One of the things we wanted for this mega field trip was to not be too rushed with stops and to stop at several things along the way that caught our eye. Well, I had totally not looked ahead to see that we would be going through Dayton, Ohio, and thus could make a stop at the place where the Wright Brothers got their start. We realized it as we drove across and saw a marker for the birthplace of one of the brothers. We were unable to get to that museum – the road was out and we had no idea how to go around AND it was a day the birthplace was closed. BUT, we did note that we could go to the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park was in Dayton and we were going right through. So, we stopped.
It was quite rainy and that really interrupted the stop, as the park is in several locations and partially outdoors, but we still enjoyed ourselves. We visited the main location where the indoor museum is, as well as taking a quick peek at the bicycle shop and a stop by where their home had been located.
The museum focused on the lives of Orville and Wilbur but also Paul Laurence Dunbar, who was a writer and about the same age as the brothers. They all sort of strengthened each other and helped their own creativity grow. Working together was a boon for all of them. The museum talked about all three men and we learned a lot. There were a good number of hands-on options to help learn a bit about the way flight works. There was also a very good movie that taught us a lot about the lives of the Wright Brothers.
Printing presses, airplanes, bicycles, attempts, failures, business, and more – all of these things run through the museum and the lives of the Wright Brothers. The home life of the Wright Brothers strongly influenced their ability to move forward and to see the benefit of each failure or restart they had to make. They were persistent and many people admired that. It was a good trait for them to have.
One thing that I learned about them is just how scientific they were about their models. I knew they had tried things out in a bunch of different ways but I was fascinated to read and see how they worked on things in an extremely regimented and scientific manner – carefully observing and changing little things to see how they affected the project they were working on. Then adding up those little changes to make a working airplane.
It was truly a fascinating stop. There was a temporary exhibit there on parachutes, as well. So we spent some time learning about how parachutes work, some of the people who worked on parachutes, some of the most famous parachuters, and a bit more. There were some interesting hands-on activities to help them think about concepts necessary to a successful launch and use of a parachute.
We did not go out to the airstrip where the Wright Brothers did their test runs because the rain was getting heavier. I wish we could have but we had to move on. A stop for another time, right? Keep that wish list running. 🙂
Art journals, you say? What are they? Glad you asked. An art journal is just a book that includes different types of pages, ideas, and prompts to get you not just writing but being creative and artistic as well. Your quiet time is ideal for focusing on God’s word and what He has said. These art journals can help focus that time even more, on a passage, a word, or an idea. Creating visual images with colored pencils, pen and ink, or markers can help you really zone in on what God is saying to you. Each of these journals are lovely, really beautiful, and they feel comfortable in the hand. They are all very different in content, though, so let’s take a look at each one.
The Illustrated Word: An Illuminated Bible Coloring Journal
The Illustrated Word is a hard-cover journal that is about 6″x9″. There are about 150 pages (unnumbered) that are filled with opportunities – to create, to learn, to write, to copy, to color. The pages of this book are nice and thick, somewhat rough like construction paper.
In the old handwritten Bibles, the scribes would often illuminate the pages. Many examples of this are included in this journal as inspiration, generally one per two-page spread. The pages with these examples are lined. Every few pages, there is a full-page image to color. Many of these are Bible verses but a good number are examples from old manuscripts recreated for you to color. These manuscripts are cited, which also gives a nice historical connotation to the illumination.
This is one I am claiming as my own. It is beautiful and the line drawing recreations of the ancient illustrations are a joy to color and fill in. It allows for meditation and time spent thinking. It will be a wonderful journal to use for sermon note taking each week in worship time. And I will be able to think on the notes over and over as I color in the images.
Focusing on the scripture that tells us that God’s Word does not return void is where this journal had its beginning. Krystal Whitten is a graphic designer and professional letterer. She had combined her faith and lettering to further enhance her own understanding of God’s word. In the introduction to the journal, she talks about how she came to combine faith and meditation time with lettering and journaling. She designed this journal to inspire one to “reignite your devotional time, to imprint Scripture upon your heart, and to help you dig deep into the Word of God through the art of lettering.”
Included in this journal are the basics of hand-lettering, Bible journaling, sermon sketch note-taking, and space to write about using these in your devotion time. Some pages contain a full-page, full-color Bible verse that has been hand-lettered. The pages accompanying those are lined for journaling. There are several scriptures that are lettered in a vertical column for you to see it done, trace it, and then practice it yourself. These are two -page spreads. There are a number of lettering styles that are shown with space to practice. These are done with graph pages so that there is a way to make sure your spacing and sizing stay consistent. There are some other pages for you to do your own work on that are pages with dots in a grid. Many of these have small images of quotes or verses, as well. There are pages to practice flourishes and banners and other things.
