Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Book Review: Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado

Do you love to read? Have you ever heard of BookSneeze??? For those of you who love to read and love free books, you've gotta go check them out! They give you free books as long as you review them. This makes me smile :)

Here we go...........

First and foremost,
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

All that legal mumbo jumbo being said, here's my review of Max Lucado's book Out Live Your Life.

Simply written, full of wit and light humor to disarm the reader to continue on in spite of the clear call to action. One of the great strengths is the presence of life stories that carry on throughout each chapter, giving real-life examples of victory and failure. Max pokes at himself more than anyone, making his own life and failures the basis of his writing.

Knowing that Max is contributing 100% of his author royalties to World Vision and the James 1:27 Foundation, underscores the author’s heart-felt call to compassion.

Max includes a helpful chapter-by-chapter discussion guide as an appendix, full of questions and ideas for taking action (good for small-group use).

Many of us want to read what we know are great books without being affected or impacted by them – we would prefer to continue on as we were without having to take action. This is one book that inoffensively spurs the reader to draw near to God, adopt His concern for people, and consider how to take action in making a difference for people’s sake!

I believe this is a must read for everyone and will be re-read around our home.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy Tuesday!

So, school is in full swing and I am still making adjustments. Trying to find my "groove" again, I guess you could say. I'm getting there. Part of my morning routine (time for myself) is reading a few blogs that really encourage.

I was just over at Prairie Flower Farm and watched a really great video. I have seen this entire video before at our church. I gotta tell you, it was AMAZING! This guy, Louie Giglio, can really present God's love! This video is just a snippet, but it's great. You might watch it and be inspired to find the whole video. It's that good.

Don't forget to pause my iPod music before playing the video!

I'd love to hear what you think!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A great sewing blog..............

Hey, there! I wanted to share a great blog with you.

If you like to sew, and dress cute, this is a fabulous place for ideas! Sachiko over at Tea Rose Home is really creative and has a flair for fashion! She has terriffic ideas for customizing and accessorizing--all for CHEAP! She loves a great bargain like me.

Here's one of my favorite projects she has made. I'm on the lookout for a cute basket purse like that one.

Sachiko is also having a great Amy Butler giveaway right now! I would love to win this pattern:

Or this one:

Did you know that Amy Butler has free patterns on her site??? Just thought you might like to know that! :)

Ok, so go take a look at Tea Rose Home and you will be inspired.......promise!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Our Back to School schedule...........

This week I've been test driving my new schedule for the upcoming school year. Normally, I would wake when the kids did and it would be a fast-paced, tiring day until I fell into bed at night. The worst part is, I would often feel like I hadn't gotten enough accomplished. Perhaps we completed the entire school day, but the laundry might have been neglected. Or the dishes. Or the floors. Or all of the above.

I've always known there had to be a better way! I'm moving beyond just getting by with the necessities. Or, rather, my list of necessities is growing!

So, I've been waking at 6am this week. Blech. I set my alarm every night and pray for God to help me get up on time. So far, he has! Except for today. I went to bed too late, then woke up around 2am for a little while. I am tired! I got up, but I didn't do anything but drink coffee with hubby until he left for work at 6:35. Then I got busy. And now I feel behind.

My goal has been to have my quiet time, exercise, shower & dress for the day before the kids get up. Then I can save the world with all that behind me!

The problem? It's just not.early.enough.

I think I need to get up at 5:30am. Double blech. I am not an early riser. I haven't been able to "pop" out of bed since I was a teenager. But, I think it's time to put my big girl pants on!

So, here's what it looks like:

5:30 - Quiet time.
6:00 - Exercise.
6:30 - Shower, dress, hair/makeup.
7:30 - Make breakfast.
8:00 - Start chores for the day.
9:00 - School with Evan. (He's doing K so his school time is short)
9:45 - School with Levi. (He's in 1st this year.)
10:30 - Snack/free time/clean.
11:00 - Finish up with Levi and/or begin with Ava. (She does 4th/5th grade work.)
12:00 - Lunch/free time/clean.
1:00 - Rest time for boys/School with Ava
3:00 - Everybody up! Chores then free time.
4:30 - Start dinner.
5:30 - Dinner/clean up/RELAX
7:30 - Bathe kids/read stories.
8:30 - Lights out for the kids/time with hubby!!!
10:00 - Bedtime. Ahhhh!

Oh, I am also trying out Courtney's cleaning schedule from Women Living Well. My current cleaning routine is lacking so I'm trying something new.

Monday - Menu and Market (Grocery Shop)
Tuesday - Toilets, Tubs, Towels
Wednesday - Wash (Set timer and rotate laundry every hour)
Thursday - Dust
Friday - Floors

I'll let you know how that goes!

How about you? Do you homeschool? Do you have a routine? Is it different than the summer? How do you accomplish your priorities throughout the day?

Monday, August 16, 2010

A great blog I stumbled across.........

