Faith, Family, Love and Reviews


We don’t do birthday’s every year, with three children it gets a little expensive so every other year is a off year.  At first some were upset with this but they’ve either come around or just learned that we aren’t listening LOL  This year is a party year but Hannah decided not to opting instead for an American Girl play and Christian opted to take a friend to a local children’s science museum – we’ve had postpone it because of the heat and not having a/c in the van.  So once the weather becomes somewhat bearable he’ll do that.

He did get his presents though on Tuesday from us and Grandparents Hays.  Grandparents Bailey came over on Monday and Grandma Cindy on Wednesday.

Can you guess what is under the sheet?

Here it is.  He’s been riding it almost non-stop since then.  Yes we still have walls.

Daddy found him an interesting light up thing with 3D glasses

He got some other little things, like a lego set, match box car things but I think, besides the bike, the hit was what his sisters gave him:

  • 4 composition books
  • colored pencils
  • set of pencils w/skateboard erasers
  • Spiderman pencil case
  • pencil sharper

With fair stuff this last week I knew I wouldn’t have time to do my usual cake so we opted to buy one and a wonderful friend and Sister baked him one.  You can purchase her cakes at her website: Marianne’s Kitchen He smooshed the letters in his excitement!


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FIRST Tour: 40 Days to Better Living–Optimal Health by Dr. Scott Morris and the Church Health Center

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today’s Wild Card author is:


Dr. Scott Morris


and the book:


40 Days to Better Living–Optimal Health

Barbour Books (July 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


From the time Scott Morris was just a teenager, he knew he would do two things with his future—serve God and work with people. Growing up in Atlanta, he felt drawn to the Church and at the same time drawn to help others, even from a very young age. It was naturally intrinsic, then, that after completing his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia he went on to receive his M.Div. from Yale University and finally his M.D. at Emory University in 1983.

After completing his residency in family practice, Morris arrived in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1986 without knowing a soul, but determined to begin a health care ministry for the working poor. He promptly knocked on the doors of St. John’s Methodist Church and Methodist Hospital in Memphis inviting them to help, and then found an old house to refurbish and renovate. By the next year, the Church Health Center opened with one doctor—Dr. Scott Morris—and one nurse. They saw twelve patients the first day and Morris began living his mission to reclaim the Church’s biblical commitment to care for our bodies and spirits.

From the beginning, Morris saw each and every patient as a whole person, knowing that without giving careful attention to both the body and soul the person would not be truly well.

Visit the author’s website.


Many of us would admit to being a little out of balance these days. We all want to feel happier, healthier, and more vibrantly alive. What if in just 40 days we could reach a new level of wellness and balance that we’ve never experienced before? In 40 Days to Better Living: Optimal Health (Barbour Publishing, July 2011), Dr. Scott Morris, founder of Church Health Center, the largest faith-based clinic of its type in the United States, offers a straightforward and successful plan to get there.

The first in a series of striking full color health and wellness books by Dr. Morris and the Church Health Center staff, 40 Days to Better Living: Optimal Health confirms and clarifies what many of us already suspect: living the life we’ve always wanted must go deeper than a diet and exercise program and an occasional attempt to “do better.” Morris is convinced that to achieve the highest degree of wellness requires a multi-dimensional approach and a concentrated effort to be healthy in both body and spirit. He believes, “True health is grounded in the spiritual life that embraces the physical bodies God gives us.” Morris adds, “Instead of the absence of disease, I see health as the presence of those elements that lead us to joy and love, and that drive us closer to God. Finding balance by nurturing our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical needs is essential to the real health of the whole person.”

