Saturday, December 31, 2016

2017!




Well, buggers.

I'll just get this out of the way.

Some of those nasty health issues that I've dealt with from time to time have crept back up. No worries. I've got a plan, a good support system and lots of people praying for me.

I think more than anything it's interrupting the story I'm writing for my life. Or at least, it's adding a unpleasant chapter or two. Trust me when I say I've been through worse. It's just not where I want to be right now.

But what's a fruity girl to do other than pull her big girl skivvies up and move on with things?

One of the biggest changes in my life at the moment is this gnarly low sodium diet I've been put on.

My friends. I don't even know how to cook without salt.

Thus begins a new adventure for me.

There is some good news in all of this. I've lost weight! AND if I can keep my focus and stay on track I am confident that I am going to feel as good as new before too long.

In the meantime, please be patient with me.

I may not have the energy to keep up with everything. I might have to say no to things I might have jumped on in the past. I am trying not to whine about it. It's just the way it is.

2016 was a year of BIG changes for us. Our whole little existence was up and shaken around a bit. Even changes that are positive require adjustment and adaptation.

And let's be honest about this. 2016 was a STRANGE year all the way around.

So I've been thinking about some of my goals for 2017. I've decided that my attitude going into 2017 needs to be one of anticipation and expectation.

I want to write more. I still have that book in my head (and on a few scraggly pieces of paper). Who cares if only my momma will read it. She has good taste 😀

I want to make my health a priority. This means I need to plan and prepare. I need to say "no" to poor impulses and convenience. Taco Bell....You and I have to break up. Those bean burritos I am so fond of have over 1,000 grams of sodium for EACH lovely burrito. I am tired of swelling like a beach ball. You know what I mean.

Along with my eating habits, I also need to find my exercise groove again. When we moved, I left all of my work out habits behind at the "Y". I need to pick them again...even if that means being creative. I simply need to "move" more.

I want to find my joy in our homeschool experience again. We have simply been maintaining because of all the upheaval in our lives. I want Josiah and I to dig into the Word, explore history and new places, tackle those scary math concepts and continue to read great literature.

He has been a reluctant student this past year. I want my enthusiasm to become contagious. I need to find new ways to ignite his and MY passion for learning. If this means we bring out all the favorite books and travel into the Wardrobe once again...this is what we must do.

I want to continue to make my home a place of peace. I want all who walk through the doors to feel welcome and cared for. This, of course, will require a bit more laundry activity on my part. My boys require clean undies and socks from time to time. AND piles of laundry in my kitchen can't be too attractive for my guests.

I want to journal more, read the Word more, pray more...

I also want to continue to feed my creative soul. Thankfully, feeding creativity has nothing to do with fast food or pie. This MIGHT mean a few more trips to the Thrift Store.

And that, my friends, makes me happy.

For me, 2017 is going to be all about redeeming my time and seizing the day. I am going to savor those small moments and embrace my life as it comes. I am going to let God do the leading and trust that He has things all under control. I want to live a life of PRAISE and expectation.

So, my friends. What are some of your goals for 2017? Don't be shy.




Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Christmas Tour of my House (mainly for my Momma)

So I'm in this new house. Also known as The Parsonage. 

And I've got it all decorated for Christmas. Since my momma won't be able to see it this year, I thought I would post a few pictures of my favorite bits and pieces. 

So basically because this is a house tour for my momma and any other interested parties. I do need to tell you a few things. These aren't good pictures. My camera isn't feeling its best. And it's owner isn't that great either. 

Another little bit of tidbit of information. When we had all of our stuff in storage some buggers broke in and took a bunch of tubs...I bet there were surprised when they discovered they had gotten the priceless treasure of my Christmas decorations! 

Bahahahah! 

No worries. We had been keeping our ornaments and nativity in our apartment. The buggers didn't get Baby Jesus! I was also relieved to see that they didn't get a few special decorations. 

We had a bit of hiccup with the tree this year.  We opened up the box and discovered it was missing the base. What!!! The tree had been a gift from some dear friends. It was big and full and lovely. We had to make do with a not so big and fluffy tree. But..hey...it works! 

Drama! Nothing, but drama! 

