Giveaway: Dippy Cups & {Link Party}

Dippy Cup Giveaway

 

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Have you heard of Dippy Cups? They’re so fun! I won a set on someone’s blog recently and thought my readers would enjoy them too! So, Dippy Cups have offered to give away a set here, too!

Dippy Cups are small, silicone, bear-shaped bowls for kids to use for dipping sauces. They’re great for ketchup, BBQ sauce, syrup, ranch dressing, etc! We all know toddlers (and all kids, really) love to dip!

The Dippy Cups come in 6 colors and are dishwasher safe. Check out the website at http://DippyCups.com.

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Enter to win a set of Dippy Cups through the Rafflecopter app below. The winner will have 24 hours to respond to my email.

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It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

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From House to Home {Link Party} with 2 Giveaways

I have 2 giveaways this week for you to enter:
A $25 Shopping spree to Grapevine Studies Bible Studies
And
A Student Planner from Well-Planned Day!

See the links in the first two link-ups below!

 

It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

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See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

“Frozen” characters in clay & {Link Party}

We got the movie “Frozen” for my daughter’s 9th birthday, and I think the kids have watched it 10 times already! Three of my four kids used “Frozen” songs for their auditions for “Robin Hood.” (I think 1/4 of all auditioners sang songs from “Frozen” this time!) And the latest. . . these cute clay figures!  I think we might have to come up with some more “Frozen” crafts.  Can you tell who is who?

(By the way–I have some great books for kids and teens for a giveaway this week. Be sure to enter!)

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It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

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See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

Advice From One Homeschooling Mom of Many to Another: #4 & {Link Party}

Advice from One Homeschooling Mom of Many to Another
For the past month I’ve been posting some advice for a mom of seven who is struggling in her first year of homeschooling.  Three weeks ago I posted my response.  I also have 3 posts from 3 friends of mine: Post #2 can be found here.  Post #3 can be found here.  And today’s post is from a mom of 7!
One of the first things that comes to mind is that her struggles are perfectly normal. I am  sure that most of what she mentioned I have experienced. We have succeeded in some areas and failed in many others. I had an advantage in that I did not start homeschooling when they were teenagers, but much younger.
Anyway, I would suggest first of all to back off on her expectations. I get the feeling they are pretty high. It never works to compare your family to what you think other families are doing/accomplishing. No family is the same. It also seems that the character of the children is her main priority. So if she keeps that in mind, perhaps she needs to take a break from academics and just read the Bible aloud and have kids memorize scripture. Also, she seems to be loading many burdens on herself. At 14, the older girls are perfectly capable of self-teaching with the right curriculum. She does not have to be everything to everyone – they have many siblings they can rely on for part of it. One suggestion also would be to step back and just do some fun things for awhile. For example, read aloud to them and then have the children act out the reading with a skit they write. Go to the library and load up on books and just let everyone read good books. Listen to classic books on audio. Go outside and play. And make sure everyone goes to bed early enough to get a good night’s sleep.  And remember, the children are getting older, so what was a difficulty last year you do not even think about now or wonder why you thought it was such a difficulty.

It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

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See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

Advice From One Homeschooling Mom of Many to Another: #3 & {Link Party}

Advice from One Homeschooling Mom of Many to Another
Recently I had an email from a mom of seven who was struggling in her first year of homeschooling.  Two weeks agoI posted my response.  I also received some responses from 3 friends of mine, so they will be posted on the other Thursdays in March. Post #2 can be found here. And today we have post #3, from a fellow mom of 8!:

I am a friend of Gena Mayo from I Choose Joy. I am 43 years old will be married 20 years this year. We have eight children ages 17 down to 3. We’ve been homeschooling since we became parents. We decided to homeschool when our oldest was just two months old after attending a homeschooling conference. I am not sure I have any great pearls of wisdom but want to say you are normal. Whatever you are feeling, you are normal and there’s no shame in that other than our own pride being wounded that we are not living up to our own expectations.

