Friday, October 20, 2017

Scripture Typer: An Impartial Review

Let me begin by saying: I am not associated with the Scripture Typer Application in any way.  I have not been paid for this review and I won't be paid for it in the future.  This is entirely my own opinion.

In April, I bought a new phone and when I downloaded my Bible app (I love my Bible app) the Google store suggested some other apps, including some scripture memorisation apps.  This is when I found, Scripture Typer.

AGT regulars will know that I am working hard at reaching somgoals this year and blogging about it every month has been helping me stay on track.  One of my goals is: "Learn 12 scripture passages by heart."  I started out this year by writing out the verses of scripture I wanted to learn and reading it everyday as well as using the old spelling strategy: Look, Say, Cover, Write/ Recite, Check.  So, I can honestly say that Scripture Typer has changed my life!

Here are 10 of the great things you can do with Scripture Typer:
1. Access Scripture Typer on your computer (an excellent website) or you can download the app to any electronic device as it's available in the Google Play Store or the App store.
2. Import the text of scripture passages from 10 different translations including NIV, NKJ, ERV and ESV.
3. Search by scripture reference or theme.
4. Memorise collections of verses (already compiled) by theme or Book of the Bible.
5. Create your own collection/s of verses, organised how you want.
6. Divide longer scripture passages into individual verses to make them easier to learn and then combine them when you have mastered them.
7. Sketch prompts which appear on your screen with the Scripture reference before you type in the Scripture from Memory.
8. If you have the PRO version you can record yourself reading the text aloud and listen to it when working on memorising the scripture.
9. Share (brag about) your success on social media as well as create groups of friends who can support each other while working to memorise the same scriptures.
10.  Track your progress as you learn each scripture passage and add new goals to your collections.

I have the FREE version of Scripture Typer and it does everything I need.  PRO users can register for an account which syncs everything to the cloud so you can access your collections and progress on any device at any time.  It's as easy as creating a username and password.

Scripture Typer also features an excellent memorisation program. Once your verses are imported to your collection, you simply follow the review tasks each time you open the app and before you know it you will be reciting scripture better than ever.
1. Type It: The verse appears on the screen and you type into your device as you read.
2. Memorise It: The verse appears on the screen, but with gaps, and you type the whole text into your device.
3. Master It: the Bible reference appears on the screen and you can type the verse from memory.

Through all of these steps in the program, Scripture Typer gives you feedback on errors and gives you an accuracy percentage when you finish.  You get a point every time you review a verse.  One of the things I love about Scripture Typer... in case you doubted how much I loved it already... The program tells you how often you should review the verse in order to increase your retention.  Once you get a 100% accuracy on the "Master It" step, the program will tell you that you have mastered the verse and you should review it every 2 days.  After two repetitions every 2 days, the program tells you to review that verse weekly, then fortnightly, monthly etc.  This keeps track of each of the verses in the collection so you can review one verse daily while reviewing other verses every six months.  You can revisit verses as often as you like and continue to receive points.

This app really has taken my memorisation and made it so much easier for me.  I can review verses at home, in bed, on the train, even at work on my break (when I get one).  Scripture Typer has not only helped me reach my goal of memorising 12 scripture verses this year, but I have surpassed it, "mastering" 15 verses.  I plan to continue working on these 15 verses and reviewing them weekly (even though some of them don't need to be reviewed for 6 months) until the end of the year.  Next year I will create a new collection of verses to memorise over the year.

If you are looking for a memorisation app, I would definitely recommend Scripture Typer!!







Friday, October 13, 2017

When did that happen?

Internal Dialogue..

When did I become responsible?
When did people start to think I was a good person to keep their secrets?
When did I learn all that I know now?
When did I get so old?
When did I become that girl who people come to for help?
When did I become a mother hen?
When did my parents get so old?
When did those children grow up?
When did the world get so sad and mean and violent and dangerous?
When did that happen?

What was I doing when that was happening?

I'm how old?

Are you sure?



Friday, October 6, 2017

Finding where you fit

I will do my best to keep this short.  It might meander a bit, but trust me it's all important.

