Saturday, November 18, 2017

Scripture for Saturday ~ #2

{Trying something new.... Sharing a little bit of the Word of God on the weekend, put into a pretty image by my daughter.}















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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

What We’re Reading ~ November 2017

{Affiliate links ahead. Thank you!}

Christmas is coming, and books make excellent gifts! Perhaps you’ll pick up some ideas from our family's current reading list.




My husband ~

My husband is both a computer science professor and a concerned parent, so when this book became available at the library, we were the first in line to borrow it. Foer examines four humongous corporations – Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple (GAFA) – and their effect on not only our shopping and searching for information but also the very essence of our identities. He has been completely engrossed, and I’m next in line for the book when he’s done.


Me ~

 

Undercover Amish (Amish Protectors), Debby Giusti

Another excellent story that combines the simplicity and innocence of the Amish with page-turning suspense. I just finished it, and I’m beginning my next….


My 16yo is a HUGE Melanie Dickerson fan, so I’m on to another one of hers, based upon the five-star recommendation of my daughter. I love the regency period anyway, and this is just the sort of book I would have devoured when I was a teenager.


The 17yo girl ~



The Silent Songbird, Melanie Dickerson

My 16yo received an autographed copy {with her name inscribed!} from Melanie, so, quite frankly, I’m astonished that she let it out of her possession to let her big sister read it. The 17yo can’t provide much of a review yet, though. The National Bible Bee is coming very soon, and so it’s been nearly round-the-clock study and memorization. When it’s over, then it’s sleep and reading.


The 16yo girl ~

The classics tend to have more description than current books. Somehow, perhaps because of the internet and that you can find out what something looks like with a few clicks, description is out-of-style in current writing. So, I love that my girl loves the descriptions and the large cast of characters found in the classics. Someday, she'll read it in its original French.


The 13yo boy ~

This is a Christian adventure book about William Wallace and Robert the Bruce and Scotland’s struggle for freedom. I love the strong Christian element, and the boy loves the adventure entwined with actual historical events.


The 11yo girl ~



The Chronicles of Narnia Boxed Set, C.S. Lewis

She’s in the middle of The Horse and His Boy, and just like the Carvers before her, the series is her new favorite. Her exclamations make me want to read them all over again!


The 8yo boy ~

The 8yo is reading various animal and history books from the library. We’ll find the section of animals he’s interested in {right now it’s crocodiles and snakes} and the section of history he wants to read about {currently knights and castles}, and I’ll let him loose to choose what he wants.


The 6yo boy ~

His new favorite is collections of Peanuts comics by Charles Shultz. Sometimes we read aloud. Sometimes he just studies the pictures.


Hope you got some good ideas! Happy reading!








What are you reading right now?


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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Scripture for Saturday ~ #1

{Trying something new.... Sharing a little bit of the Word of God on the weekend, put into a pretty image by my daughter.}















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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Six Things I Learned in October

How long has it been since I’ve done a what-I’ve-learned post? Too long! I love how this style of post makes me reflect on the month and take note of the good and the bad as I move into the next month. Learning is a wonderful thing at any age.

Driving is my new down time.
No laundry to fold. No meal to fix. No dishes to wash.
I don’t talk on the phone. (I’m woman enough to admit that I don’t talk and drive well at the same time.)
Texting is completely out!
I can’t grade homeschool papers.
I can’t fritter away my time on social media.





Instead…
I pray.
I talk to my children or husband without distraction.
I listen to uplifting music.
I brainstorm a book.
I listen to an audio book or radio theater drama.

Starbucks gives you a free drink for your birthday. I know, I know. I live under a rock. How could I learn this only a few days ago? I’ve had my smartphone a little over a year, and it’s been less than that since I downloaded the Starbucks app. I wasn’t sure what to do with it since I work hard NOT to be a regular Starbucks customer. But I received a notification the day before my birthday that I had a free drink or food something-or-other, good for only 48 hours. So, we slid through the drive-through late Saturday night and ordered a white chocolate mocha. (Thanks, Deb Raney, for the suggestion!) When we asked what size, my husband responded, “As large as we can get for the free drink.” 😊 Do you know that coffee would have cost over five dollars?!

