Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up: Catch-up Edition

I seem to be doing well with the "week and a half" thing, sigh . . . so let's see, where did I leave off?

A week ago Friday . . . that was just a day of packing and getting things done.

Sabbath (Oct 15) - after church we headed to Pittsburgh. When Little Bit woke up from her nap she was REALLY grouchy (not sure why, it's not like her). So when we stopped at a rest area soon after that, I decided it was time to turn her carseat forward-facing. She's not at the max weight for rear-facing in her carseat yet, and up until now she'd been content so we went with it. But the thought of 3 hours of the big girls having to keep a grouchy toddler entertained when I've gotten lazy about planning car activities because usually she's such a good traveler, just made me head hurt. Turning her forward facing means now we can utilize the minivan's built in DVD player to help keep her entertained. We really haven't been using the DVD player at all with the big girls, but thankfully I HAD brought along a couple DVDs. One was a Magic Schoolbus video on bugs to go along with our current nature study on bees. I'd figured the big girls could watch it during Little Bit's nap sometime. And then for some reason I through in the Theo video we reviewed awhile back.  So, while I took the girls in for a potty break at the rest area, Rodney turned the carseat around.  Needless to say, Little Bit was pretty excited to be able to "sit like sisters" and was amazed to discover we have a TV in our car LOL. Thankfully, she enjoyed the Magic Schoolbus videos, even asking for them sometime even later in the trip (on Sunday I went to Kmart and got a couple DVDs of some of her favorite tv shows).

Sunday was a day of swimming and such at the hotel, we originally considered going to a museum, until we went to breakfast at the hotel and realized, based on the fact that we were literally the ONLY people in the breakfast area NOT wearing Steelers clothes, that there was a Steelers game that day. Since both museums are pretty close to the stadium we opted to stay far away from that area on a game day.

Monday we went to Carnegie Science Center. The big girls were thrilled to have the sports building pretty much to themselves. Their big accomplishment was to climb to the top of the climbing wall (shudder).

Little Bit enjoyed the "little kid" area.

Tuesday we went to the Pittsburgh Children's Museum. As always the art studio was a big hit. Little Bit got into the action more this time. Her favorite was the clay, she spent hours (more or less) playing with clay while her sisters did recycled sculpture projects. They were doing some remodeling and were between special exhibits so there wasn't as much else to do, but Little Bit enjoyed the "nursery" (little kid area) for awhile and the big girls had fun with an electricity exhibit, figuring out how circuits and stuff work.

Wednesday Rodney needed to go to Erie for the day, and since it was supposed to rain, the girls and I opted to stay at the hotel. If it wasn't rainy we would have gone to the Erie Zoo, but I wasn't as confident about keeping them entertained all day on a rainy day. So we did school, and played in the pool and such.

Thursday morning Rodney had one last appointment and then we were leaving around noon. So while he went to that the girls and I packed and snuck in a final trip to the pool. One of the highlights of Pittsburgh trips for Little Bit is the "sparkley tunnels" her name for the white tile walls and florescent lights in the tunnels on the trip out, and between our hotel and downtown Pittsburgh. On the trip home she napped for the first however long and then coincidentally (seriously, none of us made any noise or anything) woke up while we were IN the first tunnel of the trip home. She was SOO excited to wake up in a sparkley tunnel, it was cute.

I should also note that most of our trip fell during Sukkot. We had talked about making a "tent" over the desk in the hotel room but the girls didn't remember while we were there and I must admit I didn't remind them, 5 of us in a rather small hotel room is chaotic enough. We had also talked about them making a dollhouse size sukkah to have in the hotel room but we got there and I couldn't find the doll house dolls and other supplies that the girls had planned to bring, so I figured we'd forgotten them. I did find them, tucked in the corner, as we were packing to leave on Thurs morning, oops.  So, not alot of celebrating. We DID read about and discuss the various symbolisms of the holiday each morning for Bible.

So that was our fun, trip. Friday was naturally a day of laundry and groceries and such.

