Friday, May 31, 2013

See The Light {Review}

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I am so excited to share our latest review with you! This one may just be our favourite one so far. I was not familiar with See The Light but am thrilled to add their products to our homeschool shelves. I received the Poppy Collage DVD Art Project, which was absolutely delightful. 

The DVD teaches how to create an abstract flower masterpiece while learning about the American artist Georgia O'Keeffe. Poppy Collage is the fifth DVD in the Art Project series, which you can see HEREThe Poppy Collage is geared toward ages 10 and older and can be purchased for $14.99. The lessons are taught by the fantastic Master Artist, Pat Knepley, and include these topics:
  • The Abstracted Flower Drawing 
  • Tissue Paper Collage Technique 
  • Layering Translucent Hues 
  • Final Details to Create Interest

The materials needed for this project include:

• A 14”x14” sheet white Bristol board (or poster board)

• A flower with 4 to 6 simple petals – ex. poppy, New Guinea impatiens, hibiscus
• Sheets of colored art tissue paper – various shades of yellow, orange, and red
• Scissors
• Newspaper or old tablecloth to protect table
• Scrap paper
• Water
• A bowl
• Paper plates
• White school glue
• A pencil
• A white eraser
I had all my children, ages 16, 13, 10, 8 and 6 watch the videos and work on this project, even though two of them were technically too young. We watched one video lesson at a time and did the corresponding work. I appreciated how Pat took us through the lessons by demonstrating the techniques as she was teaching. We learned the meanings and differences between opaque, transparent and translucent. We also enjoyed the terrific art history lessons on the life and art of Georgia O'Keeffe. We were even prompted to check out a few other books from the library on her life and work. 

Another bonus is that Pat brings in Scripture that corresponds to each lesson! I love it when a curriculum or program reinforces what I am already teaching my children in our daily life. I highly, highly recommend See The Light and cannot wait to use more of their products!

Here are our masterpieces:

Emma (age 16)

 Austin (age 13)

Ben (age 10)

Ava (age 8)

Maya (age 6), who hasn't finished because we ran out of the green tissue paper for her background.

Mom (I decided to join the fun!)

And my favourite 10 year old surprised me with a birthday present yesterday . . .

I love that he was so thoughtful and took the time to make a second collage just for me. He knows how much I enjoy the colour red and appreciate the artwork he creates.

To see what other homeschool families think of this product and the other art projects from See The Light, click on the banner below.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Schoolhouse Library - Over 175 Resources for only $25!!!

I just had to share this great resource with all my homeschool friends! Schoolhouse Library is a new resource being offered by the The Old Schoolhouse Magazine!!!

Are you a new homeschooler and feeling overwhelmed? Not sure where to start or how to begin? How about a long-time homeschool parent who is looking for some new, fun reading resources to change things up?
For a one-time purchase of only $25, you will have access to a library of more than 175 E-Books or audio books for homeschool support and encouragement from many popular homeschool publishers and TOS, including:
      • 2 Study Guides from YWAM
      • Draw Write Now Sampler E-Book by Barker Creek
      • Heroines of the Past-Victorian unit study from Amy Puetz
      • Map Trek: Atlas and Outline Maps of World History from Knowledge Quest
      • Teaching Writing E-Book from WriteShop
      • 15 audio E-Books from My Audio School in history and literature
      • A Glimpse at Carnivorous Plants Lapbook from In the Hands of a Child
      • Video from Jessica Hulcy on  “Learning as a Family”
      • From Frazzled to Focused: 7 Planning Tools for Busy Moms from Mary Jo Tate

This is the best new homeschool digital library collected for all ages and stages of homeschooling whether you are teaching a preschooler, a high schooler or somewhere in between. With over 25 topics, you’re sure to find what you need for your homeschool adventure:
    • Art and Crafts
    • Bible
    • Economics
    • Electives
    • Encouragement
    • Geography
    • Government
    • Grammar
    • Spelling
    • Reading
    • Organization (with several planners)
    • Nature Study
    • Special Needs
    • And many more!
Don’t start your homeschool journey off feeling alone and overwhelmed.
Buy the Schoolhouse Library now and get started today with instant downloads!

Disclaimer: I received these products in exchange for this blog post. I was not under any obligation to post this information and just want to share this great deal with my readers. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Timeless Teaching Tips by Joyce Herzog {Review}

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I was recently given the opportunity to review Timeless Teaching Tips: How To Think Like A Teacher by Dr. Joyce HerzogDr. Herzog taught in public and private school settings for twenty-five years and has been an author, speaker and consultant to homeschool parents for that amount of time, as well. I had heard her name for years but had, unfortunately, never read anything of hers or used her curriculum until now. I am so happy to know about her work and this book.

