Picture of the Week: 11 Months Old


Only one more month until baby Dragonfly has his first birthday! Oh, how time flies…

Vital stats:

Height: approximately 28 inches

Weight: approximately 21 pounds

Clothing size: 12 months. He’s been in this size since he was about 9 months old, so I expect him to outgrow them pretty soon

Teeth: While he was a late teether (none until nearly 10 months old), he now has 3, and one more is imminent

Other: In the past couple of weeks, his hair has gotten pretty thick and long. Just a couple more months and he’ll be ready for his first haircut. He started walking right around his 10th month birthday;  now at 11 months, he walks more than he crawls. Even though he was a late teether, he was an early walker.


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Apply for the 2017 Homeschool Review Crew!


If you’ve read very much of my blog at all, you know that I’m a member of the Homeschool Review Crew. We’re a group of bloggers that has the amazing opportunity to try out homeschool curriculum, read books about a huge variety of topics, and even get some beauty products from time to time. All for free! Well, in exchange for our time, that is. To write a fair and balanced review, it’s necessary to put in the time to use the products, as well as spending time crafting a useful review that will be a help to the vendor (positive and negative are both helpful, and as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew, you’re never required to write a positive review).

Besides writing reviews, the Crew is a huge blessing in other ways. We have an active private forum where you can express your thoughts about anything and everything, not just homeschool related stuff. Have a question about the tomatoes you’re canning in the summer? Ask it! Looking for new recipes and don’t have time to search for yourself? Someone on the Crew is likely to have just what you need. Are you going through a rough time and you just really need someone to pray for you? We do that, too. And on the flip side, are things going really well and you want to give glory to God? Members rejoice with one another. It’s an amazing group to be a part of.

If you’re interested in joining this fabulous group of moms (and even a dad!), now’s the time. The Homeschool Review Crew is taking applications for the 2017 Crew year.

In order to apply, you need to:

  • Have a blog.
  • Currently be home educating at least one child. Your child/ren can be anywhere from Pre-K to 12th Grade.
  • Be active on social media of your own choosing (Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram)
  • Love curriculum, homeschool products and books.

If you’re selected to be a part of the team, you’d need to:

  • Maintain an active blog by posting a minimum of ONE non sponsored post a week on any family friendly topic of your own choosing.
  • Be committed to sharing each of your reviews on your social media platforms a minimum of twice. This can be twice on one platform or on any two platforms of your choosing in one week.
  • Use the review product you receive for a minimum of six weeks and write a review. We do not require you write a positive review and we do not tell you what to write. We do, however, have a few minimum requirements including a minimum word count.
  • Post your reviews to your blog and and link them up here on our blog during our due date window.
  • On a regular basis visit our private Review Management forum where we provide support, encouragement, and information necessary to complete each review.

Want more information? Ready to apply? Head over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to find out more.


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Book Club ~ A Reminder/Update/Announcement

Book Club with Lori

Just a reminder that Lori and I are taking October off from the book club (did you read my review of The Pray-ers? That’s one of the main reasons we took the time off). We’ll be back on the first Thursday of November with a new book and new questions. If you want to join us, we’re reading The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay this month. Here’s the summary from the publisher:

When Lucy’s secret is unearthed, her world begins to crumble. But it may be the best thing that has ever happened to her.

Lucy Alling makes a living selling rare books, often taking suspicious liberties to reach her goals. When her unorthodox methods are discovered, Lucy’s secret ruins her relationship with her boss and her boyfriend, James—leaving Lucy in a heap of hurt and trouble. Something has to change; she has to change.

In a sudden turn of events, James’s wealthy grandmother, Helen, hires Lucy as a consultant for a London literary and antiques excursion. Lucy reluctantly agrees and soon discovers Helen holds secrets of her own. In fact, Helen understands Lucy’s predicament better than anyone else.

As the two travel across England, Lucy benefits from Helen’s wisdom as Helen confronts ghosts from her own past. Everything comes to a head at Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters, where Lucy is reminded of the sisters’ beloved heroines who, with tenacity and resolution, endured—even in the midst of impossible circumstances.

Now Lucy must face her past in order to move forward. And while it may hold mistakes and regrets, she will prevail—if only she can step into the life that’s been waiting for her all along.

I think this sounds wonderful, and I can’t wait to get started. I have my copy waiting at the library; I just keep forgetting to pick it up. I’ve set an alarm so I’ll remember to head over there as soon as they open this morning.


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A Veggie Tales Devotional for Children (Review)

vt-devoThe past few weeks, Small Fry and I have had the privilege of reviewing a Veggie Tales Devotional for young children. The book, Every Day with God, comes in two editions: boy or girl. Obviously, we chose the boy version.

