Thursday, September 29, 2011

Aletheia Writing Magazine

Aletheia Logo - Oval border
Aletheia Magazine is a writing magazine, featuring the literary and other artistic works of Christian teens, ages 13-19. Aletheia is the greek word for "truth" or "unveiling".  

This is what they have to say in their "about us" page of their website:
We are excited to offer Christian teens a healthy platform in which to express themselves, especially in a culture that so definitively shapes and saturates their worldview with unhealthy imagery and values. 

Moreover, we're interested in publishing teen work in a quality manner while preserving its honesty and integrity- we're not interested in dumbing down or overly sanitizing the writing we receive. 

But whether teens use their writing to explore the darker realities of life or celebrate the brighter ones, their writing, in the end, must contain hope. 

In addition to the literary and artistic expressions of Christian teens, each issue offers a variety of unique features: a Writer's Challenge, the Featured Contributor, a book review, Glory to God for the Beauty of Nature, Ancient Ink, and an interview or other feature for edification and enjoyment.

*Aletheia Writing Magazine is geared toward youth ages 13 to 19. Because contributors’ ages vary, the maturity level of situational content may likewise vary.

We received this magazine as part of the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew, meaning we were provided with a copy of the magazine (and access to a digital issue also) in exchange for an honest review. I gave the magazine to the kids to read through and enjoy. Then I got feedback from them on their opinions. All three teens of mine had basically the same thing to say. They enjoyed the stories, pictures (artwork), and poems. They have even been brainstorming things to do so they can submit their own work for publication. They also request that we purchase a subscription. My daughter has a friend who comes from an agnostic family, and one day when she came to visit, she picked up Aletheia Writing Magazine, & this child really loved the magazine. I love that a child who has been raised to be un-accepting of anything with a Christian basis, jumped in and received a planting of a seed through the writings and artistic pursuits in the magazine, without the barriers she has been trained to construct. This was a direct reflection of the name of the magazine, bringing "truth" to a teen who has been taught to reject it before even receiving it. 

Aletheia Spring 2011 Magazine Cover

A subscription to Aletheia Magazine is $26 for United States subscribers, and $29 for Canadian subscriptions. The price includes shipping & handling, and there are four issues a year, each 40 pages.

They even have a page on their website with writing tips and another page with a writer's challenge! Your teens can even submit their own work. Check it out!



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

This blog has been interrupted by...

I have had major surgery (recision of my colon) and have not been posting. I am thinking my posting will be sporadic at best until I return home the second week of october, and get settled back into a routine. 

I have traveled hundreds of miles from home, with my children, to have this surgery done by a renowned surgeon in a highly ranked hospital. What this means is, living out of suitcases and doing the best we can to keep somewhat of a schedule. Yeah. It hasn't been much of a schedule at all. We still have almost 2 weeks to go until we return home, and we will try to get back to schooling as much as possible. Things have not gone quite as planned, so we will not be taking time off in the following months, as we had planned. That is one of the beautiful things about homeschooling though, we can ADJUST. Quite easily actually. 

I hope to be back to a regular blogging schedule as soon as possible. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tri-Cross Board Game

We are a family who LOVES to play boardgames. We have our favorites, and were excited to be able to review Tri-Cross Eco Board Game by Games for Competitors.  On the product's webpage, you can find out all kinds of information about this game of strategy. Here is what the company has to say about the game:

"Being hailed as the “new chess,” Tri-Cross challenges competitors in the areas of strategy, critical thinking and problem solving in a fun and entertaining way. The board game, created by an Atlanta father-son duo, is designed to accommodate 2-4 players and can be played with varying degrees of difficulty, making it a perfect game for children as young as 8, families and seasoned strategists.

With accolades ranging from being named Dr. Toy’s 2009 100 Best Children’s Products to Creative Child Magazine’s Creative Toy Awards 2008 Game of the Year and earning the National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval, Tri-Cross has sky rocketed to fame for its ease of play and fun, competitive nature."
Our family had a spur of the moment trip come up, where we joined my husband on a business trip. I knew we'd be spending a lot of time in the hotel room, while my husband worked, so I grabbed this new game to take along with us. I knew we'd have time to devote to playing it then. :)

I started out by reading the instructions, which are thorough, but a little challenging to understand. It became clear that the best way to decipher the way to play, was to just jump in an begin, instructions right by to guide us. I first only played with my 13 year old, so we played the 2 player game. After a couple of rounds, she was into it! Now, this is my chess player and my kiddo who loves strategy. We laughed and had a great time, and we spent hours playing Tri-cross. It's my daughter's new favorite game.

Since we began to play more, I decided to view the DVD that came with the game, and gained a deeper understanding as well as learned a different approach to the game (face up vs. face down).

This game has now been played with my three teens as well as by my teens with their friends, and it has earned a hearty "two thumbs-up" from all who have played.

My daughter has yet to be beat though, man is she good at it! We also have the eco travel version of the game, which has been put into our RV for more Tri-Cross fun when we travel (which is often, especially in hunting season).

If you would like to learn more about Tri-Cross, you can do so by going to the following links:

How to Play


News Segment

The cost of Tri-Cross is: $24.95 for the "Standard Edition", $35.95 for the "Wood Edition", and $19.95 for the "Eco-Edition". The game is for ages 10+. You can buy it from the Games For Competitors Store, or at one of the retailers listed here.

I have received this product as a member of the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew, in exchange for a honest review.



Monday, September 19, 2011

Are you suffering from "Maternalautoitis"?

Does your car look something like this?

