Our Family

Our Family

Friday, August 31, 2012

Molly Crew Review: Everyday Cooking


The Molly Crew, the other half of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, is a team of reviewers that exists to bring you reviews of household items.  Anything that you have and use from gadgets and gizmos, to gardening products, and even food can be reviewed.  I was so thankful to be chosen as one of the team of 100 reviewers for the very first Molly Crew review, Everyday Homemaking.


From the website:"Everyday Homemaking is jam-packed with practical ideas and tools to help you better manage your household and time. Practical ideas, time- and money-saving tips, useful products, links to our favorite sites--family resources that God has used to enable us to live our lives more abundantly. Everyday Homemaking--practical ideas for busy families, like yours!"

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen preparing food for our family.  I love to cook and am always excited to have an opportunity to try out new recipes.  I was thrilled to be chosen to review Everyday Cooking from Everyday Homemaking.

Everyday Cooking is a 100 page collection of tried and true recipes and tips for simple everyday cooking with an emphasis on whole foods.  Recipe categories include: Appetizers and Dressings, Bread and Grains, Main Dishes, Soups and Sides, and Desserts and Snacks.  There are also sections on: Basic Measurement and Helps, Meal Planning and Shopping Tips, Basic Cooking Skills Checklist,  Sample Menu and printable Menu Planning Sheets, Basic Kitchen Accessories, Kitchen Equipment, and Pressure Cookers verses Crock Pots.  Throughout the cookbook there are time saving and budget saving tips.  There are also color photographs of selected recipes.  

You can purchase Everyday Cooking as a 100 page, coil bound, glossy cover cookbook for $17.99, or you can purchase as a downloadable e book for $14.99. 

Every month they feature some of the recipes from Everyday Cooking on their site.  You can see these sample recipes by clicking here.

One of our favorites, Chicken Divan
We LOVE the Everyday Cooking cookbook!  The title Everyday Cooking really says it all.  In this cookbook you won't find recipes that are full of strange ingredients that you have to buy for one or two recipes and then never use again.  The recipes in this cookbook are written in a straight forward manner, use simple ingredients, and are easy to prepare.  There is a wide variety of everyday meals, appetizers, breads, and desserts to choose from.  The best part is that the food is delicious!!  There has not been one recipe that we have tried out of this cookbook that we haven't liked.  In fact, when I made the Chicken Divan in the picture above, I should've made two pans because the first one disappeared very quickly.  Each of  recipes that we have made the children have told me I need to make again.

Chicken Taco Rice

Each of the sections following the recipes contain a wealth of useful information.  Whether you are looking for meal planning helps, sugar substitutes. measuring helps, or basic kitchen equipment, you will find the information you are looking for.  One of the items I found to be the most helpful for me homeschooling young ladies, was the Checklist of Basic Cooking Skills.  This checklist lists several different foods in many different categories that for Home Ec credit you can have your child pick a recipe for that food and be able to make it on their own from scratch over the course of their High School years.  I found this list to be a wonderful tool, not just for the purpose of earning a credit but for my daughters to be well prepared to be able to cook a variety of foods for their families.

Chili Pie
I highly recommend Everyday Cooking!  It is my new favorite cookbook and I look forward to preparing many more delicious recipes!

To see what other crew mates said about Everyday Cooking and also The Everyday Family Chore System click here.

Disclaimer: As a member of the Molly Crew, I received a complimentary e book copy of Everyday Cooking to use and review.  I received no other compensation.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Not Back to School Blog Hop: A Day in the Life

We "homeschool " 4 days a week leaving Fridays for Art Classes, errands, grocery shopping, and playing at the park with friends.  An average homeschool day (Mon-Thurs) in our house looks a little something like this:

7:00-9:30- wake up, breakfast, morning chores.  I let the children sleep until they are ready to wake up unless it gets past 8:45.  Some of the children get up early but usually they wake up around 7:30-8 am.  Children's chores include: getting themselves dressed and ready for the day, feeding and caring for chickens, rabbit, cat, dogs.  Mommy chores include: getting myself and baby ready for the day, cleaning up breakfast, starting a load of laundry, getting out school supplies.  This time in the morning is also my computer time.

