Friday, August 31, 2012

First Little House Link Up


When I was growing up I remember getting to watch the reruns on TBS of  Little House on the Prairie every afternoon Monday - Friday. If you can believe this, as a child I never read the book series. I know! What was I thinking, did I live in a black hole? Now fast forward many years and I am just fascinated with the whole Laura Ingalls experience. Three years ago I read aloud the entire series to Grace and we both got to share in the great experience of wading through the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I think Grace's favorites were Farmer Boy and when Laura met and eventually married Almanzo Wilder. When Grace was even younger and learning to read better she really enjoyed reading through the Little House Series of picture books. The illustrations are just wonderful. Now we have moved on to something different. It is my plan to purchase, when funds are available, each television season of the Little House show. We already watched the first season through Netflix but I really want them in my own library. So far we have purchased season two. 
The Little House Series has also inspired me to do a lot of things differently around the household. We now raise chickens for eggs and in the next couple of weeks will be butchering some for the freezer. I make butter from the cream of bartered milk, crochet, quilt, make many more meals from scratch, and lots of gardening and preserving. I think most of the population could actually learn a great amount of knowledge from the books and inspiration. Grace still makes references Laura Ingalls and some of the things we learned through the books. This year in our Notgrass America the Beautiful book there was actually a whole chapter about Laura and her life. Grace was fascinated to learn that her grandparents were alive at the same time as Laura Ingalls. Of course Laura was very old at the time and not famous yet. Be sure to visit The Usual Mayhem to link up your stories, etc. about Little House On the Prairie.

My View at Lunch

This is my view at lunch each day. Three dogs trying to mooch something good of their momma.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

TOS Review For the Molly Crew - Everyday Cooking


PhotobucketOur family has taken a journey over the past two years of eating better and exercising. One key element of eating a healthy diet is cooking with whole foods. I was very excited to be offered the opportunity to review Everyday Cooking through the Molly Crew. When I received the product, I was not disappointed. Most of the recipes included in this e-book are simple but delicious and made economically with whole food ingredients in mind. To view sample recipes you can view Everyday Cooking Recipes. Recipes are broken down into the following categories:  Appetizers, Bread and Grains, Main Dishes, Soups and Sides, Desserts and Snacks. Something I really enjoyed in the back of the e-book was basic measurements and helps. I love to bake but cooking takes more effort from me. Some of the dishes we tried were big hits with the family; mac and cheese, basic muffin mix, and Doritos Casserole.  I also enjoyed her pages of step by step instructions for baking bread. As soon as my oven is repaired it will be next on my list to prepare. I plan to use this as one of my go to recipe books. Great for new ideas to take to gatherings and socials. Everyday Cooking is available as an e-book for $14.00 or a coil bound with glossy cover for $17.00. Everyday Homemaking has many other products available, so visit their website and take a look. 

This was Grace's favorite. Mac and Cheese.

This is hubby's favorite, Doritos Casserole.

To view what other crew members think about the products they reviewed visit TOS Review Crew.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product at no cost to me in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.




Sunday, August 26, 2012

Youth Fiction Series Favorites

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia) Little House on the Prairie (Full Color)Percy Jackson and the Olympians Paperback Boxed Set (Books 1-3)

The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus, Book 1)    Peter and the Starcatchers Box Set (The Starcatchers)Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 (Book 1)

The Hunger Games (Book 1)  Divergent (Book 1)  The Maze Runner (Book 1)  (Maze Runner Trilogy)

City of Bones (Mortal Instruments)  Matched

Recently I have kind of given up on adult fiction. Nothing really good out there these days. So I have turned to youth fiction. The first seven I have listed have been read by Grace and myself but the last four I will have her wait till 16 or so because of some adult like themes. I just finished the second book in the Divergent series and I really like it. But hands down the one book that a lot of people may be overlooking is Michael Vey the Prisoner of Cell 25. The second book in this series just came out and I hope to purchase it in the next couple of weeks. I read a wide variety of book, fiction and non-fiction, if I don't have at least 2-3 books going at once something is wrong. I definitely need to read right before bed to relax and get in sleeping mode. If you haven't checked out some of these please give them a try, they won't disappoint.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up: The One With The Banana Pepper Incidence

