Wordless Wednesday 

I am not so good with words. Sometimes I used too many and sometimes I do not use enough. 

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Family Honor Plate & Table Thyme Discussion Cards {Review}

It’s been awhile since, as a family, we have really made a point of actively engaging with one another. My boys  (and my husband) are very much lovers of screens. Their favorite thing to do is play video games and watch shows on the television. As my children get older, I feel more and more as though, we are not taking enough time to make those precious memories. Or to really know them.

 

TABLE THYME DISCUSSION CARDS

As our oldest son gets older, I find it harder and harder to really “know” him. We struggle with communication. Which is almost funny since we have spent years being part of a homeschool group specifically for speech and debate. Needless to say I was excited to learn about Table Thyme Discussion Cards. What a fabulous (and super fun) way to encourage discussion in the family! Some of these are so very creative and every one of them makes for a great learning experience as we share with one another. Unlike most things, these questions require a “Why?” because that is where it really matters. Ironically, this has been something we have been trying to include in everything we do. Things matter so much more when there is a reason.  🙂

 

 

Sample pack of Table Thyme Discussion Cards

 

 

Then there is the Family Honor Plate Paint Kit.  We do so love this sort of thing! Although I am just not so good when it comes to artistic things like this, my children all love this! And it comes with everything you need to get painting right away. There is even a little palette to put the paint on.  I admit though, I would  prefer a plate that isn’t ceramic. As my kids (all four of them, from the two year old to the twelve year old) passed the plate back and forth …. What a sight it was to see! (I know, I should have gotten a photo!) Bad momma! ha-ha

 

 FAMILY HONOR PLATE PAINT KIT

Unfortunately shortly after the plate was painted, we forgot to bake it and so the paint quickly came off. Lesson learned. And regardless, the kids all had so much  fun painting this one and are looking forward to the chance todo it again. This time we need to remember to do that final step so we can enjoy their creation for a long time to come.

 

Both of these materials were such a delight to have!   Watching my children painting together – with very minimal bickering – was such a treat. And the table talk we have had (at the table and everywhere else under the sun) has been very eye opening. I love hearing my kids asking each other questions….Learning and getting to know one another in a different  way. Having fun too! Because relationships matter. And they do take work. No one said that can’t be fun.

 

Image result for Family Honor Plate & Table Thyme Discussion Cards: review flyby promotions

 

We have all learned so much! And for the momma? A gentle reminder to look for those good things and to celebrate thing. I fear too often, habit training and sibling relationships is more of a battle than it should be. What a wonderful opportunity to remember and honor those things which a good and true, and right.  ❤

 

 

Learn more or go and grab your own of one or both online.

 

 

 

{{I received these products for free from FlyBy Promotions in exchange for an              honest review. }}

Is it By the Law? 

I wish I could say that the things that I do are done by faith but too often the works that I do are by the law.  And those things my children do their also according to the law.
As I try to consider moving forward one of the things I know is that we need to increase our faith.

Especially when it comes to our home learning I fear but lately we are working too much according to the way of the world. The expectations and the pressure is not good. And it is not the way God would want it to be.

We dipped our toes into the waters of unschooling free time but I was not patient. I did not truly allow my children time. I’m not sure what I expected but I did not step out in faith when we began.
How silly it is to expect success when we go but we leave our faith behind. Without faith it is impossible to please God.

And then I met a new friend. Online. It seems all of my best friends are online nowadays. Sometimes this technology that I dislike so much really is a blessing!


One of the things that I love the most about homeschooling is how willing people are just share. I have never met another homeschooler who isn’t happy to come alongside someone who is struggling or new and encourage them.

I think she helped me to find that breath of fresh air. As I complained ( although that’s really not what I meant to do) about how miserable everyone seems to be right now. And how I know we need to breathe some new life into everyone. 

I learned that I am not alone. I also learned but sometimes we need to just step out in faith and frost and what we cannot see. I was reminded but even in those times when it seems nothing is getting done there is always something at work behind the scenes. 
Isn’t that what faith is all about? Trusting in those things that we cannot see. It can be easy to forget when we are doing this that we are simply planting seeds. The harvest we may not see for quite some time. We need to simply be patient and persevere. 
As we talked I was reminded to of how much learning really does happen in simple day-to-day activities. The value of doing chores around the house together. Having conversations. Reading good books and just exploring where we live. These are things that are priceless. And there’s so much learning taking place.

We say we trust God when we don’t. I know that is easier said than done but perhaps it is easier to trust God than we think? I strive today to give him my children and Trust the work the God is doing in them.

