Found – Book Review

Found tells the story of the twenty-third Psalm in a way that engages even the littlest of kids. The adorable illustrations of a little lamb and its shepherd are perfect for keeping wiggly toddlers engaged, and the short and sweet story carries a big message about God's great love for us! | Review by Running With Spears @Zonderkidz #zonderkidzHello lovelies! I’m so happy today to get to tell you about a new book I just discovered called Found. It’s a board book from The Jesus Storybook Bible  brand that Zonderkidz sent me to review. I had a feeling we would love it, because as I told you guys last week, we’re huge fans of The Jesus Storybook Bible around here. I was right, too, this sweet board book was an instant favorite!

Found, written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Jago, tells the story of the twenty-third Psalm in a way that engages even the littlest of kids. The adorable illustrations of a little lamb and its shepherd are perfect for keeping wiggly toddlers engaged, and the short and sweet story carries a big message about God’s great love for us!

I’ve read it to my little almost  one year old baby girl numerous times, and unlike most board books that make me cringe with their mind-numbing lack of storyline, Found  is a rich, poignant book that I actually wouldn’t mind having committed to memory for once.

Baby Apple adores it, too! She loves turning the pages and looking at all the pictures, and don’t you dare take it from her, because it is her favorite and she wants to keep it! The only problem with the book is the fact that my three year old also  loves it, and sharing one of your favorite books is hard for itty-bitties people of any age. 😀

This sweet board book has already earned itself a spot on my list of books to give new parents, or to my nieces and nephews for Birthdays or Christmas, or even just because.

Found tells the story of the twenty-third Psalm in a way that engages even the littlest of kids. The adorable illustrations of a little lamb and its shepherd are perfect for keeping wiggly toddlers engaged, and the short and sweet story carries a big message about God's great love for us! | Review by Running With Spears @Zonderkidz #zonderkidz

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A little update!

Hi guys! 😀 I know my posts have been short lately. Life here has been super busy!

nephewAs you may have seen, we moved on January 1st! We’re LOVING being near my family, especially since my sweet nephew was born earlier this month! I’m looking forward to seeing him often so my girls can grow up knowing their cousin (and so I can cuddle him, of course). It’s been great getting to see my parents and sister and two of my brothers a lot more often, and being able to let my girls spend time with my parents is a blessing, too…not to mention the fact that Mike and I can finally actually go on dates more than once or twice a year!

Of course there are downsides to moving, too. Unpacking is such a chore! And I lost Apple’s monthly stickers – the ones that say how old she is. I swear I put it somewhere really good, where I thought, “I’ll come across this right away when I unpack.” Yeeeaaaah. After being two weeks late on her 10 month pics I finally gave up and ordered a new set.  Plus trying to find a new church when you had one that you really loved for years is just the worst! 🙁

Homeschool is off to a great start this year. We’re doing a year round schedule right now, so in January we started some new school books for both Evergreen and Boo, and Smiles has been asking me to teach her some school every day lately as well. I’m a mainstay for the Homeschool Review Crew this year and I’m loving the products that I’ve received so far. I shared about the Ancient Greece study on Monday, so check that out if you missed it, and stay tuned for more reviews soon. I’m also reviewing a water chemistry set for The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC. Honestly I’m a bit nervous about writing for a magazine, but it’s an exciting opportunity.

This year I’m also on a team of book reviewers called the Z Blog Squad for Zonderkidz, the children’s division of Zondervan. Every month I’ll have the opportunity to receive some lovely new books that are coming out and tell you guys about them, starting with The Jesus Storybook Bible Gift Edition  that I wrote about last week, and Found  by Sally Lloyd-Jones.

firststep

On a more personal note, Apple took her first step at the end of January, and I CAUGHT IT ON CAMERA (look at that back foot). 😀

She also has four teeth now, (the better to bite me with 😉 ) and can say mama, dada, nuh-nuh  (nurse) and tiga-tiga  (tickle-tickle). She’ll also repeat Pop-Pop  (what my kids call my dad) if you say it to her! But oh my goodness, you guys, the tickle thing is just the cutest ever! I shared a video of it over on my Facebook page awhile back!

And that’s a wrap…because Smiles woke Apple up after she slept for five minutes and now they’re wreaking all sorts of ridiculous havoc. #storyofmylife

A Study in Ancient Greece

Hi guys! It’s time for my first review of the year for the Homeschool Review Crew. Last month I received HISTORY  Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Greece from Home School in the Woods.  We’d already been studying Greek mythology to tie in with the Percy Jackson and the Olympians  books my nine year old, Evergreen, has been reading so we were excited about this product. 🙂

What it is:

Project Passport Ancient Greece - A hands on history project | Review by Running With Spears #history #unitstudies #AncientCivilizations #lapbookingHISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Greece  is a hands on history course for third to eighth grade. We received a downloadable resource, but there is a CD version as well. The idea of the study is to imagine you are taking a trip to ancient Greece and experiencing the culture and history through twenty-five stops on your trip. The course is designed to take eight to twelve weeks, but so far we’ve only been doing about one stop per week, so I imagine it will take us longer to complete.

