Monday, May 22, 2017

Summer Bowling - Inexpensive Summer Activities for Children



Soon our children will be shouting; "School's out for summer!" They are all excited to be free of schoolwork for the summer. Yet, they become bored easily and quickly. The familiar whiny strains of; "I don't know what to do!" starts to drive moms insane as we start wishing school time would soon begin again. LOL! The Summer Family Fun Series features free and inexpensive programs and ideas that will hopefully keep everyone's temperature set to cool this summer. This one is guaranteed to strike the interest of everyone!


Children 15 and under can bowl for free! Sadly, my son will miss out on this fun summer activity as he turned 16 this Spring. However, we have enjoyed this free bowling program for the past three years. Moms can sit and talk while they allow their children this time together to socialize and exercise for the mere cost of bowling shoe rental. Visit the Kids Bowl Free site to register your child. Each child will then receive vouchers via the parent's email address to bowl 2 free games per day at their chosen bowling alley. (Please note: parents do have to pay the cost of shoe rental.) Kids Bowl Free has been featured on NBC Nightly News and Fox and Friends. South-Central Pennsylvania friends can find a list of participating bowling alleys below. This program is offered at over 1,000 bowling alleys in the United States and Canada. To find a center near you, visit the Kids Bowl Free site.




Homeschool Week in Review: Week of May 15th


This week has been a whirlwind of fieldtrip activity! On Monday, Andrew attended his final youth group of the year at Hanover Fellowship Church. He has truly enjoyed his time with this group of young people and Christian leaders. As his Momma, I am thankful for the love they lavish upon him and the Christian values they have been instilling in him!

On Wednesday, we joined our Harrisburg Area Homeschool Association group for a tour. We toured the beautiful Wright's Ferry Mansion built in 1738 for Susanna Wright.

Wright's Ferry Mansion - Columbia, PA - Picture Credit: Kelly Kiggins-Lund @ God's Writer Girl

Wright's Ferry Mansion Kitchen - Picture Credit: Lancaster Online

Wright's Ferry Mansion Drawing Room - Photo Credit: Lancaster County Museums

Then, Andrew went to The Rock youth group at our church: Hanover First Church of God. On Thursday, Andrew attended Mason-Dixon Youth for Christ.

On Friday, we went to The Compassion Experience in Mechanicsburg, PA. Compassion International is touring throughout the United States sharing the experiences of children in third-world countries. First, we heard the story about a girl named Julian who grew up in Uganda. Then, we heard Ruben's story about life in Bolivia.

Inside Julian's House - Girls Are Often Stolen and Sold as Prostitutes

The One Bed Julian's Family Owns - They Take Turns Sleeping on It

The Compassion School Where Julian Gets Food, Education, and Clothing

Waiting to Learn Ruben's Story- Andrew Hiding Behind His Nanny

My Two Loves

Ruben's House - His Drunken Father Is Asleep After Beating His Mother

Ruben's Shoeshine Business


The Compassion School Where Ruben Learned He Was Loved

Andrew Outside the Compassion Experience

After that, we headed to Ten Thousand Villages in Mechanicsburg, PA and spoke with the Manager, Linda. She explained to Andrew how the store buys all of their inventory from artisans in third-world countries. The shop takes all of the risk as the artisans are paid in full for the goods. The products that are being sold are made out of 100% recycled materials or natural materials. Therefore, there is no cost to the artisans. Ten Thousand Villages is currently working with artisans in thirty-five different countries.


On Saturday, we headed to the Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, PA for Army Heritage Days. Mom, Andrew, and I watched several tanks maneuver. Then, we headed inside to experience the life of a soldier. We grabbed the dog tag of Lt. Col. Reginald Neal who fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom and has fought the War on Terror. We also took our turns at target practice. Andrew tried two different weapons from two different war eras. We huddled in a hut in Vietnam as the enemy approached for attack to experience the war my father, Martin Kiggins, fought. We looked at the uniforms worn during World War II in the Asian-Pacific where my grandfather, Lewis Simpson, fought. We saw some parts from a World War II plane and thought of my step-grandfather, David Dell, who flew for the Navy during World War II.

