Saturday, May 31, 2014

Finally - A Muffin Recipe We Can All Live With

My favorite breakfast is a muffin or pastry kind of breakfast. Well on THM pastries don't seem to be in my future anytime soon, but muffins do have a strong possibility. I have been on an adventure trying to find a muffin recipe that everyone likes. This recipe has come the closest. Grace even likes them and that is saying a lot. Not only does she not like sweets that much but a THM sweet needs to be really good for her to eat it. I found the recipe through this link Healthy Living and the only item I changed was the sweetner. I used 3 tsp of Truvia and I used sugar free chocolate chips in place of the blueberries. I am not a purist and sugar free chocolate chips is something I use occasionally.

Friday, May 30, 2014

TOS Review - Progeny Press - Anne of Green Gables E-Guide

Progeny Press Review
I don't know about you, but to me there is nothing better than sitting down to read a really good book. Even better is getting to share a childhood favorite with your children. That is why literature is one of our favorite subjects to study together. Over the last six weeks we were given the opportunity to use the Anne of Green Gables E-Guide from Progeny Press through the TOS Review Crew. This is our second time reviewing a product from Progeny Press and we are never disappointed.
Progeny Press is a company run by Michael and Rebecca Gilleland. The mission of Progeny Press is, "To teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on the scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it." In my opinion they do this very well with study and e-guides available for all ages. Progeny Press has been around since the 1990's and currently has 107 study guides available as of 2012. They have also evolved over the years by having more than just paper study guides available. Now you can get them downloaded straight to your computer, you can purchase a cd to make multiple copies, and you can use the interactive function to type the answers directly into the e-guide on your computer. This is a very flexible product that will fit in to whatever learning style and whatever recording method your child prefers. Progeny Press has a great video you might like to watch explaining more about how their company began and how the product works.
Progeny Press Review
We were offered a few different e-guides to chose from, but one had shining lights surrounding it - at least in my eyes it did. When I was young I waited, not so patiently, each year to watch Anne of Green Gables on our local PBS station. You see, they only showed it when the PBS station was raising money for the year. I watched that movie so many times over the years. I say all this because as much as I loved the movie, I never even thought about reading the book. About three years ago I finally read it aloud to me and Grace but didn't finish the last chapters. When the opportunity arose to read it again and delve deeper with the study guide, I literally jumped for joy. A full review period of Anne, Prince Edward Island, Marilla, Diana, and Gilbert was a chance we couldn't pass up. We received the study guide as a downloadable E-Guide. I have mentioned many times before that I love everything in paper form so I printed the guide and put it in a binder. Grace wrote all her answers on paper but the great thing about this guide is if the student prefers to type in their answers, they can and save it too. This guide has total interactive capabilities. If you wish to purchase the product we received it retails for $18.99 and you will need to buy the book separately. This guide is recommended for grades 5-8.
Let's talk about what type of activities the guide offers the student. One cool item I would like to mention is that the author of this guide is from Georgia and teaches at Toccoa Falls College which is a hop, skip and a jump from our house. Small world, isn't it? Okay back to the guide. The beginning of the guide starts the student out with a synopsis of the book and a short bio about the author. I also really like the pre-reading section that introduced us to Prince Edward Island and what life was like for children in this era, especially orphans. Each section of the guide is broken down into a few chapters at a time. Read the chapters, answer the comprehension questions, work on vocabulary, and complete other activities. I appreciated that even though vocabulary was addressed in each section, it was presented in a different format each time. This way the student doesn't get bored with monotonous work and creates different ways for a student to achieve the same result. Throughout the guide there are activities to help the student analyze literature like alliterations, similes, metaphors, and allusions. I also really like the way scripture was brought in to relate to many of the circumstances that take place in the book. Each section also provides the student with opportunities to write, illustrate, and just dig deeper into the story. We chose to also watch the movie as we went through the book to compare and contrast.
There are so many titles available from Progeny Press that you can find just about anything you need for a literature study. Progeny Press is a wonderful company with awesome products. Please click over to Progeny Press and check out what they have to offer. You will not be disappointed. Also take a jump over to the TOS Review Crew to see what other members had to say about their study guides.

