Thursday, April 17, 2014

Callie's Contest of Courage Review and Giveaway

I had the opportunity to review the brand new paperback children's book titled, Callie's Contest of Courage written by Jan May as part of her book launch. Jan May is the Christian author of several other published books written for The New Millennium Girls Series including the Creative Writing Made Easy, Isabel's Closet, and the first book in the series, Isabel's Secret. Callie's Contest of Courage is the second book in the series. My daughter and I are always looking for a good book to read. Alyssa is an avid reader, but we decided to read this engaging 161-page Christian chapter book aloud. The book consists of 12 chapters.

Who are the Millennium Girls?
The website states that, "They are the girls who are growing up in this generation who believe their God is bigger than all the giants in the land; girls with the faith of Joshua and Caleb; girls with a different spirit."

Book Description (Taken from the Website)
Eleven-year-old Callie Fleming is a passionate animal lover! She's been waiting all year to enter photos in the I Love Nature Photo Contest. Her dad, who is the coolest dad in the world, is an award winning photographer and Marine Corps Reserves Sergeant. She is leaning on his help to win. But when her father is untimely deployed overseas and becomes strangely silent to her emails, she finds her whole world crashing down on her. Can she muster up the courage to step out on a journey that whisks her away from all the things she loves? Join Callie on a journey of hope, trust, and power of prayer! 

Book Price Details
Amazon Paperback Price: $7.25
You can find more information at New Millennium Girls Bookstore $7.95
Note: All Prices Subject to Change

Possible Vendor Suggestions
  • I hope there will be a lapbook, crafts, and a writing curriculum created to coordinate with this book.
  • Is it possible for New Millennium Girls to host a Children's I Love Nature Photo Contest?
My Thoughts
Alyssa thoroughly enjoyed reading this book with me. We read it at bedtime and during our afternoon brain breaks. This is a quick read and could easily be read in one day, but we chose to take our time reading it. 

The well-written book captured the interest and attention of my six-year-old daughter who is developing her own relationship with God. It nurtured her faith in Christ. It is a wonderful book about family, friendship, adventure, joy, faith, hope, love, and honesty. I truly appreciated the fact that spiritual content and Biblical truths were scattered throughout the book. The faith-based book mentions scripture verses and emphasizes prayer. Callie's thoughts, dreams, and prayers were italicized helping the reader understand that she was thinking to herself or "talking" to God. I loved that Callie knew to seek God's help and guidance through prayer when she struggled with life's circumstances. Callie is also reminded that she must let Jesus's golden rule be her guide as indicated in the Luke 6:31 "Do to others as you would have them do to you." Psalm 91 is the family prayer recited numerous times as they place their trust in the faithful Lord to protect and keep their father safe while he is fighting overseas. Callie used her strength and faith muscles to pray for her father when she felt he needed it most. 

As we read the book, the teacher in me couldn't resist creating extension activities related to the topics found in the book which is why it took us a little longer to read it than expected. We also created copywork pages for the relevant and meaningful scripture verses mentioned using Notebookingpages.com. I was impressed with the character development, descriptive word play, and Christian values addressed in the book. The author's use of descriptive language will help you visualize, imagine, and feel the story events come alive. 

Callie gave up her internship so that her mother could be closer to family members so that she could lean on their support and encouragement. The main character's faith grows and she changes throughout the story. Callie realizes her selfishness at the beginning of the story. The lack of verbal contact with their father causes anxiety, stress, and sadness. Callie's family works together during the difficult and emotional times. They come together in prayer, support one another, and reassure each other of their father's safety. Callie gains the courage and strength to face the obstacles in her life including learning how to cope with her father's deployment. Furthermore, Mickey makes a sacrifice for another person which teaches the reader that it is important to serve and think of others first and before yourself.

