Monday, August 07, 2017

Literacy Musing Mondays July 17-21 {Last Week as Co-host}

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  Literacy Musing Mondays

Welcome to Literacy Musing Mondays July 17-21

Last Post Announcement

Hello everyone. I want to let you know that this will be my last week as a Literacy Musing Mondays co-host. I've enjoyed reading your posts each week and getting to know some of you through your blogs. :)

I've made the difficult decision to not renew my Bluehost services, so I will no longer be able to blog on this WordPress account. I blogged for 10 years with Blogger before making the switch almost a year ago, but I'm not sure if I will continue blogging with my old Blogspot account or not.

Truthfully, I haven't been able to keep up with the techy part of WordPress. It's basically sucked the joy out of blogging. :( I just can't justify the energy and expense when I'm not getting much in return.

Like I told Mary, I'm definitely feeling sad and a little stuck in limbo right now. I'm not sure where to go from here. However, I know I can trust the Lord to guide me as He promises He will.

Literacy Musing Mondays July 10-15 {College Orientation}

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Welcome to Literacy Musing Mondays July 10-15

Literacy Musing Mondays July 10-15

A few days ago, this happened.

We drove to Flagstaff and dropped off our oldest child for New Student Orientation. Wow.

We enjoyed cooler temps, lots of green, and walking around the pretty Northern Arizona University campus.

While I can't yet wrap my mind around the fact that Thomas the Tank Engine has been so quickly replaced with all things political science, I am one proud mama! Proud that my son earned an incredible scholarship, proud that he's already earned 3 credits due to his SAT English scores, and proud that he's ready to take on life!

For those of you who have already experienced this phase of life, give me your best tips on being a GREAT parent of a college kid. :)  

He Speaks to Me: Preparing to Hear From God {Book Review}

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  He Speaks to Me Preparing to Hear From God Book Review

Longing to Hear God's Voice

Have you ever been desperate to hear from God?

Do you long to be a sheep who hears her Shepherd's voice?

Of course we can pick up our Bibles any time we want and "hear" what God has to say to us. And it's absolutely wonderful. We can "hear" on a daily basis how he loves us, how we can love Him, and how we can love others.

But sometimes I long for more. Do you?

Literacy Musing Mondays July 3-8 {4th Traditions}

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  Literacy Musing Mondays

Welcome to Literacy Musing Mondays July 3-8

Literacy Musing Mondays July 3-8
 

Celebrating July 4th

When I think of July 4th, I think of freedom, fireworks, and fun food. My favorite thing about all holidays are the traditions they inspire. We don't have a lot for this particular holiday, but we do have a couple.

Literacy Musing Mondays June 26-July 1 {Too Hot}

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  Literacy Musing Mondays

Welcome to Literacy Musing Mondays June 26-July 1

I'm not sure what the weather's like where you live, but the recent temps in AZ have been too hot for even me. I'm not very fond of super cold weather, but consecutive 115° (and above some days) temperatures wearies the soul.

Many of the leaves on my backyard trees and plants are literally burning to a crisp.

I had to pick all of the apples off of my baby Santa Anna.

  Literacy Musing Mondays June 26-July 1

They were starting to bake right on the tree.

As the blazing hot days drag on, I keep reminding myself that sweating is better than shivering!

What about you? Would you rather deal with the hot extreme or the cold extreme?

Literacy Musing Mondays June 19-24 {Guest Post}

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Welcome back to the #LMMLinkup. We are so honored to have a guest poster this week: Megan Weyebacher. I hope you enjoy her post that narrates how she came to love reading and the books that inspire and shape her world.

   

Over the last year,  memories buried as deep as the Titanic surfaced to my frontal lobe and I wondered why. The memories were of me when I was a child, in elementary school. I remember living in such a small town that I could walk its distance in just a short time.

One place I went frequently was the small library. The memory went on further to the many times I ran my fingers across the spines of my vertical friends, until I found what I was looking for.

Literacy Musing Mondays June 12-17 {Things I Love About Summer}

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Welcome to Literacy Musing Mondays June 12-17 

Literacy Musing Mondays

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Literacy Musing Mondays June 12-17  

I don't know about you, but it seems like I read more in the summer! I know it's not technically summer yet. But it sure feels like it where I live. Supposedly this time next week temps will reach 112°. Yikes!

