Saturday, October 30, 2010

Why We Don't Celebrate Halloween

First of all, let me preface this by saying that this is ONLY what our family chooses to do, NOT what we think everybody else should do.  That's between you and your Heavenly Father and is nobody else's business. I honestly don't think any differently of anyone for whatever they choose to do this time of year.  I promise.

But we have been asked our feelings on Halloween a few times so I thought it was a good time to type up a blog post about it.

In today's society it is normal to celebrate Halloween.  Most of the time it's not even given a second thought. All through my childhood years I dressed up and went trick-or-treating and absolutely LOVED it!  We had Halloween parties at school and carved pumpkins at home and it was a lot of fun.  I don't remember us ever taking part in anything extremely scary or gory and even though we had witch and monster and ghost decorations I knew none of them were real and therefore wasn't scared.

So why the sudden change once I became an adult?  Well, to be honest with you it's actually very simple and requires very little explanation.  I simply love my Lord and Saviour so very, very much and I am SO thankful for what He did for me on that cross that I don't want to take even the slightest chance of offending him.

Philippians 4:8 says, "...whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" while 1 Thessalonians 5:22 says to, "Abstain from all appearance of evil".  That's all I need!  Halloween simply isn't worth it to me. 

I know there's always the debate over the actual origins of Halloween, trying to justify celebrating it.  All Saints Day, All Hallows Eve.  I've heard it, I've read it, I've watched it.  Regardless of it all, I'm living today.  And what I see Halloween is today, I don't see things that are true, honest, just, pure, and lovely or worthy of any praise.  In fact, a lot of what I see represents nothing but pure evil.  Just walk down the Halloween isle of any Wal-Mart and tell me which you see more of, pure and lovely or evil?

I know for little kids dressing up can be cute and fun and innocent, and that's fine.  I'm not against dressing up, having fun, or eating candy.  But as one that is supposed to be a light in a dark world why would I want to participate in a holiday that, for the most part, brings images of dark, scary, and ungodly things? 

Having said all that, I'm also very careful to not appear 'holier-than-thou' about it either.  If we get trick-or-treaters (which we never have) I would gladly hand out candy.  They're kids.  They don't know any different and will have to make their own decisions about Halloween when they're older.  But if they show up at my door doing what they know Halloween to be about then I'm going to smile, comment on their costumes, and lovingly give them some candy.

We love to decorate our home for the fall with pumpkins and gourds, fodder shocks, mums, scarecrows, cornucopias, pilgrims, orange and yellow leaves, etc. We also have our own little 'Harvest Party' here in our back yard every year where we get together with friends and family and eat, have a fire and make S'mores, play age-old fallish games (bobbing for apples, sack races, etc.) and this year we even had a special devotion using a pumpkin.  But it is completely focused on Autumn and the harvest season.

In short, it's simple.  My Father, who died the cruelest of deaths and saved me from eternity in hell, is so much more important to me than celebrating some silly man-made holiday.  Is it wrong?  I honestly don't know.  Does it offend God and break His heart to see His children participating in a holiday that the very name brings images of darkness and evil.  I can't say that He has ever told me that exactly.  However, I love Him too much to take the chance. 

My husband has always said something I thought was very wise and I think it applies perfectly here...

"When you don't know, don't."  And that's what we choose to do.

Friday, October 29, 2010

For Sale

Well, it's the time again.  Time to purge and declutter the bookshelves. 

This is List 1 of the things I HAVE to get rid of. I have four big boxes of curriculum and books sitting in my den and they have to be gone by the third week of November when we get our Christmas decorations out! If you are interested in anything just send me a message here. Pictures, further descriptions and shipping cost provided upon request. (Didn't have time to do that. Just trying to move the stuff as quickly as possilble and still have 3 boxes to list.)

Thanks for looking!
-Abeka Grammar & Composition II, Grade 8, Work Text ( (first 13 pages of nearly 400 were done) and Teacher's Key ( - $23.00 for both

-Abeka Land That I Love text, Grade 8, brand new! ( - $18.00

-Abeka Exploring God's World, Grade 3 (, Text and Tests/Quizzes/Worksheets book ( (First 2 chapters done), Teacher Key ( - $22.00

-Abeka Our America, Grade 2 History/Geography (some answers have been written in book but have been erased) - $8.00

-Abeka Heatlh, Safety, & Manners 2 (like new) - $9.00

-Abeka Enjoying God's World 2 (very minimal writing that has been erased) - $9.00

-Abeka Developing Good Health, Grade 4, like new - $9.00

-Abeka Science Order & Reality, Grade 7, like new (, set of 13 tests from Christian Liberty along with Answer Key (all unused) - $23.00 for all)

-Set of 25 Abeka readers, ranging from reading level 1.6 to 4.4 – These books average $10.75 each if you purchased them from Abeka. I am asking $2.50 each or $50.00 for all 25 books. Titles and/or pictures available upon request.