I should also mention the changes we've made to our Friday night "Shabbat" celebration. Awhile back we had talked some about the traditional things Jews do to welcome Shabbat, but the girls weren't really interested. For the last year or so, when possible, we've used special dishes (we went to TJMaxx and found pretty soup bowls and some simple, inexpensive stemware), we have soup and challah bread and light candles. A few weeks ago, when Sassy asked to light the candles she remembered that one of the things we learned about the Jewish celebration is that the women wear scarves or other head coverings. So she went and found a scarf to wear when she lit the candles. Then last week (a week ago), I thought I'd surprise the girls and have grape juice instead of water to drink. And the girls remembered that another part of the Jewish celebration was passing around a special cup and saying a blessing on the grape juice (this, incidentally, is most likely what Jesus would have said/done when he "took the wine and blessed it" at the last supper). So they wanted to do that but I'm not organized to be able to lay my hands on the wording (in English or Hebrew) for the blessing at the last minute, so we just made up our own for that night.

Fast forward to Thursday while we were doing school and waiting for Rodney to get back from his morning appointment. I found the mp3 about Shabbat and we listened to it again. The girls wanted to learn the blessings, in English AND Hebrew. So we started with the blessing that's typically said while lighting the Shabbat candles. They quickly learned it in English,and now we're slowly working on learning the Hebrew version.

And I think that pretty much catches us up on what's been going on around here. I have some pictures, but those will have to wait till later.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Book Review: Educating the WholeHearted Child


PhotobucketI was thrilled to have the opportunity to review the new edition of Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson. I've talked before about my love for this couple's writings, and last spring I reviewed their daughter, Sarah's, book Read for the Heart, so I had no doubt that I'd love this book as well. And I was not disappointed! When I received it, I was surprised at how big it is! I realized rather quickly after starting into it, that realistically, given my complete lack of "alone time" (Little Bit still doesn't know what sleep is, dh's work schedule has been insane . . .), and how MUCH information, the kind of real, good, informative information that you have to really "digest" not just skim over and go on, like I tend to do with alot of books I read, and did I mention that it's a BIG book! That it wasn't realistic to try to read the whole book in the time I had before I needed to write this review. I chose to READ it, the way I need to read it to get anything out of it, underlining, writing comments in the margin, stopping to absorb what I was reading, and I'm no where near done, but that's ok. I don't need to finish reading this book to say absolutely, without a doubt, you NEED this book!!! This is an amazing resource for any homschooling family! From great general parenting advice to things to consider in setting up your home, to how to work with your child(ren)'s personality(ies), to living books . . . and that's just the first halfof the book that I've actually made it through!!

This is not a book that you read once and then forget about, this is a book that I'm going to revisit regularly, as a resource and a source of general reminders on how to be the parent (and homeschool mom) that I want to be, and that God wants me to be!

I highly recommend this book to any Christian homeschool parent, whether you're considering homeschooling, just starting out, or have been homeschooling for years! There's so much information in this book, it will be helpful to you wherever you're at in your homeschooling journey!

You can get your own copy of Educating the Whole Hearted Child from Apologia for $22. While you're there be sure to check out their other great books, including Read for the Heart (mentioned above), and another book that the Crew reviewed (but I didn't get to) earlier this year, How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for Your Child, which, after reading the Crew reviews, is now near the top of my wish list, and many more. Also don't forget to read what my fellow crewmates thought of this book, by going to the TOS Crew blog here.

Disclaimer: I received the above mentioned product in exchange for writing an honest review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Week and a Half Wrap-Up

Obviously, I'm behind again, sigh . . . oh well, such is life!