Things I love about summer:

Cherries. I love to eat lots of cherries. I anticipate their arrival every year.

The Mystery of History Volume 2 Resources: Fourth Quarter

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  The Mystery of History Volume 2 Resources Fourth Quarter

The Mystery of History

My 6th grader and 9th grader are both reading The Mystery of History Volume II this year. I absolutely love The Mystery of History curriculum and am trying to add in more extracurricular resources this time around since these two are older now. In this particular book in the series, there are only 28 weeks of scheduled lessons, so that means we have 2 weeks per quarter to focus on extras. We choose to spend the last 2 weeks of each quarter on extras.

Resources

Because I no longer have children in elementary grades, these resources are targeted toward middle and high schoolers. My goal for extras is to find fun and interesting resources that are somewhat enjoyable, not ones that conjure up total mental drudgery. 🙂

We didn't get to all of The Mystery of History Volume 2 Resources: Fourth Quarter, and really the list could go on forever. However, here are a few resources from the web and the library that we sorted through.

Literacy Musing Mondays May 15-20

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Welcome to Literacy Musing Mondays May 15-20!

Literacy Musing Mondays

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Literacy Musing Mondays May 15-20  

Question

If you're married, how many anniversaries have you celebrated?

My Answer: On May 10th, my husband and I celebrated a major marriage milestone - 20 years! I don't think either one of us were prepared for how difficult the journey would be. But, over the years I've learned to enjoy the good times and persevere through the bad times. I always go back to the Christina Rossetti quote that I recorded so long ago in my wedding album. We're one, and with God we can journey on!

I'd love to know your answers! Please share in the comments. :)

Literacy Musing Mondays May 8-14 {Mother's Day Gift}

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Welcome to Literacy Musing Mondays May 8-14

Literacy Musing Mondays

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Literacy Musing Mondays May 8-14  

I love this quote. I love being a mom, but I know I fall short. My kids may see the good, but, unfortunately, they see the bad, too. I hope that they will always hold a special place in their hearts for my dedication to reading the Bible to them and making them memorize Scripture. :) It's one thing I know I've done right!

I found this quote in a wonderful book that I've read a few times and have on my bookshelf in my room. Moms Who Changed the World by Lindsey O'Connor is such a gem. Lindsey tells the stories of many moms who ended up raising children who impacted the world - children such as Moses, George Washington, Augustine, John & Charles Wesley, Amy Carmichael, and more.

Historical Christian Fiction Book List

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  Historical Christian Fiction Book List 

 Books are my tv.

To take a break during the day or to unwind at night, I love traveling back in time by book to when women wore dresses instead of tank tops and characters rode in carriages instead of cars. Curling up with a lighthearted story is the perfect way to end the day and help my busy mind release the cares of the world. It's a nightly routine, actually, and I truly don't know what to do with myself when I run out of books!

 I hate to admit it, but in my highschool days, I started reading historical romance novels. Secular ones. :( Thankfully, I was still a teenager when I was introduced to my first Christian historical fiction romance novel. I don't even remember how I came across it, but I've never looked back.

Literacy Musing Mondays May 1-6 {Can You Read Too Much?}

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Welcome to Literacy Musing Mondays May 1-6

Literacy Musing Mondays

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Literacy Musing Mondays May 1-6 *note: turned here means addled.

Photo Gift Idea for a Sponsored Child

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  Photo Gift Idea for a Sponsored Child

Photo Gift Idea for a Sponsored Child

I don't know about you, but sometimes I can run out of things to say or pictures to include when writing my family's sponsored child. So, I love fresh, new ideas every now and then.

With all the lovely, trendy wall art out there featuring states, countries, maps, etc., I came up with the idea to create something similar to send to our sponsored child who lives in Kenya. I'm most familiar with using PicMonkey, so that's the avenue I chose to make the photo gift featuring Kenya, our child's home country, and Arizona, my family's home state.

Literacy Musing Mondays April 24-29 {Favorite Fiction}

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Welcome to Literacy Musing Mondays April 24-29!

Literacy Musing Mondays

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  Literacy Musing Mondays April 24-29

Literacy Musing Mondays April 17-22 {Choosing to SEE}

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Welcome to Literacy Musing Mondays April 17-22!

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter celebration yesterday. :)

Literacy Musing Mondays

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Literacy Musing Mondays April 17-22

Should Christians Use the Word Easter?

