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Showing posts from 2016

Teaching Children About God - Children's Catechism Week One

There are thousands of resources available to help you teach your children about God.  An old-fashioned way of doing it is to teach them Catechism, a summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers, used for the instruction of Christians.

I wanted to start teaching Little Guy Catechism, but couldn't find a printable, and didn't want to print off a whole long list.  So here it is: My first printable!
I am going to be sharing one list of about five questions each week.  Sometimes it might be a few less questions, because some of the answers are longer than others, and my son is only three.  If you would like to get an email when I post a new one, please sign up at the top of the sidebar!
There will be two versions.  One will have complete sentences for all answers and therefore be a little more difficult to memorize.  A version with the traditional answers from the Catechism for Young Children, which includes some phrases and fragments, is a…

Six Reasons Reviews Dominate My Blog

I am a little ashamed of blog lately.  What used to be a personal blog, has morphed into a bunch of reviews.  Although my reviews do drive traffic to my blog, and I think that they can be helpful, it is a little bit lame.
I am offering some excuses for the switch, which I think are rather valid.  
I am not a good enough blogger to monetize.  Plus I did a blog post about being a masochist because I take pregnancy tests even though I know they will be negative, and Google flagged my blog as having adult content.  So, if I want to get anything from my blog, I have to do reviews.  The best of this has been Mother Goose Time (I am on "maternity" leave right now after getting a newborn), but I have also had an opportunity to read some very good books.  Oftentimes, I suffer from writer's block.  As an infertile, the posts just flowed from me (by the way I had a very disgusting pun here that I deleted for you guys.  You are welcome!), but now that I don't really care about my…

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Ace Collins - A Review

Christmas is a busy time.  It can be difficult for people to step back from the decorating, baking, shopping, wrapping, and visiting, and remember the reason we have a Christmas celebration at all.  Devotionals can be a wonderful way to give yourself a quick reminder of the real meaning of Christmas, in a few minutes every day. 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Ace Collins is more than a basic devotional book.  In addition to having quality reflections on Jesus, each day there is also a look at the story behind a Christmas hymn, as well as a recipe.  Some of the recipes are for food, and some are for gifts you can give to pamper the people you love. 

The daily devotions were well written, the song studies are very interesting, and the recipes seem nice (I didn't actually try any of them).  I read through quite a few days in quick succession in order to write a review, and I found the content to be wonderful.

I did think it would be really cool if there was a CD to go along …

The Remnant by Monte Wolverton - A Review

I don't really know what it is about dystopian futures that intrigues us, but judging from the popularity of books like The Hunger Games, 1984, and The Giver, not to mention numerous video games (like the only "real" game I can play - Fallout!), we are drawn to the worst.  Perhaps it is an appreciation for how wonderful things really are now, or we like to have our worst fears confirmed, that we are spiraling downhill to a horrible future.  Either way, humans are drawn to dystopian novels, movies and games. 

Monte Wolverton has given us a fresh look at the apocalypse in The Remnant.

From the Publisher:

In the year 2069 the Apocalypse came and went, but Jesus didn’t show up, as some expected.
Instead, a cataclysmic war, natural disasters and pandemics eradicated 90 percent of earth’s population. Now, in 2131, a totalitarian government rules the world from the majestic, opulent capitol of Carthage, Tunisia. Blamed for igniting the war, religion and religious books are bann…

Cold-Case Christianity for Kids by J. Warner and Susie Wallace - A Review

So I signed up for a few different books that were more applicable when we had the girls, and this was one of them.  But I am glad I got it, because it is a really great introduction to apologetics. 
From the publisher: Between the ages of 8 and 12, kids often start to wonder if Christianity is true.
In Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, detective J. Warner Wallace draws readers into the thrill of high-stakes investigation by showing them how to think rather than telling them what to think. In this children’s companion to the bestselling Cold-Case Christianity, detective Wallace gets kids excited about testing witnesses, examining the evidence, and investigating the case for Christianity. Includes author illustrations and links to a website where kids can download activities, fill in case notes, and earn a certificate of merit.

The book is really interesting, because it is a great mix of fiction and non-fiction, but does not confuse the two.  When the book starts out, it is a story ab…

Union with Christ by Rankin Wilbourne - A Review

Nothing is more basic or central to knowing and enjoying God than Union with Christ.

Have you ever had difficulty connecting what you know to be true about God with how you feel or how you live each day? Have you ever longed to change but just felt stuck?

The Bible makes a stunning claim: God has provided a way for your life to be united to Christ’s. What does that mean? Is it really possible for me, now? What would it look like?

