Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Picket Project

It's been over a month since the last Picket update so it's well time for something new.  Picket is now 5 months old and still enjoying being a house rabbit. 

Her favorite thing is still to lay down on the bed and take a nap.  This seems to be the place where she is most comfortable, which is understandable because for the first 4.5 months of her life, all her interaction with us took place in this room.   She's perfectly relaxed and will allow anyone to pet her and snuggle with her while she's laying on the bed. It's also where she is the most playful.

However, in the last few weeks, we have been working on moving her from the bedroom to giving her free reign of the house (with supervision).  This means opening her hutch during longer periods of time, closing off the bedroom where she cannot hide in there, and then having her venture around thru the house as she is comfortable.   We have also been giving her meals to her in the living room rather than the bedroom to help her associate the living room with good things.

For the first few days, she would only come out for her food. She would then finish her meal and instantly head back to her hutch where she felt safe. We do keep her hutch door open so that she can retreat back if she wants. 

Slowly, the time she would spend in the living room has been expanded.  First she would suddenly just appear, hop across the living room floor, check out a few things in the living room and then head back to her hutch.   Then she would hand out a lil longer in the hallway, sitting on the runner that we have there now.  (She doesn't particularly like the tile floors). 

However, now she spends longer times in the living room, hoping up on the couches to be with us, to get her cheek rubbed and a treat.. We have had to make sure all wires are out of her reach so that she will not try to nibble on them but overall, she's done really well having free run of the house.  At night she still has to have the door latched on her hutch so that she isn't unsupervised or so that the cats can't cause her any trouble while we are asleep, but most of the day she's free to come and go as she likes.

She's still not completely weaned off her milk yet but is not drinking near as much as she had.  She focuses more now on her veggies and has recently discovered that she loves grapes (seedless), pumpkin and strawberries.  As she has gotten older, I am limiting her access to foods high in oxalates such as spinach and broccoli to avoid her developing bladder sludge caused from large amounts of calcium found in those types of foods.  She still receives a maintenance dosage of Beni-bac each Monday to keep her gut healthy.

And she's still a huge cuddle bunny..  I hope she never outgrows laying her head on my shoulder and falling asleep!! 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Weekend Meal Planning

This weekend just kind of flew by, especially after the week I had. Ever have one of those weeks where Saturday and Sunday just wasn't enough to feel like you had a good reset? That's how I'm feeling right now.  Between jury duty, sick kids, my husband's PT test, the maintenance guys finally finishing our back yard... I need a vacation!!!

Oh well, I did at least get the grocery shopping done today.. I only shopped for a week again this time and will go back to get the following ten days (to get us to the end of the month) next Sunday.    We will be eating on the road Saturday as we are going back to the Museum of Natural History and will be there all day.  We are bringing a picnic lunch with us to eat in the beautiful rose gardens there, but most likely will eat fast food on the way home. 

Sunday (10/14)
Chili with Fritos

Monday (10/15)
Beef Tips with Rice and Salad

Tuesday (10/16)
Chicken and Stuffing with Carrots and green beans

Wednesday (10/17)
Chicken and Broccoli Shells & Cheese

Thursday (10/18)
Chicken Gnocchi Soup with Salad

Friday (10/19)
Pork Tenderloin with Pumpkin-spiced Apples, steamed broccoli and salad

Saturday (10/20)
Picnic at the Museum 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Brinkman Adventures Season 6 ( A Homeschool Crew Revew)

The kids and I had the enjoyment of reviewing Season 6: Underground Rising , the latest release from Brinkman Adventures

About Brinkman Adventures

Produced by non-profit, non-denominational Beachglass ministries, the Brinkman Adventures is a radio show currently in their 6th season  that transforms true stories about real life, modern missionaries into fictional stories revolving around the Brinkman family.  However, while the Brinkman family and the stories  are fictionalized, they are based on writer Ian Bultman's family and the lives of real life missionaries. 

