Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

“Eye of newt, and toe of frog, 
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, 
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting, 
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,— 
For a charm of powerful trouble, 
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble. 
Double, double toil and trouble; 
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.” 
― William Shakespeare

Happy Halloween!

Till Next Time,

Monday, October 30, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review~ Gospel Tracts & Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack from Let the Little Ones Come

A few weeks ago, we were given the chance to review the Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack from Let the Little Children Come. I wasn't quite sure what to expect in this pack, but we were ready to see what the set contained and the message it would give!

Let the Little Children Come is a Christian company that focuses on providing evangelism tools and resources for parents and churches. They are not affiliated with any certain church or organization. We recently reviewed the Is There Any Thing Better than Candy  Box Tract for Halloween. These were cute little pumpkins with lots of uses!

For this review, we received the Gospel Tracts & Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack. The sampler packs are priced per pack. For 1-10 packs, the cost is $11.95, for 11-20 packs, the cost is $10.95, and for 21 or more packs, the cost is $9.95 per pack. The pack came with 10 of their most popular items.

John 3:16 Animated Tract
Where's Everyone Going? Animated Tract
The True Story of Christmas Animated Tract
Gospel Buttons FlipAbout
John 3:16 FlipAbout
The Most Amazing House Pop-Up Tract
The Lost Easter Egg Pop-Up Tract
Wordless Bracelet Making Kit
Silicone Salvation Bracelet
Wordless Book

The sampler pack also came with one set of directions for the Animated Tracts, the FlipAbouts, and how to make the Wordless Bracelets.

 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks

So first up are the Animated Tracts. The sampler pack contains 3 of this little books....John 3:16, the Story of Christmas, and Where's Everybody Going? These are little books that bring the stories to life. They are brightly colored. They are made with thick glossy paper and seem very durable. The children will have fun using the striped plastic sheet to make the images move back and forth. and bring the story to life. The directions included in the set explains how to use these books to share the Gospel with the children. These books would be a hit with children! The only thing that would concern me is that the striped plastic will most likely get lost and the images will no longer move for the children.

 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks

Next up the FlipAbout books! In the sampler pack, you will receive 2 different FipAbouts....The Gospel Buttons and the John 3:16. Again instructions are included on how to work these FlipAbouts. I gave them to my kids who are in the teen age range and they had some difficulty figuring them. I attempted to do and slightly torn it. I think little children would have a hard time working these and will most likely tear them. I personally would not recommend them because of this, but I did go online to the companies website and others people reviewing them said they loved them and the kids figured them out right away. So maybe it was just us.

 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks

We are now moving on to the Pop-Up Tracts. Two different Pop-Up Tracts (books) were included in the sampler pack. The Most Amazing House and The Lost Easter Egg are little story books that have pop-up pictures! These are cute and I know kids will love them. They would be a wonderful addition to add to the Mass bag. This little booklets would definitely keep little ones quiet during Mass. I always brought faith based books to Mass with us when my kids were little. It kept them quiet and helped keep them focused during the Mass allowing this mama to pray.

 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks

Last but not least, we have the Wordless Bracelet Making Kit, Silicone Salvation Bracelet, and the Wordless Book. The wordless bracelet making kit would be a huge hit with older children. It's simple enough that children 6 and up could do it with some adult supervision. I don't recommend this craft for younger children since they may put the beads in their months. 
The rubber silicone bracelet is the perfect size for children and their smaller wrists. I know my kids have received a ton of these over the years from various events. They always seemed to enough getting them. As mama, they drive me nuts. They always end up all over the house, but I guess it's not different than any of their other toys!
I have to admit I don't get the whole concept of the wordless book. It seems rather boring to me.  I can't seem to figure out why a child would want it. My kids even hinted at the fact that it would probably end up in the trash since it doesn't have any pictures or do anything really.

So What Did We Think?

Overall, I thought the pack was good. It came with a variety of items to look over and see what would work for you. They would be a great addition to a vacation bible school program for many churches.
As a teacher for a smaller church, I have to say I probably wouldn't purchase them. They seem a little too costly for us. Larger churches may have more funds available to them to purchase items like this.

