Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Gift Given, Made, Sacrificed

1} Given: DD cleaned my room up today while I was working...Such a sweet gift from my boy!

2} The Principessa made me breakfast today...coffee, just the way I like it and a muffin

3} a friend really sacrificed her time so that I could have three Saturdays off in a row...such a great blessing and selfless gift!


Monday, April 29, 2013

Saving Memories Forever

Saving Memories Forever
Price: see below

Saving Memories Forever is a system for recording, sharing and storing family memories. Using this system, you download an app onto a smart phone to be able to record the memories and then download them onto the website so you can refer back to them and share it with others. Ever wish you had those family stories you have heard so many times but can't recall the EXACT details. Wish you could hear Grandma's voice again? Saving Memories Forever may be the answer to this.

I got notice of this review three days after getting my smartphone...and being that I had issues with my "dumb" phone...I am DEFINITELY NOT techy savvy here and really just going to give the bare bones basics...

The app on the phone is like a traveling microphone and gives a prompt so you have a direction for the conversation to go in...I am currently having a difficult time getting mine to load...so I am not sure if I will be able to capture any screenshots...but you can see it in the How To Video . You do not need to follow the prompt, but it is a place to start if you need it. There are many prompt ideas too. If you do not have a smart phone, you can record directly onto the website...you just have to be in front of the computer.

Ok...so my teenager told me how to do a screenshot...and I got them...Yes, I am THAT bad on this phone...

After you have your conversation recorded, you transfer your recordings from your phone to your account on the website. I had 2 stories on my phone and tried a few times to transfer them and have had some issues...I will need to contact them about this, as I have NO idea what is wrong...told you...not very techy here...After they are up on your account at Saving Memories Forever, you will have an option to share them on Facebook. You can repeat this process over and over as you like.

You can choose to use this service for Free, but there are MANY benefits to upgrading your account to a premium subscription, that you may want to look over this FREE vs. FEE comparison chart that may help you make a more informed decision. The monthly subscription is $3.99 a month...not bad for all the extras you get!

What I thought...well...this just was not the time for me for this item...I do not know enough about my phone...I have no idea why I couldn't get the recordings to upload and I was not really looking to document these kinds of stories at this time. That being said, it was FUN to play around with the phone app and record the children being silly or singing or just even talking...I think I would have been more excited about this item if there was an option for doing something for/with your children...recording them reading their first book, recording them just chatting because they will never be four again, etc...or maybe this would be a very special way to document the family at home while a soldier is away, or a Daddy had to be out of town on business, etc. It is just not for me at this time.

UPDATE: I contacted the company and they responded very QUICKLY with some possible solutions to the problem...I have tried one of them, but not the others yet...I was VERY impressed with the quickness, as well as the THOROUGHNESS of the response...pretty much a STEP BY STEP answer.

Please check out what my team mates had to say about Saving Memories Forever when the link comes up on Friday, May 3...I will post a direct link when it becomes available.

3 Gifts in Dirt

1} A memory of one of my boys...who dig a hole, filled it up with water and got into it 15 minutes before we had to go somewhere...not at all funny then, but very precious to me now.

2} Food

3} Flowers


Sunday, April 28, 2013

3 Gifts Orange

1} A new dinosaur shirt for DD

2} Mangoes...so delicious!

3}Orange Bell Peppers...


Sufficiency of Scripture

After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, waiting for the moving of the waters; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.] A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well? ”The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus *said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk.

Now it was the Sabbath on that day. So the Jews were saying to the man who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.” But he answered them, “He who made me well was the one who said to me, ‘Pick up your pallet and walk.’” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Pick up your pallet and walk’?” But the man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place. Afterward Jesus *found him in the temple and said to him, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.” The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”