I adore writing Amish suspense! Have I mentioned that I have another Love Inspired Suspense coming next September? I’m writing it now, due in November. I’ve read Amish fiction for more than a decade and never thought I would write it. But here I am, writing about a lovely Amish widow named Sarah and her six-year-old daughter with blonde curls who give aid to a handsome injured stranger who can’t remember his own name. White starched prayer kapps and apple pie and handwritten letters from Mamm mingled with intrigue and danger. I love it, and I hope you do, too!

Speaking of the Amish, they eat an interesting breakfast dish called scrapple. It’s also called pon hoss, and it’s made mostly of pork scraps. Basically, it’s the broth leftover after removing the bones and fat mixed with flour or cornmeal until it’s a thick paste, seasoned with salt and pepper, and then chilled overnight in a loaf pan. The next morning, the loaf is sliced and fried until golden brown on each side. I’m not a big pork fan, so I’m not sure I’m eager to try it, but I like that there’s no waste. My husband thinks it sounds delicious!

The National Bible Bee ministers to all in our family. If you’ve been reading this blog for long, you know of our involvement in the Bible Bee. It’s an annual competition that begins with a summer study that culminates in a computer-based test in early August. The test-takers with the top 120 scores in three age divisions then go on to compete at the national level in November. My 17yo daughter and 13yo boy both qualified for the national competition, so since mid-August, they’ve been studying in-depth the book of Colossians and memorizing Scripture. The 17yo, in the senior division, is memorizing over 900 verses, and the 13yo, in the junior division, is memorizing over 700 verses. To be prepared, they need to recite them out loud. Those recitations often result in fascinating discussion of the meaning and application of the verses. It’s a LOT of work for the contestants so there is great relief when it is over, but this time period of memorizing and discussion speaks to all us as the Word of God flows throughout our house and our family. I’ll be updating my children’s progress through the competition on Facebook, if you’d like to follow along.



My children make good thespians. Of course, there’s drama at home. 😊 But our church recently put together a drama team for skits on occasional Sundays. Apparently, those bursts of histrionics at home translate well to the platform.


And here’s a bonus – My author friends are incredibly generous! I’m sending out an author newsletter soon, and I asked my LIS author group if they wanted to give away any books. The answer was a resounding YES! {Forget the mug I mentioned in the last blog. How about books?!} So, not only am I giving away a set of my books {Under Duress and Deadly Disclosure}, but I also have books from Lynn Blackburn, Mary Ellen Porter, and Jenna Night. There will be lots of winners, just in time for Christmas, so sign up!








What have you learned this month? I’d love to know in the comments. 😊


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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pumpkin Crunch. A recipe. A way of life.

I don’t usually post recipes, but since it’s fall and this particular pumpkin dessert is so easy and yumalicious, I’m breaking with tradition.

In fact — dare I write it? — this is better than pumpkin pie.

What’s even better is my 16yo budding culinary student made it.



It’s three simple layers.

The first layer, on the bottom of a 9x13 (no need to grease it), is pumpkin pie filling.

My most favorite – ever – recipe for pumpkin pie filling comes from a can of pumpkin I purchased at Aldi years ago.


1 15oz. can pumpkin
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup white or brown sugar (I prefer brown sugar.)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk, top milk, or light cream (I use evaporated milk.)


Mix everything in the order listed.


The second layer is a box of yellow cake mix. Don’t make the cake! Just sprinkle the powdery mix over the pumpkin pie filling.


The third layer is butter. Use two sticks. Cut them into slices to cover the top of the cake mix.


Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until golden-brown on top.


Did I mention a la mode? 😊


Bon appetit!








My 16yo and I are always looking for new ideas. What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe?

