Sunday, August 30, 2015

Weekly Menu Plan {August 30 - September 5}


We are starting school tomorrow, plus several children are starting new jobs and/or new activities, etc., so I have been putting a lot of time into planning and getting my calendar organized. I love writing all the different ink colours on the clean, white squares. New beginnings. New adventures. New skills. New knowledge. New experiences. It's all exciting!

I am simplifying breakfasts and lunches for the beginning of the school year. It had gotten to the point where everyone would fend for him or herself, so there might be six or seven different things going on (think oatmeal, scrambled eggs, bacon, cereal, baked beans, leftovers, etc.), which was just too haphazard and disorganized (not to mention the state of the kitchen when it was all over. Eek!). I love that they all have different tastes and that they can get their own meals, when necessary, but we need a new system. 

So, I am taking over breakfast and doing one meal for everyone. I'm thinking eggs and bacon or oatmeal and bacon. Simple, eh? I think it will be a nice change. For lunch, we're just going to have sandwiches, either PB & J or turkey/cheese. I am feeling a huge need for simple. 

Here is my menu plan for this week:

Sunday - Popcorn, fruit

Monday - Beef Stroganoff, salad

Tuesday - Leftovers

Wednesday - Chicken Pot Pie

Thursday - Spinach and Feta Mac and Cheese

Friday - HM Pizza, salad

Saturday - Chili, cornbread

What's on your meal plan for this week? I'd love for you to share your menu plan in the comments. I enjoy seeing what you're serving at your house!

Blessings and love. xo

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Bridge Builder: The Life and Continuing Legacy of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein {Book Review and Giveaway}

About Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein:
Founder and President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and Goodwill Ambassador for the State of Israel, Rabbi Eckstein has devoted more than 35 years to building bridges of understanding between Christians and Jews and broad support for the State of Israel.  He is recognized as the world's leading Jewish authority on evangelical Christians.  Rabbi Eckstein received Orthodox Rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University in New York.  He holds master's degrees from Yeshiva University and Columbia University, where he also completed studies for his doctorate.  Rabbi Eckstein has served on the faculties of Columbia University, Chicago Theological Seminary, and Northern Baptist Seminary.  He currently serves on the executive committee of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.  

About the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews:
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews was founded in 1983 by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein to promote understanding between Jews and Christians and build broad support for Israel and other shared concerns.  Their ministry's vision is that Jews and Christians will reverse their 2,000-year history of discord and replace it with a relationship marked by dialogue, respect, and cooperation.  Among the many things they do as an organization, they also create materials for teaching about the significance of connecting Israel and Christianity through such resources as A Woman of Valor: Celebrating The Proverbs 31 Women In Our Lives, A Man Of Faith: Reflections On Godly Leadership From The Ancient Shepherds Of Israel (both devotionals by Rabbi Eckstein), and Seven Fruits of Israel: Recipes And Devotions From The Holy Land (by Yael Eckstein).

About the book and the author:
Hardcover; 272 pages
Zev Chafets is the bestselling author of fourteen books of fiction, media criticism, and social and political commentary.  He has been a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine and is a former columnist for the New York Daily News

My thoughts:
This was a fascinating story, and I am glad to have had the chance to read it. I have followed IFCJ and the Rabbi's daughter, Yael, on social media for several years, but did not know the story behind their organization and efforts. Rabbi Eckstein has faced so much opposition to his calling. I just had no idea that such a task would garner so much condemnation and ridicule, especially from his own people. It was quite sad to learn the reaction of fellow rabbis (as well as a few Christians), especially towards Rabbi Eckstein's family. 

One such story involves his oldest daughter, Tamar, on the day of her bat mitzvah. Tamar and her mother, Bonnie, had decorated the Chabad shul, complete with blue and white balloons, festive blue tablecloths and a large cake with the words "Mazel Tov Tamar" on the top. The young rabbi came in, gave on disapproving glance toward all their party handiwork and declared it unacceptable. At the time, Rabbi Eckstein was upstairs taking part in Shabbat prayers. He knew nothing of the troubles surrounding the party. He was then not allowed to take part in leading the prayers during the service. He was confused and humiliated. Why the opposition from the rabbi of that shul? Rabbi Eckstein had been going into Christian churches in his interfaith work. This was prohibited by Jewish law. It was also considered idol worship to teach the Torah to Gentiles. He had transgressed the borders between the Jewish world and the Gentile one. 

