Monday, May 22, 2017

Things That Make Me Smile 4/28/17

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

Happy Monday! This week, we took the kids to Greenfield Village and took advantage of our rides pass by going on the Model Ts, the train, an old bus, a horse-drawn carriage, and the carousel multiple times. We also enjoyed the playground and had a picnic. There were many Smiles!

1. Me: "Jacob, don't be gross."
Jake: "It's what boys do. We can't help it."

2. Jake: "You can call money dough which is a female deer, but you can also call it buck which is a male deer." 

3. At Greenfield Village --
Lady driving the horse-drawn carriage: "I want the kids to close their eyes and make a wish as we go over the covered bridge."
Tyler, opening his eyes: "Hey, it didn't happen!"
Me: "What did you wish for?"
Tyler: "I wished for the whole world to be covered in ice cream!"


5. Tyler, about the arm a bands to show that we had tickets for the rides at the Village : "Do we get to keep these?"
Me: "Yes."
Tyler: "Yay! I want to keep this on my whole entire life!"
{2 minutes later}
Tyler: "Can I take this off now?"

6. Jake, before going someplace new for the first time: "I chose khakis and a red polo because I'm going to walk in and introduce myself, 'Hi, I'm Jake from State Farm.'" (And then he did.)

7. Alyssa, while eating breakfast I cooked: "My mouth is full of goodness!"


9. Tyler: "What is RV?"
Zac: "Rolling vehicle."
Me: "Recreational vehicle."
Zac: "Oohhhhh."

10. Tyler, looking at a forest: "I love seeing all the trees together. It's like a family!"

What made you Smile this week?

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Captain Absolutely

It's another book review! We've received many books already this year, and since literature is the foundation of our schooling, we are always pleased to read new material. The kids are required to spend a large portion of our school day reading, and while they do have some say in what they read, there are some things that I do not allow. For instance, they can read comic books, but it would be considered extra reading and not count toward the quota for the day. So, imagine their surprise when I handed them a typical super hero comic book and told them it was school reading!   

Captain Absolutely was originally written and illustrated for the  Focus On The Family Clubhouse Magazine. The strip, a spin-off from Adventures in Odyssey and written by Wooten Bassett, was written to explain how values, priorities, and perspective can alter one's worldview. As Christians, our worldview is based on the Absolute Truth found in God's Word. Captain Absolutely helps kids to recognize the things that might take our focus off of Christ and what they can do to combat the lies.

My 11-year-old was the first to snatch the book when we received it. He immediately sat down to read it. An hour an a half later after completing the whole thing, he said, "Are there more of these? That was awesome!" He wrote the following description of the story for me:
A man named Josiah King works for a library. One day, his friend Darren Gray drops a sunflower seed on a computer, causing it to explodes. The blast throws Josiah into a room full of Bibles, so he starts reading and discovers Truth. A leek in the city's radioactive core started filling the room with toxic fumes, giving Josiah super powers. He decides to use his powers for good and becomes Captain Absolutely.
The first villain he meets becomes his arch-nemesis, Dr. Relative. Captain Absolutely catches him stealing computers. Spraying his Neutralizer that makes you forget absolute truth by reminding you of all the wrong things you've done, Dr. Relative is able to trap him in the Shackles of Selfishness. He explains his plan to release Lirus (lies) that will spread through Tvs, phones, and computers. Captain Absolutely realizes that his arch-nemesis was his old friend Darren Gray (who was thrown from the explosion into the philosophy section of the library and discovered Relative Truth). After a bit of a struggle, Captain Absolutely is able to disable Lirus, return the stolen computers, and lock his former friend in jail.
Captain Absolutely started cleaning up the garbage in Metropolitanville and learned about the robotic Vile Ants (violence) that have mind-altering rays that were making everyone angry. Farmer Vile's plan was to fill everyone with rage so he could steal the best farmland for himself. He and his formidable Formicidae were no match for Captain Absolutely, and he too ended up in jail.

As a super hero, he continued fighting other bad guys like Cap'n Crastin (procrastination), Fear Chemist (fear), Baron Von Confuser (confusion), the Unifier, Sloppy Joe, the Pajama Bandits, and Mrs. Grudge. He saves children, gains a sidekick, build his Fortress of Solid Truth, and defeats the evil in the city.

My 9-year-old daughter was the next one to read it. She, too, read it start-to-finish in the same amount of time. Then, she read it a second time by the next morning. My 7-year-old was finally able to claim it by the next day. He read it 3 times in a row before he let his older brother have it back again. In other words, my kids absolutely (see what I did there?) love this book. Sure, they love super heroes and appreciate a good comic, but more than that, they are drawn to the truths that are in the story.

The book is definitely more appealing to the younger crowd and is a bit cheesy in a cute sort of way. It has jokes and comments from Wooten throughout it along with some Scripture references (not KJV like we use, but various other versions). Of course, it also has the typical Splat! Pow! Crash! Thud! Fwing! Squish! Glop! Kaboom! and various other sound words all over, like every good super hero comic strip should have. 

Here's what my kids had to say about it:

"I loved it. I like that it has super heroes and that it's a comic book and not just words." 