So here it goes. Fair warning. You are about to see oodles and oodles of my Christmas stuff. 

In this pic you can also see our cute little fireplace we can roll around for instant atmosphere. I'm all about it. It makes me happy. 


We have a beautiful collection of White House ornaments that have been given to us every year by my sister-in-law, Deb. They were stationed at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C years ago and she still blesses us with them. They are quite a treasure.


I like whimsical ornaments and I adore these cute teacups. There is also a lady version of this guy. I can't even remember how many years we've had them.


A few years ago, I bought this little angel at the Library. Fitting, huh! I think she kind of resembles my 4th grade school picture.



Years and years ago, when The Muffin and I had been married just a year or so, I went to a craft fair and bought these personalized ornaments. This is the Muffin's....obviously.



Every year, I let Josiah pick out an ornament. This year, he actually found an ornament of some football player. I didn't get a picture of him. You understand. 

My piano is home to my nativity scene. 



We got this nativity scene when we first got married. We added to it for a few years, but haven't for some time. If you happen to see the wise men that belong to this set....


I found this print as a free download online. The silver angel is from a present I received from a dear lady from church.


I had to share this. I made it from a broken-down hymnal. The broken-down hymnal seems to be my craft medium of choice lately.


This shelf in the parsonage used to be the front window! They enclosed the porch to make a couple of extra rooms.  I found it to be a perfect place to hang our stockings. 


I made the little tree from Styrofoam cones from The Dollar Tree and (again) the broken-down hymnal. The Christmas book I found at a flea market for .50. The Santa Clause was handpainted by my momma yeeaars ago! A fun fact. The little hymnal trees I made for our Church Christmas party and gave them to all the party goers. I happened to have a few left.



I also spent a little bit of time making these darling banners from the broken-down hymnal and a little glitter. They were easy peasy and cost nothing.



Here is another little spot I used the hymnal banner. 



Moving on to the dining room. I didn't get a picture of my table. I'll try and do that soon. 

This little alpine tree I found at a Flea Market for $10. It is leaning a little bit, but so is the floor in the dining room :<). We dug out a galvanized wash tub and filled it with pillow bating I had in the closet. 
 

I used only these ornaments on it. I LOVE red and white polka dots. They make me happy. I found these years ago. They are vintage and fabulous


This bookcase/dresser hutch was originally Josiah's. It is a good piece of furniture we bought when Josiah was about 2. He's outgrown it and I appropriated it for the dining room.



This pitcher I found at The Goodwill for 2 bucks. I did have a beautiful snowman pitcher, but the buggers must have taken off with it when they messed around in the storage building.


This bowl was my great-grandma Freda's. This snowman found a home...I had a willow pumpkin in it during the fall season.



 These little choir boys used to have another member. I think the reason I love them so much is that when I was a little girl we had a group of carolers we would set out every year. They are loverly.


Sometimes it's just the little touches that count. My little snowman bell fits right in.



The last stop on my tour is this hutch also in my dining room. I have had it for over 20 years. It sat in storage for a long time so we had a happy reunion. I change out the backdrop occasionally. I need to talk about the dishes for a minute. They are Homer Laughlin and some my Daddy gave me. I say "some" because my Daddy gave me more than 1 or 2 or 3 sets of Homer Laughlin. (or maybe 4 or 5)

My name Rebekah and I have a vintage china obsession. 

The old sewing machine is one I inherited from a Great Aunt. It never has worked. I just like to look at it. 



Merry, Merry Christmas! 


A Lazy Girl's Cookie Bars

I haven't forgotten you.

Promise.

Would you believe me if I told you that I have had just a FEW things going on?

More on that a bit later. For now I have some catching up to do.

I have a easy peasy recipe to share with you.



This is for all of us who haven't had the time, energy or the wherewithall to do any kind of Christmas baking. BUT feel guilty for not blessing their families with a little bit of sugary Christmas goodness.

Here is the thing.

This recipe is not for you purists out there.

It is not for those of you who are watching your diet. Meaning....that I the most I get to enjoy is the whiff of the wooden spoon.

Tomorrow we are having our Christmas program at church. At least, we are having our Christmas program if the weather makes a happy recovery between now and tomorrow morning. As of right now, most of the parking lot is a skating rink. We should know. We live right across that parking lot.

