Friday, January 30, 2015

Hands-on History - The Redcoats are coming!

I'm loving teaching American History this year!   Our Coop class is the perfect group of kiddos - grades 3rd-6th for doing hands-on projects.

I just have one did anyone homeschool before Pinterest?  I found this post with the cutest clothespin soldiers!   Here's my version:

Start with a bag of wood clothespins and bases.  I found mine at Hobby Lobby - just $3.99 for 30 of them!


Next, we painted about 3/4 of the pin white - for the soldiers shirt & pants.  Leave the head wood colored for his face.

Paint the bottom and base black for his boots.


We took blue and red paint and painted on their coats. 

Small wooden dowels, about 1 12 inches long make great arms.  Leave the tip (where you hold it plain for the soldier's hands).  You can hot glue these onto your soldier's body once the paint is dry.

The final touches are so fun!  Be creative.  Our hats were pom-poms (ours were kinda large - so we gave them a bad haircut...)  We also used small felt pieces for hats.   
Add some faces with a sharpie marker.


Who's ready for a battle??

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told: A Review

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: January 27, 2015

Learn What Internal Motivation is and How to Develop it in Your Child  -You will learn: 
  •  How to build a strongconscience to strengthen internal motivation 
  •  How faith changes kids inpractical, down-to-earth ways
  • Ways to help self-focused kids think ofothers
  •  A strategy to help kids who tend to blame, rationalize, or defend 
  • Ways to use consequences for heart change
  •  Specific heart-based strategies todevelop responsibility and initiative

I'm excited to introduce you to my new FAVORITE parenting book - Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told. by Dr. Scott Turansky & Joanne Miller, RN, BSN

Let me introduce myself:  I'm a mom to 8 amazing kiddos (ages 5-17) + one "adopted" college-age kiddo.  Needless to say, I've been doing this parenthood gig for awhile now... You could say, I've got my hands full!

Now that you know a little more about me, you should see the number of parenting help books on my bookshelf!  I was excited to see this book coming, and eagerly signed up for the launch team.  However, I wasn't completely sure I'd learn anything new...

I WAS COMPLETELY SURPRISED!  This book was full of brand-new approaches and tools for me.  This particular quote really convicted me - I really needed to read this book.  Maybe this parenting gig could use a breath of fresh air...

The book is divided into 2 parts.  Part 1 covers the moral development in children,  Part 2 focuses on the spiritual development.  Children are developing in both of these areas of thinking at the same time.  This is where our parenting focus MUST center if we want to have internally motivated children.

It's much more than just some more "parenting theory" that leaves you feeling hopeless.  This book offers HOPE.  It offers PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS that "real" moms can implement.  It was just the booster shot I needed to get back in the ring of parenting and take another swing at some long-term issues.

Conscience development, integrity, compassion, initiative & honor - just several of the key points that the authors discuss.  But, they take it a step further - and offer practical solutions you can start RIGHT AWAY to help move these character traits into reality in you home.  You don't need a degree, or any special equipment - no charts to maintain, or complex systems.  This book is Biblical based wisdom with the encouragement you need to be the parent that God is calling you to be.

A particular area we have been struggling with around here is initiative.   I absolutely loved what the author's said about introducing your children to heroes.  They say,  "Heroes do what's right, deal with wrongs, are honest and care about others".    By letting your child "be a hero in small things" and then encouraging them to take an extra step we are encouraging them to form internally motivated - initiative.

Honor was another area that we benefited from this book.  For instance,  requiring my children to set the table is "obedience" - but, including the direction to "add something to the the table to show honor to your family" (but, not giving a specific command of what that may be) is teaching my children to honor each other.   My sweet daughters made a beautiful centerpiece!

This book helped encourage me to take a good look at my parenting.  It's easy to get in a rut after awhile (or 8 kiddos...) and not really be intentional.  I felt it gave me a new lens to look through.  Leaving discipline sessions on a positive note, a tip from the book, has helped keep my children's hearts and mine tuned together.  And, I'm starting to see changes already!

