Like icing on the cake, enrichment studies and activities have rounded out our education. Plus we've had a blast!
The Lord has provided so many unique opportunities to learn and grow.
I remember our children coming back from a wet walk with a homeschooling family from church. Now, I'm not a nature girl, so I was happy to provide this opportunity for my children, but I didn't want to be the provider. The idea of "wet walk" in Florida just said, "alligators, snakes, and yucky bugs" to me, but my children had a blast! And they learned a lot about our wetlands.
One year, my teenage daughters and I signed up for a course at the local community college--a hip-hop class. This was a fun way to exercise and we counted it as PE.
We have gone to seminars, workshops, and classes at our local craft/hobby shop. One year I took Shine to a Christian film festival. It was a bonding time, as well as very educational for the two of us.
Things like art, music, cake decorating, debate, foreign language, dancing, swimming, clubs, choir, team sports, and homemaking add so many fun moments to our home school experience.
So what are some areas that would be fun for you to explore with your children?
Painting, ceramics, collage, charcoals, and pastels are all ways to express creativity.
Some children have a natural artistic flair. Others don't. Treat them all with enthusiasm. Cheer them on.
Drawing is a great skill to start with . There are several "How-to-Draw" books that can teach the basics of sketching. A sketch pad and some nature walks are a great introduction to nature and art together.
I created a tote of art supplies for my children and a cabinet with a shelf of different kinds of paper inside. If my children wanted to create, they could pull out what they needed and get to work.
In middle and high school, there were some watercolor painting and ceramic courses at our homeschool co-op that we took advantage of to give more formal training.
In many countries around the world, folks celebrate Three Kings Day on January 6. Also called Epiphany, this holiday is the celebration of the Wise Men’s visit to baby Jesus after a long journey following a star.
Did you know that the 12 Days of Christmas starts on December 26 and lasts until January 6 when people celebrate Epiphany? It’s true! For many families, the Christmas celebration doesn’t end until Three Kings Day.
Why did Christians start celebrating Epiphany in the first place?
Well, back in the olden days, Christians wanted to remember the story of Jesus’ miraculous birth and what it meant to each one personally. To make Christmas more special, they spent the season of Advent fasting and praying. It became a time of spiritual preparation to go deeper with the Lord.
The fasting ended with the feast of Christmas, special church services were held and people rested from their work. The 12 days between Christmas and Epiphany were filled with saints’ days so it was eventually thought of as 12 Days of Christmas followed by Epiphany, another day to have a special service and celebrate.
Here are the saints celebrated by the Catholic Church between Christmas and Epiphany. The Protestant Church doesn’t celebrate holidays for the saints.
One of my favorite bites at any Chinese restaurant is the Crab Rangoon. I know it’s not “authentic Chinese food” but I love it. When I found a recipe called Crab Rangoon Dip, I was intrigued.
Fast forward a few weeks and it’s almost time for the Annual Church Christmas Party. The adults all get dressed up, bring fancy food to the buffet, play games, take pictures, and enjoy one another’s company. My husband and I have come to this event joyfully every year for 20 years. This year I thought, “What could be fancier than hot Crab Rangoon Dip with Toast Points?” I’m glad I did. Judging from the empty dishes we brought home, I wasn’t the only one who was glad.
There was one problem though. My son’s fiancé is allergic to cream cheese and that’s a main component in Crab Rangoon. I’ve learned about a great substitute cheese which she can handle. It’s not as tangy as cream cheese, not quite as firm but it works well in every recipe I used it. It’s marscapone cheese.
As you look over the ingredients you may be tempted to elect the simpler pre-shredded packages of Monterey Jack Cheese or Parmesan Cheese but it does make a difference. My dip was smooth and creamy, as it should be. The processing of shredded cheeses causes the dip to be a little grainy. It’s not that appealing to me so I always try to avoid that.
Another cost savings tactic is to buy “crab meat” or “lump crab meat”. They both will work but you need to go through that meat very very very carefully to remove all the shells and cartilage. Nothing will ruin you dip faster than having to pick those out while your eating it.
My local grocery store has a wonderful bakery where they offer sour dough bread made in round loaves and sliced thin. It’s perfect for this recipe. I cut the bottom crust off each slice of bread then cut the slices in a starburst pattern which yielded eight triangles per slice.
Try the recipe yourself. You’ll love it!
What makes a birthday special for the birthday person?
What makes a birthday special for party guests and family?