This hard cover book is 160 pages (unnumbered) and about 7″x8″. The pages are smooth and thick, making it ideal for a variety of writing tools. The cover is beautifully decorated with different images and words to encourage. It is embossed and contains some beautiful gold accents. There is a pen loop on the spine of the journal to be able to keep a pen or pencil close at hand. This journal would be great for someone new to the idea of hand-lettering for Bible study and figuring out how to get started. It gives some great letter styles and decorative ideas to get someone started. And it is just overall beautiful.
Once again, this journal has its origins in the illuminated texts of times page. The illuminated pages gave color and beauty and significance to the texts. For someone just starting to learn how to created these lovely illuminated letters, it can be overwhelming. This journal is a great start, though. Illuminate Your Story Journal includes a number of things to help instruct one new to this type of artistic expression.
Inspired by this history of illuminated letters, the journal begins with a written history of them. It talks about the different regions and peoples to use these and gives lovely examples. There is instruction in the process of illuminated letters and then help for creating your own, including a list of suggested supplies. Then the journal really begins, for you start to do your own work.
The journal has step-by-step instructions, both visual and written, to guide you through drawing and creating the entire alphabet in illuminated letters. There are two styles for each letter with steps for creating each. There is a Bible verse or quote to go along with almost every letter. (I did notice K, Q, V, and X did not have one.) Along the way there are also visual and written instructions for creating other flourishes, animals, flowers, and the like. Quite a variety of ideas and inspiration. The pages with the instructions all are on dot grids to help with size and space. The pages with the quotes and verses are lines for written reflection or whatever practice you might desire.
This lovely hardcover journal is about 6″ x 8″. The 160 pages are thick and smooth, allowing for beautiful layers of color and smooth writing. It includes a woven ribbon bookmark sewn into the binding. The blue cloth spine includes a matching pen loop, both of which coordinate lovely with the cover image. The embossed cover is simple yet elegant and there is a keepsakes pocket on the inside of the back cover. And, to keep from losing anything, the book is held closed by an attached elastic band that goes around the whole book. All in all, this will make a lovely gift for one of our girls who enjoys doing hand-lettering but isn’t very far along with the skill yet.
Y’all, these are all three just lovely art journals. Ellie Claire has created beautiful works of art to help you create your own beautiful works of art. There was another campaign for other Ellie Claire journals and oh how I wish I could have seen those journals since these are so lovely and high quality. (Unfortunately, I didn’t get my name in on that one early enough!) But these, I highly recommend these for anyone in your life starting on the path of hand-lettering or creating Bible artwork, whether they are new to it or looking for new inspiration.
Both of these books are available from New Growth Press.
A Better December: Proverbs to Brighten Christmas by Steven Estes
Many of us know just how insightful the book of Proverbs in the Bible is to our daily lives. But have you ever thought about how much it applies to the holiday season? to Christmas time?
Me, either. But Steven Estes did. And his humorous application of the Proverbs to the holidays is a joyous read. This is a short 80-ish page read and is broken into chapters focusing on things like gifts, children, longings, others, and disappointment. Each of the chapters seems to be right on target for so many of us as the holidays can
If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed by the holidays, the commercialism, and the “stuff”, take a peek at this book. The insights will help you grab hold of what is important, what is necessary, and the joy that should be fueling our holidays. As we are brought into “Someone greater than Solomon is here”, the beauty of the plan of God is revealed and Jesus is introduced. This easy to understand transition is the perfect way to introduce Jesus to those who don’t yet know him.
The pen-and-ink drawings that add whimsicality to the book. This neat little book would be a great one to share with others this holiday season.
Prepare Him Room by Marty Machowski
Are you looking for a series of family devotionals to guide you through the season approaching Christmas? Some folks call this time Advent. I didn’t grow up using that term and we don’t use it with the girls but the time approaching Christmas is still a time that hearts tend to be open to hearing more about our Savior. This book is a series of family devotionals for the 4 weeks of Advent to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Broken into 4 weeks, this series of studies looks at the prophecies the foretold Christ’s coming and the fulfillment of those prophecies. Each week has three family devotionals and a chapter of a Bartimaeus story that unfolds one week at a time, concluding in week 4. Each family devotional includes a list of supplies needed (so you can be prepared ahead of time), a warm-up activity, reading the prophecy scripture, and a written out series of thoughts about the prophecy. Another section is titled Talk About It and it related to the scripture read. There is at least one carol included in each devotional for some singing and you can get a companion CD if you wish. Then there is a family activity to close the devotional.
The time required for each devotional will vary depending on if you choose to use all of the activities and how much discussion you include. You may even wish to include a significant amount more scripture to really bring the impact of the message home to your family. In this case, you will need to go digging and that will take some additional time but I find that when we open up that kind of discussion with the girls, we all learn a whole lot more and can understand scripture more.
