Monday, March 31, 2014

The Sparkle Egg - Review and Giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Easter is right around the corner, and I was given the wonderful opportunity to review The Sparkle Egg, a delightful Easter book.

About The Sparkle Egg
Written by Jill Hardie
Illustrated by Christine Kornacki
Hardcover with jacket, 10 x 10, 32 pages
ages 4 to 8 

Easter is coming, and Sam loves Easter! But this year, he is upset about a lie he told his parents. Even though he apologized and they forgave him, Sam can’t shake the feeling that he is a bad kid for what he did. Meanwhile, his parents help him make a special Easter craft called a Sparkle Egg. His mom tells him to write anything he feels sorry about or ashamed of on a piece of paper and put it inside his Sparkle Egg.

On Easter morning, when he opens his Sparkle Egg expecting a surprise, Sam finds that it is empty! His parents explain that because Jesus died and rose again, we are forgiven. Like the tomb that first Easter Day, Sam's egg is empty—and Sam’s wrongdoing is completely forgiven. Once he accepts this forgiveness fully, Sam realizes a truth: we can sparkle and shine with God’s light when we let God’s gift of grace into our hearts. This touching story will strike a deep chord with readers of all ages, and the Sparkle Egg tradition will help readers and their families grasp the totality of God’s perfect grace.

About Jill Hardie, the author
Jill Hardie’s first book, The Sparkle Box, ignited a new Christmas tradition that helps center Christmas in the true joy of the season. Now Jill is hoping to touch lives with a new Easter tradition with The Sparkle Egg. She lives in North Canton, Ohio.

About Christine Kornacki, the illustrator
Christine Kornacki illustrated the highly acclaimed The Sparkle Box. She has a love for painting and a knack for bringing stories to life. Christine received a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford and spends most days painting in her studio, which adjoins a charming cafĂ© in New Haven, Connecticut.

My thoughts about The Sparkle Egg
I absolutely loved the fact that this book focuses on the true meaning of Easter. It also does such a good job of explaining how we are forgiven through Jesus' death and resurrection. I sat down and read the book with Sassy Pants, who is 6 years old, and I feel like she really got the idea. I love the idea of creating our own Sparkle Eggs, reinforcing what we've learned about Jesus' forgiveness.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who has small people and is looking for an Easter book to read with them. You can find more information about The Sparkle Egg by visiting the website or Facebook page

Not only was I offered the opportunity to review this book, but I also get to offer a copy to one of my readers. You can have an opportunity to #ShareAMoment by entering the giveaway below for The Sparkle Egg. (US and Canada only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fruit of the Spirit - Peace

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
A few weeks ago, the Lord laid on my heart that I needed to make some changes in our home. I had become really focused on getting academics done, and the hearts of my small people were being neglected. Sure, we were doing our Bible time each morning, but their attitudes toward each other and toward me were poor. My attitude was also lacking. Something needed to change.

After thinking and praying about it, I decided that I was going to do a unit on the Fruit of the Spirit. I wanted to spend a week on each Fruit. To Google and Pinterest I went. While I found a lot of lessons designed for Sunday School classes, but not a lot for a homeschool unit. I would need to create my own.

(Disclaimer: Our week is only 4 days long because we go to a homeschool co-op one day each week. The week we did Peace we actually only did a 3 day week because of other things going on. Sorry!)

Check out what we learned during our study of Love and Joy.

Day 1

  • Review Galatians 5:22-23. Talk about how peace is the absence of strife and is also the state of being content.
  • Read Proverbs 20:3. Talk about ways that we can avoid being fools by avoiding strife.
Day 2
  • Read Philippians 4:4-7. Talk about how God wants us to not worry but to have peace. 
  • Talk about things we can do to feel peaceful when we start to worry.
Day 3
  • Read Mark 4:35-41. Talk about how Jesus was able to bring peace to the stormy sea.
  • Talk about how He can also bring peace to our lives in the midst of the storms we will go through and how He not only calmed the sea, but He calmed His disciples when He said, "Peace, be still."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Benefits of Volunteering


Today the small people and I will take part in one of my favorite school days every year - the day we go volunteer at the local Special Olympics. This will be our 4th year doing this. The first year we helped lead athletes around the track for the opening ceremony and we passed out drinks. The second year we helped with the young athletes' stations. Last year we helped with the softball throw. This year we're supposed to help with registration. The small people are excited because that may mean we'll be free during the actual games to go cheer on a couple of our favorite athletes.

