Feb 02

Starting the New Year with a New Focus – Savor Life

I always take a little time over the holidays to think about my goals for the next year and ponder the things that I would like to change. I spend some time in prayer and ask the Lord what needs to change in my life. I ask the opinion of my husband and take all the feedback to develop a flexible plan for change. Do I always follow this plan to a T? Absolutely not, hence the term, “flexible plan”. I have learned that if I set too many goals, I cannot achieve them all. However, if I aim at nothing, I hit it every time. After thinking that I would like to slow down and savor life more, life happened.

December was a rather different holiday season than normal. We had a busy early December with family visiting, a large-scale church performance, and the normal Christmas gatherings and outings. My extended family had lots of sickness, so the family gatherings were kept to a minimum by my nearby family. We decided to take a trip to see out-of-state family the day after Christmas. This was a wonderful time of blessing family and reconnecting, but while there I received news that my aunt was gravely ill and would be transferred to hospice care. As the nurse of the family, this was very hard for me to be so far from those that I wanted to be present for and help support during this difficult time. I knew the Lord had led us to make this trip out-of-state and I wanted to be present with my husband’s family during this trip. We don’t get to visit very often. The Lord gave grace during this time and I can see His hand working in the process looking  back.

The day we were driving home, my aunt went to be with the Lord. We spent several days after arriving home visiting with family and putting my aunt to rest. It was a rather hard time to get back in the swing of school. My heart was just not in it. I have been battling some sadness and winter blues. I have been savoring my morning quiet times and have felt the Lord encouraging my heart and drawing me closer through repentance, but my heart just hasn’t been into blogging or homeschooling. I am carrying on and trudging through, but I covet your prayers. I have things that I know I need to do, but I have just decided that being present and savoring time with loved ones is what is needed in this season.

I will continue blogging and hope to post more of my thoughts on my key word, “savor” later this month. You can look for some giveaways coming soon.

Permanent link to this article: http://conversaving.com/2015/02/02/starting-the-new-year-with-a-new-focus-savor-life/

Jan 20

Check out my Guest Post on Homeschool Launch Today

I have been taking a much needed blogging break around here for the last month. We took a family trip, lost a dear family member and have been getting back into our homeschool groove after taking four weeks off. I have been doing a little bit of guest writing behind the scenes and I would like to send you over to the new website, Homeschool Launch to read my guest post today entitled, 5 Ways to Include your Preschooler in your Homeschool Day.

5 Ways to Include Preschoolers in Homeschool

Permanent link to this article: http://conversaving.com/2015/01/20/check-out-my-guest-post-on-homeschool-launch-today/

Dec 09

The Heart of the Home at the Holidays

Tree PinterestAs a mom, I believe that part of my responsibility is to make the house feel like a home. I think there are several factors that play into this role at the holidays. Today, I am going to share with you some of my thoughts on this topic.

Blessing my Home Blesses Myself and Those Around Me

I learned some home tidying skills from the Flylady years ago and when I am consistent with these tasks, I am much better able to stay on top of the housework. This blesses my family and allows me to be able to rest in the evenings and spend time with my husband. My oldest child recently made a comment after I helped him clean and organize his room, “Mom, it feels so nice in here when everything is clean.” It helps me relax  when I am surrounded by a clean environment. I know there will always be messes when there are children in the house, but keeping on top of the household chores is one way that I like to make my house a home. As the holidays are upon us, there seems to be a continuous stream of activity, but I am committing to spending a little bit of time each day working on my house so we can enjoy a more peaceful holiday.

Remembering that Perfect Decorations Don’t Equal a Perfect Home

Barney boy at Christmas

I have been learning to let go of some of my decoration hang ups. If the lights don’t get hung up outside until the week before Christmas, it is ok. If the kids want to do the tree decorating themselves, it is ok. If my daughter brings home multiple crafts from church that she wants to display, it is ok. One day these little people and treasures will be gone and creating their own Christmas traditions and messes in their own homes. I want to enjoy the moments I have with them today and not stress over a “Martha Stewart” home. There will be plenty of time for that later.