-Reading Made Easy. ( Cover shows wear, but pages are in great shape. Slight dog-earing on a few of the pages. Retails for $50. I'm asking $25.00.

-“Dearer Than Life”, a Salem Ridge Press book ( Brand new. $10.00

Review: Buckets-O-Fun

As soon as I saw that I would be reviewing 'Yuck' I knew this would be one for my boys!  It sounded right up their alley.  When it came in the mail and I saw the Sticky Yuck was 'just like snot' (no kidding, that's exactly what it said!) I thought, "Oh great!  This should be fun."  Ewww! 

Well, evidentally 'Ewww' for mom means 'Awesome!' for boys!  Yuck was a big hit at our house!  What is Yuck, you ask?  Well, to be honest with you, I don't really know.  By that I mean I honestly don't know what it's made out of, but considering you can use Snowy Yuck on a Slip & Slide, wrestle in Chunky Yuck, and shoot Saucy Yuck out of a YuckZooka at people, I'm confident that whatever it's made out of, it's safe! 

The company that sells Yuck, among other really fun-looking things like the X-Force Eliminator and Belly Bumpers (both perfect for our brood of four kiddos!), is Buckets-O-Fun. Sheri Elmont started Buckets-O-Fun to provide unique and fun products to families, schools, clubs, church groups, and anyone else who wants to enhance the fun at parties and functions.  She says, "My experiences remind me that the fun and meaningful memories from an event bond people and help build relationships."  Being a family who enjoys entertaining and who has several get-togethers with friends and family throughout the year, I couldn't agree more with Sheri's statement!  Can you imagine how much more fun that family reunion would be gathering everyone and taking pictures in the World's Largest Underpants?!

Being a homeschool family I felt it was important to teach the kids what a polymer was before we started using Yuck.  Yeah, they weren't going for it!  LOL.  They just wanted to get to the fun!  And fun it was.  We actually all really enjoyed watching what each Yuck did when we added water to them.  And yes, we all had to get our hands into each one, even mom!  From feeling like gummy worms to applesauce, foam, and yes, even snot (never thought I'd be using that word on my blog!), each Yuck was unique and fun to play with.  I can't imagine the fun to be had with a whole bucket of Yuck!

Our favorites?  Well mine was by far the Snowy Yuck!  Being excited about the upcoming Christmas season I just loved seeing and feeling the pretty,almost glittery, snow-looking Yuck.  If this Christmas morning is like most around here we may have to get a whole bucket of Snowy Yuck and put it outside our windows to make it feel more festive!

Running a close second for me is most definitely Chunky Yuck.  It felt really good in my hands and I enjoyed playing with it.  The kids?  Well, for our boys as well as our neighbor boy who joined in the fun, it's a no-brainer that their favorite was the Sticky Yuk.  They even had to get out the magnifying glasses to check it out more closely!

Yuck can be purchased in 1-, 5-, and 50-pound buckets and range in price from $16 for one pound of Chunky Yuck all the way up to $600 for 50 pounds of Sticky Yuck.  Want to try it before you purchase?  Ask for your free sample!  You can also watch a short YouTube video on the Sticky Yuk here!

*As a member of the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew I received this product free of charge in exchange for my review and honest opinion of it. As a believer and follower of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I promise you that all my reviews are honest and contain only my own true opinions...'cause He told me to not lie!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Review: PG Key

Several years ago one of our children had a gut-wrenching experience on the Internet.  She was young and independent and chose to do something she knew not to.  She typed in words she wanted to find websites about in the address bar and hit 'Enter'.  BIG mistake!  At that time our computer was in our den, which is right off of our kitchen but obviously not close enough to monitor every second.  Let's just say that she got way more than an eye full!  It was horrible.  I won't get into what it did to her or to us as her parents, but just suffice it to say that it completely stole her innocence and caused issues for years.