In Union with Christ, Rankin Wilbourne makes union with Christ accessible and beautiful, for you. Union with Christ is not an abstract idea. It is a powerful reality. And recovering a sense of your union with Christ can change everything for you, like finally putting on a pair of desperately-needed glasses.

Discover how coming to see your life through the lens of union with Christ can help bridge that gap between your head and your heart, between your belief and your experience. Union with Christ is what we most need in order to know and enjoy God.

- From the Publ…

Every Frenchman Has One by Olivia de Havilland - A Review

For someone that loves old television, I have not really seen very many old movies.  Apparently Olivia de Havilland was a very famous actress, who was in movies like Gone With the Wind.  She is also a very humorous author.
Although I didn't know who Olivia de Havilland was, there were two reasons that I had to read this book: 1) I went to France when I was 15 (which I just realized was literally half my life ago!), and since then I have been pretty interested in France.  2) Look at the cover!  I am someone that adores vintage things, and judges books by their covers, and despite this being a reprint in honor of Ms. de Havilland's 100th birthday, it looks like it was printed decades ago.
Once I got past the cover I was not disappointed.  Despite being an actress, she definitely had talent as an author.  She was conversational and funny in her writing. 
Each chapter was a short essay about a different aspect of her adjustment to life in Paris versus life in the United States…

A Sister's Wish and An Amish Family Christmas by Shelley Shepard Gray - A Review(s)

Let's start with the giveaway!  You can enter to win both of these books by clicking on the picture below!

I am a big fan of Amish fiction.  The plain life intrigues me, although I can barely survive without my dishwasher, so I think it is best I remain "English".  Plus Michael would NEVER go for being plain.  When I got the opportunity to read and review not one, but TWO new books from author Shelley Shepard Gray, I jumped on it. 
I read both of these books in just a few days.  They were really good.  They are the final half of a series of four books called "The Charmed Amish Life" (they are set in the town of Charm).  I have not read the other two books, and although these books easily stand alone, they do refer back to the previous books, and if I ever catch up on my review books I will look for copies of the first two books in the series.
Both of these books are well written.  The dialogue is believable, the plot moves at a good pace, not rushed through, b…

Barn Day - Mother Goose Time

The first two paragraphs are about the chaos of my life at the moment, if you just want to read about our Mother Goose Time experience yesterday, skip two paragraphs!

In case you haven't noticed in the last three years, and specifically the last year, my life and family changes CONSTANTLY!  I have had 20+ kids in (and out!) of my home in the last 3.5 years.  Right now I have a 4 week old (Baby Girl) and a 7 month old (Joey), in addition to Little Guy who is 3.5.  Also, my dishwasher is broken.  So, nothing happens consistently, as much as I truly thrive on a consistent schedule, I just can't make it happen.  Adding to my -admittedly small- plate, is that when children first come into foster care, they seem to have a zillion appointments the first month or so.  And Michael has class a couple days a week.  And Little Guy has AWANA.  And I decided it was a good idea to join a Bible study, despite the fact that talking in a group of people that are not my close friends nearly send…

The 10 Myths of Teen Dating by Daniel and Jacquelyn Anderson - A Review

I literally JUST finished this book.  Okay, well I skipped two chapters, because its nearly midnight and I have AT LEAST 12 years until I need to read about this topic.  But, as usual, I digress.  It was really, really good! 

Although I don't intend for my children to have dating relationships, at least while living under my roof, but more of a heavily chaperoned courtship situation when they decided they are ready to marry in the next couple of years, this book was AMAZING! 

The authors live in Portland, Oregon, are both high school teachers, and a father/daughter writing team.  Apparently some teenagers talk to their teachers about personal things, which I didn't really ever even think of as a teenager, but this man has some stories of very personal things students shared with him (anonymously of course!).  Most of the book is written by Daniel, the father, with small portions in each chapter written by Jacquelyn, the daughter.  He writes about the facts, and she gives her…

Life Creative by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart - A Review

From the Publisher:
In our social media age of handcrafted children’s parties, artistic Instagram photos, tutorials for renovating old furniture into new treasures and blogs filled with poetry, prose and other expression, clearly a brand-new generation of inspired women is rising up. It is a renaissance born not in Italian cathedrals or Harlem jazz clubs, but in kitchens, nurseries and living rooms around the world. However, when Christian women become mothers, they often feel expected to give up their creative pursuits to parent properly.
Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart know that struggle. While they acknowledge some seasons of mothering require setting artistic pursuits aside, they also argue these seasons don’t have to last until empty nest time. Instead, mothers with creative gifts are called to use them actively to bless their families, their communities and everyone they encounter. “Life Creative is not a book about raising children,” Speake shares. “This is a book for moms, writte…