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Kittens Galore - Please Spay and Neuter Your Pets

This was the cutest little thing. She sat up on this pedestal nearly the entire time we were there watching all the other kittens playing on the ground.
Fridays are our morning at one of the local no kill animal shelters to volunteer. This time of the year is high volume in the kitten variety. Charles Smithgall currently has about 15 ready to adopt with two litters in the isolation room that are only a few weeks old. While signing out today and older couple came in with another box of kittens that was dumped on their property but had respiratory infections so they needed to be treated and non contagious before we could take them.

I follow three Facebook pages for other local shelters in our county. The county we live in is big and nearly each city has their own small animal shelter/animal control facility. So far I have seen that one facility currently has 70 kittens, another 40, and so on. People just don't understand the importance of getting these outdoor cats spayed and neutered to squash this problem. It has gotten so bad that one of our shelters has started a neuter and release program for many of the feral cats in the community.

If anyone is looking for a new kitten to adopt there are many available everywhere. Spring is always considered kitten month with so many litters being born.

The kittens at Charles Smithgall are some of the lucky ones because this is a no kill shelter. They will stay here until they are adopted and if they aren't then this is their home for life. They have an adult cat room just for this purpose, but we have already seen three adult cats adopted from that room since we started volunteering (including one of our favorites - he was such a love bug).

If I had money my ultimate dream would be to help out in some real meaningful way. Maybe start my own animal sanctuary or give money to help enlarge our town's animal control facility which is lacking in space like you wouldn't believe. She has been on Facebook for a couple of weeks begging for foster homes because they are overcrowded and if something doesn't happen then dogs and cats are put to sleep. So sad. I know the economy is bad and that plays a role in some of this but on the other hand many people see animals as things and not family. They are easily thrown away so to speak. My pets are my family members and it just breaks my heart and hurts my soul to see so many unwanted animals in this world.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

What Do Drama Geeks Do Over Summer Break????

You would think after two semesters of Shakespeare and Fiddler on the Roof that we would want a break. If you thought that you would be wrong. You see even though Grace was involved in Shakespeare and I did all the sound for Fiddler on the Roof we still didn't get enough drama for the year. So this is what we are doing. Once Fiddler on the Roof was being performed, Grace was a little disappointed that she didn't choose to be a part of it. I found the notice for a summer production of the King and I in our local community theatre and the rest they say is history. Three weeks ago I took Grace for auditions and she was cast in the wives chorus.

Now you may wonder how did I get roped into this production. Well, the directors sent out an email a couple of weeks ago asking if any of the mothers who could sing would be interested in being in the wives chorus as well. So, low and behold and I now also a wife of the king. I really may be second guessing myself soon - not sure if I am up to all the memorizing that goes along with learning the music. This is something Grace is very used to and memorizing comes quite easily to her. Me on the other hand --- not so much. Evidently the wives chorus is a fairly integral part of the production with 5 songs to learn and lots of dancing (much to Grace's disappointment). Grace loves singing and acting, but dancing  ---- again not so much. But all in all I think this will be a wonderful production and something great for us to work on together all summer. Performances will be at the end of July and beginning of August. Wish us luck, or better yet break a leg.

Grace from an older production of the Jungle Book

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

New Product From Diana Waring

I am so excited to be added to a group that will be launching a new product from Diana Waring. Much more information will follow in the coming weeks.

America 1750-1890:The Heart of a New Nation
Westward Ho!: The Heart of the Old West
Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder

As the name of this series implies, these book and CD sets allow you to Experience History Through Music. Each title contains one book and one CD. The pages of the books hold dozens of historical pictures; bright and interesting stories connecting each of the songs to its moment in history, even sheet music and chord charts! The CDs are rousing , professional recordings that draw in all listeners. The two combine for fond memories and a grand, knee-slapping good time.

Monday, May 26, 2014

First Outings of the Summer

Something Grace looks forward to each year is Momocon and AWA which are both anime conventions held in Atlanta. This weekend was Momocon. Grace and Scott went together for a father/daughter day. Everyone dresses up and of course Grace did as well. While they were out at the convention I went house hunting with my about to turn 24 year old son. Doesn't that make me feel old. I am very proud of him and I think he found the house he wants to buy. After house hunting I spent the afternoon with my mother doing lunch and a little shopping. Due to THM me and Grace's clothing is practically falling off of us. We needed new shorts and pants. Even though we have both lost about 10 pounds the inches that you lose is really what makes the difference.