Want to learn more about these Gospel Tracts?
Find out more on their Facebook Page!

Want to see what the other crew members had to say?
Just click the picture below...I'm sure they've shared some other creative ways to use these items.

Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools {Let the Little Children Come Reviews}
Till Next Time,

Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, October 28, 2017

CCD Week 3~ A Special Visitor Came for a Visit

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.

Welcome back to first grade! This week, the kids had a very special visitor in class. Our priest came to visit with the kids. This is a big deal for us. We just became a parish this past summer, so in previous years we haven't really had the chance for Father to come and talk to the kids. He was too busy trying to get back to his own parish to say Mass! We were the first class for Father to visit.

Since we were starting to learn about prayers and the Our Father, Father came and talked to the kids all about prayer. He talked with the kids on why we pray and how we can pray many different ways.

We pray....
to thank God and give him praise
to ask God for things or guidance
 to God for others especially those that are sick or sad
to ask God for forgiveness

How can we pray.....
at Mass together with our church fmaily
with prayers we learn and know
with our own words
out loud or quietly in our head

He told the children how the Our Father (Lord's Prayer) is special because Jesus taught the 12 Apostles this prayer when they asked Him how to pray.
Father prayed with the children and then reminded them that he would be back to see their progress and to hear all about the saints and virtues they are studying this year. I know we will look forward to his next visit.

Our saint this week was Saint Martin de Porres.

The children colored in a picture of St. Martin de Porres.  We read a little bit about his life and how he loved to take care others. He enjoyed helping others and always look at the people he was helping as Jesus. This is a wonderful lesson for children to learn. If we look at our friends, family, or anyone we come across as Jesus, we would treat them with lots of caring and love. 

Our virtue was Courtesy. We explained to the children what courtesy means. We talked about ways they can be kind and courteous to others.

  • Hold the door open for others
  • Greet others with a smile and a cheerful hello
  • Help a friend who has drop their book or pencil
  • Saying please and thank you
  • Doing chores with out complaining

The list is endless. The kids offered a variety of ways they could help others. I asked each child to perform one act of courtesy during the week.

Before the end of class, we practiced our prayers together as a class.

Till Next Time,

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review~ Sex By Design from Abby Ludvigson

As the kids have gotten older, I knew we would have to eventually have the dreaded talk. Why does "the talk" always seem so hard? I had no idea where to start! Maybe it gets easier the more times you do it but I have to admit the first time is NOT! I was thrilled when we were chosen to review Sex by Design from Abby Ludvigson.

Abby Ludvigson Sex by Design
First off let me tell you that this is not a normal "sex education" course. It's a course that focuses on the more important aspects of understanding purity, intimacy, and God's plan for a sacramental marriage. This is not a course that is going to go into detail instruction of "sex." If that's the type of course you're looking for than you'll have to keep looking. This course focuses on the heart and soul of our children. Abby does a wonderful job getting across God's plan for intimacy and marriage. 

Abby Ludvigson Sex by Design
This program is a DVD and workbook program. For this review, we received a physical copy of the Parent Guide book and a Student Workbook. Instead of the DVD'S, we received an email with links to the videos that go along with each chapter. In addition to these resources, we were give access to some wonderful online resources!

Abby Ludvigson Sex by Design
Each video helps parents talk to their children about purity, what it means, and we can apply it to different areas. 
The course is broken up into 7 chapters or sections. 

Chapter 1~ Plan Ahead: Living in a Sex Saturated World
Chapter 2~ Counting the Cost: Every Decision has a Price Tag
Chapter 3~ Dating: Doing Relationships God's Way
Chapter 4~ Sex: God's Purpose and Plan
Chapter 5: Modesty: God Cares What I Wear
Chapter 6~ Pornography: Its Deception and and Steps to Get Out and Stay Out
Chapter 7~ Secondary Virginity: Running Back to God
I decided to use this program with both of my children. Michael is almost 14, while Therese is 12. We've had a few talks about sex in the past, but I would still considered my kids very sheltered with what they truly know. We have limited what they have been exposed to. We have always been honest with them and have answered any questions they have had. Talking about purity and following God's plan is very important to us as a family.