Gena mentioned you are in your first year of homeschooling. I have heard it said that the first year of homeschooling should be more about getting to know each other again and creating organizational plans and delegating, than grades and school. Part of me thinks you had high expectations and haven’t met them and that’s robbing you of your joy.

Mothering is exhausting under any circumstance but throw homeschooling in the mix and being with our offspring 24/7 and you have a completely different exhaustion, in my humble opinion.

Here are my suggestions:

1. Your relationship with your husband should always come before anything else. You will be giving your children a huge gift to see the priority you place on your marriage and each other. So that said, set up a date night, tell the kids you want to surprise daddy with his favorite meal and a date tonight/tomorrow night so you are feeding them early and they are going to bed early because mom and dad are having an in-house date. Get them involved with decorating, setting the table, getting the house clean. The older kids can read, clean their room and even put the little ones to bed. I think this would go a long way in restoring togetherness among the two of you and your children seeing how important you are to each other and what child doesn’t want to surprise daddy before he gets home?

2. Set aside time for yourself this weekend and let your husband know you need this. Whether it be a couple hours at Starbucks, the library, in the bathtub or your room. Make time for you. You can read, watch tv, write letters, craft or sew, but it has to be something you enjoy for you and no interruptions.

3. Delegate. If your children and husband are not doing anything, they have to be in order for homeschooling to work. Your children are not too young to do chores. I think a goal you should have is most of your children doing the bulk of every day chores with you doing half the meals and helping deep clean. You are the manager (and yes I have Managers of their Homes but haven’t used it in years but I certainly learned much from it) so manage and delegate tasks according to age and ability. I own my own business and do a morning paper route, out of necessity when my husband was laid off six years ago and again last August, so my family does the bulk of the house work. It’s the way it has to be when I work almost 40 hours a week. Granted I have my husband home right now so he’s a huge help and has taken off the stress in helping with homeschool and overseeing the children. But our situation is unique because of his unemployment. We also have a small farm and the children do the bulk of those chores as well. We told them if they wanted animals they would be taking care of them because dad and I wanted to do just vegetables! :) We are raising the next generation and our priority is to raise responsible adults who know how to work hard.

If you get these three things set into your schedule, I think all the rest will fall into place over time. Notice I didn’t say overnight. You have a huge adjustment in having all your children home again, but your three older girls, even your 6 year old can learn to take over some of the meals. Start with breakfast or lunch as those can be fairly easy meals to fix. All five of our older kids can cook many to several meals each. Our 7 and 5 year old help with prep work.

As a mom, you have the most important job in the world – raising your children! God chose you to be their mother and them to be your children. He didn’t make a mistake. You can homeschool successfully and He is with you every step of the way. Homeschooling is more than just school. It is our children learning godly character, learning skills to last them a life time, learning to love and forgive. And as Gena’s blog title suggests, “I Choose Joy”, joy is a choice and we need to choose joy no matter the circumstances, just think of the apostle Paul’s example. I doubt he was very pleased to be jailed but he did choose joy amidst a difficult situation. Homeschooling is as much for our children as it is for us. God refines us in the process.

Anyways, I’ve got to bake with my little ones but hope you can take something of what I said and apply it to your life and home.
May you be blessed with strength and encouragement today.

It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

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See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

Advice From One Homeschooling Mom of Many to Another: #2 & {Link Party}

Advice from One Homeschooling Mom of Many to Another
Recently I had an email from a mom of seven who was struggling in her first year of homeschooling.  Last week I posted my response.  I also received some responses from 3 friends of mine, so they will be posted on the other Thursdays in March.  Today is post #2 from a mom of 6.
Guest Post:
 I also have 2 sets of twins, as well as 2 singles, ages 20, 18, 18 (girls) and 12, 8,8 (boys). I have homeschooled from the beginning.
I wanted to give you some practical tips on homeschooling a large family, which I wish I had known when my kids were younger.

