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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lamplighter 7 for $7 too good to miss!


Lamplighter Ministries is having the most amazing promotion right now-but only through tonight.  Follow the link below to get 7 e-books , 7 dramatic audios, or a combo pack of e-books and dramatic audios for $7.  Yes, that's right--$7.  It is an amazing deal financially, but beyond that, it is a chance to expose your children to stories that will change their lives.  So many great stories are available, but our favorite is the Dramatic Audio for A Peep Behind the Scenes--I can't recommend it highly enough!

This is the special link just for the sale.
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Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Cry From Egypt Review

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Being on the Schoolhouse Review Crew is always a blessing, but there are times when God has specifically used Crew reviews to answer prayer, and this was definitely one of them! :

A Cry From Egypt is a Christian historical fiction book written by a recent homeschool graduate, Hope Auer, and published by Great Waters Press. The book tells the story a fictional Hebrew family and of a young girl in that family, Jarah, as it covers the plight of the Israelites in slavery in Egypt. The work is hard, the days are long, the overseers are brutal, and the people are wondering if God remembers them. Then Moses appears on the scene, but initially his presence is less than welcome because his appeals to pharaoh result in more work and even harsher treatment. As more and more plagues occur, Jarah is convinced of Yahweh's power, but her mother and older sister become even more convinced that they are the ones who are correct in their belief in the Egyptian gods. Since Jarah's father and older brothers are firm believers in Yahweh, some real family tension ensues. Through the eyes of Jarah's friend's sister, who is the queen's personal maid, we are given a glimpse into the pharaoh's household and are able to experience the plagues both from the Egyptian and Hebrew point of view. The book is the first in The Promised Land series, and can be purchased from Great Waters Press for $12.50.

  The pros: Remember how I said this was an answer to prayer? All of my children are doing ancient world history right now, but our local library and even our county library system do not carry any of "the usual" readers that are recommended to accompany those cultures. I had even begged my local friends, but none of them had the books I was looking for. Then, A Cry From Egypt arrived literally just before we got to Egypt in our history. The timing could not have been more perfect and was definitely "a God thing". The story is well told and had moments that brought me to tears. It gave my children a wonderful view of the what life was like just before and during the plagues. It also really made my children (and if I'm honest, me as well) think about the struggles the Hebrews faced and about the fact that some of them probably really wrestled with their faith. We are totally wrapped up in the story of Jarah and her family, and will definitely eagerly await the next book.

The cons: None. We enjoyed this book immensely!

The bottom line: A Cry From Egypt definitely is a worthy and vivid telling of the time of the Exodus. It's recommended for ages 8 and up, although my 7 year old has listened to it and did just fine. Some violence is portrayed, as would have been legitimately experienced by the Hebrews in captivity, but it is not gratuitous. It's so sad to see the pharaoh's heart harden and cause such calamity. It's also sad, but so real, to watch the spiritual struggle within Jarah's mom. It was eye opening to experience the literal ending of the plagues at the beginning of the land of Goshen, and to see that through the eyes of the amazed and relieved and moved and confused Israelites. I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that  I'd wholeheartedly recommend A Cry From Egypt for anyone looking for a really well written Christian historical fiction book about the Exodus.

To order A Cry From Egypt, visit their website. To see what other members of the Crew thought, visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog. Great Waters Press also provided some Crew Members with a different book to review called Children in Church, and you can read reviews for that book on the Crew blog too.

Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the Crew, I received a free copy of A Cry From Egypt for the purpose of giving my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Friday, September 21, 2012

NIV Rock Solid Study Bible for Teens- A FIRST Wildcard Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!




You never know when I might play a wild card on you!








Today's Wild Card is:


Zondervan; Special edition (August 21, 2012)

***Special thanks to Rick Roberson for sending me a review copy.***


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:




This all-new, full-featured NIV Bible is great for teens looking to grow their faith, increase meaning in their lives, and find hope for their future. The Rock Solid Bible for Teens is a timely guide for teens grappling with big questions about the world, their future, and their faith. Featuring the complete New International Version text, apologetics helps, hundreds of call-outs, and concrete promises for the future, the Rock Solid Bible provides firm traction for the development of beliefs and behavior rooted in the unchanging love, guidance, and promises of God.




