Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Halloween? Yes or No?
With Halloween right around the corner, there's much debate about whether or not we as a Christian family should we participate in Halloween. Many people believe that as Christians we should not participate in Halloween as it represents witchcraft, the devil, demons and whatever..
I admit it - my kids participate in Halloween. We absolutely love Halloween. They get dress up, they go to house to house and they eat as much fun sized Snickers, Kit Kats and Whoppers as they can possibly sneak into their mouths before they get home and Mom takes the candy away to be rationed out. We decorate out house with lots of spider webs, spiders, tombstones, skulls and blacklights each year, including a huge 9 foot tall inflatable Grim Reaper/Pumpkin guy. Each year our display gets bigger and bigger.
I do not worry that my children will suddenly start worshiping the devil or sacrificing the family pets to him, nor do I bother worrying about where the origins of the holiday derive from. For us, it's just a fun day to look forward to in fall where they get free candy, we get to enjoy seeing all the kids costumes as we give them free candy and watch as they get excited over our inflatables.
In the book of 1 Corinthians 10:25-30 , the Apostle Paul tells us to feel free to take part in meals with unbelievers and not not even question anything about it. Why? Because when you have the faith of God in your life, nothing matters. The Halloween holiday is just a day for getting dressed up and getting free candy, nothing more, because when we have Christ, the history of the holiday does not matter. Paul specifically says "the Earth is the Lords and everything in it".. What does this mean?? It means that candy is of God.. Those costumes are of God, so long as my children have the Lord in their hearts, the history of Halloween doesn't matter. It means even if my son dressed up one year as a lil devil (because we couldn't find any other costume he liked that year and this one was given to us for free.. lol), it doesn't matter. As cute as a lil devil he was, he's still a child of God and satan has no hold on him.
Basically, Pagan influences have no power over me and my children and are completely meaningless. And, because of that fact, they are completely harmless as well.
Christians are not subject to evil days, icons or superstitions. Jesus gave his followers all power over the enemy.
Now, granted, the Bible says we should avoid the appearance of evil.. My daughter dressed up as Elsa from Frozen is not the appearance of evil. My son dressed up as a Storm Trooper is not evil either. Yes, he will probably be carrying a plastic gun. Big deal.. If you've seen the Star Wars movies, you'll know that Storm Troopers can't hit anything anyway.
Now, if you don't believe in Halloween and feel its against your beliefs, fine.. Don't participate, that's your prerogative. Turn off your lights. But don't ruin it for others by condemning others for their participating.
Halloween is not a threat to the Church.. Women who gossip.. men who watch porn.. those who are committing adultery? Those are the threats to the church. Kids getting free candy while dressed up as Rapunzel, Tinkerbell, Ninja Turtles and Transformers? Not so much...
And as my Pastor says? "Satan doesn't have a holiday.. He tempts and leads astray people everyday, not just on Halloween."
And as my Pastor also says "Too bad Halloween is only one day out of the year.. Free candy is always good"..
Well said, Pastor Mark.. Well said :)
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Maestro Classics (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)
I don't remember a whole lot about my 2nd grade year. I remember my teacher, Mrs Wiltz, I remember where my classroom was, and I remember duck and cover drills - hey, it was the early 80's.. While I don't remember who my music teacher was, I do remember attending a separate music class each day during that year but not a whole lot more. However, I remember to distinct things about that class - learning the various songs about Texas ("Texas, Our Texas", "The Eyes of Texas" and "The Yellow Rose of Texas") and I remember listening to Peter and the Wolf. I loved Peter and the Wolf and it was probably my first introduction to Orchestral music and I always loved how, in my young mind, I could clearly picture each animal based on the instrument playing.
It was this early experience in music class that led me to want to be able to review Maestro Classics Peter and the Wolf as performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. My children are the same age as when I was introduced to this piece and I hoped to instill the same love I have for it in them.
The CD itself consists of 8 tracks including an Introduction, the performance of Peter and the Wolf but with and without narration, as well as a Russian version of Peter and the Wolf played on Russian Folk instruments such as the balalaika, the bayan and the domra - instruments children here in the United States rarely get an opportunity to hear.
