Friday, February 27, 2015

Things That Make Me Smile 2/27/15

Jake (9), Alyssa (6½), Zac (5), Tyler (2½), Nicholas (2 months)

Happy Friday! We've had a pretty typical week. We baked a cake, made a batch of play dough, read some books, and loved on the baby lots. Alyssa lost her 4th tooth when Jake's head collided with hers and knocked it out. These little ones makes sure life is never boring and full of Smiles! I am blessed.

1. Zac: "Did you feed Nick at night?"
Me: "Yes."
Zac: "Oh, then you fed him thrice today. That means 3 times."

2. Jake, watching The Sound of Music: "Where are the Yatzees?" (Nazis)

3. Zac, holding his eye: "Alyssa punched me."
Me, calling: "Alyssa!"
Alyssa: "Yes?"
Me: "Did you punch Zac?"
Alyssa: "I didn't mean to punch him there."
Me: "But you meant to punch him?"
Alyssa: "Uh huh. He did something really, reeeally bad to me."
Me: "He did? What did he do?"
Alyssa: ". . . I don't remember."


5. Tyler was yelling over the sound of my blow dryer, "Don't be loud, Mommy!!!"

6. Me, because Zac kissed Nicholas: "You love that baby?"
Zac: "Yeah, I love him so much that my head could burst off!"

7. Jake, looking at the ad on the Kindle: "Look, Anne of Green Gables! Can we get it? You said I had to read the book before I can watch the movie." 

8. Jake: "Can I have some?"
Me: "No, you have to eat breakfast."
Jake: "But they are breakfast! They're fruit snacks."

9. Alyssa: "I think I should have obeyed the first time."

10. Zac, about Nicholas: "First, he was so tiny. Then, he got really big magically."

11. Me: "Stop trying to eat the baby's face off."
Alysa: "But it looks so yummy."
Me: "Can't argue with you there."

What made you Smile this week?

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In Freedom's Cause

A new year with the Schoolhouse Review Crew has begun! And what better way to start the year than with something that our family loves--an audio book.

We were thrilled to be chosen to review In Freedom's Cause Single Package, the newest product created by Heirloom Audio Production.

Our schooling is very literature-based. Our family loves read-alouds. I've mentioned dozens of times how the kiddos will sit and listen to various novels for hours on end. I love reading them quality literature and sharing that time with them. Not only does it teach them life lessons, it also introduces them to new vocabulary. The only problem is that I don't always have the time to spend the day reading. (Sometimes life just isn't fair, ha.) We love to incorporate audio books and dramas into our days. Whether we're folding clothes, driving in the van, or just needing some downtime, audio books are perfect. This one is no exception.

In Freedom's Cause is a theater-quality production based on the novel with the same name, written by G.A.Henty. Every time the CD started playing when we'd listen to another portion, Tyler (2) asked to turn on the television so he could watch it. Between the music, the quality of the actors reading the lines, and the background sounds (wind blowing, cannons firing, birds chirping, keys jingling, fire crackling, etc.), it sounds like a movie production, and a good one at that. It's easy to visualize the scenes: horses galloping the countryside, men engaged in sword fights, people battling for their lives. The boys and I were immediately pulled into the story. Alyssa, on the other hand, was convinced she wasn't going to like the story. She quickly changed her mind a few minutes in when she asked, "There's a girl in this? I didn't know there were girls!" It doesn't take much for my girl with four brothers to be happy.

This story relates what really happened with William Wallace and Robert the Bruce as seen from the life of Ned Forbes. Ned learns the true cause of his father's death, watches firsthand as Wallace inspires his countrymen to stand up against the mightiest military force, depends on God to guide him, experiences a goat woo (lots of laughs all around!), falls in love with an unlikely woman, and takes part in the history of gaining Scotland's freedom. The story is action-packed and full of adventure.

This project was so important to the audio team (which includes some pretty popular actors) that they actually traveled to Scotland to walk where the characters walked in order to capture the essence of the story. Their passion is heard in the voices and the quality of the work. It's easy to get caught up in the story. In fact, every time we'd listen, my little ones would walk around speaking in a Scottish accent, haha.

In Freedom's Cause single package costs $29.95 (+ shipping and handling). Along with the 2-CD set, you will receive 3 bonuses:

  1. In Freedom's Cause Study Guide (digital download) -- This complete guide is used to enhance your learning and complement your study. Each section, which correlates to the tracks on the CDs, is  filled with review questions, ideas to get you thinking deeper, and vocabulary words. There is more information about the history of Scotland, multiple Bible studies that coordinate with the story, and many pictures from the times. 
  2. Printable Copy of The Prayer of William Wallace (digital download) -- This beautiful and inspiring prayer is Psalm 23 in the Latin Vulgate. The quality of the copy is high enough that you can simply print, frame, and enjoy.
  3. In Freedom's Cause Soundtrack (MP3 download) -- Our family loves soundtracks. This beautiful music was written by Emmy-winning composer John Campbell (creator of the original score for C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia) and is considered some of his best work. We've enjoyed listening to this moving music while doing school, cleaning house, and even now while I type this review! 