More Math, More Literacy - Mother Goose Time

Mother Goose Time has more than just their basic curriculum.  As I have shared many times, they have a plethora of add-ons that can enrich you and your child's Mother Goose Time experience.  In the past I have talked about the Experience God add-on, which is a great way to teach your children truths about God, in a pre-school friendly way.  I didn't feel that we were using this add-on to its fullest, because frankly, my time management skills suck.  So I decided to try something new: More Math and Literacy.
More Math and Literacy is a math and literacy program designed for children 4-6 years old.  It focuses on preparing children for the academics of school.  Little Guy is a little younger than their target demographic, but there is a readiness test on the website and he passed it.  He can't do them as independently as I was hoping (even if he passed the readiness test, he is at the very, very early stages of being ready), but he enjoys them. 

Mother Goose Time is the que…

Experiencing God Through His Names by Sheryl Giesbrecht - A Review

There are some things I never think of, but should.  One of these is what all the names of God mean.  I mean I know the Amy Grant (I went to my first concert in second grade, my mom took me to see Amy Grant!) song "Emmanuel" based on Isaiah 9:6, but I never put any thought into it. 

Not so with Sheryl Giesbrecht.  She has written a devotional book that goes through 31 of the different names for God.  The book touches on some common names, such as Father, and some more obscure names that are only mentioned once or twice in the Bible.

I love the idea behind this book.  It is a fresh look at our Father in Heaven, one that many of us probably have not thoroughly investigated.  Sheryl writes in a great voice, friendly and open, with a nice mix of personal stories and Bible stories.  The daily readings are quick enough to do everyday, even if you are busy.

My only problem is that the books seems like it was rushed to publication.  There are some very obvious typos that bother me …

There's A Cow in My House - Mother Goose Time

Every month we get a new CD included with our Mother Goose Time curriculum.  Each month has a different style of music, ranging from rock to classical, but with songs for children that match VERY well with the theme of the month.  This month is country inspired, and out of the 11 CDs we've received so far, it my favorite.  The songs are fun and catchy, and we've been listening to the whole thing every day. 

There is one song - Cow In My House - that is especially fun.  As I was looking through my Teacher Guide, I realized that our Storybook of the Month is called There's a Cow in My House.  So we skipped a few days and learned about cows. 

We started out using one of our new manipulatives: COW COUNTERS!  Something that Little Guy was not very good at when we started (which was almost a year ago now!) was sorting by one feature, then sorting by another.  He has improved by leaps and bounds, and has no problem sorting by color, then by size or shape. 
We used a Rhyme Time…

Don't Drop the Chicken Egg - Mother Goose Time

This month we are Down on the Farm with Mother Goose Time.  I love the variety of sub-topics each each month.  For the first week of activities we were looking at Farm Animals, starting with chickens.  In the next couple of weeks we will explore things you find in the barn, food that comes from the farm, and farming. 
For our first day on the farm we were learning about chickens. 
We started with Chicken Eggs.  First Little Guy learned that chickens only lay one egg everyday (he thought they laid two).  After that we used tweezers to pick up "eggs" (cotton balls) and count them as we put them on a chicken nest card.  Little Guy has never used tweezers before, but he did very well. 

We also did Names in the Barn, which was a fun nametag activity for the first day of the month.  I actually messed it up and had him draw his animal on the back of the barn instead of on the front, oops.  He traced his name on the inside, and drew a cow (which he said was his favorite farm anim…

Live Smart by Dan Dumas - A Review

I have been reading a lot of books lately*, and Live Smart by Dan Dumas has to be one of my favorites.  It is written for high schoolers, so, seeing as how I am writing this on my 30th birthday**, I am not the intended audience.  However, almost everything in the book is applicable to Christians of any age. 
This book is excellent because it is to the point.  It is a fairly short book, but covers so much.  It is broken down into four parts: You + God You + Others You + Yourself You + the Gospel
Each part covers a few different things, ranging from the importance of studying the Bible and praying, to working hard.  I did not find anything in this book to be controversial in the least bit, it could easily apply to anyone that accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior and seeks to follow His word, whether you are of a faith the interprets the Bible literally or more liberally.  The book has some anecdotes, but only when they really apply, the bulk of the book is doing just what the title s…

Total Family Makeover by Melissa Spoelstra - A Review and a Giveaway

Begin to build your family discipleship and become the key disciple-makers in your children's lives with Melissa Spoelstra's new book, Total Family Makeover. Disciples are made, not born. Whether your children are babes in arms or teenagers getting ready to leave the nest, making disciples at home starts with you! Give your family a makeover with this practical approach to helping your children learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

Plan an evening of fun, pizza, devotionals, and games with your family! Melissa is giving away a Family Fun Night Prize Pack.