What I wouldn't have given to have a PG Key back then!  What does a PG Key do?  Well, it does just exactly what it's name suggests.  It keeps your computer viewing 'PG'!  (Actually, by today's movie standards it's much more like keeping your computer viewing 'G'!)  And it couldn't be easier to use.  All you do is plug it in to the USB port on your computer and it's ready to go!

With the PG Key you can be sure anyone using the computer will have safe viewing because all inappropriate content is blocked.  You can set certain websites to be blocked as well if there are ones you don't want your children visiting.  One of my favorite things about PG Key is that you can easily control when the computer is used and for how long.  With four kids in the house it becomes nearly impossible to keep track of who's using the computer and for how long so I love this feature!

One of the best parts about PG Key, in my opinion, is that it records up to 60 hours of computer useage so parents can see EVERYTHING that goes on on the computer, including both sides to a chat conversation!  It plays back all activity just like a movie.  How cool is that?  No more trying to wiggle your way out of something you know you did.  The camera doesn't lie baby!  LOL!

You can also set a feature to send you text and/or email alerts when questionable content viewing or activity has occured.

My husband's only concern was, "Well all they have to do is pull the thing out."  I'm happy to report that the creators of PG Key were smart enough to think about that too.  If the key is pulled out the computer simply won't work until it is plugged back in!  That gets two thumbs up from this mom!

How much is this ingenious little device?  Well, honestly?  In my opinion, after experiencing what we did with our daughter, no price is too much to protect our children.  But when you learn that it's only $49.99 I think you'll agree that that's a very small price to pay to make sure your children are safe online.  (Learn about their Free Trial here.)  There are no annual fees.  The only thing you ever pay is the $49.99 when you purchase it.

If I have peaked your interest you can learn more about PG Key here.  This is one device we will most DEFINITELY be using for years to come! 

You can also see what other TOS Crew members think of PG Key here.

*As a member of the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew I received this product free of charge in exchange for my review and honest opinion of it. As a believer and follower of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I promise you that all my reviews are honest and contain only my own true opinions...'cause He told me to not lie!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tag! You're It!

I was tagged by the very sweet Jen Unsell (whom I want to be like when I grow up!) and since I LOVE Jen and am hardly ever tagged in these kinds of things I thought I would join the fun and let you into a little of who I am.

For this MeMe I am to answer 8 questions that Jennifer has asked me and then I am to tag 8 people and ask them different questions than I was asked, but I don't really know right off the top of my head who to tag or who would actually like to participate, so I'm just going to leave you with my answers and the 8 questions I would really like to hear different answers to.  If you have a few minutes and would like to participate I would love to hear your answers!  So if you are reading this consider yourself tagged and either answer here in a comment or on your blog (but please be sure to come back and leave me a link so I can read your answers).

Here are the questions Jen asked...

1) What is the most interesting thing about where you live?

It would have to be the amount of interesting things that go on here.  We are such a small town yet we are the home of the original KFC, we are one of only a few places in the world that has moonbows, we've had an earthquake back in 2002, we had a plant explosion in 2005 that killed 7 people and was the feature of a TV show, the Blue's Clues show (including Steve!) came to one of our local elementary schools back in the show's highlight years, a Lifetime TV show came here this summer to film an episode, a movie is being made (and partially filmed here) about a former blind high school football player at our local high school... I know there's more that's escaping my memory, but it just fascinates me that we're so small yet so many things seem to go on here.


 2) If you could go anywhere in the world and money didn't matter, where would you chose to go?

You know, it would be so awesome to visit places such as Paris and Rome and the beautiful countryside of England, but even more than that I would love to travel the U.S. and see all the fascinating and amazing places we have right here in our own country!

 3) What is a food that you cook for your family a lot?

Well, I used to do it until my oldest daughter learned and has taken over the task (and is quite good I might add!), but I would have to say homemade pizza.

 4) What is your favorite subject to teach in your homeschool?

American history.  It is so fascinating and opens up so many different discussions in our family.

 5) What is your favorite movie that you have seen this year?
The Blind Side, hands down.

 6) What is your favorite book that you have read this year?
The Shack

 7) What is the most interesting place that you have ever traveled to?
New York City.  It's a whole different world than our little quiet country town!  LOL.

8) What is your favorite book on homeschooling that you have read?
"Help!  I'm Married to a Homeschool Mom"  (LOL!)

And here are my questions for you!