Over the last few weeks, I have no listened to both the Russian version as well as the more familiar version of Peter and the Wolf probably 30 times. I found very quickly that my kids, especially Ashleigh, loved Peter and the Wolf just as much as I did when I was their age. Ashleigh requests listening to it at least every other day, she likes it that much.
The first thing I did when receiving the CD was to upload the tracks to my cloud account so that I
Through both the listening of the Introduction as well as the downloadable curriculum, the kids have quickly learned to differentiate between the different instruments used for each character. Whether its the bassoon, the French horn, the oboe or the clarinet, they can quickly identify which instrument is playing based on the sound.
It's also funny to listen to their running commentary while listening to the tracks. Garrett's favorite part is when the Grandfather slams the gate and he pantomimes the actions of the Grandfather every time. Same holds true with the hunters and it's not uncommon to see both kids doing what I can only describe as an Elmer Fudd imitation while pretending to be the hunters searching for the wolf.
I am so glad to have had this opportunity to share with my kids something that was such a wonderful memory for me when I was their age. It has indeed fostered a love of music with the kids and has led to them using their imagination and creating their own descriptions of what they think is occurring in other pieces of music by greats such as Johann Sebastian Bach, as well as picking out the now familiar instruments they hear in each piece they listen to.
Maestro Classics can be found on their website as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Youtube.
Monday, October 26, 2015
The Ultimate Homeschool Planner (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)
Many homeschooling families are familiar with Apologia Educational Ministries. If you're like me, you probably have many of their books on your bookshelves at this very moment Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to review the Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal which was lots of fun for our family. Well, Apologia is back for another review crew, this time for the very popular The Ultimate Homeschool Planner. The members of the crew were each sent one of these planners with either the yellow, orange or blue covers for review. Our family was sent a copy of the yellow covered planner and it has become a very useful tool to my homeschool planning.
I have bought numerous planners in the past - both regular and teacher's planners - in the hopes of getting things organized for our schooling. These planners have often fallen short and have led to frustration as they are not designed for the needs of a homeschool family.The Ultimate Homeschool Planner, designed by Debra Bell, is a 280 page, 48 week, spiral bound planner designed with homeschool families in mind. The PVC cover is very durable and provides a pocket both in the front and the back for keeping handouts for the week and other important papers. Inside is jam packed with features such as multiple school year calendars (spanning from the 2015-16 year all the way to the 2022-2023 year), a one year planning grid, pre-planning guides, monthly planners and weekly planners, it is extremely easy to lay down the groundwork for a well organized school year. Towards the back of the planner are pages dedicated to keeping track of grades, reading lists, activities as well as a Year-End Review.
At first glance, this planner can be a bit overwhelming. The author seemed to understand this and included a 12 page User's Guide at the beginning explaining the best way to jump in and start using it. I was very grateful for this User's Guide as it thoroughly explains the various features and giving many suggestions as to how to schedule blocks of time each week and month to plan ahead. These monthly and weekly planning sessions allow to focus on family priorities, learning goals and to avoid scheduling gridlocks that can occasionally occur.
The weekly planner pages provide a nice grid format allowing for planning multiple subjects for each week, along with weekend activities. There are also blocks designated for weekly notes, a place to keep track of supplies needed for that week and also a section for upcoming appointments that might cause scheduling conflicts within the week. Each week also has a quotation to provide encouragement for the week, a nice addition. The planing grid provides adequate area to write multiple assignments per block, providing 5 lines per block. I write pretty big, however I was still able to fit assignments into the space provided without feeling confined. I was easily able to list all assignments in the spaces and was even able to use the extra space to make notes of the daily meals as well as the upcoming hockey games.
But The Ultimate Homeschool Planner is much much more than just calendars and lists.