One grand prize winner will receive:
A copy of Total Family MakeoverA copy of Deep Blue Family Devotional: Fall 2016 - Summer 2017A copy of CEB Deep Blue Kids Bible Bright Sky HardcoverA $50 Pizza Hut gift cardQwirkle Board Game

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on October 7. The winner will be announced October 10 on Melissa's blog.

I read a lot of parenting books.  Some might say …

Jesus and the Beanstalk by Lori Stanley Roeleveld - A Review

What if a fairy tale and ten Bible verses could free you to live an effective, fruitful life in Christ?
We live in unsettling, challenging times. Everywhere we look, we see giant problems: giant obstacles to sharing faith, giant barriers to peaceful lives, giant strongholds of fear. But what if you knew eight small secrets to unlocking a strength big enough to overcome whatever obstacle life may bring?
Using allegory and a bit of humor, Jesus and the Beanstalk explores a passage in 2 Peter 1 to uncover eight truths that will help you unleash a larger-than-life faith:
—Affection for others
In this creative, refreshing perspective on spiritual growth, you will discover an unyielding strength when you tap the power of a God who is stronger than any beanstalk and bigger than your biggest giants.
Learn more and purchase a copy.

This book was great.  It was creative, and the metaphor of Jack and the Beanstalk was woven …

Exploring Feelings with Mother Goose Time

The second week of Me and My Family was all about feelings.  We started the Mother Goose Time mini unit with a combo happy/sad day.  I had my wisdom teeth out, and was miserable for an embarrassing amount of time this month.  Which put us behind on our studies.  AGAIN!  Someday I WILL get this housewife/homeschooler thing down, but it is taking some time.

The song for both days was variations of "If You're Happy and You Know It", which is always a fun song to sing. 

The first thing we did was play with our magnet set we got this month.  Little Guy had some trouble following the patterns.  He did great when I had him put the pieces on top of the picture, but when I tried to get him to put it on a different piece of paper he got confused and just wanted to put eyes on things.  This kid of mine is obsessed with eyes I think.  I blame Michael for letting him watch Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters. 

We also did what I think was his favorite art project ever.  I don't have …

What's New With Mother Goose Time?

Every month we get a School Bus Box from Mother Goose Time.  In the box is an amazing curriculum that teaches and entertains my little boy.  Each package has a great balance between favorites that are included every month (theme posters with looking glasses, pattern sets, storytelling sets, etc.,) and new items (different kinds of manipulatives, interesting arts and craft projects, new storybooks, etc.,).

This year Mother Goose Time has made some wonderful changes to their curriculum, while still providing a familiar curriculum that is comfortable for teachers and students.

The Invitation to Create is the most significant change, in my opinion.  It is a change from product based art projects to process based art projects.  At first I was quite reluctant to embrace this change.  In just a few projects, I have changed my mind.  While I still feel that learning to follow directions is MUCH more important than expressing individuality through art, Little Guy LOVES to do the Invitations to …

While My Child Is Away by Edie Melson - A Review

Little Guy is still, well, little.  He isn't away from me very often, and when he is it is usually with my husband, mother, or one of the select few people I trust not only to take care of him (which is a huge number, I know a lot of awesome people!), but to expect obedience and deliver consequences if it doesn't happen or is delayed, and not allow him to play on their tablets (a much, much smaller number).  But he is growing up.  This year he has started going to AWANAS, and I know that before I know it he will be involved in more things that don't also involve me.  Thinking of that gives me little mini panic attacks sometimes!  The world can be a scary place, and I fear that I won't do a good enough job raising him to prepare him to face the world and remain a good person.

This book, which was provided to me free of charge from First Look/Worthy Publishing, intrigued me, because, as I said, I am prematurely worried about the choices my son will make in another decade…

Learning About Families with Mother Goose Time

This month the Mother Goose Time theme is Me and My Family.  The first week was all about families.  It took us a few more days than it should to complete because I had my wisdom teeth removed, and some days we didn't really do as much as we should have because I was anxious to get back to laying on the couch with a hot pack on my face.  However, I am still on schedule to finish by the end of the month, with only a few tweaks, so I am pretty excited!
We started out the week learning about Family Trees, using the unique manipulatives we got this month, Family Stampers.  Although we LOVE the counters we usually get, it was a fun change of pace.  For this activity Little Guy drew a "house" (he gets his art talent from me) and then he stamped family members in and around it.  This was fun for him because he hasn't used stamps before, and educational both as a fine motor skill and because we used positional words to talk about where the family members were.
The next day w…