Monday, September 14, 2015

I'm down but not out

I have been having some serious shoulder pain, which turns out to be a problem in my neck. Still, it has made sitting at my desk unbearable and sitting at all unpleasant. I am in physical therapy and it seems to be helping, but it seems like it will be a slow healing process.

So anyway, writing is just not happening right now. We have some things going on in school and other activities I plan to write about. I just haven't had the opportunity to get it on the blog. Please don't give up on me and if you would, send a prayer my way! I am anxious to get back to my usual pace again!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

How Small is an atom?

In our World of Science book we are learning about atoms so I logged on to Easy Peasy All-in-one Homeschool to find some supplemental ways to explore them.

On their Easy Peasy Chemistry and Physics page I found links to these fun interactive helpful tools!

At Molecularium we played in the Nanolab. There you could build molecules, zoom in to see their size, and check them out in the different states of matter.

Then at Learn.Genetics we found a cool tool that lets you get a feel for the real size and scale of a cell. Use the scroll bar along the bottom to keep zooming in. It's really cool!

We followed up with this video showing the size by continuing to look at things that are 1,000 times smaller than the object we are looking at. The music is just background and has no context, so we muted it as we watched.

It's really hard to wrap your head around how really tiny an atom is, but these sure do help give us some perspective.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A+ For Math

By A+ I don't actually mean that's my daughter's grade, but rather it is the program we are using for math again this year.  A+ Tutorsoft is math program you can purchase to use online or on a CD. It has instructional videos, interactive quizzes, as well as both online and printable worksheets and exams. It has everything we need for one year of math.

Gess really struggles with math so we are using the 3rd grade curriculum. Gess has been unable to memorize her math facts so I still allow her to use helps (including counting on her fingers) to help her solve problems, but she is able to add and subtract large numbers that way. We will begin focusing on multiplication and division this year.

I prefer A+ over other online programs because the lessons are presented in a way that Gess seems to both enjoy and understand. When it's time to do the interactive quiz I often have her solve the problem on the board instead of a worksheet. She enjoys that. Here she is comparing three numbers and putting them in order from greatest to least.

Once she finds the answer she sits back down at her desk to enter the solution.

I know this seems like a lot of up and down, but for her that seems to help. Math frustrates her so I think it helps for her to be able to "walk away" from the worksheet while she tries to find a solution. Whatever the case, it works for us.

While my laptop works well for the lesson and interactive quiz, the font for the online worksheets is pretty small. When I increase the font she can't see the whole thing on the page. For us that isn't a problem because we have a big screen television hooked up in our living room. (It's how we watch streaming television and avoid the cost of cable!) Anyway, here she is doing an online worksheet.

I use the online worksheets for lengthy word problems because it is easier to for her to read them online than on a printed page. There is less ink and paper waste that way too. I will use the printable worksheets when she has actual problems to solve. For now she has just been reviewing basic number sense like comparing numbers, writing numbers in various forms, and things like that. Next week we start on addition!

I am also using Life of Fred to supplement our math. We do A+ in the morning and she has one assignment to complete after school. Then we do Life of Fred together in the afternoon. I will share more about that later.

Gess is doing an excellent job reading so this year I am going to trying to make some major headway in math!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The World Of Science

With Gess now being in what many call middle school it has been hard for me to find appropriate curriculum. She can read really well and her comprehension is even pretty good, but it is not yet ready for middle school level. Couple that with her inability to read small print and it makes finding a text book hard.

We have also been all over the place on science. It has turned out to be Gesserine's favorite subject and many times I have let her choose the topic. Her fascination with weather comes alive every spring and in the winter when she is often sick she focuses on human anatomy and biology. While we have done some studies on plants and animals and various other things, I fear there are some things she has missed. So this year we are doing a full science review. For that I purchased the book The World of Science from Master Books.

The book is divided into 7 sections. It covers 6 majors areas of science with the final section being experiments that correspond with the other 6 sections of the book. The topics covered are:

1. Matter and Chemicals
2. Energy, Motions, and Machines
3. Electricity and Magnetism
4. Light and Sound
5. Earth and Life
6. Space and Time

Of course there are only brief explanations of each topic but it will be great to review and it will help me discover what Gess may have forgotten or possibly not covered in her previous studies. As we go through the book I plan to supplement with extra resources either from our previous text books, library books, personal library, or the internet. The experiments also look to be lots of fun. You can see some sample pages of the book at their website. The image below will lead to that link.

