A Lifelong Love Review

lifelong love

Everyone wants a marriage that lasts for the rest of their lives.  They don’t just want marriage to be a long-lasting prison of misery either.  Everyone wants their marriage to thrive.  However, oftentimes between the dishes, the laundry, the kids work and the course of every day life, the joy and relationship in marriage tries to fade away.

In the book A Lifelong Love: What if Marriage is About More than Staying Together?, Gary Thomas explores the idea of what our marriage is intended to be and how we can use this to inspire others and to show others Jesus in our lives.  This book goes through many great ideas and gives practical advice for nurturing your marriage in all its stages.

Thomas’s book is split into three sections:

  • The Magnificent Obsession
  • Growing Together
  • The Journey Towards Love

I loved this book, and as I’m someone who writes and underlines in my books, I usually try to underline someone to share with my readers out of many of the books I read.  This book has whole chapters that are almost completely underlined and segments that I read aloud to my husband as I was reading this book.  I don’t want to give you too many spoilers, but I’m going to share a few things with you so that you can be convinced of how wonderful and helpful this book is.

In the first section, one of the first ideas that Thomas tackles is the idea that if we’re God’s children through our faith, then our spouses are also God’s children.  Guess what that means? In the words of Thomas:

So when I realized I was married to God’s daughter–and that you,women,were married to God’s sons–everything about how I viewed marriage changed.  God feels about my wife–His daughter–in an even holier and more passionate way than I feel about my own daughters.  Suddenly, my marriage was no longer about just me and one other person; it was very much a relationship with a passionately interest third partner.  I realized one of my primary forms of worship throughout the rest of my life would be honoring God by taking care of a woman who would always be, in His divine mind, “His little girl.”

And this, of course, is just one paragraph.  It gets even better from here as He reminds us that God gives us everything we need to complete our missions in marriage and that when we focus on God, then our marriages will fall into their right place behind that.

As he comes into the second section of the book, Thomas goes through the common phases of marriages and examines where the weak spots are that you and your spouse can grow closer together or further apart.  He also examines the difference between artificial and real intimacy in your relationship and how you can grow that intimacy as partners in your relationships.

Finally, Thomas explores what love is and how to show it.  By love, he doesn’t mean the Hollywood version of “in love” that so many of us have bought into as the one true thing.  Instead, he means Biblical love and acting in a Biblical way.  In this examination, Thomas takes a chapter to examine I Corinthians 13, and how we can apply that to our marriage relationships.

If you’re wanting to watch a trailer from the book to learn more about it, you can go to the A Lifelong Love website and check it out.  Another great place to go for more is to Gary Thomas’s website and blog.  He writes frequently about marriage and family relationships, so this would be a great place to hang out a while and read more!

I am also excited to say that I have a copy of this book to give away!  I’m going to make it simple, so if you’ll just leave a comment telling me what the most recent thing you’ve done to nourish your marriage relationship is, I’ll enter you into the giveaway.  I’ll probably either use random.org or put your names in a hat and let one of my children draw your name out to determine a winner!  This giveaway will end on November 7, 2014!! Good luck!!

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification

This Week: English, History and Halloween Fun

I felt like I spent the entire week this week playing Dragon from Logic of English!  I was surprised and pleased when I looked around and saw all the other things we’d managed to accomplish during the week since my impression of the week was totally one of phonogram cards! LOL  I didn’t think we’d ever come back to Logic of English, even though we really enjoyed our time playing with it when we reviewed it (You can read my review here.)  The pace of the spelling rules introductions was just becoming too rapid and frustrating for Rose, so it wasn’t fun anymore and we set it aside.  A few months makes a great deal of difference though, and Rose asked for Logic of English several times this week.  We focused on remembering adjectives and nouns, doing some dictation and composition with some spelling words that Rose had found incredibly frustrating a few months ago.  She was ready to work hard decoding and sounding out the words this time around, and I was very proud.

I also introduced compound words to the children, and showed them how combining just the words that they knew how to read into compound words would greatly expand the amount of words that the children are able to read.  I think this also will help Firecracker’s habit of giving up after the first syllable of a word when reading.

