Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sleep Buddy

We have the sleep buddy and love it, but we use ours in reverse.  We felt the blue light was too bright, so we set the blue light to come on in the morning.  We told our 2 year old he could get out of bed when the blue light comes on.  We have 4 children and two share a room.  The two year old would constantly wake up early and wake up the older child.  Our oldest naturally wakes up early anyway but for me anything earlier than 6am is just too early.  This product has worked great, although we have periods of time where we have to remind our child to wait for the blue light.  He is now three and occasionally he gets up early and I have to ask, is your blue light on!  Our 4th child has just turned two and we are buying another sleep buddy just for him. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Road Trip

This year for homeschool I decided to do something different.  I decided to take the kids on a road trip through the different states.  We will pretend to visit each state and learn fun information.  I was so excited to start preparing for this wonderful journey. 

Getting Started:
I looked up the department of tourism for each state and found a phone number or email to contact them.  I asked them if they had any information they could send us, because we were learning about their state this year for school.  I wanted the kids to learn about their state's flag, crest, bird, tree, etc., as well as where to visit when traveling to there state.
The people I contacted could not have been any nicer.  Most of them were excited to send me stuff.  I also looked up information on each states website.  Now let me tell you, each state has two websites, one is for tourism and the another is a government site.  Both sights are useful.  One of these sights will have interesting facts about the state and some are even kid friendly with printable pages and activities.  You have to check both sites to see which ones will have this information, but I found it is mostly on the gov. website.  I kept a log of each state I called.  I also wrote down the website address and where to find the state information.  This will save you time during the school year.
The second shelf is loaded with packets I have received so far from each state.  It has been fun getting all this stuff in the mail. 
When we decided to visit a state, I allow the kids to go through the packet of information and see what they can find.  They are excited to do this. 
Next Step: 
I wanted my kids to color each states flag and fill in information concerning each state.  I also wanted activities sheets for each state.  My first find was this book called Nifty 50 States by Jerry Aten.  This is a Good Apple product for Social Studies, grades 4-8.  I found this book at a teacher store in the consignment part for only (drum roll please) $2.  That's right, $2.  Even though our children are not in these grades yet, there was still some material we could use from this book.
 This book has 3 pages front and back dedicated to each state.  I only needed the first page.  The front side gave an outline of the state, while the second side gave information and asked state questions.  This is exactly what I was looking for and needed.

 I made copies of each page, so I could reuse them later.  I then printed activity pages for the kids from the state's website or from google.  Here are some of the activity sheets.
Once we have the information we need for each state, then we get move'n. 
Starting Our Journey
We set up our chairs to pretend we are in a car and invite the little ones to join us in the fun.  We face the United States map and decide what directions to take as we pretend to drive toward that state (north, south, east, west).  
 Pretending to drive in a car can be lots of exercise and excitement as you; drive over many railroads tracks, speed up and slow down, turn corners, stop to get gas, pretend to stop at a hotel over night, etc.  Once our drive is over, we then  pull out the packet of information that was sent to us by the state.  I let the kids dig through it and see what treasures we can find.  For example: In the magazine about Illinois, there is an article that tells about the unofficial, official town of Superman - Metropolis.  This city is in the lower part of Illinois and has great things to offer Superman fans!  (Which we are, BTW)  We also found out that this was the home state of Lincoln. 
This allows us to learn about each of the things we find.  We can now take the opportunity, if we wish, to learn a brief overview about Abraham Lincoln. 
Our journey is now underway.  We have hung up the state map and put a star by the capital.  We listen to the state song and we look up information on the website to fill in our worksheets that will go into our binders.   
We color the state flag on the state and write the abbreviation of the state in the united states.  Here is some examples.


By the end of the year we should have a binder for each child filled with 50 states.
My goal is for our children to learn each state, their abbreviation, and the capital.  I also would like for them to learn something about the state that they will remember or a place they would like to visit in the state.   So far we have enjoyed our road trip through different states.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sin is Sin

