Growing up, Daddy always carved a watermelon basket for our summer parties while Momma whipped up yummy food.
"It can't be too hard," I thought, deciding to tackle the family tradition.
Don't look too closely at these photos because they are nothing like Daddy's clean straight lines. Here is my watermelon basket and it wasn't too difficult.
I will walk you through the process step-by-step.
You will need:
1 Large Watermelon
1 Large Watermelon
1 Large Honeydew
1 Sharp Working Space
1 Melon Ball Maker
1 Large Mixing Bowl
1 Large Working Space
Your first job will be to cut off most of the top half of the watermelon leaving a wide handle in the center. (See the photo below)
Next, make melon balls from the pieces you cut off from the watermelon and add them to the mixing bowl.
Move on to making melon balls from the rest of the watermelon until it is empty, adding them to your bowl. Scrape the insides of the watermelon so it is smooth.
Make melon balls from the cantaloupe and honeydew, adding them to the mixing bowl. Mix all the fruit together so there is a pretty color mix.
Add the melon balls to the empty watermelon basket and it is ready to serve.
That's it! It's easier than you thought, isn't it? It makes a great centerpiece for a summer party, BBQ, or outside picnic.
Happy Summer Hospitality!
Creation Week is such a fun time in history to study with children. They love to learn how God created the stars, the animals, the waters, the sun, and people! It is so exciting that God spoke and it was created! Wow!
Laura and I decided to create a little lapbook for our grandsons who love to learn about Jesus.
So we started with timeline figures from our Ancient History Timeline and Scripture passages from Genesis 1.
Since all of the Old Testament points to Jesus, we decided to include some Scripture memory cards about Jesus, as well as some from Genesis 1.
We got more and more excited. Soon, we just had to create a lapbook, so we did!
As you can see below, there are booklets to color, fold, and glue to the lapbook each day after reading the Scripture passage, enjoying hands-on learning activities, and working on memory verses.
The lapbook turned out beautiful and we had such fun digging into the first week of history!
In fact, we had so much fun, we decided to share our little lapbook with you. My Creation Week Lapbook is available as an E-book from PayHip and TeachersPayTeachers. Learn more about the book here.
If your looking for STEM resources about Creation from a biblical worldview, you will love learning about Creation Week with My Creation Week Lapbook.
After all, learning science should be fun!
Until next time, Happy Homeschooling!
I was intrigued by the title John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress with 525 Illustrations Spanning 250 Years compiled by Laura Bluedorn available from Trivium Pursuit.
As I browsed through one of my favorite stories, I found myself delighted. It seemed that Laurie Bluedorn gathered every picture painted of scenes in Pilgrim's Progress.
Everyone should read Pilgrim's Progress at least once, if not several times.
This copy is a true treasure, like nothing I've ever seen before. With 605 pages, you will feel like you are in an art museum devoted to John Bunyan. I was blown away by all the different styles of artwork in the book. I couldn't stop browsing through the book.
Not only do I LOVE the book, but I found an awesome blog on Trivium Pursuit that helps parents to teach Pilgrim's Progress to their children. You can read the blog here.
sA Child's Geography: Explore Medieval Kingdoms from Knowledge Quest takes us back in time to the Middle Ages where we explore the locations of important Kingdoms of Medieval Times.
Starting with Spain, we learn about the varied landscape, a bit of history, and some famous sites. The text is written in conversation style.
After Spain, we moved on to Portugal, Andorra, Monaco, France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.
We downloaded several resource E-books: Recipes, Extra Reading, Activities, Maps, Prayer Walk, and Timeline.
This additional E-books were free with the purchase of A Child's Geography: Explore Medieval Kingdoms.
My favorite things about this book is the breathtaking photographs. Wow! They are amazing!
Since I only had a few days to look over the material, I decided to just read the book, though I was so eager to try out everything with my kids. I felt like I had taken a three-month vacation to Europe when I finished reading the book. I can't wait to use it for geography with the crafts, timelines, maps, prayer guide, maps, and recipes. Everyone looks fun! My children will love it.
A Child's Geography: Explore Medieval Kingdoms is more than a textbook, it's a unit study with hands-on fun for every member of the family.
Homeschooling is an all-encompassing adventure. It takes over your whole life, especially if you choose to pursue a lifestyle of learning instead of trying to bring traditional school-style learning into the home.
We like living books, hands-on-fun, and mentoring our children in the context of close relationships.
Sometimes, Homeschool Moms can wonder what on earth they were thinking when they took the homeschool plunge.
Not because it isn't wonderful? And fun! And exciting!
But, there is that nagging fear! "Am I doing everything right? Are my children missing something they need in their education? Am I teaching effectively?"
When I start to nervous about those things, I have to stop and ask myself, "Who is driving our homeschool bus?" Is it me? Or is it the Lord?