Gratitude is the Attitude

It is easy to feel overwhelmed, over scheduled and over worked during the holidays. I am learning to take a minute in the afternoons to read, put my feet up, light a candle, listen to some music or talk to a friend. In the busyness we call life, we need to make time for God, for ourselves and our friendships. I have made it a habit to spend a few minutes in personal devotion every morning before the kids get up. I am so much more relaxed and ready for the day when I sit at the feet of Jesus before I attempt to move through the motions of my day.  When my attitude starts to get sour, I start to think of the blessings in my life. I am reading through One Thousand Gifts right now and I am seeing so much about gratitude that I never thought about before. Christ has given me so much. I want to cultivate an attitude of gratitude in my home. It can start with one person exhibiting gratefulness and it can also be contagious.

Be in the Moment

Peppermint Mocha

I love to do little fun crafts and snacks with my kids. I love making memorable meals and upholding family traditions. Lately though, I have realized that as much fun as that is to me, I don’t have to seek perfection. Sometimes less is more and I need to allow for time to just be present in the moment. Make time to read that little book to my four-year old, get on the floor with my nine-year old and watch him create with blocks and Legos, really listen to the discussions that my twelve-year old begins. Put down the iPhone and hold hands with your spouse in the evenings. Memories for me involve quality time spent with loved ones.

As you prepare your home for the holidays, take a little time to prepare your heart. While clean and decorated houses are wonderful, a grateful attitude and taking time to be in the moment with our spouses and kids can make all the difference this holiday. Blessings!

My Joy-Filled Life

Permanent link to this article: http://conversaving.com/2014/12/09/the-heart-of-the-home-at-the-holidays/

Nov 25

Soup for the Soul – A Roundup of Great Reading

Image from page 1168 of "Baltimore and Ohio employees magazine" (1912)

I love to read and I also love to scour the web and read quality articles on blogs. I thought that you might enjoy browsing some of the articles that I found interesting. Here are some of the good reads I found this week.

Why Homeschool your High Schooler – by WORLD MAGAZINE

A You Tube video by the Trim Healthy Mamas with a cranberry pie recipe. I am planning to make this after Thanksgiving when I am trying to get right back on track. I plan to cheat for Thanksgiving Day!

10 Habits of Highly Effective Mamas – There were several things on this list that I need to work on. I was inspired to sleep more and be kind more often than right.

How to Fake Clean a House…for those last-minute visitors – I learned a few tricks here. I need to invest in some more containers for my living space!

Homeschool Truth from a Veteran Homeschool Mom –  This was a blessing as I had just made the decision to take the whole week of Thanksgiving off of school. I battled that decision inside of me because there was so much on the to-do list that I wanted to finish before we stopped for the holiday. I realized after reading this that learning can take place In a slow and steady fashion. It doesn’t always involve checking every box on the checklist.

That about wraps it up for now. Stay tuned as we drum up some new content for the blog in the coming weeks. We are in laid back mode for the holidays, so we may be a little sporadic about posting over the month of December, but expect some new twists and turns in January! Thanks for reading!

Permanent link to this article: http://conversaving.com/2014/11/25/soup-for-the-soul-a-roundup-of-great-reading/

Nov 13

Snake Oil from Out of the Box – A Review

Out of the Box Games Review

About the Game

We love playing games and we try to set aside several nights a month to play games together. We recently had the opportunity to try out Snake Oil from Out of the Box Games.  This game was a crash course on good communication skills. In just about five minutes, you can teach nearly anyone how to play Snake Oil. Unlike many family games, Snake Oil is easy to set up, can be played in under 20 minutes and will entertain and educate the entire family. It can be played by 3-10 players or in tournament style for up to 24 players.

Snake Oil retails for $19.99 and is for ages 10 and up. The box has two types of cards in a plastic tray. There are 28 customer cards that are double-sided, providing a total of 56 customer choices. These cards sit in a vertical slot in the tray. These customer cards list occupations such as a nurse, teacher, caveman, etc.Out of the Box Games Review

Basic Game Play

One player chooses to start as the customer and draws a customer card. He selects a choice from either side of the card and then adapts the persona of that customer for the duration of his turn. The second set of cards are the word cards, of which there are 336. These cards are divided among the 4 horizontal slots in the tray. The other players each draw six cards for their hand and choose two-word cards to “create” a product to pitch to the customer. After each player has a turn to pitch his product, the customer choose  his favorite and gives them his customer card.  All players the restock their hand so they maintain a set of six cards. Play continues until each player has a turn to be the customer. The person with the most customer cards at the end of the round is the winner. As you can see, the rules are quite simple.


