Monday, December 31, 2012

FREEBIES: Happy New Year


HAPPY NEW YEAR!! To thank you all for making this such a wonderful year for me, I thought I would pass along this fabulous freebie I discoverd this morning to those who brighten my day!

Jamerrill of
Free Homeschool Deals is wrapping up the year with a list of the Top 125 Homeschool Freebies of 2012! You definitely want to check out this list. With 125 great freebies, you just might
find just what you need for your school year!


Here is a special sneak peek of the Top 5:
10 Free LEGO Apps

Free & Frugal Homeschooling Planning Pack
Free eBook: Homeschooling for FREE & Frugal
Free Monthly Homeschool Planner Sets (182-Pages!)
Free Polar Express MEGA Printable Pack (53 Pages)

Click Here for 120 more Homeschool Freebies

What are you waiting for? Head on over and check it out!

The Prison of Resentment



The Prison of Resentment

Scripture verse: Psalm 73:21–22
Additional Scripture Readings: Matthew 6:14; 2 Timothy 2:24

Resentment puts us in prison. Like a ball and chain, it holds us back from experiencing the positive emotions of joy and peace. Are you imprisoned by resentment? I know there have been times in my life when I have been. When I let the pain, betrayal, and emotions of being abandoned and mistreated in life by those I love, who are suppose to love me, and I have let my heart become overrun by bitterness and resentment.

Resentment is an inevitable result of being damaged and wounded by the words or actions of another. We will feel it. To try to squelch the pain that comes when we’ve been hurt is to deny our human ability to feel.

But we don’t have to make resentment our permanent home. When we choose to live, day in and day out, within the confines of resentment, we imprison ourselves, trapped in bitterness, incarcerated in a grudge. When our energy is poured into these negative emotions, we are barred from experiencing life-giving emotions like forgiveness, love and hope.

We can’t choose whether or not we will be hurt. The mistakes of others are out of our control. But we can determine how we will respond to the pain that comes by the hand of another. Release resentment. In so doing, we set our hearts free.

Mom, you don't have to go it alone! The Mom's Devotional Bible is a trusted source of wisdom to help you along the path of mothering. Is there a resentment you have been holding onto? I pray with you today that you can let it go, give it to God and live a life worthy of the calling you have received!

Today's reading is from the
Mom's Devotional Bible
by Zondervan

Friday, December 21, 2012

People Helping People: Contest Winner


My daughter recently entered a contest sponsored by the Greg Landry Academy called People Helping People and she WON! I am so proud of my baby girl.They were initally going to do only one winner and give the $1000 to them, but since they had so many beautiful, heartfelt ideas they decided to do 5 winners and give each $500 instead. She also won 3 differnt, paid for, lab studiesclasses spread throught the year!  Here is her essay:

 The Joy of Giving
My name is Delaney McDonald. Spreading the love of Christ isimportant to me. If I was given the opportunity to win $1,000 to help people, I would use it to show Christ's love in tangibleways. We have an elder at our church that is a missionary with the Dallas homeless called "Our Calling". I would use the money to buy Bibles, blankets, journals and other essential needs my family could help hand out to help our local homeless and share the love and hope that only Christ can offer them. There are mainly homeless families: men, women and children that need to know Christ cares for them and $1,000 would let me show them in a small way they are loved , thought of and prayed for always.

 Delaney McDonald
 7th grade

Our Contest Winners
Thanks to the hundreds of people who participated
and congratulations to our winners!

Contest: Win $1,000 to Help People
For this contest, we decided to give $500 to five
people rather than $1,000 to one person. Our five
winners are:


