Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sufficiency of Scripture

In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks. But the Jews who disbelieved stirred up the minds of the Gentiles and embittered them against the brethren. Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands. But the people of the city were divided; and some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. And when an attempt was made by both the Gentiles and the Jews with their rulers, to mistreat and to stone them, they became aware of it and fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe, and the surrounding region; and there they continued to preach the gospel.
At Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, lame from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be made well, said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he leaped up and began to walk. When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us.” And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, WHO MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM. In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” Even saying these things, with difficulty they restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.

But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city. The next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe. After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

They passed through Pisidia and came into Pamphylia. When they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed to Antioch, from which they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had accomplished. When they had arrived and gathered the church together, they began to report all things that God had done with them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. And they spent a long time with the disciples.

Acts 14

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pinterest Inspiration

Once again, my fridge is getting a face lift thanks to Pinterest....

So here is the original....

and here is our version...

I think this is a GREAT VALENTINE MESSAGE...thank you Pinterest...



You know those puzzles where you look at two pictures and you try to figure out what is different between the two...
Well, I have one for you...

This is of the American dolls Grace has...

Can anyone tell me what is wrong....

yes, Ruthie got a VERY UNEXPECTED hair cut...after many tears...and some correction for the person who will remain nameless....we have a new story in our life...Now, our Ruthie will have to go to the doll hospital and have very sad...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sufficiency of Scripture

Now Paul and his companions put out to sea from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia; but John left them and returned to Jerusalem. But going on from Perga, they arrived at Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. After the reading of the Law and the Prophets the synagogue officials sent to them, saying, “Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it.” Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said,

“Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen: The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He led them out from it. For a period of about forty years He put up with them in the wilderness. When He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land as an inheritance—all of which took about four hundred and fifty years. After these things He gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will.’ From the descendants of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, after John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. And while John was completing his course, he kept saying, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not He. But behold, one is coming after me the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’

“Brethren, sons of Abraham’s family, and those among you who fear God, to us the message of this salvation has been sent. For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him. And though they found no ground for putting Him to death, they asked Pilate that He be executed. When they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead; and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people. And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.’ As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID.’ Therefore He also says in another Psalm, ‘YOU WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.’ For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay; but He whom God raised did not undergo decay. Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses. Therefore take heed, so that the thing spoken of in the Prophets may not come upon you:


As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people kept begging that these things might be spoken to them the next Sabbath. Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and of the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, were urging them to continue in the grace of God.

The next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming. Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us,

When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region. But the Jews incited the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust of their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 13:13-52

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

We Choose Virtues

We Choose Virtues
Price varies

We Choose Virtues was created by Heather McMillan out of her love for children and her desire to see them reach their personal potential. As a preschool teacher and a children’s pastor, it concerned her how often she came across children whose lack of self control, honesty and perseverance was almost debilitating. How could they succeed in life without the skills that come from good character?

We Choose Virtues is not unit study that you use once and then move on from. It is actually a character development tool that you use every day, every year. You introduce the Virtues, then demonstrate them, memorize the catchphrases, then learn the antonyms, then capture teachable moments when they are being used…or aren’t. You will be amazed how fast you will all learn to obey (not just learn what obedience is, but actually learn to obey!)…and 11 other Virtues too! There are 13 Parenting Cards, one card is the Butterfly and Caterpillar Card. It teaches that everyone was born able to change.

We received the Virtue Clues card set which was a set of business card sized Virtues cards. The set includes one of each of the virtues, plus a card showing how the cards can be used. The cards are brightly colored with adorable characters to help the child remember the character trait being taught. The trait is stated in the affirmative...I am Attentive..and then it is described in the catchphrase: I watch and listen carefully... as well as in the antonym: I am NOT forgetful, distracted or distracting, and I don't ignore or interrupt! The back of the card gives something to work on throughout the day...Choose to go the whole day without someone needing to remind you "Listen!" or "Don't Forget!" Airplane Betty Jane knows you can do it! These cards are normally $7.95, but are on sale right now for $5.99

We also received the Teacher's Handbook which gives steps for teaching virtues and is available as a download for $4.99. I thought that this handbook was most likely more useful for a teacher in a classroom setting rather than for a momma in a home setting, but it had helpful information in it for me too. One thing I LOVED in the handbook was the three "classroom" rules...really I think they should be called LIFE rules...but they are:
Be Kind
Be a Helper

Then watch how the character traits fall into line with these three rules...
I am obedient
I am attentive
I am self controlled
I am honest

Be Kind:
I am kind
I am forgiving
I am patient
I am gentle

Be a Helper
I am helpful
I am perseverant
I am diligent
I am content

In the handbook it says: "The Three Rules cover three vital civil responsibilities...Just think about it! At the age of 16 we hand a driver's license over to a person who must know how to obey every law, be patient on the road, be attentive to other drivers, be honest about his or her mistakes, and use self-control at all times...all while they are under pressure from their friends (and themselves!) to do the opposite. Are we preparing children for this level of citizenship? The Three Rules cover those issues at a core level. OBEY (Honor authority), BE KIND (Respect others), and BE A HELPER (Be responsible)."

