Archive | February, 2013

Fine Arts: Bach, Handel and Mozart (Cycle 1, Weeks 19-24)

21 Feb

Can you tell that I love children’s literature?!?!? I love, love, love reading with my boys. There’s nothing like piling on the couch and snuggling up together with a good book! Here are some books that I’ve been using to get ready for Weeks 19-24 Fine Arts. I hope they’ll be helpful as you prepare for class or curl up on the couch with your kiddos!

The Story of the Orchestra (Robert Levine)- This is a great book/CD combo that goes through the instruments of the orchestra, a list of composers and the different periods within the history of music. This book is geared towards and designed for children. The illustrations are fun, the information is accessible for children, and it is a great introduction to the orchestra for young children. If you’re a parent and want to delve deeper into this 6 weeks of Fine Arts, I would track this book down. You’ll probably learn as much as your children!

Classical Kids: Mr. Bach Comes to Call-This is a delightful audiobook that introduces your child to Bach and his music. In the story, Bach, literally, appears in the little girl’s house. They dialog, and he introduces his music to her. It’s a great little dramatized cd! My boys listen to audiobooks during rest time in the afternoons, so I can’t wait for them to listen to this. I listened to it all the way home from the library; my goal was to just test it out and see what it was like. I was so engaged that I forgot to turn it off! ha! This series also has these titles for our other composers this cycle: Classical Kids: Hallelujah Handel! Mozart’s Magic Fantasy: A Journey Through ‘The Magic Flute’ (this focuses solely on Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute), Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage (this focuses on an array of Mozart’s work).

The World of Composers (Greta Cencetti): This series has books for each of this cycle’s 3 composers: Handel, Mozart and Bach. These are geared towards upper elementary age, but they were helpful to me as I prepare as a tutor. Yes, you can laugh, I need the kid-versions. 🙂

Mozart-These were some of my favorites about Mozart. 🙂 Did you know that Mozart was homeschooled? His dad taught he and his sister at home. 🙂 That was an inspiring fact to read!

Enjoy these 6 weeks of Baroque and Classical period composers!

Week 19:Books, Books, and more Books! (and a couple of documentaries)

21 Feb

Here are some resources that we’ll be checking into for Week 19. I’m hoping to read some of these books and watch some of these documentaries. Probably won’t get around to all of them…but I found several treasures, so I wanted to–in keeping with my blog–share.

History:



The Lost World of the Anasazi (Peter Lourie)-I was sooooooooo excited to find this book at my library! I have never heard anything, ever about the Anasazi.


People of the Silence: A Novel of the Anasazi (Kathleen & W. Michael Gear)-I’m not familiar with this series, but it popped up on Amazon when I was looking for books about the Anasazi. It’s historical fiction and had great reviews on Amazon. It’s Book 8 in a series called The First North Americans, which I had not heard of previously. I love historical fiction, so I may have to check this one out! So, this is a blind recommendation on my part. Anyone read any in this series? Would love your input, if so. A worthy read?

Science: Documentaries

Seas of Life (BBC Earth)-I was excited to find this series on Amazon Instant Downloads, which you can stream FREE if you’re an Amazon Prime member! We watched a couple of BBC programs earlier in the semester from their Lost Kingdoms of Africa series.  We watched the first episode this morning, and it was excellent! My boys loved seeing the amazing ocean animals; they were mesmerized! It even explained the earth’s cycle around the sun, and it’s impact on the oceans. This was a great tie in from Week 13’s Science Project. (Just an FYI there is a segment on fish spawning that uses some ‘technical’ language. It was over my sons’ heads, so they were oblivious. And, super sad, this episode ended with a pod of killer whales killing a whale calf. I’m still torn up about it!)

This series explores the ocean’s floor, the unique creatures that exist on the bottom of the ocean, and more. Each episode is less than an hour, so I think we’ll watch several of these (a total of 8 episodes). There is one episode about the Coasts that explores life at the intersection of land and water. It looks like a great opportunity to review Vertebrates and Invertebrates. I might have my boys shout out Vertebrate or Invertebrate while we watch since my sons LOVE all things wild and noisy! ha! So excited about this series!