So How Did We Use Sex By Design from Abby Ludvigson?
We watched the videos together. 
I did watch the parent video without them. This helped me know what to expect from the curriculum. 
So far we have viewed the first two videos. The first video deals with some prep work. Abby suggested having the kids create a purity contract with themselves. She even has links to online resources for the kids to print out. She also suggest the kids to get a purity ring. I suggested a chain with a saint medal for Michael since I knew he wouldn't want to wear a ring. A braided bracelet would work well too. I loved her suggestion of keeping a journal for your future spouse. I suggested to both of my kids to write down a list of qualities that they would like their spouse to have and what qualities are deal breakers.
Her suggestion on finding good, strong role models and friends is wonderful. This led to a wonderful discussion on how they have excellent friends who share their same morals and values. This helped them realize mom was right when she said you have to be careful who you surround yourself with. 
One area that we briefly talked about was knowing your limits. I loved that Abby brought this up! I think this is an important talk to have. I don't think young adults realize how quickly you can get caught up in the heat of the moment. We just didn't spend too much time on it since my kids are not really dating yet.
The second video deals with the cost of having sex before marriage. The use of statistics is a sobering tool. I feel the straight facts help kids see what can really happen. I knew a few of them and had already talked about them with my kids. However, I was shocked by the increase in suicide for young adults that have sex before marriage. I love how she stresses every decision comes with a "price tag." It's scary how a decision you make at 16 can affect you for the rest of your life!
So far we've only watched these 2 videos. I have been taking a slow approach with my kids. I want them to understand why purity is important. This is a topic I don't want to rush. In fact, this is a topic we will revisit over and over throughout the years. After watching the video together, we spend the next 2 weeks working through the workbook. Since we only received one workbook, I have had them creating their own notebook using the workbook as a guide. They just have to share the workbook. Having my kids work through the workbook independently allows them to figure out their own questions and concerns. Since they are opposite sexes, I know they may be embarrassed to ask or answer questions in front of one another. By scheduling one on one time with them, I'm hoping I am eliminating any issues they may have. I also look for ways to bring in our Catholic faith into the curriculum. We've talked about saints they have led an impure lifestyle and how they changed when they followed God. Having examples of saints to follow is a wonderful way to add to their list of positive role models.
What Did We Think of Sex by Design?

The kids were not that thrilled at first. I understand though...talking about sex with your mom is not a fun a thing to do. I know I dreaded it when my mom talked to me. We've talked about purity and why it's important to wait until marriage, so this was not a new topic for them. I do feel that Abby and the videos provide a wonderful format and has provided us with information we hadn't discussed before. They know they can't date right now, but they understand why we need to talk about this before they actually start dating.
I loved it! I love having an outline and a guide to follow. It helps this mama out a lot. I will say that I didn't preview the videos before watching the videos with my kids. In the future, I will preview them. In the second video, the topic of oral sex came up and I had never talked about this with my daughter. I was a little concerned at first, but thankfully the topic was dealt with in a non-descriptive way.
I love how Abby is a living example of waiting to have sex until your married. She is a wonderful example of a virgin. Sadly in today's society this is a trait that is hard to find. Too often the role models are kids see are the exact opposite of pure.
My only complaint is our slow internet. The videos would freeze while loading. We had to wait for the video to "catch up" every few seconds. I definitely recommend purchasing the DVD if you have crappy internet like us. I have been debating ordering the DVD's so we can finish the course without any more hassles. 

You can find out more about Abby and her Sex By Design curriculum on her Facebook page!

Stop by and see what the other members had to say about Sex By Design!

Sex by Design {Abby Ludvigson Review}

Till Next Time,

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, October 23, 2017

CCD Week 2~ Learning the Sign of the Cross

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.

Welcome back to the classroom!

This week, we have a full class scheduled. One thing I've learned over the years is to keep them busy and have fun while learning! If you do these 2 things, they will love class.

