Homeschool with The Jordans, Weekly Wrap-Up March 10

I’m linking up with Kris at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers for the Weekly Wrap-Up where we share the highlights of our homeschool week.

What are you doing during this almost-but-not-quite Spring week? Tell me in the comments. I’m sick again. Every year I run with fresh, innocent excitement into the new Spring breezes. Each year I end up with the plague. Why, oh why?

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In Wartime: Stories from Ukraine

There’s so much conflict in the world today. In college, I mostly heard the views of my circle of friends or of my part of Canada. Now, thanks to the internet, we get snippets of the conversation from every point of view. It takes on media bias and has a skew toward certain regions and not others. Though we hear about the conflict in Israel, Egypt, or Ukraine, it seems impossible to identify the facts. It’s even harder to guess what the average person living there thinks of it all.

That’s why I want to review In Wartime: Stories from Ukraine by Tim Judah. The Ukrainian immigrant communities in Nova Scotia gather for bright, joyful festivals. The occasional dance or craft exposition keeps their community in my mind, but I have only a vague idea of where Ukraine is on the map. More than geography, I’m interested in what relationship Ukraine has with neighbouring countries and what the average person there thinks or does.

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7 Quick Takes on What I Like This Week

My quick takes this week are all things that I’m appreciating right now. I hope you like some of them, too.


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I did a study of the mass with our church this time last year and the teaching videos were by Tom Curran. I really appreciated his talk and perspectives. Then I found out he has nine kids and does a podcast for parents. There are two new episodes up for Lent. Check out The Curran Crew. Continue reading

Awesome Lego Creations with Bricks You Already Have

On a good day only the floor under my dining table is coated with tiny Lego pieces. On a bad day, the Lego storm reaches the living room and sometimes pieces can even be found downstairs, since they sometimes fall (or are thrown) from the the landing.

Yet somehow, my six year old isn’t into building with her Legos yet. She mostly plays with sets that someone else builds for her. Sometimes she uses the Lego pieces as props with her other figurines like Strawberry Shortcake, Littlest Pet Shop or My Little Pony. We built this castle from one of my Lego sets. It’s probably more than thirty years old.

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How will you use the gift of Lent?

It’s easy for little kids to have the wrong impression of Lent. It can seem like it’s all about punishment and guilt. When I was a kid, teachers would tell us to give something up as penance for our sins.  Since Jesus could resist temptation while fasting in the desert for forty days I can’t have chocolate. Imagine me as an eight-year-old bookworm who loves the epic tragedy of the story of Jesus, but still doesn’t see the point. I thought:

  • If you don’t have to claim ownership of wrong-doing, why would you?
  • If Jesus loves me he doesn’t want me to make myself sad over something trivial like chocolate. We pray “lead me not into temptation”, right?
  • Authority figures placing seemingly meaningless limits on me offended my strong-will.
  • People are boasting and competing. Which penance is most restrictive? Do you make it all the way through Lent?

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Christian Books for Your Easter Gift Basket

We’re excited about Easter this year. My husband wants to give up snack food for Lent. My parents will be here on Easter weekend for the turkey dinner and to babysit while I go to my husband’s Sacrament of Confirmation at the Easter Vigil. In past years, we’ve put chocolate candies in plastic eggs and hid them around the house. This year I’d like to put together an Easter basket like I had growing up. To help with your own Easter basket for the kids or grandkids, check out these suggestions available at

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Good Night, Baby Animals is the Cutest New Children’s Book

Bedtime is still a production at our house. Our every night routine includes bargaining and stomping, yelling and hopping. Sometimes even the six-year-old loses her temper! Bedtime stories are important to us. Though we’re phasing out the stack of picture books in favour of classics like Little House on the Prairie, we remember the ones that we read hundreds of times fondly.