40 Days to Better Living: Optimal Health offers clear, manageable steps to life-changing attitudes and actions in a context of understanding and grace for all people at all points on the journey to optimal health. With plenty of practical advice, spiritual encouragement, and real stories of those who have found a better life, this simple and skillfully crafted book inspires readers to customize their own path to wellness by using the 7-Step Model for Healthy Living as a guide:

· Nutrition: pursuing smarter food choices and eating habits

· Friends and family: giving and receiving support through relationships

· Emotional life: understanding feelings and managing stress to better care for yourself

· Work: appreciating your skills, talents, and gifts

· Movement: discovering ways to enjoy physical activity

· Medical care: partnering with health care providers to optimize medical care

· Faith life: building a relationship with God, neighbors, and self

Product Details:

List Price: $7.99
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (July 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616262648
ISBN-13: 978-1616262648



My Opinion:

This book should take 40 days to read through and complete however I had to read through it in a shorter amount of time for this review but am definitely going to try to get through it again soon so I gain optimal health.  The book reminds me of a glossy magazine with beautiful pages and journal areas through out the entirety.  However, it does not at all resemble a secular magazine – with Scripture and prayers to guide you through each day this is much more than just a diet or workout plan.

Using spiritual health as a way to obtain a balance of all the rest is where it’s at.  We know we can’t do it on our own and only with the Lord’s strength can we truly get good health so that is the focus, to get our spiritual life in order as we work on getting in shape through diet and exercise.  It’s the little changes, like portion control and walking for short distances that make it achievable and workable into someone’s busy schedule, including homemakers.

While I don’t agree with everything, like it’s recommended to get the flu vaccine, almost all the information in this book will do anyone good.  Combining nutrition, relationships, work, and more we’ll see how these all come together to either sabotage or give us success in the struggle to lose a little weight, walk a flight of stairs without losing breath or much bigger goals such as getting off of medications or at least lowering the amount of what is taken.  A very worthwhile book and depending on what that day’s ‘assignment’ is takes just a few moments to help you make a lifetime change.

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MamaBuzz Tour: "The Lion's Deceit" by Mpho Otukile

This is a very cute children’s book that has African animals as well as a strong moral theme.  The lion is lazy and wants a fast way to find food without having to go out and hunt for it, so in cahoots with another jungle animal they lure unsuspecting animals to the lion’s den and there he no longer has to hunt.  This tale is based on an African story and is now put into picture book form for children of all ages.

Colorful with bright and vibrant colors really adds a nice touch to this short book.  Even though you know what the lion is doing in his den the children never see any blood or graphic details of the hunt or lack thereof.  All three of my children enjoyed this book and found it interesting as well as short enough to hold my very active new 5 year old.  My 6 year old was a bit taken back when she realized the lion was eating the other animals so it also opened up a discussion about how animals hunt and eat each other.

I really liked the strong moral objective which somewhat ties in to Scripture about if a man doesn’t work he shouldn’t eat.  In the end the other jungle animals catch on to what is happening but I won’t tell you what happens to the lion – you’ll have to grab your own copy to find out.  The author, Mpho Otukile comes from Botswana on the southern part of Africa. She grew up listening to stories around the fire passed on through the generations and wants to pass these strong moral on to others.  She now lives in Winnipeg where she lives with her family and writes.

The book can be purchased from Village Life Books (ships from Canada and part of the proceeds will go to a program called Books For Africa), or from Create Space.  If you order from Create Space my readers can get a 10% off the order by using code 2LU4EXJM You can follow Village Life on Twitter or on Facebook.

**I was given a copy of this book from Village Life Books in exchange for my own opinion, no other compensation was given on implied.

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More 4-H pictures and fun at the fair.

It seems we’ve been sleeping and eating 4H the last couple weeks!  It’s been fun and busy and fun and…..well you get the idea!  Tuesday the 26th was the winner’s review and then Wednesday the 27th was Cloverbud show and tell.  The only thing left to do now is to tear down our booth on Saturday morning.

Here is the pictures I could get of Hannah receiving her 2nd place ribbon.

This is our booth, some of the items started falling due to the heat (we were having heat indices into the 100’s) so the glue wasn’t staying up real well.