Today being Memorial Day, we had no real plans. At first we thought about going to the local zoo but felt it was a bit pricey. Instead we visited Helen, a touristy area that is right down the road from us. Of course we go to Helen off and on all year and didn't really think about the crowds due to a holiday weekend. The traffic was pretty bad going in but then cleared up by the time we finished playing miniature golf. I got three hole in ones and still lost the game. We were going to splurge and eat some ice cream while there but I told Grace if we were going to splurge on something let's do it right. Soooo we visited our favorite local pizza joint and got stuffed on cheese garlic bread and pizza. Delish but boy are we feeling the effects now. Carb overload after not so many carbs over the past three months. Won't be doing that again for at least another three months.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What to do When an Endeavor Explodes with Interest

Many of my readers know that me and a friend started a fine arts Cooperative two years ago. We have seriously put blood, sweat, and tears into this endeavor. In the beginning this was a ministry for us and really still is. A ministry to reach the kids in the community that want to perform and meet with other kids their own age one day a week in a safe, loving environment. Our kids love performing and when there isn't anything else out there you just have to step up to the plate sometimes and make it happen. Another point about our Cooperative is we wanted to make it very affordable and not turn away anyone that couldn't pay. God has blessed this Cooperative in so many ways. Every door has been opened for us, every stumbling block that comes our way is lifted. I have met so many great kids and families that I know will be friends for a long time. We all spend so much time together that we consider each other family. We just really feel that God has his hands on this group of families that attend the Cooperative.

Each semester has found us steadily growing with new families wishing to attend and participate. So far we have been able to accommodate everyone. Fall semester may be the first time that we actually have to turn families away because of class space and actual physical space. In the past two months I have had 15 new families wanting information about fall semester. This is both astoundingly wonderful and overwhelming at the same time. It is tearing me apart to know that some won't be able to attend. Praying God creates a way for everyone that wishes to participate gets a chance. I am really looking forward to a wonderful new semester at the Cooperative in the fall and hope the families are as well.
The Cooperative's first Spring Formal

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Nature Study - A Charlotte Mason Principle

One of my very favorite aspects of using Charlotte Mason Methods is Nature, artist, and composer study. During Grace's elementary years we for the most part educated with Charlotte Mason Methods. As she has grown older and next year will start the 10th grade we have only kept some of the methods going, not for lacking of wanting to but mostly because of my daughter's learning styles and quite frankly fear on my part. I lost faith that I could actually "do" high school while continuing with Charlotte Mason's line of teachings. I was weak and ultimately feel deep down inside that we should have stayed that route. One of the main reasons we gravitated to a more of an eclectic and relaxed way of homeschooling as opposed to all Charlotte Mason is because Grace doesn't really enjoy reading that much. She is good at it and she loves for me to read aloud to her but assigning books upon books for her to read from the age of 12 until now (about to turn 15) it just wasn't feasible to read most of the books and the types of books that were assigned on some of the schedules that were recommended. Plus she wasn't a big writer and the written narrations were killing her. Now she has matured some and all of that is actually coming together nicely. The CM methods were still interwoven in everything we did especially history, science, and literature. I say all this because now I feel like I get a second chance with CM.
Starting in August I will be tutoring three 5th grade girls in my home three days a week. I plan on using mostly CM methods to do this. I know these girls and they will love getting to study artists, composers, and nature study along with all the other basic subjects. Something I am looking so forward to doing again is Nature Study. I have all the supplies I need with the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock and lots of Outdoor Hour Challenges I had printed up for Grace years ago. The interesting part is that Grace will now be excited about going out with the girls as well and helping them learn about nature and sketching items in their nature notebooks. I am so excited for the new school year to begin in August. Lots of planning to be done beforehand, but excited none the less.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Ever Lingering Question of What Curriculum to Use

This time of year many homeschooling mothers are pouring over curriculum catalogs, attending conferences and conventions, and looking for that great deal at the used book sales. We are all looking for that perfect product that will make the next school year fun, exciting, and education worthy. I of course have been going through the same bouts of searching and this year the big unknown was what to do for history. Some of the top contenders were Notgrass, Simply Charlotte Mason, creating a unit of my own, or Diana Waring's materials. I think what happened was that I was way over thinking it. The search began a couple of months ago when I attended the Great Homeschool Convention in Greenville. Since that time frame an incredibly big part of our lives will be changing which in turn changes what kind of curriculum I need to choose for Grace to use. Normally I would have chosen something that was pretty hands on and that she would have needed my help with, but not this time.

