Monday, September 22, 2014

Our Curriculum for 2014-2015 {And a Peek at Our First Day of School!}



We started our school year the last week of August so I'm a little behind in sharing our first day of school pictures and our curriculum for the year. The fact that we are back in school is exactly why it's a whole month later and I have yet to blog about it. :)

After lots and lots of thinking and praying, we made a switch in our curriculum this year. Not because I hated what we were using before, but because there was a strong pulling in me to pursue something else this year. So far, I am enjoying the change, although there are aspects of our other curriculum that I do miss.

In case you're wondering, we switched from Sonlight to My Father's World. I am glad we made the switch, but I have to be honest, it is much more labor intensive on my part than Sonlight was.

Last year, our two oldest children did a lot of the reading together, independent of me. That, of course, gave me more time to take care of the baby and our then 4 year old. Oh, and it gave me a little more time for the luxuries of life. Like getting a shower.

With our new curriculum, I need to be more involved, although thankfully, there is still some work that the two oldest children can do together. I think the biggest difference is that there needs to be more initial instruction and then they can work independently. That, and I have a Kindergartener this year so where previously I might have had a little break, I now need to use that time to do his Kindergarten.

All in all, it's going very well and I am pleased with everything they are learning. Here are a few pictures from the first day.


I like to have the kids fill out this "First Day of..." paper. It's so precious to read these after a few years have gone by and the kids love seeing how they scrawled their name when they were first learning to write. You can print your own copy here.


 







2014-2015 Curriculum

I love reading what other people use for curriculum, so hopefully my run down here will be helpful to you as well.

The majority of our curriculum comes from My Father's World. Since we are new to the curriculum rotation, our 4th and 2nd graders started with Exploring Countries and Cultures. I am learning so much alongside them! *Here is my My Father's World 2-8th Pinterest Board where I pin ideas relevant to our curriculum.

Our Kindergartner is using God's Creation From A to Z from My Father's World. It is a perfect fit for our just turned five year old son. We are both enjoying it! *Here is the Pinterest Board for Kindergarten.

We have a few extra things that we are using as well.

Bible-I love, love, love the Apologia Biblical Worldview Series. It is sound and thorough, yet practical. This is the second year we have used a book from this series for Bible. We take our own pace and I am so thankful we discovered this series.

Math-we have used Rightstart Math for 4 years now. It is a hands-on math program that teaches for understanding, not just memorization. It is a bit challenging, but you can take your own pace if necessary.

Handwriting-we use bjupress.com for handwriting. I like the idea of using pre-cursive to teach our children how to write so they transition easier into cursive.

Latin-the kids started this last year and it is going great. I just have them do one small section in the workbook each day and we watch the corresponding video segments when we reach that point. We are using the Prima Latina series which is an introduction to Latin for 2nd-4th graders. This is an excellent series and I'm so grateful to have it as part of our curriculum.

Typing-I wanted the two older children to start learning to type so we are using Keyboarding for the Christian School: Elementary Version.

Art-My Father's World comes with a craft book and they encourage drawing in various science lessons, but I wanted something specific to art instruction. I am very pleased with See the Light. We are using Volume 1 and 2 this year. The kids enjoy learning specific art skills and we all love that art is taught from a biblical perspective.

Music-We just started piano lessons for the two older children, ages 9 and 7. Their piano teacher comes to our home which is such a blessing as I'm sure you can imagine. I'm thrilled they can finally take private music lessons.


I think that about sums it up. I'm curious to know what you use for curriculum. Feel free to share in the comments section below.

Thanks so much for visiting Purposeful Homemaking. I'd love for you to stay connected through the following social medias such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Don't forget to sign up for emails on my right sidebar so you don't miss anything! 

Current Sponsors

I am blessed to have the following sponsors on Purposeful Homemaking. Interested in adding your name to the list? Check out my advertising policies.

Purposeful Homemaking one or more products mentioned in this post in order to conduct a thorough and honest review. Compensation was made. However, all opinions expressed are my own. Additionally, this post may contain affiliate links for which I will earn compensation should you choose to make a purchase. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Thank you for your support of Purposeful Homemaking.

Monday, September 15, 2014

100 Days to Christmas {A Guide to Gently Ease You Through the Holidays}

http://100daystochristmas.com/
 
I know some of you are die hard holiday lovers. Others of us, not so much. But I think I have found something both of us will love.
 
It's called 100 Days to Christmas.
 
It's an eBook that can gently ease us into the holidays. Because, I don't know about you, but every year around October/November, I start putting pressure on myself to come up with all of these great ideas to make the holidays memorable and then I find myself wishing that they would just hurry up and be done.
 
