Thursday, December 23, 2010

A review- "Radical" by David Platt

As I Sat on my bed, holding the telephone in one hand and gripping my hair in the other, tears streamed down my face. I'd HAD it. Every trial it seemed possible had attacked me in the previous weeks. More insidious were the thoughts popping into my head, relentlessly. "What if you live your whole life trying to be a Christian, TRYING to please the Lord and despite your best efforts God meets you at the pearly gates and says 'nope! you aren't good enough! be gone with ya!'" As I cried My friend Heather reassured me that I was wrong but not to take it from her- to take some time in prayer and ask God himself. I got off the phone, laid on my bed and cried and prayed and asked for ANSWERS. I felt USELESS. I felt as if I NEVER accomplished a thing. Every day blurred into the next and I was left feeling pretty useless. But covered in the comforting lull of a good solid prayer/cry session I felt better. I got up and wiped the tears away and went to check on my 7 children, alone in the living room. Then my eyes glanced across the hall to the dining table where I'd carelessly tossed a package that had arrived earlier in the day. I opened up the package and found the book I'd ordered a few weeks ago and forgotten about. It was this book. As i read the first page, i cracked up. My older children asked me what was so funny. They laughed along with me. As I read the book, the ENTIRE book, in one day, I had many laughing aloud moments. The author, David Platt, Described by some as "the youngest megachurch pastor in history" has a compelling, writing style that made me want to keep on reading. As i continued to read, Mr. Platt described Jesus' style of ministering to people. The primary focus of his ministry was a mere 12 men. I finally understood. My life MEANS something. While in the eyes of the world, I may not be accomplishing much, I am teaching my children to be radical followers of the Lord! And beyond that, I'm teaching them that BEING radical followers of the one TRUE God is the most important thing they will EVER do. Oh the power in that! Now, lest you not know me very well and think I'm all about ego and think i'm perfect, I will say that while the book covered ideas with which I was mostly familiar, I was also very much challenged by the ideas contained within.

This pastor has a rare conviction of focusing on the WORD and not trying to sugar coat and dumb-down the Gospel. One of the first topics in the book was Mr. Platt contrasting the differences in Asian believers, sweaty and nervous, telling heart-wrenching tales of martyrdom and capture; all in a days work for an underground Christian. Then he described an American church event, complete with state of the art recreation fields, inflatables, trendy bands, and plenty of food. And Christians that lived, comparably, in the lap of luxury. He discussed churches that would give $5000 to third world starving people and spend ten to 100 times more on a high tech church building. Looking at it in those terms, it is easy to see how INSANE this life we live is! He talked about the silliness of the concept of "accepting" Christ. As if He, the son of God needs "acceptance" It really demonstrated in understandable terms the ridiculousness of being "made" a Christian by reciting a prayer and signing a contract. He also pointed out that the Great Commission, the last commandment Jesus directly gave His people (us!) was to "Go and make disciples of ALL people, to baptize them, and to give up every THING and every ONE in the process! Wow. A tall order indeed, and yet, is this not what we agree too when we make that choice to lay our lives down for our savior? Is eternity that cheap that we can be content with weekly church service and halfhearted giving, both in time and money? Yes, we are to love EVERYONE and seek EVERYONE. We are to go out to the poor of the world, not just finance others, so we don't have to get our hands dirty. He also committed the cardinal sin in American churchdom- to suggest that wealth is NOT a great goal to aspire to. He compares American churchgoer's wealth to the act of slave-owning. Something that was a "blind spot" in the past, that now, we all can see was heinous, a grievous act of an insensitive people. Well, the author suggests that we are committing a grievous sin ourselves in accruing wealth while brothers and sisters in other parts of the world starve. What can I say, it makes sense. I can definitely see this book "stepping on some toes." But its a GOOD pinch.

There is SOOOO much more in this book that I simply don't have time to mention, But I would encourage you to read this book for yourself. The rewards of living a life of courage, of bravery, of selflessness, described by Mr. Platt are immeasurable. I am blessed to have not only the reassurance of my worth, but practical steps I can take to live out God's mission for my life.

You can find the Kindle edition of this book for a GREAT price here

and for only $1 more (right now) the paperback version here

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Woohoo! another great TOS special!

I can always count on TOS to help me stretch my miniscule homeschooling budget. I have been a subscriber for maybe 5, or 6 years now, at least, and i love getting my magazine! its huge. I love the great authors they get to write articles as well as the AMAZING speakers they get for the expos! John Taylor Gatto last time was AWESOME! Oh and the planners are A*M*A*Z*I*N*G i have the main one and the high school one and they are overwhelmingly complete. I also love the fabulous specials they run a few times a year. This one is one of them, and its a biggie! here's a little blurb from the TOS folks

From November 24 through November 29, we are offering a one-year print subscription for only $19.95, and you'll receive a FREE Cranberries & Cream Homeschooling with Heart tote bag, FREE Schoolhouse Planner of your choice (Includes the 2010-2011 Schoolhouse Planner and any student planner--you select one!), and FREE--our new E-Book: Cranberry Christmas. This offer is extended to U.S. and Canadian residents.

