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Feb 15, 2015

Two Left Feet ...or, Something Like that

Did your kids ever struggle figuring out which shoe goes on which foot?  Mine have, and sometimes still do.  They would be struggling to cram a foot into the wrong shoe, I'd correct them and that same rebellious shoe would miraculously slide right onto the right foot.  Sometimes, they'd get both shoes on wrong.  I'd get them to switch while they bemoaned that they'd never get it right.  Sometimes, I let them stay wrong-footed.  No harm in that, I thought.

Today's high temp is below zero F.  It's "wicked cold," as the New Englanders like to say.  I ran out to care for the chickens.  Normally, the water stays warm enough with a lightbulb for heat that I can just knock the frozen ring off the surface of the water.  Not so today.  I brought the waterer in to thaw and refill, which meant kicking off my clunky winter boots.  You see where this is going, right?

Armed with fresh, warm water for Fluffy, Fluffy, Fluffy, Fluffy, and Fluffy (Xav named them.  Don't look at me like that.), I wrestled on a boot.  Immediately, I knew it was wrong, but I just wanted to get out and back as quickly as possible.  With both boots on, I headed down the back stairs.  It felt so wrong.  Then I went out front to grab the newspaper and I realized what a bad decision it was not to take the time to fix the problem.

When you are walking on soft snow or even semi-packed snow, walking is difficult enough.  Add in wrong-footed shoes and you are just asking for trouble.  There is NO support under the outside edge of your foot.  Zero.  Your ankles roll.  A lot.  Uphill.  In the snow.  Both ways.  (I crack myself up!)

I advise correcting your child's shoe placement every time.  And maybe watch yourself.  Sigh...  Someday I'll be all grown up.

Jan 31, 2015

Parenting the Heart and Motivating Your Child

This post contains affiliate links.

I was invited to read and review the book Motivate Your Child by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller.  If you aren't familiar with the National Center for Biblical Parenting (NCBP), I recommend you check them out.  At the website, you can commit to Parent the Heart of your child (nearly 1,000 people already have), listen to the weekly podcast, sign up to receive email tips, and read a great blog.

The newest release at NCBP is the book, Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told.  That's a long title.  It's also a great book.  Authors Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN have collaborated on another practical work which includes real-life conversations between parents and children or that he has had in his counseling sessions. All of the conversations in this book were realistic and very doable.  I didn't once read a dialogue and think, "who talks like that?" or "do other four year olds really respond like that?"

I may not have ever mentioned that one of the reasons I did not reapply to The Schoolhouse Review Crew this year was because of my conviction to free up some time to be more intentional about discipling (and disciplining) the punks.  See, I love my boys so very much and I want to be doing my best to raise godly, self-controlled, motivated children.  Dave was so easy to raise (thank God, because I did it alone), I thought I was an amazing parent.  My parenting skills would be like a shining beacon and all who saw my children would be amazed.  Ta-Da!
And then I had Malachi.
And Xavier.
And Merrick.
See that child tantruming in the produce section?  My kids will never do that.  Oh, and look at that little cherub there, throwing a toy train at his brother.  My kids...  Oh.  Wait.  They do that.

Oh how The Lord must laugh at our human prides.

Not one of these last three has been an "easy" kid.  They all have different personalities, which I expected.  I did not expect the range of "issues" we'd experience parenting them.  I learned, very early in this book, that children who are characterized as strong-willed actually have a lot of internal motivation.  I have one child who frequently tells me, "I want what I want when I want it."  Well, that kind of attitude certainly doesn't sway me, but I can see how very strongly he feels.  Motivate Your Child is providing me with valuable insight and plenty of tools to place in my parenting toolbox.

I found several wonderful bible illustrations and activities smattered throughout Motivate Your Child.  The first one in the book and the one I knew the boys would really love, is what Dr. Turansky refers to as "the stupid verse."

