Greatly Blessed

Greatly Blessed

Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Activities For Adventures In Odyssey Fans


Have you been enjoying summer?  We have!  But every once in a while, there's some down time to fill.  Recently, I discovered the video section of the Odyssey Adventure Club, and let Jack do some watching on my iPad.  We'll be listening to some of the stories in the van soon, as we're going to go visit out of town relatives.  

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Adventures in Odyssey is here to save the day. Below are some must-try ideas for summer fun! Want even more summer fun? For the month of June, you can join the Odyssey Adventure Club for only $5! More details can be found here.

Summer Activities

As a parent you are probably a big proponent of reading. Encourage your kids to dig into a book or two this summer with Adventures in Odyssey's On Your Marks Summer Reading Challenge. Bonus points if YOU create a reading challenge for yourself as you read along with your kids!

Looking for something hands-on? Create Matthew in 3-D! Invite a few of your kids' friends over for a play date, print off the activity sheet, and let them have at it for the afternoon (with the promise of cookies and lemonade once they've finished constructing Matthew).

Maybe your kids aren't into reading, but they love math. If that's the case, have them solve Eugene's Sudoku!

The laundry needs to be done; the dishes need to be put away. But your kids are begging you to take them out to the zoo. Let them take a whack at Matthew's Decoder in the morning, then make an agreement that if they figure out how to use the decoder, you'll take them on an afternoon adventure. That'll give you the morning to finish up your to-do list!


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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Rival Hearts book review and SUMMER CAMPING GIVEAWAY


Proving that quilts have a place even in the modern, corporate world, author Tara Randel spins an adventurous love story for us in Rival Hearts.

Holly, who wears glasses and hides her extra pounds with boxy clothes, is editor of a quilting magazine.  She's working on a really special quilt project in conjunction with her readership.

Ben heads up the organization's outdoor magazine.  He's a handsome former TV personality, and an accomplished traveler and sportsman.

Their boss wants to start a new magazine and can't decide which of them to promote to lead it, so he arranges a little competition:  Ben must make a quilt, and Holly must represent the publishing company in a kayaking event.

The two have never worked together before, and now they find themselves facing off over the promotion they both want.  Only, during the course of their competition, they learn enough about each other to begin to respect one another.  It makes things more complicated.  How can you celebrate a victory at your friend's expense?

There's a classic "caterpillar into a butterfly" scene when Ben and Holly are asked to take their boss' place at an awards dinner while he is out of town.  Holly's assistant takes her shopping for a pretty dress, Holly wears contacts instead of glasses, the kayaking lessons have firmed up her arms, and suddenly Ben sees her in a whole new way.

Just as things start getting interesting between Holly and Ben, someone sabotages Holly's special project.  Would Ben do such a thing to win the promotion?  The reader can easily guess who really did it, but Holly is not so sure.  Will Holly's lack of faith in Ben destroy their budding romance?

This is one of those books you want to see become a series.  I'd love to have Tara Randel tell us more about the relationship between Holly's brother and Holly's assistant in a subsequent book. Rival Hearts is available in paperback or Kindle formats.


Don’t miss this month’s Quilts of Love book, Rival Hearts, by Tara Randel. Who doesn't like a friendly competition, every now and then? You'll be sure to love this fun tale of unexpected competition between two people forced out of their comfort zone.

Celebrate June's release by entering to win a summer camping kit (grill, tent, and camp chairs) from Quilts of Love.


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One winner will receive:
  • A Coleman grill, tent, and camp chairs
  • A Promise in Pieces by Emily Wierenga
  • A Stitch and a Prayer by Eva Gibson
  • Rival Hearts by Tara Randel
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 13. Winner will be announced on the Quilts of Love blog.

Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.



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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Learn About Portugal and Russia!


If you're a longtime reader, you may remember when we reviewed a series of 4 books by Carole P. Roman.  The books featured Mexico, Norway, France, and South Korea.  If you're a newer blog follower, you might have caught our recent giveaway for the Australia book in the series.

Today, I want to share Portugal and Russia with you!


The Portugal book inspired me to ask my big kids what counties are on the Iberian Peninsula.  I know we covered it in our old homeschool curriculum.  Not one of them remembered.  So even though these books are geared towards kids aged 3-8 years old, there are things to be learned by older kids, too.


Reading the Portugal book, Hannah stopped me to ask, "Mom?  Is there one of these books about China?"  Not yet, baby girl, but hopefully the author will decide to make one.


Brianna recognized St. Basil's Cathedral in the Russia book from our studies a year ago.


In summary, while these books are perfect for Katie and Hannah, their target audience, they've also a nice way to "review" social studies for older children, too.

The books currently available are:
     India
     Turkey
     Mexico
     Norway
     South Korea
     France
     Portugal
     Russia
     Australia
     Kenya

I hope that Carole continues the series.  I would love to see Scotland and Israel and, of course, China!


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Friday, June 27, 2014

World of Wonders Science Museum


Paul and I took the kids to World of Wonders science museum last week.  Amazon Local had a voucher deal back in January where we could get a family membership for $30 bucks.  Well, that's a great deal for a family of our size, so Paul said yes.  

Eli checking out air currents in the tornado exhibit.

And yeah, it's taken us 6 months to actually go use it.  Fortunately, your membership starts when you redeem the voucher, so we can go back for a whole year.


Paul and I and most of the kids really enjoyed ourselves.


Brianna sat down at the magnet block table shortly after we arrived.


Josiah checks out the lungs.


Katie played with the magnet blocks a little, but mostly she followed me around.


Frequency making the sand move.  You can see Sam in the background.  He was determined not to have fun.


No idea what Paul is playing with in this one.  I didn't sit down at this station.


This was pretty cool.  It's a sensor that detects your pulse through your hands and beats the drum according to your heart rate.


The cloud ring shot out puffy clouds when you pushed down on it.


Happy, happy, joy, joy.


That's okay, the rest of us had enough fun for the whole family.


Eli watches electricity travel up 2 rods.


Building with magnets.  We didn't get a picture at the turntable, unfortunately.  We played at that for quite a while.  Josiah took some other pictures for me.


One of my favorite features was the plentiful and comfy chairs!!  There's a toddler corral with some little kid toys, some parent chairs, and a stroller parking area.  There are also some chairs in the general area so parents can chill while kids investigate and explore.


Josiah took this picture of Jack waiting to go in the flight simulator from across the room.  I love how he even captured Jack's eyelashes!


Back in the toddler area, Katie checks out the trains.  There's also some books in there.


Here's Brianna, still at the magnet block table.  She built quite a structure!  They had these blocks in the gift shop, but they were a little out of my price range.


Oh look!  Jack made it into the flight simulator!


Katie got a turn in it, too, but wasn't as interested.


All in all, it was a lovely way to spend a morning!  When Hannah gets out of school, I want to take her.  I think she'd really enjoy it.  She wants to be a scientist.

Here's a list of the current exhibits at the museum, if you're close enough to Lodi to visit.

Chestnut Grove Academy Field Trip Friday Blog Hop

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