This is a simple way to add some meaningful Bible time to you holidays.
Sometimes I stumble across a fascinating book that is very unusual and I just have to share it with you. This is one of those. There is no sponsor on this and honestly, I don’t know where to buy this book. (Note – found it on Amazon.UK) My MIL loaned me this book the other night when we were discussing another book about a child evacuated during WWII. This brought this story to mind for her and so she went and found the book for me.
Evacuated is by Joan Davidson. As the cover states, it is “a remarkable story of two sisters” who were evacuated from Guernsey at the start of the war. It is a true story told from Joan’s point of view. She is five years old at the start of the story. She comes home at the end of the book when she is 10.
The island of Guernsey decided to evacuate their children because they were the first place where Germany would attack. In order to protect their children, the parents made a decision that was full of heart-ache and pain – to send their children away to protect them from the Germans. It was an important decision they made as their island was invaded.
Many of the children had wonderful experiences. Some had a mixed bag. Joan and her sister Brenda had a bit of both, being forced to move a number of times before ending up on a farm. Their story is one of hope and change, struggle and adaptation.
The story of Joan and Brenda did not take long to read. Maybe 2 hours? It was enjoyable and interesting to read a first hand account of what the children went through. This is another of those unique books that really bring to life the difficulties regular people faced in WWII.
We started our worship this morning with this lovely hymn. The joy, the hope, the recognition that not everything will be easy
I will choose to say “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
It is a choice. Job is a great example of one who chose to praise the name of the Lord through it all. Paul is another; suffering all sorts of difficulties, Paul still chose to bless the name of the Lord. David wrote many psalms that praised the Lord through difficulties. What about Naomi? Or Mary? We can find many, many examples in the Bible of those who praised the name of the Lord through it all.
These sets of lines:
Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name
Every blessing You pour out I’ll
Turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name.
I hope this song will bring you encouragement through the sunshine and the rain that will fall in your life. There is nothing that can provide comfort except Jesus.
(*This post contains affiliate links. If you click through a link and choose to purchase, I will receive a small commission from your purchase. Thank you!)
I’ll put the info here so you don’t miss it! Applications are open and it might be the best fit for your family! Check it out by clicking through to see. But read on, too, and see how the Homeschool Review Crew has influenced our family and our education. If you aren’t sure – keep reading. Maybe I can convince you. . .
I have been working with the Homeschool Review Crew almost since we began homeschooling the girls. Miss E had just started “fourth grade” and Miss L has just started “second grade.” Miss J was still a preschooler who had fun with everything. The having fun part hasn’t changed but she sure has – now she is a very confident “fourth grader.” Miss E is in high school and Miss L is in junior high! Life as part of the Crew is just what we do – Crew schooling!
And you know what? We love it! We are at the slow part of the year for the Homeschool Review Crew so we aren’t reviewing hardly any products at this point. Miss E asked just the other day when the next product was coming in for a review. When I told her it would be a couple of months as the years changed over, she was really disappointed. She has loved the products that we have reviewed over the last year or so that were for her, so much so that she made sure she got do to coding this year for her high school work (Thanks Code For Teens) and that she had access to all of the audios we have (Thanks Heirloom Audio and Brinkman Adventures). Additionally, Logic is on her weekly agenda and her algebra class is a previous review product that we have pulled back out. She is working through a speech class from SchoolhouseTeachers. Her Latin is from a Crew review (Picta Dicta) and she looks us the Daily Writing from SchoolhouseTeachers each day. Chemistry (Friendly Chemistry) is found on SchoolhouseTeachers, also, though we bought the extension for the course from the company. Her course load would be totally different without the Crew!
Miss L’s school work looks quite a bit different but she enjoys doing things for the Crew, also. Practice Monkeys is a current review for live online violin classes. She is taking a Marine Biology class from a company that we reviewed a couple of years ago (Supercharged Science). She uses SchoolhouseTeachers to find information for the history that she designed on Parties Through The Ages. Her language arts is made up of Dynamic Literacy, Phonetic Zoo, Grammar Planet, and some writing that she does.
Miss J’s classes are arranged due to some Crew vendors, as well. Mind Benders is probably her favorite and these come from The Critical Thinking Co. (We did not review Mind Benders but because I liked what I saw on from the company in reviews we did, we were more than happy to purchase their products.) She works on Anatomy and Physiology from Apologia and we have printed a few history worksheets and found some links on SchoolhouseTeachers to supplement the readings we do. She is also doing the current Practice Monkeys violin review.
