Friday, October 30, 2009

Linky Love: Books

Book Closeouts
Love this site! It has limited quanties but lots of great books.

Best Bargain Books
Another great bargain site!

Here is the secret about BAM. The retail store and the online store are NOT related.
Weird, huh? That means that the prices you see in the store are not the same you will
get online. We found an AWESOME illustrated book at the retail store that was originally
$170 on sale for $40. I bought it and went home and checked online to tell my friend about it.
Online? It was $20! I am SOOO hooked. Love BAM online!

Post and trade. Earn points!

Another... post your books, people ask you for them, mail them and earn points.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

eye of the god

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

eye of the god

Abingdon Press (October 1, 2009)


Ariel Allison


Allison is a published author who lives in a small Texas town with her husband and three young sons. She is the co-author of Daddy Do You Love Me: a Daughter’s Journey of Faith and Restoration (New Leaf Press, 2006). Justin Case, the first of three children’s books will be published by Harvest House in June 2009. Ariel is a weekly contributor to and has written for Today’s Christian Woman. She ponders on life as a mother of all boys at and on her thoughts as a redeemed dreamer at

From Ariel:
I am the daughter of an acclaimed and eccentric artist, and given my “unconventional” childhood, had ample time to explore the intricacies of story telling. I was raised at the top of the Rocky Mountains with no running water or electricity (think Laura Ingles meets the Hippie Movement), and lived out the books I read while running barefoot through the sagebrush. My mother read to me by the light of a kerosene lantern for well over a decade, long after I could devour an entire novel in the course of a day. Authors such as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, George MacDonald, and L.M. Montgomery were the first to capture my heart and I have
grown to love many others since.


eye of the god takes the fascinating history surrounding the Hope Diamond and weaves it together with a present-day plot to steal the jewel from the Smithsonian Institute.

We follow Alex and Isaac Weld, the most lucrative jewel thieves in the world, in their quest to steal the gem, which according to legend was once the eye of a Hindu idol named Rama Sita. When it was stolen in the 17th century, it is said that the idol cursed all those who would possess it. That won’t stop the brilliant and ruthless Weld brothers.

However, they are not prepared for Dr. Abigail Mitchell, the beautiful Smithsonian Director, who has her own connection to the Hope Diamond and a deadly secret to keep. Abby committed long ago that she would not serve a god made with human hands, and the “eye of the god” is no exception. Her desire is not for wealth, but for wisdom. She seeks not power, but restoration.

When the dust settles over the last great adventure of the Hope Diamond, readers will understand the “curse” that has haunted its legacy is nothing more than the greed of evil men who bring destruction upon themselves. No god chiseled from stone can direct the fates of humankind, nor can it change the course of God’s story.

If you would like to read the prologue and first chapter of eye of the god, go HERE

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Little Guy's Baptism

What a special day Sunday was!     Little Guy was baptized during our morning worship service.       Although we had talked about it and planned for it and prayed with him about it, it didn't seem truly real until I saw him in the baptism robe.     

Pastor Phil came out and talked to the group of boys about the baptism and how it would work and what would happen in the baptistry.

 I knew that out in the sanctuary our family was filling pews waiting for this special moment as hubs and I stood with Little Guy.      Thanks to K Storm she told me that I could be in the back taking photos.     Thank, K!

As soon as I saw Little Guy sitting in the water and heard his video testimony being played, my tears started pouring and I couldn't stop praying, "Thank you, Jesus!   Thank you, Jesus!   Thank you, Jesus!"

Do you know how tough it is to take photos when you are crying tears of joy and praise?


Hubs and I have decided that 3 John 4 is one of our favorite parenting Scriptures:  

"There is no greater joy than to 
see our children walk in truth!"

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fancy Cars

The Renaissance is a fairly upscale shopping area so it only stands to reason that they would have an upscale car show.    They brought in European cars as part of this past weekend's Fall fest.    

As they were admiring the cars and asking the owners questions, the owner of this Ferrari asked the boys if they would like to sit inside.     Would they?    Look at the smiles on their faces!