For this review, we received a downloadable digital version of Season 6 which contained 6 MP3 audio files with over 2 hours of audio adventures.   Each episode is less then 30 minutes in length, making it suitable to listen to on car rides to town or to listen to while preparing dinner. 

Season 6 contains the following episodes:

55  Dutch Underground Part 1
56  Dutch Underground Part 2

Both of these episodes focus on Ian Bultman's real life grandparents, Reng and Lynn VanKesteren, and their involvement with the Dutch Underground during World War 2. 

57  Twice Born Fly

This episode is based up on a dream that Ian Bultman had while serving at Alaska Bible Institute in Homer, Alaska. 

58  I Wonder Why?

This episode follows the story of a young girl name Samantha and the sacrificed she made to leave home and move to a foreign country to serve in an orphanage in India.  It is based on the true story of the Wonder Family. 

59  Free Burma Rangers Part 1
60  Free Burma Rangers Part 2

These two episodes are based on the true story of Dave Eubank and his journey to become a Green Beret in the Special Forces and the events during his time in Burma along with his family.  

What We Thought

Being that each recording is roughly 25 minutes each, it was very easy to fit listening to an episode as a family a few times each week, typically when we were winding down for the night and getting prepared for bedtimes.

Without giving away too much, our favorite episodes were the first and second one, entitled Dutch Underground 1 & 2.  In these two episodes, we find two of the Brinkman daughters traveling to Canada to visit their grandmother.  While there, we hear the story of her and her husband's involvement in the Dutch Underground following the Natzi Germany invasion and the persecution of the Jews. From stealing ration cards to Lynn's time in jail, the storytelling really pulled each of us into the story and painted a picture of both the Jews and those who tried to help them.  

In addition to the recordings, the Brinkman Adventures Website proves to be a useful supplemental tool where listeners can then learn about the real people each story is based on, including photographs and fun facts.  Also included are links to the Brinkman Podcast which features recollections and stories told by those who really experienced it.  We really liked going to this website and viewing the photographs and podcasts that coincided with each episode - especially the real life story of Bultman's grandparents and their involvement in the Dutch Underground.  The factual history behind the story and seeing the photographs included made us enjoy those two episodes all the more. 

If you're looking for an audio adventure with a throwback to radio theater  that introduces your children to history, culture and the important missionaries who put their lives on the line to spread the gospel, you cannot do wrong with any of the Brinkman Adventures.

 And right now until the end of the month, if you use code FALL10 at checkout when purchasing your own copy of Season 6 of Brinkman Adventures, you can get 10% of your purchase. 

For more information about the Brinkman Adventures, visit their website at https://brinkmanadventures.com.   You can also find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Brinkman-Adventures-152895116079/.  

Brinkman Adventures Season 6 Reviews

Monday, October 8, 2018

CashCrunch Careers (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Early on in a child's life, one question is a constant - "What do you want to be when you grow up?". Some kids know without a doubt what they want to be, while others haven't the clue. Yet one of the most important decisions we make when facing becoming an adult is deciding what career path we want to take.  Other big decisions we have to make, such as picking a college and a degree choice, are a direct result of this choice.  However, with so many career paths to choose from, many graduating seniors and even college students have no clue what they should choose. Others think they know what they want to do with their lives, only to graduate and realize that they hate the career field they choose because they picked it for the wrong reasons.

CashCrunch Careers from CashCrunch Games starts with an online assessment that has students self evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in order pick a career field that fits their attributes and strengths rather than trying to fit yourself into a job.  The goal is to help students find a good career
fit before selecting a college and spending tons of time and money only to find out after the fact that the career isn't something the individual enjoys.

For this review, I requested to have two career survey reports - one for myself and one for my daughter Alyssa.  Alyssa is 19 years old and honestly hasn't the first clue what she wants to do with her life beyond sitting in her bedroom watching Cake Wars on Netflix.  I thought this would be a good opportunity for her to get some insight into what career fields might be good choices for her based on her personality.