How do you maintain the crazy life and not lose yourself or your mind?

 I really try to keep a sense of humor when things don’t go perfectly well, and they won’t. Chaos isn’t so bad, and you get used to it. My life isn’t so chaotic anymore with 3 finished with school, but my chaos included a year of chemotherapy because of breast cancer 5 years ago, so perspective is key. There is joy in life itself. There is joy in the blessings of many children, a home, a job. Count your blessings often, and thank the Lord often.

How do you and your husband’s relationship not get lost and become a roommate relationship in the midst of life? How does everything not just feel like work?

 Talk to each other and tell him your needs. Be one another’s confidant. Life is work and often times you feel only like roommates, but that happens even if you aren’t homeschooling or have only 1 child.

What do you do with younger kids while trying to school older kids?

For the 3 and 6 yo,
Fill the kitchen sink with soapy water and have them wash ALL the plastic dishes, stack cups, give them beans to put in cups. I always had a box of these items that only came out when I did school with the older kids. The 1 1/2 year old twins are harder. Keep that nap schedule for as long as you can. My twins (8 years old now) were tough at this age so school happened mostly during nap time.  Have the older kids do independent work when the younger ones are awake – reading, writing assignment, math homework. Can you hire someone to come over and just play with the younger ones while you teach the other kids? Can you find a homeschooled teenager in your church to come over 2 times a week to read and play with the younger ones? Maybe a grandparent or single person?

How can I be everything everyone needs all the time without getting burned out?

Don’t do everything! Just because you homeschool doesn’t mean that you are their only teacher. Join a co-op so that someone else can teach certain subjects. You’re already providing them with a better and safer learning environment by pulling them out of the public school; you don’t also have to teach them everything. This year, I am only teaching my 12 year old history. He has a math tutor, my husband teaches science, he has an online writing class, and in co-op he does art, speech, gym; and Bible with my Community Bible Study group.

How do you not be tired..and how do you manage your home and kids all day and have anything left to give your husband at the end if the day..

Assign chores to everyone – have your kids help you make a list of things that need to be done daily (unload dishes, garbage, bedroom…) and weekly (toilets, big garbage can…). Then assign those for the week and rotate those chores. Do a “30 minute pick-up” where everyone is assigned a task or room, and send them all to do that for 30 minutes while you rest! Ask dad to help too. You BOTH work all day (and your work is harder). Evenings shouldn’t only be your burden. If husbands need us to be wives to them, then they need to make it possible for us by not letting us be overtaxed with work. Otherwise exhaustion will take us over. Also consider using paper products for breakfast and lunch and skip the dishes. During the school year, I need to NOT do dishes on school days.
Have the older kids each be in charge of a younger kid for half an hour or an hour every day to give you a break to take a walk outside by yourself, or read the Bible outside.

I recently bought and read and made a schedule based on Managers of their Homes (book).

Keep it simple – simplify as much as you can.
It will get better. Try to be consistent, have a general schedule and don’t worry if you veer away from it; think of what you did accomplish rather than what you didn’t.

I am reading and praying and drawing near to Him…

Pray a lot

There isn’t enough of me to go around..

 That is correct – assign jobs; “anything you remove, you put away,” if it doesn’t get done, there are consequences like no play time or tv (or computer time if you allow it) on weekends

I have always stayed at home and funny enough 5 kids seemed manageable but 7?

It’s the little twins – believe me, it does get better! Enjoy their crazy antics; I miss that when I look back at the pictures of the chaos.

We hardly ever leave the house because it usually takes longer to load everyone up than to actually do whatever it is we needed to in the first place.

 A walk and sunshine does wonders

I really do love being a mom and I wouldn’t trade my life for anything else I just really want to know if this time passes or if it’s just always spinning out of control.

