Showing posts from 2010

TOS Review: Wits & Wagers Family Game

Does your family like board games?  Does your family like trivia?  Does your family like not needing the correct answer and still scoring points? My family does!  We love board games and we love tidbits of facts. We’ve been playing Wits and Wagers Family from North Star Games and my side hurts from laughing so much. How to Play:  The youngest player gets to be the first to read the question  Each player or team is given a dry erase marker ( 5 are included in the game), a color coordinated dry erase board for making their “wager”, and two “meeples” that match the color of their board.  Every answer is a number. After the question is read, each person ( or team) writes his answer on his dry erase board and turns it upside down.  After everyone has recorded an answer the boards are flipped and arranged in a line from smallest to largest.  Now you place your meeples.   There is a large meeple, worth two points, and a small meeple worth 1 point..   If you are confident in your answe

The End of the End

For everything in life there is a season.   I am sad today because a season ended.   If I’m honest, today was just the end of the end.   The beginning of the end occurred months ago when we had to switch from mornings to afternoons. Are you lost?  I’m sorry.  Monday we were supposed to go to a local nursing home with some other homeschooling families and the students were to play and sing Christmas songs for and with the residents.  I have very fond memories of doing this last year and my girls were really looking forward to doing it again this year. Once again a scheduling conflict bars the path of performance.  The nursing home activities director scheduled an orchestra to play for the residents during the time we were scheduled to play.  This is the fourth month in a row that we are unable to minister at the nursing home because of scheduling conflicts. I’m angry because I feel that we are not wanted.  I wish that they would have said “thanks but no thanks” when we began working

TOS Review: Master Ruler

No one told me when I joined the crew that I would have hidden benefits such as the opportunity to discover educational products I would never have found otherwise such as the Master Ruler from Master Innovations . As part of the TOS Review Crew I received two rulers (one standard, one metric), an educational poster and a reproducible workbook to use with the rulers.  These are not ordinary rulers nor are they limited to simply measuring the length, width or height of an object. The  Rulers: It is difficult to describe these rulers using words.  If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, what is a video worth?  In this case I think the video produced by Master Innovations explains and shows the product far better than my inadequate prose. You can find the Master Ruler Video HERE along with videos of their other products Master Clock, Master Angle and Master Fractions. The Workbook:  A standard size of 8 1/2” by 11” inches this workbook contains both English (standard) and Metric meas

Birthday Cake for Breakfast and other Family Traditions

When you hear the word 'tradition” do you hear the song from Fiddler on the Roof?  I do.  I avoided that movie for the longest time because “it’s a musical” (you must imagine Larry the Cucumber saying this from the Veggie Tale Lyle the Kindly Viking) I may not care for many musicals, but I do like traditions.  This week’s topic for the Blog Cruise is Family Celebrations and Holiday Traditions .  We all have special things that we do or foods that we eat that make family time special.   I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving.   Known as Turkey Day by many, this holiday is so much more than just turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie.   For years this has been my family’s favorite day to celebrate.   This is the day that we give thanks to God for *all* that He has done for us and all that He has given us. Some years we have even given “thanksgiving gifts”.   It’s been a few years since the girls have received gifts but this year, thanks to the TOS Review Crew, they’ll be getting a

Truth or Misconception: Exploring Homeschooling Myths

On more than one occasion, I’ve heard questions or comments like these: 1) Boy, it sure would be nice if my kids could take off as much time as yours do. 2) But what about socialization?  3) You don’t have a job, you only home school so you can do this for me. This week’s TOS Crew Blog Cruise addresses myths of homeschooling.  I don’t know if the questions and comments I encounter are truly myths but they do represent some misunderstandings of home education.  Let’s look at each of these comments. Boy, it sure would be nice if my kids could take off as much time as yours do .  Home education is flexible.  We are not limited to Monday through Friday from 8am to 2pm (or 9-3 or what ever the public school hours are). We can school any day of the week!  We are not restricted to September through June (or August through May).  We can school year round or use a more traditional school calendar.  I plan our school year so that we meet the legal requirements of our state (equivalent instr

