Friday, July 27, 2012

Things That Make Me Smile 7/27/12

Hello, everyone! It's been a good week, but tomorrow is a day that has been long awaited for. Leighton and Jake are going to Maker Faire Detroit. Jake has been talking about it since last year's and has had a countdown going for the past 2 weeks at least. Every day he makes sure to tell me how much longer he has to wait. He is such a geek, like his daddy. I know they will have a blast together. The rest of us are heading out to my aunt and uncle's with the entire family for a day of fun. (Leighton and Jake will meet us there eventually.)  Good times.

Here's a quick look at the memories from this past week.

1. Jake: "Is that my compass or Mom's compass?"
Alyssa: "Mine."
Jake: "That's not one of the choices."

2. Jake and Alyssa each had a piece of gum, so naturally, Zac wanted a piece too.
Me: "Chew, chew chew. Don't swallow it. Chew, chew chew."
Zac, seconds later: "I did it!"
Me: "Where is your gum?"
Zac, with mouth wide open: "All gone!"
He was quite proud of himself for chewing so well before swallowing. 

3. Zac: "I want my hair to be wike Daddy's when I'm huger."

4. Jake walked in the kitchen as I was making jam. He made a horrendous face and said, "It smells like burnt dehydrated strawberries." He does not like really strong smells. He is so much like my father.

5. We were at someone's house when Alyssa had to use the bathroom. Concerned, she said, "They have their toilet paper on backwards." She then proceeded to take it off to turn it around. I stopped her and explained that it wasn't our house. As she was drying her hands after washing them, she said, "I wonder when they're going to fix that."

6. Jake: "Do you think climbing up there makes my arms longer? Look at them. I think they're longer."

7. Zac: "Mommy, will you take my shirt off?"
Me: "Sure. Can I have a little kiss first, please?"
{He kisses me. I take off his shirt.}
Zac: "Oh, no! I don't have a little kiss. My shirt took it."
So, I had to kiss him. Again.

8. Me: "Do you have all your toys picked up?"
Alyssa: "I do."
Jake: "That's because you got all your toys taken away." (because she wouldn't put them away)
Alyssa: "Well, that's good."


10. Zac, while climbing up into my lap. "Good morning. I wike you." 

11. Zac: "Mommy, can I play nicely in Alyssa's room? And . . . and . . they're my friends!" {takes off running}
Alyssa: {from the other room} "Zac we don't want ghosts in the dollhouse!"
I'm not sure which made me smile more - the random exchange or that he used nicely correctly. 

12. The kids and I went out in the rain to look for bugs for our turtle. We had so much fun finding dozens of roly polies, centipedes, worms, and crickets. The best part was when Alyssa shrieked. Her bootstrap came undone, brushed up against her leg and caused her to think a snake was slithering up her leg. We laughed so hard and then took the bugs inside so the turtle could enjoy its "feast." We still find it fascinating to watch him snatch up the food.

13. Jake, after blowing his nose: "Ewe. I would not want to be a nose."

14. Jake and Alyssa were playing superheroes. They had blanket capes and paper logos taped to their shirts.
Zac: "I'm superhero too!
Jake: "No, you're not."
Me: "That's not nice. He can be a superhero, too."
Jake: "Mom, he's our sidekick. He's just a rookie."

What made you smile this week???
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Theory Thursday: Ice Melt

You know that empty space in the back of cabinets where two sets meet? Some people have a lazy susan in a corner cabinet. Others have a big cabinet off the back to utilize that space. We have a mini fridge there. It was in the house when we moved in, and we left it there. Since it's right next to our kitchen table and it's small, we keep our drinks in it. Once a year or so, the freezer portion builds up so much ice that the door will no longer close and we have to defrost it. We usually know when it's time when we walk into the kitchen and find a trail of water running through it. It goes something like this: 

Ugh, there's water everywhere! Who spilled something? . . . Oh, it's coming from the fridge. 
Who left the refrigerator door open???  . . . {push door closed. door pops open. push 
door closed. door pops open.} Aaaaah, the ice is built up again.

I grab towels to soak up the river trickling from the fridge across the kitchen and turn off the fridge. Later on, after it's had a chance to thaw a little, we (and when I say we, I mean Leighton) pull out the ice chunks and clean up the rest of the water.

Our yearly adventure happened a couple days ago. The dialogue was similar to the above. The events follows mirrored the example, as well. But as Leighton was opening the front door to throw the ice outside, I stopped him. We could turn this little inconvenience into a science lesson.