Celebrate His Way 

I have a confession to make. I am an absolute control freak. I also have to admit that I have a very obsessive-compulsive personality. There is a way that is right. There is an order that things are to be in.

I comfort myself with the fact that God is a God of order.  I often have to remind myself that He is not shoving order down our throat.  We are never forced to do anything. But whatever we are to do we are to do it with joy and thanks giving for God.
 It’s kind of funny when I stop and think sometimes. The pressure that I put on myself and the stress that I caused. It doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of getting myself all puffed up and bent out of shape because of what someone says or how something goes I can just rest and no that God is in control.
In times of trouble or trial I can remember the many times that God had compassion. I can remind myself of those times God showed Mercy. I can remind myself of how Jesus went with joy to the cross.  
The other day as I was standing in line at the grocery store I was singing. A little tune from worship service. The cashier looked tired but she smiled and was so very appreciative of the peace that she said she could see about me.

It’s not about me. I often say that. I often remind my children. Everything that happens isn’t always for us. I think of some of those times and I wonder if there are opportunities that I have missed. If instead of furthering the gospel there have been times that I have offended the gospel. Or even used it improperly because of something I thought or felt at the time.

What is our spirit? Do we trust God that He is really in control all the time? And as we are reaching out are we doing so with love and compassion? I pray that is I share  God’s goodness what others I do so with a heart full of love and not spite  or  selfishness .  Because it can be so easy  to do something  with the wrong intentions.  It can be so easy  to be proud of what we know  and to think ourselves better than another because  of what we know. 
Jesus loves them. He loves us.  He is always patient and compassionate. Are  we doing the same? 

Illuminated Bible (A Review)

I love my Bible! 

I also admit I am very much a KJV kind of girl.

With the limited time I have for reading and study (four kids makes it more challenging right?) I try to be wise in how I spend my time.

Yet I admit, I have a bit of an addiction to pretty books. And when I saw The ESV Illuminated Bible- it is just amazing, beautiful, regal….

I had to check it out more for myself.
It is truly a masterpiece. Beauty on every page!


Some of the amazing features of this one are:

  • 9-point, Lexicon
  • Black letter text
  • 2-color printing
  • 64 full-page, custom book opener illustrations
  • 50 full-page verse illustrations
  • 250+ hand-lettered margin verses
  • 100+ other illustrations throughout
  • Illustrated by Dana Tanamachi, whose work has been featured by Google, The Wall Street Journal, Random House, USPS, and Target
  • Thick, cream-colored paper
  • Wide margins
  • Single-column, paragraph format
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Packaging: Permanent Slipcase

 

 

 

Is this not truly a work of art? I absolutely love spending time in the Word of God – I find nothing to be more beautiful, powerful or precious than His word. This Bible – while I admit I do wish it was in King James Version – it is such a joy to spend time in. It is quite an inspiration too to my oldest son who loves the Word and loves all things artsy … Since he has dabbled a bit in journalling and hand lettering, this was something he really got inspired by!

 
 

 

For anyone who is in need of a Bible, or looking for a special gift for a loved one, this may be just what you are looking for. Personally I do not think I could ever mark it up because the pages are just so lovely. The soft paper, creamy coloring, the lovely illustrations throughout. This is one of those Bibles that I am happy to have as an addition to my little library. I don’t know that this would take the place of my Geneva Bible when it comes to study, but I certainly will enjoy reading this now and again with my children. And my oldest son (probably my little ones too as they get bigger) will take joy in the idea and process of Bible art journalling themselves.
 

Ironically the concept of illuminated manuscripts is also a rather historical thing (going back to medieval times); the word “manuscript” from the Latin words manus (hand) and scriptus (writing) literally means “written by hand.” And the word “illuminated,” from the Latin illuminare, means “lighted up.” For a book to truly be illuminated, it had to be decorated with gold. (typically applied to the pages in thin sheets called gold leaf). These were made continually until around 1450, when Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable type, printing press, making mass production of books possible. Is that amazing or what? I love when there is a lesson like this within something like this!

 

 

 

This truly is gorgeous! The detail throughout this book, you could spend hours enjoying and studying. There is also plenty of room for anyone who desires to do so to add their very own art. I don’t know that I could possibly make even a tiny mark in this Bible myself. It is just so perfect, so lovely – but if you are one of those truly creative types, I am sure you will be inspired and enjoy adding your own personal touch to this one.

