Classical Conversations: My 1st Year vs. My 2nd Year

Classical Conversations.Year 1 vs. Year 2 series

It’s hard to believe my family just finished our THIRD year of Classical Conversations. With no words can I adequately articulate the blessing that Classical Conversations has been to the 5 Mosleys. Learning together and seeking to root all knowledge in Christ has stretched our hearts, minds and brought us much joy. At the conclusion of our second year of Classical Conversations, about this exact same time one year ago, I wrote two posts summarizing my experience as a Classical Conversations Parent and Classical Conversations Tutor. My experience as a parent and tutor were as opposite as night and day when comparing year 1 and year 2. I made an exorbitant amount of mistakes my first year that I intentionally avoided our second year. I followed that same path with year 3 as with year 2, and it was another wonderful year.

If you are a new Classical Conversations family, don’t make the same mistakes that I did. Read last year’s post, and I hope to keep you out of some gutters where I found myself my first year.

If you are venturing out as a new Classical Conversations tutor this next year, again, read last year’s post about lessons learned as a tutor year 1 vs. year 2. Thankfully, I wound down year 3 as a tutor in the same vein as year 1, and I am not on the burn out, melt down train as I was my first year.

FREE DOWNLOAD for you too! If you are starting Classical Conversations, did you know you can read and download Leigh Bortins’s book, “Echo in Celebration” for FREE?!?!? Download it here from Classical Conversations Bookstore. I recommend it to ANY parent starting out with homeschooling. If you are starting Classical Conversations, I also HIGHLY recommend that you read Leigh’s book The Core over the summer. This will start your school year off well and give you greater insight into the Classical Model of education.

Friday Favorites: “Growing” Butterflies

FRIDAY Favorites

It is Friday, so it’s time for a Family Friday Favorite from the Mosley casa! It is also spring, and that makes me THINK of gardening, new life, you know…growing things. Since I don’t garden due to my green  black thumb, I always get a hankering to grow things in the Spring. I think my 3 sons are the same way.

This week I found our Butterfly Garden was unpacked and opened in our school room this week, so I took this as a “sign” from my boys–it’s time. They are ready to grow something too. Grant it, we won’t technically grow our butterflies, but it’s about the closest Mosleys get to growing things. :) So, I heeded the “sign” from my 3 little men and ordered our Insect Lore Live Butterfly Culture so that we can “grow” some butterflies around here. The cool painted lady caterpillars will arrive, and we will have an eyewitness account of God’s amazing miracle of transformation that occurs between the caterpillar to a butterfly. We have done this before as a family, and it is amazingly breathtaking to watch. If you’ve never grown butterflies with your children or grandchildren, make this the year that you do it!
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Here’s one of our butterfly pets from 2 years ago. If you’re looking for a pet for your child and you only want a temporary pet, the painted lady butterflies are for you. (Are any other parents besides me nodding their heads in agreement? We don’t have pets in our home. Why? Because I have 3 boys. ’nuff said. ha!) You can explain to your children that butterflies were created by God to be released into nature; it would be cruel to keep them in their butterfly cage. :)

Caterpillars & Butterflies

You know I love Usborne and being an Usborne Books & More consultant! I LOVE getting fabulous Usborne books for my boys so that we can use them with homeschooling. So, when I ordered our caterpillars, I also had to order the Usborne Caterpillars and Butterflies book! It’s a fabulous non-fiction book (only $4.99, and it’s hardback!! what?!?!?), and we will read it together during school time as we grow our butterflies.

This is a family favorite of ours that I’m excited to share with you! If your family ends up growing butterflies, send me some pictures of your butterfly pets! So excited to share this with you! Have a great weekend, friends!

 I am an Amazon.com Affliate and an Usborne Books & More consultant. Affiliate links are in this post. Read my full disclosure policy. The affliate compensation or consultant income that I receive will NOT influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. My readers are most important to me—more important that reviewing a free product or an affiliate compensation.