We have a tendency to label sin to make ourselves feel better; guilty pleasure, bad sin, not so bad sin, I'm not as bad as others, at least I didn't do that.  But in reality sin is sin.  It all separates us from God.  If you are a believer, your sin breaks fellowship with God.  The only difference in sin is the  consequences for the sin.  All sin is the same, but the consequences for cursing verses murder are different.
I want to view sin the way God views it.  I want to live in such a way that others see Jesus in me.  I don't want premeditated sin to rear it's ugly head.  That is were bondage comes into our lives.  Premeditated sin keeps us from hearing God and following his plan for our life's. 
When we live through the power of the Holy Spirit, He convicts us of our sin, so therefore we can repent immediately and our communication isn't broken with our heavenly Father.
In Beth Moore's bible study David, she talks about the consequences of King David's sin with Bathsheba.  Remember Bathsheba became pregnant and David had her husband killed.  When King David and Bathsheba's baby was born, he was sick.  God told David that his baby would die. 
What did David do?  He prayed and fasted.  He wanted his baby to live.  Beth Moore says that God answered David's prayer with a no.  Through this act David sought God and His relationship was restored.  God did forgive Him but he still had consequences.  Not every baby that dies is a consequence of sin.  However, God used this baby's death to bring David closer to Him.
God had mercy on David.  He lifted the curse from King David's marriage to Bathsheba and even gave them a new baby boy named Solomon. 
You see we all mess up and there are different consequences for our actions.  But God is still good and He is merciful.  He can use and will use us if will are willing.  Romans 8:28 says that "God works all things together for good, to those who love him and are called according to his purpose." 
It doesn't mean all things are good, but that God will work them for God.  God can use the bad things that happen to us and yes, even our sin to work for good.  God used King David even after He sinned numerous times.  So King David's sin is not greater than our sin and God restored him and used him.  He can use us also.  Sin is sin and when we realize it hurts God, then can He use it for His glory, no matter what the consequences may be.
We don't want to be like King David and run.  Once forgiven, we need to move forward.  It is really damaging to us and others if we consistently live in our past.  I call this our "Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda."  King David was forgiven, but didn't live like a forgiven man nor did he live in the power of the Holy Spirit.  If he would have, He would not have allowed a thing like rap to go unpunished in his own household and he would have restore his relationship with his son, Absalon, a lot sooner.  I think that is why King David fled when Absalson was trying to steal his kingdom.  He probably felt like he had done so much wrong, who was he to lead.  How could he tell someone what is right when he himself didn't do it. 
I think we do this all the time, especially with our kids.  We don't want to tell them no, because we did that when we were kids.  We don't want to be hypocrites.  Because of this,
 we continue to live in the past and think we can't be effective in future.  This is a lie we have believed for too long.  We can be effective and use our past to teach others.  I think that is what God wants.  To use us, all of us, the good, the bad, the ugly to reach others. 
God called David to be King and even though David sinned, he was still King.  Even though we mess up, we are still useful.  God wanted David to act like a King even after his mess up, but instead he ran and hid.  Don't run and hide.  Be the person God called you to be.   Let people know you mess up, but it is God who forgives and restores.  He humble about your mistakes. Once that happens move forward with the task God has given you.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Curriculum That's Worked For Us

I have had several mother's ask me what we use for homeschooling, so I thought I would share what has worked for us. 
I started in preschool using Horizons.  It is fabulous. 
Horizons Preschool Curriculum Set 
I have posted a link so you can view a sample of the teachers material.  This curriculum has everything including, singing, bible, science, math, P.E. ... etc.  Our kids loved it.  They learned so much and they were far more advanced than some of the first graders in public schools.

Our learning was not just limited to this curriculum.  For example:  I taught them left and right when we were driving in the van.  I would say we are turning left or as they began to understand I would ask them which direction we were turning.

I have found over the years that most of the homeschool curriculum out there is good, however it is not for every child.  Abeka worked great for our oldest, but didn't work well for our 2nd child.  Video homeschool was great for our second child who was in 5-K, but my first child felt board and hated sitting in front of the TV.

Both children however, seem to do good on Bob Books and All About Spelling. 

BOB Books Set #1: Beginning ReadersThe All About Spelling Program
Our first child is in second grade but reads on a 6 grade level.  Our second child is entering 1st grade and struggles with reading.  All About Spelling is a unique and fun way to learn phonic with hands on learning.  I want to purchase All About Reading when level two becomes available.  We haven't offically started grammer yet, although I am leaning toward Easy Grammer.

For science and social studies we use BJU (Bob Jones University). 
Science 1--Student Text, Updated Second Edition, Softcover   - Heritage Studies Grade 1 Homeschool Kit   -
For math I find Horizons to work best for us along with Hands on Stardard.  Hands on Stardards uses manipulatives and is hands on, while Horizons is more worksheet driven.
Horizons Math, Grade 1, Complete Set   -     
        By: Math
 Hands-On Standards®: Photo-Illustrated Lessons for Teaching with Math Manipulatives, Grades 5-6Hands-On Standards® Book & Kit: Grades PreK–K

I also use School House Rock video's to teach American History and multiplication.  Not only is it fun, it is a great way to get younger kids to learn the basics.  The songs are easy to remember and pretty soon your first grader will know the preamble. 
An easy way to teach skip counting is through songs.  I found this great CD that teaches the kids how to skip count using bible stories.  Once they have mastered skip counting, learning to muliply becomes easy cheesey.
Skip Count Kid Bible Heroes CDI posted two links below for this resource.