There is so much to learn in this book. World history, Hebrew vocabulary, more about the Jewish people and their customs and thinking, not to mention all the incredible ways the Eckstein family ministry is helping Jews all over the world. Their organization takes in millions of dollars yearly and distributes it to the poor in Israel, to those in other countries making aliyah to Israel, and more. Check out the website below for details.

And if you would like to enter to win copy of The Bridge Builder, see below!



Twitter:  @TheFellowship


Purchase here

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Open to residents of the USA and Canada, age 18 or older.

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"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.” This post contains my affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Weekly Menu Plan {August 23-29, 2015}

Hello friends,

It has been so long since I posted a menu plan, but after a difficult summer, things are looking up! Just in time for school to start again, I am getting back into a more regular routine. We don't start back until the 31st, but I want to get some things in place, starting this week. 

Here is what I'm pencilling in my planner for the next week's suppers:

Sunday - Grilled Chicken Wings, tomato and cucumber salad 

Monday - Hot dogs, veggie tray and chips

Tuesday - Chicken Souvlaki, hummus and pita

Wednesday - Leftovers

Thursday - Spinach and Feta Mac and Cheese (I made this earlier in the week and it was yummy and simple!)

Friday - Emma's birthday dinner (yet to be determined)

Saturday - Homemade Pizza (I used this recipe last night and it was a hit! I have not kneaded any bread in a LONG time, so it provided a shoulder workout, for sure!)

What's on your menu plan this week? 

Blessings and love. xo

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Where will you cast your stone?

If you haven't seen Kathie Lee Gifford's beautiful and touching tribute to her late husband, Frank, I encourage you to hit play (don't forget to grab your tissues first!).

What a wonderful testimony of our Father's love, grace and transforming power. And what an encouraging word to pick up your stone and live your purpose for the glory of Jesus and His Kingdom. He has a purpose for each of us. Do you know yours?

Blessings and love. xo

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Apologetics Study Bible for Students HCSB {Review and Giveaway}

Disclaimer: I received a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. All opinions are my very own and are not influenced by monetary compensation. All photos are mine, unless otherwise noted.

The Apologetics Study Bible for Students will ground Christian students in the truths of Scripture by equipping them with thoughtful and practical responses to difficult and heartfelt challenges to core issues of faith and life. It's the Bible that will actually help students articulate their faith. Think of it as Christian Apologetics 101.

A Few Features of The Apologetics Study Bible for Students HCSB:
- Book Introductions for each of the sixty-six books of the Bible.
- Study Notes provide evidence of the reliability and truthfulness of Scripture.
- 120 Articles written by today's leading Christian thinkers dealing with life's ultimate questions.
- 60 Twisted Scriptures address ways that various religious movements distort Scripture to support doctrine contrary to historic Christian teaching.

Also, this summer, the gift of Confident Faith is being celebrated with 16 brand new, energetic and brief videos featuring Sean McDowell, free resources like Bible studies and articles as well as wonderful specials on apps and Bibles.  There are new resources every week - a full 16 weeks of resources when it is all done.  AND, if that weren't enough, a Confident Faith Sweepstakes is being offered to give away Bibles, free mini libraries of B&H's best apologetics resources and even a trip for two to the National Conference on Christian Apologetics (NCCA) being held October 16-17, 2015 in Charlotte, NC where some of the world's leading thinkers will offer insights and teaching.

My thoughts:
What in the world does apologetics mean anyway? Apologetics comes from the Greek word apologia, meaning "to give a defense" or more simply, "to give an answer." In our home, we believe that the Bible is the inerrant (without error) Word of God, written by Holy Spirit. I teach my children the Truths of the Bible and believe it is a living book (see Hebrews 4:12). I want my kids to be able to share their faith with others in a loving, kind way, with clarity and confidence. The Apologetics Study Bible for Students HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible) includes a treasure chest of helps and facts and articles for equipping our students in articulating their faith. Scattered throughout the Bible are sections called "Bones and Dirt Notes" where archaeology meets apologetics. There are also personal stories by 20 different individuals of how God has worked in their lives.  