If Your Easter Lunch Involves a Ham, Try This…

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Our Easter lunch always involves a ham….because it feeds the masses. We don’t have family in town, so we usually invite over church friends who, too, would be solo for Easter. I found this recipe last month, and WOWZERS, it is my new favorite way to cook a ham! I love being able to serve it warm, which this recipe makes a reality. Previously, I would cook it the day before, cut it off the bone, and serve it cold. BUT, as previously mentioned, I like my ham warm. Another plus with this recipe–no need to add the dry, prepacked glaze. (Have you seen the ingredient list?!?! So many words that I can’t pronounce,which always frightens me!)

So, introduce your ham to the crockpot in the morning. (I always buy a spiral cut ham from Aldi, which is WAY cheaper than spiral cuts elsewhere, and it’s always yummy!) You’ll be so glad you did.

Here’s the full recipe. Enjoy!

He is Not Here! He is Risen!–Free Printable

He Is Not Here (1)  I love Holy Week! We enjoyed our church’s Good Friday service last night (my favorite service of the year!). We have enjoyed using our Easter Banner this week and our Lent readings and ornament wreath from The Word Became Flesh. This week is a beautiful reminder to me that, although my heinous sin separated me from God, He provided Jesus as the perfect sacrifice and payment for my sins. There is now no condemnation for me because of my sin (Romans 8:1) as a daughter of the one true king, and I will live forever with him in heaven for eternity. AND, while I am here on earth He has given me the Holy Spirit to help me fight against sin and to help make me look more like Christ. This is the beauty of Good Friday and Easter Sunday! I love re-reading this oh-so-familiar passages from Scripture this week and reflecting on what they mean in my life, and I pray that my sons will put their faith in God through Christ to walk in the freedom from sin’s punishment and to have a new life with Christ. I have prayed these truths over them this week and long to call them brothers in Christ.He Is Not Here (2)

May you enjoy a wonderful Easter Sunday tomorrow as we celebrate–He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Here’s a free Easter craft that you can make with your children this weekend. I’ll be using it tomorrow with the sweet 3 and 4 year olds that I teach in Sunday School. Enjoy!He Is Not Here (3)

To assemble the craft, simply cut out the two circles from the file (see download below). Have your child color and decorate each circle. Glue them onto a half sheet of construction paper. Use brown or black construction paper in the shape of a large stone boulder. Use a brass brad to affix the stone to the construction paper. Have your child slide the boulder over each of the circle to demonstrate the stone being rolled away and Jesus no longer in the grave! He is risen!

Download here: He is not here.he is risen

 

Coupon Code: Easter Banner from HeartFELT Truths {Giveaway Winner Announced}

Easter Banner

I love traditions. Our family has some glorious Christmas traditions that have brought us much joy and taught us much about God. During one of my searches for Christmas Advent Calendars, I stumbled upon HeartFELT truths. Excitedly, I shared her Christmas Advent Calendar here on the blog. A few months later she contacted me and asked if I would be interested in receiving one of her Easter Banners to use for the advent of Easter with our family in exchange for a review. I elatedly accepted and wrote a detailed review here.

HeartFELT Truths logo

HeartFELT Truths’ Easter Banner is used during Holy Week beginning on Palm Sunday and concluding on Easter Sunday morning. The Easter Banner comes with a Story Text Packet, which contains New Testament readings to coincide with the events of Holy Week. Each day you will read the Story Text together and place the corresponding symbol(s) on the Easter Banner. On Good Friday, nails are put on the cross and Jesus’ wrapped body is placed inside the tomb. Then, a large black felt piece is put over the Easter Banner. On Easter Sunday morning, your children wake up to this glorious sight:

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The HeartFELT Truths Easter Banner is a hands-on, tangible way to celebrate the glorious miracle of Easter with your family. I love how it gives our family daily time around the Bible during the week of Easter. The hustle and bustle of Easter egg hunts, chocolate bunnies and jelly beans can often overshadow the true meaning of Easter. If that’s where you have found your family during past Easters, I highly recommend this Easter Banner!

And, I am sooooooooo excited to share with you that Whitney from HeartFELT Truths is giving away one Easter Banner to one lucky Suzanne Shares readers! You can enter to win below through Rafflecopter. The giveaway ends on Friday, March 13 at 11:59PM CST.