This is real parenting at it's best.  I want more that just an outward obedience to rules - I really want their HEARTS.  If you are looking for more than just another behavior modification book - and you want to really make lasting heart changes - this is the book you're looking for!

“We need more books like Scott and Joanne’s—booksthat coach parents to develop strong character in their children that will lastthe rest of their lives.” —Alec Hill, President of InterVarsityChristian Fellowship/USA

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Hands On History - Ben Franklin style!

Our new Coop is off and flying high!

I'm excited about getting to teach history- we're using Mystery of History - Vol. 4 as a guide for our studies.

With just 6 kiddos in each class, we have the perfect size group for doing fun, hands-on projects.  My FAVORITE way to teach.

This week,  we studied Benjamin Franklin.  The perfect opportunity to make our very own kites!

Here's my process:

Wooden dowels  (I bought one long dowel and cut it into 2 pieces, one longer than the other)  Be careful using the saw!!  See my bandaid....

Then,  I masking taped the sticks together in a cross. 

I took a thin cord, and hot glued it to the tips of the dowels, creating the kite form.

After the form is completed,  trace a piece of paper and cut out around - leaving about a 2" overlap.  Take the overlap and glue it down over the string form.  I had the kiddos decorate their kite fronts BEFORE we glued them on the kite form.  I recommend hot glue, it dries nice and fast!

After the kite is together - add a string from top of kite to bottom of kite to make a cradle.  We used a hole punch to make a hole on the top, and on the bottom.  Then, we reinforced it with clear tape.
I found adorable little keys at Michaels in the $1 section...  we strung them onto our kite's string for authenticity :-)
Add a ribbon tail, for cuteness - and flying stability.

 Here's a view of the finished kite - front and back.  These turn out to be surprisingly sturdy.  We wanted to go and fly them, but - our weather was not cooperating!

The next generation's greatest inventors!!

To complete our look - we made pipe cleaner bifocals (another brilliant invention of Ben Franklin's)

Thursday, January 15, 2015


I'm please to announce - we have given birth again!  This time, to a beautiful baby....Co-op :)

The backpacks are BACK!

 Trinity Cooperative Academy is 3 families strong.  We'll be coming together to share learning adventures, support each other and build for the future.

Fun times learning Scripture together!


Our 'Red" group made Corn Cob dolls while visiting the world of Little House of the Prairie.

Our first day was a huge success.  God's hand is all over this venture.  Our host church is letting us use the facilities for free,  the moms involved all have complementary gifts and talents,  of course - the kiddos are AMAZING!

Our "Yellow" Group - Prek-1st made Madeline Hats! 

Thank you Koinonia Cooperative Academy in Arkansas  for scattering seeds into Texas!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Motivate Your Child Giveaway

I'm very excited to be part of the Launch Team for a new release - Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told by Scott Turansky and Joann Miller.  I've just started reading this book, and I can tell you it's a must have for parents looking to get to their child's heart.  Part 1 deals with the moral development, and Part 2 the spiritual development of your child.  The author's give plenty of encouragement and tools to help you along the way as you learn to how to best motivate your children.  I'm confident that you'll pick up some tools for yourself as well, I know I have!

Want to take a peek at the official book trailer?

To celebrate the release of Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told,  members of the Launch Team are sharing a wonderful giveaway filled with a Go Pro Camera, $50 Mardel Gift Card, $25 Amazon Gift Card, and book bundles from both the National Center for Biblical Parenting and Thomas Nelson Publishing!