I plan to use this study Bible and the accompanying videos featuring Sean McDowell with my homeschool crew during the new school year. Many of the questions addressed in the personal stories and articles are questions I have been asked in our student ministries or by non-believing friends over the years. 

Here are a few . . . 

"Is Jesus really God?"
"Does the Bible address abortion?"
"Is there really just one way to God?"
"You're only a Christian because you came from a Christian home/nation."

I know that my students may either ask themselves these kinds of questions or be asked by their friends. As they grow in their personal walks with Jesus, I want them to know how to answer these questions with grace and compassion, always keeping in mind that the Father is the One Who draws us (see John 6:44). May each of us be a Light and an instrument of kindness and grace that Father will use to draw our friends and family and acquaintances to Himself. This will be a helpful tool.

Giveaway Time:
Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Open to residents of the USA and Canada, age 18 or older.

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Blessings and love. xo

Monday, August 10, 2015

Peter Pan in the Threesixty Theatre - We escaped to Neverland!

Photo credit: Threesixty Entertainment

Disclaimer: I was given tickets in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my very own. Photos are mine, unless otherwise noted.

My three girls and I went to see PETER PAN in the Threesixty Theatre Saturday afternoon and loved every minute of it. We didn't really know what to expect. A theatre, in a tent? A 360 degree theatre? And CGI (computer-generated imagery) mixed in? How were the flying sequences going to be accomplished? How could it all work together?

I showed the girls this video before we left for the show so they had some idea of where we were going.

The Threesixty Tent

Facts about the show

The Washington Post declares, “PETER PAN flies high!” Featuring 22 actors, stunning puppets, epic music, dazzling flying sequences, and the world’s first 360 degree CGI (computer-generated imagery) theatre set, this unique production of PETER PAN is presented in the striking setting of the Threesixty Theatre at Tysons Corner Center (8200 Watson Street, McLean, VA). The show is performed in the round in a 1,500-seat theatre-tent. The entire interior is lit with more than 15,000 square feet of Hi Resolution video, so that both cast and audience are immersed in a virtual Neverland.

This remarkable and beautiful production premiered in London’s Kensington Gardens, the original home of Peter Pan. Seen by more than 750,000 theatregoers worldwide to date, Peter Pan - The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up was created by Scottish novelist and playwright J.M. Barrie. One night, Peter flies into the London nursery of the Darling children, Wendy, John and Michael, teaches them to fly and leads them to the magical Neverland, “second to the right and straight on till morning,” where they live with Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys and meet the notorious Captain Hook. The tale of PETER PAN has been adapted many times, including a Walt Disney animated film, a Broadway musical, and an Emmy Award-winning TV special. However, it was not until this production, presented by Threesixty entertainment, that PETER PAN was performed in London’s Kensington Gardens, where Barrie was first inspired to create the character and where the original statue of Peter Pan has stood since 1912.

Making its triumphant return to the United States, PETER PAN features all new direction by award-winning director Thom Southerland, with staging and choreography by Gypsy Snider, co-founder of the internationally acclaimed Les 7 Doigts de la Main. Set, costume, puppetry, and 3D projection design is by seven-time Olivier Award winner, William Dudley. Additional music is by Howard Herrick and Chieli Minucci. The remainder of the creative team includes Don Holder (lighting design), Guillaume Lord (additional scenic design), Manon Desmarais (additional costume design), Jonathan Lipman (additional costume design), Sue Buckmaster (puppetry direction), Paul Kieve (illusions), Scott Cady (music director), and Freedom Flying (flying consultant).
About PETER PAN in the Threesixty Theatre:

·      The world’s first fully 360-degree projected backdrop for live theatrical performance
·      The largest surround CGI (computer-generated imagery) venue in the world
·      12 projectors, delivering 360-degree projection
·      10 million pixels
·      15,000 square feet of CGI
·      400 square miles of virtual London were rendered
·      100 computers took four weeks to create the images (it would have taken 8 years for a single computer to render)

The final D.C. performances (at the time of this post) are as follows:

Tuesday, August 11 - 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, August 12 - 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, August 13 - 7:30 p.m.
Friday, August 14 - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 15 - 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 16 - 1:30 p.m.
Wednesday, August 19 - 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, August 20 - 7:30 p.m.
Friday, August 21 - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 22 - 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 23 - 1:30 p.m.