9:30-11:30- Morning School Work- P.E., Bible, History, Science.  After these are completed I do Math and Reading with my 1st graders while 3,5th graders do Latin.  Then we start lunch.

11:30-12:30- Lunch and recess

12:30-2:00 Nap time for baby and afternoon school work.  3rd grade Spelling, Math, Handwriting.  5th grade Math and Writing.  Speekee Spanish for little ones and pre-k, K fun time.

My High Schooler works with us for P.E., History, Bible and the rest of her day she works on her own schedule.

All schoolwork is completed by 2:00.

2:00-4:00- snack time and media/ free time for the children.  Mommy chore time includes sweeping, mopping, a load of dishes, folding laundry, and cleaning bathrooms.

4:00-5:00- a quick clean up of family room and outside time for children (when it is not too hot!)  Mommy prepares supper with help from Chelsea.

5:00-6:30- supper and more outside time!  Or the children will play board games, build legos, etc....

6:30-8:00- evening chores, baths ,snacks

8:00-bedtime  All of the children go to bed at 8:00.  They are allowed to read, listen to stories on their mp3 players, or play quietly until they fall asleep.

Not Back to School Blog Hop

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Homeschooling Without Family Support

It's one thing when you get criticized for your decision to homeschool from strangers or people you know but not very well.  But what about when your close family or friends do not support your decision to homeschool?

It's hard and it hurts when those who you care about the most cannot respect your parenting decisions.  A lot of times, people just do not want to understand and accept what is different.  They think because they went to Public School or perhaps even teach in one that that is the best way for children to be educated.  They think that because PS teachers go to school and get a degree they are better qualified to teach.  They may believe the lie that if you homeschool your child will not get enough "socialization" and will not be able to function in "the real world."  Even when you try to talk and explain your reasons for homeschooling they may get angry, tell you your crazy, or try to convince you that you are incapable of teaching your own children.

The Public School system is NOT the best way for children to be educated.  In fact I truly believe that it is the worst possible learning environment for many reasons, but that is a different blog post entirely.  The idea that homeschooles live a sheltered existence with no outside activities is absolutely ridiculous.  Homeschooling allows for plenty of positive social, real life experiences.  You are more than qualified and capable of teaching your children.  But, the truth is there will be people that you cannot convince of that and some of them may be the ones closest to you.

So what can you do?  Do NOT seek those people out looking for support or a listening ear about homeschooling.  Seek out those who will encourage or give you support.  If you don't know any other homeschoolers, look in your area for a local support group or even an online network.  You will need a support system.  Don't get into debates or spend your time trying to justify or convince them you made the right choice.  Some people may come around when they see how well things are going, but others will not.  Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree and spend your time talking about other things. 

The bottom line is this.  YOU are the parent.  God has entrusted you with the raising and care of the children He blessed you with.  You have to make the decisions that you think are best for your children.  Other people may not agree with your decision, but they don't have to.  It's YOUR decision and you made it for a reason.  Stay strong, have faith, and be encouraged!  Many other homeschoolers have gone through the same thing.  Personally, some of my family and friends came around.  Some didn't.  But, I know to the bottom of my heart that our decision to homeschool was one of the best decisions we have ever made!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

First Week Back at Homeschool

Even though have done some school over the summer (mostly with review items), Monday was our official first day of the 12/13 Homeschool Year.  Instead of jumping right back into a full schedule, we ease back into our year starting with a few subjects, then adding a few more until we are back to our regular school day.  We still work on a 4 day a week schedule saving Fridays for errands, grocery shopping, art class, and the park.

The children were excited to get back into the school year.  So much so that we actually did more than I had planned for the first week.  I had planned on starting with our "together" morning work for the first week.  We are reviewing a P.E. program called Family Time Fitness (review will posted around September 12th) and are starting our day with it every morning.  We had Apologia's Who Is My Neighbor as a review this summer and we got started back on that everyday.  Mondays and Wednesdays are history days and this week we finished the first 3 lessons in Mystery of History Volume 2 along with Memory Cards, timeline figures, and a map of Paul's missionary journeys.  In science, Swimming Creatures of the 5th day, we completed week one's reading and notebooking assignments.

