Friday, September 22, 2017

Things That Make Me Smile 9/22/17

Jake (11 1/2), Alyssa (9 1/2), Zac (7 1/2), Tyler (5), Nicholas (2 1/2)

Happy Friday! This week we celebrated Talk Like A Pirate Day, Leighton took the older 2 boys hunting, and Alyssa turned 9 1/2. Did you make sure to Smile this week? 

1. Me, about Nicholas, teasing: "What are we going to do with that baby. I'm pretty sure he's trouble."
Jake: "Really? You're only pretty sure?"

2, Zac, about sea snakes: "God made these creatures really special."

3. Nicholas: "God go to fweep!"
Me: "God goes to sleep?"
Alyssa: "Well, the Bible does say that God rested on the 7th day of creation."

4. Nicholas, holding a play phone: "Beep boop beep boop beep. Hello? Gramma? Papa? Why you at your house? Hello, mateys!"

5. Nicholas, noticing that the TV remote was missing a battery: "Hey, what happened? Eberyone stole it!"
Me: "Everyone stole it?"
Nicholas: "Tink about it. Jakey stole it."

6. Tyler: "Nicky's fun to play with."

7. Zac explained a whole narrative of how Alyssa was mistreating him.
Me: "Alyssa."
Alyssa, sweetly: "Yes?"
Me: "Oh, don't pretend to be innocent. What's going on?"
Alyssa: "Well, Zac's not playing nicely!"
Zac: "She's being mean to me!"
Alyssa: "He's being like Nebuchadnezzar."
Me, trying not to laugh: "How is he like Nebuchadnezzar?"
Alyssa: "He gave himself gold and gave Tyler bronze. He thinks he's the best and better than everyone else, just like Nebuchadnezzar."

8. Jake got his second deer.

9. Tyler came inside with a scraped and bloody elbow.
Tyler, proud: "Mom, look!"
Me: "Oh, no. What happened?"
Tyler: "My body got ahead of the swing and I backwards flipped off. I liked the backwards flipped off part!"
Me: "Do you want me to clean it up?"
Tyler: "No, I just want to see it!"
{10 seconds later}
Tyler, whining: "Ow, ow, owie . . . It hurts. Ooow . . . Can you do it now?"
It didn't hurt until he saw it. A complete 180 with his reaction.

10.  Alyssa: "I have a feeling I'm going to be cold or hot. I'm just not sure which one."

11. Me: "Were you a good boy tonight at church?"
Tyler: "Uh . . . hmm . . . well . . . No. Yes . . . Kinda."

What made you Smile this week?

Pin It

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Lessons in the Valley: Part 1

My injury happened one month ago this past Saturday, 5 weeks ago yesterday.

I used to think that a sprained ankle wasn't really that big of a deal. I had heard numerous times about people getting a sprain, maybe using crutches for a few days, and then being back to normal. 

I've learned a lot about sprains in the last few weeks.

The most common type (which I just referenced) is a simple rolling of the ankle that heals quickly. The inversion sprain happens when the ankle rolls outward, the foot turns inward, and the ligaments on the outside of the ankle are injured. An eversion sprain is the opposite, causing damage to the inside of the ankle, and is much less common. 

The least common is the high ankle sprain. This can happen when the leg twists forcefully while the foot is planted. The ligaments that connect the leg bones together are stretched and torn, resulting in a severe injury and lengthy healing process. This sprain can happen alone or along with an inversion or an eversion sprain. 

(You didn't know you were getting a medical lesson today, did you? Ha.)

So where do I fall (no pun intended) in this list? I managed to get all three types of sprains at once. The dreaded high ankle sprain along with both inversion and eversion sprains, as well as damaging additional ligaments through my shin--because if you're going to do something, do it right. To make matters worse, they were grade 2 sprains because there is a significant level of tearing.

I quickly learned that sprains can be a big deal. In fact, I was told multiple times that it would have been better to break my ankle than sprain it the way I did. My healing process can take anywhere from 2-6 months. 

To read the facts is one thing, but to experience the pain is something completely different. 

I have a high pain tolerance. But this was different. It wasn't so much the initial discomfort, but after 2 solid weeks of throbbing, shooting, radiating pain, I was getting weary. My foot, both side of the ankle, all through my lower leg--everything hurt immensely. And constantly with no reprieve. Then when I pinched a nerve and caused sciatic pain to pulse from my hip all the way through my toes in a continual tingling sensation, I was near tears. 

