Sunday, December 23, 2012

Super Fruit Yeast Bread

As I have mentioned before my family and I are doing our best to eat healthier and make better food choices. One of the ways I am trying to feed my family better is by making our own bread. I enjoy knowing what is in our loaves of bread and also not being dependent on the grocery store to supply our bread needs. Now that I have pretty much mastered our daily bread recipe I am going to be trying various fruit bread recipes to get my kids, especially my youngest 3 who are all under 2 years old to eat more fruit, specifically super fruits like goji berries.

Here is my Super Fruit Yeast Bread recipe:

2tsp yeast
.5 cup honey
1.5 cup warm water

Mix above ingredients and let stand until bubbly

3.5 cups whole wheat flour (sometimes I do all whole wheat and other times I substitute with 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
1 cup rolled oats
1.5 tsp sea salt
1.5T butter cut in 3 chunks
.5 cup vital wheat gluten
.25 cup ground flax meal
2tsp cinnamon

.5 cup dried mulberries
.25 cup goji berries

Mix dry ingredients except for the berries. Add above ingredients to your bread machine according to your machine's instructions. Typically the wet ingredients are added first and the dry ingredients are added on top. Add fruit when you machine does the "ok to add fruit" beep, typically near the end of the first kneading cycle.

Wait until the loaf is done baking and enjoy!!

As an aside, I use all organic ingredients in my bread baking when available. I have found that even when using organic ingredients my per loaf cost is still less than that of preservative and chemical laden store bought bread.

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Review: Apologia's Exploring Creation with Astronomy

As I mentioned in a previous post I have been searching for a science curriculum that was not only fun and exciting, but one that was also engaging and educational. Most important however, was to find a science curriculum that explained science topics from a creationist young world view.

As we near completion of Apologia's Exploring Creation with Astronomy: Young Explorer Series I can say with certain that we have found a science curriculum that fits the bill of what I was looking for and much more.

My boys and I enjoyed this book so much that we finished it in just a few months, despite it being a year long program.

This Exploring Creation with Astronomy book begins with the sun and each subsequent chapter discusses the planets progressing outwards from the sun. Included is also a chapter on the moon, space rocks, stars and galaxies, and space travel.

Not only is this book scientifically sound but also included in each chapter are solid arguments for why God is the creator of our universe. The author Jeannie K. Fulbright, presents naysayers thoughts and gently but affirmatively discusses why it makes more sense that God created each event and object in our universe perfectly. I thoroughly enjoyed discussing these points of arguments with my boys and feel confident that these discussions have added to their ability to defend their faith and belief in creation rather than evolution.

To our studies I also chose to add the optional notebook journal. Their is a junior notebook journal or a regular "older child" journal available to augment this study. We chose the regular journal for our 6th grade son and advanced 3rd grade son. The activities and notebooking assignments are well suited for their abilities. The notebooking journal includes crossword puzzles, review questions, interesting fact journaling, recording space for experiments and mini books for each chapter. I felt that each activity in the journals complemented the textbook wonderfully and added to my boys understanding and retention of astronomy. Many of the journal assignments added to our discussions and acted as a springboard for further study and learning.

The textbook and notebooks (regular and junior versions) are available from a number of book retailers. Because I purchased these resources I will refrain from recommending one vendor over another.

Suffice to say we are thoroughly enjoying exploring astronomy using Apologia's text and notebooking journal. My boys and I are already discussing which science topic we will study next.

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions in this review are mine. Compensation was not provided for thsi review.


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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Verse of the day

This past week has been full of changes, changes for the better but changes nonetheless.

During the dark hours of this morning I had a few moments to immerse myself in His word. I launched the Holy Bible app on my iPad so as not to disturb my family that was still sleeping. As I pondered what God was about to teach my in my current study I was greeted with this daily verse:

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

While this verse refers to new believers I found it so appropriate to the changes that have happened in my life this past week. As we grow in Christ and learn to become more like Him our "old" life is continually shed and a new life begins. Let us not remain stagnant in our faith but rather always learning and growing to be more like our Father in Heaven.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Azure Standard

In response to my recent post on buying organic and non-GMO products for my family, many of you have asked how I afford this new diet change for my large family of 8.