The next item we received was a Coloring book. It has coloring pages of each of the Virtue Characters. Each of these characters has a catchy name which gives a CLUE to the Character trait they represent...Cake Jake..Content, Hockey Stick Nick...Honest, Stop Sign Madeline..Self- Controlled, and so on... The characters are cute and memorable. I printed the coloring book off for my younger two, ages 5 and 9...they really enjoyed it. The Principessa tried to use the colors from the Clue Cards, DD colored the WHOLE page...(HIS emphasis...I guess he was being attentive and diligent!) The coloring book is available as a download for $3.00

We also received two items that are available as a free download on the website:

The Family Character Assessment which helps each of us become/stay accountable to each other...

AND...the Kids Memory Verses, Bible Heroes and Truths, which is a list of Memory verses and Bible Heroes, one for each trait. We studied each trait for a week, reading the passage of Scripture listed a couple of times throughout the week and working on the memory verse each day. Since there is not alot of direction in how to TEACH the virtues on the Clue Cards (That comes on the backs of both the teacher and parent cards.), this sheet was a great bonus for me personally in structuring our time in using these cards.

One other thing I want to share that I loved about We Choose Virtues are the icons that remind us that we are doing a GOOD JOB (butterfly)...or that we can do better (caterpillar). The road to having good character is a process. It will not happen overnight...AND I am sure that there will be many successes and failures (speaking from personal experience!) These icons are a cute reminder that it IS a process without a lot of condemnation, lectures or finger pointing. From start to finish, it is very apparent that quite a bit of thought went into EACH ASPECT of the We Choose Virtues Product line. While I have talked about a few of the products they carry, there is SO MUCH MORE to choose from. Something I want to be sure to point out for those who are teaching or have children in schools is that there is a Community based set of cards that has been used in schools with a great deal of success. It might be something you would want to look into for your school.

While these say they can be used with children aged 3-18 (yes, they can!), you may want to look into the Youth based set if you have some in the 12-18 age range.

Confused on what would be best for your family? This chart may does not have the youth items on it though.

And, because everyone LOVES a sale:you can only use ONE CODE...
VIRTUE15 for 15 % off your total purchase
FAMILY for $3 off the Kids Virtue Poster
SHIPFREE for free worldwide shipping
The Kids of VirtueVille Coloring Book is FREE with ANY kit…
YOU get the 100 Days of Virtue Chart FREE in your Homeschool Kit purchase!

Finally, after having interacted with Heather via email about an issue I had (MY FAULT), that she handled in such a generous and gracious manner, I would say that this is a company that practices what they preach and I believe that you can buy their products with confidence. Just in case you couldn't tell, I really LOVED the items I was given and hope to be able to buy the parent set of cards soon!

See what my fellow crew mates had to say about We Choose Virtues here

Disclaimer: I received this item for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation. All the opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A sneak peek...

Just a little taste of what I did for you Mrs. Serah...I hope you like what you see SO FAR...

My latest "fridge" project

I shared with you all my last project...Frosty the Fridge-man which was SO fun and a GREAT way to keep the FRIDGE CLEAN....well, I have a NEW inspiration for my fridge...which comes AGAIN from Pinterest....

I am having a hard time finding the original source, but if/when I can, I will post it here...I LOVE it...Going to see if I can get it done today...
What do you think?


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sufficiency of Scripture

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sufficiency of Scripture

Give ear to my words, O LORD,
Consider my groaning.
Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God,
For to You I pray.
In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.

For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness;
No evil dwells with You.
The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes;
You hate all who do iniquity.
You destroy those who speak falsehood;
The LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.
But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house,
At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You.

O LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes;
Make Your way straight before me.
There is nothing reliable in what they say;
Their inward part is destruction itself.
Their throat is an open grave;
They flatter with their tongue.
Hold them guilty, O God;
By their own devices let them fall!
In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out,
For they are rebellious against You.