1. Caroline, in 4th grade and lives in Four Oaks, NC
I would give some of money to one of our Meals on
Wheels people, Ms. Gladys.  She lives alone and she
uses a walker because she has trouble walking. Her
house needs a new bathroom floor and she keeps the
heat turned down really low because she can’t afford
to pay the electric bill when she turns the heat up.
With the left over money and coupons, I would buy
lots of toilet paper and take it to “With Love from
Jesus.” They give people that need help food and
supplies.  Even though they could choose other things
from the general living area, people always choose
toilet paper and “With Love from Jesus” runs out of
it a lot. I can not imagine what it would be like to
be without toilet paper.
2. Elizabeth in Queen's Village NY
If I had $1,000, I would split it into 4 groups- $250
each. With one group I would buy what I need to make
sandwiches to hand out along with gospel tracts to
homeless people. I would give the second $250 to Gospel
for Asia, to buy Bibles. The third $250 would be spent
helping out friends whose father is currently unemployed.
With the final amount, I would buy supplies to make baby
blankets and clothing to donate to a shelter.
3. Delaney in Mesquite TX
Spreading the love of Christ is important to me. If I
was given the opportunity to win $1,000 to help people,
I would use it to show Christ's love in tangible ways.
We have an elder at our church that is a missionary with
the Dallas homeless called "Our Calling". I would use
the money to buy Bibles, blankets, journals and other
essential needs my family could help hand out to help
our local homeless and share the love and hope that
only Christ can offer them. There are mainly homeless
families: men, women and children that need to know
Christ cares for them and $1,000 would let me show them
in a small way they are loved, thought of and prayed
for always.
4. Jasmine in Stafford VA
"He defends...the widow,...giving them food and clothing,"
Deuteronomy 10:18.  If I received $1000 to spend on others
this holiday season, I would call up the Director of
Connections at my church Christ Chapel in Woodbridge,
Virginia.  I would ask her to give me names of 20 widows
so that I can spend $50 on each one.  I would go out with
my family to buy gifts such as candles, slippers, sweaters,
snuggies, gift baskets, and food to create care packages.
I would then deliver these care packages to the widows
personally at their homes.  This is how I would like to
support my community this Christmas.   “...The widows who
live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and
so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of
your hands,” Deuteronomy 14:29.
5. Clare in Carrollton TX
"I would buy soap, food, a little Christmas present,
clothes, shoes, umbrellas, crank flashlights, water,
sleeping bags, pillows, coat, backpack, cart with wheels,
paper, pencils and stamps and envelopes for mailing their
families. I would give these things to the poor people of
Dallas that I saw a few days ago under an old fashioned
bridge in downtown.  I saw that they needed these things
because they had no food, they had their stuff scattered
everywhere, and they were sleeping on the ground under the
bridge with no lights."

Congratulation to all as they seek to glorify God and spread the Gospel in their own unique ways.____________________________

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Kingsbury Collection: Three Novels in One

Where Yesterday Lives:
A tragic event shakes the lives of the Barrett family, as the book opens up with a man having a heart attack.  The different families represented must decide whether the miles and years can be erased and if they can regain the love and closeness they had for each other in their youth, now that they are grown and life has separated them. Karen does a wonderful job of bringing this family to life for the reader. You feel like you are in the story every step of the way, fighting with them and your heart breaks with them as well; you can see and feel what they are thinking and going through and you are pulling for them.
Karen takes everyday life and weaves it into these characters. These characters’ lives are not perfect. There is temptation, anger, bitterness, depression, anxiety, self-righteousness, jealousy, hurt and love. All things every family can relate to on some level and in the middle of it all is God’s hand guiding and directing.
I have to admit, this book brought tears to my eyes as I read it because I could relate so well to certain characters and their emotions. It was simply a beautiful read.   

Where Yesterday Lives:
Maggie has repressed the lies of her past until depression brings her to the point of desperation.  How can a Christian be depressed?  How can someone who writes advice for families have her own family in shambles?  Her husband, Ben, has to find out what is wrong with Maggie.  She has checked herself into a psychiatric hospital and refuses any contact with him and is telling him they will divorce and that he has never known her. Their marriage is a lie, their life a lie.  Will he be able to forgive and love her when he finds out the truth?

Karen Kingsbury always probes a nerve with her books.  She is not a “happy ever after” type writer, but is realistic with what actual people face, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally because of decisions’ consequences
 When Joy Came to Stay:
Maggie Stovall seems to have it all together. A great husband, the perfect job, a foster mom, and then one day it all unravels. Karen Kingsbury takes a look into the depths of the foster care system and a little girl, Amanda, who seems to be falling through the cracks, forgotten and mistreated, by all but God.  All the while, Maggie Stovall is living a life behind a mask that is starting to unravel before her eyes and is tearing her life as she knows it apart.  Her husband, Ben, doesn’t even realize it, until Maggie checks herself into a psychiatric hospital, for delusions and depression, refusing to see or talk to her husband. During this time, her husband must begin to dig into the past of his wife to find out who she really is to try and save her life and their marriage. The question remains, what will he do with this information?
I cried all the way through this book. I do not normally get wrapped up in book and get emotional about them, but his book struck a chord in my heart. Karen takes on the serious topics of some of the nightmares of the foster care system, adoption, prayer, child abuse and depression in a Christian’s life. All the while showing us in all circumstances God is in control. Beautifully written, this story grabs your attention from the beginning and does not let go. Through God and in God all things are possible!
On Every Side:
After suffering the loss of his mother and separation from his sister and the girl he loved, Jordan Riley has filled the holes in his soul with anger. He decides to reject the God he leaned on in his youth and sues his hometown to have a popular statue of Jesus removed. The conflict causes him to cross paths with a spirited young newscaster named Faith, who opposes Jordan's suit in surprising ways. Perhaps most amazing of all is the way Faith begins to disassemble the walls around Jordan's heart. And there's something very familiar about her...”
The issue of separation of church and state comes into play in this book regarding a Jesus statue that had been in the town park for years. Although the issues at hand are from a real case that happened in Marshfield, Wisconsin, the story is not an accurate depiction of those events, nor was it intended to be. In the course of this story, two families must come together and determine how they will deal with past events. Jordan, Heidi and Faith will learn that God has a purpose – even when we do not understand it. One fascinating little tidbit about this book were the characters’ names:  Bob Moses, Joshua Nunn, Faith, Jordan, and the park in town where the well-loved but suddenly controversial Jesus statue was located—Jericho Park!  These names made the book fun to read because the characters got inspiration from the book of the Bible, Joshua. Also, this book seemed to deal with the gaps in the foster care system as well, which I found interesting too.
Review:

