All posts by Jessica

Peter 22 Months

  • Measuring 34″ tall, which was what he was 3 months ago…I’m thinking this is not correct, or he’s just going to have a growth spurt soon
  • Weighing 30 lbs
  • The canines are FINALLY through!
  • Still squeezing into some 18/24 months clothes, we did have to move him up in the shoes though
  • Loves, LOVES jumping on the trampoline (by himself)
  • His words are getting more impressive
  • He’s starting to actually have conversations with us. It’s so fun that he’s communicating, even if not every word is discernible
  • He likes blowing bubbles
  • He always wants to be outside….it’s so stinkin’ cute when he asks to go outside.

Never Unfriended {a Review}

*This post does contain affiliate links.

What if you knew you could NEVER be unfriended? Would you be willing to take more risks in the making and keeping of friends? Friendship has been a struggle for me, it always has. I’ve never fit comfortably into any one group. It’s only as I’ve gotten older that I’ve realized that’s OK, I don’t have to. Although, even knowing that hasn’t made finding and keeping friends any easier.

Lisa-Jo opens her heart and shares all of her hurt and lonely places when it comes to friendship, in her new book, new book Never Unfriended. The opportunities that she missed, the friends she lost, and the hurt she has felt. But she also shares hope! Lisa-Jo tells about how she has been rewarded with rich, deep friendships when she has been willing to take a risk, step out of her comfort zone, and be the first to extend the scary hand of friendship. But it all starts with one thing…. Putting aside being “Fine”.

That word, that inability to be REAL is the absolute death-knell of EVERY SINGLE FRIENDSHIP AND OPPORTUNITY FOR FRIENDSHIP!

Fine is so dangerous, isn’t it? Fine means the end of a conversation; the beginning of nothing…Sure, it can be excruciating to admit our un-fine moments, but it’s in those moments that people can actually see us to help us. We need people. We are a body. And if one part is all bashed up and bleeding, it hurts everywhere else. (page 86)

Lisa-Jo does an awesome job tackling the topic of fine, because all other parts of friendship stem from this one truth.

If we can’t even start being real, we will never get anywhere.

Lisa-Jo goes on further in her book, addressing how comparison will rob us blind in friendship. How if we allow ourselves to fall into the trap of looking at what everyone else is and has we will wallow in our own inadequacies. Until we are mired down with so much filth that we won’t be able to see anything but.

Lisa-Jo’s writing is so engaging and fun. She’s light hearted and funny, but no less substantial in her words. She’s able to tell a story, share hard things, without feeling like she’s beating you over the head with a should-do list. Her heart is for friendship, that women would come alongside each other in community and love each other as Christ would have us do.

Never Unfriended is available everywhere, including on Amazon.com .


 

Lisa-Jo Baker has been the community manager for www.incourage.me, an online home for women all over the world, for nearly a decade. She is also the author of Surprised by Motherhood, and her writings have been syndicated from New Zealand to New York. She lives just outside Washington, DC, with her husband and their three very loud kids, where she connects, encourages, and champions women in person and through her popular blog, lisajobaker.com

***You can read my disclosure policy here. I received the above book for free, to review, but it was honestly so good that I’ve bought several copies to pass along ;-)

 

London Town – A Weekend Adventure

Last week Matthew and I took a whirlwind weekend trip to London! We’re not as cosmopolitan as that sounds though. I had found dirt cheap airfare a few months ago, and since we were going in the “Off Season” lodging was rather cheap by any standards. We flew out on Thursday night and came home on Monday afternoon.

I’ve been through London before, but never too London. After my jaunt to Dublin last year in January, I realized that a weekend trip to a city across the pond was totally doable and didn’t leave one feeling jetlagged and out of sorts (I chalk it up to the fact that you’re not there long enough to reset your internal clock). For Matthew and I to go away for more than a few days is an impossibility, but we realize the importance of getting away together.

I had wanted to goto Paris for a weekend, but Matthew, being the more prudent of us, thought it was better to try this weekend to Europe thing in a place that at least spoke the same language as me. So much for Paris.

We had a great time in London. We saw quite a bit of the city, if not the insides at least from the outside. A hop on hop off bus tour took a lot of the guess work out regarding transportation, and kind of meandered around the more well-known parts of London. This was in no way a trip in which you could see the whole city. It’s impossible to see any city and all it’s offerings in a long weekend.