But let all who take refuge in You be glad,
Let them ever sing for joy;
And may You shelter them,
That those who love Your name may exult in You.
For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD,
You surround him with favor as with a shield.
Psalm 5

Friday, January 6, 2012

Maestro Classics- Swan Lake

Maestro Classics- Swan Lake

$16.98 or $9.98 to download an MP3

The Story of Swan Lake, Tchaikovsky’s greatest ballet score, is the tale of a prince who falls in love with a beautiful princess. The princess, however, has been turned into a swan by an evil magician, and only the prince’s love can break the spell. This narrated version of the classic tale for children is sure to delight all who love ballet and enchanting storytelling.
A 24-page activity book included with the CD contains a biography of Tchaikovsky, information on acoustic and electric guitars, sheet music and words for a sing-along song, explanation of major and minor keys, puzzles and more.

The Story of Swan Lake CD has 7 tracks which I will detail below...

The First Track plays portions of Tchaikovsky's Ballet Score with narrations of the story throughout. The shortened version is appropriate for younger listeners to help give them an appreciation and a familiarity with the ballet. When they are introduced to the full length version at some point in their life, they will then recognize the "signposts along the way, because they met them all before." In about 33 minutes, you will hear the greatest music from Swan Lake. I was not previously familiar with Swan Lake, and cannot really comment on that part, but from having gone to the Nutcracker before without really knowing anything about the story, I can really appreciate the concept behind this product. I look forward to getting some of the other CDs and I really hope they have plans to create new products and I look forward to getting an opportunity to see Swan Lake now.

The second track is a biography about Tchaikovsky's life. It begins with some very familiar pieces of his work...and then goes into his story.

The third track is the Swan Lake Speed Metal Version played by Joe Stump...this was at least ONE of my children's FAVORITE versions!

Track four tells a little more about the music. The Conductor explains some of the music that was just heard. I really LOVED this part of the CD. It gives us all something to listen for. It is only about 6 minutes long, but very valuable in my opinion.

Now, track 5 is probably THE MOST MEMORABLE part of the ballet... "Tchai-kov-sky wrote a great bal-let, its name was Swa-ha-ha-han Lake. I can tell you...every time I hear this piece of music, I WILL remember that this is Tchaikovsky and from Swan Lake. I may never know the names of the pieces of music, but I will know where they belong.

Track six & seven are the Prepare to Perform and Sing Along tracks. This gives YOU the opportunity to sing the memorable song.

There is also a 24 page booklet with some information and activities. You can also find more ways to enrich the CD online with the Curriculum Guide. Scroll down to find Swan Lake...then you can build on the CD in any direction you choose...with academics, music or home projects. There is quite a bit of information on the website as well. A valuable resource to come alongside parents to give their children a love and appreciation for music.
We really enjoyed listening to Maestro Classics The Story of Swan Lake...I hope your family enjoys it as well.

See what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about Maestro Classics Swan Lake here

Disclaimer: I received this item for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation. All the opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Z-Guides to the Movies

Z-Guide to the Movies- The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin
Zeezok Publishing

So, first, I will give some basics from the Zeezok website so you know what a Z-Guide is...then I will share about our particular experiences with the one we received.

What is a Z-Guide?
If your student enjoys watching movies, we just made it easy for you to incorporate them into your curriculum. We have dozens of guides— each of them falling within a specific time in history. All of the guides contain ten educational activities that build upon the movie. The guides are movie specific. We tell you exactly which movie we used, and almost all are available through Netflix. Most you can probably get through your local library. So you don’t even need to buy the movie to use our guides!

Each guide starts out with a topic overview. This overview provides the student with more information regarding the specific time period in which the movie is based. Next is a movie synopsis. The synopsis will assist the student in understanding what is going on in the movie and how relationships, situations, and events all relate together.

The first activity is always review questions. We recommend the student answer these as they watch the movie. We want to be sure they are paying attention and being an active learner versus a passive viewer.

The next several activities all build around the historical time of the movie. The questions in these activities may be more about the people or events that happened in the movie. These questions cannot be answered from watching the movie. (We all know you don’t get accurate facts from a Hollywood movie.) The student will learn research skills because he will need to use either the library or the internet to properly answer these questions. Some of the activities involve writing an essay. For example, in the Scarlet Pimpernel the student is asked to write a one page essay condemning or condoning the actions of the Scarlet Pimpernel. So the student is learning research and writing skills during the process.

Each guide also contains at least one hands-on activity, a worldview activity, and The Filmmaker’s Art activity. The hands-on activities for the active learner vary depending on the guide and include activities such as creating a treasure hunt, completing an art project, or planning and making a meal for the family.