I believe readers will be able to relate to the main character especially if they have siblings. The Sweetwater, Illinois road trip games, adventures, and conversations reminded me of my own childhood family trips. The author modernized the book by adding in Skype calls, e-mail, phone texting, and Callie's Critter Connection website. This will help older girls with access to these technological avenues relate even more with the character. Callie posts animal facts and stories on her website. The reader can build vocabulary and develop research skills while learning more about the world that God created through the words and facts stated in the book. For example, my daughter learned the meaning of the word symbiotic when Callie said, "It means that in a relationship, each animal helps the other survive."  

Callie is a great role model for tween girls or those around her age. Her character qualities and traits paint a picture of a realistic character who sins and makes mistakes. Readers will see that they can learn from their mistakes and about the importance of forgiveness. Her actions and words teach others to trust in God's plan and his timing for answered prayers. 

We thoroughly enjoyed the fun hands-on activities included at the back of the book. The activities will help create long-lasting memories for my daughter. Alyssa made a banana cream pie using the book's simple recipe as a special surprise for her father. I enjoyed spending quality time in the kitchen baking with my daughter as she practiced life skills. This was her first time making and eating a banana cream pie. I am not sure why I haven't tried making one with her before, but I am glad that Jan suggested it. It was a perfect tie-in to the pie eating contest and fun fair events.   
Delicious! 
We even gathered a few items for our military package to help support the troops fighting overseas. Many items can be gathered at an extremely reasonable price using coupons. We are still putting our package together. My daughter plans to write a letter and wants to add baked goods to the package. Jan May provides the reader with a bulleted list of ways to support the troops. She also lists several military support organization links for further service learning research. Additionally, there is a bulleted list of categorized things that would brighten a soldier's day.

We hope to create a frog habitat as a spring or summer bucket list activity or during our amphibian nature study. The frog habitat project includes a material list, detailed instructions, and frog facts.  

Alyssa's Thoughts (Age 6 1/2)
I like the book, because it tells about Callie's life and her fun adventures. I love how it adds little prayers. My favorite part was when they prayed about Psalm 91. I REALLY liked the ending. A funny part was when the cousin twins set-up water balloons to bomb Callie, but she moved them over their beds. They had a huge water balloon fight when they woke up. The book had interesting animal facts and Bible verses too. I think my friends Gracie and Valerie would enjoy reading this book. Other girls would enjoy it too. I LOVED this book!!!

I won't tell you the end of the story. You'll need to purchase your own copy to find out what happens next. 

Will Callie's father come home?
Will they ever hear back from him? 
Will she win the animal division of the "I Love Nature" photo contest?

Recommendations
I highly recommend this book for girls who are nature lovers, animal lovers, or photographers. The book description states that it is suitable for tween girls between the ages of 8-12 in approximately 3rd-6th grade. I believe girls as young as 6 will eagerly read the book with someone. The book can be read aloud or independently read by fluent readers. Christian homeschool educators, children's literature book clubs, co-op groups, and Christian school literature circle classes can safely add this book to their reading lists. The book does not contain any inappropriate material. The content is age-appropriate. I highly recommend this book as a gift for any tween girl in a military family whose father has been deployed. Furthermore, this book would make a wonderful birthday or holiday gift. I look forward to hearing more about the next book in the New Millennium Girls series titled, Isabel's Fun Fair Fiasco

Social Media
Jan May on Facebook
Disclaimer
I received Callie's Contest of Courage free of charge from the author Jan May in exchange for an honest review on my blog. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own or those of my family  members. 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." 

Jan May of the New Millennium Girls graciously offered ONE of my lucky readers the chance to win a physical copy of the book. This giveaway is for US residents only. Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for your chance to win. Click on the Rafflecopter link, if you don't see the widget and please give it time to load. All entries will be verified.    


Hearts for Home Blog HopCornerstone Confessions
I Choose Joy!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

2014 Ultimate Blog Party

Welcome to A Learning Journey! Thank you for stopping by my homeschool family blog. This is my second year participating in this event. I look forward to networking and meeting new bloggers. I am hoping to make several new lifelong friendships as well.

My name is Tracey. I am the blog owner of A Learning Journey. We live in the beautiful hill country parts of Texas. I am a former second grade public school teacher turned into an eclectic home educator. I LOVE chocolate especially with peanut butter - it's a horrible addiction! I enjoy camping, reading, playing games, spending quality time with family, cooking, baking, planning parties, chatting with friends, scrapbooking, browsing online, and creating fun educational activities.

