Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Karaoke Sleepover Fun

Alyssa had a friend stay overnight not too long ago. One of the activities that my daughter LOVES to do with her friends is use her karaoke machine. She has a blast singing! She was dressed as a pirate, but decided not to wear half of the costume.
Singin' Loud
I will link this post up at Mama to 5 Blessings: Wordless Wednesday. Feel free to join in on the fun. Share a photo with a few words or none. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Virtual Refrigerator: Paper Plate Sun Craft

My daughter is studying astronomy this year. Alyssa was motivated to create the following art craft after reading about the sun in her Apologia Exploring Creation Astronomy book.

Materials Needed
White Paper Plate
Yellow Construction paper
Glue Stick
Yellow Colored Pencil
Book About the Sun

Project Directions
First, she colored a paper plate yellow. Then, she traced her hand on yellow construction paper nine times. Next, she  cut out and glued the hands on the paper plate to form a sun shape. Finally, she flipped the sun over and wrote a short blurb about the sun.

She wrote the following text on the back of the sun: "The sun is the largest star in the sky. It is a hot ball of gas. It is not safe to look directly at the sun." 

Thank you for visiting A Learning Journey. I will link this post up at The Virtual Refrigerator. God bless!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: October 13th, 2014

Breakfast - Blueberry and Pecan Oatmeal and Scrambled Eggs
Lunch - Shrimp and Veggies (Cucumbers and Tomatoes)
Dinner - Leftover Chicken Schnitzel and Spaetzle

Breakfast - Oatmeal (Flaxseed and Wheatgerm)
Lunch - Beef Enchiladas and Carrots
Dinner - Chicken Taquitos and Asparagus

Breakfast - Breakfast Burritos and Egg White Chocolate Milk
Lunch - Mother-Daughter Lunch Date (EAT OUT)
Dinner - Fish with a Spinach Strawberry Salad

Breakfast - Boiled Grapefruit (Half) and Fruit Smoothies
Lunch - Turkey and Cheese Wrap
Dinner - Sausage Zucchini Penne Pasta with a Spinach Caesar Salad

Breakfast - Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Pancakes
Lunch - Grilled Turkey and Cheese Sandwich
Dinner - Spicy Black Bean Burger with an Avocado Salad

Breakfast - Cereal and Egg White Chocolate Milk
Lunch - Tuna Fish Sandwich and Bell Pepper
Dinner - Venison Chili

Breakfast -Scrambled Spinach and Tomato Eggs
Lunch - Chicken Salad Sandwich
Dinner - Chicken and Broccoli Stirfry

I will link up at Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Scripture Sunday: Be Obedient

I am linking up with Ashley and Amanda at For His Glory TeachingEvery other Sunday, they host their Scripture Sunday Sharing His Love Linky Party. I will also link up with Scripture and a Snapshot
Scripture and Snapshot

The scripture I want to share with you is inspired by an Armed With Truth giveaway we won back in July. My daughter absolutely LOVES their temporary biblical tattoos. They are easily applied. Alyssa attempts to memorize each verse before it wears off. The tattoo immediately captures the attention and curiosity of her friends so she's spreading the Gospel during play dates and in Sunday School.

Scripture Sunday Thoughts 
I really need to focus not only on my daughter's obedience to the Lord, but on my OWN obedience in reading the Word, worshipping, praising, praying, and focusing on how I OBEY God in ALL areas of my life. I need to dig deeper in the Word, develop a better relationship with Him, thank Him more often, and serve the Lord with my whole heart no matter the circumstances I face.

Obedience shows our faith in God's plan and our love for Him. I know that if I am obedient to God, then I am being loyal and trusting Him.

God bless you all this week!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

BookCrash Review: The First Christmas retold by Janice D. Green

I recently reviewed The First Christmas as retold by Janice D. Green with illustrations by the talented Violet Vandor. I strive to focus on the birth of Jesus during the Christmas season. I'm already preparing for Christmas by reading and choosing books for my Christmas Book Tree Advent Countdown which is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. I also try to tie in an activities related to the story read aloud. Let me tell you about a book I reviewed that includes both a familiar story we must all hear and a fun activity that'll engage your child.

Book Description (From the Website)
The First Christmas, by Janice Green and illustrated by Violet Vandor, tells the account of the birth of Jesus Christ. Adults and children alike will enjoy snuggling up to share these thirteen colorful scenes and the engaging discussion questions as this timeless story unfolds. Even older readers may be surprised to learn something new as they read again of the Messiah's birth.

