Showing posts from 2014

A Collection of Holiday Recipes ~ Food for the 12 Days!

Food plays an enormous role in our Christmas celebrations. We don’t just eat special foods on Christmas Eve or Christmas but we spread out special foods from December 24th through January 6th.  We don’t always eat the same foods on the same day each year but we do eat the same foods or this year a variation of the same foods. Every year we have Buffalo Style Chicken Wings . I think these are the best chicken wings in the universe and the only ones that come close are the ones from Buffalo Wild Wings.  Seriously, these are good.  Crispy, flavorful, and you make it as hot or mild as you like. We started out making these for Christmas Eve and then switched it over to New Year’s Eve. They’re great for Super Bowl Parties, if you do those kinds of things.  They’re also wonderful as a special movie night “junk food” dinner meal. I had to modify the 8 Minute Cheesecake this year to make it work for my husband and I. Same basic idea *but* I used heavy cream and whipped it myself in place of

Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas

Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas is more of a Western tradition than an Eastern Tradition; however, many American Orthodox Christians view the time from December 25th through (and including) January 5th as the 12 Days of Christmas. January 6th is the Feast of Theophany. In the West, January 6th is Epiphany. Epiphany is the visit of the Magi or Wise Men and some view it as the 12th day of Christmas ( Dec 26 would then be day 1).  Theophany is the celebration of the Lord’s baptism in the Jordan river and the revealing of Jesus as the Son of God. Liturgically the Orthodox church does not celebrate 12 Days. I think I read it is 6 Days.  I think the “Leaving Taking of the Nativity” is Dec 29 or Dec 30?  January 1st is celebrated as the Circumcision of our Lord and it is also St. Basil’s Day. For my family we love that celebrating the Incarnation of God can be stretched out.  Without the Incarnation, there could be no redemption but that is a meaty topic for another time and place. W is on SALE!!

**Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!** One of the perks or benefits of being a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew is a Yearly Membership to . This incredible members only resource is filled with lesson plans from preschool to high school and covering everything from basic core subjects like grammar, spelling and math to history and geography.  You’ll also find electives like foreign language, music (both theory and instrument!), filmmaking and more! New members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew are currently writing reviews of  Since I am not writing a review, I’m just going to drop this link right here so that you can go read *real* reviews of the Yearly Membership. Read Reviews of from the Schoolhouse Review Crew! Since I love having a membership to I just had to take a moment and tell you about this special deal that is happening right now!

Random 5 on Friday ~ December 12th Edition

I’m not sure and I’m too lazy too look it up but I think this is the first edition that I’ve done for month of December. 1.  One of the things I always look forward to in late November/early December is a delivery of a box of citrus fruit from Texas. Every year my husband’s parents order oranges, grapefruits and tangelos from Texas.  These are the *best* I have ever tasted. I’ve already eaten two tangelos today! 2.  We started making some dietary changes for health reasons in June 2013 when Honeybear had a mild heart attack. Now, we’ve got another unexpected health diagnosis and have to radically change the way we eat. Honeybear got blood drawn for cardiology follow-up and ended up with a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes. We’ve been watching *my* sugars for quite some time but his diagnosis seemed to come out of nowhere. The doctor joked that now we have his and her glucose meters. 3. We have a lovely but quiet Thanksgiving here with just the six of us. We played the 50th Anniversary D

Mama ~ Our God Is a Baby!

Sometimes children say the most profound and beautiful things. This afternoon Supergirl and were hanging out with my kindle.  She was chattering away and I was flipping through recipes.  Suddenly she was quiet.  She looked up at the Nativity Scene and said,  “Jesus is a baby.”  I nodded and replied yes this is the time of year when we remember Jesus as a baby. She pondered a moment longer and declared “Mama, our God is a baby!”  That stopped me.  I mean it isn’t new information but I had never quite thought about it in that light. Never took the time to think how amazing it is that God was a baby.  Most of the time when we hear “God” we think of God the Father.  Jesus is the Son.  But Supergirl is spot on.  Jesus is God so that means that our God is a baby. This little chatterbox was not finished yet with wisdom proclamations. She had one more for me today:  “He had to be our Savior.”   So often I wonder if she understands what she hears at church or the Sunday school lessons or my

