Thursday, November 17, 2016

Homeschooling: Free Science Magazines

For those of us who struggle with homeschooling science, here are two fantastic support products to incorporate into your homeschool.  And they are free!

First, Apologetics Press, offers a monthly children's magazine called "Discovery," focusing on Scripture and science for kids in grades 3 through 6.  This eight-page periodical contains lessons from Bible to nature, teaching kids about God's Word. Activities such as word searches and puzzles reinforce the lessons.

A printed monthly subscription to Discovery is available at a reasonable cost; however, a PDF of their magazine is also available for FREE on their website. To see the latest issue, click HERE. You can read the issue online or go to the menu at the top to download a PDF copy of that month's issue.

For high school students, APs banner publication, "Reason and Revelation" covers topics such as God's existence, the inspiration of the Bible, the creation/evolution controversy, the deity of Christ, ethics, the culture war, and more.  This periodical is also available in a print subscription or you can download a FREE PDF of  the magazine that can be read offline.

Free Creation News Publication
Another magazine for high school students is "Acts & Facts," a FREE printed publication available from the Institute of Creation Research and is appropriate for your high school student.  This monthly news magazine contains articles and information of current interest dealing with creation, evolution, astronomy and related topics.  Current and past issues are available to read online, but to sign up for a free printed subscription, you can go HERE.

Both of these organizations have many other materials and resources.  Be sure to peruse through their websites and sign up for email updates to be notified of when new issues of their magazines are online.

For more free science for middle school and high school, check out the FREE Astronomy course here on my blog.  

Monday, September 19, 2016

Many praise Nehemiah in the bible for being an inspiring leader because he had the chutzpah for asking the king of Persia to send him to Jerusalem, a city besieged and destroyed earlier by the Babylonians, to rebuild.  While Nehemiah did lead the way with the rebuilding of the city, it was his broken heart over what was happening in his ancestral home that paved the way to his eventual leadership.  

When hearing the news, he wept, he prayed, he fasted for four long months until the opportunity arose when he could tell the king what was on his heart. Nehemiah probably had no idea at the time of hearing this news report that he would be the one who would actually go and supervise the rebuilding.  However, after four months of seeking God, it was no doubt revealed to him what he needed to do, and he was going to rely on God to help him with this new responsibility.

While we often think that true leaders are those with extensive education, a vast network and strong communication skills, that is not always the case.  Nehemiah was a servant in the king's household, a cupbearer. He was not someone who fit the typical description of a leader.    

You may feel that being a young student, "just a mom" or simply a low level employee in a corporation isn't good enough, or in any way an opportunity to make a difference in this crazy world.  But there you are wrong, Sweet Friend. Just think of all the accomplishments by people with the same education (or less) than you. Or less money.  Or having no resources or status. "Many naturally gifted leaders exist, but those who lead out of a sheer necessity have a zeal that can't be quenched ... we can't underestimate the power that pours forth from a broken heart."*

You may not have more abilities than someone else, but if there is something that is pounding on your heart, a strong desire to make something happen or to help others, let it drive you. Approach God and share your heart. Allow Him time to work out the details. Then let the adventure begin.


* Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break" by Kelly Minter.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Book Review: Gratitude, A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal


My latest book review is for Tyndale.  I was eager to review this book, since it is different than the usual books I get to review. This is an illustrated Prayer and Praise Journal, and what better way to give a review on this type of book than to do a video so you can SEE what I'm reviewing.




It is awesome to have a book where you can color, draw and journal all in one beautifully bound book. I plan to keep using it and may try some different things that I can share here on the blog.

I hope you will check it out at Tyndale!

Click to see this book on Amazon

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

"Raising an Original Child" Book Giveaway!

Click to see this title on Amazon.
Yesterday, I wrote a review on my friend Julie Lyles Carr's new book, "Raising an Original." I believe this book is different than other parenting books, with her ROPES Assessment as a key to unlocking the "secret" of parenting Originals.

To help Julie celebrate the release of her debut title, I am giving away TWO copies of her book -- one for you and one for a friend!

It's simple to enter for a chance to win!

(1) Head over to my Muses of a Mom Facebook page and hit the "Like" button.
(2) Tag the friend who you think would love a copy of this book in the comment section of the Giveaway post on that page.

I will use a randomizer to select the winner on Tuesday, September 27th. If I choose your name, both you and your tagged friend will receive a copy of the book!

Easy peasy.

So why not just head over and do that right now.

That's okay.  I don't have any more to say today so you won't miss anything.

See you on Facebook!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Book Review: "Raising an Original" by Julie Lyles Carr

Tomorrow, an insightful parenting book is set to hit the shelves, this one by debut author, Julie Lyles Carr. I have had the pleasure of being on her launch team, with the opportunity to read and to give an honest review of the book prior to its release.