If you want to know about the banana pepper incident first read here then here. I never want to relive that day. Anyway, the rest of the week was pretty uneventful. This week started another extracurricular activity for Grace, Anime Club, which will meet once a month. Only two people showed up yesterday but she is hoping to get the word out more and have more kids join up with them. The fine arts cooperative went great this week. Grace found out she will be the unicorn in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and she also has four new scripts to learn for Acts of Faith. In dance class they started learning the waltz, which means Grace had her first boy dance partner. Fine arts cooperative on Tuesday and Thursday is probably Grace's favorite days of the week. She is not very academic and would probably be labeled a struggling learner, but in choir, acting, and art her true skills shine. After six years of struggling through academics we have come to a decision to do what we can and not worry about the rest. Focus on her strengths, not her weaknesses.

All of the main subjects were covered this week. Two of our favorites that were worked on this week was a read aloud book and science unit study that we are reviewing for TOS Review Crew. Can't really comment on the name yet but look for future review posts about the two products in September. The product I would like to highlight this week that we used is Language Lessons from Queen Home School. Grace really likes this product because of the variety of lessons and the length which is very short. So far she has done copywork, picture study, limericks, poetry study, and conjunctions. The variety ensures that she doesn't get bored and the length of the lesson helps with the whining.

This week because of a busy schedule and a whole day I lost because of my hands being burned we didn't make it to Jazzercize. But we did two days of P.E. with another review product and walked three times.

To view what other families were doing this week visit Weird UnSocialized Homeschoolers.

Friday, August 24, 2012

TOS Review - Golden Prairie Press - Ten Girls From History E-Book

PhotobucketPhotobucketThe author of Ten Girls From History, Amy Puetz, is a home school graduate that found herself changing up careers very early on in her life due to chronic illness. Like she says on her website, "When God shuts one door another is opened". Due to this huge change that happened in her life, we get the blessings of her passion for history. For this review our family was offered Ten Girls From History in an e-book format that I read on my computer as a read aloud. Grace's main complaint is that each girls' story was not broken down into chapters. We like to finish a chapter before stopping. Each story, in my opinion, is too long for one sitting. Ten Girls From History is 238 pages, is recommended for ages 10 and up, and retails for $15.00. Currently Amy is having a back to school sale where the book can be purchased for $12.00 until September 1st. According to Amy's last email her book is now available as a PDF, MOBI, EPUB, audio book, and a printed book. Each chapter is about a special girl's life and accomplishments from history. Here is a list of who you will find in the book:

  • Louisa May Alcott
  • Clara Barton
  • Molly Pitcher
  • Cofachiqui
  • Madline DeVercheres
  • Dorothy Quincy
  • Ida Lewis
  • Elizabeth Van Lew
  • Virgina Reed
  • Clara Morris
As I have mentioned before we tend to use a lot of books as read alouds so we can enjoy the experience together. Our favorites of the Ten Girls From History were Louisa May Alcott (we just love Little Women), Cofachiqui (found very interesting her dealings with DeSoto), and Clara Morris (because of Grace's aspirations with acting). The website states, "Girls of all ages will enjoy meeting these ten remarkable girls from the past, and parents will appreciate the godly examples found in these pages. Both inspirational and entertaining, this book will bring history alive for your family". All of the young girls that Amy chose are very interesting. We found it fascinating to take a peek back into their childhoods and see how they grew up along with their family life. Other books available that crew members reviewed were Heroines of the Past Bible Study, Costumes with Character, and Uncover Exciting History. Please check out Amy's website Golden Prairie Press and check out all the great history items she has available.  To view all the opinions and reviews visit the TOS Review Crew

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product at no cost to me in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Update on Banana Pepper Burns

Okay, that was some of the most awful pain I have ever been through. I literally tried everything to get the stinging and burning to go away. Soaking in ice water, milk, and vinegar. Making a paste of baking soda, applying aloe, and taking two pain pills. It boiled down to me soaking my hand in a bowl of water for the first 3-4 hours then switching off to a frozen coke bottle to hold. I literally went to bed last night with a frozen coke bottle of water at my side and my hands holding it. I finally fell off to sleep at about 1 a.m. and when I woke back up at 2:30 the pain was gone. So heed my warning, when cutting up peppers wear rubber gloves. The Internet says latex gloves will not work, sometimes the juice gets through the latex. This morning my hands are not stinging or burning but still a little sore. I have to teach a puppetry arts class today so I was a little worried. Looking forward to a productive day, now that I can use my hands again.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Word To the Wise