The book is set up to be a 365-day devotional for young children (target age is 4-7). Each entry includes a scripture, a short message using the scripture reference to back up the point, a “thought of the day,” and a short prayer. Small Fry, who is 4, and I were able to read a devotion in about 5 minutes. We often did this while he was in the bath at the end of the day.

In addition to the words on each page, each devotion is decorated with favorite Veggie Tales characters, which makes it extra fun for little kids. The devotions cover such topics as

  • Each child is special to God and created uniquely (Isaiah 33:17)
  • The necessity of obeying God (Deuteronomy 4:1)
  • God is always with us (Matthew 28:20)
  • Being thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
  • God’s love is perfect (1 John 4:12)

and many more.

My son enjoyed listening to these short pieces. He loves having people read to him anyway, so I knew this book would be right up his alley. I like that he’s getting a little dose of Bible.

I highly recommend this devotional for parents (or grandparents, or aunts and uncles…) of young children. It’s a great way to instill wonderful truths in them using little bites of information that aren’t too much for them to handle.

You can buy the boy version or the girl version on Amazon for $9.99 each. The publisher has also graciously allowed me to offer a giveaway to one lucky winner in the US or Canada. To enter, just fill in the Giveaway Tools widget below. Entries will be accepted through next Friday, October 14, 2016.


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I’ve been taking ballet classes for one week now (a total of 5 classes), and it’s been a lot of fun. Tiring, but fun. There are a lot of things that come fairly naturally to me, but because I’m not as thin as I should be, a lot of things are difficult too. I find stretching and pointing my toes fairly intuitive, but doing the demi-plie (dem-ee plee-ay) and even more so the grande plie, are quite difficult for me.

Left: First Position Center: Demi Plie Right: Grande Plie

Left: First Position Center: Demi Plie Right: Grande Plie

The classes are teaching me a lot. It’s especially nice because I’m taking classes at two different studios, so I’m getting a variety of methods of instruction. I can see how this might be good or bad, but because I don’t have aspirations to become a world famous ballerina (lol), I’m totally okay with “good enough.” I’m thrilled to simply be learning the basic techniques of the art of ballet, even if I never get the opportunity to really do anything with it because of my age and current physique.

So, what have I learned? Ballet moves, obviously. Some French terminology, since ballet originated in France. And perhaps most surprising to me, that even when you’re barely moving at all doing the ballet moves, you get really hot and sweaty! It’s such a workout for the muscles that even when you move slowly, it’s definitely not an easy, low impact task. One of my classes focuses more on technique, and I sweat slightly less in that class; the other focuses on choreography, and we move all over the dance floor in that class, so by the end, I’m definitely ready for some cool air.

If you’ve ever considered learning ballet, I highly recommend it, even if you’re older and not in that great shape. It’s very rewarding. So rewarding, in fact, that we started taking the boys to the “Boys Dance and Movement” class where they learn ballet and gymnastics basics, and which is immediately followed by the Partnership class where they truly become male ballet dancers themselves, lifting and holding the ballerinas during their jumps. In just one short week, this has truly become something our whole family enjoys doing.


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Living in Historical Times (Carole P. Roman review)

This review is brought to you by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com.


I remember reading reviews of Carole P. Roman’s “If You Were Me and Lived in… {country name here}” series a few years ago; I’d never seen them, though. So when I heard about her new history series with the same basic title, I was intrigued. I talked to the boys about the books, and they were super interested, so we requested to be on this review. There are eight books in the historical series; we received four of them to review:

Each reviewer was given the choice of two they really wanted (I let each of the school-age boys pick one; Seahawk chose Ancient Greece and Munchkin chose American West), and then Ms. Roman sent along two “surprise” books as well. These books were a nice, easy history lesson for our first couple of weeks back to school. Each day, we read a book (or part of a book, in the case of the longer ones) and then did a related activity. For some of the related activities, we used the comprehension questions from the author’s website; for others, I came up with alternate options. But mostly, we just read them. Reading these books was how we opened our school day for about two weeks.

As the titles suggest, the books put your child right into the thick of the action of whatever era the chosen book is written about. The point of view is second person (you would do this, you would do that), which is unusual for books –  normally you see first person (I did this) or third person (Sally did that). The second person narrative made it interesting for the kids, especially since we read them aloud. Even Small Fry (4 years old) and Dragonfly (10 months old) were interested. As much as children that small can be interested, anyway.

The books give really good information about the time period about which they are about. We enjoyed reading about Ancient Greece and the Middle Ages especially. It was fun to learn about the types of names people had, what kinds of clothes they likely wore (each of the “you” characters in the books is from a well-to-do family, not a peasant family), and daily activities for children and adults. Even though the “you” character was from a higher class, there was also information about how the peasants lived, particularly in the Middle Ages book.

