Friday, August 31, 2012

Read any Good Books lately?

I have a bit of a book fetish. I can't seem to walk by any bookstore without stepping inside! More often than not, I end up leaving holding in my hands pages and pages of thought-provoking, entertaining, allow myself to escape to another place for awhile, book! Do you know the feeling?

A good book takes you places. It has you thinking things you may have never considered before. It introduces you to amazing characters - some whom we may be able to relate too; some we may not. It is often the result of many late nights of nail-biting, page-turning, suspense. A good book is all this and a whole lot more.

For me, an amazing book leaves me wanting to start it all over again the second I read that last sentence on the very last page. It makes it very hard to start another book directly afterwards because nothing seems to quite compare to it!

Ladies, and the occasional gent, I give to you that exact book that I just described above!

Redeeming Love
 
 
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is one of those books that will have you crying, laughing, falling in love with the characters, as well as gaining a deeper appreciation and affection for your spouse! Written as a fictional re-telling of the story of Hosea from the Bible, you will find yourself hugging it to your chest, crying and saying "Wow!" over and over again once you have finished it - or maybe thats just me. In any case, it is an amazing book that I feel everyone should read!! In todays society where our choices of good literature, particularly good romance/love story literature, is getting harder and harder to come by, it is nice to read a wholesome, true, God blessed love story!
 
While I sat reading this book, I kept thinking to myself how everyone I know should own a copy and read this book for themselves! Right away! The wheels continued to turn and I thought to myself, "Hey! I have a blog. Why don't I offer a copy up for one of my amazing readers to win? Then at least one person I know will own this amazing book for themselves!"
 
Would you like to win? Here's how:
 
Simply leave me a comment telling me of an awesome book that you have read!
 
Additinal Entries: {leave a seperate comment for each}
 
** Share this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter
** Become a follower via email
 
{Please make sure to leave a valid email address where I can contact you if you were to win! US residents only please! Giveaway opened until Wednesday, Sept. 5 at midnight. Winner will be chosen via random.org and announced here within this post on Thursday, Sept. 6!}
 
Good books should be shared! And I hope that even if you do not win, you will still consider reading this book, whether by purchasing a copy for yourself or borrowing it from your local libray! You will be so very happy you did!
 
{I was in no way compensated for this post. The opinions expressed are solely my own. The giveaway copy was purchased by me!}
 
 
 
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” ~ Galatians 3:28
 
 
 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

{anxiety = fear}

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When I wrote it there a few weeks ago, I was still filled with excited anticipation! My mind had been reeling of all the exciting things I was thinking up for us to do throughout the year. Field trips, groups to join, classes to take - I felt like I was in control and ready to begin this journey! That day, I believed I could do it. We prayed about it - for months. I researched and asked questions, and researched some more. I ordered books, bought the crayons, pencils, and glue. I had everything cleaned out and re-organized from last year and all the crisp, new, items put in their place. I was full of joy. Now all that fills me is anxiety - fear!
 
anxiety - distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune
 
 
Here I am, five days away from that much anticipated day, and my planner still remains blank. The books are stacked nicely on their respective shelves, still waiting for me to really open them and take a look inside! I honestly have no idea what we will be doing come Tuesday. So, the panic sets in. How am I going to find just a minute to sit and get organized to begin next week? The baby requires so much of my time already - am I crazy to think I can actually do this? I wonder if it is too late to sign her up for public school - or cyber school? What were we thinking?
 
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10
 
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. ~ Philippians 4:6
 
How quickly I can be led astray! But reading these words reminded me once again of why I am doing this and how we got to this point. He directed our path! He led us here! He placed it in our hearts and on our minds to have the desire and excitement of teaching our children at home! I need to paint these verses on every room of my home! I need to read them every morning when I wake up - reminding me of how I got here. When the days are tough and I want to give up - I need to remember these words! His Words! And I know, then, that we will be ok!
 
Worrying over failing has got to go and instead be replaced by concentrating more on succeeding! Whether my planner is filled, front to back, by Tuesday or not, I need to believe in my heart that we are going to have a successful year and that I will find the time to plan and prepare - even if it has to be on a weekly, or sometimes daily, basis! I want that flame of excitement over learning together with my children to be re-ignited and I want to do it all with joy in my heart at wanting to succeed at what He has called me to do!
 
 
Not Back to School Blog Hop
 
 
 
When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way,
he causes their enemies to make peace with them. ~ Proverbs 16:7
 
 
 
 

Monday, August 27, 2012

On Why I Love Babywearing

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While at the zoo recently with my little crew, I saw many mamas, and papas, carrying around wee little babes. Sure, they had strollers with them, but their babes were in their arms - not in the strollers. I was hands free, able to navigate myself through the crowds of people, sans stroller, and enjoy the zoo with my two older children while the littlest of the three was snuggled safely and comfortably against my chest. Yes, I have been to the zoo before and pushed a stroller or pulled a wagon behind me, but I have to admit, this way was far more ideal!  
 
It got me to thinking about why I do this. Why I wrap a wonderfully, comfy, piece of cloth around me and snuggle my baby inside. Why I endure the stares and whispers while also enjoying the questions from mamas wanting to know more and obtain a wonderfully, comfy, piece of cloth for themselves.
 
So I came up with a list!
 