My Thoughts
The 32-page paperback book gives a well-written, detailed, and complete account of the Nativity Story. The message is one that has been heard by many over the years but is of great importance for all children. I really appreciated the italicized conversation starters or questions found on each page that enable the parent to check their child's understanding following each section of the story. These questions will help you interact and engage with your child and help them focus on key topics. The questions help children make personal connections to their lives and feelings in relation to the story. For example, the author asks the child in the book "How do you think Mary and Joseph felt to have to walk or ride a donkey for days? Can you think of a time when you were very tired but you couldn't stop and rest?" The questions will spark a conversation and get the child thinking about their lives.

The lovely illustrations are simple and suitable for all children. There are not any inappropriate or violent illustrations in this retelling. There is a relevant illustration on the left side of each two-page spread of the story.

I love books that include meaningful activities within the pages of the book. This children's book concludes with a Bible Quilt activity that reinforces the truths from the Bible. The First Christmas coloring pages for the family activity are found on the publisher's website, however they are not FREE. They cost $1.50 for a PDF downloadable file which is reasonably priced considering the memories and possible traditions you'll create with your family. I do feel that it would be in the best interest of the author to offer these coloring pages FREE to individuals that purchase the book. This could be done using a special link and/or password added at the front of the book.

I would like to note that this book begins not with the angel's announcement to Mary, but that it begins with Gabriel's visit to Zachariah and Elizabeth about the birth of John the Baptist. You'll hear about Mary and Joseph's visits from the Angel, Mary's visit with her cousin Elizabeth, their travels to Bethlehem, the discussion with the innkeeper, Jesus's birth, the angel's visit with the shepherds, and lastly the journey of the Three Wise Men as captured in 13 colorful scenes depicting this retelling of Jesus's birth.

A small suggestion to the author would be to capitalize any words or phrases that reference God or Jesus. Another minor suggestion would be to make the story more concise for younger readers who may not be able to sit still for long time periods. It may be a little too wordy for readers in the youngest age group.

I recommend this delightful book to Christian families with children in preschool through early elementary ages 4-12. You could read the book as part of your morning devotions or bedtime read aloud during the Christmas season. I will be giving this book to my daughter for Christmas this year. You could even break the story up over several days reading a little each day to make it easier on younger children. It would make a perfect Christmas gift for relatives and friends. There's a good chance that this book may become a tradition if you enjoy reading Christmas stories every year. I know every year we enjoy telling the story of Jesus's birth. If you do too, then this read aloud book can be added to your collection. You may even want to share this title with the Children's Ministry staff members at your church or even with grandparents.

HoneyComb Adventures $9.95
Amazon $9.95

Note: All prices are subject to change without notice. Websites may include selected pages to preview before purchasing the book.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary, free copy of this book from the publisher through the BookCrash book review program in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Thursday, September 25, 2014

B&H Publishing Review: My Christmas List Written By Amy Parker

I had the honor of reviewing My Christmas List written by Amy Parker for B and H Publishing: Every Word CountsChristmas is right around the corner! Can you believe it's only 3 months away? I am already reading Christmas books trying to decide which ones I will give as Christmas gifts and which ones I will use as part of my Christmas Book Tree Advent Countdown. This book will definitely be considered for our book tree countdown activity this year.  

The book developed after a baffling discussion Amy had with her friend, Frederick, living in Rwanda. She found out that day that people in Rwanda don’t make Christmas lists. They focus on giving rice to the needy and making church offerings. Her book is a great way to spread awareness of the needs of others. 

How do you celebrate Christmas? Have you ever thought about how it might be for children in other countries around the world? Have you discussed it with your children? This book may help you explain the needs of others to your children during the Christmas season. 

The hardcover children's book contains 28 pages with illustrations created by Daniel Fernandez which show familiar celebratory family traditions such as decorating the house with Christmas lights, watching a nativity play, eating a feast, singing Christmas carols, reading holiday stories, and helping others. This Christian rhyming picture book has a simple, clear message that I believe all children must and should hear at some point in their lives. The story focuses on a young boy as the narrator and main character who is preparing a Christmas list. However, his Christmas list may be different from those you typically would see at Christmas time. His letter is addressed to God instead of to Santa Claus which is one of the reasons why I appreciate this book. At the very beginning of the book, the boy states . . . 
"Dear God, this year I’m changing things–
Instead of toys and lots of stuff,
I want Christmas for the whole wide world,
Especially those without enough."

