This Week@ As We Walk Along the Road: Sliding Into a Routine

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Thankfully we seem to be settling into a school routine here. We've eliminated and cut back on some of our extracurricular activities for the fall, and we're actually enjoying having some nights at home together. Kathryne is settling into the routine of taking a co-op science class. And everyone is getting used to new books and new curricula. We've also had some family fun this week, including a baby shower this weekend. Here's a look at our week.

A look at our week- August 29,2015
Our week began last Sunday evening with a fun, spur of the moment geocache. Charles and Rachel are my caching buddies. Charles and Jason were at a youth church event with friends, so the girls and I went out to eat. After our supper, I pulled up my app and looked to see if we had any really close. We found a close cache, so Rachel and I headed off to get it and log it.

Science Fun With a Volcano Experiment

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Volcanoes have always been a favorite activity in our family. Whether we make them from clay or dirt or any other substance we happen to have on hand, we've made volcanoes and had fun with them many times. In this post, I'm sharing some fun volcano facts as well as a fun volcano experiment to do with your kids. 

A fun science experiment with volcanoes

Volcano Facts for Kids

Before you jump into the volcano science experiment, share these interesting facts about volcanos with your little learners:
  • There are about 1,900 active volcanoes on the earth. This means they have erupted recently or they might erupt. Some volcanoes are extinct. Over 80 volcanoes have been found in the ocean.
  • Most volcanoes happen on fault lines, or cracks in the Earth’s surface.
  • Most of the earth’s volcanoes are in the Pacific Ocean, in an area called the Ring of Fire.
  • The word “volcano” comes from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.
  • Lava from volcanoes can reach temperatures of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Volcanoes spew out ash and toxic gases, as well as lava and lava boulders.

Volcano Science Experiment for Kids

Check out these kids use household chemicals to recreate a volcanic eruption!


 Using the Volcano Kit from the video, little scientists are asked to mix chemicals to make the volcano erupt! This will be an experiment that Young Scientists will want to repeat again and again!

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The Kingdom Tales Trilogy And Questions to Ask Kids About Allegory (Read Aloud Wednesdays)

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On the last Wednesday of each month I like to feature a particular book on Read Aloud Wednesdays. The book I'm featuring today wasn't originally the one I had planned for this month. But, it's a book we seem to keep coming back to as a read aloud in our family, and it's one I knew nothing about until last year. So I wanted to share this hidden gem in today's Read Aloud Wednesdays post.

Last year, as part of our My Father's World Countries and Cultures package, we received Kingdom Tales by David and Karen Mains. What we received as one book is originally a trilogy of allegorical books- Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration.

The books are allegorical stories, although not exact allegories. Tales of the Kingdom takes place when Enchanted City is under the rule of the evil Enchanter and only in Great Park can the people of the Kingdom be safe and free as they celebrate with the true King. Tales of the Resistance focuses on those in Enchanted City who are covertly working for the King and the Kingdom, leading some in Enchanted to be residents of Great Park. In Tales of the Restoration, the spell of the evil Enchanter has been broken through the sacrifice of the King. The city- now called Bright City- is slowly being transformed into a place where all will one day celebrate with the King.

Our Favorite High School Math and Science Resources (Homeschool High School Blog Hop)

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This month's Homeschool High School Blog Hop is all about high school curriculum for math and science. I almost feel a tad bit hypocritical about writing this one. Here's how real life conversations go.

Friend: "Oh, you're still homeschooling through high school?"
Me: "Yes, I now have two high school students."
Friend: "Wow, I could never do that because I don't know how I'd ever teach high school math!"
Me: "Um..."
Friend: "And what about chemistry lab?"
Me: "Um..."

Math and science curricula for homeschooling high school

The truth is that high school math and science are out of my league. But, I believe we are called to homeschool. I believe God has directed us to continue homeschooling in high school. And even though I personally am not all that great at upper level math and science, I'm positive that God is. As we've needed classes, we've found them. And as the kids age and learn, I also age and learn (well at least learn). We have found some good resources that have been what the kids needed to learn- without involving me to have much preknowledge. And, amazingly, I've learned quite a bit along the way.

