Greatly Blessed

Greatly Blessed

Friday, May 22, 2015

Field Trip: Big Truck Day

Paul and I took the youngest 4 kids to Big Truck Day this week.  I thought, "Paul likes trucks!  He'll enjoy this!  Family time!"

None of us had ever been to a Big Truck Day before, but apparently they're a Thing.  #BigTruckDay on Instagram shows them happening all over.  Who knew?

The girls got these plastic construction hats as soon as we got there, and proceeded to have them fall off about 37 times.  The buckets of colored rice were cool.  I think I need to get out our colored rice again.

There were lots of booths, mostly city sponsored, with various games, activities, and promotional "loot" to bring home.  I think Katie's best score was a construction duck for the bathtub.  Paul got an oil funnel.  Hannah scored a pencil sharpener with an eraser attached.  All the kids came home with stickers, pencils, and tattoos.  Personally, I was really happy to see the reusable shopping totes about half way through, to put all their stuff in.

There was a guy doing amazing bubble wands, so there were giant bubbles or clusters of smaller bubbles floating all over the place.

The children were allowed to climb inside the trucks... and honk the horns.  My dear husband did not enjoy the cacophony of horns going off all around him.

There was a nice variety of equipment represented, although the emergency vehicles were noticeably absent.  It would have been nice to have an ambulance, a fire engine, and a police car available.

I somehow missed getting a picture of the chipper truck.  We talked to the nice guy there, and he explained how it worked and let the kids see the chips and the tools that they carry.

The guy here asked Katie if we should allow used pool water to go down the storm drain.  Neither of my girls have the foggiest idea what a storm drain is.  So that's something we can learn about one of these days.

One of my favorite stops was the Bookmobile!  We went inside and learned what it is and what it does.

We even signed up for the Summer Reading Program!

An electrical company had a crane up in the air with a bucket of candy hanging from a rope.  Eli's candy radar went off, and he led the way to the treats.

It was a fun morning, and after we left, we ran an errand and then Daddy took us to Chick Fil A for lunch.

It feels really great to be getting out of the house and going on adventures again.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Love Like Ours book review and #giveaway

About a year ago, I read and reviewed Meant to Be Mine, by Becky Wade.  It was a sweet story, and when I saw another book by Becky come up for review, I jumped at the chance to read it.  Today, I'd like to introduce you to A Love Like Ours.

It's a story of childhood friends, separated in their pre-teens, and then reunited in their thirties.  A lot has happened in the passing years, for both Jake and Lyndie.  Jake has spent time in the military, and now suffers from PTSD.  Lyndie has continued to love horses, and comes to Jake's family's horse ranch looking for a job.  Jake is afraid to admit his feelings for Lyndie.  I found my chest aching as I read, wishing that two people who obviously care deeply for each other could communicate clearly.

Although this book stands on it's own, we do get to check in with some of the characters from the last story.  In fact, one of my favorite quotes from this book is when Ty from Meant to Be Mine says, "I've learned the three magic words every husband needs to know in order to have a happy marriage:  Whatever. You. Say."  I know reality doesn't work that way, but it made me chuckle.

If you enjoy these two books, you'll also want to pick up Undeniably Yours, the story of the third brother, and the first of the Porter Family Novels.

Fall in love with Becky Wade's new book, A Love Like Ours, a story of healing, romance, and cowboys. A glimmer of the hope Jake thought he’d lost returns when Lyndie lands back in Texas, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

To celebrate the release of her new book, Becky is giving away a $100 cash card and a book-inspired prize pack!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $100 cash card
  • A copy of A Love Like Ours
  • A copy of the Secretariat DVD
  • A scarf
  • A dog-tag/cross keychain
  • A pair of earrings
  • A Scarf
  • A Texas-shaped cutting board
  • A Jake Porter mug
love like ours - prize pack 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 26th. Winner will be announced May 27th on Becky's site.


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Monday, May 18, 2015

Exploring Ephesus DVD

I just love it when we get to review something that ties in with what we're currently learning, or reviews something we've studied in the past.  Exploring Ephesus - City of Apostles from was one of these products.  We received a physical DVD, which I watched with my boys.  It was a nice review of the Roman era we learned about at the beginning of the school year.

This DVD takes you along as the two narrators explore not just Ephesus, but also the surrounding region, including the Isle of Patmos, which belongs to Greece now. Review

It was amazing to see some of the sights that we read about earlier this year, including the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  I did not know prior to watching this movie that Turkey is considered "the other Holy Land" as much of the New Testament is either written as letters from or to cities within Turkey.  

The two narrators talked to each other as they explained what we were seeing, and the significant events that took place at various locations.

My kids pointed out that the guy on the left is not wearing his seat belt correctly as they're zipping along in a convertible BMW, which looked like a lot of fun!  I had noticed that already, and simply explained that we don't know what the seat belt laws in Turkey are.

Between the incredible scenery, and the back and forth dialog between the narrators, there were lots of map shots to make sure viewers knew the location of what was being discussed.

I particularly appreciated that there were several shots of Turkey's flag in the film.  I felt it really help to cement the idea that Biblical Ephesus is located in modern day Turkey.

This DVD made me want to add Turkey to my personal travel wish list.  I can't imagine how amazing it would be to walk in the places the apostles walked.  "Oh, here I am at Priscilla and Aquila's house, you know, where the Early Church met?"  Mind blowing.

Several times during the movie, the narrators read from the scriptures, passages that were relevant to the locations being viewed.  Mostly, they talked about Paul, and his journeys, but John and his Revelation were mentioned, as well.  The artwork below is from the church built over the site where the Revelation is said to have occurred.