It was agony.

It was so excruciating that it woke me often each night, both from the pain itself and the nightmares that it caused. The most gut-wrenching, disturbing, fear-inducing dreams I have ever experienced. I'd wake up breathing heavy with my heart racing. Had I been taking pain killers, I would have attributed the horrors to them, but there were no drugs in my system. 

Why? I know, reading that it seems foolish to even me, but I'm stubborn. I don't take pain meds unless I absolutely have to. And I figured that if I didn't take it in the beginning when the pain was potentially the worst, I surely didn't need to take it now. Every day was a little better than the day before. If I got through that, I can get through this. Leighton tried multiple times to get me to take something to lessen the pain, if for nothing else than to allow me to get some sleep. But I was determined to complete the whole experience without a drop of drugs. Why? Just so I could say that I did. (Again, I know it doesn't make sense, but, stubborn, remember?)   

I couldn't put any weight on it for those first 2 weeks, not simply because of the pain, but also because the torn ligaments just could not hold the weight. If I tried to stand, the ankle would buckle and I'd have to catch myself. I spent my days using the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method of recovery. I dutifully set my timer for icing: 20 minutes on, 60 minutes off. I was determined to do everything right in order to heal as fast as I could. I have 5 young children; I need to be able to care for them.  

My purpose in explaining this is not to complain or get sympathy. Before today, I didn't tell anyone but those absolutely closest to me what was happening in such detail, mostly because they could see it anyway. I believe that your attitude affects your situation. You cannot control your circumstances, but you can control your response to them. That's why even when things are rough and we've had a difficult week, I make sure to still post about what made me Smile. Because, no matter what, there's always something good. 

So, what's my good in all of this. 

It's easy when you're in the mountaintop living. Things are going right, and you just coast along without much thought. But it's those valleys that can really teach you. It's in those hard times when you may be searching for God and just feel lost. 

That was me.  

It was so much more than the physical pain I was experiencing. It was helplessness in caring for my family and our home. It was disappointment in not being able to partake in annual seasonal favorites (like canning bushels of tomatoes and apples, geocaching with the family, and more). It was worrying about things I knew better than to worry about. It was feelings of guiltiness for getting injured and putting extra responsibilities on others. My thoughts became my enemy.

I was starting to become depressed. Not just discouraged, but depressed. I'll spare you the details, but it was very unlike the positive, "there's always something good" person I try to be. That's when I really sought after God, not just my typical daily prayers, but begging for His help. I knew my situation wasn't going to change overnight, but I needed help in changing my perspective. God began to work in my heart. He helped me to be grateful for the blessings, to recognize the good things.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, 
to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Lessons in the Valley: Part 2 will explain those good things--and also the huge mistake I made that reinjured the leg and set my recovery back. There are many lessons I'm learning through this experience.

Pin It

Let's Go Geography

When I saw that we had the opportunity to review a geography curriculum for kids, I was intrigued. Geography was never a subject that interested me when I was in school, and because of that, the information never really stuck. Now as an adult, I find myself wanting to know more about other places in our world. I want my kids to have an interest in countries and cultures. But all that can seem overwhelming to kids, and I don't want them to be uninterested. Once I started looking through the material though, I realized that Let's Go Geography was exactly what we needed.

Let's Go Geography, created by Carol Henderson, is a K-4th grade curriculum that gives you a little taste of traveling the world. The study takes you to a new country every week and suggests you visit about an hour. Of course, if you find yourself having so much fun learning about each country, there are plenty of options for staying longer. There's everything from activities, crafts, songs, videos, journaling, books, online content, globe skills, and more. So, pack your bags for a trip around the world!

A subscription to Let's Go Geography's online program gives you access to download the weekly curriculum and also sends you a reminder email each week that includes the country of the week and a few facts about it. The curriculum will be a three-year program, covering quite a few of the countries in the world. Year 1 teaches about 28 countries from all over the globe and includes a few review weeks and breaks.