There was no major prep involved. There weren't lots of steps to take to reach the outcome. There wasn't even anything to make a huge mess. 

We simply left the bucket filled with ice in the kitchen.

Exciting, I know.

I asked the kids what they thought would happen to the ice. They knew it would melt, but how much would be melted by morning? All? Some? Here are their predictions:
Jake: "mostly melted"
Alyssa: "all melted"
Zac: "big ice!"

What do you think happened???

Here's what it looked like about 6:00 am, roughly 9 hours after the above photo was taken:

I know it's hard to see and the quality is very poor, but that little part in the middle was all that was left. It was about the size of a regular ice cube.

Jake ran to the bucket when he got up a couple hours later. He looked inside, but didn't say anything. He just walked away. 

Me, already knowing the answer: "So, what does it look like?" 
Jake, grumbling: "It's all melted." 
Me: "Who was right?"
Jake: "I don't really remember." (He does not like to be wrong.) 
Me: "Oh yes you do. You said it would be mostly melted. Alyssa was right."
Jake: "You stuck it in the oven!"

Yes, son. It's all just a big conspiracy. Our sole purpose is to make sure you are always wrong. Silly boy.  We did not tamper with the results. I suppose the result was relative though. Had he gotten up when I did, he technically would have won. But if Alyssa still got up when she did, she also would have won. Technically. It could have been potentially confusing. But it wasn't, and she was quite proud of herself for guessing correctly.  

So, in a year or so, when the ice in the freezer backs up and the door won't close and we find water all over the kitchen, Jake will remember how long it takes the ice chunks to melt. And he'll be right. 

But next year we'll put the bucket in the fridge after he goes to bed so it won't all melt. Because you know, it is all just a conspiracy.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday 7/25/12

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Tasty Tuesday: Triple Berry Jam

My mom and I took the 4 kids strawberry picking the beginning of June. (One day I'll go through all those pictures and write up a post. One day, hopefully before my kids are teenagers.) We ate quite a few fresh strawberries, froze a bunch, and then made jam with the rest.

We made cherry-strawberry jam last year for my first attempt at jam making and canning. I have since canned a few other things, but hadn't made anymore jam. Last time, I was a little nervous that something would go wrong, but this time since I'd done it before, I was confident. Right?

Nope. There was still that little bit of anxiousness that my jam wouldn't be thick enough or that the jars wouldn't seal properly. I know, such confidence. 

But enough about that, let's make some triple berry jam!

Enlist the help of a big, strong helper. The cuter, the better.

 Mix berries and pectin (with portion of sugar) in a large pot.

Once the mixture has come to a boil, add the remaining sugar and stir; bring back to a boil.

Skim off the excess foam and pour the hot jam into prepared jars.

But beware . . .

If you try to fill the jars and take pictures at the same time, you might end up with jam on your counter. 

And then you'd have to scoop it up with your finger and taste the jam. But if you're like me, this wouldn't be the first taste of the delicious concoction anyway.

 Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Remove them, leave them on the counter until cool, and listen to the melodious pop-pop-pop of the cans sealing.

And that's that! I don't know why it's intimidating to me. It's not even difficult. We made a batch right after picking the strawberries and we're down to our last jar. This jam is absolutely delicious! Possibly the best jam I've ever eaten. We just made a second batch again because it's that good. This time, I used 12 oz raspberries, 16 oz blueberries, and just mashed enough of our frozen strawberries to equal a total of 6 cups of berries. So good. You just can't go wrong here. I have a feeling we'll be making a lot more homemade jams.

Triple Berry Jam
4 cups crushed strawberries (about 8 cups whole)
1 cup crushed raspberries
1 cup crushed blueberries
4 cups sugar, divided
1 (1.75 oz) package no-sugar-needed fruit pectin

1. In a large pot, combine the strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Whisk 1/4 cup sugar with the pectin (to avoid clumping) and add it to the pot. Bring to a boil (that can't be stirred away) on medium-high heat, stirring often. 
2. Add the remaining sugar to the mixture; return to a full rolling boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. 
3. Remove from heat; skim off foam. Pour hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch. Adjust caps. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath. Remove from bath and leave on counter, without touching, until cool.
Recipe adapted from pickyourown.
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Make It Monday: Squishy Bag

Here's an activity that's not only fun and easy to make, but also good for learning too. 

About a year ago, I got a few bottles of hair gel for free after a sale and coupons. I don't use it in my hair, but I knew it would come in handy for something. I saw this post shortly after and knew what that something was.