Last year I strove to simplify the holidays so that they could actually be enjoyed. That means I only chose a few extra activities to do with the family so we weren't completely stressed and worn out over the holidays. (And by "we" I mean me!)
 
My goal is to make the holidays meaningful, but also enjoyable.
 
I think in the past what has overwhelmed me the most is that I know what I want my end goal to be, but just don't have a plan of action to make it happen. Having all of these unmet expectations has a way of weighing me down and making me feel defeated.
 
But, if I have a reasonable plan of action, I think I will have a sense of accomplishment and our family will have made great memories along the way without tons of added stress.
 
And here's what going to help me accomplish my goals in a well-thought out, reasonable way.
 
Jennifer, from Listplanit.com has recently released her new eBook called 100 Days to Christmas: Inspiration for a Busy Holiday Season.
 
Beginning September 16 (that's tomorrow!), Jennifer gives you day-by-day action steps to help you plan for a peaceful and meaningful holiday season. 100 Days to Christmas is a 145 page manual that includes a companion workbook containing 31 interactive lists from ListPlanIt.com to help you with gifts, cards, party and meal planning needs.
 
She includes menu planners, cleaning schedules, budgeting sheets, and even task lists that break your holiday planning down at a glance by month, weeks and days before the big event. What I found to be most helpful was looking at her "At a Glance" Calendars and then putting the tips that were applicable to me in my daily planner. That way everything was all in one place with my regular task lists.
 
If you are not organized for the holidays and find it creates a ton of stress in your life, this holiday planning guide will do wonders for you. If you thrive on organization and yet would love the paper end of the planning work done for you, this is for you, too!
 
100 Days to Christmas is reasonably priced at just $8, but you can click here to find out how to get 25% off the eBook.

Buy 100 Days to Christmas 2014 eBook Now | 100DaystoChristmas.com
 
Plus, eBook buyers will get a code for 25% off an annual membership to ListPlanIt.com!

Do you like to preview something before you buy it? Me too! So, for an excerpt of the first 8 pages, including the table of contents, instructions for using this eBook, and Day #1, click here.


And for a little extra fun, join Jennifer's 100 Days to Christmas Facebook Party on Tuesday, September 16 from 9-10 PM EST.

It will be a time for meeting others who have similar interests, brainstorming together, and learning a few new things.  Every 10 minutes there will be a new giveaway announced for you to enter, right then and there.  Some of the prizes will be 100 Days to Christmas 2014 eBooks, a custom binder for your holiday planner, memberships to ListPlanIt.com, an Amazon gift card to kick off your holiday shopping, and more!

I hope that having a tool like this will help you accomplish the goals you have for your upcoming holiday season but in a way that allows you to focus on the true meaning of each of those holidays.

Thanks so much for visiting Purposeful Homemaking. I'd love for you to stay connected through the following social medias such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Don't forget to sign up for emails on my right sidebar so you don't miss anything! 

 Current Sponsors

I am blessed to have the following sponsors on Purposeful Homemaking. Interested in adding your name to the list? Check out my advertising policies.

Purposeful Homemaking one or more products mentioned in this post in order to conduct a thorough and honest review. Compensation was made. However, all opinions expressed are my own. Additionally, this post may contain affiliate links for which I will earn compensation should you choose to make a purchase. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Thank you for your support of Purposeful Homemaking.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Why We Can't Tolerate Po*n at the Checkout Lane




My heart was heavy as I laid down to go to sleep last night. Unfortunately, it was because of my trip earlier in the evening to our local Whole Foods store.

My family and I had run in quickly to pick up some food for an out of town guest that is coming over, and as we approached the check out line, my nine year old son and I saw an extremely inappropriate magazine at the same time.

My heart hurt as he quickly looked away.

Mind you, this was not just any inappropriate magazine where a woman had her cleavage showing for all to see. This was a side profile of a woman completely naked on top and simply wearing a bikini bottom.

Not one to be content with flipping the magazine over, I quickly gathered the magazines together, had my husband finish checking out and took them up to the service desk. (This is the second time in the last two months where a naked woman was displayed on a magazine at the checkout line of a grocery store and I took the magazine up to the service desk. I tell you this not to applaud myself, but to let you know, sin is becoming more and more brazen. What was once shamefully kept in a closet is now displayed for all to see.)

My heart was on fire that night, and again last night, as I was once again so deeply reminded that Satan desires to steal the hearts of our sons and husbands.

But, you know, it's not just about my sons or my husband.

It's about my daughter. too.

I want her to know that she is valued for more than her body. She is valued because she is created by God and He has infinite love for her because she is made in His image.

And it's about me, too.

