Saturday, October 31, 2015

How I'm Using Spiral Notebooks in Our Homeschool

When I think back over the past 13 years of homeschooling, I have to laugh at all the planners and systems that I've tried. Are you the same way? Don't get me wrong, some of them have been great for a particular season in our lives. And then something else would work for awhile. There truly are so many great resources out there. I think you just have to find what works for you. 

This year, I decided to go with some simple. So simple, in fact, that you may think I'm a little nuts for not thinking of it before. I mentioned last week in my "Friday Faves" post that one of my favourite things right now is using spiral notebooks in our homeschool this year. I give huge thanks to Sarah McKenzie for her post earlier this year, How I'm Using Spiral Notebooks to Simplify Homeschooling. I think it was mainly the word 'simplify' that caught my eye. I do not need any more complications in my life, and especially when it comes to our homeschool. So, I thought I'd share some of my original planning from the end of the summer and how things have progressed these past two months.

I started out with my own personal spiral notebook which I used/use for making a master list for the school plans, a master list of meals for menu planning, a list of ideas for field trips, a list of ideas for read-aloud books, etc.

I also use it as I'm planning Ava's Beyond Five In A Row and Maya's Five In A Row lessons . . . 

Okay, so unlike Sarah, I do the actual writing out of the plans every morning. It's just personal preference for me. Planning school is not something I usually want to think about in the evenings, so mornings work well for me. It really is a simple process and only takes a few minutes. 

I include any and all chores I want them to accomplish that day, and then I list their school assignments, "brain breaks", and their extra-curricular classes and activities for that particular day. I know from their check marks what needs to be carried over to the next day. 

This system has worked SO well for us. The consistency level is high this year, and I am very pleased. I think the older I get the more ADD tendencies I display (ha!), so this simple spiral notebook plan has done the trick for me. The kids all seem to be settled and steady in their progress this year. They like the routine and look forward to checking off those boxes each day.

Blessings and love. xo

Disclaimer: This post contains my affiliate links. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

STRONG and KIND: And Other Important Character Traits Your Child Needs to Succeed {Review and Giveaway}

When A&E's Duck Dynasty first became a hit television show, our family did not have cable. So when we moved into this house almost two years ago, we were able to have cable and spent many evenings catching up on the first few seasons of the show. The move had been pretty stressful for us, so to be able to just sit and relax and get to know a little more about the Robertson family, their wild success, their deep faith in Jesus, and their fun lives was just what we needed. They are so down to earth and real. We adore this family. It amazes me how busy they are (just follow them on social media to see all of their ventures), yet they are consistently calm, classy and joyful. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read and review Korie's new book, STRONG and KIND: And Other Important Character Traits Your Child Needs to Succeed

About the book: 
Hardcover; 240 pages
Publisher: Harper Collins Christian Publishing (October 27, 2015) 

In her new book STRONG and KIND: And Other Important Character Traits Your Child Needs to Succeed, Korie Robertson - New York Times bestselling author, wife of Duck Commander® CEO Willie Robertson, star of A&E's Duck Dynasty, and mother of five - argues that developing good character in our children is the single most important thing we can do to help ensure they lead happy, healthy adult lives.  Robertson explores key traits and what they truly look like in action, asks readers to select the two traits that they hope to see most in their children, and shares hands-on ways for nurturing strength of character.  Written with her mother Chrys Howard and featuring stories and wisdom from husband Willie, STRONG and KIND cuts through the contemporary cacophony of parenting manuals to rediscover, unfold, and embrace the enduring wisdom that has guided the best parents for centuries. 