John 5:1-17

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Postcards from Derbe

Last year, We studied Acts at BSF...as I have mentioned before...and this post has been sitting in my heart for some time...trying to think it through and get it just the way I want to share it...It all started with a very simple comment made by the teaching leader...she probably had no idea what she even started...but it resonated with me...She said, "Cheer up, Tomorrow you will be in Derbe." This comes from Acts 14...maybe 13 gives some context as well, but Paul had been experiencing heavy persecution and then was even stoned and left for dead. The NEXT day Paul walked to Derbe...which is ABOUT 50 miles away. Have you ever stopped to think about that? Stoned...supposed dead...walked to Derbe...50 miles away. Now some believe that it is at this time that Paul may have gone up into heaven and saw things from God...maybe God completely healed him...we do not KNOW for sure based on what the Word says...so I will not suppose anything here...
So let me share with you who are experiencing hardship...we have had the MOST difficult year of our lives this year, so I know some of what you may be experiencing...God is there...and He knows. He has not forgotten His children...He has plans that are for our good and His glory. He will finish what He has started in us...and He is completely FAITHFUL... C.O.M.P.L.E.T.E.L.Y... He cannot be ANYTHING but faithful.
SO, back to Derbe...when I heard this, I thought...there will be an end of our trials and we will have a time of peace. But, first, we have to walk to Derbe...after being stoned and left for dead...it's 50 miles...and that is a long walk but we will arrive one day.


3 Gifts Ugly Beautiful

1}Suffering, pain or trials...make us more like Jesus

2} A meeting with someone that was full of hugs, tears, brokeness, healing, pain all at the same time.

3}a tooth that needs to be pulled in a BAD way...DD has a front tooth that NEEDS to come out, but he won't let me pull it...I LOVE it when children have both of their front teeth out...LOOKS SO CUTE...but this one is tipping to the side...and he STILL won't let me pull it...


Friday, April 26, 2013

3 Gifts Moving

1} Our car on its way to the Christian Heritage Conference! Really looking forward to this!

2} Hearts moving by the Spirit to draw close to the Father in Worship and Praise

3) Feet moving from workshop to workshop to learn and grow and be encouraged!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Gift Cloth, Steel, Wood

1} Cloth: New Clothes for the children...at GREAT PRICES...thank you Lord for going before us!

2} Steel: Our Vehicle...I rely on this to work every time I get into the car...and don't really think to Praise God for it...but today, I am so THANKFUL for a good car.

3} Wood: Our Dining Room Table...the source of many precious family moments and meals.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

3 Gifts Fragile

1} My Starbucks mug...we noticed today that the handle wiggles a bit, like it is going to break...this was last year's special Christmas mug for the 12 Days of Christmas special Starbucks offers. For three years running, I have got these mugs for my hubby and I and I was so sad to see it in this condition.

2} Joy on a day where my attitude wants to have its own way

3} A friendship...on the mend, forgiving


Spanish For You

Spanish For You
Debbie Annett
Spanish Curriculum for Elementary Grades
Prices Vary

Spanish for You is a Spanish Curriculum that allows students to begin where they are regardless of skill and then flow right into a high school program if you want to continue on. The lessons are grouped by grades in 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 and there are NOW three levels: Estaciones (Seasons), Fiestas (Celebrations) and Viajes (Travel)...Viajes won't be completely available until June. As a teacher, Debbie had specific things she wanted when she created these materials: The ability to place new students in with experienced students, affordability and it had to be easy to use. This program power packs a lot of learning into an affordable package. Each lesson in each book has been used in a co-op type classroom setting.

So, we received a Fiestas Package that came with a Soft Cover Book, a Lesson Guide (PDF), worksheets for all levels (PDF), Audio Files of the entire book with a bonus native speaking version (Many asked why there are two versions of the files included...while Debbie explained this better than I will, it is nice to be able to hear it slower for learning...and then hear how it is supposed to be.) The native speaker is from Mexico and the Spanish in the program is considered a middle of the road Spanish...you should be able to understand and speak to any Spanish speaking person.

The books are geared towards things that children are familiar with and still introduce the culture...so in the Fiestas book, it begins with the birthday and introduces pinata, but also talks about cake and candy. There are five lessons in each book, broken down into between 24-30 weeks of work. Grades 3-4 are longer to go a little more slowly through the program. The lessons have the material presented in the same format...Vocabulary, Verb Conjugation and Usage, and Grammar Concepts. Then at the end of the lesson, you bring all of those parts together. As you work through the book, it all spirals for excellent review. The material is set up so that you begin learning in a conversational manner. You can start in any book, just at the student's current grade level and work through either very quickly or much more slowly as you need. The more books you complete, the more skills are built. There are 70-80 activity pages included in the PDF we received. Debbie recommends printing these as you need them and I would give a HEARTY second to that...Also, all of the worksheets are now separated by level, so it will be VERY EASY to grab and go! Debbie has used these books in co-op settings, so the books are set up with 4 days of activities/work.