DisneyNature: Oceans-My boys may be “ocean-movie-ed” out by the end of next week! ha! I’m so fascinated by ocean life, how its interrelated and connected, and its beauty that these are probably more so for me  than them! ha! We’ve not seen DisneyNature’s Oceans. It’s on hold for me at the library! Wahoo! Can’t wait to watch it! Have any of you seen it? Please tell me there’s no scene of a pod of killer whales killing a whale calf. I need some happy, fairy tale ocean life. Maybe I should just stick to Finding Nemo??

Science: Books

Who Eats What? (Let’s Read and Find Out About Science series)-I love this series! We got this from the library and can’t wait to read it! It explains the concept of food chains and food webs. I’m going to link this with the ocean zones,  and we’ll look at each living thing to determine in which ocean zone  they live.

The Magic School Bus On the Ocean Floor-We are crazy for Miss Frizz and the Magic School Bus! Can’t wait to read this one with the boys!  We are also LOVING the The Magic School Bus: The Complete DVD Series  that I got the boys for Christmas. There is an ocean-related episode. We watched it last week; it wasn’t totally related to any of the Science New Grammar, but hey, that’s okay because they were still learning gobs from the episode.

Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas (Molly Bang & Penny Chisholm)- Molly Bang one a Calcedott Medal for this book’s illustrations, so i have high hopes for this book! I’t son the hold shelf for me at the library! yay! I am excited about how this book incorporates the food chain in existence with ocean life. I’m hoping this will be another natural tie-in with the ocean zones we’re studying this week.

Math: books

Sir Cumference series (Cindy Neuschwander)-I’ve heard of this series previously, but we’ve not gotten to these concepts in our regular Math curriculum. I’m excited to read these next week as we start learning about circles! I’ve heard raving reviews of how the author gently introduces mathematical concepts. My boys LOVE all things knights, so this will be easy to convince them to read with me. 🙂

For other Week 19 resources, you can see my earlier post here.

This post is being submitted to Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood’s Cycle 1 Weekly Link-Up. Find more Week 19 resources there:

Classical Conversations Weekly Link-Up

Week 19 printables (Latin & Science)

21 Feb

Our CC Community was off this week for President’s Day. Not gonna lie…it was a much needed break and allowed me to catch up on some things that we’d missed from past weeks.

Here are some printables that I’ll be using this week with my super cute Abecedarians as well as my super cute sons @ our house.

Latin Third Declension Packet

Latin Third Declension-I’ve made the 3rd Declension Packet following the same pattern with the 1st Declension and 2nd Declension that I’ve used this semester. I’ve really enjoyed having my “Latin Grid” on my Dry Erase Board with my Abecedarians. To see pictures of my “Latin Grid” go to last week’s post. Here’s the link to download the .pdf file: Latin Third Declension Packet

Also, you can go here to see the 3rd Declension Pronunciation Sheet that I used last semester. I printed these off (front/back) and put them in page protectors. I had my Abecedarians point to each picture as we sang along with the CC Song. You can also use them inside the page protector with dry erase markers. Have your class trace the endings with the marker as they sing/chant the endings.

Three Ocean Zones

Science-I made this activity to go along with this week’s Science about the Ocean Zones. 🙂 There are 3 different options in the file, so you can make it easy/difficult depending on your class or children. You can download the file here: Three Ocean Zones

I found some great resources for this week. I’ll post those soon. I wanted to go ahead and get up the printables for those of you who use them for your classes. 🙂

Enjoy!

This post is being submitted to Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood’s Cycle 1 Weekly Link-Up.
Classical Conversations Weekly Link-Up

One generation: Judges and a renewed vision as a parent

18 Feb

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“One generation. One generation. One generation.” If you could get into my brain and eavesdrop on my thoughts, you would hear this refrain repeated frequently throughout my day. It’s my attempt at being my own cheerleader as I move forward second by second, minute by minute with motherhood and parenting.

