TOS Crew: Spiritual Circle Journal

Spiritual Circle Journal

Having a quiet time with the Lord every morning is so important to me, but it took me a long time to figure out exactly how to do it. I never really had anyone explain to me what a “quiet time” was supposed to be and it took a while for me to get comfortable and find a Bible reading plan and journaling system that works for me. I want my son to learn how to enjoy his own quiet time too, but I’m hoping to make it a little easier for him. So, I was really excited to get to check out the Spiritual Circle Journal for Kids & Teens from Spiritual Circle Journal.

Spiritual Circle Journal

The journal is designed for ages eight and up. Liz Lassa, the author, first created a Circle Journal for adults (which I would love to check out!) and got so much positive feedback she decided to create one for kids as well. The journal comes with a colorful cover and 65 journaling pages that you can have your child use on a weekly basis. It also includes a separate section in the back where kids can summarize the things they have learned.

One of the cool things about the journal is that it has a special page where kids can design their own cover if they want to. My son liked “personalizing” his journal and making it his own. After they make their own cover you can tear the regular cover out and use theirs instead. The first few pages include an introduction where the different parts of the journal are explained. Liz makes the connection between writing and how it makes things stick in our minds, which is part of the idea behind the journal. By writing and recording their thoughts it helps kids internalize what they are learning in their quiet time.

We followed the suggestions given in the intro and I did the first few journal entries with my son. The key at the front of the journal is very helpful, because it clearly explains how to fill out each section, and my son referred back to it a lot when he first started journaling. Each page offers a section where kids can record verses or song lyrics that are important to them, what kinds of worries or other things are on their minds at the moment, a summary of messages from their Bible reading or from church, prayers, thank-yous, and more.

My son is 15 and is very into Christian contemporary music. He plays it all the time. He really liked writing down his favorite song lyrics on the page. At first it took him a while to figure out how to fill out each box, and that’s okay. They don’t even have to fill out each section every time. The hardest parts for him were the “God Moving” section and the “action” section. But, I can say that even as an adult, it can be hard to make those connections at first. When he started working on the journal I would try to guide him with questions like “How did your week go, was there any moment you look back on where you feel like God was really working in your life?”. After a while he got better at making connections between events in his life and God’s hand at work.

I think that’s what I like most about the Spiritual Circle Journal, the way it helped my son make connections between the Bible, God and his daily life. While we often talk about how God walks with us every day and does great things for us, I think the overall concept can be hard to grasp for kids. Journaling like this really makes my son think about what he has read in the Word, and what he has seen during the week. I feel like his quiet time is a lot more thoughtful than it was. We use the journal 2-3 days per week, which is plenty for now. I think this is starting him off on the right foot and will develop a great habit he will carry for a lifetime.

The Spiritual Circle Journal for Kids and Teens only costs $15 and you can get a bulk rate for a Co-op. I would definitely check it out if you would like to encourage your child to build a deep and thoughtful quiet time. To learn more about Spiritual Circle Journal, connect with them on social media here:

Spiritual Circle Journal on Facebook

Spiritual Circle Journal on Instagram

Spiritual Circle Journal on Twitter

To see what other members of the crew thought of this product, click here:

Spiritual Circle Journal

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Cajun Cauliflower with Sausage

We love spicy food at my house. This yummy recipe provides all the flavor we want, but with much fewer calories. And it is super easy to make.

Ingredients:

1 large head of cauliflower

1/2 diced onion

1 lb. andouille sausage

3 cloves garlic

3 stalks celery

1 red bell pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp oregano

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tbsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 cup chopped parsley

Bay leaf

1 tsp thyme

2 cups chicken broth

 

 

Directions:

  1. Chop cauliflower into florets. Add the florets to a food processor in thirds, and chop until finely ground. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Chop the garlic, celery, and bell pepper.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in skillet and add the celery, garlic, and pepper. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until tender.
  4. Chop the sausage and add it to the skillet and cook for about 10 more minutes, until sausage is done. Drain.
  5. Add the chicken broth, spices, and bay leaf and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 10 more minutes.
  6. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a second skillet over medium and then add the cauliflower. Cook through (about 5 minutes).
  7. Return the cauliflower to the bowl and stir in the meat mixture. Top with the parsley.