You see, I can do an okay job educating my children, but if I want excellence in my home school, I need the Master Teacher to take charge.
He is perfect in all His ways and knows everything about everything! Best of all, He wants me to surrender to Him and allow Him to take control of my heart, life, family, home, children, and home school.
Once you surrender to Him, the pressure is off. The focus becomes honoring Jesus, praying, digging into His Word, and letting Him lead. Homeschooling becomes an adventure with Jesus!
And so today, I ask you: Who is driving your homeschool bus? If you are driving, you might want to surrender to Jesus. He is an amazing driver! Jesus promises to lead us beside still waters, to nourish our souls, to give us wisdom, to lift our burdens, to fill our heart with joy, to answer our prayers, and work in us to will and to act according to His good purpose. He will never leave us. And don't forget: Jesus said in John 15 that apart from Him, we can do nothing.
The biggest curriculum sale of the year, the 2019 Build Your Bundle, starts on May 15, 2019 and lasts for just one week.
Would you like to enter a giveaway to win $3K worth of homeschool curriculum?
Hurry and enter before the sale starts on May 15. You can enter here.
You will also get a FREE gift for entering the giveaway: The Kitchen Binder set of printables. Yes, it's practical and cute!
You will also get a $5.00 off coupon to use in the sale toward your purchase once it begins. Enjoy!
This is our sixth year being part of Build Your Bundle and we are so excited to have 5 products in this year's sale.
We'll tell you more about them next week.
Now, details are still secret until the first day of the sale, but I can tell you ...
The sale has some changes this year to make it even better than before. The best change is that you can build your own bundle with as many products as you'd like--the more you buy, the better the savings.
Learn more about the 2019 Build Your Bundle Sale here.
Hey everyone! I have a guest blog at the zoo I call home, "Living Books and Unit Study Fun."
Check it out here.
Thank you to Felicia Johnson for the opportunity to share on her site.
You have to check out The Zoo I Call Home. You will find resources and blog posts for your home school.
I am a fan of Felica's blog where you will find almost everything you need to know about homeschooling.
Check out the my article here and check out Felicia's blog here.
Until Next Time, Happy Homeschooling!
What a gentle, glorious privilege to be a Mom!
From the moment that little one comes into the world after nine months of preparation that seem so slow and suddenly sped up so quickly, our world is transformed.
Motherhood has a way of shaping and defining us. It reveals the virtues and flaws in our character. It forces us to run to Jesus for help, wisdom, and strength.
I talk to so many mothers who feel discouraged and weary. They long to be perfect mothers and often believe lies about themselves, their children, and their ability to parent.
This article is for every Mom out there who is believing lies.
I want you to STOP believing lies and BELIEVE God's TRUTH!
You see, as Christians, we are in a battle. Goodness vs. Evil. Light vs. Dark. God's Kingdom vs. Satan's Kingdom. Our battles often begin in the mind where we start believing Satan's lies and soon we are immobilized.
Sweet sister in Christ, Jesus has overcome the lies of the enemy! He has defeated Satan! The accuser has been hurled down forever!
With those truths in mind, let's examine some of the lies that have weighed you down and hindered your ability to mother the precious treasures God has given you.
I'm the Wrong Person to Raise this Child
Yes, every Mom has wondered if God made a mistake. Oh, they would never say it like that. They just feel they are not the right person to raise a particular child or all of the children. Maybe the child is brilliant and you are just average in intelligence. Maybe the child is musically gifted and you can't even clap in time with music. Maybe the child is so strong-willed and you are weary from disciplining him. Maybe she is moody and sullen; nothing you do makes her smile.
Whatever the reason, we think someone else would do a better job.
God chose you!
I have two examples from Scripture that I want to share with you: Abraham and Esther.
"Look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was only one man, and I blessed him and made him many" (Isaiah 51:2 NASB).
Abraham was called to be the Father of a great nation, but he and his wife couldn't even have a child. He stood in faith and today his descendants are still a great nation.
Esther was challenged by her uncle when she was afraid that God had a plan for her. "And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 12:14 NASB).
The Lord also chose you to raise this child. Don't look at your circumstances. Look at Jesus. He called you and He will equip you!
I'm Ruining My Kids
All Moms feel this way at some point. They may be struggling with anger or sadness and taking it out on the children. Maybe you are disorganized and keep forgetting to get your children vaccinated like I did. Hey, what's wrong with getting their first vaccine at seven years old, anyway?
The sad truth is that you will blow it and make many mistakes. I started off wanting to be a perfect Mom only to discover that I was full of selfishness and other flaws that hurt my children. It is true that we can harm and hurt our children, but we cannot ruin them because there is someone else in the picture
Here's another truth: It's not all about you. God is bigger than your flaws and shortcomings. He will actually pour out grace in your weakness and turn everything around for good. His grace really is sufficient. Even though you will never be a perfect Mom, you will not ruin your children. Even the hurts can open our child's eyes to see that they need a perfect parent.