Why am I shaking proverbial pompoms in my brain, pepping myself up and repeating these two words again and again and again? Well, it all started when I decided that I needed a “refresher” on some Old Testament history. I feel like once the children of Israel make their exodus from Egypt, my brain gets a little foggy. I jumped in and started reading the book of Joshua and have made it to Judges. As I’ve been reading through Judges the past several weeks, I am taken aback at how quickly Israel turned away from God.

And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals. And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the LORD to anger. They abandoned the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth…Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the LORD, and they did not do so.”(Judges 2:11-15, 17 ESV)

The children of those who had entered the Promised Land turned away from the One, True God and pursued the false gods around them. It only took one generation before Israel turned away. They turned away from the One who had faithfully kept His promise to give their parents the land of Canaan.

This story keeps running through my head. Many of this first generation Promise Land dwellers would have been young children when they entered the Promised Land. They probably understood some of what was going on, but clearly not all of it nor its significance. Whose job was it to instruct them in the significance of the events? Whose job was it to remind them that God kept His promise to them? Whose job was it to acknowledge to their children that it was Yahweh who was allowing Israel to defeat each tribe living in Canaan? It was the parents.

I pray that I would have been faithful to have done those things if I had been a Promised Land Parent with my family. I can’t say what I would have done. I, also, don’t “Tisk, Tisk, Tisk” and shake my finger shaming those Promised Land Parents who, clearly, failed to do so. I know the depth of sin in my own heart, so I know I’m not any better than they were. However, I have walked away from my readings in Judges with a renewed vision as a parent. It has caused me to examine my heart and ask myself the following questions:

  • Am I being faithful to remind my children of God’s faithfulness in our family and the generations of those who’ve gone before us?
  • What am I teaching my children?
  • Do they know the beauty, richness, majesty of God? Have I shared those things with them?

It only takes one generation for a family to turn, forget God. Humbling, isn’t it? This I know–I don’t want this to be true of my family. So, I will continue walking around my house repeating “One generation, one generation, one generation” to myself. I will pray and ask for God’s grace and mercy to strengthen me to be proactive, diligent, intentional about telling my children the truths of God. I will pray often that my laziness will not be a hindrance, road block to my children’s hearing of His great and marvelous deeds. I will pray and ask the Holy Spirit to aid me in showing Christ, evidencing the fruit of the Spirit to my children and husband. I will acknowledge my weakness before God, knowing that I need His help with this weighty responsibility of instructing my children in the ways of the Lord. I pray that He will help my greatest joy to be Christ Himself so that my children can see that He is my greatest treasure. Lord, help my sons be a generation that stays with You, walks with You, worships and glorifies You. Make me, as their mother, faithful to You in the midst of parenting them.

I leave you with Psalm 78 as a prayer for you, for me, for us as we seek diligently to help our children find their greatest joy–Christ Himself. This is a beautiful, glorious passage reminding us again of our weighty responsibility as parents. Help us, O Lord not to hide your goodness to future generations.

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
He established a testimony in Jacob
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their fathers,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God.
(Psalm 78:1-8 ESV)

Need some next steps and ideas as you repeat “One generation, one generation, one generation” to yourself? Here are 2 ways (here and here) that we’re spending time together in the Word as a family leading up to Easter. Here are our favorite children’s Bibles. Here are our favorite cds–Scripture set to GREAT MUSIC. Lord, show us ways to creatively anchor our family in You and Your Word.

Easter Advent Calendar–Examples of first 10 ornament

11 Feb

Easter Advent.First 10 OrnamentsOne of my faithful readers (Hello, Lisa!!) sent me this picture today! She and her kiddos have made the first 10 ornaments for their Easter Advent calendar. Since many of you have ordered this resource and are, most likely, making your ornaments, I wanted to share it with you. Hopefully, this will get your creative juices flowing!

