Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hearts at Home - No More Perfect Moms!

This was my second Hearts at Home conference and it just keeps getting better!  This year we got a hotel pretty close to the Illinois State University campus where Hearts at Home's national conference is held every year.  Nothin' fancy... just a HoJo but it was clean and had free continental breakfast.  ;-)  Friday night we attended the Moms' Night Out event featuring comedian (and mom) Anita Renfroe.  Hilarious! She was so fun!  And the music for the weekend was provided by Meredith Andrews.  I'd never heard of her but she was great.  Besides, you gotta love (or hate) a mom who gave birth on her bathroom floor and rock skinny jeans less than a month later.  ;-)

Its amazing to see the masses of women invade the college campus!  This year nearly five thousand moms attended the conference!  The theme was No More Perfect Moms (taken from Jill Savage's new book of the same name) and there were tons of great workshops offered.
While I was struggling to choose my workshops (there really were a lot that sounded great) I decided to choose one parenting, one marriage and one for myself.  In the end I attended Real Ways to Connect with Your Kids - Kathi Lipp, Fill Up to Pour Out - Lynn Cowell, What Your Man Most Wants You to Know - Shaunti Feldhahn, and Special Moms for Special Kids - Laura Sniff and Libby Raab.  I really feel that I learned from each of my workshops.

The keynote speakers were Jill Savage (founder of Hearts at Home) and Candace Cameron Bure (DJ from Full House!).  As always I love Jill's candidness when she speaks.  She shares intimate moments and silly stories that remind us we're not alone and none of us are perfect.  And Candace was great!  I halfway expected her message to be fluff.  Sorry, Candace!  ;-)  But instead it was down to earth and full of biblical truths and insight into how she came to know Jesus.  Basically she's just like the rest of us, trying to be the wife and mother that God wants her to be.  I am pretty sure that if she knew I was alive, we would totally be friends!

One phrase that I heard a few times over the weekend was "Don't compare your insides to someone else's outsides."   Its so true.  So often we see people's lives through this filter of comparison when we should be viewing everything through the lens of Christ.  Romans tells us that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"And frankly don't we all fall short of our own expectations as well? We need to accept ourselves and others' imperfection and encourage one another to be the best we can be without expecting anyone or anything to be perfect. And that is OK!  

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Story of God Book - Giveaway!

We don't have cable so I have not been able to watch the Bible mini-series that is currently on the History Channel but I read online that over 68 MILLION have viewed #TheBible in 15 days making it the #1 cable series of the year!
 A STORY OF GOD AND ALL OF US is a sweeping narrative that dramatizes some of the most important events and characters in the Bible. The young reader's edition of the novel contains abridged action-packed versions of the Bible's most fascinating stories, featuring Moses, David, Daniel, John the Baptist and Jesus.

This edition includes an exclusive introduction by author Roma Downey and a photo insert including images from the companion epic TV miniseries "The Bible."
I am excited to be giving away a copy of A Story of God and All of Us Young Readers Edition.  Enter today to win!  Giveaway will be open through Easter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

BYOU Magazine for Girls Review

I was given the opportunity to review BYOU "Be Your Own You" Magazine recently.  Here is what they say that they are about:
BYOU “Be Your Own You” Magazine for girls ages 8+ helps build self-esteem in fun and empowering ways with features on positive celebrity role models, stories about real girls making a difference, tips, advice, games, crafts, contests, jokes, and much more.
Founded and published by Debra Gano, who is a national self-esteem expert, best-selling author, and former professional model & actress (as well as a mom to her 10-year-old daughter!) believes ALL girls deserves to have healthy self esteem.

When I originally flipped through the magazine I was a little disappointed.  At first glance it looks a lot like any other teen girl magazine, a poster of the picture perfect cover girl, beauty and makeup tips, plenty of ads for Disney shows, etc.

But when I actually sat down and read some of the featured articles I found pieces on entrepreneurial ideas and tips, girls who are making a difference in their communities, wintertime crafts and others.  There were some really interesting and empowering articles that I thought were great additions to the magazine.

If you want to check it our for yourself here are the BYOU links:
Twitter @BYOUmagazine

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Cooking Day!

Over the last while my mom and I have gotten in to the habit of occasionally sending a meal to one another.  We'll just make double of whatever we are making for our own family and share, no fanfare, just our way of showing our love and appreciation.  After seeing this pattern developing we started to discuss the idea of doing a cooking day and making a bunch of meals together in one afternoon.  We kept putting it off because we were busy but couple of weeks ago my mom and sisters and I finally had our cooking day! 
Because my friend and my sister are both living at my parents' house right now we have the unique advantage of having five cooks in three households.  So each cook chose a meal and brought the ingredients to my mom's house.  We had two meals going at a time and we all pitched in to help with chopping and mixing and doing dishes along the way.
 After our afternoon's work we all went home with six meals: BLT Pasta, White Chili with corn meal dumplings, Chicken Pot Pie, Baked Penne, Meat Loaf, and Chicken Lo Mein w/ fried rice. We are all enjoying our tasty meals one at a time!  Looking forward to doing another one sometime soon!
Here are a couple of links that were helpful when planning our cooking day:


Saturday, March 09, 2013

Books to Movies for Kids

I've been an avid reader since childhood.  I love the way a good book brings characters to life and draws me in to whatever new adventure is developing.  I had many favorites growing up.  I remember loving the Babysitter's Club, Little House on the Prairie books, Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables, Jane Eyre, Little Women and many more.  I had always hoped that my children would love to read as much as I do.  Even now I still enjoy some YA once in awhile (Twilight, Hunger Games, Divergent, Matched and Beautiful Creatures)... don't judge.  ;-)

For the most part Nate loves to read and I don't often have a hard time getting him to do so but he also can get sucked into tv/video games/etc.  So sometimes I need to encourage him to get back into reading.  One thing I like to do once in awhile is have him read a book that has been turned into a movie.  Sometimes I'll show Nate the trailer for the movie beforehand to get his interest perked up.  Then the reward after reading the book is a movie night. We like to discuss the differences between the book and the movie. One of the things I like about doing this is that it gets Nate to branch out from the books he typically reads and gets him to try books/genres that he might normally have overlooked.

