Monday, September 30, 2013

Coconut Flour and Muffins

Baking with gluten free flours has definitely created a learning curve for me. I love baking, but this was a brand new ball game for me to learn. Using a prepackaged all purposed gluten free mix has worked for chocolate chip cookies and I actually like those a lot. I enjoy muffins for breakfast and really miss them as one of my breakfast go to foods. Yesterday I decided it was time to try again. I had previously ordered a large container of coconut flour, so I started with searching out recipes for muffins made from coconut flour. I came across this one, and so far I have been pleased enough with it. Not overjoyed, just please enough. They still came out a bit dry, but warmed with some butter and I can make it work. If anyone out there has some other recipes for coconut flour and I would be interested in seeing them.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


For the past two years Grace has been involved with a traveling drama ministry team named Acts of Faith. Originally the group was 11 members but a couple moved away and one went to college. Then the group asked two new members to join and we were a strong group of 9. Now the leader, my newly married friend, will be moving in the next six months or so and two more members could not continue on with this year with another off to college and one working as a missionary in Africa for three months. To make a long story short last night was their last performance. This group has been a large part of our lives and we will miss it very much. Especially the strong ties the remaining members have with one another. Grace has always been the youngest in the group starting as a 7th grader and now finishing up as a 9th grader. As much as we will miss the fellowship of the group Grace is ready to move on to other challenges.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up

This past week was fairly tame compared to the previous week. Thank you to everyone that send prayers and good wishes for my dad. He is at home and still recovering. He has multiple problems and will hopefully continue to improve as each day passes. We found ourselves playing a bit of catch up most the week as far as school goes.

Saturday we traveled to Lawrenceville  for Japan Fest. This is a big cultural event put on each year with Japanese food, vendors, organizations, and demonstrations. The girls had a great time and then her friend came and stayed Saturday night with us as well as going to church with us on Sunday.

I think I am going to do the wrap up a little differently this go around and break it down to subjects.

Current Events - The first thing we do every morning is watch CNN Student News. Grace loves this program and just can't get started in the morning without watching it. So far all we do is watch it and discuss but eventually I would like to start utilizing it more thoroughly to round out a credit for Current Events. We are also reviewing God's World News Magazine for high schoolers. I am including this in our Current Events material and will be writing a review for this soon.

Personal Development - We continue reading 25 Truths and High School Prep Genius every Tuesday morning before Cooperative. This week was about study skills and learning how to read for learning as well as taking notes.

Science - Finally finished Wesley the Owl and Grace wrote a paper about the author and book. We continue to log birds into our bird log and watch the new feeding station we put together. Hoping to go on a larger bird watching expedition soon.

History - This week Grace learned about Mohammad from her Famous Men of the Middle Ages. She read the chapter and answered some comprehension questions. She also filled out a chart comparing Islam and Christianity. Our current go along book for this section is The Door In The Wall.

Other Readings - Grace is reading The Lost Lamb from Lamplighter Publishing. I am reading aloud the new Michael Vey book and hoping to finish it fairly quickly because sometime in October we will be receiving the new Percy Jackson book and will want to jump to that one. We are also almost finished with Glaucia from Salem Ridge Press for early church history.

English - We do lots of stuff for our English credit each week. This week we did a couple of days of King Alfred's English. Again anyone who is interested in the origin of the English language really needs to get this book and read it. Marie's Words flashcards are utilized every day. More review products and reviews are on the way for a grammar and spelling city. Grace also attended her Creative Writing class with the Cooperative and is currently studying different literary terms.

Math - This week found Grace learning how to multiply and divide with negative numbers. 

Exercise - Zumba, Just Dance, and stationary bike.

Drama - Grace continues to memorize her lines for Twelfth Night and she had to do a lot of relearning her previous lines for skits from Acts of Faith. Their last performance as a group for Acts of Faith is tonight. This group will not meet anymore due to the leader moving soon and many of our members graduating and moving on to college. This is bittersweet for everyone involved.

Probably Grace's most fun this week was had by attending the AWA Convention yesterday. Grace is very passionate about cosplaying, anime and manga art. 