In mothering, as we surrender to Him, he will love and train through us. You see, children don't need perfect parents, they need parents who look to Jesus.
"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me" (II Corinthians 12:9 NASB).
I love books.
I have invested money and gobs of time curled up to read a good book.
As a young Mom, the Lord used several books on motherhood to inspire me and reveal His plans in Scripture to mother my children. Several of these books changed my life! They encouraged me to stay the course when times were hard. They refreshed my soul when I felt overwhelmed and gave me practical wisdom that I so desperately needed. The authors felt like friends, older Titus 2 women who were investing in my life.
Now, looking back over the years with sadness that my children are all adults, I find myself being asked for advice. I share things on my heart and then...
Well, I pass on my old friends, these tattered books that have seen better days because I have read them so many times.
I give these books as gifts.
And now I pass them on to you, dear friends. Here are my very favorite books on Motherhood.
We are up and running. It’s a brand-new year. So much to be excited about. It’s hard to believe that soon this school year will just be a memory.
My Missing Photos
I have been homeschooling since 1991 and as I look back at our photo albums—yes, I used to get photos printed and put them in albums before digital—I find one set of photos missing. The photos of my children reading, working on a math problem, reading to a sibling, or doing chores.
I have lots of photos of birthdays, holidays, field trips, and special days, but I wish I had more photos of ordinary school days.
Maybe you do take lots of photos of school and chores, posting them on Instagram for the world to see. Good for you! You will treasure those memories one day.
Storing My Photos
As you go through the school year, don’t forget to snap photos and save mementos. Maybe you don’t scrapbook or print photos and put them in leather albums, but you can label and save them in folders.
I don’t print up photos much anymore, unless I am framing them, but I do label photos with the date and list the people in the photo. Sometimes I just use initials like this: “Christmas Day 2016 JR JA Dad Jim KB Rusty.”
My photos are organized on my computer, too. There is one folder for every year: 2000, 2001, 2002, etc. Then, I also have all twelve months in separate folders: Jan 2015, Feb 2015, March 2015, etc. Inside these folders are all kinds of folders: Beach 6 6 15, Road Rally 6 17 15, Mom’s BD 6 2 15, etc. These folders are descriptive, so I can easily remember the day by looking at the title.
As Moms, we, like all Christians around the world, are called to make disciples.
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 [Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [always, even to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28: 18-20 NASB).
Jesus didn’t tell His followers to make converts, but to make disciples that would walk with Him and walk in His ways.
We are to GO. That is active, purposeful.
We are to BAPTIZE. We lead people to Christ and facilitate a born-again experience with God.
We TEACH. We don’t teach just a few things, we teach EVERYTHING Jesus has taught us.
The most important disciples we will ever make are our children.
So how do we impact their young lives for the glory of God?
Living the Christian life boils down to loving Jesus and letting Him love and serve others through us.
This is how Jesus made disciples.
First, Jesus loved His Father and loved the people around Him.
Second, Jesus loved His Father, loved the people around Him, and His disciples were with Him.
Third, the disciples loved the Lord, loved the people around them, and Jesus was with them.
Fourth, Jesus sent the disciples on trial runs to love the Lord and love the people around them.
Love Jesus Wholeheartedly
Flashback to the early 1990s! I was a young mom, interested in homeschooling, who noticed all of these amazing well-behaved children who respect their parents. I wanted children like that!
As time went on, our family thrived with homeschooling. However, my children squabbled with one another. They were not perfect. Sigh.
Comparing Ourselves to Other Families
Over the years, I met so many moms who did so many cool things. I discovered homeschooling children who could compose symphonies, translate Dickens into Latin, and win prizes at debates. My children didn’t want to stand in front of a crowd.
My kids are amazing, smart, funny, … and flawed. Face it. We are just an ordinary family who loves Jesus. And that’s okay. We don’t have to be The Incredibles with Super Powers.
To enjoy and appreciate my children for who they are, I had to ditch comparing them with other children. You see I don’t know what goes on behind the front door of the child who can recite Bible verses in Hebrew or the six-year old who can read Jane Austen, so I will never have the full picture.
I do know this. No family is perfect. Jesus was perfect, but even His family wasn’t.
When I stopped looking at other families and started zeroing in on my own children, I could appreciate their gifts and live with their flaws.
My oldest daughter was a reader and a nurturer. I gave her plenty of books and opportunities to love on her younger siblings and other little ones in church. She quietly served in the nursery and babysat.
Julianna was a strong leader so I provided opportunities for her to manage projects like getting us out the door for a field trip when she was younger and planning the details of our vacation when she got older.
I looked for their strengths and capitalized on them.