This is delicious with some crusty bread! Enjoy!

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Menu Plan Monday 8/29/16

Is anybody else as ready for fall as I am? It’s my favorite season, and I am definitely ready for some cooler weather!! I can’t wait to make all of our favorite soups and stews again, not to mention the fall vegetables you find in the store! Right now, we are squarely in the middle of the dog days of summer. So, this is our menu for the week:

Monday: Greek Salad with Chicken

Tuesday: Citrus Steak with Bean Salad

Wednesday: Chicken and Black Bean enchiladas

Thursday: Easy Cheesy Tortellini (crock pot recipe)

Friday: Make your own pizza night!

What do you do when it’s almost too hot to cook? Let me know if you have any special recipes for super-hot days. Thanks for stopping by for Menu Plan Monday. See you next week.

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Menu Plan Monday 8/22/16

We are slowly getting it together over at my house. And this week I am actually posting my Menu Plan Monday on the right day of the week this week. I love summer, but I am kind of glad to be getting back to a regular routine again! Here’s our menu for this week:

Monday: Spaghetti

Tuesday: Baked chicken tacos

Wednesday: Red Wine Seared Pork Chops

Thursday: Spanish Rice

Friday: burgers on the grill

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week.

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TOS Review: FlipStir Puzzles (Enlivenze LLC)

FlipStir Puzzles Reviews

Who doesn’t love a good puzzle? As a kid I could spend hours putting puzzles together. Horse puzzles were my favorite. My boys enjoy a good puzzle every now and then, but like a lot of things from my childhood, they tend to get bored after a while. However, the FlipStir puzzles from Enlivenze LLC put a new twist (literally) on puzzle-solving. For this review, we got to check out the Statue of Liberty puzzle.

FlipStir Puzzles Reviews

First of all, FlipStir puzzles are fully 3D and you don’t use your hands to put the pieces together like you do in a traditional puzzle. Instead, each puzzle comes in its own self-contained plastic tube. The challenge is to put the pieces together using a stick inserted in the tube, and shaking, turning, and flipping the tube itself. Sound a little crazy? It was, and quite fun and challenging.

The picture of the completed puzzle is included on a sticker at the bottom of the tube, so you can use it as a reference. The statue of liberty puzzle that we did is considered a Level 2 puzzle, so it’s a little harder than the Level 1 puzzles. Well, for me at least, it was really hard! It reminded me of the games you play on your phone where you have to tilt the screen just right to get the ball to roll into the hole. You have to get things lined up just right to make it work.

Each member of my family had a different approach to solving the puzzle. I am a shaker. Basically that means I just shake the tube back and forth, trying to get the pieces to line up (at least most of them) and then I try using the stick to finish the rest. My youngest has a style similar to mine, but he’s a lot more patient than I am. My oldest son and hubby take a more careful, analytical approach, carefully trying to move each piece into place.

So far, my hubby and my youngest have gotten the farthest with the puzzle, but none of us have solved it yet! I think the challenge is what makes it so much fun. I think this is a great party game. My cousin and her family were visiting us recently and my youngest got it out and everyone wanted a chance to try it. It was hilarious watching people as they worked hard to solve the puzzle. I could also see this being a great way to keep kids occupied on road trips, or on busy days when you have to run a lot of errands. The puzzle itself is small enough to fit in a backpack or tote bag, and since it is self-contained, you don’t have to worry about the pieces spilling everywhere.