Put simply, I shop our local grocery store on their discount health food day and purchase a large portion of our monthly grocery items from Azure Standard.

Azure Standard is based out of Durfur, Oregon and ships organic and natural food and household items all across the country. Azure orders are shipped monthly via independent trucking companies and utilize local volunteers for coordinating drop locations. Drop sites are dependent on local interest and the willingness of others to help manage each drop location. I am a drop coordinator for my local location. We receive nothing in return for our efforts, not even a discount on our orders. I work to keep Azure coming to my town because I appreciate the ability to buy organic foods at a discount price compared to my local stores. Azure also carries a wider variety of organic options than what I can find in my midwest town.

Yes, buying all organic and natural foods for a large family can be difficult on the monthly food budget. However, if it is a priority for you then you will find a way to make it happen. I'd encourage you to take a hard look at other areas of your budget and "
surplus" spending habits. My husband and I have curtailed much of our impulse purchases and trimmed things from our budget that we do not need to free more money to buy the foods that we feel are most important for our young family.

Being that we are a young family, I enjoy the fact that I can purchase in bulk from Azure at incredibly reasonable prices. For example, I make all of our bread, no more store bought bread for our family. Because of this I use a lot of organic whole wheat flour. If I had to buy the quantity of flour that I need locally, I would break the bank. However, through Azure I can purchase 25lb bags of flour for a fraction of the cost locally (not to mention I can't buy 25lb bags in my town). Not only do I buy our flour in bulk, I also now purchase organic oats, organic sugar, organic pastry flour, and numerous other dry good items in bulk with Azure. The depth and variety of organic and non-GMO items available at Azure is varied and reasonably priced. Best of all, they are adding new products every month so the variety of items we can get through Azure is only getting better.

I'd encourage you to check out Azure and see if there is a drop near you. If there isn't don't be discouraged. Contact Azure directly and they will put you in contact with the trucking company that serves your state. Talk to the trucking company and let them know you would like to have Azure come to your home town.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

They Say Women Change Every Decade

Photo courtesy of
It is generally said that every new decade in a woman's like brings marked change and growth. We mature, grow, and typically improve with age. Looking back upon my own life I can see now points at which I changed and grew into the person I am now. However, never before did I realize I was in the midst of a change as it was happening. That is until now.

I can see it, I can feel it. The change is dramatic. It is life changing. Life altering. My family and I will never be the same because of this change, a dramatic change in our eating. From the outside the change seems simple but the difference in my mindset is dramatic.

This change in our eating habits has been slowly growing over the past few years. However, a few months ago after educating myself about the food handling industry in this country my mindset about what I feed my family has changed 180 degrees. Sure I have always cared about what I fed my family, made sure there were vegetables at nearly every meal, tried to cook low fat recipes, and overall tried to give my family well balanced food options. But we all still enjoyed plenty of junk food. Fruit snacks, processed foods of every kind, and never gave any thought to where our meat and dairy products came from. I have bought as much organic vegetables as our budget could allow for quite sometime but didn't give enough thought to what it meant when we didn't buy organic.

Enter the documentaries Food Inc. and Food Matters, both of which can be found on Netflix. Food Matters is regularly offered for free on their Facebook page. These two films were the springboard for the complete overhaul of my cooking and grocery purchasing choices. Organic fruits and vegetables only enter this house now. If I can't afford grass fed beef or organic chicken then we do without and make what we have last longer. I bypass 90% of the grocery store aisles now, opting only for the organic and health food sections. Organic vegetables, homemade goods and unprocessed foods have invaded our home and I couldn't be happier.

