Posted in Movie Corner

The House with a Clock in its Walls (Movie Review)

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My daughter and I saw this movie with a friend and her daughter, right after it came to theaters. Our verdict? We were hooked the entire time. It was a jumbled mix of creepy mild horror (see my age recommendations below), magical high jinks, and laugh-out-loud humor.

This movie is a Universal and Amblin Entertainment effort and stars Jack Black and Cate Blanchett. It has elements of Goosebumps and Harry Potter, with a sprinkling of Matilda. It is rated PG and according to Parent Previews, has five lines with mild profanity (somehow I missed three of them). Otherwise, I call it a clean family movie, as long as the children watching it can handle the darker side of the movie.

Because of the mild horror, I definitely do not recommend this movie for any child under the age of ten, and even then, parents should consider their child’s sensitivity to a dark evil villain. It’s the villain’s creepy backstory (told through flashbacks) and eventual reappearance which make the movie edge-of-seat scary for children and some adults (for me, this is as scary as I like to get). My friend’s daughter is ten and she sat next to me during the movie. She hid her face in her jacket a couple of times, and came away claiming the return of the villain scared her the most. Luckily, she did not suffer from nightmares afterwards.

The basic plot line is that a ten-year old boy named Lewis is sent to live with his unconventional uncle Jonathon after his parents pass away, and soon discovers that both his uncle and his uncle’s house are hiding secrets. Lewis also meets his uncle’s neighbor and best friend, Florence. Much of the humor comes from the biting, friendly banter between Jonathon (Jack Black) and Florence (Cate Blanchett). I have to say that I found their performances to be great fits for their characters.

If you are a fan of Jack Black and Goosebumps, you will enjoy this movie. I personally found it worth seeing and would add it to my movie collection. Plus, it’s perfect for the Halloween season. 🙂

 

 

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Posted in Faith Corner

The Sweetest Missionary Ever (8th Month Update)

My daughter has been out on her mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for eight months now. She is the third missionary in our family (our immediate family), following in the footsteps of her father who served his mission in Santiago, Chile, and her big brother, Zach, who served his mission in Calgary, Canada. In our church, elders serve for two years and sisters for eighteen months.

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This was taken at Sacsayhuaman. Aren’t these just the cutest group of sister missionaries? Marissa is on the far left. Most of these photos were taken on her weekly p-days (personal days). Since Cusco is full of amazing history and tourist sites, she has been able to experience some of these things as part of her mission. On the other six days of the week she teaches the gospel of Jesus Christ and gives service.

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In July she got to visit the coolest park which I didn’t even know existed in Cusco.

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She “met” Groot and Baby Groot!

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Can you tell what Marissa is holding?

This was taken at a baptism. Marissa and her companion taught the two boys who are dressed in white. In our church, children may be baptized at the age of eight and older. Eight years old is considered the age of accountability. If you’d like to learn more about our beliefs about baptism, especially concerning babies and children, please click here. Our beliefs come directly from scripture and revelation.

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Marissa loves all of God’s creatures and plans to pursue a career with animals after her mission. Her nickname is “Mouse” because of her love for cheese and Minnie Mouse.

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Marissa painted this picture for each boy. She loves to paint so this was a fun way she could use one of her talents on her mission.

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Marissa was actually baptized in Peru because we were living in Arequipa as a family when she turned eight-years old.

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Just a few weeks ago Marissa got to visit Machu Picchu for her third time. Missionaries get to visit once per mission, but Marissa saw Machu Picchu when she was eight and again when she was seventeen.

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Marissa has recently been transferred to Juliaca. She was very excited because she recognized Juliaca from our time spent there when she was a young girl.

♥ Do you know a missionary? Have you ever visited Peru? Thanks for stopping by! ♥

Posted in Family Corner

My First Walk MS

Two years ago, at the age of 23, my oldest baby was diagnosed with MS (Multiple sclerosis). I will never forget the array of emotions that swept over me upon his diagnosis: Fear; Anger; Overwhelming Sadness; More Fear; Complete Helplessness; Wishing it were me instead; Did I mention fear?

