Monday, June 26, 2017

The End of a Chapter in my Life



I have been thinking about this for a while and praying about it a lot. I am quitting the blog. I am so sad about it but feel peace about this decision. God is calling me deeper into Him. I recently gave up Facebook as well. I will be closing that account in a few weeks (I have a couple of events planned through it and have to keep it open for those).

Through the years of blogging, I have enjoyed a lot of what I do. I get to share our lives with you. I get to review amazing books and products. I have met some incredible people through this as well. My homeschooling journey has been written down for you to see. My struggles with chronic pain and the aftermath is here too.

But, it is time to move on to other things. My boys are getting older. My blog has become more of an obligation than something enjoyable. I have reaped many benefits from blogging but life must go on. I want to spend more time away from my computer and the things I "have" to do on it. There is so much life to live and I want to live it to the fullest.

God has led me to these Bible verses in the past few months since my surgery (I will tell more about that later):

"...aspire to lead a quiet life,
to mind your own business,
and to work with your own hands..."
(1 Thessalonians 4:11)
 
"...that we may lead a quiet and
peaceable life in all godliness
and reverence, for this is good
and acceptable in the sight
of God our Savior..."
(1 Timothy 2:2-3)
 
"Do not let your adornment
be merely outward--arranging
the hair, wearing gold, or putting
on fine apparel--rather let it
be the hidden person of the heart,
with the incorruptible beauty of
a gentle and quiet spirit, which
is very precious in the sight
of God."
(1 Peter 3:3-4)
 
Notice in those verses that God calls us to lead quiet and peaceful lives. He doesn't want us so busy that we can't be with Him. He doesn't want us to put things before Him. The first commandment is "Have no other gods before Me." A "god" can be anything from money, success, beauty, fame, family, or anything at all. Even a blog.
 
I will be focusing on leading a gentle and quiet life that is pleasing to the Lord. I am not going to be blogging anymore. Perhaps the Lord will lead me back down this path in the far future. But, for now, I am closing this blog and will no longer be writing on it. I do want to share with you about my surgery though. I know lots of you have been wondering how it went.
 
I had a transaxillary first rib resection, scalenectomy, and brachial plexus neurolysis on April 10th. Basically, I had my first rib removed on my right side through my armpit. They also took out my anterior scalene muscle in my neck as well as scraped out all the scar tissue. I have thoracic outlet syndrome due to many car accidents over the years. Scar tissue from whiplash attached itself to my first rib causing my brachial plexus (a nerve bundle in my neck/shoulder area) to be compressed. When nerves are compressed it causes chronic pain.
 
The pain I have is in my right arm (HORRIBLE PAIN), shoulder, shoulder blade (traps and scapulas), and my neck. I had migraines for several years because of it. The only solution was to have the surgery I said above. I went to Johns Hopkins and it was a great surgery. Yes, it was a very painful surgery but it is over with and I am doing well.
 
The pain has been cut down about 25% and gets better each day. I have a LONG way to go because nerve take a very long time to heal from being compressed for so many years. I am off of ALL medication. Hallelujah! God has been so good to me. I am still healing and can't use my arm to do much but I am better than before.
 
Here are a few pictures from the years of blogging. I hope you have enjoyed my blog. I have enjoyed writing and sharing. I am sorry that this is ending but God has much more in store for me.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And one last one taken a few weeks ago...
 
 
 
Boy have we grown as a family since 2011 when I started this blog. I pray this blog has blessed you in some way. I pray that God leads you in His ways. Will you also pray for me as I still have some medical issues that need to be addressed? I truly will miss this so much. I feel so blessed to have been a part of this little corner of the universe. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Road to Paradise (By: Karen Barnett)



Karen Barnett has a passion for national parks and preserving the beauty of nature. Her newest book, The Road to Paradise (a vintage national parks novel), takes you on an adventure back in time. Back to the beginning of President Theodore Roosevelt vision for protected lands. He wanted generations to come to be able to enjoy the beauty that national parks behold.