I think this will be a great way to review before Gess enters on into high school. While our focus is usually on reading, math, and basic life skills science and social studies have still been a priority for me. It helps that Gess has had an eager interest in science. That actually helped spark her reading interest for she loved reading about the weather and other science related topics. I can barely get her to read a novel but give her a science book and she won't put it down!  I think this book will add greatly to her library and will spark many new avenues of interest. I am eager to see just how far this book will take us!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

First Day of School

We officially started school yesterday! I always think I am going to wait until later in September but since all of our friends head back, the pool closes, the reading program ends, and all the other "summer time" stuff ends, we go ahead and start.

We had a very productive day! We got in all our subjects including math twice, as well as a haircut, painting class, library time, and the park. I also cleaned two houses, neither of which were my own. I am very excited about the year! I will share our subjects one at a time in future posts.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mommy Moment: Summer Reading

Not only did I sign Gess up for the library reading program but I also participated. I only had to read 10 books and they can be any 10 books but I always challenge myself to read something outside of my usual reading patterns. They must be new authors, or genres, or something to that affect and I can only check out what I find by browsing the shelves. I figured I would tell you about all the new items I explored because after all, now that Gess is older I don't really read with her anymore so I can't tell you about the books she read. I can, however tell you about mine.

Summer Reading List 2015

My first selection was The Aushwitz Escape by Joel Rosenberg. This was on my "to read" list anyway and I was excited to get it. It was an exceptional book and I highly recommend it to everyone. I have done much reading, study, and research on the concentration camps myself and I could tell that while this was fictional, it was very careful to be as historically accurate as possible. After reading it, I re-watched The BBC documentary: Auschwitz Inside the Nazi State and felt as if pieces of the book were coming alive. I hope that one day that make this into a movie!  Highly Recommended!

My next selection was more disappointing. It was Longbourn by Jo Baker. I loved the premise which was following the lives of the servants while the events of Pride and Prejudice took place. Since Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is my all time favorite book, I had to give it a try. It wasn't too terribly bad but I didn't like the way it was too sexually explicit and immoral. As with every book and movie today, some character has to be gay and others have to be sexually promiscuous and there was just too much graphic detail in parts of it. That really doesn't come to life very much until halfway through and it was in small segments so I finished the book, but if I had know I would have passed on the read altogether. I already have in my mind what kind of people the Bennet family are and I didn't care for their take on some of them. I imagine it is hard to mess another work of fiction and make everyone pleased with it though.

I have this thing where I actually keep two books going at any one time. One is usually educational or spiritual and the other recreational. So, while I was reading the above book, I was also reading this Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly. I have to admit I was unsure of it at first but it came highly recommended. Historically it was intriguing. It is so fascinating to read about the events and culture that surrounded those passages that we are so familiar with. It really put the entire picture of Jesus' death into historic perspective. Learning about the Roman and Jewish leadership made it come more alive. I have to admit he doesn't hold back and there are a few explicit details I wish he had left out, but the depths of the wickedness of the times are facts. Highly Recommended!

Unlike many folks, I wasn't a huge fan of Little Women but I was willing to give A Long Fatal Love Chase also by Louisa May Alcott a try. I enjoyed reading it much more and the story was rather intriguing. It was, however, as the title reflects, a fatal love chase and a long one at that so it is kind of depressing, but entertaining along the way. I found myself pondering where this young lady might have gotten such an idea for a story. It certainly gives insight into how one looks at right and wrong, men and women, the saints and the sinners. Because it's not a very happy book I am not shouting about it from the rooftops but I am not sorry I read it.

My next book on Biblical study was What's So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey. I can't tell you how much this impacted my life. I read this book at such an important time. While the courts were redefining marriage, Philip was talking about his friendship with a person who professes to be a Christian and is gay. He doesn't compromise on the issue but he reminds us that we need to handle all things with grace. The phrase that stuck with me the most was Grace versus Ungrace. You won't believe how often I now recognize ungrace in my own life as well as those around me. I think every Christian would benefit from this book! Highly Recommended!

