Friday, February 12, 2016

Blue Ribbon Trail Ride by Miralee Ferrell (Book Review)

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Thirteen-year old Kate and her friends came up with the perfect way to raise money for her autistic younger brother and others to attend summer camp- a horse scavenger hunt! 
As local businesses donate money and prizes, Kate keeps the entry fees in her mom's antique jewelry box.

But when the box and the money disappear, Kate and her friends must unravel the clues, hold on to hope, and solve the mystery along the Blue Ribbon Trail Ride. 

My Thoughts

Blue Ribbon Trail Ride is the fourth book in Miralee Ferrell's series, Horses and Friends. This is the first book of the series that I have read and can easily be enjoyed without having been introduced to the characters prior to reading this one. The author does allude to previous events which tended to pique my curiosity and made me wish I started from the beginning of the series! 

Now that my oldest two are reading on their own, and actually enjoy it, I have been scrambling to find book series that I think they might enjoy. Clearly girly babysitting series that I read as a kid certainly isn't going to cut it for my boys. Recently, we tried The Hardy Boys and my boys loved it. There was a problem though. There is constant lying and violence. I appreciated the story line and challenging vocabulary but when it comes down to it, the stories simply do not promote Christian morals. 
Fortunately, the Horses and Friends Series does promote these values. Several times throughout the story, the children's faith and trust in God is clearly expressed.

I read this book aloud to my children and at first my boys were not amused. They were afraid this story would be too girly. Of course my horse loving daughter was thrilled and excited to listen to a fun horse story that she could enjoy. Interestingly enough, as soon as my boys realized though that there was a mystery involved in the story, they were on the edge of their seats. There were even a few days they would beg me to read another chapter because the cliff hanger at the end of the chapter was bugging them like crazy! They just had to know what was going to happen next. 

Boys and girls alike will enjoy this series but it clearly is written with the pre-teen girl in mind. The story is written in a way that a young girl can both relate and be challenged in her faith. If you are looking for a wholesome series that promote good morals and godly examples for your daughter (and maybe her brothers!) then I recommend trying out this series.

Miralee Ferrell is the award-winning author of more than a dozen novels. She and her husband live along the Columbia River Gorge in southern Washington State, where she enjoys riding the wooded trails and spending time with her grown children. In addition to horses and dogs, Miralee once owned two cougars.

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Disclaimer: Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All opinions stated here are my own.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Repurposing Trash for your Homeschool

Don’t worry. I’m not suggesting you start stockpiling your house with trash! Instead, I look at it as killing two birds with one stone. READ MORE AT OUR HOMESCHOOL FORUM

Thursday, February 4, 2016

{FREE} Adorable Animal Valentines

Plan a Family Game Night

This past labor day our family went out for Mexican. This is a rare occurrence for us, so the kids savored every minute. I held the newborn while the older kids munched on tortilla chips. They dipped them in variety of spicy sauces while we waited for our meals. We laughed as my daughter confidently tried a spicy sauce, determined to like it, only to down half of her water after her first (and only) bite. Once served, we began sampling each others plates, testing the variety of goodies that lay before us. We talked, we ate, and we enjoyed each others company. 

Then, I looked around at the other booths in the restaurant only to see practically everyone and their grandmother scrolling on their smart phones. I kid you not. First, I spotted three college kids sitting at a table together. All three of them, two boys and a girl were gazing at their phones while waiting for their food. 

Behind them was an older couple, probably old enough to be their parent's age. The woman was on her phone while the man finished up his meal. 

As we walked out the door, I looked and saw a family with kids and yes, one of the kids was on a device playing a game to pass the time. 

I know I am not miss social butterfly or anything but I will say that sometimes I feel like I am in the twilight zone when I look around at everyone glued to their phones. Are our children going to grow up to be so social awkward that they can't even look up from their phones and look someone in the eye to order food? Will they be too afraid to go the the post office to mail a package or interact with someone at a grocery store? How can we teach them not hide their lights under a bushel when we allow them to hide behind their phones or devices?

It begins with us. We need to train them. We need to train our children to have conversations with one another. We need to allow them to interact with one another and come up with conflict resolutions on their own. At first, while young, we help them. As they grow older, they then need to deal with their own selfish desires in a safe environment. 

What better way to do this than by providing opportunities within our own home? One way we encourage family interaction is by having game nights. Once in a while we will set aside an hour or two, when everyone is home and determine to start, and finish a game. It teaches kids patience. It teaches them how to handle disappointment if they don't win and how to be a good winner if they do win. It teaches them to follow rules and so much more. 
It doesn't matter so much what the game is as it does who the game is played with. Our kids love the quality time spent with their parents when we plan to have a game night. They know that we won't be busy texting or emailing people but wholeheartedly spending time with them.

Looking for some fun family games? Check out Rainbow Resource Center for ideas! 

Forbidden Island Game

Kingdom Builder Game

Qwirkle Trio

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Rainbow Resource Center. All opinions stated here are my own.

30 Classic Outdoor Activities For Boys

Regardless of the season, boys will have energy. Even if the sun isn’t shining or it may be sprinkling, consider planning outdoor activities that your boys can look forward to at the end of their homeschool day... READ MORE AT OUR HOMESCHOOL FORUM

Thursday, January 28, 2016

5 Easy Recipes Your Kids Can Cook

How do you react when your child asks to help with dinner? Do you cringe at the thought of the extra work, mess and clean-up that is inevitable? Or, do you smile, while pulling up a chair so they can join you in your world? READ MORE AT OUR HOMESCHOOL FORUM

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Homeschool Day at the Natural Bridge Caverns

More Details Here

Hey locals! Looking to get out of the house after this wild storm? It looks as though the weather will clear up and the roads should be drivable just in time for an exciting HEAV event coming up this Friday!

 Homeschool Day 

at the 

Natural Bridge Caverns

January 29th

 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Clear your schedule for Homeschool Day at the Natural Bridge Park on Friday, January 29th from 9am – 4pm. Admission is $8 for children 7-17, $9 for adults, and children under 7 are FREE. You don't need to pre-register. Simply show up and mention at the ticket desk in the Caverns at Natural Bridge that you are there for the HEAV homeschool day! Easy as that. Pack a lunch or pick up a
sandwich which is available in the Rockbridge Center. 

If your kids haven't explored a cavern before then give them a sneak peek with a cave unit study. 

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You can even show them an educational video about stalactites, stalagmites, flowrock and pillars! 

Afterwards, head over to Natural Bridge itself and for only a small fee enjoy it's splendor with your family! So, mark your calendars for this Friday, January 29, 2016 and make a day of it!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Keep the Family Together

It’s for the best that I don’t live near a large city. If I did, I know I would be pulled as to which activity to enroll my kids in. It seems that everything has a “homeschool day” in addition to all the other piles of opportunities available in the city. READ MORE AT OUT HOMESCHOOL FORUM