Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Picket Project

I cannot believe that it has been more than 6 months since I found a little furball of cuteness in the middle of the road. Today, we have a full grown jackrabbit who has made herself quite comfortable in our house, roaming about freely and enjoying our company (for the most part.. lol)

Christmas preparations have been a source of interest for her lately.  I mean, come on, there's a tree in the middle of my living room.  I'm sure from the mindset of a wild animal, she has to think that tree was placed there just for her.  She's heard the phrase "Picket, don't eat Christmas" quite a bit since Thanksgiving.  She's gotten better about it as time goes on but for the first few weeks after the tree went up, she was constantly trying to nibble on it. lol

While she does enjoy the tree, she was not too thrilled when Mom came home from PetCo with a Santa dress and decided to place it on Miss Picket. 

She looked very cute in it, I have to admit.  Getting it on her to start with was surprisingly easy. I small cherry tomato to keep her occupied while I gently laid it on her back and attached the velcro on the chest and voila.

However, I believe these will be the only photos of Picket's Christmas outfit as she got smart to what that red fabric is and will have nothing to do with it now.   Maybe if I try giving her a bit of banana, she might be willing to allow me one more opportunity (She'll do anything for banana lol) but I guess I'll just be happy with the photos I did get.. lol

For the most part, Picket just runs around, coming and going as she would like.   She still occasionally jumps on my lap for a small bit of petting and she loves to give me kisses when she's in her hutch before she goes to bed at night..  Our nights are often filled with laughter when she gets a hair up her bunny bun and starts her Binky 500s through the living room, making sure she hops right in front of us, demanding our attention.

She's also found a new favorite spot.  We keep a toyboy in our dining room, which Ashleigh fills with stuffed animals.  Picket can often be found hiding in the toyboy amid all the other warm furry animals. Other times, she pulls the animals out of the box, scatters them on the floor and hops down and "plays" with them.. Playing for Picket often involves grabbing them with her mouth and tossing or rearranging them as she sees fit.

Someone asked recently me about owning a hare as a pet. They said they liked the unique looks of them as opposed to the cute fluffy rabbit and was interested in having one as well and wanted my opinion in regards to having one as a pet.  My opinion on this matter is that, in my experience, a wild creature should never be kept as a pet just for the sake of having one as a pet.  Picket has adapted well for being inside, free roaming as she wants, and she seems happy enough.  But she does let us know that she is not a pet in any way, shape or form and should never be confused with a domesticated pet rabbit.  They are no where near the same creature.  For one, hares are very temperamental and will always hold on to their wild nature.  The other day, Picket attacked my leg because she couldn't see her food and assumed I did not feed her.  They are also very  high strung.  I'm fortunate that Picket bonded with me when she was tiny, so I can pick her up relatively easy (unless she's mad at me) and put her against my chest without too much risk of injury to myself (lol) and she will usually relax and snuggle with me but this is pretty unusual for hares.  And while she will interact with the rest of my family, they cannot handle her without risk of needing a trip to the ER for stitches.

There's not a day that goes by that I don't appreciate the creature that Picket is, but as said, she's NOT a pet by any means.  She cohabitates with us, she tolerates us, and I do believe that she loves us in her own way.  She has a safe home, even when she goes "as mad as a March hare", which I know will be starting in Feb/March next year.  But I am always reminded that she is a wild animal and will always be a wild animal and cannot expect her to be anything other than what she is.  Everything else is just a bonus :)

Until Next time :)

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Weekend Meal Planning

Was the week before Christmas.. 
and here at my house... 
Easy meals were required.. 
Because Mom's an exhausted lil mouse..

Okay, so I'm not Clement Clark Moore in any way shape or form, but the my little verse still rings true.. Easy meals are the necessity of life this week because I am just too tired to think of anything else right now.. LOL

Sunday -  Smoked Sausage and Cheese soup

Monday- Patty Melts with Tater Tots

Tuesday - Pasta Carbonera with Salad and garlic bread

Wednesday - Chicken Cornbread Casserole

Thursday  - Lemon Chicken with Rice and Broccoli

Friday -  Meat Loaf with green beans and salad

Saturday - Moroccan Lentil Stew with Naan Bread (10)

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Weekend Meal Planning

We're in the last few weeks of 2018. Hard to believe that December is almost halfway over.  We've managed to get the majority of our Christmas shopping out of the way, except for what will go in the stockings, the tree is up and lit, and the Christmas decorations are outside. 

Only three more weeks of meals (and two extra days) to plan and we will be in 2019.   Christmas is easy - we've already decided to make homemade tamales this year, but the rest of the meals are always a ton of fun to try to figure out something that we haven't had a in a while.