You'll need a plastic storage bag, glitter (optional), food coloring, and hair gel.

If you don't have any free hair gel lying around, you can pick up a big bottle from the dollar store. Also, you can remove any writing on the bag with a little rubbing alcohol or nail polish remove on a cotton ball. Simply wipe the writing off.

 If you're using a gallon-size bag, squeeze the entire bottle of hair gel into it.

Enlist the help of an older sibling if it gets too difficult.

Don't forget to laugh at the funny sounds it makes!

 Pour in some glitter.

 Add food coloring.

Now comes the fun part - seal the bag and squish it around to mix it all up!

I just love those little hands.

Kids will love using the the squishy bag for all sorts of things.

 Like a smiley face.

Or practicing letters.

And simply just smooshing it all around. 

I found it quite addicting, er . . . I mean the kids, yeah the kids found the bag quite addicting to play with. Smooshing, squishing, squeezing, swiping. Our gel is scented and permeates through the bag, which can either be a pro or a con, depending on the child. The gel is slightly cool to the touch naturally, but you can also place the bag in the fridge for an even cooler sensory experience.  Or, you can place small objects inside to swirl around in the goop. You can add foam letters and have your child find specific ones or use many miscellaneous things and play I Spy. To make the bag more durable, simply wrap the edges in duct tape.

The squishy bag is so fun and economical and has many options for use. You'll definitely want to make one.

Oh, go ahead and make two . . . so your child will have a chance to play as well!

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Young Photographer

I like to take pictures. Have you ever noticed that?  I can easily snap a hundred or more every day. Pictures help us remember big event in our lives as well as the little everyday occurrences. I used to love scrapbooking (and I have a room full of supplies to prove it.) It's such a creative and beautiful way to cherish those memories for many years. 

Let me tell you a secret though - I haven't created a single scrapbook page in over 5 years. Sure, I had good intentions, but I'd think about how much catching up I had to do and would feel overwhelmed. Time went on, we had more kids, and scrapbooking went from a hobby that was placed on the back burner to one that was completely taken off the stove.

Then, Leighton mentioned starting a blog. I shrugged it off. He brought it up again. I said, no way. He made comments on and off for many months before I finally caved. And I am so glad I did. This blog has become my online memory log, my digital scrapbook, my gift to my children. Now I'm using those pictures we take and organizing them and preserving them to be enjoyed for years to come. That's why most of our posts are full of many pictures.

Just like my love of taking pictures came from my mom, my kids are learning to realize their importance from me as well. Whatever they want to remember, we capture with our camera. What they view as special is not always what I would choose. Kids have a way of looking at the world and finding beauty in the simple things. They'll ask me to take a picture of a Lego creation or a block tower. We'll snap a pic of a funny-looking bug or 2 cherries fused together. They've learned that we can photograph anything.

A couple months ago, we let Jake use our camera, snapping pictures at will all around our house. It was fun seeing which things he found worthy of remembering.

brother and sister

fish tank

Zac's pillow

boo-boo ice pack

baby brother

Lego bin

his favorite bear

picture on our wall

science experiment

Lego steak (with marbling), fork, knife, and hamburger

We have another generation to carry on the love of pictures in our family.

We'd better get a bigger hard drive.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Pantry Surprise 7/20/12

Kids think that moms have eyes in the back of their heads because we always know what they do.

Sometimes though, the information comes from our spies.

Like appliances for instance.

My kids tried to use the microwave without my knowing. They thought they were so tricky. They thought they took the necessary precautions to keep their operation covert. 
Oh, but I'm on to them. They never expected  the microwave to be my secret agent and inform me of their clandestine acts. Muahaha!!!!

 Moral of the story - Don't mess with moms. 

After all, we have eyes in the back of our heads.

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Things That Make Me Smile 7/20/12

Happy Weekend! I hope you've had as great of a week as we have.  Leighton worked a little bit less this week and we've enjoyed having him home more. We had fun with family at my niece's grad party on Saturday and visited friends on Thursday. This week we also got back to a more structured time for schooling. Now, let's smile!

1. Jake: "I can't wait to go to heaven. I'm going to be happy forever! And . . . there's gold there! And I think the bathroom will be huge in heaven, probably bigger than our whole house."

