Striving to create a home strong in the foundations of love, respect, and God's truths ...

Thursday, February 28, 2013

‘Shattered’ Nook HD Giveaway from @DaniPettrey and RSVP for {3/14} Facebook Party!

Dani Pettrey is celebrating the release of Shattered with a Nook HD giveaway and a Facebook Author Chat Party {3/14}. 

Shattered Pettrey

One winner will receive:
  • A brand new Nook HD
  • Submerged and Shattered by Dani Pettrey {Be caught up in this riveting series.}
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 13th. Winner will be announced at the "Shattered" Author Chat Party on 3/14. Connect with Dani for an evening of book chat, trivia, and a chance to win gift certificates, books, and other fun prizes!

So grab your copy of Shattered and join Dani on the evening of the March 14th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 14th!

The History Channel's New Bible Series + Giveaway

I recently received a message from The History Channel, stating that they are beginning a new series about the Bible.  Roma Downey, star of Touched by an Angel, is one of the executive producers, and it sounds quite promising.  My contact had this to say: 

From Executive Producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett comes The Bible — an epic 10-part miniseries retelling stories from the Scriptures for a whole new generation. Breathtaking in scope and scale, The Bible features powerful performances, exotic locales and dazzling visual effects that breathe spectacular life into the dramatic tales of faith and courage from Genesis through Revelation. This historic television event is sure to entertain and inspire the whole family! Where will YOU be 3.3.13?

I think this series is definitely worth checking out!  You can get a preview through the widget below.  Each day until the premiere a new clip will be unlocked.  There are also Bible trivia quizzes to play and more.

The History Channel wants this new series to be a success - and assuming that it is true to the Bible, so do I!  They're giving away one copy of a Bible companion book to a random winner chosen below.  (Book will be chosen randomly, as well.)  The winner will receive one of these:

  •   A Story of God and All of Us (HARDCOVER)
  •  A Story of God and All of Us (REFLECTIONS)
  •   A Story of God and All of Us (YOUNG READERS)
So explore this new series using the widget below - and then scroll down to enter this great giveaway!

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This prize is sponsored by The History Channel.  All opinions above are my own.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Inspired Wednesday - Become a Pancake Artist

My  Nana sends my kids awesome and amazing holiday packages, full of fun things to make that particular season or holiday brighter.  A while back she sent us a 'thingamajiggy,' as my Little Man would say, that lets you draw with your pancake batter.  Cool idea, right?

When she sent us a package of pink and sparkly Valentine pancake mix earlier in the month, we knew that had to be a part of our heart-shaped day.  Both kids cheered when they realized I was drawing their breakfast, and they each began to shout out their favorite shapes.

We began with simple hearts in honor of Valentine's Day, but they were too excited to stay with those for long.

Soon this snowman and the dinosaur seen below made appearances.  I definitely need to break out the pancake art tool more often.  It's a small thing, it's easy to use, and it definitely makes breakfast time more fun.

I think that Nana found this fancy gadget at a kitchen store (it really is cool - top to go over the spout so you can fridge the batter and make more tomorrow, unscrewable bottom for easy cleaning) but if you want simple, I think you could make your own.  Try using a zip-top baggy and cutting off a corner or a plastic picnic condiment bottle and cutting the top spout down lower.  I think either option would give you your own pancake artist tool - and happy kids, too!

How do you make breakfast fun?

Last week Following in His Footsteps linked up a post about how to utilize Pinterest as a homeschool planning tool.  I love to do this same thing - and I'll be following these Pinterest boards, too.  If you would like to get ideas for ways to incorporate the arts into your homeschool, be sure to check out her post - and Following in His Footsteps, please visit our Inspired Wednesday page and take the "I was featured on Washed Up Inspired Wednesdays' button back with you.  

Lynne and Tosha B., you've each won a copy of "Praying Circles Around Your Children."  Watch out for an email with instructions about how to claim your prize.  :-)  

Where He Leads We Follow
If you have a post about an encouraging activity, project, or trip that you've taken, please link up below and add a link back to this post.  Either way, please read on to find out more about a fun activity that we enjoy here in our nest, and be sure to hop over to Where He Leads, We Follow to check out Stephanie's  Inspiring Wednesday post, too.  :-)

Stephanie from Tatorbug Creations is offering a free custom planner to one person who enters our giveaway this week.  :-)  See entry requirements below, and have an Inspired Wednesday!