Last week's highlights:

  • Apple picking at Hopewell Furnace. The apples were about gone, but we had fun anyway. Sassy and MiniMe thought it was great fun to use the big long apple picker contraptions to pick the apples, and Little Bit enjoyed getting the apples out of the picker contraption once one of the big girls picked one. Then Little Bit and I examined it, and if it had "holes in it" she got to throw it down the hill. 
  • To make sure our apple picking adventure was educational, the ranger who sold us the apples we picked gave the girls a quick math lesson, it went something like this . . . 
    • Ranger: You get a free apple for coming, so if you came every day all year, how many free apples would you get?
    • MiniMe: (looking abit disgusted) You don't HAVE apples all year, just during apple season, so how could you give me one every day?
    • Ranger: Ok, so IF we had apples every day, how many apples would you get if you came every day all year?
    • MiniMe: I don't know
    • Ranger: 365, there are 365 days in the year. So, if you came every OTHER day, and we had apples, how many apples would you get?
    • MiniMe & Sassy spent a few minutes talking it out, but did come up with the correct answer. Ranger expressed approval at how well they figured out how to arrive at the number (divided 300 in half, then 60, then 5)
  • Extra baking and cooking to put in the freezer to get us ready for the busy month we have planned. There were more math lessons hidden in all that measuring and doubling recipes :-)
  • We've been learning about Van Gogh, for art, so we spent time discussing some of his paintings, the girls each chose a painting to "copy", and did a pretty good job, all things considered. They also added the Van Gogh stuff to their Famous Painters lapbook.
  • We wrapped up our ladybug study by making apple ladybugs for lunch one day. 
  • This past Sabbath was Yom Kippur, so we learned about Yom Kippur, and discussed how Jesus was the Atonement for our sins. Since we weren't home on Sabbath, we weren't able to have a candle burning all day. We did listen to the story of Jonah (which, I have to admit, I didn't figure out WHY, but one thing I read said that traditionally the story of Jonah is read on Yom Kippur) as we were driving.
 Which brings us to this week . . . 

The girls and I left after church on Sabbath to go to Mama & Papa's house for a few days.  The girls were thrilled to see the progress Papa has made on their playhouse. He has the roof on all of it and is beginning to put siding on it. He also set one of the windows while we were there. 

Sunday was jam-packed! the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore was having Steam Days AND a Civil War encampment, so we headed down there for the day. But on our way down we stopped at Monocacy Battle Field to get the Junior Ranger book for the girls to work on as they had time. It's an awesome little Visitor Center and the ranger was super informative, we'll definitely be heading back there when we're learning about the Civil War next spring.

Once we got to the train museum we headed straight for the steam train. We rode the steam train out to a mock Civil War Encampment, where we saw the oldest running steam engine in the United States (there's one a year older in . . . I think he said somewhere in Europe) they were driving it back and forth on a side-rail. Pretty cool. The girls also found some of the reinactors who were willing to answer questions and proceeded to learn about what a soldier would have carried, what he wore, what the letter on his hat meant, and a brief history of photography, including the tax on photography.  The "benefits" of steam days also meant that Mount Clare Mansion was open without it's normal additional fee. So we also got to tour it.

After riding the steam train back to the railroad museum we saw a blacksmith's demonstration, and MiniMe got to try her hand at making a "hippo" using clay instead of heated iron.

When we got home from the railroad museum we quickly loaded up the motorhome and headed out again, this time to Fort Frederick for a couple days of camping.  The fort isn't completely open during the week this time of year, so we'll have to visit again sometime when we can see inside the barracks, and visit the CCC museum, but we still had a good time. 
  • Little Bit loved the playground with lots of slides.
  • The naturalist had the nature center open on Monday, and I'm not sure who had more fun, the girls asking their thousands of questions, or him, having such a willing and interested audience LOL. 
  • The girls learned abit about fire-building
  • We were excited to see a trail marked "beaver trail" but couldn't find any real evidence of beavers, at least not that we recognized as such. And while there were several numbered markers along the trail, we never managed to find where one would get something telling us what the numbers represented. It was still a nice walk and on our way back we collected some sticks to use for roasting hotdogs and marshmallows.
  • Papa taught the girls how to whittle points on the tips of their roasting sticks.
  • During Little Bit's nap on Monday, everyone else rode their bikes 11 miles (give or take) on the rail trail and C&O Canal. Originally MiniMe was hesitant about riding on the canal, with the canal on one side of the toe path and the river on the other side, but she did it.
So all and all our first trip in the new motorhome was a total success. 