The worldview activity helps the child to understand the movie’s worldview. This activity is not to impress on the student our personal worldview, but to get the student to think critically through what he believes and what is being presented in the movie. Family discussion questions also develop this critical thinking from the worldview promoted within your family.

The Filmmaker’s Art activity helps the student recognize the tools being used to influence the viewer. The various guides discuss how filming techniques, music, lighting, humor, character development, irony, foreshadowing, and even character names are used by the director and producer to influence the viewer to get their agenda across. We want the student to be able to discern not only the agenda of the movie, but also how they are being influenced by it. The goal is that when the student goes to the theatre and watches Harry Potter or Avatar or Happy Feet, he walks out not thinking it was an entertaining movie, but understanding the bigger message behind each film.

So we chose to receive the Z-Guide for The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin. We came across this movie a couple of months ago from our local is an OLDER Disney movie of a boy who tries to save his family from financial ruin and the proper butler who follows to bring him back home. A series of unbelievable adventures awaits them throughout the film which is set in 1849 and the California Gold Rush. We enjoyed the corny comedy of this movie and thought it would be a fun one to review.

The topics covered by this Z-Guide are the California Gold Rush, Integrity and Honesty, Gold Hunting Techniques, and Slapstick Comedy. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Here is what we did...
First, we watched the movie a couple of times to be sure we were very familiar with the film. Then we sat down and worked through the review questions together while watching the film. The Z-Guide recommends reading the topic overview, movie synopsis and review questions before watching the movie and then answering the questions while watching the film for the first time. We did this over Christmas break, and I did not read through the guide prior to watching the film or I would have done it the way they suggest. These questions were fairly easy for the children to answer. They were all straight from the film.

The Z-Guide also gives a suggested schedule for working through the guide, doing two activities a day. I thought that was very reasonable to add to our daily schoolwork. After we finished the questions, I had my children make the Edible Golden Treasures...and let me tell you...THIS was the HIT of the entire session.

The next day, we went through the Topic Overview together and did some research on the California Gold Rush. While we are all working through this, the focus for this review will be my 4th and 8th graders. They worked on a project of their choice about the Gold Rush and their projects are still in process...I will post pictures as soon as I can.

We skipped over Activity two and will get back to it, but went on to do the Vocabulary. My 8th grader had NO trouble completing this, but my 4th grader had a little more trouble...She had trouble with words like scratch line, grubstake and fisticuffs...

The next activity was the one to decide which route we would have taken to California. We mapped out the three route options and researched the pros/cons of each one.

Panning for gold practice was also deemed pretty fun in our home. We found out that we can pan for gold in a town pretty close to us and I can tell you...we will be doing that! We need to wait until warmer weather though...brrr...One interesting tidbit that we learned was that Gold is a very soft metal and so miners would bite on a nugget (EVER WONDER WHY THEY DID THAT???) and if their teeth didn't break (OUCH) and the nugget showed their teeth marks, they were pretty sure they had the real deal.

Four coloring pages made for good busy work while we listened to Gold Rush songs. We found a fun CD called Hard Times in the Promised Land . We are hard pressed to choose only one favorite, but among the top ones were Promised Land, Wayfaring Stranger, Few Days and Hard Times.

We will be coming back to finish up the guide...we still have a few activities to do.

We loved that there were a variety of Z-Guides to cover a wide range of historical periods from Ancient Egypt to the Cold War. A movie is ALWAYS a breath of fresh air from our regular bookwork.

The Z-Guide we received was 34 pages long, which included the answers. I LOVE that it is enough work to "justify" watching a movie for school work, but also fun and often easy so it is not distasteful.

I really enjoy that the Z-Guide delves deeper into the subject than the movie, so you get a better grasp of the history of the period involved. We learned quite a bit about the California Gold Rush and the long term impact the one year "event" had on our nation.

I REALLY LOVED the movie Synopsis part of the Z-Guide...I am not always able to sit down and watch a movie when it is good for the children. That is EXTREMELY HELPFUL!

I also LOVED that it was could be done within one week and was not a HUGE unit study that would disrupt regular school plans. I thought it fit in well as an add-in. I find this valuable, because I often get a "brilliant" idea to study something that someone finds interesting. Those who want to delve deeper can easily make it a HUGE unit study by adding in books/projects related to the topic.

If you would like to look a little closer at a Z-Guide, there is a Sample for you to "thumb" through. Try it and see what you think.

See what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about Zeezok's Z-Guide to the Movies here

Disclaimer: I received this item for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation. All the opinions expressed are my own.