PLEASE share with me during the next 40 days about how this Easter Advent calendar is being used and impacting your family! Would love to share with my readers. I’m soooooooooooooo excited for all of the families who will be circling around and hearing God’s Word together during Lent this year.

Also, don’t forget about the other Easter resource I reviewed–the Easter Banner from HeartFELT Truths. Don’t feel like your family is up for a 40 Day Easter Advent? The Easter Banner is used from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, and it is fabulous! My post includes a coupon code especially for Suzanne Shares readers! 🙂

Easter traditions: Advent Calendar #2 (and a coupon code for YOU!)

8 Feb

As promised earlier in the week, here’s a second Advent Calendar that can be used with Easter! If you missed, the previous post for Easter Advent Calendar #1, go here.

I stumbled upon HeartFELT Truths this fall when I was looking for the script that goes along with our Noel Piper Advent Calendar. Sadly, that particular Advent Calendar is no longer sold anywhere. When so many of you fabulous blog readers were writing and asking for Christmas Advent Calendar help, I was determined to find a solution. Thankfully, google led me to HeartFELT Truths, which sells an Advent Calendar based on the Noel Piper Advent Calendar. I quickly shared this fabulous resource on my blog, and reading my News Feed on Facebook over Christmas was one of my daily highlights. I saw so many of you using the HeartFELT Truths Advent Calendar; I loved all of the sweet pictures of cute little kiddos putting baby Jesus in the manger!

I love finding and sharing resources that help parents be intentional about teaching their children truths about God and His Word! I’m so excited because I’ve found another one thanks to HeartFELT Truths! Whitney from HeartFELT Truths emailed me several weeks ago and asked if I would be interested in reviewing her Easter Banner. It took me about 2 seconds to reply back with a hearty “YES!!” I received my Easter Banner this past week, and I could not be more pleased with it! It truly is a treasure!

How it works
Here’s a quick overview of how the Easter Banner works.

  • The HeartFELT Truths Easter Banner is designed to be used daily during Holy Week–Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday.IMG_7872
  • The Easter Banner comes with a Story Text Packet, which contains New Testament readings to coincide with the events of Holy Week.
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  • Each day you will read the Story Text together and place the corresponding symbol(s) on the Easter Banner.IMG_7869
  • On Good Friday, nails are put on the cross and Jesus’ wrapped body is placed inside the tomb. Then, the large black felt piece is put over the Easter Banner.

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  • On Easter morning, Jesus is removed from the tomb and a bright yellow felt  piece with the words “He is Risen!” is pulled over replacing the black felt piece. Jesus is alive!

My Review of HeartFELT Truths Easter Banner: A Parent’s Perspective
My one sentence summary: We love, love, love it, and I wish it was Holy Week already!

My more detailed summary (for those of you, like me, who LOVE detailed descriptions):

First impressions are everything, right? When I opened the box, my first thought was, “Wow! This is really well done.” This is an impressive, excellently-crafted product! No random hot glue strands or thread hanging wildly, which would be the case if I had tried to make this! It truly is beautiful! The banner and symbols are made with high quality, durable felt to ensure that you can use it for years to come.

The Story Text packet comes in a folder with clear, concise instructions about how to use and care for the Easter Banner. The Story Text contains a short narrative and Scripture Reading for each day. My sons are 3, 5, and 7, and I like the length of the narrative and passages selected for each day. They seem appropriate to the ages of my children–not too long and not too short. The Story Text is, also, open-ended enough that my husband and I can add questions or additional thoughts as we read and discuss together. It gives you structure for each day, but it’s not overly structured.