Included in Timeless Teaching Tips, are six main sections:







This book is packed full of advice, helpful hints, parenting points, homeschooling ideas and a great amount of encouragement. I wish I had read this book in the early years of parenting and/or at the beginning of my homeschool journey. Mrs. Herzog includes so many of the ideas other moms shared with me along the way, all in one compact book. Some of those gems include: read aloud every day (from womb to tomb); encourage mature language; relate learning to your child's delights; redeem the day; as well as many others. 

She points out that we are created by God to learn. From the moment we are born we are learning and growing. Even in our mothering and teaching, we are learning each day, more about the world, our children, our own likes/dislikes or what we didn't learn in school or have forgotten along the way. When I sensed God calling us to bring Emma home from public school to become a "homeschool family" I balked at the idea. The weightiness of it was a little more than I wanted to take on, plus what in the world did I know about teaching? I had been a social work major (although, ironically, I started out my first year in university as an education major). 

If any moms are feeling that way right now, I want to recommend this book to you. The Holy Spirit is our Source, Teacher, Counselour, etc., and He also uses those who have gone before us to give us ideas and help us think through what is important in our parenting and teaching. I like that Joyce invites us to think about the simple things. We do not have to have some intense, complicated philosophy or expensive curriculum. I know many homeschool moms who be be thrilled to learn some of the frugal ideas included in this book, and I have benefited from her reminders. 

Here are just a few of her ideas: 

  • teaching with notebook journals
  • using graph paper to practice writing the alphabet, teach math, encourage creativity, etc.
  • using 3x5 index cards to aid in memorization
  • adopting a multilevel learning approach for every student to learn together using encyclopedias and library resources

In the "It's Been Said" section, Joyce includes a plethora of quotes from history that would make excellent copy work content. One example I enjoyed reading:
Our Saviour would love at no less rate than death; and from the supereminent height of glory, stooped and debased Himself to the sufferance of the extremest of indignities, and sunk himself to the bottom of abjectness, to exalt our condition to the contrary extreme. Robert Boyle (1627-1691)Irish Scientist, "Father of Modern Chemistry"
Timeless Teaching Tips:How to Think Like a Teacher can be purchased HERE for $15. I recommend this books to old and new moms, alike! 

To read more reviews on a variety of Joyce Herzog products, click on the banner below:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekly Menu Plan {20 May}

Happy Monday and the beginning of a brand new week! We are getting ready to welcome the new little one I mentioned earlier into our home this morning. He'll be staying with us during the days for the next two weeks. My children are so excited, some of them have been awake and waiting for awhile! 

Here's the plan for this week:

Monday - Slow Cooker Baked Spinach and Mushroom Rigatoni, salad

Tuesday - Baked sweet potatoes, black beans, roasted asparagus

Wednesday - French Onion Soup

Thursday - Sloppy Joes, chips, veggie tray

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - Chicken packets, salad, peas

Sunday - Tacos, chips, salsa, guacamole, Spanish rice

I am thanking God for all my blessings today and anticipating wonderful things from Him this week. So many blessings and things to thank Him for!!! I pray blessings over you, too! xo

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday

I'm linking up with Lindsey again this morning and she has a fun challenge for today. Check it out!

I have two outfits to share this time. I forgot all about taking a full-length shot on Sunday when we were getting ready to leave for our church service, but here is a new top from ThredUp (and my handsome hubby!) . . . 

Top - ThredUp (free with credits!!!)
I wore this with black pants and sandals.

Top - Kohl's
Capris - Kohl's
Bracelet - Macy's (I think)
Necklace - gift from China
Earrings - Dress Barn

pleated poppy

Disclaimer: This post contains referral links. Thank you for your support! xo

Science, Naturally {Review}

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One Minute Mysteries: 65 MORE Short Mysteries You Solve With Science! was sent to me for review by Science, Naturally and has been a fun and interesting book to read with my children. We were not familiar with this company or the first book in the series called One Minute Mysteries: 65 Mysteries You Solve With Science!, which we hope to read, too, at some point.  

These books are written by father-daughter team, Eric Yoder and Natalie Yoder. The age range for this book is 8-12 and it is 180 pages in length. The cost of this book is only $9.95 and can be purchased from Science, Naturally. They also have some great educational resources on their website, including iPhone/iPad/iPod apps, found here

The book is divided into six sections:
* Introductions
* Life Science
* Earth and Space Science
* Physical and Chemical Science
* General Science
* Five More Minutes of Mysteries
* Bonus Section: One Minute Mysteries: 65 Short Mysteries You Solve With Math!