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"Revelation" by Sue Edwards


Women need Bible study to keep balanced, focused and Christ-centered in their busy worlds. However, many find it difficult to set aside the time and discipline needed for an in-depth study. The Discover Together studies offer tiered questions to allow readers to choose a depth of study that fits with their individual lifestyles or schedules, even if they vary by the week, month or season

This insightful Bible study uses the example of Paul's church in Ephesus to show readers how they can be victorious Christians, living in God's Word, and free from sin. Part of the discovery series, the Ephesians edition includes tips for either individual or group use, inspirational sidebars and short, 3-5 minute teaching videos. Scan the video QR code in the book with a smart phone or visit the series website to watch Sue provide historical and cultural background, teach important truths found in each week's lesson, or ask thoughtful questions to encourage deeper discussion.

A few weeks ago my daughter asked me about Bible prophecy.  She wanted to know what the Bible says about the end of the world.  I answered her questions the best that I could, but I didn't know all the details that she wanted - and I know that some of those answers are in the book of Revelation, that complicated, symbolic, scary book.

Then I was offered this book for review, and it definitely makes the study of Revelation easier - and smoother.  With questions of varying depth and online videos available, this is a great resource.  Revelation makes it possible to study this difficult book at my own pace, as deeply as I need to, while still interacting with a teacher.  

I'm happy to use this study now to grow my own knowledge of end times prophecy, and I look forward to working my way through it again sometime in the future when my daughter is ready to study together.  I'm really excited about this book - and there are more in this series!

Better yet, author Sue Edwards is going to be doing online Bible studies using these books this year.  What a great way to join a study if you can't physically meet with others!

Join the online Bible study here. Just LIKE the page and then follow along. There will be a launch party for Ephesians on April 11th and the online Bible study will begin the following week on April 15th.

Women crave Bible studies that challenge them to grow in their faith. But after balancing carpools, sports schedules, or work deadlines, you may not be able to commit to another evening out of the house. Now you don't have to.

Whether studying with a small group or by yourself, you know can join popular Bible teacher Sue Edwards on the Year of Discovery. Sue will be leading women through her studies with online chats and discussions on her Facebook page. All year long. Every week. Any time of day. From the comfort of home. Make-up and hair-do optional. Come as you are!
Each week you will find quotes, links to articles and other resources, and videos to help you as you study. Complete the lessons at your convenience. Then visit any time of day to comment or ask questions. Sue will be there frequently to respond, encourage, and equip!

You can read other reviews in this blog hop here; or, to get started on your own Discovery Revelation journey, click here.  

Sue Edwards (MA, Dallas Theological Seminary; D.Min., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) teaches full-time in the Christian Education Department at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has more than twenty-five years of experience teaching, pastoring, and directing women's ministries. In addition, Sue speaks at retreats, conferences, and seminars across the country. She is the coauthor of Women's Retreats and New Doors in Ministry to Women, and the author of the new Sue Edwards Inductive Bible Study series.

I received a free copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

Be sure to come back tomorrow to link up your post for Inspired Wednesday!

Monday, February 25, 2013

February 25, 2013 - Menu Plan Monday

We're scheduled to have a crazy, busy, gotta-be-somewhere-every-day-at-least-once-this-week week!  Is anybody else's schedule particularly pressed, or is it just us?   

With that in mind, I've gotten a few simple things from the grocery store that aren't necessarily the kind of meals we typically have, but they'll help keep things running smoothly.  

So, here's the plan:


- scrambled eggs and fruit

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal
- leftover pancakes
- Peanut butter granola & fruit

Perfectly Pumpkin Pancakes, sausage
- Sliced ham, Crock Pot scalloped potatoes, buttered limas
- Hamburgers, Mom's Baked Corn, roasted carrots
- Fish, rice pilaf, steamed broccoli
- Free pizza (Super Bowl Special), carrot sticks, apples
- Dinner out (date with my Little Man)
- Dinner at church (what to take??)