2. Zac, hugging on the baby: "I'm so glad to see you!"

3. Leighton: "Guess who's going to teach the lesson in your class next week?"
Jake: "I don't know."
Me: "You kinda look like him."
Jake: {confused look}
Me: "You share a name with him."
Jake: {confused look}
Me: "You live with him."
Jake: "Zac?"
Alyssa: "Daddy!"
4. Zac, talking about baby Tyler: "Can you feed him for me?"
Me: "Yes."
Zac: "Thank you."

5. Alyssa: "Mommy, can we make a tree house on the ground?"
Jake: "Then it wouldn't be a tree house."
Alyssa: "Mommy, can we make a ground house on the ground?"

6. Jake, talking about Tyler: "His feet smell like macaroni and cheese! Can I eat them?"

7. Jake, while doing math work: "I want to do all the pages today."
Me: "That would take ALL day to do."
Jake: "I don't care. I want to learn."


9. Alyssa was very crabby, so Jake read her a book to cheer her up. The book just happened to be A Bad, Bad Day. Once he finished reading, she said "thank you" and returned to playing, attitude changed.

10. Jake, while watching the rain on the van windshield: "Why is the roof sucking up the water?"

11. Jake: "Even the turtle's face looks painted. It looks like an artist painted it."
Me: "And Who was the artist?"
Jake: "God!"

12. My interesting day.

13. Zac: "Mommy, my butt hurts. Can you kiss my butt?"

14. Zac, talking about Alyssa: "Her's not a kid. Her's just a girl."

15. Jake: "If Superman were real, he wouldn't stand a chance against Jesus."

What made you smile this week? Leave a comment letting us know!

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Christian Keyboarding

My kids love using the computer. They're great at using the mouse, and most of the time, it suites their needs. But . . . it's those times when they need to actually type something when they struggle. Click . . . click . . . click go the letters. Then, "Mommy, where's the Y?" . . . click. It is time-consuming for sure. 

That's why I was excited to review Christian Keyboarding. I know my kids are young (oldest is 6), but the more they're familiar with something, the easier it will be to learn. Let's face it, this is a very techy age. Kids need to know how to type. Somehow, when I was in school, I never took a typing class. Oh, it was required, and I have no idea how I missed out. Either way, I learned by typing up reports and such, but it took longer. If my kids can learn while they're still young though, it'll make it much easier for them.

Your kids are going to type something while they're typing, right? (I know, deep stuff here.) What better way to learn to type than using verses. Leanne Beitel created Christian Keyboarding by combining the elements needed to satisfy state education requirements and Biblical references (I can't endorse the version used) for the private school requirements.

The lessons are short. That's a big plus for my little ones. The first of the thirty-two lessons starts with learning two letters, f and j. In lesson two, they add two more letters and then review the first two. The lessons continue in this fashion until they've practice enough lessons to start forming words. By the end, they'll be typing full paragraphs. 

This curriculum offers two versions, elementary ($12.95) and secondary ($15.95.) These are both printable e-books. Instead of printing out each lesson though, we viewed them on the iPad and typed from there. It was easy to zoom in to make the font bigger for my 6-year-old. The format of the lessons is basic. In a good way. There are no pretty pictures to distract them, no dings or buzzers to validate the work. 

My son was very excited to learn to type. That excitement lasted too . . . for a few lessons. He realized that it was going to take work. It was going to be difficult. He was going to make mistakes. You see, my son is very much like his mother. (Shocking, I know.) We're perfectionists. If we're not good at something, we don't like doing it. It didn't matter how many times I praised him for how well he was doing or ensured him that it was ok to make mistakes, he became discouraged. I understand that his small hands don't like to stay spread properly across the keys. I know that his little fingers are still weak. And that's ok. Like I said in the beginning, the more familiar you are with something, the easier it will be to learn. 

I think this is a fantastic program. 
I think it will benefit my children greatly. 
I think we'll wait a bit before trying again.

Don't let that stop you from buying it though! From now until August 29, 2012, you can save 20% on your order using code SUMMER2012! Also, there are tons of free lessons on the site and resources to help you along the way.  

As always, you can read more reviews of Christian Keyboarding on the Crew blog.

* Disclaimer: I received this e-book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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Tasty Tuesday: Marshmallow Pops

Happy 4th of July!!!

Wait a minute. Yesterday was Fathers Day and today is July 4th???

I'm so confused.

Maybe I'll post something about Christmas tomorrow, just to keep you guessing.

These marshmallow pops are so quick and easy to make. Even easier than the brownie pops. (Though not quite as tasty. Shhh, don't tell my kids.)