 No one can do this perfectly, not even the Duggars. That’s just television. I hope some of these ideas help you as they have helped me get through some difficult times. Be encouraged that your effort will be a blessing to your family. My older daughters thank me for homeschooling them and plan to do the same when they have children someday. There nothing more encouraging to me than that.
If you have anything to add, please leave a comment!

It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

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See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

(Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links.)

New Series: Advice from One Homeschooling Mom of Many to Another {Link Party}

Advice from One Homeschooling Mom of Many to Another

Recently I had an email from a mom of seven who was struggling in her first year of homeschooling.  I hope that my response will be helpful to more people than just her, so I’ve decided to share it here.  I also received some responses from 3 friends of mine, so they will be posted on the other Thursdays in March.  Be sure to come back to read them!

My answer (edited somewhat to preserve her anonymity):

No matter what the size of your family, starting to homeschool after kids have already gone to school is hard for anyone!  I heard one speaker say it takes one month of adjustment for every year the kids have gone to school.  So, hang in there.  It’s learning a new way of life for you and for your kids.  And having the little twins sure doesn’t make it easier!

I now know some other large families, but for many years I received my encouragement and help mostly from the internet.  I’m part of an email loop called MOMYS, Mothers of Many Young Siblings.  There are so many women on that loop that no matter what question you ask, you’ll find someone to give advice on it!

I also got help from books.  Managers of Their Homes (and Chores) helped a bit.  And even though I can never do it the way I plan it on paper, it still helps me get focused.  I also liked the book Large Family Logistics and got a lot of great ideas from it.

I’m so sorry about you feeling like the joy has left your home.  I think I would put aside the regular school work for a while and do some fun learning.  Let the kids choose some topics they’d like to study and check out a bunch of books and videos at the library.  They could do lapbooks on the topic if they think that’s fun.  Go on some field trips.  The Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op website has a great list of field trip ideas for every city!  Read aloud a bunch.  That’s one of my favorite parts of each day.  Do some art, or music appreciation, or anything else that’s fun and different to help everyone get happy again.  January is a rough month for most homeschoolers.

> How do you maintain the crazy life and not lose yourself or your mind?  
I do feel like I’m losing my mind–at least once every day!  But talking it out with my husband, getting some good systems going (kids assigned to chores, check-off lists, laundry schedule), and getting out of the house alone occasionally helps.

> How do you and your husband’s relationship not get lost and become a roommate relationship in the midst of life?
A few years ago we started talking together in bed every night.  We make sure we go to bed at the same time, so we have that time to connect (and work out issues if there are some).  I get less sleep now, but our relationship is so much stronger I would not trade it for the world!

> How does everything not just feel like work?
Well, a lot of it is work, so it is going to feel that way.  Parenting and teaching and homemaking are hard work!  So, you just need to look for the things that can delight you in the midst of it.  Aren’t your twins funny?  Take time to watch them and laugh!  Sing.  Dance.  Get silly when you can.

> What do you do with younger kids while trying to school older kids?
I’m still not good at this one.  I did hire a young lady to come and help in the mornings last year when I had a newborn and 2-year-old (and 6 older kids to homeschool).  Most of the time now I just let them play in the basement and hope they entertain themselves.  Other times, they have one of my older kids to play with them when they are in between schoolwork.  I do my focused read-aloud time in the afternoon when my baby is sleeping.  I wish my 3-year-old would still nap, since he doesn’t have the attention span to listen to me read for so long.  This is still an area I’m not very good at!

> How can I be everything everyone needs all the time without getting burned out?
Here is another thing I’m struggling with as well.  I just try to make sure my priorities are straight.  I do need some alone time every day, so if I get it, that helps be reguvenate.  But it’s still very hard and I often feel like there isn’t enough of me to go around.