I would start weeping around friends and family as I shared the news and sometimes in their efforts to comfort me they would say something hurtful. That wasn’t their intention of course, but it stung to be given the advice: “You mustn’t cry! You have to be strong for him.” Why is crying perceived as a weakness? First of all, I’m his mom! What mom would not weep at their child’s diagnosis? Second of all, I am naturally an emotional person. Ask my kids to tell you about the time we watched Toy Story 3 at the drive in. I didn’t stop crying until halfway through the second feature. 😛

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My amazing first born and me.

So naturally I was emotional today at my first Walk MS event. You can tell in my smile. Shortly after we arrived we picked up our t-shirts and wrist bands and prepared for the three mile walk. This took place at a lovely park in Ogden, Utah.

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When the call came to begin the walk, we were some of the first ones to cross under the big orange inflatable arch, which I didn’t take a photo of because I was too busy weeping with a smile on my face. I couldn’t help it. I guess it was hitting me why we were all there. We were all walking for someone we love who has a disease which attacks their central nervous system; a disease which has no cure. YET.

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There were painted rocks along the Walk MS path.

This walk was dedicated to the memory of Alex Hatch. I never knew Alex. I bet he was a wonderful person who gave MS a good fight.

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Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.

By the way, did you know that this weekend (September 7th-9th) is National Weekend of Prayer for Faith, Hope, and Life? We all know someone who is struggling with mental illness or suicidal tendencies so let’s pray for them now and every day. Along with prayer, reach out to them and give them unconditional love and support. We all need one another. I’m a big believer that we are not meant to go through the challenges of this life alone. We are all God’s children and we are His hands here on earth.

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MS often causes a whole host of symptoms from fatigue to balance issues to numbness and tingling to memory issues to speech issues to you name it really. It affects each person differently. There is no known cause and often times symptoms were present months to years before the diagnosis. It was a relief, although a bittersweet one for sure, to find out why Zach had been struggling at college with his reading and memorization when he had always been a strong, avid reader before who could remember what he read long afterwards.

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♥ Besides our family, with two members missing, we were joined by one family on my husband’s side, and I am so thankful for their support. Next year I am determined to advertise early in hopes that friends and other extended family will come out to this event. We even plan to make up our own Team Zach t-shirts. Because “Together We are Stronger”. ♥

Posted in Homeschooling Corner

10th Grade Homeschool Curriculum & Schedule


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September is here and for us that means the start of a new homeschool year. We follow the traditional school calendar (September thru May) because of the awesome distance program we use for Marcus’ core subjects.

This school year got off to stressful start because of driver’s ed. Sigh. To avoid dual-enrollment, I put Marcus in a seven-night driver’s ed. course which began last week and just ended last night. It’s a shame he couldn’t have taken the only other summer course which was in June, but that coincided with a youth camp. Honestly, if I’d known it would be this time consuming with the four-hour classes from 5:30 to 9:30pm, and the hours of homework assigned for each class (he basically rewrote the driver’s handbook), I would’ve made him trade his summer camp for driver’s ed. And, he’s still not finished because he has all the driving-with-instructor time to get in. One is scheduled for this afternoon for four hours, another for next Thursday, and then two more need to be scheduled after that.

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The book on the left is for history; the rest are for our own unit study. He’s studying Doctrine & Covenants this year in Seminary.

So, up ’til last night his schedule looked like this-

  • 6:40am wake up, get dressed
  • 7:10am leave for Seminary (20 min. drive + traffic)
  • 7:40-8:30am Seminary (this is a four-year scripture study program for youth)
  • 9:00am breakfast, set up for class
  • 9:30ish-am online American History II (1860-present; live-streamed)
  • 10:25ish-am online Earth Science (live-streamed)
  • 11:25ish-am online English (live-streamed)
  • 12:25ish-pm online precalculus (live-streamed)
  • 1:30pm lunch
  • 2pm-5pm driver’s ed homework (at least two solid hours worth); math or chores as time allows or sometimes we snuck in a quick devotion/scripture study; quick dinner
  • 5:15pm leave for driver’s ed
  • 5:30-9:30pm driver’s ed class (carpool home)
  • 10pm second dinner because he was hungry, even with snacks at driver’s ed
  • 10:30pm shower, brush teeth, get to bed
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English books: The Bronze Bow; The Hiding Place; The Screwtape Letters; The Merchant of Venice. His grammar comes from The Good and the Beautiful.

