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Showing posts from May, 2013

Book Review: The Mighty Quinn by Robyn Parnell and Katie & Aaron DeYoe

Overview:  Fifth graders Quinn and Neally have to find the right way to stop a bully without making themselves bullies too.
My favorite part was the style of writing because they used unusual words like infinity often. My favorite character was Kelsey King, because of her favorite tone of voice, yelling. This is a great book for boys and girls who are getting bullied and want a way out of it. Can't wait for the next book in the series to come out! By Daniel, age 11 (Mom was excited to hear about this book that tackles such an important issue in a light-hearted way.  Bullies are a big issue for kids, and they can use all the help they can get to deal with bullying behavior AND avoid being the bully.  Positive role models for kids are always a good thing!  I'm excited to see more books from this publisher!) Disclosure:  We received this book as a gift from Scarletta Press in exchange for our honest review.

Giving Kids the Edge they Need to Succeed

The Search Institute found that there are 40 key factors – developmental assets – that have a powerful influence on the lives of children and youth. Developmental assets are the relationships, competencies, values and experiences for growth and development that young people need to grow up to be caring, competent adults. These assets protect youth from getting involved in risky behaviors and promote within them thriving behaviors.

Search’s research with over 1 million young people reveals that the more assets a child has, the better! More assets increases the likelihood that youth will succeed in school and make healthy, wise choices. More assets also decrease the likelihood that youth will get into trouble or harm themselves. The asset difference is a big one – they add up to producing healthy, caring and competent adults in the making! Assets are something that every child deserves and needs . . . it’s not just for those deemed “at-risk.

WHAT CAN I DO?Assets a…

Book Review - Her Restless Heart by Barbara Cameron

I'm currently reading "Her Restless Heart: A Woman's Longing for Love and Acceptance" by Barbara Cameron.  It is a very unique combination of a novel and a Bible study.  It is NOT written in book club format - where an author adds questions to the end of the chapter or the back of the book to kick off personal reflection and group discussion.  It's different than anything I've seen and it's part of Abingdon Press' new "Faith and Fiction Bible Study series".

Cameron uses excerpts from her book, "Her Restless Heart" to set the stage for studying scripture.  She includes enough of the excerpts that a reader won't at all feel lost without reading the novel (I haven't read the novel yet), but enough of the excerpts that readers will understand the setting and identify with the character struggles.

Each of the 6 studies are designed to last one week.  There are 5 personal studies within each section.  The studies are a very nice ba…

Family Card Games

Erica reminded me about the classic card game "Go Fish". She uses it as a fun way to teach colors, counting, taking turns... We like to play this game when we travel, because it's one of a million games to play with a normal deck of cards.

Other favorite card games include Crazy Eights, Old Maid, Rummy, SlapJack, and Speed. The adults in our family also love Spades, Nertz and Hearts.

Famous Lemon Pie

My husband's family LOVES pies, but I grew up in a cake family. I'm trying to learn the art of baking pies. Here's the family recipe for the lemon pie he loves so much.

1 Stick (1/2 Cup) Butter or Margarine, Melted
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Diced Pecans

Mix in a 13 x 9 inch Pyrex baking dish. Bake above mixture at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally, (mixture will be crumbly) for at least 15 minutes (possibly longer depending on how hot your oven is). Press this crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate.

3 Tablespoons Cream Corn Starch
1 1/4 Cups Sugar
1 Tablespoon Grated Lemon Rind
3 Eggs, Separated
1 1/2 Cups boiling water
6 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

Combine corn starch, sugar, lemon juice and lemond rind. Beat eff yolks, add to corn starch mixture. Gradually add boiling water. Heat to boiling over direct heat. Boil gently 4 minutes, stirring constantly. (Egg whites can be used for meringue - Daniel didn't like meringue so…

Summertime Projects to Promote Family Learning and Bonding - Part 3

Homemade Healthy and Natural Ice Cream

When you are sweating under the hot sun, few things are better than a cold bowl of ice cream. Here is what you need to make your own home made, healthy and delicious snack.
-1 cup of organic milk or half and half
-12 tablespoons of salt (rock salt works best)
-Ice cubes
-1 pint sized ziplock bag
-1 large freezer ziplock bag
-½ cup organic fruit or berries
-Crushed nuts (optional)

First, fill the small bag with milk, fruit puree, and crushed nuts, then seal it. Next, add the salt and ice cubes to the larger bag until it is nearly full.All you need to do now is put the smaller bag into the larger bag, and shake it for about ten minutes.When you are done, you will have a bag of ice cream! Because there is no added sugar and all ingredients are natural, this homemade ice cream will be much healthier, not to mention fresher, than the kinds you would buy at a store.By changing the fruits and adding spices you can make a variety of different flavors.A few to con…

Simple Ways Families Can Help Children Become Readers

Read to and with your children for 30 minutes every day.
Have a wide variety of books available to children.
Encourage children to look at books on their own and spend time reading together everyday.
Let your children see you read and write.
Use cooking as a reading tool – ingredient labels, recipes…
Sing and play rhyming games with your child.
Keep books and books-on-tapes in the car.
Carry a ‘book bag’ when you run errands.
Encourage your child to draw and write on her own.
Provide lots of writing materials-chalk, markers, crayons, and pencils.
Visit the library to peruse books and attend story time.
Talk with your children as you do daily activities together.
Restrict the amount and type of television your children watch.
Talk together about things that interest your child.
Introduce new vocabulary words when you talk with your child.
Read any time - on the bus, at the doctor’s office, or waiting in line at the store.
Read throughout the day – morning, afternoon and evening.
Make …

Book Review: What's Your Mark? by Jeremy Cowart

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Cowart's new book, "What's Your Mark?  Every Moment Counts".  The book has stories and photographs of everyday people who are making their mark on the world.  Each story also asks a thought-provoking question, such as:

How are you using social media to make your mark on the world?
How can you use what you know to inspire others to make a mark?
What is a simple way that you can make a mark today?

Between the stories, you'll find the book of Mark (from the Bible), and notes on how Mark and Jesus made their marks on the world.

Finally, you'll be drawn to turn back to the cover of the book, which is a framed mirror reflecting your image.  It will beckon you to answer the question, "How does God want to use you to make a mark on the world this week and for the rest of your life?"

This would be great for a teacher's gift, a graduation gift, or an 'I admire you' gift.  I would recommend it for men and women ages 12 …

Summertime Projects to Promote Family Learning and Bonding - Part 2

Project #2 - All Natural Birdfeeders

By helping your kids build a series of all natural birdfeeders, your family can enjoy a hands-on activity together.The best part about this is that it will also give your kids the opportunity to study the habits of different bird species and learn how they interact.To make the bird feeders, first help your child securely tie 4 feet of twine to the top of 5 different pinecones (if you don’t have pinecones in your area, you can use the rind from grapefruit cut in half, just attach the twine on either side so it will hang like a bowl).Then, for each pinecone mix peanut butter, and a different food that birds will like in separate bowls.For example, you can cover the different cones with cheerios, oatmeal, granola, and different types of bird seed.After you have mixed each recipe, roll the pine cone around in it until it is totally covered (or fill up the grapefruit rinds with the mixes), note which feeder contains which food, and hang all of your feede…