Tuesday we went back to Mama & Papa's house and Mama finished making the "Williamsburg dresses" she promised the girls at their birthday, the girls helped Papa gather fire wood, rode their bikes, helped put siding on the playhouse, etc.

Wednesday we headed home, and today we've been playing catch up on laundry, errands, etc. 

Today is also the first day of Sukkot. Bad weather and all our traveling means we don't have a sukkah built or anything, but we read about the holiday today, and will read more about it throughout the next week. The girls decided they want to build a sukkah for their dollhouse people. We also got some artificial branches/leaves at AC Moore today to make our own lulav. So we're continuing to enjoy learning about the Jewish Holidays in the midst of all our busyness.

So that's what's been going on around here. Most of the pictures of our adventures are on my dad's camera, which I forgot to get before we headed home, so pictures will come eventually.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Homeschool Review: Always Ice Cream


As part of the TOS Crew we were given lifetime access to Always Ice Cream, A fun, educational website community for girls age 7-12. This site allows girls to interact with one another in a safe, monitored, ad-free environment.

When I set up my parents' account, I received a nice welcome message, it was short, to the point, and informative, just the way I like it!

I then got the girls going on it. I asked that they share the access, which they did with surprisingly few squabbles.

The site includes fun stuff, like setting up a virtual "house", taking care of virtual "pets" and designing items to sell in your virtual "store". This is the part of the site that my girls have enjoyed most.


It also includes educational games and quizzes. The girls have happily done several of these to earn "$coops" to use in the virtual world, but they are abit too "quiz-like" for my unschooled children.


One thing I noticed that I'm not real fond of, for my children, is that other girls can apparently send bulk e-mails to the whole site. Soon after we signed up there was a whole string of e-mails accusing other girls of cheating and stealing ideas and such. It was disconcerting to my children whose personal e-mail accounts are kept strictly for close friends and family, so the concept of receiving an e-mail that doesn't apply directly to them is a new one.

I feel that, for my girls, I would want them to be older before spending very much time on this site, because of the dynamic of interacting with children I don't know. While it's great that these interactions are monitored, and that addresses the larger safety concern of internet predators, this monitoring isn't going to keep my children from being exposed to topics and behavior that are out of keeping with our family's beliefs, or are "typical" pre-teen behaviors that I prefer to avoid. They had fun playing with it when we first set it up, but, as generally happens with computer games for them, they kind of forgot about it, and I have chosen not to remind them.

I want to emphasize that my "concerns" aren't a criticism of the site, simply why it wasn't a fit for our family. I am fully aware that many of our family choices are counter-cultural, and we're ok with that. For a girl of this age who attends school, or other group activities without a parent present, the interactions of the site would be similar to, and probably more closely monitored, than the in-real-life interactions she would be involved with. It's a great concept that keeps the girls safer than facebook or other un-monitored online experiences.

You can see the pricing for joining this site here. Memberships start at $4.99 for a monthly subscription, but the first month is only $0.99 so you can try it out and see for yourself how it works for your family.

Also be sure to check out what my fellow crew mates thought, I know many of them found it to be a great resource for their families! So check out their reviews here.

Disclaimer: I received the above mentioned product in exchange for writing an honest review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Review: Baltic Amber Necklace

I first heard about "teething necklaces", as amber necklaces are often called, when my older girls were just past the teething stage. When Little Bit was born, I considered a teething necklace, but decided to play it by ear, and she never was really bothered by teething (neither were the older girls). So while I've been intrigued by amber for several years, I never had an "excuse" to get an amber necklace.

Teething necklaces are made from amber beads. Amber, while it looks like any other stone bead, is actually fossilized tree resin. When baltic amber is worn against the skin, your body heat warms the beads and releases trace amounts of healing oils from the amber. These oils are natural pain relievers. So, when a baby or toddler wears an amber teething necklace, the oils help to relieve the pain from teething.