So, there are a handful of blogs I like to read. Ok, ok, a couple of handfuls of blogs I like to read! Really, though, I'm learning to not waste time reading things that don't make much of a difference in my life. I'm trying to focus on spending my time reading things that are really worthwhile. You know, things that encourage, uplift, and inspire rather than drain my time.

Through another blog, I came across Women Living Well. This is one of the best blogs I've read, and exactly what I've been looking for! Courtney is such an inspiring young woman who truly loves the Lord. I've only known about her blog for a few days now, and have been spending a little time each day reading her archives. There is so much encouragement to be found there!

Well, she gave a challenge this summer called "Completing Him". It was a challenge for us wives to build up our marriages by doing little things that make a big impact for our husbands. While I sadly missed out on this challenge (it's already over), I've read most of her posts about it. My favorite so far has been to kiss your husband like you mean it! How often do we forget to do that? The mornings are busy and he's just trying to get out the door to get to the office on time and so, a quick little peck has to suffice.

It just doesn't have to be that way! I am determined to kiss my hubby like I mean it at least once a day. And to make sure I don't forget, I'm trying to do it in the morning when he leaves for work. What a send off! He tells me he'll be thinking about me all day after I kiss him like that!

If you haven't heard of Women Living Well, I encourage you to pop on over and check it out. I'm very glad I stumbled across it! Thanks, Courtney!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer is winding down...........

So, it's been awhile! My, how time can escape me!

I will try to post some photos of my progress on the afore mentioned quilts soon! I think I am very slow, but I really only get to sew 1 or 2 days a week if I really try. I am hoping to pick up a little speed this fall. I am enjoying them, though. If you want to see a lady who inspires me, or just read a quilting blog where the person actually gets a lot done and posts often, visit A Quilting Life. I am always amazed at how much she accomplishes! Yes, I know she's not homeschooling 3 little kids, but STILL! She's amazing!

We have been "dabbling" with school work over the summer to keep the kids busy. When swim lessons began, it was just too much. We have been on an official break for about 4 weeks.

We have decided to begin again full force on Aug. 23rd. People often ask me what kind of curriculum I use and how I found it. I remember just typing in an internet search for homeschool curriculum and one of the first companies that popped up happened to be exactly what I was looking for! Praise the LORD! I really did not want to stress about that for any length of time!

There are several really good choices out there, depending on what you want to do with your kids. This year, I am using four companies to supply our year. I'll tell you a little about them:

First, is Sonlight.

This is the first company that came up when I began my search for curriculum over 3 years ago. Sonlight is a "literature-rich" curriculum. This means that the parent reads a lot of really wonderful books out loud to the children. It also means that the child reads a teriffic selection of literature. I am continually impressed with the books when we finish them! They use so many books I've never even heard of. As a lover of children's literature, this really fulfills a need in my life to both enjoy and teach my children to enjoy so many beautiful stories.

I am using Core 1 (Part 1 World history) with my 8 yr old daughter this fall. We are moving at a quick pace so we can move on to Core 2 (Part 2 World history) in the Spring. This is part of a plan to be able to use Core 3 (American history) next year before she gets a little too old for the readers. All three Cores are just full of fantastic books! Such fun!

Our 6 yr old son is re-using Core P4/5 this year, and listening in to big sister's read-alouds when it interests him. He is already reading on a 2nd grade level, so we are using appropriate readers (from Sonlight) for him.

Our 4.5 yr old son is using Core P3/4 this year, along with Kindergarten workbooks from Christian Light Publishing and Hooked on Phonics for reading.

This brings me to our second curriculum choice this year.
Christian Light Publishing is a Mennonite company that produces material for private schools and homeschools alike. They utilize "Light Units", which are thin workbooks that are worked through in about 3 weeks each. There are typically 10 Light Units per subject, however, some (like Bible) only have 5. Those are only worked in 2 or 3 days a week instead of every day.

So far, so good! The kids enjoy both their Sonlight books and their Light Units!

I also made a few other purchases this year from a company called Homeschool in the Woods.
Sonlight introduced them to us via their Timeline book and figures. I'll elaborate more on that another time, but thought I'd share what I bought so you could check it out if you want.

I bought the Olde World Style Maps, both world and U.S. I will print these on parchment paper, which makes them look really pretty and adds to the "aged" look.

I also bought the History Through the Ages Collection of Historical Timeline Figures on CD. This one was sort of a hefty purchase, but I'm glad I have it now. It will save me money through the years and offers more options for future projects as the kids get older! Amy Pak's artwork is just gorgeous!

And, if this post isn't long enough for ya, here's a link to the Science curriculum we will be using this year. It is a creation-based curriculum from Apologia called Exploring Creation with Astronomy. We will be using the Notebook Journals shown on their site, as well, for some hands-on learning.

Well, I am looking forward to our new school year! Homeschooling certainly didn't start out easy for me (our first year was pretty rough), but I learn so much each year that I'm eager to continue!

I just love spending time with my kiddos and watching them learn and grow. I love being there with them when they "get it" or that "light bulb moment" happens for them! I love cultivating in them a love for learning all the time, not just when we're doing school work.

They impress us daily with how much they retain and pick up!