Monday, October 25, 2010

winner, winner, chicken dinner

OK, Liz – Since I couldn’t contact the first winner, round two with says you get the cart!

Liz said...

Love the cart! It would also be great for craft supplies and all kinds of other uses!

October 23, 2010 9:30 PM


Thursday, October 21, 2010

it’s still just barely october

So I will link up to some stories running this month. Where did the month go? I remember saying around the first of the month, “If I can just make it to the end of October, then I can rest.” Still counting on that, but rest is relative, you know?

I will add other that are online. Enjoy.

the least among you

least among you KA flat

Breaking news here in my corner of cyberspace: I think the days of “Christian movies” are behind us. Now, we have mainstream movies that are Christian. Big difference – and a much bigger audience.

I received a DVD of “The Least Among You” and I was taken aback by the cast: Louis Gossett, Jr. (“MAY-YO-NAISE!” – remember that?), Lauren Holly and William Devane (who shares a birthday with my husband). The movie features a solid performance by Cedric Sanders as Richard Kelly. I think Lauren Holly might steal the show here though. Her performance was heartfelt and dead on point.

“The Least Among You” is based on a true story. I haven’t researched the background here, so I don’t know how much creative license is taken, but the story is quite powerful. In the 1960s, Richard Kelly gets a chance at probation instead of jail, by attending seminary – an all-white seminary. Personal prejudices, money, politics and power struggles all come into play as we see Richard, and those around him, changed.

“We are all called to act on our faith, not our fear,” Samuel (Gossett, Jr.) says. This movie shows that faith in action.

I think the audience for this movie is broader than Christian films of the past that were perhaps pigeon-holed due to theme. Bringing an undiluted message that isn’t prohibitively heavy-handed remains the challenge of Christian movies as they gain a wider audience. The key – and I think this film hits a homerun with it – is telling a good story first. This is an evangelistic tool, no doubt, but your non-Christian friends can find something here on which to hang their hat. Who doesn’t love Lou Gossett? This is a nice addition to the trend I am starting to see unfold. Support this movie and others like it by voting with your pocketbook.

Parents, please note that the Christian point of view doesn’t mean this is a movie for kids. The themes are for middle school and older, in my opinion. There’s a word or two you might not want littles to hear, but more importantly, kids need to be old enough to understand the context of this story. It’s a good one, but enjoy it for at-home date night or with the teens.

“The Least Among You” is available on DVD.

 I was provided a copy of the DVD for review. My opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

for you they signed

For You They Signed

This week, we are knee deep in the Declaration of Independence. Oh my, what a great place to be. As enrichment to our study, we are reading about some of the signers (particularly those from our state) in “For You They Signed” by Marilyn Boyer. The book includes short biographies of each signer, some of whom I guarantee you have never heard of before. I love the concept of this book. It is decidedly Christian, so know that in advance, and in fact, Boyer suggests that families can use it as a devotional. Whether for personal reading or as a history supplement, the book is a treasure trove of information. I consider this a starting point to the discussion of these men, however. The biographies don’t claim to be in-depth – that’s not the purpose of this book. Since we are using this in our history class, I never want to gloss over the warts of these very human individuals, though their place in history is undeniably important. This was a time when the compatibility of Christianity and slave ownership wasn’t questioned – at least not publicly – and I think it is important to present a balanced view of these men. They were, after all, merely human.

Overall, I think this is a wonderful family resource. It is appropriate for elementary and older and can be a wonderful addition to your homeschool history studies. 

 New Leaf Publishing provided me with a review copy of this book. My opinions are my own.

Monday, October 18, 2010

want one? win a workbox/storage cart

Alvin and Co. Blue Hills Studio Storage Cart with Six Drawers - SC6MC / SC6SM

We tried plastic shoeboxes for Sue Patrick’s Workbox System last year. Meh. Too messy for my taste and we don’t stick to the workbox plan anyway. CSN Stores sells pretty much everything, from Legos to console tables and since I had been seeking something a little more compact and more attractive, CSN sent us this drawer cart to review. The cart is perfect for homeschooling. It is not incredibly sturdy and even though it has casters, we don’t roll it. However, it is plenty strong enough to hold Nolan’s massive books – that algebra book is heavy, I tell you. Even the shallow drawers hold a great deal, but the bottom two are quite deep. We added a plastic bin to the top for works in progress.

The cart does require assembly. I wouldn’t know much about that because the boy put it together by himself in about 10 minutes. Admittedly, at the ripe old age of 12, he is probably handier than I am.

By the way, I priced this item on a number of sites and CSN had the lowest price, even with shipping. I have been very pleased with their prompt service and fast shipping.

And now for the cool part --- Homeschoolers, want to win one of your own? (Actually, you don’t have to be a homeschooler to win, but I think this item lends itself well to school stuff.) CSN will send one of my readers their very own cart. Leave a comment below by noon on Oct. 25 to enter. No hoops to jump through – One comment will be randomly chosen.

CSN provided me with this item for review and is also providing the item for the giveaway. My opinions are my own.

Friday, October 15, 2010

the mysterious islands – enter to win at hotm

I have a review of “The Mysterious Islands” running today at Heart of the Matter. Click on over and enter to win your very own copy. It is definitely not just for homeschooling families.


Oh this was a lot of fun. If you remember Bruce Willis in the original “Die Hard,” I am happy to report that he is back. (I just looked it up – “Die Hard” was 22 years ago. Sigh.)

My husband and I attended a screening of “Red” last night. The cast is incredible: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Mary Louise Parker, Richard Dreyfuss and a short but sweet appearance by Ernest Borgnine (he’s 94!). I suspect this movie will be vastly underappreciated by anyone younger than 40, but for our demographic it is bound to be a hit. I have reached the ripe old age that allows me to fully appreciate the notion of “grandpa” sticking it to the young whippersnappers who think they know it all. Without spoiling it, the REDs (Retired Extremely Dangerous) have become targets due to their past work in the CIA. The story becomes a life or death road trip as they try to get to the bottom of who wants them silenced and why. And it’s an awfully fun ride.

Despite the fact that a couple of people brought their kids last night, this is not for the littles. It is rated PG-13 and has some foul language (but unlike some other PG-13 movies of late, it isn’t replete with vulgarities) and there is a lot (a LOT) of mostly bloodless violence. This is based on a graphic novel (I haven’t read it) and I suspect that might lead some parents to think it’s a kid-friendly movie. It’s not, but then again, I don’t think most graphic novels have very much in common with the comic books from 30 years ago. Make it a date night sans kids.

Edited to add: Helen Mirren is drop dead gorgeous and she is 65 years old. I just read a wire story in my local paper in which she refers to Bruce Willis as a geezer. Love that! Geezers rule.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Crazy good apple crop at the nearby orchard (Sky Top) this year.



I know wooly worms are supposed to be harbingers of a cold winter, but how exactly does one assess the relative wooliness of said worm? Next year, I need to bring a chart.


You are never too old to feed a goat, apparently.



I am going to attempt to freeze apple pie filling. Yikes.