My daughter recently studied ancient Egypt and during the summer we watched a documentary called Egypt on Netflix. The first couple were on Howard Carter and his discovery of King Tut's tomb. So when I saw The Murder of King Tut by James Patterson I was anxious to read it. This book does a similar thing the documentary did in that it covers both the the life (and death) of the young King Tut as well as that of Howard Carter. It was a cross between non-fiction and fiction and I liked how he intertwined the two. He used the fictional narrative to tell the story, but was sure to place in the facts as he knew them. Through it he weaved in what was his own theory of what happened to the boy king. Sprinkled in between are chapters about the author himself and his adventure in the research of the book. He really felt that King Tut was murdered and he was out to prove it. As he shares his own journey you get a good sense of what was based upon fact and what was his own conjecture. Of course no one really knows what happened, but it is entertaining to read about! However there is some sexual content so keep that in mind.

After a couple of secular novels I really needed to know that my next book would be more wholesome. For that I chose At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon as it was recommended by a dear friend. This book was certainly different than anything I had read. It was a charming story of a pastor in the small town of Mitford. It's almost like it was several stories inside one story because it followed the lives of several of Father Tim's parishioners. Tim is an elderly single man who is pretty set in ways and ends up with a dog, a boy, and the possibility of a girlfriend! All this while many other adventures are going on. I am pleased that it wasn't the typical love story!  I am not sure I will follow more in the series but it was a refreshing break from the other books I read! Recommended!

Bible study is one of my favorite things I and love books that explain how the atheistic worldview doesn't play out well in reality. It's a favorite topic in our home so The Atheist's Fatal Flaw seemed rather interesting and since it was fairly new I grabbed it. I was very familiar with Norman Geisler but didn't know anything about the other author, or at least I thought so. My husband pointed out to me that the author was local. Once I realized that I found out the connection was closer than just distance! His wife is a fellow homeschooling mom and is in both our Co-op and Homeschool mom's group! I was thrilled! She is such a sweet lady! The book was really good, but somewhat frustrating in that it spends the majority of time explaining the Atheistic worldview. They were very careful to make sure they accurately presented that side before they tried to explain the flaws in it. My husband pointed out that my frustration with what the atheist says was pretty good evidence the book was doing a great job expressing their views accurately. It was fairly easy to see the flaw in their argument, but their arguments were sort of hard to follow. Not due to the authors of this book, but due to the way they speak. I will admit I spent a good deal of time looking up the definition of some words but it was worth the effort and read. I think they make a compelling argument against atheism in the book and it is a good read for anyone who is interested in the subject! Recommended!

Do you realize I haven't read any of the Narnia Chronicles? Well, I decided to start those and chose to go to the very beginning by reading The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis. I don't think I have to tell the readers how great an author C. S. Lewis is and how much I adored the book. In fact I checked it out again along with the audio version and Gess and I are both following along together. I like doing that for read alouds. It allows us to get further than I normally would because we don't get tired of actually doing the talking. We will follow up with Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe doing the same thing! Highly Recommended!

My final selection was The Schoolhouse At Prairie View by Marshall Albert Barber which was written in 1953. I have to admit I was looking for a short book because I had only one left to complete my commitment. This was still a very enchanting and informative book. It was written by a scientist from Kansas University and it was about his educational experience in a one room schoolhouse in Kansas during the late 1800's. I didn't grow up here in Kansas but I do feel as if it is home. It was so interesting to read about what it was really like to grow up here. Click on the link to his name to learn more about the author and if you can find a copy, read this book. It was great. Recommended!

That was my reading list for the Summer of 2015. What did you read this summer?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Summer Library Fun

We are at the end of another summer reading program. Our library has the funnest activities year round but the summer ones are always the best. Here are a few examples of what Gess has done most recently.

Since Gess is a huge science buff she gets really excited over the Mad Scientist who comes each year. I particularly love how she encapsulates the theme of the program into her presentation. This year it was Super Heroes so she talked about their super powers and used science to demonstrate them! 

Playing with your food is always fun. Check out Gess' turtle, Minion cookie, and Chocolate Rocket!

The Lego club is always a big hit. Gess loves sitting and building her own thing and I think it is good for her to see what other kids do as well. Gess usually spends her time building the wall and so there is very little time to finish the stuff inside. This is a store.

All the kids who completed their reading will get a T-shirt, certificate, be in a drawing for other prizes and most importantly get invited to the pool party! They also already earned a free drink at the soda stand in the drug store, a corn dog from Sonic, a dessert from Taco John's, and a good bag filled with various things including a candy bar and soda pop.

