Tuesday, August 30, 2011

TOS Crew Review: Book - How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for Your Kids by Rachael Carman

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Recently our Sunday School class at church did a series on parenting so when I was given the opportunity to review the book How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for Your Kids published by Apologia, I thought it would be the perfect book to read and go along with what I was already studying - I was not disappointed!

Author, Rachael Carman, is a homeschool mom of seven children {ranging in age from 5 to 18} who pours out her "heart" in this book - sharing stories of her own struggles and triumphants in raising her children. This was the perfect book for me to read before starting our school year. So many truths that I needed to hear again. And, a reminder of why we homeschool {hint: it is not all about the curriculum we choose, the subjects we teach, or being the "perfect" mom}.

So what does the acronym H.E.A.R.T. stand for {there is a chapter dedicated to each letter}~

H - Have a heart for the things of God
E - Enrich your marriage
A - Accept your kids
R - Release them to God
T - Teach them the truth
How well do you really know your kids? What has God shown you about who they are and who they will become? He has sent these children into your home at this specific time for His glorious purposes. Indeed, you have been invited on the adventure of a lifetime, a journey on which you will see walls fall, seas parted, and giants slain. You don't need special skills or training for this journey - you need only to seek God and hold tight to His mighty hand.

Each chapter spoke to my heart ... I was reminded that our children are a gift from God and we are given such a short period of time with them. We need to use that time to seek God's wisdom to see what he would have us teach them. It is always good to be reminded that our homeschool journey needs to be God's plan not my plan. That sometimes God's plan is not going to be easy but, each of our children are one-of-a-kind and I need to trust God as he knows better than I know what they need. I think this book will remain on my bedside all school year!

I highly recommend this book for both homeschooling and non-homeschooling Christian families. I think it would be a great book to share with your book club, Sunday School class, or homeschool group. I love the "Heart Checkup" questions at the end of each chapter! I know I will be buying quite a few of these books to share with friends.

To purchase your own copy of How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for Your Children by Rachael Carman head on over to Apologia. The book is just $13.00.

Would you like to read what others thought of this book? Head on over to the TOS Crew Blog to read what other crew members thought.

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Disclaimer: I am reviewing this product on behalf of the TOS Crew. I received no compensation, other than a free copy of this book, for the writing of this review. The contents of this review express my personal opinion of the book.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Summer's Last Hurrah ....

I'll be back soon ... right now our family is enjoying summer's last hurrah!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It Begins Again ...

It's that time of year ... all of our activities begin this week. I greet this week with a bit of excitement for the kids and while I love every extra-curricular activity our children are involved in I do dread on my part - all of the running around that will begin. This is the one part of summer that I absolutely love ... no weekly commitment! So here is our week:

Monday ~ Ava Mae has ballet for 1 1/2 hours and Devin has baseball for 2 hours (thankfully my husband is the head coach so my responsibilities there are minimal).

Tuesday ~ Lexi will be dancing for 3 hours.

Wednesday ~ All the kids will be in Wednesday night activities at our church {choir and missions}. I am looking forward to Wednesday bible study this fall because, several of my friends will be joining me. I enjoy this time of fellowship with them and studying the bible together.

Thursday ~ Lexi will have ballet for 1 hour.

Friday ~ All three kids are in Timothy from 9AM - 1:30PM and I teach from 12:30PM - 1:30PM.

Saturday ~ Devin will have baseball games.

So that is what our week is going to look like ... one reprieve we get for this week - we leave in the middle of the week for a 5 day beach vacation!

Looking forward to being on the beach before we start back with our curriculum. I plan on just waking each morning, walking out to the beach, and sitting in a beach chair all day while the kids play. It is one of my favorite places to be and a bonus, one of my good friends will be at the same beach so my kids will have playmates!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Totino's "Learn a Ton when School is Fun" Sweepstakes and GIVEAWAY

Our family, collects Box Tops for Education all year long to help enhance the learning experience kids receive at the one day a week enrichment school our children attend. It is amazing what Box Tops for Education can purchase to help improve a child's school environment and make learning fun.