The chapters in One Minute Mysteries: 65 More Short Mysteries You Solve With Science! are one page scenarios, in which a science question or "mystery" is presented. The second page of the chapter gives the answer to the question. We read these brainteasers during our lunchtime read aloud sessions, which included all five of my children, ages 6, 8, 10, 13 and 16. Emma (16) was actually the reader to the rest of us. It was important to listen to all the details given in the short story to be able to figure out the mystery. Some of the mysteries were simple to solve for my older children, but it was fun to let the two younger girls try to figure out the answer before letting one of the older children explain it to them. A couple of the chapters stumped everyone until we talked through what details to consider. 

We had an enjoyable time reading these science-lessons-in-disguise. I love this kind of gentle and engaging learning. There were no textbooks, just real life situations that we can relate to on a daily basis. One of the lessons that stumped some of us for a few minutes was Chapter 49 titled "Science Friction". The story involves a science class which was divided into three groups, and then given the assignment to make one movie poster per group in a science fiction style but with accuracy in the basic science facts. The posters are described, along with the titles given. We had to remember that insects do not include spiders (which are arachnids), the south pole would not contain an octopus (this one stumped us), and bats are mammals which fly and ostriches and penguins are birds that do not fly (easy one for my animal and bird lovers). We enjoyed talking it through to pick the winning poster!

Our family recommends this unique and fun science resource for any home with science students.

(We even took this book of sleuth-building exercises on a recent picnic!)

To read what other families thought of this book, click the banner below:

Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekly Menu Plan {13 May}

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great time remembering and celebrating your mom or being celebrated, if you are a mom, yesterday. I had a wonderful day at church, welcomed a sixth child into our home (a college student friend who is staying with us for three weeks!) and was pampered by Bob and our children. We enjoyed a delicious meal last night, made by Emma and Raquel, followed by brownies baked by Austin. Yum!

This week we are hoping to explore with our friend, Raquel, including a trip to the strawberry farm and at least one picnic. Plans changed a bit and the little one whom we are going to care for is not coming until next week, so we are going to squeeze in some extra things this week that we were not expecting to have time for originally.

Here is the menu for this week:

Monday - Beef with snow peas, rice

Tuesday - Leftovers

Wednesday - Meat pies, veggie tray

Thursday - Cobb salad

Friday - Pitas and hummus

Saturday - Leftovers or sandwiches

Sunday - Penny Pinching Pasta, sautéed kale

Blessings! xo

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mums in my life!

To all the Mums, Moms, Mommies, Mothers and Mamas in my life, single or married, biological or adoptive, young or old, near or far:

Happy Mother's Day (especially to my mom and Bob's mom)!!! I celebrate you and wish you many rich blessings, love, laughter and maybe even a little respite from the usual today! 

Motherhood is such an honour, and I am thankful for every moment I have with my five precious children. I thank God for gifting me with these fantastic human beings. I have learned so much about myself from being a Mum and each day brings new lessons and discoveries. I am thankful for grace and the opportunity to make mistakes and still know love. My life is full and fabulous and wrought with adventure because of them (and, of course, their amazing daddy)! Here's to us, my loves, and to many more years of laughter and memories!

Cheers to my fellow Mums. And may you know deep love today! xo

Friday, May 10, 2013

Papa's Pearls {Review}

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Papa's Pearls is a treasure of a book that I recently had the absolute pleasure to read and review. You know that sad, nostalgic feeling you have when you read a book, connect with its characters, and then it's finished, but you don't want it to end? That's how I still feel about this book. What an honour it has been to read the story of Papa, daddy to author Diane Flynn Keith. Diane is an author, speaker and editor-in-chief of

Mrs. Keith relates her Papa's life and the pearls of wisdom he learned from his hardships and experiences and then passed on to his children and grandchildren. Each chapter is titled with one of Papa's pearls of wisdom. Here are some of my favourites:

* Be Grateful Every Day
* Tell Yourself You Like It
* Everyone Deserves a Second Chance
* Let It Go - Like Water Off a Duck's Back
* Fantastic

I love reading other people's stories and this one has quickly become a favourite. The stories that Diane shared about her father, his childhood in the Depression Era, his life change from being on a fast-track to prison to becoming a self-made, successful businessman, his loving interactions with his wife and three children all made for an endearing and fascinating read. 