This is some character from an anime book or show, not sure which. She is wearing a black wig even though it kind of looks like her current hair cut. They didn't get home last night until very late and were all exhausted. Now they set their sights on the next big convention in May.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ch Ch Changes

There is one thing we can always count on. Change. Our little Fine Arts Cooperative has grown since we first began almost two years ago. It has taken over our lives, but we secretly love it. Drama, music, choir, art, literature, and now even some science and history thrown in the mix. My partner in crime is one of my best friends. We started this endeavor together and now I am going to have to mentor another friend to take that position. My partner has recently remarried and will be moving five hours away. She is very happy so I am very happy for her but will miss her terribly. My partner has always headed up the drama department and I have assisted. Well now I must pull myself up by the bootstraps and take over high school drama and my other friend whom I am mentoring will be taking over elementary drama. We are both excited about this but also a little anxious. Will the students still be so excited about drama with another teacher coming on board. Will we be able to handle it. All questions that come this fall we will find the answers to. Also because I will be tied up with a drama class that typically takes up to 1 1/2 hours - that will take me away from 1-2 classes I was scheduled to teach in the elementary area. This means recruiting more teachers.

Currently we have 65 students enrolled for this semester and 5-8 more families interested in joining up next semester. How big do we let this become? The Cooperative has exploded. Me and my soon to be new partner feel very strongly about a place in our community for this Fine Arts Cooperative. Not only for the students but for spreading God's love in the community through music, art, and dramatic performances.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A New Old Author

Last year we were members of the book club program through Lamplighter Publishing. We loved getting these quality classic books each month. The only problem was I really needed to stop spending the extra money on them and we had over 14 books that we hadn't read yet. So I stopped the subscription a few months back and now we are trying to make our way through the stack. 

Grace has already found an author that she really likes. This author is slightly below her grade level in reading but they are stories from long ago and are a worthwhile read. Each of the above books were written by Christoph von Schmid. He was a popular author of children' stories back in the 1800s. The Little Lamb was published in 1848 and The White Dove in 1841. He started out as a priest and was eventually asked to educate children. During this time of educating children he started writing stories to educate them in Christian principles. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Japan Fest

Today was the much anticipated trip to Gwinnett for Japan Fest. Grace and her friend have been looking forward to this for a month or so. You see, Grace is fascinated with all things Asian. She loves Japanese culture and art but also loves Korean pop music. Gwinnett is near Atlanta and every year they hold a big cultural event called Japan Fest. This is the first year that we have ever gone. In the above picture is a drum group performing. Loud but really entertaining.

Lots of neat picture opportunities. 

We also saw a weapons demonstration, ate some Japanese food and just looked at a lot of vendors. Lots of neat Japanese snacks, art, toys, etc.

We got there right when the doors opened at 10:00a.m. As the day wore on it got more and more crowded and it was pouring rain outside. By 2:00 it was just too crowded to walk around so we high tailed it home. The drive was exhausting because of incredibly hard rain. We made it safely home and Grace was happy that she got to go.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up - The Week Full of Everything

This week has really been busy, tiring, and playing catch up. My dad was put in the hospital last Thursday and finally came home Tuesday afternoon. So far so good on that front. He has many specialists he will need to continue seeing over the next few weeks to get him back on track.

Saturday found me and Grace attending my niece's bridal shower. Lots of great food and seeing family and friends we had not seen in awhile. Great fellowship. Also the house that the shower was held was just incredible. Imagine a rustic looking log cabin home but modern. 

Sunday I attended church as Grace wasn't feeling well upon waking. With her being on three different types of medication, you never know from one moment to the next what she is going to feel like. Our church as been without a pastor for a long time and this Sunday we had a pastor come and preach that might be a good candidate to fill the position. They are a homeschooling family which makes it quite interesting to me. After church and lunch we both headed to the hospital for a visit with my dad.

Monday we did a little bit of school in the morning. We were invited to join a new small group that was forming from another church in town. This small group was made up of other homeschooling mothers. All the kids played outside while the mothers talked and decided how the small group would work. It was very enjoyable and I think with it only happening twice a month we will continue to participate. After dinner me and Grace attended a Zumba toning class.

Tuesday was of course Cooperative day. In the morning Grace worked on some personal development materials and corrected some missed algebra problems. Acts of Faith met after Cooperative to practice for a performance that will take place in two weeks. By the time we reached home we were both exhausted and I declared no school for Wednesday and maybe even Thursday.

On Wednesday we attended a birthday party. It was to be a swimming party but the temps decided to dip a little too much for swimming. 

On Thursday we did a little school work focusing mostly on review products. Currently we are reviewing Bridgeway English, God's World News Magazine, and VocabularySpelling City. We also set up our bird feeding station for her ornithology science class. Looking forward to seeing many birds once they actually find the food. Grace rode her stationary bike and I went on a long walk.

This brings us to today which is Friday. Some school work planned but not a lot. Again we are working on our review products and catching up on some writing assignments. It has been nice to kind of cut back on the school work over the past few days and just take a breath. 