In The Road to Paradise, it's 1927 and Margie Lane is an enthusiastic naturalist. She is the daughter of a Senator and wants nothing more than a position working alongside the park rangers at Mount Rainier. She lands the position and begins working to preserve and protect the great park.

Chief Ranger Ford Brayden has some very haunting memories of his father who died on this mountain. He doesn't like that a Senator's daughter was hired to help when she only has a few survival skills. He feels the need to keep a look out for her among all his other duties. He takes his job very seriously.

When Margie's fiancé, Philip, shows up to begin developing the Paradise Inn she becomes very upset. His plans will destroy the beautiful surroundings of the park. He wants so push his plans through no matter what his relationship with Margie may become.

In the end, Margie and Ford may have to sacrifice a lot in order to save Mount Rainier from the destruction that Philip has planned. All Philip can see is the dollar signs from the tourism the Paradise Inn will bring him. He can't see the beauty of nature that he will be tearing down.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It was historical as well as a love story sprinkled in. I actually learned a lot about the preservation of national parks and the cost of many people. President Theodore Roosevelt had a great vision and it was brought to fruition by many people fighting for these parks. I highly recommend going to the parks that are here for our pleasure.

*Many thanks to Blogging For Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Friday, June 23, 2017

An Amish Summer (Four Novellas) Review



An Amish Summer is a collection of four novellas by Shelley Shepard Gray, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, and Kelly Irvin. I love books like this because you get a lot out of it. Each book is different yet fits together in this collection.

A Reunion in Pinecraft by Shelley Shepard Gray

Honestly, I was very confused in this book. There are two sister named Sharon and Sherry. I couldn't remember which one was which. I also couldn't imagine Amish folks taking vacations but maybe they do. So, after I figured out who was who and accepted the fact that Amish folks go to the beach for vacation, I liked this novella. It was sweet.

Falling in love by writing letters back and forth is so romantic. In this book, the sisters and some friends meet up with one of the sisters pen pal in Pinecraft, Florida. They decide to have a two week vacation to get to know one another and friends come along as well. They go through some trying times but try to enjoy the vacation as much as possible while trying to figure out feelings and each other.

Summer Storms by Amy Clipston

Arianna and Jesse are counting down to their wedding day. They have been waiting so long for this day and can't wait to be husband and wife. Their love is such a sweet love. Arianna's brother, Tobias, reveals secrets and gets them into trouble. Although they have made mistakes along the way, they only want to be together.

Arianna's quick tempered father calls off the wedding and crushes their hopes of being together. They are forbidden from every seeing one another again. They have to decide if they are worth fighting for or if they will go their separate ways.

Lakeside Love by Kathleen Fuller

Esther has always thought very low of herself and puts her sister on a pedestal. Everyone else does including the boy she has loved her whole life, Judah. He only has eyes for Esther's sister Sarah. She tries hard to win the affections of Judah but he can't see past Sarah.

An Englischer comes to stay with the family for the summer and stirs things inside Esther. She has resigned herself to be happy with or without the man she loves. This new boy just may steal her heart before Judah wakes up to his newfound feelings for Esther.

One Sweet Kiss by Kelly Irvin

Martha Byler has been taking care of her large family every since her mother died when she was younger. She has entirely too many responsibilities and to Jacob King just adds to it. He loves Martha but she is too busy to see it or feel it. One sweet, summer kiss could change everything for both of them.

I felt that the book was missing something. Maybe there was a prequel and I missed it. The characters couldn't really develop in such a short novella. Although I enjoyed it very much it felt lacking. The history of the characters was lost somehow. But in the end, you got the point of the story.

*Many thanks to BookLookBloggers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinion expressed here are solely my own.*

Scripture Scribes (A Cursive Book Review)



Learning to write cursive is something that my oldest son (and middle son but not quite yet) wants to do. He started asking about six months ago and I gave him some copy work. He can now write his first name in cursive as well as a few other words if he is really concentrating. We decided that over the summer he would learn to write in cursive so that by fall we could dive into reading cursive as well.