I read Papa's Pearls aloud to my five children (ages 6-16) during our regular lunchtime reading time. There are 17 chapters and a total of 112 pages. Each chapter is short, which made it an easy book to read. We enjoyed hearing the joys and struggles of this wonderful man. He lived life to the fullest, was a hard worker, trusted in God, made special memories with his wife, children and grandchildren, and generously shared the secrets to the success in his life.

I was challenged, as a mom, to keep reminding my children how special they are, that I believe in them and how much I love them. We already practice some of Papa's advice, i.e. "be grateful every day" and "let it go - like water off a duck's back", but we have also been encouraged to "find money in the street" and "keep a foxy pocket", as well. 

My favourite chapter comes at the very end of the book. It's the one titled "Fantastic", which happens to be a word I use often. This quote from Diane's mom (in an email to Diane) really struck a chord with me and supports what I have learned about words in the last few years, 
My hairdresser reminded me that what you say becomes what you believe. I was reminded that your father always told people that his life, his company, his children, his wife, and his health were the best. People made a point to tell me that they had never heard a man say so many wonderful things about his wife. They look at me with wonder because he said such nice things about me. His beliefs made him happy, and that seemed to be his goal.
What a beautiful example to follow! My words become my beliefs (and of course, my beliefs, in turn effect my words) and have a tremendous, powerful impact on everyone around me. This is such a confirmation to create and live in a culture of honour. I would have enjoyed knowing Papa and am so thankful for this opportunity to get to know him via the pages of Papa's Pearls.

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On a side note, I was also reminded of this song, entitled "Doodle Dee Do", which I had not heard in ages. We used to sing a silly version of it in junior high youth at church, and I cannot actually remember all of the lyrics we sang. I was not aware until reading this book that this was a song from the 1940's. Thanks to an old player piano he acquired, Papa loved it and sang it over and over with his children. What unforgettable memories!

Papa's Pearls is available for $21.97, plus $7.00 shipping and handling at

If you are interested in reading what other crew members have to say about this book, click on the banner:


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday

Happy Wednesday! 

I managed to have photos taken of two outfits this week! Shocking, I know, since some weeks I have forgotten altogether. Haha! I'm linking up with Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy for more fashion inspiration today. Come over and take a look!

Black top - JC Penney
Denim jacket - ??
Grey maxi - Kohl's
Black flats (not seen) - Payless
Necklace - Dress Barn
Bracelet and earrings - Charming Charlie
Shades - Winners (Canada)

Orange top - TJ Maxx
Denim capris - Kohl's
Flats - Target
Wire headband - Make It Dutch
Silver hoops - TJ Maxx


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Answered Prayers!


Thank you for fasting, praying and giving over the past month.  Here are a two specific answers for financial support:

Financial Support
1.       In April we received an unexpected, and very generous gift from a local church to help carry us through the month.
2.      Scarlett was driving alone one evening and felt prompted to pull over and check her purse.  She found four $20 bills folded nicely inside…supernaturally!  She knows without a shadow of a doubt that they were not there before.
3.      Your praying and fasting were used in April to help provide for our ministry and family.  Thank you.

To join our support team, click on Field Staff Support at IFA Royce Team.

The Journey to Transformation Discovery Weekend – Leesburg, VA
We launched our first Discovery Weekend in April.  About 120 friends from the greater DC area as well as Pennsylvania, New York and even Arkansas gathered to learn how to help prepare their own neighborhoods for transforming revival.  Fifty people from that meeting met here again last night to say, “Yes.  We will humble ourselves and intercede for the Lord to touch our community in a powerful way.”   Click here to learn about The Journey to Transformation.

National Day of Prayer – DC
I enjoyed meeting in different venues like the Cannon House Office Building, the Family Research Council offices and the Capitol Building to discuss and pray with leaders from around the country about spiritual awakening and revival.  IFA hosed a luncheon with George Otis, Jr. to talk about The Journey to Transformation here in America and also to share stories of heaven sent revival around the globe. 

George shared about a small, shriveling community in Brazil hidden among the dry riverbeds.  They had not seen rain in 25 years.  One small, poor church 3 hours away received a dream with the name of this village.  They eventually located it, started visiting the residents, and crying out for a miracle with one Christian home in the community.  After several visits it started raining.  Rivers started bursting forth from underground and started a new lake!  Many folks have since come into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and their community is now exporting honey and other delectable goods.  It is literally being transformed from a decaying desert to a lush garden oasis. 

IFA hosting a luncheon with George Otis at the United States Capitol Visitors Center.    