I write about a variety of topics including:
  • Hands-On Learning Activities
  • Freebie Finds
  • My Faith Walk 
  • Product and Book Reviews
  • Occasional Giveaways
  • Recipes
  • And Of course . . . Our Homeschool Happenings
My husband is a lieutenant for the San Antonio Fire Department who will hopefully promote to captain this year after passing an extremely difficult test. One thing I love about my handsome hubby is that he is so much fun to be around and he'll do almost anything to make his little girl happy as seen in the photos below.
Face Painting at Santa's Village
Pirate Birthday Party Costume
My six-year-old daughter brings so much joy and laughter into my life. She is an avid reader and eager learner. She loves to sing and dance too. We thoroughly enjoy homeschooling and learning about everything! She enjoys baking with her mama and visiting Home Depot workshops with her father. She has a great personality to boot! 

Do you want more readers on your blog? Do you want to meet new bloggers? Join us at the 8th annual Ultimate Blog Party. The 2014 Ultimate Blog Party hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom will begin tomorrow. It will take place from April 4th through 11th. Visit 5 Minutes for Mom for more information about the prizes and party! Come join the fun! Use hashtag #UBP14 on Twitter during the Twitter party on April 8th.
Ultimate Blog Party 2014

Please consider following me or my blog: Bloglovin', GFC (top right), Twitter, PinterestFacebook, and Linky. Come back and visit A Learning Journey anytime! I love hearing from my readers and hope to connect with you this year.

God bless,
Tracey

Saturday, March 29, 2014

BookLook Review: Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine

I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to review Crystal Paine's newly released book titled "Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life" as part of the BookLook Blogger program. What a blessing to receive yet another book that arrived at the perfect time in my life. I decided that I wanted to be more intentional this year in all areas of my life. Before hearing about this book, I struggled with just how to get my life back in order. I started jotting down my goals but quickly noticed that I lacked direction, motivation, focus, and discipline.

Book Details
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publisher Product Page Price: $22.99
Amazon Price: $17.65
You can purchase the book through one of the following Store Options.


Note: All prices at time of review are subject to change and current at the time of posting this review.

About the Author 
Crystal Paine is the mother of three and a child of God. She is the author of 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life which is another book that I aim to read this year. She is the founder of an extremely popular and helpful website called MoneySavingMom.com which reaches over a million readers per month.

Book Description
In Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, you'll find both practical ideas and big-picture perspective that will inspire you to live life on purpose. Crystal Paine has walked the road from barely surviving to living with intention. Packed with straightforward solutions you'll use today and inspirational stories you'll remember for years.

Chapter Topics Addressed
  • Stop Trying to Do It All
  • Say Yes to the Best
  • If You Aim at Nothing, You'll Hit It Every Time
  • Discipline Is Not a Bad Word
  • Be Intentional with Your Bank Account
  • Manage the Home Front
  • When You Feel Like a Failure
  • Yes, You Can Make a Difference
  • Sometimes It Is About YOU
  • Kick-Start Your Success
My Thoughts
It wasn't that long ago when I personally felt like I was living in survival mode (almost two years ago). Several major life changes and shortcomings lead to an increase in stress and anxiety. I suffered from a horrible depression during that time period. I was trying to be a good wife, mother, homeschool educator, and homemaker, but it seemed like everything around me was falling apart. How could I possibly keep up with all of my duties? The additional stress caused unnecessary tension in my marriage. Honestly, I feel like I may be slipping into that mode again. I don't want to EVER be in that place so I decided to reevaluate my life and priorities this year. This book provided me with the guidance I needed. 

The message of this book is clear and straightforward. The 256-page hardcover non-fiction book contains practical tips and helpful advise for those of us that occasionally or always feel overwhelmed. Each chapter targets one goal and strategy. Here's an example from Chapter 5: Be Intentional With Your Bank Account.
Goal: Get your finances in order so you can spend, save, and give with purpose.
Strategy: Develop short-term and long-term financial goals and then create a plan to carry those goals out. 

