May 27, 2011

.:{ Book Review - Spring For Susannah }:.

Another book sneeze review! I wasn't quite into the story but I was definitely able to finish it in just a few days. It's a lovely story.

Spring For Susannah is Catherine Richmond's debut book. It was based in 1870s Dakota Territory. Susannah's parents have died and she is left without means to take care of herself. At the suggestion of her preacher's advise, she becomes a mail-order bride for her preacher's
brother in Dakota. She only does this for survival. She never had any intentions for marriage or love.

The brother, Jesse, and Susannah are direct opposites of each other. Susannah has a shy personality and Jesse is full of life and love for God. With a constant fear of being sent away, Susannah learns to accept Jesse's love. Jesse on the other
hand, at first, wasn't sure Susannah would fit into his dream of owning a large farm until he learned the value of Susannah's skills. Her father was a veterinary and she had learned her skills from him. Susannah proved her worth when she saved Jesse's ox and twin calves from a sure death. Soon love is found between them and Susannah learns to find her own strength from Jesse and God.

The story flows and it was easy to follow the characters. Some books can get quite complex, but luckily this author knows how to make it work. I wouldn't cross her off my list of authors to keep an eye on, but I just wish the story caught my attention like it might for others. Feel free to read this book, you won't be disappointed!

I review for BookSneeze®

May 25, 2011

:{ Wonderful Weekend }:.

My husband's brother and family came to visit us from the East Coast. My daughter and I had never met them and it had been 8 years since my husband had seen his brother. My nephew was a baby and my niece hadn't been born yet. I was nervous to meet them, who isn't?, but turned out that we all got along fantastically!

They came in on Friday evening and the kids got to know each other. The next day my sister in law and I went shopping for food and started getting ready for a BBQ with some friends of ours. The men played music while us ladies and kids kept ourselves busy in the blow up pool away from the loud music (ha! love you babe but it does get loud!).

Sunday - we took them to the local water park which was a special
treat for my niece and nephew! We stayed a little too long and got a bit more sun than we wanted, no sunburns at least! Precious passed out for a good two hour nap and then we all piled back in the cars for some local pizza buffet dinner. By this time, Precious and my niece were getting along very well (they are three months apart). My nephew was already used to little girls bickering ha!

On Monday and our last day with them, we decided to drive around and look at some houses for sale and ate at a burger joint called Five Guys. It was my family's first time eating there and it was fabulous food! We decided to kick back at the house throwing water balloons and playing in the blow up pool. Then we went to my mother in law's for dinner. I should point out, my husband and his brother have the same father, not mother.

That night when we got back, we explained to the kids that it was their last day together for whoever knows how long. Thankfully they all understood and had a good time playing together. The girls had been sleeping together in Precious' room and this time we let them stay up chatting in the dark. It was adorable the things they talked about, but we all cried when my niece said she didn't want to leave and wanted to stay with Precious.

Tuesday morning was hard. I decided to wake up with them (leaving Precious to sleep), and when my niece came to hug me, she wouldn't let me go. I really do hope they will decide to move out here for a fresh start. I was surprised how nicely I got along with my sister in law (my husband has three other sisters, one who lives local). I guess it's just time for a lot of finger-crossing and prayers.

May 24, 2011

.:{ Book Review - Money Secrets of the Amish }:.

I have been trying to save my life from debt and learn to live with what we have for a couple years. When I saw this book was available, I thought "maybe I could learn a thing or two". Lorilee Craker wrote "Money Secrets of the Amish" to help show how the Amish have survived
recessions. Like others, I thought it would talk only about growing and canning my own food, and making our own clothes, and other such things. It was interesting with the ideas that were given.

Non-Amish people are quite spoiled in comparison to the Amish. They only use what they need in order to live. The Amish don't take pride in such things like diamonds, fancy cars, video games and other worldly possessions. They learn to live as a community by supporting each other, and it really makes me wonder who my neighbors are. It also makes me think about the things I have around the house. It wouldn't be easy to back down to
the ways of the Amish, but in some ways I have. Many things have become unimportant to me in the last few years and reading this book has made me realize other things I could do without. It's an eye-opener for anyone who reads this, but it's also an humbling read. We could all learn a lesson or two from the Amish.