 
 

Get Your Copy on Amazon

Learn more about the ESV Illuminated Bible at www.illuminatedbible.org

Always Fighting

I think one of my favorite things in the scriptures is God’s instruction to us simply be still and know that He will fight for me.
Yet of the many things but I could struggle with in my walk with God perhaps this is the one I battle with the most of all.

I have always been a fighter. I kind of had to be in life. With a single mother who struggled with a lot of mental health issues I grew up asked. I remember my father telling people when I was 6 Maybe but I was really 25. It just wasn’t an option for me to be a child.

I learned early on in life that when you don’t fit in you have to make your own way. It reminds me of how the scriptures talk about the violent taking Heaven by force.  So much in my life was about me having to take things by force.

I never really fit in. I never had friends and those few I did have were just as peculiar and strange as I was. That hasn’t changed much through the years. I still today have only a small number of friends but friends which I am so very grateful for because certainly they are Heaven sent.
I ponder this morning how much of my life continues to be about me fighting.
 I never wanted to be a warrior. I never wanted to spend every moment of my day fighting with my first born son. Struggling with my children to help them see and love one another.

I consider strangers we have welcomed into our home through the years who have come and embraced what we offer and then those who have rejected it all. 

Every one of us is in a battle. Daily it is a battle between the flesh and the spirit. At the end of each day have I fought the good fight?

I’m always so conflicted when it comes to fighting. Because I admit much like Peter when he cut off that soldiers here I fear sometimes I am too ready to fight. And I know more often than not I need to simply be still.  

When I feel alone or when I feel depressed I need to be still. When it seems like those nearest and dearest to me are all falling away I need to seek comfort and peace in my Lord. I need to trust God.   

I am not ashamed and I will never be ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is my salvation and it is my power and it is my strength. I shall not be moved.
And when the enemy comes rushing in and when it seems it is the time to go to battle that is one I must stop and be still.
 

When People Suck

My younger son, said to me the other day “People really suck.”

This was shortly after we had quite a fiasco in our home thanks to an exchange student we were hosting.
After the whole situation have been brought out into the open and the light was shed on everything I admit it was very hard for me to say anything in response to my son’s comment. My only retort at the time was that Jesus doesn’t and we need to love them anyway.

 

It’s hard to remember sometimes that while the good news is such good news to us not everyone we share it with will feel the same way. And sometimes the more we share the less others want to hear.
The message that we are to go and share is a beautiful message. It’s a message of light and truth and freedom. But to those who are comfortable right where they are it is a message that leaves them only feeling angry and guilty.  They do not feel love and concern but condemnation and judgement.

 

 

And it’s easy for us to forget when they lash out at us for telling them the truth… it is so easy to forget that we were once the wretch that they are. We were once just as unworthy as they are now. We are not God. It is not for us to say who is deserving or who is Worthy.

 

It is a reminder as well that Jesus clearly tells us that there are those who will hear and yet will not really hear. There are those who will be so excited and so in love with God and His presence but then fall away when they learn that there will be choices and sacrifices… they will see the things that they cannot have and remain blind to those things that God has for them.

 

We can show others the way but we cannot make them walk in it. I admit that I do not always respond as I should especially to those who mock or persecute my Lord. It is hard to remember that God does not need me to defend him. He fights for us if we can only be still.

I remind myself often of how He walked alone in the very end. How so many that called Him friend turned away. It isn’t easy to continue to follow Him when it seems that everyone is turning against you.

 

That is when God comforts us and gives us peace. He reminds us of how we are to rejoice in these times because this is what draws us nearer to Him and what makes us more and more like Him. And isn’t that the goal?

 

It isn’t to say that we enjoy being hated and mocked and rejected for what we believe and the truth that we speak but it’s certainly good to remember that it’s going to be worth it all one day. I would even say, it’s worth it today.

 

 

Even if people sometimes suck, can’t we love them anyways? Just as He loves us always.! Isn’t it good to know that our God is so long suffering and loving and merciful? It is always a comfort to know that yesterday, today, and tomorrow He will always be the same.  I daily pray that I can simply be as faithful to Him as He is to me.
Speak Lord for your servant hears. 💞

Screens Make Me Scream

 

Lately whenever I walk into our living room I see everyone in our family. They’re all sitting in the same room together but they’re not paying attention to anything except the screen that is in their hands. They are together but not together. We watch a movie and one or more are seen playing on a screen, texting a friend…Some days I find my son trying to multi-task – watching one screen while playing on another. This simply cannot be.