Little Guy really liked this car.   Kind of has a James Bond look doesn't it?

My favorite car in the show.    The pink VW where Little Guy signed my name for breast cancer.    *tear*

Big Guy took all the photos that you see in this post, but I really love this one.   Isn't that an awesome piece of luggage?

Apparently this car really got the interest of hubs, Little Guy and J...

And of course, no trip to the Renaissance is complete without stopping by the Apple store.

My boys.... they can spend an entire day at the mall and never spend a dime!    Ha!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Special Day

This Sunday our family will be celebrating
Little Guy's outward expression of is very important
inward decision to ask Jesus into his heart.

I will never forget the day we were driving down the road and
his little voice came from the back seat asking about how
to ask Jesus into his heart.      In his little practical matter he just began
praying out loud and asked Jesus to come in and live.

We talked about baptism at that point with our Pastor,
but for some reason he said he wasn't ready.    We told him that
baptism was a special time and we wanted him to be ready.
Back in the summer, in the same no nonsense manner he announced
that he was ready.     So this Sunday we will be celebrating this
next milestone in his Christian walk.

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
3 John 1:4

Thursday, October 22, 2009

CSI: Live!!

Hubs and I saw the ads for this show when we were in Memphis watching "Wicked". We made up our minds then to bring the boys back. They LOVE science and the idea of combining it into a CSI stage show appropriate for age 8 and up is just AWESOME!

Here is their description of the show:

When a crime is committed at the Las Vegas premiere of the Max Spade Magic Show, the CSI team springs into action. Sydney Mathis and David Hart play the roles of CSI investigators and are on the case, assisted by supervisor Gil Grissom through a live video connection from the Las Vegas Crime Lab. Audience members will jump up on stage and become part of the action; becoming witnesses, suspects and CSI recruits. Together they will use their superior logic and forensic know-how to uncover hidden details, investigate the evidence and test their theories. Whether it’s analyzing mysterious gasses, launching projectiles into a target, or firing a laser beam across the stage, the CSI recruits will have to be on their toes to help solve the crime before it’s too late! How was the crime committed? Who is guilty? Only you can find the answers.

The shows are during Thanksgiving break and tickets are still available so if your kids like this kind of stuff you might check out The Orpheum's website for more information.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Watch Over Me

Book Description
Her Rescue Might Be the Miracle They Needed Things like this don't happen in Beck County. Deputy Benjamin Patil is the one to find the infant girl, hours old, abandoned in a field. As police work to identify the mother, Ben and his wife, Abbi, seem like the obvious couple to serve as foster parents. But the newborn's arrival opens old wounds for Abbi and shines a harsh light on how much Ben has changed since a devastating military tour. Their marriage teeters on the brink and now they must choose to reclaim what they once had or lose each other forever.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Watch Over Me, go HERE

Book Review

Our church is actively involved and helped begin a ministry here called The Christmas Village. It is a home for pregnant girls who want to keep their babies, but have no means or support to do that. My mind was never far from that ministry as I read this book.

I think I actually gasped out loud when Ben pulled the bag out of the bushes and found a baby just a few hours old. Just like most newborn babies wrap people around their fingers, this little baby wraps the story line around its new life.

Ben secret hopes this little baby can fill a void that is existing in his marriage when they are asked to foster the precious little girl. A young deaf man finds normalcy and a place to call home when he helps this overextended young couple keep up with their yard.

In the end, this is a beautiful story that shows that God truly watches over us.

Answers In Genesis Conference

Morrison Heights Baptist Church will be hosting the "Answers in Genesis" Conference this weekend.    I am really excited about this because Little Guy is using this curriculum for his science.      I will be missing Sunday morning for a VERY SPECIAL event in our lives, but I will be attending the rest of the conference.   

Ken Ham, the president and founder of Answers in Genesis, will be the speaker for the conference.     So excited to get to hear him speak.       When we were considering having Big Guy attend private school, they gave us one of his books to read because they were using his curriculum for their science as well.    