Then I read about someone wearing an amber necklace to prevent, or relieve headaches. While I don't get headaches often, when I *do* get them, they are severe, and I have been unsuccessful in finding a natural way to at least dull the pain enough to function as a mommy when I have a headache. Sometimes advil will help enough so that I can function, but sometimes I have to call my husband and ask him to come home. Now that the older girls are older, I can usually just ask them to take over the care of Little Bit while I doze in the recliner. Still, not ideal. So, I was very interested in the idea of wearing an amber necklace to prevent headaches! Inspired by Finn is a site that I've heard great things about ever since I first heard about teething necklaces, so that's where I went to see about getting a necklace for headaches.

As I read more about it, I learned that the unpolished, lighter colored amber contains higher levels of the succinic acid that provides the pain relieving properties.  So, I chose an unpolished, light colored (lemonade) necklace.

I also learned that succinic acid, in addition to providing pain relief, will help improve our immune systems, a wonderful benefit as we go into cold and flu season!

Since I don't get headaches on a regular basis, it can be hard to determine if the necklace is "working" or not. However, the morning after I received it, and before I had put it on, I felt a headache coming on mid-morning. It was a full day so I couldn't risk JUST trying the necklace as a cure, typically, once I feel a headache coming on, nothing I do will get rid of it completely, but Advil will keep it to a level that I can function normally. So, I put the necklace on, and also took Advil. I didn't think too much about it, but realized a little while later that, instead of just being at a "manageable level" of pain, the headache was COMPLETELY GONE!! While I can't say with certainty, that it was the necklace, I do feel that was what moved the headache from "dull roar", as it typically is after Advil, to GONE. I've been wearing the necklace most days since then and despite a very busy couple of weeks, which is when headaches are most likely to show up, my body's way of forcing me to recharge no doubt, I haven't had any headaches. I'm sold!

Inspired by Finn's necklaces are knotted between each bead, unless otherwise noted, so that if the necklace does break, the beads don't all fall off, just the bead closest to the break. They fasten with a screw clasp. I had never used a screw clasp before and find I have a love-hate relationship with them. I find them "fiddly" to put on or take off, especially taking them off, because you have to "find" the clasp. But I love that I don't have to worry about the necklace shifting as I wear it, and needing to keep a clasp hidden at the back of my neck. So, for me, this works well. I typically only take it off/put it on in the morning when I take a shower, and I'm fine with the extra "fiddle" of the clasp then, to not have to worry about it during the day.  I do question how I would like this with a wiggly baby or toddler however? Inspired by Finn also offers magnetic clasps, for those preferring to not have the screw clasp.

Be sure to check out the Inspired by Finn site for more information about baltic amber and it's benefits!

As a final note, Inspired by Finn has a great program for bloggers, that allowed me to obtain my necklace at a discount in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was received, and my opinions are all my own.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bi-Weekly Wrap-Up - Oct 2

 I honestly have no idea why I didn't get a weekly wrap-up posted last week, I just didn't. So here I am, with two busy weeks to write about.

To stay chronological, LAST week started with a "fall festival" at the local church school. The girls had fun seeing animals at the petting zoo, playing games and winning an obnoxious whistle, and eating their weight (possibly more) in junk food. But it was to raise money for the school, so it was all for a good cause LOL.

Needless to say, cotton candy was a big hit!

My dad sent me an AIM message sometime near the beginning of that week and asked if we'd be around Wed. night, because they were thinking of going to Philadelphia on Thurs, and thought they might stop by to see us on their way up Wed evening.  I said that MiniMe and I were going on our "date" that night but that Rodney and the other girls would be around and then we could see them when we got home from our date. Dad decided he'd have to admit that the REAL reason they were coming up this way was to pick up the motorhome they had purchased, and then to come show it to us. So, we switched MiniMe's date to Thurs night (conveniently, she's so used to Daddy's work schedule being unpredictable that she didn't even ask why we were changing it, just assumed it was because something came up that Daddy needed to work late on Wed), so that we'd all be home to check out the new motorhome on Wed.
Wed. afternoon we went to Miss Judy's house to visit her. While we were there was one of our few rain-free moments this month, so we went outside. Little Bit decided I needed to take her picture, and then actually stood still long enough for me to take it.

