Happy New Year!

by Hal | 12/31/2015 | 0 comments

December 18th, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review and Discussion Guide

by Hal and Melanie Young | 1 comment

Let me be upfront. I love Star Wars. The original Star Wars was released when I was a young teen and I think I saw it 5 or 6 times the first month. It was a grand story of nobility and sacrifice, knights and princesses, tyranny and resistance, epic battles and spaceships. Spaceships! It was hard not to love it.


Star Wars Han and Chewie


The Force Awakens delivers what we all were craving – revisiting the good old days of the early Star Wars franchise. Our favorite characters are all there again, older and with more miles on them  – and the audience in the theater burst into cheers and applause as each one appeared in the story. You can hear bits of the original score in the soundtrack. Memorable moments from the first movie (the real first movie, number “IV”) are reprised so many different ways it almost seems like a fan film; there is a new character on a desert planet, a droid with secret information, a prisoner on the Death Star, an escape on the Millennium Falcon. Altogether, though, it was fun and mostly satisfying.

The rub is what it always is with Star Wars movies. They are essentially religious movies and the religion isn’t Christianity or even theism.

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December 17th, 2015

Movie Night: Are Your Kids Prepared?

by Hal | 1 comment


Movie Night - H

Our family loves movies – our sons like to take their mother to opening nights, and we have a local theater that runs popular films a couple months later at bargain prices – great for a large family!

The two hour feature film is like a literary form of its own, and there are powerful messages that come through the big screen. Parents are right to be concerned whether their kids are being exposed to inappropriate behaviors, bad language, and drug use, there are other things playing in the stories on screen. We need to be watching out for more than just “the d- word” and whether the main characters glamorize smoking.

When you sit down for an evening’s entertainment, have you prepared your kids to watch the screen through a Christian worldview?

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December 17th, 2015

Be Kind To Fish

by Hal | 0 comments

Blog - Be Kind to Fish - V


The term “idiot” comes from a Greek root which means a person with no sense of public duty, or even any appreciation for the needs and concerns of anyone other than himself. It’s a pretty good description of the clown who poured two betta fish into one container at Walmart this evening.

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December 9th, 2015

The Good Dinosaur -or- The Not-So-Good Dinosaur?

by Hal and Melanie Young | 2 comments

“They stole our story!” I told someone the first time I saw a trailer for Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur. The stunning shots of a human boy playing with a little dinosaur are firmly impossible in the standard evolutionary narrative—the dinosaurs supposedly died out eons before humans appeared on the scene, so theories of historical human and dino coexistence have been a creationist exclusive for a long time. The Good Dinosaur finds a way around that problem by presenting an alternate timeline where the Chixculub meteor barely misses the planet, briefly interrupting the feeding dinosaurs while it streaks across the heavens, but leaving a rich biosphere to evolve further towards the present day.


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December 8th, 2015

Days Are Short and Shadows Are Long!

by Jay Ryan | 0 comments

Observing the Shadows of the Passing Seasons

Guest post by artist/astronomer Jay Ryan


At Classical Astronomy, we simply try to point out the easily-observable aspects of sky observing that are usually overlooked in our modern generation. One of those aspects is the varying length of shadows over the span of the year.

As the Sun moves through the zodiac constellations over the annual cycle of the seasons, the Sun moves to its highest point overhead in the sky on the summer solstice. On this day, the noon shadows are the shortest. Because of the orientation of the sky, the height of the Sun corresponds to the length of daylight, so the Sun is highest in the sky on the longest day of the year.

Here’s a picture of our son Dave, taken a couple years ago and first reported in the Classical Astronomy blog. Dave is standing in our backyard compass on June 17, near the summer solstice, a little while before “high noon,” when the Sun crosses the meridian (not the same as “clock noon.”) Note how short his noon solstice shadow is, as seen from the latitude of Cleveland, Ohio (about 41 degrees north).

(Instructions for making your own backyard compass are included in Signs & Seasons and the companion workbook.)


After the summer solstice, the Sun begins to move south through the constellations. The Sun’s noon height decreases over the summer, and the days grow correspondingly shorter.

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November 30th, 2015

Five Ways To Optimize Your Christmas Budget

by Hal | 0 comments

Five Ways to Optimize Xmas Budget - VA lot of us are watching the budget very carefully this year. What heartless elf put open enrollment for health insurance right before the holiday season? (If it’s giving you pain, check out what we did.) And rich or poor, if you have a large family (like ours) you naturally look for ways to make the best use of your shopping dollars in every category.

Here are five ways we’ve found to optimize your gift budget:

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November 25th, 2015

Recipe: Fresh Cranberry Relish!

by Hal | 0 comments

When you were a child, when you thought of cranberries, did you think of round slices of red jelly?

The good ol’ canned cranberry sauce is like comfort food – but this relish is awe inspiring.

It’s delicious, it’s beautiful on the table, and it’s easy.

You can make this in just a couple of minutes!


2015-11-25 22.27.13

Fresh Cranberry Relish

1 12oz bag fresh cranberries
1 large or 2 small oranges
1 1/2 cup sugar


Slice oranges (do not peel!)

Chop oranges and cranberries in food processor

Mix with sugar and set aside

Stir occasionally until thoroughly combined

Turkey Would you like some more ideas for side dishes, pies, or other treats for Thanksgiving?

Then quick, go download Christ-Centered Thanksgiving

it’s free for our newsletter subscribers!


CLICK HERE and get your copy today!

November 24th, 2015

Avoid The Awkward Pause

by Hal | 2 comments

One of the great joys of the holiday season is the chance to spend time with family members that you don’t get to see the rest of the year.

Unfortunately, that’s also one of the stressful things about the holidays – extended family that you don’t see the rest of the year.

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November 19th, 2015

The Scary Question, “What Grade Are You In?”

by Hal | 1 comment

It’s funny the things that throw you for a loop when you’re homeschooling.

Teach four grade levels? No problem.

Volunteer at the local food pantry with kids in tow? Got it.

Lead a field trip with a dozen parents and a hundred children of all ages? No problem.

“What grades are your kids in?”  <runs screaming from the room>

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