> How do you not be tired?
I am ALWAYS tired:(

> And how do you manage your home and kids all day and have anything left to give your husband at the end if the day?
My husband is such an encouragement to me at the end of the day (most days) that I do have something left.  But not everyday.  Remember, this is your first year of homeschooling.  It’s a really hard year!  Everyone, including you and your husband needs to understand that and lower their expectations.

> The biggest problem I feel is that there isn’t enough of me to go around.
Yes, I feel like this, too.  I just make sure that I check everyone’s schoolwork every few days, since it’s impossible to do it every day.

>  I want to teach my children Godly character and I want to love and respect my husband and I want to be good at homeschooling and I don’t want my house to be a wreck all the time and I want to provide healthy meals but honestly I feel like just the regular maintenance of everyday is so overwhelming.
It is overwhelming.  There is no way you can do everything.  Figure out where you can cut back –at least for a while (a year or two?). Easier meals, hiring someone to help, paper instead of dishes?  Can you lower some expectations about housework?  We never make our beds here.  One of my boys has two boxes under his bunkbed where he puts his clothes.  Nothing to hang up, no folding.  It’s easy.  I get cleaning ladies to come in once a month.  So I never mop or clean showers.

> We hardly ever leave the house because it usually takes longer to load everyone up than to actually do whatever it is we needed to in the first place.
My husband does the grocery shopping on Saturdays because of this. It is extremely exhausting for me to take everyone out.  So, we don’t do it very often.

 I’m so glad you reached out!  I do hear your heart, and I am praying for you.  This life (of having a large family, and homeschooling them) is so hard, but so worth it.  Don’t give up!  

My favorite Scripture:  Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted

Your sister in Christ,
Gena

 

It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

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Follow on Bloglovin

See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

(Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links.)

Review of Adventure Bible Website and App & {Link Party}

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About the Adventure Bible Website

The Adventure Bible Website, www.adventurebible.com, is a fun, safe, and free website for kids ages 8-12 from the publishers of the Adventure Bible (Zondervan). The site provides several interactive games, activity sheets, Bible search and resources to help kids learn more about the Bible. Educators, including homeschool parents, can also register students and access over 700 teaching resources as well as have Bible game points tracked onto their teacher classroom page.  Check out the video on this page (or right below) which gives you a tour of the Adventure Bible website and explains all you get for the free registration!

Here are links to a few key areas:

 1. Online Bible Games  See below for descriptions of the 5 games.

2. Bible search. Kids can type in a verse and it comes up along with notes and features to click on for application and background info.

3. Printable activities including crosswords, word searches, devotionals, and Scripture flash cards

Descriptions of the Games:
Truthquest:   Truthquest is a trivia game.  There are many different categories and three difficulty levels to choose from.  The answers are multiple choice.

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Books of the Bible:   In Books of the Bible, the kids slide the books into the correct Bible book order.  They are broken up into sections, about 5-10 books to order at a time.

Leopardy:   In Leopardy, kids answer questions in a game similar to Jeopardy, with different money levels and a chance to wager an amount for the final question.

Leapin’ Lemur:   Leapin’ Lemur is a game where the kids fill in letters for a Bible verse.  It’s similar to Wheel of Fortune.

X Marks the Spot:  X Marks the Spot is a map game.  Kids identify the correct area on the map and place a flag on it.

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I found the games on Adventure Bible website a good way to increase Bible knowledge.  I’m glad there is a variety, such as learning Bible verses, learning about Bible geography, and memorizing the order of the books of the Bible, as well as lots of questions about different events and people of the Bible.  It’s also great that there are different levels of difficulty in a few of the games.

You don’t have to register as a teacher on the site in order to use it.  The kids can still play lots of great Bible-learning games without any type of registration. But homeschool parents (or others) who register on the site (free of charge) can also access hundreds of additional resources including maps, illustrations, fill-in-the-blank sheets, answer keys, timelines and more.  I downloaded a crossword puzzle, Bible reading plan, and a bulletin insert.  There is so much available!