This afternoon I cut up about 30 banana peppers and toward the end my fingers started burning. Now, nearly 6 hours later, after a pain pill and lots of soaking in ice cold water they are still burning and swollen. Evidently I am very sensitive to banana pepper juice. A word to the wise - use rubber gloves. I will never touch banana peppers again.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Drying Potatoes

Yesterday we spent four hours peeling, cutting, and blanching potatoes. After drying in the dehydrator for 14 hours we now have 7 quarts of dried potatoes in the shape of small french fries or hash browns. Hubby's go to dinner is always eggs and potatoes. Hoping to dry some more tomatoes this week. We did not get the harvest that we did last year though. Looking forward to planting our fall garden this week. Lots of greens and maybe another round of potatoes. Last year we were able to get in two plantings and harvests of potatoes because we had such a milk winter.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bartering and Gifts

Fresh raw cow's milk
We have friends with a cow that had a calf about 4 weeks ago. She is getting 6 gallons a day. We were able to trade some produce for our garden for some milk. This really comes in handy, we are running through 3 gallons of organic milk a day which translates to $17.00 a week in just milk. For a while we might be able to continue to trade each week which would be a big blessing.
Home made butter
So obviously today I took the cream off the top and made some butter. So easy!
Mason Jars

A co-worker of hubby moved and needed to give all the mason jars away. We got these free and clear.

A new to us printer. This also came from work and will print 15,000 copies from one set of ink cartridges. It also came with two replacement cartridges for each of the four colors. To do a total replacement would retail for $1000.00. Tonight I will start printing everything I have downloaded and saved in documents from my time so far on the review crew. 

A Really Good Post

I know I am preaching to choir here, but I read a really good post on The Homestead Revival blog today about food prices and steps to take in the future. I would recommend reading it and to start really looking at what is coming with food prices and the economy. Visit Homestead Revival to check out the post.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Vintage Remedies Saturday and a Photo

I forgot to take a picture for this week's project so you will just have to take me at my word. Chapter 3 was about healthy drink choices. So far I think this is the one chapter that Grace really got a lot out of. Recently we took all soda out of the house and have tried to replace it with healthier choices. I do allow us to get soda when we eat out, but 9 times out of 10 I still choose something else because of my severe acid reflux. This chapter includes many types of drink recipes to make at home. After Jazzercize on Friday we stopped at the store and picked up a bottle of carbonated water to mix with a can of concentrated 100 percent fruit juice to make a fizzy type soda. The biggest problem was the fizzy doesn't stay very long so eventually it turns into juice again. The chapter also includes recipes for fruit punch, lemonade, and a natural sports-aide drink. Next week's chapter looks like healthy snacks.

Sorry to keep posting pics of Grace's drawings, but I am a proud mom and that is just what moms do.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up: Co-op Week

This week we finished up Who is God? from Apologia, and loved it. Due to tight finances I won't be able to purchase the next book in the series until next month. I looked through our shelves to find something to use for daily devotions and came up with Scripture Adventures Acts of the Apostles. I received it sometime last year as a free download. Grace is always complaining that we haven't spent enough time in the New Testament, so now we are.

Most of this week was consumed with preparation and teaching for Creative Christian Cooperative. A fine arts cooperative started by me and a close friend. We were so blessed with 45 students signing up. Tuesday for Grace was art and drama, while Thursday was choir and dance. I taught a puppetry arts  and art journaling class. Grace also started back with her traveling drama ministry team, Acts of Faith.

We continued with our Vintage Remedies book and read about healthy alternatives to drink in place of soda and sugary drinks. Grace picked up a couple of new books from the library for independent reading. I have become a little obsessed with youth fiction lately. Currently I am reading the Divergent Series, Immortals Series, and not so patiently waiting to order the new Micheal Vey book which came out this week. If you are not aware of this series by Richard Paul Evans, you definitely need to check it out.

Exercise fell by the wayside for both me and Grace this week due to the cooperative and learning a new schedule. Although we did get to Jazzercise two morning and walked one night. Hopefully this weekend we will jump back on the wagon.

To check out what other families did this week in their homeschool be sure to visit The Weekly Wrap-Up.