Why such an overhaul and drastic change in our eating habits? Simply put, it now sickens me to think about all of the preservatives, genetically modified, and empty calorie food that was being brought into my house. And keep in mind we have always eaten "healthy" compared to most families. I can no longer in good conscience purchase preservative and genetically modified laden foods for my family. It makes me sick to think about putting that stuff on their plate or mine. Also, I am a strong believer in using the blessings that God has given us to the best of our ability. In this case that means using the financial means that He has bestowed upon us the best that I can and I do not believe that God ever intended for us to be putting all of that unnatural stuff into our bodies. Therefore, I can not with clear conscience purchase those things for my family with the money he has blessed us with.

The way I now grocery shop, prepare meals, and feed my family is a complete diversion from earlier times in my life. I am also creeping up in age and nearing the infamous "40". Growing older hopefully means also growing wiser. My new way of thinking is not a fad, a new craze, or a passing fashion. I don't have the mindset of "oh we will just do this for a while" like most of us think when we embark upon a new diet. There is no end in sight for this new "me". This is simply just "me". I know now what happens to our meat supply, I know what is in that genetically modified (GMO) fruit and vegetable. I know what all of those preservatives do longterm to our bodies. Please research these topics for yourself, watch documentaries on these subjects. The truth is not pretty and is frankly digesting.

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Burnt out on homeschooling? Tired of planning lessons week after week? Or perhaps you have lost the luster of lesson creativity and now just throw things together to "check one more lesson off of your list". 

I have been there and will likely be there again as I continue down our homeschooling career.

Thankfully this year I have found my answer. When I don't have the time or energy to plan a spelling lesson or teach a math lesson I can now turn to for my solution. 

If you have been homeschooling for a while perhaps you have heard of or are familiar with The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's Teachers Toolbox. replaced the old Teachers Toolbox and now provides an updated, streamlined, and more accessible source of teaching tools and lessons. The new site provides daily, weekly, and monthly lessons on a wide variety of subjects. Everything from the basic subjects like math and language arts to more specialized subjects like guitar and foreign language. With your monthly membership you not only get access to all of the lessons but also menu planning and each of the 5 Schoolhouse Planners when they become available (after 9 months of paid membership).

Photobucket is jam packed with such a variety of lessons and wonderful "daily" content that it is hard to pick my favorite to highlight. So instead I will discuss the resources that I have been turning to most often since beginning my membership. 

For my kindergarten daughter I am using the spelling lessons and reading lists most often. I am enjoying that the spelling lessons present four words over the course of one week. During that week the student uses those 4 words in a variety of ways such as answering questions, fill in the blank, and picture drawing. My 5 year old is a hands on learner and is enjoying the varied approach to learning her words each week compared to our previous "workbook" style of spelling lessons.

My 3rd grade 8 year old is most enjoying the history and United States geography lessons. He is crazy about both subjects and is excited each day to find out what the new lesson is and what he gets to research and explore. These lessons have been wonderful spring boards for further research and learning opportunities. I appreciate that fact that he is excited about and learning things that I hadn't thought about introducing and also frankly don't have the time to prepare because of other family obligations (namely 3 littles ones under the age of 2).

A few months back I began praying for a guitar lesson opportunity for my 11 year old 6th grader. Weekly lessons at the music store aren't not feasible for a variety of reasons right now but I know how badly he wants to learn how to play. So imagine my surprise and joy when I noticed that includes guitar lessons. My 11 year old is thrilled (as am I). These lessons alone more than pay for the monthly fee that charges. Now my oldest son can advance his guitar abilities at his pace from the comfort of our home. 

So as you can see is not geared towards a certain age group of students. There is a wide variety of lessons and learning opportunities for every age, including adults (music, voice, and foreign languages to name just a few).


Specific Details:
Price: $1 for the 1st month and $5.95 each month thereafter

Included with each membership (taken straight from the website FAQs):

A membership provides you with all the daily, weekly, and monthly lessons from our expert Schoolhouse Teachers and Contributors, but there is much more. It also gives you all five Schoolhouse Daily Planners each year; the five, together, represent a $125 value. The 2012-2013 Planners will be available in June.