I would have to say that our favorite thing for this week would have to be getting Michael Vey Battle of The Ampere. This is the third book in the series and we have waited almost a year for it to come out. If you are a fan of youth fiction this is a good time of the year to be a reader. Next month the new book from Rick Riordan comes out, which we have already pre-ordered and sometime in October the last book of Divergent will be out. 

I also posted a review for a really fun game that our family has enjoyed this week and you might want to check it out here - The Presidential Game.

Tomorrow we will be waking up early and leaving to go to Japan Fest. I am quite sure that will be Grace's favorite thing for next week.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Setting Up a Bird Feeding Station

I have already mentioned a few times in the past couple of months about our study of birds this year for science. I created a year long study of ornithology on somewhat of a high school level. Some of our lab or hands on experience will come from charting what birds are attracted to what seed as well as some bird watching and logging time. Today we set up are birding area. Luckily we live in a very wooded area. With all the tree cover we gets lots of birds and once the leaves fall will be able to see a lot more of them that are currently hiding in the trees. Birds we typically see at our feeders are blue jays, cardinals, nuthatches, black capped chickadees, crows, hawks, sparrows, woodpeckers, and finches. We went ahead and put out some thistle but I am pretty sure all the finches have hit the road for warmer pastures. I haven't seen one of my golden finches in a few weeks. Although we don't see those down here anyway, those are seen on the open road in the fields when I am walking. Also on walks we can see blue herons, blue birds, buntings, and barn swallows. So far the squirrels have already found the feeders. I was hoping the squirrels would be satisfied with the corn on the ground in the back yard for the chickens. That seems to be where they all hang out. We will keep everyone posted on what we actually get to attract and see. It will probably take anywhere from a few days to a couple of week for the birds to figure out it is there.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

TOS Review - The Presidential Game

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To me politics and elections are very confusing. As a student I didn't truly understand all the ins and outs of running a campaign and how a politician actually got elected. Then adulthood came and every four years I would go cast my vote, then watch the news coverage of who was winning. The graphics on the screen clued me into who was winning, by the color in red or blue state on the map of the United States Of course this won't help Grace at all if I don't know this stuff. I had always planned to wait until 11th or 12th grade, when she needed a government credit to relearn and teach her this material. Well, all that changed when I was asked to review The Presidential Game through the TOS Review Crew.

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When our family was chosen for this review I was very excited but also a little trepadatious. My long time readers know that Grace is very leary of all things academic. This even includes fun board games. So when the game arrived in the mail I was apprehensive with presenting it to her. Hoping it wouldn't be the same old, "Do we have to do that, play that, etc.". I was pleasantly surprised with how much she enjoyed the game and even asked on her own for an immediate rematch. I was quite stunned with how competitive she became and got so into the game. I should probably replace the word "stunned" with "ecstatic". As a mom with a child that is not motivated by much, when something comes along that ignites a spark, I tend to get excited about it.

The Presidential Game retails for $35.00 and is recommended for children 11 years and older. Grace is 14 years old and was able to comprehend the instructions and game play almost from the beginning. There was a slight learning curve for the first 3-5 plays in the first game.

The Presidential Game's purpose is to teach students how the electoral college works and ultimately how to win a campaign to become president. The game comes with a beautiful United States game board, dice, blue and red chips, fundraiser cards, score pad, and a code to use the online Electoral Webmap. According to the instructions the object of the game is:

"To win the Presidential election by capturing at least 270 of the 538 electoral votes."

Every time we played the game it came down to battles over the states that offered the most electoral votes. This opened many a discussion about how politicians would be doing the same as us in the game. Campaigning and fund raising in those states the most. The name of the game for us would always be to win California, Texas, Florida, and New York. Once we won one of those states, then we had to work hard to hold onto it; just like the Presidential candidates.

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Our family really loved this game and it will be added to our shelf of games for future get togethers and family nights. I am trying to figure out a way to incorporate it into a class at my cooperative and create an entire class that revolves around the game. I think it is that fun. Plus you are learning in the process.

Please go and visit The Presidential Game website to check out all the fun you could be having.

Also visit this TOS Review Crew to see what other families thought about this product.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

School is Canceled

At least for tomorrow and Thursday. I am plumb tuckered out. Between my dad being in the hospital from last Thursday until today in a town one hour away up to Cooperative classes today, I am pooped. We had a bridal shower for my niece on Saturday in another town in the other direction another hour away, visits to the hospital, church, a new small group that meet for homeschool mothers yesterday in the afternoon, Cooperative classes today and Acts of Faith practice tonight. Gone from 1:15 this afternoon until 9:00 tonight. Tomorrow a birthday party in the afternoon. Grace said she wants to read her science book, Wesley the Owl, to try and finish it plus our new Micheal Vey book came today from Amazon and we really want to start that. She has some line memorizing to do for an Acts of Faith performance in two weeks and we may read an article or two from God's World magazine. Otherwise we are chilling.

