embracing life and letting God


Season's of Life

Greetings in Christ the One and Only,

So many of you know that I have recently been sharing the ministry of Sally Clarkson over at I Take Joy on my Facebook page.  She has such a precious heart for the Lord and grace-led parenting.  Through our struggles of late I know the Lord led me right to her to sit at His feet using her to encourage and edify me as a mother. 

I found out about Sally Clarkson through another blog I follow with Courtney at Women Living Well.  I then purchased Sally's book "Seasons of a Mother's Heart" and have been radically blessed.  Sally has inpired me to remember:

  1. Everything has a season, our and our children's attitudes and troubles.
  2. Even as Jesus cared for the needs of all who needed Him, He also took times to retreat, restore and rejuvenate so that He could continue to poor Love, Truth, and Beauty into others.
  3. God made me the way I am for the purpose of being who I am as Wife to Chris and Mother to my children.
  4. "Joy is a result of the choices that you make.  If you are choosing to be thankful and learning to be content, then you are opening your heart to joy." p38
  5. Darkness will come.  Tribulation will be had.  Life will be difficult.  BUT, we have a Big God who is Greater than any source of difficulty we will every go through.  He is our STRENGTH, our  SOURCE, our REFUGE, our SALVATION.
Here is a little more info. about "Seasons of a Mother's Heart":

Seasons of a Mother's Heart, 2nd Edition
Seasons of a Mother's Heart, 2nd Edition

"A mother’s life is a whirlwind of seasons, changing from one to another without much warning, and then to another the next day. If your heart is prepared, you can adjust to whatever season comes upon you, weathering the changes with faith and grace; if your heart is not prepared, you will find yourself reeling and twisting in the winds of life, grasping for something or someone to hold onto. But that is the secret to weathering the seasons of life. You need something—God’s word, and someone—Jesus Christ, to hold onto. They are what give you the grace to weather the seasons. Nothing else can…Only the revealed truth of God made alive in your heart through the Holy Spirit can." --excerpted from Seasons of a Mother’s Heart

A classic book of encouragement for your seasons as a homeschooling mother. Your heart will be encouraged as you read the touching stories, spiritual insights, and personal lessons that are the seasons in Sally Clarkson’s life. She opens her own seasoned heart on these pages, sharing what she has learned as a homeschooling wife and mother about herself, her children, and her Lord. First published in 1998, this revised and expanded Second Edition includes four new essays by Sally from “ten years later” to introduce each section.

This book gave birth to many "Seasons" groups of moms all around the country and world reading the chapters together and going the discussion and Bible study that accompanies each chapter. Those groups became the model for what are now Mom Heart small groups, part of the growing small groups movement of Mom Heart Ministry. It still is a favorite for group study by Christian and homeschooling moms.


Introduction: Seasons of My Heart
Spring: Season of Renewal
1. Celebrating Life
2. Changing My Will
3. Beside Still Waters
Summer: Season of Response
4. Building Your House
5. Planning to LIve
6. Surprised by Joy
Fall: Season of Resolve
7. A Touch of Sympathy
8. Freedom from Guilt
9. Living with Discipleship
Winter: Season of Reflection
10. Prayers from Home
11. Light in the Darkness
12. Enduring with Grace

About the author:
Sally is the mother of four wholehearted children. She began her homeschooling journey in 1984 with the birth of her first child and will graduate her last child soon. She is a popular author and champion of bibilcal motherhood, a lover of people and books, and refuels with quiet time and strong English tea. She connects with mothers through her popular and growing blog for Christian women I Take Joy (www.itakejoy.com).

Mom's take time today to visit Sally's blog and be blessed and encouraged in your Calling as Mother. Sally also has a wonderful opportunity for you to retreat and relax at one of her 3 conferences.  You can find more information at Whole Heart Minstries.

From My Heart to Yours,
Mindy B.
Revelation 12:11
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The Blessing of Home

Gingerbread Cottage by Thomas Kincaid A home is a kingdom of its own in the midst of the world, a stronghold amid life’s storms and stresses, a refuge, even a sanctuary. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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Let's Make Words ~ TOS APP Crew Review

I am so excited to be sharing with you today, for the first time, as a member of the New TOS APP Crew!  Yep, we are now reviewing APPs for iPod, iPads, and more.  So, without further ado, I give you...

