Monday, August 17, 2015

Freetown DVD Giveaway! {Deseret Book Review}

Caught in the middle of a brutal civil war, six Liberian missionaries in Monrovia flee the widespread violence of their native country. Their destination: Freetown, Sierra Leone. With the help of local Church leader Phillip Abubakar (Henry Adofo), the missionaries make the difficult journey only to have their troubles compounded by a rebel fighter bent on killing one of their own. Based on true events, Freetown is a thrilling and inspiring story of hope and survival. 
Based on a true story, 6 missionaries are caught in the crossfire of a civil war between 2 tribes in Monrovia, Liberia.  Rebels have taken over the cities, driving through with guns blazing, wreaking havoc and fear on the local families.  The Rebels goal: to kill ALL the members of the Krahn tribe.  With a strong desire to teach the gospel the brave elders work in the midst of the unrest until the conflict escalates leaving them no choice but to flee the country.  Asking a local church member to help them escape the missionaries make a daring escape through rough terrain carefully concealing the identity of Elder Gaye, a Krahn.  Followed close behind by Rebels, navigating through dense terrain, rough, muddy roads and literally, driving on empty for miles (a miracle!) their faith pushes them to the limit.
This was an edge-of-your seat intense movie to the very end.  It is hard for me to imagine living in such a rough, terrifying, beautiful, place...and still having the ability to preach of God's love to the people.
This DVD offers a LOT of special features including:
  • Behind the scenes
  • Director's commentary
  • Writing Freetown
  • Shooting in Africa
  • Music of Freetown
  • Filming Freetown
This movie was rated PG-13 for thematic situations involving violence.  It also has subtitles in Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
I cannot wait to go back and watch with the directors commentary.  I hope it will answer some of the questions I had throughout the video.  It did leave me wondering at the end on what happened to a handful of the people who lived there...
The best part!  I get to giveaway a copy of this DVD to one lucky reader of Swinging On Small Hinges!  I'm so excited!  Enter using the Giveaway Tools below!  Giveaway ends Aug 26th at 11:59pm Central Standard Time.  Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond before I will have to draw an alternate.  Thanks for stopping by!  Good luck!

Disclaimer:  Thank you SO much Deseret Book for the chance to review this movie!  I was not paid for this review and all opinions here are my very own.

Friday, August 14, 2015

What We Read This Week....

We have had a pretty quiet week.  I think we enjoyed a bit slower pace this week after all the excitement of the Civil War from the last month.  It was soon after the Civil War when the idea behind the statue of Liberty was presented to President Ulysses S. Grant.  A gift from France that symbolized Freedom, Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi hoped that by offering such a gift France would see the need for a democratic government.  It took years to build with Gustav Eiffel (who would go on to build a famous Paris landmark!) building the inner framework and Bartholdi hammering out layer upon layer of copper to build the statue.  How Lady Liberty came to be is a really fascinating story and we really enjoyed learning about her!

We read:

We even enjoyed a fun experiment where we turned our own copper green!

Kayley's reader this week is Lily and Miss Liberty...

Maggie's is the Statue of Liberty...

 The girls are also working on a fun lap book that I 
downloaded FREE!  

We also finished up our biography about Monet and then enjoyed this little picture book:

As for me...I am working through Simply Charlotte Mason's Laying Down the Rails today...  More of a reference book and not a straight read-through but it is a helpful tool in teaching you how to teach good habits to your kids (and yourself). 

I haven't had time for extra reading this week.  It's been busy!  
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

School Days...

I've enjoyed looking at so many back-to-school pictures this week.  My Facebook feed is clogged with pictures of my friends and their kiddos with their cute little backpacks, lunch bags, and bright smiles. While sometimes I wonder what it would be like to scoot my children out the door I can't imagine what it would be like to have the house to myself.  I'd probably sit on the computer too much eating Oreos.  I know I would miss out on all the fun stuff we get to learn!

We've been back to school for quite a while now.  In fact, we are finishing up week 7!  We are looking forward to the end of our "quarter" where we will switch gears a little.  But, only a little.  

This week we had fun learning about the Statue of Liberty.  The girls are finishing up a lap book that we downloaded for free from Homeschool Share.  We have completed all the usual subjects as well.  Here are a few pictures of our school days...just for fun.

Kayley is learning typing this year.  
She decided that writing paragraphs and papers is just easier when you can type.


Nature Studies (thanks to a dear friend who gave us this jar with a cocoon inside we hatched a HUGE moth and set it free!)

Language Arts.

 A favorite place to work...

Home Economics.



School Days...  Pretty fun!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Wilson's Creek National Battlefield

We had a fun weekend finishing out our Civil War studies with a trip to Wilson's Creek National Battlefield!  They were having reenactments and it was a PERFECT timing!  The girls, of course, decided to dress up (until it got too hot and they were grateful it was the modern days and they could shed those dreadful bonnets and hot dresses!)

The cannon firing was too loud for Maggie so we ended up hanging out it the car working on her Junior Ranger book.

One fellow was so impressed by Kayley's knowledge and inquisitiveness that he gave a button off of a Union uniform.  They used those as trade items during the war.

We took a selfie (or tried to anyway) in front of the Selfie Board...

And at the end the girls were sworn in as a Jr. Ranger and earned a patch from Wilson's Creek to add to their collection!

We had a great time and really locked in the Civil War experience by living it! 

Friday, August 7, 2015

What We Are Reading This Week...

This week went by entirely too fast!  We finished up our studies in the Civil War and have turned our attention to Reconstruction.  The girls completed their History Pockets and they turned out great!  I'll have to upload some pictures!