Hannah in front of our booth with her 2nd place ribbon.

Bethanne did a lapbook on Butterflies for her Cloverbud project.  This was easy since she’s the only Cloverbud this year!  Christian will be joining in for next year though.

Show and Tell for Cloverbuds is a non-competitive way to get the children used to talking about their club and their projects.  Due to the way birthday’s fall, all three of mine have or will spend 3 years as a Cloverbud.  The last year is the longest as they are old enough to be a regular 4-Her but due to the cut off date they can’t do it.  This was Bethanne’s 2nd year and her first year with a new club.  The volunteer asks them questions about their club (name, adviser, etc), general 4H knowledge (what do the H’s stand for, what are the colors, motto, etc) and to see what they learned while doing their project.  It’s very low key and every child recieves a ribbon depending upon on the year they are in and a goody bag (didn’t take a picture of that but they were VERY nice this year).

Here is Bethanne talking about her project:

Bethanne in front our booth after show and tell w/project:

All three of my children, this has become something of a tradition, I wish I would have thought to bring Hannah’s ribbon. (you can kind of see the goody bags hanging on the girls, the regular 4Her’s received one as well at their judging).  Cloverbuds get some little prizes inside theirs like a piece of candy, activity book, temporary tattoos, etc.

After show and tell, we spent some time at the fair with my mom.  The children had to ride some rides so with many thanks to my mom she bought them some ride tickets.  I didn’t ride as I was worried with the heat and the motion I’d be sick but the children enjoyed them.  Pay close attention to the facial expressions of the children on the slide!

We went through the barns and Christian liked the goats and sheep:

Christian and Bethanne enjoy the sheriff’s booth where you can climb inside an old fashioned type of paddy wagon:

The children entered a floral arranging contest (Wednesday is Kid’s Day, where they have some activities going on for them).  They weren’t allowed to pick their flowers until everyone else had gone (I have my suspicions why, but won’t get into it) so they got some bottom of the barrel type flowers but we were surprised when we came back to see who won and found Christian and Bethanne won 2nd in their age categories and Hannah won 1st!

Christian’s – I didn’t get a chance to get him in motion:

Hannah’s is on the left, Christian’s is in the middle and Bethanne’s is on the right.

So this concludes our time at the fair.  Now I’m ready for next year, well maybe come Saturday I will be LOL

I will say I never thought we’d be a part of 4-H, it is time consuming, so it’s a commitment and one not to be taken lightly but it also requires the children to learn the value of seeing something through to it’s finish and doing a job well done.  As a first time adviser this year, I’ve learned a lot to, and not just about butterflies and guinea pigs but what is needed to make a club run smoothly.  I’ve got ideas for next year already 🙂  I was not in 4H as a child but I’m so glad that I got our children involved, our past club and now our new club are both Christian and with our new club having only 5 members it worked well.

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Book Review: "The Family Illustrated Bible"

The Family Illustrated Bible is a beautiful addition to any Bible collection especially if you have children at home and having a narration of the Bible histories of the Creation, Ruth and Naomi, Jesus Calms the Storm, Peter in Prison and of course all the other historical events covered in the Bible.  Beautifully illustrated, the children will remained engaged while the stories are being read and stay focused.

Scattered through out the Bible are facts about the time period that is covered.  There is some great background information on how the written Bible came to be and even some facts about the books that weren’t included as Inspired Scripture.  These pages are beautifully illustrated and while simple information is given it’s good for a beginner Bible study or as a jumping point for an older child to pursue more independent research on Biblical history.  There are detailed timelines if you’re interested in seeing how other world events played out during the same time as Biblical history.  A thorough index is also included if you are looking for something specific to a subject or person or place along with an extensive table of contents.