That’s why it’s so nice to have a variety of good books to read at bedtime. Bonus if they’re books about bedtime! I jumped at the chance to review Good Night, Baby Animals You’ve Had a Busy Day: A Treasury of Six Original Stories by Karen B. Winnick. I received a free advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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A Last Minute Look at Spectacular Holiday Crafting

I think that most of us still have our Christmas tree up today, right? Maybe you just love Christmas and holiday decorating and you’re looking for one last project. Maybe you’re like me and trying to stretch the celebration for all twelve days of Christmas. If you’re a Mom you might not have had time to think about fun Christmas crafting until now. Whatever the reason, you need one last hurrah at the craft store!
Check out the great holiday ornament crafts shown (and more!) at the links below.


  • Every summer we collect shells at the beach, but it’s hard to find ways to display them. You could put them on the Christmas tree. Kelley at Coastal Kelder can show you how she used oyster shells to make golden ornaments for her tree. While you’re there…I just love the worn, antigue look of mercury glass ornaments. Kelley has instruction to make your own faux mercury glass balls.

  • Susan at Organized 31 shows us her personalised glass Christmas tree balls that she made with a box of ornaments and markers. Check out the links at the bottom of her posts for some more unique ideas.

  • This might be my favourite, because I love pompoms. Check out Kara’s snowman ornament made with glass balls and pompoms at The Joys of Boys.

  • Stacy at Six Dollar Family had a “brilliant” idea and decorated light bulbs with pom poms. I love the Grinchy green and red colors.

  • Angie writes at The Country Chic Cottage and she shares how to make plaid and burlap balls for the tree. They look so warm and rustic!

  • If you have pretty paper that you want to save from your gifts check out Ann’s decoupage balls at Ann’s Entitled Life. She also has instructions for a personalised ornament for your pet.

  • Make ornaments from real eggs with this tutorial by Tshanina at Thrifty T’s Treasures. This classy, vintage idea is not just for Christmas. You could easily revisit this craft at Easter, too.

  • Giustina directed me to a search for ornaments on her site, Domestically Blissful, and that’s what I’m going to do, too, because you really need to see it all! Her designs are elegant and understated, but still doable by everyone. I was so inspired and you will be, too.

  • Trish, at Uncommon Designs, shares how to make this durable indoor/outdoor festive initial.
    If you still need more holiday inspiration, Uncommon Grounds has found twelve more crafts that you can do. Check them out.

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    Mother Teresa, A Call to Mercy


    A Call to Mercy CoverAs a child, becoming increasingly aware of world news, I remember wondering about Mother Teresa; about who she was and what her place was in the world.

    Was she a world leader?

    What was her job?

    Why was she famous?

    Why did important people do what she asked?

    I understood that Mother Teresa was world renowned and had influence because of her choice to live in poverty so that she could best bring love and hope to the most destitute of people. Even as a child I understood that her life was rare and beautiful and when she died, the year I left home for university, I knew that it was a great loss to the world. What exactly did she do to make such a difference in the world, when she was not wealthy or powerful?

    I sat with my five year old daughter watching the live vigil leading up to Mother Teresa’s sainthood this year. It was somehow a relief to know that she was officially among the saints. It’s as if the world has her with us again. It brings me joy to have lived during her work, death and eventual sainthood.

    So when I had the opportunity to read the most recent book about her, A Call to Mercy: Hearts to Love, Hands to Serve, I was very excited. The book is a collection of commentary from Mother Teresa and those who knew her, organised around the framework of the fourteen acts of mercy that Pope Francis has talked about this year, The Year of Mercy. The book shows us how Mother Teresa dedicated each day of her life to these acts of mercy, through short, inspiring stories and quotes.

    Throughout the book we see the authenticity and simplicity of Mother Teresa’s mission and we are humbled by her faith. Over and over we see that the heart of her work was not concerned with the procurement of resources or with planning for the future, but it was about the free gift of herself and whatever material things she had to share, there, in that moment.

    So many of us, when we try to be generous, hold back by calculating or planning, and let our fears and selfish impulses get in our way. We need to follow the example of Saint Teresa and pour out ourselves in service to others. The simplicity of how she served is a great inspiration to those of us who struggle to find time or resources to give. This book is full of Mother Teresa’s wisdom, and reminds us to give all we can, even if that is only a kind word.

    I recommend this book for anyone who would like to get to know who Mother Teresa was and how she lived so selflessly.

    I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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