Friday, October 28, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Relevant



The picture above is relevant to this blog post.  This is Lisa-Jo.  She is the Gypsa Mama.

Oh!  That’s tomorrow! She gasped.

In this spot, this place . . . I am with the fact that I blog.  I am normal. I am a writer.  It is OK to blog.  Even normal to blog.  Imagine that at a blogging conference.  I feel God’s joy and pleasure when I write.  It is what I am called to do in this season of my life.  I am passionate about scripting words during my showers, washing dishes, and driving in the car. 

Because writing . . . it is relevant to my life.

My blog is an extension of my life . . . the work that God is doing in me.  And He has called me to share in His business.  His presence on the world wide web.

He is here.  He is watching.  He’s my biggest fan. 

And that is relevant . . . it is the well from which I write.  He is the reason I write.  And sometimes, like today . . . He affirms my passion.  My love of playing with words. 


(Thanks for such an awesome talk Tsh Oxenrider and Lisa-Jo for brainstorming topics with us for Friday’s creative writing.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My First Hands-On Bible: A Review

I review a lot of stuff.  And sometimes what I review becomes just “stuff.”  I was enticed . . . it looked good . . . I grabbed the review . . . and was disappointed in the end or said product just never fit into our life.

Not so with this book. 

A great Bible for preschoolers. 


My preschooler.


My First Hands-On Bible by Tyndale is user friendly (read parent friendly . . . do-able . . . no preplanning necessary) bible for kids.


I dropped what Gabe was using for Bible time in school and we immediately began using My First Hands-On Bible.  The little guys loves reading this Bible . . . he stays in one place for the ENTIRE story. 

That is a feat. 


And he loves the activities . . . see the handprint in the above picture?  Whenever there is a hand . . . there is an activity . . . like “slide like a snake.”  Simple task . . . but adds a memory to the story being read.  Easy activities that only require normal household items. 

Other learning moments are provided after each Bible story:

In a nutshell . . . this book is staying.  And it is going to get used . . . in school and snuggle time.

Caveat:  This Bible is written in the New Living Translation.  Though this is not my preferred Bible translation, for the age that Gabe is  I do not have a problem reading to him from the NLT.
MamaBuzz Media
This is a MamaBuzz Media review. The product was provided by Tyndale for this review. All views/opinions are my own and I would have bought this book ($16.99) had I not reviewed it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Elementary Round Up

She turned 1 . . .


  • and the boys made her birthday educational.



loyalty thru the Great Horned Owl.


A very proud 3-year old showed me his work. 



  • A visit from a large bird.


  • Learning how to make Mom’s coffee – probably the most important lesson all week.  {Grin.}


  • Copywork and narration


  • Math


  • Phonics



  • Tuttles Apple Orchard . . . which is a whole post in itself


  • Practicing hospitality . . . preparing for a baby shower


  • cleaning with natural ingredients



  • Bible study with the Engineer


What did you do?  To see the original Elementary Round Up post, click here.  To view other options, click here.

If you don’t have a blog to link up with . . . leave a comment and tell us what your family did in the Learning Room!


  1. Write a blog post about your elementary aged child(ren), first through sixth grade, comprising the activities you did the past week.  You can include pictures, bullet points, tools used, learning gained, God moments, etc.   Or it can simply be a new thing Mom learned.
  2. Be sure to include a link back to my blog.  By doing so, other like-minded readers can hang out in a central location if they are looking for Elementary School ideas.   Publish your post and then head back to my site. 
  3. Provide the exact link (URL) of the Elementary Round-UP blog post you wrote, not your blog’s home address, through the provided Linky.
  4. Optional:   I would love it if you grabbed my blog button over on the side. 
  5. You can combine this with other meme’s if that helps you to save time (as long as it is OK with the other blog owner).

BIG IMPORTANT HEART MOMENT:  This isn’t a blog post to WOW other moms . . . the point of this is to help YOU document on YOUR blog what you and your child(ren) are learning.  My link-up is only to provide some accountability.  I won’t come and leave nasty comments on your blog if you don’t link up.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rodents and Speeding Trains

Rodents often have a wire wheel in their cage.  It spins.  It spins kind of fast for a laboratory animal -- providing entertainment, exercise, and amusement to avoid the dull drums or obesity. 