My Gess loves to read so motivating her to do it isn't hard, but it is fun encouraging her to read things she might not usually pick and celebrating reaching goals is something we all enjoy. How was your summer reading adventure? I will share about mine on my next blog!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Piano Performance

This last week Gess was asked to play the piano at our local Christian Women's Club. While they had Gess come and play the piano they also had a boy who has Down syndrome read a story and a boy who has autism do a comedy sketch. All three children did an amazing job and I was blessed to have been a part of it! I am so thankful that they wanted to spend their day celebrating our children's accomplishments. I thought I would share a piece that Gess played with you. It is the hymn As The Deer.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer Math with Minecraft

So I am checking out Facebook from Educents and I see this banner come across my feed telling me that Minecraft Math is on sale. That piqued my interest because Gess isn't very fond of math but she loves Minecraft. I grabbed it and figured I would use it as a supplement this school year. Then it happened. Gess heard me telling her dad about it. "Minecraft Math?" She asks. I tell her yes and show her the book. For the next few days she kept asking me if we could do Minecraft Math. I told her we would during school and blew it off. Eventually I realized that if she wanted to do it during the summer I would not stop her! She was asking for math so why in the world was I saying no? So I got them printed up and we started right away.

Here are the books we used. The books are still on sale for awhile!  Even so, it's not that expensive. I also picked up the writing one that we will use later this fall.

We have completed the one on angles. She really enjoyed it. At one point it had her go around the house and find several examples of angles. She found plenty of right angles but I thought the obtuse and acute might be more difficult. Nope, she found them right away. The clothespin was her acute and her bow was the obtuse. Way to go Gess!

After you do the work it has you look for and construct things in the game that you just learned about. I did modify the work for her. I had her do 20 right angles instead of 100 and things like that. Since Gess has special needs I just want to make sure she has the concept not make it so hard that she struggled.

I love it when you can take something your child enjoys and use it for a subject they tend to despise!  These workbooks are short so they work really well for a summer activity. It was definitely worth the small amount of money they cost!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Lazy Summer

I am so sorry I have not been posting. Not only was I healing from surgery but as I started to work and actually cook again I sliced my thumb along with the squash I was working on! It was sore for awhile and that made it hard to type. Then that finally healed and I just couldn't think of what to write about.

That's the thing. Usually I have all these summer activities to talk about but due to my surgery we really haven't done much since Gess has gotten back from camp.

At least I was given permission to drive earlier than I thought so Gess has still been able to participate in the library reading program. She has actually completed it and been given her awards, part of which is an invitation to the swimming party at the end of the summer.  Other than reading they have fun activities such as crafts and other things. One thing they do every year that we love is give you a bag of junk. It consists of things like an empty paper towel roll, q-tips. a piece of yearn, craft sticks, beans, and other miscellaneous material. Now you have to make something using everything in the bag. You can add to it, but you can't leave anything out. Gess wanted to make a Roman Colosseum but we didn't have anything round. Instead we made it a superhero arena and since we lacked superheros we pulled out the Lego men.

We also had a quiet 4th of July, but Gess likes it that way anyway. She isn't a fan of loud so we mostly got fountains that don't make noise. We had some pretty good ones though.

I will try to start writing more often now. At least once a week through the summer. After school starts I hope to get back to a regular schedule. Until then, thanks for being patient. I hope you are enjoying your summer break, that is if you take one. We have been doing a little math but I will tell you about that in my next post!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Why Camp Barnabas is So Special

While Gess has Down syndrome, she is pretty high functioning and has attended our local church camp with me going as her counselor. She could participate in most things, it was pretty much a week of her tagging along and trying to be a part of the crowd. That's her every day life. People are warm and welcoming, but after a few minutes of conversing with her they are back to their own conversation and she struggles to keep up or moves off into her own space. They aren't mean and it's not their fault really, it's just life. They are at a different pace and a different communication level. It's tough, but she adjusts and never complains.

Then there is life at Camp Barnabas where suddenly, for just one week, her world turns upside down. For that week friends go hand in hand together as one. You want to do a ropes course but happen to be in a wheelchair? No problem! Camp Barnabas can hook you up - literally!  There is nothing they won't help you do! No one stops and stares, gets impatient, or criticizes you. Instead you are celebrated! You are wanted! Everyone takes time to get to know you. YOU! You are why they are here. No one tells them "no you can't." You now get to decide what to do!