All three books seemed to have a central theme: How much do we risk in order to defend our faith? What really is most important to us? And do we really believe that God can intervene in political situations, in people’s lives, because of our prayers? And does God speak to us in tangible ways?

I would highly recommend A Kingsbury Collection. The author’s book shows faith, love, and hope, and reminds us that there is hope amidst what seems to be hopeless situations. Her books will make you think about your commitments, family, friends, children, love and marriage.
I give the book, and the Author 5 stars and highly recommend reading A Kingsbury Collection.
"I received a free copy of this book from Multnomah through Blogging for Books.The opinions stated are my own, honest views. I was not compensated in any other way, nor was I paid for my review.”
 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lasting Love Relationship Challenge



The new year is traditionally a time for reflecting on life and setting goals.

Resolve to Love

Right now, there are three relationships in your life that trouble you. Perhaps a good friend said something to you yesterday. It felt critical, but you’re not sure what she meant. The two of you used to be so close, but lately you’ve been drifting apart. Something’s not right. Oh, and your mother called. There’s that. You know you should return her call, but you haven’t. Why? You know there are things you should have said before, you avoided them, and now you feel it’s too late. It’s always so hard with her. Always messy. And then...your son has been missing. Not missing physically, but he’s been distant, quiet, silent. Missing emotionally. What’s that about? What’s going on in his life? You want to reach out, but he pushes you away. It worries you.

Maybe the relationships in your life aren’t exactly like these, but I’m guessing these remind you of someone close to you, a problem relationship in your life right now. Maybe it’s not your mother but your father, perhaps not your son but a daughter-in-law. It could be your best friend. Whoever it is, he or she is someone who matters to you—or else the relationship wouldn’t trouble you, gnaw at you on the inside, make you question and grumble, or even bring you to tears.

So take a moment and think, who are these three key people in your life? Which meaningful relationships are troubling you? Relationships you wish were closer. Relationships you’d like to be deeper and richer. Relationships that trouble you, bother you, even make you a little crazy right now.
Seriously, think about it. Who are they? And now take a moment to name these three key relationships out loud. Trust me, this is important for you. In fact, this may be the most significant thing you do in your life right now. Why?

Because life is way too short. At the end of the day—at the end of The Day—in this all-too-short life we share, all that really matters is relationships. Our relationships with the God who created us and with the people we love. Compared to these relationships, the job or career goals we set now aren’t really so important, the ladders we try to climb don’t matter so much, and the objects we long to own and possess seem utterly trivial.

What really counts in the end is that special knowing look you share with your spouse, the arms of your child reaching up to you, or the quiet comfort of a friend who stands by your side in a difficult time.

The award-winning animated movie Up contains some profound truths about relationships. In a breathtaking sequence early in the film, we see the entire arc of the life of Carl, a balloon salesman, as he meets Ellie, falls in love, and gets married. They share a dream to travel to South America and save every penny for their big trip. But there’s something familiar about the way their savings are constantly being used for the urgencies and emergencies of daily life. Before Carl and Ellie know it, they’re in their seventies, and although they have a beautiful marriage, they never realized their dream adventure.

Ellie dies, and Carl is overwhelmed with regret about the trip they never took. In a desperate attempt to escape loneliness and recapture memories of Ellie, Carl attaches a bunch of balloons to his house and sets out for South America! You begin to realize as the movie progresses that this dream trip they were saving for, this object of their future plan together, wasn’t really that important after all. The real adventure was the life they shared along the way.

The same is true for us: the adventure of a lifetime is right in front of us. It’s just cleverly disguised as a familiar face. Think about the possible loss of the relationship with one of those three people you named. You can’t do anything about death and the physical departure of one of them from this earth. That’s in God’s hands. But you can do something about your relationship with them in life. Much of what you’ve been told about relationships is upside down and wrong.