Debbie recommends that as you work through the Spanish for You curriculum, you have your students check their own work, rather than you grading it. When they see the error, it often locks the concept into their learning. Also, while it just flitted through my thoughts, I want to talk for just a second about the Flash Cards...First, the drawings are done by Debbie's daughter...now what Momma doesn't LOVE that...(Plus it helps keep the cost of the program down),but the flash cards are an important part of the learning process. I know what you're thinking...I'm thinking it too...those cards are going to be all over the house...and yes, some are all over my house...but after hearing that, I went back and printed the flashcards again and we will put them into a zippered pouch at the front of my children's Spanish Folders.

There is a list of HANDY materials that I will give you:
colored cardstock
dry erase squares/markers
index cards
bingo markers
board game markers

Nothing too hard to find, but it will make doing the activities in the book much easier if you have these things gathered into one spot. There are SEVERAL MORE activity pages on the Spanish for You Website, so you can continue with your Spanish through breaks, or just have fun doing something different.

So..how did this work in our home?
Well I worked this program with my Principessa(5th Grade) and My Older Guy (9th). I think it was a little below Lou's level, but he was still able to learn. My daughter ABSOLUTELY LOVED the program. She BEGGED me...CAN I PLEASE do Spanish today...

I think this is a GREAT program! For $64.95, you get three levels of a one year program, with NOTHING else to buy. I LOVE that it is geared to things they ALREADY know something about and are EXCITED to learn more about. I love that you just begin where you are...skilled or not and build from there. I REALLY love that the drawings are from Debbie's daughter. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that there are AUDIO FILES since I am NOT a Spanish speaking person! I REALLY LOVE that there is a non native version of that too!!!!! We did have an issue with the papers...and all the king's men couldn't put humpty together again...so I am STARTING OVER...and will put the sheets in order into a folder. I have decided to pull in my little guy (1st grade) and let him join in on the activities...he may not be able to do all the worksheets, but I think he will be able to catch on to more than I thought he would. I may even have the Principessa teach him the lesson...we will see on that one. The author, Debbie Annett was WONDERFUL to work with as well...

I would add from personal experience...When I was in my 4th year in French, I got to go to France...and COULD NOT UNDERSTAND MUCH...I think it would be extremely valuable to add in time to talk with a spanish speaking person on a regular basis...so that you can get used to hearing how it is spoken...so you can first catch a word or two...then a phrase, etc.

Not sure if Spanish for You is for you...try it out...there are a few mini lessons you can grab for free

There is also a Spanish for You Blog...where Debbie posts some fun things...right now, I think she is telling me I need to go to a Mexican Restaurant...WOOHOOO!!!! I am very excited about that because I am starving and Mexican food is my ALL TIME favorite...my children will get to practice their vocabulary in a real life situation!

See what my Team Mates had to say about Spanish for You here


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

3 Gifts Reflecting

1} My tired face in the mirror this morning...

2} A person reflecting graciousness in a difficult situation.

3} The Joy of the Lord in my heart...it SHALL be my strength!


Monday, April 22, 2013

3 Gifts Close

1} Family

2} My Memorial Locket...Proclaiming the promises of God and reminding me of his faithfulness.

3} And right now, since she just came up to me...Nutalie, I mean Natalie...our OCD, ADHD, crazy, barking fool dog...but we all love her...she was a gift in a difficult time...


Sunday, April 21, 2013

DD Turns 7!!!

So, yesterday was DDs FIRST day of being 7...and it was a FUN day...

He helped Daddy while Grace and I had an Origami Owl thing planned...then we had dinner with some family...a great day!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DD!!! You are such a sweet young man and a great blessing to your family!

Just some random pictures from the day...

The cake was from the inspiration of a fellow co-op Momma and her son...Piecaken...for those of you who have NO idea what that is, it is a pie baked into a cake...we did a cherry pie in a white cake...Thanks Genesis and Mr. L!

