Hi, my name is Melissa. Pour yourself a cup of tea and stay a while. I'm completely devoted to my Savior, madly in love with my husband, and joyously raising my daughters. I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you enjoy your time here!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Peek at Our Week: September 17-21

We started off the week a little differently... Hurricane Florence did not affect us over the weekend as much as we expected. It did however cause some flooding in our area that kept me home from teaching my English class. It was very strange to be home on a Monday! 

The main road leading from our neighborhood into town is now closed until a repair can be made, but that is the only lasting inconvenience. Every time we see the detour sign and have to drive about 8 minutes out of our way I take a minute and pray for those so much more affected. We are grateful that we are not currently in recovery mode, but are praying for those who are. As I said last week, we've been there. We know how hard and frustrating it can be. 

Photo Credit: NPR
 So last week my kids were all about making the jokes because we didn't take off from school like our neighbor's kids did! They had all of these, "Mommy makes us do school even when...." statements. We all laughed, but they aren't wrong most of the time! We have school unless we have a reason to miss. 

Here is the rundown from our year so far with Heart of Dakota...

Grace: Preparing Hearts for His Glory Unit 2
We are currently running half-speed and will finish unit 2 next week. I'm thinking this will be the last week of half-pace for her. She's doing great and is ready to handle the guide full speed. 

She has chosen Anatomy for her personal study time and loves it! She has wanted to be a nurse since she was 5 and wanted to pursue this a little more. She's reading one of the Chronicles of Narnia for literature and is learning about larger place values. 

Beth: Hearts for Him Through Time - Creation to Christ Unit 33
Beth is soooooo close to finishing! We are working hard and will be done really soon. She's ready to move on and I think the next guide will be really good for her. She's worked through ancient history more than once now through the various guides and she is just ready to get to some new things. 

Beth is reading A Wrinkle in Time for literature. She's enjoying it, but I don't plan on watching the movie with the girls. I'm not thrilled with what I have heard about the changes made to the original story. I don't usually like the film version of books! She's learning about converting units of measurement. 

Rose: Hearts for Him Through Time - Revival to Revolution Units 21-23
Yes, you read that right. We got slowed down last year for a variety of reasons and she really wanted to get through this portion of history. So we decided to go ahead and shift our way of doing things. We are skipping a lot. Yup. I'm not following the guide letter-by-letter! The important thing for me is that she reads all of the books, and she is. 

Rose asked if she could study a high school English course this year. I told her yes and we would see how it went. She is THRIVING! I'm so glad I listened to her and moved her into this course. She's writing excellent essays every week and devouring books like Beowulf and Macbeth. In math she is continuing through our Pre-Algebra course. 

We had the chance to visit Old Salem! Click on the picture above to read more about it! 

I would love to hear more about your week! How was it? See what my Crewmates are blogging about here! 

Field Trip: Old Salem

We had a fantastic visit to Old Salem on Museum Day

Grace and Beth planned where to go using the map. The girls had a scavenger hunt and had fun searching for the answers!  

 Daddy tried out a colonial method of sawing! HARD work! 

Each of the girl shad a turn helping turn a table leg. The interactive nature of our visit was a superb experience for them!

 I loved seeing some of the fall decorations! 

The girls adored getting to try their hand at quilting! They would have stayed here for hours I think. I will have to get some hand-sewing projects up and going around here for them! 

The old well pump is beautiful!  They had fun pumping the water and even trying a taste! 

The pottery house was so beautiful! The craftsman there was so kind and involved the kids in his teaching! 

The replica microscopes were so neat! The girls had fun exploring at the doctor's house. 

 The upstairs of the boys' schoolhouse provided a fantastic learning opportunity for music! My girls have seen the insides of our grand piano at church, but this model helped them see a little more closely how it worked. Oh how I would love to have this for my piano students!

I told my family I couldn't leave without seeing the giant coffee pot! I adore funny unique things and giant tin coffee pots certainly make the list! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Ireland ~ A Part of the By the Way Book Series from By the Way: A TOS Crew Review

By The Way book Serres
 The inclusion of  geography into our studies always encourages conversation and fun! We especially love studying about the locations of our ancestry. We have done this before, but only rarely do we have the opportunity to do so with a resource that has a wonderful message from a biblical worldview. Learning about our family heritage was new once again when we read about Ireland, a part of the By the Way Book Series from By the Way Book
By The Way book Ireland
 My daughters had a great time reading this book together! I did too! The photographs are stunning and I could imagine walking the green hills and rocky coast. We learned about animals which I did not realize were a part of the geography. I also absolutely love the addition of Scripture scattered throughout the pages and pictures. While we have studied quite a bit of geography that has been very informative this is a wonderfully unique resource in how it brings in spiritual truths so seamlessly to the story and information.

I absolutely loved that this was a story alongside informational. The use of Irish dialect brought the characters and their adventures to life. We love using living books as a part of our mostly-Charlotte-Mason way of homeschooling. This is the first time I've encountered a living book for Geography! The girls liked this aspect as well. They seemed surprised when I told them they were going to get to read and learn about Ireland, but found the book to be very story-like. While we already knew the basics of the history of St. Patrick, it was wonderful to be reminded of this again and with new information added!