1.  When do you decorate for Christmas?

2.  What are your families favorite Christmas traditions?

3.  What's your favorite or most 'famous' holiday recipe, either Thanksgiving or Christmas?

4.  Are you a homeschooling family and if so, what's your favorite thing about homeschooling?

5.  What are your top 3-5 homeschooling curriculums you've ever used?

6.  What are some of your best homeschooling memories? 

7.  What are some fun, inexpensive things to do at a fall party?  (this one is a bit selfish on my part as I am needing some quick ideas!  lol)
8.   Are you saved and on your way to Heaven?!  (If not or you're not sure and would like to talk more please feel free to email me any time... christymitchell at eastkytelecom dot com)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Best Way to Learn History... to experience it for yourselves!

What an awesome, amazing, wonderful day in history today turned out to be!  I am so thankful my children have the opportunity to be home all day.  There is no better way to learn something than to experience it for yourself, to get your hands on it, or in today's case, to watch it unfold live right before your eyes. 

In cases such as today's rescue of 33 Chilean miners after being trapped underground for 69 days I am so thankful for the technology we have that allows us to be eyewitnesses to history being made!  Had my children been in public school they would have been stuck behind a desk all day only hearing about the rescue once they got home, if at all.  This is the kind of stuff that will be in their children's history books!

Instead they watched each and every miner come up out of the ground, hug their families, pray and thank God, and we engaged in several really good talks throughout the day... things related to mining, how and where the collapse was, where Chile is, the desert, how much we all want to speak Spanish fluently, and more.  Just as important was hearing all the personal stories of the different miners and seeing that even though we may look a little different and speak a different language, we're all human... feeling, experiencing, and thinking the same things.  Nurturing compassion for others in our children is one of the most important things we can do for them, and today was a perfect opportunity to do so.  (As a side note we also learned the truth of the scripture about how our sins will 'find us out' as we watched the miner emerge whose wife had met his long-time secret mistress while he was trapped underground!)

Welcome home miners, and thank you for letting us be 5 of the 1.2 BILLION people who witnessed your miracle today!  God bless you all!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review: Rocking Robots Download N Go

Amanda Bennett has created some really awesome unit studies over the years, many of which we have used in our homeschooling journey.  Her latest adventure, Download N Go, is a series of weekly unit studies for children between Kindergarten and fourth grade, although children from the ages of around 4 through 12 or so would easily benefit from and enjoy them.  Each DNG has a central theme, the Constitution, Ben Franklin, or Autumn Treasures for example, and contains daily lesson plans while also incorporating lapbooking activities.

We were given the opportunity to review Rocking Robots as our first experience with Download N Go's, however, we came in very late in the review time frame so we weren't able to use it to it's full intent.  BUT!  Let me tell you, that has only added to the excitement in my children!  They want to do more and dig deeper than what we have been able to do!  I'm going to be honest.  My first initial thought was that my kids were too old for DNG's and that they would think they were too 'babyish'.  Boy was I proven wrong!  Here's what your week with Rocking Robots will look like:

Day 1: What Is a Robot?
Day 2: The History of Robots
Day 3: People and Places of Robots
Day 4: Science Secrets of Robots
Day 5: Goodies and Gadgets of Robots

Because of the time constraint, we more or less just read through Rocking Robots, visited the links provided, discussed so many different things (all sparked by the information in the DNG), and watched some REALLY COOL videos all pertaining to robots!  Even I was amazed at the things we watched robots do!  I had no idea they were used to perform such awesome acts.  It truly was fascinating.

As I was scrolling down through the DNG (and that's the best part about them, you just download them and you're ready to go!) a couple of the kids were watching over my shoulder.  I kept hearing things like, "Oh!  That's cool!", or "What's that?", and even a few, "I want to do THAT!"  So much for my thinking they were too old for DNG's!

So, even though my time is up for the official review, it's safe to say that our time with Rocking Robots is far from over.  This Download N Go has sparked such an excitement with robots that my 10-year-old son has now added a robot of his own to his Christmas list and as I sit here typing this he and his brother and younger sister are watching the movie 'Robots' as they go to bed.  Does that tell you anything?

Each Download N Go is priced at only $7.95 and can be purchased here.  If you're interested in Rocking Robots you can read more about it, including other reviews, as well as download a sample of it here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Happy Birthday to ME!

Yes, it's that time of year again.  My very favorite month of the year.  October!  I LOVE having a fall birthday.  So, to include all of you in my celebration today I thought I would share my favorite fall recipe, which I just so happen to have made for myself today!