Gratitude Challenge Day 11

I sit staring at the computer screen and I wonder what to write.  It’s day 11 of the Gratitude Challenge hosted by my friend Brenda at Garden of Learning . Should I write about my oldest daughter and how thankful I am for the young woman she is becoming?  Should I write about my second oldest daughter and how much we appreciate life because of her? Perhaps I should write about my only dark haired daughter?  I could write about how thankful I am that she comes to me when she needs to talk. Then there’s my youngest daughter.  No one can make me laugh the way she does.   How can I not be grateful for laughter? I could write about my husband.   I don’t always appreciate him though, the way I should.  I often take him for granted and expect so much of him, but he loves me anyway.  I give thanks that he loves me enough to put up with me. It’s getting late and I still haven’t decided what to blog about.  Maybe I should blog about the sunshine we’ve had this week.  It’s unusual to have s

Gratitude Challenge: Grateful for Home Schooling

Over at Garden of Learning , my friend Brenda is hosting a blog challenge for the month of November.  Participants are asked to post something they are grateful for each day this month. Today is day 9.   You may notice that I did not post a gratitude post yesterday.  I found myself in a funk.   I just didn’t have the desire, energy or motivation to find the silver lining in my dreary day.   Today however, I am inspired and motivated to write about my gratitude for the freedom to home educate my children.  Yes, FREEDOM.   I am grateful that I live in the USA and that I live in a state that recognizes the efficiency of home education.   The law recognizes that home education may take less time than traditional classroom education and states that we are to provide instruction “equivalent” to 1000 instructional hours. We started investigating home education 14 years ago.   It is not without it’s limitations and like any other educational choice has its pros and its cons but I am gratefu

Requirements, Credits, and Transcripts, Oh My!

The Blog Cruise question this week explores graduation requirements and high school transcripts.  We’ve just started this new educational season with a 15 year old tenth grader. Poor BooBear!  As the oldest child, she is my guinea pig for everything and that includes this home school stuff too.   We stumbled our way through 9th grade but realizing that high school was a present reality and not some distant concept, we’ve come up with a plan, a rough around the edges with wrinkles in the middle plan, but a plan nonetheless. Legally, as a home school parent, I am not obligated to follow the state’s list of mandatory classes when setting the standard for my school.  We’re using suggestions from our state home school group and suggestions from Lee Binz, the home school scholar . Though I can find recommendations such as 4 credits of science, 4 credits of English, etc,   I still had to determine what constitutes a credit.   High school credits are not configured the same as college cred

Gratitude Challenge Day 7

Brenda at Garden of Learning has issued a Gratitude Challenge for the month of November.   The challenge is simple, write about what you are  grateful for each day. Today is Day 7 and I am thankful for Sunday School.  Now if you know me, you’ll know that is a 180 degree turn from where I was at just 18 months ago.  I do still believe that parents are responsible for passing their faith to the children.  But I’ve also come to view the church as a community; as being truly the body of Christ.   Sunday School (or Church School as some call it) is a community effort of passing on the faith to the children.  It’s not that I “pass the buck” and shed my responsibility more that I join with others to share the burden.    Sunday School doesn’t replace parental responsibility; it joins the parents to the community building the Body of Christ. am grateful for those who have walked the path longer than I have who are willing to come alongside and share this task.   Today I am especially thank