Product Details:

List Price: $29.99



Reading level: Ages 13 and up

Hardcover: 1664 pages

Publisher: Zondervan; Special edition (August 21, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0310723302

ISBN-13: 978-0310723301






AND NOW...THE A SAMPLE (CLICK ON IMAGES TO SEE LARGER):















Chapter will be placed up here soon.


OBM says: This is geared to teens, not specifically boys, but my teenage son was very drawn to it. So drawn to it, in fact, that it disappeared very soon after it arrived and has become "his" Bible. And any Bible that had my teen clamoring to own it is wonderful, in my humble opinion :-).
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Where Love Grows- a FIRST Wildcard Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!




You never know when I might play a wild card on you!








Today's Wild Card author is:




and the book:


Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen of Harvest House for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:






Jerry Eicher’s bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah’s Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he’s been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina, and their four children in Virginia.



Visit the author's website.







SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:




In Jerry Eicher’s conclusion to his popular Fields of Home trilogy, readers will be delighted to attend the wedding of Teresa, the young Englisha girl who has come home with Susan Hostetler to learn the ways of the Amish---and in fact to become Amish herself.





Product Details:

List Price: $12.99



Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736939458

ISBN-13: 978-0736939454






AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:







Susan Hostetler made her way to the barn to hitch the horse for the drive to the small farmstead where James and Teresa would live after their wedding next week. Susan smiled as she thought of Deacon Ray’s struggle to get used to the idea that his son James was marrying an Englisha girl. Nee, it had not been easy for him. Of course, Teresa was Amish now. In the months since she had arrived with Susan, Teresa had turned into a model of submission and humility. Deacon Ray shouldn’t complain even if Teresa’s baby, Samuel, had been born out of wedlock before she came to the community. Yah, in an unwed state, but wasn’t changing one’s life for the better a commendable thing to do? Of course it was.



And Teresa was now properly baptized. She knew how to cook, wash clothes, and sew with the best of the women. She even had her own quilt completed and stashed in the cedar chest upstairs awaiting the day she and James would marry. She would spread the quilt on their bed and be able to say with complete honesty that she had done much of the work. There had been help from Mamm, five of Susan’s eight sisters who lived nearby, and Susan herself. Between the work on the quilt, helping Teresa adapt to her new life, and now the plans for the upcoming wedding, the months had sped by.



Summer was waning, and it wouldn’t be long until snow would be covering the Amish farms spread among these rolling hills of southern Indiana. But now was not the time to think of snow. The rest of summer lay ahead, followed by fall, and perhaps a glorious display of Indian summer. How appropriate that would be for all of them. And Teresa deserved a wonderful stretch of gut weather, both before and following her wedding day. It would be fitting after the hard road she’d traveled after arriving in the Amish community.



Mamm hadn’t seemed worried back then by the attempt to match Yost Byler and Teresa. But Susan had been ready to panic before Yost finally decided, with Susan’s daett’s help, that marrying Teresa wasn’t a gut idea. Such a marriage would have been a disaster for Teresa and probably also for Yost. Yah, he needed a wife who had been born Amish to cook and clean for him. The gut news floating around the community was that Yost may have finally found an older widow as a potential frau.



Only a few days remained until Teresa’s wedding to James. It would take place here on the Hostetler home place, just like Daett had provided for all Susan’s sisters. How could things be more awesome than that?



Perhaps the icing on the cake was the love that was now beginning to stir afresh in Susan’s heart for her old flame, Thomas Stoll. Who could have imagined such a thing? Yah, she had loved Thomas since their school days, but that love came to a halt the day she caught Thomas kissing Eunice outside a hymn singing one Sunday night. Thomas had claimed he’d just had a “weak moment.”



After escaping into the Englisha world for a time, Susan was back now. And despite all the fuss, she and Thomas were getting together again. Of course, it hadn’t hurt that Teresa had encouraged her to restore the relationship after Thomas’s repeated apologies and continued attention. Mamm and Daett also gave their encouragement at every opportunity. But it was Teresa’s opinion that had carried the real weight. How strange that an Englisha girl should have such sway in her life. But that was how things had turned out. Teresa was now the friend closest to Susan’s heart.



Since Susan had returned from her flirtation with the Englisha world in Asbury Park, New Jersey, Thomas was the picture of repentance. Had he wanted to, he could be married to Eunice by now—or to just about any other young woman in the community. But Thomas hadn’t pursued anyone but Susan in the months since her return. The result was that Susan felt some trust returning in her heart for him. Perhaps someday soon her heart would be fully restored.