Barchoshky Fluent Handwriting
'Let's Make Words'
iPad app

If you are like me you love to find fun and educational books, games and activities for your children to encourage any area of learning you can even when school is not 'in session' [don't tell my children but school is always in around The Brasher Homestead - Life is Learning]. The TOS APP Crew has been given a wonderful opportunity to review a fun and yet educational new APP for the iPad.  A fun way to introduce handwriting to your up-and-coming writer or even your struggling writer. 

"Learn and teach handwriting with phonics, an app designed by a Handwriting Specialist and an Early Childhood Specialist. The purpose of Letters Make Words is to help beginning writers develop good handwriting habits for all academic and adult needs, and to learn basic phonemes.
The first screens offer suggestions of how to use Letters Make Words. Then letters are presented. The user can select any letter. Each one comprises a complete unit of instruction for that letter, a warmup pattern, the letter and a word to trace and to sound out. When a letter has a different sound depending on its usage in words, choose from either of two words. The next screen has three words to sound out with a silly sentence for the child to write on paper." ~iTunes Store Description

Using your iPad and writing finger [index finger] your child learns the fluid motion of the Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting method and learns how to spell phonetically.  BFH is a form of writing in intalics where your child is given the ease and flow of connecting letters into words.  I love this way of writing.  I write naturally this way myself and find that it allows my children the ability to flow through the letters without struggle that some boxed and up-and-down letter don't allow.

After a brief written introduction on how the program works, you are taken to the screen above. We chose the BEGIN option to begin with.  Here your child is guided, by a lovely voiced lady, through pattern writing and writing letters directly on the iPad [super cool - who knew back in the 70's...never mind it makes me sound really OLD].  Once they have completed a couple of exercises with the letter pattern/letters they are then prompted to trace several words containing the letter sound just practiced.  They are also asked to try and practice writing these words in a sentence [given at botton of screen] on a seperate piece of paper.

Your child can also choose the letter they would like to practice.  The narrator will again guide them through pattern and letter writing and then a word containing the letter sound.  She has them trace using her melodic 'up and then doowwnnn and up and then doowwnnn and then up'.  Moving through the pattern/letter she asks them to talk through it with her the second time. 

Anna has really enjoyed working with this program.  No matter where we are she can pick up the iPad and just practice handwriting.  I recommend this program for anyone wanting to try the Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting method and also to encourage better handwriting skills.  How many programs can you buy for $2.99.  I believe you are going to enjoy this one.

BFH Let's Make Words at the iTunes Store:
PRICE: $2.99
Category: Education
Released: Nov 16, 2011
Version: 1.0
Size: 31.9 MB
Language: English
Seller: Swansbury, Inc.
©2011 Swansbury, Inc.
Rated 4+
Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later

From My Heart to Yours,
Mindy B.
Revelation 12:11

Please visit the TOS Homeschool Crew and READ more reviews on BFH Let's Make Words iPad App.

Disclaimer:  As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew, I received products, for free, for review.  All of the opinions expressed on My Own Sense and Sensibility are solely my own, and I only suggest products or services that we personally use or believe will be helpful to my readers.

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Merry Christmas from the Brasher Family

Initially Snowflake Christmas
Shutterfly has classic, elegant Christmas invitations for your party.
View the entire collection of cards.
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Vintage Remedies for Guys ~ TOS Review



and today

this Organic food nut,

healthwise momma

is happy to share with you...

 A company 'accidently' birthed from the heart of Jessie Hawkins

Vintage Remedies for Guys
For Ages 7-13

Vintage Remedies for Guys is a complete curriculum for your sons ages 7-13 leading them to a greater understanding of healthy choices and the effects of natural living on their growing bodies.   Designed to be completed in one year, one chapter every two weeks, you can complete the program 1 chapter every week or spread it out as long as is right for your school.

3 Topics / 18 Chapters on the subjects of:

Real Food
Kitchen Basics
Healthy Drinks
Snack Time...

Healthy and Clean Bodies
Immunity and Prevention
Coughs and Colds...

Cleaner Cleaning
Green Gifting...

As Jesse suggests, you do not have to start from the begining, progressing in order.  You can start with your favorite subject working on what is important for you and your boys.  This is a parent led program that requires mom or dad's involvement.  Each lesson provides a Parent/Leader Guide, giving you the purpose of the lesson and the projects as well as a supply list.  At the end of the book you have a short list of test questions to increase your students knowledge. 