I want to know, and to believe, that my worth is far more than beautiful, blemish and wrinkle free skin. My beauty is found in the hands that serve my family. My beauty is found in the words that encourage others. My beauty is found in the prayers on the behalf of others. My beauty is found in who I am; not what I look like.

To take the holiness of a naked body and desecrate it by displaying it for all the world to see is foolishness. The woman sharing the nakedness of her body is sharing the nakedness of her soul, and as Ann Voskamp said recently, "Your naked body deserves the honor of being shared only with someone who is covenanted to never stop loving your naked soul."

As a Christian, I am warned to take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness, but instead, to rebuke and expose them. I am to make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. (Ephesians 5:11ff)

Therefore, I will not stand by and just let sin trample my family.

As my husband and I were talking about this incident, I shared with him that while it is important for our children to see their mother take a stand against this, it is infinitely more important for them to see their father take a stand.


Our sons need to see their dad fighting back against the evil that tears daily at his soul.

Our daughter needs to see her father choose to value a person for who they are rather than what they look like.

When our men lead in the fight against this evil, it will speak volumes to their wives, their sons, and their daughters. And to those propagating this message.


And so, after we finished our shopping and loaded everyone up into the van, I told our children that while we live in a wicked world, that doesn't mean we tolerate evil. We don't have to let it rule and we can fight against it.

My husband reminded us of what Edmund Burke once said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Oh, how I pray that good fathers and husbands and good wives and mothers would take a stand for righteousness.

If you, too, want to stand with us in this fight, here are a few things you can do:

  • If you see this magazine in your local Whole Foods store, please call corporate office to let them know you find this unacceptable. After all, we are at a grocery store, not a po*n shop. Corporate Office: (512) 477-4455 Update: Victory! I just got a call from the Manager at our local Whole Foods market and they removed all of the magazines! NOT ONLY THAT, they talked to the distributor and said they will no longer accept magazines of any kind of people who are not clothed on top. Hallelujah!!!
  • Speak to your local Whole Foods Manager (or any other grocery store) that carries this magazine and urge them to remove it from the magazine racks.
  • Contact the magazine directly letting them know you find this display unacceptable.
  • If you are married, discuss the issue with your husband. After my husband and talked about this, we have decided that should this situation arise again, we will cover the magazine and he will be the one to let the manager know we find this type of material unacceptable.
Above all else, pray! Pray daily for your husband, your sons, your brothers, your fathers, your daughters, your sisters. Pray that God would give them victory in the battles for their soul. The war will rage until our King returns, but we must not passively lay down our weapons while we wait. Stand firm in your faith, my friends!
 
Thanks so much for visiting Purposeful Homemaking. I'd love for you to stay connected through the following social medias such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Don't forget to sign up for emails on my right sidebar so you don't miss anything! 

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Our OIT Journey: A Bump in the Road

While I would rather only talk about the good in our journey with OIT, I did promise to tell you about the bumps in the road as well so that anyone who might be considering OIT can make an informed decision.

That being said, we have kind of hit a temporary stand still right now in dosing.

About 3-4 weeks ago, our son up dosed to two peanuts on a Tuesday. I was thrilled with his progress and couldn't believe how far we had made it. He did fine with the dose at the doctor's that morning and fine the next morning at home. I even remember standing there that Wednesday night in complete awe that my severely allergic son was holding two peanuts in his hand. TWO PEANUTS. To me, that was incredible. However, dosing at two peanuts was short lived because the dose that evening did not go well.

Just after dosing, he bolted towards his baby brother to get something from him. (Remember, they are not to get their heart rate elevated a half hour before dosing and for two hours after dosing). He immediately started screaming and crying saying he had a "canker sore" on his lip. I knew that couldn't be right so asked him if he bumped his lip on the table to which he firmly replied "no" he hadn't.

I started to get scared inside because I knew something wasn't right and figured it was due to the dosing he'd had just a minute or two before.

Of course, I was home alone when it happened and I was praying about what to do and praying that God would help him.

I then remembered to get Benadryl and that the doctor's office had given me a detailed sheet about what to do should a reaction occur, as well as dosing information for an antihistamine.

Once I gave him the Benadryl, I called the doctor (he actually gives us his cell phone number in case there is an emergency. It's such a relief not to have to go through a call center first!) and it was at that time I noticed a "blister" the size of the tip of my pinky finger on the inside of my son's mouth. The doctor informed me that it was a hive (I never knew you could get them inside your mouth!)