While I was at the HEAV homeschool convention a few weeks ago I came across the loveliest booth. It was called Laurelwood Books. Mary Ellen Tedrow-Wynn is the owner and she is such a delight to talk to. She had a wide range of used books and curriculum to sell. But, she has a passion for copy work and handwriting. She developed her own print and cursive handwriting curriculum. I told her of my needs and she pointed me in the direction of Scripture Scribes. It is a collection of biblical themes for learning cursive. I chose "His Name is Wonderful" because it goes through the many names of Jesus from the Bible.



What I love about this curriculum is that it is divided up into 4 days per lesson. We only homeschool 4 days a week so it works perfectly with our needs. Each day is clearly labeled and easy to follow along. At the top is the name of Jesus or God that you will be learning to write for that day. It also includes specific scripture that goes along with the lesson.



The lesson begins with copying tracing the name of Jesus or God and then goes into the entire scripture. Above you can see that my son has started the lessons and is doing very well. We have discussions about what each name means and look them up in our family Bible.

Here are a few more pictures of the some of the lessons:






The author's reason for creating this particular line of books is to have the students fall in love with the Scriptures. She uses English translations for her Bible verses. I like this because we use the ESV in our home. I find it to be one of the most accurate and easy to read translations.

There are 30 weeks of copy work included in this book. She also has others in this same collection: Psalms & Proverbs for Young Catholics (using the Catholic Bible for verses), Savoring Psalms (KJV), Practicing Proverbs (for lefties!!), One Another, My Whole Heart, Men of Honor/Women of Grace. These books are less than $20 each and will last for the whole school year.

My oldest son (who used this book recently) really enjoyed it. He found it easy to follow along and thought the lessons were not too long. He was able to sit and complete each days work in about 10 minutes. He is just a beginner so it could take a shorter time for a more experienced person. This book is great for beginners or those who need to hone in on their cursive skills.

For more information on Laurelwood Books and their many products please visit: http://laurelwoodbooks.com/

*Many thanks to Laurelwood Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Monday, June 12, 2017

God Loves Daddy & Me (By: Bonnie Rickner Jensen) & A Giveaway!!



Books are a huge part of our lives here at Jensen Family Academy. We homeschool and a large part of that is reading. We read about every single thing we want to learn about. We also read a lot for pleasure. My youngest son is four and he loves board books still. Especially if they have animals in them. Bonnie Rickner Jensen's newest book God Loves Daddy & Me fulfills those requirements for him. Not to mention she has an awesome last name!

This little book brings so much love to small children. The illustrator, Laura Watkins, did a fantastic job with the pictures. The expressions are truly emotional. As I read this book to my four year old (and my six and eight year olds listened in), he began to ask questions about God and His love for us all.

The relationship between fathers and their children is such a special one. It is something that a mother cannot replace. Daddies do things differently than mommies. They go on more adventures and are more laid back (not always but in my personal experience). Fathers love their children differently as well. In her book, Jensen uses the unique ways that a father can show love to his children.

Each page comes to life and makes you feel good inside. The author includes God on every page and makes sure the reader knows that all love comes from God. Through the pictures you can tell that the father adores his child and the child looks up to his father just as we look up to God.

My family will treasure this book for a long time to come. Not many books are written like this and I plan to hold on to this one for when my children have children. It is such a special book.

FrontGate Media is giving away a copy of this book through this link: http://www.blessedfreebies.com/godlovesdaddyandme.html

You can purchase a copy through this link:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0718091779/ref=cm_sw_su_dp?tag=hcads-20

I hope you check it out to win a copy for your children or grandchildren.

*Many thanks to FrontGate Media for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Best Pencil Sharpener I Have Ever Used (Classroom Friendly Supplies)





As a homeschool mom I am constantly searching for a really good pencil sharpener. I have three boys who love to write and draw all day long. We go through so many pencils I have lost count. We have had to throw out a lot of pencils as well, because other pencil sharpeners break the lead inside the pencil. I have invested a lot of money on cheaper sharpeners over the years.

