Thursday, September 25, 2014

Three Things Thursday 9/25/14

Hey y'all! (Like that warm, southern greeting?)  Thanks for stopping by!  I'm thrilled that's it's Thursday, and I have an excuse to blog and FINALLY get something else up besides the All About Reading sale promo post that I did eons ago.  I have the best of intentions to blog, but this Thursday thing is sometimes the best I can do, and not even even Thursday.  I'm sorry!  Do you forgive me?  So here, without further ado, are three totally random things.

1)  Can I be shallow for a moment?  I just found out that they are shutting down the ride at which I started my Disney career, and I'm devastated.  It's like finding out they are taking a wrecking ball to your childhood home-very unsettling.  While I had had one brief job before that, working at Disney was my first "real" job in my mind, and it also was a dream come true.  I know rides come and go there often in the name of progress, and the Studio Backlot Tour was a shadow of its former self compared to when I started there, (when I began, it was the Backstage Studio Tour, the tour guides actually spoke the tour instead of pushing a button for a recorded tour, and the tour was combined with the walking tour for one REALLY long tour) but I am devastated nonetheless, and hate that I'm not in FL to say goodbye one last time.   (The above picture was taken when we reopened the tour as the Studio Backlot Tour in its new location at the end of Mickey Ave.  And in case you are wondering, of the 3 standing in the very back right under the tour tram on the sign, I'm the one on the right.  The guy in the front row two people to the left of the one in regular clothes?  He's a big shot Imagineer now :-))

2)  September is my favorite month.  It's starting to cool down, The trees are starting to change color.  The tomatoes I planted in February are finally starting to bear fruit. (We aren't going to talk any more about that, we are just going to celebrate our successes when they finally DO happen.)  September is glorious!

3)  At our co-op, I'm in a newcomers class.  I though it would be a great way to meet people, and I have, but really the class is very structured and the focus is largely on encouraging and instructing those new-ish to homeschooling.  Besides the facilitator, whom I really like, there is one other lady there with an older child (college) and then 4 all younger than TJ.  So sometimes the facilitator asks the other lady and I to chime in on what she is saying as it pertains to kids and homeschooling "for the long haul".  And here's the thing.  There is this women, who otherwise seems very nice to me as we chat before and after "class", who seems to disagree with almost EVERYTHING I say during class.  Everything.  It is really getting to the point where I've just decided to keep my mouth shut. (Because getting into a debate about everything really isn't the way I want to be remembered as I am trying to meet people, and really, whatever we are talking about is not that important in the long run anyway in light of eternity.)   But then I think it's funny, in a terribly uncomfortable sort of way.  Really, I'm a nobody and I don't want this to come across like I think that I'm important (just more, like Paul, to give a little "street cred" to what I am saying), but I ran a homeschool group of 300+ families giving advice to countless people.  I've reviewed curriculum for years.  I write about homeschooling for an internet based home and homeschool website. I've done that all through God's grace, because He is the one who placed me in those situations.   And yet she insists my every word is in error.  It's humbling to be sure.  And it definitely has made me check my motivation-is it for my glory or for God's?  Am I sharing to put the spotlight on me, or at the prompting of the Holy Spirit?  I know that right now I am really at a point in my life where I am acutely aware that, "The more I learn, the more I learn how much there is to learn."  I know I, for one, am less and less certain about most things.  I can only speak from my own experience and the experience I have had as a group leader and a blogger and a reviewer networked with hundreds of other homeschoolers around the globe, and the struggles I have seen them face, and the successes I have seen them have.  I'm a cracked, broken pot, and I don't know much for sure except for Jesus, and my desperate need for Him, but I do think that the instruction in Titus 2 is there for a reason.  We are supposed to help each other.  Those of us who have walked the path already are supposed to help light the way for those coming behind us.  So I'm praying about what to do...but in the meantime, I hate the uncomfortable feeling I have every time I walk through that door.

If you want to link up with Three Things Thursday, just go to Heidi's blog.

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

All About Reading Level 4 is Here!

I ordered THIS yesterday!!!

Because I'm high maintenance, you know I had to call them TWICE to make the order go through, LOL.  That's just how I roll!  Can I tell you how nice their customer service people are?  Really, truly nice folks!  And in the end, it was just technology glitching for me as it always frequently does.  Don't miss your chance to order All About Reading Level 4 at this $20 off discount!

***affiliate link used because we love and use All About Reading***
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Friday, September 5, 2014

Three Things Thursday-9/5/2014 (Yes, That's Friday, if You Are Playing Along at Home)

I should just give up on ever doing this on a Thursday.  Sigh.  But here, on Friday evening, are my three things.  Better late than never, right?

