Blogging A to Z – “F” is for Faith, Friends, and Fun

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

Today is day 6 of the Blogging A to Z challenge – so the letter of the day is “F”.  “F’ is for Faith, Family, Friends, and Fun.  Faith plays a major role in our family’s lives.  Before our children were even born, they were prayed for, and after they were born, we dedicated them to God.  We have been blessed through the years to have faithful family members and friends who have walked along beside us.  Even with moving around thanks to the Army Reserves we have been able to stay in touch with our family and friends thanks to email, the Internet and Facebook.

Facebook and the Internet have also provided an amazing community of like-minded believers for me no matter where we move.  We have made incredible friends through our years in the military.  Even though miles may separate us, the memories and friendships are some that will last a lifetime.

Our family loves to have fun.  We enjoy going to places like Busch Gardens in Williamsburg as well as spending time with family and friends.

So what does the letter “F” bring to mind for you?  I would love to hear from you.

If you would like to read all my posts in this series, click here.

#write28days – Day 19 Extracurricular Activities

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Today is day 19 of my #write28days series of Homeschooling Helps, Hints and Resources. Today I want to talk about Extracurricular Activities.  As a homeschooling parent, I wanted our children to have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities.  Through the years, those activities have changed and evolved over time.

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For example, when we began our homeschooling journey we participated in Cub Scouts, Church, a Homeschool Group and our children even had the opportunity to participate in a homeschool gymnastics class.  We specifically tried to pick things that all or most of the children could do together.

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Later when we moved to western Pennsylvania, our children were part of the Family Readiness Group for our Army Reserve Unit, Cub and Boy Scouts, Church functions and then our oldest son, youngest son and daughter attended a Christian dance studio.  The picture above is some of the photographs taken at the dance studio.

When we moved to central Pennsylvania, our children participated in Church activities, activities at the Salvation Army Corps we attended, Young Marines, and the Family Readiness Group for our Army Reserve Unit.  Here are some photographs from events.

 

Finally, when we moved from Pennsylvania to Texas, our activities changed.  We still had a church (although not as much) and finally last year we added our local Homeschool Band program and my husband, oldest son and our daughter also did the Homeschool Strings program.  This year we are still involved in the Homeschool Band and Strings program, and my oldest and youngest sons, my husband and myself have joined our local Community Band.  Oh, our youngest son also began participating in the Homeschool Tennis Class this year.

 

The one thing we have learned through the years is to be careful about how much you allow into the schedule.  At one point we were gone six nights out of the week and it was too much for us.  We have decided not to do co-ops or similar activities because we prefer controlling the materials and subjects our children learn.  While we want them to have the opportunity to be around and to interact with others, too much can be overwhelming and make it difficult to actually get homeschooling done.

So does your family participate in any Extracurricular Activities, why or why not?  I would love to hear from you.

#write28days

 

#write28days – Remember our children are only young once

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Today is day 10 of my #write28days series of Homeschooling Helps, Hints, and Resources.  Today I want to speak on a topic that is all too obvious in our home.  The fact is our children are only young once.  We only get to have them for a certain number of years before they grow up, move out and create lives of their own.  When we first began homeschooling our oldest was ten and our youngest was not quite four yet.  Now our oldest will turn twenty-three in June and our youngest is sixteen.

I have to wonder where the time has gone and how it has flown by.  I have some regrets about how we spent our time.  But in other ways, I have no regrets.  I regret in some ways that we took the path of active duty military.  Because this means our youngest two do not have as many tangible memories of my husband’s parent, their aunts, and uncles as well as their cousins.  But in other ways, I have no regrets we took this path because some of their experiences could never have been duplicated anywhere else.  For example, I think our children truly enjoyed our many visits to Busch Gardens where we stayed in the cabins at Fort Eustis.

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There is the time we drove from Pennsylvania to their grandparents’ home in eastern North Carolina along with three of their friends from central Pennsylvania.  The three girls saw the ocean for the very first time.

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Of course, now we are in Texas and my four children are all either playing a band instrument or a string instrument along with their father and myself.

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So my point is to enjoy your children and let your children enjoy growing up.  Do not get so caught up in looking to the future that you lose sight of the present.  Be present with them as well.  Take time to do things together as a family so you have memories for the future.  Because before you know it you go from there:

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to here:

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And there is no way to go back and recapture those moments ever again.  Enjoy your children today.  Love your children today.  Most importantly, remember God only gave us those children for a season where they truly need us.