 You'll need marshmallows, chocolate (we use Wilton candy melts), sprinkles, and sucker sticks.

 Start by putting the marshmallows on the sticks.

Melt the chocolate and dip the marshmallows into it. Tap the stick on the side of the bowl to remove the excess chocolate.

Working quickly before the chocolate hardens, add your sprinkles.

And last but definitely not least


See? I told you they were easy!

Now, to start on that Christmas post . . .

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday 7/18/12

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Messy Situations. Literally.

I posted this on Facebook this morning:
Your attitude about negative circumstances is so important. Sometimes, all you can do is laugh. If the rest of the day continues like this morning, I'm going to be laughing. A lot. :)
Things happen that are beyond our control. Situations arise that are less-than-pleasant. How you respond to those times can determine your day, your life. You can't change it. So why get upset?

I woke early this morning. I read my Bible and even had time to exercise before my 3-month-old woke up. I fed him while enjoying the quietness of the house as the others were still sleeping. We played together, just the two of us. He smiled. I smiled. He talked. I talked. He threw up all over me. I changed my clothes.

I sat at the table with my baby. All of a sudden, I felt warmth on my lap. Hmm, I thought. My lap feels wet.  I lifted Tyler up and there, where he had been sitting, was a pool of baby poop.

I stood up and instantly felt the warm liquid trickling down my legs. It was then that I really wished someone else was around. I needed help. Someone needed to clean the baby up. Someone needed to clean the floor and chair up. Someone needed to clean me up. That one and only someone was me. All I could do was laugh. For a split second, I debated what to do. I walked the few steps to the counter and grabbed a couple kleenex. I quickly wiped the streaks of pea-green that had reached down to my ankles, and against my better-judgment, trekked across my light-colored carpet to the other side of the house, praying the goopy liquid would not leave its mark on my floor. 

Still laughing because this whole messy situation was so ridiculously grotesque, I set the baby down on a changing mat. I slowly, carefully opened his romper. unsnap . . . unsnap . . . unsnap. Another pool of green goop was waiting for me in his clothing. Still more in his diaper. The smile on his face matched my own. Even he understood how absurd this was.  

I changed his clothes. I changed mine. I cleaned every trace of green from myself and my house. I put my little one down for a well-deserved nap.

It was after this incident that I wrote the above statements as my status.

Fast forward an hour or so.

I reached into my refrigerator for a jar of jelly, a big two-and-a-half-pound jar of jelly. The top, by which I was trying to retrieve the condiment, was not screwed on properly. Thus, I dropped the jar on floor, splattering jelly everywhere. Everywhere. Here I am, wearing ivory-colored capris, covered in deep red jelly. I remembered my words from this morning. And I laughed. Again. 

I rinsed  my clothes, left them to soak in a bucket filled with a stain-removing solution, and headed back to my sticky kitchen. I sopped up piles of jelly from the floor. I washed the sticky substance that was dripping down my oven. I scrubbed my cupboards that were splattered red. I wiped down the backsplash that was doused with more than it anticipated.

I turned to the remaining jelly and grabbed a piece of bread.

"Mommy, I don't want a sandwich anymore."

And I laughed.

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Make It Monday: Love You To Pieces Card

We are so prepared. We've already made Leighton's Fathers Day gift for next year! 

What? You think 11 months in advance is too early?
Surely this can't be the card we made him 4 weeks ago. Right? Right???

Let's say we did give this to him a month ago and I'm just now sharing it. {ahem} Hypothetically, of course.   

You'll need pieces from a puzzle that you don't mind sacrificing. If you don't have any lying around with missing pieces, first of all, I commend you! Secondly, you can pick up a cheap one from the dollar store. You'll also need paint, brushes, letters (stickers, foam, chipboard, or hand-written.) Depending on your choice of letters, you might need glue, as well. You can make this on card stock, construction paper, or foam (like we did.) It would even be cute on canvas hung up on the wall.

Paint, paint, paint those pieces! We had so much fun decorating the silly shapes that we painted far more pieces than we needed for this project. It was neat to see how creative the kids were. I showed them how to paint one to look like a turtle, and their imaginations took off. It is also a good activity to practice their fine motor skills. 

Jake and Alyssa helped me find the letters to spell out "WE LOVE YOU TO PIECES." I hot-glued the letters and the puzzle pieces on the front.

For the inside of the card, I glued these questionnaires that they kids answers about their daddy. I asked them the questions one-on-one so they wouldn't hear each others answers and copy. Even so, it was interesting to see the things they answered the same. Some of their answers are totally wrong, some are completely right, and some are very funny.  