Here are my top 10 reasons why I babywear:
 
10.  Keeps me hands free
  9.  Allows my little one to feel safe and comfortable
  8.  Provides a wonderful bonding experience between me and my little babe
  7.   Keeping her close and being able to kiss her little head so easily
  6.   The constant snuggles
  5.   Peace of mind
  4.   Nursing on the go
  3.   Babies like to be held and I am providing a natural environment to be able to do so
        and tend to my other daily duties
  2.  It instantly calms a fussy baby
  1.   Watching her fall asleep and feeling her heart beating against mine
 
Do you babywear? Want to follow our babywearing journey through the lens of my iphone? Then follow me on instagram here. But beware - I post a lot of photos!
 
 

Linking up with Lydia
 
 

 
“When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”  ~ Psalm 94:18-19
 

 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Smiling Faces {photo hop}

On deciding to homeschool, I knew my children would never get to enjoy the pleasures of an official school picture day. And in a way, that can be a good thing. I always disliked a whole lot the way my school pictures turned out. For some reason, I would leave the house in the morning with my hair looking just the way I wanted it to and by the time it was my turn for pictures, it looked a completely different way - usually a mess! Except for my eleventh grade year...that was a good picture!  Anyways, my mom, like most moms, saved all of my pictures from my thirteen years in school and it is fun to look back over each picture from my years in school and laugh hysterically!  How much I changed, what seemed like drastically, from year to year. I wanted to be able to look back and see those same transformations with my children.
 
Ealier this week I got them dressed up, decided they could go barefoot, and snapped some "school pictures". Here are our "not-back-to-school" photos for the 2012-2013 year! {to see our photos from last year, click here}

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Thanks to Pinterest, I saw the idea to add each of their names, ages, current grade, and current interests to their photos, which will also be fun to see change from year to year.
 
All of our books are stacked on the shelf, although I still have planning to do! New packages of pens, pencils, crayons, and glue are all waiting to be used. We are ready and looking forward to a fun, new, year!
 
 
 
Not Back to School Blog Hop



I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  ~ Psalm 16:8



 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

On Wanting to Stop the Hands of Time

She's one month old today! 

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As cliche' as this sounds, I am wanting to stop the hands of time. Freeze these moments, these days, with her this little. Keep her this cuddly and squishy for a lot longer than time allows! 

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But since I am dreaming the impossible, I will instead embrace and hold onto each memory made, cherishing them all and thanking the One who gave me such a beautiful blessing! 

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Then God promises to love me all day, 
      sing songs all through the night! 
      My life is God's prayer. ~ Psalm 42:8 {the MSG}







Monday, August 20, 2012

Whispered Prayers

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He's crying out in pain from the backseat.
"Mama, my leg hurts."
I'm behind the wheel, experiencing pain all of my own.
"Where does it hurt honey?" I look in the rearview mirror into his tear-filled eyes.
"My knee hurts mama...weally bad!"
"We are almost home, buddy...mommy can help you when we get there."  I say through deep breaths as my own pain begins to intensify.

She's sitting there, wide-eyed with concern written all over her face. I can't hide anything from her. She knows the pain I have been experiencing over the past month has returned once again...and she is scared.
"Caleb boy, I am going to pray to Jesus for Him to make your leg feel all better. 'Dear Jesus, thank you for this day. Thank you for Mommy and Daddy, Caleb and Me, and please Jesus help my brother's leg not hurt anymore. I love you Jesus, Amen.' "
Her immediate action to resort to prayer always amazes and humbles me.
Why do I not always immediately turn to prayer?

"Does your leg feel better now buddy?"
"No!"
"Well, Jesus loves you and He wants to make you feel all better. Let me pray again."
Again, I hear the same, whispered, prayer coming from the back seat.

It's late when we arrive home. Caleb's asleep in his carseat, the pain apparently gone. I open the door for Emma, lift her up out of her carseat, and say that Jesus heard and answered her prayer. A smile comes across her face.

"I prayed for you, too, Mama." she says as she walks down the steps into the house.

I remain standing outside, left speechless at the amazing faith my daughter has. How much I am learning from her. How proud I am at how much she trusts and loves Jesus so much. She gets it!

It wasn't until then that I realized my pain had ceased.
I whisper into the night sky, "Jesus answered your prayer, baby girl."

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30

::

Since the birth of Heidi, I have been experiencing excrutiating back and chest pains. The pain is so intense, it literally takes my breath away. I head to the Chiropractor tomorrow and would really appreciate your prayers. Thank you sweet friends!

::

Linking up with Lydia




“I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” ~ Psalm 16:8

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I'm in Love

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I am in love with an amazing man!

A man whose love for me is so great!

He is an amazing listener - always around whenever I need Him!

He shows His promise of love for me in rainbows that fill the sky once the storm has passed!

He knows me inside and out and loves me for who I am!

He knows my faults, sees my sins, yet still loves and takes care of me!

He sacrificed it all -  for me!

He wants the best for my life - always has; always will!

And because His love is so great, so intense, it makes me want to get to know Him deeper and closer - wanting a relationship with Him like no relationship I have ever had before!

Yes, I am in love with an Amazing Man - His name is Jesus!  

And guess what?

He Loves you too!!

Won't you take the time to get to know Him?

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You came and You rescued me
Showed me life as it's meant to be
So beautiful, You loved me so differently
Chased all my fears away, finally whole

Thank You for finding me when You did
You changed my life and now I believe
That love is all that I'll ever need
I promise my heart and all that I am
I'm yours forever, my Love

~ Dara Maclean

::

Come and look, sisters in Jerusalem. Oh, sisters of Zion, don't miss this!
My King-Lover, dressed and garlanded for his wedding, his heart full, bursting with joy! ~ Song of Solomon 3:11



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Embracing the Beauty of the Non-Traditional

When we started on this homeschool journey last year, I remember thinking over and over how easy it would be if our home was bigger. If we had a room specifically for our table and chairs and walls lined with bookshelves for all our books. I thought it would be easier to get more creative and have more fun learning if our learning space was larger.

