Scrapbooking: September 28-October 4

The first Saturday of October was Digital Scrapbook Day!!! There were lots of fun celebrations all around internet-land. I really didn’t get to participate much as we had a full day of work at our church mulching and afternoon preparing to celebrate Grace’s birthday on Sunday. I did get a little bit of scrapping in throughout the week and that day though!

Adventures in Odyssey Club: History of Whit’s End

The central setting within Odyssey for all of the Adventures in Odyssey episodes is Whit’s End. John Avery Whitaker calls it an ice cream shop and discovery emporium. It’s filled with delicious confections (like the Wod-Fam-Choc-Sod or Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream) as well as numerous inventions.

I could recount the amazingly rich history of Whit’s End, but it’s more fun to listen! Here is a list of Whit’s End centered episodes in historical order. If I missed one comment so I can add it in!

Album 24 Risks And Rewards

Episode # 5-7
The Underground Railroad, Part 1-3

A stranger tells Jack the story of the Ross family, and their courageous run for freedom to escape slavery.

Album Cover For The Adventure Begins

Album 1, Episode # 11
Recollections
Whit’s best friend, Tom Riley, tells Connie the story of how Whit’s End was created amid tragic circumstances.

887 art.jpg

Adventure Club Season 7: Episodes 1 & 3
It’s all hands on deck when a series of clues appears to connect Whit’s End with a survivor of the Titanic.

Album 02 The Wildest Summer Ever

Album 2, Episode # 9-10
The Case of the Secret Room, Part 1 & 2

The discovery of a secret room in Whit’s End leads Mr. Whittaker to a baffling case of robbery and murder.

Album 20 A Journey Of Choices

Album 20, Episode # 5 -6
It Began with a Rabbit’s Foot
and
It Ended with a Handshake

Whit tells Lucy Cunningham-Schultz about the creation of the Bible Room, and the discussion leads Katrina Shanks to a very important decision.

The Blackgaard Chronicles

The Blackgaard Chronicles, Episodes #1-6
When Dr. Regis Blackgaard arrives in Odyssey with plans to build an amusement house for kids, chaos and danger aren’t far behind. What is this schemer really up to?

Album 06 Accomplished

Album 6, Episode # 13
The Treasure of LeMonde!
Robyn and Connie find a hidden attic at Whit’s End and stumble upon a forgotten mystery involving an old pipe organ, a greedy professor and “the greatest treasure.”

Album 12 At Home And Abroad

Album 12, Episode # 2
The Curse

An “Indian Medicine Man” puts an ancient curse on Whit – and it seems to come true!

Album 18 A Time Of Discovery

Album 18, Episode # 7 & 8
The Mysterious Stranger, Part 1 & 2

Whit is pulled into a perplexing mystery when a strange man arrives at Whit’s End and claims to have lived there as a small boy.

Album 23 Twists And Turns

Album 23, Episode # 9
A Victim of Circumstance

When Rodney steps through a skylight at Whit’s End and breaks his leg, the Rathbones take Jason Whittaker to court.

The Blackgaard Chronicles

The Blackgaard Chronicles, Episodes #17-28
When Dr. Regis Blackgaard arrives in Odyssey with plans to build an amusement house for kids, chaos and danger aren’t far behind. What is this schemer really up to?

Album Cover For Virtual Realities

Episode # 12
The Treasure Room 

Aubrey and Lisa are determined to find out what Whit keeps in a new secret room at Whit’s End.

Album 33, Episode # 3-4
Blackgaard’s Revenge, Part 1 & 2

A virus implanted in the Imagination Station with Dr. Blackgaard’s personality surfaces and must be destroyed before it takes hold over Aubrey.

Album 34 In Your Wildest Dreams

Album 34, Episode # 6
Idol Minds

When Whit leaves town for a while, Eugene creates a Whit robot to keep the kids happy.

Album 36 Danger Signals Novacom Saga 2

Album 36, Episode # 1
The W.E.

To compete with the new Novacom Kids’ Center, Whit experiments with a massive overhaul to Whit’s End and its attractions.

Album Cover For Lost & Found

Album 45, Episode # 9
Tales of a Small-Town Thug

Everyone at Whit’s End is in an uproar when a former Bones of Rath gang member writes a scathing book about Odyssey.

Album Cover For The Best Small Town

Album 50
Episode # 1
A Capsule Comes to Town

Connie narrates a documentary about the people and places in Odyssey against the backdrop of a search for a missing time capsule.

Episode # 7
The Forgotten Deed

The plan to bury the new time capsule in the basement of Whit’s End causes a “separation of church and state” conflict that jeopardizes the future of the shop.

