How Sweet How Heavenly ~ hymn

How Sweet How Heavenly hymn

There are times in our lives when it feels like many, many we know are going through difficult struggles. Whether it is illness, death of a loved one who has struggled with health for a long while, death of a loved one that was sudden and unexpected, or feeling downtrodden with all that this earthly life holds for us, we all feel that sadness and lack of hope once in a while. But, we should find that hope. After all, we have hope in Christ. He promises us that. And we have a sweetness that is found only in Him and in our family through Him. Those around us are ready and willing to lift you in your times of struggle. They are also ready to be there in times of peacefulness and joy. Love is what ties all of this together. So love one another as Christ loves each of us.

Lori, At Home.

Listen to this hymn at In Search of the Lord’s Way. The titles are alphabetical and you’ll just need to click the arrow to the left of the title for How Sweet, How Heavenly.

How Sweet, How Heavenly

lyrics: Joseph Swain (1792)
music: William B. Bradbury (1844)

  1. How sweet, how heav’nly is the sight,
    When those that love the Lord
    In one another’s peace delight,
    And thus fulfill His Word.
  2. When each can feel his brother’s sigh
    And with him bear a part;
    When sorrow flows from eye to eye,
    And joy from heart to heart.
  3. When, free from envy, scorn, and pride,
    Our wishes all above,
    Each can his brother’s failings hide,
    And show a brother’s love.
  4. When love, in one delightful stream,
    Through every bosom flows;
    When union sweet, and dear esteem,
    In every action glows.
  5. Love is the golden chain that binds
    The happy souls above;
    And he’s an heir of Heav’n who finds
    His bosom glow with love.

New Mexico Bucket List – B ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

Blogging Through The Alphabet B image

Today, I have two places for your consideration when creating a Bucket List of things to do and see in New Mexico. Both are amazingly beautiful and completely different from each other – Bandelier and Bosque del Apache. One is an historical park of the ancient cliff dwellers places and their ceremonial places. The other is a nature preserve that is on a major flyway for beautiful birds. Both are worth the visit.

Bandelier National Monument 

Bandelier is a beautiful canyon set into the high mountains of northern New Mexico. Santa Fe is a good place to stay for your visit to Bandelier, as there is not much in the immediate vicinity of the park. Throughout a large part of the year, entry into the park is by a park bus accessible from the visitor’s center. This center is located at White Rock, which is basically the top of Frijoles Canyon where the park is.

community summer dwelling

Bandelier has a long history, dating back to the ancient Puebloan cliff dwelling people. These peoples worked hard to live here and were here for about 400 years, from about 1100 AD -1450 AD. They created homes, many of which can still be seen and accessed. These homes were dug into the volcanic tuff, a soft but strong rock substance that is found as the canyon walls. They farmed and grew large agricultural plots on the tops of the cliffs, along the Pajarito Plateau. Corn, beans, and squash were central to their diet. They also used many native plants, including the cacti. Animals were killed for their meat and skins and the people had domesticated turkeys that were used for meat and for their feathers.

one of the cave dwellings

The thing that makes Bandelier special is that the trails take you through their dwellings. You walk through the major summer community that is estimated to have had about 400 rooms built around a central area. You walk up and down the rough paths to ladders that allow you to go up into storage rooms, dwelling areas, and other places carved out of the cliff face. There are lots of these cave-type openings to climb into. Inside, we can see writings and drawings, soot patterns, and even insects. Not many archeological sites are open like this. It is a special place to visit.

There is one site within the park that is above all else. Literally. Alcove House is built halfway up the cliff face and is accessible only by steep ladders. At over 140 feet above the canyon floor, Alcove House looks out across the valley and has a stunning view. It is estimated that a group of about 25 probably lived in this dwelling. There are viga holes (large supporting roof timbers) and a kiva all the way up here.

Alcove House ladder

Whether or not you are up for the climb, if you can make it on the trail to be able to view Alcove House, it is worth it. It is an additional mile or so on the trail to get to the view of Alcove House but I always enjoy thinking about seeing the opening in the cliff, high above everything else.

I am sure there is a ton more I could write about Bandelier. It is worth the visit. Check out our visit from a couple of summers ago.

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

Situated on the Rio Grande River, the Bosque del Apache is a wildlife refuge run by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. There are over 50,000 acres for the wildlife and the area is a major migration stop and winter ground for a variety of species. Ducks, geese, and cranes are often spotted here.

BosquedelApache1 (1)

Throughout the year, there are beautiful animals and sights to see on the Bosque. There is a page on their site that lets you know about which birds you are likely to see at what time of year, as well as what other animals you might encounter in the wildlife refuge.

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These photos were taken back in November. You will find plenty of beautiful photos and videos on the Facebook page for Bosque del Apache. And no matter when you visit, you will find plenty of wildlife showing off the beauty God gave each of them.