I was completely missing the big picture. I just wasn't getting it!


I once again had the little light bulb go on while reading Educating the WholeHearted Child . {i cannot recommend this book highly enough!} I began to realize that the beauty of homeschooling is that school happens anywhere and everywhere. There is no need for tables and chairs, chalkboards or bulletin boards, although they are fun! Our learning space can be large or small - both are just as effective! We can even have our "school room" be the great outdoors...where no walls are necessary whatsoever!

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This year, we are thinking outside the box and view of traditional school and learning in the spaces and places where we feel the most comfortable. Our big, comfy, couch. At the dining room table. At the little table that is cleary "the kids table"! Outside - at the park, the library, the zoo, museum, wherever learning and creativity are able to take place!

This is the season we are in. When the season happens to change, and if space allows for us to have all our books and chairs in one space,  well then Ikea, watch out!

Until then, we are choosing to embrace our homeschool experience by taking full advantage of the freedom of learning that comes with it! For that is the true beauty that comes with homeschooling in the first place!  


Not Back to School Blog Hop



Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. ~ Ephesians 5:1-2



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Yarn Along {16}

My knitting has been slow going these past few weeks! The reason - I have been spending most all of my time snuggling with my precious, baby girl, Heidi!


However, this weekend found me knitting away again and it was so very good! The feel of the yarn gliding through my fingers does something to relax me and I fall in love with the craft all over again!

I managed to knit a few more rows on Caleb's Little Hoodlum. This pattern, so far, is a very easy and enjoyable knit. The yarn is scrumptious and is knitting up so nicely. It is going to make the most snuggly sweater for him to wear this coming winter, in his favorite color to boot!

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I have been telling myself that the next thing I cast on will be for me! As much as I love knitting things for my children, I have yet to knit anything simply for me! I was gifted this yummy grey yarn and the shawl pattern, Piper's Journey - perfect to wrap around me this fall - that I am thinking will be my next knit.  We will see how long this lasts as I still want to knit Heidi another sweater to match her Quick Change Trousers, as well as a few knitted toys that Emma and Caleb have been requesting forever for me to make!

I have been reading the most wonderful book, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It is a book I believe everyone should read! If you have yet to read this book, go, buy it, and start reading it...now! It is a beautiful, beautiful, book! One whose story will stay with me for a long time! I am sad to almost be finished with it!

What have you been up to lately?


Linking up with Ginny!




So that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. ~ Hebrews 6:12



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Not Back-to-School Blog Hop {curriculum week}

I remember this time last year browsing through all the blogs that linked up each week at the Not Back-to-School Blog Hop! I received so many great ideas and inspiration - plus, I loved looking at others school rooms and shelves packed with books! {book-nerd here...in case you couldn't tell already!} 

This year, when I was reminded  of the Blog Hop through other blogs that I follow, I immediately knew I wanted to take part and link up each week! So, for the rest of August, I will be linking up each week and sharing a little about our life as a homeschooling family!

This weeks topic is Curriculum. You may remember this post I wrote a few months ago about how stressful choosing what "curriculum" I wanted to use was! The options are limitless. I truly spent hours praying - which was the best decision, because ultimately this is His plan for my children's lives - over what would be best for us. I thought I needed something that was already laid out for me - where all the planning was already done and all I needed to do was present it to my daughter. I didn't think I could handle having a stack of books in front of me and deciding when and how and which days to use them.  I underestimate myself far too many times. Little did I know, God's plan involved me doing just that! 

I was given some great advice by a fellow homeschooler. She told me to concentrate on what my children's interests were and how they enjoyed learning about those things. That is the beauty of homeschooling - you tailor it specifically to the needs of your child! 

I also read Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson, which I highly recommend, and in it, they talk a lot about having the focus of your homeschool be around God's word. This should be the most important aspect of what my children are learning. Sounds so simple and like something I should have already known and considered, being that we are a Christian Homeschooling Family, but I seriously had been putting more emphasis on finding the write Phonics books rather than looking for the best way to teach them Jesus! 

So, I sat and re-evaluated my whole outlook and idea of homeschooling. What areas did I want to concentrate on most this year? What was most important and vital, to me, for Emma to be learning? 

Here is what I came up with:
Bible first
Phonics and Reading second
and the rest is meant to just have fun with and take with a grain of salt! 

I do not want to stress myself out and I certainly do not want to stress Emma out! I want homeschooling to be a fun learning environment - for all of us! I want us to be successful in it and continue doing so unless the Lord's plan says otherwise! 

I started researching and reading about different Bible curriculums and phonics/reading curriculums - since these were most important to me! I knew of Apologia, for their wonderful Science curriculums and their friendly advice through Facebook, but was not aware that they also had Bible curriculums until I received one of their magazines in the mail. I was thrilled when I found out this would be a perfect fit for us. We will be using the Who is God? set. I am very excited to be learning from this as well! 






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Phonics/reading was a bit of a challenge for me to decide on what to go with. After much reading and many, many, questions asked, I decided on a variety of things! We will be using Explode the Code 1 for Phonics. For read-alouds and such, I will be following the Five in a Row curriculum as well as using BOB Books and, of course, our library! I am so very excited to be teaching Emma to read! I hope and pray she becomes a book-worm just like her mama! 

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Emma LOVES animals! I mean, LOVES them! I wasn't going to do much with a Science Curriculum this year, since she is only "technically" in Kindergarten, but when I saw Land Animals of the Sixth Day in the Apologia Magazine, I knew this was something she was really going to enjoy! We will be spending a few days each week learning about all the beautiful animals God placed on this earth for us to enjoy.