The 2011-2012 Planners can be downloaded at any time. Though the school year is winding down, you’ll still benefit from literally hundreds of pages of articles, supports, helps, encouragements, games, informational lists, and other benefits (as well as a few months of tracking space). The 2011-2012 Schoolhouse Planner alone is 819 pages! There are also separate planners for elementary, middle school, and high school ages, and a planner for special needs children.

A membership also provides with you access to our past (archived) and future Expo webinars—we have had up to one thousand attendees at each webinar. We cover the latest in home education trends and sponsor many free giveaways. For instance, the March webinar featured Jay Ryan teaching about astronomy and Andy Harris teaching on Google Earth. (What a blast that was!) Note: The Expo-to-Go postings will go up on our site in May.

There’s more: The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine delivered by TOS straight to your inbox monthly; all The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine digital back issues (easily searchable); a free E-Book every month; and, after 12 months of uninterrupted membership, you’ll receive a $25 gift certificate to the Totally TOS section of The Schoolhouse Store!

You can begin your membership here


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Electronic Bible Blessings

Photo courtesy of
If you've been reading my blog for any length of time you already know that I have a large family and this season of life has blessed me with 3 under the age of 2. Up until recently time in His word was difficult to accomplish. Sleeping arrangements in my house leave few quiet places where I can turn on the light in the early morning and study.

For quite a while I've been hoping for an electronic bible that I could read quietly and not rely on an electric light source. However I also wanted all of the features of traditional studying. I enjoy taking notes and highlighting meaningful verses.

I may be behind the eight ball in this discovery but I've finally found an iPad app for that. Yeah!

The Holy Bible application for Apple products by life has everything in an online bible reader that I have been looking for. My favorite version (NLT), bookmarks, highlighting, notes, and much more. Now I can study the Bible at any time of the day or night without disturbing or waking my family with lights, fumbling for pen an highlighter, or by flipping pages.

Here is the direct link to the Holy Bible from life

Many Blessings,

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Holding Your Tongue on Facebook

Photo courtesy of
Jesus reminds us in Matthew 12:36 "And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak."

I am a regular on Facebook, I must admit. It is my social outlet on those days when I can't get out of the house. I enjoy networking with other homeschoolers, preemie Moms, and childhood friends. I am friends on Facebook with a wide variety of people and a range of religions.

One thing that strikes my heart and pains me to read on Facebook are angry and mean posts from my Christian acquaintances. This is an issue I have had for a long time and something I have thought long and hard over.

Perhaps you have experienced the same thing. A seemingly strong woman in her Christian faith plastering her Facebook wall with whiny, complaining posts about friends and family members. How can a Christian Mother who claims to be steadfast in her walk with Jesus turn around and write angry complaints about issues in her life? In Matthew 12:36, Jesus clearly tells us that we will have to give an account of every word we speak on judgment day. When I read those hurtful words from my fellow sisters in Christ I wonder what account they will give for the words they have just spoke against their friend or family member.

Are we as Christian Mothers perfect? Absolutely not. No one is. However, something as simple as holding you tongue is fairly simple to do as educated adults. What example are you setting to your children if you complain about others in such a free an open manner such as Facebook? Sure your children might not read your Facebook page but I can almost guarantee that if you freely speak ill of others on your Facebook wall then you are also letting the poison pour from your lips in front of your children.

Nothing is accomplished by complaining and speaking ill of others on our Facebook wall.

Dear sisters, please think about your Facebook posts before your post them. If you need to vent your frustrations about life then I encourage you to talk them through with your husband or write them down in a personal journal.

With Love and Blessings,
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Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Pressure to Continue Homeschooling

Courtesy of
Homeschool families are pretty open, honest, and forthcoming when asked about homeschooling. We readily talk about the whys, hows, how longs, socialization inquiries, and the long list of curriculum questions.

But there is a black cloud that hangs over many homeschool families. A deep, dark struggle that many of us refuse to put voice to. If we ignore it, the problem will just go away. One day we will wake up and that inequity will be gone. As if we ignore the issue it will just disappear.