Having studied Byzantine art this year, my boys could recognize mosaics, and the style of the artwork was familiar to them.  Another bit of art that interested us were the crumbling frescoes, which included the oldest known portrait of the apostle Paul.

Exploring Ephesus takes you into caves, on the Aegean Sea, and to gorgeous ruins.  The scenery really is breathtaking.  It would be a lovely addition to a study of New Testament history, and would be a great movie to have in a church library.  This DVD is currently selling for $11.99, and is appropriate for the whole family.

You can connect with on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, G+, and YouTube. Review

To read what other Crew families have to say about not only this movie, but also 5 other films from, please click the box below: Review

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Farmer's Market

We hadn't been to the Farmer's Market in ages!

In fact, Hannah couldn't remember going, and Katie has never gone.  But Saturday, after we dropped Brianna off at a school event, Sam and I took the little girls.

We stopped at the flower stalls to sniff and admire God's beautiful creations.  (Notice Hannah's hair?  I took ~3-4" off.  It combs so much easier now!)

I smiled at the sunflowers, given that we'd been munching on seeds and drawing sunflowers for homeschool this week.  I think we're going to need to do a sunflower craft soon.  They're so inspiring!

We enjoyed the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the market, and came home with some tasty delights.

At the mushroom booth, they were selling a "grow your own" kit.  The homeschooler in me could not resist that, so that will be an exciting science project to end our school year with.  You may remember that we reviewed Curiosity Quest DVDs last year, which included an episode on mushrooms.  Katie said, "Just like the movie!" when I showed the girls the underside of the mushrooms where the spores come from.

Katie also felt compelled to point out all the carrots we saw, and tell us that bunnies eat carrots.

These were some samples we enjoyed.  We ended up getting some of the yummy peaches.  I think Sam ate half the cherries on our way home.

More gorgeous flowers, so bright and cheerful!

I feel like our recent reclusiveness has stunted Hannah's life skills.  I asked her to choose a bundle of cilantro (yum yum yum) and give it to the lady behind the counter.  Then I gave her $1 to pay for it with.  She had no idea that she was supposed to then pick up the bag containing the cilantro she'd paid for.  We'll be working on this as we start getting out & about more.

We enjoyed the music the performers were playing for the shoppers.  I gave each of the girls a quarter and sent them over to put them in their tip jar.

Next time we go, the girls will know what to expect and we can incorporate more learning activities into our trip.  For this time, it was enough to just take in all the sights and get exposed to new things.

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Our Week - Starting with an FCC Picnic

Our local chapter of Families with Children from China (FCC) has events a couple times a year, and this one was right in our own back yard.

We had a nice potluck picnic at the park.

One of the moms brought along a couple of ladies from China, which was nice.

They got a rousing game of catch going, which Hannah did surprisingly well at.

One of the families brought a couple of Chinese yoyos, which made me wish that Brianna had come.  (She was performing with the school band for their Beauty and the Beast musical.)  Bri is the only one of my kids who can "do" Chinese yoyo.

There is a water feature at this park, and despite it not being very warm that day, both the boys ended up soaking wet when it was time to go home.

We're enjoying having Brayden here a couple days a week.

This week, we learned about Native Americans of North America.  It was a pretty light skim, as there's so much to learn!

These are our Iroquois False Face Masks, which were used to scare away sickness.

Some of them had grassy "hair" which is what I was trying for with my wild squiggles up at the top.

I had such grand ideas that we'd incorporate Hannah into our daily schoolwork while she is home with us.  The reality is, Hannah and Katie spend a lot of time playing.  --Which is fine, but not quite what I had envisioned.

They do join us in the school room from time to time, and work on their Fundanoodle books, and other "schoolish" activities.

We read a summary of Shakespeare's Macbeth this week.  This is the Globe Theater project from My Father's World.  They couldn't decide if it should be folded with the people on the inside or the outside, since it's not printed on both sides.  So we left it open.

I have to share my joy about Jack.  He got an 80% on a spelling test this week!  Jack is a deplorable speller, and has struggled with reading.  After finishing his Spelling You See book for this year, I put him in a Word Building PACE that we had left over from when we were workbook homeschoolers.  Jack is the age of a 5th grader, but just finished second grade SYS.  The PACE I put him in is at the 3rd grade level.

At the beginning of the PACE, I gave him a "pretest" of the first column of words for that PACE.  (About 25% of the total words covered.)  He got every single one of them wrong.  After completing the PACE, he scored 80% on the test!  I'm so delighted for him.  I feel like progress has been agonizingly slow with his reading and spelling, but I'm seeing progress.

In astronomy this week, we learned about stars.

I remembered an old project we used to do from our workbook school days, so we made little star gazers.  It's an empty toilet paper tube, covered in construction paper, with a "cap" of construction paper on one end.  We used a sewing pin to poke holes in the caps in the shape of a constellation.

This is the image shined onto a wall by putting a flashlight inside.

And this is what you see when you look inside facing a light of some sort (this is a window).

In honor of our Native American studies this week, snack was sunflower seeds and beef jerky, since sunflowers are native to North America and were eaten by the Indians, along with dried strips of meat.

To continue our sunflower theme, we watched the first two lessons of Sunflowers from the Art Projects line of See The Light.

At the end of lesson one

And at the end of lesson two.  I look forward to seeing the finished results after the next two lessons next week.

Katie left the pattern blocks out, so Jack was playing with them and made this neat pattern.

We've got one last week of regular curriculum left, but with a couple of outings planned, we likely won't finish it next week.

Linking up with Life at Rossmont and:

For the Display of His Splendor

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