Scripture and a Snapshot

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 107:1 
Happy Thanksgiving! In the past I often shared things I was thankful for in my blog posts, but I got out of that habit. This week, I'm thankful for:

  • Finding glitter in my coffee. It made me laugh. 
  • My husband having time off just to stay home with us
  • Plans set for getting our Christmas tree in just one more week! (I've already started playing Christmas music.)
  • Looking forward to my mom's dressing
  • A good report from one of my dad's doctors
  • Watching a blue heron fly
  • Tea party with friends
  • Fabulous macarons made by Emily
  • My oldest daughter completing another significant step, and getting to be with her while she did even though she said no to pictures
  • A stack of books to read
  • Excitement for the days ahead
     Thank you for joining Scripture & A Snapshot. Leave a comment with a verse that God has placed on your heart this week, or leave a link to your own post sharing a Scripture and a snapshot. Take time to visit  some of the other links, too. If you would like to join our group Pinterest board for Scripture & A Snapshot, simply follow the board then let me know your Pinterest name or email used there so that I can add you to it.

Scripture and Snapshot

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Cooking Shish Kabobs

Cave Tools recently shared with me about their brand of BBQ and cooking products, and I'm excited to tell you all about their Kabob Skewer Rack which they generously shared for this review. I had big plans to marinate chicken and venison (separately) perfectly and then layer it with our favorite veggies for my husband to grill. But sometimes plans fall through. If you read my blog, you know my husband and kids visited his parents after my dad's deer stand ladder broke. Instead, I cooked a few meals for my parents and learned that my cooking style is no longer the same as theirs. I cook with garlic but learned that my dad doesn't like garlic on chicken among other things I lovingly prepared. Thankfully I found a few meals we all loved including the shish kabobs. 

After one of Daddy's surgeries, we stopped by a one of a kind grocery/deli/specialty store for lunch. They had pre-made shish kabobs ready to cook! My mom and I picked out four different varieties of beef and chicken kabobs. They looked fabulous, and it was perfect for breaking in my new Cave Tools Kabob set. 

Some foods just seem like they are for special occasions. Shish kabobs seem that way, a fancier presentation not done every day that makes the meal seem special. Take a look and tell me if you agree.

Even though we purchased the food ready to grill, I added more veggies. A friend shared some fresh summer squash which just happens to be my favorite vegetable, so I cut it and added it to the chicken. We had beef the next day, and since my dad said he especially enjoyed the onion, I added a whole onion when I cooked them. 

Since our grill guys weren't able to help us (my husband was traveling and my dad broke his ankle,) mom and I tried something new and baked the shish kabobs. I just set the stainless steel base over a roasting pan to catch any drips as they cooked. It worked perfectly! 

We made the chicken kabobs the first day and the beef kabobs the next day, and they all baked easily. The squash looks a little shriveled, but that didn't affect the taste. Yummy! 

One of my favorite features is that these are made of stainless steel. They were so easy to clean. The disk on each skewer helped to easily slide the food off after it was cooked. These kabob skewers hold a lot! We cooked three for each meal, but it made a lot more than the three of us could eat. Leftovers were chopped on salad and also added to jambalaya later that week. 


The set is as pictured above with 5 flat skewers with disks for pushing food off and the rack which perfectly supports and allows for rotation of the skewers. I shared my secret that I purchased these meals ready go cook and just added veggies, but this set also includes a free download of "The Grill Master's Essential Barbecue Recipe Book." 

Read more: http://cavetools.com/products/kabob-skewers-rack#ixzz3sALkiGtJ At the time of publishing this post, this set is on sale! 

Disclosure: A Kabob Skewer Rack set was provided by Cave Tools for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions are my own, and though a positive review was shared it was not required. 