Sadly, this will never be the case. We will always feel the pressure to continue homeschooling.

There I said it, I put voice and writing to the unspoken truth within the homeschooling community.

If you have been homeschooling for more than a few months you have most certainly had a day or more when you just want to throw in the towel. Your kids are frustrating you, you can't get lessons completed to save your life, and all you want to do is close yourself in a quiet room to get away from it all. But you can't, not for your sake and not for the sake of your children. We've all been there. Some of us more than others.  The longer you've been at this homeschooling thing the more rough days you are bound to have. These days pass however, a new day dawns, and like magic everything comes together and you have a great day of learning together as a family.

The good days are what sustain us through the rough patches. We cling to those "aha" moments like beautiful diamonds scattered in a coal mine. Those sweet, tender, and loving learning moments remind us why we chose to homeschool. Our children are our treasures, our blessings, and we enjoy being with them.

But what about those situations when you need to throw in the towel? For your sanity, for your child's stress level, and the happiness of your family you need to stop homeschooling and send you child or all of your children to a public/private/charter school.

What do you do then?

Well if your need to stop homeschooling is real then the choice to stop is obvious. But what about your heart? Ever thought about what it would feel like to actually throw in the towel and give up homeschooling your children?

There is an unspoken rule in the Christian homeschooling community.

Once you start homeschooling you have to see it through to the end. God has called us to homeschool so we HAVE to continue homeschooling no matter the cost to our sanity, happiness, and relationship with our family and friends.

If we stop homeschooling we will suddenly be out cast by our homeschool friends. Afterall, we've sent our kids to "school". We've let them loose and they are now adrift in the sea of public school. We've failed. We couldn't hang with the "big boys". We've given up on our children. Our homeschool friends will now look down upon us because of our inequities.

I don't have the answer.

But I do know that I have felt this way countless times when I feel pushed against the wall. I struggle nearly everyday with one of my children and can see one of my younger children quickly becoming just like their older sibling. So I will soon have 2 children that will test my limits and push me everyday. I want to throw in the towel, I really do. Just being honest. I want to keep my "easy" learner at home, skate through the day, and drink tea quietly while my gifted learned thrives and learns under my tutelage.

When I think about sending my challenged learners to a mainstream schooling option I feel the "cloud". I feel the pressure and despondency. What will my friends think? Am I giving up? Am I failing my children? My family? My Father in Heaven? I'm swimming in the homeschooling sea and struggling to keep my head above water.

Yes, there is a cloud. Yes, there is a pressure for Christian homeschooling Moms to continue homeschooling. No, we don't talk about it. No, we don't write about it. Well, until now that is.

I am taking it one day at a time and so can you. Step back, reevaluate, relax, breathe, and most importantly pray. We can and will conquer our challenges. The way we conquer our challenges and achieve our goals will differ depending on our family situations.

No matter your situation however, please do not let the cloud, the unspoken truth, affect your decision. Pray about it and do what is best for your family. Don't worry about what your friends or the homeschooling community at large will think. You need only answer to God.

Be Blessed,
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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Apologia Astronomy Venus Project

As a homeschool Mom with a degree in biology I am sad to admit that science has taken a back burner in our homeschool courses in previous years. I just couldn't find the time or energy to fit yet another subject into our already full schedule. Also, after looking through countless science curriculums I wasn't able to find one that held my interest. Science is real, it is exciting, it is full of wonder and amazement. I had yet to find a science program that conveyed that excitement the way that I wanted my children to learn my favorite subject.

That was until this year! Finally we have found a curriculum that I love and thankfully my boys are enjoying it as much as I am. What are we using?

Exploring Creation with Astronomy, Young Explorer Series by Apologia.

I will save my review on this book for another post but I did want to share my 7 year old son's creative lego project for our most recent astronomy chapter. Above Mini-Me is pictured with his lego model of a volcano on Venus. A side view of the lego structure shows the profile of the volcano with a plume of ash and lava shown by the red ball on top. A lego model of the surface of Venus is suggested as a project in the Exploring Creation with Astronomy book. However, as I expected Mini-Me put his own spin on the assignment and created this very original and creative project.