Monday, September 16, 2013


How many of you out there have aged parents with health problems? As I have mentioned many times before my mom has recurrent thyroid cancer that she has received surgeries and  treatments for off and on for the past 14 years. She is all good at the moment. My dad on the other hand has had issues with blood clots all my adult life. He lost his leg when I was 17 and a few years ago he started having TIA episodes which is a precursor to a stroke. For most of the past couple of years my mother has not been very pleased with my dad's doctor. The doctor had only been checking the consistency of his blood every three months  (because dad is on a strong dose of blood thinners) instead of the recommended monthly checks. Well because of all this my dad started bleeding internally because his blood is too thin. I had no idea that this could happen. He has been in the hospital since Thursday night receiving blood transfusions, platelets, ultrasounds, and CT scans. Currently they believe the bleeding is coming from his gall bladder and liver. Surprisingly he is in good spirits and less pain. When you have blood seeping into your belly and thighs it is very painful. Painful enough to be screaming out and crying. My dad will see his vascular surgeon today and hopefully have a course of action planned with the possibility of surgery. The hospital is about an hour away and my mother drives back and forth each day. She is older now and tiring from the added strain of sitting at the hospital, not knowing when he will be better, and traveling back and forth to the hospital.

To make matters even busier, my niece had her bridal shower on Saturday and mom didn't get to go. Then yesterday at church a possible new pastor came to preach. I feel like I haven't really sat down and relaxed in about five days. Today and tomorrow will be just as busy - waiting to hear word about dad, teaching four classes at the cooperative tomorrow and today me and Grace are supposed to attend a new small group from another church for homeschool families.

Thanks for letting me vent. Talk to you all again soon.

UPDATE: This afternoon my mom called from the hospital. Evidently they cultured his blood, which takes a few days to get results, and it came back as E. Coli as the infection in his bloodstream. Now he has been switched to a high potent antibiotic and will be on it for a while. Plus they have decided not to restart his Coumadin and send him to a hematologist to figure out what medication to put him on to keep his blood thin but not too thin.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up

Lots going on this week. Some was great and others not so much. We had a busy week as usual with more school work getting accomplished. Grace had the most fun this week with her newest endeavor, the Parakeets. She checked out some books from the library and is trying to start training them. It will be a long process with lots of patience needed.

Grace named them Pocky and Tori which are both Japanese related names. Last night was pretty eventful on many fronts. Grace and Scott went on a walk in Helen which is a touristy area in the Northeast Ga Mountains and is only 15 minutes from home for us. This is where they had the 2nd bear sighting of the year. It was dusk so no pictures, they would have been to dark, and he was walking right in the middle of a parking lot. I was at a Zumba class during all this fun. Then when we all returned home we discovered my mom had taken my dad to the hospital. To make a long story short he was admitted because he blood was too thin due to he blood thinner medication he has been on forever. This could be potentially serious and his numbers last night were in the critical area. He will be in the hospital for the next couple of days.

Studied and Discussed This Week
Justinian the Great
Algeria and Morocco
Book Reports 
Creative Journal Writing
Commas and Semi Colons
Basic Grammar Review
Friendships and Mentors

What We Are Reading
The White Dove
The Little Lamb
Kind Alfred's English
Wesley the Owl
The Door in the Wall
25 Truths
High School Prep Genius

Classes Attended
Yearbook Staff Class
Drama Class
LEGO Design Class
Creative Writing Class

Upcoming Reviews
The Presidential Game
Bridgeway Academy - Grammar Review
God's World News Magazine

Something else Grace really enjoyed this week was getting back into Minecraft. Up till now she just had a free version for her phone. Yesterday I purchased the ap version for kindle and she has been a very happy camper.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Living With Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux also known as GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) is something I have dealt with for the last 6-7 years. Mine did start out as a burning sensation in my throat. Over the counter medications never conquered the symptoms. Over time I most of my acid reflux symptoms revolve around burning on my tongue and roof of mouth as well as recently dysphagia which is the feeling that something is caught in your throat like a pill or a piece of food. In the beginning most of my symptoms were controlled by prescription medications. For many years I took a daily dose of Nexium and it seemed to control it with flare ups still happening sometimes. As many of you are probably aware Nexium and other drugs of this nature are only supposed to be used for 8 week increments, but over time doctors have put patients on regimens to take it year in and year out as long as it is controlling your symptoms. A few years ago Nexium stopped working for me and I was switched to Dexilant. This medication also works but not all the time. Side effects of these type of medications can be harmful to your body over time. Because the medications are hindering your production of stomach acid that in turn is also hindering your absorption of vital nutrients. I have tried over the years to limit my consumption of these drugs. Of course you can't just stop these medications cold turkey or you will put yourself in a situation of rebound acid reflux which can sometimes be worse than the symptoms you are already dealing with. This means slowly weaning yourself off the drugs and hoping for the best.