Anyway, this is awesome! i'm so all over this and thought you all might want to be too.

God Bless!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Homeschool tip- colored pencil storage on a dime!

Ok, so i really needed to find a new way to store our colored pencils, and after spending tons of time looking for something to buy to store them sorted by color, i created this! all i did was buy some clear plastic cups, the more durable kind would be better, but i was at walgreens and these were the only ones they had. i'll need to redo this soon, a plastic shoebox, and a hot glue gun.

Now, i ran out of hot glue, so i only used a little on each and really need to redo that. You will need a TON of hot glue. But it is FABULOUS! we've been using it for a couple months now and its SO much easier to keep track of pencils and make them accessible!

So most of our plans have been adapted- a LOT this year. I completely gave up on homeschool tracker, when the trial was up i did not renew. I'm a paper person, i can deny it all i want, but it is what it is!

This week in art, i wanted to do something fallish, and what was on the front page of the art project for kids blog? this project!

Now, let me first say that formulaic art projects are NOT my bag. As an artist, i believe in drawing what you see! Creating from inside, not from drawing predesignated symbols. However, i DO think there are good thinking skills to be derived from following directions when creating, and i thought it would be a good refresher into the use of oil pastels. And i must say, the results were fabulous. the pictures don't even do them justice. What i think is remarkable is you really can't tell whose are whose based on age! Anyway, here they are!

Annabeth- age 7

Chloe- age 9

Nikolas- age 11

Alex- age 15

Friday, October 29, 2010

Woohoo! an amazing freebie!!

haven't tried it yet but check this out!

$20 free at when you spend $20!! here's some possibilities.. the first 75 pages i found searching homeschool

Anything of hers[author]=Stephanie+Guertin&fSearchData[lang_code]=all&fSort=salesRankEver_asc&showingSubPanels=advancedSearchPanel_title_creator

or hers...[author]=Julie+Forsythe&fSearchData[lang_code]=all&fSort=salesRankEver_asc&showingSubPanels=advancedSearchPanel_title_creator

or hers...[author]=Melissa+Ringstaff&fSearchData[lang_code]=all&fSort=salesRankEver_asc&showingSubPanels=advancedSearchPanel_title_creator

Even Ruth Beechick[author]=Ruth+Beechick&fSearchData[lang_code]=all&fSort=salesRankEver_asc&showingSubPanels=advancedSearchPanel_title_creator[author]=Laurel+Lee+Santiago&fSearchData[lang_code]=all&fSort=salesRankEver_asc&showingSubPanels=advancedSearchPanel_title_creator[author]=The+Teachers+Desk&fSearchData[lang_code]=all&fSort=salesRankEver_asc&showingSubPanels=advancedSearchPanel_title_creator[author]=Vicki+Bentley&fSearchData[lang_code]=all&fSort=salesRankEver_asc&showingSubPanels=advancedSearchPanel_title_creator[author]=Kelly+Malloy&fSearchData[lang_code]=all&fSort=salesRankEver_asc&showingSubPanels=advancedSearchPanel_title_creator[author]=Vicki+Bentley&fSearchData[lang_code]=all&fSort=salesRankEver_asc&showingSubPanels=advancedSearchPanel_title_creator[author]=Sandra+Williams&fSearchData[lang_code]=all&fSort=salesRankEver_asc&showingSubPanels=advancedSearchPanel_title_creator[author]=Jodi+Carnes&fSearchData[lang_code]=all&reviewsFilter=&publishDate=&fSort=salesRankEver_asc&fListingClass=0&fListingCategory=&showingSubPanels=advancedSearchPanel_title_creator&fPageNumber=2

oooh... story of the world notebooking pages![author]=Cynthia+Watson&fSearchData[lang_code]=all&fSort=salesRankEver_asc&showingSubPanels=advancedSearchPanel_title_creator[author]=Julie+Shields&fSearchData[lang_code]=all&fSort=salesRankEver_asc&showingSubPanels=advancedSearchPanel_title_creator

And this one is just outright free! how to homeschool an ADHD child![author]=Science+Jim+Mueller&fSearchData[lang_code]=all&fSort=salesRankEver_asc&showingSubPanels=advancedSearchPanel_title_creator[author]=Gary+Schulz&fSearchData[lang_code]=all&fSort=salesRankEver_asc&showingSubPanels=advancedSearchPanel_title_creator[author]=Kathy+Weitz&fSearchData[lang_code]=all&fSort=salesRankEver_asc&showingSubPanels=advancedSearchPanel_title_creator

Another outright freebie- scientific notebook

And the deluxe version[author]=Angela+Frampton&fSearchData[lang_code]=all&fSort=salesRankEver_asc&showingSubPanels=advancedSearchPanel_title_creator

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Incans, Mayans and Aztecs

History was lots of fun today! we read about the incas, mayans and aztecs today. We listened to the Story of the World audio as chloe and alex read along in the book (my visual learners) and we learned all sorts of cool stuff like the origin of chocolate, and how brutal these cultures were. They also learned about how incredibly intelligent the people groups were. The study of history never ceases to amaze me.. WOW.