I have yet to see a rat use it effectively.  Really, I’ve never seen any vermin use this contraption.

However, I imagine that when the creature wishes to stop, that the desired goal may be harder to achieve than previously thought.  In fact, maybe that is why I have YET to see a mouse use this circus-like contraption.  They learned the hard way. 

It only took once. 

To stop moving—that vermin would topple head over heals.  Their feet hardly appear strong enough to support their jellybean shaped body.  I see flared toes and a smashed nose.  A scene that finds us bystanders wondering which way is north for this small beating heart. 

Similarly, if you have a ticket on a high speed rail (train) . . . your body is hurdling through a small space on the side of a mountain without you really being aware of the speed with which you are traveling.  Should you decide to pull the break line, you would find yourself facing the reality of your velocity. 

And you would resemble the above mentioned rat.  Kind of.

I liken my life to said rodent on the spinning wheel and momentarily unfortunate ticketholder.  I sometimes feel like I am on a voyage that took a detour. 

Not the destination that I had envisioned.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my Engineer and the five other passengers. 

It’s just that . . .

There is no way I would attempt to allude to this dizzying speed with which I feel I am traveling, except in a brief raw moment of honesty. 

Like now.

But when confronted by Truth, I can not hide behind the new clothes and spiffy hair cut. 

To let a tear drop.  That seems like defeat.  Not the honesty I had intended.

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. (Joel 2:13)  ~ Thanks, Christina Icarus.

All the attempts at organizing . . . planning . . . pretend striving. 


In a room filled with stories, I see that my worship . . . my way . . . my veneration of the Holy One . . . is so . . . empty. 

The way that I sing.  Rote.

The way that I talk with Abba.  Monotone.  Laconic.

The authority by which I beseech the Maker of Heaven and Earth.  Without expectation.

Kudos for modest dress.  Yet, attire that is filled with plump folds of gluttony and sloth.  And a depressed thyroid.

My interaction with others?  Why don’t you ask my children.  How valued they feel depends on the hour. 

My standards . . . numb.  Like a Pharisee.

The safest road to hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

C.S. Lewis

I find myself in a scary but honest and real place. 

Kay Arthur writes, “How we need to be aware of the subtleties of prosperity and ease, which can cause us to forget the greatness of our God and the so-great-a-salvation He has wrought for us!  And when we do forget, our worship will become mechanical just as Israel’s did.  Even though they were explicitly warned by Moses in Deuteronomy 6:10-15, they worshiped God only with their lips while their hearts were far from Him.”

I can’t blame the metallic taste in my mouth on Levothyroxine thyroid medicine.  I took myself off of it. 

It’s called . . . it’s called . . . it’s called . . .

~ a lack of fortitude? 

~ being ruled by one’s emotions? 

~ ignored sin?

I don’t know.

And what is the point of this prose?  I don’t know.  I am grasping at straws, trying to decipher what to think.  To understand events that unfold and play out before my eyes. 

To make meaning of conversations I don’t understand.

Perhaps, just perhaps, it will resonate with someone over on their computer screen.

Worship the Lord in holy attire;

Tremble before Him, all the earth.

Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns;

Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved;

He will judge the peoples with equity.”

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;

Let the sea roar, and all it contains;

Let the field exult, and all that is in it.

Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy

Before the Lord, for He is coming,

For He is coming to judge the earth.

He will judge the world in righteousness

And the peoples in His faithfulness.

Psalm 96: 9-13

Friday, October 21, 2011




To infinity and beyond.  Those words forever ingrained in my mind.  Except the voice I hear isn’t Buzz . . . but etched in my memory with far more memorable voices, important people.

Asher.  Ezra.  Gabe.

In their imaginary world, they can climb Mt. Everest, stop a speeding train, rescue Mom from an attack dog, stop a robber, halt a bank heist. 

God gave us this amazing brain that we really can’t even begin to grasp all of the wonderful things that it is capable of.  This complex organ that is so, well . . .  complex.  But it is only with God that we can go to infinity and beyond. 

Whether here . . . doing the impossible.  Doing what seems unimaginable.  A God sized task.