We *aren't supposed to* use that word (among others) in our home.  Xav was practically giddy to read it for me several times.  Sigh...  There was a great conversation in the book and I took it a bit further with some thoughts I had.  We have one boy who is incredibly hard on himself and every mistake makes him stupid or bad.  I wanted to begin a more thorough discussion with him than just saying the usual things we say, which don't seem to help.  I talked to Mal and Xav about how my whole job is to teach them.  Some things they just haven't fully learned yet.  We talked about babies and how little they are able to comprehend and how much they have learned in their lives and how very much they will still learn about later.  We had a wonderful conversation which I hope implanted some new thoughts about themselves.  Hopefully, just the first of the many heart parenting conversations we will have.  MYC provided a great jumping off point to develop a real training session about something very important to us.

"Too many kids say unhelpful things in their hearts.  
Parents can write the script of things that are more appropriate."
page 22

The advice in Motivate Your Child applies to all of us, every single person.  So many times I read "children" and knew that I would benefit from the information myself.  We've slipped into many bad habits of relating with each other in negative ways.  One thing I've noticed about myself, my tone of voice is sometimes harsher than I mean for it to be, even when I'm not irritated with anyone.  Habits get so deeply ingrained they are difficult to break.  I'm learning all kinds of valuable tips and actual steps to take to break free from my own attitude and build new relationships with each of my children.

Motivate Your Child sounds like the title of a book to get your children to do their chores and help around the house, but it's really about relationships and getting our hearts right.  Developing the heart qualities described in the book, will help us be caring, helpful, self-motivated people.  The people who will be the godly leaders of the future, people who can make an impact.

By becoming self-motivated, there is no longer a need for a reward system.  Children who are rewarded for good behavior and cooperation expect larger, more expensive rewards as they grow.  We've often punished by taking away a toy or privilege.  Usually, in our home, that means someone loses the one TV show they get each day.  Often that threat gets a response, but they are angry.  We're angry, too.  With Motivate Your Child, I'm learning better ways.  Parenting the heart means to train your child to consider the needs of others, use their time wisely, and to see what needs to be done and do it without being told.

"If you want your child to fly straight, teach them obedience.  
If you want them to fly high, teach them honor."
page 85

Our new rules when asked to complete something are
  • Do your best.
  • Have a good attitude (happy heart).
  • Make it better.
We're cutting down on grumping and stomping when given an assignment.  The boys are being reminded that we're all part of the family and everyone gets the privilege of contributing. What I mean by "make it better," is taking a look around a room or finishing a task and finding one more thing you can do.  It's sort of like the cherry on top of a job well done.

Micah told me his mother taught him that if you borrow something, you return it in better condition than when you took it.  He once told me about borrowing a baking pan.  It had the usual stuff baked onto it.  The kind of stuff that just seems to become part of the pan.  When he returned it, it was shiny again.  That's a great example of doing that "one more thing."

The second part of the book is a wonderful guide to spiritual development of children.  This section is also greatly encouraging to parents to help us be the main spiritual guide for our children.

"Send your child to church - spiritually feed him for a day.  
Live it out at home - spiritually feed him for life."
p 241

This section covers when you encounter resistance from your children, preparing children to face the challenges of life, how do train your children when you're going solo, and many other topics.  To be 100% honest,  I haven't finished this half of the book.  I have found myself reading, re-reading, and highlighting like a madwoman.  Or at least a mom who is tired of the status quo.  This mama is ready for the joy and peace we are promised in Romans 15:13. 

If you're dealing with anger, rebellion, or just plain laziness, I think you will really enjoy reading this book, implementing your new heart parenting skills, and seeing the changes in your family.

Motivate Your Child is a 266 page paperback published by Thomas Nelson.

National Center for Biblical Parenting on social media
NCBP on Facebook:
NCBP on Twitter:
Motivate Your Child Pinterest Board:

Jan 12, 2015

Motivate Your Child Book Launch and Ginormous Giveaway(s)

We're partying all month in honor of a great new Christian parenting book.  There are giveaways and freebies through all of January!  Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told is being released later this month and if you preorder any day through January, you will receive $150 dollars worth of free bonuses from the National Center for Biblical Parenting simply by providing your receipt via email to  Authors Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN have been writing parenting books together for ages.  They are committed to teaching parents #heartparenting strategies.  Learn more about heart parenting and the authors.