As a Mother who is desperately trying to raise independent and creative thinkers I appreciate and am thankful for curriculum that encourages and fosters the very things that I am seeking in my young children. Mini-Me asks everyday to do science, he loves this book and in turn is developing a healthy love of science. I had planned on making this book our science curriculum for the year but at the pace my 7 year old wants to learn at we will most definitely fly through this book and at least one maybe 2 more this school year. I am thankful that Apologia not only has this Young Explorer Series but also has a more advanced science curriculum so that my children can learn and explore science in depth.

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Thankful for a Clean Kitchen Floor

Courtesy of
For Christians, praying is as important to our faith as drinking water is to our daily health. Prayer is necessary for our relationship with God to grow and be healthy just like water is needed for our bodies to be healthy and grow.

But where and when are Moms supposed to find that quiet time to pray? We are constantly on the move from the minute our feet hit the ground in the morning. Those of us with little ones barely have a moment to get a drink of water or use the restroom. Warm meals are almost unheard of and we are lucky to get dinner on the table at a decent hour. So when are we supposed to carve out the time we so desperately need with our Lord? We know we need to but some days it just seems so impossible.

Over the years and through the various seasons of Motherhood, where and when I most often pray during the day has varied. At one point when my youngest was sleeping through the night I faithfully woke up early and sat around my kitchen table to read His word and pray. Those days are long behind me though and won't be a possibility for the foreseeable future, afterall I've got 3 littles under the age of 2. I still need to carve out that much needed quiet time in prayer though, not only for my faith but also for my sanity and mental well being.

So when do I most often pray?

The simple answer is whenever and wherever I can. It is never anything fancy, I just say quick prayers and give thanks for His blessings whenever a quiet moment presents itself. Doing dishes, sitting down to give the twins a bottle, nursing my youngest, folding laundry, even cleaning the bathrooms are all places I have prayed in recent days.

Tonight however, it all hit me. Earlier this evening I had a very rare moment when everyone was in bed and I still had enough energy to clean. Keep in mind my youngest is still waking up every 2-3 hours at night so in a typical night I am up 4-5 times; energy and wakefulness are not my strong assets in this season of my life. Tonight I was able to finally clean my kitchen floor. Cooking, canning, and daily traffic had left my floors far dirtier than I prefer. As I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the splattered tomatoes, leftover food pieces, and other unknown stains off of my white floor tiles I prayed. Not only did I pray but God opened my heart to the specialness of that moment. Yes, cleaning my kitchen floor on my hands and knees on a Saturday night was a special moment.


Scrubbing the floor tonight was so special because it symbolized all that was right in my life. I could be a million other places right now but I am not. I am here at home with my 6 beautiful children who are healthy, thriving, and growing in His word. There was no where else I wanted to be at that moment than on my hands and knees cleaning my kitchen floor.

I am blessed and so are you! Sure there are daily struggles and worries. But through it all, think of all that you have been blessed with and have to be thankful for.

Be thankful for your clean kitchen floor!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

4th Year of Homeschooling: Off and Running

As I was planning the upcoming school year earlier this summer my anticipation steadily grew with every new box of curriculum and every new entry into my favorite planner, The Well Planned Day Homeschool Planner. I had dreams of picture perfect, conflict free hours around the kitchen table. Fantasies of every lesson completed just as I had planned. Visions of intricate and highly planned lessons filled my head. I had every reason to dream. The past two years of homeschooling were anything but complete, far from easy, and wrought with life distractions. Now that life has settled down I saw this new school year as a rebirth for our homeschooling journey. A chance to redeem myself as a home educator and an opportunity for my children and I to return to the glory days of homeschool year number 1.