It's important to me to teach the small people to volunteer, to give back to our community. Helping at Special Olympics has provided us with a wonderful opportunity to do that. It has also helped my small people understand that people with disabilities are still people who want to be loved and respected.

Helpguide.org shares some other benefits of volunteering:

  • Volunteering connects you to others. It helps you make new friends and contacts and increases your social and relationship skills.
  • Volunteering is good for your mind and body. It increases self-confidence, combats depression, and helps you stay physically healthy.
  • Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life. It provides a great opportunity to explore interests and passions.
While volunteering at Special Olympics may not be for everyone, I encourage you to find a place to volunteer, especially as a family. 

Does your family volunteer anywhere?


(If you came in search of Wordless Wednesday, I am taking a break from Wordless Wednesday from now until May so that I can prepare for and participate in the A to Z Challenge.)

Friday, March 21, 2014

A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal

Last year I participated in the A to Z Challenge for the first time. For those of you not familiar with the Challenge, it involves blogging through the alphabet for the month of April, excluding Sundays. On day 1, the post is themed about an A word. Day 2, a theme beginning with B. And so on. It's definitely a challenge, but it was a lot of fun to stretch myself last year, and I met so many great bloggers in the process.

Check out the other blogs revealing their themes.
Last year my theme for the challenge was Homeschooling from A to Z. It took me quite a while to come up with this year's theme. I didn't want to do homeschooling again as my overall theme, but most of my life involves homeschooling. I decided to go with Animals from A to Z, focusing on a craft or activity for each animal that I will do or have done with my small people.

I hope you'll join me to check out the fun activities I'll be sharing during the month of April for the A to Z Challenge!

Food on Friday - Peeps S'mores

The small people who live here LOVE marshmallow peeps. (Well, so do I. And yes, I'm aware that they are nothing but sugar and are completely bad for me.) So when I came across a recipe for s'mores using peeps, I had to try it.


The ingredients are the same as for making s'mores; you just substitute marshmallow peeps for the marshmallows. We used the rabbit shapes.
Ingredients:
Hershey bars
graham crackers
Marshmallow Peeps

Use 1/2 of a graham cracker as a base and layer with 1/2 of a Hershey bar and 1 peep. Since peeps tend to explode in the microwave and I had no desire to clean that up, we put ours in the oven at 350 degrees for 2 minutes, watching it carefully to make sure the peep didn't scorch. I suggest lining the cookie sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean up. After taking them out of the oven, put the other 1/2 of the graham cracker on top and enjoy!



Do you have a recipe to share? Link up below.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Art


For the past 3 years, The Boy has taken an art class at our homeschool co-op. His drawing ability has really improved! I am so thankful that someone who knows what they're doing is able to teach him art, because I know I can't.

Do you have a wordless (or not so wordless) post to share? Link up below.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fruit of the Spirit - Joy

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
A few weeks ago, the Lord laid on my heart that I needed to make some changes in our home. I had become really focused on getting academics done, and the hearts of my small people were being neglected. Sure, we were doing our Bible time each morning, but their attitudes toward each other and toward me were poor. My attitude was also lacking. Something needed to change.

After thinking and praying about it, I decided that I was going to do a unit on the Fruit of the Spirit. I wanted to spend a week on each Fruit. To Google and Pinterest I went. While I found a lot of lessons designed for Sunday School classes, but not a lot for a homeschool unit. I would need to create my own.

(Disclaimer: Our week is only 4 days long because we go to a homeschool co-op one day each week.)

After finishing our week on the Fruit of Love, we started our next week studying Joy.

Day 1
  • Review Galatians 5:22-23.
  • Discuss that joy and happiness are not the same thing. We can have joy even when our circumstances aren't what we like. 
  • Discuss what is NOT joy.
Here's what the small people came up with for What Is NOT Joy:

  • Complaining
  • Being mean - kicking, hitting, and using unkind words
  • Raising your voice
  • Pouting
  • Temper tantrums
  • Refusing to answer when someone speaks to you
  • Talking back
  • Being jealous and dwelling on it
  • Boasting or bragging

Day 2
  • Read Nehemiah 8:10. Talk about how we get our joy from the Lord. 
  • Read Psalm 119:111. Talk about how we get our joy from God's Word.
  • Talk about how we can turn to God and the Bible when we are having a bad day in order to renew our joy.
Day 3
  • Read Acts 16:16-40. Talk about how Paul and Silas had joy in spite of their circumstances. We can also have joy no matter what our circumstances are.
  • Talk about how Paul and Silas sang praises while they were in prison. Make a list of songs we can sing to praise the Lord.
Day 4
  • Read Proverbs 15:13. Talk about what a cheerful countenance looks like. 
  • Make self-portraits of our cheerful countenances.