You can join the facebook party on January 29th at 9PM est.  You don't want to miss the fun!  Someone's going to win...

Do you hear angelic voices?  Perhaps Bach Cello Suite No 1?  Or maybe the Beer Barrel Polka?  I know.  It's music to your ears, right?

But wait!  There's more!  Enter the rafflecopter giveaway below for other sweet prizes.

To celebrate the release of Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told,  members of the Launch Team are sharing a wonderful giveaway filled with a Go Pro Camera, $50 Mardel Gift Card, $25 Amazon Gift Card, and book bundles from both the National Center for Biblical Parenting and Thomas Nelson Publishing! Three winners will win prizes with a total value of nearly $800!

motivate your child giveaway

Here’s what you could win: 

GRAND PRIZE  ($500+ value)

Go Pro HERO3+ Silver Camera ($300 value)

HERO3+ Silver captures gorgeous, professional-quality 1080p60 video and 10MP photos at speeds of up to 10 frames per second. Built-in Wi-Fi enables you to use the GoPro App to control the camera remotely, preview shots and share your favorites on Facebook, Twitter and more. Compatible with all GoPro mounts, you can wear it or attach it to your gear for immersive POV footage of your favorite activities. It’s waterproof to 131’ (40m) and built tough for all of life’s adventures. Combined with stunning low-light performance, high-performance audio and an ultra wide-angle glass lens, HERO3+ Silver makes capturing and sharing your life easier than ever.  

NCBP Book Bundle ($115 value)

 The Christian Parenting Handbook  and Companion Guide Parenting is Heart Work God's Awesome Story Hero Training Camp Children's Curriculum


Thomas Nelson Book Bundle ($90 value):

The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst  Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson   Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine  All Pro Dad by Mark Merrill  The Passionate Mom by Susan Merrill 


FIRST PRIZE ($165 value)

$50 Mardel Gift Card


NCBP Book Bundle ($115 value)

The Christian Parenting Handbook  and Companion Guide Parenting is Heart Work God's Awesome Story Hero Training Camp Children's Curriculum


SECOND PRIZE ($115 value)

$25 Amazon Gift Card

Thomas Nelson Book Bundle ($90 value):

The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst  Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson   Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine  All Pro Dad by Mark Merrill  The Passionate Mom by Susan Merrill


To enter, use the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway dates: January 12, 2015 @12:00am ET through January 28, 2015 @ 11:59pm ET Terms and Conditions: This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  Void where prohibited by law. Must be at least 18 years of age. This giveaway is in no away associated with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Amazon. No purchase necessary for entry. Odds are determined by the number of entries. Selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jan 10, 2015

New Math for the New Year

I was able to snag Life of Fred at a discount.  Trust me, that isn't terribly easy to do.  With a "deal" on and a discount code at Christmastime, I decided to try the first three books with the boys.  I ordered Apples, Butterflies, and Cats because buying any three was the best price offered.

I have stopped expecting miracles of math curriculum.  I keep hoping for The One Math Miracle.  I've tried many of them, several through the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  Some of those we have hands down loved and Xav is on track, but Mal is still struggling along.  There.  It's out there.  He's having a rough time with math. 

So far, we've read and "played along" for six chapters.  We have laughed and giggled our way through Fred's life story, well part of one random, snow-filled day in five year old Fred's life.  The boys love the illustrations and Fred's artistic doll, Kingie.

Xav loves how every animal Fred draws has Fred's head on it.

Mal likes not doing any worksheets. 

The few questions in each chapter are done in a notebook.  Right now, we aren't learning anything new, but the practice is fun and I'm using Life of Fred daily, in addition to other math work.  I can't think of a single kid who wouldn't love these stories.

Jan 4, 2015

I'm back for 2015!

After a most wonderful bloggy break, I'm back on the interwebs.  I have lots of new stuff to share, as well as some catching up to do.