So then Alex led the discussion of Mayan numbers and math, and they did some mayan math problems. Here's alex explaining the patterns to chloe

next they worked on grinding corn into maize, using tools a mayan or aztec would have- cement and rocks!

What was really funny was Elliott. he immediately started taking the corn kernels and placing them BACK in the bin they came in. he's such a neatnik! i swear, then he found an unattended rock and after briefly trying to taste it brought it out to the middle of the road and pitched it. Is this kid brilliant or what?!? and super cute!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The farm at Swan Creek

We had quite a memorable experience this weekend, not even counting mom and dad's 16th anniversary! But the biggest FAMILY event of the weekend was our massive field trip to Snohomish! i'll include pictures as we have them!

First of all we were stopping at the farmers market on the way out of town to get some apples, and i bent over to pick up an apple and my back went "BOING!!!!!" which i know is a dumb description but that's EXACTLY what it felt like!!! I Was stuck bent over and very carefully stood up. After visiting the chiropractor at the booth one spot over, and confirming that i did indeed NEED an adjustment badly, we continued on our trip since we'd already bought our tickets via groupon and were meeting friends and weren't about to tell them we were bailing!

So we drove allllll the way to Snohomish, little over an hour and called the Kuhns who's adventure you can read about here on JoAnn's blog and we met them coming in. We got a GREAT parking spot, which i always like... i'm weirdly competitive that way!
Here are the twins, who we managed to get in their pumpkin hats just long enough to get a picture before they managed to get them off.

So we saw the Kuhn's waiting in line for lunch

and we went first to the hay maze. I waited outside with the twins and played solitaire while Asher FEROCIOUSLY tried to escape his stroller prison, which clearly we need to tighten!

Dad was inside the hay maze with the kiddos.

Then we stopped over to watch a duck race, it was very very cool. We still have no idea who won though, it was very crowded.

Elliott was a bit uncomfortable with the ducks

Then the kids played for a while in the play area

And then we visited the play thing full of CORN! it was AWESOME! Everyone except elliott liked it. He cried when he started sinking into the corn- oh and we didn't let asher go in it because he doesn't have any sense and i knew he'd eat it!

Then we met up with the Kuhns over at the hay climby thingies. and made one last potty trip before we went through the HUGE state of WA corn maze

This is Maddie, isn't she beautiful? I swear, she's got about the biggest personalithy i've ever seen in a 1`yo, and i've obviously not won her over yet, but it WILL happen!

Then we went to the corn maze by riding a trailer hitched to a giant tractor

And got our picture taken, all of both of our families (stolen from JoAnn)

then we walked ALL OVER the maze, splitting up into the mom group, and the dad group. we had all the girls, plus nik and Sam. We really did go ALL over. the dad group made it through quickly- they had the stroller.

So we finished that and took pumkin pictures! which was hard with the glare. I love the one of Josh and Leif, they are best buds, so sweet :)

Then the kiddos did some putting while i vegged out with the babies and andy

So after that the Kuhns left, and we stayed and TRIED to let nik and chloe fish, but they were sold out :-( And they cried, but not for long because it was petting zoo time!! and chloe got to hold a bunny, probably her favorite animal EVAH! And then one of the twins fed a couple bunnies his APPLE, oops... And Leif was thrilled because he not only got to pet bunnies too, but got to hang out with the CHICKENS! and we all know how Leif feels about CHICKENS! He went to each one and said "Hi! my name is Leif! What is your name? I don't think they answered him though. Annabeth was loving it all too, just loving it ALL, Nik was ready to go home, he was TIRED, Alex was a trooper and a great help throughout the whole thing. What a blessing he is! And i loved hanging with the alpacas

By then, we were pooped and picked up .39 tacos and went home to veg out!!!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

12 week holiday planner for the Christian family- product review

So i finally sat down today, ready to start working on my holiday binder for this year, vowing, yet AGAIN that this year will not find me scrambling, and behind and all around frazzled, come the various holidays that smack us square in the face this time of year!

I already owned a copy of her previous version, but Sheri Graham was kind enough to send me a copy of her new version of the 12 Week holiday planner to review, and I am so pleased and so eager to get started! (2 weeks behind, of course :-)) This fabulous ebook is 171 pages long, packed with easy craft ideas, recipes, calendars, menu plans, menu cards, and most importantly, I think anyway, week by week directions on what to do THAT week to make the holidays easier to tolerate, er.. uh... enjoy, i mean.