You can listen to these and more through the Adventures in Odyssey Club! Try your 14-day trial today! 

Disclaimer: In exchange for promoting The Adventures in Odyssey Club I receive a membership to The Adventures in Odyssey Club. I am not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

(A few) Weeks in Review: September

If you have been following my blog for a while I hope you notice a difference! I have been displeased with my old blog platform for a while now. I took a break from posting until I was able to get things set up on this new site.

In the meantime we have finally settled into a good routine. It took until about our 5th week to get there. We usually don’t have quite such a long settling in period, but isn’t everything about this year abnormal? Lots of hugs, encouragement, and perseverance have gotten us to our week of break. We run our schooling on a 6 weeks on, 1 week off schedule. This week was very relaxed and low key. I have found that when we do this, we tend to have a better flow to your year and less tendencies to burn out.

Rose takes loves working in her bed. Usually our dog, Penny, joins her!

Rose: 10th Grade -15 years old
Rose has really taken this year seriously as we are preparing for some form of dual enrollment for her last 2 years of high school. She choose to take two maths this year, Algebra 2 and Geometry. Math is not her favorite subject, so I have been so pleased to see her persevering through both diligently. Chemistry from Master Books has been a beautiful course as well. In addition she is taking apologetics, French, American Literature (a course I wrote for Schoolhouse Teachers), and Civics (economics and government).

Beth having a little sweet treat while working on literature.

Beth: 8th Grade – 13 years old
Beth is now taking a middle school science course which comes with quite a bit more work! She took some time adjusting to the workload and how to manage her time, but is now really in a good place. She is working through Revival to Revolution from Heart of Dakota. We love this curriculum so much. It is deeply rich in historical accuracy as well as encouraging kids to research and learn for themselves. She is over half way through Algebra since we started in the summer. Academically she is moving along at a steady, rather fast pace and I’m pleased to see her push herself even when her work is beginning to get more difficult.

We love All About Spelling!

Grace: 5th Grade – 11 years old (Almost!)
Most of Grace’s work is a year ahead grade-level or more. This year her work-load really increased as she moved into Creation to Christ from Heart of Dakota. It took more time for her to adjust to the added time as well as the notebooking aspect, but now she is completely on top of things and ready to go! She is also taking a science class this year and having such a fun time. She’s also found she really enjoys painting, especially with acrylics. She has painted some beautiful art for gifts for family and friends.

We had a great time at the beach at the end of August! It was our first real “outing” since everything shut down in March.

Everyone Together
We are still working on foreign language together although I’ve been awful at consistency. It’s key to anything new and I keep pushing forward even if slowly! We use Talkbox.Mom and HIGHLY recommend this program. You can read my full review of that program here. We are also dabbling in Shakespeare and I’m looking for some field trip opportunities now that there are a few things opening up in our area. The beach was the first real field trip we’ve taken in ages.

In my free time I’ve been working on preserving some more family memories! Click here to see my most recent digital scrapbook layouts.

Now that have the new site up and running hopefully you will see more postings! I’ve struggled to get the old platform to function well and this transition was a long time coming. Comment below and tell me something fun you’ve done this past month!

Preserving Memories: September 20-26

One of my goals for this fall is to get back to regularly working on scrapbooking our family’s memories. Now that I feel like I have a better handle on our new schedule I’m attempting to meet this goal! I am thrilled to have 3 layouts finished this week! I want to set a goal of 5 per week or 3 layouts and some preservation of older family photos.

These are layouts from February 2020

Week in Review: August 10-14

Well we started back school this week! It went really well and we accomplished so much that I forgot to take any pictures until after we were done on Friday! 

Monday was a bit slow as Grace has moved up into the Hearts for Him Through Time series from Heart of Dakota and Rose is working though a very different set of courses this year as she prepares for dual enrollment next year, Lord willing. 

 Here is a run down of most of our week. This week we will add spelling, grammar, and writing as last week I needed the extra time to help the girls adjust to a few new things.
*Confession: everything is posed because I really just forgot all about pictures!*

Rose is doing a combination of courses from Master Books and Schoolhouse Teachers to fill in a few gaps for classes before we move into a dual enrollment setting. So far she is really enjoying them! 

Beth is completing Revival to Revolution this year with Heart of Dakota. She was in the groove this week and finished first every day. She’s one to get up early, even before me sometimes, and start on school right away so I’m not surprised. Her routine is also pretty much the same regarding school so no real learning curve for her. 

Grace is having the bigger learning curve of my three this year. Heart of Dakota is amazing and I particularly love the Hearts for Him Through Time series that she is just venturing into. She is totally soaring, but understanding all of the independent work is just taking some time.