Little Guy just finished the universe study from the AIG curriculum and it was wonderful.      It was a long way beyond the basics of what I learned about our planets and universe in elementary school.    

One of our goals is to take the boys to the Creation Museum which is located in Petersburg, Kentucky.     As the websites says.   It is a "state-of-the-art 70,000 square foot museum that brings the pages of the Bible to life, casting its characters and animals in dynamic form and placing them in familiar settings. Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden. Children play and dinosaurs roam near Eden’s Rivers. The serpent coils cunningly in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Majestic murals, great masterpieces brimming with pulsating colors and details, provide a backdrop for many of the settings."


Conference Schedule

Sunday‚ October 25
9 a.m. | Genesis: The Key to Reaching Today´s World
10:30 a.m. | Genesis: The Key to Reaching Today´s World
5 p.m.  | Defending the Christian Faith: Learning to Think Biblically
6:30 p.m. | The Origin of ‘Races’ and the Biblical Answers to Racism
Monday‚ October 26
9 a.m. | The Bible and Dinosaurs (especially for homeschoolers grades K–6)
11 a.m. | Learning How to Think Biblically (especially for homeschoolers grades 7–12)
6 p.m. | How to Reach the Secular World with the Gospel
7:30 p.m. | Answering the Most Asked Questions about Creation‚ Evolution & Genesis

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Walking through Barnes and Noble, Little Guy saw a box that caught his eye. It was called the Logic Box like the one you see below. In it was the Tower of Hanoi puzzle which includes a block of wood with three pegs and some discs.

The Tower of Hanoi puzzle is a mathematical puzzle. The puzzle starts with the disks neatly stacked in order of size on one rod, the smallest at the top. The objective of the puzzle is to move the entire stack from one rod to another rod. However, only one disc can be moved at a time, you can only take "top" discs, and no disc may be placed on a smaller disc.

The box said that the puzzle was so hard that it would "drive you crazy". When we got home to read the directions we found out that the puzzle was used in a lot of computer science classes to teach algorithms.

Hubs picked it up and started playing around with it. After a few minutes, Little Guy said, "I know exactly how to solve it. I can see the solution."

We put the puzzle back together from the start and sure enough, he did see the answer. He had completely solved the puzzle in about 15 minutes.

Give the puzzle a try: Here is an Online Version

(FYI... He does the nine disc version!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Punkin Carving

While most people were moaning and groaning about all the rain, I was kind of glad to have it.    All the rain meant that the soccer fields were too wet for the planned games which meant I had an unexpected day off from work.    It was the perfect day to be off because there were so many fall festivals and car shows going on around our area.

What wasn't perfect?   Leaving the camera card in my computer!   Man I was so frustrated with myself when I went to take that first picture and realized what I had done.  

The boys got free little pumpkins at the Township Fall Fest.    They asked to carve them when we got home

Once they got the first part over with....

They started carving.     The boys wanted to do this project all on their own so they took all of the photos too.

I couldn't resist editing this one photo that Big Guy took after I saw the expression on Little Guy's face.

While Little Guy worked very free style, Big Guy had a definite plan for his pumpkin.


When I posted on Facebook that we had carved our pumpkin someone asked why we carved so early.   Big Guy did some research about pumpkin preservation.      He said that he read that spraying your pumpkin with Clorox Cleanup was supposed to be really effective in making your pumpkin last longer.     So... he is testing that theory.       We'll see how well it works.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Is There Anything More Annoying Than One Sock?

I was cruising blogs tonight and saw this picture on Organize and Decorate Everything. I want one of these for my laundry room. I need one of these! For a while, hubs was stuffing extra socks in a grocery sack. But that habit started driving me crazy because it was getting stuffed.

I was thinking that maybe this way it would be easier to see the socks.

Picking An "Approach"

If you consider homeschooling and you start talking to others who are already homeschooling, they will quickly ask you which approach you are considering. Approach? I had no idea what they were talking about at first. It was some weird lingo that I needed to figure out and quick.