The lessons are divided into 6 chapters:

  • Map It -- a printable map of the country and lists many things to find and explore (cities, bodies of water, neighboring countries, etc.)
  • The Flag -- mini flag to be cut, colored, and glued to either a page in the travel journal or personal passport
  • The Music -- the lyrics for the national anthem in English and also a link to a video of it being sung in the national language
  • Let's Explore -- various facts about the country (landscape, people, places, animals, occupations, and more) with links to videos for further study; also includes more online facts, library books, a printable journal page for notebooking, and a photo album of pictures
  • Create -- printable coloring page relating to something in the study and directions, tips, and any needed printables for a featured craft
  • Printables -- all the printables needed for the lesson

The beginning of each lesson includes a printable itinerary with boxes to check as you complete the assignments. After that is a detailed list of things you need for the trip: library books, craft supplies, and a travel journal (3-ring binder to keep and organize the printables and information for each country). Carol emphasizes that this curriculum is to be adapted to best suit each family's needs, ages, and abilities. She also stresses that you shouldn't feel obligated to do every single activity that's offered, since the goal is to familiarize the student with the country, not overwhelm him. 

The lesson format is incredible easy to follow and includes the links for videos and other content directly in the lesson where they're needed. It's easy to scroll through the lessons in order without having to jump around to find what you need. There are also photographs, maps, and graphics throughout the pages, making them visually appealing, as well.

The kiddos and I are studying one country a week, but dividing each lesson into 2 days. The first day, we cover the first 3 chapters. We start by finding the country on our globe and then discussing the Map It topics. From there we move to The Flag and The Music. Instead of making individual travel journals for each of the kids, I chose to make a combined one for the family. The kids take turns coloring the flags and marking the maps.

Day 2 is Let's Explore and Create. We watch all the videos together and stop them often to discuss different aspects. Even the 2-year-old comes over to watch with us. Because the videos are found on YouTube, they vary in quality, but that also means it keeps it interesting because the content is so different. After the videos, we move to the craft and coloring page. Some of my kids are craftier than others, so I don't require my non-artsy 11-year-old to participate. On the other hand, the crafts are my daughter's favorite part. There are so many aspects of this program that it's easy to pick and choose what to use and still get a good understanding of each country.

Our family is loving this curriculum! We're currently finishing up week 6, so we've learned about US, the Northeast region; US, Hawaii; Canada; Haiti; Nicaragua; and Belize. The material is easy for me to teach and keeps the kids' interest. The variety is good and leaves plenty of room for deeper study. 

There are additional resources to enhance your materials, such as personal passports, travel journal covers, continent coloring pages, and bookmarks. You can also sample some of the products for free and watch a  sample lesson. And don't forget to check out the special offers for the current coupon codes!

You can connect with Let's Go Geography on the following social media sites:

You can read more reviews of this curriculum on the Homeschool Review Crew blog. 

Crew Disclaimer
Pin It

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Imagine. . .The Great Flood

Reading is kinda our thing around here. The kids go through so many books in a week, so it's always exciting when we get a new one to review. I've said before that we like all types of books from fiction to nonfiction. This time, we enjoyed a fictional book that is based on factual events. Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich places the reader in the story of--yep, you guessed it--the Great Flood.   

Barbour Publishing was kind enough to send us this book. The company has been publishing Christian classics at value prices since 1981. With over 1,000 titles--covering audio books, Bibles, reference books, children's, devotionals, fiction, nonfiction, activity books, music, and more--there's something for everyone. This was the company that introduced us to the Diary of a Real Payne years ago. The kiddos liked that book so much that we purchased the other 2 books in the series. I was looking forward to reading another book that they offer.

Imagine. . .The Great Flood is the first release in an exciting new adventure series by Matt Koceich. Matt, a schoolteacher and missionary, began the Imagine series to help bring the Bible to life by portraying what it may have been like to live through a monumental biblical event. The books are written for ages 8-12, but are good for anyone who loves an adventure.

The day we received the book, the kids were getting over an illness. The two little boys (the ones who don't sit quietly for very long, ha) were napping, so it was the perfect opportunity for some reading. My girl cuddled up with me under a cozy blanket while the other two boys grabbed some Legos to keep their hands busy. At the halfway point in the book, I asked if they wanted to stop. Of course they didn't, and we finished the book in one sitting. It took less than 1 1/2 hours to read it aloud with a few short breaks. The 110 pages are broken into 15 short chapters, making it a quick read.

The story begins as Corey's life is falling apart. He doesn't understand why his family has to move. The idea of a new school, new city, new everything, scares him, but his mom assures him that he needs to trust God. Suddenly, Corey found himself face-to-face with a lion. Somehow, he had been transported back thousands of years to the land of Mesopotamia. He befriends Shem, son of Noah, and helps him load the animals on the ark. It was not an easy task though as they soon were attacked by the Nephilim. Superhuman giants, lion attacks, smashing boulders, a secret plan, a traitor, a sorcerer, a raging river, a deep pit, and a rhino ride are some of the excitement they experienced as they worked to prepare for the Flood. Corey learned to trust God and see the blessings in situations that he didn't understand. When he returned to his present time, he had a new attitude and learned a valuable lesson: things change, but God never changes.