Logic of English

The big kids also decided to work through some of our Veritas Press history course this week,and we added the fifteenth amendment to our timeline notebooks.  I really like the way they’re turning out.  In the history we studied this week, they learned about Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington.


Speaking of history, Rose really made me smile this week when she used Legos to make a “time machine.”  She totally used her Veritas History song as the places that her time machine visited, and it was so funny hearing her go around the house saying, “Now let’s visit Jacksonian Democracy!” or something like that.

Rose also learned how to make a sock cat, and I sacrificed one of my favorite pairs of fall socks for “Pumpkin Pie” cat.  She needed a little help from me to get the pieces together, but she did all the basic sewing and stuffing on each piece.


Firecracker was also back into the “doll” making this week.  He uses the hot glue gun instead of sewing his, but he managed to make four different Pokemon characters this week.  I’m pretty sure he has more he wants to make this week.

pokemon plushies

We also continued our Halloween vibe by creating bunches of cardstock masks.  You can find the pattern for the printable for these masks here.  Because I’m actually writing up this wrap-up at the beginning of Halloween week, I can tell you that I plan to try to give them this whole week to try out a bunch of different things on my Halloween Pinterest board and their own ideas, so look for more Halloween fun next week :-D

mask making

Another Halloween thing that the children did that was very cute was to make these great printable folding cats and pumpkins.  This was another printable pattern that I got here.

paper cats and pumpkins

The preschoolers continued to work on the letter D this week.  Monkey got better at recognizing Ds, and I think that’s awesome!

D hunt

We also made these D is for dog pictures .  For some reason, I only thought to make each of them one eye, so they’re more like cyclops dogs, but the kids loved them!

D is for Dog

We also made Ds out of macaroni.  Fun, right?

Macaroni D

I also remembered I had some Kumon workbooks hanging around on a bookshelf (because I’ve been going through and decluttering some books we don’t need right now), so the little kids have had a great time cutting and folding this week.  They’ve also spent time side-by-side drawing in the dry erase board and the chalkboard while I’ve been doing Logic of English with the older kids.

preschool skills


I guess that about does it for this week.  My hubby and I spent all weekend at a marriage retreat, and I heard that the boys and girls all had lots of fun with grandparents, aunts and uncles while we were gone.  I hope your week was fun and your weekend was blessed too!!

Mind Swappers from Asteroid Six and Ideas Beyond Our Planet

Welcome to this month’s Poppins Book Nook post!  This month’s theme is “Beyond Our Planet.”  So, there are so many ways to have an idea to go with this theme, especially since space and space exploration are fascinating topics for children.  So, of course, since we were reading the Bunnicula books when this theme was coming up, I found that the book Invasion of the Mind Swappers from Asteroid 6! very handily fit our theme.

Beyond our Planet

In this book, the main character and narrator, Howie is learning about cliffhangers, literary license and adjectives while writing a book about a terrifying alien invasion.  The aliens from Asteroid 6! come in and take over minds.  They swap minds with several of the main characters, and only the talented, brave, and humble Howie the wire-haired dachshund is able to solve the dilemma that they’re in.  It’s a good thing he’s able to solve it too.  After all, he’s author!!

This is a book that made me laugh out loud, sometimes with things that my children didn’t even get!!  What my children did get from this book is a great understanding of what adjectives and cliffhangers are, and a funny adventure story.  I had planned on making squirrel puppets  as a story activity, but my children vetoed it.  They just weren’t into the idea of a craft.  They didn’t feel a need to add on to this story with their own crafts.

It did get my daughter talking about the planets though.  We spent several hours looking up the planets in our solar system, finding out what they looked like and spelling their names for a solar system picture that she drew.  Rose was not interested in finding out the scale or order of the planets, so they’re out of order, even though her brother kept leaning over her shoulder and trying to “educate” her.  I’m pretty happy with the results of her time spent working and drawing.


This isn’t the first time our learning activities have visited our solar system.  You can also check out these posts I’ve written about our outer space learning explorations.