I review for BookSneeze®

May 20, 2011

.:{ Aktinson Farm }:.

Today we visited Atkinson Farm and picked our own strawberries and blackberries. We picked up peaches at their little store. It was fun! Precious sneaked a few berries into her mouth, I'm sure. We will have to visit more often because their produce is delicious. I doubt it will last through this weekend with family visiting!

Atkinson Farm is one of the few commercial farmers left in my area that does not use pesticides or other sprays. I'm not sure if they would be considered organic but it's better than having to eat bug spray right?

The other photographs that do not include berries are what is found in their little store. I thought I'd brush up on my skills. Not bad huh?

I'm twiddling my thumbs waiting on my husband to come home with his brother and his family. This is the first time Precious and I are meeting them. I've been with my husband since 2004, but we are originally from Southern California and his brother lives back east. Can't wait!

May 18, 2011

.:{ Book Review - The Promise Of An Angel }:.

I finished my first Book Sneeze and the book I choose was The Promise Of An Angel by Ruth Reid. This is Ruth Reid's debut book and the first in the Heaven On Earth series. I would recommend this book to readers who like fictional stories about the Amish and their faith. It is a relatively easy read for the average reader. I would say this has a reading level of High School/Young Adult. The book did have a few errors in grammar and punctuation. The point of view does switch back and forth, which can sometimes be confusing on which character is speaking. There were times it was easy to know what would happen, which caused me to jump paragraphs a couple times. Overall I enjoyed reading such an inspiring story about faith. I give this a 4-star and look forward to her next book.

Summary below:

The story takes place in an Amish community of Mescota County, Michigan. It is about a girl named Judith who has seen an Angel after her brother has a barn-raising accident. The Angel has told her that God says her brother would heal, and has inspired that her future will be as she wants. When she starts to tell her family and friends, they refuse to believe her. Her community believes this is another one of her colorful stories that she tells to the children. However when Judith continues to say that these are not stories and that she believes what the Angel has told her, it starts a strife in her community and slowly Judith becomes afraid for her future in the community. The man she believed she would marry begins to spend time with her sister Martha. The other women in the community have excluded her in their sewing times. Her own family begins to ask her to stop because they were afraid she would be sent away. It becomes a true test of Judith's faith to stand strong and listen to what God's Angel has told her. Only one person stands behind her - Andrew. He becomes an unexpected friend, considering that his father is bishop of their community. Judith must find the strength to keep her faith strong, but does she falter? Can Judith find love in the community? Does her brother become whole again? This book promises to hold your attention long enough for you to find the answers.

I review for BookSneeze®

May 17, 2011

.:{ Slow Weekend }:.

Over the weekend I had some issues with Blogspot and it changed some of the settings I had made. I'm still re-making those changes. I am also trying to figure out why I can't get Windows Live Journal to work on my computer and blog. I'll have to just wait for my stepdad to come by and check it over. Help?

Last friday, I had been blessed by my neighbor through some old games and puzzles she gave to Precious. A couple of them were already on my list of things I had wanted to collect for homeschooling. Sorry this picture is out of focus and bright, I had taken it with my phone in a hurry ha!
I have also received several of the books that I ordered. I'm really excited to get started! I had also went to The Homeschool House's 1st Annual book and curriculum fair. Unfortunately most of the items sold by people at their booths were for older school ages. But I was happy to get a few of the store's used books for half-off. I picked up The Ultimate Book Of Homeschooling Ideas, Ministry of Motherhood and Gardening Wizardry for Kids. At first I hesitated on the gardening book because I had originally been looking for Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots, but I was actually surprised how great Gardening Wizardry for Kids turned out to be. I will have to do a review another time. I do plan to still get the other gardening book I just mentioned. I do not believe that only one book has everything on one subject.

Don't worry I'm almost done! Three more topics! I'm super excited to be joining in on reading Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. I'm very interested in her book Seasons of a Mother's Heart, but I haven't gotten around to buying it. Now back to Ministry of Motherhood. Jolanthe over at Homeschool Creations has started her own BlogFrog regarding the follow along of Good Morning Girls. Join us!

Second thing is a giveaway from Guidecraft by Carisa from 1+1+1=1. The item is called Twisters and Twister Curves. Check out her blog!