About a month ago I was on Facebook and came across a link to Classroom Friendly Supplies (classroomfriendlysupplies.com). It was a site for sore eyes. The pencil sharpeners on this website had rave reviews. I asked around in my homeschool circles and several people told me it was a must-have for homeschooling. I immediately ordered one. It took no time at all to receive it and we used it right away.


This pencil sharpener sharpens pencils with such precision. They are so sharp they look almost dangerous. Haha. The leads do not break very easily and don't get stuck inside the sharpener. My boys can use it with ease and they are 8, 6, and 4 years old. They actually look for things to sharpen now. We never have a dull pencil and even our colored pencils work better than ever.


The sharpener offered by Classroom Friendly Supplies is sold by an elementary school teacher who saw the need in classrooms. Typical sharpeners can be loud and disruptive to a classroom setting (even a homeschool setting). This one is quiet and reliable. It is also non-electric. Meaning, you crank it manually. So, anytime the power goes out or you are out and about with the kids, no worries. This sharpener is ready to go anywhere, anytime.


To top it off, Classroom Friendly Supplies donates $1 from the sale of every sharpener to build a school in a developing country. That is reason enough to purchase one right away. Also, they come in many different colors but if you purchase a Precious Pink sharpener a portion of the sales go toward cancer research and awareness. Such a wonderful idea.

The colors include:
  • Midnight Black
  • Cool Blue
  • Firehouse Red (which is the one I have above)
  • Groovy Green
  • Popular Purple
  • Precious Pink
  • Hello Yellow
Each sharpener comes with a very easy-to-use mount. You can mount it to any surface or take it with you anywhere. My kids move it from room to room so we don't mount ours. But, it would be very easy if we decide to do that eventually.

The Classroom Friendly Supplies Sharpener is very inexpensive as well. For only $24.99 each (plus free shipping and a 90 money back guarantee) you can have on of your own. But, if you are a teacher or homeschool mom and know others who would like one as well, you can order 3 of them for $17.99 each. It really is a great deal.

This is seriously the best homeschool purchase we have made all year.

Here is a link to a video all about the sharpeners. It is a neat video explaining how to use it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0jqUe91Ovs

I hope you check out these amazing sharpeners and add one to your school room. The kids will love being able to use it so easily.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Is The Bible Good For Women? (By: Wendy Alsup)





Is The Bible Good For Women? What a question that Wendy Alsup asks in her new book with that title. For many years, women have wondered about their true value and how the Bible really relates to them. Is the Bible good for them? Wendy Alsup answers this question and affirms that God's plan for women is good and perfect.

The author stays true to scripture and keeps the focus on God and His plan for women throughout the Bible. She goes through some very difficult verses and analyzes their Biblical meaning. So many times in the Bible we see women being used by God. We also see women being abused. It is the reality of life.

Each Bible verse/s used play an important part in this book. God made women in His image. Alsup writes about this in more detail but one of my favorite quotes from the book is: "It is nearly impossible to value women and put forth their needs and rights correctly without first valuing the God in whole image they were made." Wow! That is a real wake up call for a lot of men who see women as less than they.

Alsup provides a solid and Christ-centered argument for the way God designed women and their purpose. I recommend this book for anyone who needs affirmation that God is good and made women for a good purpose as well. Sometimes we need to be reminded of God's love and sacrifice for us all...including women.

*Many thanks to Blogging for Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Friday, March 31, 2017

Zip It by Karen Ehman



Oh boy! Do I have a problem with keeping my mouth closed. I have gotten myself into trouble many times by speaking before I think. There are consequences to every word we speak. Some of the consequences are good and some are bad. The bad ones can ruin relationships and hurt others.

Karen Ehman has written a new book called Zip It (a 40-day challenge devotional) that goes along with her book Keep It Shut. You can guess what this book is about...haha.