Of the four books we received, three (Ancient Greece, Middle Ages, and Viking Europe) shared an illustrator. These books were lovely, and the illustrations really added a lot. The layout on them was very simple, with the text in a single column on the left and the picture up the entire right side page and half of the left side page. On the pages where there was more text to fit, the picture was shortened to take up only about a third of the left page.


An example of the odd illustration style from American West

The other book we received, The American West, had good information but we didn’t care for the pictures at all. They looked like a weird conglomeration between photographs and clip art, and unfortunately I don’t think the style worked at all. In fact, it was with this book that I gave the boys a different type of “how well did you remember” activity: choose any page from the book and draw your own illustration for it, then summarize the text from that page.

Overall, we enjoyed reading these books. They were easy to read aloud (for me) and to understand (for the children). They learned a lot from them, and I think the kids are likely to read them again – at least periodically.

In addition to the four books we received to review, members of the Homeschool Review Crew also reviewing the other four books in the series as well. Click the banner below to be taken to the Crew blog post with links to those reviews. If you’re interested in more books from Carole P. Roman, you can head over to her Amazon author page, where you can easily find links to all of them. Her books are available in paperback and for Kindle.


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If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}


Picture of the Week: Ballet

In a casual conversation a few months ago, my husband learned something new about me: that I’d always wanted to take ballet classes as a child, but it had never worked out. He took that knowledge and found a class for adults who want to learn ballet but never have before, and I had my first session yesterday. It was really exciting, and I’m thrilled to be able to bring this childhood dream to fruition. Once I have a few more classes under my belt and I’ve learned more than just the very basic moves and stretches (and promptly forgotten most of them – that hour just flew by!), then I’ll write a proper post about my experience.

Have a great weekend!

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Discovering God in Ancient Egypt (Heirloom Audio Review)

Heirloom Audio Productions has long been a favorite of the Homeschool Review Crew, and we only recently had the privilege of listening to one of their audio dramas (Beric the Briton, earlier this year). Seahawk liked it so much that he really wanted me to request that we be chosen to review Heirloom’s newest offering, The Cat of Bubastes (boo-bass-tees). Luckily for him, we were.

The Cat of Bubastes is another of G.A. Henty’s novels; according to what I heard from other members of the Homeschool Review Crew, it’s a popular one to start with if you’re new to Henty (I’ve personally never read any of his novels – in fact, prior to the Review Crew, I’d never even heard of Henty). This one takes us back to ancient Egypt – Moses-ancient, not Cleopatra-ancient. The drama opens with the capture of Prince Amuba and his advisor, Jethro, by the Egyptians. The pair is bought by a very nice man, and each of the men is given to one of their master’s children as their personal servant. Before long, they find themselves caught up in a murderous plot that will test their loyalties. All the while, their newfound faith is being tested at every turn, pushing them to discover God’s love and providence for themselves.

I’m not going to really beat around the bush here… I find audio dramas difficult to follow. I’m very much a visual person. Seahawk, however, is an audio learner. He does really well with things like this – even in other school subjects. (I never truly processed this until right this second as I’m writing this. Thinking back to the things that have worked with him vs. not, I can really focus with him on things that will help him learn better from now on.) Because of this, he really enjoyed this drama. We would put it on for about half an hour each morning as our history lesson, and at the end of our listening time, we would do some of the questions from the study guide (more on that in a second). I really liked having the study guide; it took something that was interesting to listen to and made it more “school-like.”

In addition to a physical copy of the 2-CD set, we received several digital resources to go along with it:

  • an mp3 version of the drama, which is how we listened to it since we don’t have a CD player
  • an e-book version of Henty’s original novel (which I put on Munchkin’s Kindle for him to read later)
  • an mp3 soundtrack of the audio adventure
  • a printable poster featuring the cast
  • a PDF study & discussion guide
  • a printable inspirational verse poster featuring the cover art from the CD and 1 Chronicles 17:20
  • a behind the scenes video documentary featuring the cast and crew
  • access to the Live the Adventure letter

kimg0011As I mentioned previously, we used the study guide to help enhance our enjoyment of the audio drama. In order to do this, I printed off some Ancient Egypt pages from my NotebookingPages.com membership and then read the study guide questions aloud to the boys. They then wrote the answers down on the notebooking page. I liked doing it this way rather than printing off the actual study guide because there was actually a place for them to record the answers. In the study guide itself, the questions are pretty stacked so there’s not much space for the answers if you want to keep a record of the learning from the drama. The study guide for The Cat of Bubastes is mostly questions (basic “how well were you listening?” type questions as well as “digging deeper” ones), but there are some other goodies in there as well, including vocabulary, bonus information about the time period, instructions for an ancient Egyptian game (which funny enough, my boys actually have, thanks to a Joseph-themed VBS this past summer), and even a recipe for bean cakes.