Pley For More Play

If your family is like ours, big ticket toy kits aren't an everyday purchase despite my son's wish list. How do you manage your toy budget? With three kids in our family, new toys have often been given by us and others to our kids as gifts on special occasions. We budget for birthdays and holidays, but an extra Lego set just because isn't factored into our typical trip to the store. My son though can tell you about the latest Lego kits and the one he dreams of having. Many of his Lego sets are sets that he purchased for himself after planning and saving up for them.
Even though my daughter makes fabulous macarons and sometimes I feel like a queen when treats like that are offered, our budget isn't of the royal variety. I 
was intrigued to read about the ideas behind Pley. For saving money as well as cutting back clutter (you know that grabbed my attention!) it grabbed my interest. I focused on Legos because that is my son's interest, but Pley has a variety of toys to choose from. Check it out for yourself: https://www.pley.com What toys do you think you would try first with Pley? Be sure to come back and share your own experience once you try it. 

And now, as promised, more about Pley:
Key benefits:
- Pley offers access to a large selection of educative toys, including 400+ LEGO sets and popular robotics toys.
- Pley is always on the hunt for the best toys, so our assortment reflects the latest and greatest toys
- All these toys come at a low price point vs. buying toys. Average members save ~$800/year.
- It's really convenient and helps reduce clutter: Pley packages get delivered to your door and when the kids are done playing, they can return them for a new toy. No more toys sitting unused on shelves!
- Besides having access to a variety of toys, kids learn the concepts of sharing and reducing waste for the environment.

Connect with Pley online: FBTwitterPinterest and Instagram



Years ago our preacher used the acronym busy for Being Under Satan's Yoke. I hope not, though that comes back to mind sometimes. Our lives are so incredibly busy that I can't help but wonder where the time goes. 

To kick off this busy weekend, my girls and I took a long awaited return trip to The English Tearoom, a place filled with special memories from visits in years past. We even sort of recreated a picture from one of our visits there six years ago. 


And now.
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Scripture and a Snapshot

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:14

     Thank you for joining Scripture & A Snapshot. Leave a comment with a verse that God has placed on your heart this week, or leave a link to your own post sharing a Scripture and a snapshot. Take time to visit  some of the other links, too. If you would like to join our group Pinterest board for Scripture & A Snapshot, simply follow the board then let me know your Pinterest name or email used there so that I can add you to it.

Scripture and Snapshot

Follow Jennifer Miller's board Scripture & A Snapshot on Pinterest.



Grapevine Studies: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Over seven years ago, when I first started reviewing with the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew, Grapevine Studies was one of my first reviews. My 11 year old still remembers the Old Testament stick figure Bible study lessons as one of his favorites. It is rather fitting that now Grapevine Studies is my last Crew review. My son and I received the Birth of Jesus: Multi-level set which included a full color cover and hole-punched student pages for him to keep in his binder and a teacher set for me. 

"But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. But the angel answered and said to the woman, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." 

We have a somewhat loose routine to our days, but one part that I like to be consistent with is Bible study early in the mornings before we begin our school lessons. Drawing adds a fun component to lessons designed to enhance understanding of the Bible. 

The method is easy to follow and keeps kids focused as they draw while the parent or teacher reads and discusses the lesson. In this study, the events surrounding the birth of Jesus are presented in chronological order. First a timeline (illustrated with color coded stick figures) is presented, then the more in depth lessons cover the timeline figures in order. This timeline begins with Babylonian captivity and the birth of Jesus and ends with "Jesus grew up."

These Birth of Jesus lessons would make a great December Bible study through Christmas Day. 

Click here for more information about the levels offered and how to choose where to start. Levels are written for different learning styles.

My son was so happy to get to review Grapevine which he remembered as "stick figure Bible study" again. We replaced our previous Bible study with the Grapevine Birth of Jesus lessons for our morning Bible study time. This was a special time just for me and my son as the girls continued with their own Bible studies. 

Each lesson includes review questions. "How many generations lived between Adam and Jesus?" was one such question that required thinking through the verses read. Lessons end with a Bible memory verse related to the lesson. 