Unlike any other planner you might have seen before, this planner also helps the homeschooling parent to focus
on and plan for their spiritual life as in addition to their students education. For me, this was a really wonderful added feature and came highly unexpected. Each week, pages are provided to keep track of Prayer requests, Outreach projects, Bible study and your own personal Battle Plan, including a Battle verse to focus on. Debra Bell even provides a website suggestion as to where to look for Battle Verses for those unfamiliar with them.
These pages really were an answer to my own prayers. As I keep my planner within arms reach while sitting on the couch, it was very easy for me to grab it and make a note of which friends were asking for prayers so I could remember later. It also allowed me to jot a quick note as to what I would like to concentrate on each week, whether it was patience, centering, remembering to pray, ect.
Overall, I found this to be a wonderful planner and I would easily say it's probably one of the absolute best for homeschooling families. While somewhat overwhelming at first, after a few weeks of using it, much of it becomes habit and you can have your entire week planned out in about 30 minutes.
Apologia can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
Verse of the Week 4
This week, I am feeling drawn to the the book of Psalms.
Commit your way to the Lord:
trust in him and he will do this;
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Psalm 37: 5-6
Faith means knowing that even when we can't see him, we can trust him. Psalms 37:5-6 is a promise to us that if we indeed put our faith in the Lord that we will be rewarded for putting our trust in him.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Throwback Thursday - Viewing A Solar Eclipse
YEAH ME!!! This is the first time I've really gotten to participate in the Throwback Thursday of the Blogging world... Prior to this week, my blog postings were very sporadic. What a difference a year makes!
So for my first Throwback Thursday I'm revisiting the post where the kids and I went out to view the partial solar eclipse, Being able to see these old posts and make them better is such a great way to see how far along my blogging has come. Plus, I loved the Back to the Future looking logo, which is perfect considering yesterday was Back to the Future day :)
Today we decided to just take the day off from doing our normal bookwork, as we had a fun activity planned for the kids. There was a partial solar eclipse that was viewable from our lil corner of the world so we took the opportunity to check it out.
|Finding the Moon on Stellarium|
|Watching the progression of the Moon|
As said, this was merely a partial eclipse for our area and totality was not able to be seen. All in all, about 1/3 of the sun was blocked which was not enough to notice any difference outside as it was an exceptionally bright day. However, it provided just enough for the kids to observe and get an understanding of what occurs during an eclipse of the sun.
However, on Monday, August 21st of 2017 a total solar eclipse will be visible in the United States, the first total solar eclipse visible here in the last 26 years. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon completely covers the sun's disk. Our family has already been making plans to attend a viewing
party within the viewing corridor which arches across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. Those in this corridor will be in the shadow and will be able to see one of the greatest solar phenomenons known as Baily's Beads, also known as the "Diamond Ring Effect". These are caused by the sunlight still being able to reach the Earth through the lunar valleys. Those outside the viewing corridor will still be able to see the eclipse but unfortunately, they will only see it as a partial eclipse. Regardless where in the United States you wil be at that time, it will still prove worth watching :)
|Shadow Corridor for Solar Eclipse 2017|
How to Make A Pinehole Projector
- A long cardboard box or tube. You can tape two together to make one long box. The longer the
- Duct tape.
- Aluminium foil.
- A pin or a thumbtack.
- A sharp knife or cutter.
- Sheet of white paper.
What to do:
- Cut a rectangular hole on one end of the box using the sharp knife.
- Using the scissors, cut an equally-sized rectangular piece of the aluminium foil. Make sure it is not crinkled.
- Tape the foil over the rectangular hole you just made in the box.
- Use the pin to poke a hole in the center of the foil.
- Place or tape the sheet of paper at the other end of the box.
- Stand with your back towards the Sun. Place the box on your head with the hole towards the Sun. Adjust your position until you see the Sun's image reflected on the paper inside the box.
- With your back towards the Sun, point the end with the foil towards the Sun, angling the box along the Sun's rays. Look into the box through the viewing window and you'll see a small projection of the eclipsed Sun on the "screen".