P.S. I'm going to send out an author newsletter in the next few weeks, and I'll be giving away a set of Under Duress and Deadly Disclosure as well as a snazzy mug to two subscribers. You can sign up HERE. Thank you!



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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

My Top Ten Necessary Homeschool Supplies (They may not be what you think.)

As a child, I think I must have driven my parents crazy with my love of school supplies. I loved going up and down the back-to-school aisles, fingering the pretty binders and notebooks, opening and closing the pencil cases.

Mid-year, I always wanted to change everything, meticulously moving my papers from one not-pretty-enough-anymore binder to a newer, shinier, prettier binder.

Sigh.

I still love school supplies, although now the socially-acceptable adult mom thing is a pretty journal with colored pencils or pens. That’s good enough for me. J

On the teacher side of the homeschool couch/table, the supplies needed are a little different. Technology has also changed significantly since I was the student. Of course, we still have writing utensils and paper and binders. But now, from the teacher/parent side, in no particular order, are my top ten necessary homeschool supplies.


The Bible. The holy word of God guides, inspires, and comforts. It corrects me when my attitude needs adjusted, and instructs me on my teacher-student relationship. It’s the ultimate teacher’s manual.

Excel. For keeping attendance records, material lists, lesson plans, and grades.

Scanner. I would be drowning in paper if not for my scanner. In fact, I completely wore out my first, and now I’m on to my second. I can’t stand to throw away stacks of papers my children did. They worked hard, and it doesn’t seem right to throw them into the trash can. With my new scanner, I can scan a 300-page workbook in about forty minutes. This way, I also have a record of all of my child’s work, in case I need to refer back to it or the state comes to check.

Evernote/Google Drive. To keep in the cloud a backup of everything.

Coffee in a pretty and inspiring mug. Need I say more? 



Rolling cooler. Now that my Bigs are, well, Bigs, we’re on the go a lot more. Dual enrollment classes at the community college, PE with a co-op, field trips. That rolling cooler has saved us money as well as provided healthy lunches and snacks.

Social media. I know, what??? But some of the memes that go around from homeschooling pages on FB make my day. And discussion groups? A gift from heaven! Just yesterday, I asked about homeschoolers going to medical school. That afternoon, I had three long, comprehensive answers with excellent suggestions from homeschool parents who have been there, done that. Two more arrived this morning.

A good laptop. As I sit at the co-op PE or the community college and wait, I update school logs, look up lesson plans, check the library online catalog, work on blog posts, or get a little book-writing done. 



A comfortable sofa. For the past couple of years, we’ve been sitting on a 20+ year old futon in our upstairs library. For lots of reasons, I don’t enjoy the actual purchase of furniture. But just recently, we moved our old sectional from the downstairs living room up to the library where we do most of our school. It’s rather worn as well, but so much more comfortable for the hind parts.

Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE). Online resources, helpful people, conventions, community. That about says it all.








What are your favorite school supplies?


P.S. My blog will be undergoing a change sometime soon -- new name (just my name) and new look (hopefully more streamlined and simple). It'll still be me, though. Hope you like it!


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Thursday, September 28, 2017

How Do You Fit Reading into Your Day?

When I was a child, I read all the time.

Seriously.

All. The. Time.

When I was in middle school, I spent an entire day on summer break reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It hadn’t been assigned, since we were out of school. But I had heard of it and was curious. It was so good, I barely moved from the couch and read it in one day.

Now, decades later, I have six children, I homeschool, I write, I keep house {sort-of J}. There are too many responsibilities to list. You know what I mean. J

I can no longer spend an entire day reading. Some days, I can barely find five minutes to read.

How’s a busy girl to fit it in?

{Shameless photo plug:
My daughter reading my August Love Inspired Suspense, 
Deadly Disclosure, which is still available online.}

Of course, there’s always staying up late or getting up early. Too often, I stay up late. {Can I get an amen? J

But I’ve found another few ways to fit in reading. Keep your book or kindle handy when you ~~


I'm blogging over at the Love Inspired group blog today. Find me there for my suggestions. I would love to see you there!












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