Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Always Smile

A Smile Can Brighten the Darkest Day.
Sending This Smile Out to Anyone Who Needs It Today.
I will link this post up at Wordless Wednesday, Glimmer of Hope, Mama to 5 Blessings, SimpleSojourns, and Wordless Wednesday by David
Single Mother Ahoy Wordless WednesdayGlimmer of Hope

Quote Taken From VeryBestQuotes.com.

Thank you for visiting A Learning Journey!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: November 17th, 2014

I just realized that I never posted my menu plans for this week. I've been so busy preparing for my daughter's birthday party that I didn't even realize that it is Wednesday. It's the first year that I don't have her father to help with party arrangements so I have a little more on my plate than usual.

I followed last week's meal plan almost every day, but of course due to unexpected events things ran off course. Here I what am planning for the week of November 17th.  

Monday
Breakfast - Scrambled Eggs and Rice Cake
Lunch - Turkey and Cheese Sandwich with Bell Peppers  
Dinner - Cheeseburger Mac and Spinach Salad

Tuesday
Breakfast - Oatmeal with Walnuts and Dried Fruit
Lunch - Peanut Butter Sandwich and Carrots
Dinner - Cheeseburger Mac Leftovers and Broccoli

Wednesday
Breakfast - Special Birthday Pancakes for Alyssa with Fruit
Lunch - Turkey and Cheese Sandwich and Bell Peppers
Dinner - Alyssa: Birthday Dinner with her Father 

Thursday
Breakfast - Yogurt Fruit Smoothies
Lunch -Dinner Leftovers
Dinner - Fish with Honey Sweet Potatoes and Asparagus

Friday 
Breakfast - Cereal and Fruit
Lunch - Tuna Melts with Peas
Dinner - Shrimp with Lemon Angel Hair Pasta and Zucchini (Night Before the Party)

Saturday
Breakfast - Scrambled Eggs and Veggies
Lunch - Peanut Butter or Ham Sandwiches with Grape Tomatoes
Dinner - Spicy Black Bean Burger and Mixed Veggies

Sunday
Breakfast - Cereal and Chocolate Egg White Milk
Lunch - Chicken Taquitos and Brown Rice and a Spinach Salad
Dinner -Sausage Vegetable Soup and Cornbread

I will link this post up at Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Buck Denver Asks . . . Why Do We Call It Christmas DVD Review and Giveaway

A couple weeks ago, I was contacted by FlyBy Promotions to review the newly released DVD called Why Do We Call It Christmas from the Buck Denver Asks ... What's in the Bible Series. This was actually one the items I wanted to purchase for my daughter as a Christmas stocking stuffer this year. I eagerly responded with a "Yes" and checked my mailbox daily until its arrival. It has truly been a blessing! One of my favorite holidays to celebrate is Christmas. Each year I try to focus my attention on adding more Christ-centered activities, crafts, movies, and stories to our day. This movie is one that is definitely at the top of our list!

One extra special bonus for reviewing this product is that they generously donated one copy of the DVD for me to giveaway on my blog. Be sure to check out my giveaway at the end of this review.

About the DVD (From the Website)
Cutting down trees? Hanging stockings? Santa Claus? What do any of these have to do with Jesus' birthday? More than you'd think! Join VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer along with intrepid newsman Buck Denver and all his friends on an amazing journey into the world's most popular holiday! Sure, you know the Christmas story. But do you know the story of Christmas? Don't miss the whimsical, educational, "Christmical" party to end all Christmas parties as Buck Denver Asks … Why Do We Call It Christmas?

Topics Addressed
  • Where do we get the word Christmas?
  • Why is it called Christmas?
  • Why do we celebrate on December 25th? 
  • When was Jesus born?
  • What do Christmas trees have to do with Jesus?
  • Who is St. Nicholas? 
  • Who is Santa Claus? Where did he come from?
  • What is Hanukkah?
  • Who is Emmanuel?
  • Luke 2 Story
  • What are the "12 Days of Christmas?"
  • And MUCH MORE
Here’s a little sneak peak of the movie. Watch the video trailer below!