Driver’s ed. made us feel sorry for the public high school kids taking it. We know two girls in band, and band practice is after school for an hour and a half and then they had driver’s ed for four hours. These girls were at the school from 8:30am to 9:30pm! We were wondering when in the world they found time to do their driver’s ed homework? Or just breathe? We are so glad we homeschool. One morning we skipped Seminary for some much needed extra sleep. We can do that when we need to and to make up the absence, Marcus completes a worksheet the teacher emails him.

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Math book.

I don’t have any science books to show because all the resources will be provided by the teacher.

Aside from the time and stress of driver’s ed, which I realize is both necessary and temporary, we are excited for this homeschool year. Even though I don’t personally teach Marcus’ core subjects, we still make time to do other types of learning together, and I read all of his novels for English with him. But on our own this year we plan to make time for:

  • an early Church history unit study
  • a unit study about C.S. Lewis, including much of his poetry
  • fieldtrips to museums
  • hiking, biking, nature walks
  • art lessons
  • poetry tea time
  • meal planning and dinner prep
  • finishing six merit badges and his Eagle project
  • visiting his dad in Montana at least once a month

♥ Are you homeschooling a teenager this year? Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog today. Are you seeing signs of fall where you live? Here, not so much. Not yet. ♥

Posted in Homeschooling Corner

What is “Real School”?

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Marcus and I have just begun our tenth year homeschooling together. 🙂 This week he started a driver’s ed. night course through the public high school. He’s been carpooling with three other teens from our neighborhood. He is the only homeschooler in the group, and maybe the only homeschooler in the driver’s ed. class. One teen in the carpool made it a point to tell Marcus that he does not go to “real school” and that prompted my son to write an informal essay which I’d like to share here-

Something I hear all the time, and something every homeschooler will hear, is that we don’t go to “real school.” This is always annoying to hear so I decided to really figure out what “real school” truly means, and if anyone is actually using this phrase correctly. I have gathered some resources to break down the phrase “real school.”

Let’s define what real means. I am going to use Dictionary.com for these definitions. Under the word real it lists the word genuine. Upon going to the word genuine we find definitions and synonyms such as “origin; not counterfeit; authentic.” Upon delving deeper into the word origin one of the definitions is “something from which anything arises or is derived; source; fountainhead.” In other words something which is real could be anything coming from an original source.

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Cell cake

Let’s define what school means: “A session of such a course” or “the activity or process of learning under instruction” or “a building housing a school.” Sounds like normal public school, right? It’s interesting to think about how parents do teach their children many basics, and that home can be a building, but we will explore this later.

Let’s combine the words real and school together: The origin of process of learning under instruction. And for a bit of a history lesson: Everyone should know that learning has always begun in the home. Since the creation of Adam and Eve, and before public and private schools existed, everything was taught within the family and community. Before private schools, a scholar or teacher was hired to teach a very small group of children.

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Elephant toothpaste experiment

In Thomas S. Monson’s talk Teach the Children, from the October 1997 General Conference, he talks about “parents and grandparents fill(ing) the role of teacher.” Although Monson is talking more about the gospel in the home, this principle of parents teaching in the home can be applied in any and every way.

As for the definition of school as a school house, a home is and has always been a place of learning, and a home can be housed in a building. Home is always where family is and in an article called Home: the Heart of Learning, from an October 2014 Liahona magazine, it says, “All of the Church’s ‘teaching, programs, and activities’ [are] home centered and Church supported. That means our church meetings are meant to support individual and family learning.” Most things in the Church are meant to support learning in the home and not replace it. Of course, home is not the only place we can learn. We can learn anywhere, even outside. I’m not saying public and private schools are bad or wrong, but I do believe there is a better way to do them. I would like to see schools follow the example of the Church and be more home centered.