In Zip It, Ehman goes deeper into Scripture. She gives Biblical examples of taming the tongue and what the tongue is capable of. The words we speak each day can speak life or death to others. The Bible speaks so much about our mouths and words. This devotional gives you the tools and Bible verses you need to begin speaking life-giving words to others and yourself.

This book challenges you to use your words with godly purpose and for His glory. We will learn how to use our words to build up, to bless, to praise, to encourage, to lift up. God gave us His holy word as a guide for this life. When we use the Bible as a guide, we learn what is pleasing to God and what isn't.

I encourage you to read Zip It. It truly was a blessing and challenged me to keep quiet at times and think about my words. Sometimes not saying anything is the best thing. But, we do need to talk to others with kindness and love. Speaking the truth in love to others.

I felt a sense of peace as I read through this devotional. God's presence gives me such joy and I want others to know that Jesus is the Ruler of my heart. When I hurt others with my words it doesn't look like that at all. I pray that God gives me words to speak to others the way He would want me to.

*Many thanks to BookLookBloggers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*



Thursday, March 30, 2017

And The Winner Is.....




Please check your email for more information!! Congrats and we will see you in June!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Ready, Set....Convention! (And a Giveaway!)


heav.org

 
It is my favorite time of the year again! Homeschool convention season! It always makes me happy when I know their is a convention on the horizon. The convention refills my soul for the coming year. It gives me hope after a long school year. It revives my spirit after a long winter. There are so many amazing things about the HEAV (Home Educators Association of Virginia) Convention. But, it can seem like a huge mountain for a first-timer. I am here to help!
 
I have personally invited quite a few newbies this year. Some have been homeschooling for many years but never attended a convention. Some are just thinking about homeschooling in the future. Some are pulling their kids out of public school and have no idea where to begin this new journey. Since I have been going to the HEAV Convention for a few years now, I feel like I have a good grasp of how to navigate it without feeling overwhelmed. There are always new things to learn though and I am open to anything God has in store for me.
 
heav.org
 
 
The theme this year is "Building a strong foundation". Homeschooling is kind of like building a house. You must first have a solid and strong foundation. Otherwise, the whole thing comes crumbling down.
 
The convention lasts for three days. Thursday through Saturday (June 8-10, 2017). Each day brings different events and speakers. Upon completing registration at the convention, you will be given a schedule. It is very detailed and easy to use. There is also a map included for easy directions to each workshop or event.
 
On Thursday, there are free (that's right, FREE) classes for beginning homeschooling. You will learn the laws in Virginia for homeschooling as well as what, exactly, homeschooling really is. Visit THIS link for more information on these classes.
 
Friday and Saturday bring Keynote Speakers who each discuss different topics of interest to homeschoolers. These will be noted in your schedule. They are highly popular so get to the workshops early for seating. Throughout each day there are dozens of workshops to attend. They range from parenting to math curriculum issues to reading comprehension sessions and everything in between. There are even sessions for women-only and men-only.
 
For children, there are exhibits that have hands-on experiments, dissection labs, the children's program, photography lessons, and so much more. Some of these may cost extra but they are worth it.
 
On Friday and Saturday the Used Curriculum Sale will be held as well. Check your packet that you receive at check-in to see what time you are allowed to enter. They stagger the entry so that it isn't too crowded and people have enough time to really look around. On Saturday there is usually a time when things go on sale in the Used Curriculum Sale. You will have to check the schedule to find out more information on that.
 
On all three days, the exhibit hall will be open. This is my most favorite thing about the convention. You get to meet the people who make and/or sell the curriculum. You can talk to them about your child's specific needs and really get to know how each program works. You can pick the books up and look through them or try out a software program in-person. Having the ability to actually see what you are going to buy is amazing. I have enjoyed this part so much. You see the passion in each company. It's not pushy at all but very informative and helpful.
 
Since I blog for the HEAV Convention, I get to meet these people ahead of time. They are truly a blessing. The vendors work very hard to give you the best products possible. Most of the companies are family-owned and operated. They love what they do and want you to get the best out of their products. Try walking up to the vendors and really asking questions. They are glad to do so and you will learn so much more about each item than you thought.
 