Or when our time has come, being taken up in the clouds to meet He who created us to live to infinity and beyond with Him in the new Jerusalem.


        1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
        2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
        3. Most importantly: leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them in their writing!

      Thursday, October 20, 2011

      October Nature Study Giveaway

      Win this great Fall Unit Study from The Simple Homeschool – 66 pages! A great compliment to Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf for your older children.

      Simple Schooling October Nature Study: Tree - Leaf - Seed

      Recently, Gabe and I had a lot of fun doing some activities with the book, Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf. 

      You can read about it over at Totally Tots.



      I’ve got something to make a lesson out of this book easier for you.

      Especially with those older kids of yours. 

      Check it out . . .here.

      We’ve had tons of fun with the copy work poem, learning about Maple trees, and coloring leaves. 

      66 pages. 

      To win . . .

      Mandantory:  What is a fun fall activity you plan on doing with your children or you have already done this year?


      Contents ends Monday, October 24, 2011.

      Wednesday, October 19, 2011

      Kombucha Babies

      I make my kombucha differently than I used to.  I forgot to tell you.  The mother is much happier and healthier these days.  So are her babies. 


      So  . . . if you used to make it like this and it works for you . . . great. 

      But this is how I do it now. 


      (sweetened tea {left} ready to be fermented beside fresh kombucha{right})


      • 3 tsp organic loose black tea 
      • 1 tsp organic loose green tea
      • 1 – 1 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
      • filtered water (I use 3 quarts)
      • Kombucha SCOBY (I recommend using Cultures for Health)
      • 1/2 cup kombucha from previous batch (you can also use vinegar)
      • clean round bowl or “candy jar,” preferably (in my opinion) with a lid or mason jar
      • towel and tape if you don’t have a lid (see original instructions) or paper coffee filter


      I have changed from being adamant about using white sugar and Lipton tea . . . despite the directions I received with my last SCOBY. 

      I am better educated.

      Plus . . . I like using organic ingredients.  I’m Granola Mom after all.  But seriously.  SCOBY’s absorb whatever they come in contact with . . . which is why you don’t want them to contact metal or linger in plastic. 

      Do use sugar, not honey or other sugar substitute.  You want to maintain a proper PH and deter unwanted organisms from growing in your culture. 

      • Heat your water to boiling. 
      • Add sugar and heat until it has dissolved.
      • Once boiling has resumed, stir in loose tea.
      • Turn stove off and allow tea to steep approximately 10 minutes or until cool.
      • Strain tea leaves (don’t forget to compost!)
      • Transfer sweet tea to glass jar and add SCOBY and 1/2 cup of previous kombucha (or vinegar substitute).  
      • Place your well fed SCOBY in a dark, safe place . . . preferable a quiet spot away from your compost container and fruit flies for 5-10 days, depending on your taste buds.  The warmer the environment the faster the fermentation. The longer you allow it to brew, the more tart it will become. 
      • Bottle, chill and enjoy!

      Each time you make kombucha, you will always grow a baby.  You can give this baby to a friend or place it in your compost pile. 

      Or make a sling shot out of it . . . it works great as a substitute leather.  Just saying.


      Out of Control: A Review

      I can’t remember the last time I sat at an almost too small table for Neo, myself, and my coffee . . . and blogged.  But here I am.  Here I sit.  Alone.  All of the family errands are completed.  Twenty minutes to myself.  To sit.  To relax.  To blog. 

      And in this 20 minutes I bring to you a vacation reading review.  Call me crazy.  You may think I should read a book, do nothing, or blog about something more personal. 

      But . . . no.  I wanted to savor “old times” and check this review off of my list.

      And get the book on my paperback swap list! 

      Out of Control, by Mary Connealy,  might be a read for a bright, sunny room. . . . if you have an overactive imagination like myself.  The characters in this story have got some serious childhood issues that are a result of very dysfunctional families.  Curiosity and greed only serve to aggravate already strained relationships. 

      Rafe Kincaid rescues desperately seeking fossil enthusiast Julia Gilliland.  Little do they know how intertwined their lives are . . . and will become. 

      Like I said, there are parts of this book that might creep you out and act like a steroid to your imagination.  If you are prone to a story gripping your thoughts and creating graphics with the shadows, this book may not be for you . . . though a redemptive story in its conclusion.