I'm turning 34 at the end of this year and I have to say that a big chunk of those 3 and a bit decades were not easy.  I spent a lot of time feeling like I didn't fit in.  I was the broken puzzle piece, the extra fitting in the flat pack and the 11th Tim Tam.  I still really struggle to make friends.  Social situations are difficult for me.  They are exhausting.

It took me a really long time to learn what I was really about, why I was feeling certain things and how I could prevent those yucky feelings.  You can't control everything, but if there are things within my control that will improve my quality of life, it seems silly not to change them.

Today, I want to tell you about three times when I didn't fit.  I'm concentrating on these because they all occurred when a 'chapter' of my life ended and the next one hadn't started yet.  I felt really lost during these times. In retrospect, the 'in between' times were so important in shaping me for the future, preparing me for new chapters and helping me become the awesome person I am now.

1. The end of university.  I had finally finished and it took me a really long time to get a full time, permanent job.  It took 5 years.  Of course, I worked part time, doing contracts and relieving other teachers.  In fact, 4-5 months after I submitted my final assessment, I was thrown into the classroom as a supply teacher.  During that first year after I finished uni, I was really disappointed that I didn't get offered a job.  I had never been without a purpose or a reason to get out of bed.  I had always been at school and I went straight to university.  I spent holidays babysitting, doing housework, planning a wedding and being very busy.  Suddenly, life was not going to plan and I had to figure out what I as going to do.  I considered lots of things and I worried that I would never be a real teacher.  At the end of the first year, I realised that supply teaching was a pretty good gig for the time being and I figured it would eventually lead to a permanent job.  I decided to say "yes" to every opportunity and be the best supply and contract teacher I could be.  I learned sooo much in those 5 years and I earned enough money to survive.
When I was finally offered a full time, permanent job, I was not only more qualified and experienced, but I appreciated it so much more.  I succeeded because of all the things I had learned while in the 'in between' stage of life.

2.  The end of my marriage.  My husband and I had been married for2 and a half years and we had been 'together' for 8 years before that.  I couldn't really remember a time when he wasn't my boyfriend.  Suddenly, I was back at my parents house with only a few boxes of my belongings.  He was living in the house that we shared.  Then, I learned that one of my friends was sleeping with my husband.  My world shattered.  I had put years of my life and all my energy into my marriage and building a life with my husband.  It took a very long time for me to adjust to the idea of being a single lady and it took even longer for me to be happy about it.  Now, I love being single!

3. The end of Dad's life.  I'm still in the midst of adjusting to this new way of life... so bear with me.
When Dad got sick, my life changed.  When, as a family, we decided that I would take time off work and share the caring responsibilities with Mum, my life morphed into something different. I still had some time to myself.  My purpose was to make Dad comfortable.  While I certainly wasn't perfect, I was good at caring for Dad.  Most of my time was spent with Dad or thinking about Dad, or thinking about how I could help Dad.  When he died, I was obviously sad for him and of course I grieved him.  I also grieved the life I had with him.  I realised that my everyday purpose was suddenly gone... again.

The first few months were hard.  I didn't want to get out of bed or leave the house.  I forced myself to do these things, most of the time.  Knowing now, that my time is not filled with "Dad" I am beginning to find other useful things to do with my time.  I'm finding a new 'place' to fit.

I worked out that I have a bit of a knack for words!  I enjoy making cards.  So, I am spending my time, using my talents and the things I enjoy, to encourage others.  I am sending cards to people in my church who are unwell, or struggling.  I don't send one to everyone, because I don't know everyone.  I am simply trying to do something small with what I have, where I am.  I am happy with that for now.

The future holds great mystery and right now, I want to appreciate everything I am learning and look forward to using it to make people smile.

Love.


Friday, September 29, 2017

I knew there was something I had to do today

I was lying on the lounge, in my pyjamas, thinking that there was a lot that I needed to do that day.  I only found it mildly disturbing that I couldn't remember any of the things I needed to do.
"I should get off the lounge and get dressed" I was saying to myself when I heard a knock at the door.
I dragged myself off the lounge and staggered to the door as I tried to work out who could be rudely knocking on my door at 9:30am.  The light from outside almost blinded me as the face of my grooming lady also came into view.  It took me a moment to realise who she was.  Gasping, I said, "oh no! I completely forgot you were coming."