1)  My daughter and I are taking archery.  Our first class was last night.  Apparently, in a world where most people are right eye dominate, and some people are left eye dominate, I am in the strange, confused minority that has competing eye dominance.  So I get to pick whether to shoot left or right handed.  Oddly enough, for now I'm choosing left handed (holding the bow int he right hand), because I have had wrist surgery on both wrists, and the left one gets the most sore with use in the flexed position (like when you are holding a bow).  We'll see how it goes.  Left handed is the way my daughter also shoots.  Last night, I was just thrilled that 9 out of 10 arrows hit the target at all :-).
Mimi's target

My target (two arrows are next to each other, so you don't see both)

"The Range"

2)  We had a nice visit with my mom and her husband.  Things did not go as planned, as the road is too steep in front of our house for their RV fridge to work, and so they could not stay in front of our house :-(.  They ended up at a local lake, so we spent Labor Day swimming and fishing.

3)  We have a dead rat on our back porch.  On purpose.  And we have to keep it there for the next 8 months.  No, I'm not making this up.  Mimi is taking forensics, and she came home from her first class with a frozen rat.  Her crime scene scenario is that her victim was found drowned, clothed, and was a sinker, not a floater, so needed to be held underwater.  Yay (yes, that's sarcasm).  So we had to find a container that was a) suitable to hold the rat for 8 months, b) would not get tipped over or messed with by critters, c) would keep critters from EATTING the rat (ewwww!!!!), and d) would still allow the rat to be exposed to the elements so all the natural processes could take problem.  (EWWWWW).  So I bought a 5 gallon pickle bucket from Firehouse subs for $2, we made homemade sea water (1/2 C salt to 1 gallon water), and Mimi cut an old headband to make clothes for Waldo (the name the rat was given by the teacher).  We found a small rock, tied a tether line to keep Waldo submerged, and poof! instant drowned rat.  (ALL pun intended.  All that remains is for The Hubs to drill some holes in the top for the elements to be able to do their thing, but since her rat is submerged, we know bugs won't play a big role in decomp.  Oh, and she has to check it every day or so...that was gross lovely today.  Have I said EWWWW yet???

To participate in Three Things Thursday, even on Friday or Saturday, just visit Heidi's Blog.
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Friday, August 29, 2014

All About Reading Level 4 is Coming!!!!

Okay, I know, I'm a bit strange.  I got this e-mail earlier and it really, truly made my day.  Especially because it mentioned a sale.  Ooooo, sale.  I feel like one of those green aliens in Toy Story, but since this is our reading curriculum, if I can save money buying it, I'm ALL ABOUT THAT!

It will be available September 4th!  Not long at all.  And for the first 2 weeks, you can save $20 when you order the level 4 kit, so get ready now!  I'll be ordering on the 4th :-).

****affiliate link used because we use and love AAR***

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Three Things Thursday-The Friday Edition 8/29/14

Today I want to share three things I'm thankful for...

1)  Today, for the first time since we moved to NC, I am facing the end of the month/beginning of the month period without having run out of money before we ran out of month, and I am SO thankful!  We knew moving here that carrying our house in FL until it sells (and the accompanying water bill and power bill) and paying rent and all the bills here would mean there was no "extra" in the budget, and we were okay with that.  But the hardest time came right during this one week when we had the double whammies of rent/mortgage, double city water bills, and double power bills ALL due at the same time.  We thought this month would be the first month we would not have the double whammy problem because our FL house was supposed to have sold a few weeks ago.  But God had a different plan.  Instead, the deal fell through on the house 3 days before closing, BUT on Friday my husband received a bonus from work, and as of Monday, he will be getting a raise.  When God closes a door, He opens a window.  And today, I am breathing deeply in thanks.  I even went hog-wild and went grocery shopping, something I could never have done at the end of the month before!

2)  I am thankful for my sister, without whom I would be completely sunk when it comes to dealing with things that come up with our FL house.  She's 6 1/2 years younger than me, and we haven't always been close because of the age difference, but I'm glad that adulthood and parenthood equalizes a lot of that.  She is a huge blessing to me, and I'm very thankful she is willing to help me out.  I don't know what I would do without her!