I'd like to test out these Greek yogurt cookies at the beginning of the week, too, if I can fit them in.  We'll make a batch of Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars for snacking.

What will you be cooking up this week?

For more Menu Plan Monday, visit OrgJunkie.

Happy 5th Birthday, SwagBucks!

Have you RSVP'd for Swagbucks' 5th Birthday Blowout? It's easy to do, and when you RSVP you're automatically entering yourself to win one of five $1000 CASH prizes. The whole birthday celebration will be a big one - they're giving out 135 Swag Bucks worth of codes, and they're giving away four more $1000 cash prizes on the 25th when they celebrate. You can find the RSVP link on the Swagbucks homepage - just look for the birthday image and click on it to be taken to the RSVP page. 

If you're not a member of Swagbucks yet, join me and use the code 5THBIRTHDAY during registration - you'll start with 120 Swag Bucks! I've used Swagbucks for over two years and I've already earned enough Swag Bucks for a new vacuum, several big Christmas and birthday presents, and a new bread machine!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

"Shattered" by Dani Pettrey

With All the Evidence Against Him, Only a Sister's Trust Can Save Him Now

When her prodigal brother Reef's return to Yancey, Alaska, is shattered by his arrest for murder, Piper McKenna is determined to protect him.
Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he's also sworn to find the truth. And he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth puts Landon's career in jeopardy.
When Piper launches her own investigation, Landon realizes he must protect her from herself-and whatever complications await as the two follow clues deep into Canada's rugged backcountry. Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step. 

Shattered  will take you on an intense and suspenseful journey through the Alaskan wilderness in search of a masterful killer.  I loved it!  You can't go wrong with the McKenna family, but the twists and turn that Pettrey wrote into this story will keep you on your toes.  With most romantic mysteries, I have at least some clue as to whodunnit, but I was clueless with this one.

Better yet, when I finished I passed the book along to my husband.  He didn't speak for the next two days as he devoured the book - it's that good - but he said the same:  it's not possible to guess the ending.

I love when a book keeps me hooked from the very first word until the last, but it's even better when it's so full of action and adventure that my husband wants to read it, too.  Birds of a feather - read together.  :-)

Ready to be Shattered?  You can buy the book and begin your journey here.

Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom, and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves--the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters' faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters. 

I received a free copy of Shattered from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Circus-Inspired Snack Mix

As we prepared for our recent trip to the circus, we talked food.  Who could leave out a discussion of the food found at the circus?  

Since we were allowed to take our own food, we decided to mix up our own treat that would incorporate the best aspects of the circus.  I gathered up all of the ingredients and then gave the kids large bags so that they could scoop as much of each in as they wanted.  

The kids loved mixing up their own "Circus Mix" and happily munched away all through the show - and much of the afternoon.  Since most of the ingredients are fairly healthy, I didn't mind them eating a larger-than-usual portion.  The wide variety of ingredients made it an especially fun treat for a very fun day!

  • popcorn
  • peanuts (elephant food)
  • chocolate chips (circus tents)
  • mini marshmallows (cotton candy)
  • M & Ms (clown noses)
  • pretzels
  • animal cookies
  1. Put desired ingredients into a container.
  2. Stir gently to combine.
  3. Seal until facing the elephants.
  4. Snack away!
What's your favorite kind of snack mix?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Inspired Wednesday - Geoboards

I'm not sure what makes geoboards so fun, but I've never seen a kid who doesn't like to 'play' with them.

(A geoboard is a flat board with protrusions sticking up on which you can hook rubber bands to make different shapes.) 

Since we've been studying Amish culture for a while now, we just had to study quilting along with it, and you can't study quilts without studying plane shapes, so we decided to break out the goaboards and do some shape comparisons.

This is the first time that my kids have officially played with geoboards, so we began with 5 minutes of free play time.  This gave them each a chance to explore freely with the materials without having to worry about rules or expectations.  It also reduces the wiggles and helps them focus when it's time for the lesson to begin!

Next, I asked them to make each of the plane shapes.  Of course, they are each familiar with the basic shapes, but this is a great way for them to focus in on the number of sides and corners that each shape has.  It's also a great way to teach symmetry and congruency.