A lot of parents who have been in the public school system for a while or are just giving homeschool a "try" use this method. The day's routine is structured very much like school and uses curriculum that is structured in the same way. If your child has ever used the A Beka, Alpha Omega or the Bob Jones University curriculum then they have been a part of some of the most popular traditional homeschool curriculum.

The Classical education is broken down into The Trivium. Stage One believes that when a child is in grade school, his or her brain is best suited to memorize facts and learn about concrete ideas. Stage Two, during the middle school years, abstract thinking is developed. During the high school years - Stage Three - students are taught abstract thinking and articulation of their subjects.

This is exactly the way it sounds. Students are given assignments that are a combination of textbook lessons followed by questions to answer. If the student does well on the questions, he or she moves on to the next section. Definitely not for the young student.

This method was developed by John Holt. This method is the interesting. It is a very loose schooling meaning there is no structure. The child leads the schooling based on what they are interested instead of the parent guiding them. The parent simply "lives their life" and allows the child to experience life and the world around them.

Charlotte Mason
Charlotte Mason homeschooling approach focuses on "life" work and not "text" work. This diverse curriculum increases the child’s awareness of literature, arts, music, nature, crafts, and instilling the importance of good habits and manners.

Eclectic homeschool families do not use any one homeschool curriculum or idea to guide their education. It is cafeteria style. Pick and choose based on what your child's learning style is and where they are in their educational experience.

Some states have very strict requirements for eligibility, record-keeping, school hours, and core subjects needed. In those situations, parents often need to have an Umbrella program, or Cover school to help them legally keep their children home.

For example, the main theme could be rocks. You could build a rock garden and study Japanese culture (art and history), study the different types of rocks or the process of erosion (science), read books that deal with rocks or look up references to rocks in the Bible (literature), spell the different kinds of rocks (spelling/vocabulary), importance of rocks to cultures throughout history (history), Jesus being the Rock (Bible).

A unit study takes a central theme and builds lessons around that theme.

Online studies are good for kids who are good independent learners, generally older students and follow directions well. Students also need to be good with using a computer.

Wow! That is a lot to consider isn't it. Hubs and I also threw one more criteria into the mix. We knew that we wanted to use this time with our boys to instill a Christian worldview into them. We had seen their ideas and views be very warped by the curriculum and things they were being taught in the public classroom. Big Guy is a questioner. He would question things that he didn't think fit with what we were discussing at home, but Little Guy is very literal and if they said he would remember it as fact.

I can't say we narrowed our homeschooling method down to just one. I guess we are more ecclectic than anything. Working with my boys, substitute teaching and just loving education has given me an advantage in knowing what types of curriculum I thought best for my boys.

I believe he gave me all those experiences for such a time as this.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Me, Myself & Lies - Week 1

I recently ended the first week of the Bible Study, Me, Myself & Lies.    I was immediately drawn to this Bible study when it was described as a "thought closet makeover".     Author Jennifer Rothschild wrote this study to encourage women to clean out the junk that is negative thoughts and failures with positive truths from God's word.   

Some of my favorite points from the week:
*  Our words have influence, but only God’s words have power.
*  Who I am and what I struggle with are not the same thing.
*  Calling yourself negative names is a sin and hurts God.
*  The truth is always gracious and authoritative. Likewise, to be like Christ is to be full of grace and truth.

I am working on Week 2 right now.    It is all about labels.      

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Evil They Call Multiplication

Multiplication. It was the beginning of the end for me in math. If you don't get multiplication solidly cemented in your brain then you are stuck in stutter mode for the rest of your math classes. That was me. Don't ask me why my multiplication tables were so tough, but they were. I could not get them to stick for anything.

When Big Guy had to learn his multiplication I knew exactly how to help him. He is a very auditory learner. We read those tables out loud over and over again until he had it down pat. Just hearing himself read it did the trick.

