Friday, April 29, 2011

Review: The Curiosity Files: Quicksand

Explorations with Professor Ana Lyze, Expert in Outlandish Oddities

Quicksand

2010 The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC

$6.95 per eBook
for all ages: Elementary, Middle and High School

Join Professor Ana Lyze, expert in outlandish oddities, as she explains the wonders of Quicksand and it's amazing Non-Newtonian properties.  In this wonderful eBook from The Old Schoolhouse Store you will learn what Quicksand is, how to escape it, what not to do to escape it and much more.  Professor Ana Lyze covers the facts of Quicksand and also provides biblical reference for Quicksand in our Christian lives.  This eBook is full of wonderful information and fun activities, as well as including lessons for spelling, vocabulary, writing and even math for both Elementary and High School levels.  The fun lab experiments are easily done at home with very little preparation and are memorable enough to last a lifetime.

This particular file took us a week to complete, though it could be done in only a few days or stretched to two weeks depending upon your preference.  We began with reading through Everything You Never Wanted to Know about Quicksand, learning what Quicksand is made of and how it creates a suction to keep you stuck.  The information is written to keep your attention as a child or adult without becoming overly boring.  Each reading portion leads to more questions that are answered quickly with the next section of reading.  At the end of the section are review questions, perfect for all ages. 

The section called In The Beginning relates Quicksand to the bible and our everyday lives.  This went well with other lessons we have been doing in our homeschooling.  This lesson talks of building your life on the Rock, instead of in the Sand for a stronger connection to God.  It continued to drive our current message of a strong faith and strong life, over that of the easily damaged one.

Included in The Curiosity Files are many related educational activities to further expand on the topic at hand.  Math is handled by relating measuring, drawings, sinking rates and more. Spelling and vocabulary are kept on the appropriate levels for age, allowing challenge but not too much for the younger set.  The writing portion is both challenging and fun, providing a thought provoking topic and including a very helpful guideline to follow as you write.  The provided copywork comes in many printable formats to choose from, once again ready for any age to use.  There is even an included Geography exercise in this file!  Some of the activities are relatively easy to do, while others are more challenging requiring more skill to complete.  All the activities are fun and leave you with a feeling of wanting to do more. 

The experiments range in activity from Art to Physics.  We particularly enjoyed making Edible Quicksand and our own Quicksand Goo.  It was interesting to compare Quicksand we have encountered at the Beach with that we made at home.  We realized that they were not extremely different in seperation and suction, though real Quicksand is grainy in texture and not really gooey at all. 

The kids and I really enjoyed The Curiosity Files lesson on Quicksand.  We look forward to learning more from other Files in the series from Professor Ana Lyze which can also be found in The Old Schoolhouse Store.  You can get single eBooks from the series from $6.95 and up or the 9 pack bundle for $46.  Check out The Curiosity Files today!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

God's Blessings

In my life, I have discovered that often plans fall to the wayside.  There are a great many things I'm not good at.  There are times in my life that struggles endure.  All of this was meant to be. 

God gives us creativity as an outlet.  An actual, physical way to share the skills gifted to us, to express the joys He provides us.  I'm blessed to say He has provided me with many such outlets, though I do not always find time to put them to use. 

I can write - great words across pages that express so much and so little at the same time.  I paint - beautiful designs onto ceramics and glass and whatever else I can find to place my expressions on.  I take photos - of all the beautiful things He provides in my life.  I sing - to my beautiful babies daily.  And much more, that I'm sure skips my notice every day.

These are small things compared to the greatness of Him.  Small things compared to the greatness of many others too.  But in everything we are each only a small part of God's greatest intentions.  His master plan.

In all things we should give thanks to God, give thanks for the things He provides us with, He blesses us with.  Without his Divine leadership and His great Love, we would have nothing and we would be nothing.  I am thankful for this, for the good He allows me to have in my life, for the beauty He allows me to share and for the Love that He alone can give.  I am thankful in more ways than I can count or show and more ways than even I know. 

How has God blessed you today?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Weekend 2011

We had a great Easter weekend. 

My weekend started on Thursday night when the best friend stopped by to spend the night and have me help her with her hair.  So we stayed up all night (until 5am Friday morning) taking her braids out and combing out her hair, while we watched tons of great movies on Netflix.  It was a fun girls night though it was a lot of work.

Friday, Josh got off work early and we went to town like normal.  We had chinese for dinner and brought it home to watch movies, bake cakes and wait for my Mom to get here.  She arrived around midnight and I spent the night talking with her until 4am.  It was great to see her and the kids loved knowing she was back home for now.

Saturday we had our Easter gathering with Josh's family.  The traditional dinner and egg hunt.  It went well and all the kids had a great time.  I think the Easter visit is their favorite of all the dinners throughout the year.