After creating an account, the user is asked to fill out a survey.  This survey is 75 questions in length and takes roughly 20 minutes to complete.  Each question asks for the individual to reflect on themselves and choose between two descriptions that they feel describes them best. For example, would they describe themselves as Self- Disciplined or would Well-Adjusted be a better choice?  Trust Worthy or Likes People?   After completing the survey, the website then generates a report based on the answers given.  This report includes sections that describe "Career Work Styles", "Motivators and De-Motivators", "Career Attributes", and finally "Career Match" which gives you a list of jobs that should be suited well for the individual.   This report can be viewed online, which allows the individual to click on each career field  to learn more about it, watch a video about the field, and find a list of colleges that offer degrees in that career field.  Or if the person chose, they can download a PDF copy of the report for their own records.

Alyssa's Report

I do believe that the CashCrunch Careers report hit the nail on the head in regards to the analysis of Alyssa.

As a mother, I guess it's easy for me to read her analysis and see where it got it right. Alyssa is indeed creative, very aware of other's feelings and definitely tolerant of the "misfits" of the world (and actually seeks them out).  She is  pleasant, easy to get along with and is non-confrontational.  Without any doubt, Alyssa is not a leader and can be overly sensitive to criticism.    I think the report was pretty accurate for her.

Where I think the report goes wrong is when it lists the jobs that would be a good fit for her.  After the analysis states that she doesn't want to be a leader and wants to work as a supportive role, the list is almost entirely Management and Administration positions and nothing plays on any of those attributes such as creativity or compassion.   

Even more so, when clicking on each of these career fields, it lists the attributes that would make this a good choice for her to look into.  The first one lists "leadership" while the second lists "Stress tolerance", two things that the analysis says Alyssa does not do well with.

My Own Report

So then it was my turn to take the survey and see my own results.  Unlike Alyssa, I have been in the job force for 20+ years - I already know what type of jobs and work conditions I excel with and what types I have absolutely no desire to work in.    For those who do not know, I spent my career as a Respiratory Therapist.  For my own personal analysis, I would say that I excelled in high stress critical care situations and I like being challenged. I dislike repetition and mundane hence why critical/emergency care was my specialty.   I will also tell you that I am the first to go to bat against a Doctor that I feel is wrong (and have done so many times when it comes to patients).  With that said, this was my own personal analysis from CashCrunch Careers.

Okay,  for the most part, I can see this for myself.  I might not agree with non-confrontational, I'm not big on teamwork, but the rest of it is pretty dead on.  I do like to work at my own past, I definitely like an unstructured environment and yeah, I don't like strict rules and without a doubt, I want technical information explained to me in plain English.

I agree almost 100% with the Career Attributes list, as I am the first to tell you I am independent, persistent (just as some of my doctors), I like challenges and I am flexible.

But then we get to my suggested career fields.
It's almost exactly the same list as Alyssa's, with the exception of "General and Operations Managers" at the top.   Medical and Health Care Services Manager is second to the last, not that I would have any desire to run a Department because I prefer to be hands on/in the action.  And when I look at the attributes listed as to why these particular career fields were listed for me, just like Alyssa, none of my strong attributes were listed but instead it lists things like Leadership.   Trust me, I am NOT a person you want leading anyone - the turnover at that department would be pretty high.

Granted, maybe these are just lists of the final position. It's a very rare opportunity that one graduates from college and automatically is placed into a management position.  This list makes it seem as if being in charge is everyone's end game and it just isn't.   Some like myself prefer the hands on aspect of being a worker instead of a leader.

However, if one ventures away from the report and the list of suggested career fields and instead looks around the "CashCrunch Careers" section of the website, you can find a list of career fields.  When you click on those, you are bought to various jobs that fall into each of those career field.  So just for giggles, I clicked on Health Sciences and found Respiratory Therapist. 