In the meantime I have a deficiency with my vitamin D, vitamin B, and was anemic. Most of this I believe came from the acid blocker medications I have been on for years. At this point I take a supplement for D and B daily. I also take Digestactive after each meal to help my body better absorb the nutrients I eat in my foods.

 I have also done much research over the years about how to treat my acid reflux naturally. I have tried aloe vera juice, papaya tablets, and many others. I have tried not drinking soft drinks, limiting my chocolate intake and spicy foods. I also switched from my favorite treat in the morning, a full glass of milk, to almond milk. Through my research I found that taking certain supplements would also help in the long run like fish oil, betaine, and probiotics ( I take all of these). Believe it or not there is lots of research out there that says maybe people who suffer from acid reflux actually don't have enough stomach acid so the stomach goes into overdrive to produce more which then creates the problem. That is why it is recommended to add acid supplements to the diet.

Recently I read a book that opened my eyes to another possibility. This book said that most articles and books on the subject lead sufferers to believe that fatty foods, chocolate, spicy foods, caffeine, soft drinks, etc. are the main culprits of acid reflux. Now there is more and more research coming out about grains be a major contender in the realm of acid reflux. This is why I started on a gluten-free diet three months agos. It took a full two months of gluten-free eating to see the results I needed. After feeling good for about a month I decided I would try allowing myself something with gluten one day a week with a splurge and she how I did. I was really missing Captain Ds and doughnuts. As long as it was just once a week I was fine, then the wedding I was helping with two weeks ago totally upset the apple cart. I ate gluten four days in a row because of poor planning and boom I sent myself into a tailspin of trouble. So now it is back on the bandwagon of NO GLUTEN. I am still on the Dexilant which perturbs me but I hope to one day lick this absurdity in my life along with all the medication side effects.

I am obviously not a doctor and I do not recommend doing these things  just because I did. Always check with a medical professional.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Where Were You.....

Today social media will be overloaded with remembrances of September 11th. Many of the posts seem to be about where were you when you first saw or heard what was happening on that day twelve years ago. For many of us it seems like just yesterday. Some of us have children too young to remember or were not born yet. I have tried to express the gravity of what happened to my 14 year old but for them it is not the same as living through it. On that September 11th many years ago I had a son in middle school and a daughter barely two years old.

That day just like everyone else's day started out very normal. My sister was on extended maternity leave and had offered to watch my two year old. We were having trouble with the daycare facility that had been watching Grace and at that time in my life I worked full time at an animal hospital that I had worked at for many, many years. Since I was 17 to be exact. This September 11th would find me the ripe old age of 34. I had dropped Grace off at my sisters between 8-9 in the morning and headed to work. I remember hearing something on the radio about a plane crashing into a building in New York and thought to myself that isn't something you ever hear about happening. By the time I had reached work the second plane had crashed into the twin towers and work had turned on the television. At the animal hospital we only had TVs in the exam rooms to show educational videos to clients and had no cable reception. What we could pick up was a local station but with not so good reception. The same time that this was all occurring we had a representative of a software company visiting our practice that morning to show us a new software package we were interested in purchasing. That was the whole reason I was going into work that morning. I was the assistant office manager and it was my job to help chose the right software that would work for our practice. Of course because of what was happening the meeting didn't really go well, no one could concentrate at that point. Plus during all of this there had also been relayed to us on the TV that the Pentagon had been attacked as well. All of us were thinking the same thing. We were being attacked and what was going to happen next. We had never experienced anything like this. Maybe our parents had with the Cold War scare and World War II but this was different. This was on our territory.

The software meeting got cancelled out. The software representative had flown down for the meeting and of course we all now know that all the airlines were shut down and nobody was flying anywhere. He eventually rented a car and drove back home. When I discovered that the meeting had been cancelled I requested to go home and check on my kids. All I wanted at that point in time was to hold my children and pray. I picked up McDonalds food for lunch and rushed home to my sister's house. We sat and watched (which is what everyone did for days), ate lunch, and discussed what this meant for our country. I called the school as I am sure all parents were doing to see what they had set up if any problems arose, because at this point none of us knew how far this was going to go. Were we going to war, would there be more attacks? I stayed at my sister's house for a couple of hours and then went back to work.