Zondervan also just released a brand-new Adventure Bible app for iPad as well. This free app, available through the iTunes store, allows you to be able to access the games that are on the website via the iPad.  They are the same 5 games I described above.  I’m so glad to have a new app–and website–for my kids to learn about the Bible!

(Disclosure: In exchange for this honest review of the Adventure Bible website and app, Zondervan will send me a copy of the newly updated Adventure Bible.)

It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

 

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Follow on Bloglovin

See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

(Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links.)

Review/Giveaway Precious Moments Little Book of Bedtime {Link Party}

Today I have a review and Giveaway! of the Precious Moments Little Book of Bedtime published by Tommy Nelson Publishers. I really like this little padded board book for ages 1-4, and so does my sweetie pie.  It’s the perfect book to read before bed.

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You’ll find 18 poems each accompanied by a scripture verse or quote.  One of my favorite lullabies is included: the traditional Welsh folk song “All Through the Night.”  There are also poems and prayers about thanking God for the day, saying good night to the sun, asking God to bless the animals, bath time and putting on pajamas, getting hugs and kisses and a story before bed, asking God for sweet dreams, and to be blessed while the child sleeps.

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I have always loved the Precious Moments drawings, and you’ll love them as well in this book.  There are kids sitting around a campfire, looking up at the moon, lots of animals and stuffed animals, and kids from around the world.

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A few of my favorite scriptures are included: “Come to me, all of you who are tired. . . . I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 “He has put his angels in charge of you.  They will watch over you wherever you go.”  Psalm 91:11 “When you lie down. . . your sleep will be sweet.”  Proverbs 3:24

 

Check out the flip book here.

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Shhhh.  Time for nighty-night.  :)  

 

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And now the giveaway!  

Please enter through the Rafflecopter app.  Winning entry will be verified.  Winner must respond to my email within 24 hours.  Contest ends 2/27/14.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tommy Nelson Publishers in order to write this honest review.)

It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

 

 Loading InLinkz ...

 

Follow on Bloglovin

See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.)

From House to Home {Link Party}: Review of Veggie Tale readers

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I have 3 new readers in my home and am constantly on the look out for new books that they can read on their own.  Today I’m reviewing 2 of those books:   Larry Makes a Choice and  All Is Fair When We Share, both by Karen Poth.  These books are paperback, 32 pages, “I Can Read!” books published by ZonderKids.  The reading level is “1″ which means they have “simple sentences for eager new readers.  These readers for perfect for my 3 kids who have been working on their reading for 1-2 years.  They are definitely not the “cat sat on a rat” type of books.  Some of the words were a bit challenging for all three of them.  You’ll find words like “friendships,” “canyon,” and “detective.”

One of the things that the kids really enjoyed about these books were that they had the Veggie Tales characters.  Larry is always funny, and Bob is helping everyone to do the right thing.

In Larry Makes a Choice Larry is a cowboy who needs to drive 100 cattle over the mountain  to pass the test.  But the Scallions who go with him want to go through the canyon so they can get there faster.  Larry is afraid to stand up to them, but then he decides to leave the canyon so he won’t cheat.  After he leaves there is a dodge ball avalanche, and Larry is a hero who saves the Scallions!

In All Is Fair When We ShareLarry and Bob are detectives.  The new case is that Percy Pea’s Mighty Man toy is missing.  Percy and his brother have been fighting, and Bob and Larry are able to get them to make up and share.

We enjoyed these Veggie Tales “I Can Read!” books and will be looking forward to reading more of them!

(Disclosure:  I received both of these books free in exchange for this honest review.)

It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

 

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From House to Home {Link Party}: Shrek the Musical

Welcome to another link-up today. I’m so grateful to have you all join me each week. :)

Today I’m sharing about my kids who are in “Shrek the Musical.” It’s with a Christian children’s theater called Spotlight which we have come to love! I’m grateful that they have “cleaned up” quite a bit of the show, and am really enjoying being a part of it. I (and many others) have spent countless hours working on costumes. There are 100 kids in the show, and many of them have more than one costume. This was a brand new show for Spotlight, so we started from scratch!