And low and behold, the attributes for Respiratory Therapy is "Concern for Others" and "Independence" - more my style than a leadership position.  Also, the Projected Growth shows this is a career field that is growing and needing people, as opposed to the "Slower than Average" most of the Management positions showed.

My Final Opinion

I really do like the Analysis and the list of Attributes that the survey gives. I do believe it gives lots of insight.  However, I think the generated list of suggested career fields tends to be off the mark - not everyone wants a management position for one and for two, management should not be initial goal when selecting a career field anyway but should be something worked towards after gaining experience in lesser positions first.  Instead of what appears to be a pre-generated list, I think CashCrunch should have instead used the attributes that were generated from the survey (which in my opinion were pretty dead on for both myself and Alyssa) and matched those attributes to the various career fields that can be found in the "CashCrunch Careers" section.  If CashCrunch wants to push that management/administration jobs should be the end goal in a career, then simply show how each career field can work into another (ie: Respiratory Therapists can eventually become Department managers).

#hsreviews #cte #careers #careerpathway #collegeready #careerreadiness #dreamcareer #dreamjob #careerpossibilities #college #recruitment #changeofcareer

For more information about CashCrunch Careers and other products from CashCrunch Games, be sure to visit their website. You can also find them on the following social media platforms:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/721791248014409/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CashCrunchGames 
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cashcrunchgames/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cashcrunchgames/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/FortuneAndVenture

CashCrunch Careers {CashCrunch Games Reviews}

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Weekly Meal Planning

I am so excited that fall is finally here.  The temperatures went from being in the triple digits to being nice and cool (today's high is 76).  We turn off the A/C, open the windows and put the window fans up and enjoy the cooler temps.  Fall also means time for nice hearty meals like chili, soups and stews as well as fall flavors like squash, sweet potatoes, honey crisp apples, and eventually pomegranates.  

This week, I only did meal planning for one week because I didn't feel like going off base today and shopped on base at the commissary.  I mentioned that Alyssa will be cooking one meal a week. We did switch her cooking day from Thursday to Wednesday so that she's not rushed on AWANA nights.   I may start letting Ashleigh and Garrett have a cooking night as well, maybe on Mondays, to allow them to be in the kitchen a bit more than they already do (right now they make meals on occasion). 

Pumpkin Spice Waffles with Fruit Salad (grapes, strawberries and honeycrisp apples)

Spinach Tortillini Tomato Soup with homemade bread

Ginger Scallion Chicken with bok choy and salad

Crispy sesame chicken with broccoli and rice

Meat Loaf with baked potatoes and green beans

Lasagna with Italian salad

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Truth and Training Thursday

It's crazy to know that another AWANA year has started back up as it seems like it was just the other day that we had finished up.  But sure enough, September came and went and that meant the kick off to another fun filled AWANA year.

This year we are seeing some major changes.  For starters, the youth outreach leader and head of the AWANA program, Jerry, left us to go to another opportunity.  However, we have a new leader in Janet T who has been involved with the AWANA program and an amazing leader for many years who has stepped up into Jerry's place.  We also have new leaders for the T&T groups who really seem to enjoy the children and the program.

Alyssa returned to being a full fledged Sparks Leader and will be taking care of the Blue Team kiddos. She has 7 kids in her group at the start of this year but being that we are on a military base, that number will likely change as families PCS in or out.

Ashleigh is in her third year of AWANA and this year she is working through Book 1 for the T&T Ultimate Challenge.  She will also be wearing the blue shirt this year although she is currently still wearing her green shirt until her new shirt arrives.

This week's theme was Crazy Socks Night.  Ashleigh wore her dad's kilt socks (one of each color) while Alyssa opted to just wear socks that did not match.

For this week, Ashleigh completed Challenge 1:0 and 1:1 from her book.  Challenge 1:0 was basically her agreement to commit to working hard to learn her verses as well as my own commitment to help her each week with her verses.  Challenge 1:1 focused on How do we know that the Bible is true and learning how God's word is the absolute truth. 