I also love the Scripture passages and Holy Week events that Whitney’s highlighted through the Story Text and Symbols. They are Palm Sunday, Jesus Anointed with Perfume, Passover (The Last Supper), Jesus is Betrayed, Jesus on Trial, Jesus is Crucified, A Day of Silence, and the Resurrection. Each of these stories are key to understanding the whole story of Easter. This was an important to me: I want my sons to know all that led up to Good Friday and Easter morning. Thank you, Whitney, for not oversimplifying this significant event of Scripture. Using the Easter Banner will be an interactive, memorable tool to help our family celebrate the miracle of Easter! It will also keep us in the Scriptures each day during Holy Week; I can’t think of anything more important! I love that we have a new Easter tradition in our home!

Impressions from a child’s perspective

The above thoughts about the Easter Banner were all, primarily, from my perspective as a parent. Now, just a few impressions thinking from my sons’ perspective. I can already tell you that there will be a daily fight about who puts the symbol on the banner each day. (It happens every night with our Christmas Advent Calendar, so Easter will be no different!) My children love having something to hold in their hands and a picture to symbolize what we’re reading about in the Bible. Putting the symbol on the banner will be one of their favorite parts of the experience.

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Aren’t the real nails a fabulous added touch?

I can, also, predict their favorite symbol–the 3 nails. The kit includes three real nails. There are three tiny slits in the cross where each nail is to be placed. My boys are going to love it. As a parent, I love that the nails will be a physical reminder of the pain that Jesus endured for them on the cross.

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Son #2 wouldn’t stop playing with the tomb the day we got our Easter Banner!

They’re also going to love the tomb. It is beautifully cut into the Easter Banner forming a ‘pocket’ to hold Jesus’ wrapped body. It will be evident to them on Sunday morning that the tomb is empty. I love it! This Easter Banner will, truly, help the events of Easter come alive to my boys! So excited!

Order your HeartFELT Truths Easter Banner (and a coupon code!)
One thing that I love about HeartFELT Truths products, including the Easter Banner, is that there are multiple options for your pocketbook. You can buy the Easter Banner from her Etsy shop. She sells a couple of different options of the Easter Banner at different prices. The first option is the Complete Kit, which includes everything pre-sewn, cut out and assembled. There is also a No-Sew DIY Kit, which is slightly cheaper. Everything that requires sewing is completed, but some cutting out and assembly is required. Or, Whitney generously offers the patterns and instructions for her Easter Banner as a free download on her website. That shows you the heart behind HeartFELT Truths; Whitney desires most of all to see parents and children reading God’s Word and celebrating Easter together. LOVE IT!

She’s also graciously given a coupon code for Suzanne Shares readers, so go visit the HeartFELT Truths Etsy shop and snag this great product today:

>>COUPON CODE:  EASTERSHARES  <<

for 10% off any order valid through MIDNIGHT CST 4/10/13   

So, take advantage of this great resource and use it with your family this Easter! If you use the Easter Banner, I would love to see some pictures! I might even feature them on the blog!


A helpful read: metric & customary systems (Math: Weeks 13-15)

8 Feb

I found this little treasure at my local library. I was looking for a book to give my sons a gentle, younger-elementary age explanation of the Metric System. With the Math grammar particularly in weeks 13-15, my boys have glazed eyes and blank stares as we go over millimeters, centimeters and kilometers. If you haven’t noticed by now, I love to find quality literature to introduce or provide a springboard for new material to my sons. After a quick card catalog search, I found How Tall, How Short, How Far Away? by David Adler. I checked it out, headed home and crossed my fingers that it would help my boys understand a little more about the Metric System.

Ding, ding! We have a winner! This book is an excellent choice for a fun yet gentle introduction to both the Metric and Customary Systems of measurements! It starts off explaining measurements used by Ancient Egyptians, which was a fun connection for us with all of the Ancient Egyptian study that we’ve done this year in conjunction with Cycle 1 of Classical Conversations. Ancient Egyptians used cubits and spans (and a few other units of measure), and they are also used in the Bible. While reading these units of measure, i shift into “skim-read” mode. I have skipped over these units of measure because I have no idea what they mean. However, while reading in Judges 3  yesterday, I read about Ehud making a sword for himself that was a cubit in length. I was so excited to be able to visualize the sword’s length, thanks to How Tall, How Short, How Far Away?