For more information about PETER PAN in the Threesixty Theatre, please visit

Tinkerbell was a favourite! (Photo credit: Threesixty Entertainment)

Our thoughts:

Let me tell you, it was brilliant! The theatre was unique and amazing. Our seats were about midway up, which was perfect for us. We could see everything from where we sat and didn't have to crane our necks to look up, like I imagine those on the front row or two must have had to do. The music was enchanting. The actors had a fantastic energy and kept up a quick pace. The CGI was phenomenal and wowed us all. We actually felt like we were flying during the in-air sequences! I also loved how there was audience participation in a couple of scenes, although, I won't spoil it for you by saying why or how we were able to participate. 

Warning for younger children:

I asked my girls, who are 8, 10 and 18, if they would've been scared during parts of the show had they seen it when they were younger. They all three said, yes, they would've been frightened. There was some shouting. Mr. Darling gets carried away and breaks Michael's kite. The pirates, of course, are a little creepy. The crocodile was ominous and loud. And there are two scenes that involve Captain Hook killing someone. I think most children 6 and up, especially those who are familiar with the story of Peter Pan, would be fine. Children who are especially sensitive should probably wait until they are a little older.

We highly recommend the show! 

My girls loved it and kept thanking me for bringing them and telling me how much fun it was. It was so enjoyable to look over and see their delighted expressions, that is, when I could pull my eyes away from the action long enough to watch them. I enjoyed it just as much as they did. 

If you stay after the show, you may get to meet two of the cast members. We met Wendy and one of the Lost Boys!

After leaving D. C., Peter Pan is heading on to the great state of Texas, so get ready Houston friends. Your shows start September 8. And Dallas, you'll be after Houston, with shows starting November 11. Put it on your calendar now! 

Blessings and love. xo

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Dead Bones Rise

Hello my friend,

I hope this finds you well on this Sunday morning, but if you are not well, maybe this message is for you. 

I woke up with a message to share with anyone who finds themselves in the valley of dry bones today. Maybe you yourself need someone to speak to your dry bones and breathe Life into them. Or maybe you are full of Life, but everywhere you look there are brittle, decaying bones - people all around you wasting away, in desperate need of holy Breath. 

If you are not familiar with the passage in Ezekiel where we find the story of the dry bones, I encourage you to read it now. It's one of the most vivid and exciting stories in the Bible! Read it here.

Whether you are the dry, bleached out bones or you see them all around you, Jesus is saying "Come Alive" to you or "Breathe Life into my people". And I say to you this morning, "Rise up and live!" Jesus came to save and rescue us! Not only can we know Him and the Life He is and came to share with us, freely, but we can experience this Life and Freedom and Joy and Peace as a normal, every day part of our lives. Be free and live today!

If you don't know Jesus or want to know Him better, this is the time. Here's what I would do (but you do as Holy Spirit directs you). I would get on my knees and tell Him how much I need Him. I would repent of my sin and ask Him to take over my life, every aspect, every crevice. Then I would thank Him and worship Him and start walking in the new Life! It's really simple. There's no formula or magic words. Just be honest and completely open and surrendered. He already loves you. He already died for you. Your payment was taken care of at the cross. It is finished! And if you have surrendered to Him, you are a brand new creation! YES! YES! YES! Please let me know in the comments and I will rejoice with you.

Here are a couple of songs to encourage you today:

Be blessed today and filled with His Love. xo

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Educents - Huge Back-to-School Savings

Disclaimer: This post contains my affiliate links. If you purchase through my links, there is no additional cost to you, and I make a small commission. Thank you!