My Thoughts
The creator of Veggie Tales, Phil Vischer, and his crew have developed another fabulous and popular series for children. This 60-minute DVD utilized puppetry and animation to bring the story of Christmas to life. It captured my daughter's attention, but I would suggest breaking the movie up into smaller viewing segments for younger children. Alyssa will turn 7 this week but she's always had a long attention span. Meaningful lessons and fact-oriented topics enabled us to gain a better understanding for the holiday. I have to admit when I saw the list of topics being discussed, I didn't know all the answers to the questions. It was in my best interest to snuggle on the couch, eat some buttered popcorn, and watch the movie with my daughter. 

I was a little worried about the puppetry at first and wondered if they would distract from the message, but this was not the case. The colorful, animated puppets complimented the content with humor. The characters were witty, lovable, and curious. Alyssa couldn't get enough of the puppets and still heard the message loud and clear. Additionally, the sing-a-longs included in the show are playful with catchy tunes. 

I truly appreciated the segment explaining Santa Claus. The true story of St. Nicholas was presented and revealed how "Santa Claus" came to be today. The video was careful not to spoil any secular or Christian traditions that you have with regards to Santa Claus. Furthermore, if you discuss Christmas celebrations around the world, then the Hanukkah segment will appeal to you. A few years ago, I read the history behind the "12 Days of Christmas." I was fascinated with how Christians still followed their beliefs and shared the Word when they were told not to. This section of the video clearly stated the origins and meaning behind the 12 Days of Christmas. Scripture references are scattered throughout the journey. These verses can be memorized or used as a mini devotion with your children. You can discuss how the scripture verses apply to their life. I also loved the explanation about why we have Christmas trees. A missionary named Boniface used the tree as symbol to teach a group of pagans about CHRIST even though they believed trees were sacred.   


The family-friendly content entertained, educated, and informed us. It was a perfect balance! The movie delivers a powerful and important message about the "true" reasons why we celebrate Christmas and explains the historical origins behind the familiar traditions that we cherish while helping children make the relevant connections to the birth of Jesus. My daughter and I are learning more then I ever hoped. 

Bottom Line
Why Do We Call it Christmas is a heart-warming movie that sparked a curiosity in our hearts and minds. The confusion we had about certain traditions slowly faded away after watching this video. It made us want to learn more about our traditions and think about how they relate to the birth of Jesus. Everything seemed historically and biblically accurate as far as I could tell.  

This is a high-quality video production that will capture the attention of your children while providing answers to some often confusing questions. Don't be surprised if you find yourself engaged in the story as well, because it addresses interesting topics. 


We ENJOYED this show and know that this movie will be one we watch every year as a reminder. This production far exceeded my expectations. Personally, I would love to own the entire collection in the What's in the Bible series!    

Price
Visit the What's in the Bible Store to purchase Buck Denver Asks . . . Why Do We Call It Christmas? You won't be disappointed! This DVD retails for $14.99, but it is currently on sale for only $9.97 through 12/18/14. Furthermore, you have the opportunity to receive a FREE Sing through the Bible DVD with your order through 11/18/14 (excluding digital-only purchases). 

Additionally, all orders over $25 receive FREE standard US shipping. Sounds like the perfect time to grab this resource to share with your family this Christmas. There's also a Why Do We Call It Christmas book and other Christmas products available to purchase if desired. 

Note: Prices and deals are subject to change at any time. 

Recommendations
I DEFINITELY recommend Why Do We Call It Christmas to ALL families with children 8 and under searching for a way to explain those tough yet confusing "why" questions that are beautiful children tend to ask us around Christmas time. If you want to teach your children about the true meaning of Christmas, then consider purchasing this video. Parents of Christian faith will appreciate the material presented. Consider purchasing this movie as a Christmas gift for a child or relative to enjoy. I also highly suggest that Sunday School teachers add this tool to their Children's Church Library or find a way to implement it into their Christmas study lessons. 

Other Resources
Social Media
Twitter (#WhyDoWeCallItChristmas)
Pinterest
Google+

Be sure to visit the official website to learn more! 

Disclaimer
I received a free, complimentary copy of this product as part of FlyBy Blogger Promotions in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

GIVEAWAY TIME
Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners are randomly selected using Rafflecopter.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


Would you like to win a copy of this DVD?
Christmas is right around the corner and this would be a great gift!
Enter the giveaway now for your chance to win. Good luck! 

If you don't see the Rafflecopter widget, please give it time to load or click on the link to enter. Thank you so much!