This, to me, is why Camp Barnabas is so special. It's for this one fact. For one week Gess gets to live as if she didn't have special needs. That's a gift you can't give in a box! Thanks Camp Barnabas for working so hard to make that dream come alive!

Camp Barnabas is a Christian camp and there is no better way to share the love of Christ than to accept everyone just as they are. That's what they do at Camp Barnabas! To learn more visit their website or watch this movie explaining the difference that it makes in the lives of everyone who goes, camper and counselor alike.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Making costumes

Gess is going off to Camp Barnabas this summer. It is an amazing Christian camp for people with special needs. This will be her second year going. Every day they have a special theme party for which you dress up. This year's themes are Super Hero Showdown, Noah's Ark Water Park, A Knight's Tale, & Blast From the Past.

I will start with the most complicated costume we made.
Noah's Ark Water Park

Gess loves learning about dinosaurs and realizes they were actually on the ark. While this sounds unreal to some of you, when you understand the average dinosaur was the size of a sheep and know that God didn't have to choose the largest of them all to be on the ark, you get it. They were there!  So she wanted to be a dinosaur. I found this simple and fun DIY Paper Dinosaur on Pinterest. Using the paper as a template I hot glued the paper pattern to green cloth. I actually glued it in the wrong place so it doesn't go over Gess' head, but I felt this would work as it was. We got her stuffed lizard out so she could take him along and actually be 2x2. He doesn't spikes on his head so it was even better. What do you think?

Super Hero Showdown

Gess recently informed me that Superman was her favorite super hero so we went and a bought a Superman T-shirt, cut up an old red t-shirt utilizing the sleeves to help tie it in front and grabbed some blue shorts. Ta da!  Superman, or woman anyway!

A Knight's Tale

The best we could find at thrift store was one that might fit a peasant lady at the time. We got a scarf to go over her head. She may not look like royalty but she sure is cute!

 Blast From the Past

This one was easy. Every year Gess is a part of a local fashion show and this year she got some really wild looking pants. They reminded me of the 70's - my generation. So here she is in her 70's get up with things we already had around the house!

Friday, June 5, 2015

I'm down for a bit due to surgery

I have struggled to keep up with my blog but I haven't been quite frank about why. I have had some medical issues that require surgery. That's all I am comfortable saying publicly. Today, as you read this I will be under the knife - the first time ever for me which makes me nervous. My pastor has a joke he likes to share about the difference between major and minor surgery. He says its minor surgery when its for you and its major surgery when its for me!  Well, I have watched my daughter go through some pretty major stuff, so I know mine isn't on that level but still, it isn't something to take lightly either.

I hope to be up and around enough to write in a week or so. I was hoping to have some blogs scheduled so my down time wouldn't seem to stark but that just didn't happen. I haven't had the energy and what energy I did have was spent preparing my household and family members that I take care of to be ready in my absence. My house is clean and ready. Ladies from church are providing some meals and my daughter will be looked after by her brother. All is ready and now its time for me.

I must rest and get better. Hopefully I will feel like writing since I won't be able to do much else for awhile. No driving for sure!  Please keep me in your prayers and I will try to check in when I can. Thanks for faithfully following. You are a blessing to my me!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Summer Math - Cooking

Since Gess has special needs we really focus on life skills math. So this summer, instead of just doing "math" we are making sure we do fun stuff that involves math. Part of that includes cooking!

Gess loves to help in the kitchen but now that she is almost 14 I am trying to make sure she starts doing things more on her own. This summer we are focusing on following a recipe. To help with that I got her some easy to read measuring cups and spoons.

I really don't like the plastic ones because I know that the numbers will wash off soon but stainless steel ones are hard to read.Still, these will work for now. I think I will order the Cake Boss ones soon as they look really easy to use.

So far we have baked some cakes. I tried to really let Gess take control of that one!

The only thing I did was help her scrape the batter out of the bowl and even out the pan once she poured it in. I was very proud of her. Oh and the cake was so good I caught her sneaking some of it.

Then she helped me make the batter and filling for my Blintzes that we made to celebrate Pentecost (Shavuot). We used the recipe from Food Network - Blueberry Blintzes but I used raspberries instead. This was my first attempt at making them and I was thrilled with the results!! The helpful tips from the recipe really work!