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Should Christians Use the Word Easter?

Should Christians Use the Word Easter?

The subject of origin always seems to come up anytime there's a holiday that Christians celebrate or take part in.

So what about Easter?

I've heard that the very word itself is of pagan origin.

Is it true? Does it even matter?

If it is true, should Christians use the word Easter when referring to the celebration of the Resurrection?

Friday, August 04, 2017

Literacy Musing Mondays April 10-15

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Welcome to Literacy Musing Mondays April 10-15!

Literacy Musing Mondays

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Literacy Musing Mondays April 10-15

Question

Wishing everyone a very blessed Easter week as we celebrate our risen Savior! What are your plans for Easter Sunday?

My answer: First, we always start off by worshiping with others at our home church. Then, we head over to my mom's house to gather with family, eat yummy food, and play fun games.

I'd love to know your answers! Please share in the comments. :)

20 Free Literature Guides for Upper Elementary & Middle School

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  20 Free Literature Guides for Upper Elementary & Middle School

20 Free Literature Guides for Upper Elementary & Middle School

Literature is my favorite subject to teach as a homeschool mom. It was also my favorite subject in school when I was a kid. I've always loved to read and write!

So with homeschooling, literature is a subject in which I haven't really followed a curriculum. Sometimes I assign books and write my own questions and come up with my own activities. Other times I assign reports or have my kids keep up with chapter summaries, etc. Some books are just for pleasure and some books we read aloud. I also find free stuff online or purchase guides here and there. I can't possibly keep up with every single book my kids read!

As my kids get older, I find I'm relying on purchased guides or free stuff I find online. In fact, I will be planning for the next school year very soon. I only have a middle schooler and a high schooler left - my oldest is going off to college in the fall!

Anyway, I thought I'd take a moment to share 20 Free Literature Guides for Upper Elementary & Middle School. All of the following books are listed in alphabetical order and  have been read by at least one member of the family. The guides/questions I've written for my kids have stars on the left. The guides I found and used online have stars on the right. We've read the other books but haven't actually used the guides that I've linked to.

Click on book titles for study guide links. 

Click on images for amazon descriptions of each book.

*Links to my own study questions are probably broken since I'm transferring this post from WordPress. Just type what you are looking for in the search bar. :) Sorry for the inconvenience.

Literacy Musing Mondays March 27-April 1

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Welcome to Literacy Musing Mondays March 27-April 1

lmml-button-2

Taking a break from quotes and questions to bring you this wonderfully encouraging guest post by Becky Hastings. If you're a parent, I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did!

Literacy Musing Mondays March 27-April 1

Fill 'Em Up: Filling Your Kids with Truth

Inspirational Easter Storybooks + Hands-on Devotional & Activity

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  Inspirational Easter Storybooks

Inspirational Easter Storybooks

Isn't it fun to pull out seasonal and holiday picture books? I think so! My kids are older now, but these 2 books are a couple of my favorite Easter ones. Saving for grandkids (hopefully) one day. :)

The Mystery of History Volume 2 Resources: Third Quarter

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  The Mystery of History Volume II Resources Third Quarter

The Mystery of History

My 6th grader and 9th grader are both reading The Mystery of History Volume II this year. I absolutely love The Mystery of History curriculum and am trying to add in more extracurricular resources this time around since these two kiddos are older now. In this particular book in the series, there are only 28 weeks of scheduled lessons. That means we have 2 weeks per quarter to focus on extras. We choose to spend the last 2 weeks of each quarter on the extra stuff.

Resources

Because I no longer have children in elementary grades, these resources are targeted toward middle and high schoolers. My goal for extras is to find fun and interesting resources that are somewhat enjoyable, not ones that conjure up total mental drudgery. 🙂 I encourage my children to research topics of interest on their own, but since that doesn't always happen, I try to provide some resources that I either assign or let them choose from.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Non-dairy Banana-Mango Smoothie

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  Non dairy banana mango smoothie

Food just isn't as fun at 40. Can I get an amen?

A few inconvenient health issues are preventing me from being able to eat like my long-ago 20-something self. While I'm working with a naturopath to get my health back on track, I'm also experimenting with some changes on my own. For instance: I'm trying to cut back on dairy when I can. Hence this non-dairy smoothie. :)

It's surprisingly delicious and very simple, so I thought I would share.