We’ve schooled with Heart of Dakota from the beginning of our journey and I could not be more pleased. I know the Lord led us to this curriculum because I really didn’t search around a lot. At the time we began with Rose, she was about 2 and a half. I just wanted something structured to tell me how to help her learn through play. Beth was just an infant, we had made a move, and I felt like I wasn’t giving my little girl who soaked up learning everything that was best for her. I stumbled upon Heart of Dakota in a catalog as they sold through 3rd party companies back then. I read the description and immediately knew this was it! I even had several of the books that were recommended already. Now here we are, 13 years later and it is beautiful!


I would love to hear how your week went! 

Force of Nature: An Honest, Unsolicited Review

Force of Nature
I review quite a few things on this blog related to homeschooling. This time I want to share what we are using to clean our home with these days: Force of Nature. I absolutely love it for many reasons. 
 

NOTE: This is not a product I received for free nor was I asked to review. I just was excited to share a cleaner that is on the EPA list approved to kill that wretched virus we are all dealing with in one way or another AND one that was as safe as this is! 
 
 
Force of Nature uses salt, water, and vinegar, already mixed in handy dandy little capsules. You simply add one capsule to the bottle and push the button on the machine. That’s where the magic happens. The water is electrolyzed by the machine and the combo of safe household ingredients creates a powerful cleaner.
 




This is considered an all-natural cleaner and is completely safe for kids, pets, and everyone else. There is a very slight chlorinated smell, but this is completely normal because of the chemistry that is happening between the water and salt. Because it is the right balance of ingredients, this is a non-toxic cleaner that is stronger than the ones full of chemicals. 
I have been using it everywhere! 
Kitchen Counters and Sink
Butcher Block island
Kitchen Table

Piano
(Sprayed onto a cleaning cloth first, not directly onto the piano!)
Bathroom
Kitchen and Bathroom Floors
Door Handles

It says it is safe for fabric as well, but make sure to test that in a small area before you try it everywhere. I haven’t had opportunity to use it on fabric yet. 


I took about a month to read and learn about this company as well as the science behind the cleaner before purchasing. I read and read and read…from all different sources, not just from their website. When I finally purchased it, I was feeling quite confident in my decision and even more so now that I’ve used it in our home. 
 
Disclaimer: I do not make any commission from this referral. I do earn free capsules if you click on it and purchase.

Adventures inOdyssey: Jay Smouse bringing Smiles!

Jay Ice Cream Character Headshot 
We are often introduced to new characters in Odyssey. One of our family’s new favorites is Jay Smouse! Here is a descriptoin of Jay directly from the Adventures in Odyssey website…

Jay might call himself a bully, but it’s only in his own mind. He likes to torment kids with his nicknames and attitudes, but most others don’t take him seriously. He is often his own worst enemy—getting himself into crazy situations of own his own doing. He sometimes hangs out with Vance King, though even their relationship can be adversarial.”

The factor that gives us delight is the comedic nature of this character. The actor (Whit Hertford) brings a likability to a character with a bad reputation. My husband especially really likes this character. When we are traveling and we ask what everyone wants to listen to, he will frequently respond with, “Anything with Jay!” 
Here are some of our favorite Jay Smouse episodes. 
1. Stage FrightBarrett is excited about getting the lead role in the school play. But when his first practice is interrupted by a mysterious booming voice, Emily must investigate the “phantom of the school play.
 
2. How to Sink a Sub
 When Katrina becomes their substitute teacher, Jay and Valerie rouse the class to revolt, even persuading Olivia to help with a plan to get Katrina fired.
3. Unbecoming JayJay schemes a way to ditch his cousin Cindy by leaving her with Barrett, but Priscilla grows jealous of the new friendship. 
4. Mistaken for Good
 Jay’s visit to a nursing home takes an unexpected turn when an old woman mistakes him for her grandson — and offers him money as a birthday present.
5. Groundhog Jay
 After Jay pushes Priscilla into an unexpected trip in the Room of Consequence, the two of them experience the same event over and over again.
6. The Friend Formula
 Riley is new to town and hoping to find some new friends. For advice, he turns to an unlikely (and unreliable) source – Jay Smouse!
7. Walk Worthy
 Buddy and Jay explore what it means to live with integrity as members of a wilderness troop for boys.
There are many others, and honestly anything with Jay Smouse is good for a laugh and a lesson! Explore some of these stories and more with an Adventures in Odyssey Club membership

Disclaimer: In exchange for promoting The Adventures in Odyssey Club I receive a membership to The Adventures in Odyssey Club. I am not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Peek into our Weeks: July in Review

July, much like the rest of the year, has been anything but normal. We tried to have as much fun and normalcy as we could. Here are a few highlights.