Chelsea (11th grade) worked with us on P.E., Bible, and history (she completed a few additional activities for MOH.)  She is also still working on Time 4 Writing and MUS Algebra that she started over the summer.  She had also completed a few of her Chemistry lessons over the summer and started up where she left off.

Anthony (7) was very excited about his new Math book (Math U See) so even though I wasn't planning on doing Math this week we went ahead and got started.  Alex saw him working on Math and wanted to get started on his too, so we did.  Alex and Anthony both wanted to work in their handwriting books and have completed several pages this week.  Anthony is reviewing a program called The Reading Kingdom (review will be posted around August 31st) and does at least one lesson everyday (sometimes two!) even on the weekends.  Anthony, Christian, and Lily have also been enjoying watching their Speekee (review will be posted around September 7th) videos everyday.

The most difficult part of getting back into our schoolwork (besides of course being sore from Family Time Fitness because I am out of shape!)  has been Emelia.  Ever since our first year homeschooling, we have homeschooled with babies and/or toddlers, but I have never had one like her.  Most of our children by the time they were that age were quite content to sit and play quietly, color, or look at books with the other younger children.  Not Emelia.  She does not want to play.  She thinks every time I sit down she needs to be nursing.  That wouldn't be so bad, but she doesn't just nurse quietly.  She wants to be up then down then up and down again.  She kicks the books and reaches over and takes things out of my hand.  If she is not in my lap she is crying, and that little girl does not just cry, she screams.  I am hoping that as we go along and she gets more used to the routine she will get better.  Two days this week she was being a monster (Mon and Thurs) and two days she was really good and did sit and play quietly with her brother and sister and had ate a snack.  Even with the baby not cooperating, I think we got a lot accomplished this week!

Next week we will be adding in Math (Math U See)  and Essentials in Writing for Nick.  Alex will get back to work on All About spelling.  We also should have 2 new review items. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Time 4 Writing

Time4Writing.com offers online writing courses for Elementary to High School age students.  Each grade level elementary, middle , and high school offers introductory, intermediate, and advanced writing courses.  Each course lasts 8 weeks and students get a personal certified teacher.  Students have the opportunity to work through their interactive writing course at their own pace.  Over the last several weeks, we have had an opportunity to review Exploration in Essay Writing, a high school intermediate level course.

From the website:

" The Essay Writing course will explore the essay writing process from the pre-writing stage to the revision stage. Students will work weekly practicing and mastering each step of the writing process before moving onto the next step. The curriculum will be personalized, to each student’s ability, by a qualified and caring writing instructor."

Course objectives by unit:

Unit 1-Pre Writing the Essay

Unit 2- Writing the Thesis Statement

Unit 3- Writing the Introductory Paragraph 

Unit 4- Writing the Body Paragraph

Unit 5- Writing the Concluding Paragraph

Unit 6- Revising, Editing, and Proofreading Your Paragraph

Unit 7- Writing the Persuasive Essay

Unit 8- Publishing Your Writing

Click here to watch a video about the online teacher led courses.

Each 8 week course costs $99.  Time4Writing offers a 14 day money back guarantee.  To register click here.

Time4Writing also offers several free writing resources here.

When I found out that Time4Writing was on the vendor list and that they offered High School level courses, I was very excited!  My oldest is 15 and has been homeschooled since 3rd grade.  She is interested in going to college in a few years and I thought that this course would be very helpful to her.  Not just to refine some of her writing skills, but to have an opportunity to learn to manage her time, and receive feedback from a teacher other than me.  I really liked the process right from the beginning.  The expectations of the course, FAQ's, suggested schedules, and other mechanics and grammar topics are very easy to read through and understand.  There is a student orientation video to watch so the student knows exactly how the course works.  The student receives the assignment, completes it , and submits it for a grade.  The teacher grades and gives comments on the students work.  If the student did not follow the directions, the assignment gets a temporary zero and the student has an opportunity to correct the assignment and resubmit for a grade.  Once the student has a grade for the assignment, they are able to move onto the next assignment.  Feedback is sent via an email notification to log in to your account and read your feedback, or you can see feedback for the entire course was you are logged in under assignments.  Parents and students can email the teacher to ask questions.  Parents also receive a mid course and end of course report.