There are several variations of the game in the instructions. You can increase the number of word cards per person for more choices, or you can play the Snake Oil Live version where you have a game host that moderates and three players act as contestants. The rest of the players are the audience. The contestants each draw six cards and create a product. They stand up in front of the audience and pitch their product. After all three contestants have a turn to pitch, the host has the audience cheer or make a show of hands to choose the best pitch. This round is repeated with new contestants and the winners of each round try to beat each other out in the last round.

The tournament version is similar to the original, you just set up several games simultaneously by dividing up the cards between the groups and the winner of each game plays each other in a tournament round. Snake oil is also a great tool for the classroom teacher. When teaching about the old west you could insert a game of Snake Oil after sharing some facts about real life snake oil salesmen. If you are wanting to encourage public speaking and problem solving, try using Snake Oil. If you want to introduce the ideas of marketing, this game could be a very useful and creative teaching tool. Here is a free resource with ideas on how you can use this game with grades 5 and up in the classroom. Here is a short video with a brief description of standard game play.

Our Opinion of this Game

We tried this game with our family of five. My husband and I played with our boys ages 12 and 9. The youngest is 4 and she enjoyed playing with the plastic box insert and the discarded word cards since she was too young for purposeful play of the game. She sorted them in the four boxes and made up her own game as we played alongside her in our living room. Lydia game play

Our middle son was frustrated at the beginning, because he had never been asked to play a game that required him to use so many communication skills before. He ended up quitting the first round, but after watching us have so much fun, he quickly rejoined the game and became interested and engaged the rest of the game. We found ourselves laughing hysterically at some of the descriptions of make-believe products that we created in our minds.

My son chose the “Santa’ card for his first round. He decided to fully embrace the persona of Santa complete with the large belly as shown below.

Santa persona

The other players looked at their word cards and here are the products we came up with: giggle dirt, a pillow tent and a shadow shovel. We each pitched our products and we had a blast trying to convince “Santa” to choose our product. My husband made the comment that one of the standout features of this game was the fact that it can be short or long depending on how much time you have. One round was completed in about ten minutes for our family of 4 players. We have found that sometimes we don’t want to have a game night because of time restrictions, but with this game, we can still play a full game in a short amount of time. word cards

We also took the game to my brother’s house and played a game with eight people. It turned out very well and my brother who really despises most games, loved Snake Oil!

Brother salesman

Game PlayFun with games

Overall we really enjoyed the game and felt that even kids a little younger than ten ( in our case as young as  seven) were able to enjoy the game. We will be playing this in the days to come and it just might show up at some future family gatherings!

If you would like to read what other folks thought about Snake Oil or another edition Snake Oil – Party Potion from Out of the Box Games click on the graphic below.

Click to read Crew Reviews

You can connect with Out of the Box Games on the following social media sites:



 Out of the Box Games Review

Crew Disclaimer

Permanent link to this article: http://conversaving.com/2014/11/13/snake-oil-from-out-of-the-box-a-review/

Nov 07

Faith on Friday – #2

Gentle answerI need to meditate on this verse. It is definitely

one for the mom arsenal. Be blessed today as you

go forth and train your children!



Permanent link to this article: http://conversaving.com/2014/11/07/faith-on-friday-2/

Oct 31

Faith on Friday – #1


Lord upholdeth fall

 May you be encouraged with the words of Scripture today! Our God is

able to keep us from falling.






Permanent link to this article: http://conversaving.com/2014/10/31/faith-on-friday-1/

Oct 30

Treasure Hunting Fun with Clued in Kids – A Review

Clued In KidsReview

Who doesn’t love treasure hunts? When I was presented with the opportunity to review the Homework Reward Treasure Hunt and the Playdate Treasure Hunt  Clue Book from Clued in Kids, I knew my kids were in for a treat. I have special memories from childhood of my dad writing clues in the form of poetry for myself and my siblings every Christmas. We would receive the first clue and off we would go in search of our series of clues leading to our “big” Christmas gift. It was so memorable, yet it took a lot of time for my dad to put together. With Clued In Kids products, the preparation time is on average 10 minutes. This no-hassle approach to setup makes parents more apt to set up treasure hunts on a regular basis.

About the Company

The Clued In Kids company was launched by Helen Bertelli in November 2013 and was born out of her trek through family hardships. She and her daughter contracted autoimmune diseases and now that they are on the road to healing, she has realized the importance of chasing her dreams and living each day to the fullest.