Gratitude Challenge Day 6

My Friend Brenda is hosting a Gratitude Challenge on her blog, Garden of Learning . It is very simple; post something you are grateful for every day for the month of November. Some days are easier than others when being thankful.   Today is one of those days. My husband and one of my daughters attended a lector workshop at church this morning.   My sweet husband got up, showered and headed over to the store to bring back donuts for our breakfast.   He grabbed some coffee and our daughter and headed out again.   I would have enjoyed my coffee and donuts more if he had been around but I’m still thankful for the breakfast treat. I purchased around $110 worth of groceries for around $60.   My favorite green beans were on sale for 39 cents a can.  I only buy them when on sale and usually the sale is 50 cents  a can.   It just felt really good to get milk, bread, eggs, canned goods and even some fish and saving more money that I spent! Today is the 1st Saturday of the month.  Why is th

Gratitude Challenge Day 5

My Friend Brenda is hosting a Gratitude Challenge on her blog, Garden of Learning . It is very simple; post something you are grateful for every day for the month of November. For Day 5, I am thankful for computers.   When we were first married we had a computer but it was a simple machine and we had no internet access.   14 Years ago we entered the online world with our first email account.   We were in Germany and we decided to get internet access with an email account so that my husband and I could communicate electronically while he was deployed. We had “dial-up” access for many years but switched to “dsl” maybe 3 years ago.   I love being able to have access to my phone *and* access to the internet at the same time. Today we have 4 computers: two laptops and two desktops.  We have a wireless router home network and all four computers are networked with access to the internet.   I really didn’t think we would need so many computers. I find home schooling my children easier wi

Gratitude Challenge Day 4

My Friend Brenda is hosting a Gratitude Challenge on her blog, Garden of Learning . It is very simple; post something you are grateful for every day for the month of November. Today is November 4th.  Well at least for another 2 hours it is.  On this day, 77 years ago, my grandfather took my grandmother to be his lawfully wedded wife.   Both of them have gone from this world, but I am so grateful for them. I once asked my grandmother how she met my grandfather.  She was a storyteller and I was sure I was going to get a story this time, but she only smiled and said “I don’t know.  I suppose we was just crawling on the floor while our mothers talked.”    She and my grandfather grew up together.  They were childhood sweethearts. I miss them both so much and I am grateful that they got married 77 years ago.  If they had not married, my father would not have been born.   Thanks Papa for rescuing me from the snakes and making sure that Daddy bought me steak dinners.  Thanks Granny for te

Gratitude Challenge Day 3

My friend Brenda from Garden of Learning is hosting a Gratitude Challenge during the month of November. Today is day 3 and I am thankful the van did not start. That sounds strange doesn’t it. The girls were disappointed to miss piano and I was sorry they missed their lessons but I am grateful I did not have to go anywhere today.  I was able to get some things done today that I needed to do and wouldn’t have done if we had gone to piano.  If the van had started, Honeybear would have taken it to work and we would have had the car.  We’d have gone to piano and I would have stressed out about the things not getting done. Tonight I am also grateful that we have two vehicles and that my husband was able to take the car and go to work. I’m thankful he has a job.  With so many people out of work and the economy the way it is,I am grateful that he has a steady job with benefits. (This post links to Garden of Learning’s Gratitude Challenge Day 3 ) What are you thankful for today?

TOS Review: Financial Accounting

  A class that covers financial accounting principles is a must for anyone wanting to be in business.  Professor In A Box offers a course in Financial Accounting f or home schooling high school students. As part of the TOS Review Crew, I received  Financial Accounting from Professor in a Box   to review.   How is Financial Accounting set up?  How does it work? Financial Accounting really is a Professor in a Box .  Michael P. Licata, Ph.D presents Financial Accounting on 4 CD-ROMS containing everything you need to complete the course. There is nothing to install; the program runs from the CD.  This means that I  can have my student use any available computer giving me flexibility for scheduling. CD-ROMs include 1 Instructor’s CD and 3 Course CD’s. To use the CD-ROM just insert into the CD/DVD ROM Drive and wait for the auto run prompt.  We have successfully used this on my laptop running Windows 7 and on my husbands laptop running Windows Vista. On our Windows XP desktop,  our Auto P