Poppins Book Nook main image 2014 - 2015

This post is part of this month’s Poppins Book Nook post.  If you’re looking for more outer space fun, you should visit one of our co-hosts to discover some more great book related activities!!

The wonderful bloggers that participate in the Poppins Book Nook are:

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God’s Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy’s Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler~ My Bright Firefly ~A Mommy’s Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~Where Imagination Grows ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A “Peace” of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am  ~ Simple Living Mama

And now, for this month’s giveaway, which includes one of my favorite books :-)

Beyond Our Planet Bundle Giveaway! Every month the Poppins Book Nook group will be offering readers a chance to win a brand new storybook or product that ties in with our theme for the month. This month one lucky entrant will win a bundle of fun for the theme of Beyond Our Planet.  This bundle will include a copy of the storybook The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons and a Space & Astronauts Bucket Playset.

Entrants must be 18 years or older and reside in a country that receives U.S. Postal mail. This giveaway is brought to you by the company Enchanted Homeschooling Mom who is owner and founder of the Poppins Book Nook. By entering this giveaway you are also acknowledging that you have read and agree to all of the Rafflecopter terms & conditions as well as Enchanted Homeschooling Mom’s disclosures found here.  Just enter the Rafflecopter below to win:

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now, it’s time for you to link up your own outer space themed posts!  If you have a book and an activity, feel free to join in!!

That’s about it for this month’s post.  Don’t forget to visit the main Poppins Book Nook Page at Enchanted Homeschooling Mom to take a look at past and upcoming themes as well as to download your free lapbook additions for this book club!

*Clip Art by Melon Headz

Clued in Kids Review

Sometimes homeschooling is hard work.  You don’t want to lose that “fun mom” status, but between math, English and trying to keep some sanity in your house, that “fun mom” title is slipping away pretty quickly.  That’s why we all, even those of us who lean towards the more relaxed spectrum of homeschooling, need some learning activities that are just fun.  That’s where Clued in Kids comes in.

clued in kids

Clued in Kids is a company that is dedicated to creating fun treasure hunts to make math, reading, social studies and logic skills practice fun and social.  The creator of this company wants to make treasure hunts as a fun and enjoyable way of learning and of having kids actively experience life together.  You can read more about her story here.  Because, as many of my regular readers know, I tend to want to make learning fun, I was excited when I received the opportunity to review two Clued in Kids treasure hunts.  I received the Halloween Treasure Hunt and the Thanksgiving Treasure Hunt.

Both of the treasure hunts I received were PDF printable hunts.  The Halloween and Thanksgiving Treasure hunts are each $5.99 and are appropriate for children four and up.  I used each one with all four of my children who are ages 9, 7, 4, & 3.

The two hunts were similar in many ways.  When I printed them out, each hunt had 12 clues and printed two to a page.  There were two additional pages to print (or not), the first page with the title and instructions and a final page that’s a reminder as to where you hid the clues if your children get stuck in the middle of a hunt and you can’t remember where you hid the next clue.

The hiding places are easy and sprinkled throughout the house.  For example, in the Halloween hunt, I hid clues with children’s socks, toothbrushes, the dishwasher, bikes, etc.  With the Thanksgiving hunt, some of my hiding places included with the hairbrushes, bikes, in the freezer, the bathtub and in the pantry.  The only thing that would be a specialty item to buy with either hunt (other than the treasure) would be a pumpkin to go with the Halloween hunt, and I don’t think you’d need to buy a pumpkin.  You could print out a pumpkin picture or pull out a pumpkin decoration that you have for use with this hunt.

I set the hunts up a couple of weeks apart on our Bible study mornings.  That way the kids wouldn’t see me setting things up for the hunt because they’d be too busy getting ready for Bible study.  Then, we could come in and I could give them the clues when we got home.  This was a very popular idea in our house!!

sample clue

So, each time I gave the children the first clue and they were off!!  The clues were varied.  Sometimes you’d have to complete a sentence.  Other times you’d have to answer questions about the holiday.  Still other times you’d have to find images hidden in a picture, complete math problems or break simple codes.  There were even challenges for the children to complete that were related to the holiday that the hunt was based on.