Recommended resources include three ring binders for both student and teacher pages, colored pencils, a Bible dictionary, and for the teacher's demonstrations, a dry erase board with colored markers. 

Connect with Grapevine online:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrapevineStudies
Twitter: https://twitter.com/grapevinestudy
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/grapevinestudy/ 
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+Grapevinestudies/posts
Periscope: @Grapevine Studies

sample lessons

Click the banner below to read other Crew reviews:
Grapevine Studies Review

Udderly Smooth Giveaway

A few days ago I shared a DIY beauty Treatment  using Udderly Smooth, a family owned, American Made product that is great for your skin.  If you haven't tried it for yourself yet, go read just how easy pampering can be with #UdderlySmooth in Mama's Hands. Today I am excited to share a few posts from members of the Udderly SmoothCrew and give you a chance to win a basket of Udderly Smooth goodies to try out yourself!

Woman of Many Roles made a DIY Lip Glossthat is destined to give you Udderly Smooth lips!

Pickles n Peppers made a DIY Spray Lotion that is great for a spritz of moisturization where ever you need it!

A Sampling Bee made a Homemade Shaving Cream that is going to make your legs Udderly Smooth!

Mom Knows Best has the key to waking up your face and body with a rejuvenating scrub to leave you a moisturized and smooth as can be!

Mama Dews Reviews made a few masks that are going to make your feel like you have had a luxury spa day!

All the Small Things has the recipe for handmade gifts and a way to indulge your senses in an Udderly Smooth way!

Do your hands need a little TLC and pampering? Don't miss this way to treat yourself to a spa-like treatment at home from A Glimpse of Our Life.

Which of these tips are your favorite? You can try Udderly Smooth by easily locating it in theWalmart First Aid Department. If you have a favorite way to use Udderly Smooth we would love to hear about it!

Now here is your chance to win!

From November 12- November 22 you can enter to win a basket full of Udderly Smoothproducts!

This giveaway is sponsored by Udderly Smooth and is open to US residents 18 and older.
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The Critical Thinking Company: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

My second-to-last Schoolhouse Crew Review of the year is for a company our family has ordered from often. The Critical Thinking Co has workbooks for almost every topic you can imagine, and our family has used many of them throughout our years of homeschooling. This time we received their new U.S. History Detective Book One by Steven Greif which covers United States history from the Colonial Era through the Reconstruction Era and fits in perfectly with our lessons this year. (Currently sales for $39.99.) 

Although this book is designed for grades 8-12+, my 6th grader joined my 10th and 12th graders and myself as we read through and discussed the lessons and activities in this book. Some, such as the writing tasks, were geared toward older students. It was even suggested that the essay questions were AP or college level in the teacher's introductory pages. But others were easy even for my 11 year old to complete. Multiple choice, charts, fill-in-the-blank, and essay type questions made up the bulk of the activities. The practical questions by this company are designed to improve kids' problem solving abilities. Vocabulary is built into each lesson. It worked well for our middle school son and high school daughters to learn together. 

The short lessons (most are just one or two pages of reading) progress chronologically. We took turns reading the lessons and then discussed the questions out loud with less writing. The paperback workbook is 330 pages (over an inch thick!) and includes answers to each question, too. Timelines are also included illustrating just how events fit compared to other events. 

Take a look at some of the interesting lessons covered:
*The American middle-class family in the mid 1800s
*Westward bound: the Oregon trail
*Water transportation: steamboats and canals 
*"All men are created equal": Declaration of Independence 
*General and President: Ulysses S. Grant
*"Terrible swift sword": impact of the Civil War

Our country has changed so much since the 1400s. Colorful maps in the book depict how it was then, in the 1700s, and how it progressively changed. "Fun facts" make kids think and apply what they read and think through it, not just parrot back answers. Bonus activities are included that also promote critical thinking. 