Friday, March 14, 2014

Food on Friday - Cherry Enchiladas

This week for Food on Friday, I am revisiting the Cherry Enchiladas that I've shared before. These are such an easy dessert to make, and you can easily switch out the pie filling to create many different flavors. I like the cherry ones best, but some of my small people prefer peach.


Ingredients
1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling
6 (8 inch) flour tortillas
Cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spread cream cheese on one side of each tortilla.
  • Spoon one heaping spoonful of pie filling evenly down the center of each tortilla.
  • Roll up, tucking in edges. Place seam side down in greased dish.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes.
  • Pour sauce over enchiladas and let stand 45 minutes. (This allows the sauce to soak into the tortillas.)
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden.
For the peach enchiladas, I sprinkled cinnamon over the filling before rolling up the enchilada.


Do you have a recipe to share? Link up below.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Another puppy pic

Sassy loves the puppy. When she comes downstairs in the morning, she lays down on the floor next to him with her blanket.

Do you have a wordless (or not so wordless) post you want to share? Link up below.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Food on Friday - Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Breakfast Burrito

I've mentioned before that I am a lazy mama when it comes to breakfasts for the small people. Instant oatmeal, cold cereal - that works for me. But I know they need heartier food so I love it when I find something good for them and easy too. Enter the Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Breakfast Burrito. I found a recipe for egg & cheese burritos at The Taylor House. I added sausage to it to give it a little more filling, but you could add bacon, veggies, ham, etc.

Ingredients
8 Tortillas
1 lb maple sausage
8 Eggs
2 c shredded cheese

Crumble and brown sausage. Drain and set aside. Scramble eggs. Heat the tortilla for 30 seconds to soften it. (I did 4 at a time in the microwave between damp paper towels.) Spoon eggs into middle of tortilla. Sprinkle cheese over eggs. Add sausage. Wrap and eat! A ridiculously simple sausage, egg, & cheese breakfast burrito!


Do you have a recipe you want to share? Link up below.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Big Kick


Soccer Girl (in white) had a game this weekend. I love her form when she kicks.

Do you have a wordless (or not so wordless) post to share? Link up below.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Fruit of the Spirit - Love

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

A few weeks ago, the Lord laid on my heart that I needed to make some changes in our home. I had become really focused on getting academics done, and the hearts of my small people were being neglected. Sure, we were doing our Bible time each morning, but their attitudes toward each other and toward me were poor. My attitude was also lacking. Something needed to change.

After thinking and praying about it, I decided that I was going to do a unit on the Fruit of the Spirit. I wanted to spend a week on each Fruit. To Google and Pinterest I went. While I found a lot of lessons designed for Sunday School classes, but not a lot for a homeschool unit. I would need to create my own.

(Disclaimer: Our week is only 4 days long because we go to a homeschool co-op one day each week.)

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Week 1 - Love

Day 1 
  • Introduce the Fruit of the Spirit, going over Galatians 5:22-23.
  • Read Matthew 22:36-40. Discuss the Great Commandments of loving God and loving others. Discuss who are our neighbors.
  • List ways to show love to others. I sent them to do this individually, and then we came together to compile our list.
Day 2
  • Read 1 Corinthians 13.
  • Go through each verse listing what God says love is.
Day 3
  • Read a story book. List examples of loving and unloving behavior found in the book. (Any book can be used for this, but I highly recommend using any version of The Ugly Duckling. It has great examples of both.)
Day 4
  • Read Matthew 5:44-45 and Luke 6:35. Talk about loving our enemies. 
  • Read John 13:34-35. Talk about how others can know we love Jesus. Discuss who we can show love to this week and how. (Refer back to the list made on Day 1.)
Here is the list we came up with on Day 2 as we went through 1 Corinthians 13.
  • Love is patient.
  • Love is kind.
  • Love is not jealous.
  • Love does not boast or brag.
  • Love is humble.
  • Love is respectful.
  • Love puts others first.
  • Love doesn't get angry easily.
  • Love doesn't hit or yell at others.
  • Love speaks kindly about other people.
  • Love encourages others to do the right thing.
On Day 4, I gave them the freedom to choose who they wanted to do something for and what they wanted to do. The Boy made brownies for the family, Little Red made a bracelet for a new friend, and the other girls made cards for their teachers at Sunday School and our homeschool co-op.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...