My Love Affair with Coconut Oil

This week’s letter is C.  Join me as I join Cristi and Meg and I blog about My Love Affair with Coconut Oil.

Many years ago a friend of mine introduced me to coconut oil. I confess I was not keen on it. I am not fond of coconut flavored anything so why on earth would I want to use coconut oil!!!???  Now of course coconut oil is all the rage.  And for good reason. I’m not going to extol the virtues of coconut oil but instead I am going to share a few of the ways we use coconut oil and how I’ve gone from a “seriously? coconut oil?”  to a “Yes, seriously, coconut oil. Try it!” perspective.

I love Coconut Oi. It has so many uses!

  • Coconut Oil is a great substitute for butter. Yes, for me it took some getting used to but coconut oil as a butter substitute is a hit here. Cinnamon Raisin Bagels are quite yummy during Orthodox Christian fasting seasons such as Advent and Great Lent and my girls love them spread with coconut oil. No, I confess coconut oil as a spread is not as yummy as cream cheese on a bagel but it works. Turtle says she loves toast with coconut oil and peanut butter.  It is her go-to breakfast during the fasting seasons.
  • Coconut Oil is solid at room temperature. This makes it an ideal substitute for that nasty hydrogenated shortening.  Tailorbear uses a 1/2 coconut oil and 1/2 butter with her cookies to achieve a great texture with a buttery taste. BooBear makes these awesome chocolate chocolate chip cookies with just coconut oil and they have a great texture like you would get from using shortening and they have just a hint of coconut flavor. I am NOT a fan of coconut.  Coconut anything makes me want to run but these cookies? The coconut oil adds something that I can’t describe but makes them extra yummy and doesn’t make me want to run away. Cookies do not taste right anymore if they are not made with coconut oil!
  • Coconut is a wonderful moisturizer for your hair! When I was young, I would get those Vo5 hot oil packets to do a hot oil treatment on my hair.  Tailorbear has been using coconut oil as a conditioner/oil treatment for her hair for a couple of years.  I’ve recently started using coconut oil as treatment oil for my hair.  Boobear slathered up my hair and her own and we sat around in our grubby clothes and let that oil rich oil soak into our hair.  We’ve decided we should do this once a month.  The only problem?  I kept thinking I smelled like a cookie and I started craving those chocolate chocolate chip cookies. 
  • Coconut Oil is naturally anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacteria. It’s a boost your immune system. I combine extra virgin olive oil, fresh chopped garlic, and unrefined organic coconut oil and we use this when we have a cold. It makes an excellent spread for French bread or you can spread it like vapor rub.  Sounds gross but try rubbing it on your feet and putting on socks. I don’t know how it works but it sure helps Supergirl when she is fighting a cold virus.

What are some of the ways that you love to use coconut oil?  Share your favorite way to use coconut oil in the comments!


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Random 5 on Friday ~ November 20th Edition

It’s been a busy couple of weeks around here!

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1. A weekend or to ago Boobear and I had girly time again. On Saturday, we deep conditioned our hair with coconut oil and then later on Saturday she did henna on our roots. My hair seemed to really love the extra attention!

2.  It is concert and recital time for Boobear again! Last week we attended her choral concert on Tuesday night and her keyboarding student recital on Thursday night. I’m looing forward to attending the “Sounds of Christmas” choral concert in December.

3.  Turtlegirl took the SAT and has started hearing from universities in response to her SAT scores. She finds that very encouraging. I’m proud of how hard she is working and studying.  Honeybear, Turtlegirl, and I attended an informational/recruiting dinner for Turtlegirl’s first choice college.  She was able to speak with someone from the Honor’s College and with someone from the Arts and Sciences college and discussed Earth Science/ Geology major options. 

4. Yesterday was my 21st Wedding Anniversary. To celebrate we attended a small gallery reception of Byzantine Icons and Celtic manuscript illustrations. I really enjoyed the chance to see several different styles of icons and I loved the Illuminations. After that Honeybear and I just stopped for pizza. Not the most romantic dinner but I think we’ll have something fancier and cozier tonight. Supergirl likes to play restaurant and Tailorbear likes to cook. I didn’t get roses this year but here’s a picture of my anniversary roses from last year.

Roses for profile pictures

5. I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is next week. I am so unprepared. I don’t have a menu planned. Not that it will be much different from any other year but still no plan, no list, and no food shopping. 


2015 Schoolhouse Review Crew Blue Ribbon Winners!

It is that time of year again! The time the Schoolhouse Review Crew team members get to vote on their favorite products, resources, and curriculum from the 2015 Crew Year.  We had some amazing vendors this year! I’ll be sharing both the official winner and if I had a different choice, I’ll share that too! I’m only including some of the winners in my post. You can visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew to see the full list of winners!