Anyhoo. It is my plan to have cookies and hot cocoa before church in the foyer. The ingredients for the cocoa are in the fridge and I spent a bit of time tonight whipping up some magic.

I should tell you that some of that magic came from a box of brownies with mini Christmas M&Ms.

We do what we can.

It's what in the other pan I need to tell you about.

And. It involves another box.

It's cake mix!

I have a confession. I almost always keep a cake mix or two in my pantry. I find them easy to doctor up and it saves having to buy a lot of ingredients for baking I frankly don't use much of.

Like sugar.

Enough chit chat.

This is the easiest baking you are going to do all Christmas long.  You can mix and match add-ins. For example, you can mix in cranberries or white chocolate. Or crushed up candy bars.

This time around I spoke Josiah's love language and used peanut butter chips and chocolate chips. You just need to use 2 cups of whatever you wish.

Ready for the recipe now?

Here 'tis.

Ingredients

1 stick of butter
2 eggs
1 yellow or white cake mix
2 cups of chocolate chips (or mix and match!)

Melt the butter in a bowl. Mix in the eggs and stir in cake mix. Add in the chocolate chips and spread in a greased 9X13 pan. The mixture will be thick so you will need to press it out. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.  



Just a note or two...

Chocolate chips or the like keep their shape better if they are frozen before adding to anything. I didn't have any of mine in the freezer and they did melt just a bit. 

You can also make a variety of flavors using other kinds of cake mixes. For those of you who are watching your sugar intake, but don't mind using flour try using a sugar free cake mix. I know Pillsbury makes a chocolate and white version. Just be sure that your add-ins don't add a bunch of sugar to your cookie bars.  My choices would be nuts, coconut or some sugar free candy bars crushed up. Yummo! 



Enjoy my friends! 



Thursday, December 8, 2016

Kwik Stix! Something for your stocking (A Review)

About this time last year, I got to review a great product called Kwik Stix.  I invited some of my little friends over and we created all manner of Christmas projects. So much fun! This time around the folk at The Pencil Grip, Inc. (the makers of Kwik Stix) contacted me to see if I would like to review a more of the Kwix Stix line. I got “Metalix”and “Neon.” Fun!

So what is this Kwik Stix that I speak of? They are solid tempera paints that come a tube. They are easy to use and dry very quickly.

The neon colors are bright and so much fun.




The Metalix set is shimmery and my favorite. 


We were smack dab in the middle of moving when my Kwik Stix package came in the mail. I had great intentions on using them on a variety of projects, but moving doesn’t make things easy on a crafty girl.


But you can’t keep a crafty girl down. I eventually dug them out and proceeded to make magic. Josiah and I spent a easy afternoon having our fun with the Metalix set. 

Kwik Stix are good to use on a number of surfaces. They even work on wood. I printed off some ornament shapes to design and dug out a few wooden craft shapes. 

Josiah is a simple guy. He wanted to design a pink ornament for me. "Design" is a rough idea in this case. 



Here is mine. My only complaint with this set is the lack of a real red. I need all the shiny red sparkle in my life I can get! Kwik Stix work great on wooden projects.


 My little bird looks good in his new outfit.


For those of you who are looking for easy projects for the Littles to take on,I used the Kwik Stix to color my own little Thank You card.


Take it from a former Kindergarten teacher. Every Little needs a set of Kwik Stix in his or her stocking this year. I personally want this Thin Stix Creativity Pack under my tree. The Thin Stix are just right for my doodle obsession. 


Kwik Stix are available on Amazon, Target.com, and in Target stores. Run. Walk. Skip. Click. Just make sure you get a set! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

For now

So I'm not ignoring you. I promise. 

I've just had a few things going on. 

I won't go into it right now, but I have not been feeling my best. 

Tomorrow, I plan on posting a review for Kwik Stix (which I know you will be excited to read). 

For now, I want to leave you with one of my favorite Christmas posts. Here I share my favorite Christmas movies. We are woefully behind in our Christmas movie watching. Just click on the banner to read all about it! 




Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Commissioned (A Homeschool Review Crew)

Ready or not! The Holidays are upon us. I am kinda, sorta ready for some of it. The rest is going to be a “fly by the seat of my stretchy pants” situation. The 2016 Review year is also winding down. This is my last review with the Homeschool Review Crew for the year. Hopefully, I’ll be back next year with fresh new products!

I have expressed my love for board games in the past. We have a great collection and there is nothing better than gathering around the table for a fun, family gun night. I was excited to get to review a brand-new kind of game, Commissioned by Chara Games.



The creators of Chara Games, Patrick and Katherine Lysaght, wanted to design family games with Christian themes. Commissioned is the result of hard work, sacrifice and the commitment provide historical and Biblical education.


Commissioned is a board game intended for ages 14 and up. It can be played with 2-6 players and takes about an hour to play. It is a cooperative game set during the time of the New Testament.



The game begins by each player selecting an Apostle. We got to choose from Barnabus, Andrew, James, John, Peter and Paul. A player can also play as an adversarial Roman legion. This player tries to slow the growth of the church.

There are different scenarios you can play. So far we have just played the “Acts of the Apostles” card. Our objective was to plant churches and add books to the Canon. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses, however. Just like in the New Testament, there are many trials and intense persecution.

The construction of the game itself is stellar. Everything is so well-made. There are LOTS moving parts. If you have young children this might be a game you put up at the top of the game closet.

It comes with:

  • 1 double sided game board
  • 5 double sided scenario cards
  • 6 unique player boards
  • 96 faith cards
  • 27 trial cards
  • 4 wood missionary meeples
  • 75 wood church member cubes
  • 1 wood elder's staff
  • 6 wood player pawns
  • 30 double sided stop tokens
  • 5 double sided extinguish tokens
  • 1 converted city leader's token
  • 1 Roman Legion token
  • 1 8-sided die
  • 1 rule book
  • 1 Theme Appendix



How We Played and What We Thought

At first glance this is not an easy game. Let me just get that out there. I don’t want to scare you off, but that’s the truth. There is a reason why Commissioned is intended for a more mature age group.

There is a great video, however, that has been created for those of us who need a bit more instruction than we can garner from the written instructions.  I would suggest that you watch it RIGHT AWAY! It will make things much clearer, my fine friends.



My pastor husband, Josiah (who is almost 15) and me (whose age is yet to be determined) enjoyed the game during Family Game Night. The game is supposed to around an hour, but it has taken us just a bit longer.

My husband’s only critique is that he wishes that it would do more actual teaching of the Bible as opposed to strategizing. However, there is a nice Appendix that provides scripture for each and every card.  Josiah loves playing this game. He’s asked to play it a few times…like during math. I don’t know if it’s simply a diversion, but I imagine not.

Overall, this is really a neat game. It is different and fresh. Most importantly, my husband and I loved talking to our son about all the strategies, faith actions and the actual persecution that happened in the New Testament. 

 Chara Games also has another game that should be coming in my mail box any day now. It’s called 3 Seeds, so be looking out for another review!

You can connect with Chara Games via the following social media outlets. Click on the banner below to read more reviews.






Commissioned {Chara Games}
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Sentence Diagramming: Beginning

I learned to diagram sentences in the 6th grade. Mrs. Wilson, my delightful English teacher, was passionate about the sentence diagram. I am ever grateful to the delightful Mrs. Wilson. I believe diagramming is such a useful tool. Recently, I had a chance to review Sentence Diagramming: Beginning  from The Critical Thinking Co.™



Sentence Diagramming: Beginning is a 72-page workbook intended for grades 3-12 (and beyond). It is available in an e-book, but I got the print workbook. This book begins with very simple subject-verb sentences and gradually increases in difficulty. There are 12 lessons along with a review. The books are consumable and The Critical Thinking Co.™ has a very generous policy concerning copying pages. They allow parents to copy as many as needed within their own family group.

Our Experience and My Thoughts

I have mentioned my fondness for diagramming. However, Josiah is dyslexic and my concerned is that it would overwhelming for him. However, he is really doing well and I felt that this book might introduce diagramming in a gentle way.

I began slowly. In fact, we did the first lesson a few times.  We utilized our white board. I LOVE the fact that I could move at Josiah’s pace.