"It was an awesome book! I like that Captain Absolutely fights bad guys for the 
sake of God. I like that he quotes Bible all the time." 

"It was awesome! I like that he loves the Bible."

Captain Absolutely is a hit with my super-hero-loving, comic-book-reading, Bible-truth-seeking kiddos. And any book that teaches the Truth, draws my little ones to God's Word, and makes them want to read extra is a hit with me, too.  

My favorite quote from my daughter, as she was starting the book for the third time, really is the best review I can give it. "The last time I read this, it made me want to read my Bible more."

You can connect with Focus On The Family and Adventures In Odyssey on the following social media sites:

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

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Things That Make Me Smile 4/21/17

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

This week we celebrated Alyssa's and Tyler's birthdays with a party, spent a beautiful day out geocaching, and enjoyed a wonderful Easter holiday. I hope you've had many reasons to Smile.

1. Me, leaving the house: "Oh, good, it's not raining."
Alyssa: "I prayed. Twice."

2. Jake, after eating an ice cream sundae and commenting on the sweetness of it: "You know what I noticed? The older you get the less sugar you can handle."  


4. Jake, listing off everything in his backpack for geocaching: ". . two Bibles--"
Me: "Two Bibles?"
Jake: "I need to be prepared."
5. Tyler, after I finished assembling my Creator Expert Lego set: "I am impressed with this set ... what does impressed mean?

6. Alyssa: "I can't wait until Dad gets home so he can see me in real life and not just a picture of me wearing this dress."

7. Alyssa: "Knowing how to make a pbj is a survival skill."
8. Three of the kids were fussing over Nicholas who (barely) got hurt.Jake  piped up, "Is he breathing? Is there blood? He's fine."


What made you Smile this week?

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Secret Bridge

I've mentioned countless times how important quality literature is to our family and how much we love reviewing books. There is always some sort of read-aloud that the kids and I are sharing together. And while I absolutely love reading and can easily get lost in a book, I don't read literature silently to myself very often. Oh, I used to; I used to read multiple novels a week. Then life got busier and I allowed my personal reading to be pushed aside. Every now and then though, a book comes along that begs to be enjoyed, to be read, to be made to come to life in the mind of the reader. The Secret Bridge was one such book.

I was excited when I learned that I was receiving a book from Lamplighter Publishing. The company is known for its wholesome books (both printed and audio) that are filled with characters that encourage faith in God. While the particular books they sell can be found elsewhere, their versions are "edited within a Biblical theological framework to ensure that each story reflects the character of God." Key Scripture references, footnotes with definitions, and biblical truths make these titles unique and highly valued over other books with the same titles. 

The Secret Bridge was written in 1899 by Amy Le Feuvre. The foundation of our home school is literature, and we often pull books from the late 1800s and early 1900s for our learning. The majority of the time, the vocabulary is richer, the godly character traits more pronounced, and the plots more beneficial. Amy Le Feuvre was an accomplished author in England. Being a granddaughter of a reverend, she used her religious upbringing to write many stories that are filled with biblical principles.

The Secret Bridge begins as Bridget Channing is sailing to England. Her widower father had recently died, leaving her to be cared for by an uncle oversees. On the journey, she met Godfrey Bullingham, a naval man from a very well-to-do family. There was a instant mutual attraction, so when Bridget discovered that her uncle had passed away weeks before her arrival and she was subsequently on her own, she agreed to marry Godfrey. The day of the wedding, he left for a year-long voyage at sea, leaving Bridget to keep the marriage a secret from everyone except the elderly couple caring for her in a farm house on Bullingham property. During this time, she was introduced to the Fitzroys, the Bullingham's greatest rivals. As she draws closer to both of these influential families, Bridget discovers another secret--one that could either potentially bring to two families together, or tear her husband's family apart. She must use her new-found faith in God to help her make the proper choices and trust in Him to work out the details.

The story is filled with biblical truths and sprinkled with quotes from Scripture. The reader witnesses Bridget's faith unfold and she learns about God and what it means to climb the ladder of faith. Hardships, struggles, dependence on God, grace, delight. Her relationship with Godfrey is a picture of the Christian life. When she met him, he meant nothing to her. Once they became acquainted, she longed to know him better. He came and saved her in her hour of need, and she became his. Even though he wasn't there in person, she had his letters to get to know him better. He cared for her, provided for her, loved her. It's the same way with Christ. We start off not knowing Him. Then we're introduced to Him, and He saves and we become His child. We know Him better through the Bible. He cares for us, provides for us, loves us. We are His.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Secret Bridge. It was an easy read that reinforced many godly qualities. The book itself has a beautiful, turquoise hardcover with a soft, velvety finish. It would look impressive on any bookshelf as a collector's item. While my children do read literature from this time period, I don't think they would be too interested in this one quite yet. Ultimately, it is a love story (one that pictures our relationship with God), and though there is nothing inappropriate in it, I think it would be more appealing to the teen and older crowd.

Lamplighter Publishing aims to develop "Christlike character one story at a time," and I think that they accomplished that with this book.

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

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

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