This school year, Totino´s® is giving away one million Bonus Box Tops (equivalent to $100,000) to help bring fun ideas to life both inside and outside of the classroom, through the "Learn a Ton when School is Fun" sweepstakes:
  • This school year, four participating schools in the Box Tops for Education (BTFE) program will each win 250,000 Bonus Box Tops, equivalent to $25,000, from Totino´s to help fund a fun project at their school. Visit www.BTFE.com/Totinos to view official sweepstakes rules.
  • You can start, or continue, to earn cash for your kid´s school by collecting Box Tops coupons from hundreds of products, including Totino´s
  • This back-to-school season, Totino´s® Party Pizza® and Pizza Rolls® Snacks will feature double Box Tops on select varieties, to help you earn even more for your kid´s school!
Fun is an essential part of learning. Continue to help make your kid´s learning environment more fun and exciting by taking advantage of these simple opportunities from Totino´s - enter the "Learn a Ton when School is Fun" sweepstakes for your chance to win 250,000 Bonus Box Tops, and serve up a quick and delicious after-school snack with Totino´s Party Pizza and Pizza Rolls Snacks {one of my kids favorite mid-day snacks}, while collecting double Box Tops from each.

Giveaway! Enter to win a Totino's prize pack.

Thanks to Totino's one LUCKY Joy in the Everyday reader will win a Totino´s "Learn a Ton when School is Fun" prize pack which includes: A Brain Quest Smart! Game, Micro Rubik´s® Cube Key Holder, Draw string backpack, Coupons for a free package of Totino´s Pizza Rolls Snacks, Totino´s Party Pizza and new Totino´s Pizza Stuffers.

This giveaway will run through August 25, 2011 at 11:59 PM. Winner will be drawn via Random.org on or about August 26, 2011. Winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to provide shipping information. Giveaway is limited to US residents only who are 18 and older. If winner fails to respond within the 48 hour time frame, I will choose a different winner. Mandatory entry is required; extra entries are optional. Be sure to leave your email in the mandatory comment or ensure that it's available in your public profile. If you win, I need to be able to reach you!

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment telling me, What type of fun project you would use the 250,000 Bonus Box Tops ($25,000 value) to fund if they won the Totino´s "Learn a Ton when School is Fun" sweepstakes?" or What do you do to make learning fun?

Extra entries: Each action is worth one entry, and you must leave a separate comment for each action. If you've already liked or subscribed, just leave a comment letting me know. With regard to actions on Facebook, please do not leave a message about this contest on sponsor's wall if you opt to Like them. Just leave me the comment letting me know that you completed that entry!
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook. Please come back and leave a link in the comment for this entry. You can do this once per day. Leave a separate comment each time if you choose to do this daily.

Disclosure: The information and prize pack has been provided by Totino´s through MyBlogSpark.

UPDATE: Congratulations to Lori over at Morning Glories and Moonflowers for winning the prize pack. Winner was chosen by Random.org number generator which gave me the number 11.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"Not" Back to School - Student Photos {2011 - 2012}

Here are our official student photos for the 2011 - 2012 school year ...

Devin {4th Grade}

Lexi {3rd Grade}

Ava Mae {1st Grade}

Head on over to Heart of the Matter to see more "Not" Back to School - Student Photos.

Not Back to School Blog Hop

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Happy 10th Birthday, Devin!

Today Devin turned 10 years old ... hard to believe how fast those years have flown by! Devin has always been one of my easiest children ever, when it comes to birthdays. While my girls have their parties planned out for months ahead of time, Devin always wants to keep things simple. So, it was dinner out at his favorite Mexican restaurant {Pico} and a cookie cake from our favorite local bakery. His big gift from us was tickets to a Braves game for him, a good friend, and my husband. Devin is looking forward to that on Monday night.

Devin, I love the sweet, funny, smart young man you are growing into! Just in the last six months I have realized how much you are maturing ... our once silly conversations about baseball, friends, and your pets have blossomed into discussions about God, life, and baseball {though now those conversations are more about team management - statistics - and various facts you have memorized on baseball legends}.
I appreciate your willingness to always help out, the fact that you are always your sisters' protector, and how you work hard to be a friend to everyone {even with other boys who are not as nice}.

Looking forward to seeing you play another year of baseball ... keep throwing those strikes and being the "animator" that everyone loves to watch on the mound and field!