The lessons are short and provide plenty of different ways for Josiah to practice.

Every lesson begins with an explanation and example. You can see in the picture below that this page allows the student to correct a sentence that has been diagrammed incorrectly. This was an excellent way for me to see if Josiah really grasped the concept. 


 Here is another section of Lesson 1. This time helping verbs were introduced. 




One of Josiah's favorite part of every lesson was making up his own sentences. This was also a great indicator of how how well he grasped the lessons. 


Of course, we didn't have time to get through the entire book during our review time, but I've spent some time browsing through the other lessons. They are set up similarly. Each lesson provides plenty of practice. This book ends with Lesson 12: Compound Predicate Adjectives and Nouns. 

After that, there is a Review that consists of 25 sentences. 

So you are yelling at the screen at this point. "I NEVER LEARNED HOW TO DIAGRAM SENTENCES! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO TEACH MY CHILD!"

My friends. You do realize that until I did this review, I hadn't seen a sentence diagram for yeaaars. Guess what. You can do it! AND the answers are in the back of the book. How handy is that? 

This is something your family can do! I personally believe that there is a plethora of benefits of learning to diagram sentences. Some of us strange folks actually find it enjoyable. 

The Critical Thinking Co.™ has lots of great products. Members of the Homeschool Review Crew got to review several of them.  Do you have preschoolers? Some of the members of  Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic Before Kindergarten!™ bundle.

You can connect with The Critical Thinking Co.™  via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner below to read more reviews. 

Language Arts {The Critical Thinking Co.™}
Crew Disclaimer

Another FREE Zentangle Download!

So today is the Presidential Election. 

To be honest with you, I will be glad when the whole thing is over. 

Don't get me wrong. I have always been a proud American and have done my civic duty to cast my vote during each election cycle. 

This election has frankly left me EXHAUSTED!

Can I get a witness? 

Let's not talk about it anymore. I can literally feel my eyes rolling into the back of my head as I type. 

In the meantime, I've been a busy little bee. Saturday I made 2 chocolate cakes, 2 loaves of bread, 2 million cinnamon rolls, a jar of homemade ranch dressing, a jar of homemade Italian dressing and got a pan of crockpot of lasagna ready to turn on Sunday morning. 

Shew! 

My cooking marathon isn't over. I'm making soup and sandwiches for a church work day tomorrow. And then we are having some folks over for brunch on Thursday.

Other people chew their fingernails when stressed. Or run. Or grind their teeth. 

I cook up every recipe in my collection. 

One would think I could channel all of that creative madness into something like house cleaning or world peace. 

We also managed the whole daylight savings debacle. Let me tell you something. I hadn't hardly gotten used to living under the Eastern Standard Time when everything turned on its ear again. 

It is currently 5 til 6:00 in the evening. 

It feels like the middle of the night! Oh, well. 

So on to the WHOLE point of this post. In honor of Novembers everywhere, I am sharing a FREE Zentangle that you can download and color.  Just click here  for your download. 

This lovely was hand drawn by my momma. She is a fanfabulous artist and has pages and pages of these gorgeous Zentangles. I have a copy of this particular Zentangle already colored. It occupies a spot in my office. I think Mom used some watercolor in certain sections. It has all those elements I love. Whimsy, waves and a cute little bird. 



Here is a close up of the flower. Just beautiful! 


Anyhoo. The download is bright, shiny and new...ready for you to add your own magic. Just fix yourself a hot cup of tea. Gather your colored pencils, markers or watercolor brushes and enjoy! 



Thursday, November 3, 2016

Christmas Comes to America (Homeschool Review Crew)


 It’s almost here! I’m talking about Christmas. Part of me can’t wait to drag out all the baubles and decoration. Then there is the other part that about had a hissy after the poles directed in candy cane stripes at the local Wal-mart.

However, being a homeschooling momma means that I have to be ahead my game. This is why I was thrilled to review a Once-a-Week Unit Study:Christmas Comes to America from Homeschool Legacy.


I received a PDF download of the book. It is 45 pages of fun! I do admit that I enjoy a good Unit Study. I’ve reviewed couple of fabulous ones from Homeschool Legacy before. This time around I had some great Once-a-Week Micro-Studies to choose from, as well as the Christmas Comes to America study.