Sunday we hung out at home and rested.  The bunny brought the kids each a little something: a sand pail, bubbles, coloring books, a toy, crayons and candy.  They really loved their simple gifts.  Late in the afternoon we went to visit family friends.  The kids were able to hold the sweetest puppy.  They really loved that.  Afterwards we went to Walmart just to look around and bought some extra holiday candy, as well as some movies and various other goodies. 

Overall, it was a very relaxing weekend for us.  We focused on family more than anything.  Simply being together.  I honestly feel that was just what we needed to feel refreshed for the month ahead. 

Hope you all had a Happy Easter too! <3

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thankful for:

Thankful for:

Small smiles in the morning.
Sweet kisses on the top of a brown haired head.
Sweet tiny kisses square on the lips.
Smelly dogs who love you know matter what.
Victoria's Secret body sprays.
Flowers in bloom.
Singing voices rejoicing with made up songs from the heart.
Freedom.
Unexpected visits.
Challenging the norm.
Boys who love Lego's.
Girls who love to cook.
Baby dolls and Barbie dolls and match box cars.
Grass underneath my bare toes.
Turtles in the pond.
Squirells in the trees.
That perfect shade of lipstick and nailpolish.
Long flowing skirts and comfy jogging pants.
Snuggling beneath the covers pretending to be "cold".
Movies that run late.
Lemonade Mouth on DVR.
Easter Eggs.
The Resurrection.
A long talk with God.
Peace in my heart.
Bottles of wasted shampoo as a little girl learns to wash her own hair.
Smiles from knowing they helped and did a good job.
Knocks on my door, followed by "Good Morning Momma".
"I love you, Mommy"
"Mommy, Mommy, Mommeeeee" a hundred times a day.
Music in my heart.
Love.
Warm sun shining down and cool rain wetting my skin.
Happiness.
The color Pink (and Blue, Red, Purple, Yellow, Green).
Abstract drawings done by little hands.
Coloring out of the lines.
Lines scribbled over pages.
Books with worn bindings.
Bibles with Jesus on the cover.
Good food.
Pepsi.
Sweet Iced Tea.
Pecan Pie.
Faces covered with chocolate and hands to match.
Bubbles blown into the wind.
Holding little bodies close as we rock for hours.
Sweet babies sleeping safely in their beds.

These are only a few of the many things I am thankful for everyday.

My Mornings

A hundred different thoughts have run through my head this morning.  A hundred different blog post topics.  None of which I have turned into a post.  As one idea flew into my brain another was pushed out.  None sticking so that it can be turned into a piece of inspirational wording.

My days lately have been starting with migraines thanks to this lovely bipolar weather.  The rain brings pressure and the sunny days bring pollen.  My regular allergy medicine is not helping and 6 out of 7 days of the week I'm waking to my head feeling like someone has hit it with a hammer, hard.  The migraines weigh heavy in my head, affecting my ability to function and see, and causing me to have dizzy spells galore.  Needless to say I will be thankful when this season is past, though it's blooming beauty is one of my favorites.

My favorite part of my morning: my children entering at various times to say "Good Morning Mommy", usually within minutes of each other.  They don't care if I get up, they just want to feel secure in the knowledge that I'm here and that I love them and that I know they love me.  Which, oh boy, do I ever know they love me!  No better feeling than that in life!!!

I am learning that the best things in life are these three and that there is nothing better than having them with me everyday, just as God intended.  I feel a bit sorry for those Mom's who send their kids off to someone else everyday because they often do not realize what goodness they are missing in their lives.  It's my honest feeling that society is not right on the send your kids away issue.   That's an enjoyment that cannot be replaced with a made for tv movie or any good book.  And surely this is how God feels every time we connect with him.  All his children, listening and loving him daily, never missing a smile from each of us.  There could be nothing better than that!!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. . .- Lamentations 3:22-23

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Just an update - April 20,2011

First I have to say, that my growing son is going to eat me out of house and home.  Seriously where did this kid develop his sudden hunger?  And his little sisters are not far behind him.  Growth spurts contribute to much of it.  They are growing and growing requires more food to fill up their small systems.  Fuel.  Fuel to run their sweet bodies and charge their overflowing minds.  But it is CRAZY how much food they can eat!  Wow!! 

In my first steps to a more balanced life, I have been putting up inspirational quotes in both obvious and less obvious places throughout the house.  The ones I have placed are written in print for the kids to be able to read, though they are more for me at this time than for them.  My next step will be to create some simple quotes, both biblical and inspiring, to place around for the kids to read.  I think inspiration is important for us all.