After reading this book, it is most definitely unlike other parenting books I have read (and I have read many!) and I'll tell you why you need to read it too.

Throughout the book, Julie is skillful at relating examples from Scripture and history into today's parenting scenarios, and shares her own family experiences from which we can also learn. She gives constructive, practical advice gained from parenting eight children, all Originals. It is straightforward, always encouraging and very practical for parents with kids of all ages.

The most valuable information in the book is something that I am pleased is finally being addressed in detail, and that is "parenting each child according to their unique God-given temperment." To be an effective parent, it is necessary to discover a child's personality style.

While many of us have probably used personality tests (such as the DiSC assessment) as a leadership or management tool, or have completed similar assessments for marriage, it has always seemed to me that this helpful tool has been overlooked for parenting.

Julie resolves this by introducing her ROPES assessment (ROPES = Raising an Original Personality Evaluation Summary) which is designed to "seek threads of personality in our children." By building a profile on each of our kids, we have an understanding of just how "original" they have been designed by our Creator.

As parents, we see the incredible differences that can appear in each of our children, and we understand that with these differences come variances in how we parent each child.

Taking the ROPES assessment is an incredible tool for learning what exactly makes them tick.  As Julie writes: "We're on a journey to become thread seekers, parents passionate about seeing their kids for who they truly are."  The assessment is designed for children of any age, and helps for leading them into the unique, purposed children that God wants them to be.

"God hasn't asked us to raise perfect children.
He's asked us to raise purposed children." 

Even though my two boys are teens (19 and 13 years), I still found the ROPES assessment to be invaluable, in addition to many other facets of the book that I will put into practice.

No, "Raising an Original" is definitely not another parenting book.  It is a must-have parenting "manual" that will not just be read, but will be referred to again and again while coaching and mentoring our children, who are "a unique gift and contribution to be realized in this world."

You can purchase this book (paperback or e-book) right now on Amazon or from her website.

Read more about "Raising an Original" at julielylescarr.com   

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book complimentary from Zondervan for the purpose of reviewing the material. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Friday, July 08, 2016

How Going #almostpaleo Saved My Health. And My Sanity.


Well, it finally happened. I have officially lost 21 pounds since January! This is truly a sweet victory for me. Other weight loss attempts in the past 13 years have been defeating and frustrating as I would lose about 17 pounds and then plateau.  While I know that this often happens, I would eventually lose motivation and start cheating as the plateau would go not just weeks, but months. 
However, this time when I hit that plateau, I was able to maintain what I was doing for three long months and finally! another 4 pounds have finally come off.  I am on my way once again.  
The reason I was able to persevere through this long plateau is because our family made a commitment together to make permanent changes in our relationship with food. We did the research and made radical changes to our diet -- I like to say we are #almostpaleo --  and the improvements in our health have been amazing.  
We love our food. Who doesn't?  We have to eat to survive, and living on those specialty shakes and bars alone isn't going to cut it on a long term basis. 
We were shocked to learn about what was actually going into our bodies.  But we did learn many more excellent ways in which to make healthy, delicious improvements.  
To start, we gave up all the white menaces: sugar, flour, pasta, and rice. They are no longer in the house. I cleaned out the pantry of processed foods including vegetable and canola oils. No sodas, juices or yogurt. Everything I buy is thoroughly checked for hidden sugars (you'd be AMAZED how it's hidden in all kinds of foods!). I basically have had to learn to cook all over again -- but I have to say, the food has gotten tastier and we have found many new things we love to eat. I even started growing my own vegetables and herbs, and have been doing a lot of experimenting with baking (hey - I still love sweets!). 
And most importantly -- my grocery bill has not increased - even while buying organic and ‪#‎paleo‬ items (nut flour, oils, etc.)
When I had my physical in March, just two months after starting our new lifestyle, I got encouraging results from my doctor. My blood work showed that my cholesterol dropped 30 points!  I will finally be free from taking statins after 10 years without worry.
After six months, I have forgotten how much I liked Diet Coke. My constant cravings for breads and sugar are gone. Interestingly, my hot flashes have also disappeared. I sleep better. I have more energy.
My Hubs and The Youngest have also had very positive results.  
It does take some detoxing to restart your system. While it was difficult at first, we made it through the detox and eating well is a way of life. Oh - and I'm not perfect:  I still hate to exercise. I am still indulging in some ice cream this summer. I probably drink too much coffee and ice tea. I may never have a completely toned physique. I am still too cheap to buy a gym membership or join a yoga class (Trust me on this one - I don't think yoga pants for me is appropriate in public!).  
What we are doing is possible for anyone. I am as phlegmatic as they come, and I have found that it is achievable, even for me.  I am still sane. Maybe even more so.  
If you'd like more details on what we're accomplishing, I'm going to do a series of #almostpaleo posts soon here on the blog.  This is no way a sales pitch -- I'm not selling anything. I'm just willing to share for free what I've learned with others who have been discouraged at maintaining such a plan, unmotivated to exercise or unwilling to spend lots of money on living healthy.
I hope you will join me.  And spread the word.  (Yoga pants -- you're safe.  For now.)
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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Book Review: The Armageddon Code - Billy Hallowell