What was I thinking? August 1st was the first day of school for the new year here in our house. Reality quickly collided head on with my picture perfect dreams. My school age children were no more ready to start school than I was. My beautiful school lessons were too much and overwhelming right out of the gate. Not only that, but I have irish triplets of which the older 2 are only 19 months. Not only were my lesson plans too much too soon but I didn't take into account all the time and effort needed to care for my younger 3. I can not sit down for long stretches of time to teach a length lesson. God blessed my family and now I need to learn to work within those blessings and make this the best school year that I can.

I erased a LOT of lesson plans.

Now that my dreams and visions of grandeur are behind me I am beginning to settle into reality. I have rearranged the lesson schedule, made lesson instructions shorter, and taught my children that Mom can teach them anywhere, not just at the kitchen table like usual. Most importantly though, I have come face to face with the fact that it isn't all about how much schoolwork we get done in a day. Teaching my older children to keep the house and care for one another is of first and foremost importance. These are formative years in my young family, caring for one another and the blessings around us in crucial. There will always be time for a math lesson or a science experiment, they don't have to happen exactly when I have them "scheduled" in my planner.

We are enjoying school, loving each other, and loving life. Isn't that why I started homeschooling in the first place?

I will post our curriculum and my early impressions in the coming days.

Here's to a wonderful new school year!! May your home be blessed!!
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Really miss blogging!

It has been months since I last logged on this blog. So sad! I truly miss writing my ramblings, my random thoughts about motherhood, homeschooling, and my faith. Even though I am not actively writing here blog post ideas are constantly popping in my head. Sometimes I am even able to draft a post in my head, if only I had the time to stop and write down those sentences I would have countless posts these past months. But I don't, my family has to come first. I do have every intention of posting here again on a fairly regular basis. I think I know how I will make that happen but until I can actually put my plans into practice I will make no promises.

So until then, please know that I am still around and doing well.
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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Review: What's in the Bible?


Are you looking for a way to explain to your children what is in the bible? Want a creative way to teach them how the bible is organized? What's in the Bible? will do just that and so much more!

I was recently given the opportunity to review What's in the Bible? volume 1: In the Beginning. Together with my children ranging in ages from 11 to toddler we watched this fun yet educational DVD.  I have to admit, even I learned a few things that I didn't already know.Using puppets and children the nuts and bolts of the bible are explained including such things as how it is organized, how it is put together, and how the books are divided within the bible. The video then goes on to teach about the first book in the bible, Genesis. Again through the use of puppets and children we learn who wrote the bible, how the bible was inspired, and why Genesis is such an important first book in the bible. This video is not just fun and games, it is packed with insightful, educational, and important facts about His book. The information taught in the video helps set the stage for a deeper understanding as you study the rest of the books in the bible.

Along with the entertainment factor of this DVD I thoroughly enjoyed the educational aspect and the conversation that followed with my children. It served as a fun springboard for additional teaching about the bible and our faith. I will most certainly purchase the remaining DVDs in this series.

There are also great resources to accompany this DVD including;
  • coloring pages
  • flashcards
  • study guide
  • and more. . .
You can access these activities here.

Disclaimer: I was selected for participation in this review and given a free copy of this DVD as a member of The Homeschool Lounge review team. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Review: Reading Eggs

 Reading Eggs- Learn to Read Online with Phonics in 5 Weeks from ages 3-13

As a member of The Homeschool Lounge and a homeschool blogger I was given the opportunity to review Reading Eggs with my three school age children. I was most excited for this review opportunity for my 5 year old daughter who is a non-reader and shows very little interest in learning to read.

From the very beginning I could tell that Reading Eggs was going to be not only educational but also fun and engaging for my young 5 year old. Because she is unable to read I had her begin the program from the very beginning without taking the optional reading assessment. She dove right into the program and the first few weeks she gladly spent one hour or more engrossed in her lessons. Her interest only waned bit when I made her repeat a few of the levels she had already completed because she did not pass the quiz at the end of the group 10 reading activities. Otherwise she thoroughly enjoyed the Reading Eggs online reading program completely.