Cultivating their strengths became a major focal point for me after I read a business article that said that successful peoples put 70% of their time cultivating their strengths, 25% learning new things, and only 5% of their time overcoming weakness. Wow! I had been really focusing on overcoming all their weaknesses so they could be like the other homeschooled kids I saw around me or maybe like that ideal kids I saw in my mind.
Now, homeschoolers put a lot more time in learning that 25% so I didn’t use this as a formula, but it certainly got me thinking about cultivating strengths which built their confidence, rather than making them feel over and over like they didn’t measure up.
Are you ready to hear about Art of the Northern Countries, Renaissance to Realism, K-3 Vol. 5 from ARTistic Pursuits, Inc.?
I'm so excited to tell you about this beautifully illustrated easy-to-use homeschool art curriculum with a focus on monoprint and relief printmaking methods, watercolor, and charcoal. We used the book and the DVD.
This volume, and the rest of the set, is a wonderful way to introduce young children to the wonderful world of fine art!
We had an amazing time with this book on Northern Artists. We looked at Bruegel, Durer, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Turner, Millet, and more. I love these artists!
We tackled printing assignments and charcoal assignments.
My grandson is 4 years old and he was glued to the DVD for every lesson we watched. He was fascinated and remember the directions clearly. Of course, I love the way, Brenda reviews the lesson briefly, but thoroughly at the end of the lesson.
Both printing with ink and charcoal can get messy, so we covered the working area with newspapers. This worked perfectly.
I will tell you about our charcoal lesson. I worked with my grandson Rusty and two friends ages 16 and 12. My grandson is four.
Our hero and heroine receive a treasure map. With great bravery, they set out to cross raging rivers, climb high mountains, slay fierce dragons, and keep their fellow adventurers committed to their noble task. Forsaking comfort, sleep, and disposable income, they live the adventure to seek the treasure of a lifetime.
Who are these heroes? Why you and your spouse, of course.
While you are battling a fire-breathing dragon after a sleepless night awake with a sick child, you can wonder if the treasure is worth it.
Our own adventure began in the late 1980s when home education was still thought of as quirky. We were unlikely treasure hunters with Mike in seminary, barely two nickels to rub together, living in student housing.
With our eyes on the prize, we plunged in. The creator of Sing, Spell, Read, and Write was a professor at Mike’s graduate school so I went to her workshop and purchased the kit. Copying, coloring, and laminating the letter pages, I made a border in our small dining area so that Katie Beth could see them while she ate her breakfast each morning, waiting for her to show interest in those letters.
Meanwhile, we read beautifully illustrated, well-written picture books by the ton, played at the playground, planted a garden, went strawberry picking, made jam, and explored the nearby woods all with baby Julianna in tow. We loved to sing in the car, talk to cows through the window, and make silly animal sounds while we did their peculiar walks.
“Maybe I should read, Mommy,” Katie-Beth urged as I struggled to keep my eyes awake. I was pregnant again and oh so very sleepy. Could I teach Katie-Beth to read and potty train Julianna with a brand new baby?
We faced other challenges like blending the letter sounds while we were learning to read. It just didn’t come quickly for any of my children. Patience was the answer to that dilemma.
We faced the raging river of teaching something I didn’t understand myself. After praying for an idea, I went to the children’s section of the library and checked out books on the topic. After some quick reading, I understood enough to confidently teach a third grader. That came up over and over, until I learned to relax and learn with my children. After all, learning is a grand adventure!
I was so excited to receive a digital subscription to CrossWired Science, a homeschool online science curriculum for homeschool families, Sound, and Fluid Dynamics.
I was give a choice between two global topics: Sound and Fluid Dynamics and I chose Fluid Dynamics and boy was I in for a surprise. We were having so much fun that I didn't realize we were learning so much. I say we because I learned so much, too.
Now, I had two strikes against me going into this review. One, I am not a techie person and two, I had to leave two quite often during this review and stayed in places where we didn't have internet.
The first strike didn't matter. This online science curriculum was so easy to use. Even I could figure it out. Secondly, though I would have liked to progress forward using the program every day, we had to do it in spurts. That was fine because whenever we finished a video and took the short quiz, we wanted to see another one!
The videos were highly entertaining and fast-paced. Information was shared in an easy-to-understand way that just made sense. And it was fascinating stuff. We learned about sinuses, airplanes, birds, why dogs drool and cats sip, hummingbirds, carburetors, box fish, and penguins. We read books, tried experiments, and went on field trips. What fun! There were constant reminders that God is our Creator!
But while we were having fun, we were learning about aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, Daniel Bernoulli, Bernoulli's Principle, Vortices, turbulent and laminar flow, Orville and Wilbur Wright, fin types, swim patterns, bird feathers, insect flight, dolphin hydrodynamics, kingfisher hydrodynamics, penguin hydrodynamics, how animals drink, caves, Mt. St. Helen, air foils, and so much more. It was amazing!