 Anyway, we will be doing a lot more cooking this summer. It will be a fun way to practice math and reading by learning how to follow a recipe. To help a child with special need I use utensils easy to read and use, print out the instructions in a large font so it is easy to read or have her use a magnifying glass. Either way we have fun and the food is, as my little chef would say, "quite tasty!"

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Summer Reading Has Begun!

We signed up for our summer reading program again.  This year's theme is Every Hero Has a Story. Gess is now in the middle school challenge where she only has to read 10 books, but they have to be from the J, YA, or A section. She selected several books but started with a Young Indiana Jones book. She was thrilled they had one in a font size she can read!  Her reading is excellent but she can't read books with normal small print.

I also signed up and have to read 10 books. Adults can read from any section but I try to make my own challenges. This year each book must be a different author, but I am not sure what other limits I might set. Anyway, I started with The Auschwitz Escape. I have been wanting to read that since it released but never got around to it.

We started reading right away and are already several chapters in. Hubby came in and took our picture!

I didn't like putting mine away last night, too much was happening!  What are you reading this summer? Have you signed up for your summer reading program yet? What's your goal?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Shavuot, Pentecost, & Feast of Weeks

All these names can get sort of confusing. What you need to know is that those 3 titles mean the same thing! 

“You shall celebrate the Feast of Weeks, that is, the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year." Exodus 34:22

Feast of Weeks is, of course, our English term.
Shavuot is the Hebrew word for weeks.
Pentecost is the Greek term used in the New Testament, but it is the same holiday that is observed above. Pentecost literally means fiftieth for The Feast of Weeks was to occur 50 days after the Passover.

You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths.‘You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD. Lev 23:15-16

Christianity celebrates Pentecost Sunday as the day the disciples received the Holy Spirit but while this year Pentecost or Shavuot does happen to fall on a Sunday, that is not always the case. Shavuot is always 50 days from Passover and Passover always begins on the 15th of the month of Nisan.

So enough with the dates and the names, lets get what to this holiday is all about!

The counting began for us the day after Passover. Jews call this the counting of the omer. We used barley to count the 50 days but I confess we failed to do this daily. I often had to catch my calendar up!  Each day (when we remembered) we would say "Today is the ___ day of the Omer" and glue on one piece of barley. Others use a path up a mountain to celebrate the giving of the Torah and say a special blessing.

The Feast of Weeks was one of the 7 appointed observances of the Lord given to Moses.

"Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts." Lev 23:2

Leviticus 23:15-22 tells you about the Feast of Weeks but other than explaining what you are to sacrifice and commanding that you not work it doesn't really say what you must do to celebrate it. We do know that the disciples observed it for in Acts 2 they were in Jerusalem observing Pentecost when they received the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Jewish tradition has this day set aside as a day that commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. The focus will be on learning the 10 commandments and some will even stay up all night studying the Torah. 

What I find fascinating is the connection between the giving of the Ten Commandments and the giving of the Holy Spirit. Remember, when Moses came down from the mountain he found the people in rebellion against God worshiping a golden calf.  Moses called all those on Lord's side to stand with him and they slew those who rebelled. They lost about 3,000 men that day

And that day about three thousand men of the people fell. Exodus 32:28

Yet, on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit fell upon his people, Peter preached the gospel identifying Jesus as the Messiah. At the end about 3,000 people were saved.

So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. Acts 2:41.

As many souls that were lost in Exodus were restored at Pentecost!  What a beautiful restoration! So, while I don't see an exact command in Scripture to celebrate the giving on the Ten Commandments on this holiday, there is a connection I find compelling and I will start adding that into my celebration. We actually never celebrated the day of Pentecost at our church anyway, so even that is new to us.

Here are some resources that aided us in our celebration of the many facets of this special day.

The first is a great video from Buck Denver asks What's in the Bible. It explains what happened on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. Their web page What Is Pentecost has this video, the history of Pentecost and some coloring pages.

To learn about the Ten Commandments we decided to read them from Scripture and watch a movie. I think Gess chose Prince of Egypt, but I might put in the original Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston myself!

I would recommend memorizing them. We have done that already so we simply reviewed them. I shared how we went about Learning the Ten Commandments a few years ago. We used these visuals from Living Waters.