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Lastly is Math. I decided on Singapore's Earlybird Kindergarten Mathematics book. It is simple enough and just the right amount of math to add into each of our days.  


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I am looking forward to the start of our homeschool year! I think we all are going to have a great time learning together! 

To find more inspiration and ideas from other homeschooling families, head on over to iHomeschool Network

 
Not Back to School Blog Hop


 
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.
1 John 4:16b-17


Monday, August 6, 2012

{these days}

Rhythm. It's what our days have been lacking, but at the same time, it is what we have slowly started to gain back again.  

Any time a new baby arrives, things seem to get a bit jumbled and life takes a turn in a different, but good, direction. Working to get us all back on the right track has been a lot easier than I had originally anticipated. It has actually been quite enjoyable. The sweetness of our baby girl fitting right in with our way of life. She is as pleasant as any baby can be and a complete Joy

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These days we are counting our blessings - thankful for, 

Tiny Baby Feet

 My sweet  older girl who has become such a wonderful help to her mama 

The silliness that comes from my older two children 

Early morning cuddles 

Babywearing 

The love and sibling bond between Emma and Caleb

Kindness from others 

My Husband  

Lazy Sunday afternoons listening to the rain 

Blackberry Cobbler 

Friendship - no matter how near or far

Great Reads 

Wonderful views     


 
 

“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:130



Saturday, August 4, 2012

We Choose Virtues {august promo codes}


You may or may not have have noticed the affiliate links located on the right hand side of the blog home page. I am affiliated with two wonderful companies - perfect for homeschooling, or non-homeschooling, families!

Each month, We Choose Virtues, offers promo codes to help you save some money on their fabulous products! I try to update underneath the picture what the current months promo code is, so check each month to see what you can save BIG on!

For the month of August, you can save 25% on the Homeschool and Family Kits! Simply enter the promo code BTS25 at checkout! As always, you can save 15% on your entire order by entering VIRTUE15 at checkout!


Here is an overview of the differnces between each kit from Heather, We Choose Virtues founder!

COMMON QUESTIONS:
How do you decide which Kit is right for you?
·         Price: The Family Kit costs less.
·         Wall Space: The Family Kit has fewer posters.
·         Time: The Homeschool Kit has additional tools for greater accountability.
·         Both Kits contain the Parenting Cards (they only come with scriptures in the NIrV)

Is there anything I might want to add to the Kit?
·         Yes, the Personal Virtue Charts are nice to have. Buy your own favorite stickers.
·         The Official Butterfly Award…wait! That comes as a FREE download this month with any kit purchase!
·         Virtue Clues are always fun.

I hope you will stop on over to the We Choose Virtues site and take a look around! There is a variety of wonderful products to help instill strong virtues within your family!

Have a wonderful weekend!


You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
Isaiah 26:3

Thursday, August 2, 2012

God Made the World & Me {giveaway}

Today I bring you another wonderful giveaway! {if you missed yesterdays giveaway, click here!} This time it is a comprehensive 6-in-1 science curriculum for pre-schoolers from New Leaf Publishing!  

God Made the World & Me: Thirteen Comprehensive 6-in-1 Curriculum Lessons, Preschool

Your children are never too young to learn about their Creator and his creation. Combining science, art, physical activities, and music, these 13 lessons based on Genesis 1 and 2 and Psalms 24 and 139 will give preschoolers a solid faith foundation and kindle their curiosity about the natural world around them. Includes fun and messy hands-on projects! {description from cbd.com}

This was never used by us last year and I am hoping it will bless someone this year!


To Win: Simply leave me a comment on this post!

Additional Entries: {leave a seperate comment for each}

*Tweet about the giveaway {please leave Twitter Link in comment}
*Share the giveaway on Facebook!
*Follow A Faithful Journey via Email {enter your email address in the box in the top right-hand corner}

Giveaway ends Monday, August 6 at Midnight! Open to US residents only!

Giveaway Closed! Winner was commenter #22 LovingMyGirls! Thank you to all who entered!


For more giveaway fun, head on over to Homeschool Creations for the annual Curriculum Clean-Out!


I plan on returning next week to blogging a little more frequently with some fun homeschool posts, knitting posts, baby posts, book posts, and just basic life! Until then, I will be babymooning! Have a wonderful rest of the week and weekend!



For YOUR part, brothers, do not give up in doing right. ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:13

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

100 Read & Sing Devotions {giveaway}

I've been spending a lot of time lately going through all of our books and trying to organize - getting everything ready to start back into homeschool in a few weeks.

I came across a few titles that will be of no use to us this year and thought, hey!, I could bless someone else with these!  

So, here you have it!

One lucky reader will win a copy of 100 Read & Sing Devotions from Tommy Nelson!


We actually never got around to using this and have enough devotional books that I can spare this one and give it to one of you! It includes 2 CD's packed with songs about the scriptures! Wonderful fun!!

To Win: Simply leave me a comment on this post!

Additional Entries: {leave a seperate comment for each}

*Tweet about the giveaway {please leave Twitter Link in comment}
*Share the giveaway on Facebook!
*Follow A Faithful Journey via Email {enter your email address in the box in the top right-hand corner}

Giveaway ends Sunday, Aug. 5th at Midnight! Open to US residents only!

Giveaway Closed!! The winner was commenter #43 Whitney! Thank you to all who entered!

For more giveaway fun, head on over to Homeschool Creations for the annual Curriculum Clean-Out!



Make sure to come back tomorrow for another Homeschool Giveaway!