The book is full of adventure and suspense. It does a good job putting the reader in the story and giving a glimpse of what it could have been like to live during the time of Noah. The only thing that I don't care for is that some of it is not biblical. I understand filling in details to make a story, but to change facts that are in the Bible to make a story "better" doesn't make sense to me. For instance, in this book, the rain pours before all the animals and Noah's family are in the ark; whereas the Bible says that they were in the ark and that God shut the door before the rain began. I made sure to read my kids the biblical account of this event and talked about this and a few other details that varied.

One thing that we found funny was that one of the character's name is Ardad (our dad). We made many jokes while we were reading (and even over the next few days, ha) whenever his name was mentioned. "Our dad did that? That doesn't sound like something our dad would do! Our dad lived before the Flood?" They thought it was so funny.

 Here's what the kiddos had to say about the book:

I like the giants.

My favorite thing is that Noah saved him and he saved Noah.

I like how it was about the Bible.

We really enjoyed Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich despite the few inaccuracies and look forward to reading the second book in the series which explains what it would be like to live during the Ten Plagues in Egypt.

You can connect with Barbour Publishing on the following social media sites:

You can read more reviews of this book on the Homeschool Review Crew blog. 

Crew Disclaimer
Pin It

Friday, September 15, 2017

Things That Make Me Smile 9/15/17

Jake (11 1/2), Alyssa (9), Zac (7 1/2), Tyler (5), Nicholas (2 1/2)

Happy Friday! This week I'm thankful for family and friends who have provided meals as I continue to heal. Their love and generosity have made this experience easier. Even in unpleasant situations, there are always reasons to Smile.

1. Tyler, after Nicholas jumped on his back and they both fell off the couch: "That was the best . . . fall . . . ever!"

2. How almost every book Alyssa reads is "the best book ever!"

3. Leighton, after giving Tyler directions: "Ok?"
Tyler: {emphatically}"Ok! . . .{hesitantly} But I don't exactly know what you said."

4. Tyler: "I smile at you all the time because I love you."


6. Leighton brought up a load of laundry, but as I started folding it, I realized it was still damp. He took it to put it back in the dryer and brought up another basket of clean clothes.
Me, teasing: "What is this? I reject one, so you bring up another?"
Alyssa: "Kinda like the colonists and the taxes!"

7. Tyler: "Mama, I forgot, what's a mice called when it's only one?"

8. Nicholas, in bed, singing 'Jesus Loves Me': "Bible tell me He love meeeee!"

9. Jake: "I never met a cake I didn't like."

10. Jake: "Dee-ssert."
Tyler: "Dessert."
Jake: "It's dee-ssert."
Tyler: "Mommy, is it dee-ssert or dessert?"
Me: "You can pronounce it however you want."
Tyler: "Oh, good! I'm calling it bologna!"

What made you Smile this week?

Pin It

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Carole P. Roman Books

* This post may contain affiliate links. 

We've reviewed multiple books this year alone, and each time I comment on the fact that our family loves to read. Picture books, chapter books, fiction, nonfiction--we're not picky; just hand us a book or two. Or in this case, four.

We were given the opportunity to receive more books by Carole P. Roman. We own many of the books in her If You Were Me series and were excited to own more titles. In only 5 years, Carole has written over 35 books for children and received countless awards (no, really, there are so many I'm not going to count them all!) for her works. Not only is she an accomplished author, she's a generous one, as well. We were able to choose 2 of her titles; then she picked 2 more to send. We received the following books:

If You Were Me and Lived in...Viking Europe was an easy choice. Because of my husband's Scandinavian roots and the vikings' pirate-esque qualities, my kids are fascinated with the people. This book, like the others in this series, is written in second person format. Each book places you, the reader, in that location during that time period. This book, which is part of the Introduction to Civilizations set, is so much more in depth and contains much more information than the Introduction to Cultures books. 

The 75-page paperback give a fantastic description of what it could have been like to live in Viking Europe in 870 AD. It teaches about the people and their classes. The Jarls were the wealthy people of government, the Karls were the free peasants or farmers, and the Thralls were the captured slaves who did all the hard labor. The book talks about food like cod, mussels, shrimp, whales, walruses, ducks, hazelnuts, cheese, berries, and more. It teaches in detail about the utensils and tools of the period, the clothing, and activities. There's information about their gods, marriage traditions, sagas, and poems.    