About Korie Robertson:
Korie Robertson, wife of Duck Commander® CEO Willie Robertson and star of A&E's beloved series Duck Dynasty, is a mother of five, a New York Times bestselling author of several books, including The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks built a Dynasty, written with Willie; Faith Commander: Living Five Values from the Parables with Jesus, written with her mother Chrys Howard; and The Women of Duck Commander: Surprising Insights from the Women Behind the Beards about What Makes this Family Work, written with all of the Robertson wives.  She is also an in-demand public speaker, Duck Commander® executive, entrepreneur and founder of boutique Duck and Dressing, and philanthropist, who remains active with a variety of organizations that focus on children, adoption, and foster care.  Korie lives with her family in West Monroe, Louisiana. 

My thoughts:
While watching Duck Dynasty or following Korie, her mother, or the other Robertson ladies on social media, I've often thought 'we could be fast friends'. I think if I had the chance to sit down at the table with them over coffee or a glass of iced tea, we would have a meaningful and fun time. Reading STRONG and KIND has reinforced that thought even more. I could relate to many of Korie's convictions and experiences as a mom. Sadly, I haven't found too many friends who value honesty as much as I do, so when I read that she and Willie require their kids to wait until age thirteen to get a Facebook account, per the rules, I was pleasantly surprised. I laughed out loud on more than one occasion, and appreciated her stories of Will and his strong and challenging younger years. I had to chuckle when she mentioned warning babysitters that 'he could sense weakness a mile away'. I had the same experience with one of mine and had to caution babysitters that they would be tested. 

I appreciate and value each of the character traits that Korie and Willie have worked to instill in their five children, as Bob and I have also done with our children. Early on in our parenting years, we were encouraged to look at the big picture and to work to train our children to be pleasant and able to adapt to many different situations and environments. And although we have been at this parenting thing about the same amount of time as they have, as I've read through STRONG and KIND, I found myself spending time thinking about where each of my children is in this season of his/her life, and if I have dropped the ball on encouraging any of these qualities. I think it's healthy to stop and analyze the situation once in awhile. Sometimes these traits come more naturally and sometimes we have to work at them. We can count on life to bring us plenty of opportunities to continue working them out.

I have to share a quote that made me love Korie even more than I already did:
Being a loving mother doesn't mean that I act like a Disney princess every day. Now, I love Disney princesses as much as the next person does, and I know some women who seem to have that personality naturally, but that's not me. It's not most people. For most of us, life is not all sunshine and roses. We get tired, frustrated, or in a funk and act in ways that aren't very princesslike. That's part of being real. Being loving doesn't mean that you have to always have a smile on your face and talk in a soft, high-pitched voice. What it does mean is that your home should feel like a loving place, a place where your children, spouse, friends, and family want to be. It means that when we come out of that funk and realize we haven't been the most pleasant person to be around, we apologize and move on. It means that your family should know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are loved unconditionally by their heavenly Father, God, and by their parents without reservation and to the moon and back. (pages 130-131)

I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it, especially to younger parents, but even if you've been on this parenting journey awhile, I believe you will find refreshing words and inspiration in Korie's (and Willie's) beliefs, convictions, principles and the stories shared in STRONG and KIND.

Today is release day, so get your copy now! 




a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

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 USA and Canada, age 18 or older.
Blessings and love. xo

Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Faves

Happy Friday, Lovelies!

I know I said I would post an update on us, but I have been so busy there just hasn't been time to sit down and sift through everything. 

One fun update on me is that I have joined my older three children as a "farm hand" on the farm where they have been working. You'll find me in the market or on the front porch processing admissions. I haven't been in the workplace in so long and it feels great! I was practically giddy my first day. It's only on the weekends, and maybe even just one more, as the pumpkin festival season is coming to a close. I am very thankful for the opportunity. 

I thought I'd share some favourite things on Fridays from time to time, starting with my new favourite way of organizing our school days. 

School has been going incredibly well this year, meaning consistency is in the house! How am I enjoying said consistency, you may wonder? It's all thanks to Sarah Mackenzie and her post How I Am Using Spiral Notebooks to Simplify Homeschool which I read early in the summer and have implemented for the first time. Why didn't I think of this before!?! I am writing a post and will share more about it soon.