I only have three concerns, the first being the removal of Christ from the timeline – instead opting for CE (Common Era) or BCE (Before Common Era) instead of the Christian way of BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini, Latin for “year of our Lord”).  However, most parents can easily explain this to their older children and continue to use the Christian terms for the passing of time.  There is mention that Paul gave Christianity a new start, some may find fault with this, but I saw this as more of to explain that the first Christians were Jews and after Jesus’ Resurrection and Accession the Gentiles didn’t follow certain dietary and other restrictions instead following the Salvation that Christ taught and Paul sought to make them two distinct groups.  My third is this quote: ” It’s (the Bible) vision of a single, all-powerful God, concerned with individual human behavior, underlies three world religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.”

Otherwise, this is a beautiful way to give the Bible even more historical basis and understanding, while bringing the stories to life in the hearts of our children.  For older children, as I stated above, some of the cautionary notes I made, can actually be made positive by opening dialogue as to why omitting Christ from the timeline is a grave error and discussing why some think Paul gave Christianity it’s second start and even how Islam does not coincide with a Christian view of Salvation and a loving, just God.

I also think that while New Leaf Publishing  has re-published The Family Illustrated Bible keeping in mind that it was originally published by DK (a secular publishing company) under the title The Children’s Bible.  It all comes down to knowing that originally this Bible was printed by a secular company and to keep the integrity of the original some things had to stay the same.  For my family, this Bible will be much cherished and if my children don’t wear it out we’ll pass it down for other generations to enjoy.


**I was provided a copy of this Bible from New Leaf Publishing Group in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given or implied.

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Happy 5th Birthday!!!!! to my Dear Son

Five years ago I gave birth to my son, Christian, I still remember what I thought when I was told the baby I was carrying was a boy.  I couldn’t imagine raising a boy, let alone making sure he turned into a godly man or potty train him.  I still worry at times that I’m not doing enough but at least we did get potty training done – the rest I have a few more years to see how I’ve done as a mom of a boy.

Some say having boys are easier than girls and vice versa but truly I can’t say either way.  All my children have been different and my son is full energy and is all boy – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  If I thought it was hard then I don’t think I could continue nor would it be fair to him.  I’ve come to realize that boys need different things from their moms than girls do, and that’s okay.  Looking back I can’t believe I was ever afraid of raising a boy!  I love having a son and he is so precious to me, but it’s a big job to raise godly men in today’s society but I pray that the Lord can take any of my shortcomings and work them for the good He can do!

So since today is Christian’s 5th birthday, and for whatever reason I never did blog about his birth.  For the record he was my 2VBA1C and even though I ended up with an epidural due to terrible back labor it was a wonderful birth.   He was born on July 26th, 2006 at 8:29 p.m. weighing in at 8 pounds 13 ounces and 20 3/4 inches long!  I know how to grow them!  I nursed him exclusively for 7 months before introducing solids and he self weaned at 17 months.

So to my baby  boy, Happy 5th Birthday!!!!  You’re turning into a wonderful young man!

Picture of him in the hospital.

Little man with his big sisters!


He did not like feeding the lorikeets at the Zoo.

And now – branching out in the great unknown and enjoying Creation!

Riding a wolf.  I can’t believe how big he has gotten!


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MamaBuzz Review: Super Star Speech: Speech Therapy Made Simple (discount code)

Does your child have a speech impediment or even just a not very clear way of saying a certain letter or letters?  Then I suggest you look in to Super Star Speech, which is written by Deborah Lott who is a licensed speech language pathologist and also has a Master’s degree in Education/speech pathology.  Deborah Lott knows that most parents can’t afford a private speech therapy tutor nor do many homeschoolers want to go through their public school systems, and as a home educator herself, set out to make a program that parents can do on their own, at home, with no training and do it inexpensively.

Each of my children have a certain way of pronouncing letters that make them sound odd, such as my son, if you asked him to say “lilly” it would sound like “wiwly”.  My oldest if she says “Christian” it sounds like “Kristen” and vice versa, my middle daughter has a range of trouble letters especially those that are combined like ‘sh’ so if she says my son’s middle name, Ashe, it well sounds like something she shouldn’t say.  These are not issues that will keep them from leading productive and long lives but as my oldest is finding out, can be slightly embarrassing especially when she is corrected by friends.