The planner starts October 3rd and stretches through January 8th, which is awesome. I have always had the experience that there's no gradual "let down" of Christmas- the radio IMMEDIATELY goes back to regular music, the stores take down their displays, its like BLAMO- marketing time is over, let's call it quits. But for me, its hard to switch gears that fast! i always loved when Hanukkah fell at the end of Christmas time, so we could still celebrate and ease out of it and ease into the looooong winter dreariness.

But anyway, if you are interested in checking out this amazing tool, you can find it here Oh, and i would recommend you also check out her amazing package deal she has here to get that plus 4 other ebooks that look really good for only about 3 dollars more! Awesome deal. Anyway, i'm eager to endorse this product as well as all others Sheri sells, she has the BEST products. She also has lots of great stuff on her blog. Here's a link to her main site Anyway, i'm looking forward to a peaceful holiday season this year! And I'm wishing you all the same!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Today- Sept 20th 2010

Today started out a bit rough! the first day back to school after a week long vacation from school proved to be a bit tough. The girls overslept an hour, before i noticed they were not up and doing their stuff at 6:30 but we still managed to start history pretty much on time... i missed Bible! aak! totally forgot about it! not sure how that happened! So we started our day with history, which i'd been giving a great deal of though to. We are using Diana Waring's Romans, Reformers, and Revolotionaries sorta, which by the way is SUPER cheap at AIG- I say sorta because i'm also using All American History Which i do not find the readings to be as engaging as Diana Waring's RRR, (but let's be real- is ANYONE as engaging as Diana Waring? i think not!!!) So what i've settled on doing is i'm going to take 2 weeks to do our readings, some from RRR and some from AAH, instead of just one week on RRR. Then i'm going to take 2 weeks to do more extra reading instead of just one. and then we'll do RRR's 4 week plan as usual, week 3 as one week, week 4 as one week... i think... Anyway, one thing i LOVE about AAH is that it includes worksheets that help them see how well they retained their reading... AND they can be done WITHOUT ME! which i love. It leaves me time i'd have not otherwise had, to... say.... update my blog :-) So YAY AAH! Thanks for the extra freedom :-) So that is done (for me) Anna and Leif are working on starfall, and i just gave the babies who are in baby jail a bowl of dry kix to fight over, so all is well! i do need to be changing them and figuring out what they need next. We don't have much of an established schedule yet- another thing i need to work on today- but MAN am I tired! We'll see... Now that nik's schedule has changed, (he goes to the public school for math and language i need to rework things a bit. So today will be a light day- at least on the mom needed stuff. The kids have PLENTY to do... in fact, they have way too much to do. Our school day is WAY longer than it should be. I have to figure out how to fix that too.

so what are you all doing for history and how is it going for you?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

the last few weeks...

I have been negligent in keeping up with my blogging! what can i say? I guess homeschooling 5 and keeping twin 1yo's alive is taking all my energy :-) but i do have some fun pics to share...

This is Elliott. We don't remember what he was laughing at, but I suspect it was my wardrobe!

This is Asher, He's at home outside. He's an outdoorsy kid and lately, its about the only thing that will make him happy, other than cuddling mommy to sleep, holding my ear.

The next couple pics are of us playing science with our AWESOMELY fun new curriculum! We have Astronomy right now, and will be doing several others through the year, thank you very much CVA!

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This is what my house looks like after i've been working with all the kids during our morning group school, babies run wild! elliott sneaks off with bananas frequently and eats them, sometimes WITH the skin, sometimes NOT! this time, thankfully was NOT!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Our first art project!!!

Thanks so much to JoAnn who totally turned me on to the amazing ART SITE that we are now doing lessons from! Its a fantastic site with directions based on a particular artist, holiday, etc.

This week we learned about Friedensreich Hundertwasser, an Austrian painter and sculptor, lived from 1928-2000 and was known as the greatest Austrian painter of his time. He had a distinct personality, and his own individual quirks. He thought straight lines were evil, and even designed a building with floors that weren't even. He was also an avid environmentalist. We had a great time learning about him. They we did a self portrait- Hundertwasser style, complete with a round head, large eyes, a funky nose and pointed lips! Anna made Dad's in addition to her own, and Nik made the twins in addition to his own! I helped Leif with his form, and some of the features, and I drew anna's head shape and frame and she did the rest.

with no further ado.. here they are!!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

our SECOND first day of school!

YAY! fun day. Today was our second first day of school, in that it was the CVA official first day of school. The plan was, we were going to ease into a full day, hopefully doing all subjects by today, but NONE of our orders have arrived yet. So.. we are plugging on with what we do have! here's some pics