Our saint of the week is Saint Martha.

While we read about Saint Martha and her sister Mary, the kids colored in a picture of Saint Martha.
We learned about how Jesus came and visited Martha and Mary. We talked about the miracle of Jesus raising Martha's brother Lazarus from the dead. We talked how  Martha's had faith in Jesus and believed in him. This story led us into our virtue for the week!

Our virtue of the week is Faith.

Our focus this week is learning all about the Sign of the Cross!

Our Story this week was all about Jesus and the little Children.

The kids colored and took home this Sign of the Cross Coloring Page.

To go along with our classroom theme, the kids created a picture using Noah's Ark foam stickers.

These stickers were leftover from when my kids were little. We didn't have enough Noah's or Arks for all my little ones, but they did a wonderful job of sharing and compromising. I had 2 young boys created a scene with just the animals. They all agreed that the rainbows should have looked more like rainbows. Who wants an all blue rainbow?

Till Next Time,

Monday, October 16, 2017

CCD Week 1 ~ Getting to Know You

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.

Our first class is always a little hectic. The kids have no idea who I am. They don't know the aids and a few of the kids don't know each other. This year, I am blessed with 16 little first graders! Thankfully I have 2 aids again this year.

On our first day, I always introduce myself first, my aids follow up with their introductions. After the class knows who we are, we have the kids go around and tell each other a little about themselves. I always suggest introducing themselves by stating their name, telling us a favorite color or animal, and something that makes them special. We get a lot of favorite animals and of course whatever sport they like to play.

This year, I found a wonderful coloring page "All About Me" for the kids to fill in. Once they were completed, we decorated the back of the door and wall with them. This was a great way to find out more about our new friends. We have a lot of little boys that want to be NBA players. We do have a little girl that wants to be a paleontologist this year! I have to admit that is the first time we have heard that profession. We have some odd favorite foods this year too....chilly dogs, broccoli, sloppy joes. I love seeing their personalities come to life.

Of course, I always go over the rules and expectations for our classroom room. I even created a fun little poster to help the kids remember.

At this point, we usually take a quick (or not so quick) bathroom break. At this time, the kids can use the restroom or get a drink at the water fountain.

Following, our break we take a tour of our classroom. I explain the theme, show them their prayer wall, explain our saint and virtue wall, the Apostles wall, our birthday wall, our small little altar, and any other sections we may have in the room. Finally, we go over the Good Deeds jar!

This year with so many kids, we rain of of time for a craft, but we did read a story about Noah and the Ark.

Stay tuned for next week!

Till Next Time,

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Travelings Thursdays~ Fort Mackinac

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you. 

Mountain of Grace Homeschooling

Today is our last day on the Island! We are touring Fort Mackinac.

Fort Mackinac was found in 1780 by the British during the American Revolution. It was built so that the British could control the Strait of Mackinac between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

American Revolution

In 1796, the Americans took over the fort which led to the first land engagement of the War of 1812. This battle was bloody and many lives were lost. The British gained back control of the fort. 

After the war, the fort was turned over to the Americans. 
The fort was officially controlled in 1895.
The fort now acts as a living museum for visitors to Mackinac Island.

The fort has 14 fully restored buildings to explore. Visitors will see soldiers milling about, period displays and furniture in the buildings, learn all about the fort, and learn more about American history.

As visitors walk through the fort, the will see the homes that the soldiers and their families lived in.
Touring the fort gives everyone a peek into what life was like for the families that live at the fort over the years.

They offer a wonderful kid's museum filled with tons of hands on learning. 

Next stop....home!
Our week long cross country journey has come to an end.
I will admit I am ready to sleep in my own bed!

Till Next Time,

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Noah's Ark Theme for CCD

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.

This year, the theme I picked for our classroom was Noah's Ark!

I decorated the door with blue wrapping paper, a brown Noah's ark, and a few animals for all the kids I have this year. I used a combination of butterflies, caterpillars, and fish. I had all these on hand already. For the rainbow and clouds, I used tissue paper. To create Noah's ark, I used plain old brown mailing paper. Simple, easy, and relatively low cost. This teacher is on a budget!