Sunday   Black Pepper Chicken (4) Teriyaki Green Beans (3)

Monday  Chicken Pot Pie

Tuesday  One Pot Fajita Pasta (11)

Wednesday  Country Fried Steak with Gravy, green beans and mashed taters

Thursday  Sloppy Joe Potatoes

Friday  Southern Fried Pork Chops with gravy, au gratin potatoes and salad

Saturday  Shopping Day - Dinner at Chic-fil-a 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women (A Homeschool Crew Review)

This is it.. My final review for the year 2018 and the timing on this one couldn't be more perfect.  The girls and I have been reviewing Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women published by Zondervan and this review falls just in time for being able to order it and have it in hand before the start of the new year.

This beautiful hardcover book overs a full year of short devotions focusing on teaching young women how to navigate living in today's world.   The cover features simple floral artwork with rose foil accents and a font that resembles a cross stitch sampler.  The book measures 5.2 x 1.2 x 7.4 inches, making it compact enough to pack in a purse or suitcase when travelling without taking up much room, making it convenient to use year round.  Each  on page devotion includes three blank lines inviting the reader to make notations, prayer lists or other notes they feel inspired to jot down each day.   An attached ribbon to mark your place is also a very nice touch.

Written by Lindsay A. Franklin, each day of the year is given a page that first begins with a verse of scripture followed by a short devotion on a large array of topics such as doing the right thing, avoiding entering situations with preconceived notions  (such as that relationships with mother-in-laws are always full of stress), forgiving those who wrong us, and knowing when to use caution in certain situations. By focusing in on God's word and the lives of sixty different women found within the scriptures - such as Ruth, Esther, Abigail and Mary, Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women guides girls ages 13-18 as to how God instructs them to live their lives and to show them that God values them with high regards.

How We Used It

While both of my girls are slightly outside the targeted range of this book (Ashleigh being 10, Alyssa 19), we did look over the book together, read a few of the devotions and had some really nice discussions in response to what we read.  We didn't start at Day 1 and work through, but instead skipped around because I quickly realized that I wanted to instead restart this book anew on January 1st as part of our "girl time" each night.  By skipping around, it will allow for us to revisit those devotions we read together dispersed between those we haven't read rather than starting over.

Both Ash and Alyssa were very receptive to the short devotions in this book.  I had to laugh because before we started, when the book first arrived, Ashleigh said he didn't want to do it, thinking it was a school book.  I told her fine, she didn't have to do it, but that she would not be allowed to interrupt myself and Alyssa when we held devotion time.  The next morning, I found a note taped to the front of the book from Ashleigh asking to "Please let me in.  Love, Ashleigh".. LOL

 With both girl on board, it was very easy to include this book into our nightly routine.  Each night we
spend 10-15 minutes together having a pow wow in Mom's bed without the guys.  The devotions takes us less than 2 minutes to read allowing us to spend the other 8-12 minutes discussing what we read and how we can apply that to our own lives.

As said, we did skip around a bit in the book, taking a sampling of various pages.  I also took the time to read a number of the devotions on my own.  Unlike many other devotions that skip around each day to various sections of the Bible, or that focus on the authors own personal experiences and how they use the scriptures to help them in their own lives, this book instead spends sections  at a time focusing on a particular woman in the Bible and different aspects of her life.  Even unnamed women of the Bible, such as the Shumamite woman that Elisha encounters, is given multiple pages (the Shumamite woman is given 10 pages). I liked this a lot, as it feels almost like doing a Character study and gives the reader a better understanding of her life rather than just a small glimpse before moving elsewhere.

We have put the book aside temporarily while we read through the book of Luke for Christmas as well as focus on the Advent season, but I am looking forward to picking it back up on January 1st and starting at Day 1. It's a great way to not only spend time with my girls but to get them into the habit of spending time with the Lord each day.

#hsreviews #devotions #DevotionsForYoungWomen #Beloved #books #reading #bookstagram #christianity #faith

For more information on Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women and how to purchase, visit the product website.  You can also find more information about Zondervan and the various products they offer for Christian living at the following social media sites:

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Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women {Zondervan Review}

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Ellie Claire Art Journals (A Review)

When I was growing up, my grandmother had a beautiful family Bible with gold leaf on the pages, illuminated letters inside, and beautiful paintings throughout.  Since I couldn't find a family Bible comparable to the one that my grandmother had, I started playing around with journaling in my own Bible in the hopes of creating something my family will treasure.  There's something really soothing about interpreting what Scriptures mean to you by creating your own art and I hope that one day my descendants will look upon that Bible in the same way I use to look at my own grandmother's Bible.