Last thing I want to post is that Erica from Confessions of a Homeschooler is also hosting a giveaway, check out her blog for more information on Write Shop!

May 11, 2011

.:{ Homewood Info Night }:.

Last night I went to the Homewood's Information Night held in The Woodlands, TX. I invited my parents along. There were several booths set up, however Precious is only in Preschool so I had to skip quite a few booths. The ones that interested me were Hands Uplifted (Sign Language Courses), ICARE Homeschool Group, Classical Conversations and New Beginnings. I didn't realize Morning Star's 4-H was there, however Precious can't join until she's in the 3rd grade.

The highlight of my night was visiting the New Beginnings table. It's a support group for new or struggling homeschool parents. They have sessions available starting August. I'm planning to attend. I added a button for their site along the side, check them out if you live in the Houston or Dallas areas. You can also join them via webinar.

After getting home, I went through the contents of my "convention bag". On the outside of the bag showed "ads" for Rainbow Resource Center and -- both are great places to look for books and supplies at decent prices. Then inside the bag were a few catalogs and brochures. I'll just list their websites:

And this last one was a surprise, Operation Christmas Child. I have done this several times as a child and will probably make this a new tradition with Precious. You pack a shoe box with gifts for a boy or girl and send a donation of $7+ to help with shipping cost and drop it off at a collection location. National Collection week is the 3rd week of November which usually falls around Thanksgiving. Have you done this in the past?

I hope I've given you some great sites to check out. There will be another Conference the first weekend of June that I will be attending as well. It's arranged by the Southeast Texas Home School Association (SETHSA) called "Gulf Coast Home Education Conference", this is their 25th year. I'm looking forward to hearing Susan Wise Bauer.

Here's a funny little story about SETHSA. Two years ago, I had received an invitation to their 23rd Conference (it was mailed to the wrong address). It wasn't until then that I realized how big the community was for Homeschoolers. If you are reading this blog for the first time and trying to see if Homeschooling is for you, please take a look around the WWW and in the BlogWorld. It's amazing how much support you can receive.

Before I forget, yesterday afternoon, I visited the Homeschool House and scored! I found a used Melissa & Doug's Magnetic Calendar and paid 6 bucks! Sweet!

Have a wonderful day!

May 9, 2011

.:{ Getting Started }:.

I'm embarking into the world of Homeschooling, if that's the right way to say it. Precious (my daughter's blog nickname) is 3 1/2 years old, my only child that I have been blessed with. When she was about a year old, I made the firm decision that I was homeschooling her. There are many reasons for this decision. I will only list two. The major two everyone talks about.

1}:. The school district we live in sucks, horribly, and has gotten worst not better. I'm originally from Southern California and the education I received was 400% better than what is offered here in East Texas (sorry if this offends anyone).

2}:. We can't afford private school. I wish we could because there are a few good schools around here. Although I will have to pay for the supplies to educate Precious, it will not be near the cost of a private school.

Many people worry about the socialization of homeschool children and I'm not worried in this aspect. I plan to be sure Precious is given as many opportunities as possible. I am part of a local mom's group. We plan to join local homeschool groups and attend homeschool events available at the local museums and zoo. And we plan to enroll her in activity classes, whatever she desires, be it dance, music, art and/or sports.

Originally I had started homeschooling Precious in August of last year but it slowly fizzled out just before her birthday in October when several family issues came about. I tried my best to get us back on track and never could. I finally decided I would just keep her engaged in everyday things and worry about becoming more formal in the new school year (2011-2012).

To start off our journey this summer, I have ordered several different books on homeschooling and teaching styles. I plan to read each book and will give a review/summary. The books listed at the top of the posts are the books I'll be looking at. I have studied several other families throughout the blogging community and have listed favorites. I'm amazed at the strength that these families have and find them to be inspiring. I can only hope to inspire others as well.

I believe my style will be classical/eclectic. I got this idea from one specific book that I didn't list . The book is called "100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum", by Cathy Duffy. I had borrowed this from my local library last summer. I highly recommend this to anyone who needs a better understanding of the style that is best for them.

I really am looking forward to this journey with Precious. God will guide us in the direction we are meant to follow. We are happy to have anyone tag along for the ride!