What we did see:

  • Tower of London
  • British Library
  • Imperial War Museum
  • Covent Garden
  • Globe  Theater
  • St.-Dunstan-in-the-East Ruins
  • London by Night
  • Notting Hill
  • Portobello Road
  • King’s Cross (Platform 9 3/4)
  • Leadenhall Market
  • Paddington Bear at Paddington Station
  • Kensington Palace
  • Bus tour to Warner Bros Studio’s Harry Potter Set
  • The rest of the city was seen from the open top tour bus

We had a couple of great meals:

The one thing I really wanted to share with you about this trip is don’t let time limit you.

Just because something sounds crazy, don’t let that make you afraid to do it. I really had to sell Matthew on the weekend trip to London idea, but when we were on our way home, he was so glad that we had done it.

Honestly, unless we just want to wait until all the kids are grown and out of the house and everything is perfect, it’s never going to happen. And, at that point, we might be too old and ornery and set in our ways to handle a trip like this. PEOPLE! We walked over 30 miles in 3 days! That’s not for the faint of heart!

While we’re not looking to leave the country anytime soon again, it is fantastic to know that if we spend our time researching and doing the things geared for tourists, it’s completely reasonable to see some of the fantastic cities of this world. We really looked at this as tasting a small smackerel of a country.

To try and see the whole of England, or any country, in a weekend, isn’t even possible, but it is possible to get your toes wet in another culture.

Also, this weekend jaunt (of which I hope there will be a few more) gives Matthew and I head start on what countries we want to see more of and travel with our children to. It’s our hope that in 10-12 years, we can take our family to Europe for a few months and really world-school them. Let them see the places and experience the people that we’ve only read about in books. That’s what traveling is really all about, isn’t it?

**If you follow me on Instagram (@JessicaM.White) I’m slowly sharing more of the pictures from our trip.

 

Still Waiting {a Review}

*This post contains affiliate links.

I have to admit something, I wanted to be on the release team for Still Waiting because of it’s cover. That’s right the cover. But this book is so much more than just a gorgeous cover. The book was fantastic, for lack of a better word. Still Waiting chronicles Ann’s own struggles with waiting for a resolution, a healing, that doesn’t seem to come…and maybe never will.Still Waiting by Ann Swindell

Ann parallels her story with that of the Bleeding Woman in the Bible; how her life became turned upside down, how she struggled with shame and being ostracized, and in desperation took a great risk of faith. How her leap of faith resulted in her healing, and how sometimes, healing doesn’t come.

Ann does a beautiful job of personalizing the story of the bleeding woman, who is only briefly mentioned in passing of a greater story. Through the story she shows just how flawed we are, how desperately we needed a savior from ourselves, and still need one now.

It is not our strength which God will work with most, but our weaknesses, and we are at our weakest when we are waiting.

We all know that, but embracing it is an entirely different thing. It’s not socially acceptable to admit that we are weak, that we are failing, that we are less than what we appear to be.

And yet God seems to embrace weakness — value it, even. In fact, in Jesus we see the valuing of our frailty — of our flesh — with heavenly fervor. He became human. (p. 38)

Digging deep into her own pain and struggles and anger and frustration with herself and her still waiting, Ann’s words embrace the scary truth, that it’s hard to wait. Physically painful even. But even there, in the waiting, Jesus is still with us, still caring for us in our pain and need. Even that is hard though, knowing that Jesus is with us in the waiting, when all the waiting would end with just one word from Him. Ann beautifully describes her struggle with God’s unwillingness to end her waiting.

We are all waiting for something.

And honestly once we’re done waiting for one thing, it’s inevitable that something else will soon pop up for us to be waiting for…that’s life. Ann’s words and story can touch and heal all of us in whatever we are waiting for, whether it’s physical healing, a hard situation, infertility, or any number of other things.

For me, the sign of a good (non-fiction) book is the number of pages that end up dog-eared and marked up; this book delivers. Her writing is beautiful and engaging. She strikes the perfect balance between story writing and information, making every page of this book enjoyable to read.

You can order Still Waiting from Amazon.com and any other book retailer.

 


Ann Swindell is an author and a speaker who has written for CT Women, Relevant, Deeply Rooted, Darling, the Gospel Coalition, and (in)courage. She holds an MA in writing and an MFA in creative nonfiction writing, and she makes her home in the Midwest with her husband and daughter. Connect with her online at annswindell.com.