Enter Super Star Speech, I choose the e-book titled Speech Therapy Made Simple which encompasses letters and combination sounds; P and B, T and D, N, K and G, NG, F and V, L,  SH, CH and J, TH, S and Z, and R.  There are individual books titled Super Star R and L, Super Star S, Z and Sh, and a set of all three.  Since I have three children all with varying degrees of issues I chose the all inclusive one that can help with all three of my children, especially at this time, my oldest since she seems to be more bothered by it.

Don’t be worried if you have no training with speech therapy, this book is written for the parent who has no idea how to get started.  Isn’t that like most of us when we began homeschooling?  We learned and we are succeeding – this is the same idea, we do it because our children need us too.  You will start out reading the introduction where the author will help ease your mind and get you ready to begin speech therapy with your child or children – it is very fear calming.

After the introduction, you’ll read through the articulation test, and I recommend reading this through two or three times before actually doing the test and making sure you have any copies you’ll need for your child(ren) before getting started.  Complete, step-by-step, directions are given for administering the test as well as recording the responses given (a sample filled-in response sheet is included).  The response sheet is given for ages 3 through 7 years, however I had no issues using it with my 9 year old.  The therapy plan is also included, again with clear instructions, and lesson planning forms to carry forth the therapy and recording results.  Also included are therapy games and activities, as well as practice pages and 240 picture cards – all to help in the therapy.

There are three ways to purchase the book, the ring (spiral) bound version for $18.95, 3-ring binder for $22.95 and the e-book version for $12.95.  All three ways will make copying the pages needed for your children easy and effortless and no risk of breaking the binding!   Right now through August 20, 2011 there is free shipping with the United States and for my readers you can get a 20% discount on purchases at Super Star Speech by using the code: mamabuzz , again that is only for purchases made at Super Star Speech.

**This is a MamaBuzz Review.  I received a copy of this product from Super Star Speech in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given or implied.

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3-D portraits a'la Marisol

Hannah’s first class for the College for Kids happened the week of June 20th through June 23rd and she got to learn about the artist Marisol, who made 3-D art sculptures using wood and other mediums.  Hannah made a 3-D sculpture of herself using cardboard, paint and tape.  This was a first for her being without me but she seemed to really thrive and even learned that other children can be hostile about her beliefs.  Others wanted to know why she only wore skirts, why she didn’t have her own cell phone, and of course she was the only one who was homeschooled.  She did well and it led to us discussing more of why we believe the way we do.

Here is her sculpture:


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Twin Sisters Production: 30 Scripture Songs for Kids

About 30 Scripture Songs for Kids from Twin Sisters:

This new collection of 30 Scripture songs includes songs to learn the Lord’s Prayer, the Old Testament and New Testament books of the Bible! PDF lyrics printable from any home computer!

Includes Songs: Give Thanks To The Lord/Psalm 107:1, Bless The Lord, O My Soul/Psalm 103:1, For God So Loved The World/John 3:16, The Fruit Of The Spirit/Galatians 5:22-23, The Lord’s Prayer/Matthew 6:9-13 and 25 more.

My Opinion:

Usually these types of CD’s make me want to cringe with their fluff and barely scratch the surface of God’s Word but this was different.  It was toe tapping and made memorizing Scripture and learning more about the Bible lots of fun!  One thing I aim for this year is to do more Bible memorization, and not just to earn AWANA awards but to really instill God’s Word and Truth into their hearts and what a fun way to accomplish this, by using music and lyrics to memorize.  This would be especially great if you have a learner who needs to hear something to remember it and some children learn better with music.