My church also taught them with motions. Here is Gess doing them!

A fun song Gess has on her Go Fish Guys DVD Superstar is The Ten Commandment Boogie.

Another Jewish tradition is to read the book of Ruth during the holiday. The Feast of Weeks is also the Feast of Firstfruits and that is when the Barley is harvested. The book of Ruth certainly takes place during that time!  The fact that it was a beautiful picture of redemption gives it yet another connection to our redeemer and the gift we received from him on Pentecost!  We read that this morning.

This is our first year celebrating Pentecost but it certainly won't be our last!  I look forward to finding new ways to celebrate in the years to come.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Piano Recital Number 3

It was Gess' third year at piano and her recital was last weekend. She enjoys playing and does fairly well. Her biggest challenge is the rhythm of the song. She knows where the notes are but doesn't necessarily hold them the right amount. Her teacher works well with her and I am glad for the experience. Reading music is a great thing to learn!

Here was one of her songs: Spaceship to Mars

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Down Side of Down Syndrome

On Friday May 8th at 2:00pm Clara Dey was laid to rest. She was a 15 month old darling little girl who lost her struggle with Down syndrome. While I love to share the up side of Down syndrome and all the accomplishments that our kids can make, there is a down side to it.

The medical problems that arise from that extra chromosome are many and sometimes they cause a life to end before it really even starts. Clara spent a huge portion of her life in a hospital room yet her smile was one of the most incredible things you could ever see. Her resilience was amazing and those who knew her will be forever touched.

Down syndrome is about much more than learning difficulties. There are medical complications as well, sometimes serious ones. Their yearly check ups always bring about a sense of anxiousness even when you know all is well. While Gess' heart repair went smoothly and she is now healthy and strong you can't forget that things like Leukemia and Alzheimer's disease are common in persons with DS and can pop up later in life. You just never know what the doctor might say.

In fact, when Gess was born and in the NICU for 5 1/2 weeks the tears I shed were not over her mental struggles but her physical ones. Hearing my daughter was going to have open heart surgery was truly frightening. We were blessed that it went perfectly, with no complications. While more often that not that is the case, sometimes things don't go that way. Sometimes, after months of struggle, you are forced to say goodbye to the child you love with all your being.

I can't even fathom the deep loss that the parents are going through. They seem to have a deep faith and are strong, but I know that this road will be long and hard. Please pray for them. Also pray for other families around the world suffering the same kind of loss and hardship.

These events have led me to not post on my blog all week. I just couldn't bring myself to write anything. One Sunday I finally had the privilege of meeting Clara for the first time and holding her in my arms. The next Sunday she passed away. There was no way I could write.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Passover Crafts & Activities

Our celebration of the Passover led us to look for some activities for Gess to do to help her learn about the holiday. I found had a site for kids called the Jewish Kids Club. There you can find lots of visuals, videos, and craft ideas.

The Passover Holiday page has lots of great information. Of course this is solely from a Jewish perspective but it really helps to get a feel for how it has always been done. We did two of their crafts, colored some printable pages, and used one kid friendly recipe.

I really had trouble finding many of the things I needed for our Seder meal, including a matzah cover. Their Matzah Cover Craft was a great idea! Now I didn't need to buy anything. We used our own stencils and materials, but the idea came from them. We ended up doing the stenciling just like we did our Challah Cloth.

Next I found a video teaching the kids to make an Afikoman Bag. I had no idea what that even was! You see during the Passover meal you break a piece of Matzah in half and hide one side of it. The Afikoman bag is something to keep that in. Traditionally children look for it later and turn it in for a prize. Since Easter was two days after Passover, we had Gess wait until Easter morning to hunt for it. That's so much better than eggs!  She turned it in for a chocolate cross!

For some reason I can't get their videos to embed here, but do click on the Afikoman Bag Craft link and check it out. It was a lot of fun!

Next was some cooking from their Kids in the Kitchen page. It only took 3 ingredients to make the charoset but boy was it yummy!  Charoset is used on the Seder Plate to represent the bricks and mortar they were forced to make while slaves in Egypt. We used Pecans rather than Walnuts simply because we had some and we used red grape juice rather than wine. You can see it on our Seder Plate below.

I hope you enjoyed these craft ideas and consider using them the next time you celebrate the Passover!  You can read more about what we did during the Passover at my Passover Week page.


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