Can't wait to see what God has in store for you this year!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Back to School Pool Party

Our homeschool "small group" had it's Back to School Pool Party at my friend Tammy's neighborhood pool. Swimming ... picnicking ... cookies. A great way to start our year together!
{Pictured below our group for this year ... minus one mom}

{Cookie Time}
Looking forward to a great year with these fun families!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Anniversary Weekend

Last Thursday my husband and I celebrated 21 years of marriage!! We decided to enjoy Thursday night with the kids and so we headed to Melting Pot for a fondue dinner. {We actually had our first date at the original Melting Pot in Florida.}

Then, because of our amazing friends {thanks Tammy and Jennifer for taking our kids}, we were able to have 24 hours to ourselves. We spent Friday night on the Square enjoying dinner at a local restaurant, a historic trolley tour of Marietta, and an Art Walk through the Square. Saturday morning we enjoyed sleeping in late and having brunch at a favorite spot that the kids are not big fans of {apparently they do not like that they put oatmeal in their pancakes}

It is amazing how just 24 hours together without kids can be so refreshing!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"Not" Back to School - Our School Room {2011 - 2012}

Two years ago we set up a school room area in our family room. It was great while I had just two children I was homeschooling full time. Now with the addition of Ava Mae doing school with us I decided it would be a good idea to move to a bigger table. Our dining room is really a wasted space in our home. I love our dining room table but, realistically we only use it a few times a year for special holidays and when we have company or a party in our home. The table seats 8 comfortably so more than enough room for the 4 of us to sit at it which means my only big purchase this year to finish out the area was a new bookcase from IKEA. It has worked out so well for us that my good friends Jennifer and Tammy both decided to pick up one or two for their school rooms. {I mean seriously, this bookcase can hold a large amount of curriculum and supplies!} Each child has a green basket and a straw basket. The green basket holds daily work such as Math, Reading, Spelling, etc. The straw baskets hold items such as individual art supplies, drawing pads, and reference materials for their curriculum {items they will not necessarily need every day}. The shelves have more than enough room to house all of our curriculum for three children with room to spare. Plus, I have plenty of room for all of my homeschool notebooks, supplies, and lesson plans. In our family room we have lots of bookshelves that I am using to store general books and old curriculum that we may or may not go back to using. The kids also have bookshelves in their bedrooms to store reading they do for fun.

The wonderful thing about the new space I have chosen is because of the bookcase location, behind the half wall, when guests walk into our home and come upstairs their first view will not be of a school area - it still appears to be a dining room {other than the tripod that holds a white erase board and map that I can easily collapse and put away}. I am so happy for this new arrangement ... plus, the bonus, I now have a dedicated craft area in our old school room and, because I still had one extra school table left over, our girls now have a craft/sewing table in their bedroom too! So that is our space ... hop on over to "Heart of the Matter" and see all the great school rooms fellow homeschoolers have in their homes!

Not Back to School Blog Hop

{Note: For those of you who have asked ...the IKEA bookcase we bought is the EXPEDIT.}

Friday, August 5, 2011

T-Shirt Necklace Tutorial

My newest addiction is Pinterest ... I just can not get enough of the fabulous creative ideas everyone is sharing! I have been seeing these t-shirt necklaces all over the site and had to give it a try. {If you are like me you probably have t-shirts sitting around from various volunteer opportunities}

I chose this purple t-shirt from a VBS a few years ago.

Then after cutting the bottom hem off of the shirt I began cutting strips about 2 inches wide - straight across.
After you have 8 - 10 strips - pull each strip of fabric until it begins to roll up like the picture below.
I did decide to embellish my necklace with a fabric rose. I just cut another strip off of the t-shirt and followed this tutorial. Then just layer the circles and tie together and your necklace is done.

Linking up with ...

Happy Crafting!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Stone Mountain {Laser Show}

Wow ... we are almost done with our Summer Bucket List. Saturday night we headed to Stone Mountain to see the Laser Show. We let the kids bring along two of their best friends and met up with our Sunday School class for a fun evening.

{Pictured above the girls and their friends ... below Devin, cooling off after playing catch for over an hour.}
It was warm and the hike from the parking lot to the grassy field was a long haul but, all worth it. The kids had a blast. The evening laser and fireworks show was amazing.