Many people are talking about their new word for 2015.  I've been selecting a word for five or six years now and I always seem to not quite live up to the word I've chosen.  I have even forgotten half of them now.  This year, I'm doing something a bit differently.  Micah and I were talking about an idea for my next chapel (*next* school year!) and that reminded me of something else, which led me down one of those rabbit trails we tend to go down around here.  I ended up selecting a Bible verse for the boys and myself to study, discuss, and memorize.  I chose Ephesians 4 26,27.

I hope and pray you all had a wonderful Christmas and are on the cusp of the most wonderful new year yet!

Jan 2, 2015

Living in the Green Mountain State AKA Vermont

Learning About Vermont

I've been in Vermont for 12 years now.  I've seen so many amazingly gorgeous places.  You'd think for such a small state, I could have seen it all by now.  There are tons of places I'd love to see or think the boys would enjoy.  I hope you'll enjoy learning about these few events, locations, and people of Vermont and feel inspired to find out more about some of them. 

Interesting Events

In 1777, Vermont declared itself an independent republic named New Connecticut.  In 1791, Vermont became the 14th state.

St. Albans Raid - The Northernmost Land Action of the Civil War
This year was the 150th anniversary of many Civil War battles.  The St. Albans Raid happened on October 19, 1864, when Confederate soldiers attacked from Canada with the intention of robbing banks and forcing the Union to divert troops to the northern border.  Bennett H Young led the Confederate raiders.  They stole $208,000, and attempted to burn down the city.  This is a terrifically detailed account with a humorous moment or two.

Famous Vermonters

"Snowflake" Bentley - We first learned about William Bentley from a Download N Go unit study by Amanda Bennett.  Then we had to follow up here in Vermont because he is actually local to us.  Snowflake Bentley was a photographer of snowflakes.  He perfected the means of capturing snowflake images before they could melt.  Using equipment available at the turn of the 20th century, he was able to photograph over 5,000 unique snowflakes. 

Chester Arthur - Lawyer, VP under Garfield and, later, president after James Garfield's assassination.

Calvin Coolidge - 30th president of the United States.  His homestead is a state historical site.

John Deere - Founded the John Deere company which has created commercial farm equipment since 1837.

Ethan Allen - Founder of the Green Mountain Boys of the American Revolutionary War. Captured Fort Ti (Ticonderoga) from the British.

Other famous Vermonters include Joseph Smith (founder of Mormonism), Elisha Graves Otis (invented a safety device for elevators and founded the Otis Elevator Company), and John LeClair (first VT born NHL player).

Sights to See

Rock of Ages Vermont Granite Quarry - This quarry is amazing.  We learned how the granite is removed and formed into all kinds of art.  And it was featured briefly in the movie Star Trek (2009).

"The Notch" - This is a seasonal road between Jeffersonville and Stowe, a section of VT108 which goes over Mt. Mansfield (the highest mountain in Vermont).  Despite signage prohibiting tractor trailers and other large vehicles, someone(s) gets stuck every year.  When you no longer see a center line, the road is not two lanes.  There are several hairpin turns, which also happen to be narrow and blind.  It's a gorgeous ride for the seven or so months of the year that it's open.  It's also about as knuckle whitening as I care to get in my old age.

Tourists Traps that are Awesome!

Ben & Jerry's - Ice cream.  'Nuff said.

Vermont Teddy Bear Factory - I have assorted cuddlies, including the controversial Crazy About You bear.  We like to tour the factory every year or two.

Cold Hollow Cider - Fresh, cold cider samples, cider donuts, apple butter...  Oh, my happy tummy.

Cabot Cheese - We actually haven't been to the creamery yet, but it's on the list.  We like to stop at the outlet in Waterbury for samples when we head to Ben & Jerry's or Cold Hollow Cider Mill.

Here are some of the places we've been and I've blogged about.  I'll be adding to this list as I add more field trip posts.

Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium
The Great Vermont Corn Maze
Cold Hollow Cider Mill
ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center

I've linked up on AdenaF's Learning Through the 50 States.  Go see some of the other states represented there.

