This Week

This week, we watched lots of Netflix, football and Harry Potter.  We ate a ton of turkey, dressing, sides and desserts.  We did absolutely nothing that could be deemed productive as we took a complete mental and “school” break.  Well, Rose had a guitar lesson on Monday, but that was probably the only productive thing we did.

I started reorganizing my pantry, but I haven’t finished yet.  I folded some clothes, cleaned in my kitchen, and I had a deep freezer go out.  It’s the second time that said deep freezer has gone out in the last six months.  <sigh>

My grandfather turned 80 this week, and we had breakfast with him for his birthday.  As it happened, the masonic lodge that he belongs to was having pictures with Santa on the same day, and we couldn’t resist the idea of going to visit Santa.

Santa pictures

We had our traditional Charlie Brown Thanksgiving lunch on Wednesday.  It might be Firecracker’s favorite lunch of the year!!

As you can see, I managed to have turkey shirts for both Owlet and Monkey to wear for Thanksgiving as we visited grandparents’ houses to eat way too much.


While we watched television, I sat and cross-stitched some.  I completed a Fizzy Moon card that came with my World of Cross-Stitching magazine, and I started working on a Joan Elliot “Tree of Life” piece that I found in an old Cross Stitch Gold magazine from 2010.  I’m tickled about the bold colors and clean design on this one.


Next week we go back to our regular activities and back to work on our regular “schoolwork” type stuff, but it has been nice to just relax and be on break.

Klimt, Patterns and Turkeys

My eight year old has been studying the artist Gustav Klimt.  Not his more risqué art. (So, preview any links I might give you.)  She started studying him and thinking about him at an art workshop that our local art museum does every month for homeschoolers.

I kind of like the monthly workshop.  I pay $10 per child, drop Firecracker and Rose off, and 90 minutes later come back to find that they’ve learned some really cool stuff that I haven’t ever taught them.

At any rate, the reason why they studied Klimt was for his use of patterns.  He used a lot of intricate patterns, often geometric or numerical in the midst of his artwork, and it has a beautiful look that reminds me of the current Zentangling movement, but bigger patterns and more colorful.  You should do an image search for his work and to see his amazing use of gold leaf.

In their class, the children made Klimt inspired cats.  They used gold paper on black paper and some bold whites, golds, blacks and reds to create patterns on their piece.  This one is Rose’s, and she was very pleased to combine her love of art with her love of cats.

Klimt & Patterns

What I didn’t expect was that Rose would continue thinking about Klimt.  I gave her a new sketchbook because she’d filled all the ones that she’d been using completely up.  She seems to be on a mission to fill this one up too with mostly ink drawings and the occasional drawing filled in with colored pencils.

One night last week, I looked over and she was drawing a turkey. It, of course, made perfect sense.  After all, this week is Thanksgiving.  When I looked, I saw that the turkey had geometric patterns all over it.  She told me it was because she was making her turkey like Klimt.  I liked it even better when I realized that what she was saying was true!

Klimt Style Turkey

So, do your children have a particular artist that they enjoy emulating?  Who is it?  Have you ever had an artist study that went deeper than you imagined that it would?

#Struggles {A BookLook Bloggers Review}


I realized a while back that I had an obsession that wasn’t very God-honoring.  I was searching for blog followers, Facebook followers and playing a numbers game that, while wanting to claim to use it for ministry, was really all about me.  I understood that what I had to do if I wanted to put God first and replace the internet and my own personal ambition as an idol in my life.  So, 2016 is going to be my year of cutting back online (if not ultimately taking a sabbatical).  When I saw the newest release by Craig Groeschel, #Struggles: Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World, I realized that a pastor who’s advice I’ve always trusted has written a book on an area that is one of my (far too many) personal struggles.

In #Struggles, Groeschel ponders the question, “Can we engage in the endless stream of social media and at the same time keep our eyes focused on Christ?”  Throughout the book, he discussed the internet and its place in our struggles for contentment, the ways we’ve traded true intimacy in for “likes,” and the ways that social media and texting feed our needs for control, desensitizes us to violence and troubles, makes it easier to be impure, and give anonymous criticism.  Ultimately, Groeschel ponders social media and smartphones as idols and the way that they are a constant distraction in our real lives.

While phones, social media and the internet often seem like a real danger in our lives, Groeschel doesn’t advocate completely abandoning these avenues of communication (unless you’re so addicted that you need to in order to control the addiction).  Instead, he proposes some ways to keep technology in its place and some commandments to help you navigate a more Christ-honoring way of interacting in social media.

I felt like this book was really a balanced approach at looking at a technology that is so entrenched in our lives that often many of us rank phones right up with air and water as necessities in our lives.  I actually feel like we often don’t even realized how addicted we are to the media that is problematic in our lives.  I like that, unlike many of those who seek to just throw out the media, Groeschel instead seeks to provide practical advice for how we should use this technology and not be mastered by it.

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for and honest review.  My opinions are my own.

This Week

This week was one of those weeks that felt like it was almost completely lost because I was sick all week. I had a nasty cold and kept spiking a fever.  The kids had it too, of course, so we were a coughing, snotty, feverish mess.  We’re still coughing and snotty, but praise God that the fevers are gone!

The only school subject we got to more than once this week was history.  We’re currently studying the Exodus and the Ten Commandments.  Can you say Charleston Heston movie night looming in our future?