In a nutshell, or shall I say "in an eggshell" children can either begin the online reading program from the very beginning or take an assessment reading test to see at which reading level they read proficiently. After the reading assessment the program will start the child at the appropriate level in the Reading Egga game. For example, my 7 year old son took the reading test and began the game on map #8 based on his test results whereas my 5 year old began the game on map #1 because she is a non-reader. Each map is laid out like a walking path and includes 20 steps along the path. Each stop along the pathway is a game or activity for the letter sound or set of sounds that the map is teaching. At the end of the map is a quiz. If the child passes the quiz then it is recommended to move on to the next map. However, the program advises repeating the map if your child does not pass the quiz as was the case with my daughter and map #2. I appereciated the fact that quiz results were emailed to my email address so I could stay up to date on my chldren's progress throught the program without having to hover and watch them every minute.

At the end of my Reading Eggs review program I could tell that my children, especially my 5 year benefitted from this program. She learned new letter blend sounds, she can now recognize a few 2 letter words, and is more proficient at sounding out words when we do our hands on reading lessons. My children all enjoyed this program and were excited to play it everyday.

Complete pricing information can be found here 

You may also enjoy a free trial period by visiting Reading Eggs

Disclosure: I am participating in a sponsored campaign hosted by The Homeschool Lounge Review Team. I received a 5 week membership to Reading Eggs to facilitate this review. All opinions stated are my own.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Review: Stack the States iPad Application

In my search for quality educational iPad applications to supplement our homeschool curriculum I stumbled upon Stack the States. I am so impressed with this application that I just had to share my thoughts and opinions with you my fellow homeschooler.

I was initially drawn to this app because we are studying the United States in our geography studies this year. My oldest, who is in 5th grade is notebooking his way through the states. My younger two school age children are learning about the 50 states through observation and "osmosis". When I came upon Stack the States I immediately thought that this was an educational tool that my younger children could use for a more interactive learning experience about the 50 states. I have never, and I truly mean never, paid for an application. All of the apps on my Ipad are ones that have been offered for free. I was pleasantly surprised that Apple offered a "lite" version of Stack the States as a preview to the full version.

My 7 year old son started playing the lite version and loved it. Within 20 minutes or so however, he had reached the limits of the lite version and could no longer earn any more states, which is the objective of this application. I sat next to my son while he played and was so impressed with the variety of questions asked about each of the 50 states that I looked into purchasing the full version, which I normally would never do. Imagine my pleasant surprise when I realized that the full version of this app is only 99 cents. From a homeschool perspective, where else can you get a fully interactive geography curriculum for only 99 cents? After downloading the full version my 7 year old set off on his own to "play" (translation; learn) with our new geography application. Everyday he has played for at least 30 minutes or more and is learning more about geography than I could have ever imagined. I have to admit, I am learning a bit myself.

Stack the States asks questions about landmarks, state capitals, bordering states, mountain ranges, cities, and much more with regards to each of the 50 states. There are also questions that ask to identify the states based solely on their shape. I am highly impressed with the amount of United States geography my 7 year old has learned in just a few days. This was the best 99 cents I have spent in a very long time.

I plan to also use this application as a quiz tool for my oldest son. Theoretically, he should already know much of the information asked in this application but I think it will be a fun tool for him to use to test the knowledge he has acquired through notebooking.

Basics about the application:
For each correct question answered the child earns that state. The state is then stacked on a platform and when enough questions have been answered correctly and enough states earned and stacked on top of one another to reach a checkered line then the child earns a random state for their map. The goal is to earn enough states to fill up their map. Additionally, supplement games are earned after a set number of states have been earned. For example, after earning 10 states on the state map a game called "pile up" is unlocked. There are a total of 3 supplementary games that can be unlocked for additional geography learning enjoyment.

Stack the States Lite; free (maximum of 10 states)
Stack the States full version; 99 cents at the time of this posting

Disclaimer: I was not paid, reimbursed, or otherwise compensated in anyway for this review. My opinions are my own.

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