Gratitude Challenge Day 2

Today I am thankful for God’s provision through the TOS Review Crew.   I wrote about how I came to be on the crew here .   I was excited then to see how God would work and I am amazed at what he has done and is doing. Every product that we have received to review, so far, has either been exactly what I needed (at the exact right moment!) for school *or* has been used by God to cause me to grow.  Today, I received a writing curriculum.   I’ve only spent about 45 minutes looking through it this afternoon but I am so excited.  It seems so perfect for the girls right now.  The timing is incredible.   I’ve looked at this vendor in the past but just couldn’t bring myself to purchase the product (we could not afford it) and here God has given it to me through the Review Crew.  (You can look for the review in May!) I don’t really have the words to express how loved I feel by God right now.  I believe He works through people and circumstances and He worked it out so that I would receive th

Gratitude Challenge Day 1

Brenda from Garden of Learning has challenged her readers to a Gratitude Challenge.   I’m going to post one thing that I am grateful for each day for the month of November. On this first day of November I have much to be grateful for and I am grateful that I have 30 Days to post about it!  <grin> Today I am thankful for my Church.  I’m thankful for Orthodoxy and I’m thankful for my Parish that strives to live out the Faith. We had such a wonderful time last night at the Spaghetti Dinner. Tonight we are enjoying some of the cake Supergirl won as well as the cake I won. Speaking of winning, I am grateful to Debra at Footprints in the Butter for posting the What’s in the Bible Give-away which I won!  Thank you so much Debra! (This post links to Gratitude Challenge November 1 ) What are you thankful for today?

Giving back to the community

For this week’s Blog Cruise topic Jodi asks What are some volunteer opportunities that your family has participated in? What a timely topic for me this week as we just had a volunteer opportunity for our whole family on Friday and today (Sunday) two of my girls have volunteered to help at church this afternoon and just last week we were scheduled for a third volunteer opportunity.  As homeschoolers, I think we often have more time and opportunity to give back to our community through volunteering, but  life is full of seasons and some seasons do not allow for as much volunteering as others.  With the girls being older and more independent we can volunteer more.   When they were so little, it just wasn’t the right season.  If you only have little ones, it may not be your season right now either and that’s ok.   This past Friday our whole family participated in Fifth Friday Feed the Hungry.   On Fridays, another church hosts a dinner.  I think several churches take turns for the differen

French Dips and Burger Dips

Earlier this week I posted my Weekly Menu Plans for this week and I mentioned that I was making Burger Dips.  I’ve had a few people ask me about this different way of serving burgers. I wish I had taken pictures as I assembled them but alas I did not.  I’ll state right here at the beginning that I simply copied what I have been able to order here at a few local restaurants.   Nothing fancy and no special recipe.  But before I get to that I’m taking a walk down a bunny trail towards memory lane.  The Burger Dip is really a variation of the French Dip: thinly sliced roast beef piled high on a sandwich roll and served with Au Jus for dipping.   It was my daddy that introduced me to the French Dip sandwich.  I don’t remember how old I was but I was little girl.   He had taken us all out to dinner and he suggested I try the French Dip.   The French Dip is a sandwich that I have frequently ordered through the years. The Burger Dip is just a hamburger patty served on a toasted sandwich rol

TOS Review: Buckets-O-Fun

If your family, church group or homeschool group likes messy, slimy fun, then I have just the product for you! As a member of the TOS Review Crew, I received a sample pack  of Yuck from Buckets-O-Fun .  The sample pack contained samples of Chunky Yuck,  Saucy Yuck, Snowy Yuck and their newest Yuck product, Sticky Yuck. What is Yuck ?     Turtlegirl defines Yuck this way: “Yuck is a slimy, messy substance that can sometimes be fun to play with.”   When pressed to define Yuck, Tailorbear contributed:  “Yuck is a substance that can be played with but sometimes is just plain ole gross.” Yuck is a polymer which means it is a “large molecule formed by repeated patterns of chemical units strung together.” (from the Yuck Science with Buckets-O-Fun handout included with our samples). Chunky Yuck : This is the first Yuck that we tried.  When fully hydrated, it resembles ice machine ice cubes.   The texture reminded me of finger Jello.  Buckets-O-Fun included a hand-out with some scienc