This week was kind of an off-week for us...  We tried reading from Story of the World and it was just too heavy and confusing.  So we tried reading from BiblioPlan's Companion and couldn't really track the people and events well there either...  We looked through Hakim's the Story of US and it was about "congressional reconstruction" and the girls instantly glazed over.  (me too.)  So...we ended up sticking with one read aloud and just a couple of readers for the girls and called it a slow week...  Things will pick up next week when we learn about the Statue of Liberty and the week after when we begin learning about the Transcontinental Railroad and Western Migration!

Our read-aloud for this week is 40 Acres and Maybe a Mule...and a teeny-bopper Sunfire Romance called Jennie (don't judge!).  Seriously, Jennie is a story about the Johnstown flood.  It is historically accurate and very clean (teeny-bopper romance from the 80s).  I know, I know, Charlotte Mason is flipping over in her grave right now...  Seriously though, I remember reading this book in maybe, junior high, and it stuck with me all this time so it did something right!  

40 Acres is a story about 3 young slaves who, once they discover they are free, run away to get their 40 Acres and a Mule...

Kayley's reading for this week was And They Were Strong and Good and Wagon Wheels.

Maggie's reading for this week was Wagon Wheels and she started reading The Beginners Bible.  (This one should take her a while!)

As for me, I am still working my way through Say Goodbye to Complaining....  I slowed down a lot when James and I decided it would be better for us to read it together.  (We have also implemented an awesome kids "honor club" curriculum with it as part of our FHE!!  So good!)  I needed something light this week so I could focus on a few other things so I am reading Shopping For time.  This has been on my shelf since 2013, unread, because that's the way this Bibliophile rolls!


Anyway--there it is!  Our reading for the week...  Not terribly ambitious but still keeping us busy.  ;)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Our Morning Basket

I got this great idea for a Charlotte Mason style "morning basket" from a wonderful blog called Wildflowers and Marbles.  She described the morning basket as a way to "anchor your day" by taking subjects that can be done together a in a gentle way.  The basket would contain things that are "ageless" and could stand alone if needed.  Morning basket would need to remain fluid and will always be changing items as the needs of your family changes.  

Now we will never have a LARGE family by any means but the idea of having certain things that are ageless that they girls can work through together were very appealing to me, so I took this idea of the morning basket and we have been very happy with it!  We started out very simply with an artist study!

We began with these great portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason.  They contain 8 over-sized art prints plus a guide book that includes a bio of the artist, some great questions to ask your kids to help them really gain familiarity with the picture and with the artist and his style.  We started with Monet!

Next we read a couple of different picture books to get us learning more and more about Monet and Impressionism.

Then my girls began to love Monet and my girls actually ASKED for me to read more about the artist and his family...  So we read another "big head" book...

Once we had our artist study rolling smoothly we added poetry.  We used another Simply Charlotte Mason product as a jumping-off point...We chose Robert Louis Stevenson.  These little books also contain a bio and recommended schedule to enjoy slowly reading through the poems...

And just for fun, we have been reading A Child's Garden of Verses (an illustrated version).

Once we had Artists and Poetry rolling along we added Getting Started With Latin.  This is a great little, 1 short lesson per day, type of book.  We have worked through some more rigorous Latin programs in the past (Prima and Latin For Children) and we just burned out.  Rather than drop Latin completely we have decided (based on a recommendation from, you guessed it, Simply Charlotte Mason) we will be using this book for a while.  We are only a couple of lessons in and I'll have to report back on what our thoughts are!

What's next for our morning basket?  I am not sure?  You'll notice there are no scriptures in our morning basket.  That is because I really haven't found a nice bite sized way to incorporate those yet.  We do scripture reading at night but I do want to add something that fits into our morning as well.

We have really enjoyed this morning basket.  We actually do it after lunch but "lunch basket" sounds a picnic!  So for now we just keep calling it "basket."  Time for the "basket."  LOL.  I think it needs a name.  ;)

Thanks for stopping by today and I hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse into some of our studies. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Will My Child Be Ready? {Deseret Book Review}

A missionary's training does not begin when he or she enters the doors of the MTC. Well before that, each missionary's mother can begin laying the groundwork that will prepare her child to diligently and wholeheartedly serve the Lord and His children. 
Mothers have an immeasurable influence and a significant responsibility in raising up young men and women who are prepared to do the work of the Lord. The good news: that responsibility can begin wherever you and your child are on the path of preparation. Whether your child is two, eight, or eighteen, this unique resource written by mothers who have sent children on missions (and some who have also served as mission presidents' wives) will help you build the foundation of faith, endurance, and hard work that every missionary needs.
Even though our girls are only 5 and 9, we have talked to them on numerous occasions about the "someday" when they may choose to go on a mission...  While my oldest is convinced it isn't going to be something she wants to do (because she would get too homesick) my youngest is pretty sure she is going to China.  Either way, no matter their choice, preparing our children for ALL types of missionary work in the future is essential.  Because, after all, are we not ALL missionaries?  Of course we are!
This book by Emily Freeman and Merrilee Boyack is a great book for parents who have kids of all ages to help them prepare their kids for those big steps.  Teaching everything from obedience to service to goal-setting this book encourages parents to be sure their kids know big things (like testimony, service, prayer, scripture study) to the small things (how to cook, clean and do your own laundry!)
Each Chapter includes bullet points of what they need to know...what they need to do...and what they need to be.  References as a "Missionary Prep for Moms" course this book is infused with personal stories, scripture references and quotes from prophets.   This book would be a welcome addition in any parents library!  
You can purchase Will My Child Be Ready from or your favorite book store!  Thanks so much for stopping by Swinging On Small Hinges!

Disclaimer:  I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  
Thank you DB!

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