We had a short trip to Florida and our kids got to spend a little time with their cousins. One of the fun moments was the cousin band! The kids worked to learn a couple of hymns on various instruments. It was really beautiful. I played piano and everyone not playing sang long.

Since we were unable to take any trips away this summer, Daddy thought camping in the backyard might be a fun distraction for a while! So the tent was setup and the girls had a couple of nights camping. Penny, our puppy, happily joined in the fun!
One thing the girls have enjoyed this summer is building and creating. They have been writing novels and movie scripts, building with Legos, and creating lots of art. We may not be having official school, but we are definitely learning and creating! 
We had a pretty big milestone for this sweet girl. She turned 13 and is growing in grace and beauty. She loves writing epic novels, cuddling our pets, reading, and laughing.
So those are a few glimpses into our month of July. There are many things we wished we could have done…swimming, the water park, the amusement park, more time with family…but we have chosen to focus on the blessings and are thankful for technology to allow us to communicate and play games with family.

School This Year… It’s Going to Take A Lot of Grace!

This is Rose in February 2012, about 3 months after we began homeschooling and right about the time we realized this was going to be more than a 1-year-commitment.

 This is Rose in February 2012, about 3 months after we began homeschooling and right about the time we realized this was going to be more than a 1-year-commitment.

There are so many schooling options for the year to come at the moment. With that is coming a lot of emotions: fear, frustration, confusion… I want to let you know that those are all feelings I understand completely. I often refer to myself as an accidental homeschooler. We began with Rose’s educational journey in the traditional classroom. In 2011, when she was in 1st grade, we chose to begin homeschooling at the end of October fully intending to return to the traditional setting the following year. After a few months we realized this was a beautiful fit for our family and never looked back.
I am praying for my many friends who are single parents or both parents are essential workers. Praise God for you! We need men and women who are willing to keep doing what needs to be done! I’m praying for my many friends who find themselves out of work because of their state or local community polices. I feel for you and am praying that communities will begin to open soon. 
On the flip side of this, know that if you are doing a virtual school option either by choice or not, it is very different from traditional homeschooling. Every homeschooler I know is happy to help and be supportive no matter what you are doing, but this is quite different from how most of us educate.

There are a lot of blog posts, videos, and meet-ups happening all over the country in response to all of this. My thoughts are not geared towards what to choose or how to begin, but here they are.



1. If you are virtual schooling with a classroom setup, give your teachers grace! They will be trying their best many times with their own children’s school to consider as well as learning how to remotely teach.
2. If you are virtual schooling without a classroom setup, give yourself and your child grace! There will be a learning curve for you both!
3. If you are traditional schooling with or without restrictions and limits, give your kids and teachers tons of grace! Things are most likely going to feel different in some regard and that brings a lot of emotions into the package. 
4. If you are opting to homeschool for the first time, give yourself and your child grace! This is a new and sometimes overwhelming journey. Reach out and ask for help. We have all be where you are at some point.
5. If you are opting to homeschool as you already have been, reach out, be supportive, and encourage a mom around you who is feeling stressed!
Above all else…Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6
Here are our homeschooling plans for the year: 


EveryoneForeign Language: Talkbox French and Spanish (Click this link to read my full review of this amazing language curriculum!)
Bible: AWANAWeekly Shakespeare Study: Usborne Shakespeare and Heart of Dakota notebooking pages

Grace – age 11, 5th GradeHistory: Hearts for Him Through Time – Creation to Christ (Heart of Dakota)
Math: Math Mammoth Grade 5
Science: Weekly class (meeting virtually until local regulations are lifted)
Spelling: All About Spelling
Grammar: Rod and Staff
Writing: Writing StrandsLiterature: Classics and Abridged Classics

Beth – age 13, 8th GradeHistory: Hearts for Him Through Time – Revival to Revolution (Heart of Dakota)
Math: Algebra 1 (Math Essentials)
Science: Weekly class (meeting virtually until local regulations are lifted)
Spelling: All About Spelling
Grammar: Caught Ya’!
Writing: Writing StrandsLiterature: Classics and Abridged Classics

Rose – age 14, 10th GradeHistory: Economics and Government (Schoolhouse Teachers)
Math: Geometry (Mr. D Math) and Algebra 2 (Teaching Textbooks)
Science: Chemistry (Master Books) and Mel Science Experiments
Spelling: All About Spelling
Grammar: Caught Ya! and Jensen’s Grammar
Writing: Writing StrandsLiterature: American Literature (Schoolhouse Teachers)
What are your plans for this school year? If you need a place to start, check out SchoolhouseTeachers
I would love to hear about your own plans for the year whether it is homeschooling, virtual school, traditional classroom, or some combination. Leave a comment below!