·         Pirates or Privateers: You Decide 
·         Victoria and Her World
·         Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims 
·         Many Nations 

The Micro-Studies are exactly what they sound like. They are short and fast, yet cover the information thoroughly. I simply couldn’t make up my mind, so I asked to review the Christmas study and went and purchased Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but the holidays are filled with one party, one obligation, and one event after another. This year I’m going into the season with a plan of attack. My family will be fed. We will enjoy the season AND we will still learn.

Christmas Comes to America is one of those Unit Studies that is great for all ages. As I have only one child, schooling multiple children is never really an issue for us. However, I know that there are many who have to take different ages and stages of development into consideration. This Unit Study is intended for grades 2-12. 

Another benefit with using the Unit Studies from Homeschool Legacy is that they are compatible with Boy Scouts or American Heritage Girl badge earning activities.

The Once-a-Week Unit Studies are user/homeschool mom friendly.  Here is what makes them different from other Unit Studies.

Here is a screenshot of the suggested schedule. I've chopped some of it off, but you can see that isn't a time-intensive study. 


Okay. On to the Christmas Comes to America!

 My Thoughts

Christmas Comes to America explores how early settlers of America brought their own Christmas customs and traditions with them to their new home. Many of these traditions carried on into how we celebrate today. A common theme among all these countries was the tradition of the gift giver. Of course, Sharon emphasizes our heavenly Father as the true "Gift Giver." 

Week 1- The Dutch
This week we read Isaiah's prophecy concerning John the Baptist. We are encouraged to learn more about The Real Santa Clause. There is gifts to made! Hot chocolate mix and homemade marshmallows! Did you know that it was a Dutchman, Conraad Johannes Van Houten, who patented the process of extracting cocoa from the cocoa bean in the 1800's? Thank you, Conraad. 



Week 2 - The English
This week we get to make wassail and make Christmas cards! We talk about some of the more recognizable Christmas carols. The family Christmas movie I have on my list is The Muppet Christmas Carol! 

Week 3 - The Germans
Here we learn about proper concert going etiquette . We also get to make Gingerbread houses. Our devotions centers around Gabriel coming to Joseph. There is also a nice bit of trivia about Martin Luther and the Christmas tree! 

Week 4 - An American Christmas
This week I have The Best Christmas Pageant Ever on our read aloud list. We also get to string popcorn and list to the best of American Christmas Music! 


One of the best things about Homeschool Legacy is that the author, Sharon Gibson, gives a wonderful library list. Not only does she list the book and the author, but she provides the library number.
Because we just moved, I initially went through and marked off the books and movies I knew we already had. For example, I have several copies of The Christmas Carol (included an audio drama) and lots of the recommended Christmas movies. Then, I did take advantage of a few books that were 1 cent on Amazon so I would be prepared.

Unit Studies are great for incorporating all the subjects and this one is no exception. 

These activities require little or no preparation. There is some cooking involved, but these were things we like to make at Christmastime anyway.

One of my favorite parts of the study are the family devotions. While the study does talk about some of our traditions that have more pagan origins, it is wonderful to move the emphasis back to the Reason for the Season. I personally don’t have any issue with celebrating the fun and whimsical side of Christmas…as long as we are worshiping the One True King all the days of the year.

Another favorite is the emphasis placed on music and concerts this time of year. I am going to begin scouring the papers and websites for any local concerts, but we are also provided a wonderful list of musical selections to look for.



There is also a great list of fun Christmas memories to make in the back of the ebook. Some of these things we already do; like allowing Josiah to pick out a special ornament or taking a drive around to see the Christmas lights (complete with a thermos of hot chocolate!). Others I am going to add to our list. I want to host a Christmas Open House and find a fun Christmas puzzle to work on all through the season.

What I like BEST is that all of these wonderful activities are planned for me. I don't have to research or plan. I just get to have a relaxed and easy homeschooled Christmas. 

You can connect with Homeschool Legacy via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner below to read more reviews! 



Once-a-Week Studies {Homeschool Legacy}
Crew Disclaimer
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...