Starting in August I will be tutoring three 5th grade girls in my home three days a week. This will take up a huge amount of my time and their history will consist of Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Middle Ages. After a couple of hours this afternoon of again trying to make a decision about what to do because deep down I really wanted us to return to our Charlotte Mason roots and go with the Simply Charlotte Mason curriculum but that would have required some aloud reading on my part that might not be able to happen on the days I will be teaching the other girls. In other words I needed something Grace could do independently with very little help from me. I returned to my shelves and found a book that was purchased a couple of months ago at a used book sale, Streams of Civilizations Volume 1. Normally this would be way to textbooky for me but in this season of our life it fit the bill. We will count this as a World History credit for high school. One more subject choice down and almost ready to start 10th grade in a couple of months.

Friday, May 16, 2014

TOS Review - Micro Business for Teens

Micro Business for Teens Review
All teenagers like the idea of earning their own money. Sometimes they just don't know how to go about starting. Summer is fast approaching and is one of the biggest times of the year for teens to get a summer job. What if there was a way for your teen to earn some money, gain some life experience, and be their own boss in the process. If these statements intrigue you then you definitely need to continue reading this review. We just finished one of our best review products of the year. We were so blessed with the opportunity to review Starting a Micro Business book, Running a Micro Business book, and Micro Business for Teens Workbook from Micro Business for Teens through the TOS Review Crew.
We received all the above materials as PDF downloadable Ebooks. I printed everything out and placed them in a 3 inch binder for easy access. Micro Business for Teens was written by Carol Topp who just happens to be a CPA. I was already familiar with her work in two different ways. The first is about six months ago I purchased some of her products that deal with running a homeschool cooperative and found them very informative and helpful. The second was visiting her booth at the Great Homeschool Convention in Greenville. Unfortunately I didn't get to speak with her directly, but her assistant was wonderful and I got to see her products up close and personal. She speaks at many conventions and writes articles for homeschool publications. She runs her own "micro business" as an accountant in her home state of Ohio. Ms. Topp even had a recording that was aired on PBS that you can view here to give you an overview of Micro Business for Teens. Grace watched it and really enjoyed listening to the teens talk about their experiences of running a micro business. Ms. Topp even has an online learning portal in the works for teens that like learning all this on the computer. I think by now your saying okay, lets get down to what Micro Business for Teens is actually all about. Okay, here we go.
Micro Business for Teens Review
Starting a Micro Business book is for ages 10-18 and can be purchased as an Ebook (4.95) or a physical book (9.95). This book is 59 pages long and is full of all the information your teen needs to start their own micro business. Starting a Micro Business is broken down into seven chapters.
What is a Micro Business
Getting an Idea: Micro Business Ideas Best for Teenagers
Problems and Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
Plan It First: Writing a Business Plan
Financing Your Business Without Breaking the Bank
Taking Care of Business: Extra Information to Get Started
Encouragement: Final Words to Motivate You
In this book Grace's favorite part would have to be the Getting an Idea section. It was fun to read through all the ideas for micro businesses that Ms. Topp provided and considering if and how they might fit for Grace. It was also very sobering to read through the section on pitfalls and problems that may occur while running your own business.
Micro Business for Teens Review
Running a Micro Business book is up next. This book is also recommended for ages 10 -18 and can be purchased as an Ebook (4.95) or a physical book (9.95). This book is a little longer than the first at 78 pages and is divided into 9 chapters.
Customer Service
Record Keeping
Bookkeeping Basics
Using Software
Legal Names and Numbers
Reducing Risk
Time Management
Hands down Grace's favorite chapter was on marketing. She loved creating brochures, starting a blog, etc. that would help her market the new micro business. We had to go through this book pretty quickly to finish up during the review period. There is lots of "meaty" information that we will need to review and revisit as we get closer to the opening day of her micro business.
Micro Business for Teens Review
Last but certainly not least  is the Micro Business for Teens Workbook. The workbook ties everything together and gives the student a chance to put into practice what they have read and learned. Again the age range is 10 - 18 years old and the Ebook retails for $9.95 while a physical copy will run you $14.95. The workbook contains worksheets and activities for every chapter of Starting a Micro Business and Running a Micro Business. The workbook is a must purchase to get the most out of the books.
Our Experience
Wow, just wow! Sometimes when you sign up for a review product, you have a preconceived notion about how great it will be and then, well, it isn't a good fit for your family. But boy oh boy this one surpassed all expectations. The motivation my child had with this product is priceless. She was encouraged to try something new and is currently working on starting her new micro business and is excited beyond words. Let me start with a little back story. Grace loves drama, art, costuming, makeup, and cosplaying. For the past year or more she had already started selling art at festivals and art shows but her current passion is cosplaying (dressing up as characters from different fandoms and attending conventions). How to put all these passions to work was the question. In walks Micro Business for Teens and through a few of the provided exercises she now has a micro business. Grace has decided to dress up as Disney princesses for birthday parties. She has a contact (her beloved art teacher) in town that has agreed to let her start out putting on parties at her place of business. We have ordered the first two costumes (Ariel and Elsa) and have thought out what she wants to charge and provide at each party. This time next month she should be in business. The best part is how excited she is about the business. Much of this could not have happened without this review product. Thank you Carol Topp and Micro Business for Teens. I promise to post pictures when the costumes arrive.
If your teen is interested in making a little or a lot of extra money or starting a new business be sure to check out Micro Business for Teens. Also take a peek at what other Crew Members think of this product.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Finally, A THM Dessert Everyone Likes