I think my daughter has greatly benefited by taking this course, although at times it has been frustrating for her.  She was given back more than one assignment because she rushed through it and did not do exactly as she was supposed to.  She was not thrilled that she had to redo those assignments.  I, on the other hand thought it was wonderful!  It really has showed her to be more careful and do exactly as she was asked to do.  The course has also fine tuned her writing skills.  The teacher has always graded her assignments in a very timely matter and has made very helpful,  pleasant, and encouraging comments while making corrections and offering suggestions. 

To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary 8 week course for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.


Monday, August 20, 2012

A Not Back to School Blog Hop: Student Photo Week

Last year I really intended to take photos of the children on the first and last days of school to see how much they grew/changed during the school year.  I participated in the Blog Hop so I did take photos around the first day of school but never took any on the last day.  So I thought in this post I would show the photos of the children I took for the Blog Hop last year and the ones I took this morning on our first day of school.  The children did not know that I was taking pictures so they are not dressed up in anything special, just what they look like on an average day.

Chelsea 8/2011
Chelsea 15 11th grade

Nick 8/2011
Nick 10 5th grade
Alex 8/2011
Alex 8 3rd Grade
Anthony 8/2011
Anthony 7 1st Grade
Christian 8/2011
Christian 5 Kindergarten
Lily 8/2011
Lily 3 years old
Emelia 8/2011
Emelia 17 months old

Not Back to School Blog Hop

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The American Bible Challenge Review and Give Away!!

My children love to play games and watch game shows.  Quite honestly though many of the newer shows that are being made are not anything that I would consider to be something very "family friendly."  I was excited to find out about a brand new game show that is premiering August 23rd at 8/7 c on GSN.

Twitter: #TheAmericanBibleChallenge and @GSN

About The American Bible Challenge

Comedian and author, Jeff Foxworthy hosts this studio-based game in which contestants compete based on their knowledge of the Bible.  Utilizing current as well as historical references, questions will be drawn from the rich, dense narrative found in the world's best-selling book.  The contestants will share their compelling back-stories and each team will be playing for a charitable organization. The American Bible Challenge is produced by RelativityREAL for GSN, with RelativityREAL’s Tom Forman (“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”) and Embassy Row’s Michael Davies ("The Newlywed Game," "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire") serving as Executive Producers on the project.  Nick Stuart and Maura Dunbar of Odyssey Networks are Consulting Producers.

About Host: Jeff Foxworthy
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy is the largest selling comedy-recording artist in history, a multiple Grammy® Award nominee and the best-selling author of 11 books. Widely known for his redneck jokes, his act goes beyond that to explore the humor in everyday family interactions and human nature. 

I was given an opportunity to view a video of The Making of The American Bible Challenge.  I am very excited to see a show like this on national television! We enjoyed watching Jeff Foxworthy host "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader" and think he will be a very good host of this show also.  Not just because of his sense of humor but also his character (you may not know that he holds a weekly Bible study for homeless people once a week and attends a Bible study another day of the week.)  Unlike many other game shows, the money is not going to the contestants, but to charities that they are playing for.  During the video that I viewed, those involved in the making of the show expressed a deep desire not just to produce a popular fun show, but to stay true and respectful to the subject matter.  I am lookng forward to the premier of The American Bible Challenge Thursday night at 8/7 central.


I have been given an opportunity to host a giveaway on my blog for An American Bible Challenge T-shirt AND a Zondervan Quest Bible.  To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below with an email contact.  An additional entry will be given to those new followers or those who let me know they follow me using GFC, Networked Blogs, Linky Tools or Follow The Happy Homeschool Mom on FacebookGiveaway will close Sunday August 26 at 11:59 pm.    Good luck!

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services 
mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I 
only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: 
"Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Mr.Pipes and the British Hymn Makers

More than 25 years ago, Christian Liberty Press was created to as the publishing division of the Christian Liberty Academy School System publish school materials for home education and Christian School programs.  Since then they have expanded to provide excellent educational products at a great value to homeschools and Christian schools worldwide.  CLP is dedicated to finding, evaluating, and producing curriculum materials that express a biblical worldview and are rooted in the word of God.  Recently we were given the opportunity to review the first book in the Mr. Pipes Series, Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers.

Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers is the first book in the series by Douglas Bond.  Written for grades 7-10,   it tells the story of Annie and Drew, who are on vacation in England.  They think their summer is going to be incredibly boring until they befriend an elderly gentlemen named Mr. Pipes.  Mr. Pipes takes the children on a series of adventures and while doing so tells wonderful stories teaching them about famous British hymn writers including: Thomas Ken, Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, William Williams, John Newton, William Cowper, Augustus Toplady, Thomas Kelly, and others.  Annie and Drew also learn about friendship, faith,  and the value of traditional worship and praise.

View a chapter by clicking here.

Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers is available in paperback for $9.89 or as a PDF download for $8.79.  Other available books in the series are: Mr. Pipes and Psalms and Hymns of the Reformation, Mr. Pipes Comes to America, and The Accidental Voyage.  You can purchase each separately or as a set.

Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers is a fascinating story of the history of the people behind some of the most famous hymns sung in churches everywhere.  The story's two main characters are male and female teenagers making it easy for teen boys and girls to identify with.  The story format makes it makes it much more interesting than just learning a list of famous people and what they did.  More important than memorizing who wrote the hymns, students will come away from the book with a deeper appreciation for the people who did and see how the Lord worked in their lives and used them in a mighty way,  and can and will use us as well.  The setting of the story adds to what they are learning as Annie and Drew are visiting some of the same places they are being taught about.   The illustrations throughout the book are absolutely delightful.  Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers would make a wonderful addition to a study of the church, England, or a time period study of the Hymn Makers.

To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary PDF download of Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation. 


Friday, August 17, 2012

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Apologia I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist

Apologia has been well known in the homeschool industry for it's science curriculum and more recently for it's What We Believe Worldview series.  They also publish numerous books and helpful resources to encourage parents on their homeschooling journey.  Recently I was given an opportunity to review Apologia's first apologetics curriculum, I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, for high school students.   

In their book I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist ($16.00), Norman Geisler and Frank Turek argue that not only is Christianity more believable than other belief systems, it is more rational than unbelief itself.  Using conviction and clear thinking, the authors take readers through some of the traditional arguments for a creator God, then move on to looking at the source of morality, the reliability of New Testament accounts concerning Jesus,  with the last section of the book dealing with the claims of Christ.  This book is an interesting read for skeptics of Christianity and a great resource for Christians who want to build a stronger defense of their faith.

View Table of Contents here.

See a sample chapter here.

I Don't Have Enough Faith to be An Atheist Workbook ($33) is based on the best selling book.  The purpose of the study is to help you understand and remember the critical points of Christianity and other worldviews from the book I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist so you can always be ready to give an answer for the hope that you have and also to understand the evidence for Christianity so you know why you believe and do not fall into any anti-biblical teachings that we are surrounded with.  During this course, "your student will tackle the question of absolute truth, demolish the follies of postmodernism, debunk moral relativism, and march logically and surely toward the inescapable truths of the Christian faith." 

Table of Contents

Sample Chapter

The curriculum presents supplemental material, study questions, and activities to encourage personal reflection and discussion and build writing skills.  Each chapter should tale around 2-3 weeks to complete taking the whole course around 9 months to complete.  Each lesson starts with a heading titled" Before Starting This Chapter" which lists the pages you will need to read out of the book before using the workbook.  "Key Topics" gives an overview of what you will learn and a" Key Terms" section gives important vocabulary words introduced in the chapter with a space for you to fill in the definition.  There is a "Road Map" that shows which of the 12 points that Christianity is true that will be covered in that chapter.  There are also profiles of important people or topics mentioned in the book throughout the lessons.