This Week In Co-op

They just kept coming. First drama class with almost 40 kids involved. We are accustomed to working with 15 - 24. What a blessing. If everyone decides to stay for next semester the group will be divided in to two groups. Possibly elementary and high school.
Art 3rd - 6th
This was my art journaling class. I was so impressed with how well behaved everyone was in class. My class has 16 students. Most of the kids I know from drama, home school group or church, with a few newbies.
Art 7th - 12th
This is Grace's art class. The older kids totaled almost 30 so we definitely had to split them up and add another class. This semester will be a mixed media class and art history.
Me, My Partner, and Dance Teacher
My partner in crime is the woman in the middle and on the left is our dance instructor. The kids just love her, she is so much fun.
Dance 7th - 12th
This photo is of the older dance group from yesterday. If you can believe we ended up with close to 20 teens in this class with at least 9 of them being boys. They had a blast, until they had to partner up to start learning the waltz. lol. But everyone is taking it in stride like a professional.

TOS Review - Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers


PhotobucketMr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers is the first in a series of books by Douglas Bond. The website describes the book ...."tells the story of two teens who, while visiting England, are befriended by an elderly English gentlemen called Mr. Pipes. Through the relationship they learn about famous British hymn writers. They also learn about the value of traditional worship and praise". The suggested grade level for this book is 7th - 10th . In our family we used this book as a read aloud. Often times we do this because I don't want to miss out on a good book and we get to share some time together with a great story. Many subjects are discussed in the book that could be educational as well as enjoyable. This would actually be a real treasure for families using the Charlotte Mason Method of education. Some subjects to pull out for further study would be English geography, Nature Study, hymn study and English history. Something I found very delightful was the bond and conversations between the teens and Mr. Pipes and how interested the teens were about God and religious matters. A relationship between the old and young is just something you don't see a lot of these days and it was nice to see it represented in this book. The only thing that Grace didn't like was that the chapters were long and sometimes hard to get through in one sitting.  For the purposes of this review we downloaded the ebook version. Please visit Christian Liberty Press to download this ebook which retails for $8.79, you won't be disappointed.

Go see what other TOS Reviewers think by clicking on the banner below or visiting TOS Review Crew.



Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product at no cost to me in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

TOS Review - I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be an Atheist


First, I need to get right out there and say that Apologia is one of my favorite companies. We have used quite a few of their products in the past. When I was offered the chance to review I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist with the corresponding workbook, I jumped at it. For the purposes of this review I read it as an adult and followed along with the workbook.
I grew up going to church and believing in God doesn't require a lot of thought, I just do, but there are many people who question everything and don't believe. This book is for them or for you to learn how to articulate why you believe and have the facts to prove your point. I will admit that some of the science information made my head spin and I will need to read parts of it again to better understand. I did not study logic in school so some of the logic arguments flew right over my head. So far we have not chosen to study logic in our home because I have a struggling learner. Students studying in a classical method would do well with this curriculum, in my opinion. The corresponding workbook from Apologia really makes the lessons pop. Without the workbook I would not of understood some of the lessons that were presented in the book as well. This is going to sound weird but I enjoyed the workbook from Apologia more than the actual reading material in I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. This is definitely a course of study for high school students. The softcover book, I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist retails for $16.00 and The Companion Workbook sold in a spiral bound softcover retails for $33.00. Here is how it all comes together:

Read the appointed chapter from I Don't Have to Be an Atheist.

Hook Section of workbook - This will have information reminding you of what you read in the chapter and will have questions to warm up your brain.

Book Section - This section takes you deeper with testing your knowledge and comprehension of the chapter.

Look Section - This section has research assignments to further your understanding of the material.

Took Section - This last section will summarize the chapter and help apply the studied material to your life. 


The authors recommend taking two to three weeks to read each chapter and complete the study questions and assignments. This means the material would be finished in less than nine months. We do plan on using this in the 11th or 12th grade with our daughter to prepare her to answer any questions that might come her way. Once I finished with the review material my husband snatched it right up to us for his morning devotions. He loves this type of Bible materials plus he is going through the program so that he can help Grace with it in the future.  In the Bible we are called upon to answer all questions and know how to defend our faith. This book will definitely prepare you for that mission. 