My senior appreciated that in addition to sharing about significant events, lessons also included how people were affected by the events. After the Revolutionary War, for example, farmers changed from producing crops mainly for their own families to farming as a business as they were no longer required to export their products to England. 

This book has been a good addition to our family's homeschool history lessons. 

Find The Critical Thinking Company online on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Others from the Schoolhouse Review Crew also reviewed these workbooks:

Fun-Time Phonics!  (Gr. PreK-2)
Surfing the Net: Science  (Gr. 3-6)
The Basics of Critical Thinking  (Gr. 4-9)
U. S. History Detective, Book 1  (Gr. 8-12+)
Practical Critical Thinking and Teacher Manual (Gr. 9-12+)

Click the banner below to read all of the reviews.

The Critical Thinking Company Review

Countdown to Christmas Giveaway

Affiliate links are included in this post. 

It's not even Thanksgiving yet, I know, but excitement for Christmas builds here all year long. It is indeed to me the most wonderful time of the year. While my family was visiting my in-laws, I even got started on some Christmas gift shopping for them.

Several other bloggers from the Homeschool Blogging Connection and I are all sharing gift basket giveaways with you this week, so after entering mine be sure to go back and enter the others, too. The theme of my giveaway is Countdown to Christmas, and I'm sharing special gifts that relate to some of our own family traditions.

We countdown each day of December with an Advent calender that my Grandmother made me many years ago. Each day we remove an ornament from a pocket and snap it to the tree. Some years we plan ahead with slips of paper featuring verses from the Christmas story to read each day. Other years we have read through devotionals together. One year we all worked on memorizing passages from Luke together. My friend Amy has written Celebrate Jesus: An Advent Resource for Families and is offering a copy to one of you! It is available in your choice of ESV or KJV. It includes daily readings, activities, crafts, a hymn with sheet music for each day, daily copywork from the Scripture reading, and coloring pages. All 213 pages are designed to help families focus on Christ throughout the Christmas season. 


This is such a joy filled time. Memories are being made, and I hope my children remember the true JOY of the season when they look back on Christmases when they are older. I learned JOY can stand for putting Jesus first, then others, then yourself. This lovely dishcloth can be a reminder of that.

Christmas Around the World is a geography based unit study by Katie Hornor. She is sharing your choice of either print copy or digital (with embedded links) with the winner! Read all about it here: http://paradisepraises.com/new/catw-calendar.html  

What are your favorite Christmas scents? I love the smell of a pine tree, hot spiced tea, homemade cookies, and of course...chocolate. Kim is sharing this Truffle Fudge Hot Chocolate Mix made with premium dark chocolate shavings. This versatile mix makes amazing hot chocolate for the family and can be served iced or frozen for a chilly and delicious chocolate treat. Visit her website: http://www.mydcdsite.com/kimberlysondag 


For all of your yummy holiday baking, my DaLynn McCoy is sharing these Tupperware measuring cups and spoons. Visit her website: http://dmccoy.my.tupperware.com  

Tupperware Measuring Cups
Includes ¼, 1⁄3, ½, 2⁄3, ¾ and 1 cup.
in Salt Water Taffy and
 Measuring Spoons
Includes 1⁄8, ¼, ½ and 1 tsp.;
plus ½ and 1 tbsp.

in Raindrop. Tupperware is lifetime guaranteed, BPA free, and the numbers on these items are embossed so it won't fade in the dishwasher!

Cuts By Laser now offers monogram ornaments, and one of you will win one in your choice of letter. 

The final prize in this Countdown to Christmas is a small Lilla Rose flexi clip from http://www.lillarose.biz/prettyhair to help you with a fast #prettyhair style during these busy days.

So, to recap what you can win here:
Celebrate Jesus
JOY dishcloth
Dove Truffle Fudge Hot Chocolate Mix
Christmas around the World
Tupperware measuring sets
Monogram ornament 
Small flexi-clip for #prettyhair

Enter the giveaway through the form below, and please share with your friends, too.