Capturing Grief

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, with the 15th specifically set aside for special events. In light of this, Carly Marie is organizing a month long photograph challenge. She has a list of ideas for each day but this is just a guide.

(click on picture to enlarge to read the list)

I plan to participate and invite any of you who would like to do this to join me as well. You don't have to take a picture each day. And while you are welcome to share your pictures*, you can also keep them private. The idea is to help us reflect on our grief, help bring some healing as well as raise awareness for pregnancy loss & infant death.

*if you'd like to share your pictures via twitter or instagram, use the hashtag #captureyourgrief

"The reality is that we don't forget, move on, and have closure, but rather we honor, we remember, and incorporate our deceased children and siblings into our lives in a new way. In fact, keeping memories of your loved one alive in your mind and heart is an important part of your healing journey." 
~ Harriet Schiff

Trust His Heart

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."
~Romans 8:28

Weather On the Move

For those of you that know my husband in real life, you know he is known as the "weather guy" and everyone's personal meteorologist especially when winter weather is hanging in the air. He has a love of weather especially snow storms & tracking hurricanes and knows about them before most people even realize there is the potential of storms lurking.

Recently, Homeschool Legacy gave us the option of reviewing one of their ten once-a-week unit studies they have. As soon as I saw Weather On the Move, (which by the way looked like a lot of fun) I formed a plan in my head. This is a study my husband can do with the kids thus giving me a break!

The beauty of this curriculum is that it is meant to take a break once a week from your regular textbooks and curriculum and change things up. Granted you don't have to do that, you could incorporate it in addition to what you are already doing. After all, isn't that what homeschooling is about, doing what works for YOUR family! This unit study not only covered the obvious science behind the weather, but also included history, geography, art, math, science experiments, devotions, family game and movie night, just to name a few.

What I appreciated was that Homeschool Legacy did all the leg work for you in organizing everything and spelling out what exactly you need to do. Even down to the book list! They not only have a list of books to go along with each chapter, they also included the card catalog number with each book. How's that for simplifying life for us busy moms! If you have a child working towards completing an American Girl Heritage or Boy Scouts merit badge, they can do that while working on this and some of the other unit studies.

The way everything was laid out made this easy for my husband to do with the kids. The kids would gather around my hubby to listen to the devotional and book we selected to read along with the lesson. When we started this review, hurricane Isaac was big in the news so he helped them track the hurricane on the map provided as well as showing them some of his resources online from other meteorologists.

My husbands thoughts on this curriculum are that he really enjoys it and finds it very comprehensive! In fact, he said there is so much info included that they could cover, he has been taking his time in completing this course. This unit study is set up to do in just 7 weeks but he wants to get in depth with them as well as incorporate his own resources. He is saving the Frozen Precipitation chapter for when we start getting snow. Great idea but this momma isn't wanting to think about snow already!

The kids really enjoyed the "Stump Your Dad Trivia" that is included in each chapter! They also found the experiments a lot fun and deemed them "cool". This unit study is geared towards grades 2-12. I love those types of studies where you can do it with ALL the kids no matter what age/grade. The price for Weather On the Move is $19.95 and is non-consumable. Check out the other unit studies listed on the left hand side of the page.

As a member of the TOS crew, this product was provided at no cost to me in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

HUGE giveaway!!!

I'm joining up with some other great bloggers in a huge birthday giveaway! Marcy said she wanted to do a giveaway in honor of her birthday on the 22nd and was looking for others to join her. I told her it makes perfect sense for me to jump on board and give something away.....because Monday the 24th is my birthday, my husbands birthday AND our 14th wedding anniversary!!! Yes, ALL on the same day!! What can I say, my husband is lucky to  have all those major days on one day so he has no excuse to forget. 

So go check it out and enter to win! I'd love to hear that one of my friends or followers won these great gifts! Giveaway ends on October 1st at 12:01am. Feel free to share, tweet or pin this giveaway.

Go check out Marcy's Birthday Giveaway

It's Marcy's birthday, but the presents could be yours! Look at what you could win! 

