Friday, September 4, 2015

{Book} Review: ‘Til We Meet Again by Ray & Betty Whipps

Disclosure: I received this product free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. Your opinions and results may vary.

Reading a true story set against the backdrop of WWII that leaves you with an overwhelming feeling of upliftedness, hope, and peace is not commonplace.  However, that is exactly how I felt after reading ‘Til We Meet Again.

As a busy homeschool mom, it’s not often that I get a chance to sit down and read for pleasure.  Oh, I’m always reading! But most of what I read is related to homeschooling — either educating myself on how to teach or reading aloud to my kids.  So when I carved out a chunk of time to read this book, it was a special thing.  I read it from cover to cover in four hours flat.


About the Book


Ray and Betty Whipps both served in Europe during WWII: Ray as an infantryman under General Patton in the trenches of Normandy, Paris, and Belgium, and Betty as a field nurse in Cherbourg, France. The two met when Betty tended to Ray after he was injured in a mortar blast. Both strong Christians, the two bonded over their shared faith, and as Betty nursed Ray back to health, they fell in love and vowed to marry after the war. However, soon after Ray returned to his unit, he was captured by German forces and held captive in Stalag VII, Germany’s largest prisoner of war camp. It was there that Ray’s faith was put to the ultimate test as he endured the most horrific weeks of his life—weeks marked by brutality, malnutrition, back-breaking labor, and near-constant death. The only thing that kept him alive was the dream of someday reuniting with Betty.

'Til We Meet Again
Written by Ray & Betty Whipps with Craig Borlase
ISBN: 978-1496405487
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
288 pages




What I Thought


One of the most remarkable things about this story is the absence of hatred on the part of both Ray and Betty even through some of history's darkest times.  You will meet with true love and faith in the pages of this book.  You will feel the grit and horrors of the battlefield, but through a lens of reliance on God, trust in His purpose, and trust that He will see you through.  You will carry away from this book a sense of peace and hope that the same God will be with you in the trenches of your life and will remain just as faithful to you as He was to Ray and Betty.  That kind of testament to God's faithfulness is what I will remember most about this book years into the future.

In addition to seeing God at work throughout Ray Whipps' life, you get a very good dose of history in this book.  I found myself wanting to hang onto this title to give to my [future] high schoolers as an example of a living book for this time period.  It would be fantastic to read this book with a world map at your side so you could follow along with each place Ray ended up.

I highly recommend this book!

Find it from the publisher here or on Amazon.  

Tyndale Blog Network

Saturday, August 22, 2015

ECC: Japan

Konichiwa!  We have spent the last two weeks "in" Japan.  This has to have been one of our favorite countries to study so far!  The kids had a blast watching Godzilla with Daddy and obsessing about ninjas all day.  In addition to this, they...

...made koinobori...

...created an entire menagerie of origami creatures...

...wrote original haiku poetry...

...drank ramune style soda pop...

...fell in love with mochi ice cream...

...turned up their noses at green tea mochi...

...learned about the beach...
(Miss M made this image in PicCollage to illustrate her geography vocabulary word).

...and created a relaxing rock garden.

We're heading to the Philippines next, Hubby's homeland.  We're closing in on our final push to the end of the school year (remember, we started back in January).  It's been fun, but all good things must come to an end.  Sayonara!

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Day in the Life

Do you ever feel like all these amazing homeschool mamas have it ALL together. They get up early, prepare a scrumptious and nutritious breakfast for their families, start school by 8 o'clock and, well, generally have everything well in hand.  Well...that's not what life looks like here on Sycamore Hill!

I don't even bother to have a written schedule because I know it would be complete fantasy!  But one day this week I did take a few moments to track what really took place.


This is my "Day in the Life" from Wednesday.