This recipe came down in the THM Beginners group on Facebook this morning. I knew as soon as I saw it that I needed to make it. Especially since I had just got in my vanilla protein powder last night and was itching to use it in something. My version is mostly on plan with the exception of sugar free chocolate chips.
This is my third try on a dessert for the family. The first two I was fine with, the second hubby wasn't to keen on because he is not fond of cream cheese as a frosting. But this one got the seal of approval from Grace and that means it has to be good. I subbed Truvia for the other sweetners and used the conversion chart that is found on the beginners group site to do it. I know what I am having for breakfast tomorrow. The only bummer is it uses 3 cups of almond flour and that stuff isn't cheap. I usually only purchase one small bag of flour at a time but it looks like I am going to need to start buying larger quantities. You can follow this link to see the recipe coffee cake. Just be aware that the owner of this site has one bad word in her description of her tumbler account. Unfortunately I couldn't find a way around it posting.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Great Resource for Charlotte Mason Followers

Teaching Grace in the elementary years with Charlotte Mason methods was wonderful. I found myself only keeping some of the methods going into the middle and high school years. We still read a lot especially for history and literature. Now I will be embarking on a new adventure this fall that will require me to dig deep back into those Charlotte Mason roots. I don't want to talk about it yet but as the plan unfolds I will certainly discuss it more. In my email today was this great resource from Simply Charlotte Mason. I think this is something I will purchase to review over the summer and great ready for my big adventure in August. Please go take a peek and see if it is something you would be interested in. I love Sonya and could listen to her all day long, seven days a week.

Learning and Living Box Front
Photo Credit to Simply Charlotte Mason

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Baby Chicks and Raising Chickens

I forgot to really post or talk about this year's clutch of baby chicks. Since Grace has taken over all aspects of the chicken duties I don't really see them that much. Grace collects the eggs each day, cleans the coops, feeds them twice a day and changes their water, and visits them to check up on any possible problems. I really don't find myself out there that much. A couple of days before Easter our three eggs hatched. They are all doing well and currently age at 4 weeks but of course all the pictures are from the first few days. It truly never gets old seeing this guys hatch out and just standing in amazement of how God's hand is in everything.