I called to Shelly and walked outside to try and find her.  She looked at me quizzically and stalked back into the house.  When she saw my groomer, she started to bolt.  Shelly did a few laps around the house, ducking behind armchairs and diving under tables, all the while chased by me, in my pyjamas. She finally settled in under a wardrobe in our garage, that was surrounded by several large boxes of sheet music and electrical items.  There was no way I was getting to her.  Defeated, I left her alone and rescheduled.

An hour and a half later, I emailed my sister to tell her this story and ended it with ...
Shelly is still under the wardrobe and I am still in my PJ's.

My sister replied with a laughing emoji and "You just made my day."

I hope I just made yours too.



Friday, September 22, 2017

Goal Update

Let's see how I'm going with my goals for this year.

This Year, 2017, I will…

Quit… eating because I’m bored, sad, angry, frustrated or confused.

It's holidays again!  Woo hoo!  I'm doing very well!  :)

Eat…   three balanced meals and two snacks at least 6 days a week. 

I'm doing okay with this one.  It was hard to make good choices and keep track of balanced meals when I got the flu.  It took a little while to get it together after that too.  I'm doing okay. 

Start… exercising for 30 minutes, at least 4 times a week.

I've been doing more incidental exercise and now that I'm on holidays, again, I have started a new walking routine.  Ask me next month!

Visit… family and/or friends once a month.

Totally on track!! Woo Hoo.  Thankfully, the family have been making an effort too.  That helps.  :) 

Accept… that I cannot fix everything. 

Gigantic Tick for me!! Insert Happy Dance!

See…    Melbourne in real life/ Capital Cities.

I know it isn't technically a capital, but my Mum and I are planning a weekend on the Gold Coast in October.  We are going to Sydney to see family at the end of this month and I am planning some fun while we are there.  I am looking at Melbourne and Hobart for next year.  

Learn… at least 12 scripture passages by heart. 

Let's See: Scripture Verses learned so far
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Psalm 23
Psalm 32:7
Colossians 1:11

Psalm 32:8

Philippians 4:19

John 3:30

Working on more...

Therefore, I'm on track! Loving my memorisation app!

Give… to Christian Missions overseas and in Australia (12 times or once a month).

I have been continuing with my regular sponsorship of a day care centre overseas.  I am saving some money to send to an orphanage in Cambodia where my cousin is the director. 

Be…   Quiet

Doing okay.  Need to do more.  Trying to keep my words to a minimum.  Is it working? 

Grow… spiritually by reading my Bible 5-7 times a week and attending church at least 3 times each month.

Being sick and Mum's glittering social life has prevented me from as much church attendance as I wanted.  It took a little more than 12 weeks for me to finish the Everyday with Jesus writing plan I told you about last time.  I purchased a one year devotional called Women of the Bible and I was going to move on to that.  Instead, I decided to leave that until January.  I am sticking with the Everyday with Jesus devotional.  The plan I'm following now is an in depth study of Colossians.  I'm finding it helpful.  I have learned so much through working on this goal.  

Invest… in reaching these goals.

Obviously I'm doing this.. I have realised that some of the goals on this list will be a continuous struggle for me.  These goals are helping me to make better choices and form good habits.  That's good.  I already knew it, but I need to remember, that some goals will require a conscious effort forever.  

Stick with it! 


Friday, September 15, 2017

More Cards and New techniques

I've been experimenting!

I need some more practice....

So, this wasn't really a new technique.  It's just another card I made.  
That baker's twine is such a pain! 

I tried this technique using my small square and small circle punches and it worked okay.
I tried out some shadow stamping using my Stamp Master after watching a 
Catherine Pooler video that you can watch here.  I am loving this
shadow stamping technique and I will definitely be using it more! 
I need heaps more practice on this one!! 
I created this card after watching this Catherine Pooler
video where she created a background using a sentiment stamp.  

That's that for today! :)

Friday, September 8, 2017

August Card Collection

I have been making LOTS of cards.