Here are a few of our faves:

Indian in the Cupboard

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Stuart Little

Charlotte's Web

Bridge to Terabithia

Harry Potter

The Chronicles of Narnia

There really are tons more out there.  Here is a list of great kids books on the big screen.  Let me know what books/movies you and your family love!

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

“But, how do you know if an ending is truly good for the characters unless you've traveled with them through every page?”
Shannon Hale, Midnight in Austenland 

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Free Homeschool Curriculum

I am already starting to think about what we are going to do for Nate's curriculum next year.  Sometimes its a little overwhelming because there are so many options out there for homeschoolers now. Here is what I am thinking... The teacher in me wants to find something that challenges Nate a bit more.  The modern woman in me wants something a little techie because Nate loves doing stuff on the computer or the tablet and I know he'd get into the idea of doing his school on the computer (instead of via workbook and textbook as we are doing now) The frugal mom in me is wanting to find something cheaper than the curriculum we have been using for the last couple of years.  So, here are a couple of FREE curriculum options that I have found so far.

Easy Peasy - All in One Homeschool -
 This is my children’s school. I am putting their assignments online so that they can work independently and so that I have the assignments saved for their younger siblings. Grade levels and courses include 180 days of homeschool lessons and assignments. It covers reading, writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, math, history/social studies/geography, science, Bible, computer, music, art, PE/health, and logic. It uses only free materials found on the internet.

And yes, it’s all free. You’ll need paper, pencil, etc. and some minor supplies if you choose to do the experiments and art projects, but all of the reading materials, etc. are all free and online.
My hope is to enable families to continue homeschooling no matter their life circumstances.

An Old Fashioned Education
 Welcome to An Old-Fashioned Education. I'm Miss Maggie, owner and creator of this site.  You'll find here a directory of free homeschool curricula, literature and text books organized for the use of homeschooling families.
 Homeschooling can cost a fortune if we're not careful.  A textbook plus the answer manual, teacher's manual and test booklet can easily run over $200!  And that's just for one grade level and one subject.  Good grief!  Do they think we're all growing money-trees in the back yard?   I live in a single income household and there is no way on God's Green Earth that I can afford to spend as much on homeschool supplies as I'd like to.  Since buying whatever strikes my fancy is not an option I have decided to seek out as many free on-line resources as I can find. There are literally thousands from which to choose. Since there's no way I can use everything available I have chosen to focus mainly on texts in the public domain with minor reference to a few other significantly useful sites.

Ambleside Online -
We are a free homeschool curriculum designed to be as close as possible to the curriculum that Charlotte Mason used in her own private and correspondence schools. Our goal is to be true to Charlotte Mason's high literary standards. Ambleside Online uses the highest quality books and costs no more than the cost of texts. The curriculum uses as many free online books as possible, and there is no cost to use this information or join the support group.

If you have used any of these I would love to hear about your experiences.  And if you have more free homeschool resources please leave a comment below.  I'm always on the lookout for freebies!  Thanks!

image source

Friday, March 01, 2013

New Veggie Tales DVD Giveaway

 I'm excitied to be able to offer another dvd giveaway. This time we have Veggie Tales: The Little House That Stood.  We got our preview copy in the mail just a couple days ago and Nate was so excited!  You know how kids are, they hardly ever get "real" mail so it is pretty special when they get a package.  So we sat down and watched the dvd immediately!


The Wise Pig Built His House Upon the Rock! When the Three Little Pigs roll into Cabbageville looking to build some new houses, they meet one builder with a plan and two without a clue! Larry builds with hay, Mr. Lunt with bricks, but only Bob builds his houses on a firm foundation - following the wise plans from the Master Builder's Handbook!" Will the Little Piggies make the right choices when it comes to building their houses - and their lives - on solid ground? Find out in this parable that shows kids when they follow God's blueprints, they can stand strong when the storms come! PLUS! Ever wonder what happened before Humpty cracked? Find out in this very Veggie retelling of the classic Humpty Dumpty story "The Good Egg of Gooseville" where we learn that a good neighbor always "lends a little hand" to those in need.

 As usual Nate was captivated by the characters, story and songs of the movie, as he has been with the other Veggie Tales movies we've seen (and own a lot of them).  I loved hearing the message of Luke 6:46-49 about building on a strong foundation presented in a very kid friendly way.  It is getting more difficult to find quality kid and family shows/movies. It is rare to find a movie or show that is does not have questionable words or content anymore.  Much less one that actually shares our values.  I look forward to enjoying this and other Veggie Tales movies as a family for years to come.

Here is what Nate had to say about The Little House That Stood: "I thought it was awesome." Then after some prompting he followed up with: "I think it will help kids to be nice to others and have a big firm thing under what they make."  I asked him what he would tell people who had never heard of the movie and he said: "I would tell them to get their parents to buy the movie for them and to not listen to the advertisements for toys."  Can you tell we've had conversations about commercials?  We often remind him that the sole purpose of commercials is to convince us to buy things (often things we do not need).  Glad to hear that at least some of what we tell him is sinking in.  ;-)

I am excited to be able to give a copy of Veggie Tales The Little House That Stood to one lucky reader!  The giveaway will be open until St. Patrick's Day (March 17th) and Rafflecopter will choose a winner at random.

He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.  Luke 6:48