Betty is usually our mother of choice because she is the best egg layer, sitter, and mother we have out of the 18 adult chickens. Due to currently having 18 adults we only wanted a few extra so three was the match number. Did you get the School House Rock reference there? Anywho they are growing and are now starting to be in the scruffy teenage years where the cutest is starting to wear off.
Grace is convinced they are all boys which would be a shame. It is always good to add a few females in the mix each year to keep up egg production. If we do have any males once they reach maturity they will need to be harvested. Raising chickens is a wonderful project for any young person. They learn responsibility, how to research when things go wrong, science, life skills, and so much more. Not to mention they are a lot of work and need to be looked after properly. We always have to be worried about where we are when it is roosting time to make sure the coops get locked up at night to protect from predators. If it gets dark and we are not home to lock up the coops, then then doors are still open to the coops and they are much more vulnerable to predators climbing in and attacking. We lost a chicken last week. She wasn't present at roosting time (we count all the chickens each night before locking the coop), just disappeared and more than likely was dragged away by a predator. Predators in our area tend to be hawks, opossums, raccoons, and those of the domestic variety (cats and dogs). Regardless of the sometimes sad moments like this week, raising chickens is a very rewarding activity and we will continue to do so as long as we can. The fresh farm eggs aren't to shabby either, especially with the amount we need for Trim Healthy Mama recipes and meals.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Winding Down the School Year......Or Not

This time of the year most homeschoolers are winding down the school year and looking forward to those long, lazy summer afternoons. For us this year won't follow that path for a number of reasons. Top on the list is that earlier in the year we got a good bit behind when Grace was having her health problems. Nobody likes to do school when they are sick to their stomach all the time. Anyway we got incredibly behind in a couple of subjects, math and science to be exact. History will be finished in the next 1-2 weeks. English is basically already finished, but there are a couple of review products that require literature and analysis work until mid summer which is okay because both are great books that we enjoy reading together. We will be lucky to finish Algebra by the new school year (or whatever technically each family considers as a school year). Science should be finished by July with our regular curriculum and another review product.

A few months ago I broke the news to Grace that we would need to continue some school work throughout the summer. She is at the age where she understands the ramifications of getting behind and what you need to do to get caught back up. So far very little resistance at this point, but we will revisit that statement in the middle of the summer when she will probably tire of all of this. So the remaining time of 9th grade we will spend finishing math and science, continuing in Japanese so we don't lose what she learned, and any review products that come our way from The Crew. I all respects I believe schooling year round is not a bad thing. Less chance to forget some of the big concepts we have learned each year. Hoping this will continue each year.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Homeschoolers Out In the Community

Many homeschooled as well as public schooled kids chose to volunteer in their local community. Sometimes it is hard to find a perfect fit and they will go from service to service until they find it. For us this is a very true statement. Over the past two years Grace has tried multiple service opportunities and some of them have worked out better than others. Five weeks ago we started volunteering two hours every Friday morning at a local no kill animal shelter. They have a very good success rate with adoptions. This is our second try with a different animal shelter. The first just wasn't a good fit for Grace on multiple levels. She was not quite experienced enough to handle all the large dogs at the other shelter. The current shelter usually has many puppies and kittens on hand that Grace can spend time with and help to socialize for their new homes. She also has opportunities to wash dishes and other clean up duties upon arrival.

Today there were some really great puppies on hand to snuggle and love on. In most instances they will be adopted before we get back next week.

Today was also the shelter's yearly yard sale to raise money for the facility. I helped out some here while Grace was with the animals. Today she got her first "war wound", scratches from an adult cat that didn't like their belly being rubbed.
Sometimes the volunteer time really gets in the way of school time and I struggle with juggling this, but then I think this is valuable time that is well spent for her and the community.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

THM Go To Breakfast and Snack

One thing I have found at about myself over the years concerning breakfast is that I like to eat immediately when I wake up and I don't like fixing anything complicated. So my go to breakfast on THM has become a smoothie. It took me a couple of weeks to get it just right the way I like it. I use the following ingredients.
1 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop chocolate Jay Robb protein powder
2 tsp of cocoa powder
2 tsp of xylitol
peaches, strawberries, cherries, and other berries
I typically have it between 7 - 8 in the morning and it holds me over until 11:00 when I eat an early lunch.