One thing I've noticed is that my inspiration for redesigning my house has hit a "blah-pffff" moment, as if all the air has been deflated from my enjoyment of life and home.  In combatants, I have been watching HGTV, Food Network, reading blogs and magazines for ideas.  Is it helping?  No not really, at this time, but maybe something will click eventually! LOL 

In my reading, I have found some great books.  I'm not revealing which ones as of yet, but I will reveal that they have one common thread.  Just Do Something!  That's right, just get up and DO something!  Do it with God in mind, showing your love for Him and the Life He's blessed us with, for the beautiful children He's gifted to us.  Just Do It! (Sounding like the Nike commercial now.)

And have I been "just doing it"?  Well yea, I have.  I have started with cleaning out our outside building.  (Huge building that is seriously bigger than some of the first American homesteads.)  There is so much room in there but in it's continuous disorganization you couldn't tell it.  My goal is to get it organized enough to sort through over the summer and also find some storage to put some of the extra "junk" still in the house out there for now, until I can chunk it or find it's "home" inside (or in the building, as I see fit!). 

This brings me to another realization, which I have known for a while.  I'm a spoiled, lazy American girl!  There are days when I sit back and wonder: If I had to live 100 years ago, would I have survived?  My answer: only if I was rich!  I'm too spoiled to modern day conveniences, like dishwashers, washing machines, computers and the internet.  There are many days when I have trouble just getting up and doing anything.  I find I have been trained that my "wants" are most important and should come before the "needs" of housekeeping and care-taking of home and life.  I find a lot of American's have this same problem today, which is why you can now find a million how-to, cleaning and organization websites online. 

As you can see, I've been pretty busy lately mostly with re-organizing my brain and learning more about myself and about homekeeping.  There's still much more to come but for now I think this is about as good a start as any.  God bless all! <3

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Change, Change, Change

Change is blowing in the wind, for me anyways!  So many changes that I'm often unsure of what I should begin with or what I should do next.  My life is blossoming in ways I can only imagine and some I have not thought of yet. God knows the paths He leads me upon and so I allow His wise guidance to lead the way.

I'm adventuring into territory I've never before touched.  Gardening.  Who would ever have thought I'd be anxious and willing to get my hands deep into dirt before?!  Willing to watch plants grow in places that contain (eek!) spiders and that snakes could crawl into.   I'm even amazing myself with this one!  But I'm ready to reap my sown rewards in dirt planted with the seeds of life and ready to watch it spring forth into beautiful and nutrious food for my family.

I am setting forth plans.  Plans for my present, plans for our future.  I'm feeling out job ideas, thinking of ways to create extra money, even if only a little at a time.  Things I enjoy doing, not just "work".  I'm planning for Life, Love and all that comes with it.

I'm also planning a major overhaul of my life and our home.  There is so much I want different in my life.  Simple changes that can easily be made: like pray more, eat better, drink healthier, exercise, read and watch things that are meaningful, and strengthen my connection to God.  And not only my connection but my children's as well.  Build with them a relationship with God like none other we have, except between ourselves.

As for our home plans: We have the dishwasher in and it has been such a MAJOR help at home.  My next goal is a new washing machine but what we have definitely works for now and I will continue to use it until it's very last wash.  Lord willing it will be a longggg time before it's last wash comes! 

We also have new mattresses and oh boy I am sleeping sooo much better!!!  I feel rested now when I wake up, something I haven't truly felt in years.  It's an awesome feeling to wake feeling restored, instead of beat down and tired like I used to feel daily.

So next for home is a major spring cleaning overhaul.  Fact is we have too much stuff!  WAYYYY too much for a family of six, two dogs and one outdoor cat.  There is CLUTTER EVERYWHERE!!  Some days I cannot seem to find my way out of it and it seems the harder I clean the worse it is.  Why?  Because you CANNOT organize clutter!!!  That's right, I said it: Clutter cannot be organized.  It must be gone through, gutted, sent out to trash or donation and gotten RID OF!!!  (Yea I'm saying all this now, but I'm thinking "Oh my gosh, how to do it all!!") 

I have to tighten the belt and just get to it.  Get rid of the junk in our house we do not need, do not use and do not LOVE.  (Cuz love is what it's all about right?  Luv'N Life?  Luv'N each other?  And most of all Luv'N God!)  I want a clean, peaceful, happy home and I'm so anxious to enjoy the benefits of that life choice.

In the next few months, I will be posting about my journey through the clutter.  Our triumphs and trials.  Things that work for us and things that don't (there are a LOT of those!).  I have "aids" that I will be reviewing: books, cleaners, organizing methods and more.  (Let's just hope I can stay on track.) 

It is my hope that in the end of this journey, my children and I will be able to truly enjoy Life.  That we will find a home that just "falls" into place most days and we find Happiness, Joy and Love along the way, as well as strengthening our relationship with the Heavenly Father.  It is time that I stop just talking about it all and actually start "doing" to give us this Life we need and we deserve to have. 