For this week's memory verse, Ashleigh had to memorize three short verses.

But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God.   -  Jeremiah 10:10a

Your word is truth..  -  John 17:17b

For I trust in Your word.  - Psalm 119:42b  

She did a great job getting all verse word perfect and was signed off for the week. 

To prepare for next week she will be working on memorizing 2 Timothy 2:15 and Proverbs 30:5-6.  Depending on how well she does with those two verses, we may or may not attempt to also add 2 Peter 1:16.

Books of the Bible At-a-Glance (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Last year for AWANA, Ashleigh had to memorize all the books of the Bible.  We spent a number of weeks learning a song that had a catchy tune so that she could have a way to remember not only the names of the books but also the order in which they are in the Bible.  However, she could not tell you who wrote the book of Genesis, where to find the story of David and Goliath, or that 1 Corinthians is a letter from the Apostle Paul to the people of Corinth.  She knew nothing about the content of those books, only the order they could be found.

We were glad to be given the digital PDF file of Books of the Bible At-a-Glance from Teach Sunday School which provides a printable one page reference sheet for all 66 books of the Bible.

Teach Sunday School is the web's #1 resource for Sunday School lesson ideas, crafts, games, activities and tips for Children's Christian Ministry.  Offering print-and-go lesson plans, printable puzzles and games, seasonal and holiday lessons, Bible based crafts, and skits and plays, Teach Sunday School provides a large amount of fun activities that engage children and makes learning the Bible fun.

About Books of the Bible At-a-Glance

Each page is a "cliffnotes" of the Bible book which helps to put that particular book in context with the rest of the Bible.  Each page starts with the name of the book written boldly at the top so that students know exactly which book is being focused on.  Below that, the book number and placement (ie: Genesis is the first book of the Old Testament), who the author of the book was and when it was written is clearly marked as well as a timeline showing the time period that the particular book covers.

The second part of the page brings attention to what I consider the "meat and potatoes" of the book.  This starts with the books "claim to fame" - what about the book sets it apart from the rest of the Bible.   These tidbits make for great trivia.  For example, Nehemiah's claim to fame is that it is one of the first books of the Bible written in first person or that 1 Corinthians contains the famous chapter about "love" ( 1 Corinthians 13:4-8) that is often quoted at weddings.

Following the "claim to fame" section is a short section that either brings attention to famous stories from the book or for New Testament books this section identifies the problems or issues that the book addresses.  Sometimes this section brings attention to the fact that the particular book is mostly prophecy or judgments and doesn't contain stories.

This middle section also contains a "Most Famous Verses" section which lists the verses from the book that was most searched for on the internet as well as verses that are most loved.

The third and final section of the page brings attention to the more important points of the book which might give an outline of the book or give a general assessment of the overall message the book is portraying.   These are the key points that should be remembered about the book and why they are important.

How We Used It:

I have been using a Biblical based history curriculum this year with kids and through our lessons so far, we have covered the story of Creation, the Fall of Man, the Tower of Babel, The Flood,  and Abraham.  All these historical events happened in the book of Genesis, so I printed out the sheet for Genesis and we were able to refer back to it as we started each lesson.  It's really helped for the kids to match the history we're reading about with where it falls in the Bible.  As the school year goes on, I will continue to print out the pages that coincide with the lessons.

Eventually, I'll print all the sheets out and have them laminated to keep as I can see many uses for these sheets in our homeschooling journey. Between AWANA, Bible Study, our history lessons and any other study, it will be nice to have Books of the Bible At-A-Glance to give us a quick reference to find out who wrote the book or where in history the events fall.