I appreciate the conversational tone of the book. This phenomenal book is choked full of suggestions that are sure to inspire and motivate you to live a better life. Not all the information written in the book was new to me, but I saw the book as a "go to" tool that would help guide me into saying goodbye to survival mode. It is designed to offer straightforward advice on a real level. The questions at the beginning of the book help you understand whether or not you'll benefit from reading her book enabling you to make a more informed decision about whether you should purchase the book or not. 

The book focuses on nine strategies including the following topics: Priorities, decision-making, goal-setting, time management, home management, financial management, discipline, self-esteem, self-care, and more. Her reader's questions are indicated under the "What You Want To Know" question and answer section of the book. Crystal addresses a broad range of topics throughout the book, yet each topic is related to the chapter. The author also makes it clear that she is not an expert in the field. She explains that what worked for her may not work for everyone. I think this is an important point to clarify, because everyone's circumstances will differ. 

This book has so many wonderful points which makes it difficult to write a short review. I found myself devouring the material - ready and willing to transform my habits and behaviors. The author states the importance of evaluating your priorities first. Crystal shares personal stories about how to say "no" to events that aren't on your priority list. I loved the idea of the SMART acronym used when the author discusses the purpose of setting specific goals. She also encourages you to begin with just a few goals at a time enabling you to take baby steps towards success rather than overwhelming yourself with unrealistic goals only to give up in the end. I have been known to place unrealistic expectations on myself which immediately leads to a sense of failure. 

"Time is what we WANT most, but what we USE worse." After reading this William Penn quote from the book, I came to the realization that I am DEFINITELY wasting too much time online. Crystal encourages her readers to consider making changes to the overwhelming areas of their life. She's inspired me to make my top priorities my best stuff or "yes" list. She also reminded me to leave a little margin in my schedule for interruptions or unexpected occurrences which no doubt will happen at some point in our week. 

The "Get Practical" section includes challenges and reflective questions that help you apply what you have learned to your life. I recommend grabbing a journal or spiral notebook for these activities. For example, in Chapter 6 (Manage the Home Front), Crystal encourages her readers to declutter one room each week for four weeks. This challenge will surely help me let go of some of those cluttering items that are piling up in my home. The author states that "either you can control the clutter or the clutter will control you." I am beginning to believe this philosophy! She explains that it takes less time to maintain the items if you don't have the stuff. I am surrounded by clutter that I have accumulated over many, many years. I struggle with the idea of letting it all go but know that it must be done.  
Chapter 5 lists her bare-bones budget suggestions towards reaching financial freedom. She recommends that you develop a budget plan with your spouse. I can't remember the last time I sat down with my husband to discuss money matters so this has become a top priority especially with our current financial situation. These simple steps may allow you to change your thoughts and spending habits. 

There are days when I feel like a complete failure and tend to focus on my flaws and inabilities. The author questioned the purpose of tearing yourself down each day. This was a huge wake up call for me. This tear down isn't helping me attain the goals I desire. I tend to focus too often on my faults and can't improve in those areas if I get "stuck" in that one place. This one chapter touched my heart on many levels encouraging me to refocus my attention on the positives paying more attention to what I AM doing right rather than what I do wrong. 

Furthermore, I always feel guilty about "alone" or "me" time. Crystal emphasizes the importance of taking care of yourself. I haven't really taken care of myself in a long time. She helped me realize that it is ok. She provides a bulleted list of simple ways to recharge your life. I am hoping I will have more time to read encouraging and motivating books, consistently workout, journal, and pray that I have the willpower to unplug myself from all techno devices a couple times a month. I find myself busy, tired, anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed more often than I should . . . forgetting to actually enjoy my life and have fun. I don't want that kind of life anymore. I want to cherish and enjoy every moment that God has given me on Earth -  to live the life or plan that He has in store for me.