The main content of each chapter in the workbook is broken up into 4 sections:

Hook- Reminds you of what the textbook chapter talked about and includes a few questions to warm up your brain

Book-Takes you deeper into issues covered in each chapter and tests your knowledge and comprehension with questions from the textbook

Look-This section helps build on your knowledge with research assignments and other activities enabling you not just to "take their word for it" but instead to go and find the answers for yourself

Took- Summarizes  the material and helps you apply them to your life and witness for Jesus Christ

Students can find answers to most study questions easily within the text and occasionally page numbers are given in the workbook to help out.  An answer key for every question can be found by downloading the answer key on the Apologia Website free with purchase of the curriculum.  The website also contains downloadable chapter tests and answers.

I have really enjoyed using Apologia's worldview curriculum, the What We Believe Series for 6-14 year olds.  My oldest is 15 now and even though she has been completing that study along with us, I was so excited to see this new Apologetics curriculum for older teens.  I want my children (and myself too)  to be able to stand firm in their beliefs and to always be ready to, " give an answer for the hope that they have."

I decided to go ahead and go through the study myself before giving it to my teenage daughter and I am so glad that I did!  Although it was written for teens, adults can definitely benefit from this study as well.  So many people believe that all of Christianity is based on faith.  While some of it is, there is a lot of historical and scientific evidence to show that there is a creator God and Christianity is true.  I think the book I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist does an excellent job of describing the different worldviews, facing the objections to a creator God and Christianity, and presenting the logic, science, and history to prove it.  I know many people (myself included in the past) who have struggled or still struggle with reconciling ideas that Science teaches and the Bible.  I loved the way the book presented the facts and information that most schools and scientists leave out in an incredibly logical, scientific way.

Using the workbook along with the book takes it from something that is a very interesting (possibly life changing book) into something that you take and make a part of your life.  The workbook helps you gain deeper insight into the topics that are covered in the book.  The digging deeper questions and activities allows for the student not to just take the authors word for it but to go and seek out  the Truth by doing their own research and investigations.   The layout of the workbook makes it very easy for teens to work through on their own.  I also particularly liked the people profiles that are written throughout the book giving greater understanding to the topics being studied.  It really is a life changing study! 

I would say that in my opinion it is more for older teens and adults.  There is a lot of depth and information that may be a bit over the head of 13,14, or even some 15 year olds.

To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of the I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist book and workbook for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.


August Cloverbud 4 H Meeting

Our county fair is coming up in September.  I had planned on our club using the month of July and August to make crafts to put in the fair.  My plans had to change at the last minute because the day of our scheduled July meeting was the day we had to leave and fly to New York for my mother in law's funeral.  Our July meeting was rescheduled for last night and it will be the only meeting we have before the fair.  The craft I found was sand art from Oriental Trading.  Here is the one I bought.  Our group has children ranging in age from 3-10.  The sand art was a really fun project.  There were three different designs to choose from and each one came with it's own separate packages of sand.  We put paper plates under each one to catch any loose sand.  The hardest part was peeling off the paper.  It was difficult to pull just one area and if you didn't do it right it exposed the cardboard and the sand wouldn't stick. Most of the children needed help with that.  We had a small group last night with only 10 participating children and 2 babies and luckily there were 5 adults and 1 teen helper so the children had plenty of help.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Favorite Recipes: Cheesy Chicken and Red Potatoes

One of our favorites!

1/4 cup Ranch Dressing
6 large bone in chicken thighs (I use the big pack of boneless skinless chicken thighs)
4 slices bacon (I use turkey bacon)
1 1/2 lbs red potatoes cut into chunks
1 onion
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Pour dressing over chicken and place in fridge for 30 min to marinate.  Heat over to 400.  Cook bacon in skillet until crisp and drain on paper towels reserving 1 TBSP drippings in skillet.  Add potatoes and onion to skillet cooking 5 min stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat, crumble bacon and stir into mixture.  Put into 13 x9 pan.  Remove chicken from marinade and place over top of potatoes.  Bake 55 min or until potatoes are tender and chicken is done.  Sprinkle with cheese and serve. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Vocabulary Spelling City

VocabularySpellingCity.com is a website containing many fun and interesting games and activities to help children grades K-12 learn their spelling and vocabulary words.  Their mission efficient game based study of literacy skills using any word list.  You can access many of the games and activities for free, however additional features and benefits are available if you purchase a premium membership.  As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was offered a premium subscription for review purposes.