So many days of waiting and hoping for the news shows to say there were any survivors and it just wasn't happening. All kinds of stories circulating through the news. It was just a terrible time to get through. I do understand a little about this personally. I didn't have any family members personally affected by September 11th but years before this when the Oklahoma City Bombing occurred I had an adult cousin that worked in the building in the social security office on the ground floor. For days the family waited for word that he was alive, then it was weeks of waiting for his remains to be recovered. He died in the Oklahoma City Bombing. I remember that day very vividly and clearly as well. My generation's days of innocence were over. We would never be the same.

My prayers go out to all the families that lost loved ones on that heart wrenching day from our history.

Monday, September 9, 2013

TOS Review - PeopleKeys - Disc Career Style Online Report

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Has your child ever wondered what career to pursue as they become an adult? There are so many career choices out there that sometimes it is helpful to use a product that will narrow down your choices that are available and save you some of your valuable time. This is exactly what our family was asked to do by reviewing DISC Career Style Report from PeopleKeys. Through the TOS Review Crew we were allowed this opportunity.

Grace loves taking online personality quizzes. She actually seeks them out, takes the test, and sees if it shows her something new about herself. She even does all the silly ones like, "What Disney princess would you be" - take this quiz and find out. Well this time around she got to take a short quiz with more serious type answers. Grace is only 14 but we are always discussing back and forth what she might want to do with her life. As you can imagine she is young and frankly has no idea. So when we were offered the chance for this review, we became very curious about what it might say about Grace. 

We received the DISC Career Style Report as an online product. Currently it retails for $32.00. The website states:

"This online DISC Report focuses heavily on work place style, communication with others, strengths, potential limitations, and contributions to a team."

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This online report is recommended for ages 13 to adult. When we received the information about the keycode and downloads, it was very easy to navigate through the information and quiz. You may be curious as to what DISC means. I was as well. Evidently DISC is an acronym for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance. These are four character factors that are based upon the work of Dr. William Marston. If you would like more information about the background of this doctor and test check out the frequently asked questions page on the website. So each person taking the test will get results of :

D - Dominance, the Driven One
I - Influencing, the Inspiring One
S - Stable, the Steady One
C - Compliant, the Correct One

The website plainly states that very few people will be completely one character trait but more of a mixture. Again I would recommend going to the website to get full explanations of how this all works. I am still wrapping my own brain around it.

The quiz itself took us less than 20 minutes to do. I say "we" because Grace was having trouble with some of the questions and asked my opinion. Many of the questions required some life experience to answer. She just really had trouble with some of them because of little experience in those areas. The questions give you four answers which you in turn label as 1 - 4. At times we just had to juggle numbers because the answers didn't quite fit for her. This may have had an effect on the report and recommendations. To make a long story short in my opinion this is geared more toward adults than high school students. We did get a kick out of the career recommendations. Some seemed right on the money while others were completely out of left field for her interests and personality styles. For the "close career matches" some of the recommendations were things that she already loves like: actor, entertainer, fashion designer, artist, and teacher. The price of $32.00 might be more than I would want to pay for the results unless she was a little older.

There are many other products that the TOS Review Crew reviewed that you might want to check out. Follow the above link to do so.

Check out PeopleKeys and see if their products might be a good fit for you and your family.

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Give A Girl a Birdcage......

Give a girl a birdcage and I am pretty sure she is going to want to fill it with something. This morning our homeschool group held a multi-family yard sale. One of the families brought an entire bird cage setup with a couple of toys to sale for ten dollars. What a steal. I knew that over the past few months Grace had been hinting around about how fun it would be to own some birds. Well, in a moment of weakness I purchased the equipment. We do have a very small pet store in our small town and Grace really wanted parakeets. I am partial to finches. As a young married couple before children we had finches. I mostly remember messes, noise, and babies. Yes, our zebra finches laid lots of eggs and many of them hatched. We routinely had to take clutches of birds and give them to the pet store. Otherwise it would kind of been like a situation with rabbits and mice. They just kept procreating. Anyway we may have a male and female parakeet which means we will again have future eggs and babies. I figured now was a good time to get them with us studying birds all year. Plus Grace has really stepped up to the plate lately with handling all the care of her ferret, Gwen. Now she has more responsibility with the parakeets.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up

We actually had a very busy week. Monday was a holiday and believe it or not we didn't do anything to celebrate. Mainly stayed at home and caught up on some chores and rest from the previous week of wedding activities. Tuesday was Cooperative day, Wednesday a doctor's appt., swim at the river, school and ear piercing, Thursday was just school and Friday found us at another doctor's office with possible infected ears from the ear piercing.