We found both hunts to be fast-paced, fun and to provide great practice of the children’s math and logic skills.  The only problem that I had was the children fighting over whose turn it was to answer the clue, and this was actually a problem I could have solved by following the author’s handy hint of putting the name of the child on the clue who was supposed to solve it.  She even provides a space for it on the treasure hunt!  That’s a problem I’ll remedy next time we use one of the Clued in Kids hunts by following the directions.  Learn from my mistake :-)

a candy prize

These are beautiful hunts.  They’re incredibly fun and well-done.  I loved that we had two hunts, and among the two hunts the same hiding place for a clue was only used twice.  It really kept the children guessing, and they were engaged in doing the type of work that, given a worksheet, they’d groan and complain about having to do.  Using these hunts, I could be the fun mom that I love to be when doing activities with the kids without a lot of work or fuss for me.  I loved that and I loved the hunts!

If you’re wanting to try the hunts out, a great way to do it is to sign up for the Clued In Kids newsletter.  When you do, they’ll send you a free Homework Reward Treasure Hunt so that your children can get started hunting right away!  Of course, with all the printable hunts to choose from, you can pick several hunts and get started hunting!

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Rise Up: A Call to Make Jesus Famous (Review)

Just Rise Up

I’ve recently  had the pleasure of reading Just RISE UP!: A Call to Make Jesus Famous by Sarah Francis Martin.  As part of the InScribed series of Bible studies for women, Martin’s book is more than just a book to read about Jesus.  It’s a call to study, journaling and action.

Just RISE UP! focuses on David’s words of praise in Psalm 145.  Through these words and other scriptures in the Bible, readers are encouraged to live a life of praise to Jesus and to influence those around them to do the same thing.  Instead of living life for yourself, you are now encouraged to live your whole life in the perspective of Jesus’s kingdom.  Martin begins by asking whether or not Jesus is famous in your life, and if he’s not, what your hindrances are to living a life of praise.

There are five chapters, and each chapter has five sections.  So, you could break this book into a five week Bible study or do it all in big swoop.  The importance is to do it!  Each chapter section has a life experience or teaching commentary by Martin followed by a journal section with prompts, scripture and meditations on portions of Psalm 145.  These journaling sections are rich and meaty, and if you complete them you will truly have a testimony of working through and thinking about Psalm 145.  I loved my experience in this Psalm and in her  commentary and thought it was a perfect way to get more of my thoughts and actions focused on obedience and praise to Christ.

Disclaimer:  I was given a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers program.  My opinions are my own.

Anthem for a Nation Review

I’m always looking for new resources for viewing history and the world through the lens of my Christian worldview, especially as I see so many differences in the history and politics that I see in the media and hear in textbooks and the primary texts that we study.  It’s a difference that I find increasingly disquieting, and I want to be able to present all facts to my children and not just some facts.  So, when I got the chance to review a DVD from New Liberty Videos, I chose to review Anthem For a Nation because I watched a preview of it on You Tube and I knew that I wanted to find out more.

Anthem for a Nation

I received a physical DVD from New Liberty Videos that retails on their website for $19.95.  This video is appropriate for most ages, but because my children are younger, and we haven’t discussed many issues dealt with on the DVD, such as abortion and the place of the Bible in public schools, I watched this DVD with my husband, and I haven’t shared this video with my children yet.

The film begins with patriotic music mixed with different pictures and scenes from American life and history.  This is a pattern that will repeat throughout the movie, and the movie will also end with views of the country and “God Bless the USA.”  I think these are great for showing images of the many different facets of the nation and it’s history.

In between the music montages, the narrator is speaking and sharing images and video related to the narration.  The narrator begins by establishing the Christian background of our nation.  He shares facts about the establishment of our constitution, about the buildings of our government, and about the scriptures that are found in our government buildings in rapid succession.  Many of these facts are new to me and I would love to find out more and share these with my children.