 

I understand that in this day and age technology is everywhere. You see families together, out to eat, who are all buried in a screen. Children only four (sometimes younger) entertained by a screen. Together but totally separate from one another. Fussing? Fighting? Give them that screen. While I understand these screens can be used for so many amazing things I cannot help but want to scream because I just don’t like these screens.
I often tell my kids about those wonderful days back before there were all these screens. When people actually had conversations and were able to entertain themselves. Amazing books, creations made, wisdom and virtue. Now it seems people barely make eye contact when talking to each other. Everyone is listening and jumping the moment their phone makes a noise; everyone fills their moment with games and videos. Trivial things. And somehow it seems this is the norm. It is okay.

 

Lately whenever I walk into a room I see everyone in our family. They’re all sitting in the same room together but they’re not paying attention to anything except the screen that is in their hands.

I understand that in this day and age technology is everywhere. And I understand these screams used for so many amazing things but I cannot help but want to scream because I just don’t like the screens.

 

I often tell my kids about those wonderful days back before they were all these screens. When people actually had conversations and were able to entertain themselves. Now it seems people barely make eye contact when talking to each other because they’re too busy playing on their phone or their tablet. And somehow it seems that that has become a thing that is okay.
I remind my children almost daily that anything that we have needs to be properly used. Like my younger son with his hammer & nails. In order to safely use it, we have to be using it properly. You have to have self control and patience. You have to have a plan from start to finish. It is the same thing with all these screens. We need to be wise and responsible.
I remind my children almost daily that anything that we have needs to be properly used. It’s like using a hammer & nails. In order to safely use it it has to be used properly. You have to have self control and patience. You have to have a plan from start to finish. It is the same thing with all these screens.

Until recently we were hosting an exchange student, one who loved to spoil and pamper our children. She was all about keeping the peace. She could not understand why I was so upset that she would ply my kids with candy and games on her phone, to keep them happy. Isn’t that how so many things are done nowadays?

Forget having a strong character; forget about learning that life is not all about us. Just keep everyone happy. Whatever feels good, whatever brings us joy. It should be ours for the taking.

Unfortunately most people who subscribe to that kind of thinking are people that very few truly want to be around. They have learned that thy can get whatever they want. Complain, throw a tantrum and people do whatever it take to find peace. These are those who no one truly enjoys being around. And when our kids have too much of anything, screens included, they become very unpleasant to be around.

All things nee to be managed. I was so grateful when it was recommended to me to read Essentialism by Greg McKeown . The author suggested tickets; specifically handing out a limited number of ‘Technology Tickets’ at the beginning of every week and letting kids turn one in when they want some screen time. They can earn additional tickets by reading for 30 minutes and at the end of the week, they have the option of turning in unused tickets for use.

Since I am not at all crafty, or technologically savvy I searched online until I found some Technology Tickets that I could use. Since i have four kiddos I went ahead and printed off multiples; I made sure to write names on each one so there can be no confusion (or deception). There are tickets for both 15 minutes and 30 minutes on these pages. A great way to exercise those math skills. 🙂

Having been flying blind for awhile now, I have been desperately trying to find something that I can implement, quickly and this seemed to be a wonderful suggestion so we are off and running. Tickets printed and labelled and laminated.

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We are unschoolers but we do strive to have some form of peace and organization in the home. Especially when it comes to things like reading, writing and math I am still a real stickler for “getting it done” because those are things that are just not negotiable. Same thing with studying the Word of God each day; there are verses to learn and study for their Bible Quiz program.

I am not certain how well this will work but as I see it right now, it certainly cannot hurt anything. One thing I do notice is the need to strew just a bit more now; its amazing how (at least mine) are kind of dazed and confused without their screens. They wander about, they poke at each other, they grumble a bit – And I see as they do this that there is definitely a need to manage, to decrease screen time, around here.

So now we have these tickets – we also have a variety of fun things to encourage them to explore and learn, to play and create. There are books all about and I think I may take some time later this week to design an “I’m Bored Jar” for when they just cannot find something to do with themselves. (my kids do think the word “bored” is a swear word so they don’t say it as often as they might feel it but still..)
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Here’s to finding some calm in all the chaos. Here is the childhood that is free and fun and full of beautiful imaginings!

Thinking Like an Engineer {Innovators Tribe Review}

There is nothing worse than a child who is not inspired to learn. My oldest son is quite the enigma lately. He is bright and his mind works in amazing ways; he is fast and intuitive but also super impulsive and very stubborn (dare I say a rebellious?) so we have been in a rather interesting season around here lately. Because he is such a creative young man, and eager to “be in charge of himself” it was quite a blessing to have the chance to review Thinking Like an Engineer from Innovators Tribe.