The book quickly moves to the Ancient Romans, who we’ve always studied extensively this year with Cycle 1. They are the ones who take credit for the origins of the Customary System that we use in the United States. Did you know that? I didn’t either. 🙂 This was a fun moment with my boys, too, as they made that connection. The book then introduces the Metric System and explains its origin. It shows the connections between milli-, centi-, kilo- and others in relation to a meter. The final section of the book has different objects of different sizes and asks the reader to indicate which Customary System unit and Metric System unit would be used to measure it. This activity really helped remove the glazed eyes and blank stares from my boys. 🙂 It really was a fun read! I loved watching the Math grammar that my boys previously memorized come to life as we read this book! Even if you’re long past Weeks 13-15 with the Metric grammar (like we are), I would recommend reading this book anyway.

Just a bit of transparency, honesty and encouragement for my CC readers on this glorious Friday morning. 🙂 Yes, you’re reading it correctly–I don’t always do my “extra” reading and activities during the week it corresponds to with CC. Shocker?!?! See, I told you I’m not perfect and don’t have it all together! 🙂 We’re on Week 17, and I’ve had this book for 3 weeks to go along with previous weeks, but we were just able to read it yesterday. No sweat! It was a helpful review of our previous Math grammar, and they loved it! It made no matter to them that we were reading it “late.” So, if you’re stressing out because your CC reading and activities don’t perfectly fall with the corresponding week, don’t! If there was an activity that you wanted to do from Week 7  that you never got around to, go for it now!  It’s okay! Take lots of deep breaths, know that you’re not alone, know that no one is judging you, know that no one else is the perfect homeschool mom either and just simply enjoy learning with your kids. 🙂 Why do we (and yes, I’m including myself in this!!), as homeschool moms put so much pressure on ourselves?!?! Let’s make a pact to stop. What do you think?!?! Happy Friday, readers!

Easter traditions: Advent Calendar #1

5 Feb

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Do you notice the mustard seed in the center of the cross?

I wrote a lot before and during Christmas about our family’s wonderful Advent Calendars that we use to prepare our hearts for Christ’s birth. I had a faithful blog reader email me a couple of weeks ago asking if I had any similar resources for Easter. I am excited to share with you…that I do! So, if you’re looking ahead to Easter and wondering how to make it more purposeful and focused this year with your children and family, great news! I have two wonderful Easter Advent Calendars to share with you! The first one goes through the 40 days of Lent, so I am going to share it first since Ash Wednesday is next week. (Is it just me or is this year flying by in speed-of-light fashion?!?!) The second one is used during the Passion Week (Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday), and I will share about it on Friday of this week. So, here’s the first one…