Soon, the narrator turns the movie’s focus to the ways that God, who is a presence and a guiding hand in the establishment of our nation is systematically removed from our nation’s public facilities.  The narrator especially focuses in on public schools and public children’s events, showing how we’ve removed the teaching of the gospel from our nation’s children in many ways.

Of course, the movie isn’t finished there, the narration then reminds us that the assault isn’t even just on allowing our children to hear the gospel message, it’s on the very lives of those children who cannot protect themselves–those children who haven’t been born yet.  It’s a moving, chilling and sobering message.

Once the movie reaches this climax, the narrator urges us to take action by praying for our country.  We are to pray that our country repent from its turn away from God and to restore the connections with God that were so important to those who established our country that they made laws to ensure that we’d always be able to keep that connection.

There are also two additional special features, which I confess to finding as interesting and intriguing as the movie.  In them, there are personal testimonies from those who lived through Nazi Germany and Austria about their nations’ moves away from God and their nations’ moves into fascism.

The final feeling that the viewer is left with is one of horror for the direction of our country but hope that God can change our direction and make our country a great place.

My feelings on this movie are mixed.  I love imagery of comparison of the foundation our country is built on versus the destruction of that very same Christian foundation.  It’s a powerful message, especially for those who are not aware of many of the facts.  In fact, the facts of this movie are relayed off in such great speed and momentum that I found myself wanting to research more about the founding of our country and the building of our national monuments.  That, of course, is the beauty and power of documentaries.

However, as I’m watching the movie, I get the feeling that the narrator is conveying the message that America can be fixed by stopping abortions and adding prayer back into schools.  While these are two very important issues, I would argue that they are truly symptoms of our pride and self-sufficiency.  We have said that we do not need the God who established our nation, and that we alone have built our nation to be the great place it is today.  In the words of the documentary, “God help us.”

I would have loved to see a little more done with the narrations and stories in the special features.  In fact, I wouldn’t mind buying a whole documentary based on more of those WWII era stories from here and overseas.  They add a powerful collective feel and testimonial evidence to the thesis of the documentary that I don’t believe the whole movie is the same without.  All in all though, this was a powerful and interesting introduction to how our country has drifted away from the founding principles that it was built on.

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Why Do Bears Sleep All Winter?

I was looking through my idea notebook for my blog and realized I had several posts I had been meaning to write at the first part of this year and haven’t yet.  So, I figured I would start blogging about them before I turned around and realized that I’ve been holding on to these pictures for years and haven’t written about them.  Funny how that happens :-)  At any rate, I’ll be slowly bringing some of these posts out for you guys.

Why do bears sleep

We were studying hibernation in January.  In so doing, I wanted to find a couple of science experiments that weren’t too pre-schoolish for the older two children, and I stumbled across this experiment on A Teacher to the Core.  You should really go to her site and download her labels and notebooking page freebie to go along with this experiment.  That’s what I did.  She even has a hibernation unit study for sale in her Teacher Pay Teachers store (TPT is one of my favorite resources for unit studies and other resources that won’t break the bank!)

Anyway, we all know that many animals hibernate in the winter.  They eat a bunch or store a bunch of food and hide underground, find a den, etc. to rest in until spring comes again.  This is obviously because food is much more scarce in the winter than during the plentiful summer months.

However, that begs the question of why does the bear hibernate in the winter?  What would happen if a bear didn’t hibernate?  The experiment we performed tries to help us find the answers to that question out.

We got out two small glass mason jars and filled them with water.   Then I sliced off a couple of pats of butter and put one pat in each jar.


We sealed the jars and labeled one “hibernating” and one “awake.”  Then, I let the children carry the awake one around while pretending to be bears.  They ran and played.  The growled and chased each other.  Sometimes, they just stood and shook the jar.  Then, we put the two jars side by side and compared them.  As you can see from the picture below, there’s quite a difference in the “fat stores” between the two bear jars.

butter dispersal

We followed up this activity by writing a notebook page about the experience, and by reading What Do Animals Do in Winter?: How Animals Survive the Cold (Discovery Readers).


This experiment and book would get us ready to create our own hibernation books with pictures of where different animals hibernate.