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” ~ John 1:12-13

Friday, August 31, 2012

Read any Good Books lately?

I have a bit of a book fetish. I can't seem to walk by any bookstore without stepping inside! More often than not, I end up leaving holding in my hands pages and pages of thought-provoking, entertaining, allow myself to escape to another place for awhile, book! Do you know the feeling?

A good book takes you places. It has you thinking things you may have never considered before. It introduces you to amazing characters - some whom we may be able to relate too; some we may not. It is often the result of many late nights of nail-biting, page-turning, suspense. A good book is all this and a whole lot more.

For me, an amazing book leaves me wanting to start it all over again the second I read that last sentence on the very last page. It makes it very hard to start another book directly afterwards because nothing seems to quite compare to it!

Ladies, and the occasional gent, I give to you that exact book that I just described above!

Redeeming Love
 
 
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is one of those books that will have you crying, laughing, falling in love with the characters, as well as gaining a deeper appreciation and affection for your spouse! Written as a fictional re-telling of the story of Hosea from the Bible, you will find yourself hugging it to your chest, crying and saying "Wow!" over and over again once you have finished it - or maybe thats just me. In any case, it is an amazing book that I feel everyone should read!! In todays society where our choices of good literature, particularly good romance/love story literature, is getting harder and harder to come by, it is nice to read a wholesome, true, God blessed love story!
 
While I sat reading this book, I kept thinking to myself how everyone I know should own a copy and read this book for themselves! Right away! The wheels continued to turn and I thought to myself, "Hey! I have a blog. Why don't I offer a copy up for one of my amazing readers to win? Then at least one person I know will own this amazing book for themselves!"
 
Would you like to win? Here's how:
 
Simply leave me a comment telling me of an awesome book that you have read!
 
Additinal Entries: {leave a seperate comment for each}
 
** Share this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter
** Become a follower via email
 
{Please make sure to leave a valid email address where I can contact you if you were to win! US residents only please! Giveaway opened until Wednesday, Sept. 5 at midnight. Winner will be chosen via random.org and announced here within this post on Thursday, Sept. 6!}
 
Good books should be shared! And I hope that even if you do not win, you will still consider reading this book, whether by purchasing a copy for yourself or borrowing it from your local libray! You will be so very happy you did!
 
{I was in no way compensated for this post. The opinions expressed are solely my own. The giveaway copy was purchased by me!}
 
 
 
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” ~ Galatians 3:28
 
 
 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

{anxiety = fear}

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When I wrote it there a few weeks ago, I was still filled with excited anticipation! My mind had been reeling of all the exciting things I was thinking up for us to do throughout the year. Field trips, groups to join, classes to take - I felt like I was in control and ready to begin this journey! That day, I believed I could do it. We prayed about it - for months. I researched and asked questions, and researched some more. I ordered books, bought the crayons, pencils, and glue. I had everything cleaned out and re-organized from last year and all the crisp, new, items put in their place. I was full of joy. Now all that fills me is anxiety - fear!
 
anxiety - distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune
 
 
Here I am, five days away from that much anticipated day, and my planner still remains blank. The books are stacked nicely on their respective shelves, still waiting for me to really open them and take a look inside! I honestly have no idea what we will be doing come Tuesday. So, the panic sets in. How am I going to find just a minute to sit and get organized to begin next week? The baby requires so much of my time already - am I crazy to think I can actually do this? I wonder if it is too late to sign her up for public school - or cyber school? What were we thinking?
 
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10
 
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. ~ Philippians 4:6
 
How quickly I can be led astray! But reading these words reminded me once again of why I am doing this and how we got to this point. He directed our path! He led us here! He placed it in our hearts and on our minds to have the desire and excitement of teaching our children at home! I need to paint these verses on every room of my home! I need to read them every morning when I wake up - reminding me of how I got here. When the days are tough and I want to give up - I need to remember these words! His Words! And I know, then, that we will be ok!
 
Worrying over failing has got to go and instead be replaced by concentrating more on succeeding! Whether my planner is filled, front to back, by Tuesday or not, I need to believe in my heart that we are going to have a successful year and that I will find the time to plan and prepare - even if it has to be on a weekly, or sometimes daily, basis! I want that flame of excitement over learning together with my children to be re-ignited and I want to do it all with joy in my heart at wanting to succeed at what He has called me to do!
 
 
Not Back to School Blog Hop
 
 
 
When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way,
he causes their enemies to make peace with them. ~ Proverbs 16:7
 
 
 
 

Monday, August 27, 2012

On Why I Love Babywearing

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While at the zoo recently with my little crew, I saw many mamas, and papas, carrying around wee little babes. Sure, they had strollers with them, but their babes were in their arms - not in the strollers. I was hands free, able to navigate myself through the crowds of people, sans stroller, and enjoy the zoo with my two older children while the littlest of the three was snuggled safely and comfortably against my chest. Yes, I have been to the zoo before and pushed a stroller or pulled a wagon behind me, but I have to admit, this way was far more ideal!  
 
It got me to thinking about why I do this. Why I wrap a wonderfully, comfy, piece of cloth around me and snuggle my baby inside. Why I endure the stares and whispers while also enjoying the questions from mamas wanting to know more and obtain a wonderfully, comfy, piece of cloth for themselves.
 
So I came up with a list!
 