As our family grew to love the tradition of our 2 advent calendars at Christmas, I longed for something similar for Easter. After all, Easter is just as significant as Christmas to a Christian, right? I loved that both of our Advent Calendars involved daily readings from Scripture. In the busy chaos of December, I loved that each day with our Advent Jesse Tree readings or Noel Piper Advent Calendar my heart, mind and soul were taken back to God’s word. This beautifully re-centered me in Christ each day; I needed it. “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. It takes my heart less than 24 hours to move away, away, away from Jesus.” (Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the same daily Scripture readings leading up to Easter? I was like a giddy schoolgirl the day that one of the elder’s wives at our sending church told me she’d written an advent devotion for the 40 days leading to Easter Sunday. She, too, was deeply impacted through using the Advent Jesse Tree at Christmas and wanted a similar devotion for Easter. That conversation with my friend, Faye, was 2 years ago. For the last 2 years, our family has used and loved her Lenten Advent devotion, The Word Became Flesh. The devotion starts with the birth of Christ and goes through his life, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection. It is such a sweet journey through the life of Christ during the 40 days leading up to Easter. Always encouraging and convicting is the exercise of reflecting on His miracles, compassion when relating to the sinners He came to save, great love that He possessed for His Father, and perfect obedience. Of course, anytime we’re spending time in the Bible, we will be drawn deeper into our love for and relationship to God. The Word Became Flesh will help you do that this year leading up to Easter.
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One of my other favorite aspects of The Word Became Flesh is that you can use ornaments with it just like the Advent Jesse Tree! When Faye first introduced the devotion to several of us, she also organized an Ornament Swap. There are 40 days of Lent, so the book contains 40 devotions. Thus, there are 40 ornaments. At the Ornament Swap, each of us chose one ornament, and we brought 40 copies of the same ornament. We swapped ornaments that night and each left with a complete set! We display our ornaments on a grapevine wreath, shown above, during the 40 days leading up to Easter. The wreath reminds us of the crown of thorns that Jesus wore on the cross. (I picked up the wreath at Michael’s, by the way, and of course, I used a 40% off coupon! yay!) Here are 2 of my favorites (in addition to the cross with the mustard seed above.)

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Don’t you love this little piggy ornament?!?!? Bible trivia here. Which New Testament parable would be represented by this cute little piggy?
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This cute little boat made of cork board, a tooth pick and paper is for the story of Jesus calming the storm at sea.

If you’re not super crafty or don’t have time to organize an Ornament Swap, no worries! My friend Faye, well, God’s given her amazing talent! Faye is an amazing artist, specifically a brilliant painter. Not only did she beautifully pen the words to each devotion, her hands brilliantly sketched amazing pictures to go along with the day’s devotion. Here are two examples from the book. These pictures below are for the story of Zaccheus (sycamore leaf) and the story of the Prodigal Son.

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You can photocopy the pictures, mount them on cardstock or scrapbook paper, and your set of 40 ornaments is done!
I love the structure of each day’s devotion. Faye calls this a “devotion guide” rather than a “devotional.” For each day, there is a passage to read, a list of suggested songs to sing, 5 or 6 questions to answer together after you read the passage, and a prayer. Faye truly laid this out as a guide for you, not her own thoughts written down for you to take in and believe. Each day is structured in more of an inductive style so that you can read the passage and discuss the questions together. She gently guides you into the focus for the day by leading you to the Word, and then, she leaves you at the Word. This creates room for the Holy Spirit to enter in, instruct, convict, and draw you nearer to your Father God. I love that! I love how I’ve seen the Holy Spirit draw me in as we’ve read the passage together. I love how this process of reading, digging deeper into the Word for ourselves is being experienced and learned by my sons. I love, most of all, the 40 day focused time in the Word, preparing my heart, soul, mind for Easter (and my family’s too!).

I will confess that the thought of 40 days was daunting and overwhelming the first year we did this as  a family. I’m a perfectionist, so I hate to not perfectly follow a plan. Thankfully, the Lord has helped me shed a great deal of my perfectionist trappings through our church planting experience. So, now if we miss a day, I just tell myself, “Well, we’ll start again tomorrow and won’t quit the whole thing!” (A HUGE step for me!) So, don’t freak out that it’s 40 days. Just start it and take it one day at a time. (This is my pep talk for all perfectionists reading this post!). Honestly, once we started the 40 day journey and got into it after the first week or so, I saw the spiritual fruit in my own life as a result of the daily, focused time in the Word. I didn’t mind it after all and was actually quite saddened to see the 40 days end.