The cake recipe was SO YUMMY and was from my dear friend Pamela...
Her Recipe:
White SourCreamAlmond Cake
2 (18 ounce) boxes white cake mix (Betty Crocker or Pillsbury)
2 cups flour (cake , if you have it= smoother)
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup butter
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 Tablespoon pure almond extract (azure or Biz costco)
2 cups sour cream
8 egg whites for a white/white cake (or 6 store-bought eggs) (+ I don't whip the whites - just add 'em one at a time while the mixer's going)

325* more evenly baked - use wilton cake strips or Rose's bake strips around the larger pans for even baking of large (14-16") pans. This is my adaptation of a recipe I found online some years ago - the original uses oil, more water, less salt, less extracts. I think it was All Recipes or Food.

This makes about 3 9" or a 12" and a 10" or a 10" 8" 6" --- combos like that. If you make a wedding cake, you'll be making and repeating this over and over and over again. :o) The key is salt - and butter/sourcream and enough almond to be delicious.

I MUST say, THE CAKE WAS AMAZING...Might not do the Piecaken thing again...fun to say I did it...but this cake recipe was moist, light...and really good! Thanks Pamela!


3 Gifts Found in Christ

1) We have been forgiven, and we can forgive and ask for forgiveness...

2) We stand on a firm foundation

3) Peace

A Gift Stacked, Stashed, Stilled

April 20th...

Well it is DDs birthday , so there are gifts stacked and stashed in quite a few places...

Stacked: The Pile of books I am waiting to read

Stashed: Chocolate Covered Cherries...YUM!

Stilled: His child...Thankful for a SMALL reconciliation


Sufficiency of Scripture

After the two days He went forth from there into Galilee. For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things that He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves also went to the feast.

Therefore He came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a royal official whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and was imploring Him to come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of death. So Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.” The royal official *said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus *said to him, “Go; your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off. As he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living. So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. Then they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives”; and he himself believed and his whole household. This is again a second sign that Jesus performed when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.

John 4:43-54

Friday, April 19, 2013

3 Gifts Square

1} Bed...and sweet sleep...last week was rough and catching up on sleep is a blessing indeed!

2}A Paycheck (when open and the stub is still connected!) Thankful for a job when I really needed one!

3} My rolling cart...SO thankful for it as I am packing it for a vendor fair.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

3 Gifts Inherited

1} THE shortbread pan...THE BEST PAN ever to make our special family recipe

2}Aunt Florence's Cameo ring...a PRECIOUS treasure

3}Aunt Ida's Cake Plate...at least I THINK it is Aunt Ida's...beautiful and pink (maybe depression glass) and I am thankful for it every time I use it!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

3 Gifts Woven Together

1} A Sinner's heart to her Savior's

2} A Wife's heart to her Husband's

3} A Momma's heart to her Children


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

3 Hard Eucharisteos

1} Waiting on God's Timetable

2} Days when it is hard to see all things work together for my good and His glory

3} Wanting to be home, yet having to work and striking the balance between the two.


Monday, April 15, 2013

A Gift in a Bag, in a Box, in a Book

1} Bag: a chocolate bar and a diet coke

2} Box: My Origami Owl Order...I know what was coming, but it is still so much fun to open it up

3}Book: treasures from my children's childhoods, that I remembered to write down. So much fun to look back on.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sufficiency of Scripture

Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were), He left Judea and went away again into Galilee. And He had to pass through Samaria. So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why do You speak with her?” So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?” They went out of the city, and were coming to Him.

Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples were saying to one another, “No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this case the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor.”

From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”

John 4:1-42

3 Gifts Found Looking Up

1} Wisdom

2} Sunshine

3}My older sons

Saturday, April 13, 2013

3 Gifts Bright

1} A couple on their wedding day...full of the brightness of love! Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Spurling

2} The sun on a rainy day...we were looking for a rainbow, but couldn't see one.

3) The sweetness of a boys gift to the wedding couple...brings tears to this momma's heart.


Friday, April 12, 2013

3 Gifts Worn

1} My Sandals...may need to get some new ones soon!