Here are my top 10 reasons why I babywear:
 
10.  Keeps me hands free
  9.  Allows my little one to feel safe and comfortable
  8.  Provides a wonderful bonding experience between me and my little babe
  7.   Keeping her close and being able to kiss her little head so easily
  6.   The constant snuggles
  5.   Peace of mind
  4.   Nursing on the go
  3.   Babies like to be held and I am providing a natural environment to be able to do so
        and tend to my other daily duties
  2.  It instantly calms a fussy baby
  1.   Watching her fall asleep and feeling her heart beating against mine
 
Do you babywear? Want to follow our babywearing journey through the lens of my iphone? Then follow me on instagram here. But beware - I post a lot of photos!
 
 

Linking up with Lydia
 
 

 
“When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”  ~ Psalm 94:18-19
 

 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Smiling Faces {photo hop}

On deciding to homeschool, I knew my children would never get to enjoy the pleasures of an official school picture day. And in a way, that can be a good thing. I always disliked a whole lot the way my school pictures turned out. For some reason, I would leave the house in the morning with my hair looking just the way I wanted it to and by the time it was my turn for pictures, it looked a completely different way - usually a mess! Except for my eleventh grade year...that was a good picture!  Anyways, my mom, like most moms, saved all of my pictures from my thirteen years in school and it is fun to look back over each picture from my years in school and laugh hysterically!  How much I changed, what seemed like drastically, from year to year. I wanted to be able to look back and see those same transformations with my children.
 
Ealier this week I got them dressed up, decided they could go barefoot, and snapped some "school pictures". Here are our "not-back-to-school" photos for the 2012-2013 year! {to see our photos from last year, click here}

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Thanks to Pinterest, I saw the idea to add each of their names, ages, current grade, and current interests to their photos, which will also be fun to see change from year to year.
 
All of our books are stacked on the shelf, although I still have planning to do! New packages of pens, pencils, crayons, and glue are all waiting to be used. We are ready and looking forward to a fun, new, year!
 
 
 
Not Back to School Blog Hop



I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  ~ Psalm 16:8



 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

On Wanting to Stop the Hands of Time

She's one month old today! 

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As cliche' as this sounds, I am wanting to stop the hands of time. Freeze these moments, these days, with her this little. Keep her this cuddly and squishy for a lot longer than time allows! 

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But since I am dreaming the impossible, I will instead embrace and hold onto each memory made, cherishing them all and thanking the One who gave me such a beautiful blessing! 

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Then God promises to love me all day, 
      sing songs all through the night! 
      My life is God's prayer. ~ Psalm 42:8 {the MSG}







Monday, August 20, 2012

Whispered Prayers

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He's crying out in pain from the backseat.
"Mama, my leg hurts."
I'm behind the wheel, experiencing pain all of my own.
"Where does it hurt honey?" I look in the rearview mirror into his tear-filled eyes.
"My knee hurts mama...weally bad!"
"We are almost home, buddy...mommy can help you when we get there."  I say through deep breaths as my own pain begins to intensify.

She's sitting there, wide-eyed with concern written all over her face. I can't hide anything from her. She knows the pain I have been experiencing over the past month has returned once again...and she is scared.
"Caleb boy, I am going to pray to Jesus for Him to make your leg feel all better. 'Dear Jesus, thank you for this day. Thank you for Mommy and Daddy, Caleb and Me, and please Jesus help my brother's leg not hurt anymore. I love you Jesus, Amen.' "
Her immediate action to resort to prayer always amazes and humbles me.
Why do I not always immediately turn to prayer?

"Does your leg feel better now buddy?"
"No!"
"Well, Jesus loves you and He wants to make you feel all better. Let me pray again."
Again, I hear the same, whispered, prayer coming from the back seat.

It's late when we arrive home. Caleb's asleep in his carseat, the pain apparently gone. I open the door for Emma, lift her up out of her carseat, and say that Jesus heard and answered her prayer. A smile comes across her face.

"I prayed for you, too, Mama." she says as she walks down the steps into the house.

I remain standing outside, left speechless at the amazing faith my daughter has. How much I am learning from her. How proud I am at how much she trusts and loves Jesus so much. She gets it!

It wasn't until then that I realized my pain had ceased.
I whisper into the night sky, "Jesus answered your prayer, baby girl."

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30

::

Since the birth of Heidi, I have been experiencing excrutiating back and chest pains. The pain is so intense, it literally takes my breath away. I head to the Chiropractor tomorrow and would really appreciate your prayers. Thank you sweet friends!

::

Linking up with Lydia




“I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” ~ Psalm 16:8

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I'm in Love

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I am in love with an amazing man!

A man whose love for me is so great!

He is an amazing listener - always around whenever I need Him!

He shows His promise of love for me in rainbows that fill the sky once the storm has passed!

He knows me inside and out and loves me for who I am!

He knows my faults, sees my sins, yet still loves and takes care of me!

He sacrificed it all -  for me!

He wants the best for my life - always has; always will!

And because His love is so great, so intense, it makes me want to get to know Him deeper and closer - wanting a relationship with Him like no relationship I have ever had before!

Yes, I am in love with an Amazing Man - His name is Jesus!  

And guess what?

He Loves you too!!

Won't you take the time to get to know Him?

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You came and You rescued me
Showed me life as it's meant to be
So beautiful, You loved me so differently
Chased all my fears away, finally whole

Thank You for finding me when You did
You changed my life and now I believe
That love is all that I'll ever need
I promise my heart and all that I am
I'm yours forever, my Love

~ Dara Maclean

::

Come and look, sisters in Jerusalem. Oh, sisters of Zion, don't miss this!
My King-Lover, dressed and garlanded for his wedding, his heart full, bursting with joy! ~ Song of Solomon 3:11



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Embracing the Beauty of the Non-Traditional

When we started on this homeschool journey last year, I remember thinking over and over how easy it would be if our home was bigger. If we had a room specifically for our table and chairs and walls lined with bookshelves for all our books. I thought it would be easier to get more creative and have more fun learning if our learning space was larger.