We enjoy picking our favorite foods for dinner, giving presents, and throwing a party with games and laughter.
In our house, we also like to play the Encouragement Game at birthdays.
What is the Encouragement Game?
The Encouragement Game is focused on just one person at a time. Everyone else in the room shares things they appreciate and admire about the that person. It is so uplifting for the one being encouraged. And for those being encouraged, it makes us feel valuable and loved.
We like to focus on Jesus on His Birthday! It's such a privilege to remind Jesus of Who He is and all that He means to us!
“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16 NASB).
We praise Him because He created all things that exist whether we can see them or not! Jesus not only created all things; He is in charge of all things! Jesus is our Creator-King!
The First Celebration
Do you have a little astronaut running around your house or a star gazer who pours over astronomy books?
Are you wondering what to get your little astronomer for Christmas?
I have some great ideas for you.
These are some fun gifts that any little space lover will find delightful.
The Uncle Goose blocks are simple wooden blocks with painted planets, moon phases, or constellations painted on, but they are so much more! There is so much information on them! For anyone who is really interested in space science, it will be a blessing!
In addition, I have seen little star gazers flip over the inflatable planets. You can hang them from the ceiling or toss them around. Hours of fun will ensue and the whole family will end up wanting to play with the inflatable solar system.
Finally, you have to have something with a motor. How about a motorized solar system with planets spinning around the sun.
One of these gifts is sure to be a hit with your little astronaut. They are all available at Amazon. Just click on the link or the photos below to learn more about them and how to order them.
Oh, and Happy Christmas Shopping!
One of my favorite things about Christmas is worshiping to Christmas carols and Christmas worship songs!
As a worship leader, I can't wait until we can add Christmas songs.
One thing I love about the old Christmas carols like O Come All Ye Faithful and Joy to the World is that they are packed with theology. Just just stop at verse one. Keep singing. There's so much good stuff in these songs.
Of course, there are some amazing newer Christmas worship songs that I love, too. Kari Jobe's "When Hope Came Down" and Third Day's "Born in Bethlehem" are amazing Christmas songs and they are perfect for worship, too.
Here is a taste of our "right before Christmas" service.
You can see that this set opens with upbeat praise songs and moves into worship. While we take the offering we continue to worship with a rousing "Hallelujah Chorus" after announcements.
After the sermon the worship team comes back up and sings "Silent Night" with the congregation while people are lighting their candles. Of course, to end, we have to wish everyone a Merry Christmas with "Feliz Navidad."
How about you? What are you doing for your Christmas worship set this year. I'd love to know!
It's that time of year where Moms everywhere shop, wrap, bake, shop, wrap, and bake with occasional breaks for coffee or chai tea.
After 33 years of Mommying, 5 children, 3 grandchildren, and numerous friends and family to shop for, I have developed my own system of Christmas shopping.
My Christmas shopping system was developed and refined all the years I shopped for Daddy. He would give me money and I would get gifts from him for the whole family. Plus I had my own shopping. I had to streamline.
I start early in the fall, thinking about Christmas gifts and trying to notice what everyone I love is enjoying or needing. If I see something that I know someone will LOVE, I pick it up and save it for Christmas.
If I see something that would make a great Christmas present, but not sure for who, I will buy it if the price is cheap and put it in my gift drawer.
Then I go through my Christmas shopping process:
I do a lot, but not all of my shopping online. Okay, let's start with the lists.
It's almost Christmas!
Do you have a girl on your list and your not sure what to get for her yet?
I have some great ideas for you. They are fun, wholesome, and will lead to afternoons of fun.
With four daughters who are all very different, I know what girls like. Here are some gifts that will be a hit with girls of various ages. I hope this will help you in your Christmas shopping or at least inspire you in a new direction.
When I give gifts, I want to inspire people to love Jesus and reflect the joy He brings. These are not "Christian" gifts, but they are wholesome and fun!
So check out the gifts below. You can buy them all on Amazon. Just click on the links.
From our home to yours, we wish you the merriest of Christmases.
I love Christmas Music!
In fact, Christmas music is one of the highlights of the holiday season for me. I make playlists for the car, the house, and parties.
You will notice that I have very eclectic taste from classical music to the latest Christmas song from Kari Jobe.
Amy Grant is one of my favorites. No one sings Christmas songs like Amy. Unless, of course, it's Twila Paris or Julie Andrews
Trans-Siberian Orchestra is another favorite. I have several of their albums.