 

***You can read my disclosure policy here. I received the above book for free, to review, but it was honestly so good that I’ve bought several copies to pass along ;-)

Box Day! Our 2017-2018 Homeschool Curriculum

What we are using for our 2017-2018 Homeschool Year

It’s Box Day! Our 2017-2018 homeschool curriculum has arrived!  The kids, or maybe it’s just me, have been excited awaiting the arrival of the last of our books for next year. This next year is going to be completely different, because the triplets start. I’m not going to lie, it scares the crap out of me, but we’re going to do. We’re getting ready, they’re excited, and we’re moving forward.

It took me a while to figure out just WHAT we were going to do this year. There’s not many blogs out there chronicling the antics of homeschooling triplets, especially not from the start. Most of the homeschooling families that I know of with triplets started once their kids already knew their numbers and letters.

Being that I’m not sure of the HOW of homeschooling triplets I really didn’t want to overwhelm myself and be setup for failure. I really wanted this first year to get our feet under us and figure what homeschooling triplets looks like. That said I wasn’t sure I wanted to move on to the next core (which would be D) in Sonlight.

I’m taking a different approach.

When I officially started homeschooling Avelyn (the year she turned 6) she already knew her letters and numbers, thanks to ABCMouse.com; the triplets aren’t there yet. They just turned 5 in December, so they wouldn’t even be beginning Kindergarten until the Fall, so I’m not concerned that they’re behind.

I decided that wouldn’t be progressing to Core D; we’re actually going to go backwards. Avelyn has already done Core B and C (Ave has always been on the young range for the recommended ages for each core), but she never did Core A. Some of the books we already had and some we still needed to order.

Our Homeschool Curriculum with Triplets

Here’s the breakdown or our homeschool curriculum

Math

Avelyn will continue on with Math-U-See, she will be in Beta after this year. The triplets are actually going to start in Horizon K; the reason for this is that they have no connection between visual numbers (1, 2, 3, etc) and actual quantities. They know how to count and they know quantities, but the actual numbers are arbitrary. Math-U-See Primer is just a bit beyond them. Horizon K looked like it gave them a good foundation for learning the number associations.

Science

Avelyn loved Science A last year and B this year from Sonlight, but we never did any of the science experiments…I’d like to talk to a parent that actually does the experiments on a regular basis. I still haven’t quite figured out what I’m doing with science yet. A friend of mine is interested in doing a science co-op so I might just supplement that with other books that we’ve found. Whatever we do, all the kids will be doing the same thing.

History

All of the kids will be doing Sonlight’s Core A, which is an Introduction to World Cultures and History. Yes, Avelyn has done Core B and C, which were more in depth, but I don’t think she’ll be hurting for History. The wonderful thing about Sonlight is all of the FANTASTIC read-alouds and books that are included. We have quite a few from the last two cores that we haven’t managed to finish (they include so many more books than can be read in a year).

Reading and Writing

These will each be done on their individual levels. Avelyn will continue with Explode the Code and A Reason for Handwriting, the triplets will begin with Before the Code and A Reason for Handwriting K. I am planning on adding in whatever things we need, such as ABCMouse.com. Also, we have a ton of Beginning Readers books for all of the kids to work through.

Bible

Sonlight does a great job of incorporating Bible readings, theology, and studies in their curriculum! Unfortunately, I do a REALLY bad job of keeping on top of these things as they’re dictated in the Instructor’s Guides. Really bad. Now before you’re ready to throw me under the bus, we do some of our own storybook bibles and devotionals. Right now though, I have an EXTENSIVE collection of books that I want to work through with the kids. I’d much rather save my money and use what we already have.

~*~*~*~*~

Most of our curriculum is from Sonlight, the rest of it I purchase through CBD.com (Christian Book Distributor) or directly through the program (ie Math-U-See). I think we’ve done well with Sonlight and have enjoyed their structure as well as the books they use. I don’t have endless hours to pull together curriculum and plan everything out myself. I give those who do a TON of credit. I just can’t.

Our Homeschool Curriculum

This year I was trying to save money. I ended up spending $350 on what we purchased through Sonlight (the picture on the left above), and an additional $250 from CBD (on the right) for our Explode the Code and math books.  I still need to purchase Avie’s math and handwriting. I will wait until the fall to do that, but it shouldn’t be more than another $75.

For this year, I’m significantly under what we spent last year with purchasing a full prepackaged curriculum. Since I wasn’t buying a Core from Sonlight I was able to save quite a bit of money by only purchasing the books that I couldn’t get cheaper elsewhere. Some of the books we already had, some of them were significantly less buying them used. It worked out well.

Where are you in your homeschool journey?