Researchers tell us that a baby sees everything upside down for the first few days of life until the brain can adjust the visual picture to right side up. Most relationships today are stuck in this same infant stage; we tend to see relationships upside down, and our culture only reinforces this view. The concept of love at first sight permeates our music, movies, television, and books. What we learn as children and continue to believe as adults is that a fairy-tale relationship somehow just happens. Now, I’m not bashing romance, but meaningful relationships depend on seeing other people as they are and looking at them right side up. Real love—whether romantic love, a close friendship, or a family relationship—happens long after first sight. It shows up as people get to know each other more deeply and often after they work through tough things together. Real love in relationships isn’t a magic act; it’s a journey. When people say, “It was love at first sight,” what they really mean is “I was attracted to that person the first time I saw them.” There is nothing wrong with being infatuated with someone at the start of a relationship. The real question, however, is, do you have a love that is growing stronger and deeper every day?

I don’t believe in love at first sight; I believe in love at last sight. Each of my relationships has the potential to be better the next time we’re together than it was the previous time so that the last time we see each other on this earth we’re closer than ever before.

I’d like you to join me in the Lasting Love Relationship Challenge. The book One Month to Love is the challenge, and you can do it on your own. Just read a chapter each day. There are thirty chapters, they’re short, and you can probably read one a day pretty easily. At the end of each chapter you’ll find the Lasting Love Relationship Challenge, which is designed to help you take the insights from that day and apply them to your key relationships. Also you can log on to onemonthtolove.com each day to access our personal coaching and get extra encouragement and advice or share your story. Our goal is to come alongside you to help you create the very best relationships possible. Let’s resolve to love this year!

Adapted from One Month to Love by Kerry and Chris Shook with permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dude, You Hear What I Hear?

This year our whole family participated in the church play, " Dude, You Hear What I Hear?" My daughter, played Taylor, the lead character that gets to spread the true meaning of Christmas. I adored her part. She had tons of lines to remember, but at the end she had retained more scripture then she new before she started the play! Always an added bonus. My youngest was in the choir and song his little heart out. You can hear him above all the rest for sure. He walked around very proud as everyone told him how well they could hear him and how well he knew the words to the songs. Did I mention he's tone deft? HEHE I got to play Ms. Kim, the kids camp counselor. I had literally one day to learn all the parts. I was the 6th, yep 6th Ms. Kim. Everyone who was to play this part either backed out or got sick. I think the part was jinked for some reason. My eldest helped out with costume changes and helping locate people who were not in the correct place.

This video is from rehersal. I have not uploaded the one from opening night.

Besides the fact that we got to spread the message of Christmas, we got to do this as a family! It was a great time for us to bond and reflect together on what Christ has done for each of us personally. I have been blessed with 3 beautiful children and a step son that still comes and visits and calls despite the fact that me and his dad have not been together for years! I have 3 out of 4 kids who have already given their life over to Christ and we are all healthy, fed daily, and have a roof over our heads and clothes on our back. We are blessed above and beyond.

This holiday season let us not get wrapped up in gifts, and the "I wants" but let us remeber the true meaning of Christmas, Christ came and died for us..you and me.

Luke 2:10-15 (NIV)
 
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Memories 2012



Recently I was chosen to try My Memories digital scrap-booking software for free to give my honest opinion of the product. Since it is Christmas time I decided to use the software to create my own book from blog posts I've been keeping each month on each on of my children. The book I made is called "What I Love Most About.." Above you can see the final prodcuts front and back covers. The book resembles a year book in size and feel. Overall it is a VERY nice book and a great keepsake.

I always like to get the bad/negative out of the way first so here goes:

Cons: 
1. My biggest frustration was when I purchased new pages to add to my software or when I got new free pages, it pulls everything you already have in with everything you just purchased. Its one big long list, with no rhyme or reason to it. There are no dates next to each product to let you know when you purchased it or if you have already added it to your current software file. It also does not place them in any order, such as newest ones on top.From what I can tell they are placed in the list by "author". As a downside to this I ended up downloading the same files over and again just to be able to add in my new ones. Very frustrating and time consuming.
2. Inserting graphics and emblems can be tricky and some of them are not easily manipulated were size is concerned or color.


Pros:
1. Layout is very easy and manipulating it to fit your needs is a breeze. This was probably the easiest thing associated with this software.
2. Lots of choices for designing. Including themes, pages, kits etc
3. Great tutorials to lear from: http://www.mymemoriesblog.com/




Overall I adored this program. There are plenty of resources out there to help you along and other bloggers as well. I included some samples pages from the book I made my son so you can get an idea of all the different cretive things you can do from page to page.