On each two-page spread, the main character asks God for items or things that will bless and change the world around him. His Christmas list is one that focuses on and emphasizes helping others especially those in need. The author mentions one or two countries per two-page spread. This is a great way for homeschool families to integrate geography into holiday lessons. Alyssa will locate the following places mentioned in the book on both a map and a globe. She will also write her own "Christmas List" letter to God. I hope that after reading this book she'll be encouraged to organize more service learning projects on her own. The following countries were mentioned:
  • Korea
  • Russia
  • India
  • Uganda
  • Guatemala
  • China
  • Zambia
  • Sudan
  • Middle East
The boy asks God to help others understand why God gave us Christmas day. This book reveals the true reason why we should celebrate Christmas. It states the importance of how Jesus was a Savior for Earth which began with His birth. 

The unnamed boy makes a commitment to do his part in making the world a better place by giving Christmas to everyone. His Christmas list isn’t a never-ending list of toys - his list comes straight from his heart. Watch the book trailer below if this sounds like a story you'd like to share with your children, 

What I Liked
One of my favorite parts of the book is the “Parent Connection“ Christmas list activity found at the back of the book which consists of a Bible verse to memorize (Matthew 25:40), a Scripture parable to read from the Bible (Luke 10: 25-37), and five reflective discussion questions. Then, your child has the opportunity to make a Christmas list focusing on at least five groups of people in need. After creating your list, you’ll pray for those individuals. I can think of many other extension activities for the holiday using this book. 

The book makes a point that we should all consider during the holiday season:

"As a kid, sometimes it can seem difficult to make a big difference, but watch for the people God sends your way. You may be surprised at how much of a difference those two little hands can make." 
Another book feature that I enjoyed was viewing the back and front inside covers of the book which contained photographs and captions indicating “Worldly Christmas List” suggestions given by others. The suggestions state a few of our favorite activities including Operation Christmas Child, Christmas Carols at Nursing Homes, Clothes for Families in Need, Homeless Bags, and Stockings for Soldiers. This book encourages not only helping those in need during Christmas but helping ALL year long.  

Lifeway $12.99
Amazon $11.69
Christianbook $9.99

Note: All prices are subject to change at any time.

I highly recommend My Christmas List to anyone that has children especially within the 4-8 age range. However, you may want to consider whether or not your child will be overly sensitive when reading about the needs of others around the world. 

This book will add more meaning to the Christmas holiday and season. I am always looking for high quality Christian books to read during the holidays and this book made our list. I plan on using this book as a tool at the end of November and throughout the month of December hoping to inspire and motivate my daughter to think about others in need as we partake in traditional service learning projects during the holiday season. I truly want her to focus on what she can do for others rather than her personal desires and wants. 

I received a complimentary, free copy of this book from the publisher as part of the B and H Publishing Group Book Review Program in exchange for an honest, unbiased review on my blog. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sunflower Art Project

My daughter watched the Van Gogh Sunflowers art lesson on the Kindergarten Home Art Studio DVD which is currently available throughout the Homeschool Buyers Co-op. We bought the DVD at a discounted price. The Homeschool Buyers Co-op is FREE to join. Just click the previous link.

Alyssa (Age 6 1/2) followed the instructions and created this beautiful masterpiece for my sister. My sister and her husband love sunflowers. My sis will be visiting Texas soon - my daughter can't wait to surprise her . . . that is if she hasn't seen this post.

Art Supplies Needed:
Blue, Yellow, Green, and Brown Construction Paper
Plastic Cup
Red and Yellow Paint
Black Colored Pencil

By the way, Alyssa is participating in the Spelling You See "No Rules Day Photo Contest." She really wants to continue using this spelling program once she completes Americana. Please do us a favor and visit Spelling You See's Facebook Page to vote for her artwork. Thank you for your support! 

Disclaimer: I have used a personalized Homeschool Buyers Co-op referral link in this post for the co-op and for the Home Art Studio DVD's. If you purchase this product through my link, then I will earn 500 SmartPoints. If you join the co-op, I also receive SmartPoints. Thank you for your help supporting our homeschool!

I will link this post up at The Virtual Refrigerator Blog Hop.