When someone tells homeschoolers that they do not go to “real school” it implies that homeschooling is fake. But upon looking at the definitions applied here it could actually imply that public school as the “real school” is actually derived from and in fact a counterfeit version of homeschool.

♥ I just finished reading the book Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto. As I was pondering “real school” something he said stood out to me: “What’s gotten in the way of education in the United States is a theory of social engineering that says there is one right way to proceed with growing up.” Homeschoolers like us know better and we are proving it first hand. ♥

Posted in Movie Corner

Christopher Robin (Movie Review)

Over the weekend my husband and I saw the movie Christopher Robin on a date night. We both enjoyed this movie and thought the story line, acting, and voices were great. I would recommend this movie to older kids (maybe 8 and up), teens, and adults. It’s clean and rated PG for action. I’m sure it’s fine for younger children who enjoy live action movies and are okay with Winnie the Pooh and his friends being live stuffed animals. If they like Paddington, I’m sure they’ll like this Winnie the Pooh.

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This movie stars a favorite actor of mine, Ewen McGregor, as Christopher Robin, and the voice of Eeyore was easy to recognize as Brad Garrett from the tv show, Everybody Loves Raymond. I thought he did a fine job voicing Eeyore.

We did not find this movie “dark” even though it was a bit serious. We thought this movie was filled with heart and we enjoyed the humor. The story begins with a young Christopher Robin saying goodbye to his Hundred Acre Wood friends just before he goes off to boarding school. Fast forward and we see Christopher Robin with a wife and sweet daughter. He’s the typical father juggling his job and family life.

I don’t want to give too much of the plot away. Christopher Robin still needs Winnie the Pooh and Winnie the Pooh still needs Christopher Robin. When the two reconnect there is some fun humor as little mishaps occur.

♥ As Winnie the Pooh fans, we found this movie to be delightful. ♥

 

 

 

Posted in Craft Corner

Summer Craft- Lollipops

My regular readers may remember that I’ve been holding weekly craft sessions this summer for as many as 19 girls, ranging in age from 4 to 17, in my little girl craft club- which finally has a name: the SURF club. The girls voted on names this past week and SURF won. SURF stands for Sweet, Unique, artistic/aRtsy Friends and ties in with the beach theme of my craft room, which is now called Camie’s Crafting Cove. 🙂

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This was such a fun kid craft! I got the idea from an early Christmas display at Hobby Lobby. What’s with lollipops and Christmas? I have to say I don’t get the connection. But this was a delightful summer craft for my girls.

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For this craft I pulled together the following supplies-

  • round cake boards (I chose the 8″ boards that come in a pack from Hobby Lobby’s baking section)
  • 12″ dowels (these came in a pack from Walmart’s craft section)
  • markers
  • scrapbook paper
  • craft punches
  • scissors
  • glitter glue, glue sticks, clear Elmer’s glue
  • adhesive gemstones (Walmart has these in sheets)
  • scrap ribbon, craft string, yarn
  • buttons, tiny craft pom poms, sequins (whatever you already have on hand)
  • duct tape (to attach the dowel to the back of the lolly)

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One of the girls made another lollipop with a paper plate and then she painted it black and brushed glitter glue on to make a galaxy pop. 🙂

First the girls decorated the white side of their cake boards using a combination of the materials that appealed to them. Some also decorated their dowel with string or the adhesive gems (which came in long strips) and most added a bow just below the lolly.

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The lolly on the right is strawberry lemonade flavor. 🙂

♥ Which is your favorite? This was one of our last craft sessions for the summer as public school begins here on August 22nd. Marcus and I will start our homeschool year August 30th which is the first day of his online classes. Do you have any fun end-of-summer plans? I’d love to hear about them. Thanks for stopping by. ♥