In today's world, there is a piqued interest about "the end of days."  There are TV documentaries in addition to movie dramas about what is supposed transpire during the Rapture and the Tribulation. People make comments about leaders being like the "antichrist."  Many have a strong superstition of avoiding the number 666.  In the Christian community, we seem to have differing arguments on exactly how, and possibly when, the end is going to happen.  

The Armageddon Code by Billy Hallowell isn't just another book discussing end-time doctrine. It is the author's thorough reporting as a result of interviews with well known bible teachers and scholars relating to bible prophecies in the book of  Revelation, in addition to Daniel, Isaiah and Ezekiel.  There is discussion on the Rapture (is it even biblical?), the Tribulation (why there are the views of "pre, post and mid-trib"?), the Millenial period and other issues.  Israel's role, along with more in depth discussion of past church history as it relates to Revelation is also discussed.  The main topics of the end-times are debated, not in as much detail as some readers may want, but even the author states in the book's conclusion of the "limited lens through which I present each chapter of the book.  After all, some of the topics warrant - or at least invite - the potential for volumes of exploration."  

In my opinion, it is important when studying bible prophecy not to continually pursue the path through which is most comfortable, but to inspect and dissect the theories of both sides, even if you return to the viewpoint that you deem is correct.  Readers of this book will receive a good perspective of the main end time prophecy topics, along with the different arguments, in order to make informed decisions. 

After reading the book, have my current views of the end times changed?  I would have to say no. While I can understand the thought processes from those with opposing views, especially in regards to the events of Revelation having already occurring in the first century, I personally believe that we can expect to see events from Revelation coming to fruition in the near future.  

Why do I believe that?  Here is my "two-cents":    

1. First, we are taught that ALL Scripture is applicable for Christ followers TODAY.  For instance, although we no longer literally follow the laws given to Moses in the Old Testament because of Christ's sacrifice for us, it does not mean that we should no longer read, study and apply the Old Testament lessons to our lives. 

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and
training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be
thoroughly equipped for every good work."
(2 Timothy 3:16-17)

"For the word of God is alive and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit,
joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
(Hebrews 4:12)

2. There is no "due date" on Scripture.  It is a forever, absolute document of God's Word.  

"Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever."
(Hebrews 13:8)

"the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations." (Psalm 33:11) 

With hundreds of prophecies already fulfilled (300 fulfilled with Jesus' first coming alone), why would we assume that God has stopped fulfilling prophecy when we are instructed to study prophecy?  

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, 
and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it,
because the time is near.
(Revelation 1:3)

Even if Revelation was only written to a specific seven churches that related prophetic events that have already been fulfilled, this book was certainly included in the Bible for a specific purpose. At the beginning of Revelation, God says:

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God,
"who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."  
(Revelation 1:8)

And as we know, Jesus has not yet come.  

Knowing and understanding Bible prophecy is not something that should be discouraging -- it gives us hope for the future. "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. (Romans 15:4) God has not yet completed his master plan.  We know from Scripture that Jesus is coming again - the interviewed bible teachers and scholars with conflicting views all agreed that He is indeed coming back.  The important thing, aside from reading prophecy, is to live with readiness "because the Son of Man will come at an hour when yo do not expect him." (Matthew 24:44)  

Has this review been helpful?  Please share via your favorite social network by clicking one of the icons at the bottom of this post.  

This book can be purchased from Amazon.  

Looking for something new to read?  Check out all my reviews by clicking on the Book Reviews tab above. You can also follow me through one (or all!) of the social networks or sign up by email for future updates.  

Friday, June 17, 2016

Book Review: Fearless by Max Lucado

The last few times I have visited my local Lifeway book store, this title has called to me from the shelf.  After reading the subtitle, "Imagine Your Life Without Fear," I did not think that this book would pertain to me.

This last month while I again visited Lifeway, the book was displayed on one of the front sale tables, and I decided to purchase.  I began reading the book the same day, and couldn't put it down over the next couple days.

We all have worries and fear about something.  Max covers many of these in the book: from the fear of not mattering, to the fear of disappointing God.  From being afraid of the world's worst case scenarios to what is next on the horizon.  For me, it was the chapter on fear of not protecting my kids.