Educents is having a huge Back-to-School Sale that I wanted to make you sure you don't miss. Have you shopped with Educents yet? Kate and Kaitlyn, the founders of Educents, are passionate about education. They are passionate about bringing YOU the educational products you love at an affordable price. Shouldn't everyone have access to education?

So, how does it work? Educents is an online marketplace for affordable educational products, providing daily deals to students, parents and educators by working with established educational suppliers. Whether it is a science kit, curriculum pack, books or art supplies, they make sure that Educents has the lowest price. Educators need a break, and they’re here to help.

Since the launch of Educents in April, 2013, Educents has saved educators over $15 million dollars and has helped more than 130,000 teachers, homeschoolers and parents gain access to affordable educational materials.

Check out just a few of the things on sale now (and even some FREEBIES)!

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Magic of Learning - Bees

Disclaimer: This post contains my affiliate links. Thank you for your support of The Scarlett Thread!

I love science and being able to show my kids videos of any aspect of science is always fun and exciting! 

Whether you are in the middle of your summer break and just want to share a spontaneous science lesson with your children and talk to them about what a creative and incredible God we have, or are already into your school year and want to supplement a lesson on bees (Five In A Row Mamas, this would go perfectly with The Bee Tree!), you many want to check out this video on the first 21 days of a bee's life. 


  Blessings and love. xo

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunday Dreaming With God

Good morning!

I just want to share this precious video with you. Some of you know from my social media that my oldest was recently in Africa. She was there for a month and has just come home this week with so many beautiful stories, heart-wrenching tales, new friends, new dreams and amazing testimonies of Jesus. 

I thought I'd let you see what goes on in Mozambique on a regular basis (this is from . . . 

So on this day of family worship and having friends over for supper and fellowship later on, I'm getting in His Presence to bask and listen and soak and dream. 

Here's a little worship music to get things going, if you'd like to join me . . .

Have a beautiful day!

Blessings and love. xo

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Big Book of History {Master Books review and a special giveaway}

Disclaimer: I was sponsored by Master Books to review their homeschool curriculum and am excited to share my experience as well as an awesome giveaway!  All opinions are mine alone.

I recently had an opportunity to review The Big Book of History: A 15 Foot Fold-Out Time-Line From Creation to Modern Computers and Big Book of History Teacher's Guide from Master Books. I received the panel version, although there is a hard-cover version, as well. You can see the hard cover here. This is a fantastic resource for homeschools, Christian schools or even a children's class in a church setting. This 15 foot time-line is an incredible way to see so many historical facts in relationship to one another. It is recommended for ages 7-12, although that is a general guideline. I can really see it being used by any age, starting at 4 or 5.

Here are a few shots I took to give you a better idea at the colours and photos and size . . .

I didn't actually have a 15-foot wall space available, but this product is versatile and can be used one panel at a time or spread out a few feet at a time. Or it can be spread out in its entirety on a table or on the floor to get the big perspective. This is the most colourful and fact-filled time-line I have ever seen. And since this is a Master Books product, you can guarantee it is from a Creationist perspective.

The Big Book of History is colour-coded in order to help students follow the four main categories of history, which include, Biblical/Christianity, World Events, Inventions/Technology and Civilizations/Empires. This is the way the key looks . . .

I recommend this time-line for any homeschool or Christian school. It is so handy to have for when you are working through a history curriculum or simply reading through a novel with your children that contains dates or facts or discoveries. Pull out the time-line to take a look at what else was going on in the world during that time frame. I have a feeling I won't only be using it during our studies this fall, I can also see my children pulling it out on their own to study and research times and dates and facts for themselves. You can use The Big Book of History along with the homeschool curriculum from Master Books (it is specifically recommended for grade 5) or purchase it alone to use with any curriculum you already use or even just on its own.

You can view a short video here . . .

View a full-colour preview HERE.

Check out all the Master Books Homeschool Curriculum HERE!

Right now Master Books is having a special 26% sale on curriculum sets and FREE SHIPPING on any order over $75. No Code Needed. Offer ends August 31st.

We’re giving away 2 Master Books Gift Cards worth $75 each so you can get whatever curriculum fits your children’s level and interests. Open to USA residents only.  

To enter, simply fill in the Rafflecopter below.

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Blessings and love. xo