Want to give the program a try? Click on the link below and use my unique code to enjoy a $10 off savings!: STMMMS39979

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Top Ten Best New Homeschool Blogs of 2012


PhotobucketTop Ten Best New Homeschool Blogs of 2012

I was incredibly honored to be mentioned as one of the Top Ten Best Homeschooling Blogs by HSBA.There are so many wonderful bloggers out there and its extremely difficult to get your blog known and have a voice in the blogosphere...yes, I am making words up now..it's my blog I can do that ;)....Below you will find a list of other fabulous bloggers mentioned. Head on over and show them some love as well and get inspired today.

The Unlikely Homeschool **WINNER of the 2012 Best New Blog**
Cornerstone Confessions
Jewish Homeschool In NYC
My Joy-Filled Life
Layered Soul
Cook Family Chronicles
Look At What You Are Seeing
Upside Down Homeschooling
Adventures in Homeschooling

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Traditions




I love the holidays and my family look forward to Christmas all year long. Each year we do things a little differnt at our house, but there are some things that are a constant:

1. Christmas is not about gifts, but about celebrating Christs birth and what that means for the world.
2. We give before we get- meaning we go through all our stuff and see what we no longer need, want and clean it up the best we can and donate it to differnt places that can use them or to friends we know that need them. Only then do they even approach me with the "can I get" conversations.

With those two principles at your heart I think it really helps our family make it throught the holidays with a greatful heart and not one of give me. give me.

Another traditions we have is we alternate Christmas with regards to gift giving each year. One year (odd numbers) we will buy only gifts for others: people from angel trees, homeless shelters,nursing home patients,  hospital kids etc. Now keep in mind they do still get gifts from other family members and some of their friends, just not from each other or us this year. Instead we use the alloted money we would have spent on them (normally $150- $200 per child) and spend it on others instead. Keep in mind I also start doing my shopping starting in September to help reduce costs and spread out the $$, otherwise it would kill me. Once we have decided on who we are buying for and how many people the kids go shopping, wrap the gifts, make homemade cards and then we deliver them about a week before Christmas.

The next year (even years) the kids will get four gifts each, knowing they still must stay inside the alloted dollar amount I will spend on each of them.

1. Someting to wear ($50)
2. Someting to read ($30)
3. Something you want ($65)
4. something you need ($65)

 This really helps with kids asking me for Ipads, X-boxes and etc that are huge dollar amounts. Now they do sometimes ask for gift cards to places from myself and other family so they will be able to buy these items, but they understand as a single mother I cannot and will not go into debt for Christmas. The kids also know they during October-December they will not get an allowance, but instead that money is saved for them to buy gifts for their family and friends. I will get each one a Visa shopping card with the money they have earned and they must spend it wisely knowing who they have to shop for. This way the gifts do come from them and they put more thought into it.

Outside of gift giving we also go every first weekend in December to a Christmas Tree farm in Quinlan to hunt down and chop down our family tree. The kids take turns with this. One child gets to cut, one gets to pick it out and one gets to hand the star on top and help me get the tree in the holder. We alternate each year and the kids love it. They have a blast and cannot wait for them to be the one to chop the tree.


We also hang up our lights at this time and start our advent studies. This year we are doing the Jesse Tree for the first time and the kids are getting the biggest kick out of it. They are so proud when they recognize what the symbols stands for and who its about.

For family entertainment, each week we watch a new Christmas movie together. Each child gets a turn to pick the movie and we all sit and watch in our PJs without complaint on the "age" level of entertainment. This is tricky since my youngest is 6 and my eldest is 18, but in the end it works out.  We also love to go to Lowes and do their Build and Grow workshops!

So those are our families Christmas traditions. What are yours?

Home School Art Contest


My kids love art and they are competitive to boot, so when I see contests in areas of interst for them we always sign up! This one is no exception and the kids are super psyched to have the opportunity to put their creative juices to work in hopes of winning a little cash they can spend. Want the details? Straight from  HSLDA

Submission Dates: January 1 through February 1 2013
Entries received before January 1 or postmarked after February 1 will be returned or discarded.