 
 
No matter if this is your first or fifteenth time coming to the HEAV Convention, just remember to have fun, meet new people, and ask questions. There are many helpful and friendly faces all around. Everyone is eager and ready to help you in any way you may need.
 
Don't forget to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for live coverage of the convention. I will be posting any freebies from vendors that I hear about and will have lots of information that may be helpful.
 
Now, on to the good stuff! I am giving away one Family Registration to the HEAV Convention (valued at $79). That's right! All you have to do is enter below on the Rafflecopter and wait to hear back from me if your name is chosen. The Family Registration will get you in to the convention for all three days (it does not include any extras you may want to add-on). This is very exciting and I hope you enter for your chance to win!
 
 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Laura Story Open Hands CD Review




I mainly listen to Christian music. I have my favorites but Laura Story is always on my list. She has put some amazing worship songs and music out in recent years. Her newest CD, Open Hands, is truly amazing. Her voice is so sweet and I enjoy just sitting and sewing or doing a puzzle while listening to Laura Story sing.

As I was listening to this particular album, I heard a theme going on: God's love is enough and His mercy never fails. Laura is not only a musician but also a worship leader. Her way of singing to her audience is very worship leader style. She engages with the audience and gets them wanting to sing along.

The songs included on Open Hands are:

  1. Death Was Arrested
  2. Open Hands
  3. You Came Running
  4. Give You Faith
  5. For The Love Of My King
  6. Awake My Soul (A 1000 Tongues)
  7. Whisper
  8. Every Word You Breathe
  9. Majesty
  10. Extraordinary
  11. Grace Abounds
My three favorite songs are Give You Faith, For The Love Of My King, and Every Word You Breathe. Give You Faith is Laura singing to her children about the one thing she would give them that is above all else: faith. Faith, hope, and love are the most important things to instill in children.

For The Love Of My King sounded very hymn-like. It made me feel a little old-fashioned, in a good way. I loved the melodies and the slower pace of the words and music. Jesus is the King. He is deserving of all of our attention and love. In this song, we sing of Jesus' sacrifice and the glory of heaven.

Every Word You Breathe is about giving hope when you are down. It's about trusting God no matter what and clinging to Him. Through trials and distractions, God is with us and His word tells us so.

Open Hands, which the album is named for, is about always being able to be used by God for His glory. When we are fearful and unwilling to let God use us, we are not doing God's will. He wants to use us and fill us and be there for us. He can't do any of those things when we have closed fists.

I love this new album from Laura Story. If you are a fan of hers, you will truly enjoy Open Hands as well.

Buy Link: http://smarturl.it/OpenHandsiTunes


Web and Social Links:
http://laurastorymusic.com/
https://twitter.com/laurastorymusic
https://www.facebook.com/laurastory
https://www.instagram.com/laurastorymusic/

Video links:
Open Hands (Official Lyric Video) - https://youtu.be/AABE--YR1No
Open Hands (Song Devotional) - https://youtu.be/NWWiyFlXdi0

 *Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing me with a copy of this CD in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Kindness Challenge (Shaunti Feldhahn)


Being kind can go a long way in any relationship. The Bible talks a lot about kindness and even calls it one of the fruits of the spirit. Shaunti Feldhahn's newest book, The Kindness Challenge, gives you the tools needed to be kinder to even the most difficult person in your life. It is a thirty day challenge that takes you a journey to transform the world through kindness.

 Feldhahn calls kindness a "superpower". She says it can change any relationship and make your life less complicated and a lot healthier. She takes you step-by-step on how to be kind to others and gives plenty of examples of ways to show kindness to anyone.

The author starts by telling you why kindness matters and why it's important to every relationship. Kindness does make a difference and people see whether or not you are kind by the way you interact with others and the words you use. Even a little kindness makes a huge difference.

