Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Christmas Crafts (Matthew 1:21)

'"She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[a] because he will save his people from their sins."' Matthew 1:21 (NIV UK)
I have been enjoying playing Christmas carols on the piano recently, but the books we have are rather easy for me, being quite a bit below Grade 1. I am studying for my Grade 1 exam in the New Year, but I play Grade 3-5 tunes just now (eg. 'Fur Elise' by Beethoven), because I like there to be a lively bass clef instead of just one or two chords per bar. My favourite Christmas carol is probably 'Once in Royal David's City' or 'O Little Town of Bethlehem'. 'O, Come, All Ye Faithful' and 'Angels We Have Heard On High' are also some of my favourites. What are your favourite Christmas carols? You can vote in my MiniPoll on the right to let me know (all votes are anonymous).
     I have also been making some Christmas tree decorations, because I am getting into the 'festive spirit' as some might say, and they are really quite easy and quick to make. I just took an old Tesco cereal box, cut out an A4-size rectangle of cardboard, and stuck an A4 piece of yellow paper onto it with some glue. Then, I used a stencil to trace stars onto the now-yellow cardboard, but I had to do it lightly, because the glue hadn't quite dried yet, and I was afraid the pencil would go through the yellow paper and make holes in it. Finally, I cut out the star shapes with sharp scissors (if you let the paper completely dry onto the cardboard before cutting the star shapes out, you can use more blunt scissors), punching holes in each star on one of the five points. You can tie a length of ribbon through the hole in each star if you like, but if you don't have any, you can use string, twine, thread, wool, or even some bits of reed grass (if you're getting really desperate!).
     Another Christmas activity you can do is a candle table centrepiece. These can take up more time than other decorations, but are very nice to look at. You will need:
  • Oasis Foam
  • Medium-Sized Holly Sprigs
  • Branches/fronds (about 15 inches long) of any type of Leylandii evergreen bush, freshly cut & green
  • 4 Candles (about 10 inches long), all of the same colour (I would probably choose red or dark green)
  • 1 Candle (about 12 inches long), a different colour from the 4 smaller candles (I would probably choose white)
  • Plastic box/tub or small wooden crate (eg. ice cream tub), about 15 inches x 9 inches
  • Water
  • 20 Cocktail Sticks (about 2.5-3 inches long)
  • Jug of any size
  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape
  • Pine cones (optional)
  • Ribbon (optional)
  • PVA glue (optional)
  • Fake berries (optional)
Put the Oasis foam inside the plastic box/tub or crate, trimming it to fit with the scissors. Cram as much foam as you can into the tub, and try to make sure that no space is visible. Now for the fun part! Fill the jug with water, and pour it over the Oasis foam. Keep filling the jug and pouring more and more water into the foam until no more will be absorbed (you will find that the Oasis foam soaks up much more water than you think!). Stick 4 cocktail sticks on the side of each candle with sticky tape near the bottom, so that about half of each cocktail stick extends below the bottom of the candle. Push the 4 smaller candles into the wet Oasis foam in a circle around the edge of the container, each about 1 inch in from the edges of the container. Begin poking the Leylandii branches/fronds and holly sprigs into the wet Oasis foam; you can push them in at any pattern you like, or even just do them at random. Make sure that all of the Oasis foam is covered! You can place a few pine cones around the bigger candle or around the outside of the tub with sticky tape (or PVA glue if you prefer) if you like. Your candle decoration is now complete!
     I might make some of these in the next few weeks in the run up to Christmas. Please keep praying for my family as we make important decisions for our house - there is good news! We are have found a house to move to! We still need prayer for a safe move, though - I appreciate your prayers a lot!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Good Books that you may Find Worthwhile Reading (Proverbs 18:15)

'The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.' Proverbs 18:15 (NIV UK)
I am an avid reader, who enjoys all sorts of books, as long as they are not too graphic or gory. Most of the books I read are Christian books, and I thought you might like the links to some of them. Here are the links:
  1. Crown & Covenant Trilogy by Douglas Bond: Duncan's War; King's Arrow; Rebel's Keep - I really enjoy these godly books about Scottish Covenanters' history. The last two books are a bit graphic in some parts, so if using as a read-aloud, edit while reading when needed.
  2. Red Rock Mysteries Series by Jerry B. Jenkins & Chris Fabry: Haunted Waters; Stolen Secrets; Missing Pieces; Wild Rescue; Grave Shadows; Phantom Writer; Double Fault; Canyon Echoes; Instant Menace; Escaping Darkness; Windy City Danger; Hollywood Holdup; Hidden Riches; Wind Chill; Dead End - these are adventurous, funny, can't-be-put-down-once-started books about twins Bryce and Ashley, and how they were converted and then had lots of adventures (in the different books), where their faith is tested and they learn to know God better through hard situations that have happened in the past.
  3. Tales of Karensa by Jean Cullop: Where Dolphins Race with Rainbows; Castle of Shadows,;Children of the Second Morning; Silver Serpent/Golden Sword - these are perhaps for slightly younger children than myself, but are still fun to read. If you have ever read The Chronicles of Narnia before, this may ring a faint bell, because the children travel to a different world to learn about Jesus before returning to England.
  4. Farm Mystery Series: Footprints in the Barn; The Mysterious Message; Midnight Sky; Who, Me?; Weighty Matters; Where There's Smoke...; The History Mystery; Lights Out!; Trapped; The Case of the Missing Man - we really enjoyed using these as read-alouds a couple of years ago. They are about a Christian family who live on a farm in America, the two boys, Andy and Jason, using their detective work around the farm.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Lego Train Set & Memory Stick Space Dilemma! (1 Timothy 4:16)

'Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.' 1 Timothy 4:16 (NIV UK)

I don't know about you, but I've always loved playing with Lego. Just over a month ago I received an electric Lego Cargo/Freight Train for my 13th birthday, and I have enjoyed building things to go along with it with my sisters, placing minifigures around the track and station, and taking it to my friend's house. Below are photos that I took of the set:

The train set has had to be dismantled because of people coming to view our house; we are possibly moving soon.

I found this brilliant animation Lego have made of it here. Below are Lego's photos of the set:

Lego Cargo/Freight Train

Lego Cargo/Freight Train

Lego Cargo/Freight Train

Lego Cargo/Freight Train

Lego Cargo/Freight Train

Lego Cargo/Freight Train

Lego Cargo/Freight Train
Unfortunately, the train is powered by six AAA batteries and the remote is powered by three AAA batteries, so it is possible that it could cost quite a bit to keep it powered (although the batteries I bought when I received it haven't run out yet!). Also, the remote seems to work best when it is pointed upwards into the air - I wonder why?
Moving onto a completely different subject, I would like to tell you some stuff about my camera. I am having problems at the moment finding enough space on my three memory sticks to store all my photographs. I have one 32 GB, one 16 GB, and one 4GB. I use the 4 GB one for all of my personal files that are not photos, eg. Word Documents, PDFS, some videos, et cetera, so I don't really use this one for photos. I use both the 16 GB and the 32 GB memory sticks for photos, but the two of them only have a few MBs left on them, and my camera is 16 MP (photos below), so I can't put any more photos on them. I have gone through all of my photos once or twice, and deleted the unneeded ones. I have been saving up for a DSLR camera, and I probably have around £75, but DSLRs cost from £150 to £400 and an external hard drive costs £50 to £125. The actual problem at the moment isn't actually long-term storage, but storage between now and when I can afford to buy a hard drive. Does anyone have any suggestions? If you do, please comment on this post (below).
I hope you have understood a bit more about how I store my photos! I think I might just need to persevere until either I can afford an external hard drive or I figure out some other way of storing the photos!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

What Websites We Use for Our Homeschooling Online (Colossians 3:2)


This blog post is not fully completed and is being updated all the time, so you can come back here in a few days time and see even more links!


'Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.' Colossians 3:2 (NIV UK)
Today I thought that I would put lots of links on my post so that you can look at what we use for our homeschooling. I plan to tell you more about myself in the future, but just now I would like to introduce you to a lot of places on the internet that we use for homeschooling (and other stuff).
  • Everyclick - we use this website as our homepage, because if you sign up, every time you do an internet search, it donates around 1 pence to a charity of your choice. We are donating to Release International just now, I think.
  • BBC Bitesize - we use this for 'computer time' on Thursdays as an educational website full of games for all ages. Chosse from primary, secondary, and more grades!
  • Quest for Compassion - this is a Christian missionary game where you pick a travel buddy and travel around the world to complete tasks, games, and quizzes.
  • MakaziVille - run by the Duggar family of 21 in America, this educational game is set in a make-believe village named 'MakaziVille' in Tanzania. Complete games, watch videos, and do devotions to earn coins (no real money used) so that you can buy more things for your own version of the MakaziVille village.
  • Adventures in Odyssey - a website where you can listen to podcasts for free that teach life lessons with real-life examples. Also, you can buy Adventures in Odyssey on CD and MP3 (iTunes). This podcast is run by the well-known company Focus on the Family.
  • Brinkman Adventures - audio like Adventures in Odyssey except that you can only listen to one episode online - you have to buy the CD packs to listen to all the episodes.
  • Jonathan Park - another audio adventure series, but, just like the Brinkman Adventures, you can only listen to a few online; you have to buy the CD packs/MP3s.
  • Homeschooling Central - this website, run by Sheri Graham, is where you can find LOADS of different resources and information for homeschooling. It is an amazing place for links!
  • Perth and Tayside Homeschoolers - the website of the homeschooling meeting group  that we go to, called P.A.T.H. for short. My mum made this website; she did a really good job!
I hope you are able to use some of these websites to help your homeschooling!


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