By Jacob, 6:
My dad is 29 years old.
My dad weighs 70 pounds.
My dad is 6-point-something tall.
My dad's favorite color is green.
My dad's favorite food is chicken.
My dad is really strong. He could lift a house.
My dad always says hi.
My dad is the best at working.
My dad's job is to drive a Bobcat.
My dad laughs when I'm being silly.
My dad and I like to go to work. (like this day)
My dad really loves when I obey.
I love my dad because he loves me.
It makes my dad happy when I obey.

By Alyssa, 4:
My dad is 29 years old.
My dad weighs 100 pounds.
My dad is {raises hand in air} this tall. Bigger than Mommy.
My dad's favorite color is green.
My dad's favorite food is anything Mommy makes.
My dad is really strong. He could lift a person.
My dad always says don't play with your gum.
My dad is the best at blinking.
My dad's job is to go to work.
My dad laughs when I be silly.
My dad and I like to play stuff.
My dad really loves Mommy.
I love my dad because he's the best.
It makes my dad happy when I obey him.

By Zac, 2:
My dad is 3 years old.
My dad weighs 2 pounds.
My dad is bigger!
My dad's favorite color is green.
My dad's favorite food is green.
My dad is really strong. He could lift wood to make our bunk beds.
My dad always says to work.
My dad is the best at work.
My dad's job is to make our bunk beds.
My dad laughs when the bunk beds.
My dad and I like to play Buckyballs.
My dad really loves to work.
I love my dad because.
It makes my dad happy when I color.

Happy Fathers Day 4 weeks ago . . . er, in 11 months . . . to the daddy of my babies. We loved you then and we'll love you still. Even though your job requires a lot of you (as shown in their answers) we know that you love us and work hard to provide our every need. I'm so pleased with the daddy you've become and proud to call you the father of my children.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Who Is My Neighbor?

I have fallen in love this past year.

No, we didn't get new neighbors.

No, I'm not referring to our newest addition (though it does apply there as well.) 

I talking about Apologia. I've loved everything I've received from them. Who Is My Neighbor is no exception.

Who Is My Neighbor is part of the What We Believe Series, a biblical worldview course. The purpose of this course is stated as follows:

"Worldview studies help children understand how they (and other people) perceive the world around them. Understanding what we believe as Christians and why we believe it helps your child to form a worldview that is centered on God’s truth as presented in the Bible. Once we learn to see the world the way God sees it, we can begin to look at other worldviews and understand why others believe as they do. This understanding will help our children, as they grow, to communicate effectively with others about the hope that is in us as Christians. In addition to teaching the foundation beliefs common to most Christians, the What We Believe series takes a respectful, factual look at other worldviews and teaches children to take notice of differing worldviews coming at them from books, radios, TV, movies, the Internet, friends, etc."

Each volume in the series stands alone, so starting with volume 3 was not an issue at all. It's geared toward ages 6-14, but I've been using it with my 6, 4, and 2 year old. The textbook ($39) is a beautiful, hardcover book. It's written directly to the student, which makes it easy for me to read to my kids without having too much explaining to do. Parts of this book are above them for sure, but it works with a little adapting. The book is so thorough, so well-written, that I can easily use it again when the kids are older. I know they'd glean more truth from it.

This course is filled with short stories, interesting information, and much history. My children eat that stuff up. When they can answer every question at the end of a story, you know they enjoyed it.  

You can also purchase a notebooking journal ($24) to compliment the textbook. This spiral-bound book lays flat on the table, making it easy for the student to complete the work. It does have questions, but it also has fun pages like crossword puzzles, words searches, pictures to draw, and blank pages for notes. It's too advanced for my crew and too pretty to just let them color it, so we'll implement it when they're older.    

Those Apologia people sure are smart though. They even offer a coloring book ($8) for the young ones! My kids loved this high-quality, detailed book. The pictures accompany the lessons and reiterate the stories. My kids liked looking through the book and trying to guess what the next story would be. Sure, you could use the textbook on its own, but the journal for older kids and the coloring books for the younger ones are great resources.

I really like this course. It's thorough, high-caliber, and easily used with multiple ages. I know we'll use this book in the future (and make good use of that journal!) I've learned something this past year: if it's from Apologia, it's gotta be good.

Still not convinced? Go check out some more reviews of Who Is My Neighbor? on the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

* Disclaimer: I received this product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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