The Romance Episodes: Adventures in Odyssey

As my daughters are growing it is so important to me to help them learn about love from godly perspectives. The Bible of course is our first resource for this. Modern media is rarely a good source. The writers and producers at Adventures in Odyssey have done a beautiful job of dealing with the topic of romance in a way that I feel edifies my daughters.

Here are some of our favorite romantic episodes.

Crushes and Attraction
Album 19 Passport To Adventure
Album 19: Passport to Adventure
Episode # 5 Truth, Trivia & ‘Trina
Bart Rathbone’s TV trivia contest pits Eugene and Connie against a college student named Katrina Shanks, who seems to have captured Eugene’s heart.


Album 36 Danger Signals Novacom Saga 2
Album 36: Danger Signals
Episode # 2 Green Eyes & Yellow Tulips
Connie falls for a Novacom employee named Robert Mitchell. Bart Rathbone protests that Novacom’s programming is immoral.

Album Cover For The Sky's the Limit
Album 49: The Sky’s The Limit

Episode # 6 Wooing Wooton
Wooton Bassett’s father comes to town to get his son’s help on a business deal. Meanwhile, Grady must make a decision that could cost his mom her job.

Dating and Courtship
Album 29 Signed Sealed And Committed
Album 29: Signed, Sealed, & Committed
Episode # 1-3 For Whom the Wedding Bells Toll, Parts 1-3
Someone is getting married in Odyssey … but who? Is it John Whittaker and Margaret Faye, Eugene Meltsner and Katrina Shanks, or Jack Allen and Joanne Woodston?

Album 48 Moment Of Truth
Album 48: Moment of Truth

Episode # 3 Prequels of Love
From chicken costumes to phone scams, we hear the stories of how Bart Rathbone, Whit, and Bernard Walton met, or proposed to, their wives.

Album Cover For The Best Small Town
Album 50: The Best Small Town
Episode # 8-9 The Triangled Web, Parts 1-2
Lucy Cunningham-Schultz becomes the center of attention when Jimmy Barclay, Curt Stevens, and Jack Davis return to Odyssey for a reunion–each young man determined to win her heart at last.

Breaking Up
Album 08 Beyond Expectations
Album 8: Beyond Expectations
Episode # 4 First Love
Connie falls in love for the first time with a guy named Jeff Lewis, who turns out to be a non-Christian.

Album 24 Risks And Rewards
Album 24: Risks and Rewards

Episode # 12 The Turning Point
Eugene and Katrina’s relationship takes a surprising turn after Eugene meets Katrina’s father, Armitage Shanks.

Album 27 The Search For Whit
Album 27: The Search for Whit
Episode # 8 A Question About Tasha
Jason Whittaker and Tasha Forbes announce that they’re getting married . . . tomorrow!

Album 36 Danger Signals Novacom Saga 2
Album 36: Danger Signals
Episode # 3-4 The Triangle, Parts 1-2 
Jack Allen and Whit tell Connie the story of how Whit met his wife in college.

Album 41 In Hot Pursuit
Album 41: In Hot Pursuit
Episode # 10-11  Something Blue, Parts 1 and 2
When Connie gets the news that Mitch might leave for Europe in a few days, the two of them decide to get married immediately.

Weddings
A few of the previous episodes also include weddings!

Album Cover For Eugene Returns!
Album 44: Eugene Returns
Episode # 11-12 For Better or for Worse, Parts 1-2
Eugene and Katrina finally plan to have a proper wedding. But the two wedding coordinators (Connie and Porcelain Shanks) engage in an epic battle of decision making.

Album 61 Without A Hitch
Album 61: Without A Hitch
Episode # 5-6 A Very Bassett Wedding, Parts 1-2
The Bassett and Wise families have arrived in town for Wooton and Penny’s big day, but a damaged dress, stomach pains, and an investigation into a missing ring mean that the couple’s walk to the altar will be anything but simple. 

Album 67 More Than Meets The Eye
Album 67: More than Meets the Eye
Episode # 6-7 Nightmares by Constance, Parts 1-2
Two days before a “Dreams by Constance” wedding, the grandmother of the bride approaches Connie with a proposal: she’ll pay her double if she breaks up the ceremony.


You can listen to these and more through the Adventures in Odyssey Club! Try your 14-day trial today! 

Disclaimer: In exchange for promoting The Adventures in Odyssey Club I receive a membership to The Adventures in Odyssey Club. I am not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.