What We Studied and Discussed
Financial Literacy
Bird Taxonomy
Finishing 1st Chapter in Algebra
Clovis from Famous Men of Middle Ages
Journal Writing

What We Are Reading
The White Dove
A Door in the Wall
25 Truths
High School Prep Genius
Book of Luke
Who is my Neighbor?
King Alfred's English

Classes We Attended
Drama Class
LEGO Design Class
Yearbook Staff Class
Creative Writing Class

Reviews We Are Working On
Peoples Keys (review next week)
The Presidential Game
Bridgeway Grammar (shipment coming next week)
God's World News Magazine (shipment in a couple of weeks)

Something that Grace really enjoyed this week was the review we are doing for The Presidential Game. Playing this game became very competitive this past weekend. I will have a review up for this game in a couple of weeks. 
Grace is working on some new artwork for an upcoming art show called "Fears and Phobias"

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How Would You Homeschool If Funds Were Not Available - Blog Cruise

The TOS Crew is running another Blog Cruise with a very interesting theme. What would you do to homeschool if you couldn't buy any curriculum? This is a very interesting concept to ponder. I think not being able to buy curriculum would actually make homeschooling easier. Here is my thought process behind that statement.

How many times have you gone to a convention or seminar, read a review or homeschooling article and rushed out to buy a product? How many of you out there would consider yourselves curriculum junkies? I would be the first in line to answer yes to both of these questions. I think sometimes the wanting of new and improved products gets in the way of our actual mission of teaching. When did reading a good book and discussing it go out of fashion? Our founding fathers learned that way, why can't we. Don't get me wrong a lot of the products I have purchased over the years have been a good fit for our family and we loved them dearly, but were they essential to our  mission. My answer would probably have to be, no.

I have a personal library of hundreds of books we could read. Often I have thought how wonderful it would be to start with the very first book - read it - then move on to the next until we were finished with everything I have. Not worrying about "Did we do math today", "Do we have time for some history", etc. Just leisurely winding our way through books. So if we did not have money to purchase curriculum my biggy would be to just read. Go through our entire library and read. Next would be visiting the local library and do the same. Pick a section and go through all the great material they have to offer. This multitude of reading would of course include our Bible and studying the scripture.
This is just one of our shelving units of books. We have three more.

There are a few websites I have talked about in the past that would be wonderful to use and are absolutely free.

Free Rice is free and allows you to study vocabulary, science, languages, etc.

History Videos have a plethora of choices.

CNN Student News for current events and following all the rabbit trails that a family could get from each and every episode.

Khan Academy is free math and science.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. So much can be found through Netflix, youtube, and wondering around on the Internet. If I could go back and do it all again and if I knew then what I know now - that would be exactly how I would homeschool. Matter of fact I made a pact with myself that I would buy very little new stuff over the next several years. I have been blessed beyond imagination with materials from the TOS Review Crew. We have most everything we need for the next two years of school. New homeschooling parents you can homeschool with very little to no money.

After writing this and thinking about it for a day I realized that Netflix and Internet do cost money. So if there is absolutely no money available those things would fall to the wayside. A good book and discussion would win out every time.

Visit The Crew's Blog and check out what other members of the crew would do in the situation of no funds to purchase curriculum.


TOS Review - Time4Learning

Have you been looking for a complete curriculum online for your computer loving student? Technology has come a long way over the years. This technology has made available many online, interactive products that you can use to teach your child at home. We were asked to use and review a type of product in this genre, Time4Learning. Time4Learning is an online curriculum program for any age student, preschool - high school. This program is not only used for homeschool students but also for after school help and over the summer remediation. Time4Learning has available a plethora of lessons for preschool through 8th grade including; math, language arts, science, and social studies. After using the program for 30 days an added bonus of art lessons will become available. There is so much information to share about Time4Learning that I will break this review down into sections and hopefully not miss any of the important and interesting parts that might intrigue you to try it.

As I mentioned above, this product is available for preschool - high school. For this review we will concentrate on preschool - 8th grade. We were chosen to review the 8th grade (Grace just started her 9th grade year) section. Currently for this age range the product retails for $19.95 a month for one student. Each child after the first will have a discounted rate of $14.95 per student. For those with high schoolers that rate would be $30.00 a month which includes 4 courses. Time4Learning can be used on a Mac or PC but because of flash technology being utilized for the program it cannot be used with ipads. It is strongly recommended to have fast Internet access to get the full benefits of the program. For the review we were given a six month subscription. Setting up our account was very easy and we have had absolutely no problems with using the program with the exception of the playground area which I will talk about later in the review.