2015 Schoolhouse Review Crew Blue Ribbon Awards

Favorite Reading Curriculum: Reading Kingdom. ~ This was Supergirl’s choice! She loves Reading Kingdom!

Favorite Writing Curriculum: Institute for Excellence in Writing.  This is my favorite!  I love IEW.

Favorite Spelling Program: Institute for Excellence in Writing: Phonetic ZooWe did not review a spelling program this year but I have heard such excellent things about Phonetic Zoo!

Favorite Grammar Program: Institute for Excellence in Writing: Fix-It! GrammarThis was part of the Deluxe Combo that some reviewers received.  I reviewed Fix-It! Grammar last year.

Favorite Literature Curriculum: Progeny Press. This was the first year that the Crew reviewed Progeny Press and I didn’t!  I have reviewed Screwtape Letters along with Bow of Bronze and then I reviewed the Hobbit. Most recently I reviewed The Hunger Games along with The Courage of Sarah Noble.  Since I didn’t review it, I couldn’t vote for it.  I voted for Sharon Watson’s  Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide.

Favorite History Curriculum: Home School in the Woods. We did not review Amy Pak’s products in 2015 but we did in 2013. I reviewed Great Empires. For this crew year I voted for Homeschool Legacy.

Favorite Science Curriculum: Visual Learning Systems. This was Supergirl’s Favorite! She loves Digital Online Science!

Favorite Math Curriculum: CTC Math.

Favorite Math Supplement: SimplyFunWe did not review either game from SimplyFun. We voted for Super Teacher Worksheets as I had been using it as a supplement for Supergirl’s math studies.

Favorite Christian Education Curriculum: Grapevine Studies. This is a wonderful study!  Did you catch my review? It’s perfect for the advent season!

Favorite Foreign Language Curriculum: Middlebury Interactive Language. Turtlegirl loves High School French!

Favorite Fine Arts Product: Maestro ClassicsSupergirl continues to listen to The Nutcracker nearly every day.

Favorite Video: FishFlix.comWe did not review any of the videos from FishFlix.com. Supergirl’s favorite are the videos from SmartKidz Media.

Favorite Preschool Product: La La Logic. *Sh* don’t tell Supergirl that it won Preschool Product. Seriously though, this is great for early elementary as well. Did you read my review?

Favorite High School Product: Writing with Sharon WatsonWhen Worlds Collide was a product I didn’t know I needed! Definitely a favorite here in multiple categories!

Favorite College or College-Prep Product: Freedom Project Education.  I did not review this one.  For our family it was a tie between When Worlds Collide from Sharon Watson and The Critical Thinking Co.’s Practical Critical Thinking.

Favorite Parent Product: Koru Naturals. I am so glad that we got to review the Emu Oil along with the Shampoo and Conditioner and then to review Koru again with three more great products including my now favorite honey soap and Turtlegirl’s favorite Skin Clear Cream!

Best Online Resource: Super Teacher WorksheetsSupergirl agrees!

Just for Fun: USAopolyWonky Cube was our favorite of the two!

All Around Crew Favorite: Institute for Excellence in WritingI was so blessed to review the brand new edition of the Teaching Writing Structure and Style and Three Resources this year!

For a full list of the awards and winners visit the Schoolhouse Review crew blog. You’ll also be able to read what other 2015 Crew Members had to say about the products they nominated for the 2015 Blue Ribbon Awards!  Just click on the banner below!

Review Crew


The Perfect Study for Advent~ Birth of Jesus Bible Study

This is my final review for the 2015 Schoolhouse Review Crew year! For this last review I’m sharing the perfect study for preparing for Christmas: The Birth of Jesus: Multi-Level from GrapeVine Studies.

I have heard of different “draw through the Bible” programs and honestly, none of them really appealed to me because I can’t draw.  Rather than focus on the content I should I be learning or teaching, I am worried about if I am going to get the picture right. GrapeVine Studies different. Their tagline is Stick Figure Through the Bible. Stick Figures! Hey I can do that!

The Perfect Study for Advent Birth of Jesus review at Circling Through This LIfe #hsreviews

Let me tell you why I am excited about this study!