The back of the book contains a glossary of people, places, and things that are pertinent to that time and place. It also has a section about important or famous people and a description for each. These resources can be used as a spring board for further study.

As much as we love the If You Were Me books, I wanted to experience Carole's other writing styles, as well. Again, my choice was fairly easy: pirates. The Captain No Beard series is based on her grandchildren and teach a tender lesson while using  the imagination. I read through some of the descriptions in the series, but decided on starting at the beginning with volume 1, Captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life)

This silly book tells the story of Captain No Beard and his crew: Mongo the Monkey, Linus the lion, Fribbit the frog, and first mate Hallie. The crew learns important pirate lingo and how to perform pirate duties, all while No Beard laments that "being a captain is hard work." They braved the open seas, survived a storm, searched for treasure, met a mermaid . . . and ended up back on Alexander's (No Beard) bed with his cousin Hallie and stuffed animal friends.

It was exciting to receive 2 surprise books. The first was Rocket-Bye

This book is Carole's love letter to her grandsons. The story takes the reader to the stars, quite literally. The pages are covered in illustrations in the galaxy. Two boys (representing the grandsons) sit atop a rocket ship as they zoom page-by-page past stars, planets, moons, constellations, and other cosmic colors. The rhyming text weaves and curves through the pages as if it's traveling through the vast universe along with the rocket ship. This story is sure to inspire an out-of-this-world adventure.

Our second surprise book was Can a Princess Be a Firefighter?.

While the last book was written for the grandsons, this book is Carole's love letter to her granddaughters. Little kids dream of what they want to be when they grow up. This heartfelt lesson to little girls encourages them to follow their dreams--whether they want to be an explorer, nurse, chef, farmer, teacher, police officer, pilot, accountant, or anything else they can imagine. And no matter what they choose, they can still be princesses.

The kiddos and I sat and read these books together. The 3 are quick reads and typical picture books. If You Were Me and Lived in...Viking Europe is a lot more educational and filled with facts.  I even found the kids reading these books on their own, too. Here's what they had to say:

I like the pirate one because I like being a pirate!

I liked Can a Princess Be a Firefighter because I like princesses. 

I liked Captain No Beard because I want to taste their treasure!

I liked the Viking book because I'd like to practice archery and spear throwing like them.

If you need some quality children's books, Carole P. Roman has many award-winning options for you.

You can connect with Carole P. Roman on the following social media sites:

You can read more reviews of many of the books written by Carole P. Roman on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

Crew Disclaimer

* Some of the links in the content above are affiliate links. If you click on a link and purchase an item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I recommend products or services that I have used personally and all the text and opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 225.
Pin It

Friday, September 8, 2017

Things That Make Me Smile 9/8/17

Jake (11 1/2), Alyssa (9), Zac (7 1/2), Tyler (5), Nicholas (2 1/2)

Happy Friday! I meant to mention this last week and completely forgot: Nicholas spent the night with my parents' for the first time! My mom took him to make things easier while I recover. I've mentioned a little before about how bad of a sleeper Nicholas has always been, but he did so well at their house that they kept him 2 nights. And he's even continued to do well at home! He still doesn't sleep much, but he's at least sleeping straight through most nights. That's a big reason to Smile.

1. Me, because Jake moved Nicholas' play kitchen to the living room: "Thank you."
Jake: "You're welcome. It was a piece of cake . . . Heh, it wasn't a good pun, but at least it was a pun."

2. Zac, after cutting 2 pieces of zucchini bread: "Which one do you want?"
Tyler: "I'll let you have the bigger one, because you're bigger than me. And I like being nice."


4. Tyler: "How long did you do it?"
Me: "One minute."
Tyler, pointing to the microwave: "Yeah, but a minute on there is a long time."

5. Alyssa, after opening a new jar of creamy peanut butter: "Look how peaceful it looks."

6. Alyssa, at least a dozen times, the night before our first day of the new school year: "I am so excited for tomorrow!"


8. Tyler, whining: "Zac's not playing nicely! I'm hitting him with lightning and he said it's not affecting him at all!"

9. Zac: "I like learning about fish."
Jake: "My favorite part about fish is that they're edible."

What made you Smile this week?

Pin It