In the meantime, there was no need to rush into setting a wedding date, even with Thomas’s pleadings that they do. Yah, he loved Susan and wanted to marry her, but he also wanted to begin the work of taking over the farm from Susan’s daett. In fact, he wanted it very badly. Thomas had no background in farming since his daett was a cabinetmaker, but he was anxious to learn.



Mamm and Daett were older now and tired. They both yearned for the comfort of the dawdy haus, which would be built as soon as the matter between Thomas and Susan was settled by marriage. Until then, Daett had hired young Steve Mast to help with the farm. He’d started in the spring and was a hard worker—no doubt due to his being raised on an Amish farm over in Daviess County. During the days he worked Daett’s farm, Steve took his supper and lodging at Susan’s sister’s place. Ada and her husband, Reuben, lived just down the road a piece.



Steve was a rare find, Daett said. A real answer to their prayers. Not many Amish men were available for hiring out once they became of age at twenty-one. Either they were married, were planning to get married, or had work on their own family places.



Steve didn’t have work on his daett’s place, neither did he have a girlfriend or a prospect that anyone knew of. He was the second boy in a family of ten—six of them being boys. He wasn’t that handsome or forward about himself, a good quality for an Amish man.



Susan stopped just short of the barn and looked up at the swaying branches of the old oak where she’d once had a swing and had climbed to its highest limbs. She sighed to think she was too old for that now. But at least she was here. She was home, hopefully to stay.



It was here she had played in the front yard with her cousins and older sisters during many a summer. Here she had watched Daett harness the horses in the first light of dawn. Here she had watched him take the teams to the fields, where his tall form moved in and out of view all day. Here her heart had taken deep enough root that she was pulled back after her time in Asbury Park. Susan sighed again. Was this why she was giving in to Thomas? Was this why she was allowing him to bring her home on Sunday nights again? Was she accepting his attentions although still feeling a little uncertain about their future?



No, it was more than that. It was high time she made up her mind and settled down with a husband. Steve couldn’t work for Daett forever. And Daett was getting up in years. He and Mamm deserved to move into a dawdy haus and not work so hard. Was that how her love for Thomas would grow? Her desire to stay here in her childhood home, Thomas’s desire to farm, and Mamm and Daett’s desire to settle in a dawdy haus?



It was possible, Susan supposed. Hadn’t Mamm said love could grow anywhere? Anywhere it was allowed to, that is. Then Susan would allow it for everyone’s sake. If love came slowly for her, then so be it. She and Thomas would have a lifetime for her love to grow stronger. That it was beginning small and uncertain for her would be her secret.



As Susan reached to open the barn door, a man cleared his throat behind her. Susan jumped and whirled around.



“Umm…I have the horse ready,” Steve said. “He’s tied up in the first stall.”



Susan relaxed. “You didn’t have to do that, Steve. I would have done it.”



A hint of a smile crossed Steve’s face. “It was no trouble. Happy to do it.” He looked up at the clear sky. “It’s sure a beautiful morning.”



“Yah, it is,” Susan answered. “Well, thanks for getting Toby ready. I wasn’t expecting that. I know you’re busy with the usual chores Daett gives you.”



“Your daett is a gut man and a gut farmer.” Steve tugged the hat rim down over his eyes more. “He’s done a gut job keeping things up on the farm, even with his age.” With that, he turned to go.



Without thinking, Susan asked, “Do you have any secrets, Steve?”



He stopped and looked back over his shoulder. “Me? Secrets? I’m a pretty ordinary fellow. No secrets.”



“Really? I thought everyone had secrets.”



“Not me. I’m pretty much what you see. No secrets and no roots. I’m kind of like the dandelions in the field. I grow where Da Hah blows me.”



“So why don’t you have a girl?”



His eyes twinkled. “Maybe I haven’t found the perfect one yet.”



“Is that why you moved to a new community? To…”



“Scout the land?” He finished her sentence. “Perhaps. Do you have anyone in mind?”



“Nee,” Susan said. “And I don’t know why I even asked something like that. Maybe it’s that type of morning.”



He smiled. “I’m afraid you’ll have to look someplace other than myself for secrets. And no offense taken.”



“Thank you,” she said. “What do you think of Teresa and James?”



