Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Weekly Menu Plan {20 October}

Hello friends! I am running late with my menu plan yet again. I have been up to my eyeballs in washing, sorting and tagging children's clothing for our local consignment sale. I have never participated before and am looking forward to it - not only to making a little money for the holidays, but also to finding a few things that the kids need for winter. 

Here is what we're planning to eat this week:

Monday - Emma made one of our favourite pasts dishes - Dani Johnson's Penne-Pinching Pasta

Tuesday - Chicken and Dressing, salad, green peas

Wednesday - TBD by Ben

Thursday - Leftovers

Friday - Baked Potato Bar, Caesar Salad

Saturday - Healthy Mexican Casserole, Spanish Rice

Sunday - Snack-y supper

Have a great week! 

Blessings and love. xo

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Hardest Peace {Review and Giveaway}

FlyBy Promotions recently gave me the opportunity to review The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts. I was not familiar with Kara, so I went over to her blog to find out more about her. If you've followed her blog for long, you can imagine that I teared up while reading some of what has gone on in her life in the past year. I truly hate cancer and wasn't sure, at first, if I wanted to read this book or not. It's been 25 years since my Dad died from a brain tumor. Did I really want to re-live those experiences and some of that pain, which I was sure would happen? I said yes to the book anyway, because, well, I like reading other peoples' stories. And I knew that if Kara had been able to write a book about her experience and share how she had experienced God's grace in the difficult places in her life, I could possibly benefit. 

About the book:
Kara Tippetts knows the ordinary days of mothering four kids, the joy of watching her children grow…and the devastating reality of stage-IV cancer. 

In The Hardest Peace, Kara invites readers to see the grace of the everyday in all seasons of life and to live well even when the living is hard. This book is an invitation to join her in moving away from fear and control and toward peace and grace. Just as the thousands of people who read her blog know, Tippetts explores the hardest questions of life with rare beauty and honesty. Most of all, she draws them back to the God who is present, in the ordinary and the suffering, and shapes every life into the best story of all.

My thoughts:
I appreciate Kara's openness about difficulties in her family of origin and in the way she grew up. Those had to be painful to expose and write about. I could relate to her stories of hurt in a former church. I could also relate to her writings about her marriage. One of my favourite parts of the book is when she tells how she and her husband, Jason, learned to "fight with kindness". This is fantastic advice and so needed in our day. When we learn how much the Father loves us, we cannot help but extend it to our spouse, children, extended family, neighbors, everyone. Marriage is so much sweeter and deeper with loads of kindness.

Reading about how Kara is preparing to die and trying to prepare her children, especially, was piercing and heartbreaking. Even though I've been through it, as a 20 year old "child" who lost her father, I cannot imagine having to walk through it with my own children. She seems to be doing a phenomenal job of loving them and getting them ready for her to "fly away".

I do recommend this book, because it's one sister's story of hard and knowing Jesus is there with her. It's heartbreaking and sweet and poignant all at once.

{I have to add that I think my theology differs from Kara's, and I cannot just recommend this book without mentioning it. I hate cancer, and Kara calls cancer "a gift". I think cancer is from the evil one, while Kara seems to believe that God sent this to her to teach her something. I believe that sickness, disease, etc., come from our fallen state and from hell (John 10:10 and 1 Peter 5:8). Our Father is a loving, compassionate God and He does not, and would not send us horrible, abusive things. His heart is for us to be healed. That is one of the incredible bonuses of Jesus' death on the cross. Not only do we get to bask in the salvation and rescue He provided for us through His death, but also we get to experience Him as our Healer. He paid for our sins and took all of our infirmities on Himself (Isaiah 53 and Matthew 8). I always go back to what Bill Johnson says in When Heaven Invades Earth - basically that if we treated our own children like some Christians say God treats us (gives them cancer, leukemia, Ebola or whatever), people would turn us in to the authorities. Our God is so gloriously wonderful and pure in His love toward us, that He would never do something that would actual contradict His purpose of sending Jesus to earth.}

I pray blessings over Kara and her beautiful family as they walk through this journey. 

About Kara:
Kara Tippetts and her husband, Jason, have four children and are planting a church in Colorado Springs, CO. Cancer is only part of Kara’s story. Her real fight is to truly live while facing a crushing reality. She blogs at mundanefaithfulness.com.

Kara’s Blog: mundanefaithfulness.com
Follow her on Instagram: http://instagram.com/tippetts
Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mother_to_many

Fly Promotions has generously provided one copy of The Hardest Peace for one of my readers. Simply leave a comment telling me if you had known of Kara Tippetts before now or share your story of learning God's peace in your hard places. Please include your email address so that I have a way to contact you if you win. Winner chosen by random.org. Giveaway open to residents of the US and Canada, age 18 or older. Giveaway ends November 1 at 11:59pm ET. 

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What I Wore

Good afternoon, lovely friends! How are you today? 

It has been pouring buckets of rain here today, and guess what came in my daily Amazon.com email this morning? Rain boots! Ha! Perfect timing, although I still haven't found the perfect pair. 

Here are some options . . .

And then there are these. Ahem. I think I may have found them.

What do you think? Do you have a pair of Wellies that you love? I'd love to know where you purchased them. 

And because our temps are falling today, after the storms have passed through, let's stay on the keeping-warm-in-the-cooler-weather path . . .