There was a Fathers' Day Stall at a friend's church activity, so I contributed some cards for that.  I had lots of fun making these mini cards.  Although, I would have preferred to have some pre-cut mini cards on hand.  I found some at the local bargain store AFTER I had finished all these cards.  Talk about kicking myself. Check these out.
Excuse my finger... inspired by this pin and a tutorial for partial embossing here

Inspired by this

If you are a regular around here, you will know
that I love this basic card layout and technique.  
It works for any occasion and this one was no exception! 

 Now for the birthdays.  I'm trying to get ahead of the curve again so there are a quite a few of these.
This was just a simple layering card. 
I used my new rough squares die set. :) 
I made this one for my grandmother. 

I had fun making this card.  Inspired by this pin


More layering with my rounded rectangle die set and my Happy Birthday die. 
I had heaps of these textured papers from the Go Wild Decorative Papers from Kaiser Craft.
So, I decided to use them.  


I recreated one of  Catherine Pooler's KISS cards
As Catherine suggests, I used the stamps I had on hand,
as I didn't have the stamps she used. 


I whipped up this card in under half an hour! 
Some washi tape, and a new Happy Birthday stamp 
added to some decorative paper I had left over
from another card went together nicely. 
I'm really proud of it! 
Last one for now... a Fathers' Day Card for my grandfather.  He loves fishing and passed on that love to my Dad and uncles.  Many memories were forged on the end of a pier or in a boat with a fishing line in our hands.
My aunty sent me a bunch of stickers and die cuts when I asked for anything
I could use for a fishing themed card for Fathers' Day. 
There are more that I have added to my stash now.  

Next Week: more cards that I made recently, including some new techniques I tried out - with mixed levels of success!


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Fathers' Day Gift and Card DIY

A few weeks ago Mum received a message from an old family friend.  Why was this significant? The message was a reminder about a question the friend had asked several weeks before.  She asked Mum if we could go to a kids group and 'do' the Fathers' Day craft with the kids.  Mum had forgotten to tell me.  So, we had exactly a week to find a craft, make one, buy materials and put together craft packs so the kids would have all their supplies ready to go.  We also needed to choose a card and do the same thing with that.  Thankfully there were less than 10 kids in the group.

We chose a craft that cost a bit to pull together, but it was easy enough for little kids and big kids.  The card we chose was fun and simple to make. We had all the materials for the cards in or craft stash so it didn't cost us anything.  Although, if you had to purchase the materials, you only need coloured card, goggle eyes, scissors and glue.

Here is the gift we made... inspired by this Pin.





The card we made was inspired by several cards I had seen on Pinterest.  It's so cute.  :)



Next Week: some of my latest cards!

Happy Fathers' Day!  Enjoy your Dad's while they are still here.


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Flashback Post: Even then...

Apparently, I wrote this in 2012 and it was first published on 9 June 2012.  It might not be the best poem I've ever written but It's good enough.  It's quite reassuring actually.  

Even When... Even Then...

Even when the day is long,
When you can't remember the name of the song.
Even when your tired and sleepy,
When the kids make you feel so crawly and creepy.
Even when the weather is cold,
When you feel as though you're a hundred years old.

Even then, you can get out of bed,
You can face the world and hold high your head.
You can stand in the midst of the chaos and know,
That there is better than this, when with God you go.

So, wake up and go out
Take the day as it comes.
There is no reason to doubt
That God has done all the sums.

He is watching and working
In ways you can't know.
He will get you home
If with Him you will go. 

Have you bought your Father's Day gifts yet.  Next week you will see a card and a homemade gift I made. 
Keep going with God, it's worth it.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Jurassic World Party Part Two


Last week, I told you all about the decorations we had at the Jurassic World party.  This week I will show you the activities and tell you about the food we had at the party.  Check out my party Pinterest Board to see where I got a lot of inspiration, tips, tricks, instructions and printables. 

A quick note about the Birthday Boy: this was a tenth birthday party, so I spent a bit of time with the birthday boy before the party.  We talked about the movie, his favourite parts of the movie and activities he would like to do.   I also asked him what type of party he wanted, organised games where everyone does each activity at the same time or stations for each person to move to as they liked.  We ended up with a combination of the two.  