He raised his eyebrows. “They seem like a nice enough couple. Why do you ask?”



“Oh, no reason,” she said. “I suppose you heard about all the ruckus before they got together.”



Steve shrugged. “I don’t pay much attention to rumors. They look like they’re in love with each other. That should be gut enough for anyone.”



“I want nothing more from life,” she said, “than to settle down to a boring sameness, day after day, night after night, living in peace and love. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”



“I don’t know about that,” he said. “I’m not much into boring. I’m surprised you are. I heard you’d been with the Englisha for a while. That’s not something a person does who’s looking for boring.”



“So now you’re paying attention to rumors?”



Steve laughed. “I didn’t really hear that much. People seem to think highly of you. And I’m sure your mamm and daett will be happy if you plan to stay. And Thomas, of course.”



“What do you think of him?”



“Thomas?” He paused for a moment. “You want me to comment on your boyfriend?”



“Yah, I’m asking you. Coming from another community, you might have an unbiased perspective.”



“What if I don’t like him? Can I continue working here?”



She laughed. “I’m not going to chase you off.”



“Well…”



“Come on now. Tell me the truth.”



Steve tilted his head sideways. “Thomas comes from a good family, as far as I can tell. Of course, I don’t know what secrets lie in his past. Maybe he ran off to the Englisha world for a while too. You know, something wild like that.” His eyes twinkled as he spoke the last line.



“So you think that’s a character flaw? You keep bringing it up.”



“Depends on why a person did it, I guess.”



“Let’s just say I had my reasons.”



“Fair enough,” he said.



They stood silent for a moment.



Susan finally said, “Well, I better get busy or Teresa will wonder what’s happened to me.”



“And I better get busy in the fields before your daett thinks I’ve gone lazy on him.” He turned and left.



Susan went into the barn thinking about the exchange. Steve hadn’t given away much about his past. Not that it was any of her business. But a person just couldn’t help wondering. Had some girl dumped him? He’d probably had his heart broken, and the wound was healing slowly and out of sight of the people who knew him.



She’d done much the same thing by moving to Asbury Park. True, it had been time spent among the Englisha. But Da Hah had brought good things out of the experience. That time of her life was nothing to be ashamed of.



Susan untied Toby and led him outside. Lifting the shafts of the buggy, she swung him underneath and fastened the tugs. Holding the bridle, Susan looked toward the house and waited. There was still no sign of Teresa.



Thoughts of last Sunday night buzzed through Susan’s head. Thomas hadn’t tried to kiss her yet. In a way she wished he would. It might hurry things along. But apparently Thomas wasn’t willing to rush things until she agreed to a wedding date. To his credit, he seemed to ignore the fact that Eunice still made eyes at him almost every Sunday night at the hymn singings. Mamm was right though. Susan needed to trust Thomas and believe he wouldn’t fall again just because Eunice batted her eyes at him. After all, Thomas claimed Eunice acted that way toward all the boys, which was partly true. To his credit, Thomas really didn’t want Eunice. He was choosing her—Susan. That was worth something, wasn’t it? Surely his persistence would arouse some of the old feelings she used to have for him.



And now here came Teresa, running across the yard, her face glowing with happiness. At least somebody had things figured out in this world.


OBM says: I love Amish Fiction, and this book was such a delight to read. I particularly enjoyed the rare look into an "Englisha" girl becoming Amish, since most Amish fictions books delve more into the struggle of an Amish raised young adult trying to decide if joining the church or staying in the church is the right thing. I did not read the first two books in the series (although I would love to have), and had no problem reading this book as a stand alone. I definitely will look into reading more books by Jerry Eicher!
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Friday, September 14, 2012

Speekee Revisited Review



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Last January, I had the chance to review an online spanish program called Speekee.  Geared for elementary aged students, Speekee apparently captured the attention and the heart of my youngest, although I did not know it at the time.  In fact, last time we looked at it, I judged it "not a good fit" for our family because my older kids thought it was too young (they are beyond the target age), and my youngest, Sari, liked it a lot but would not rewatch episodes, so she was not really learning anything....

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But it's amazing the difference a year and a half can make!  Now, Sari begs to watch Speekee every day.  She watched the first episode, El Parque, over and over and over.  It's good she watches with headphones on, or the rest of us might have gone batty!  She's watched other episodes too, don't get me wrong, but she really likes El Parque :-). 