Now I am struggling trying to do the same thing for Little Guy. I know his learning style, but somehow it isn't as easy to pinpoint how to cement it. He is a very visual learner. He is also an auditory learner, but not listening to his own voice.

I realized this past week that he developed the crutch of skip counting in school and doesn't want to let it go. He gets frustrated with the fact that even though he is finding the right answer that I want him to be able to know the answer without thinking about it just as he knows his addition and subtraction facts.

This weekend I decided that maybe music was the answer. It also got me to thinking about the old Schoolhouse Rock videos from my childhood days that focused on the multiplication tables.

Do you remember these?

I will be trying these out this week. Have your kids had any educational hang ups? What have you tried?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day Sales

Happy Columbus Day! I hope that you are one of the lucky ones to be enjoying a break from work and school today.

I was talking to a friend of mine who works in retail and they shared some juicy tidbits with me that you might like to know about. This year the retailers have not ordered as many holiday decorating items as they have in the past because they know that the general public are not buying as many items. So if you see an item that you just LOVE you should consider going ahead and picking it up because there may not be many of them. However, in anticipation of slow sales, the stores will be starting their sales on holiday items TODAY!

Here are a few stores that are having sales today:

Kohl's - 40%-50% off family apparel, outerwear, shoes, handbags, accessories. Same with the Home Sale that includes flatware, dinnerware, small appliances, bedding, candles and decorative accents.

Michaels Crafts - 40%-50% off on frames, Christmas Stems, bushes and garlands, yarns, beads and more.

ToysRus - for anyone with kids gifts to buy check out their sales. Just about anything and everything a child of any way could want. They're even running a special where you get free toys purchase. - Major discounts and an offer to save an extra 25% off all sale items with code 1492 at checkout.

Nine West - various sales including 30% off boots and discounts on work wear.

NORDSTROM- is having a sale this weekend with shoes, apparel, and clothing up to 40% off. They are offering free shipping on shoes. Use code SHOES at checkout to get free shipping when you buy any pair of shoes. Offer ends on 10/26.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Little Guy's New Obsession

Little Guy picked up a bunch of red drinking cups about two weeks and started playing with them. He was so obsessed with it that I ordered him a set of "official" stacking cups.

If you think this is easy you should grab some cups and try it. Also, there is an entire set of rules associated with this sport. Yes, this is a sport. It is incredible for hand-eye coordination. Little Guy's concentration skills have definitely improved. I have been amazed at how much time he has spent practicing at this. Sometimes he will practice an hour or two at a time. Great discipline!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Book Sale!!

Lifeway Christian Bookstores is having a Fiction Book sale tomorrow!     If you have been wanting to read some of the books which I have been reviewing on my blog or just some other books that you have seen then it would be a GREAT day to head to the bookstore. 

Look at all the great books that will only be $5!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Old Is New Again

The Old Capitol Museum advertised on their calendar that they had an exhibit for the month of October called "The Mummy Returns" so we decided to check it out.      We laughed when we saw the "exhibit" but the boys and I decided not to ruin for anybody else planning on going to see it.     Too funny!

See the "lady" symbol on this welcome sign.    They gave us scannable tickets at the welcome desk and when we saw this symbol we would scan it.      Very interactive.

The reason for the most recent renovation was Hurricane Katrina.    The winds took off the roof of the building which allowed water to pour into the building damaging a great deal of the artifacts.     Below you will see Big Guy standing in front of the mural they made from damaged items they saved from the Old Capitol while the restoration was taking place.

The original Old Capitol sign which now stands as part of the exhibit.

Big Guy is taking a government/civics class called Generation Joshua.     (I highly recommend you checking out the link!)      There was a section of the Old Capitol which allowed you to be a part of three court cases.      Here is Todd standing in front of the judges presenting his case on behalf of the slave case.

"I'm just a bill. Yes, I'm only a bill.
And I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill.
Well, it's a long, long journey To the capital city.
It's a long, long wait
While I'm sitting in committee,
But I know I'll be a law someday
At least I hope and pray that I will,
But today I am still just a bill."
My boys totally thought I was making this up.   
I had to look up this little diddy from Schoolhouse Rock on YouTube!