For Royce family fun pics and happenings, follow Scarlett’s blog, The Scarlett Thread.

Thanks so much.


Bob Royce
Mobilization Coordinator
Intercessors for America
PO Box 915
Purcellville, VA 20134
540-317-2097 Direct


Buyback textbooks at

I have written in the past few months about trying to find ways to save or even to make money for my family. Another way I have found to make a little cash recently is to sell books to

It is a very easy process to look up the ISBN's and find out if the books I want to sell are being accepted and at what amount. I can do so either on the website or on the mobile app via a barcode scanner. The books they are interested in buying should have a publication date of 2010 or newer.

Shipping is FREE. Once I have entered all the ISBN's, clicked on "sell my books", I then print off my packing slip and packing label. I really cannot say enough about how simple the process is. 

I have just packed up my second box. I am making around $20 per box of seven or so books. All I have to do now is drop off my box at my local United States Post Office. And if I have $35 or more in sales, they will upgrade my shipping to FedEx, free of charge. I can collect the payment either in PayPal cash or in the form of a cheque.

Go to Cash4Books now to see if they are buying the books that are collecting dust on your shelves. Let me know if you sell anything!

Buyback textbooks at

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That you for your support!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Winner! This Is Our Time DVD

I'm so sorry it has taken me almost a week to get to this. Please forgive my delay.

And the winner is . . . 

Thanks for this chance - it sounds like a great movie! What's on my plate right now is that I am sick - I have MS and it's active right now and I am trying to keep up with my two daughters who are 12 and 10. They are growning up and I am afraid apart from God. Well atleast one of them. Please pray for them! Thanks!

Congratulations to Anonymous!!! Because you didn't leave an email address, I have no way to contact you, so please comment with your email address ASAP.

Thank you to all who entered!
Blessings. xo

Saturday, May 4, 2013

"Best day ever!"

Things have been full lately. I haven't even posted photos of our weekend in Williamsburg or the winner of my latest giveaway (coming soon!). There is so much going on and more coming (including a sweet friend coming to stay for a few weeks and a 2 y/o addition to our daytimes, when I start caring for a friend's grandson). But I have to take a few minutes out right this minute to give thanks to my Father for today! 

Maya declared, as she was savouring her chocolate/vanilla twist ice cream cone, "Best day ever!"

When I asked her why she thought so, she said "Ice cream and garage sales!" Add in the gorgeous Virginia spring day, and I couldn't agree with her more.

Now, even though I strive to be a frugal shopper, I am not normally a garage sale shopper. Usually, I just don't have any spare $$$ to make the effort. This morning, however, I was really compelled to go out and follow the signs to the 'moving sale' and 'community wide sale' I had been seeing advertised the past three or four days. So, off I went. I was searching specifically for a coffee table to go with the new furniture we were just given for our living room. 

To make a long story short(er), I found a few items that I purchased to have for the little one who will be hanging out with us soon, as well as some Nerf guns for the boys. I also found a DVD and a messenger bag for Emma. Seriously, garage sale-ing could become a hobby of mine if the deals are as good as what I saw today. I did not find any furniture though.

Anyway, I went home to show the kids what I had found and they decided they wanted to go and check out some garage sales as well as the library book sale themselves. We didn't find too much at the garage sales until we came to one particular street. We purchased a scooter for the younger kids and then I looked across the street and down two or three houses where there was another garage sale still going on or at least there were still tables of items sitting in the driveway. Sure enough, there was a coffee table, sitting at the end of the driveway nearest the street. We all walked down and I was delighted to see that it was the shape and colour I had had in mind. The top was scratched, but the rest of it was in great shape and the lid even opened up to reveal a storage space. Ben said, "Mom, guess what?!" And the rest of us were stunned and amazed to find that the coffee table was FREE! Oh happy day!!! 

It ended up that the whole lot of items was free. It seemed that no one was home and there was a sign that Maya found that read "All items free. Take whatever you like." What?! WOW!

And not only do we now have a beautiful new piece of furniture, but the younger children and Bob have had a fantastic Nerf battle tonight with the three new bargain guns. Plus we have a rocking horse, a basket of pre-school toys and books and two new-to-us riding toys for the little one. Emma has a new bag and we have a new DVD to watch. Oh, and Ava found three old but incredibly interesting hardcover books at the library sale for a whopping total of 75 cents! That doesn't include the other free items I acquired from some very generous people. Thank you, whoever you are!

I am just overwhelmed with gratitude and amazement. My Father is good and gives such good gifts. Wow, wow, wow.