VocabularySpellingCity.com has:

  • over 42,000 spelling words with customizable sentences and definitions
  • a REAL person who says each word and sentence
  • free home pages for teachers and parents to save lists
  • teacher training videos
  • free printable handwriting worksheets
  • free teaching resources with lists and lesson plans
  • 25 games to play online or print
  • a free forum and newsletters

 Premium members receive the following benefits:

  • automated student record keeping
  • complete access to vocabulary content including definitions, parts of speech, synonyms and antonyms
  • premium learning games and activities such as Word- O- Rama, Letterfall, Which Word Definitions, and Speedy Speller
  • student list and grouping features
  • ability to create assignments
  • no commercial ads

A Premium Membership lasts 12 months from the date of purchase.  There is a 30 day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied you can request a full refund in the first 30 days of purchase.  The cost for a family membership for up to five students is $29.99.  There are also classroom and school pricing options.  To see more information on benefits, pricing, or to try the premium games click here.

VocabularySpellingCity.com takes the boring activity of memorizing spelling words and turns it into something fun!  There is a wide variety of games and activities to choose from.  My boys love playing Hang Mouse.  You can use your own words, or choose from their many lists of words.  I love that the voice that reads the words are clear and easily understandable.  The premium membership allows use to import lists and then easily assign activities your students.  There are a ton of videos and teacher helps available on the site.   

The one option that I wished it had, is the ability to shorten the amount of words in their word lists that your child is working on.  I wanted to use their lists for 1st and 5 th grades for my boys.  I easily imported the lists, but the first list for grade 1 has 37 words on it.  I only wanted him to work with the first ten but there was no option to adjust the amount of words on the imported list.  There was an option to add your own words to it or delete some of the words.  I didn't want to do either of those, just modify the amount of words on the list that we would be working with at one time.  So I printed out the whole list, went back and typed in the first 10 words and imported that list, then did the next 10 and so on.  This was a little more work than I wanted it to be since I had to do it for both boys.  It would be much easier if there was an option to change the amount of words you are working on within the list.

To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary premium membership to VocabularySpellingCity.com for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Not Back to School Blog Hop: School Room Week

A little over 5 years ago when we were buying a house, the playroom area of this house is what sold it to me (my husband was sold by the large shop outside.)  I really wanted to have an area that I could keep all the toys in and use for our school stuff.  Our schoolroom/playroom is not the only place in the house we "do school," but I love having a room dedicated for that purpose.

A few years ago, our downstairs suffered from significant water damage and we were unable to use that room for a long time while my husband remodeled it and enclosed the garage and turned it into a family room.  We were able to move back into it last year and it is even better than when we moved in!  One of the biggest changes we made was to the floors.  They used to be Pergo.  We chose ceramic tile.  It is fairly easy to install, inexpensive, long lasting, easy to clean!!!! and does not buckle when it gets wet.  To make a soft play area we bought foam tiles and placed them over the play side of the room.  The walls got fresh paint and wainscoting.  The shelves were painted too and we put clear contact paper over them to protect the paint.  My hubby also put a chalkboard in using plywood and chalkboard paint.

Since it is also a playroom, the room is used all the time and is never spotless.  But we do try and keep it somewhat neat and tidy.  It had gotten to a point where there was too many toys to keep it picked up and the children had so much stuff in there they never played with any of it.  Last week-end I went through and got rid of a lot of toys and was so glad I did!  Now they can play and everything has a place to be put away when they are not using it.

the empty wall space is where our MOH timeline will hang

picture of room from the stairs

this empty wall space will get a bulletin board

this side of the shelf is for games, books, toys, and legos

The window seat and the children's cubbies for school stuff.  I like to sit on the window seat while reading to the children.

this side of the shelf is for school books and supplies

A shot of the room from the window seat
I still need to make curtains and hang some things on the walls.  Walmart did not have a bulletin board so my hubby is going to the hardware store to see what they might have.  I'd also like to pick up those milk crates to put in each of the cubbies to keep them a little neater. 

Thanks for taking a peek inside our schoolroom!

Not Back to School Blog Hop