2} My sunglasses- don't like to be without them

3} My Favorite sweater...a granny type sweater that keeps me cozy warm!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

3 Gifts Budding/Blooming

1}My beautiful Prinicpessa...already so grown up!

2} Spring Flowers...daffodils, tulips, crocus, etc...color all around

3} Friendships in Christ...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

3 Gifts Opened Up

1} The Bible...holds precious treasures each time you read it

2} A new book...

3}My Boy's heart...as he shares its depths with me


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Apologia Ultimate Homeschool Planners

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner $ 28.00
The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens $19.00
The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students $ 19.00
Debra Bell

I was greatly BLESSED to receive ALL THREE OF THESE planners. I have used a different planner for about three years now...and I admit...I was a little skeptical about switching to something NOT MY USUAL...but let me tell you...I am sure glad I did!

Beginning with The Ultimate Homeschool Planner...This planner is about 8.5 x 11 inches. Their are two cover options to choose from and both are lovely to look at. The covers are a flexible plastic and VERY DURABLE and my very frequent embellishment on paper (ye ole coffee ring) was no match for this cover. The binding is a bright yellow spiral, which means it is VERY EASY to find under all those piles that accumulate...I am sure that never happens to you though! Both covers have a pocket to store loose papers you might want to keep handy. There is a heavy duty paper with a four year calendar on it. This is a NICE thing to have handy as you are looking forward and planning ahead.

The next section is a HOW-TO guide to using this system...the system consists of the Ultimate Planner, a Student Planner and a Teen Planner...these are made to use together, giving students from 3rd grade and up the opportunity to learn the valuable life skill of planning and time management, while at the same time, lessening the burden on Momma! Now who wouldn't LOVE that?

The basic planning sessons you really need to make this most effective are:
1} A Yearly Planning Retreat (Did Debra just give me permission to get away???) Seriously though...this would be a GREAT time to get away with my husband to sit and pray and plan for the upcoming year...she recommends 4-8 hours. Due to the time of year I received this and my life at that time, I was not able to FULLY complete this part of the program...but as I think it is an important part of it, I will be looking forward to that this summer.

2} A Monthly Planning Session- This gives you an opportunity to update your planner for the things that come up in life and to make adjustments in your plan as you walk along the way.

3} A Weekly Planning Session- This section gives you the opportunity to make a battle plan for the week...this will change more often than monthly and yearly...and I LOVE the focus on following the Lord's leading and committing your way to Him...weekly, you are reminded to ask for direction and to record His faithfulness to you and your children...these moments can get lost and often, all we can see are our failures. We have a saying in our house..."God cares about work pants." To us, this reminds us that there is nothing too small for His notice and help on, IF we think of asking and then notice when He provides that much needed help...

Then there is a weekly conference and review time set aside with each child to lay out their plan, make sure they understand the expectation, receive feedback from them and then, at the end of the week, make them accountable as you review their planner and see if they completed their work. This part is actually MORE NECESSARY than you would think...at least in our home...we are not so good with deadlines...I mean, I cannot tell you how many times I have assigned something...and said...it is due next week. Next week comes...and I ask, "Is it done?" No is the response...ok...then turn it in on Monday...and on it goes until I forget all about it...and we are not doing any favors there...

At the end of the HOW TO GUIDE, there are some examples of the pages, broken down into the planning sessions, so you can see how they are actually used and what you should be doing on it if that is not clear from the directions. Personally, I loved seeing these pages.

Then, it is time to begin. I started by mapping out my year...we school year round, but sort of stick to the September-August year...I sketched out all the things we do that repeat themselves...I may need to add to this page monthly to include those things that pop up. One aspect I really LOVED about this page is that each day of the week is lined up from month to month...so, say you have AWANA on Wednesdays...You can group those together straight across the page

Then you come to character and academic goals for each child. I did not fully complete this section as I did not have the time to sit and pray and meditate on this. I loved this section though and look forward to mapping that out for our next school year. I really love the inclusion of character goals...it is amazing how when you actually focus on a specific area with your child and work on that how much progress is made and what a foundation that lays for your child.