This is such a professionally done CD geared to ages 0 to 12 years so even the infant in your life can begin hearing about God’s Word and the oldest in the family can memorize all the Truths.  If you’re like me and you like to have lyrics in front of you, then pop the CD into your computer’s disc drive and print out any all lyrics that you’ll need.  Print off a copy for each child old enough to read or start reading so on long car trips they can easily sing along.  God welcomes praise and what a wonderful way to praise and worship Him than by putting His Word to music and singing along!

This would even be a great tool for use during family devotions or just a break for a day to get up, get moving and get to praising the Creator!  The CD is so much fun to listen along to and it’s even more fun to watch my children as they sing along and praise God while learning His Words and even I’ve been known to get up raise my arms and dance with them!  This is a wonderfully made CD and a great investment for a family who wants to make Scripture memorization easy as well as bringing some wonderful Christian music into your home.


**I was provided a copy of this CD from Twin Sisters Productions in exchange for my honest review, no other compensation was given, promised or implied.


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Finalized list of 2011-2012 curriculum

I’m very eclectic which works well since I also do reviews and can switch and implement as needed with other curriculum through the year, however this does not play into the paper work I submit to the super of our school district and for all intents and purposes this is what we will be using this year.

If you see a non hyperlinked title or author please click on the image to be directed to my Amazon affiliate if you want to purchase.

I’m not listing every single literature selection (I’ve been faulted on this by a reader however I’ll give you a few selections we’ll be aiming to cover this year).  So here is my list of intended curriculum:

Bible/Character Studies:

The Holy Bible – this may be NIV, KJV, or even The Action Bible.  My goal right now is to make the Bible and God’s gift of Salvation understandable for all my children.

Keys for Kids Devotional

Proverbs for Parenting: A Topical Guide for Child Raising from the Book of Proverbs

Various biographies and autobiographies of missionaries and church history from the library such as:

Janet Benge books: (these are just two of the many available)

Christian Focus Publications

Language Arts:

Penmanship copy work from various online sources to be printed out.

Song School Latin

Prima Latina: Introduction to Christian Lation

Flip Flop Spanish

Hola Mis Amigos (Hello My Friends) Spanish

Natural Speller

Writing Tales Level One

History and Geography:

Mystery of History: Creation to the Resurrection

Mystery of History: Early Church and the Middle Ages

Star-Spangled Book and Workbook

The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide


Rod and Staff Working Arithmetic

Rod and Staff Progressing with Arithmetic

Times Tales

Various math games and worksheets found at the library or on the Internet.

Science and Health:

Exploring Creation with Botany

Beautiful Girlhood

Lesson in Responsibility for Girls

Developing Good Health

Proper Manners and Health Habits 2

Nutrition 101: Choose Life a Family Nutrition and Health Guide



Additional books and other resources available at the local library.

Physical Education:

Community and church sports, soccer, basketball, softball

AWANA games



Contemporary Worship Dance

Wii Sports and other physically active games

Outdoor play and walks

Fine Arts:

Classical Music CD’s

ARTistic Pursuits

Discovering Great Artists

Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers series

Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists series

First Aid, Safety, and Fire Prevention

First Aid

Water, Bike and traffic safety

Home and kitchen safety

Personal and family fire prevention

Resources available from Police and Fire stations as well as the Clark County Fair.


Okay here are some of the literature selections I plan on including this year, this is not all inclusive but will give you an idea of what I plan for this year:

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Animal Farm by George Orwell (Hannah, maybe)


The Last Days of Socrates by Plato

Greek Myths (Hannah, maybe)

I think this will give a good idea of what we plan to be studying over the next school year, it does appear I take a more Classical approach to education but we don’t do a lot of oral work – however I do plan on adding more into Hannah’s day.  Hannah does not do Latin, but Bethanne seems to thrive in fact she wanted me to add French into the school year but I decided working on English reading/writing as well as Spanish and Latin would be enough for this year – at least for mom LOL

I haven’t left Christian out, who will be working on a K/1st grade level, but I don’t have to notify for him this year but with him I plan on using the following:



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