My other go to is for snack time. Sometimes I mix it in my yogurt and others I just eat it plain. My daughter really loves this one as well. I love granola and was missing it. I had not yet tried collecting all the ingredients that are called for in the THM book to make my own. When we visited Whole Foods I found this on the shelf. It isn't perfect for the plan but it comes mighty close and I am not a THM purist and have still lost weight using it. The sweetner is stevia and the flours in this product is oat flour, brown rich flour, and garbanzo flour. You can visit the website if you want more info about purchasing the product from Blackberry Hills Bakery at

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up - Busy, Busy, Busy

We had a very busy week with a little school work thrown in the mix. Grace volunteered at the animal shelter on Friday for a couple of hours. We keep up with all the adoptions and intakes on Facebook and it is amazing how fast some of these guys get adopted out. That morning we played with the kittens and by the time we had gotten home and eaten lunch three of the kittens and two of the adopt cats had been adopted.

Tuesday night was Recital night for the Cooperative and we had a going away party for my co-director. Grace had pottery in the art show but this semester didn't have any performing classes. We also had two Fiddler on the Roof practices this week which I am doing sound for and Grace will be stage makeup.
Yesterday was National Comic Book Day. Our local art store had an event that Grace wanted to attend. She tried her best to finish a poison ivy costume to wear but it just didn't happen. This is the art store owner and he put about 100 hours into his Captain America costume. Grace picked up three free comics though.

Last night was another art show for Grace and she actually sold a piece. She is the youngest in this art guild and the adults are always say the most encouraging things about her art and think she has a lot of talent.
As I mentioned we were able to get a little school work done. Mostly review products such as We Choose Virtues, Micro Business for Teens, and an Anne of Green Gables Study Guide from Progeny Press. I love sharing Anne of Green Gables with my daughter. It was always one of my favorites. We are watching the movie as we read the book to compare with the book. Micro Business for Teens has just opened up so many possibilities in Grace's mind about earning money now and future career plans. Future posts will have reviews for these products.
We are trying to finish up our history for the year. The Famous Men of the Middle Ages book has about 6 more men for us to study and that takes 2 days per many usually to read the chapter and answer the questions. As I said in earlier posts math, science, Japanese, and any review products will continue through the summer. English is just about finished as well. Grace has a book she wants to finish and we finished our fun read aloud this week (Percy Jackson series). We were thrilled to find out it wasn't the last book and that another would be out this fall.
This coming week will be a very busy one for us but also bittersweet. One more Fiddler on the Roof practice then three performances. This will be the last performance with my friend and co-director before she moves away. Grace also has auditions this coming weekend for the King and I and we are volunteering with the shelter and their annual yard sale to raise money. Then maybe we can all take a deep breath and relax for a little while before all Grace's summer art camps begin.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Savoring a Book

It seems for school purposes that some books have to be read through so quickly to move on to the next in line that you never really get to savor a good book. I have said many times before that I enjoy youth fiction just as much as Grace does. Grace enjoys books but prefers to have some of them read aloud to her or through audio books because she really is not a lover of reading. I learned early on that read alouds in many genres were in our future. Typically I ask her to read a book for history and I choose another to read aloud. We do this with literature as well. I give her something to read on her own and I chose a "fun" book (usually a series we are following) to read aloud 2-3 times a week. She really loves this time even if she did start high school this year. Some of our favorites have been both Percy Jackson series and Michael Vey series. She never really got into the whole Harry Potter craziness.

We just finished House of Hades and the entire time we were reading it we thought it was the final book of the series. Imagine our surprise when we got to the end of the book and low and behold the last book in the series is coming out this fall. The fourth Michael Vey book will be coming out at the same time. We savor these books so slowly that it usually takes us a semester to finish each. Since we will be schooling most of the summer I am thinking about starting the Fablehaven series with her as well.

We were a tiny bit disappointed with a twist that the author decided to bring into the Percy Jackson series. SPOILER ALERT - Having one of the characters have feelings for another character of the same gender really blew my mind. This book started out for kids, tweens, and teenagers. I think the author took a real misstep in doing this. Luckily that was on only about three pages and has yet to really pop up again. It was only discussion of feelings and not acting upon them. I truly hope he does not decide to take it further in the last book. It would really ruin it for us.