About the Products

homework treasure hunt

We were sent two different products for review. The first product was the Homework Reward Treasure Hunt. It is a part of the PDF Printable hunts offered by Clued in Kids  and sells for $5.99. It takes 8 minutes or less to set up, works for groups of 1-10 kids and is intended for ages 5 and up (although my 4 year old participated.) The full-color 8-page PDF can be printed and used multiple times. We printed in black and white to save ink and the clues still came out nicely. I loved the idea behind rewarding kids for completing homework at the end of the day. As a homeschooler, we don’t regularly  assign homework to our kids, but we were able to tweak this product and use it as a reward for a great day of diligence in our homeschool. I told the kids several times throughout the day that if they finished school in a timely manner, they would received a special reward at the end of the day. The kids were guessing all day, but they never guessed that I had set up a treasure hunt. I simply downloaded the PDF product to my computer and then printed off the clues. Two clues were included on each page of the download. I cut the clues in half and then hid them in the places described. The clues had the hiding places printed in small font on the bottom for easy hiding and there was a master list at the end of the file that told me where each clue should be hidden. All but one clue was hidden inside making this a great rainy day activity or even something to break up a long, cold winter day.

Clued In KidsReview

I also loved some of the educational components to the hunt.The clues required some critical thinking and math skills to be used by the kids to reveal the location of the next clue. Decoding messages, reading phrases backwards, and finding a hidden item in a picture were some of the ways used to solve a clue.The clue shown below required the kids to write a time on a clock to determine which location to search next. (The next clue was in the sock drawer.)


Here is a picture of the kids just after I told them about the treasure hunt.


I handed them their first clue and they were off! Here is a video clip showing you how excited they were as they progressed from clue to clue.

My favorite clue from this hunt was the one that we folded into a paper airplane. They kids loved flying it around the house.

paper airplane clue

The treasure was found by using teamwork. The kids had lots of laughs and it generated a lot of excitement. They were thrilled with their reward. Here is what I included in the treasure basket.


  • certificate for an outing with mom or dad
  • an apple
  • candy corn

If you would like to get your own free copy of this treasure hunt, you can sign up for their newsletter here.

Clued In KidsReview

The second product we received was the Playdate Treasure Hunt Clue Book which is available for $8.99. You can entertain and delight from 1-10 kids with this product and it is intended for ages 4 and up. The intent of this product is to use it for a playdate gathering. What a cool playdate idea! This is a pre-printed tear off pad that is mailed to you upon purchase. We received the product in excellent condition in the mail and I scheduled a playdate with my children’s cousins for this hunt. We turned it into a fall-themed party and all the kids from ages 3-12 had a blast. We started the party with homemade mini pizzas and apples. After the meal, the kids gathered together and I gave them the first clue.


Each clue has a name line where you can assign which kid is to solve that clue. I assigned the backwards clue to my youngest nephew. The older kids lifted him up in front of the bathroom mirror holding the clue so they could read the clue. He thought he was big stuff to have his own clue to solve.reflecting on the clue

There were squeals of delight, laughter and a good dose of healthy competition involved in this supercharged playdate. The kids enjoyed searching around the house for the clues and it was cute watching them complete the group assignments for clues. One clue involved singing the ABC’s while pretending to use a hula hoop. Here is what I captured on film for this clue.

The treasure was finally found and the kids enjoyed little party goodies such as whistles and candy.

treasure found in dishwasher

The treasure was found in the dishwasher

dividing the spoils

dividing the spoils

A sweet treat at the end - smores cupcakes

A sweet treat at the end – smores cupcakes

Overall, we had a very positive experience with these products. I loved the ease of the clue pad in physical form because I literally just tore the clue from the pad and hid it around the house. I think that the clue pad products would make great gifts for Christmas. I was thinking you could give the Playdate Treasure Hunt Clue Book with a certificate stating you would host a treasure hunt and provide the prizes. Most any child would love to receive an experience and I think parents would appreciate a non-toy gift. The PDF Printable hunts only take a few minutes more and would allow you to use the hunt again with another group of kids. You could also tweak it and use it again for your own kids. I think my AWANA preschool class would enjoy the hunt and I could see using these at family reunions, birthday parties, Sunday school gatherings or home school co-ops. Anywhere you have a group of children gathered and need to keep them entertained would be a great place to try Clued in Kids products. Our family gives them a big thumbs up!