I was completely missing the big picture. I just wasn't getting it!


I once again had the little light bulb go on while reading Educating the WholeHearted Child . {i cannot recommend this book highly enough!} I began to realize that the beauty of homeschooling is that school happens anywhere and everywhere. There is no need for tables and chairs, chalkboards or bulletin boards, although they are fun! Our learning space can be large or small - both are just as effective! We can even have our "school room" be the great outdoors...where no walls are necessary whatsoever!

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This year, we are thinking outside the box and view of traditional school and learning in the spaces and places where we feel the most comfortable. Our big, comfy, couch. At the dining room table. At the little table that is cleary "the kids table"! Outside - at the park, the library, the zoo, museum, wherever learning and creativity are able to take place!

This is the season we are in. When the season happens to change, and if space allows for us to have all our books and chairs in one space,  well then Ikea, watch out!

Until then, we are choosing to embrace our homeschool experience by taking full advantage of the freedom of learning that comes with it! For that is the true beauty that comes with homeschooling in the first place!  


Not Back to School Blog Hop



Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. ~ Ephesians 5:1-2



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Yarn Along {16}

My knitting has been slow going these past few weeks! The reason - I have been spending most all of my time snuggling with my precious, baby girl, Heidi!


However, this weekend found me knitting away again and it was so very good! The feel of the yarn gliding through my fingers does something to relax me and I fall in love with the craft all over again!

I managed to knit a few more rows on Caleb's Little Hoodlum. This pattern, so far, is a very easy and enjoyable knit. The yarn is scrumptious and is knitting up so nicely. It is going to make the most snuggly sweater for him to wear this coming winter, in his favorite color to boot!

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I have been telling myself that the next thing I cast on will be for me! As much as I love knitting things for my children, I have yet to knit anything simply for me! I was gifted this yummy grey yarn and the shawl pattern, Piper's Journey - perfect to wrap around me this fall - that I am thinking will be my next knit.  We will see how long this lasts as I still want to knit Heidi another sweater to match her Quick Change Trousers, as well as a few knitted toys that Emma and Caleb have been requesting forever for me to make!

I have been reading the most wonderful book, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It is a book I believe everyone should read! If you have yet to read this book, go, buy it, and start reading it...now! It is a beautiful, beautiful, book! One whose story will stay with me for a long time! I am sad to almost be finished with it!

What have you been up to lately?


Linking up with Ginny!




So that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. ~ Hebrews 6:12



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Not Back-to-School Blog Hop {curriculum week}

I remember this time last year browsing through all the blogs that linked up each week at the Not Back-to-School Blog Hop! I received so many great ideas and inspiration - plus, I loved looking at others school rooms and shelves packed with books! {book-nerd here...in case you couldn't tell already!} 

This year, when I was reminded  of the Blog Hop through other blogs that I follow, I immediately knew I wanted to take part and link up each week! So, for the rest of August, I will be linking up each week and sharing a little about our life as a homeschooling family!

This weeks topic is Curriculum. You may remember this post I wrote a few months ago about how stressful choosing what "curriculum" I wanted to use was! The options are limitless. I truly spent hours praying - which was the best decision, because ultimately this is His plan for my children's lives - over what would be best for us. I thought I needed something that was already laid out for me - where all the planning was already done and all I needed to do was present it to my daughter. I didn't think I could handle having a stack of books in front of me and deciding when and how and which days to use them.  I underestimate myself far too many times. Little did I know, God's plan involved me doing just that! 

I was given some great advice by a fellow homeschooler. She told me to concentrate on what my children's interests were and how they enjoyed learning about those things. That is the beauty of homeschooling - you tailor it specifically to the needs of your child! 

I also read Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson, which I highly recommend, and in it, they talk a lot about having the focus of your homeschool be around God's word. This should be the most important aspect of what my children are learning. Sounds so simple and like something I should have already known and considered, being that we are a Christian Homeschooling Family, but I seriously had been putting more emphasis on finding the write Phonics books rather than looking for the best way to teach them Jesus! 

So, I sat and re-evaluated my whole outlook and idea of homeschooling. What areas did I want to concentrate on most this year? What was most important and vital, to me, for Emma to be learning? 

Here is what I came up with:
Bible first
Phonics and Reading second
and the rest is meant to just have fun with and take with a grain of salt! 

I do not want to stress myself out and I certainly do not want to stress Emma out! I want homeschooling to be a fun learning environment - for all of us! I want us to be successful in it and continue doing so unless the Lord's plan says otherwise! 

I started researching and reading about different Bible curriculums and phonics/reading curriculums - since these were most important to me! I knew of Apologia, for their wonderful Science curriculums and their friendly advice through Facebook, but was not aware that they also had Bible curriculums until I received one of their magazines in the mail. I was thrilled when I found out this would be a perfect fit for us. We will be using the Who is God? set. I am very excited to be learning from this as well! 






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Phonics/reading was a bit of a challenge for me to decide on what to go with. After much reading and many, many, questions asked, I decided on a variety of things! We will be using Explode the Code 1 for Phonics. For read-alouds and such, I will be following the Five in a Row curriculum as well as using BOB Books and, of course, our library! I am so very excited to be teaching Emma to read! I hope and pray she becomes a book-worm just like her mama! 

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Emma LOVES animals! I mean, LOVES them! I wasn't going to do much with a Science Curriculum this year, since she is only "technically" in Kindergarten, but when I saw Land Animals of the Sixth Day in the Apologia Magazine, I knew this was something she was really going to enjoy! We will be spending a few days each week learning about all the beautiful animals God placed on this earth for us to enjoy.