From Ben and Me -- Kindle WiFi with 6" e-Ink Display
From  Treasuring Life's Blessings  -- $25 Olive Garden Gift Card
From A Dusty Frame -- The Grass Withers Scripture Summer Flower Print
From  Knee Deep in Grace  -- $20 Gift Card
From Our Homeschool Reviews -- $10 Thirty-One Gift Certificate
From Walking Home -- A Pampered Chef Gift Set
From A Glimpse of Our Life -- Lilla Rose Simple Danglie Sapphire Flexi-clip
From Encouraging Moms Who Homeschool -- The Homeschool Mother's Bible Study

Mexican Stuffed Peppers w/Quinoa & Black Beans

I've had a pretty good crop of peppers so far (and they are still coming in strong). I use them in canning salsa & also in my homemade spaghetti sauce, that is if I can get to them before the kids eat them up. Yes, they love sliced peppers dipped in ranch dressing along with dicing them up for homemade supreme pizza or stromboli. The other day I was making a batch of stuffed shells (I'll share that recipe & pics another day) and had a hankering for stuffed peppers. I was going to just use the same filling but then I decided to do some browsing of other ideas and came up with Mexican Stuffed Peppers! They were amazing paired with a homemade enchilada sauce. And you can't go wrong with a filling of the healthy quinoa & black beans. If you've never read up on quinoa, I'd encourage you to check it out. It's incredibly versatile & so much better for you than pasta or rice.

(I'm working on figuring out how to conform my recipes to make them printable size for you all. Haven't figure it out yet but if you know how to do this, shoot me an email!)

  • 4 bell peppers (any color), sliced in half stem-to-tip, seeds removed
  • 1c quinoa, uncooked
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 roma tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 (4oz) can diced green chiles (don’t drain)
  • ¼c cilantro, minced
  • ¼tsp salt
  • ¼tsp pepper
  • olive oil, if desired
  • ½c Monterrey Jack, grated
  • ½c cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 recipe red enchilada sauce (or 1 (28oz) can)
  1. Add quinoa and onion to a large saucepan with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil 5 minutes, cover, turn off heat and let steam 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork. ( I actually only used 1/2 cup of quinoa & 1 cup of water. I had a little bit of cooked ground turkey to also add to this)
  2. In the meantime, microwave pepper halves 2-3 minutes to soften slightly. (Prepared this way, the peppers should come out crisp-tender. If you want them crisper, you can omit this step.)
  3. Pour quinoa/onion mixture into a mixing bowl. Stir in black beans, tomato, green chiles and their juices (I used jalapenos from my garden in place of this), cilantro, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. If the mixture seems to dry, drizzle in a bit of olive oil (I didn’t need any).
  4. Pour enchilada sauce into a 9×13″ baking dish. Divide filling among peppers. Nestle stuffed peppers into the enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with cheeses.
  5. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 375 degrees 25-30 minutes. Remove foil and cook about 5 minutes longer. Serve peppers drizzled with enchilada sauce.
Red Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • ½-1 canned chipotle chili (packed in adobo), rinsed and minced (oh how I love this!)
  • ½tsp cumin
  • ¼tsp garlic powder
  • ¼tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2c water
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and chili powder. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  2. Bring sauce to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer about 10 minutes.
  3. Makes about 3¼c sauce.

(sorry for the annoying watermarks on my photos but sadly I've discovered this last year that people are stealing my photos without permission unfortunately.) I don't mind sharing but please ask first.

The darkest night is often the bridge to the brightest tomorrow.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Linking up with:

The History of America in the 1880's

Did you know at one time traveling from one coast of the US to the other coast in just 7 days was considered fast?! I didn't either that is until we watched The History of America in the 1880's from Marshall Publishing. By the way, that mode of travel was via train. When my kids heard this, they were shocked that 7 days was considered fast!  This was just one of many interesting facts we learned by watching this award winning dvd that we were given to review.

What was great about this dvd was that it wasn't your typical boring history video of monotony & lack luster pictures. The video was just 60 minutes long and you could either watch it in one sitting or break it up to study it in segments. The information was portrayed in reenactment, actual photos and impressive drawings from that time period. This decade in history is often overlooked due to lack of wars or anything major that happened. A few of the many other tidbits covered in this video was the building of the Brooklyn Bridge (that had a pedestrian walk way down the middle), the Washington Monument, Buffalo Bill as well as an included bonus feature of the life of Alexander Graham Bell.

