Simplicity: The Lenten Season




Let me state first that we’re not Catholic. We don’t do Ash Wednesday. But the idea of Lent is a good one for Christians of all denominations anyway. Christ gave up his very life for us. Surely we can give up something of ourselves for him for these six weeks a year.

This year, we’re giving up processed sugar as a family. It might sound silly, but we like our sweets, so it’s a sacrifice for us. I know we can do it though. I know because we’ve done it before. When I was pregnant with Small Fry, I had gestational diabetes (I wasn’t allowed any processed sugar or fruit juice of any kind). In a show of support, my husband decided the rest of them would go off the sweets, too. It was probably the healthiest time of our lives. Hubby lost 20 pounds, I kept my weight steady, despite being pregnant (which means that I was losing weight as SF was gaining weight in utero).

It a simple thing that will bring us closer to God – every time we want a sweet treat, we’ll remember Christ’s sacrifice for us. I know, I know… The idea of giving up candy and cookies and brownies is nothing compared to what Jesus went through on the cross. Absolutely nothing. But it’s still a reminder of our faith and a way to help bring us closer to Christ.

Other ways giving up processed sugar will help us:

We’ll be healthier. Again. Hopefully we’ll lose some more weight. We’ll at least go through a detox of sorts, cleaning out our systems of all the junk we’ve allowed to be put into it.

We’ll save money. Fruit is more expensive than a candy bar, but it’s less expensive than 5 candy bars (one for each member of the family).

It will bring us closer as a family. Our kids have never really done Lent properly. I’m looking forward to expanding our Bible study with them as the season progresses, and helping them understand why we’re doing this. (They’re pretty copacetic about it now, but we’re only half a week in; I imagine in another week or so, they’ll need reminding as to why we’ve chosen this path. And that will be a glorious thing to explain to them even more about our Savior and why we’re celebrating – yes, celebrating – our lack of sugar for Him.)

Do you celebrate Lent? If so, what have you given up?



Picture of the Week: Hungry Baby

PitW Hungry Baby

Everyone else had finished dinner the other day and we had started the process of washing the dishes. Next thing I knew, I looked over and Small Fry had helped himself to the pan (it had already cooled by then thankfully) and was eating straight from the serving spoon. So funny!

Have a great weekend.



Homeschool Curriculum Review:

Science4Us ReviewDo you struggle to teach your kids science? Looking for a great science system for early elementary kids? So was I, so when the opportunity for a Online Subscription was offered to me in exchange for an honest review, I happily accepted.

What is I’m glad you asked. It’s a great program for early elementary kids, from Kindergarten through 2nd grade. It doesn’t cover experiments, but it gives kids a great foundation in a variety of subjects. Kids learn about the basics of science (starting with the tools that scientists use), and then move on to more “fun” stuff like animals and space. Each topic runs for 8 lessons, and each lesson takes roughly half an hour to teach. There are also fun activities that children can do on their own on the website. One of the cool things about is that while it’s teaching science, it’s also reinforcing things kids this age learn in other subjects. One of Munchkin’s favorite activities was the “Silly Bulls” lesson, which is where key words from the teaching part of the lesson are broken into syllables, mixed up, and the child puts them back in the right order (get it? Syllables … Silly Bulls … ).

s4us silly bulls has a login page for each student as well as one for the parent/teacher. You can sit right next to your kids while they do the activities, or you can set them free on the site to work through the modules and check their progress, including information/activities from their digital science notebook, in your teacher dashboard. The website allows you to assign modules to your students, and also for your students to select what they want to learn about each day, so there’s a bit of freedom in how you work the program.

While the website is geared primarily toward younger kids (Kindergarten through 2nd grade, like I mentioned above), it’s also a great place for upper elementary kids to get a refresher course in what they learned when they were younger. Even though Seahawk is in 4th grade, he’s been using and loving it. Because it’s geared to the younger children, though, I’ve been focusing on having Munchkin use it and letting Seahawk on there when time permits.

Once they finished the science tools module, it was interesting to see what each kid chose to study. Munchkin was all over Life Science, which covers Living vs. Nonliving, Plants, and Animals. Seahawk wanted to study Space, which covers Exploring the Universe and Earth in Space. The Exploring the Universe module was really cool. My favorite part, and I think Seahawk’s too, was the exploration of our galaxy. It opened up a map of sorts of the Milky Way, and you could click on the different planets and it would zoom in and give you all sorts of facts about each one. You could also rotate and spin around the solar system. They provided a “ring” showing each planet’s course around the sun, which I think was helpful in keeping them straight while you clicked through them, making sure you chose the one you wanted to explore further.

s4us space 1

This is the “main” view of the solar system page – what you see when you first open it.

s4us space 3

s4us space 2

And these two show you how you could flip all around to get different views.

s4us venus

And here’s Venus’ page. There was one of these for each of the planets, the sun, and Earth’s moon.

For a basic science curriculum for young kids, I think is a great choice. There are so many choices in study topics that there’s something for everyone. With the “assign” feature, you don’t even have to strictly monitor your kids if you don’t want to. The website is ad-free, so you don’t have to worry about that while your kids are learning. As a subscription-based service, there’s a ton of flexibility, too. You can keep it during the school year and let it go during the summer, or you can keep it year-round if that’s your thing. They also provide printable pages for the kids if you’re a “worksheet” kind of teacher. You still need to have the online time, since the information is taught using online videos and interactive activities, but the worksheets are great for reinforcing what your kids have learned during their online sessions. And at $7.95 a month, it’s a really affordable option if you don’t know what to do for your young learner’s science needs.

To close, I just want to show you guys how big an impact this program had on Munchkin. We have a notebook that he and I write in, letters back and forth, and in one of his recent letters, he included this picture:


Little things like that are what I’d call a glowing review!



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