2013 Guidelines

Submission Dates: January 1 through February 1 2013

Entries received before January 1 or postmarked after February 1 will be returned or discarded.
Entry Form
Photo Contest
Click image above to download ( requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
Check out HSLDA’s art resources!
Art Contest Archives
2012   2011
2010   2009
2008   2006
2005   2004
2003

What

Students must submit a piece of artwork which uses one of the words listed below as its inspiration.
Category 1: Interesting (Homeschoolers* ages 7 to 10 as of January 1, 2013)
Category 2: Inspiring (Homeschoolers* ages 11 to 14 as of January 1, 2013)
Category 3: Intriguing (Homeschoolers* ages 15 to 19 as of January 1, 2013)
* For the purposes of this contest, an eligible student must have been home educated in the past year and received a majority of his or her education in the past year through home education.
* The staff and immediate family members of HSLDA and all related entities (PRO, HSF, PHC) are not eligible to participate in contests sponsored by HSLDA or any of the related entities.

Themes Explained

It is our goal to select themes that leave plenty of room for your imagination and interpretation. We want you to come up with your own idea of what best depicts the idea you've chosen to focus upon.
We do ask that your entry be original and appropriate for public display to our homeschooling audience (which is not meant to limit your creativity or choice of subject; for example, you are free to choose a serious or deep subject, such as suffering). We look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Media/Format

  1. Flat, two-dimensional, artwork less than one-quarter-inch thick, not including matte or frame (drawing, painting, mixed media, etc.)
  2. Completely original hand-done artwork (no tracing, photography, or computer-generated artwork; however a student may look at a photograph or picture for ideas).

Fee

  1. $10.00—HSLDA Member Discounted Entry Fee
  2. $15.00—Regular Entry Fee

Final, Important Notes

  1. One entry per person.
  2. Entries must include a completed and signed entry form.
  3. Entries must include an entry fee (only check or money order)
  4. Preliminary entries must include an 8-inch by 10-inch color photograph, 8½-inch by 11-inch color copy, or 8½-inch by 11-inch color digital print of the artwork. Preliminary entries will not be returned. Do not send the original artwork for the preliminary round—only submissions in one of the above media will be accepted.
  5. Finalists will be contacted by the contest coordinator after the first round of judging, and must then send in the original artwork which was presented in the preliminary entry. Finalists will be instructed on how to submit their artwork for the final round.
  6. Preliminary entries should be mailed to:

    HSLDA
    Attn: Art Contest
    PO Box 3000
    Purcellville, VA 20134
For those pieces that make it to the final round:
  1. All work must be matted and/or framed with a simple and lightweight matte or frame and have wire or other hanging hardware attached ready for hanging.
  2. Maximum size including matting and framing is 48 by 48 inches. There is no minimum size.
  3. It is highly recommended that you use plexi-glass rather than glass in the framing. We have received damaged artwork before from glass shattering in the mail. HSLDA cannot be held responsible for artwork damaged in the mail.

Timeline

  1. Preliminary entries will be received beginning January 1, 2013.
  2. Preliminary judging will take place in mid-February.
  3. Finalists in each category will be selected and notified by letter and/or email in early March.
  4. Final entries from finalists must be received by March 19, 2013.
  5. Final judging will take place in late March or early April.
  6. Winners will be notified by letter, and/or email or phone and announced on HSLDA's contest website and e-lert service by late April, 2013.
  7. Final entries will be on loan to HSLDA and will be displayed at HSLDA for one year. After that year, the artwork will be returned to the entrant.

Judging

  1. A panel of judges selected by HSLDA will judge both the preliminary and final rounds.
  2. Pieces will be judged on originality, creativity, and adherence with the theme.
  3. The decision of the judges is final.

Prizes for Each Category

Category123
First$100$150$200
Second$75$100$150
Third$50$50$100
Honorable Mentions (2)$25$25$50

Other Information

  1. Proceeds from the contest will go to the Home School Foundation’s Special Needs Children Fund.
  2. HSLDA has the right to use reproduction of entered artwork at its discretion.
  3. All judgments are final and interpretations of the guidelines are at HSLDA’s sole discretion.
Please contact the Contest Coordinator at contests@hslda.org with any questions.

What

Students must submit a piece of artwork which uses one of the words listed below as its inspiration.

Category 1: Interesting (Homeschoolers* ages 7 to 10 as of January 1, 2013)
Category 2: Inspiring (Homeschoolers* ages 11 to 14 as of January 1, 2013)
Category 3: Intriguing (Homeschoolers* ages 15 to 19 as of January 1, 2013)
* For the purposes of this contest, an eligible student must have been home educated in the past year and received a majority of his or her education in the past year through home education.
* The staff and immediate family members of HSLDA and all related entities (PRO, HSF, PHC) are not eligible to participate in contests sponsored by HSLDA or any of the related entities.