When we had finished with our lesson, My Big Helper went to town.  She utilized a variety of sizes and colors of rubber bands to make her very own "quilt square."

Want to make your own geoboards?  It's easy!  

  1. Start with a square board.
  2. Paint it a dark color - this helps the rubber bands show up well.
  3. Pound in small nails at regular intervals in a grid, being sure to keep the nails in straight lines.
  4. Voila!  Grab some rubber bands and go to town.
What's your favorite way to work with shapes?

Last week Chris from Campfires and Cleats linked up a post about the wide variety of arts her children are participating in.  This was encouraging to me because while some were big and  official and involved stages and costumes, others used nothing more than empty milk jugs or bits of colored sugar - and big, shiny kid smiles.  If you would like to get ideas for ways to incorporate the arts into your homeschool, be sure to check out her post - and Chris, please visit our Inspired Wednesday page and take the "I was featured on Washed Up Inspired Wednesdays' button back with you.  

Renee, you've won a custom signature from Tatorbug Creations.  Watch out for an email with instructions about how to claim your prize.  :-)  

Where He Leads We Follow
If you have a post about an encouraging activity, project, or trip that you've taken, please link up below and add a link back to this post.  Either way, please read on to find out more about a fun activity that we enjoy here in our nest, and be sure to hop over to Where He Leads, We Follow to check out Stephanie's  Inspiring Wednesday post, too.  :-)

Our kids are the reasons we do what we do - and one of the most important things that we can do for them is pray.  I've been on a quest to learn more about Biblical blessings recently, and I've been blessed by Mark Batterson's newest book Praying Circles Around Your Children.  Two entrants below will each win a copy, so enter to win, link up, and hop around.  :-)

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

GratiTuesday: Praying Circles Around Your Children

Praying Circles Around Your Children    -     
        By: Mark Batterson

Have you ever wondered about all those blessings in the Bible?  You know, "May the Lord bless you and keep you, ...."  The blessings that the fathers always gave to their sons?  Why did they have a limited number of them, and where did they come from?

I've never quite understood that.  Maybe I've been making it too difficult, but for some time now I've been searching for more information.

I've finally found it.  

Mark Batterson has a new little book out called Praying Circles Around Your Children.  This easy-to-read, super-short book is chock-full of examples of how to pray and what to pray and when to pray over your children.  He explains why this is both a Biblical and practical parenting tool, and even details how his own children have come to depend on receiving this blessing.  

Our children pray often and spontaneously.  They pray together and independently.  They pray prayers from children's prayer books and their own creative ones, but they are more more open with their prayers than I have ever been.  

They are growing rapidly, however - by leaps and bounds every day.  They're no longer the tiny babies I brought home from the hospital, or the toddlers who were always made happy at the sight of a banana.  They're now reading and writing, doing their own baking and beginning to sew, playing sports and broadening their circle of influence.  Soon they'll leave their children's books on the shelves and be making plans for adulthood, and fruit will no longer solve their life's dilemmas.  I want to prepare them as well as I possibly can, starting with the instructions laid out in Deuteronomy 6 and praying circles around them.

From physical touch to scriptural prayer, Praying Circles Around Your Children will get your parental blessings off the ground.  You'll devour this book in a single sitting and soon be on your way to making blessings a daily part of your parenting.

Today I'm grateful to authors like Batterson who write such concise, well planned books and provide us with the tools that we need to be stronger parents.  I'm grateful for the hands that made this book appear in my mailbox just when I needed it.  

I'm excited to have two copies of Batterson's new book to share with you.  This giveaway will open tomorrow morning.  Will you join me in this great journey of prayerful parenting?

For more GratiTuesday, visit Heavenly Homemakers.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - February 17, 2013

This week is going to be the calm before our storm!  I'm hoping to keep things simple this week and perhaps double a few recipes to put back for next week. We'll see how that goes!


I'm hoping to try out these cookies for us and to make these bars for my husband.

What are you cooking up this week?

For more Menu Plan Monday, visit OrgJunkie!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Simple Valentine's Day Plans

Valentine's Day snuck up on me this year.  I didn't realize how close it was until it was here.  We have a class in the morning and Daddy has a long workday, so the kids and I have made some plans together.