The audio production is ideal for ages 6-adult, but our entire family enjoyed listening to it. Of course, the little ones didn't quite understand everything, I'm sure, but it's never too early to introduce quality literature. This will be a story that we reference throughout the years.

You can connect with In Freedom's Cause on the following social media sites:

If you'd like to see what other homeschool families thought of this production, you can read more reviews  on the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

Crew Disclaimer
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Things That Make Me Smile 2/20/15

Jake (9), Alyssa (6½), Zac (5), Tyler (2½), Nicholas (2 months)

Happy Tuesday! We had a very busy weekend, so I'm just now getting to this post. Today is still a great day to Smile though!

1. Me: "Do you know the opposite of quiet?"
Tyler: "Yeah, drums!"

2. Alyssa, pointing to a book: "Which one is Madeline? This one? Why is she holding her (Miss Clavel) hand?"
Me: "Because she's always getting in trouble."
Alyssa: "Why?"
Me: "Because she's curious and mischievous. Remind you of anyone?"
Alyssa: "Tyler!"

3. Zac: "Ty's scribbling on all the paper! Look! He's scribbling on all of it!"
Me: "He's not scribbling; he's drawing."
Jake: "Some people call it art."


5. Me, teasing: "Are you kissing my baby?"
Tyler: "No, it's my baby!"

6. Me: "Do you realize that not everyone has a dishwasher and has to wash and dry the dishes by hand all the time?"
Alyssa: "No, they could have a clothesline." 

7. Zac:" What's school for anyway?"
Me: "To learn."
Zac: "But I know everything!"
Alyssa: "What's 10+10?"
Zac: "That's easy. 20."
Me: "What's 20-10?"
Zac: "Wellll, I don't know minuses."

8. Tyler, about Nicholas: "He wants to hold me."
9. Watching the kids push the baby around the house.


10. Nicholas was lying in bed crying while I was getting ready. I heard Jake go in the room and tell him, "Hey, bud, man up!"

11. Alyssa, as we were leaving for church: "I don't want to share Nick's cuteness!"

12. Alyssa, frustrated: "Tyler! Stop talking to me! I'm trying to read!" Tyler, laughing: " You stop talking to me! I'm trying to play! Alyssa! Alyssa! Alyssa? You stop talking. I'm trying to play! Alyyyyyssa. Alyssa. Alyyyyyysa. Stop talking! I'm a duck! Quack, quack. Alyssa? . . . "

What made you Smile this week?

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Things That Make Me Smile 2/13/15

Jake (9), Alyssa (6½), Zac (5), Tyler (2½), Nicholas (2 months)

Happy Friday! We're getting ready for Family Game Night, but I wanted to make sure this got posted first. I hope you've all had a great week. Feel free to leave your own Smile in the comments below or on our Facebook page. We'd love to Smile with you!

1. Jake, after listening to Hush, Little Baby: "Sheesh, how much money does he have?"

2. Tyler, after waking: "Did Daddy go to work?"
Me: "Yes."
Tyler: "I want him to go back to our house."

3. Zac, reading: "C-U-T-E. I didn't even know that was a word."

4. Me: "Good morning. How did you sleep?"
Zac: "Good. Very looong."
Me: "I've been up for 3 hours already. Your baby brother wouldn't let me sleep."
Zac: "He's still cute."


6. Zac, excited: "Since Ty took off a couch cushion, he found 2 of my fravorite things!" (his Bible and stuffed animal)

7. Leighton: "What was the commercial for?"
Zac: "Just to bug us."

8. Jake: "What happened to the snowman (dip spreader)?"
Me: "He was decapitated. He fell down the garbage disposal."
Jake: "Oh, I thought it was Tyler. He's always getting into mischief."

9. Alyssa: "I like having a baby brother. He's a fun baby. I want a baby sister, too. That might not happen for a while though. Two years apart." 

 11. The kids were playing hide and seek. Zac came to find them and Tyler yelled out, "I'm over here and Alyssa's over there!" Before Zac got to him, he jumped out and said, "You found me!"

12. Alyssa: "I feel 10 years younger."

13. Jake: "Ugh, I can't get this!"
Alyssa: "Why don't you just leave it for Dad?"
Jake: "Because I can do it."
Alyssa: "But Dad is an expert at fixing things." 

14. Nicholas had been crying for a while. The only thing that calmed him down was sitting in his swing listening to Jake sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider. Once Jake walked away to get back to his schoolwork, he started to make faces and cry again. Zac looked at him and said, "Don't be a purple minion." 

What made you Smile this week?

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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Things That Make Me Smile 2/7/15

Jake (9), Alyssa (6½), Zac (5), Tyler (2½), Nicholas (1 month)

Happy Weekend! It was a very smile-worthy week, so let's get to Smiling!

1. Zac: "You know what we need? One of those things that turns snow into air!" (a.k.a snowblower)

2. Alyssa: "Mom?"
Me: "Yes?"
Alyssa: "Uh, I don't remember. {a minute later} If I remember what I was going to say, I'll tell you."