Fantasy Book List for Ages 8-Teen

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  Fantasy Book List  

 Fantasy is one of my favorite genres, so naturally I couldn't help but choose these types of books to read aloud to my kids. I lOVED reading aloud, and my kids loved gathering around and listening. We've made such wonderful memories going on all kinds of "paper" adventures! 

I imagine anyone clicking on this post already knows what fantasy entails, but let me define anyway:

Per Wikipedia - "Fantasy is a fiction genre set in an imaginary universe, often but not always without any locations, events, or people from the real world. Most fantasy uses magic or other supernatural elements as a main plot element, theme, or setting. Magic and magical creatures are common in many of these imaginary worlds."

The Mystery of History Volume 2 Resources: Second Quarter

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The Mystery of History Resources

The Mystery of History

My 6th grader and 9th grader are both reading The Mystery of History Volume II this year. I absolutely love The Mystery of History curriculum and am trying to add in more extra curricular resources this time around since these two are older now. In this particular book in the series, there are only 28 weeks of scheduled lessons, so that means we have 2 weeks per quarter to focus on extras. We choose to spend the last 2 weeks of each quarter on extras.

Resources

Because I no longer have children in elementary grades, these resources are targeted toward middle and high schoolers. My goal for extras is to find fun and interesting resources that are somewhat enjoyable, not ones that conjure up total mental drudgery. 🙂

Books

We definitely didn't have time to get through all of these, but I found all of the following resources (books and DVDs) at our local library.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

New Year's Prayer for Three Things

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  New Year's Prayer for 3 Things

Desperate

I don't know about you, but I'm in desperate need of three things this year: motivation, will power, and focus.

I'm naturally a pretty task-oriented, get'er done kind of girl. I've noticed over the past few years, though, as I've slowly transitioned from mom of littles and middles to mom of tweens and teens that I'm having a difficult time finding my groove and flourishing.

Literacy Musing Mondays ~ Valentine Bingo {Free Printables}

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Valentine Bingo

{FREE PRINTABLES}
Valentine Bingo 

 I know Valentine's Day is a few weeks away, but I'm sharing now because I'm usually behind on blogging about holiday stuff. :) I've created this picture-based Valentine Bingo for 6 players.

Directions

  • Click on the links below to print your bingo cards. Each card includes the same pictures, but the pictures have been mixed up a bit.
  • Print one extra card so you can cut out each picture square.
  • Mix up the stack of picture squares each time you play Valentine Bingo.
  • Show players one picture at a time, and have each player mark the correct space with a piece of candy. :)
  • First player to mark 5 in a row wins!

Word for 2017 ~ Die

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  Word for 2017

Cheerful huh? But totally appropriate considering the 3 previous words that God gave to me.

Past Words

So, before I can jump into this year's word, I must go back and review the other words in order for die to make perfect sense.

Believe

Believe was the first word that God impressed upon my heart back in 2012. I prayed about receiving a specific word from the Lord because I didn't want it to just be the thing to do. I truly wanted the word to be from God and not drummed up from my own imagination. I wanted God to speak to me personally, but I also asked Him to help me to know for sure.

RED: the true story of RED RIDING HOOD {Free Discussion Questions}

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REd: the true story of RED RIDING HOOD  

Recently, I took my 11-year-old daughter and one of her friends through the book, Red: The true story of RED RIDING HOOD. We liked Rump: The true story of Rumpelstiltskin so much that I figured this story would be just as fun . . . and it was. LOVED it!

About the Book

Red, a character from Liesl's book, Rump, is pretty fearless. Except when it comes to magic and the thought of losing her Granny. When Red learns that her Granny is sick, she must brave the Woods alone in order to find a cure.

Red eventually meets up with a bubbly girl named Goldie who is on a quest of her own. Though not the most suitable companions, together, they decide to seek the treasures they so desperately want.

Red is forced to face her fear of magic as she and Goldie travel to dwarves' caverns, a magic well, and a castle inhabited by a shocking beast. All along the way, a mysterious wolf and a determined huntsman continue to cross the girls' path.

Who is friend; who is foe? It's hard to tell. One may even hold the key to the cure Red desires.

How far will Red go, and what price is she willing to pay to save her Granny?

What Happens When You Apply a Bentonite Clay & Apple Cider Vinegar Face Mask

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  Clay Mask 

 When I came across this post from Organic Christian Living, I thought I'd give this 2-ingredient face mask a try. I had both ingredients on hand, and who doesn't want detoxed skin and tightened pores?! 