We're going to start the day with the pink sprinkly pancakes that my grandmother sent them.  (We're even going to make them heart-shaped with the cool pancake-tool that she gave us previously.)

After class, since the weather forecast is sunny, we'll play at a nearby playground with some friends before heading to use our Book-It pizza coupons.

We might meet up with some other friends after lunch, and the kids have both asked for some reading and movie time.  (Swiss Family Robinson and Charlie Brown's Valentine, maybe.)

We're going to make Rice Krispy treats - Daddy's favorite - for dessert, and then we'll prep for supper.  The kids asked for a simple 'appetizer' meal, so this will be our menu:

  • pigs in blankets
  • whole-wheat crackers and sliced cheese
  • fruit platter with apple slices, clementines, and bananas
  • carrot sticks
Last year we began a few traditions that we're sticking with this year.  We made a simple poster of 1 Corinthians 13, the love verses specifically, but inserted a _____ in place of the word 'love.'  It's hanging in the kitchen, and whenever someone shows one of the character traits listed, someone grabs a marker and fills in that person's name.  By the end of the month, we hope to have noticed lots of great examples of love in our home - and perhaps begun to weed out the less desirable ones.

We've also drawn names out of a hat for secret valentines.  Each adult has a child and vice versa (it just worked out that way this year).  Our goal is to do two small somethings for your valentine.  They need not be monetary - sometimes we receive hugs, get small pieces of candy, handcrafted pictures, or coupons for chores completed.  After we eat, we'll see if anyone has been able to guess which valentines go with whom.

We'll end our day with a simple scavenger hunt that I'll have in place by dinnertime.  The kids will follow clues to find a small gift.  After that they'll head off to bed.

What plans do you have for Valentine's Day?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Inspired Wednesday - Make & Take Time

Last week Renee from NextGen Homeschool linked up a post about how to choose educational apps for your kids.  Her post is timely and extremely detailed.  If this is a topic that affects you, be sure to check out her post - and Renee, please visit our Inspired Wednesday page and take the "I was featured on Washed Up Inspired Wednesdays' button back with you.  

Becky, you've won the copy of "A Life with Lily!"  

If you have a post about an encouraging activity, project, or trip that you've taken, please link up below and add a link back to this post.  Either way, please read on to find out more about a fun activity that we enjoy here in our nest, and be sure to hop over to Where He Leads, We Follow to check out Stephanie's  Inspiring Wednesday post, too.  :-)

Where He Leads We Follow
Last Wednesday, I was holding tightly to the premise of Washed Up Inspired Wednesdays. My kids didn't want to start our school projects because they were building a huge thingymajig, as my son calls it, with their mutual K'Nex - and then, once we began, they didn't want to stop.  In the midst of the project craziness the washer flooded our play/schoolroom - twice.  While cleaning that up and trying to make dinner a child knocked over a picture frame, shattering glass all over the floor.  

I was totally ready to grab some chocolate and a good book and go stick my head in the sand somewhere.

And then I heard the kids laughing.

Afraid that there was some other disaster in the making, I hurried to the laundry room, where they had laid old towels down on the few remaining drops of water, stood on them, and were skating around the small space, drying everything up and having a ball.

I realized that what was a huge interruption to my "well-planned" day was an opportunity to have fun for my kids. Sure, they knew that they carpet was going to smell the next day, and they knew they would see less of Daddy that night since he had to fix the problem instead of hang out with them, but they are still wearing their rose colored glasses.  They still see the good in so many things.  Even in clean-up.

I've been thinking about that this week, and while most of us probably know this, I think my mid-week stress just needs a healthy dose of rose-colored perspective.

That mountain of laundry that must be washed, dried and folded?  We are well dressed.

The dishes that never seem to end?  We have plenty to eat, several times each day.

The kids that are noisily leaving K'Nex all over the house?  Our kids are happy, healthy, and creative.  They envision what I cannot and do not let the small stuff stop them.

So sometimes when the flood waters rise or the crumbs threaten to take over, we need not shout about who made yet another sandwich, but to praise the one with the initiative and the knowledge to make it - and then gently show them how to clean up the mess.