So what is Speekee?  It's an award winning online (or DVD, but they are PAL version) Spanish curriculum for children ages 2-10.  It's an immersion approach, meaning all they speak is Spanish, but captioning is available, so children who can read (and parents who don't speak Spanish at all) can see what the characters are saying.  To be fair, you can deduce what the characters are saying without the captioning, but the captioning allows students to see the written Spanish language as well.  The lessons feature Speekee, the purple puppet shown above, as well as sock puppets Lupi and Dino, as you can see below.

In addition to the puppets, native Spanish speaking children and an adult named Jim complete the cast.  Many important concepts or words are set to music.  The songs are catchy.  My daughter's favorite is the Adios song.  She walks around the house singing it all the time.  Because I've watched the videos (they are about 15-20 minutes long each) and seen the captioning, I can correct her if she's saying an incorrect word, even though I've never studied Spanish.  There are 10 videos, and using Speekee's lesson plans, it would cover 40 weeks of 4-day-a-week lessons.  Speekee has a free two week trial, and after that it costs $7.50 a month, or $60 for a year.

The pros:  The first time I reviewed Speekee, as I said, my daughter would not rewatch episodes with any regularity, and that kept her from really learning.  Now, she watches them over and over, and I have seen (and heard) her begin to pick up the language.  I love that the videos teach practical, every day vocabulary- words pertaining to the house, the store, the park, etc.  Colors and numbers are also taught.  And as I mentioned above, the fact that much of the learning is put into memorable songs definitely helps to make the program successful.  But the biggest pro is a feature they did not offer at the time of my last review:  the FastTrack.  Speekee's FastTrack is a 40 week lesson plan already done for you.  All the worksheets and flashcards you need are there to be printed at the click of a button.  Below you can see an example of weeks one and two:

In addition to rewatching the full videos several times over the course of the plans, FastTrack also makes use of the "Cool Clips" from each segment.  These highlight one particular concept.  In the picture below, you can see the top thumbnails are the 10 videos, and the bottom ones are the "Cool Clips" from El Parque.

The cons:  I really don't have any, but in case it matters to anyone out there, Speekee teaches the kind of Spanish that people in Spain speak, not the dialects of Latin America or Mexico.  Yes, fundamentally, the language is the same, but some pronunciations are different.  And yes, I'm sure there is a fancy name for each of those dialects, but I don't know them because I never took Spanish.  I just know the Speekee teaches the Spain kind of Spanish :-).

The bottom line:  With the addition of FactTrack, I think Speekee has really become a full Spanish curriculum for elementary students.  And my daughter has already declared that she fully intends to keep using Speekee every day, so that's probably the biggest complement any curriculum gets around here.  I'd highly encourage you to check out Speekee, especially with a free two week trial.  Pretty soon, I'm sure you'll be saying, "Me gusta"!

To sign up for Speekee's online program, visit their website.  To see what my fellow Crewmates thought, visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

Legal Disclaimer:  As a member of the Crew, I received free access to Speekee for the purpose of offering my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Our Academy Homeschool Week 4

This week was an atypical week for sure!  It started with a holiday, and with our family and The Hub's sister's family gathering at Nana and Pop Pop's to celebrate Labor Day and TJ's upcoming birthday.  For some reason, I never seem to get many pictures at those events, just these of TJ and his cake...

The kids are always delighted to see cousin Ben, and he has a special connection with TJ.  We went to their house the week we went to MOSI, and so they had all been looking forward to meeting up again so soon.  In fact, Ben was hoping we could go back to their house on Tuesday after school :-).

Tuesday and Wednesday we hit the books hard. We had already planned to meet up with friends at Disney on Thursday, and Mimi and Scott were both working for Daddy on Friday, so we literally had a two day school week.   Scott had piano on Wednesday, and while he was there I ran to Publix to make Mimi's red hair dreams come true...or at least closer to true.  We had no success finding a temporary bright red/orange hair color, so we decided to use Kool Aid.  Since the boiling water method really doesn't work for a whole head, we opted to do the Kool Aid mixed with conditioner and a tad bit of baking soda.  Here's the process and result after a night of sleeping with it on her hair:





The result was most noticeable on the ends of her hair and the hairs that were the lightest blond.  On the crown of her head, I'm not sure there is much of a noticeable difference.  But it was enough for a few random strangers at Disney to stop her and tell her she looks like Merida.