#write28days

 

 

Monday Musings for 1/21/2019

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So over this past weekend, my husband has spent a large portion of his time rearranging our living room and trying to get things better organized.  With three days of our week devoted to music, this means we have a lot of instruments in our home.  We need a place to keep them as well as places to practice.  Since there are 6 of us who play instruments and four of us play more than one, there are quite a few instruments in our home.  So watch for me to be sharing how the living room looks once we get everything situated the way we want them to be.

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Also we are just really getting back into our homeschool routine, which means either my children or I want to change some things up.  For our sixteen-year-old daughter, we are going to be adding French, which we found on the Schoolhouseteachers.com website.  I love the ease I am able to find what I am looking for on this site.  If you want to read a review I wrote for Schoolhouseteachers back in January of 2017, click here.  This site provides everything a homeschooling family could need or want.  Be watching in the next few weeks because I will be sharing when the Home School Review Crew goes live with the reviews of this program for this year.

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And speaking of the Home School Review Crew, I am pleased to say I will be participating on the Home School Review Crew again this year.  So be watching for upcoming reviews.

So what is going on in your world today?  I would love to hear from you.

Monday Musings

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So last week was a very busy week around our home.  We were preparing for our Band and Strings concert.  Our youngest son was supposed to have a tennis class.  Plus, my husband and I went on a partial weekend date to San Antonio – primarily so we could pick up a produce order from Bountiful Baskets on Saturday morning before we rushed home to play in the concerts.  Here are some pictures of our Bountiful Baskets produce.

But before I write more about the concert I have to talk about our date weekend.  This weekend we went someplace we had never been before – which is Wimberley, Texas.  This place amazed and astounded us.  Having moved to Texas from the mountains of Pennsylvania, the views and scenery around Wimberly took our breath away.  Even though it rained and was cloudy, we were still able to take a short walk to see the river/stream in Wimberley.  Here are some pictures.

 

The problem with all of our family members being in the band and strings groups is that it makes it difficult to take pictures.  Also, because I am one of the moms who helps coordinate things like the food for after the performances, it is even harder to get pictures of our whole family.  This time I failed completely at getting any pictures at all.  Here is one picture another mom took of us during the beginner strings performance.

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So now the Homeschool Band and Strings program are both on break until after the first of the year, but Nathan, Dennis (my husband) and I still have two performances this coming Saturday with the Community Band.  So be watching for updates next week about how that goes.  This Thursday we have a Christmas party for the tennis group as long as the weather cooperates.  Then Dennis, Nathan and I will be heading to Austin/Round Rock to go to Ikea and more.

If you would like to read what other members of the Home School Review Crew are blogging about this week, click here or on the image below.

Sanctified Sunday – November 4, 2018

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Our family tries to set apart Sundays as a day for our family. However, we have days like today where my husband has be at the Army Reserve Center for what we used to call drill weekends but are now called Battle Assemblies. Plus, we are moving into the realm of our children moving on with their own lives (i.e. our oldest son now has a job), so today he is at work. So the rest of us are left behind. Plus, our 12-passenger van needs some work done to it (which will happen on Wednesday – thankfully). So I do not really want to drive the distance to the church we are currently attending. It is not a very happy van right now. So instead my husband has the van and I am driving our truck to take our son to and from work.

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So for the rest of us, this means a somewhat quiet weekend, well as quiet as it can be when our youngest son is practicing the alto saxophone. This particular child seems to thrive on instruments that are not necessarily quiet, including the alto saxophone and the bass clarinet. Right now, the only quiet instrument he practices is the electric keyboard because he can plug in headphones while practicing.

So I am using my time this morning to do my Bible study, work on blogging, listen to podcasts and work through some courses I am currently enrolled in to help with blogging.

What do you choose to do on Sundays?  I would love to hear from you.

Our Youngest Son’s Birthday

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So today is my youngest son’s birthday.  Eighteen years ago today, he came into the world.   He was my one child whom I actually believed might enter this world with out any coaxing or intervention.  For a couple of weeks before he was born, I felt like he was on his way.  But that was not to be the case.


Instead on Friday, October 20, 2000, we went to the hospital to be induced.  We went in to the room.  My husband and his sister-in-law (his brother’s wife -aka my coach for all four children) and I settled in.  It was typical labor for me in that I spent most of it on my side because of my blood pressure.  At some point during the morning the nurse wanted to check how far along I was, so my husband stepped outside of the room.  To our surprise, he found two of his aunts there because the daughter of one of the aunt’s was in the room directly beside me.  Talk about interesting.  The nurses began taking bets on which one of us would deliver first (me on number 3 or her with her first).  He was my one child who made us nervous prior to delivery -well other than my first who did not seem interested in being born).  