Then there is a prayer list and resource page for the year, followed by the monthly pages...this is an undated calendar (Which I don't love, but see the need for). The calendar pages have a verse, an inspirational quote, and room for some notes on the side and bottom of the page. I really wish that the weekly sheets were placed in between the monthly pages. It was a bit of a hassle to flip back and forth between the monthly and weekly pages.

The first two weekly pages give you space to give your plan of attack, things to focus on, a FIGHTER verse (REALLY LOVED THAT!!!). a prayer list, a space to be intentional with outreach or hospitality, several lines to record memorable moments/achievements and a place to record evidences of God's Grace...again, these will be forgotten over time if we do not record them and it may feel like we are all alone, no one cares, we have failed, etc. Reading back over those pages, you will see God's hand throughout the year and the ways He has met you right where you are and be greatly encouraged. There are suggestions of things to record in those last two spaces...so for memorable moments, a couple of the suggestions would be finished projects and family funnies.

The next two pages are the weekly lesson plan pages...There is room for 6 students and you can line them up by day or subject in any way that works best for you...I only have three students right now, so I used the extra spaces for me...things I needed to remember, dinner plans, etc. There is a space on the side for notes, appointments or supplies needed. If you have extra spaces on this page, you can block out time for your littles too! You can look at it a little closer up here

Moving on to the two planners your children can use, first, there is The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens. It is a bit smaller than The Ultimate Planner, making it very user friendly for your child. It has a cool cover that appeals to teenagers. Inside, there are a few pages for your teen to record some info about themselves, which would be fun to look back on after a few years. Then, there are first and second semester grids to map out the year, undated calendar pages and then the weekly lesson plans. The weekly lesson plans have room for 5 subjects and include a spot for Saturdays and Sundays, which is helpful for things you need to keep track of. These pages have a small spot for notes, assignment due dates, appointments and work schedule, a check off for devotions, a doodle spot, a think pad and a SAT vocabulary word. Another nice touch for those who have to keep track of hours are some circles divided into quarters. This gives you an easy spot to keep track of that. At the end of the daily lesson plans, is a place to record grades, a reading log, activity log, a credit tracker and a High School Record form so you can compile all your grades and important test scores in one place. At the end of the planner, you have some helpful information such as grammar, math, science, history and scholarship helps. It might be beneficial to make looking through this section an assignment, because there is just SO MUCH useful information here. This planner also has a four year calendar (Which has a pocket on the front part) and some fun stickers your teen can use to mark important dates on their calendar. The covers are the same flexible plastic material as The Ultimate Planner and there is a small plastic ruler just inside the front cover.

The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students is very similar to the teen planner, but a little more simple for younger users. First, the spiral binding glows in the dark...now what younger student would NOT think that was just beyond cool. When I told my daughter, she ran to check it out. The student planner has an All About Me section, Study Smart Student Toolkit, Monthly undated calendar pages, weekly lesson plan sheets (which has a verse, a trivia question and a Quiet Time check off), Grade Log Page, Reading list, Activity Log pages, and the school helps pages like the teen planner. The colors are fun and bright and this planner is perfect for guiding your child to more independent learning, which IS the goal of both student planners.

What we thought:
We all LOVED our planners, but we were not completely successful in keeping them current and in the weekly accountability check ups. It is a very busy season in our lives, and we just needed to ease into them. I really loved all of the focus on praying through our year, months, weeks and days, asking God for guidance and setting up those fighter verses and memorial stones so that we would remember the Lord's faithfulness and how far we had come. We will continue purchasing these planners...there was that much that was valuable for us. I can also see that I really needed to sit down more with my daughter and show her what to do. I assumed, because of all the lesson plans she has been exposed to over the years, that she knew what to do...but I found out (Right before I sat down to write this review) that she really did not fully understand what to do...so back to the drawing board for us!

A Gift Hiding, Held, Heard

1} Hiding: a little surprise to thank my hard little workers

2} Held: My Little one...he still loves snuggling and hugs

3} Heard: My children laughing their heads off as they are working and playing (mostly playing) together!


Monday, April 8, 2013

3 Gifts Rising Up

1} Excitement for a season of new things...new eating, new exercise plans, new school plans, new products to try, etc

2} Praise Music

3}Faith, as I walk each day trying to trust Him more and more.