Personally,  I think all of this is easier when a few hugs are thrown into the mix, and usually we all feel most stressed when we haven't taken the time for that.  So, know that the crumbs will probably be there later and snuggle into the couch for story time.  Take some time to remind yourself why you're on this parenting journey, anyway - and don't forget to don your rosy glasses.

What's stressing you today, and how can you see it in a rosy light?

We want to give you something rose-colored and happy to think about, so ponder this:  what might your own custom signature look like?  One reader will win just that from Tatorbug Creations next week!  Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter below. :-)

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

GratiTuesday - Free Chocolate!

A few months ago I received a message saying that I had won a giveaway from The Contest Corner. Winning anything is exciting, of course, but then I found out that I won this:


And not just any chocolate - but chocolate made in my Pennsylvanian hometown!

I was super excited about both parts of this fun turn of events and even more so when my package arrived in the mail.  It came with this wide assortment of chocolates.  Pretzels, non-pareils, covered graham crackers, nuts - it was all yummy.  Truly, I'm not sure that a better kind of prize exists!

My package arrived right after Christmas, when the entertaining and visiting was over and the New Year's celebration was about to begin.  Since I did not buy our traditional box of mixed chocolates this year, my Asher's Chocolates were most welcome.

We enjoyed every bite of these chocolates and slyly fought over them.  The chocolately treats were loved by all of us.  

Who wouldn't like to have great chocolate delivered to your door for free??

For more GratiTuesday, visit Heavenly Homemakers - and be sure to come back and link up tomorrow for Inspired Wednesdays!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - February 11, 2013

This is a busy week for us - Fastnacht Day, Ash Wednesday, and Valentine's Day all in a row.  Throw in a few co-ops and other commitments, and we're busy people this week - and so I'm planning some slow-cooker and other types of simple meals.


- yogurt and Cinnamon Almond Granola
- scrambled eggs and fruit
- fastnachts, fruit

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

- Chicken & Cheese quesadillas, cheesy rice, tortilla chips & beans
- Sausage sandwiches with onions & peppers, Sun Chips, carrot sticks
- Hawaiian Chicken and veggies over rice

- Baked chickenS'Mashed Italian Potatoes, steamed broccoli
- Chicken & broccoli stir fry over rice
- Leftovers
- Dinner at church - what to take??

What's on your menu for the week?

For more Menu Plan Mondays, visit OrgJunkie.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Blueberry Biscuits

Recently my Little Man commented about how much he would like to eat a local fast food restaurant's blueberry biscuit.  This treat tastes fantastic, but is no doubt quite unhealthy, so it's not something that he's had more than a few times.

And then I wondered:  why couldn't WE make blueberry biscuits?   

I couldn't think of a good reason not to, and so our experimentation began.  

The first batch came out beautifully, and they were all eaten before I could get a picture of them.  The most recent batch is somewhat less pretty to look at, but the biscuits taste amazing.

So if you're looking to add a little variety to your biscuits, here's how!  These couldn't be simpler to make, but they definitely have a higher fun factor than an ordinary biscuit.

  • 2 c. flour (both white and white-wheat work well - you can use either one)
  • 4 T. softened butter
  • 4 t. baking powder
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/4 c. blueberries - I used frozen ones that we picked last summer
  1. Measure dry ingredients and stir together.
  2. Cut in the softened butter.
  3. Add the blueberries.
  4. Add the milk all at once.
  5. Stir rapidly for a few seconds, then turn out on a lightly floured board.  
  6. Knead vigorously for 30 seconds.
  7. Pat or roll to 1/2" or 3/4" thickness.
  8. Cut out and place onto a greased cookie sheet.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10  minutes or until the tops begin to brown.
  10. Mix a basic vanilla glaze with 1 c. 10X sugar, a splash of vanilla, a pinch of salt, and about 1 T. of milk (or enough to make a gravy-like consistency).  
  11. Drizzle the glaze over the biscuits.
  12. Serve warm.
How do you like to eat YOUR biscuits??