#hsreviews #BooksOfTheBible #BibleSummarySheets #BiblePrintables

For more information about the Books of the Bible At-a-Glance as well as the other selections available from Teach Sunday School, visit their website.  You can also find them on the following social media platforms.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SundaySchoolLessons/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/biblefun/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/teachsundayschool/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SundaySchoolSample

Books of the Bible At-a-Glance { Teach Sunday School Reviews}

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Forensic Faith for Kids ( A Homeschool Crew Review)

Many times in our walk with Christ, we are confronted with questions regarding our faith or about God that are difficult to answer for us.  For our children, those questions are even harder to answer, making it very challenging for them to share their faith. However, a new series of books from David C Cook and Case Makers Academy has found a creative way to teach students how to investigate and find answers to difficult questions using some of the very tools and techniques used by actual detectives.

The kids and I have had the pleasure of reading the book Forensic Faith for Kids written by J. Warner Dateline, Fox News and truTV.  Along with his wife Susie, the Wallaces have worked with youth in their church for over a decade.  They are also the author of Cold-Case Christianity, Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, God's Crime Scene, God's Crime Scene for Kids, and Forensic Faith.
Wallace and Susie Wallace along with Rob Suggs. Mr Wallace is an actual cold-case detective who has been featured on various television programming such as

Forensic Faith for Kids is a 134 page paperback and contains 8 chapters as well as a postscript chapter.  There is also a Certificate of Qualification from the "Cadet Academy" that can be filled out and given to your child after completing the book.

What We Thought

This book instantly caught my youngest daughter's attention.  She absolutely loves Corgis so when she saw Bailey, the Welsh Corgi that is the focus of the first investigation in the book, she was interested.  For this review, we sat together every night and read one chapter of the book aloud together. 

This book focuses on two cases.  The first case is to find where the cute corgi puppy Bailey came from after she was found at a fundraising car wash.  The second case involves finding evidence as to whether or not Jesus referred to himself as God after another one Academy members  finds herself facing a dilemma involving a non-believer making her friend question her faith in Jesus.

Throughout each chapter of the story, the authors include "CSI Assignments" that ask the reader to read a particular passage from the Bible and completely a short activity about it (answering a question of filling in missing word), "Detective Definitions" that give a quick tidbit about a tool or technique used by Detectives in their line of work, and the "Detective Bag" that invites the reader to evaluate things in their own lives and see how they can use the tools being learned to strengthen their faith.  These little extras were entertaining and the kids really enjoyed these short breaks from the story as they learned about why police dogs are called K-9 or where the word "forensic" came from.

In addition to the book itself, the authors include a website that readers can visit that has supplemental materials that can help the readers to dig deeper into the two cases.  Most interesting are the videos which feature Mr Wallace as he explains step by step how to interpret the evidence presented and use that evidence to make your case for faith.  He explains this for both cases presented in the book and shows the correlation between the two cases, how the tools used to investigate the first case can also be used to investigate the case for faith.

Also included on the website is a Leaders Guides for each chapter, which points out key concepts to focus on while reading, Bible readings and activities to work on for each chapter that help drive the concepts home, and open ended questions to give an opportunity to think about both the cases as well as passages of the Bible and discuss what can be learned from them.   You can also download the Academy Notebook page which gives the reader the opportunity to take notes on key points in regards to the cases and the Bible section being focused on, as well as the Training activity Sheet that has a short activity that help develop critical thinking skills.  Downloading these sheets as well as watching the videos takes the book from just a reading activity to a fully immersible learning experience.

We have really enjoyed reading this book as a family and I will have to invest in the other two books for kids.  The books provide great tools that the kids can use for other question they may come across in regards to their faith, allowing them to find their own answers when necessary.

#hsreviews #apologetics #christianworldview #christianapologetics  #casemakers #casemakersacademy #godscrimescene #forensicfaith #coldcasechristianity #christianbooks #books #kidsbooks #childrensbooks #childrensbook #creation #creationism #intelligentdesign #dcc #davidccook

For more information about Forensic Faith and the Case Makers Academy, visit their website.  You can also find Case Makers Academy on Facebook .
Forensic Faith for Kids {David C Cook  and  Case Makers Academy Reviews}

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