For our classroom, I decorated one whole wall with Noah's ark. For the water I used a heavy duty blue paper, I found in the teacher's section of our local Hobby Lobby. I created the rainbow using plastic table clothes. This part was a little tricky since we are not allowed to put holes in the walls. The plastic table clothes were not sticking with tape ( a little too slippery). So a friend suggested using pipe cleaners. I placed the pipe cleaners through my rainbow knots and then taped the pipe cleaners to the paper. Problem solved! I added a ark using the same brown mailing paper from the door. I created clouds by using poster board and glitter! Our quote on the board is "God Keeps His Promises!" The decorations are fairly simple, but the kids love the wall.

To complete the theme, I created our prayer wall. This is where we keep track of the prayers we are learning....the Our Father (The Lord's Prayer), the Hail Mary, the Glory Be, the Guardian Angel, and the Sign of the Cross. On this wall, every child has a boat with all 5 prayers listed. The children know which boat is theirs by the animals and the names on the animals. This year the boys are turtles while the girls are ladybugs. The ladybugs and turtles are free coloring pages I found online and colored. The boats I made out of brown construction paper.

I just love creating an environment where the kids love to come and visit!

Till Next Time,

Friday, October 6, 2017

Second Round of Blogging Through the Alphabet

That's right it's time for another round of Blogging Through the Alphabet!

Last time, I failed at getting through the alphabet. My goal this year is to gt through the whole alphabet. Want to join me? Well, here is all the important information!

This trip of Blogging Through the Alphabet is being hosted by 3 fellow Schoolhouse Review Crew members. They are Amanda at Hopkins Homeschool, Kristen at DoodleMom's Homeschooling Life, and DaLynn at Biblical Womenhood. I know these wonderful ladies are excited to be hosting this fun journey.

There are a few rules if you want to join in on the link up.......

Rules for Blogging Through the Alphabet

1. Each post must be family friendly. If the post is not, the ladies have the right to remove it.

2. When linking up to this post, you give the ladies permission to share your post and/or photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.

3. Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are sharing and linking up.

4. Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help everyone find you and help promote you as well.

5. If you have time, check out a few of the other posts. Leave a comment and share the love.

6. The most important rule the ladies have is to make sure you are having fun! Don't stress out over it. They want everyone to share some fun ideas that go along with the letters of the alphabet.

One more thing to know about the link up, the ladies are planning on taking off the week of Thanksgiving (11/23) and the week of Christmas (12/28). This is so we can all spend time with our families and not to worry about our blogs.

Do you want to join us? Next week, we will start with the letter A. The linky will be open from Thursday morning until Wednesday evening every week. 

Hope to see you there!

Till Next Time,

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Traveling Thursdays~ Saint Anne's Catholic Church

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.

Mountain of Grace Homeschooling

We are still on Mackinac Island, but we are now visiting a beautiful Catholic church filled with rich history. 

Saint Anne's Catholic Church

Mackinac Island

Saint Anne's Catholic Church has a long history on the island. In the 1670's, Roman Catholicism came to the area through the arrival of Jesuit missionaries like Father Jacques Marquette and Father Claude Dablon. For over 300 years, the church has been providing services to the residence of Mackinac Island and the many visitors that grace its doorsteps.

Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island

The church is filled with beautiful images of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.
The marble altar is breathtaking.

Traditional Catholic Churches

An image of Saint Anne, Mary, and Jesus is situated above the altar.

Saint Joseph

Th marble altar is flanked by two smaller altars with Joseph and Mary. 
The detail is a amazing. 
I love the way older, historical churches look.

Blessed Mother, Mary

Whenever I enter an older church, I am immediately reminded I am in God's house. 
It brings a sense of peace and comfort to me. 

After walking around the sanctuary, we headed downstairs into their hall.
Located in the basement of the church is a wonderful museum about the Catholic history of the Island. Visitors can explore the museum and find beautiful pieces of artwork and many Catholic artifacts discovered and preserved over the years.

Till Next Time,
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