5 Random Thankful Thoughts ~ November 21st Edition

Last week I decided to make my Random 5 on Fridays in November to be random thankful thoughts because November is the month for gratitude posts and status updates. 1.  Earlier this week we had beautiful sunshine. I am grateful for the sunshine! Today as I type this it is cold, gray, and rainy which is much more typical November weather for us.  Living here in the rainy part of the PNW, I’ve come to appreciate the sunshine and not take it for granted like I did in other places I’ve lived. 2.  This week on November 19th, Honeybear and I had our 20th Wedding Anniversary. I am grateful that we have made it this far. We’ve had more than our fair share of stress, problems, and disagreements. We’ve weathered military deployments, a child with serious health issues, and his heart attack in June of 2013. Somehow we’ve managed to stay together. 3.  I am thankful for flowers! Our wedding flowers were Fire And Ice Roses which are bi-color red and white roses. When Honeybear buys me flowers he

The Official 2014 Schoolhouse Review Crew Favorites

It’s official. The 2014 Schoolhouse Review Crew Year has ended. I’m sad to see the year end but I’m going to enjoy a little break. I’m excited though because I’ve been invited back to the Crew for 2015! End of the crew year means Blue Ribbon Awards. Last week I shared my family’s favorite products and vendors from the 2014 Crew Year. Today I’m highlighting some of the Schoolhouse Review Crew Favorites. The votes were tallied and these are some of the official winners! You’ll want to visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog to see the full list of winners because I am just going to highlight a few of them here. Our wonderful Assistant Director, Debra, put the voting form together for the crew to fill out. She organized all the vendors into 27 different categories! Did you know that the crew reviewed more than 115 products from over 50 vendors!  I think there were something like 58 different review slots. That’s a lot of awesome products. I counted up my reviews  the girls and I used

5 Random Thankful Thoughts ~ November 14th Edition

I did not think of this last week but today it occurred to me that I could combine Random 5 on Friday and Thanksgiving type thoughts. I see many friends on Facebook listing something they are grateful for everyday for the month of November. I like that idea but I can’t keep up so I’m going to write up things that I am grateful for for the remaining Fridays in November. 1. I am thankful for sunshine even if it is so cold outside. ~ The artic air seems to have arrived here and temps are in the low to mid- 40’s during the day and in the 20’s in the evenings. Yes, I know not so cold as many other areas of the country but that is cold for us. I do love the sunshine though which is very rare for November. 2. I am thankful for warm cozy throw blankets because it is so cold outside . ~ I like keeping a stack of these blankets on the couch in the family room and a couple on my rocking chair in the living room. Give me my sweater, a blanket, a cup of tea and my book and I will be happy oh an

Looking Back at the 2014 Schoolhouse Review Crew Year!

Yesterday I posted and linked up my final review for the 2014 Crew Year. How awesome that we got to end the year with a game! So, today I’m looking back over the year and remembering what amazing products my family got to use. Schoolhouse Review Crew has a Blue Ribbon Awards tradition where the crew gets to vote for their favorite products. The girls and I powwowed and came up our favorites and submitted our votes.  (The Official Winners will be announced on the Schoolhouse Review Blog on Monday!) So here’s a few of our favorites from 2014: Favorite Literature Program:   Oh my this was so hard to choose just one to vote for the official Blue Ribbon Awards but since this is just a list of my family favorites and it’s my blog, I’m going to go ahead have two favorites! It’s Shakespeare and it’s Lightning Literature so of course we loved it! Boobear is a much bigger fan of Shakespeare than either Turtlegirl or Tailorbear but I was surprised by how much they enjoyed using and reviewing

Family Game Night? Try Snake Oil {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

What do “Closet Urge,” “Snow Napkin,” “Cheese Man,”  “Danger Photo.”  “Rainbow Future,” and “Fish Socks” have in common?  These were all items that my family, posing as snake oil salesmen, attempted to sell to customers: Pregnant Lady, Prom Date, or Runaway among others while playing the game Snake Oil . This hilarious game does not take long to learn, has no small parts to keep track of or lose, and encourages creativity. Snake Oil is produced by Out of the Box Games and is intended for 3-10 players ages 10+. Setting Up the Game Setting up the game is easy! There are two types of cards: Customer Cards and Word Cards. Customer Cards are blue on one side and green on the other. Each side lists a character such as Rock Star, Priest, or Dictator. These cards go in the center.  The Word Cards are divided into 4 decks in the plastic tray. These are placed around the Customer Cards,in easy reach of the players. These Word Cards have nouns: goggles, belt, closet, toilet, knife, cup, soc