Tank Maneuvers

More Tank Maneuvers


Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) Unit


World War I


Nanny's Turn at Target Practice

Andrew with the Machine Gun

First US Army Tank

Andrew hidden in the Army Uniform (and He's Taller than Most Adults)

Our Soldier, Lt Col Reginald Neal, is the 2nd from the Left

I was feeling better on Thursday after an injection. Now, with fieldtrips back to back and rain in the atmosphere, I am feeling the effects of my Neuromuscular and Autoimmune Diseases. We had fun though! And, we certainly learned a lot of interesting information on a variety of topics this week. I hope you all have a blessed week!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Five Minute Friday - Truth


Thank you for joining me for another week of Five Minute Friday when we write for five minutes on the posted topic and then share what we have written. This week, the word is Truth. Ready, Set, Write!



They say Truth will set you free. If it is God's Truth, an absolute, undeniable, infallible, verifiable Truth, then it will set you free indeed. God's Truth sets you free from sin, free from the past, free from the masks you've worn, free from the hurts you've hidden, free from the burden's you've carried. God's Truth is just and perfect. Jesus said; "I am the Truth." He is the Truth. He came to set us free and to redeem us because He loves us more than we could even fathom. His love is never failing.


Please take a moment to stop by Heading Home: the host of Five Minute Friday's blog to see what Kate has written about Truth. Visit my friend A Net in Time as well as some of the other's who have shared their blogs as well.


More Than Cooking - A Look at Etiquette and Social Skills


Cooking is a wonderful tool to teach our children not merely Life Skills that will keep their bellies full and happy but also a method to teach them Etiquette and Social Skills as well. Raising a son, I want him to be a true Gentleman. He will hold the door open for others. He will pull out my chair on special occasions. He will say please and thank you. While these may seem like simple things, to me chivalry is a lost moral code in a world that desperately needs men of honor, integrity, and good manners.


Before my son was diagnosed with Autism, we worked on having him make eye contact whenever he spoke to someone. It was a common courtesy that I felt he needed to learn. When we went out to restaurants to eat, we would eventually have to remind my son to use his inside voice and not his outside voice. He's sixteen now and there are times he still needs to be reminded to talk in softer tones. Recently, we ate at a public restaurant and were seated near some older ladies. These ladies were talking very loudly. My son was amazed by how loudly they were speaking and how easily we could hear every detail of their conversation. He finally understood why we've asked him to use his inside voice.


There are just certain things you do NOT do at the dinner table. You don't slurp your soup. You don't eat with your fingers (unless you are served finger food like burgers and fries or pizza). You don't pick your nose or blow your nose. You don't talk about disgusting topics. You don't play with your food. You don't have food fights. You don't talk with your mouth full. These are all manners that children are taught.


In our modern age, people have become attached to cell phones. Mealtime is one time that cell phones should be powered down. Neither children nor adults should talk or text while eating.


Home Economics is not just a class where girls learn how to be wives and mothers. It is a class where boys can also learn how to cook, clean, do laundry, set a table properly, sew (hem, replace a button), and iron. (As an aside, I think it is just as important for girls to learn how to change a tire, how to change the oil in their car and refill the window washer fluid as well as to be able to use a basic tools to do minor repairs.)


Finally, cooking is a great opportunity for families to bond. Cooking can be fun. It is a time when families gather together and while they prepare food and eat, they converse. They talk about important things that happened during their day. They talk about future plans. Family meals are great opportunities for children to learn Social Skills. When we go out to eat, I make my son order his own meal. He isn't overly thrilled with having to speak with a stranger. However, it is an opportunity for him to utilize his Social Skills. He needs to make eye contact, speak loudly and clearly, and think through what he wants. This can be quite a challenge for a shy boy who struggles socially due to Autism. Yet, each time he succeeds, he builds confidence. Social Skills are an essential part of our every day lives, which is why a family dinner table is the best and safest place to help your child start building them.
Don't forget to stop by the Homeschool Review Crew site to see what other members have shared about cooking their way through school!

Cooking to Promote Learning in Our Homeschool


Not only is Cooking fun and tasty but it is also educational! In our daily lessons, there are numerous ways in which we can use Cooking to learn about various subjects. Cooking can teach us about Science, Math, Measurements, History, Geography, and Cultures.


In Science, Cooking can teach us about mixtures. For example, trail mix combines nuts, raisins, and oats. This is a mixture of substances that are combined but can be separated. We can also learn about chemical reactions when cooking. When water is added to flour, it allows proteins to bond together. This is one type of chemical reaction that occurs while baking bread. Yeast, baking powder, and baking soda are added to cause a type of chemical reaction in which gases are released into the dough and causes it to rise. Caramelization is yet another type of chemical reaction. This occurs when at high temperatures the sugars break down and release water which then turns to steam.