You can connect with Clued In Kids at the following social media channels:




If you would like to read more about the other types of treasure hunts available through Clued in Kids, check out the reviews of my crewmates by clicking on the graphic below.

Click to read Crew ReviewsCrew Disclaimer

Permanent link to this article: http://conversaving.com/2014/10/30/treasure-hunting-fun-with-clued-in-kids-a-review/

Oct 28

Gaining a Better Understanding of the Scriptures through ‘Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls”

Mysteries of the Dead Sea ScrollsNew Liberty Videos Review

Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Secrets of God Revealed by New Liberty Videos was sent to us for review a few weeks ago. Filmed at the Bible Museum in Goodyear, Arizona, this film provided me with some great food for thought and even sparked an interest in me to learn Hebrew! I have had an interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery for a long time and I was glad for the chance to learn from these knowledgeable men more about the history of the Bible and how the Scripture was carried forward and translated over the years.

New Liberty Videos Review

The video is available for $19.95

through New Liberty Videos

The 60 minute DVD is appropriate for all audiences, but in our family it interested the 12-year-old and up crowd. The film consists of three parts:
Part 1 – Is an informational, historical and archaeological explanation of what the Dead Sea Scrolls are and how they were found. You will learn about how they were studied and how infra-red technology has opened more doors by enabling more fragments to be read and understood. The jigsaw puzzle of fragments has been able to be ordered more correctly with the invention of this technology and its application to archaeology. Joel Lampe is the presenter of this section and his resume includes international director and senior curator at the Bible Museum in Goodyear, Arizona and a worldwide lecturer. He has a wealth of Biblical knowledge to share.
Part 2 – In this section, you will gain an appreciation for how the ancient Hebrew language was composed. You will learn the importance of word pictures and how they beautifully illustrate and explain many of the words of Scripture. Even with no knowledge of Hebrew, you will walk away from this segment having gained some knowledge and understanding of how the language works. The teacher of this segment is Dr. Frank Seekins. He holds an honorary Doctor of Divinity for Hebrew Word Pictures. He has studied Hebrew word pictures for over 26 years and is the acknowledged founder of this study.
Part 3 – The most revered, printed and studied book of all time, the Bible, is discussed in this segment. You will span history with Dr. Craig Lampe as he shares the impact that men such as Constantine, Jerome, Erasmus, Martin Luther and William Tyndale had on the spreading of the Gospel through their involvement with the Forbidden Book. See samples of the Geneva Bible and learn about the suffering of our fathers in the faith as they were faithful to the call of bringing God’s word to people in their own language.

My Opinion of the DVD’s

The lecture feel of the video will turn off some who are looking for more of an entertainment value in a film. For education purposes, it was highly informative in my opinion. I felt that it would be a great addition to a high school Bible class. My twelve-year old son watched the first segment of the film with me. He mentioned that the first speaker was rather monotone and he had a hard time listening to him. For me, the tone was overcome by the great artifacts and visual aids shown during the lecture. Dr. Seekins had a more pleasant voice and I was surprised that I enjoyed his topic more than the other two sections. The Hebrew Word picture segment ended up being my favorite. I was inspired by the thought that there is so much more that I could learn from God’s Word by gaining a better understanding of Hebrew Word pictures. I decided to make a little sign to hang on my bathroom mirror to remind me of the meaning of one Hebrew word, Shalom.

Hebrew Word Picture of Shalom Before watching the video, I really had no interest whatsoever in Hebrew, but after seeing the perspective that word pictures gave me through a few common Biblical terms, my interest was piqued. I think this would be a nice addition to any believer’s video library.

If you would like to learn more about the other films produced by New Liberty Videos, check out the other reviews by my crewmates. They reviewed Anthem for a NationThe Forbidden BookA Nation Adrift,
Teaching Origins Objectively, and Warriors of Honor

Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Permanent link to this article: http://conversaving.com/2014/10/28/gaining-a-better-understanding-of-the-scriptures-through-mysteries-of-the-dead-sea-scrolls/

Oct 27

The New Future of Conversaving

Mr. Conversaving says that Conversaving.com is about as boring as watching the grass grow.  And that’s a problem that is going to be solved real soon.  Look for Conversaving to become the true husband-wife blog it was intended to be!

Permanent link to this article: http://conversaving.com/2014/10/27/the-new-future-of-conversaving/

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