 However, I always get disappointed when I try to attempt lettering or any types of embellishments  because I'll be honest, I haven't the first idea what to do.   Because of this, when I was given the opportunity to review three beautiful art journals from Ellie Claire, I was pretty excited.

The Illustrated Word:  An Illuminated Bible Coloring Journal
Amazon:  https://amzn.to/2zsP7PE
Barnes and Noble:  http://bit.ly/2Seb7os

I'll start with my favorite of the three to begin with.  This first journal is 9 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches and approximately 160 pages in length.  The  beautiful cover is soft to the touch with recessed artwork and gold accents while the pages are heavy weight paper ready for a wide variety of coloring media, from markers, pencils and even water colors. 

This journal is beautifully illustrated with more than 40 line drawings of artwork found on ancient manuscripts as well as inserts showing the original artwork.  A notation at the bottom of the pages lets one know where the artwork can be found, such as The Church of England Book of Common Prayers.  This journal is a nice cross between a journal and an adult coloring book.  The lined pages are perfect for writing down thoughts, prayer lists, or devotions. 

Even with cheap colored pencils, I was easily able to achieve beautiful colors from the high quality pages. The details are enough that one picture can provide many hours of relaxation without feeling overwhelmed. 

Faith & Lettering Journal
Amazon:  https://amzn.to/2RecR0W
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2KE25i7

The second journal I received was the Faith & Lettering Journal.  This journal is the same size as the Illustrated Word journal, measuring 9 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches and approximately 160 pages in length.  This particular journal offers guides and tutorials to practice free hand lettering, journaling, and creative artwork before trying them in your journaling Bible. The cloth binding allows for the journal to lay completely flat.

Beautifully illustrated colored pages offer an inspirational platform for your own artwork, while the lined pages give a place to practice how to take sermon sketch note-taking or to reflect on your walk with God and how journaling has strengthened your faith. 

This journal also features an elastic strap on the spine, allowing for a convenient place to keep a pencil or other writing utensil. 

Illuminate Your Story Journal
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2zpLcmQ
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2SinZu2

The smaller of the three journals, Illuminate Your Story offers an introduction to Illuminated letters and the various styles used by Monks throughout history.  The cover features the same soft touch material with recessed lettering and gold accent.  This book also features an elastic band to hold a writing instrument as well as a elastic band to keep the journal closed and an attached ribbon bookmark.  The fabric spine allows for the journal to lay flat.  This journal is 8 1/4 x 6 1/4 inches and contains roughly 160 pages. 

This particular journal walks you through creating your own illuminated style lettering.  Each letter is given step by step visual suggestions along with spaces to practice your own letters in two different lettering styles. These pages offer drawing guides as well as grid background to make practicing simple.  Other pages offer instruction of how to draw various flourishes such as birds, flowers, and Celtic knots.

My own personal attempt at creating an Illuminated letter A.

In addition to the guided practice pages, there are plenty of lined pages for journaling.  Each of these pages highlight a prayer, devotion or scripture to offer encouragement or to help bring your mind closer to God before taking pen to paper.

Finally this journal includes a pocket in the back for keeping small keepsakes.  Whether you include worship guides, postcards, letters or even artwork that you might want to try later, this addition can accordion outward to hold a descent amount of materials. 

My Final Opinion

Originally, I was going to give one of these journals to each of my daughters and then keep one for myself.

However, since each of these journals offer a different technique, each of which I would love to master myself to use with my own journaling, I have opted to keep all three for myself. 

However, I have decided to order a second copy of the Faith & Lettering Journal to give to my oldest daughter as a Christmas present. 

Any of these journals would make for a great gift for the journaling lover in your life.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Adventure Bible Polar Exploration Bible (A Flyby Promotions Review)

A few months back, the kids and I were both saddened to find out that the Bible that they used regularly for our studies had unfortunately been accidentally damaged.  This particular Bible had belonged to my son and was well loved.  As Ashleigh had her own Bible that she used for AWANA, I knew that Garrett was going to want his replaced.  I had my eyes on the New Adventure Bible, a popular Bible designed to interest adventurous boys using a jungle explorer type theme with iguanas, parrots and treasure maps that point out important topics or offer quick devotionals throughout.  For one reason or another, we did not have the opportunity to replace our Bible and Garrett has been using my Bible temporarily.