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Lastly is Math. I decided on Singapore's Earlybird Kindergarten Mathematics book. It is simple enough and just the right amount of math to add into each of our days.  


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I am looking forward to the start of our homeschool year! I think we all are going to have a great time learning together! 

To find more inspiration and ideas from other homeschooling families, head on over to iHomeschool Network

 
Not Back to School Blog Hop


 
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.
1 John 4:16b-17


Monday, August 6, 2012

{these days}

Rhythm. It's what our days have been lacking, but at the same time, it is what we have slowly started to gain back again.  

Any time a new baby arrives, things seem to get a bit jumbled and life takes a turn in a different, but good, direction. Working to get us all back on the right track has been a lot easier than I had originally anticipated. It has actually been quite enjoyable. The sweetness of our baby girl fitting right in with our way of life. She is as pleasant as any baby can be and a complete Joy

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These days we are counting our blessings - thankful for, 

Tiny Baby Feet

 My sweet  older girl who has become such a wonderful help to her mama 

The silliness that comes from my older two children 

Early morning cuddles 

Babywearing 

The love and sibling bond between Emma and Caleb

Kindness from others 

My Husband  

Lazy Sunday afternoons listening to the rain 

Blackberry Cobbler 

Friendship - no matter how near or far

Great Reads 

Wonderful views     


 
 

“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:130



Saturday, August 4, 2012

We Choose Virtues {august promo codes}


You may or may not have have noticed the affiliate links located on the right hand side of the blog home page. I am affiliated with two wonderful companies - perfect for homeschooling, or non-homeschooling, families!

Each month, We Choose Virtues, offers promo codes to help you save some money on their fabulous products! I try to update underneath the picture what the current months promo code is, so check each month to see what you can save BIG on!

For the month of August, you can save 25% on the Homeschool and Family Kits! Simply enter the promo code BTS25 at checkout! As always, you can save 15% on your entire order by entering VIRTUE15 at checkout!


Here is an overview of the differnces between each kit from Heather, We Choose Virtues founder!

COMMON QUESTIONS:
How do you decide which Kit is right for you?
·         Price: The Family Kit costs less.
·         Wall Space: The Family Kit has fewer posters.
·         Time: The Homeschool Kit has additional tools for greater accountability.
·         Both Kits contain the Parenting Cards (they only come with scriptures in the NIrV)

Is there anything I might want to add to the Kit?
·         Yes, the Personal Virtue Charts are nice to have. Buy your own favorite stickers.
·         The Official Butterfly Award…wait! That comes as a FREE download this month with any kit purchase!
·         Virtue Clues are always fun.

I hope you will stop on over to the We Choose Virtues site and take a look around! There is a variety of wonderful products to help instill strong virtues within your family!

Have a wonderful weekend!


You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
Isaiah 26:3

Thursday, August 2, 2012

God Made the World & Me {giveaway}

Today I bring you another wonderful giveaway! {if you missed yesterdays giveaway, click here!} This time it is a comprehensive 6-in-1 science curriculum for pre-schoolers from New Leaf Publishing!  

God Made the World & Me: Thirteen Comprehensive 6-in-1 Curriculum Lessons, Preschool

Your children are never too young to learn about their Creator and his creation. Combining science, art, physical activities, and music, these 13 lessons based on Genesis 1 and 2 and Psalms 24 and 139 will give preschoolers a solid faith foundation and kindle their curiosity about the natural world around them. Includes fun and messy hands-on projects! {description from cbd.com}

This was never used by us last year and I am hoping it will bless someone this year!


To Win: Simply leave me a comment on this post!

Additional Entries: {leave a seperate comment for each}

*Tweet about the giveaway {please leave Twitter Link in comment}
*Share the giveaway on Facebook!
*Follow A Faithful Journey via Email {enter your email address in the box in the top right-hand corner}

Giveaway ends Monday, August 6 at Midnight! Open to US residents only!

Giveaway Closed! Winner was commenter #22 LovingMyGirls! Thank you to all who entered!


For more giveaway fun, head on over to Homeschool Creations for the annual Curriculum Clean-Out!


I plan on returning next week to blogging a little more frequently with some fun homeschool posts, knitting posts, baby posts, book posts, and just basic life! Until then, I will be babymooning! Have a wonderful rest of the week and weekend!



For YOUR part, brothers, do not give up in doing right. ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:13

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

100 Read & Sing Devotions {giveaway}

I've been spending a lot of time lately going through all of our books and trying to organize - getting everything ready to start back into homeschool in a few weeks.

I came across a few titles that will be of no use to us this year and thought, hey!, I could bless someone else with these!  

So, here you have it!

One lucky reader will win a copy of 100 Read & Sing Devotions from Tommy Nelson!


We actually never got around to using this and have enough devotional books that I can spare this one and give it to one of you! It includes 2 CD's packed with songs about the scriptures! Wonderful fun!!

To Win: Simply leave me a comment on this post!

Additional Entries: {leave a seperate comment for each}

*Tweet about the giveaway {please leave Twitter Link in comment}
*Share the giveaway on Facebook!
*Follow A Faithful Journey via Email {enter your email address in the box in the top right-hand corner}

Giveaway ends Sunday, Aug. 5th at Midnight! Open to US residents only!

Giveaway Closed!! The winner was commenter #43 Whitney! Thank you to all who entered!

For more giveaway fun, head on over to Homeschool Creations for the annual Curriculum Clean-Out!



Make sure to come back tomorrow for another Homeschool Giveaway!

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” ~ John 1:12-13
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