Once the Benadryl was in his system he began to calm down and I encouraged him to drink more water. The doctor then told me to have him to go 1 1/2 peanuts for dosing the next morning. He also said to monitor him for an hour and no exercising for 4 hours rather than the typical two. (Not that you'd have to tell me to monitor him. I wasn't letting this kid out of my sight!) I said okay and hung up.

About an hour later I called the doctor back and told him I couldn't do 1 1/2 and could we please go back to one. He said that was fine and if it helped me not to stress, then to do it.

After talking it over with my husband, we decided we would go ahead and try 1 1/2 the following morning, but I agreed to only if my husband went in to work later so I wasn't home alone with all the kids should a reaction occur again.

The next morning when our son woke up, he was sneezing a lot and had a lot of drainage. I should have known at that point to only give him 1 peanut in case he was getting sick but I thought maybe it was just allergies. (I now know that allergies can affect dosing, as can sickness. There are protocols for dosing during an illness. We have one of those under our belt now too.)

About 1/2 hour after dosing with 1 1/2 peanuts he started coughing a lot and crying and saying he needed to go to the doctor. I knew something wasn't right again but it wasn't as serious as the night before so I held off on the Benadryl and instead gave him more applesauce. (Applesauce is supposed to help the body digest peanut protein better). I also gave him a cough drop just in case it was allergies causing the coughing, but either way, he loved having the cough drop so it stopped the crying. I certainly didn't need him reacting from crying! (It happens.)

So, all that to say, we went back down to one peanut for another week.

Then, we were finally able to up dose to 1 1/2 peanuts (typically you go from 1-2 but his body obviously wasn't ready).

And that is where we have been for a couple of weeks now due to some slight reactions (tongue hurting or itching after dosing). Yesterday, his tongue did not hurt or itch after both doses so maybe, just maybe we can go on Tuesday to increase to 2 peanuts?? We will see! He needs 4 solid days of no symptoms from dosing before we can increase.

OIT is challenging at times and while I did have thoughts this past week of whether or not this was the right thing, I know in my heart it is. It's just hard as a Mom to put your kid through tough stuff even when you know that's what's best for them.

There will be rough patches in this journey, but in the end, it will give our son protection from having a terrible reaction and possibly dying from peanuts. And I have to remember, OIT is a journey, not a race (as much as I'd like to speed past that finish line).

In case you would like to read other families' stories about their journey with OIT and peanut allergy, here are their blogs. Some of the families behind these blogs see the same doctor we do.

 
Thanks so much for visiting Purposeful Homemaking. I'd love for you to stay connected through the following social medias such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Don't forget to sign up for emails on my right sidebar so you don't miss anything! 
 
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Monday, September 1, 2014

Now Accepting 2014 Christmas Gift Guide Sponsors

 
Christmas Gift Guide Sponsorship

 
On-line shopping is extremely popular due to its convenience. However, most consumers find it helpful to have someone do the leg work for them by providing thorough reviews and favorite picks from each company.
 
That’s where I come in.

As the one who personally puts together each year’s gift guide, I read up on each company and provide my readers with pertinent information regarding shipping, specials, and as usual, my favorite product picks.

I compile all of the information about each company and put it in a post that I heavily promote. I also include a large Christmas Gift Guide button on my sidebar for quick gift guide access, as well as a link at the top of my blog.
 
Around mid-October, I publish a full page post on Purposeful Homemaking featuring all of my Gift Guide Sponsors.
 
When you purchase a spot, you can be sure that your company will receive the following:
 
 
  • Alphabetized listing of your shop
  • 250x250 pixel graphic ad or logo
  • Shop description and URL of choice
  • One individual Facebook post per sponsor
  • A linked guide on my navigation and side bars from mid-October to mid-January
  • A blog post in mid-October focusing on all participating sponsors
  • Social media (Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest) promotion of the guide throughout the 3 months

     To give you an idea of what the guide looks like, here is a link to my post from last year.
 
      Each company is accepted based on its fit with my blog’s mission. (If you are unsure if your  company is a good fit, feel free to ask, or simply fill out the application and I will let you  know.)

Cost of Sponsorship

$35 (Early bird; ends October 5) and $45 (regular; ends October 15) Please fill out an application here.
 
Or, choose to promote your company through prominent banner ads on my website. Pricing is as follows:
125x125 Button on sidebar: $10 per month or $25 for 3 months
125x250 Button on sidebar: $20 per month or $55 for 3 months
250x250 Button on sidebar: $30 per month or $85 for 3 months

 
To take advantage of any one of these banner opportunities, please contact me at becky(at)purposefulhomemaking(dot)com
 
Thanks so much for visiting Purposeful Homemaking. I'd love for you to stay connected through the following social medias such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Don't forget to sign up for emails on my right sidebar so you don't miss anything! 
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