empire, and The United States of America.

During the review period, my family chose to study the empires in the order listed.  Mainly, we followed the study guide and completed the projects, but we did take a few rabbit trails to study topics further.  For example, while studying Ancient Egypt, we watched The Prince of Egypt movie, looked at pictures of pyramids online, the boys built Lego pyramids, and we read about King Tut. 

You may choose to use this study in another way as I envision multiple ways to do so.  You could study the empires in chronological order or select the empires in the order that most appeals to your children.  The studies could simply be overviews and completed exactly as is in the guide.  Conversely, it could serve as a springboard for a more in-depth study of each of the empires.  Finally, it could supplement another history program.
Beginning with Ancient Egypt, I quickly found that the overview pages (while there are only 1-3) are jam-packed full of information.  I found that throwing all those names and dates at once could be overwhelming to my crew - 6, 7, and 8 years.  For that reason, I did some paraphrasing and omission in my reading aloud.  The other activity that needed lots of parental guidance was the mapping exercises.  Getting everything in the correct spot proved to be a bit challenging for my three, but they still enjoyed the process. 

By far their favorite part of the study would be the hands-on projects.  I did improvise some in this area as well.  When making their Egyptian cartouches, I opted for them to use play dough opposed to making salt dough.  They loved using the hieroglyphs to write their names.  It was very "spy-like and secret code-ish" in the boys' minds.  They also really got into the study of the Greek soldier, even if it looks like he wears a dress - Ha!  You can see their unique shield designs below.

The download is extremely easy to navigate.  Clickable buttons transport you to the various maps, activities, printables, and overviews.  The study is well organized and pleasing to the eye.  I found it easy to work with from a teacher's standpoint, and my children proved to be willing and enthusiastic students.  I foresee using Home School in the Woods products in the future. 

Be sure and click below to read other crew reviews.  In fact, there were two other products being reviewed as well, so you won't want to miss learning about them.  Another suggestion would be to check out the samples and freebies offered by Home School in the Woods.  Follow on Facebook and sign up for the Hands On Teaching Tips Newsletter.


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Thursday, May 2, 2013

LIVE Summit Webstream

As you may recall, Christian Alliance for Orphan's Summit 9 is taking place in my backyard, but unfortunately, my days will be spent at home.  Not knowing when we would be closing on our house in KY and trying to be hopeful that it would be any day, I did not purchase tickets to Summit 9.  Because of the overwhelming response, there are hundreds more than anticipated attending the event.  Therefore, when online registration closed, the decision was made not to accept walk-up registrations.  While I'm sad that I'm missing out, I'm so encouraged by such a large number of people who share God's heart for adoption, orphan care, and global initiatives!  Rise up church!

Thankfully, even though I'm not on site, I can still participate a bit by tuning in to the Live Summit Webstream.  All of the main sessions as well as the oneBIGidea lunch session will be online.  (Hoping to time Eden's naps just right, so I can really focus!)

Check out the schedule below and click the link to tune in!

Summit LIVE Schedule:

General Session | May 2, Thursday Morning  | 8:45 am

  • Stephen Ucembe, Kenya Society of Careleavers
  • Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine with Michele Bachmann

oneBIGidea  |  May 2, Thursday Lunch  |  12:30 pm

  • Dr. Brian Fikkert
  • Craig Juntunen
  • Dave Anderson
  • Tendai Masiriri
  • Robert Glover
  • Ambassador Susan Jacobs
  • Dr. Russell Moore
  • Dr. Neil Boothby
  • Dr. Karyn Purvis
  • See for more on oneBIGidea speakers

General Session | May 2, Thursday Evening  | 7:00 pm

  • Johnny Carr with the Wagner Family
  • Carissa Woodwyk, Adoptee and Author
  • Jedd Medefind, CAFO President

General Session  | May 3, Friday Morning  | 8:45 am

  • Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine with Bishop Martin
  • Senator Mary Landrieu
  • George Dennehy
  • Orphan Sunday Special Feature

General Session | May 3, Friday Evening  | 7:00 pm

  • Nicole C. Mullen
  • Jimmy Wayne
  • David Platt, The Church at Brook Hills

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

250 Words

This month I have decided to join Jenni at Story of My Life for her Blog Every Day in May challenge. Today's topic is "the story of your life in 250 words or less" (in my case a smidgen more).  Apologies for my poor writing/punctuation now.  The constraints were hard for this "wordy" gal!


I was born April 13, 1979, in Ohio, but I don't consider myself a Buckeye.  Still an infant, my family moved to the land of Kentucky Wildcat Blue!  My days were spent gardening with my great grandmother, visiting the Dairy Dip, making the local news with PaPa, and taking ballet.  A move to Lebanon, KY, a brother, a sister, piano lessons, gifted & talented at Mrs. Lanham's little yellow house, Camp Calvary, got baptized, and had the best neighbors ever- Norma & Fuzzy.  Another move to Stanford for middle & high school.  One year of basketball, school newspaper, plays, and chorus.  Lightly Salted, Servants, youth group, driving, prom, babysitting,  and a first love.  Graduation, waitressing at Shoney's, and then off to Kentucky Christian College.  Fun with friends, a break-up,  D-group, choir trips, Haiti, and singing in VIP.  True love, a forever long engagement, winter wedding, and Hawaii honeymoon.  Lived in Louisville, then moved to Lawrenceburg, began teaching music at Bald Knob Elementary, and Jon preaching at GCC.   We bought our first house in Frankfort, and I taught 6 years in Owenton.  Caleb was born October 10, 2005.  February 15, 2010, was our Meetcha Day for Ethiopian cuties, Jeremiah and Rachel.  I left the classroom to homeschool, volunteer, and speak about adoption/orphan care.  We left GCC,  Jon was nursing fulltime, and we plugged in at Southland. Then, we moved to TN and Jon works in Clinical IT.  December 17, 2012, Eden was born.  What comes next? Waiting on and seeking God's direction...  I'm excited to see!

My May Day Flower

I have vague elementary school memories of celebrating May Day.  We did lots of flowery arts and crafts.  Tissue paper families seemed to be a favorite among the teachers.  Then, in gym class we would take a break from square dancing to dance around a May Pole.  You square danced in gym class, right?  Or is that just a KY thing?
I can't say that our homeschool studied and/or celebrated this holiday, but we definitely enjoyed a gorgeous spring day!  Temp was in the 80's, but it was a bit cloudy and a nice breeze was blowing.  We spent 3 hours at the park this afternoon with the newly formed Recreation Kids Club.  My kiddos are settling in and have some regular hang out buddies that they look forward to seeing each time.  Added bonus - I get to enjoy adult chit-chat!  Always a plus in my book :-)
Anyway... the real reason for this short little post is to say that on May Day 2013, I can assure you that I spent it with the most precious, sweetest flower!  Ha!  Seriously, you know you want to squeeze those chubby cheeks :-)