Some of my favourite deals this week:
So many possibilities! 2 Designs -Thanksgiving Treat Candy Boxes- Set of 12 for $5.99
I love these! Plaid Winter Boots - in 3 Colors - 45% off!

And how about some favourite inspiring words?
This is a good word from Kris Vallotton:
So many Christians think it's normal to sin. It maybe common but it's not normal. Cancer is common but it's not normal.
Read the rest HERE

And huge thanks to my friend, Elizabeth, for sending me the link to Bill Johnson's message entitled: Supernatural Sleep. I'm going after more 'throne room encounters'!

Two of my favourite books I'm currently reading (reviews coming next week):
Strong and Kind: And Other Important Character Traits Your Child Needs to Succeed by Korie Robertson

The Power That Changes The World: Creating Eternal Impact in the Here and Now by Bill Johnson

And last, but certainly not least, here are some favourite recipes we have enjoyed this week:
Easy Pull Apart Pizza Bread - yum! Thanks to Emma for making this for us one night.

I made this pot of delicious soup last night along with some bleu cheese nachos. It's one of my favourites for a cool autumn night - Buffalo Chicken Soup.

I made this last week and it was a hit, so I'm planning to make it for supper tonight . . . One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese.

Have a great weekend! 

Blessings and love. xo

Disclaimer: This post contains my affiliate links. This simply means that when you use my links to make a purchase, there is no additional cost to you, and I make a small commission. Thank you!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Just a quick song

Hi friends,

Life has been extra busy lately. Whew!

I really am going to try to get back on here later tonight to give some updates. For now, though, enjoy worshipping with me while I get busy cooking supper (I love listening to music while I cook!). 

This is an incredible song I learned at the conference in New Jersey . . . 

 Blessings and love. xo

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Enter the Food Lion Pumpkin Contest!

Do you decorate with pumpkins for fall or carve pumpkins for Halloween? We love this tradition in our family and have such fun memories from our pumpkin-carving over the years. Food Lion is having a neat contest to celebrate your creativity this autumn. Submit a photo of your best pumpkin carving or decoration. Share the post with your friends to get the most votes and you could win.

Click below to find out more details and enjoy carving your best pumpkin yet!

Join the Food Lion Pumpkin Contest now!

Blessings and love. xo 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I will receive compensation for each entry. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ishtar's Odyssey - a new advent book!

Disclaimer: This post contains my affiliate links. This simply means that if you make a purchase through my links, there is no additional cost to you, and I make a small commission. Many thanks!

I'm so excited that there is a new book in our favourite advent series by Arnold Ytreeide!

This one is called Ishtar's Odyssey and it is on my wish list now! We usually read one of these books during the month of December, which has become a special family tradition. 

The other books in the series include . . .

1. Jotham's Journey

2. Bartholomew's Passage

3. Tabitha's Travels 

And now . . . 

4. Ishtar's Odyssey

Have you read any of these books? Which one is your favourite? I'd love to know what other advent books you've enjoyed!

Blessings and love. xo

Monday, October 5, 2015

Finding Noah Film {Review}

For over 2,000 years, man has been searching for the final resting place of Noah's Ark.  Though there have been many attempts, few have been able to fully explore the one place specifically noted in the Bible: Mount Ararat.  Located in Eastern Turkey, Agri Dagh or "The Painful Mountain" is the tallest mountain in the region and lies in the very center of a centuries old, geo-politically unstable hot spot.  With constant threats of deadly rock slides, hidden crevasses, and glacial ice falls, the Kurdish Rebel held mountain poses great risk to any explorer, let alone those performing a thorough scientific investigation.  

Join director/producer Brent Baum and the FINDING NOAH film crew as they follow an expedition of intrepid explorers on a perilous trek up to Mt. Ararat's desolate summit.  There, using state of the art technology and real-time satellite imagery, this team of archaeologists, scientists and professional mountaineers will begin a grid work of exploration unlike any before, hoping to finally resolve the age-old question:  did Noah and his Ark actually exist?  