9:30 -- a long-distance phone call from my brother wakes me up
10:00 -- still talking on the phone, Hubby calls during his break so I hang up and switch over
10:15 -- admining duties on Facebook, check email
10:30 -- actually get out of bed, get dressed, eat breakfast (make sure the kids have eaten; they have)
10:40 -- Geography Game
11:00 -- have 4th grader rewrite her poorly done sentences from the day before
11:15 -- read Matthew assignment
11:20 -- Singapore Math assignment
11:50 -- Writing Strands (Our very first lesson! She loved it and begged to do the next one too!)
12:20 -- vocabulary from Geography from A-Z
12:30 -- 30 minutes Book Basket while I sweep the floors and load the dishwasher
1:00 -- everybody pitches in to clean up for the knitting class we host
1:30 -- realize we've been cleaning, people are coming and we haven't had lunch: make popcorn
2:00 -- Knitting Class
4:15 -- last knitting class people leave, Hubby comes home

At some point in the evening we did our read aloud and everybody clamored to tell Daddy what they learned about Japan during the day. There may or may not have been some Godzilla watching going on too.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Hands-on Math: Weights and Measures

One of the most common questions I am asked about homeschooling is "What math do you use?"  Since the time we started using My Father's World a few years ago, we have stuck with their recommendation of Singapore Math.  Aside from one little foray into Math Mammoth (which I also loved and highly recommend), we have not found it necessary to supplement at all.

This year Miss M has been working through Singapore 3A and 3B.  She was so pleased with herself when she completed level 3A.  Of course, I was proud too!


Level 3A focused on working with larger numbers (up to 10,000) and really nailing in those multiplication and division tables.  One day I sat down with a pile of flashcards to drill Miss M and since my camera was handy, I snapped a few shots of her in constant motion.  Apparently acrobatics help with math fact memorization!


Level 3B moved on to some topics that really lent themselves to hands-on learning: length, weight, and capacity.


Miss M measured liters of water to see how many would fill a bucket, a tub.  She weighed out a kilogram, a pound, a gram, and an ounce of rice to see just how much each of those units is.  These are some of her favorite lessons, and with good reason!

The weight activity I saw on Pinterest, but the capacity activity was written right in her textbook.  And of course no study of capacity would be complete without this great video!


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pretty Tween Dresses for Summer

If you have a daughter between the ages of 8 and 12, you may have noticed that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find appropriate clothing for her.  My 8-year-old is most definitely still a little girl.  She is not a small adult.  I would prefer her to dress like a little girl in clothes that provide appropriate coverage and allow for the freedom of movement needed for active play.  Toward that end I spent a weekend sewing up some sweet summer play dresses for Miss M.


This is the Flower Hexagon dress from Ottobre 3/2013 (pattern #16).  I made it of some beautiful vintage cotton printed with roses in size 128, but cut the length to 146 because Ottobre dresses tend to run a bit too short for my tastes.  It has hidden pockets in the side seams!


The second dress I made is also from Ottobre.  This is 3/2013 #13, the Hollywood Cerise dress.  I didn't have enough of the fun paisley patchwork print to manage the whole dress, so I scrounged up some contrasting plaid seersucker.  I love the combo!  There are patch pockets on the front and mismatched buttons from my vintage button collection all the way up the back.

These two dresses are long, cool, and airy.  Miss M loves them!  Even better, come fall she will be able to layer these over leggings, boots, and a long sleeved tee!

Monday, July 13, 2015

ECC Highlights

We started My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures about 18 months ago and though I have blogged about very little of it, we have been having a wonderful time!  I won't be able to give a rundown of everything we've done the past year and a half, but here are a few quick highlights.


We made clay sun faces while in Mexico.



In Brazil we studied the rain forest and made a terrarium with tropical plants.



While traveling through Germany we read lots of fairy tales and ate delicious plum cake.



For France we took a little picnic in the park with a baguette and some imported French cheese.



I bought some unfinished wooden boxes to paint in the traditional style of rosemaling while we learned about Norway.



We loved learning about Morocco and trying our hand at some leather tooling.



A trip to the zoo yielded a close encounter with a bongo during our study of Zambia.



For Kenya we fashioned some simple items into a musical instrument. This thumb piano is much more simplistic than the ones we saw online that actually come from Africa.



Our friend from Benin came and cooked a traditional meal for us. The sauce is typically made with peanut butter, but we substituted butter made from sunflower seeds.  It was delicious!



A few lengths of fabric were fashioned into traditional Indian attire -- a sari for Miss M and a dhoti for Mister E.

These are just a few of the countries we traveled to with the help of great books from the library and documentaries from Netflix and Amazon Prime.  We have less than four months left in our school year, and while it has been fun, I am just about ready to be done with ECC and move on to our first year of history.  We are in the Orient now and will finish up with a stint Down Under before the end of the year.