Find out what other TOS Reviewers think of this product by visiting TOS Review Crew.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product at no cost to me in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Down Memory Lane

Grace in the middle as regular size Alice
Grace as the silly daughter of the sheriff in Robin Hood
Most recent with Grace as Bagheera in Jungle Book.
Theatre has become such a huge part of our lives. We would not know what to do with ourselves if we didn't have a show to prepare for twice a year. Today was the first drama meeting for The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Waiting to hear which part Grace will be playing this time. Yes, we are drama geeks!

First Day Of Co-op

Today was our first day of Creative Christian Cooperative. My art journaling class went very well with 16 well behaved third - sixth graders. We ended up with 40 kids signing up for the drama program. All the kids seemed to have a great time today. Next up Thursday with puppetry arts, tone chimes, choir and dance. I am exhausted. I will write more about the first week of co-op this weekend.

Explaining Our Learning Lifestyle

I came across a post today that really puts our learning lifestyle on the map. Please visit and take a look Unschooling Lifestyle.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up - My First One

Weekly Wrap-Up is hosted by Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers, one of my all time favorite blogs. I have finally gotten up the nerve to join in. So here goes:

One of our favorite subjects to study is history. This year we went with something a little different from The Notgrass Company America The Beautiful.This week's study was about Homesteading. Grace sketched a full diagram of what a homestead might be like with a house, barn, well, crops, fencing, roads, shed, livestock, orchard, and garden. She also wrote a letter to a relative about traveling to a homestead by wagon train in the 1800s. 

I also found a real gem through another blog friend. As some of you know my daughter suffers from anxiety and it really dampers some events, etc. that she really would like to attend but feels to nervous to go. JoJo Tobais from Art of Eloquence has a product out to help with social anxiety, Say What You Mean: Overcoming Social Anxiety. We started using this on Thursday and I really feel like it will be a blessing, at least to know that there are other people in this world that feel like she does. 

Bettering our health has become a primary goal in our lives. We attended Jazzercise classes three times this week and have started another program that I am reviewing for TOS Review Crew for physical education (review to follow in a few weeks) which we did twice. On the other end of the spectrum with healthy eating on Friday was our Vintage Remedies Day. We learned about more whole foods and how to make ricotta cheese.

Reading is always a sore subject around our household because it is very difficult to find books that Grace will actually stay interested in and finish. A few months ago I joined the book club through Lamplighter Publishing and she is really enjoying them. Last week she finished Struck by Lightening and started Amy and Her Brothers. 

Next week our drama ministry group Acts of Faith will start back up and we are adding a praise band to the mix. Grace has done some practicing of her new bongos this week to participate. We also helped with our church's VBS Sunday through Wednesday in the evenings. Watched the movie Mirror Mirror and played lots with Mr. Ferret.  As always Grace sketched for hours on end and worked on her computer with anime characters. Looking forward to more classes starting back next week and meeting up with friends. 

To see what other families are doing with there weeks be sure to visit The Weekly Wrap-Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Till next week keep it in the middle of the road folks!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Little House Link Up

The Usual Mayhem

The Usual Mayhem Blog will start hosting Little House Link Up on August 31st. Not sure how we will be participating but at least I have a few weeks to come up with something. We read the books a couple of years ago but just recently started ordering the television series on dvd. If you would like to take the button below, please do and spread the word. You can find more information at The Usual Mayhem.
<div align="center"><a href="" title="The Usual Mayhem"><img src="" alt="The Usual Mayhem" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Cute Photo to Share

I took this photo two seconds to late. The pug (Daisy) had her paw on top of puppy's(poodle) paw and looked like they were holding hands. Do you see how Daisy has the stuffed animal in her mouth - she does this all the time. Treats the toys like a pacifier and just sits there contentedly with it in her mouth. Puppy is the baby of the family. Her real name is Angel because she was a Christmas present to Grace almost 4 years ago, but puppy stuck more. I love that dog like she was my third child. lol.

Vintage Remedies Saturday

This week's chapter is about making your food at home. Cheese, bread, and yogurt were the three main projects included. We chose to make cheese. Ricotta cheese to be exact. Finding non-homogenized milk may be though for some families but we have a local creamery that sales it. We plan on using the ricotta to make lasagna on Sunday. So far I have really enjoyed this book and we are using it mainly for life skills and teaching healthy habits. Vintage Remedies would really work well for a small co-op.