Shot in never-before filmed locations in the harshest of conditions, this unprecedented feature-length documentary shows just how far men are willing to go to discover the truth.  Narrated by Academy Award nominee Gary Sinise, FINDING NOAH is more than a quest for answers, it is a testament of the human spirit, where belief and the need for exploration transcend risk and limitation.  

Genre: Documentary
Rating: NR (Dove rating: 12+)
Runtime: 130 minutes 
Release Date (ONE NIGHT ONLY): October 8

My thoughts:
I have loved the story of how God saved Noah and his family and the animals in the Biblical story of the ark since I was a little girl. Noah's courageous act of faith in building such a massive structure. The rain that had never before been seen. The animals coming at the beckoning of their Creator. It's an incredible story, and because I believe the Bible to be without error, I believe there was an ark. Maybe it is buried somewhere in ice on top of Mount Ararat in Turkey. 

This was a fascinating film. I love adventure, and the remarkable men in this documentary take adventure to an extreme level. I was cheering for them all the way through the film! Their passion for this quest, their respective jobs and expertise, how they came together as a team. It was all an amazing mixture of adventure and perseverance. Not only did they have to be aware of dangerous warring people groups, the extreme conditions and altitude were also a tremendous factor in this journey to find the ark. They never gave up and they saw it through. (Sorry, no spoilers!)

Don't miss this one! FINDING NOAH will be in theaters this week, for one night only - Thursday, October 8th! See below to check for a theater near you.



Blessings and love. xo

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 a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  All opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Dream Come True


I haven't been around much this past week. I had a phenomenal weekend, last week, and haven't quite recovered (nor am I really trying to recover!). I had the opportunity to drive to New Jersey for an amazing conference hosted by The Alabaster Group. I'm not really a conference go-er, although I see one or two advertised once in awhile that grab my interest. Normally, though, I don't have money in the budget to go or they just haven't been a priority. 

Then why did I choose this one, you may wonder? Simple. Two of my spiritual heroes were going to be speaking, and it was only a five hour drive. It was a dream come true for me to go and hear them speak, meet them in person, and worship with them and hundreds of others who are seeking and living for Jesus and His Kingdom. 

Not only were two of my heroes at this conference, I learned more about three other phenomenal believers who are impacting their corners of the world in beautiful, powerful, crazy ways. The theme of the conference was "Until the world is filled with love for Jesus"! Yes!!!

Here is a list of the speakers:

Heidi Baker
Bill Johnson
David Hogan
Joseph Garlington
Claudio Freidzon

If you were to ask me who are the people who have had the greatest impact on my spiritual life in the past decade, Bill Johnson would be at the top of the list, followed closely by Heidi (and Rolland) Baker. In fact, it was through Bill's ministry and Bethel Church that I learned of Heidi. They are dear friends and support and honour each other's lives and ministries. Bill's book, When Heaven Invades Earth and then Heidi's book, Compelled By Love have both been life-changing for me. Life-changing. They both carry the Presence of God and have incredible authority and power, with countless miracles on a weekly, if not daily, basis. 

Here is an amazing example of Heidi's ministry in Mozambique. This witchdoctor was coming to kill her with his poisonous snakes. Watch what happens instead . . . 

And then there's this man named David Hogan. I am so completely thrilled to know about him and his wife and family and their ministry in Mexico. He is a big, intimidating guy, and at the same time, completely loving. He walks in some crazy, Kingdom authority and has seen some miracles that I have never even heard of before. My faith was stretched and strengthened and reinforced by hearing his stories. And the fire tunnel David and Heidi led on the last night was powerful!

Father also blessed me with this precious group of friends to share and fellowship with all weekend. We met the first evening at dinner and will carry this time with us forever. I love Kingdom connections!

I hope to share more this week about where God is leading us these days. We would appreciate your prayers.  

I'll also share more this week about two special baptisms we had last week!
Blessings and love. xo