What Am I Reading? A Moment of Weakness
If you've been following my blog for any amount of time, you already know that I am a HUGE fan of Karen Kingsbury. I was given the opportunity to review the latest paperback release of A Moment of Weakness which is book two of Kingsbury's Forever Faithful Series.
Had they found each other again after all these years, only to lose everything that matters most?
As children, Jade Conner and Tanner Eastman were best friends—until scandal drove them apart. Then, one golden summer, they find each other again. Through endless days they share their hearts and souls and dreams of forever. Then, in a moment of weakness, they make a decision that will tear them apart for nearly a decade.
In their own separate corners of the country, Jade and Tanner have become fighters for religious freedom. Now Jade’s unfaithful husband is determined to destroy her in a custody battle that will rock the nation and shake people’s understanding of faith and freedom. Could Jade lose her only child because of her faith? Only one man can help her in her darkest hour. And only one old woman knows the secret about that summer and the truth that can set them all free.
What I Thought:
Much like Book one - Waiting for Morning - Karen tells a story that revolves much about forgiveness for wrongdoings in the characters lives. In this case, both Jade and Tanner are wronged severely by someone who should have been able to be trusted. And again, just like book one, there's one character you really wish you could just slap some sense into. Jade and Tanner go through so much to be together, only to be ripped apart once again because of even older wounds involving their parents.
This is a very powerful book and really taps into many different emotions while reading it. The betrayal from the mother is close to unforgivable and the hate that she holds in her heart is self destructing. The cruelty of Jade's spouse and her father is also pretty despicable and there are no redeeming qualities to be found in either of them, although one can argue that the hatred in the father's heart is a result of the past.
This book also touches on the subject of those who claim to be Christian but fail to live a Christian life in their hearts. It's only when they learn the true meaning of forgiveness that they find the true gift of God's love.
Overall, I think this is another great book from Karen Kingsbury and I can't wait to read the next book of this series.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
KAREN KINGSBURY is a USA Today and New York Times best-selling author, with nearly twenty million books in print. Dubbed the “Queen of Christian Fiction” by Time magazine, Karen has written more than forty Life-Changing Drama, which encompasses the Redemption, Firstborn, and Sunrise series, as well as stand-alone novels such as Like Dandelion Dust, When Joy Came to Stay, and This Side of Heaven. Karen and her husband, Don, live in the Pacific Northwest and are parents to six children, including three adopted from Haiti. Visit her Web site at www.KarenKingsbury.com
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Wordless Wednesday - The Storm
Last Thursday, massive storms passed through our area, leaving massive mudslides in its wake. While the highways in our area were covered in mud, very little rain made it's way here on base. However, it made for some pretty impressive cloud cover in the sky, especially as the sun began to set.
Have your own Wordless Wednesday post to add?? Be sure to click over to Life at Rossmont to post your own or to view other Wordless Wednesday posts.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Koru Naturals #2 (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)
Earlier this year, you may remember that I had the opportunity to review a couple of products from a company called Koru Naturals. (The previous review can be found here.) During that time, I got to pamper myself with their Emu Oil and their Manuka Oil and Manuka Honey Shampoo and Conditioner. These review items were extremely popular in our household with not only myself but with my teenage daughter and my husband as well; so popular that we've placed a few orders to keep ourselves stocked up. Well, Koru Naturals is back and this time we were given the opportunity to review three more items: NZ Fusion Botanicals Skin Clear Creme, Manuka Honey Propolis Soap and the High Strength Emu Oil and Blue Tansy Oil Cream.
About the Products:
Each of these products have very special properties to them.
The Skin Clear Creme also makes use of raw, unpasturized Manuka
honey, East Cape Manuka oil, Kawakawa, Harakeke, Burdock Root, Thyme, and Canadian Aspen Bark to create a thick cream that claims to be beneficial to acne prone skin. It also contains many essential oils as well as Organic Shea Butter. This product came in a 4oz plastic jar with a warning to not use on children under 12 years of age or during pregnancy. While not on the jar, the website states that this product should not be used by those allergic to honey, manuka oil or tea tree oil.