  • Not Denomination Specific! ~ This is huge for me as an Eastern Orthodox Christian. GrapeVine Studies provides a platform for a teacher directed approach to doctrine. This allows the teacher to address specific doctrines when they come up in the lessons.
  • A list of Goals for Teachers ~ My favorite of their goals for teachers?  To learn alongside the students. As a home schooling parent I am so often learning right along side my children and I love that GrapeVine has that as a specific goal!
  • A list of Goals for Students ~ I love how they list “learn from those who have lived before them” as a goal for the students. I think that goes well with the “learn along with your students” goal for teachers! Students can learn from the people who lived before them in the Bible lessons and from the teacher and teachers benefit from learning about those Bible people who lived before them.
  • Memory Verses ~ Each lesson, except for the first Timeline Overview Lesson, includes a memory verse.  Supergirl is loving the idea of memory work!

Let’s take a look at the Teacher Guide!

The Teacher Guide lays out everything for you. It includes the statement of faith, teacher goals, student goals, supply list, goal for each lesson, key points for each lesson, and memory verse.  Teachers can put the lesson into their own words based on the information in green printing or read that information to the student. The guide tells you exactly what to draw and includes a completed student page.

It also has a schedule for the lessons, vocabulary to look up in a Bible Dictionary, review, and some mapping. The Teacher Guide, plus a few things like a whiteboard, markers, Bible, Bible dictionary and some time in prayer before beginning, and the teacher is fairly well set to begin. With all the of help in the Teacher Guide this is mostly an open and go type of program. I need that with my busy schedule!

Let’s take a look at the Student Guide

The Student books, both of them, are exactly the same except the Traceable Version has stick figures in gray so that students can trace them. Both contain pages that look like scrolls for the timeline overview and the timeline review. Both include boxes for drawing the events in the scripture reading. You’ll find drawing review and lines for writing out the memory verse. I do wish that the Traceable version had the scripture in dotted font so that Supergirl could just trace it. Her fine motor skills plus her writing ability means that we have to adapt this part. She loves doing copy work.

This is  wonderful study to complete during Advent to prepare for the Birth of our Savior.

GrapeVine Studies Review

The Details:

  • The Vendor:  GrapeVine Studies
  • The Product: Birth of Jesus: Multi-Level
  • The Author:  Dianna Wiebe
  • Format: I received the Teacher book, the Student book and the Traceable book in digital PDF format. printed copies are also available
  • Age Range:  The Multi-Level Student book is listed for ages 7+. The Traceable version is listed as for ages 3-6 but I think older students who are ready for the content but struggle with fine motor skills, like Supergirl, would benefit form using the Traceable version.
  • Also Available: GrapeVine Studies has Topical Studies like the Birth of Jesus, I reviewed and more topics as well as Old Testament and New Testament Overviews. Some of my fellow crew members reviewed Old Testament Part 1 Creation to Jacob.
  • NOTE: You can find sample lessons and more information about the different levels on the website. There is even a PDF guide for How to Choose a Level.
Grapevine Studies Review

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All information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews to find more great products.


B is for Books ~ of Course

This week it is the Letter B. My friends Cristi and Meg are co-hosting Blogging Through The Alphabet. Of course with the letter B, I have to blog about books! I have not been reading nearly as much these past couple of months as I was earlier this year. Advent is starting for New Calendar Orthodox and I plan to read more during the Nativity Fast.

B is for Books ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet at Circling Through This Life

So what am I reading?

I have about 9 books on my Goodreads currently reading shelf but I am only going to list the ones that I am more actively reading. By that I mean that I have actually picked up and read at least a few pages in the last couple of weeks.

I did borrow Immortal Reign from the Kindle Owner’s Library and I started it. I think I am on Chapter 2. If you didn’t catch my blog post from earlier in the week you can read my thoughts about Immortal Plague which is the first book of the series.

I also am still working through The Sorcerer's Stone, the first book in the Harry Potter series. My goal in 2016 is to re-read the whole series. I just got started in 2015.  Ok. Ok.  I got started in 2015 and then decided I wanted to make it a goal. I am in the middle of Chapter 14. For those of you familiar with the book it’s the chapter about Norbert, the baby dragon that Hagrid hatches from an egg.

One day while I was out and about but didn’t have a book with me or my Kindle so no reading the borrowed book, I opened the Kindle app on my phone and started reading another Jeeves and Wooster novel by P. G. Wodehouse. This time it’s Right Ho, Jeeves. According to Kindle/Goodreads I am a whopping 4% complete. Haha.

My Plan for reading during Nativity Fast:

Maybe just maybe I’ll finally finish the last bit of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. I’ll also dust off the Orthodox Veneration of the Mother of God. This is a book I started last spring as part of my Great Lent reading but never really got it started. I also plan to get back to reading War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells.  Tailorbear read it for school but we haven’t finished our discussions because I haven’t finished it yet.

What are you reading?


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