Themes Explained

It is our goal to select themes that leave plenty of room for your imagination and interpretation. We want you to come up with your own idea of what best depicts the idea you've chosen to focus upon.
We do ask that your entry be original and appropriate for public display to our homeschooling audience (which is not meant to limit your creativity or choice of subject; for example, you are free to choose a serious or deep subject, such as suffering). We look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Media/Format

  1. Flat, two-dimensional, artwork less than one-quarter-inch thick, not including matte or frame (drawing, painting, mixed media, etc.)
  2. Completely original hand-done artwork (no tracing, photography, or computer-generated artwork; however a student may look at a photograph or picture for ideas).

Fee

  1. $10.00—HSLDA Member Discounted Entry Fee
  2. $15.00—Regular Entry Fee

Final, Important Notes

  1. One entry per person.
  2. Entries must include a completed and signed entry form.
  3. Entries must include an entry fee (only check or money order)
  4. Preliminary entries must include an 8-inch by 10-inch color photograph, 8½-inch by 11-inch color copy, or 8½-inch by 11-inch color digital print of the artwork. Preliminary entries will not be returned. Do not send the original artwork for the preliminary round—only submissions in one of the above media will be accepted.
  5. Finalists will be contacted by the contest coordinator after the first round of judging, and must then send in the original artwork which was presented in the preliminary entry. Finalists will be instructed on how to submit their artwork for the final round.
  6. Preliminary entries should be mailed to:

    HSLDA
    Attn: Art Contest
    PO Box 3000
    Purcellville, VA 20134
For those pieces that make it to the final round:
  1. All work must be matted and/or framed with a simple and lightweight matte or frame and have wire or other hanging hardware attached ready for hanging.
  2. Maximum size including matting and framing is 48 by 48 inches. There is no minimum size.
  3. It is highly recommended that you use plexi-glass rather than glass in the framing. We have received damaged artwork before from glass shattering in the mail. HSLDA cannot be held responsible for artwork damaged in the mail.

Timeline

  1. Preliminary entries will be received beginning January 1, 2013.
  2. Preliminary judging will take place in mid-February.
  3. Finalists in each category will be selected and notified by letter and/or email in early March.
  4. Final entries from finalists must be received by March 19, 2013.
  5. Final judging will take place in late March or early April.
  6. Winners will be notified by letter, and/or email or phone and announced on HSLDA's contest website and e-lert service by late April, 2013.
  7. Final entries will be on loan to HSLDA and will be displayed at HSLDA for one year. After that year, the artwork will be returned to the entrant.

Judging

  1. A panel of judges selected by HSLDA will judge both the preliminary and final rounds.
  2. Pieces will be judged on originality, creativity, and adherence with the theme.
  3. The decision of the judges is final.

Prizes for Each Category

Category123
First$100$150$200
Second$75$100$150
Third$50$50$100
Honorable Mentions (2)$25$25$50

Other Information

  1. Proceeds from the contest will go to the Home School Foundation’s Special Needs Children Fund.
  2. HSLDA has the right to use reproduction of entered artwork at its discretion.
  3. All judgments are final and interpretations of the guidelines are at HSLDA’s sole discretion.
Please contact the Contest Coordinator at contests@hslda.org with any questions

A Call to Pens contest


This autumn marks the fifth year of Patrick Henry College’s annual A Call to Pens contest, a national short story competition open to students ages twelve through eighteen. To enter this competition, students must submit original works of fiction following the guidelines of their age division, which will be announced along with other important details on the contest’s webpage. The A Call to Pens blog also contains writing advice, words of wisdom, news concerning the contest, and other helpful information.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top four contestants in each division; all proceeds from the contest will be donated to Patrick Henry College’s Annual Fund. The entry deadline is January 7, 2013. Visit A Call to Pens web-page for more information about prizes, rules and guidelines, and other important details. Please contact Hannah Walker at shortstory@phc.edu if you have any questions.

The First Division Theme:
Reaping the Reward; or, Harvest-Time
Age group: 12-15
Word limit: 1,500

The Second Division Theme:
Finding Beauty in Brokenness; or, Life Through Death
Age group: 16-18
Word limit: 2,500