3)  I'm thankful my mom and her husband are coming to visit.  They should arrive tomorrow.  This is the first time since we moved that they have come to visit, and I'm glad they are coming even if it's only for a short time.  The kids are glad too, since they get some unplanned days off of school!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Boxcar Children Animated Movie Review and Giveaway

About the Film: Four orphaned and homeless siblings happen upon an abandoned boxcar, which with a little creativity and hard work, they gradually furnish with all the comforts of home. Fearful that they will be sent to live with the reputedly cruel grandfather they have never met, the children keep their new home a secret - until a serious illness forces them to reveal themselves in order to save young Violet.
About the Cast: Featuring an all-star cast of voice actors, including Academy Award Nominee Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now), J.K. Simmons (Spiderman), Zach Gordon (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Joey King (Fargo), Mackenzie Foy (Twilight series), and Jadon Sand (LEGO: The Movie), this is the very first full-length, animated feature adaptation of Gertrude Chandler Warner's best-selling classic!

OBM says:  Speaking honestly, I've always heard of The Boxcar Children books, but never read any of them as a child myself or to my own children.  Since they come highly recommended though, I happily volunteered for this chance to check out the brand new animated movie based on The Boxcar Children's story.  I was not disappointed.  While the animation itself is not major animation studio quality, that does not get in the way of it faithfully (at least according to synopses I read online) retelling the story of the first Boxcar Children book (there were over 100!) and drawing the viewing in to the sweet tale.  And the cast boasts all-star talent to be sure.  I loved this tale of these four kids "making it" despite their circumstances, and doing whatever it takes to stay together, and I think you will too.

The Boxcar Children is rated G and is safe for the whole family.  You can order a copy of The Boxcar Children from Walmart, or you can enter the giveaway below to win one.

* Giveaway for U.S. and Canada residents only

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Where the River Runs Review and Giveaway

I have a very short list of books that have changed my life by my reading them.  Books whose stories genuinely challenged me or inspired to be a better person by the stories they tell and the people whose lives they allow me the privilege of seeing into.  I would honestly add Wherever the River Runs to that list.

About the book:

In Wherever the River Runs, Kelly Minter invites us on a journey down a river teeming with piranhas and caimans, as well as machete-wielding mothers, heroic jungle pastors, faith-filled children, and miracles too seldom experienced in our part of the world. Kelly's honest and engaging narrative pulls back the curtain on one of the most captivating places on earth as well as on parts of the gospel we may be able to recite but have never fully believed.
 On this beautiful adventure through the jungles of Brazil and the tangles of the soul, Kelly rediscovers Jesus among a forgotten people living well beyond the corners of her previously defined faith--a people who draw her back to their country, their pain, and their hope in Him, again and again.
 "Kelly Minter writes the way a portrait artist paints." -- Beth Moore, Living Proof Ministries
 "The best thing I can say about Wherever the River Runs is that I closed the last page, bowed my head, and said, 'God, send me too.' Thank you, Kelly, for your courage, leadership, and faithfulness." -- Jen Hatmaker (speaker, blogger, and author of 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess)

Here's the book's trailer:

OBM says:  To say I loved this book is an understatement.  First, there was the way Kelly Minter writes-it's like she's your good friend and she's just telling you the story over coffee.  And yet it's so full of Biblical truths that I found myself underlining parts of the book to go back to, to ruminate on, to someday blog about.  So often what I was reading perfectly fit what was going on in my life, from a discussion in our life group about how meeting someone's need can also mean getting sucked into to their life to just the timing of the reading the book itself as we had a group from church just return from an overseas mission trip.

The book made me laugh and cry.
Such a beautiful story goes with this true, true quote.  It brought me to tears.

It encouraged me and strengthened me.
This quote actually goes with a verse that came up in my quiet time again this morning about praying to God and then waiting expectantly for His response.

 It challenged me and convicted me.
Like Kelly realized, we don't have to live in the Amazon to make a difference.  There are people right outside our own door that need us if we will just take notice and be willing to be used by God to meet the need.

Just like Kelly could never be the same after going to the Amazon, I don't think you could read this book and ever be the same.  We have such a sheltered experience with Christianity here in America.  Such a warped idea of what "hard" is.  Hard is getting all the kids out the door on time on a morning when you forgot there was no more milk for cereal and that the car needs gas. And then you read about what these people go through just to spread the good news.  The pastor who traveled 17 DAYS in the jungle to get to their first annual pastor's conference.  This untrained man of faith who was desperate to become even more equipped spiritually so that he could continue to do the work God had called him to do.  We are so blessed and we don't even know it.  Really, you have to read this book.

And now, here's the good news.  You can win your own copy of this book.  And if you don't you really should go buy it.  But to win it, just enter below.  And please, share the giveaway with your friends.  This is SUCH an awesome book, everyone should know about it!

*Giveaway for U.S. and Canada residents only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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