The next step is to put your newfound kindness to action. Thirty days to a "Kinder You". That's it. Just thirty short days of being kind to others through words, actions, and deeds. The author helps you by listing things that you should do or get rid of during this time of kindness. There are many negative things that we say and do on a regular basis that seem so small but have a big impact. She gives examples of these and how to have better habits of kindness.

Then comes the actual act of being kind to others. She has you choose a person: your husband, wife, friend, co-worker. This person is the focus of your kindness challenge for the next thirty days. She has a guideline for each of the days on what to do that is kind or what to avoid that may be unkind. She coaches you through this journey of being kinder to others.

This book is written through a Christian perspective so God is sprinkled throughout the pages. His kindness to us is truly amazing and unforgettable. His example is how we should be living every day. No matter if you have difficult relationships with everyone around you, YOU can be the change toward a better bond and connection.

For more on The Kindness Challenge visit: http://www.jointhekindnesschallenge.com/

*Many thanks to Blogging for Books for providing me with a copy of this book. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Friday, March 10, 2017

Attending the HEAV Convention With Children



My favorite time of year is approaching: Homeschool Convention Season. I prepare all year long for this one weekend (although there are many conventions, I only attend this one). The HEAV (Home Educators Association of Virginia) is one of the largest conventions in the US. It is faith-based but has a lot more than just religion to offer (although that is one of my favorite aspects).

The whole convention is very family-friendly. Obviously, us homeschoolers have lots of kids and have to bring them everywhere we go. But, no matter what your family size may be, you and your children are welcome and encouraged to participate in the many learning sessions and exhibits.



While the sessions may seem daunting to a family with lots of "littles", they are easy to figure out. There are a few guidelines to attending the sessions with little ones in tow. Bring things for your child to do to keep them busy and quiet. I have seen everything from board books to coloring books to iPads with earphones. Whatever floats your boat and is right for your family. Just make sure it is a quiet activity as each session is being recorded. If you must leave a session because of a fussy baby or inquisitive toddler, ask the session moderator for a ticket to get a free mp3 of the session to listen to later.

Children ages five to twelve can attend the Children's Program for $20 per day. This program runs on Friday and Saturday during the convention and has convenient hours to drop off and pick up. This program is truly amazing. The theme this year is "Jesus is Stronger". They will learn about Jesus through storytelling, crafts, and special guests (Happy Jumpy and her sidekicks). Children will be encouraged in their faith and learn new songs, Bible verses, and games. It is a blessing to all who have attended in past years.

If you have older children (or children who want to stay with you), there are many opportunities to learn and have fun. The HEAV offers a variety of different labs, tournaments, and competitions for children. This year there will be a dissection lab, chess championship, photography opportunities, music competition, or teens can volunteer to work the Children's Program. They also offer another option for teens, the Young Entrepreneurs. This is in the exhibit hall and the teens offer a product that they have made by themselves to sell.

Older children can also volunteer at the HEAV to help in certain areas. One area that teens usually like is the Used Curriculum Sale. They can help organize the items, put things back in there proper place, check out customers, or bag the items. I love seeing the older children in there helping. They seem to enjoy it very much (at least from what I have witnessed with their smiling faces).

Even just walking around in the Exhibit Hall will give you many hands-on experiences. There are little shops set up just for kids. There a robotics expo, a musical instrument "petting zoo", and a marine touch tank by Chincoteague Bay Field Station. Children will have a blast at the hands-on science booth by Sciexperience. That one is probably the most exciting for my kids.

If you are hesitant about bringing your children to the HEAV Convention, I urge you to go ahead and come. Children are the whole reason we have a convention in the first place. Our children are very important to us and that's why we have chosen to homeschool them. Come and be encouraged and inspired by the thousands of other homeschooling families. It is such a blessing.

*Please come back and visit my blog on the week of March 22nd. I will be having a GIVEAWAY for a family registration to the HEAV (June 8, 9, and 10 at the Richmond Convention Center).*



Monday, March 6, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday- 3/6/17


Hello March! Time is flying by this year. Wow!