Activities


The activities were supposed to be spread out through the backyard.  We had to move a few activities at the last minute due to rain.  The kids didn't care.  Kids were checked in when they arrived, receiving a name badge and dinosaur temporary tattoo (This was their VID- Very Important Dinosaur- pass, like in the movie)

Pin the Horn on the Triceratops: my very talented Mum took a printed image of a triceratops, and used a grid overlay to draw a huge triceratops. She made some black horns and used yellow stickers to write a number on each.


Guess Jar: I filled an old coffee jar (that had been thoroughly cleaned) with some small plastic Dinosaur figurines. The BFF drew up a name and guess chart for guests to record their guess.  Hint: don’t forget to count the dinosaurs as you put them in the jar and write it down somewhere safe! Lol. About half way through the party I took the guess chart away and worked out which three guesses were closest to the exact amount and awarded prizes from a lucky dip box.  The Birthday Boy wanted to keep the jar of dinosaurs. 


Squad Training: we used some dinosaur figures (about 20-30 cm high) and lined them up along a shelf.  Guests had a six shooter Nerf gun (so six shots) to hit up to 5 dinosaurs.  The one who shot the most dinosaurs in the one turn got a prize from the lucky dip.


Footprint Match: I made up some cards using images from the internet and a print of labelled dinosaur footprints.  Only a few guests participated in this.

Fossil and Bone Digs: I made fossils using salt dough and some skeleton figurines (click here for instructions).  I also made some dino-sized teeth and a hybrid dinosaur skull for the kids to dig up.  My mum, (go Grandma) bought some sand from our local garden nursery for us to bury the fossils and “bones” before the party. I laid out small spades, spoons and paint brushes as tools.


DNA sequencing: I made a couple of big batches of yellow/ orange jelly and pushed some plastic bugs into the jelly.  The kids were supposed to use eye droppers to ‘suck the DNA out of the bugs’ and drop it in a test tube before putting it in the DNA sequencing machine (a box).  When they did this, they were given an ‘egg’ and went to the Hatchery.  Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get a photo of this.  Sorry. 
Hatchery: I made about 25 fizzing eggs (directions here) with dinosaur figurines in them.  The kids sprayed the eggs with vinegar and broke the eggs to hatch their very own dinosaur to take home.

Creation Centre: Dinosaur colouring, word searches, dinosaur cut outs and some coloured pens made this an easy centre! Check out my Pinterest board to get all the links I used to find these.  No picture of this either.  I was so busy that day! 

Photobooth: I threw together a bunch of props that we purchased from discount stores and the Big W party shop.  I also made a fire torch using cellophane and a large piece of brown cardboard.  The backdrop was created using a plastic table cloth, brown crepe paper, green crepe paper and leaves cut out of green paper.  A camp chair, a ladder, caution tape and an old pallet made it even better.  I created some "Warning: Dinosaur Area Keep Out" signs using a Google Image search.  

 I'm sure you're all very excited about the next part... THE FOOD! 

Food

For the Herbivores: carrot sticks, celery sticks, assorted fruit,
For the carnivores: party pies and sausage rolls (dipped in tomato sauce/ blood)
Dinosaur Cookies: I planned to make footprint cookies (check out the inspiration here), but I used my own cookie recipe which was a bit too soft for the footprint.  I added milo to my cookie mix to make it look like dirt, spread some Nutella on the top of each cookie and stuck dinosaur lollies (from the Natural Confectionery Company) on top.  They were really yummy!
Cake: was made by the Birthday Boy’s mum and dad. It was inspired by a few of the cakes on my party Pinterest board.   I pinned about 20 different cakes for my nephew to choose from.  As it was created by family, the cake wasn't as perfect as the ones that inspired it, but it was still cool.  Easy way out: check out these cake toppers!  (I'm not affiliated with the site linked).  

Jurassic Juice: a mix of pine-lime cordial, lemonade and water.  We poured this into jugs for serving.  Guests all got a cup with a Jurassic World Logo on it. 

I had lots more ideas for food, but as the party was mid-afternoon, we didn't go all out on a big range of food.  I pinned lots of ideas on the Pinterest Board, link above, so you can get inspired.  If you want to do something easy, you could order pizza:  Meatlovers for the carnivores, Vegetarian for the herbivores and Supreme or Hawaiian for the Omnivores.  You don't get much easier than that! 
That's that then. 
Enjoy the party planning! 