Here are a few pictures from the dress rehearsal. If you’re in the area, please come see it!  Use the code TEAMUSA to get $1 off each ticket (good through noon Friday 2/7/14).  And please give one my kids (Mayo) ticket credit!

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My oldest son is a guard and a knight.

Isn’t the dragon cool?

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He’s in the green shirt.

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He’s to the right of the gingerbread man.

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My oldest daughter is a marionette (fairy tale creature).  She’s in the yellow shirt.

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My second daughter is one of the seven dwarfs.

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It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

 

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(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.)

From House to Home {Link Party}

Today is the 50th link-up of “From House to Home!” I’m so busy this week I didn’t even have time to write a post for today. But please link up your wonderful posts!

It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

 

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See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.)

From House to Home {Link Party}: Christmas Pictures

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It’s time for our From House to Home Link Party:

 

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

 

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See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

Review/Giveaway Friends and Heroes DVD and Homeschool Curriculum plus {linky}

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Friends and Heroes is a new company I have recently been introduced to. We received a DVD and a CD-Rom Homeschool curriculum to review. Specifically, it’s the Friends and Heroes Unit Study #1.  Normally, this set costs $29.99, but there is a sale in January for 20% off!

The DVD contains a 25-minute story called “Long Journey”. It tells the story of a family living in Alexandria, Egypt as Christians soon after Jesus returned to Heaven. There are 2 young girls who are refugees from Israel and were sent by their father to stay with Macky and his family in Egypt. However, the Romans who are the rulers don’t want them there. They are continually being chased and trying to escape. Macky and his dad talk about two events from the Bible: Daniel and the lions den to remind them to have courage, and Jesus helping the disciples catch a lot of fish to remind them to have faith in the Lord’s power.

My younger kids watched the DVD twice and enjoyed it. They learned about loyalty, courage, and standing up for what is right. The animation graphics are pretty good. You can watch a preview of this story here:

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I was impressed with the Homeschool Curriculum. It’s on CD-Rom, so you can print out the pages you choose–student and teacher pages. There are 3 chapters, and each contains a variety of activities that could easily take a few weeks to complete if you did them all: History/Geography, Creative Writing, Bible Study, Science, Craft, and One-on-One Time! You can also adapt or choose activities for different children according to their academic level.  Here are a few of the activities my kids (ages 5, 7, 8, and 10) did.

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There is a great sale at Friends and Heroes right now!  You’ll find the coupon codes listed there.

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Above you read the review for Unit Study 1. There are also Unit Studies 2 – 13 which go along with the corresponding episodes on DVD. There is also a Series 1 Homeschool Pack available which includes all 13 Series 1 episodes on DVD plus a CD-ROM with the curriculum for all 13 unit studies.

Here’s the special deal:

·         20% off all Friends and Heroes Homeschool Resources

·         10% off all other Friends and Heroes resources with curriculum

·         10% off all Friends and Heroes Home and Family DVD Collections

 The offer begins Jan. 1 and ends Jan. 31, 2014.

And now a Giveaway!

I’m happy to say that we have a set just like I reviewed to give away:  The Friends and Heroes Unit Study #1! Please enter on the Rafflecopter app below. The winner will be chosen on January 17, 2014, 18+, U.S. and Canada only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
(Disclosure: I received a a complimentary copy of the Friends and Heroes Unit Study #1 in order to write this honest review. This post also contains affiliate links.)