So what did we think of The Cat of Bubastes? Though I’m not really an audio person, I found Cat to be much more engaging than Beric. I found myself imaging what I was hearing much more easily than I have with other audio dramas in the past. Seahawk, of course, loved it. And Munchkin, well… he’s happy to have a new book on his Kindle to read later. 😉 Generally speaking, though, The Cat of Bubastes is another win for Heirloom Audio Productions.


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Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes



Knitting Projects: October-November 2016

kimg0520As we enter the cooler months, I’m beginning to think about creating Christmas gifts. Last time I did a knitting projects update, I hadn’t quite started the sweater I was making for my dad, and I was still working on one for Munchkin. Well, I’ve since finished both of those projects – and done a few others to boot. Here’s what I’m currently working on and what I have planned but not started/purchased for yet. But first, a picture of the completed sweaters.

kimg0010The large brown one is the one I made for my dad, the dark blue one is for my 4-year-old nephew, and the light blue one with brown edges is for Dragonfly.

Now, on to upcoming projects. Currently on my needles is a sweater for my 6-year-old nephew. I followed the same basic pattern, but after making three of these sweaters already, I was ready to make it a bit more interesting for myself so I bought two different shades of green yarn and found a basic fair isle pattern. I used this one from Very Pink Knits (she has my absolute favorite knitting tutorials!), which was actually designed as a cowl (a short, circular scarf). I wasn’t making a cowl, though; I was making a sweater. Luckily, the pattern repeat matched up with the number of stitches in the sweater size I was making, so it worked out beautifully. This sweater is done except for sleeves, which go pretty quickly.

Small Fry has a special relationship with my dad, so he wanted a sweater to match “Papa.” But again, I want things to be a bit interesting for me as the knitter – especially since I’m still knitting the same pattern. So I found a yarn that has a similar brown color, but it’s variegated with white. I’m excited to see how it turns out; I think it’s going to be really pretty handsome.

When I need a break from sweater knitting, I’ve been making square cloths out of cotton yarn. At home, we’ve been using them for washcloths (for baby faces and wiping down tables and counters, mostly). They also make wonderful cloth napkins, which I love. They’ll last a lot longer than flannel squares and be a lot more cherished as well. So far, I’ve made 5 or 6 of them. My goal is to get up to about 12.

I mentioned in last week’s Random 5 post that I didn’t think I’d be able to get more sweaters made for our nieces and the remaining nephew, but I think I want to try. Kid sweaters go so quickly that it should be doable. I definitely won’t have time to do those and more adult sweaters, though, so I’m going to keep my focus on the kid sweaters. (Adult sweaters take me about 4-6 weeks; a kid sweater can be done in as little as a week or two.) I like the idea of gifting handmade items, though, so perhaps I’ll continue adding cloths to my arsenal and give each person a stack of those along with a “regular” gift.

I think all of these projects should keep me plenty busy for the foreseeable future!


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5 Random Things: September 23

  1. 5 random thingsIt seems that summer is really over. Our house has been about 65 degrees when we wake up each morning this week. It warms to about 70 inside by the end of the day, but today it’s only supposed to be in the upper 50s. This means that it’s highly unlikely the inside of the house will warm up, so we have a fire going in the fireplace so that at least one room is warm.
  2. I’ve been busily knitting sweaters for Christmas gifts (a more specific post on that is drafted for next week). So far, I have one for my dad and one for each of my nephews. I probably won’t have time to make them for everyone else (that would be four more adults and our four nieces), so we’ll have to come up with other ideas for them.
  3. Baby Dragonfly is up to size 12 month clothes, and into the last outfit from the baby shower that still fits him. We bought him a pair of jeans yesterday – the first clothes we’ve had to purchase for him ourselves.
  4. In a previous post, I lightly touched on the fact that we got Munchkin a Kindle e-reader for his birthday. Well, he absolutely loves it, just like I knew he would. I’m so glad we got it for him. He’s currently working his way through the complete (original) Wizard of Oz series; I think he’s in the 6th or 7th book.
  5. I quit biting my nails about a month ago. This is a huge thing for me – I’ve been a nail biter since I was about 7 years old (I remember the exact moment that drove me to start). I don’t like having long nails, so I’ve been clipping every week or two, but not biting. I’m so proud of myself 🙂


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