Whitney has also set up a coupon code for her Etsy shop for my readers. WAHOO! Use the code: EASTERSHARES for 10% off! Also, from Whitney, “All the Christmas inventory in my shop is ready to ship and I don’t know if I’ll be making anymore for this upcoming Christmas or not, so it is a good time to buy while it is still available.” The 10% off can be used on anything in her shop–Christmas and Easter.

I can’t wait to hear how your family enjoys this Easter tradition!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received an Easter Banner from HeartFELT Truths in exchange for a review and no other compensation. My statements about the Easter Banner are my own, honest opinions. The affliate compensation or products that I receive will NOT influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. My readers are most important to me—more important that reviewing a free product or an affiliate compensation. Read my full disclosure policy here.

8 Years Ago Today: Postpartum Depression & Me

Family PhotoToday is my baby brother’s birthday–March 8. It is always a fun day to celebrate him, but eight years ago, his birthday took on additional significance. It was the day that I bottomed out. I hit an all time low. It was one of the darkest days of my life. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. Despite the great pain of that day and the unpleasant, painful memories associated with it, March 8 is now one of the best days of my life. It is a day when I celebrate God’s grace in my life. Thankfully, God placed people in our lives, who helped me, my husband and our young family. I survived.

In the 8 years that have transpired since my diagnosis of postpartum depression, I have had the privilege of walking with numerous women on this rocky, often painful, heart wrenching journey. I am grateful to God that through my journey with them He has further redeemed, made beautiful something that I only could foresee as painful, embarrassing, and shameful. He does work all things for good, even postpartum depression, for His children, and I am so grateful to be His daughter.

Over the last 8 years, during my conversations with other women experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety, I’ve found myself repeating these statements…

Don’t Be a Lone Ranger: Help is There
When I was in the throes of postpartum depression, I tried with all my might to make myself better. I really tried. I resisted help until I hit rock bottom. However, when I first met with my counselor and talked to my doctor, I realized that my current reality was not permanent. Hope existed. I needed the help, and I am grateful that I finally gave in and received it.

Share Your Story: You Are Not Alone
Postpartum depression is in my past, but it is still a part of who I am. I continue to share my story, and I continue to meet women who are in the throes of it, as well as survivors. Postpartum depression can be isolating and make you feel like you’re a three-headed monster. However, as I have shared with other women, even 8 years ago when I was diagnosed, I was surprised at how many women whom I previously knew came out of the woodwork. They were fellow strugglers and overcomers. Their stories gave me hope. I follow in their footsteps and pay it forward. I want to glorify God for and thank Him for saving my life. I share my story with you in hopes that you will share your story; it will encourage others.

If you know of someone experiencing postpartum depression, anxiety or any mental illness, please love them well and encourage them to pursue help. Pursue help with them. On their 8 year anniversary, you will be grateful that you did.

Read my full story of postpartum depression here.

Ice, Ice Baby (aka “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?”)-Free Printable

Vanilla IceYou are a child of the 80s if you know who this gentleman is. Oh, come on! You know you remember! He is famous for ONE song that has been my anthem this week.

“Ice, Ice, Baby. Alright stop, collaborate and listen…”

And…I could go MUCH further into the song lyrics, but I don’t want to embarrass myself  and give you any inkling of how much of the song I actually remember! Ha!

So, this week in good ol’ Music City USA we have enjoyed a week of being snow and ice. Therefore, the words of Ice, Ice Baby have been continually on my lips, and these poetic 80s words pretty much summarize the weather that we have enjoyed for the past week. (And…as a side note, my hat goes off to those of you who live in the Northern regions of the United States. Snow on the ground, all winter-this is your reality. Wow, just wow! You are my heroes, beloved.)

Because my children have NO IDEA who Vanilla Ice is AND because my singing invokes eye-rolling and “M-O-M!” I decided to identify with this younger generation and bust out a song that they can recognize and sing along with. Fast forward to 2015 and a winter-themed chorus that is known and loved by children everywhere, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” (I am secretly laughing on the inside because can’t you just picture 25 years from now? This generation will have children of their own and their posterity will “eye roll” and gasp in horror when Frozen songs are jubilantly sung by their parents. What goes around comes around, right? But, I digress…) This musical masterpiece, thank you, Disney, has been more palatable for them when compared to Vanilla Ice, and I can’t imagine why! :)

So, if you’ve been frozen in all week and looking for a way to build a snowman without venturing out in the snow, or, if you need another winter-themed song to get “Ice, Ice Baby” out of your head, THIS, my friend is your lucky day!