However, things happen for a reason and I was blessed to be given the opportunity to review the NIV Adventure Bible Polar Exploration Edition.  The main components that I was drawn to the original New Adventure Bible can be found in this new edition but with an exciting polar theme.  Instead of the parrots and iguanas that were found in the original #1 best selling Bible, kids will instead find penguins and polar bears.

Without a doubt, this version hit it out of the park for my son.

With over 9 million copies sold of the original version of this Bible, one only has to look at what this particular Bible series offers for children and why it finds its way into so many homes.

  • Full-color images of polar animals, arctic outposts and icy landscapes, will make learning even more exciting
  • Life in Bible Times- include articles and illustrations describing what life was like during ancient days.
  • Words to Treasure- highlights great verses to memorize.
  • Did You Know?- interesting facts which help you understand God’s word and the life of faith.
  • People in Bible Times- articles of amazing people of the Bible in an up close and personal way.
  • Live It!- hands on activities helping to apply biblical truth to everyday life.
  • Twenty polar-themed pages which focus on how to know you are a Christian, famous people of the Bible, highlights of the life of Jesus, and how to pray. 
  • Book Introduction- including arctic art and important information about each book of the Bible.
  • Dictionary/Concordance- define the meaning of confusing words.
  • Color Map Section- helps to locate places mentioned in the Bible.
  • Hardback glacial theme cover with metallic sheen
I'm really glad to have received this Polar Exploration version.  Garrett has shown more interest in the cute arctic animals more than he showed for the original version.  The text is large enough for him to read easily, along with larger fonts to draw attention to main themes for important sections of verse.  The NIV (New International Version)  translation is easier for him to understand than a traditional King James but yet not as simple as his previous version that was in NIrV. 

A simple table of contents is located almost immediately at the beginning of this Bible which is something I appreciate.  Garrett doesn't yet know the order of the books of the Bible and one complaint we had about our previous Bible was that the Table of Contents was buried about 20 pages in.   This version puts the TOC immediately behind the title page, making it easy to locate quickly.  

The Bible itself is 1460 pages printed on medium weighted paper.  The pages would probably not stand up to being marked with markers without bleeding through but should be able to handle a yellow highlighter for marking verses.  Following the completion of the book of Revelations, there is an appendix that includes a section of weights and measures (because lets be honest, who knows how much a talent or a cubit is), an index to look up general subjects such as a particular person, location, topic or emotion.  There is also an index to look up scripture for various activities to grow in faith. These indexes are fairly limited but do make for a great start for a younger student to use. There is also a Dictionary/Concordance included.  Finally, there are 8 full color maps to provide a visual tool for understanding locations, lands inhabited by the 12 Tribes, and Paul's journeys. 

Also included with this Bible is 20 full color glossy pages that focus on Christian living such as how
to pray or how to know you are a Christian, as well as a explanation of the ten commandments,  key moments in the life of Jesus or other famous people in the Bible.  I always like when Bibles include these types of extra inserts as it make for a reference that is super easy to locate when needed, especially when a child is trying to share the Gospel with a friend. 

Scattered throughout the pages are five bonus sections.  Some of these are called "Live It" and invite the reader to participate in an activity such as drawing a comic story about an event in their life or to narrate a Bible story as if they were actually there.  These activities are then used as examples of how God is in our lives, using scriptures for support.  Other sections called "Did You Know" offers a small piece of trivia that explains why or how something happened the way it did in the scriptures. "Life in Bible Times" focuses on an aspect of life in Biblical times, such as the food that they ate, clothes they word  or other aspects of their lives while the section "People in the Bible" brings focus to the stories of people found in the scriptures who normally do not get much attention such as King Agrippa.  Finally, "Words to Treasure" provide short verses for memorization. 

Another thing I really like that is a bit unusual for a children's bible is the introduction page for each of the individual books of the Old and New Testament. These pages give a brief synopsis of what is included in each book, from who the author of the book is, why is was written, around what period of time was it written, and some of the key events that occur within the book.  I really found these pages to be a great addition for a children's Bible and have only before seen similar pages in my personal study Bible.   

I am very happy with this Bible overall.  It's cute pictures really interest Garrett and provide a visual break for him to keep him from getting overwhelmed by column and column of text.  However, it's not so "kiddified" that he would need another Bible anytime soon.  He could easily continue to use this Bible without feeling it's too young for him for many years to come.  

#PolarAdventureBible  #FlyBy

The NIV Adventure Bible - Polar Exploration Edition is available for purchase at https://www.adventurebible.com/polaredition/  for $29.99 and would make a great Christmas gift for any child 8-12 years old.  A companion 365 Day Devotional that also follows the Arctic theme is also available for purchase.  


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