She ends the book by giving you "Seven Habits That Will Change Your Life" in addition to a list of suggestions that will kick-start your success enabling you to focus on what matters most. One habit I need to do is replace television and computer time with acts of productivity in order to gain more time. Some of the recommendations I am already implementing, but the chapter served as a great reminder. 


The appendix includes a few miniature goal-setting forms to utilize while reading the book enabling you to immediately apply the strategies. The author also offers her readers a 40-page printable pack if you share information about the book through social media avenues. My favorite printables included in this pack are the menu planning pages, goal sheets, and the daily docket. There is a list of categorized recommended reading resources at the back of the book.

Overall, this book has given me the necessary drive to move forward with my goals in life and to make changes for the better aiming for less stress, more sleep, and passion in my life. I appreciate that the author shared her personal stories, struggles, and successes in her book. Her honesty and truthfulness is evident throughout the pages of the book. She reassured me that we aren't perfect and we don't have to be . . . especially for the sake of others. Her references to Biblical scripture and quotes from well-known financial experts such as Dave Ramsey and Stephen Covey provide hope and encouragement. My word for the year 2014 is INTENTIONAL. This book is helping me get back on my feet by becoming more organized and prioritizing the major events in my life with a more intense focus.


Do you feel like you are living in survival mode?
 Are you looking for a little more direction in setting goals?
Do you want to lead a more purposeful, joyful, and intentional life?

I DID!

Recommendations:
I would definitely recommend this book to any Christian mother or woman wanting to gain more freedom from life's stressful circumstances or obstacles. In fact, I feel that anyone needing a little more direction with setting goals could benefit from reading the book. Crystal can help guide you in the right direction when reevaluating your goals and life priorities. This book will open your eyes to a new way of living. I plan on utilizing her suggestions and advice in hopes to take back my life so that I can live a more fulfilled and purposeful life. Thank you Crystal for providing your readers with this motivational book containing a conglomeration of helpful tips! Would you like to take a peek and read a sample chapter of her book  

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Disclaimer
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
I review for BookSneeze®

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Homeschool Mother's Journal: March 2014

In Our Homeschool . . .
Reading, Literature, Phonics, Writing
Alyssa completed her core Reading and Phonics curriculum a couple weeks ago. I had a feeling this would happen, because the grade level wasn't very challenging. It reviewed many basic skills she previously learned. It did help maintain an understanding of the concepts while introducing her to a few additional skills. I won't be purchasing the next level until April when it hopefully goes on sale again. We are in the market for a new reading curriculum. Any suggestions for a fluent reader and writer? We renewed our subscription to Explode the Code Online Phonics through the Homeschool Buyers Coop. Alyssa is working through Book 4 as review. I have also been giving her non-fiction reading passages to work on reading comprehension. She finds the evidence in the passage to support her answers if possible.Additionally, I give her a comprehension strategy mini lesson.

Alyssa is Reading . . . 
1.) American Girl Book Series
2.) A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning
3.) Numerous Pictures Books Covering the Following Topics:
  • President's Day
  • Bible Stories
  • George Washington
  • Ireland
  • Olympics
  • St. Patrick's Day
Our Current Read Aloud Books . . . 
  • Black Beauty written by Anna Sewell
  • The Enormous Egg
  • Bible In a Year (NCV) by Tommy Nelson
  • Callie's Contest of Courage (Review Coming)
Literature
We are working our way through Confessions of a Homeschooler's Black Beauty Lapbook. Alyssa is highly motivated by this unit study. The other day during a family movie, I noticed that she had the following horse book open and was creating her own unit study.

We read 1-2 chapters a day. I changed the timeline activity into a summary activity. After each chapter, she summarizes the main events using story elements or the 5 W's: Who, What, Where, When, and Why. I have definitely noticed an improvement in her writing.

Furthermore, she's been enjoying the topics chosen as copywork passages. Her handwriting pages consists of Bible scripture, St. Patrick's Day quotes, President's Day quotes, horse copywork, and more. We utilize her Draw Write Now books as well. I never thought she would enjoy drawing and writing this much!