Thursday we met up with my friend Heidi and her family at the Magic Kingdom.  She works for a company called 3D Travel, and they sponsor the Ultimate Homeschool Field Trip at Walt Disney World.  Thursday's activity was a scavenger hunt at MK, and we got to join in.  It was good fun!  After that was over, our families spent a few hours together, then Heidi had a meeting, and then we met back up.  Here are some pictures:
Mimi and Gracie meet up again.  It's been 8 about 8 months since we saw them last.  See Gracie's cute shirt?  Heidi made those!  Each member of her family has one.  You can see them throughout these photos.

One of the scavenger hunt requirements was a group photo on the bleachers.  We used my phone, so I had to show the person taking the photo how to use it, and thus I ended up front and center-not my favorite place in pictures ;-).

Another item was a picture of a photo pass photographer in front of the castle.  Sari and Ian jumped in the picture too.

Another item was taking a picture of the Mickey and Minnie topiary.

The whole team had these bobble headbands to wear.

Here's another picture showing Mimi's hair.

I put this pirate bandanna thing on TJ, not knowing it goes with a show for preschoolers.  Sari knew though, and she blurted it out just as I was taking this, hence the expression,  LOL.

While Heidi was in her meeting the sky literally opened up and rained buckets.  We made it to the carousel and rode 3 times while the worst of it passed.  Then we hit Pooh and the Tea Cups and managed to stay pretty dry.

Once we met back up with them, we did Haunted Mansion, got Sorcerer cards, and headed to Pirates.  The kids had tons of fun with the weapons at the end.  This cast member even joined in. 

Out of order picture, but here's TJ and I on the carousel.  You can see a few rain drops on our shirts.

Heidi had dinner reservations at Ohanas (LUCKY!), so we rode the train back with them to the main entrance.  This is one last picture of Mimi and Gracie.

And one of TJ and Ian. 

We stayed on the train back to Frontierland so that Mimi and TJ could ride Splash Mountain.  I've learned the best way to help Scott make it through a day at Disney is to let him escape on his iPod.  This was him waiting for the kids at Splash.

Sari's favorite way to pass the time at Splash is the play area.  But sadly, with this last growth spurt, I think she's really outgrown it--especially since she's the same length as the slide.

Sari sported her "princess hair" and everywhere we went we gave mini tutorials on how to do it. 

Out of order, I know, but here's Scott and Ashley on Dumbo.

And Mimi, Gracie, and Heidi.

Oh, and my kids actually had a Disney first--first Dole Whip.  Sari opted for orange, while Mimi and Scott got the pineapple floats, and TJ got an orange float.  He didn't care for the pineapple juice that the orange whip was "floated" on, but he liked the whip just fine.
 
 
Friday was TJ's birthday, so once he was done with school, I let him have an afternoon playing on a cyber game with his friend.  We finally had some activity on TJ's bird feeder experiment for science.  We hung one with thistle seed and one with a mixed seed, and saw NO activity for days and days.  Wednesday, it looked like the level in the seed feeder had dropped, but Friday we actually saw 3 birds at the feeder.  No action on the thistle, but maybe there will be this winter.
The day we placed the feeders.  The mesh bag is full, but you can't see it in this light.

The feeders on Friday.

Some seed spilled while filling the feeder.  TJ quickly crafted this face out of it :-).
 
That's it for now.  It was a good week, but kinda short, LOL. 
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Friday, September 7, 2012

Happy 11th Birthday TJ

I love this small boy.  And for the record, I think I'll always call him that--even when he towers above me by several inches.  Eleven years ago today I was blessed to become his mamma. 

He has a passion for soccer (back row left), and he's a loving cousin to the cutie-patootie in the middle of the front row, as well as his other cousin in Tampa.  He's the best big brother, and a very tolerant younger sibling.

He loves to be physically funny.  I don't know where that trait comes from-not me or his father for sure!  He's sported this "surfer dude" haircut since he was 3...until last week.  Now he looks like the picture at the top, and it's taking some getting used to!



Always a clown...
 

 
He makes me laugh...
 
He's really matured in the past year.  He's my strongest and best student.  He is obedient, and kind, and loving.  He's simply wonderful.  A real gift from God. 
 
Happy Birthday TJ!!!

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