 

  

 

 

Innovator’s Tribe offers two courses students recommended for students in grades 6-12 designed to help them learn how to become real life problem solvers: Thinking Like and Engineer and Thinking Like an Architect. My husband thought it was great that there was a program like this out there (he is an engineer; our younger son people call the little engineer) to help encourage and teach about this amazing field of study. And I have to say the more we completed of this course, the more amazed I was because I never thought “engineer” encompassed so much! It is more than we ever imagined. For my totally out of the box learner, this was a course that shoed him how endless the possibilities truly are. Each course is about 30 hours long (this includes activities) and the student can go as quickly or as slowly as they like. This is all good for a full year, from the date of purchase too.

 

 

 

 

Thinking Like an Engineer starts out by teaching about the various types of engineering that are out there. And there are a ton of different ones to learn about.This program also includes a 3D CAD design program for students to use for a number of activities. Wayne Kroeplin (creator) known as Mr. K., guides students through every step of the course, encouraging them (he is so excited and enthusiastic) to become an innovative thinker!  He even begins the class with a mini-course to help prepare our students for some real out of the box experiences. As my son likes to say, have to get the creative juices flowing.

 

 

This course includes: 

  • Introduction to Engineering
  • Introduction to 3D Design (tools of modern design; includes CAD software for download)
  • Engineering Rollercoasters
  • Engineering Bridges
  • Nano Engineering (Discovery of a New World)

 

 

Right now my son requires a lot of prodding to complete any “work” he needs to do but I can find him with a hot glue gun and tons of cut up cardboard, creating a new suit or sword of some sort. Worksheets are found covered in 3D doodles; mythical creatures and ninjas … Ironically when we began this course, he was totally uninterested – he even informed me that the challenges were “impossible.” Thankfully this course includes some teachings on what a problem really is AND how to come up with great solutions. Now I have to admit, this first challenge, I thought the same thing but there was no way I was going to say it. All he needed was two feet of masking tape and a piece of paper. Certainly sounds impossible right? Silly boy – nothing is impossible! 😛

HE DID IT!  😀 😀 😀

 

There are just so many things that are so good about this course. The 14 Grand Engineering Challenges bring real life issues alive; the value of reverse engineering in solving some of these issues that scientists today are working to solve. Virtual reality – my boys both love this since a local museum has recently begun to offer this – game design is something my son is very interested in. He not only loves to game but he loves to find ways to create via graphic design, computer coding, hacking – All of these things are very much a part of engineering. And he gets to see how it all comes together through Mr K.’s teaching.

 

 

A super handy, and the simplest of things, are the unit journals.  These are such new concepts and while they are taught in a way that makes them easy to understand, it is always good to have notes. This journal helps them to work through and remember some of those important details. Some of the things are simple: What does CAD stand for? Other assignments require more in depth thought: research something you enjoy and see how engineering is a part of it. Music, sound is quite the thing for my drummer boy – so he was really in awe of how these two things have so much to do with one another. So often, he admits, he doesn’t enjoy math or science because he just doesn’t see WHY it matters. That is changing as he is working through this course. With teaching and experiences made available to him that incorporate so much math and science, in a way that is tangible and personal. It all matters just a bit more to him now. This momma will joyfully accept that as a starting place to getting that fire going again in him.

 

 

I think my favorite part of this would be the research projects and challenges within the lessons. What better way to make the lessons being learned stick, then by using these concepts to create something amazing!  You can see all the details as well as a syllabus and materialists list for both classes on the Innovators Tribe website.

Don’t all of these look like fun?My oldest son is hoping to have the chance to complete the Architect class and my younger son, he really wants to do the carpentry class since he is our little woodworker. He hopes this could help him to build the table he has been wanting to build for awhile now. He already built a birdhouse and a helicopter with his own wood and tools – My husband calls him our little engineer. 😛

 

 

We are building roller coasters and bridges. We are looking at real problems and learning how to brainstorm real solutions. This course is so full of wonderful little wisdoms that our children need to learn. In my humble opinion this is one of those programs that everyone needs. Because you cannot just complete the tasks but you have to get outside of yourself and you have to be willing to do something different. Isn’t that how things really happen? When I think of Great Inventions or amazing world changing events in the history every one of those things happened because someone knew how to think differently.This is real learning.  It is active, it is alive, it has meaning.

 

Thinking Like an Architect or Engineer {Innovators Tribe Reviews}

 

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