Eighth graders have access to math, language arts, science and social studies. Even though eighth graders have access to science and social studies they are actually viewing and using materials for sixth grade level because that is as high a level as it goes for those subjects. When setting up the initial account the parent will choose the grade level they wish their child to be placed in. This will give the student the choice of the grade level above and below the grade chosen. For example: If 7th grade is chosen then the student can use materials in the 6th grade and 8th as well as the 7th. Below you will find some topics to be studied in each subject area:

Language Arts Extensions
Strategies to Editing
Sentence Types
Short Stories

Language Arts
Vocabulary Skills
Analyzing Literature
Reading and Writing

Real Numbers

Properties of Matter
Human Body
Earth, Moon and Sun

Social Studies
Roaring Twenties
Civil War
The Cold War

Of course this is just a smattering of all the topics available in each subject area. 

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During the course of this review time we have tried a few lessons from each subject area. Grace enjoyed her time in the language arts sections learning about Greek and Latin root words. She also like learning about Drug and alcohol awareness in the science section. One week we sat at the table and listened to the section in social studies pertaining to the causes of the Civil War. We found ourselves spending most of our time with the language arts and science sections. I would say we used the program around three times a week with each session about 20 minutes or longer. The time usually depended on how long the lesson lasted which was never more than 20 or so minutes. We found the material to be at grade level but Grace felt the presentation of the material was a bit young for her tastes.

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The playground section allows students to play various games that revolve around learning, critical thinking, and just plain old fun. One great aspect of this section is that the parent can set up how long the child can play in this area each day. Once the timer runs down they will not be allowed to play anymore. In all honesty we didn't spend any time here. The first reason being all the games seemed to childish to hold Grace's interest. The second reason was every time I tried to go to an activity I was given a message that stated there was a technical issue that the company was working on. If Grace would have been really interested in this area I would have contacted the company about fixing it, but since that was not the case for us it didn't have a lot of relevance in our opinion of the product.

Another section available to parents is the Parent Community and Forums section. In this section there are many different forums ready to use. Some are categorized in age groups and others by the state you live in. If I had  planned to use this curriculum as my main curriculum for the year, the forums would be very useful to me.

Our favorite part so far of the curriculum has been meeting Furnace, Tickles, and Ruby with the Time4Art program. This program becomes available to you 30 days after starting Time4Learning. Here the student will learn about art history, and creating art. We have just touched the surface of this part of the program because it was made available to us just a few days ago. I am positive we will continue to use this portion of the program until our subscription runs out. If I had a younger child in say preschool - 5th grade I personally would be more apt to use a program like Time4Learning. Now that we are in a high school grade level I would not see myself using this type of program often. Absolutely nothing against Time4Learning just not our cup of tea. We are more eclectic in the types of materials we enjoy using, especially lots of books.

Check out the Time4Learning website and see if it is a good fit for your child/family.

Also take a look at what other TOS Crew Families thought about Time4Learning.

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

What Our Sunday Looked Like

Being out of the house two full days during the week really slowed down what was happening around the house. Plus yesterday we went out for the afternoon with my mom and niece. While I had a little extra cash I really needed to find a dress to wear to my niece's wedding next month. So that left me today to get caught up on a lot of "stuff" that had to be taken care of.

We started our morning off with watching an online sermon from Northpoint Church. This is the church where Andy Stanley is the original pastor. Of course now there are like 5 more locations across Atlanta with other pastors as well. Me and Grace are talking about going to the closest location next Sunday which is about an hour away for morning worship.

First on the agenda for today was cooking and baking:

Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies to snack on this week.

Love, love, love deviled eggs. Since we have chickens and all the eggs we can eat, I make deviled eggs just about every week. I like to eat them on the side of lunches and dinners.

A batch of home made dog food. This will last about 7 days.

Writing - I had one review to write that is due this week and a complete study guide about a famous inventor for a company I started working with. 

Still on the list for today is clean two bathrooms, cook dinner, exercise, play a board game with Grace that we are reviewing, and work some more on the study guide I am writing, 

Tomorrow will hold yet more list checking in running errands to get chicken food from the feed store, gluten-free products from the grocery store, painting some cut outs we are using with my puppetry class, get all the lessons ready for my classes on Tuesday and preparing Grace's lessons for Tuesday morning. I am also hoping I will get the study guide finished tomorrow. If not the latest would be Wednesday.

Hoping all you guys had a blessed Sunday!!

Beauty Captured Day 31 of 365

Afternoon treat!

The Pebble Pond