In Math, Cooking allows children to work on addition and multiplication when doubling recipes to feed more people. Cooking helps children learn about fractions in visual ways. Cooking helps children understand measurements in tangible means.


What better way is there to learn about other Cultures, Geographical Regions, and eras in History than to immerse yourself into the culture by sampling the food? Cooking food from years gone by and eating the same things George Washington ate can help children connect better to History and realize it is still relevant to today. Learning how other Cultures live can help us all expand our horizons and teach us new things. Through Cooking, we can travel to other Geographical places.

Cooking is something we will always do because we need to eat. Learning is a life-long endeavor as well. The two go well together. Like spaghetti goes well with garlic bread.


Don't forget to stop by the Homeschool Review Crew site to see what other members have shared about cooking their way through school!




Thursday, May 18, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew Review: Focus On The Family - Captain Absolutely


For forty years, Focus On The Family has been ministering to families. Because of the good work they do and the quality materials they produce, we were honored to review their newest release Captain Absolutely. This is a spinoff from their fabulous Adventures in Odyssey series. Captain Absolutely was previously featured in Clubhouse Magazine.

Who doesn't enjoy an action-packed, adventure story about a superhero? My son enjoys seeing good triumph over evil. He may be sixteen now, but he still cheers on, quite loudly at times, the superheroes in their quests to vanquish evil. Captain Absolutely is the perfect book for him. It has a superhero (Captain Absolutely) who fights villains. It keeps the reader's attention with all of the action. Finally, it focuses upon God's truth, which is extremely important to my son.

The theme of Captain Absolutely is that our view as Christians should be based upon the absolute truth as it is written in God's Holy Word, the Bible. People who have a diagnosis of Autism often have difficulty seeing the viewpoint, perspective, values, and priorities of others. God never changes and His rules are clear, which is important as my son does not handle change well and is a strict rule follower. Knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt what the Bible says is verifiable, is comforting.


Captain Absolutely is a colorful, well-illustrated comic book. The main character, Josiah King, is based upon King Josiah from the Bible. In 2 Kings, Josiah becomes King of Judah at just eight years of age. Neither his grandfather nor his father were very good men. When Josiah was made King, he ordered that the temple be rebuilt during which the Scriptures were unearthed. Finding this treasure, Josiah read the words of Moses to his people. He went on to be a warrior of God's truth much like the superhero in Captain Absolutely.

Captain Absolutely is the story of librarian Josiah King. After an explosion rocks the library, Josiah finds a secret room filled with banned books. Until he discovered these treasures, Josiah had never heard of the Bible! Can you imagine never hearing the Word of God? As Josiah read's God's Word, not only is his heart transformed by the truth he finds in the written pages but his body is changed by the radioactive fumes. He becomes a superhero with the power of strength and flight. He lives by John 8:32; "You will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." Isn't that the best superhero slogan ever? What superhero story would be complete without a sidekick? Thankfully, Captain Absolutely has the help of Hana Lin. Together, they battle a horde of villains including Dr. Relative, Fear Chemist, Unifier, Baron Von Confuser, Cap'n Crastin, Farmer Vile, Nurse Grudge, and Edward Snooze. How do they defeat all of these bad guys? You'll have to buy this amazing book and read it to find out! It truly is an adventure you and your family will all enjoy.

This is a wholesome book that everyone will be fighting over for their turn to read it. If you want to dig deeper, the book has a section at the end entitled Big Questions. This section asks thought-provoking questions that will lead your family to some great in-depth discussions about God and His Word. You can use Captain Absolutely to supplement Language Arts reading assignments, Bible class assignments, History with current events in our world and ancient times with King Josiah, and Geography with Judah.

Publication Date: April 1, 2017
Imprint: Focus On The Family
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Authors: Stephen O'Rear and Christopher P. N. Maselli
Format: Softcover
ISBN: 978-1-58997-852-2
Number of Pages: 112
Retail Price: $9.99


To learn more about Captain Absolutely and Focus On The Family, stop by their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and YouTube pages. You can also learn more about Captain Absolutely at Clubhouse Magazine.


To read additional reviews of Captain Absolutely, visit the Homeschool Review Crew site.