Discussing the story of Jarius, the father of the sick girl who later died and Jesus brought to life (Mark 5), Max writes that Jesus saw then and still sees all the concerns of a parent's heart.  And this statement was a good reminder to me: "After all, our kids were his kids first.  'Don't you see that children are God's best gift? The fruit of the womb his generous legacy?' (Ps. 127:3 MSG) Before they were ours, they were his.  Even as they are ours, they are still his."

This book had so many good points, from the beginning all the way to the end.  I never fail to learn something precious from Max Lucado's books.  This is another one that cannot be missed.

You can purchase this book from Amazon.

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Monday, June 13, 2016

#musesofamom: My Ideal Bible. It's not what you think.

If you are a crafter or an artist, you are no doubt aware of the new "coloring" trends today: copic coloring, coloring books, and now  -- journaling bibles. You know the ones -- the bibles with the large margins that allow your creative genius to flow in word or illustration as you write prayers, praises, an journaling on each page.

While I absolutely adore the new journaling bibles, I have seen too many Instagram and Pinterest photos of beautifully illustrated, colorful, original artistic pages that will cause me #PinterestFail anxiety if I would try to embark on such a project.

For me, I find that illustrating my bible happens in a very different way.

It was quite awhile ago, but I came across this meme on Facebook and had to save it.


Currently, I have a New King James bible that I've had for almost 30 years. For the first 20 years, I only highlighted special verses with traditional yellow highlighter.  In the last ten years, however, I have highlighted, underscored, red-marked, captioned, commentated, numerated and defined so many areas of my bible that it has become the most precious of items that will not easily be replaced!

While is it not on the verge of falling apart - just yet - this quote from Spurgeon is something that I want to continually strive toward each day as I read and study my little red bonded leather letter of Love.

Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all
who hear the word of God and put it into practice."
Luke 11:28 (NLT)

If you love the the journaling bibles as I do, you may like these lovely ones through Amazon that have illustrations already in them -- all you have to do is color!  Take a look at them HERE.

How do you study your bible?  Are you an illustrator or journaler? Underliner or highlighter? I'd love to hear of your ways of digesting God's Word in the comments below!  

Saturday, May 14, 2016

#almostpaleo: 3 Easy and Fast Ways to Add More Veggies to Your Diet

Three Cheers for the Mighty Vegetable!

video

Since implementing The Daniel Plan, and sticking to their allotment of veggies as half of the dinner plate, we are eating three times as many vegetables then we used to.  And a much larger variety.  

A quick dinner meal for us is often grilled chicken breasts and 2-3 different veggies.

Although there is more cooking, it doesn't take really much more time to add multiple veggies to a meal. Here are three fast and easy ways for adding vegetables into your meal to meet this requirement:

1.  Stir Fry

I have become much more creative with our stir-fry.  Normally I start with sesame oil and a type of onion (red, yellow, green or even something like fennel) and then add what I have on hand in the refrigerator.  I've used mushrooms, carrots (julienned) broccoli (or brocollini) brussel sprouts, snap peas, zucchini, squash, bok choy (or red cabbage) edamame or red pepper.  There are also the cans of baby corn or water chestnuts to keep on hand for stir fry.

We often use brown rice, (hence #almostpaleo), but another "rice" I've tried is Cauliflower Rice.   

My favorite stir fry helper right now is the Calphalon Nonstick All Purpose Pan. It is a hard-anodized 12-inch pan that pretty much stays on my stove top. It works great for stir fry, even though it doesn't have as narrow of a bottom as a wok. It is recommended to be hand washed only, but since I use it nearly every day, I am hand washing it anyway.   

2.  Tomato Sauce

While maybe not as versatile as a stir fry, I have added different things to our standard tomato sauces  to make them more robust and veggie-ful.  I make my own sauce instead of using spaghetti sauce from a can so that I can stay away from added sugars.  

Besides onions and diced tomatoes, other veggies to add in different combinations are mushrooms (canned or fresh), green, yellow or red peppers, spinach, carrots (julienned) zucchini, or celery (diced/sliced very thin), 

If cooking for little ones who don't want chunky sauce, you can also puree carrots, zucchini, squash to hide in the sauce.  

3.  Steamer Bags

If you haven't tried Ziploc Steamer Bags, they are a must-have for quick and easy veggies!  Trust me on this one.

These easy-to-use bags are my little miracle workers, perfectly steaming hard vegetables such as carrots, broccoli and sweet potatoes in just a couple minutes via the microwave.  They will also precisely cook frozen bags of vegetables. Instructions and times to microwave are on one side of the bag for reference: 


The Hubs hated sweet potatoes, since the only ones he had been exposed to in the past was the squishy, marshmallow topped casserole at Thanksgiving.  Now he asks for them all the time.  And our dog Zoey loves them too.  I'm still trying to persuade the Youngest to get on board, however!

So All Hail the Mighty Vegetable!