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I drew this Olaf picture for use in my Classical Conversations class during Review Game time. (See below for how I used this in my CC class.) I scanned the drawing, and you can download it here to print and use at your casa. Your Frozen fanatics will have fun with this one, I hope! AND, it’s a great way to build a snowman while staying WARM! Download here: Olaf Printable. Here’s the final product!

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For those of you who are in Classical Conversations and are curious about how I used this as a Review Game, here’s what I did. :) I printed and laminated two copies of Olaf. I divided my class into two teams, and each team was charged with building a snowman! For each question answered correctly, they got to add another snowman piece to their team’s Olaf. The kiddos seemed to really enjoy it!

The Word Became Flesh: Lenten Advent Calendar

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I have written again and again and again about our wonderful Christmas Advent Calendars. Those advent calendars have become such a significant component of Christmas for our family. I longed for this same Scripture-rich, God-honoring, daily-reading family activity… for Easter.

Thankfully, 3 years ago, my dear friend, who first introduced me to the Advent Jesse Tree, wrote a book, The Word Became Flesh, which is a devotion used as an Easter Advent calendar during the 40 days or Lent. In addition to the daily devotions designed to use with your family, Faye, a gifted artist, has included hand drawn sketches that can be photocopied and used as “ornaments” much like the Advent Jesse Tree. We participated in an ornament swap and hang our ornaments on a grapevine wreath. This is a peek at what ours looks like.

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To read more about how The Word Became Flesh works and has impacted our family, read these two previous posts here and here. When I first wrote about The Word Became Flesh two years ago, Faye’s book had not been published and was, therefore, only available to purchase from Faye. Last year, Faye was able to get her book published (wahoo!!!), so you can now buy it from Amazon and have it arrive just in time to start next week on Ash Wednesday, February 18.

I can’t wait to hear how this book blesses your family and leads you to focus on Christ this Easter!

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.

Valentine’s Day Tradition & FREE Printable

I LOVE Valentine’s Day! My birthday is a few days afterwards, so I have many fabulous memories around this time of year. As I became a mom, I wanted Valentine’s Day to be a special time to show my sons how much they are loved. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be ooey-gooey-sappy love between boys and girls. It can also be a wonderful time to demonstrate love within our families!

These are two posts from the archives as we gear up for the LOVE month!

IMG_7791We have a Valentine’s Day Tradition–Valentine’s Day Stockings. I enjoy filling them with various things that remind me of my sons and husband. This year the boys will be getting some Usborne books that they’ve been eyeing (this, this, and this). Read the original post for instructions on how to make these. Seriously, I am NO seamstress, so if I can make them, anyone can!

I Corintians 13.4 to 7

I created this printable of from I Corinthians 13 for my Pre-K Sunday School class at church. They memorize verses 4-7, so I made this craft, which can be transformed into a mobile or garland for your mantle. I love having the TRUTH about love displayed during this month of LOVE! See the original post for the FREE download.

I LOVE my readers, so thanks for your kind and encouraging words! Thanks SO MUCH for  reading!

Blueberry Pumpkin Poundcake–with Butternut Squash

BlueberryPumpkinPoundcakeOne of my Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions is to make this fabulous, I-always-want-two-pieces-at-a-time Blueberry Pumpkin Poundcake. Well, this week three butternut squashes kept staring me in the face in my fridge, so I decided to make the cake for our small group Christmas party substituting butternut squash instead of the pumpkin. I assumed that it could be substituted easily and without sacrificing amazing flavor. It was a gamble, but I rolled the dice. Guess what? Same ol’ yumminess. So, if you ever have butternut squash staring you in the face, try this recipe and wow your friends with your this amazing cake! For the original recipe, visit this previous post.

Merry Christmas!