A is for Advent and B is for Books

Marcy from Ben and Me has retired from hosting Blogging Through The Alphabet. She did five rounds. Five! So my friend Kristi  from A Potter’s Hand Academy   has taken up the baton and is now hosting a new round of Blogging Through The Alphabet. She started last week. I missed the memo. But that’s ok. I’ll just start now and I’ll start from the beginning with the Letter A. The first thing that came to mind was Advent or in the Orthodox world, Nativity Fast or little lent. Since my post for the letter B is about the books I want to read during Advent, I’m going to combine the two letters. For many Orthodox Christians in the USA, the Nativity Fast will start on Saturday November 15. Well, actually for all Orthodox Christians the fast will begin on November 15 but one is November 15 on the Revised Julian Calendar (New) Calendar which currently follows the civil Gregorian calendar that we are all familiar with.  The other calendar is the Julian Calendar (Old) and currently differs from

Practice Makes Perfect! IXL for Math and Language Arts ~ A Crew Review

There are less than a handful of crew products that I have begged to review multiple times. IXL is one of the few. I love this program.  Supergirl loves this program. I begged for the opportunity to review it for the third time. Yes, it’s even better now! IXL very generously provided a one year subscription for up to five students for both IXL Math and IXL Language Arts . So grab a cup of your favorite beverage and let’s chat about what’s new with IXL .   First What is IXL? How Does it Work IXL is designed to help students master concepts in Math and LA through practice . It is intended as a supplement to whatever curriculum you are using. It is easy to coordinate practice with IXL with the student’s current topic. Simply log in and choose math or LA.  Choose your grade or level and then pick a skill. Or you can choose a topic and then choose a skill.  Here let me show you: Students practice the skill and earn points towards mastery. Students must score 100 points to achieve

Random 5 on Friday November 7th

I’ve missed a few weeks so these random thoughts are not all from this past week. 1.  This is has been a rough week. A very dear older gentleman fell asleep in the Lord on Monday.  This amazing man adopted my whole family.  He was like a grandfather to all of us. He came to see all of BooBear’s recitals her Freshman year of college. He gifted us with an amazing evening at the Ballet a few Christmases ago. He was always smiling and always had a story to share.  He lived a rich and full life and I am grateful that my family got to know him.  Memory Eternal, John!  You will be missed! 2.  BooBear is in choir this year and we attended her first choir concert a couple of weeks ago. She also participated as a pianist and a vocalist in a special Evening of Schubert recital.  She did not do a vocal solo but did sing as part of the group. This picture is from her choir concert.  What a beautiful woman she has grown to be! 3. Last week she had another recital.  This one was the keyboard stude

Biology from Fascinating Education ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

I am not a science oriented person. I did not take a single science course in high school. I avoided Biology completely. I did my best to avoid chemistry as well, choosing to meet my college science with a lab requirements by taking Geology classes. Dissecting a rock is much easier than dissecting a frog! As a home school mom I’ve learned to love science, but even though I’ve had two high school students complete biology in my home school, I still prefer that someone else teach it. Tailorbear loves biology. The options I used with BooBear and Turtlegirl require more independent study and so are not as suitable for Tailorbear’s temperament. We were excited to see Fascinating Biology offered from Fascinating Education . Dr. Margulies is the founder and creator of Fascinating Education. He is a neurologist, author of three educational textbooks and currently holds the title clinical assistant professor at two universities. As a neurologist he understands the brain. He understands how

Random Five ~ October 24th Edition

October is winding down.  Next Friday is the 31st! 1. The Schoolhouse Review Crew is taking applications for the 2015 crew year .  Hurry though because the applications are scheduled to close on Monday! 2. As the 2014 Crew year winds down I realized that I only have a few more reviews to write. This is bittersweet.  Bitter because it’s the end of the year and sweet because I’ve been on the crew long enough to really appreciate the break. (Yes, I’ve submitted my re-application for the 2015 year. I’ll be ready to tackle reviews again after the holidays but I am looking forward to the break between crew runs!) My very last review of the 2014 year is a game from Out of the Box Games called Snake Oil . Warning this game can be dangerous to health: we have laughed so hard that it hurt!!!  Here is a laughing Turtlegirl. I was laughing so hard I almost couldn’t get the picture! She doesn’t like the picture but I think it truly captures how hard we have laughed. I have her permission to sh