Packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child

Tis the season to be giving!  I know you probably haven’t even thought about Christmas for your family yet, but have you thought about how you will give back some of your blessings this year?

It has been our family tradition for about 4 years now to help pack boxes for Operation Christmas Child.  Last year I made aprons and zipper pouches as a little homemade touch to go in the boxes.

This year the girls and I brainstormed what we could make that would add some homey cheer.  We came up with some cute little monsters and dollies:

Harvest Festival Fun

Tonight was the annual Harvest Festival at our Awana church club.  Normally the girls go as unique Bible characters but this year they wanted to do something a little different.

We spent the entire afternoon together planning, cutting, and sewing.  Then we printed masks and did makeup.  We went all out!

Denna wanted to be a mermaid princess:

I used a simple template for the shape, 2 layers of fabric for the front and back, and a layer of stiff interfacing in between.  I didn’t have time to flip it inside out so I just left the raw edges.

By making a little opening at the bottom I was able to slide a small headband through so she could wear the tiara comfortably.

Book Review: Night of the Living Dead Christian

If I would have judged this book by its front cover, I probably would have never read it.  Thankfully, I usually read the excerpt or description on the backside of a book (or in this case, in the description for the e-book).

What kind of monster are you?  We who claim to be Christians who walk in the light more often act like the monsters who fill the darkness.  Blame the sin nature you say?  What about Christ’ transformation of our life? 

By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Night of the Living Dead Christian is a spiritual allegory that boldly explores the monstrous underpinnings of our nature and tackles head-on the question of how we can ever hope to become truly transformed.


Homemade Lacing Cards

Lacing cards, sometimes called sewing cards, are great activities for little fingers.  They help build fine-motor skills and they keep preschoolers busy while you are working with your older children.

Denna has a set of lacing cards from Scholastic books that we got for a steal.  Sometimes, though, the cost for these simple toys is high and they don’t always last.

It is very simple to make your own lacing cards that are sturdy and custom made.  Here is what you will need:

Book Review: Thomas Jefferson for Kids


When I received my copy of Thomas Jefferson for Kids to review, I had high hopes of an engaging story with activities to coincide.  While this book is an awesome resource to use with a study of Thomas Jefferson and American History, it disappointed me on some level.

Rather than giving a scathing review based on my personal perceptions, I will give the straightforward pros and cons:


  1. The book uses many of Jefferson’s own writings and other primary sources.
  2. There are plenty of pictures, a timeline, and a list of resourcesto use for further study.
  3. 21 hands-on activitiesare highlighted within the book that could be used in a unit study.
  4. This is a complete birth-death lookat Jefferson’s life.  There is no stone left unturned in this 120+ page book.

Homeschooling should be joyful

It saddens me when I hear homeschool parents pouring out their hearts with their struggles. Whether their problems are time management, discipline issues, curriculum woes, or money problems; they all lead to striving.

1828 Webster’s Dictionary (to) strive:

  • To make efforts; to use exertions; to endeavor with earnestness; to labor hard; applicable to exertions of body or mind. A workman strives to perform his task before another; a student strives to excel his fellows in improvement.
  • To contend; to contest; to struggle in opposition to another; to be in contention or dispute; followed by against or with before the person or thing opposed; as, strive against temptation; strive for the truth.

Top 5 Audio Series for Your Homeschool

It has become a tradition at our house for the girls to listen to audio Cd’s when they lay down at night.  Since we read together throughout the day, the excitement of a good audio drama is a break for my voice and a treat for the kids.

Keeping fresh material for them to listen to has become a challenge with their voracious love of all things audio!  I have resorted to putting desired purchases on Christmas lists and birthday gift emails.

Audiobooks and Audio series provide entertainment, improve listening skills, and expose you to literature in ways that reading on your own simply can’t.  Children are able to listen to pieces that are far above their reading level.

An Audio series is a show with regular episodes, much like a TV series.  Some of them are radio shows, some are parts of books, and some are simply made for CD and Mp3.

Book Review: Horse Dreams

My oldest daughter lives and breathes horses.  She draws them, imagines them, and reads them.

One of her favorite series of books about horses is Winnie the Horse Gentler by Dandi Daley Mackall.  We found them in our local Christian bookstore.

When I received an advance e-book copy of the book Horse Dreams to review, I decided that my daughter should have a chance to share her reactions to the book as well.  After all- she is the main horse genre reader in the house.

Here is the description we received with the ebook:

My Father’s Dragon Lapbook

While Raven was finishing her Middle Ages lapbook, Denna decided that she would like to create a lapbook for the book we recently finished- My Father’s Dragon.  Both the girls really enjoyed this tale and we have been reading the second book in the series.

Homeschoolshare has a complete unit study/lapbook for this title, and the minibooks we used all came from there.  However, we found some of the activities to be too difficult for Denna or some of the research too time-consuming for what we were trying to accomplish.

It was really amazing how much of the story she can remember just by explaining the minibooks!


Native American Unit- Tipi

Yesterday Denna and I found some more resources for our study of the Plains Indians at the local library.   Finding projects to keep her busy has been challenging, as most of what she is interested in is above her writing and reading level.  She gawks at the phonics books, telling me they are for “babies”.

“Well, baby or not,” I inform her, “this is what I know you can do.”

This only gets her more infuriated.  I can understand her frustration.  I am not a firm believer in grade levels and gradated curriculum. Raven, for example, reads at a 5th-6th grade level, writes at about a 2nd grade level, and does math at the “right” strength for her age.  Her abilities have not flourished at a constant rate. She figured out horse biology in about 2 days. Multiplication took her 2 years.  Card games took her about 2 hours.  Spelling she may never master.