Lori, At Home.

Click the following link to join the linkup party and to see others who have linked up to this ABC series.

Letter B Linkup – Inlinkz Link Party

Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

abcblogging image lg

You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–

* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

Colonial Williamsburg ~ Mega Field Trip 2018

Mega Field Trip - Colonial Williamsburg

After eating lunch at Pocahontas State Park, we headed into Williamsburg and checked into our hotel. We had found a great deal on a package with one of the Colonial Williamsburg hotels. If you visit, I would suggest checking to see the prices. We were able to stay at the hotel within walking distance of the entrance AND get our passes for three days (we only used one) for about what it would have cost us for a hotel elsewhere in the area. So, we basically got our passes for free. And the hotel had a fabulous continental breakfast included.

As I stated, we checked in during the late afternoon. It was really too late to head over since much of Colonial Williamsburg closes at 5 unless you have tickets for some of their special events. We knew we would be extremely tired by this point in our trip and so we elected to not push it. We stayed in the hotel room, vegged out, took a swim, ate dinner, and slept. We woke refreshed and eager the next morning.

We got into Colonial Williamsburg about the time it opened. We took a tour of the Governor’s Palace right off the bat. It was spectacular. The armament was basically kept here and there were TONS of weapons. They created beautiful decor in the entry way. They also would have served well to warn folks about how serious the area was in their protection. The gentleman we had giving us the tour was well versed in his material and knew not just about the Governor’s Palace but was able to answer questions about all of the city and the history and time period. He did a wonderful job of acquainting us with the time and all that was going on in the area.

The Palace was beautiful. It was furnished as close as they could to an original set up, including ordering rugs and paint colors to be done exactly as they would have originally. It was beautiful.

From there, we hurried across the way to a museum so that we could hear a performance of the glass armonica. This is the instrument that Benjamin Franklin invented. It is glass and played by spinning the glass instrument quickly and playing the edges with wetted fingers. It was lovely and the music is ethereal. Dean Shostak is a well known musician and talked much about how to play the armonica, as well as how it is made. He performed a number of pieces on it for us. He also pulled out a glass violin he had had made. Now, it had nothing to do with the colonial time period but it was a stunning instrument. His performance on it was stunning, too. Needless to say, we came away with several of his recordings.

glass armonica picture

After that, we just kind of wandered through the area. We ended up following a school tour and that allowed us to hear quite a bit more than if we had just come through on our own in several of the craftsmen’s shops. We did find that most of the folks were less than eager to answer questions, which was a bit disappointing. So, following the school group was a good thing for us.

We visited the tin smith, the leather smith, the dress maker, the silver smith, the tavern, and the school. Many places were closed, which we found very odd.

Another of my favorite parts came at the close of the day – the drum and fife group. We hung around to be able to hear them play their day ending ceremonies. They were dressed in stunning red uniforms and marched military style to their performances. They performed a number of pieces and it was lovely to watch. The drum and fife group would have been fairly essential to the life of the colony and it was a neat way to close out the day.

I did find myself wishing we had time to go back the next day but we decided we needed to head on. We were heading to New Bern, NC, to meet someone for lunch so we couldn’t dawdle too long. Our time at Colonial Williamsburg was very interesting and the girls still talk about hearing the glass armonica. That will be a lasting memory and well worth the trip.

Lori, At Home.

NM Bucket List – A ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

A tall mage

We are starting it off right – with art! Did you know that Georgia O’Keeffe found much inspiration in New Mexico. In fact, her ranch is found in Abiquiu. That is in the northern part of the state, somewhat close to Taos and Santa Fe. “Somewhat” is a relative term here, folks, as there are many wide-open space in New Mexico.

Abiquiu is a small town that has played a big role in history and movies. There is a pretty good list of movies that have shot in and around Abiquiu. It was also the scene for some TV series shots. I know that is of interest to many people but honestly, I haven’t seen most of those. If I take look, I can find over 50 titles for films that have shot, at least partly, in the area.

Abiquiu was one of the original stops on the Spanish Trail in the 1800s which linked Santa Fe with Los Angeles. These stops were important for trade and safety.

The area includes many wonderful hiking trails and a lovely monastery (Monastery of Christ in the Desert). The Abiquiu Reservoir is a large lake that has some recreational activities available such as fishing, hiking, and boating.

My favorite part of Abiquiu is, by far, the association it has with Georgia O’Keeffe. As an artist, she fell in love with the light and the area. Beginning in about 1929, O’Keeffe spent a good part of each year in New Mexico. She eventually bought Ghost Ranch, close to Abiquiu. It provided her much to paint, from her beloved Pedernal to dry bones to bright desert flowers. The light and sky is a great attraction for many artists and O’Keeffe seemed to take much inspiration from it. Her work is beautiful and striking. If you want a neat book on Georgia O’Keeffe, check out the biography for children that I shared on a post a while back (it is towards the end of the post).