Thank you for visiting A Learning Journey! Please leave a comment  and enter the giveaway before you leave.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

FlyBy Promotions Book Review and Giveaway - Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World

Reviewing the book, Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World written by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane has opened my eyes more with regards to how technology can benefit yet hinder our relationships with our children. Keep reading this review to learn more about the book and to enter the giveaway at the end. 

About the Authors
Gary Chapman is the bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages series and the director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc. He's an author, speaker, and counselor with a passion for helping people form lasting relationships. He travels the world presenting seminars. His radio programs air on more than 400 stations. Visit 5lovelanguages.com for more information.

Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and the author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife and 31 Days to a Happy Husband. She has been featured on The Today Show, The 700 Club, and Family Life Today. She served as the former associate producer for Turning Point Television with Dr. David Jeremiah. Arlene lives in Southern California with her husband and their three children. Visit ArlenePellicane.com to learn more. 

Book Description (From the Publisher)
Is technology bringing your family closer together or driving you farther apart? Children today are no longer playing hide-and-seek outside or curling up with a good book—instead they’ve been introduced to a world of constant digital entertainment through television, video games, and mobile devices. And while technology has the potential to add value to our lives and families, it can also erode a sense of togetherness and hinder a child’s emotional and social development.

In Growing Up Social, Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane will empower you with the necessary tools to make positive changes … starting today. Through stories, wit, and wisdom, you’ll discover how to take back your home from an over dependence on screens. Plus, you’ll learn to teach the five A+ skills that every healthy child needs to master: Affection, Appreciation, Anger Management, Apology, and Attention.

•Equip your child to be relationally rich in a digital world
•Replace mindless screen time with meaningful family time
•Establish simple boundaries that make a huge difference
•Discover what’s working for families that have become screen savvy
•Learn healthy ways to occupy your child while you get things done

Now is the time to equip your child to live with screen time, not for screen time. No phone, tablet, or gaming device can teach your child how to have healthy relationships—only you can.

My Thoughts
The 233-page softcover parenting book is jam-packed with information that should be read by all parents. This Christian book focuses on the social, emotional, spiritual, and mental impact that screen-time has on children.

One chapter in particular hit close to home. Chapter 13 explores Screen Time and the Single Parent. It addresses the difficulties of being a single parent and how divorce impacts the child. I am definitely paying closer attention to how we spend our time together. I've been more intentional with placing limits on my daughter's screen time which can be difficult at times because we use technology in our homeschool and as part of her chore reward system. Furthermore, this chapter discusses the detrimental side effects of having too much screen time in a single parent home which also applies to two parent homes. It mentions the struggles of getting on the same page with your co-parenting spouse while emphasizing the importance of working together to establish similar rules and screen time limits for the sake of the child.

Chapter 14 helped me put into perspective the amount of time I personally spend in front of the screen. The book also helped me realize my priorities and what I desire for my child. I don't want my daughter to think that checking e-mails, working on my blog posts and reviews, and researching on the Internet are more important than our special time together. I really sat down and started evaluating how I run things in my home after reading this chapter. We, as parents, need to model our expectations and if we sit in front of a screen all day . . . what is that telling are children. They need us to be present and attentive to their needs. I desire to eventually have a balance of family time and technological use in my home which will in the long run help my daughter develop a stronger, healthier relationship with God and build friendships with others. I don't want her to miss out on exploring the great outdoors. I want her to play as a child rather than spending hours staring at animated screens. I also want my daughter to bond and have quality time with family and not allow technological devices to fill any emotional voids. 

Another chapter that I enjoyed reading was Chapter 10 which discusses Love Languages and how pertinent it is to identify and understand your child's love language so that you can fill their love tank. My daughter's love language is Quality Time and Physical Affection. She appreciates gifts and loves affirmations, but truly wants to spend more quality time with me and be held especially now when her heart is wounded and she's dealing with so many emotions. I also want her to feel genuinely loved and to know that I care deeply. 

Other features I enjoyed in the book were the list of screen-free ways to cultivate a thankful heart, the five keys to focus on when apologizing, homework helps, the screen-safe family pledge, and scripture verses to memorize when dealing with anger issues. 

You’ll find a short quiz at the back of the book to help you evaluate and determine whether or not your child is having too much screen time and if it could be harming their development. The ages and stages of social development are also listed and categorized. Additionally, there are discussion guides with reflective questions for each chapter which can be utilized during a parent study or Bible study group. The book also contains parental resources including the online Love Languages website, a children’s book, parenting book suggestions, and a few relationship books to read.  