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Inspired Wednesday: Start a Book Club & Giveaway

Welcome to the kick-off of Inspired Wednesdays!  If you have a post about an encouraging activity, project, or trip that you've taken, please link up below and add a link back to this post.  Either way, please read on to find out more about a fun activity that we enjoy here in our nest, and be sure to hop over to Where He Leads, We Follow to check out Stephanie's  Inspiring Wednesday post, too.  :-)

As we considered homeschooling as an option for our family, I knew that I wanted to provide fun and exciting ways for our kids to interact with literature.  I knew that we would read often, together and separately, and would read books of all kinds, but I wanted our children to build personal connections with the characters, the setting, and the information provided in the stories.

Thus began our daughter's book club.  We read and select books a few months in advance, and then the group meets monthly for a few hours on a Thursday afternoon.  We try to do what the main character does in each story: we dress up, cook, play outside, or whatever s/he does.  So far we've gone on safari, hosted tea parties, cooked apple butter, and sewn pillows!

This might sound like a lot of work, and in some ways, it is; but it's fun work, and we're building a love of learning, of literature, and a love of of history into our daughter, as well as establishing some great friendships.  After the first few events, it became less work and more fun.  We all look forward to book club Thursdays!

The best part is that you decide how it works.  Once a month too often?  Try once each season.  Maybe you have a group of friends with children of similar ages, and you all want to take turns hosting.  Maybe it would work best for you to have your book club just during summer vacation. Maybe you have older children who can take on a large portion of the planning themselves, or maybe you want to work without a set schedule and have a meeting whenever the spirit leads you.  Be creative!

You could also have a club with a theme.  Have a pirate-lover in the home?  Read through a selection of fiction and non-fiction pirate books.  Is your child into nature?  Read books of explorers, field guides, and fiction adventure. The possibilities are endless!

Establishing a book club for your children is easier than you might think. To get step-by-step directions and printables to use when planning your club events, visit my my new Teachers Pay Teachers store and download a complete planning guide for FREE!

Life with Lily by Suzanne Woods Fisher was our most recent book club selection, and the girls ranked it as their favorite book read so far.  To get you started, we're giving away a copy of this wonderful story!  Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below - this is one book you won't want to miss.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Come back on Friday a list of some great book club possibilities.  In the meantime, link up your fun and family-friendly ideas below!  We'd also appreciate a link-back with our handy-dandy button below.  If you're not a blogger, we'd love to hear your inspiring tip in the comments.

Where He Leads We Follow
*Thanks to Tatorbug Creations for our new graphics!


The Homeschool Village

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

E-mails From Nana

This has been a year full of new seasons for us.  When the school year began, I expected our homeschooling adventures to be our biggest change, but we've faced one after another.  

The most recent is my husband's work schedule.  Now in training in a new position, he's commuting three hours each day.  The kids are staying up later so that they can see him before they go to bed, which means we sleep later, eat breakfast later ... you get the idea.  None of this is bad, just different - but add this on top of both kids being sick for a month; weather that changes more often than our shoes - we've had a snowstorm, an ice storm, and beach weather all in the last two weeks; and trying to figure out some new projects for school, and I've been worn out.  

We've been staying pretty close to home because of our illnesses and the weather, and we've all been missing outside human contact.  With studying necessary at night for the daily tests that training requires, even my husband has been much more absent than usual - and we've all felt it.

So we've been even more excited than usual to check my email throughout the day - because my grandmother has been giving us all sorts of tips and help on our current unit of study.  My Big Helper even asks if Nana has emailed when she first wakes up, and she saves certain bits of news to hunt-and-peck in her next email so she can 'surprise' Nana.  My Nana, the coolest grandmother ever, just got a new computer and has been emailing my daughter back.  I love seeing the two of them connecting via technology over the 440 miles separating them!

All relationships have seasons.  Right now my friends and I are all taking care of sick children and getting back into the swing of things after the holidays, and so our focus is all at home.  My husband is spending a few weeks settling into his new position, and the kids are on antibiotics and improving rapidly.  The loneliness and restlessness that the kids and I have been feeling will soon be over, but in the meantime ...

We can't wait to see Nana's next email! 

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**Don't forget to come back tomorrow and link up your inspiring family fun posts for our first ever Inspired Wednesday!!