Ghost Ranch, The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and a visitor’s center are all places to visit to learn more about O’Keeffe.

Lori, At Home.

Letter A Link Up – Inlinkz Link Party

Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

abcblogging image lg

You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–

* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

IXL for online, individualized learning ~ a Crew review

When it comes to online learning, a personalized fit is key. IXL Learning has that personalization and came to us for review at a time when we were looking for some fresh ideas.

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IXL is an online program that requires a subscription, a computer, and internet access. We are using the full annual membership and that gives us access to all grade levels and all subjects. This is a really good thing for us since we have a student in late elementary, one in middle school and one in high school. There truly is something for each of them with IXL.

IXL is a comprehensive curriculum for the elementary levels in math, language arts, science, and social studies. What this means is that the subject and skill areas covered is comprehensive – everything you would need for those levels. It is comprehensive in math and language arts all the way through high school. Science and social studies are available through 8th grade. There is also a Spanish class to take that covered many areas of the language.

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IXL is not a complete curriculum in that it does not include the teaching necessary for students to understand the concepts/skills if they don’t already know them. A parent/teacher would need to be available to preteach or teach when questions are missed. In a previous review, this is how we used IXL and it worked well. We used it to teach the skills the girls needed help with as they went along. They also used it to practice those things they already knew or could pick up easily.


When a student is ready to work in IXL, they log in. Each student has their own profile but it is under a central login. The student then chooses which subject area they are going to work in. After clicking, say, language arts, the student then chooses the grade level to work on and the specific skill area within that subject. So, Miss J might choose math, grade 4, and patterns. It will then begin her work.

She will read and answer questions. As she answers correctly, the questions get progressively more challenging, requiring the students to think harder to get all the way through the question set. This dynamic system keeps the questions fresh and the student working hard at mastery. When a questions is answered incorrectly, the program gives them an explanation page. It gives the correct answer, the answer the student gave, and a step-by-step explanation of the correct answer. The student must read through that or have someone read and explain it to them. There is not a “read to me” option and there are no video explanations with additional examples to help grasp the concept.

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Each question set has a goal. For many it is to reach 100. For others it is to answer a certain number of questions correctly. As they near the goal, it becomes a challenge zone, which is a key to the student that the questions are getting more difficult and they will have to work harder.

Alternatively, there is a second way to approach using IXL. When a student first begins, they can take a diagnostic test. Each question on the test is designed to narrow down the skills the student needs to work on, honing in on specific areas. The more questions the student answers, the better the program can identify needs. This is very good. However, you need to know that ahead of time because it otherwise becomes the never-ending test. It doesn’t stop, as far as I can tell. It just keeps honing. You can just have your student stop after a certain period of time you choose or answer a chosen number of questions.

Once the diagnostic test is stopped, there are recommendations made for the student. These recommendations do change when a different child clicks into their account. If the child has not taken the diagnostic test, they will still receive recommendations based on what they have worked on. The child can choose to tackle the recommendations or just go on to what they want to work on. The recommendations include all subject areas.

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IXL patternsMiss J is 10 and working at a 4th/5th grade level. She is using the program mostly for math but also doing some science, social studies, and Spanish. She is using the program almost every day for her math. She works for about 30 minutes on math each day, which takes her through 2 – 3 skill areas. Once a week, I sit down with her to go through Spanish. This is more of a review for her at these early stages, working on letters, numbers, and such. It does eventually become more conversational but she has to learn to spell the Spanish words for things before we move too much further with it. In science, she is exploring the gems and minerals part of the topics about once a week. And she is working on the American History topics once a week with me, also.

Miss J loves that she is getting some little “prizes” when she reaches certain goals – answer 100 questions or spend 2 hours on math. I also receive an emailed certificate for each of those goals. I can print that out or just show it to her online.

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Miss L is in 7th grade. She has had some math topics that she has struggled with. We have used IXL math as a review for her. I have given her a list of topics/skill areas that I want her to practice. She gets on and work through that list. I have seen those skill areas, as well as her general attention to detail in math, grow through using IXL.

IXL Learning for history FBMiss E is in high school. She has been using IXL to work on some of the history topics that relate to the project she is working on. She is creating cards related to the big happenings in American history. She used IXL to see how her retention was and to challenge herself in her memory. She has looked at some of the math topics, as well. They are relating to her math book very clearly and so when she needs some review or extra practice on math skills for algebra, she can log in here.I


IXL science personalized learning pin

I like that there are an abundance of topics and skill areas for the girls to work on. I like that there is something for everyone. I like the variety of question styles and answer options, such as the picture choices when working on minerals. And, I like that I can see progress.