      Thanks Bethany House for providing me with a book to review!  I was not paid for this post and did freely express my opinion.  That’s what I like about Bethany House!

      Tuesday, October 18, 2011

      One Whole Year

      I greeted October 18th with a roar from deep within.  Last year. My voluminous thundering brought forth life. 


      Without anyone being present but the Lord, the Engineer, and myself.  Not quite what we had in mind.   However, it was the reality.


      I sit here slightly incredulous.

      One whole year?

      DSC_0085(Your first unpasteurized, unfermented leche)

      You are still like a little flower petal unfolding, revealing each intricate layer of how carefully the Lord crafted you.  And it is delightful.  Precious.


      Naomi Torah your name fits you so well.  Your name . . . Pleasant Word . . . you fill that name till it overflows and can’t contain the overflowing well of joy that you bring us. 


      Happy Birthday, sweet baby girl.


      Monday, October 17, 2011

      Little Passports

      I just wanted to pass on a great discount . . . especially for those of you who want to study the world with your kiddos . . . but don’t want to print a bunch of printables.  Though here are three GREAT websites --

      Or rather . . . you want something hands-on . . . interactive and then you will print some worksheets.

      Sam & Sophia Go To Brazil

      Little Passports.  My kids love it. 

      We have lots of fun with it. 

      15% off Little Passports with code SAVE15 (subtle hint)

      But my camera ate all of the pictures . . . again.  And it isn’t something that I can recreate . . . feigned surprise.  They won’t do it.  It was such a fun moment too . . . opening our suitcase . . . exploring the contents. 

      Sigh.  I need a new memory card. 

      Maybe when we open our next Little Passports package --  I’ll have some new photos.  I think we are traveling to Brazil. 

      Anyhow . . . use the discountSAVE15

      And yes . . . I am an affiliate.  But Little Passports is a product we like and use!

      Sunday, October 16, 2011

      Elementary Round Up

      I’m writing a blog post that I’m going to end up entering into my very own linky.  I feel slightly lame.  However, if I go back and edit Friday’s blog post . . . many of you may never know . . . unless I write a blog post letting you know. 

      So . . . since I have to write a blog post anyway . . . then I will just link to myself because it sounds like fun.  And it’s easier. 

      And rather than break it up by age this week . . . I’m writing this according to the time stamp.  A chronological school week. 


      A trip to the chiropractor with our Flat Travelers.  (Blog post coming soon on a Flat Traveler Swap). 


      By the way, I started using Valor TGEO . . . totally holds my (our adjustments MUCH longer.)  Let me know if you want some!

      Love, loving, loving history these days. 


      And it is only getting better with the addition of our new Imagination Station books we are reviewing reading.  (Giveaway coming soon!)


      We revisited the Fertile Crescent.


      Coupled with the proper way to use a shaduf.


      Ziggy from All About Reading made several appearances. 


      He is such a kissy zebra!


      Ezra further focused on the Letter U in Saxon Phonics and Handwriting Without Tears.


      The boys had fun learning some Scripture while I made breakfast with the help of Clubhouse Kidz.


      And I  can’t forget to mention our beloved Stick Figure Bible!! (Stay tuned for a fun interview with the artist behind Grapevine Studies!)


      Some Letter U coloring from Carisa’s Raising Rock Stars Preschool printables.


      First Language Lessons made a few appearances . . . we have been learning about proper nouns.  States are proper nouns . . . just in case you didn’t know that.


      Oh . . . and there aren’t that many pictures of Asher . . . he isn’t so fond of the camera these days . . . but we are also working on learning math facts.


      Thanks to Apologia . . . we still are catching bugs and placing them in the refrigerator.  One bee accidently found himself residing in the cheese drawer.  He was happy there . . . for awhile.  I have a cricket beside my Vitamix.  Under a jar.  She is not happy.  I know that she is a she because of her ovipositor.  She also poops a lot.  Really.

      To see what other curriculum we use . . . you can visit our curriculum page . . . but I need to revise it.  So maybe you shouldn’t.

      Linking up to myself . . . and you should to. 

      Granola Mom 4 God