Please leave a comment.  We would love to know what has worked for you and  if you have any questions.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mesh Wreaths

This is an update on my business I told you about several months ago.  I am setting up at the local flea market once a month to try to sell my wreaths and accessories.  I am also hoping to do several booths this holiday season.  I have had so much interest in my wreaths that I am hoping to sell a bunch of football wreaths and Christmas wreaths.  While I like having purses, jewelry, books bags, and other accessories, I really enjoy making wreaths. When making a mesh wreath I try to stay the same price as everyone else, except I want mine to be bigger, fuller, and more plush.  I also try to use metal decals on them instead of cardboard or wooden.  I am hoping business will pick up soon.  I have sold two wreaths so far with a lot of people liking them.  I can custom make wreaths also.  I had a lady see a wreath she liked on Esty and asked if I could do one similar.  Well I got to work and put my own spin on it.  I am very pleased with what I came up with.  I am hoping to soon be able to ship wreaths around the US, so that I can expand my business.  I am attaching pictures of my wreaths so that you can see all I have done.  I am so excited about this part of my business.  I am thankful that God has given me this ability and would love to give Him all the credit.  I am posting pictures below.  If you see something you like, let me know.  I would love feed back.  Don't forget to check out these wreaths on facebook/Annabellies Accessories.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Soap box about Mental Illness

I am fixing to go on my soap box about mental illness, because I am tired of the inconsiderate and uneducated comments by some religious counselors/therapist and really just people in general. 

First let me start by saying that I believe everyone needs to have a saving faith in Jesus, however when you accept Jesus in your heart it doesn't mean that all your problems go away, all your sickness is alleviated, and you are now financially wealthy.  When you ask Jesus in your heart it does mean that you receieve His saving grace and will go to heaven when you die, it means that you can have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  It also means that you can receive guidance, wisdom and knowledge by asking.  It means that you will never go through something alone.  God is always with you and He will give you comfort and peace. 

So it makes me really aggravated when someone has a mental illness and I hear or read someone say, "You just need Jesus," or "You just need more faith," etc. 

Depression happens if you go through a tragic experience like a death in the family, losing your job, etc.  If you have Jesus in your heart, you can receive comfort through others, reading the bible, praying, singing, going to church, and worshipping God.  He will see you through that tough time and there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

However, if you have a mental illness like Bipolar/manic depression it is not a phase your going through, it is a chemical imbalance in your brain.  You were born with it and more than likely it is genetic.  People who have this illness did not want to be this way, nor did they or their parents do something to cause this.  Without medicine it is extremely difficult on the person with the illness and on the love ones around them.   

I am just going to use this mental illness as an example. 
If you are bipolar, you have very high, highs called mania and very low,  lows depression.  A person whose brain fires more normally gets sad and depressed every now and then, but a bipolar person is beyond depressed and may stay that way for a while. A person may get excited over something and be really happy, but a bipolar person is very excited about everything and thinks their unstoppable.  In a person whose brain fires more normally, they may know what they are sad about and know what they are happy about, most of the time.  However, a bipolar person does not.  Also a bipolar person does things that is out of character and sometimes does dangerous things or immoral things, that they wouldn't normally do if they were on medicine or if they didn't have this illness.  However, they are still responsible for their actions.  For instances if they are depressed they may get really mad an aggravated easily or cry a lot for no reason.  They may not realize they are acting this way and may feel the world is against them.  If they are having a high, they might go spend loads of money and not be able to pay their bills because of it.  And normally when they are not having a high, they are very frugal.  These are just some examples. That is why there is medicine for people with mental illness.  It helps stabilize them, so they don't have such drastic mood swings.  They don't have a really low, low depression or a really high, high mania

So it makes me mad when I hear people say that if you had God in your life you wouldn't be this way.  Just because you have God in your life doesn't mean that we no longer live in a fallen world.  It doesn't mean that nothing bad will happen to you.  It is a lie to think that once you have Jesus everything in your life is perfect!!  I believe the enemy can use this lie to keep you defeat and ineffective spiritually.  Mental illness doesn't mean your crazy, although people with this illness may do crazy things.  It means you have something wrong in your body, just like a person who was diagnosed with RLS, MS, asthma, arthritis, or a child born with down syndrome.

Every person is created in God's image and just because a person has something wrong doesn't mean it's a faith issue.  Remember in the bible, Jesus healing the blind man.  The disciples asked Jesus, "Who sinned him or his parents?"  Jesus replied, "Neither, this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."  Maybe some people are going through this so that God may be glorified.  God doesn't promise all things are good, but that He will turn all thing together for good. 
 Romans 8:28  "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My new adventure

I decided to open my own home business and sell high quality purses, jewelry, and accessories.  It is so exciting.  I am able to sell products $10/$20 below retail.  Who doesn't want a bargain!!

A couple of weekends ago I had a yard sale. Several people asked me if my wreaths were for sale. They said they loved them and were much better looking than the ones they had seen at arts and crafts shows. So I decided that I would start making wreaths as well. This is right up my alley. I love making them and being creative. How great is it to do something you love!! I can't wait to do arts and crafts festivals. This would be a great outlet for me since I stay at home with all 4 children and homeschool the 2 oldest. This would also be a great way for me to earn a little extra money.

I am hoping this new business adventure turns out good. I didn't start at the best time, right before Father's Day, but I am hopeful because school shopping is right around the corner. I have great diaper bags and book bags which are monogramable. You can take a look at all my accessories by going to Facebook. or just typing in Annabellies Accessories in the FB search field. I hope you will go to my page and click like. Here are just a few of my wreaths and accessories.