The 10 Rules
  1. All entries must be in prose fiction. Neither poetry nor essay submissions will be accepted. The exception to this is if your story uses a poem or an extract of an essay as an element of the story; even so, prose fiction must comprise an overwhelming majority of the story.
  2. All entries must be typed; no handwritten submissions. Type must be easily readable and not distracting, preferably 12-point Times New Roman.
  3. All entries must be double-spaced.
  4. Page numbers must be placed in the upper-right corner of the page. The entrant’s division number, telephone number, and story title must be in the upper-left corner—for example, “1, (000) 000-0000, The Case of the Mysterious Inkblots.” No other identifying information is allowed on the entry.
  5. Two stories per author are allowed. If submitting two stories, an additional fee is required. Stories must be separate and distinct; no “two-parters” or sequels. Only one entry form is required if both entries are mailed or emailed together.
  6. Original, unpublished material only. “Published” includes (but is not limited to) any public blog, internet forum, or writing group posts.
  7. Rewriting or editing by anyone other than the entrant is not allowed.
  8. Entries must be received by January 7, 2013 to be considered in the competition.
  9. Failure to follow any of the rules may result in the entry being disqualified.
  10. Stories will be judged by a panel chosen at the discretion of the sponsor. Originality of approach to the assigned theme, storytelling ability, and grammatical quality will all be taken into account in the decisions of the judges. The winning stories will interact with their theme in a manner consistent with a Christian worldview. All decisions by the judges are final.
Submission
You can either mail or email your submission.

Mailed Submission:
Mailed entries may be either paper or burned to a CD/DVD. Entries on CD/DVD must be in Rich Text Format (.rtf) and the disc must be labeled with author’s name and story title, and a different CD/DVD must be used for each entry. A completed entry form and fee must be included with the submission. (Do not staple the entry form or fee to a paper submission.) Include a self-addressed, stamped postcard if you would like to be notified when your entry is received.
Send mail entries to:
Hannah Walker—Box 93
c/o PHC
1 Patrick Henry Circle
Purcellville, VA 20132
ATTN: PHC Short Story Competition
Checks should be made out to PHC. Include “PHC Short Story Competition” as well as the entrant’s telephone number in the memo line. Entries will not be returned, so don’t send your only copy!

Emailed Submission:
Each emailed entry must be sent as an attachment in Rich Text Format (.rtf). A scanned, completed entry form must also be attached with the email. Include “PHC Short Story Competition” in the subject line of the email. Fees must still be mailed in with the entry form for the entry to be considered in the competition. A confirmation email will be sent to the entrant when both the entry and fee are received.
Please contact Hannah Walker at shortstory@phc.edu if you have any questions.
Mail the fees and paper copy of the entry form to:
Hannah Walker—Box 93
c/o PHC
1 Patrick Henry Circle
Purcellville, VA 20132
ATTN: PHC Short Story Competition
Checks should be made out to PHC. Include “PHC Short Story Competition” as well as the entrant’s telephone number in the memo line.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hot Fudge Sauce


OK I love to bake, for my family, friends, the sick...whoever. I just love to get in the kitchen and make something yummy for people to eat. The last few years my kids and I have made peppermint bark to hand out to friends, co-workers and our church as a Christmas gift. This year, my daughter found this receipe on the web and we decided to give it a try. It was quick and easy and tastes divine! I think we found our Christmas gift for this year hands down!

Ingrediants:

1 cube (stick, 1/2 cup) of butter, soft
1 cup of chocolate chips
1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk

To make your own Sweetened Condense Milk, there is a great recipe HERE from Just as Delish.
Directions:

In a medium sauce pan on medium heat, melt the butter.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Add the Sweetened Condensed Milk.

Stir well to combine.  The butter will take a minute to incorporate into the sauce.  It will be smooth and silky.

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Good for one month in sealed container.
** This recipe comes from Just a Dish, which you can find on the "here" link**

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pepermint Bark Recipe


Each year my kids and I love to make Peppermint Bark together as a family. We deliver some to the local hospital staff as a thank you for all that they do each  year and some to the staff at the nursing home by our house. This year I though I would share our recipe with others and maybe each of you can share some simply holiday love with those close by your home.

The recipe is very simple:

Ingredients: 

24 oz of white chocolate chips
24 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips-regular or mint flavored
2 boxes of regular candy canes




Microwave Directions:


1. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips for abut 60 seconds, stir and repeat. (you can also melt over the stove, just takes longer and the clean up is a little messier-so I opt for the microwave) 



 2. Place parchment paper (any grocery store carries) on top of a cookie sheet and spread the melted chocolate over the top. Make as even as possible.


3. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or until chocolate is harden and firm. 

4.  Melt White Chocolate chips the same way as step 1.

5. Unwrap 2 boxes of candy canes and crush them into little pieces. You can either stick them in a large zip lock back and crush with a mallet or meat tenderizer or you can place them in the blender on chop for a few seconds and achieve the same results.
6. Place one cup (1 c) of crushed candy canes into the melted white chocolate and stir
 together.



 7. Pour the white chocolate mixture onto the hardened dark chocolate.







8. Then sprinkle with as much of the extra candy cane pieces you have left that you want


9. Place in the fridge for 2-21/2 hours or until well set and completely hardened. 

10. Take out of fridge and break apart as desired. 



11. EAT!!!