The weather:::
It is a little chilly today but it's supposed to warm up by the weekend. Yipee!

On my reading pile:::
I have been reading my Bible a lot lately. Also reading some Amish fiction. Those kinds of books are my favorite.

Movies or Shows I watched this weekend:::

We watched Jurassic Park parts one and two. Those are so good.

On the menu for this week:::

Monday- homemade chicken noodle soup with crusty bread
Tuesday- leftovers
Wednesday- my little guy's 4th birthday so we are eating out
Thursday- Penne noodles with creamy sauce and sautéed chicken
Friday- leftovers
Saturday- grocery shopping day

On my to do list:::
Homeschooling
Laundry
Household chores
Menu planning for the next 2 weeks
Writing extra blog posts for when I have surgery

Looking forward to:::
Chicken noodle soup tonight! It is my favorite and I even bought some real Amish noodles to go with it.

Looking around the house:::

There is birthday party paraphernalia all over the house. A plate of uneaten French toast is sitting on the dining room table from lunch (my little guy!). It is not too bad but definitely needs some tidying.

From the camera:::
This is my little guy painting at our homeschool group.
 
 

What I'm wearing today:::
Black yoga pants and a gray and black hoodie. Just seemed appropriate for a Monday.

One of my simple pleasures:::
The smell of cinnamon. I could just sit and smell cinnamon all day long. It relaxes me so much and makes me feel safe and loved.

Bible verse, Devotional::: 
I leave you with another song today:

"They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have, right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul

I know You're able and I know You can
Save through
I know You're able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You'd just say the word
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone..."
 
-Mercy Me Even If
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  

Monday, February 27, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday- 2/27/2017

How can it already be the last Monday in February? Seriously! Time is flying by so quickly. Next week my youngest son will be 4! I feel like he is still a baby. Oh, I have been reminiscing lastly. Why can't they stay little for a little longer? Oh well. I am glad to have another week to be with my family and to praise God for every breath I am given.


The weather:::

It has been beautiful for the past month. There have only been a few cold days. Today is around 65 degrees. The rest of the week looks like more of the same with a dip into the 50's. I am loving it because my kids can play outside...a lot.

On my reading pile:::

Zip It by Karen Ehman (it is a 40-day challenge on keeping your mouth shut)

Movies or Shows I watched this weekend:::

We are loving Chef's Table on Netflix. We just started a new series called Frontier. Oh, and over the weekend we watched Caddy Shack...just because. LOL! I have not had much time to watch TV for fun lately unless my kids are in bed and by then I am exhausted.

On the menu for this week:::

Monday- burgers for all the guys and mama is going out to eat Mexican food with a few friends
Tuesday- Taco soup in the slow cooker with cornbread
Wednesday- Leftovers
Thursday- Breakfast for dinner (eggs, toast, bacon)
Friday- Cheeseburger macaroni with Rotel
Saturday- Pizza (we are having my little guys bday party that day)
Sunday- Chicken noodle soup in the slow cooker

On my to do list:::

Homeschooling
Clean the house for the bday party on Saturday
Blog
Laundry
Write a few letters

Looking forward to:::

Little man's birthday party this weekend. I can't believe it. Lots of family and friends will gather to celebrate his life. He is such a sweetie pie most of the time.

Looking around the house:::

It is a bit of a mess right now. I was so sick over the weekend with a terrible migraine that I didn't have time to even move. It will be cleaned this week though.

From the camera:::


What I'm wearing today:::

A new pair of leggings (went to a LulaRoe party last night). They are light blue and cream colored. Also, a pink shirt with a Bible verse on it and a long sweater.

One of my simple pleasures:::

Sunday afternoon naps. It is rare but I love them.

Bible verse, Devotional::: 
A song has been on my mind lately:
"If your eyes are on the storm You'll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You'll know I always have and I always will

And not a tear is wasted
In time, you'll understand
I'm painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands..."
-Casting Crowns (Just Be Held)