I love this Pleated Tie Waist Pea Coat from groopdealz.com . . . 

I recently purchased this adorable Cable Knit Beanie (with affiliate credit) for when it really gets cold! Isn't it so cute?! It comes in 6 colours.

Check out this Pencil Skirt from toadorn.com:

And on zulily.com right now:

Don't miss these deals! 

Hop on over to the linkup at The Pleated Poppy for more fashion inspiration!

Disclaimer: This link contains my affiliate links, which means that when you purchase through my links, I make a small commission. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Weekly Menu Plan {14 October}

Good morning! 

I'm running late with my menu plan, so here we go . . .

Monday - Burgers and turkey sausage on the grill, baked beans, potato salad 

Tuesday - Chef Salads and baked potatoes

Wednesday - Mexican Chicken Soup (This was bumped last week, so we're putting it on the menu again.)

Thursday - Shredded Beef Tacos, chips, guacamole

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - Lasagna, Caesar salad, garlic bread

Sunday - Snack-y supper

Blessings and love! xo

Friday, October 10, 2014

Birds of a Feather Unit Study {Review}

Have you been wanting to include a study of birds in your homeschool lessons this year? I have just the thing for you to introduce birds and bird-watching to your students!

I am delighted to introduce you to Sharon Gibson and her company, Homeschool Legacy. Sharon has written some wonderful unit studies, including the one I have had the opportunity to review: Birds Of A Feather (retail value $17.95). It is designed for use with children in grades 2-12. I have used this study with my two younger girls, ages 8 and 9. 

Sharon has designed her unit studies to be used in once a week lessons. In other words, you can take one day, let's say Tuesdays for example, and do the entire week's unit in your homeschool session that day. The lessons are also flexible enough to be broken down into small, once a day lessons, several times per week, which is how I have used them.  Since we already had our days planned out, I just plugged this unit in to our day and it worked very well for us. 

Here is how the unit study is laid out:

Week 1: Birds Basics and Your Backyard Habitat

Week 2: Bird Identification

Week 3: Ornithology

Week 4: Birds of Prey

Now, I'll start off by saying that my children have been nature lovers since they were wee things, and I have tried to nurture that love by giving them experiences to learn and explore. We have taken hikes, gone on nature walks, had bird feeders in our garden, participated in The Great Backyard Bird Count, and while living in Canada, we would go to certain hiking trails to feed the birds from our hands. The Black-Capped Chickadees and the White-Breasted Nuthatches, especially, would flock to peck from the seeds in our hands. One of our friends even had a skittish Northern Cardinal land on her hand for all of half a second! Those experiences are so special and some of our favourite memories. 

(Feeding the birds in Ontario.)

 (One of the first things we did after moving into this house was to put up a bird feeder!)

(And we have had so many lovely visitors pass through our backyard, including this Indigo Bunting. We had never seen one before, so he was an extra-special guest.)

I love this unit study because it incorporates many subjects and can be used with all ages. Sharon has done such a great job of including not only the scientific aspects of birds, but also literature, Bible, history, geography, arts and crafts, life skills and field trip suggestions. I love seeing the read-aloud and movie suggestions Sharon included and was delighted to find a couple of new-to-us books and movies, including these:

Here are some of the activities we enjoyed while studying Birds Of A Feather:

1. We already had a birdbath and a bird feeder in our garden, so we decided to make a simple version of a bird feeder to place around the yard. We used toilet paper rolls, peanut butter and of course, bird seed. Then we placed them in the bushes outside and waited for the local birds to find these special treats.

(Sorry for the blurry photo. Mr. C wouldn't hold still for the photo session.)

2. I had introduced nature journals to my older children years ago, but this was something new and exciting for my younger children. They have had such fun going out into the yard to see what treasures they could find for their books.

 (We started their journals with our state bird, the Northern Cardinal.)

(We've been adding leaves, bark, feathers, acorns, and whatever else we can find. They are going to enjoy these journals for a long time!)

3. We have enjoyed studying John James Audubon. His book Birds of America has produced hours of pleasure, not only for the little girls but also for the entire family. 

(This book is the largest book we've ever seen. When I went to the library to pick it up, the librarian said I would need a crane to get it out to my car. LOL!)

4. We've had some great discussions, i.e. "How would our lives be different if Benjamin Franklin had had his way and the turkey was our national bird instead of the Bald Eagle?".

We have thoroughly enjoyed our time with Birds Of A Feather and recommend it highly for anyone wanting to add a fun and thorough unit study on birds to their homeschool lessons! We look forward to working through some of Sharon's other unit studies.

Here is a list of additional unit studies offered by Homeschool Legacy:

Forest For The Trees
Horsing Around
Weather On The Move
Christmas Comes To America
Knights And Nobles
Native America
Early Settlers In America
Revolutionary Ideas
We The People: Getting To Know The Constitution
Lewis And Clark: From Sea To Shining Sea
Westward Ho: Part 1
Westward Ho: Part 2

Each of these studies also includes badge requirements if your students are in American Heritage Girls or Boy Scouts of America. What a neat way to accomplish your schoolwork and your badge requirements all at the same time!

Blessings and love. xo

Disclaimer: This post contains my affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase with my links, I make a small commission. Thank you!!!