Going Gluten Free: Why and How We Do It

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When people find out that I eat a gluten free diet, I'm often asked quite a few questions. Although food allergens and sensitivities are much better understood than times in the past, occasionally people still don't understand. And people who know I have a large family often have lots of questions about how my eating style works for the whole family.

In today's homemaking post, I'm sharing some answers to common questions I get about eating gluten free. At the end of the post, you'll also find more information about a fun freebie that is available until September 6- The 4 Essential Habits of Healthy Families Audio E-course. You don't want to miss this freebie because it's a good one!

Going gluten free- why and how

Q: Does everyone in your family eat a gluten free diet?

No. I eat a 100% gluten free diet. My oldest daughter eats primarily gluten free and vegetarian. But she has been known to "cheat" on occasion because she's doing it for reasons of choice not for medical cause.

Q: Does that mean you're making six different meals all the time?!

Definitely not! For breakfast, everyone makes their own food. My youngest child is ten and can easily do so. When I first began eating gluten free and they were younger, I did make breakfast for the kids and a separate breakfast for me. For lunch, I make my food and one regular lunch meal. Some of them eat the lunch I make (easy lunches) and some prefer to make their own- especially my vegetarian child. For supper, I make one family dinner and it is gluten free. It is not always meat free, but I try to make the meat an option- for instance spaghetti with meat sauce or red sauce.

Q: Why do you eat a gluten free diet?

This is one of the most frequent questions I get. It almost seems as if some people think that eating a gluten free diet- or a vegetarian diet- is just a fad. I was actually tested for Celiac Disease because my sister has it. She was diagnosed as a child. My test was negative. But I've long suffered with migraines and, in the last five years, with fibromyalgia. About two and a half years ago, frustrated with my pain levels increasing, I decided to try a gluten free diet.

My sister had long been telling me of the links between gluten sensitivity and issues like chronic pain and migraines. A gluten sensitivity won't show up on any test. I finally decided it was worth my sanity to try the diet. Eating gluten free has been beneficial. It doesn't entirely end my pain. It did greatly decrease the frequency of the migraines. And the body pain is less than without the gluten free diet.

My daughter had been considering eating vegetarian for some time. When I went gluten free, she decided to drop gluten and meat and soda. She was doing it for preference reasons, but in eating gluten free, she notices some definite positive changes in hormonally related issues.

Q: What do you eat?

I am going to be honest here. I've always been a picky eater. I was as a child, and it has continued to some degree. I'm one of those people who would honestly rather not eat than eat what I don't happen to want. It's a bad trait to have, and, as an adult, I've worked to change. When I first went gluten free, I felt a little lost because some of my food staples were gone. What helped me was to build up a variety of foods that were gluten free that I gradually began to like more and to choose foods I already liked that were gluten free and try to always keep them around.

For breakfast and lunch I eat the same thing every day. Every. Single. Day. I've always followed this pattern, though- even when I wasn't gluten free. I just had to change the staples to choose gluten free. For breakfast, I eat bacon and a piece of gluten free cinnamon toast. For lunch I eat an almond apricot Kind Bar, sliced cheese, and applesauce. For supper, we eat a good bit of gluten free pasta and rice- along with other gluten free recipes I find and try out. I do have things I cook frequently that I know the family actually eats and that I can cook well.

Q: Can you go out to eat? 

Well, we honestly don't go out much anymore because of cost anyway. This was true even before I began a gluten free diet. But, there are things I can eat to enjoy a dinner at a restaurant. Most larger chain restaurants can provide an allergen menu. And so many places are becoming more and more aware of what it means to eat and eliminate certain ingredients.

Although I don't have to be extremely careful about cross contamination- as a true Celiac would- I am always reluctant to eat at someone else's house when I don't know the people well. In a restaurant, I can ask for an allergen menu and be assured of the ingredients. When someone has cooked, I'm sometimes hesitant to demand an ingredient list. And there have been times I've eaten something I assumed would be perfectly safe, only to find out it had some unusual ingredient.