We were intending to sit down one day & just watch the whole dvd not knowing exactly what all it involved. After about 10 minutes, we realized how chock full of information was in the video. My kids wanted to stop the dvd and do some googling & more in depth research of a few topics at a time before watching more of the video. In fact, included with this dvd is a study guide that includes facts, a timeline & comprehensive questions.

 The video states it's intended audience is for 4th grade to adult but I think anyone would enjoy watching this fascinating glimpse into our history. The History of America in the 1880's is normally priced $24.95 but is on sale right now for $19.95. If you use the special code that I was given for my readers of TOS27 you can get free shipping! If this topic isn't your cup o'tea, check out the other dvds they have made in a similar format; Oregon TrailLewis & Clark, & Penguins.

As a member of the TOS crew, I was provided this product at no cost to me in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Joy is....

Joy is taking the time to see a heart in the midst of a spilled sippy cup & rejoicing in the fact I have a living baby who is here with me having a leaky cup. The alternative is worse.... thankful for a mess & a surprise reminder of love in the midst of a mess. Love these little signs from Noah & God!! ♥

I shared this on facebook the other day & thought it is worth sharing with you all as well. I pray today that you would each see a piece joy around you in even the little messes!

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.
Psalm 28:7

Linked with:

Speekee Tv

What do you get when you mix Spanish with a cute little purple puppet? Why Speekee himself! Speekee is not only the name of the puppet but is also the name of the world's number 1 Spanish course for kids. This program can either be purchased by DVD or accessed online with a subscription. We were recently given a 6 month subscription to review of Speekee Tv online.

The target age for this program is ages 2-10 but all my kids watched it as they have all had a desire to learn more Spanish this year. While Speekee is a puppet, the videos also include children. The idea behind this program is a total immersion approach so everything that is spoken or sung is all in Spanish. You have the option of having both English & Spanish subtitles as well.

There are 10 videos with each video being about 15-20 minutes long. Each video shows Speekee & the kids going to different places, a park, a cafe, etc and the songs they sing reflect about where they are or what they are doing. This program is UK based and I am pretty sure the kids are actually in Spain. I say this because if you know Spanish, you'll find some of the pronunciations a bit different than Spanish you may have learned in high school.

Not only do you have easy access to a fun Spanish program, you can also sign up to receive their free fast track delivered to your email. What fast track is is 40 weeks of lesson plans already done & organized for you! I love any curriculum that offers me laid out lessons plans. Each week you are sent an email that tells you what video to watch and then lists several activities to do to reinforce the vocabulary.

My kids would all sit around the laptop and watch an episode together. All the bright colors & songs even captured my one year old's attention. I joked that she may start speaking Spanish quicker than English! During a video, I would sometimes see my oldest writing down some of the words which she then turned into flashcards later on. There are words you can download to print off the website but she wanted more than they offered so she made her own. We also discovered we could watch Speekee via our Wii since it has internet access. The kids liked this option better but we couldn't figure out how to get the subtitles on which they preferred. After watching the video we picked an activity from the fast track email to complete.

Let me tell you, the songs from the videos get stuck in your head like you wouldn't believe! But that is the idea. Even as I'm typing this out, I have one replaying in my head! My kiddos were quick to pick up the songs and words. I often found them responding to each other with a few words of Spanish mixed into their conversation. We enjoyed this program & think it's a great tool for learning Spanish but I do think it's geared more towards the under 8 crowd. The only part we found challenging was trying to understand some of the words. Two of my girls are hearing impaired & thought that the background music drowned out Speekee at times making it difficult to understand what he was saying (which is why they preferred having the  subtitles turned on).

Speekee Tv offers a free 2 week trial to see if this program would be a good fit for your family. The cost after that is $7.50 a month with no minimum period or $60 a year. The great part is is that you can use this program for multiple children for this cost.

As a member of the TOS crew, I received this product at no cost to me in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.