Stay tuned as we journey through on our way to Change, Change, Change. <3

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fear

Fear is a horendous thing.  There are days when it runs through me like a train barreling down an extensive track.  There are times when I feel ready to run and hide just to avoid it.  It's controling and disabling and creates unnecessary drama in lives when you least expect it.

Dictionaries define fear as being a distressing emotion brought on by impending danger, pain, evil, etc. whether or not the fear is imagined or real; it is the condition or the feeling of being afraid.  To be afraid of someone or some thing. 

There are many things to fear daily in our lives.  This world has become an inexplicable mess and is growing more dangerous everyday.  Evil has taken control of a large part of life and strives daily to grow fear and pestilence throughout the world.  Even the smallest child is not exempt from the terrors Evil's fear provides.

What can we do to protect ourselves from fear?  How can we change our daily lives to prevent fear from controling us?  What changes should we make to keep ourselves safe from Evil's control?

The bible tells us that God should be our only fear.  As Dueteronomy 10:12, 20-21 tells, “And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.” This tells us that we, as Christians, should fear and praise the Lord in his mighty works.

Our first step to overcoming fear should be prayer.  When the feeling of fear comes upon us, we should immediately go to the Lord in prayer, sharing with him our feelings, asking forgiveness, shelter, peace and protection from our fears.  Then we should listen openly to find the answers we seek in return, which do not always come right away.

We should seek peaceful ways to overcome our fears, sometimes simply by facing them head on.  Other times by placing them into God's hands to handle in His time and way.  Prayer is the best way to control Evil's grasp upon us and only God can handle a battle such as this one.

To prevent fear, we should make prayer time an essential part of our daily lives.  We should also take the time to re-evaluate our lives to find why fear suddenly has taken control.  We should then work towards changing any reasonings we find in the re-evaluation process, once again laying these doubts into God's hands to handle for us. 

Overcoming fear takes great Courage.  Courage comes from having a strong faith in the Lord, even if it's only faith the size of a mustard seed.  The bible tells us to "be strong and courageous" and also tells us many times that "God will not foresake you".  We must believe in these words in order to survive this crazy life and overcome any fears we may have daily. 

Isaiah 41:13

For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Do not fear, the Lord has our hands and will never foresake those who believe in Him.  Have strong Courage and Faith and use them to overcome any fears cast upon you each day.  May God bless each of you and keep you safe from the trials fear creates in each of our lives. <3

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Writing and more

I think I may be getting the writing bug again thanks to a new group I have joined on Facebook.  It's a small group of like-minded women who enjoy writing about many things and enjoy discussing those writings and sharing in the triumphs and disappointments of each one.  It's spurred my thinking again and is providing me with just the intellect I need in my life. 

I love to write.  I love making words touch others, making them flow into thoughts, paragraphs, short stories and I love seeing the results of my writing in final form.  I think I am good at writing, though at this point I feel I am very out of practice.  And there are days when the words just won't come because there is so much busy-ness in the way of them.  Writer's block is an atrocious thing!

There are many things I love doing but never seem to have time for.  Writing, painting, cake baking, simple home cooking, photography, drawing, reading, watching movies, and even blogging.  I would love to find time to do each one of these things but often Life calls instead.  (Speaking of Life - new header above ^^^)

My quest for the things I should be doing, for the changes in me, has turned into a quest to organize my life and my time so that I can do the things I enjoy.  Organization is yet another thing that has always eluded me.  My cluttered mind only echoes that of my cluttered life, completing the Chaos of my world.  Add children on top of that and it's a downward spiral all the way!

Speaking of children, the kids and I have been busy buying seeds to plant for the garden and can hardly wait to get them started this week.  We will be constructing a bigger light box than we originally expected and planting many different things: squash, watermelon, lima and green beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, and much more.  We also have a few flowers to plant, including four o'clocks to toss down our ditchbank to grow on the side.  I can't wait for those to grow so the kids can time them to open and close each day just like I used to as a small child! 

We will be reading more about plants this week, in Botany and as I said completing our light box.  We will hopefully be taking a field trip to look at the plants tomorrow, now that it's dried out a bit, before the rains come again on Tuesday. 
We will also read more of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which the kids are extremely excited to do.  When we finish I will order the movie for them to watch from Netflix, so that we can compare the book to the movie like we do with all of our Literature.
We will be playing catch up in History this week as we missed a couple of days of lessons last week when we were involved in Life Lessons.  We are currently covering Prehistoric History and will be beginning timelines soon.  I'm looking for Historic People to use on our timelines but haven't had success with it yet.
And of course we have all our other studies of math, reading, writing and Bible.  Our weeks never fail to be busy and full of Life for us.

Hopefully somewhere in there, I can schedule some time for me to write but for now I guess I'll just continue to enjoy Luv'N Lambert Life! <3

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