That evening mom & dad got here and parked out of sight of our house without the girls seeing them, then just "showed up" at our door. Needless to say, the girls were very excited to see them.  And then Papa suggested a "walk in the rain" and surprised them with the new motorhome. It's MUCH bigger than the old one and comes complete with bunkbeds for the big girls (though I've warned them that when Little Bit gets big enough they'll have to rotate so that she gets a turn on the bunkbeds too. The big girls spent the night in the motorhome with Mama and Papa, and then they rode with Papa (while Mama and Little Bit rode with me) to an overstock grocery store near us before Mama and Papa left for home.

Thursday evening was, as mentioned, MiniMe's date. We had a nice meal together at Panera, and then, since she's my little "shopper", we went to Ross's together and had fun shopping together without the distraction of keeping track of Little Bit before we headed home.

Sabbath was perhaps the busiest (and least "restful") Sabbath I've had in a long time. I was in charge of craft time for the big girls' class, and then, their teacher wanted the Cradle Roll leader to help him that morning, so I ended up leading in Cradle Roll. The Sabbath School Superintendent had asked all the children's divisions to sing for the adult Sabbath School classes, so we cut our Sabbath School short and went to the sanctuary for that. The Cradle Roll children were too young to really know what was going on, but they stood up there during parts of songs at least. Little Bit was happy to stand with sissies. The lighting wasn't good, but at least you can see all 3 girls standing together.

After all the children sang a few songs, the leader had Sassy and MiniMe sing some songs they've been working on (they're the only children their age who attend consistently enough to have learned them).  They sang (acapella no less) "The Books of the Old Testament", "The Books of the New Testament" and "The Beatitudes".

As if that weren't enough, MiniMe and Sassy were also scheduled to tell Children's Story in church that week. So they had lots of up front time that day.

Sabbath was also communion, and we were on the schedule to help with the visitors dinner after church, so it was a busy day all around.

So that was last week.  This past week was equally busy. We had Sassy date (she decided MiniMe's date sounded fun, so chose the same thing, Panera's and then shopping, I think I can get used to "dates" like that LOL).

The big girls came with me to the church on Tuesday to help set up the Cradle Roll room for the new quarter. We're doing a forest theme this quarter, so the girls had fun helping to figure out where to put all the trees and such. They're definitely feeling ownership, they made sure to come in after their class this morning to see how it went LOL.

Wednesday morning we had a playdate at a friend's house. The girls all had fun playing cars and balloons with their friends E & J. And we all enjoyed lunch together before we headed home. After Little Bit's nap Wed. Miss Judy came down to visit us.

We also decided to celebrate Rosh Hashanah this year. For several years now I've been toying with the idea, ever since reading that the Jewish Fall Feasts point, not just to the Messiah, but also to Jesus' second coming. It seems to me, if this is the case, that they haven't been fulfilled and should still be observed. So every year I say I'm going to study into it more to decide, and every year I get busy and don't. So this year I decided to skip the studying part. I don't believe there is any command to NOT keep the feasts so, since the girls are happy for any excuse to celebrate, I decided we'd just start learning about them, and celebrating them as we get to them and not worry about whether or not we "have to". The girls were all over that idea! So, on Tuesday we made challah bread, but added raisins and formed it into a circle instead of the typical braid. Wed. night the girls made "shofars" (rams horns) by covering party horns with construction paper, and of course blew them as often as I'd allow it (it IS the "Feast of Trumpets" afterall). And for supper we decorated the table with a centerpiece of fruit and "cakes" (we used cookies, we like them better LOL). In addition to the challah bread we included apples dipped in honey (yum!) with our meal. And of course ate some of hte cookies from the centerpiece (we also had baked potatoes). At the end of our meal, we read Bible verses, both from Numbers (the original command to keep the Feast of Trumpets) and from the New Testament, where it talks about Jesus coming again with the blowing of trumpets.

