Friday, September 23, 2016

Our Disney Vacation 2016

This will be a picture intense post! We had such a wonderful trip and a fun time on our Disney Vacation this year! We spent 1 day at Lego Land, 4 Days at Walt Disney World and 3 Days on the Disney Cruise!  Wow!  We were exhausted but we had so much fun!  Here are lots of pictures:

Riding the Island in the Sky. 

I didn't take very many pictures on this trip...and it was kind of refreshing to not be constantly fumbling for a phone or camera...but in the end we didn't have very many.  

At Norway in Epcot. 

The girls did passports on their trip around the World Showcase. 

Kayley feeding Milo.   

It rained...  a LOT! 

And when it wasn't raining it was wickedly hot! 

Our chariot awaits! 

Our room on the cruise.  Maggie's bed is the couch and Kayley's dropped down from the ceiling.  We had a great concierge come to set up our room each evening and put it back together again each morning.  He always folded a towel in a funny shape... I wish I had thought to take a few pictures of them...they were cute. 

Playing aboard ship...   

The view of the main the deck.   

Little girls in big portholes. 

In the Millennium Falcon. 

On the dance floor at the Oceaneer Club.  Don't be deceived...there really were about a trillion more people on board than it looks right now... 

In Andy's room... 

Back on the Melennium  Falcon!

Out to sea...  Quite a view.  No land in sight.  
(Remind me to tell you about how sea sick I was bad.) 

The guys got facials...  
(us girls did too, sorry no incriminating photos of us!  LOL)


Playing a really fun detective was all over the ship.  The pictures come to life and you solve mysteries... 

I ate escargot.  Really.  (and caviar!)
I feel so cultured now. 

Beautiful sunset! 

Pirate Night!  ARRR! 

At Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. 

Hmmm...  something washed ashore. 

Snorkeling!  It was everybody's first time and really neat.

My treasure I found while snorkeling. 

Kayley's snorkeling treasure! 

The view from our private cabana. 

Mount Rustmore. 

Island girls! 

We had a great time!  We cannot wait to go cruising again!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Character in Action {Character Concepts}

Way back in 2011 I was given the opportunity to attend my very first homeschool conference.  Our keynote speakers were a husband and wife team representing a company called Character Concepts.  Rick & Marilyn Boyer both spoke on several different topics, many of which, even 5 years later are still some of my favorite conference talks of all time.

At the time I was still struggling with the "should I" homeschool question.  My biggest fear being that my daughter would not listen to me like she does for others...or that we would grow too frustrated with each other to enjoy each others company.  Marilyn Boyer put my fears to rest in a series of talks at conference (I bought all the Boyer CDs they had!) pointing out that homeschooling is more than just academics, it is a matter of the heart.

Wow!  I needed to know more!  It was though a great blessing from the Boyers that I was given a Character Concepts for Preschoolers set to review setting us on a path of learning good character and teaching and training your children to be the kind of people you WANT to be around all the time.  After completing this I purchased Character Trails and then Kids of Character and then Proverbs People... and the rest is history.  Believe it or not I STILL use all of these products frequently in my homeschool each year.

At this point I bet you can imagine my excitement then when Marilyn approached me to review one of their newest products called Character in Action.  This book still follows the curious and adventurous Boyer cousins.  (I was squealing over the cover.  Just look at how the cousins have grown!  I love it!)  The Boyer cousins are bigger, wiser and just as sweet as ever!  And in this book they are going to show you just how you can put character in action!

In previous books children learned character qualities like attentiveness, compassion, generosity, and joyfulness.  Sharing lives from famous people from the Bible and sweet stories of the cousins, and famous historical heroes, previous books set you and your child on the path of building good character, but that was only a beginning.

Their newest book, Character in Action invites your family to "take the next step" by literally putting character into action.  Full of practical steps to take, Character in Action teaches your family various ways to reach out and become engaged with those who need our help.  Real-life stories with the cousins demonstrate to children all the ways we interact with others and shows the "why" behind the importance of good behavior.    

Each chapter introduces a "catch phrase" and scripture, a true story, and a section entitled "Taking the Next Step" that gives your children several ideas to put their character into action.  Included at the bottom are suggested scripture stories to further your study of each character quality.

This book is great!  My kids favorite story so far is of cousin Lauren and Mrs. Burks.  Mrs. Burks was a little elderly lady who was a bit lonely but Lauren made a special project out of giving Mrs. Burks a hug whenever they saw each other.  Such a small and simple thing brought great joy to both Mrs. Burks and Lauren.  By her example both of my girls have worked on picking someone each Sunday to hug and make them feel loved and special.

This book is a very welcome addition to my Character Curriculum Library and I think you will enjoy it too.  
Character in Action is available for purchase at and currently retails for $19.99 in a nice hardcover or $14.99 as an e-book.  Sign up for their email list and they often have coupons and other special offers!  Looking for an uplifting message from Marilyn, check out her blog!

Disclaimer:  I was given Character in Action free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed here are my very own.  No affiliate links were use.  (I'm not looking to make a buck, just share a great product!)  Thanks for stopping by Swinging on Small Hinges! 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Ozark Empire Fair

A few weeks ago we snuck out to visit the fair.  It was really a nice day to go, cloudy and overcast.  The girls had a lot of fun and rode a great variety of rides.  Kayley was actually too tall for the bouncy house this year...what a bummer!  Here are a few pictures from that adventure.  ;)

I was surprised that Maggie went down the slide.  
Usually my shy, hesitant girl, but she is getting braver each year. 

The bumper cars were really noisy. 

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