We recently won the Isabel Writing Bundle from New Millennium Girls after attending a Facebook party. Isabel's Secret is about a girl that lives on a horse ranch. I can't wait to take a rabbit trail into this writing curriculum after we finish Black Beauty. It arrived in the mail yesterday! My daughter can't wait to get started.
Doesn't it look great! 
Math
Alyssa will also complete her Math curriculum early. She has been diligently working on double-digit multiplication. We were at a standpoint with lesson 24, but only because the multiplication strategy was different from the one I taught her prior to the lesson. We practiced problems using worksheets and games for an additional two weeks. I also introduced her to additional multiplication strategies known as lattice and box method. She had a blast! She started Lesson 26 the other day.

Here is a shamrock multiplication activity we did for extra practice. She rolled the die four times and placed the appropriate number tile on each shamrock. Then, she solved the problem on a piece of paper. I so wish I had four 10-sided dice. In the bottom photo, she estimated her answer before solving it.

Bible 
She has been learning about The Last Supper using Grapevine's sample e-lesson. She finished a very short Fruits of the Spirit devotional last week. I hope to find an Easter devotional for us to focus on in April.

She also reads in her Bible For Kids and jots down scripture that has meaning to her in her journal. She bought the journal with her won money. I also opened the page and saw a wonderful message inside the front cover. 

Science
We are focusing on equine (horse) science. She is studying a variety of topics. We are making use of our Simple Schooling Classroom K-6 subscription which includes a Horse Unit Study. It is a bit advanced for Alyssa (Age 6), but it was her idea to use it. The exposure is helping her understand the concepts better. We are also completing several horse lapbooks and notebooking project packs. I have been picking and choosing mini books from A Learning Journey's Horse Lapbook and Hands of a Child Horse Project Pack. I found several other free resources online. We talked about the horse's diet, horse names, lifecycle, hooves, facial markings, leg markings, and more. I am sharing a picture of just a few of the mini book components we have completed. Most of these are part of the Black Beauty Lapbook.
Lapbook Components

Arts and Crafts
Alyssa enjoyed creating her shamrock trinity crafts. She also utilizes her Art DVD's for Biblical drawing lessons which uses a variety of mediums throughout the week including oil pastels, pencil, and watercolors.

Electives
Alyssa is playing songs on the piano using the grand staff. She was recently invited to play in the June piano recital. If she decides to participate, then she'll play two songs. I am impressed with how far she has come since the beginning (she started in October). She reads musical notes. She is now working far beyond my level of understanding so I can't provide any assistance during the week when she practices at home.

She is also preparing for her dance recital which happens to be in June too. It looks like June will be a busy month! One of her hip hop costumes arrived as seen below.

We are doing so much more, but I can't add it all in this one post. It would be way too long!

Music I'm Listening To . . . 
Holding On by Jamie Grace

Here is one of my morning wake up songs before Bible study time:
God Day sung by Jen Stanbro


What Alyssa is Listening To . . . 
Jamie Grace singing Beautiful Day

Blessings I'm Thankful . . .
  • God's Forgiveness, Strength, Mercy, Grace, and Answered Prayers
  • My Husband's Promotion Test Score
  • Safety and Health of Our Family and Friends
  • My Husband's Grilling Skills
  • Books We're Reading
  • Alyssa's Current Curriculum
  • Giveaway Winnings
What I'm Reading Now . . . 
Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine (Review Coming Soon)

What I Read . . . 
January
Christmas with Strategic Shopping and Strategic Shopping by Candy Foote

February
The Marriage You've Always Wanted by Gary Chapman

What We're Baking . . . 
We made Green Velvet Pancakes for one of our St. Patrick's breakfasts this week. The recipe came from a book I borrowed at the library called Everyday Confetti by Karen Ehman.

I just changed the liquid food color to green. I SO want to own this book! Unfortunately, the pancakes are a leaf green. I didn't find the correct green color in time. We did add a little of the correct hue to the cream cheese topping.

In Our Life This Week . . .
My husband took and passed his promotion test with a 95%. He is currently number one in rank for a promotion. Looks like he'll accomplish his goal to be a Captain for the SA Fire Department hopefully soon. A well deserved accomplishment and prayer answered.