I’m excited to share that you can now order The Word Made Flesh from Amazon. Ash Wednesday is next week–February 13, so order in time to begin this journey to Easter with your family. _______________________________________________________

Want to hear more about Easter Advent Calendar #2?!?!? Come back on Friday to Suzanne Shares to learn more about it! For my readers who read my Christmas traditions posts, I’ll give you a hint about the 2nd one. It has to do with FELT! 🙂

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Valentine’s Day “stocking”: a new Valentine’s tradition in our home

4 Feb

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I first saw these Valentine’s “stockings” (aka “lovey bundles”) 2 years ago. Two years ago, there was no Pinterest. Isn’t it hard to imagine pre-Pinterest days?!?! I bookmarked the blog post immediately. Does anyone remember the “good ol’ days” of bookmarking websites?!?! Sorry, I digress…

When I saw these Valentine’s “stockings,” I knew that I wanted to start this tradition in our family. Two years ago, two days before Valentine’s Day, our family moved to plant a church, so I didn’t get to make the “stockings” that year. Last year, I bought all of the supplies but never got around to making them. 😦

This year, I was determined to make them. As part of their Christmas present, my awesome sister-in-law got my husband and sons tickets to the Vanderbilt basketball game on Saturday. I was uninvited, and I was ecstatic. 🙂 The boys had bonding time with Daddy, and I was “solo.” These days I relish any time that I have time alone, so I soaked it up and decided to tackle the Valentine’s stockings project. I have a love/hate relationship with my sewing machine, so I wasn’t sure if I would get any of them made during the 3 hour basketball game. Thankfully, my sewing machine was obedient, and I got one made for all 5 of us! I’m not a master seamstress, so if I can make them, anyone can! This was one of those projects that, upon completion, I was mad at myself for putting it off for 2 years! It was so easy. This is a lesson in perseverance, so if you have a project you’ve been putting off, tackle it today! You’ll be so glad you did (as I was this week!)

love traditions, and I’m excited to have a new tradition for Valentine’s day in our home. I’m excited to have a fun way to treat my husbands and boys from year to year. This first year will be a surprise; my boys have NO IDEA that they’ll wake up to candy and small treats on Valentine’s Day. I can’t wait! In the future, it will be so fun to get them in on the ‘planning’ and ‘scheming’ as we shower each other with surprises to show each other our love for one another. Oh, what fun!

I followed the tutorial step-by-step on Kojo Designs. Super, super easy to make! It probably only took me 10-15 minutes to make each one. Here’s how I made them:

Materials needed: 5 rectangles of felt, ribbon (for drawstring), scissors, sewing machine, hot glue gun, and felt/fabric scraps for decorating or personalizing

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Cut one of your felt rectangles into a square. Sew the four remaining rectangles to the square. You’ll have a nice cross once you’re done. Then, sew the sides together until a “sack” is made. Cut 2 slits on each side of your “sack” and weave the ribbon in and out. Tie the ribbon and pull tightly, which will make it like a drawstring. Viola! Your Valentine’s stocking is ready!
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With all boys, I decided not to make mine too “valentine-y” for fear that they would think they were too “girly.” I decided to just put our initials on them.
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Hot gluing the letters into place.

IMG_7794The finished product. I put the camera up before I finished the one for my husband and myself. My Valentine’s “stocking” is hot pink! The boys will know which one is not theirs just by looking at the color! I can’t wait for Valentine’s Day! I am so thankful for the family that God has given me; I never want to take them for granted. Excited for a special day to tell my family those very things. Most of all, I’m thankful for yet another day to be reminded of the One who loved me first.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another…We love because he first loved us.(1 John 4:7-11, 19)

Week 17 printables (Latin and Science)

4 Feb

We were out of town last week, so I’m getting caught up here. 🙂 I have a couple of printables for Week 17 to share. I finally took a picture, as promised, of how I’m using the Latin packet at my home and in my Abecedarian class. I made a grid on the back of my homemade, tri-fold, dry erase board, and I use the cards from the printable Latin packets on the grid.

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Viola! Blue painters tape is my BFF.

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My boys using the cards to review at home.

Latin Second Declension Packet

Latin Second Declension Packet  If you missed the Latin First Declension Packet you’ll find it here.

Parts of a Volcano

Download Volcano worksheet on CC Connected (username: suzannemosley)

Enjoy!