This is a wonderful Health education program that eases your child into understanding the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.  As I stated earlier I am an Organic Health nut and sometimes my children look at me as just that, a NUT.  This is a wonderful way to allow them to hear the facts from someone else and really understand why I am so adamant about keeping our food as clean as possible, use cleaners/products without chemicals and use what the Lord has given us to live a long, healthy life.

Jesse has really taken to heart the view-point of young men and what they need to hear to enjoy what they are learning about health living.  She has given them facts that give them the tools to make healthy choices a habit for a lifetime.  The chapters are short enough to hold your sons attention while being long enough to give them a wealth of information. 

The recipes are opening doors for us to have a fun project to do together as we are learning.  The end result is a reward of a great snack, bread, drink, or natural cleaner and more.  Jessie teaches your son:
  • how to make their own cheese
  • homemade bread
  • herbs that boost the immune system
  • calendula poultice
  • homemade and  natural cleaning supplies

With so many books out there that tout the 'Green-living' lifestyle in a way that makes one cringe thinking worship of the earth is far more important than caring for the precious gifts of life the Lord has given us, this book is a wonderful addition to any Christian families library of learning. 

I believe you are really going to enjoy Jesse Hawkins Vintage Remedies for Guys.  She has also published Vintage Remedies for Girls and Vintage Remedies for Kids.  Jump on over to Vintage Remedies and see all of the great books and programs she has available to give your family health and nutrition.

In addition to Vintage Remedies for Guys, our family was also blessed with a special gift, The Herbal Kitchen book.

From My Heart to Yours,
Mindy B.
Revelation 12:11

I received this product for free for my honest review and opinion.

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Medieval Machines - TOS Review


and today from

I bring to you...

 What child doesn't enjoy crafting his or her own fifteenth-century military weaponry.  Well, mine are no different.  They enjoy just about any play weapon, especially hand-made, they can get their hands on.  Then you add on the science and math of distance, force, speed, weight and inertia, friction and counterweights - moms you and your students have a really great opportunity to learn something extraordinary about the ancient art of war.  Pitsco Education has so graciously blessed us with their SIEGE MACHINES KIT

The trebuchet was a little more intricate and required more hands-on help from mom to put it together due to the fact that I had to make some minor cuts with the knife.  Everyone took turns gluing and applying pieces.  This machines took us the longest out of the two.  You must make sure that you make the string for your sling even on both sides or it will work correctly. Also, the clay ball cannot be too big or it will be too heavy for the machine. The string tends to be a bit flimsy, but once they got the hang of it, the balls of clay were flying.

Once put together the fun began.  See for yourself...

The catapult was so much easier to put together and seemed more sturdy than the trebuchet.  The boys did not seem to need as much hands-on help from me.  I simply read the instructions and they made sense of the instructions with the pictures included.  You must make sure that you glue all of the pieces on well.  We used super glue for some of the steps and the wood just absorbed the glue and the pieces had to be re-glued with the carpenters glue. 

Let the catapulting begin...

Siege Machines Book on ancient, medieval Siege Machines and their detailed history of use opening up the world of science and math teaching your child the intricacies of the amazing weapons of warfare. This was a great addition to the kit.  We were able to discover so much more than we ever knew about these old but incredible machines - history, math and science.  It included experiments to enjoy the two kits even more.

This Medieval Machines kit requires adult help.  All of the equipment is provided for you.  All you need to provide is super glue to glue all the pieces together and something to protect the surface your are working on as well as a few other details listed below.

As we began putting the machines together the directions were quite clear.  The picture instructions were a necessity to make some of the directions come to life, but otherwise we had no problems. 

I found with the trebuchet that the material used was a bit delicate at times when making the cuts to connect the string.  I had to make these to have a steady hand and not cut too much or to break the piece of wood.  Also, once the trebuchet is complete it didn't seem as sturdy as my boys would have liked for it to have been.  When they made their shots, it worked, but it took some patience to keep it from falling or being knocked over because it is so light.

This kit would be a great Christmas gift to give to that budding warrior in your family.  To add to the fun you could add army men to attack with your Medieval Machines.