Do you all see what a lovely and varied course load the girls get due to the vendors from the Crew? We have such benefits! These are just a few ways in which the Homeschool Review Crew is a lovely place to be a part of. To name a few others:
friendship – I have some wonderful online bloggers who are dear friends that I would not know if not for the Crew.
mentorship – The Crew offers an amazing wealth of knowledge amongst the bloggers and they offer you support and encouragement. The forums available open up areas of growth that I had no idea I would grow in and yet I have. From homeschooling to blogging to writing to starting a business, the mentoring I have found on the Crew is amazing.
encouragement – The encouragement is unmatched anywhere else. The ladies on the Crew are there for you when you need it. Whether it be prayer for strength to get through a tough day or a group to pray for you over the course of a year when your husband is deployed or a medical emergency or a decision you are anguishing over, these folks with offer encouragement and advice. On top of that, there is no judgment. They are truly an amazing group of ladies to be a part of.
understanding – Crew schooling is a big of different beast in the world of home education. The Crew folks get that and they are all doing it, too. So, when someone questions your choice to change your kiddos curriculum mid-stream (hey – you have a math program to review, you have to change for a few weeks!), the Crew understands and supports you on that. They also have advice and ways to make things work that others might not have thought of.
Okay – do you see? These are amazing people to work with. I am blessed.
I could have written this post a hundred different ways because our family has been truly blessed to be a part of the Homeschool Review Crew. And do you know how I found them? By reading through a post like this. They are currently accepting applications to add to our team. We want you. Click through this link to see if you think you might want to apply and then do! Make a spur of the moment decision and apply. It might just change your life.
Z can be an interesting letter to try to find something for and there were some options but nothing that I really thought “ooh, I’d like to do that” except for zoological parks. I enjoy visiting zoos and animal habitat places. So, I thought I would just quickly mention a few that are found here in Texas. Some I have been to, though it has been a few years for a couple of them; some I have never visited but dream of visiting. Kind of all over the place, you know?
Cameron Park Zoo – I have to start with local, you know! The Cameron Park Zoo is quite fun and they have done a great job with the animal enclosures there. It is not a huge zoo and the price is not huge, either. We can go and spend a couple of hours and see just about everything. We really enjoy the orangutans and the giraffes, the aquariums (especially the Brazos River exhibit) and the birds. It is a paved walk throughout and we always enjoy our visit to the buffalo or the bears, the otters and the rhinos. The otter slide is lots of fun, though the girls are just about all too big for it. The otter slide is a clear slide the kids can slide down that goes through the water of the otter exhibit, so they feel a bit like they are playing with the otters. There are so many neat animals at the Cameron Park Zoo that we always enjoy our visits.
Fort Worth Zoo – I have not been to this one in quite a while but loved it the last time we went. Their animal habitats were very well done and the way the exhibits were was quite different. I do remember this zoo being a bit more pricey but it was a fun visit when we went.
Dallas Zoo – Again, I haven’t been in a while but it was quite the experience. The habitat areas are extremely well done and the animals are grouped somewhat by the part of the world and the habitats they live in. It was a very expensive zoo and several of the areas had additional expenses if you wanted the full experience. Still, we enjoy the zoo very much when we last went.
Houston Zoo – I have not been to this zoo and I don’t know anything about it, except what I could find on the website. So, maybe this one needs to be on my personal bucket list, right? I mean, the whole point of this ABC listing was to find new places to visit, so I’ll add this zoo.
Texas State Aquarium – This was a marvelous place to visit when we went about 3 years ago. The dolphin exhibit alone was amazing, with its underwater viewing area and up close seats for the dolphin show. There was a shark petting area for small sand sharks and you could also touch some rays. The sea turtles were amazing and there were plenty of additional animals to visit. This one is a place I want to go back to.
Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park – When we visited this aquarium with the girls years ago, it was inexpensive and just right for smaller children. The small aquariums had fish and other animals that they could easily see. For the tanks that were high for the kids, there were step stools. They had touch tanks set up for them, as well. It was a fun aquarium to visit with younger children.
Sea World San Antonio – It has been a while since we last visited Sea World and when we did, it was on homeschool day. Y’all know about this right? Our tickets were just a few dollars each and we had access to the park for about 6 hours. The rides were not open and they did not do the orca show, but I think everything else was open for viewing. The dolphins were the girls favorites. Well, maybe – the penguins were well loved, too. It was worth the long drive to visit and not have to pay hundreds of dollars. I would enjoy going back sometime. Maybe . . .
There are plenty of other zoos, aquariums, and wildlife parks in the state. These were just a few that I knew about. Abilene and Tyler both have zoos. There is a wildlife park of some sort up by McKinney. There are a couple of different wildlife safari parks. There are lots of options if you are looking for animal places to visit in Texas.