Eating gluten free has been a healthy choice for me. I feel better when I stick to a totally gluten free diet.  I'm really excited about the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle coming up in the first part of September. There will be lots of resources to help me learn more about making healthy choices for my family. Right now you can sign up for the free audio e-course- 4 Essential Habits for Healthy Families. And, when you sign up, you'll be notified as soon as the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle is available (with no obligation to buy it, of course).

Introverts and Grief

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This post is a departure from my normal homeschool, parenting, and family articles. But it's been on my heart for a few weeks now. Many of my readers know that my father passed away in July after a stay in ICU following a car accident. As we went through the days following my Dad's death, I knew that I grieved differently than others. I've experienced this before- after my Grandmother's death.

The fact is that I am an introvert. I'm not sure if all introverts share the same experience when they are grieving, but I do think that, as introverts, they may. Many people think I haven't fully grieved. Or they think I'm keeping things in in an unhealthy way. Hopefully there is no one who thinks that I haven't been sad. But I know that, occasionally, people just don't know what to make of my response.

Introverts and Grief

I know that all introverts aren't always the same just as all men aren't the same or all short people aren't the same. But I think, as an introvert, I can make a few generalizations. If you have friends who happen to be introverts or a child who's an introvert, they may process grief differently. They may need some space. Here are a few ways that I handle grief.

I don't really want to cry in front of everyone. It's not a matter of pride. It's the fact that I'm a private person. Sitting around in a big group with everyone crying isn't cathartic for me. It's intimidating. I can grieve more freely on my own.

Lack of tears doesn't equal lack of love. Just because I don't like to cry in a group does not mean I don't love the person who died. I loved my dad tremendously. It also doesn't mean I don't love the other family members who are sad. The fact that I grieve and process differently doesn't mean I don't grieve.

I have a hard time handling other people's sadness sometimes. Maybe this one is just me. I struggle with compassion at the best of times. During a time like a death in the family, I'm just not sure what to do with other people's grief. I try to be comforting and compassionate. But mostly I just feel awkward. So the uncomfortable feeling you sense from me doesn't mean I don't care. It just means I'm not sure what to do.

Sitting around and grieving as a group isn't cathartic to me. It seems that most people seem to find comfort in all hanging out and sharing and grieving together in the days following a death. Too much of a group is hard for me at the best of times. During this time of grief, it's doubly hard. Being with the group is emotionally draining for me- not an encouragement. I can handle it in small doses because it is important to draw close as a family, and I realize that. But when I'm ready to take a break, I hope people don't get their feelings hurt.

My grief seems to happen on a different time table. Immediately following my dad's death, I was able to completely focus on the tasks at hand and not really think about much else. It's only been afterwards, that I find myself more sad as I move farther from the immediate needs and more into "regular" life without him around.

If you have an introvert in your family or friends, just know that they may grieve differently. It's not a sign of denial or a lack of love or of compassion. It's just different.

Do You Need Peace and Rest In Your Homeschooling Day? A Review of Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie

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If I ever give off the image that I have it all together- that I'm an organized homemaker and an efficient homeschooler and a good cook and a patient mom- don't believe it. I do love what I do. But it isn't always easy. There are days when I'm "running crazy." So when I heard of Sarah Mackenzie's book- Teaching From Rest- I knew I had to read it. The title alone was compelling. I definitely want my homeschool to be more restful and more peaceful.

A review of Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace

As a background note, I stumbled upon Sarah Mackenzie, who blogs at Amongst Lovely Things, when I began listening to the Read Aloud Revival podcast. I quickly was drawn to Sarah's personable and authentic style. And, of course, I love the topic of the Read Aloud Revival podcast. I became a member of the Read Aloud Revival community membership site. And I was able to feature an interview with Sarah on my Read Aloud Wednesdays post a few months ago. After some time stalking exploring Sarah's site, I came across her book Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace and learned that a brand new second edition has just been released. I was very excited to be able to review the book and the great resources that come along with it.