Bottom Line
Growing Up Social discusses relevant and meaningful issues that should be addressed in today's society. This parenting book will challenge you to take back your home. Moderation is the key and can be reached with limitations with regards to technological use. I'm all about finding a balance in life, because I see both the advantages and disadvantages of screen time.

Recommendations

These are just a few of the chapters that had a profound influence on me, but there are other chapters that we could all benefit from reading. I HIGHLY recommend Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World. It is a must read for all parents or anyone thinking about having or working with children in the future! 

How often are your children allowed to use technological gadgets or watch TV in your home? 

Price 
Amazon $12.38
Family Christian $15.99

Note: All prices are subject to change.

Social Media
Website: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/growingupsocial

Disclaimer
Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. I am disclosing this information In accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!


One BLESSED reader has the opportunity to win a physical copy of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World written by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane! Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are NOT eligible to win it again. Propeller Consulting, LLC will fulfill prize requirements.

If you don't see the Rafflecopter widget, please give it time to load or click on the link to enter. Thank you so much!



Monday, November 10, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: November 10th, 2014

Monday
Breakfast - Granola Energy Balls and Fruit Smoothies
Lunch - Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup with Broccoli
Dinner - Turkey Zucchini Burgers and Salad

Tuesday
Breakfast - Scrambled Eggs and Whole Wheat Toast
Lunch - Peanut Butter Sandwiches and Bell Peppers
Dinner - Turkey Zucchini Burgers with Broccoli and Pasta

Wednesday
Breakfast - Cereal with Fruit
Lunch - Mother Daughter Date at Honey Baked Ham
Dinner - Chicken Fajitas with Bell Peppers and Brown Rice

Thursday
Breakfast - Chicken Fajita Breakfast Burritos
Lunch - Chicken Taquitos With Salsa and Avocado
Dinner - Southwestern Fajita Bean Soup and Salad

Friday 
Breakfast - Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes and Egg Whites
Lunch - Turkey and Cheese Sandwich and Bell Peppers
Dinner - Birthday Celebration with Friends

Saturday
Breakfast - Banana Walnut Oatmeal
Lunch - Turkey and Cheese Spinach Wrap with Carrots
Dinner - Spicy Black Bean Burger and Mixed Veggies

Sunday
Breakfast - Blueberry Almond Oatmeal and Chocolate Egg White Milk
Lunch - Peanut Butter and Jelly with Carrots
Dinner - Cheeseburger Macaroni and Peas

I will link this post up at Menu Plan Monday.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Precious Pumpkin Poodle Puppy

I am posting my Wordless Wednesday photo a day late, because yesterday was my birthday and I was running errands in the rain all day.



Enjoy! I will link this post up at Wordless Wednesday at Mama to 5 Blessings.

God bless. Thank you for visiting A Learning Journey! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: November 3rd, 2014

Monday
Breakfast - Cottage Cheese and Scrambled Eggs
Lunch - Taco Chili and Cornbread
Dinner - Tuna Noodle Casserole With Peas

Tuesday
Breakfast - Breakfast Burritos and Tangerines
Lunch - Tuna Noodle Casserole With Peas
Dinner - Fish, Sweet Potato, and Broccoli

Wednesday
Breakfast- Cereal and Grapefruit
Lunch - Mother Daughter Date at Honey Baked Ham to Celebrate My Birthday
Dinner - Sausage Zucchini Penne Pasta

Thursday
Breakfast - Berry Yogurt Smoothies and Rice Cake
Lunch - Turkey and Cheese Grilled Spinach Wrap and Carrots
Dinner - Sausage Zucchini Penne Pasta

Friday 
Breakfast - Eggs and Oatmeal
Lunch - Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches with Bell Peppers
Dinner - Chicken Fajitas with Bell Peppers and Brown Rice

Saturday
Breakfast - Lemon Blueberry Pancakes and Egg Chocolate Milk
Lunch - Grilled Cheese and Turkey Sandwiches and Tomato Soup
Dinner - Chicken Fajita Black Bean Soup

Sunday
Breakfast - Cereal and Fruit
Lunch - Peanut Butter Sandwiches and Veggies
Dinner - Shrimp Scampi, Asparagus, and Strawberry Spinach Salad

I will link this post up at Menu Plan Monday.