Each stop includes a portion of text to read and then a handful of activities to bring it alive. Some of the activities we’ve done so far include coloring and labeling maps, creating a family tree, reading a postcard written as though it was sent by a historical figure and then drawing a picture on the back, and writing newspaper articles. The study also has lap book projects, audio tours, 3-D projects to create, authentic recipes to try, and a lot more.

 

How we’re using it:

My 9 year old loves learning about Ancient Greece with Project Passport Ancient Greece - A hands on history project | Review by Running With Spears #history #unitstudies #AncientCivilizations #lapbooking @hsinthewoodsAs I mentioned earlier, we’ve been doing about one stop a week right now, but it looks like some of the stops are less time consuming, so we may be able to work at a slightly faster pace at some point. Each stop has has a travel itinerary that walks you through a set of activities. Make sure you have a good printer and plenty of ink because you’re going to need it!  As our first step on each stop I print out the informational text and let Evergreen read over it, at least I do now. 😉

This study includes a lot of material and since the travel itineraries don’t actually tell you to read the text for the stop, and it’s in a separate folder from the other stuff I was printing,  I literally missed that it existed until week three. Oops.

Anyway, we started out trying to exactly follow all the directions and do every project just the way we were instructed to, but we quickly discovered that sometimes that just didn’t quite work for us and we needed to make slight modifications. By stop number three I decided to leave out one activity completely and cut out a chunk of the most time consuming steps in another one, but I don’t mind needing to tweak curriculum to suit us. As far as I’m concerned, that’s one of the great perks of homeschooling. Plus Evergreen is in fourth grade, so she’s at the lower end of the age range this is designed for. I imagine our experience would be different is she was four years older. That said, if I really wanted to I could actually include Boo, who is in first grade, on almost all of the projects if I was willing to help her quite a bit. I’m sure she would enjoy it, I just don’t have the time. I was actually hoping that Evergreen would be able to mostly just take the reins with this study and do almost all of it independently, but for most of the activities she needs me to help her figure out what to do. She’s usually able to run with stuff once I get her started, though, so that’s good.

One of the most recent activities we did involved cutting out and putting together Greek columns. Evergreen really enjoyed it and told me she thought it was cool that people still use Greek inspired architecture today. We looked at some pictures of the Capitol Building and Supreme Court Building online so she could see the columns and she seemed quite impressed.

How we like it:

My 9 year old loves learning about Ancient Greece with Project Passport Ancient Greece - A hands on history project | Review by Running With Spears #history #unitstudies #AncientCivilizations #lapbooking @hsinthewoodsHISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Greece  is a hit! Evergreen loves it. I needed her to do one of the activities on Valentine’s Day when we were otherwise not doing school and her sister Boo acted appalled that I would be so mean, but Evergreen told her, “No, I like my Ancient Greece school.” 🙂

I wasn’t quite prepared for the amount of work that goes into a super hands-on project like this, and on the first stop we had to put together the passport and luggage folder and prepare a number of other items and it overwhelmed me a bit. If we do another Home School in the Woods  project we can re-use some of the things, so there’s that.

I also didn’t have most of the materials we needed, so I had to purchase card stock and colored card stock, colored paper, a three-ring binder, colored file folders etc. Even without buying  the optional lamination sheets I ended up spending over $50 on materials. We’ll have extras of the papers and such, so I imagine if we do another course I won’t have to spend as much, but I wasn’t prepared for the cost of materials.

Artist is learning so much, though, and having a great time doing it. 

I’ve heard a number of people declare that they could never homeschool their kids because they just don’t know enough. This resource is a perfect example of why you really don’t have to worry about how much you know. I don’t remember much at all about ancient Greece, and certainly couldn’t have come up with the ideas for most of these projects of my own, but that’s okay, because I don’t have to. I’m so grateful that I’m homeschooling in a day and age with so many great resources at my fingertips! 

ProjectPassports_zpspyyu4ff4

I just learned that Home School in the Woods is working on an Ancient Rome study that will be out in 2018 and I think I’d like to give it a try, too, since Evergreen is also a fan of  The Heroes of Olympus  books that are inspired by Roman mythology.

I’d definitely recommend HISTORY  Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Greece to anyone who wants to make their study of history very hands on, especially if your child is old enough to follow multi-step instructions, print, cut, assemble etc. all on their own. 🙂

Be sure to hop over to the Homeschool Review Crew link-up to check out what other reviewers think of this Ancient Greece study, as well as the other world history studies by Home School in the Woods.

 

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The Jesus Storybook Bible – Book Review

Hello lovelies! Today I have the great pleasure of sharing one of my very favorite books with you all – The Jesus Storybook Bible. I was thrilled when Zonderkidz sent me the gorgeous 10th Anniversary Gift Edition to review because the copy we had was so loved the cover had fallen off, and many of the pages were threatening to follow suit. 🙂

The Jesus Storybook Bible Gift Edition, written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Jago, is a heartwarming children’s book telling the central stories of the Bible in a way that makes it clear that each and every one points us to our rescuer, Jesus, and shows us over and over that God loves us with a “never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.”