It’s time for our From House to Home Link Party:

 

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules: 1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too! 2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

 


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From House to Home {Link Party}: Institute for Cultural Communicators

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Last year we were introduced and became involved in the Institute for Cultural Communicators (ICC). It’s a Christian speech organization, where my kids are going through curricula to teach them public speaking skills. They learn to write and present a wide variety of different kinds of speeches, work on memorizing, and get in front of many different groups. Today our chapter did a presentation at the mall. It was a difficult venue because it’s so cavernous and the mall’s PA system is playing music. But it was also really neat to be right where people were just walking by. Many stopped to listen to the kids. We had 20 kids ranging from age 7-18. Our chapter has all homeschooled kids, but that’s not a requirement. (Read more about ICC here.)

This was our program:  (The mall said we couldn’t do anything “religious.”)

Sing “Silver Bells”

Oldest kids Choral Reading: “Twas the Night Before Christmas”

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Youngest kids poems:  “There are No Bells in All the World” by Elizabeth Coatsworth and “The Bells” by Edgar Allan Poe

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Middle Kids Choral Reading: “The Grinch That Stole Christmas”

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Solo presentation: “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus”

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Sing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”

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It’s time for our From House to Home Link Party:

Because of the holidays, this link-up will be up for two weeks (until January 2, 2014)!

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page.

(If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

 


 

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From House to Home {Link Party}: Back to the Amazon!

Well, after years of frustration with Amazon
for dropping Illinois affiliates, we have finally been added back to the program!  Now, maybe my other favorite online stores that wouldn’t accept me will change their minds as well.  :)

So, I’m asking you for a favor.  If you have no one else you plan to support, will you please use my affiliate link whenever you shop on Amazon?  All you have to do is come to my website first–it will only take you a few extra seconds.  When you head to Amazon
from my link, I’ll get an affiliate payment!  It will help out our family greatly. I’ll keep a search bar for Amazon in my sidebar (may be at the footer if you’re in mobile mode) so you can easily do this!

Thanks so much!


It’s time for our From House to Home Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page.

(If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

 

 

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From House to Home {Link Party}: The Gaither Concert!

Last weekend my husband and I got to go to a Gaither Concert!  It was one of those rare times that we get out for more than just dinner.  :)

It was at Willow Creek Church, which seats 7500, and it was completely packed!

Here are a few of our favorite performances of the evening.

Here is David Phelps singing an aria called “Nessun Dorma”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaSDNH5Azi8

The Isaacs singing “Accentuate the Positive”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69q3dVQYqLw

The Isaacs singing “Grandpa, Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvxVbu_VnYs

The Martins singing “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0ll9-1zSoc

The concert was 4 1/2 hours long, but here’s 1 1/2 hours if you have some time to spare. Or you can see a great song at 24:00 minutes, and “Mary, Did You Know?” at 1:16:00.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWZKnvBAd0g

It’s time for our From House to Home Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page.

(If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

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From House to Home {Link Party}: The End of Fall

So, here we are near the end of fall.  It snowed a couple of days ago, and completely caught me off guard!  At least I had already found all the coats, boots, gloves, and snowsuits out of our storage room.  The kids immediately put them on and ran out into the first snow of the season!

Here are our last fall leaf pictures.  Unfortunately, they aren’t the best pictures.  But I love all the action that you can tell was going on behind the scenes.  :)

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It’s time for our From House to Home Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page.

(If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

 

 

 


 

 

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From House to Home {Link Party}: Spotlight Showcase

A few days ago my 5 oldest participated in a showcase of what they had learned in their drama class these past 10 weeks. I’m grateful to the organization Spotlight for teaching my kids so many great skills in acting, singing, dancing, speaking, poise, etc.!

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It’s time for our From House to Home Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page.

(If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

 

 

 

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From House to Home {Link Party}: Father-Son Camp 2013

 

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My husband and 3 oldest boys went to the annual Father-Son Camp last weekend.  As usual they had great fun, ate a lot of bad food, stayed up too late, sang wonderful praise worship with 300 other men and boys, played paintball, fished, and shot guns!

 

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It’s time for our From House to Home Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page.

(If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

Follow on Bloglovin

See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.