3. Tyler: "May I have some water?"
Me: "You have water right there."
Tyler: "No, I said BUTTER!"
Me: "You want butter? On what?"
Tyler: "A 'poon."
Me: "You want butter on a spoon? Just butter? No."
Tyler: "I want butter!"
{We go back and forth a bit. no, yes, no, yes}
Me, taking out the butter: You want to eat just this with your spoon?"
Tyler, making a face: No."
Me: "Ohhh, you want peanut butter!"

4. Jake, about a Lego creation: "Why don't you ever play with this?"
Alyssa: "I don't want to."
Jake: "Then why can't I take it apart? You never even play with it!"
Alyssa: "It's value to me!

5. Jake: "Thank you for providing books every time I need them."

6. Me: "Are you my favorite 2 year old?"
Tyler: "No, I'm just Ty-Ty."
Me: "Oh, are you my favorite Ty-Ty?"
Tyler: "No, I'm Gramma's favorite Ty-Ty!"
7. Alyssa, disgusted: "Mom, Zac keeps saying, 'There's something in my butt and {makes obnoxious bodily noises}.'"
Me: "Zac, do you think Jesus would like that?"
Zac, confidently: "Yes."

8. Jake, about Nicholas: "It's not fair he likes you the best."

9. Jake, cuddling with the baby: "Mmm, he smells good. I wish I had an air freshener that smells like him."

10. Tyler: "I like your face, Mommy."

11. This sign on Alyssa's door:

12. Alyssa, sweetly: "May I borrow some string, please?"
Me: "For what?"
Alyssa: "To tie Zac up."
Me: "No."
Alyssa: "Ugh."

13. Jake: "When I'm a grownup, I'm going to put my kids in bed and eat chips & chili."

14. Tyler: "Mom? Mom? Mommy? Where are you? . . . Moooom? Mommy? MOM! . . . Mommy? Mooooom! Where are you?"
Me: "I'm not answering you."
Tyler: "Oh, there you are!"

 What made you Smile this week?

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

January Purging Update

I can't believe the first month of 2015 has already come and gone! Where does the time go? The holidays are long passed, our baby is 7 weeks old, and things are settling into a new normal around here.
Remember my Word of the Year? I thought it would be good to post an update at the end of every month. It will help me to stay accountable and maybe motivate some of you to purge your possessions, too. Also, my friend Michele from Family, Faith, & Fridays is hosting a 34 weeks of clean challenge this year. I was excited when she announced the series. It perfectly compliments my goal of purging this year, I love cleaning challenges, and it's always fun to see how others organize. Plus, cleaning is more fun with someone else, even if that someone else is cheering you on through a screen, haha. We're currently on week 5, so come join us!

January was very profitable for us. Of course, I kept up with the normal chores like laundry and cleaning, but I also greatly enjoying taking care of some things that get overlooked or were just needing some extra attention.

  • cleaned under the boys beds, removing and putting away all toys/clothes/garbage, & vacuumed
  • emptied & washed the freezer, threw away expired food, and organized (we also have a deep freezer, but that was already organized)
  • cleaned the microwave (a splattered microwave is a pet peeve of mine!)
  • cleaned under the kitchen sink
  • took our "learning" DVDs out of their cases and put them in a binder (all our other movies have been organized in a binder for years) and threw away the cases 
  • reorganized the kitchen cabinets and donated extra dishes and such
  • emptied the coat closet, put the spring/fall coats in the basement making much more room
  • spent many hours working in the basement
  • quickly purged some clothes from my closet and drawers
  • emptied my purse
  • mopped the floors and wiped down all the kitchen walls
  • gathered all my maternity clothes to drop off at the consignment store 
  • and cleaned and organized many other small projects
  • purged some of the boys clothes as I was moving them up a size and packing away the smaller ones

I've gotten into the habit of grabbing a few things here and there to throw away or donate as I see them. Some things, like my clothes, I'm sure will take a few times before I've gotten rid of enough to appease me. I have clothes from high school 15 years ago because they still fit! And I know that the basement will take me all year to get how I want it. It's become a catch-all for everything that doesn't fit upstairs.

Yes, we have too much.


Obviously, some of the pictures show the work in progress and others are the final product. I don't have any before pictures because I didn't feel they were really that big of a difference. Because organization is a love of mine and something that I make sure to keep up,  you wouldn't notice much difference with the befores and afters. Pretty boring.

Besides, it's much more fun to see all my messes, right? 

I'm so excited! I've been wanting my boring white pantry painted for quite a while. I even bought shelf liner last May. Eight months ago! I asked Leighton last week if he'd do it over the weekend, you know, so I could help him with his Word of the Year, haha. And he lovingly finished it late Sunday night. It makes me happy every time I open the door. 

Ok, so are you ready to see how much stuff we donated the month of January???

Not bad for month 1! Two large garbage bags missed out on the picture and there are some boxes under the bags here that are hard to see. Also, we threw away quite a bit of stuff. All in all, I'm very pleased with the work that was accomplished the past four weeks.

Do you have any goals for 2015? Are you working to keep them, too? 

Also, don't forget to join the cleaning challenge with Family, Faith, and Fridays and have fun getting your house in order, too!

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