Thursday we continued our Rosh Hashana celebration with more trumpet blowing, we made applesauce honey cake for breakfast (I think it will become a regular breakfast option around here). Then for Bible class I read to them some of the history, and current symbolism of the holiday. For lunch, we had pomegranate apple salad (it was yummy too!), and then after Little Bit's nap we went up to the pond and "cast our sins [bread crumbs] on the water".

I think the girls really enjoyed it, and so did I, just wish it hadn't been in the midst of such a busy week.

Friday we went to Grandmom's house to visit her, and Rodney's sister and her husband came too. It was a joint birthday celebration for me (Aug), and Rodney & his sister (both Sept). Sassy is trying to teach Grandmom to knit, and MiniMe is teaching Aunt Lynette to make handsewn felt pouches, so they were busy with that for quite awhile. And it was finally a non-rainy day, so they played outside some too. Little Bit is a BIG fan of Grandmom's "big gween swide" (big green slide for the rest of us).

This Sabbath was a much calmer day. Little Bit was cute, when we walked into her Sabbath School room, she stopped, looked around and said "wow! Something different!".  I think the forest program is going to be a hit, she & her friend, J (the only kids there today) had great fun gathering pinecones, going on a walk, and building a beaver dam amongst other things.

And that was our last couple of weeks. This coming week is hopefully going to be a little big slower, we shall see . . .

Lest you fear that no "school" is happening, we have managed to fit in learning about Leif Erickson, and later, Columbus, discovering America (though we did skip most of the "craft" things for these weeks, since the girls were helping me by making the props we needed for the forest program, they are now experts at cutting fish and clouds out of felt, making rattle snake rattles, a pretty cool leaf with a spider that dangles from it, and a mosquito jar. . . and probably more things that I forgot.), began our study of Van Gogh for art, and continued learning about ladybugs for nature/science.  The housecleaning, on the other hand, has pretty much fallen by the wayside these last couple weeks LOL.

Book Review and GIVEAWAY!!! "What is He Thinking?"

When I was given the opportunity to review Rebecca St James' book "What Is He Thinking??", I figured it would be a good chance to get a feel for current Christian thoughts on dating and such, in preparation for the rapidly approaching time when my little girls are ready to date. It's hard to believe I need to be thinking of such things, but they ARE 8 1/2, so it won't be long, sigh . . .

What Is He Thinking?? is the results of Christian singer, Rebecca St. James surveying a variety of young men, and some older men, mostly unmarried, a few married, to get their take on the Christian dating scene.

She asks these men what they look for in a girl, how they feel about modesty, relationships with God, etc. Then shares their answers, as well as her own thoughts, with her readers.

You can see a sampling of the book for yourself, here.

I think this book is a good resource for young women today. It helps these young women re-think the messages the world sends about what to look for in a guy as well as what guys are looking for in a woman.

And now the best part, I've been given permission to giveaway a copy of this book to one of my readers! If you're interested in winning this, do any or all of the following, then fill out this form, to enter.

  • Visit Rebecca St James' site and tell me something you learned or like. (mandatory)

  • Follow my site on Google Friend Connect (see sidebar)

  • Follow my site on Networked Blogs (see sidebar)

  • Follow Rebecca St James on facebook.

  • Follow What Is He Thinking?? on facebook.

  • Follow my blog on facebook.

  • Follow Rebecca St James on twitter.

  • Follow me on twitter.

Giveaway open to US residents. Giveaway will end at 8pm EDT on Thursday, October 6, 2011. Winner will be announced on Friday, October 7. Winner will have 2 days to respond, or a new winner will be chosen. ONLY ENTRIES MADE THROUGH THE FORM will count NOT entries in the COMMENTS!