Firecracker actually seemed to feel better than the rest of us.  I’ve snapped a picture of him working in his Matthew workbook (all dressed to leave for Taekwondo as soon as he finishes his workbook).  I also took a picture of his newest stuffed creation, a peanut butter jelly time dancing banana.  He also spent some time this week working on his Pokemon notebook, a Pokemon game on his DS and Super Mario 3D world on the Wii U.


Rose was hard hit by the virus because it ruined her opportunities to practice her song she’s been learning in voice lessons.  Of course, that didn’t stop her from working on the worksheets her voice instructor sent her or practicing on her guitar.

I bought her a new sketchbook a couple of weeks ago, and she’s made it her mission to completely fill the sketchbook up.


We also had several My Little Pony marathons, watched and played plenty of video games and all that kind of stuff.  Since I was the one who felt so bad, I didn’t really do anything “schoolish” that included the little kids.  They didn’t seem to suffer though between their video games, television and toys.  They were very busy playing.

365 Devotions for Peace {A BookLook Bloggers Review}

365 Devotions for Peace

I’ve been struggling against worry.  Even though I know it’s a sin.  Even though I know that I have a stronger savior.  Somehow, there is a stronghold of worry in my life.  Last night I had a bad dream about one of the kids, and then I couldn’t settle back into sleep until I went and physically checked on him, poking him to movement in his bunk bed.  So, I know I need a daily dose of peace to help me against worry.  When I saw the new devotional,365 Devotions for Peace, I hoped that this would provide some of the focus that I needed for peace of mind.

365 Devotions for Peace is a traditional, hardcover, dated yearly devotional book.  As such, for each date, you’ll flip to the corresponding page in the book to read a scripture, have 2-3 paragraphs of devotional application and a small prayer for the day.  If you have a specific topic that you’re looking for, the table of content roughly divides the content into topics, such as Peace at Home and  Peace Within.

I love this as a gentle word to focus the day and a snippet of commentary.  It really helps me to focus my mind for the day on God’s goodness and not on myself and my own obsessive worries.  I’m thankful for that.  This is a great little book to help you feel peace and rest throughout your days.

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers Program in exchange for an honest review.

I’m Happy for You {A FlyBy Promotions Review}

I'm Happy for You

I admit it.  I often get caught up in comparing myself with other people.  In fact, I occasionally have to take Facebook and other social media breaks to keep myself from feeling jealousy over the amazing things that it seems like everyone else has and does.  So, in my search for repentance over this sin of comparison, I thought it would be an excellent idea to read I’m Happy for You (Sort Of…Not Really): Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison, the newest book by Kay Wills Wyma.

In this book, in a very light and conversational way, Wyma details her life as a middle-aged housewife with five children, a husband and a middle-class lifestyle in a way that is framed to teach the reader not to compare themselves with others.  Instead, Wyma suggests that we should take the focus off of ourselves and focus on a genuine happiness with others.  The “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” that the apostle Paul writes of in Romans 12:15.

Throughout the way, Wyma peppers her book with examples of how we compare ourselves to others, how we are sometimes happy with others fail and how our mental sense of “justice” always seems to work in our own favor. It’s an enjoyable journey into Wyma’s life and I found myself relating and smiling in many places.

However, this wasn’t the book I was looking for because for me comparison and discontent is a really real sin that I’m struggling against and not just something that I can (humorously) see in myself and others.  I found Wyma’s book, although fun and entertaining, to not be what I was wanting or needing because I felt that I needed a spiritual element for repentance and bearing fruit in keeping with that.  I would have liked a listing of verses to meditate on or a an action plan for gratitude in my own life.  Even a listing of the author’s recommended resources for such things would have been helpful to me.

In the end though, if you’re looking for a fun memoir of comparison and discontent, as well as some great self-help advice for changing those behaviors, this will make a great read for you.  And, to help you out, I’m going to be giving away a copy on my blog!!  Between now and November 29, 2015, just leave a comment and I’ll enter you to win!!  If you’d like to have a prompt to focus on, you can also write about how you avoid comparison and jealousy of others.  It’s fine to just say “Hi!” though :-) (Giveaway valid in the United States and Canada)

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 a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Minion Model Magic

I have a child who is really obsessed with the Minions movie and all things Minion related right now.  He’s also five, really silly and thinks he’s terribly funny as well.  So, the thrill of his Halloween a couple of weeks ago was when his grandmother presented him with a simple model magic kit that had small packets of differing colored clay.  The kit was Minion themed, had a picture of a Minion on the front and contained yellow, blue, white and black model magic clay.

Monkey was so anxious.  He couldn’t wait until he got home from trick-or-treating.  The first thing he wanted to do was to rip open the kit and make his own Minions.  He cried because I didn’t let him make his Minions on Halloween night.  (It was so late after we finished trick-or-treating and eating dinner.)

The next day, as soon as we go home from church, he ripped into his kit and began to construct his Minions.  He was so proud of his creations.  He made two and they dried for days.  One even fell apart and I had to comfort him and use white glue to re-glue the pieces together.  Here is his finished product.

Minion Model Magic

I decided that this little slice of life was totally blog post worthy because I forever want to remember his excitement over the clay and his love for Minions.  I forever want to remember his little face concentrating over his creations.  I forever want to remember his pride in his finished product.  These minions don’t look much like the finished product on the cover of the kit, but to me (and to him), they are perfect.