There are several FlipStir puzzles to choose from, so the entertainment possibilities are endless. To learn more, connect with Enlivenze and FlipStir on social media:

FlipStir on Facebook

FlipStir on Twitter

Enlivenze on Facebook

Enlivenze on Twitter

To see what other members of the crew thought of the puzzles, click here:
FlipStir Puzzles Reviews

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Menu Plan Monday 8/16/16

 

Ugh. Have you ever had a week that you just couldn’t get it together? August has been kind of a rough month at my house and my motivation to do anything is pretty much zero. However, I am trying to get myself back into my regular routine, so here we go with Menu Plan Monday, on a Tuesday!

Our dinners this week include:

Monday: Stuffed Pork Loin

Tuesday: Baked Grilled Cheese sandwiches

Wednesday: Taco night

Thursday: Chicken Caprese

Friday: French Dip sandwiches

Thanks for stopping by for Menu Plan Monday! I hope to be back on track next week.

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Homeschool 101 Blog Hop: Planning

5 Days of Homeschool 101Welcome to Day 2 of the Homeschool 101 Blog Hop! Today we are talking about planning. Are you a planner? I am, by nature. I make lists for everything, groceries, holidays, vacations etc. Homeschooling is no different. For me, having a written plan is a key to success. I admire those who don’t feel the need to plan and just keep everything in their heads, but I can’t do it. And I know a lot of people use online planning too, which is great, but for me, there is just something about pencil and paper planning that works. So, this is how I plan for our homeschool.

The first key is finding a planner that works for you. Apologia and The Old Schoolhouse magazine both have awesome planners that I love. First you need to ask yourself, what are you looking for in a planner? I need one that has monthly calendars where I can keep track of doctor’s appointments, homeschool groups, church activities etc. I also like one that has some kind of pages where I can sketch out our year. In addition, I like to have pages where I can set goals for the year, write down which curriculum we’re going to use, and keep track of a weekly schedule and additional space for menu planning is a bonus. You might not need all of that, you might just want somewhere to keep track of appointments and assignments, and that’s fine. The point is, ask yourself what is most important to you as far as planning for your schooling, and find a planner that meets those needs.

 

I have a friend who makes her own planner using free printable pages she found online. This allows you to really customize your planner to meet your needs. She is a scrapbooker too (I tried, and failed, at scrapbooking) so it’s really pretty too. If you can’t find a planner that meets your needs, consider setting up one of your own. There are tons of free printables online. Donna Young.org is a great place to start.

The most important factor in planning for me, is making time for it. Let’s face it, life is so busy. But I find that when I don’t take time to plan for our school, things often dissolve into chaos, and it drives me crazy. Generally, I take a few days before the start of school to sit down and make a general sketch for our year. I try to do this when no one else is home so I won’t be interrupted, but if that doesn’t work, I will head to the library for a couple of hours with my planner and a pencil. Now, keep in mind, I am just talking about a sketch. Obviously, I have no way of knowing what’s going to come up during the year (and we all know things come up!) but I at least like to set a calendar with our holidays and school vacations. I also use this time to come up with some general goals for the year, both academic and personal, as well as record my plans for curriculum.

 

 

From there, I generally make it a point to plan each week either on a Friday after school, or a Sunday afternoon. My kids have their own planners where I write down their assignments for the week. Again, I know a lot of people who use online planners or just sticky notes with a daily schedule, but this is the system that works for me. On Fridays, we review the work for the week, I grade (yes, my boy’s planners have room for grades) and then I plan for the next week. Now, if it was one of those weeks where things got kind of crazy and we didn’t finish everything we had planned, it’s no big deal, we simply move the stuff we didn’t finish to the next week. That’s one of the reasons I always write my plans in pencil! While I know there is no way to plan for everything, and homeschooling is by nature, flexible, it makes me feel better to have some kind of written plan for our school year. How do you plan? Let me know in the comments. Find out what other crew members had to say about how they plan by clicking here, and make sure to come back tomorrow for posts about Home Management!


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