Here is my Christmas playlist. This is the music we will listen to on Christmas morning this year.
It is a combination of worshipful music and Christmas classics.
Notice there are 3 different versions of Canon in D. I just can't help it! I love that song! I also love some not-so-well-know songs like "Wandering Pilgrim" and "C'mon Ring Those Bells."
How about you? What are your favorite Christmas songs? Please comment below.
Merry Musical Christmas!
Our family loves to snuggle up together and read Christmas picture books.
After all, who can resist a picture book, especially if it's about Jesus' birthday.
There is something magical about reading aloud together. It calms everyone down and bonds the reader with the listeners in a precious way.
We have collected Christmas picture books over the years and even now, I am adding to the collection for the grandchildren.
All of these Christmas picture books are inspirational and sweet.
The focus on the magic of Christmas: a baby in the manger who didn't belong here because He created the world He came to out of deep love for the people living in it. Some of the books focus on kindness and hospitality--2 important aspects of Christmas for our family.
Reading Christmas picture books aloud can be a meaningful Christmas tradition in your home. Why not start that tradition this year with these amazing Christmas picture books.
At Powerline Productions, we have so many gifts that will make your loved ones happy. From picture book and cookbooks to unit studies and Bible studies, there's something for everyone!
Little children love our I See Colors series of picture book with bright happy photos combined with engaging text. They will learn their colors without realizing it!
Everyone loves our cookbooks. Along with a quick tour of exciting places or times, you get easy-to-make recipes to make history and geography come alive in your home school.
Bible studies are a great way to give a meaningful gift while investing in a loved one's future. Check out our Real Men, Ladies, and God's Girls studies that make Scripture practical and applicable to daily life.
Of couse, there's so much more! Let me introduce you to some great gift ideas that won't break the bank.
After all, who says Christmas shopping needs to be expensive.
Celebrate Christmas in Germany Unit Study is a way to experience a more meaningful Christmas while learning and having fun! Travel to Germany with me and discover so many of the festive Christmas German traditions we have adopted as our own. We will explore cities, castles, churches, the Black forest, and a Christmas museum.
Each day will start with reading one of Grimm’s fairy tales, followed by a Bible passage. The devotion ties the fairy tale and Bible passage together.
Reading time is followed by learning about a different topic every day ranging from Christmas markets or Advent to St. Boniface or bears. Hands-on learning fun follows! Crafting, mapping, baking, cooking, drawing, and planning will keep children happy while they learn at the same time.
Are you ready to visit Germany for Christmas?
Learn more about Celebrate Christmas in Germany here.
You can purchase Celebrate Christmas in Germany Unit Study at Amazon.
Celebrate Christmas in Germany Unit Study E-book is available for purchase at PayHip and TeachersPayTeachers.
Have a festive, fun Christmas.
God bless you!
It is an honor to write a review of Douglas MacArthur: What Greater Honor by Geoff & Janet Benge from Benge Books. Like all of their other amazing biographies this couple has written, it is full of historical fact and inspirational wisdom. This book is a perfect addition to my homeschool.
General MacArthur has always been a hero to me in a vague sort of way. I admired his "I'll be back!" when he was forced to leave the Philippines and he kept his word. I liked the way he handled the Korean War until he was let go suddenly by President Truman.
However, to be honest, I didn't know much about his life, his values, and his families. That has all changed!
Douglas' parents were born on opposite sides of the War between the States. His father Arthur MacArthur was a highly decorated military man who had been thrilled to meet Abraham Lincoln when he was a young man. His mother Pinky idolized Robert E. Lee and reminded him every night, "You must grow up to be a great man like Robert E. Lee." Interesting that God brought his parents together from opposite sides of the Civil War. I think that gave General MacArthur an ability to see both sides of issues in a clear, calm way.
Douglas grew up in the late 1800s riding horses, moving place to place wherever his father was stationed, and eventually ending up at West Point. His momma moved to be close to him for the four years he attended West Point and when he graduated, he left the podium to embrace both his mother and father. His love for his parents was deep and demonstrated by the inner call he felt to live up to the heritage his father had left him.
I was fascinated by his love and concern for the people around him throughout his life. He had tremendous wisdom, especially in dealing with the Japanese people when he occupied Japan. He was truly a man who lived honorable in peace and war.
When I finished the book, I realized that I had not just learned about Douglas MacArthur, but so much more about World War I, World War II, and the Japanese occupation than I even imagined. As a history lover, that is so exciting to me!