Three winners will win prizes with a total value of nearly $800!

  motivate your child giveaway

Here’s what you could win: 

GRAND PRIZE  ($500+ value)

Go Pro HERO3+ Silver Camera ($300 value)

HERO3+ Silver captures gorgeous, professional-quality 1080p60 video and 10MP photos at speeds of up to 10 frames per second. Built-in Wi-Fi enables you to use the GoPro App to control the camera remotely, preview shots and share your favorites on Facebook, Twitter and more. Compatible with all GoPro mounts, you can wear it or attach it to your gear for immersive POV footage of your favorite activities. It’s waterproof to 131’ (40m) and built tough for all of life’s adventures. Combined with stunning low-light performance, high-performance audio and an ultra wide-angle glass lens, HERO3+ Silver makes capturing and sharing your life easier than ever.  

NCBP Book Bundle ($115 value)

 The Christian Parenting Handbook  and Companion Guide Parenting is Heart Work God's Awesome Story Hero Training Camp Children's Curriculum

 Thomas Nelson Book Bundle ($90 value):

The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst  Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson   Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine  All Pro Dad by Mark Merrill  The Passionate Mom by Susan Merrill 


FIRST PRIZE ($165 value)

$50 Mardel Gift Card


NCBP Book Bundle ($115 value)

The Christian Parenting Handbook  and Companion Guide Parenting is Heart Work God's Awesome Story Hero Training Camp Children's Curriculum


SECOND PRIZE ($115 value)

$25 Amazon Gift Card

Thomas Nelson Book Bundle ($90 value):

The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst
Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson
Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine
All Pro Dad by Mark Merrill
The Passionate Mom by Susan Merrill

 To enter, use the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway dates: January 12, 2015 @12:00am ET through January 28, 2015 @ 11:59pm ET Terms and Conditions: This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  Void where prohibited by law. Must be at least 18 years of age. This giveaway is in no away associated with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Amazon. No purchase necessary for entry. Odds are determined by the number of entries. Selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

They have an app for that!

If you give your kids your iPhone... you may find they did THIS while you were grocery shopping...

I love these crazies!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Sneek peek...

I am excited to share with you about a new book I’m reading this month -

Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told.

Sounds amazing, right? Isn't that what you want for your kids?

God's Word gives us a better way to parent, one that builds strong internal motivation in children. When parents change the way they parent, kids change the way they live. Motivate Your Child is a practical book that explores a theology of internal motivation and then gives parents real-life solutions to equip their kids for life.

This is the newest book by parenting experts, Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN from the National Center for Biblical Parenting (NCBP), also authors of The Christian Parenting Handbook.

In order to motivate parents to Pre-Order the book, the NCBP is offering a $150 package of resources for FREE! There are video, audio and print items that can be used on a variety of devices. You can learn more on the Book Website.

You can Pre-Order the book now from any retailer, and then follow the instructions below. 
  • Pre-Order from Amazon INSTRUCTIONS: Purchase the book. Email the receipt to The NCBP will send you the link and a special code to access these downloadable products. This offer is good until January 31, 2015.


Friday, January 2, 2015

A Facebook Fast

This Advent,  my son challenged me to fast FB for the entire month of December.  WHAT?!   After a few moments of hyperventilating, I realized I may NEED to do this. (plus, he dared me...said he didn't think I could actually do it!)

So, with children gathered around...  I actually deleted FB from my phone!  Yikes, no easing into it...cold turkey.  Funny note, when I deleted the FB app, I didn't realize I couldn't reload it because of my old, un-updated phone.

What happened?

Well,  after breaking the endless habit of looking at FB "just for a quick minute, kids" - I began to enjoy my freedom:
  •  I didn't have to try to keep up with everyone. 
  • I didn't add extra "holiday activities" to our calendar, because I had see how great they were on FB. 
  • I stopped living somewhere else, and really enjoyed living right where I am.
  • I multiplied my time!  I had no clue how many "minutes" I had been losing every day.

Lest you think I am preaching...  I have to confess that my FB fast ended several days before I planned to.  I got a new IPhone 6 and the FB app magically reappeared - maybe a divine sign that I had learned the lesson HE intended :-) 

 Best of all,  I got to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!