This week’s meals

I went radio silent again.   I’m breaking the silence of my blog with a short and simple list of what I’m planning for meals this week. Tonight (Sunday)—Burger Dips (a fancy way to do burgers) with some chips and fresh fruit.. maybe a salad if I get ambitious. Monday--- Turkey Soup.  I’ve got turkey broth cooling right now and tomorrow I’m going to attempt to recreate my dad’s turkey soup.  My dad made the absolute best soup.   Tuesday--- I’m making a ham and potato cheesy casserole type something or another.   I’ll take some frozen diced hash brown potatoes and mix them with bite size pieces of ham and cover it all with a creamy cheesy sauce.   I’ll serve it with a salad and some veggies. Wednesday--- “Sloppy Joes”   I’m planning to rehydrate some TVP and mix it with a can of Manwich sauce.  Wednesday is Piano day and we get home very late in the day and I need something quick and easy.   I’m thinking of serving it with some veggie sticks and some chips. Thursday--- Something Mex

The “Perfect” Day

Let me start off by saying that the day was not really perfect.  We planned to get some school done but I’m pretty sure no formal academics were achieved.   We’d planned to go to the post office to mail a package to a dear friend, but honeybear left the card with the address in the kitchen and the girls couldn’t read daddy’s writing when we called.   We’d talked about going to the park to feed the ducks again but time slipped away from us and we didn’t make it. So what made it the perfect day?   Well it was a lazy day of relaxation that I desperately needed.   It was a relationship building kind of day that my honeybear and I needed.   We had noticed that we were being grumpy and grouchy and that we’d really not had a date in ages and with the girls so much older now we’d been having them fairly often.  We had looked at our schedules and decided that we needed a date.   We set a date and told the girls but we hadn’t made concrete plans.  But the date we set was not for the perfect day

TOS Review: LanSchool

Through the Review Crew, I’ve been introduced to companies, vendors and products that I have never heard of before.  LanSchool is one such vendor.   I will confess that when I saw LanSchool on the list and first looked at their website I was a little less than ambivalent.  Classroom Management software?  How would that apply to me as a homeschooler.  My first thoughts were “oh I hope I don’t end up on the list cause I wouldn’t know what to do with it.” I spent a little more time looking at the website and looking at what the product offers and I moved to a more ambivalent position of “well if I get it, that’s fine and if I don’t get it that’s fine too”.   After seeing that I could limit web browsing for a certain young lady in my home, I moved to a warmer position of “I think I’d like to be on the list.” Today?  I am so thankful that I was on the list.   There are some things in life that you think you can live without, then you experience them and you wonder how you would live wi

Chloe’s Virus Killing Chicken Soup

A few days (week or so?) ago I posted on Facebook that I was making Chloe’s Virus Killing Chicken Soup .  Not unexpectedly, I was asked for the recipe. Chloe is an amazing woman and I am so blessed to have “met” her on a couple of forums and to be “friends” with her on Facebook.  I’m linking to Chloe’s recipe on her blog:  Chloe’s Virus Killing Soup .  You’ll want to read her original recipe because she includes veggies that I haven’t used.    I did a swagbuck search to see if anybody else had posted Chloe’s recipe and I found this and this . So now that you know where it came from let’s talk about where I took it. Tess’s Variation of Virus Killing Soup: Step One: One chicken Appx 20 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped 1 Tbs salt Cayenne pepper (to taste.Chloe says she uses about 1 tsp.  I don’t know how much I use.  At least a tsp maybe a tsp 1/2 to 2 tsp) Fresh ground pepper In a large soup pot place whole rinsed chicken, garlic and seasonings. Add water to cover chicken complet