So, here's what happened to my face when I applied a bentonite clay & apple cider vinegar face mask. Except for cropping, none of the pictures have been edited at all. (To be clear, my hair is never this greasy. ;) I put coconut oil in it before I applied my mask.) 

I HATE no-makeup selfies, or any of my selfies for that matter, but here ya go up close and way too personal:

Fine Lines and Fat Rolls {New Year Blues}

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fine lines and fat rolls

New Year Blues

As the new year dawns, I'm pondering fine line lines and fat rolls.

Sounds promising, doesn't it?

At this stage in life, I'm longing for fabulous 40 but am settling for frumpy 40.

Why?

Because chocolate. (And other stuff, too.)

Literacy Musing Mondays ~ Songs of Wonder

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  baby jesus

Christmas is a time of sheer wonder for me. I often wonder what Jesus' earthly life was like. 

What was it like leaving a throne and entering a womb? 

What was it like trading riches for rags, taking on flesh, living as Immanuel, God with us, yet being rejected by so many, even those who claimed to serve You. 

What was it like living among humans, perfectly loving sinners without condoning sin? 

I wonder what it was like for Mary, Joseph, and even Jesus' siblings. 

Have you ever wondered things like this? 

I'm so glad that that there are songwriters who've captured the essence of this wonder of mine. :) I know there are lots more songs, but here are three songs of wonder that I enjoy listening to each year.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Literacy Musing Mondays ~ Baking not Writing {Link-up}

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 I spent most of the weekend baking and cleaning and cleaning and baking. So, not much writing going on. Here's some proof of my baking busyness, though:
  Christmas bakingWe have our Christmas baking staples like Fantasy Fudge, Prize Sugar Cookies, and Oreo Cookie Balls. But, we also like to experiment with new treats, too. My daughter wanted to make red velvet crinkle cookies, and even though I'm not a red velvet fan, they didn't taste too bad. 

I'm SO sad I can't make and eat my amazing peppermint bark popcorn anymore. :( (It's a BIG no, no for diverticulosis.) I'll be making almond butter muddy buddies instead, which is just as yummy. :)

Sometimes I make gingerbread cookies but not every year. I always forget how exhausting marathon baking is. Whew. 

 Have you all done any baking yet? What are your must-have Christmas treats?

Literacy Musing Mondays ~ Stocking Stuffer Ideas

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Welcome to Literacy Musing Mondays where you can share all of your literacy related posts! I can't believe another year is already wrapping up!

Only 20 more days until Christmas. :)

My brain is cramped with all things holiday. And right now, baking lists and stocking stuffer ideas are dancing around in my head like happy little elves rockin' around a sparkly Christmas tree. I'm by NO means creating a comprehensive list. I'm jotting down a few things that we like or have enjoyed in the past.
  Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Ornament Ideas for Soda Lovers & Animal Lovers {2016 Ornament Reveal}

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  Christmas Ornament Ideas

Tradition

Every year I give ornaments to my kids before we decorate our Memory Tree. It's tradition. The first present they open to kick off the holiday season. I have a lot of fun picking out these ornaments since I try to find ones that have something to do with my kids' personal interests.

Soda Lovers' Ornament Idea

soda ornaments


 I know it's not the cool thing to admit that your kids eat and drink junk, but I've got a tween and teens now who buy their own treats. All three of my kids love to slake their thirst for sugar with soda, especially the Mountain Dew kind. During my super specific soda ornament search, I found these neat, 3-dimensional, soda star ornaments on etsy made by TexasTieDyeGuy.

Literacy Musing Mondays ~ Christmas Fantasy Novel: Kringle

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 Good Monday morning! Hope everyone had a delicious and restful Thanksgiving. :)

 As November fades to December and houses glitter and sparkle with holiday decor, I have the perfect Christmas read-aloud for you and your kids to enjoy around the hearth! Tony Abbott's Kringle brims with all of the wonderful elements that capture fantasy lovers' hearts. Dwarves, goblins, elves, flying reindeer, and all things good vs. evil abound.

 

  Young Kringle begins as an orphan during a horribly dark time when goblins kidnapped children and forced them to work the mines below ground. With the help of little elves, Kringle fulfills his destiny to free the children and rid the world of evil.

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