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Jurassic World Party Part One


The party was a while ago now and hopefully this means I won’t ramble too much.  On the other hand, I might have forgotten some of the important things I wanted to tell you. Sorry about that, only, it takes a lot to write a party planning post and I just didn’t have it in me.  I will be posting in two parts, because it’s just way too long for one week!  Here goes.

Theme


My nephew has loved Dinosaurs for more than 5 years.  It was a no brainer that his 10th birthday would have a dino-theme.  He was very specific that he wanted his party to be a “Jurassic World Party” NOT, Jurassic Park… that is so last decade!  So, unlike my Frozen Party, I had to do a lot of research (watching the movie and using the website was so helpful) before I could start committing to ideas and finally creating all the wonderful stuff that made the day. 




Decorations


I downloaded a printable party pack (that was FREE) from SKGaleana.com including invitations.  I didn’t use all of the pieces in the pack but what I did use worked brilliantly.  We used a lot of paper for this party too.  I think we may have killed a couple of trees to pull this one off.  :/  It was simple to print, cut out and laminate all the name tags, security badges, thank you notes, logos and posters, it just took a long time.  I also copied an image of the Jurassic World sign so that we could make some awesome signs/ posters of our own.  



The other awesome printable was a template for our pterodactyls.  Click here to check it out.

I also downloaded the Jurassic Park font (click here to get it) which we used for the signs at each activity and party zone. 

Let’s give you the tour:


Entry: the gate! We used cable ties to attach large pieces of cardboard to our wrought iron gate.  Grey plastic tablecloths made the side pillars (I love my staple gun!).  We made 6 torches from brown paper bags and yellow/orange/red cellophane.  The BFF used the A1 printer at her work to print some supersized logo signs for us.  One was cut in half and stuck on the gate so when it was closed it was whole.  It looked great.  The other sign was stuck on the wall of the house, so kids could get a photo there if they liked.  I was so proud of the gate! 


Discovery District: Tubs of sand for kids to dig in, under our clothesline.  We hung various leaf shapes on the line and had some hanging vines (crepe paper and craft paper) draped around so it felt like a bit of a jungle.  


Innovation Centre: A high camping shelter with folding tables and chairs laid out underneath.  There were three activities set up under the shelter.  Each space was signposted.  


Main Street:  Green Leaves were cut out from a few different templates (found on my Pinterest board), we used a few different shades of green paper and card.  Pterodactyls were cut from brown and black cardboard using a template we found online (link above).  We printed it and photocopied in three different sizes so they looked like some were higher in the sky when hung up.  We rearranged my Mum’s pot plants to line the sides of an alley on our verandah and made a few cardboard palm trees to bulk it up a bit.  Dinosaur figurines hid among the trees too!


Fact Wall: I made some small posters with random dinosaur facts and we stuck these along the wall for the guests to read while they were eating.  I used this as a sort of game when we were running out of things to do.  I asked questions and the kids had to run to the wall to find the answer.  Most of the facts came from the Did You Know? slides on the Jurassic World Website.  

Bathroom Entryway: As most of the activity was outside, we didn’t go overboard decorating inside the house.  However, we combined a few ideas from Pinterest to make a Dinosaur Mouth over the archway that leads to our bathroom.  When guests came inside to use the bathroom they were greeted with this scary sight and then had to walk into the monster’s mouth to use the facilities! The BFF added her expertise to make it look just right!  Thanks Bestie! 


That's it for now! Next week I will tell you about the food and the activities that kept the kids busy!

Monday, August 7, 2017

BIG WORDS: Paraprosdokians

I found this post in the old archive and it made me smirk. It was originally posted here. Enjoy:

A brand new word for you to learn!

Paraprosdokian: (noun) a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; this is frequently used in a humorous situation.
For example: "Where there's a will, I want to be in it."  

Here are a few more for you...

"The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on my list."

"Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak."

"If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong."

It seems to me, Paraprosdokian, is just a fancy word for: "a funny t-shirt"

If you want to enjoy some more Paraprosdokians, click here.

One more for the road... 


Much Love