Included in Medieval Machines Kit:
  • Trebuchet Kit
  • Catapult Kit
  • Siege Machines Book
  • Clay 
  • You will  need to provide: Hobby knife, needle-nose pliers, ruler, scissors, sandpaper, and glue.  We used super glue and a little carpenters glue.
PITSCO ONLINE STORE: Product #W37789 for $21.95

"From The Lord of the Rings to Night at the Museum, we are fascinated by these medieval devices. Now, use that interest to teach basic math, science, and problem-solving skills. With this pack, your child learns about catapults and trebuchets through hands-on activities that cover three areas:

•Science: Tension versus torsion, elasticity, gravity and levers, and force and motion
•Math: Metric conversion, calculating averages, and prediction
•Experiments: Mass versus distance, testing rubber bands, targeting, and more
They will discover the history of medieval siege machines as well as the concepts required to build and use them.
Includes a Trebuchet Kit, Catapult Kit, Mass Plates, and the Siege Machines book.
Note: Most guide activities require additional items such as measurement and hand tools – see the Specs tab for more information."

From My Heart to Yours,
Mindy B.

Come on over and enjoy more Pitsco Medieval Machines reviews from the TOS Homeschool Crew.
Click on the icon below.

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest review.
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Le Francais Facile! - TOS Review

Today we are traveling to the country France as I share with you a truly Easy way to learn to speak the 'Language of Love'. 

Bonjour, Je m 'appelle Mindy. Enchante.

Who would have thought, this country girl from Alabama, who chose Spanish in high school and college to study as my 'Foreign Language' requirement would one day be teaching French to my child.  C'est drole!! [That's funny!!] Cameron and I have begun studying:

 Owned and operated by Marie Filion Sherwood and Peter Sherwood, we are a homeschooling family (since 1996) committed to providing quality language products to both the homeschooling and general education community. We personally are evangelical Christians (see our Statement of Faith); our products are unapologetically written from a Christian perspective. Extensive cultural information, as well as scripture verses in the foreign language in question, is provided with all our products in the hopes it will assist those desiring to carry out the Great Commission. Having said this, we would also like to point out that our products are not Bible curriculum per se, and the scripture memorization components are optional.
A french program that does all the work for you, the teacher,  and incorporates the gospel message as well...you just can't go wrong with that!

Keeping it real, we have not gotten very far into the lessons due to 'life'.  But what we have been able to enjoy has been great!  At his request, my son has requested I incorporate this into his weekly assignments.  So, you know when they ask to do it you know it's a good program. 

How the Curriculum is designed:

  1. Student book with 1 Audio CD  &1 Printable Solutions CD $84.95
  2. 1 Student Test Book  $10.00
  3. Answer Key Book $10.00
  4. Flash Cards $10.00
Not only are these French lessons easy to follow and to learn they are easy to teach due to the fact that they are mostly student directed.   
Book contains 18 French lesson broken into:
Vocabulary (which companions with Audio CD)
Students Helps - giving your student information about the proper pronunciation and grammatical rules
Scripture Memory Work
Culture Notes
Everyday Vocabulary (companions with Audio CD)
Included in each lesson is a detailed lesson plan for student and teacher to follow making planning all the more simple.  The Audio CD is a great tool to help your student hear the pronunciation and the English translation to get each lesson off to a great start. FUN FACT: The recordings are spoken "by native French speakers. The 1st semester has only female voices, as language is best initially learned from a female voice."
  • Fun to learn, with funny stories and interesting activities
  • French Scripture, songs, games and coloring pages
  • Great for homeschool co-op groups!
  • Digitally mastered enhanced CD for audio and computer
Very clear vocabulary words spoken in French and English.  We found that we both could learn the pronunciation fairly well the first time through the Lesson Vocabulary list. 
  • Teaches French language and French grammar through literature based entertaining storylines
From the beginning Cameron was given immediate exposure to the french sounds, language and stories.  He and I found it to be a no pressure, fun way to learn together.  We had a couple of good laughs when we couldn't seem to get some of the words to roll off of our tongues like we wanted. 
Scripture Memory Verse copy work
  • Certificate of Completion available with submission of two projects
  • Written by a francophone mom of 4 in her 10th year of home educating
In addition, included are French food recipes [i.e. French Onion soup...] and Cultural Projects [soaps and bath salts] I believe, if you are looking for a foreign language program that is not going to break the bank, you are going to enjoy using GCL's curriculum. 

View a SAMPLE LESSON with video overviews at Great Commission Languages

You can purchase your copy of Le Francais Facile! HERE in the Great Commission Languages store.

From My Heart to Yours,
Mindy B.
tres contente
[very happy (content)]

You can read even more reviews from my crew mates on all of the Great Commission Languages levels of French as well as their Spanish curriculum.  Visit the The TOS Homeschool Crew today!

I received this curriculum free of charge for my honest opinion and review
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