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This son came into the world and brightened our world.  There was not too much he was afraid of.  He would be on the opposite side of a hotel swimming pool and jump in having absolute faith that his father or I would be there to catch him.  He is also the son that required our first trip to the ER for stitches. 

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He is best friends with his baby sister, well for the most part.  He is also our first child to fracture a bone, which was quite the adventure for me.  He is full of hugs and love.  He has a heart of gold. 

Right now he is learning to play the bass clarinet and the viola in addition to continuing his study of the alto saxophone and the piano.  He is quite musical and has intentions of pursuing it in the future.

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So happy 18th birthday to my wonderful son Nathan! If you would like to read what other members of the Home School Review Crew are blogging about this week, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Heirloom Audio’s St. Bartholomew’s Eve

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I love adding Christian audio drama to our family’s listening time, and so I was thrilled to receive the 2-CD set of St. Bartholomew’s Eve from Heirloom Audio for our listening pleasure.  For many years, we have enjoyed spending time listening to audio dramas either on the radio or on CDs or from digital downloads.  Heirloom Audio Productions excels at creating family-friendly dramas based on the books by G.A. Henty.  These books capture the hearts and minds of our family.  The stories, actors/actresses and music provide an incredible combination for capturing your family’s imagination.

Heirloom Audio always does a remarkable job of producing engaging and entertaining audio dramas the whole family will enjoy listening to either at home or while traveling.  The dramas are primarily designed for children ages six to sixteen, but our entire family enjoys listening to this type of Christian audio drama. Our family personally prefers listening while traveling as it breaks up the monotony of any trips we take.  The two CDs provide over two hours of listening entertainment.

St. Bartholomew’s Eve opens with G.A. Henty meeting two young men who have slipped out of a church and plan to do some exploring.  The one boy wants to show his cousin some sights.  G.A. Henty reminds the boys about those individuals who died in the past so the boys could have the freedom to worship God.

The story then segues into the tale of an English boy and his French cousin in 1567.  The English lad has come to France to help support the Huguenots.  Because the Huguenots have ties to John Calvin, upon whose ideas the Primitive Baptist Church which is our church affiliation, our family felt a certain kinship to this story.  From the opening through the difficulties encountered by Francois and Philip to the death of one of the two, the story kept our interest the entire time.

Another portion of the story that really drew our family in was the discussion of the young child who Philip and Francois rescue.  They become concerned about whether a Catholic Frenchmen who comes to their aid can be trusted or not.  This led us to have a discussion about those individuals who provided assistance to the Jews during World War II.  We discussed how being of a particular faith does not necessarily make individuals untrustworthy or evil.  Many individuals during the time of the St. Bartholomew Massacre provided assistance to the Huguenots even though they were Catholics.

The St. Bartholomew’s Massacre took place during the reign of King Charles IX under the influence of his mother, Catherine de Medici.  The assassination of Huguenot Protestant leaders in Paris set off a massacre of tens of thousands of Huguenots all across France.  It seemed eerily similar to the deaths of the Jews during World War II.

In addition to St. Bartholomew’s Eve, our family has also had the privilege of reviewing, Wulf the Saxon, In the Reign of Terror, and Captain Bayley’s Heir.  You can check our reviews by clicking on the titles.

You can find Heirloom Audio on social media:  Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram at @HeirloomAudioOfficial.  You can also check out their “Live the Adventure Club.

So if your family enjoys radio drama, check out St. Bartholomew’s Eve from Heirloom Audio  for yourself.  If you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Our Daughter’s 16th Birthday

 

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Sixteen years ago today we welcomed our baby girl into the world. As the youngest of four children and the only girl, she has lived a rather pampered lifestyle. For a number of years, whenever we went anywhere Dad would carry her on his back or shoulders. Then when Dad could not handle it anymore, her oldest two brothers took up the cause and carried her. To this day, I often find her trying to catch rides on one of her brother’s backs. Of course, now it is not surprising to see her attempting to carry her on their backs.