I will admit, I have had days where my vehicle closely resembled this. Often times, I go to the door of a fellow Mommy-friend, and I see they suffer the same affliction. I have dubbed it "Maternalautoitis" (Maternal, meaning, well, I'm sure you have that...and "itis", meaning inflammation).  They always say the same thing I have said "my car is a wreck, sorry". It stinks. Sometimes literally. Kids can be so messy. We tried implementing the no eating or drinking in there. Yeah right. It works for some. Not for us. 

We seem to be in such a hurry, we never get everything out when we get out. 

I have discovered though, some excellent ways to keep it neater. The biggest, is to keep your trash under control. I have found this easiest to contain by combining something we always have to do anyhow, with making sure our car is cleared of trash. Everytime we stop to get gas, we do a trash drill. If the kids are with me, they know the drill & the know it is THEIR job to gather any and all trash up, and get it into the gas station trash as fast as possible. If it is just me, I still do it. I do not pull out of the gas station until the car has had a full sweep and all trash is gone. I also use that time to pic things up and put them in a more organized spot. I have also started keeping a milk crate (got it at Office Depot, $7) in the back for "stray" things in the car. 

I am still looking for ways to contain the mess the kids tend to string behind, or a way to remember to make them grab it and bring it in at the end of every day. But, I can car has gotten much cleaner and NEVER looks like that car up there. At any point and time, it would never take me more than 2 minutes to get it totally cleaned out and vacuum ready.

Now...if I could only find the time to vacuum. :)

*I got the picture above from this blog. That post also has some car organization tips that are great, go check it out. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"Let me know if you need help"

Innocent enough, and yet, when you are going through "something" in life, it is a question that brings dread. At least to me, and I am sure to others. I do not like to ask for help. I think we are trained to be self sufficient and we feel if we ask for help, we will be looked on as "moochers" or "weak". For me, it is that I don't think of myself as worthy of anyone else's time. However, the fact is, there have been MANY times when a generic offer for "help" was made to me when I should have accepted. But then, WHAT do you ask for? What exactly is being offered? If I ask for help with dinner, will that person be offended because they only meant that the would do something like pick up some bread and milk if we need it? Or what if I tell them I need the floor vacuumed, and they meant they would take the kids to the park for a while? You see, one of the barriers to accepting "help" is not the pride issue so much as it is the fear of offending and asking for too much or for the wrong thing. 

Then there is a total other issue: the generic offers for help that are empty. You know what I am talking about, the person that offers help that has no intention of doing so if you call them on it. They are the ones that offer for the sake of saying the right thing, not doing the right thing. 

Now, I have been on the accepting side of offers, and I have been the one to offer. I am JUST AS GUILTY for placing a generic offer of help to others as the offers made to me.  I will confess, I have even offered help before PRAYING that I wasn't asked to follow through.  I am not proud of that fact, but I am just being honest. 

I was reading on one of the boards I post on, and someone asked a question about how to help the family of a friend who faced hospitalization, and she received the single best piece of advice I have ever heard. Basically, when you offer "help" to someone, be specific...and a little forceful (but not too much). For example: "I would like to organize a schedule to provide meals for your family" or "I can come every Thursday to do housework that needs to be done, would that help?". Be exact, and check in. If you can only pick up stuff from the grocery store, TELL THEM that. If you can take their kids for a few hours, call them and say "Hey, could I take (insert names here) for a little while"? Most people do not want to accept help, even thought they really WANT to (Read that again and let it sink in!). If you really want to help, you need to step over that barrier. 

I know I need to do better at this, and wanted to throw it out there for others. :)


Monday, September 5, 2011

Week one of school...Picture perfect!

Week one of school came and went, and all went perfectly as planned. We did all of our studies and then some. Even made a few crafts getting a jump on our Christmas gifts. It was picture perfect, just like that beautiful picture up there someone sent me in a text message!

Now, back to reality...not all went as planned. I lied. Day 3 was perfect, even though we were making up for being on the road all of day two. Day 4, on the road again. Plan was to "school" in the car. *FAIL* Then, when Daddy & I had our medical procedure done Friday morning, we had planned on the kids doing their "schoolwork" at Nanna and Pa's house. Well, we forgot to leave their crates (Each has a crate with their stuff for school in it). *EPIC FAIL*  So, then I say, "Well, we will just have to school Saturday and Sunday to make up for it. Well, long story short, too much happening. Daddy wanted to go hunting for Dove, and took the schoolers with him. Today too...Monday, week 2. No, I had not planned on taking off for Labor Day. (Noted for next year, we will not start until after labor day.)

What to do what to do? I was fretting. Stressed. This messes our whole "rotation" up. I freaked. I cried, just a little. I hyperventilated some. I ate a lot of carbs. Then I prayed. Silly me! Why didn't I just start OUT like that. Then it dawned on me. STOP PLANNING TO DO SCHOOL WHEN YOU HAVE MAJOR THINGS GOING ON.

This week we are flying to Houston on Thursday, then I have a doctors appointment on Friday, that could take all day. My original plan was to school Mon-Wed, then do Thu&Fri work when we could on Friday. SCRATCH THAT! Instead, we are doing Thursday & Friday's work from LAST week, on Tuesday and Wednesday of THIS week, and then we will resume with week two NEXT monday. All is fine. I have SEVEN weeks scheduled to be off before June of next year. I can just adjust the schedule. I can even just keep it the same and add a week to the end. NO BIG DEAL. That is one of the many beautiful things with homeschooling, it is FLEXIBLE!