There is a parent/teacher side to the site that gives you all sorts of diagnostic information. You can see how long any one student has worked in a given day or week. You can see the exact skills and questions they worked on. You can see if they need additional work. You can also see their progress. I like that this exists and can see how I might use it sometimes but I am not using it a lot. I do, however, see the benefits of this and am thankful it is there for those parents/teachers who want and need to see these for grades and planning.

All in all, there are some great things about IXL. It is a solid program for review or to work alongside an active parent/teacher. It is worth checking out.

If you are looking for a Spanish version of the site, there is one available. If you are in another country, it also possible for you to receive the site with the appropriate math skills for your area. It should redirect you automatically to the IXL site for your country.

Lori, At Home.

The Homeschool Review Crew had many families using IXL Learning for the past few weeks. Reading several reviews will help you understand more about the benefits and flexibility of this program. Please read more of the reviews by clicking the banner below.




National Museum of the American Indian ~ Mega Field Trip 2018

Mega Field Trip - Museum of the American Indian

Another museum we visited in Washington, D.C., was the National Museum of the American Indian. I grew up in an area strongly populated by Indians. I think the history of these people native to America is fascinating – both interesting and horrifying. I have wanted to visit this museum since it was established. It was not open when I got to first visit DC so it was high on my “must do” list this time around.

The museum did not disappoint. It is densely packed with exhibits and information that helps each of us understand more about these peoples and their history. From artifacts to badly done movies and advertisements, this museum covers it all.

One area that we found fascinating was the artifact exhibit that showcased hundred of items. Each item is number and listed. There are electronic screens close by that you can touch to find out more about the items that interest you. Each item seemed to have information on where the item came from, the Indian group that it is associated with, how old it is suspected to be, and what it was used for. There were many items that were similar but from different Indian groups and those were interesting to look at and compare. We spent a fair amount of time in this area.

Another interesting area showcased articled that had been intricately beaded. One of the most fascinating was an American flag that had Indian group named embedded in the beads of the strips of the flags and the initial of each state on the stars. It is stunning!

We made sure to visit the floor that covered many of the different Indian Nations and their history. It was presented well and we went from group to group, seeing the difference in what they ate, how they dressed, the different ceremonies they had, and other things that made each nation unique. It was extremely well done.

There was a small area that had seating close to some video screens. Those screens were showing animated tales and legends from the Indian nations. It was interesting to listen to the legends and stories, to see them animated. Miss J was particularly interested in these tales.

The last part we had time to visit was the advertising and other promotional items area. This was a huge room that had every advertising thing that had ever been done with any relation to an Indian or native peoples group. From Barbie dolls, which the girls found interesting, to Big Chief Tablets, from motels in teepee shapes to drinks named after Indians, it was really a unique look at how our nation saw/sees these Americans.

One the main floor there are several examples of canoes and other water craft. These life sized craft were interesting and really help see how the area of the country the people lived in influenced their construction. This was also true just outside the exit, where we were able to see some crops planted and some outdoor ovens.

From the walkway up to the entrance through the exit and onto the sidewalk going away from the museum, this was a fascinating place to visit. I enjoyed it very much and truly wish I could remember many of the things we read in that building. It was stunningly created and displayed and a stop I would highly recommend.

Lori, At Home.

Beneath The Cross of Jesus ~ hymn

Beneath the Cross of Jesus

Something that always brings me peace is the cross of Jesus. Yes, I realize that it is also a place of great pain and anguish. But the peace comes from the recognition that in the cross I have hope and a future. Without the cross, I do not have a hope or a future. With no hope, no future, there is no peace.

Jesus took on my sin while on the cross and put it to death. When he rose from the grave, he conquered death and removed sin. Through him, and only him, is there true peace. So that cross is a peaceful thing for me.

This words of this hymn reflect that peace can be found in the shadow of the cross. It is a refuge.

Beneath The Cross of Jesus

words: Elizabeth Clephane (1872)
music: Frederick C. Maker (1881)

1 – Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a might rock within a weary land,
A home within the wilderness,
A rest upon the way.
From the burning of the noon-tide heat and the burden of the day.

2 – O safe and happy shelter, O refuge tried and sweet,
O trysting place where heaven’s love and heaven’s justice meet!
As to the holy patriarch,
That wondrous dream was giv’n.
So seems my Savior’s cross to me, a ladder up to heav’n.

3 – Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me.
And from my smitten heart
Two wonders I confess:
The wonders of His glorious love and my own worthlessness.

4 – I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place.
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face.
Content to let the world go by,
To know no gain or loss,
My sinful self, my only shame, My glory all the cross.

Lori, At Home.


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