The Jesus Storybook Bible - my favorite Bible stories to read my girls! It's a heartwarming children's book telling the central stories of the Bible in a way that makes it clear that each and every one points us to our rescuer, Jesus, and shows us over and over that God loves us with a "never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love." | Review by Running With Spears #Zonderkidz @Zonderkidz

The funny thing about this book is that I’m pretty sure I’ve gained just about as much from it as my girls have. For example, I feel like I never really got  the story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son until I was reading it to my girls from The Jesus Storybook Bible.  Tears pricked my eyes as Sally framed the story within God’s plan for His people, and told us (in such beautiful language that it still moves me every time) about the way another son would someday actually sacrifice his life, the way Isaac had been willing to,  and this time it would be God’s only son, the son He loved, just as Abraham had loved Isaac.

The Jesus Storybook Bible - my favorite Bible stories to read my girls! It's a heartwarming children's book telling the central stories of the Bible in a way that makes it clear that each and every one points us to our rescuer, Jesus, and shows us over and over that God loves us with a "never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love." | Review by Running With Spears #Zonderkidz @ZonderkidzOf course, my girls love the book, too. There was a time when my four year old kept asking me to read from The Jesus Storybook Bible about Jesus dying on the cross. Over and over she would ask me. Read it again. Again. Finally I asked her why she wanted to hear such a sad story all the time and she looked up at me like I’d just called the sky green. “But it’s happy,” she said. It was my turn to look at her like she was crazy, but she quickly put me in my place. “It’s happy because I can go to Heaven now.” Sally had managed to reach my baby girl with the good news of the gospel. Jesus died for her, and because of His sacrifice she can go to heaven now.

Be still my heart! 😀

OK, so I feel like I should probably stop there, because really there’s nothing better than that. But, I wanted to share another quick story.

The Jesus Storybook Bible - my favorite Bible stories to read my girls! It's a heartwarming children's book telling the central stories of the Bible in a way that makes it clear that each and every one points us to our rescuer, Jesus, and shows us over and over that God loves us with a "never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love." | Review by Running With Spears #Zonderkidz @ZonderkidzSally tells us about Naaman, who had leprosy, and his servant girl who told him Elisha could heal him. Now I’ve read through the Bible and had even heard a sermon about Naaman’s pride, but I’d never given a second thought to the servant girl before. When I read about her to my girls from The Jesus Storybook Bible,  though, this little girl who was forgiving and kind made such an impact that she became the person one of my own sweet girls wanted to dress up as on dress like a Bible character day at church!

I just can’t even say enough good things about this book. We use it for advent readings every December. For years I’ve told pretty much everyone I know who has kids (and many who don’t) that they need to check it out! The Jesus Storybook Bible Gift Edition is gorgeous  too! It’s a lovely cloth covered hardback with gold foil lettering that looks marvelous on my shelf and I almost don’t want to read it and see it become worn like my old copy. I will, though, because it’s just too good not to. 🙂

The Jesus Storybook Bible - my favorite Bible stories to read my girls! It's a heartwarming children's book telling the central stories of the Bible in a way that makes it clear that each and every one points us to our rescuer, Jesus, and shows us over and over that God loves us with a "never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love." | Review by Running With Spears #Zonderkidz @Zonderkidz

FYI there are a few other books from the creators of The Jesus Storybook Bible  that I love too, including a sweet board book, Found, that I’ll tell you guys more about next week, and a book of devotional thoughts for kids called Thoughts To Make Your Heart Sing that I’ve read through several times with my girls and just adore!

Have you read The Jesus Storybook Bible?  I’d love to hear some of your experiences, too! 🙂

 

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10+ ways I know my husband loves me

 

We don’t really often do anything big for Valentine’s day. Since we have four girls and pink and red and hearts and lace and such are right up their alley, we usually make it a fun day for them. I have a box of girly decorations I put up and we give each of the girls a little gift. This year Mike is planning on making fondue for dinner, and we’ll probably watch a movie or something. Mike and I don’t exchange gifts, and we’ve only gone on a date once in recent years…restaurants are far too crowded on that day for our taste. But since we get a free pass on being mushy this week, here’s a quick post I wrote up of just a handful of the many ways Mike shows me he loves me!

10 + ways my husband shows me he loves me --- without saying a word! | Running With Spears1. He sits in the dark living room with me when I have to get up with Apple at midnight.

2. He enables my coffee addiction.

3. He does the grocery shopping.

4. He enables my book addiction.

5. He knows my favorite flavor of coffee and buys it for me.

6. He goes to get me Starbucks in the afternoon when he knows it’s been a long day.

7. His alarm to get up and go to work says “do it for her.”

8. He notices things I need and gets them without me asking – like new lip balm when Smiles takes a bite out of mine. 

9. He cleans my puke off the entire bathroom when I get a stomach bug and don’t make it to the toilet in time…at two in the morning.

10. He gets audio books of my favorites and listens to them on his commute so we can discuss them.

11. He proofreads my blog posts for me because he knows how much I hate for my posts to have typos.