We have been dealing with Internet issues for over a month. I keep getting a message that Safari failed, isn't responding, or isn't connected. I am still trying to figure out a solution or the cause of the problem with Apple and my Internet provider. This has been a very time consuming problem. I think we may have found a temporary solution having to do with our DNS server. This is one of the reasons why you haven't been hearing from me as much. I am behind on writing reviews and posts due to this complication, but it seems to be working properly now.

Places We Went . . .
  1. Dance was canceled during spring break week, but Alyssa still went to piano lessons.
  2. We saw another play at the Magik Theater called Skippy John Jones. It was funny. I didn't bring my camera this time so I have zero zip pictures to share with you.
  3. We went to the movies to see Mr. Peabody and Sherman as a family.
  4. We visited our friends (Pam and Andrea) for Pam's birthday last month. I love celebrating birthdays. Speaking of . . . I posted photos of my daughter's Sixth Pirate-Themed Birthday Party. I would love for you to check it out if you have a few extra moments.
  5. We took a road trip to Kerrville to visit relatives a couple weeks ago. We enjoyed playing games and dominoes while catching up.
Praying For . . . 
  • My Godmother's Health
  • Grandma Mae
  • My Family
  • Internet to Continue Working Properly
Thinking About . . . 
My niece's visit in May. I haven't seen her in a couple of years and look forward to spending quality time with her soon.

Needing To . . . 
Declutter the play room so that we can make room for a bed. I want my niece to have a place to sleep with a little privacy. I also need to start going through the garage and shed again. We are hoping to have a garage sale, but the task is overwhelming right now. 

I will link this post up at Homeschool Mother's Journal and Weekly Wrap-Up.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Family Time Fitness Core 1 Curriculum Freebie: This Week Only!

I have to share an awesome freebie with you today just in case you haven't seen or heard about it yet. The Core 1 Curriculum offered by Family Time Fitness is FREE this week only . . . you heard me correctly. It usually retails for $37. I haven't EVER seen an offer like this in the past. They are offering this curriculum for free, because March is National Athletic Nutrition and Training Month. Here is a video overview of the program if interested.

Are you looking for a homeschool physical education curriculum you can use with the entire family?

If so, you should definitely check out this resource! My daughter enjoys using it - maybe your family will like it too. Head on over to their website now and grab this freebie while it is still available. It is ONLY available from March 17th through March 21st.

Visit Family Time Fitness to get your Core 1 Curriculum Freebie Today! 

Disclaimer: I am NOT an affiliate. I just wanted to share this freebie with my blog readers.

Thank you for visiting A Learning Journey! I hope you come back again real soon!

God bless,
Tracey M.

Friday, March 14, 2014

W is for Wednesday Crafting: Shamrock Trinity

Did you know that St. Patrick used a three-leaf clover or shamrock to teach others the Trinity concept?

I can't believe it's almost St. Patrick's Day! On Wednesday, Alyssa made a shamrock (clover) craft. We found the original idea for this craft on Pinterest. Thank you Karen's Adventures in Mommyland for sharing your idea! We added a little verse printable from www.LittleBlots.com which states "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Holy Spirit" on the back.  I can't find the correct link at this time. We also used green popsicle sticks for the stem. The following videos from the History Channel may be helpful: St. Patrick and Shamrocks.
Front Side
Back Side
We read an exceptional biography about St. Patrick written by Knowledge Quest as part of their St. Patrick's Day Unit Study in addition to several other articles and books. One of the books we read was St. Patrick's Day by Gail Gibbons.

I also recently checked out a book titled, St. Patrick's Day Crafts written by Carol Gnojewski. There was an Irish Shamrock craft with templates included in the book which utilized the colors of Irish flag. You could easily change the craft into a "Trinity" shamrock project. The picture below is an unfinished product. Alyssa still needs to decorate it and add the words Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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I hope you enjoyed visiting A Learning Journey! Come back for a visit soon! 

God bless,
Tracey