Another aspect the girls enjoyed was looking at all the glorious pictures of the castles. The history that resides there is amazing, but I think they were all imagining living inside as well. This sparked an interesting discussion about what it would really be like to be royalty. We talked about the good, but also what the downsides would be. They came up with some really interesting thoughts, like not being able to go shopping whenever they wanted or having to always have guards around. In the end while they still were in awe of the castles, I think they decided this may not be the life for them!

I saw my girls pick this book up several times before and after we officially read it together. They enjoyed reading and rereading it. Each page is so fully packed with information I'm sure they learned new things each time! I really loved that in addition to the narrative style of text there were fun informational boxes and ideas for your family to implement. One that we want to give a try is geocaching! We tried this several years ago when the girls were really small, but they did not find it to be much fun. I think they will enjoy giving it a go again soon, especially with how fun the book made the activity sound! 

The best way to show just how inspiring this book was to my girls is this quote:

Mommy, can we go and visit Ireland?
Their interest has been peeked and their eyes opened to the world beyond what they have always known. While a trip is not in the near future, our daughters often talk of world travel and I won't be surprised if one or all of them ended up living overseas at some point and one has expressed she feels called to overseas missions work. Who knows where the Lord will take them, but books like this one are just the thing to let them experience a small taste of other lands while they are still young. 
In addition to this fantastic title here are a few others available: 

By The Way book Alaska
By the Way book Indiana
By The Way New York City
 I highly recommend any one of these whether you are looking for an additional resource for your geography studies or you are just looking for some fun new reading material! 

Don't forget to check out what my Crewmates have to say!
By the Way Book Series: New York City, Ireland, Indiana & Alaska {By the Way Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, September 17, 2018

Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith from The Captain Sun Adventures: A TOS Crew Review

The idea of good verses evil is fascinating our current culture. Superheroes permeate everything from movies to television to books and along with them toys, games, and clothing. It is a truth as old as creation itself, from the beginning of time in the Garden of Eden. We know this battle well and I believe it is what has fascinated the rest of our culture. We were very excited to read a super hero story with a biblical core. Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith from The Captain Sun Adventures was enjoyed by all three of my daughters, ages 13, 11, and almost 9.

The Captain Sun Adventures
 The idea behind this fantastic little book is a great story of good vs evil, woven together with truth from God's Word creating a wonderful devotional with will teach and inspire children of all ages. Each short chapter is created as a comic book. At the end there is a devotional which is fashioned as a newspaper. I love this creativity! 

Rose is an artist and snatched this out of my hands almost as soon as it arrived in the mail! She told me she thought it was so much fun that it was a comic, but also a devotional. She read through it very quickly that afternoon and told me she thought she would like to write her own devotion in the style of a comic book. The graphics are beautifully crafted and compliment the story in a lovely way. 

These two gals enjoyed reading the devotion together. They too read it all at once. Because it is short and simple, I really liked that they wanted to read it on their own. One of the things I've attempted to instill in my daughters is the desire to study God's Word for themselves. As they grow and mature in their faith I look for ways to show them just how exciting the Scriptures can be. This is a wonderful tool to develop a perspective of excitement as they read. 

I LOVE the idea of this for personal devotions. While it would work well for group family devotions as well, I think it served us the best as personal quiet times, even though 2 daughters read together. I really like that in addition to explaining the biblical truth behind a Scripture, a question is also posed in each devotion directly to the reader to ponder.
The best part about this book is that while secular super heroes point the glory to themselves or their teams, everything about this book points the glory back to God. This very biblical, but very uncommon perspective makes this a valuable resource for kids. I and my daughters all highly recommend this whether you are looking for a way to spice up your family devotions or to encourage your children to have quiet times with the Lord on their own. You may even use it for yourself and explore a different way of studying the Scriptures!  
Don't forget to take a look at what my Crewmates have to say! 
Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith {The Captain Sun Adventures Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Friday, September 14, 2018

Peek at Our Week: September 10-14 aka Hurricane Week!

There has been quite a lot of hullabaloo around here! 

Here in central NC, we don't see much more than a tropical storm or two. Then there was Hurricane Fran in 1996. It was stronger, bigger, and faster than it was believed to be when it made landfall and was still a hurricane when it came over our town. Lots of damage, power out for days...definitely a memorable thing! And because of that, whenever there is the threat of a storm people get concerned. 

My husband and I don't feel quite the same way. Having lived in Florida with hurricanes where we prepared like this...

October 2005 - This is me!!! And Rose when she was 2 months old!

And have turns life upside down like this...

October 2005 - Crop Duster's air field with a sugar cane factory in the background.
We weren't too concerned. We know how to prepare and we did. We didn't board up our windows or anything, but we prepared all around the house and made sure we had what supplies we might need if the power was out for a few days. The hurricane from the previous photos left us without power and a boiled water order for 11 days. 

So far, we have not had much more than a nice breeze. We shall see what else will come...

The girls started their science class on Wednesday! My first class teaching English was Monday. It's going to be a great year for all of us!