Nov 17, 2014

The Best of the Best ~ 2014 Crew Awards

This year was such an incredibly blessed one.  As part of the 2014 Schoolhouse Review Crew, our family was able to use and review nearly forty home and homeschooling products.  Some of these, I had never heard of.  A few I had checked into previously and thought about "for another time."  And there were several I was convinced we could never afford and I could not justify the money on an unknown product.

A week or two ago, as the Crew year was winding down, reviewers and our children were invited to vote on our favorite products for 2014.  I was a rube!  I didn't keep track of each category nor how I voted.  Let me say, some of the choices were clear cut, but many I struggled with just choosing *one* product.  I also didn't vote in each category.  We never used any college prep products, for instance.

In no particular order, here are Redhanded Homeschool's top Crew picks for 2014.  Click the name to read our reviews.

Malachi's pick for 2014
Go Science! DVDs

Xavier's 2014 favorite
Brinkman Adventures Season Two
These audio dramas based on real life missionary stories are well loved and often repeated on long car trips.

Merrick's choice
Egglo Eggs (Remember his fun glow bath?)

My favorite Mom Resources
Preschoolers and Peace
I enjoyed this ebook resource for homeschooling biggers with littles nearby.
A Life in Balance
A great resource for special needs educators and the fascinating story of Frank Belgau's life.

These curriculum favorites are products we are still using, have completed this year, or will use in 2015.

Some of our Language Arts favorites.
The Logic of English - I'm using this with Malachi and will use it with Xavier eventually.
Lightning Literature - We reviewed and are using Lightning Lit 1 with Xavier.  I liked it so much that I signed up to be a guinea pig for LL3 with Malachi.
Spelling You See - Xavier is using Jack and Jill.  We kind of slacked off on this one, but need to pick it back up.  It uses an excellent handwriting "font" that I want the boys to keep practicing.
IEW's The Nose Tree - This is Malachi's grammar program.  It's ONE. Sentence. Each. Day.  Very do-able and we get to read and rewrite an entire story we probably would never have heard of.

Math favorites
CTC Math - We used several math programs throughout the year and this one is my favorite.  The boys are not fans of math. at. all. so they had no favorite here. 

Science favorites
Science4Us was a HUGE hit with Malachi and Xavier.  I may resubscribe and use this one with Merrick in a few years.
Go Science DVDs - We loved the short presentations, so we could discuss a demonstration with more depth, or I could throw in a disk and let it go for 20 minutes or so and just watch the DVD.  Even if we weren't discussing what they saw as an official part of school, they were certainly chatting about it all day long!

Social Studies favorites
Under Drake's Flag audio drama - Just incredible to listen to, amazingly talented actors.

Extra-curricular favorites
Middlebury Interactive Languages, K-2 Spanish - Xav loves this course and finished it quickly.  Next, we will be getting him Grade 3-5 Spanish 1.  There is some overlap and I regret not starting with that in the first place.
Maestro Classics - These classical music CDs are so much more than music.  We learned about instruments and the history of each piece as well.

Just For Fun
Snake Oil Party Potion - There are very few games that make us laugh *this* hard!   
Clued In Kids Treasure Hunts - We found our boys worked best independently, but they loved every one that we did.  We'll definitely have more of these and share the love with friends and family.

Honorable Mention
Apologia's What on Earth Can I Do? - The only reason this is an honorable mention is that we didn't complete it.  I'd really like to start the series at the beginning with Who is God?.

There have been other products that we liked, but not necessarily *loved*.  Some will serve as supplements whenever it applies. 

I am so grateful to the Schoolhouse Review Crew for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of such an incredible group of mom bloggers.  I really enjoyed working with Marcy again, from my Download N Go days, and meeting Debra and Kate this year and getting to know them.  They are truly first-class individuals and make up a great leadership team.  I didn't apply for the 2015 Crew for various reasons, but "my plan" (Oh, how God laughs!) is to join up again for 2016.

Go see who won the 2014 Blue Ribbon Awards from the Crew.