One section of the Old Capitol allows you to go and listen to some of the original speeches.     The boys kind of got goofy.   Can you tell?

Looking out the huge windows at the New Capitol...   Wish I could have gotten that pic, but I didn't.

We took a few pics outside before we left.     You know what I wish?     I wish I had enough money to hire Frick Frack Photo to go with us everytime we go on one of these excursions.      I am saving my money and hope to hire her to take some really good photos of the boys very soon!
Here are a few I did shoot.    Oh my goodness they are growing.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Measure of Mercy

Eighteen-year-old Astrid Bjorklund has always dreamed of becoming a doctor. She had intended to study medicine in Chicago or Grand Forks, but when a disaster wiped out a major portion of her family's income, Astrid stayed home instead, receiving hands-on training from Dr. Elizabeth.

Joshua Landsverk left Blessing two years ago, but he's never forgotten Astrid. Returning to town, he seeks to court her.

Astrid is attracted to him, and when the opportunity unexpectedly opens for her to go to Chicago for medical training, she finds it difficult to leave. Love blossoms through their letters, but upon arriving back home, she makes a heartbreaking discovery. She learns he's left town--again. Believing Joshua no longer loves her, Astrid makes an impetuous, heart-wrenching decision.

Will she regret the choice she's made? Will she have to give up love to pursue her dream?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Measure of Mercy, go HERE

Book Review:      My best friend in Atlanta has one of the strangest reading habits I have ever come across.   The first thing she does when she picks up a new book is flip to the back and read the ending.     I have always picked on her about it.      However, she says there are just a few endings she can't stand and if a book is going to end that way then she isn't going to waste her time reading it.       Kind of makes sense when you put it that way, doesn't it?  

Why did I mention that?    One of the ways for a book to end that drives us both crazy is "to be continued" which is the way this book ended.      

This book is a continuation of the story of the people of the town of Blessing.    You feel as though you are a member of the Bjorklund family.   Their trials, their mountains, their valleys, their victories... you share them too.

I guess what I am saying is this... reading this book was like listening to a wonderful song that left off the last note.    

Field Trip to the Manship House

The Manship House held an archaelogical dig on their grounds.     The Manship House is the original home of Charles Manship, the first mayor of Jackson, and his family.    

The tour started at the front of the house which has a large front porch, huge stairs and beautiful doors.    The first people I thought of were Dr. Wifey (because she loves doors) and Frick Frack (because this would be a beautiful place to take photos).     I took a few but I would love to see what Frick Frack's looked like!

The head archaeologists from MDOT were on hand the day we were there conducting some test digs.      They told us that they still have not found the site of the home's outhouse which is what they are really hoping to find.     An outhouse is the "gold mine" of an archaeologist dig at a home.     When families would break something (or want something to go missing) they would take it to the outhouse and drop it in knowing it would get covered up. 

The archaeologists set up "digs" to teach the students the proper way to excavate a site.     They explained that if you just dig then you can destroy not only artifacts, but the surface "explanation" that will give you clues that you need.     The items they used were things they have found on the home's grounds but were not necessarily part of the home's history:  buttons, pieces of plates, nails, etc....    They couldn't confirm their identity in the home's history, but they didn't want to discard them either.

One of the things on the grounds that caught my eye were these Japanese Persimmon.    There was a huge tree LOADED with them.   From a distance Little Guy thought they were peaches, but as we got closer we realized they had a texture more like plums.      We asked the home curators about them and they said you could make jelly out of them.    They were so pretty!

Before we left we grabbed a picture with the "bell".   I forgot to ask the significance, but we will definitely ask on our next trip to the Manship House.     We will be going back on November 2nd when they host their "Old Jackson: The Way We Once Lived" Day.     Their grounds will be filled with artisans and craftsman doing their skills from "back in the day".     We can't wait!