Recently I have been reading and seeing a lot of posts regarding fathers and their daughters and I can not help but reflect on my daughter and husband’s relationship with each other. I think it is safe to say she truly is Daddy’s little girl and princess. She holds a privileged spot in the house. It is rare for her father to tell her no. He often will go out of the way for her. Through the years, he has bought her special clothes, special food and taken her places just for her. One of the first things he ever bought her was Ella Bella Bear. He had to go to a conference while we were stationed at a reserve center in North Carolina. The conference location was Raleigh. So he took my daughter and me with him. She was all of about two years old. Directly across from the hotel where the conference was, a mall could be found. We went in the mall and found a “Build-A-Bear Workshop” and of course, our daughter came out with a bear. Fourteen years later, Ella Bella Bear is still a vital and valuable member of our family. Boo rarely goes anywhere without her.

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Then while we were stationed in Pennsylvania, my husband once again had to go to a conference. Once again, he took my daughter and me with him. This time food was the important story. While we were there, we took her to several different places to eat. She was roughly 12 or 13 at the time. We had steak, Mexican, and one other type of food I can not remember. But she really enjoyed herself, especially with the chocolate cake that we ate.

Last year there was a day where our daughter stayed up all night and her dad and I woke up early. So we wound up going out to eat at IHOP and then driving to San Antonio to go grocery shopping. We ate lunch at Olive Garden and she had a fantastic time.

 

Since the beginning of the year, our daughter has been playing the violin while her father plays the violin and her oldest brother plays the cello.  Now her youngest brother has started playing the viola and I have begun playing the violin.  So we are having fun playing together.

So I want to wish a very happy birthday to my beautiful baby girl on her 16th birthday!

 

If you want to read what other members of the Home School Review are blogging about this week, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Teach Sunday School’s Books of the Bible-at-a-Glance

In my daily Bible reading, when I come to a new book in the Bible, I reach for my Books of the Bible At-a-Glance from Teach Sunday School to give me an overview of the book.  As the wife of a Primitive Baptist Elder (preacher), I am always on the lookout for new Bible study and reference materials.  I love finding new and useful products for myself and our children.  So when the opportunity came up to review this downloadable product, I was thrilled.  Having a PDF file makes it easy to easy to either print out enough sheets for the family or to view on a tablet in a program like iBooks.

Teach Sunday School offers a wide variety of products suitable for busy Sunday School teachers and Christian parents.  From lessons plans to Bible printables to Bible crafts, there is something suitable for everyone.  On their website, it states, ”

Teaching the Bible Should be a JOY, not a CHORE.

Discover our Turn-Key Lesson Plans & Resources that Make the Bible Come Alive for Kids of all Ages!”

I love this statement about teaching the Bible being a joy rather than a chore.  Throughout the years, I have always been on the lookout for Bible materials that capture the interest and attention of our children.  Now that our youngest is almost 16-years-old, our needs are different.  The  Books of the Bible At-a-Glance from Teach Sunday School suits our family’s needs perfectly.  With three sons ranging in age from 22 to almost 18, I want to be sure I have a firm grasp on the books of the Bible.

Each book of the Bible has a one-page reference sheet.  For this review, I printed out the pages in black and white for economic purposes.  However, if I had a great color printer, then I would have defnitely preferred to print them out in color.  I used these pages as a stand-alone product just to give myself a good background on all the books of the Bible.  Because my husband always recommends starting in the New Testament that is what I decided to do.  Here is a picture of my Bible and the page for Ephesians.  I love how the page breaks down the major points of the book, which makes it easy to follow along.  In this case, Chapters 1-3 Paul provides encouragement to believers and refers to them as “adopted sons” of God.  I love this picture of being chosen by God.  Then in chapters 4 and 5, the sheet addresses how believers need to put on the  full armor of God.  This is one of my absolute favorite passages in the Bible to read and visualize.

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I also love how Teach Sunday School lists several of the most famous Scriptures for each book.  In the case of Ephesians, Ephesians 6:12 and Ephesians 2:10 are presented.  Because our family uses the King James Version of the Bible, I am going to quote it here in the King James Version –  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

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I plan on our sons and daughter going through the sheets with my husband and I to build on their Bible background and knowledge.  After all no one can ever spend to much time learning the background of the books of the Bible.  Regardless of the ages of the members of your family, I feel everyone could benefit from these sheets.  For younger students, it could give them a basic background of the Books of the Bible, while older students and adults could use the sheets as a springboard for deeper studies.  The summaries can be used on their own or along with whatever Bible study your family uses.

You can find Teach Sunday School on social media including:  Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.

So if you are looking for Bible summary sheets, Sunday School lessons, Bible printables or Bible handouts, check out Teach Sunday School for yourself.  If you are looking for Bible summary sheets about the Books of the Bible, check out Books of the Bible At-a-Glance for yourself.

If you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

 

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