Finally, the Emu Oil and Blue Tansy oil combines Emu Oil, Blue Tansy, Arnica Extract, MSM and Aloe Vera. It also contains many other essential oil such as peppermint, black pepper, German and Roman Chamomile to create a deep penetrating topical run for minor muscle pains. This product came in a 4oz plastic jar and contained a warning to keep out of reach of children and pets. There are no warnings on the website in regards to this item, however, I feel it this is probably a slight on the website design as many of the ingredients should not be used by children under 12 years of age or by pregnant woman, much like the Clear Skin Creme.
Using the Products:
To say it was like Christmas when the package arrived is an understatement. My husband, who was nice enough to pick up the mail for me before heading off to work, stuck around long enough to see what everything was. We all ripped into the package like a kid in the candy story, excited to see and smell everything that had arrived. Everything smelled so wonderful!!! Before rushing out the door, he informed me that he had first dibs on the soap as he wanted to use it when he got home from work.
Because each item has a specific use, we decided that all of us would enjoy the use of the honey and propolis soap. Because of the ingredients in both the Skin Clear Creme and the Emu oil and Blue Tansy Oil Cream, none of the children in the house were allowed to use them. We decided that for the purpose of this review, the Skin Clear Creme would be used by my husband who has battled with acne on his back for many years.It was decided that I would personally use the Emu and Blue Tansy oil cream for pain I have associated with my neck.
As it turned out, both my husband and I ended up using the Emu Oil and Blue Tansy Oil Cream. My husband is somewhat educated about essential oils and their usages since I use them frequently for various ailments so when he complained about a sore back after a hard day at work or sore legs after his latest PT test, he didn't blink and eye when I grabbed the cream. Afterwards, he admitted he noticed a marked difference in the soreness he had experienced earlier in the day. This was after I actually asked him - the fact that he hadn't complained about the soreness at all after I applied the cream told me it worked well for him. The next time he had a sore back, he asked me to rub some of the cream on him so it was apparent he felt it worked..
As for the Skin Clear Creme, we did notice a slight improvement in the condition of my husband's
where a little goes a long way and this jar will likely last a long time even with daily use. We will continue using the product on my husbands back in hopes that over time, his back will continue to clear up.
|Lots of soapy goodness|
The Manuka Honey and Propolis soap proved to be a huge hit with everyone in my house. Everyone loved it. It lathers up surprising well and leaves your skin feeling extremely soft. Both of the lil kids beg to use the soap every time they take a bath and I had to retrieve it multiple times from my teenagers bathroom. It is gentle enough to be used as a face cleaner and removes makeup well. It also works really well for shaving.
It also moisturizes really well and leaves the skin with a very sweet honey aroma. Again, this product is long lasting and even with a family of five using it almost constantly, it's still almost the same size as when we received it. Even my husband, who normally likes a more "manly" smelling soap has been using this soap. Our bottles of body wash have all been put under the cabinet and I have a feeling they will only come out again if we run out of this wonderful soap before we can order a replacement later down the road.
To say that my family has fallen in love with Koru Naturals would be an understatement. When I asked my husband and my teenage daughter if they had anything they would like to add to my review in regards to Koru Naturals, both said the same thing - "They're Awesome!!". Beyond just the reviews, I've placed my own orders for products from them and I have found that their customer service is first rate, very helpful and that each product has been top quality. I can already see that each of these three products will be in future orders, especially the Emu Oil and Blue Tansy Cream as it's worked wonders on my neck. I've personally recommended products from Koru Naturals to friends and family in the past and will continue to do so in the future, they are just that good.
To learn more about products offered by Koru Naturals, be sure to visit their website as well as their Facebook and Pinterest pages.
Be sure to check out the other Crew members reviews by clicking the banner below. In addition to the Emu Oil and Blue Tansy Cream, members also reviewed Argan Oil and Sandalwood Hair Tonic, Emu Oil Shampoo and Emu Oil Leave-in Conditioner, and Manuka Honey and Manuka Oil Facial Cleanser and Manuka Honey, Tamarind and Manuka Oil Facial Toner.
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