Monday, November 30, 2015

Our Elf Has Arrived

Our Elf on a Shelf has officially appeared at out house this morning, and look what she did!!

Friday, November 27, 2015

What do you do when Thanksgiving Dinner is over!

What do you do when Thanksgiving Dinner is over ? Make apple butter of course. I know we are a crazy bunch.  A sweet friend of ours donated 40lbs of apples in exchange for a couple jars of our apple butter. After we cleaned up form Thanksgiving dinner and everyone went home. Me and the girls decided we might as well get started. It took us about 30 minutes to peel core and slice all the apples. This is how we did it.

40 lbs of peeled sliced and cored apples takes up two big stock pots. We put them on the stove with some various spices and what not. Then we let it begin to cook down. Takes around an hour give or take a little.

Then you combine them into one pot. Blend it with the immersion blender thingie. Then you have to let it cook some more. I know its thick enough when my spoon stands in the pot.

Look at all those clean jars just waiting to be filled. Ok they had to be heated in the oven before they could be filled but you get the point.  

Ta Da 40 lbs of apples turned into 24 beautiful jars of homemade apple butter. Its all sealed and waiting for us to eat this winter. We will share this bounty with my sisters and the sweet friend of ours that donated the apples. I think its a good trade off for a few jars of apple butter. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!!!

May your Day be blessed with Good Food Good Family and Good Friends. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Times Tales Review

Like me, my oldest struggles with multiplication tables. She has been working on them for months now and cant seem to get past her 3's. I discovered Times Tales on accident I was surfing the internet looking for something that might help her. I came across it in a google search and though that's a new idea and started checking it out. I emailed and ask about doing a review and they said sure. I received the digital download version of Times Tales you can go here to the exact product  It is currently $19.95 and you can download it right away. I love downloads because well I'm just not good at waiting for things.

Times Tales uses simple fun stories to give your child a "memory peg" that allows them to quickly recall abstract facts. It comes in 5 parts. There are 2 Video files, and 3 PDF files that you download. The PDF files have test, crossword puzzles, flash cards and cube game. The video files are the lessons that your kids watch to help them learn their times tables. We see them more as stories than lessons. In this program times tables are taught in story format instead of the standard hear they are memorize them. They have given the numbers fun names and characters. Then they teach a little story to help you remember each times table. The program covers 3x6, 3x7, 3x8, 3x9, 4x6, 4x7, 4x8, 4x9, 6x6 6x7, 6x8, 6x9, 7x7, 7x8, 7x9, 8x8, 9x9. Basically all the really hard ones that I never got memorized when I was in school.

I had hotrod girl start with video 1 she really enjoyed the video I didn't hear one single complaint about having to watch it. When she was done she came in telling me all these silly stories. I ask her show me and explain each story. I have found that having her explain things back to me really helps her. She took me in and showed me the number characters and explained the story that went with each one. I gave her the practice test that came in the PDF file. I had her do each problem and tell me the story as she was doing it. She was able to point to the problems on the practice test and tell me the story that went with the problems. I was blown away after watching it just one time she was already starting to remember some of them. She got hung up on a couple but I am sure a another time or two watching the lesson and a little more practice with the games and flash cards and she will have them down.

I love the combination of visual and audio learning. The stories make them easy to remember. I couldn't believe that she is already remembering the stories after watching it one time. I keep thinking why didn't anyone think of this when I was a kid. It covers all the upper multiplication tables which are the hardest ones to learn. It has some flash cards to practice with and a practice test and then a Test. It also has a dice game that you get to put together your self and a set of instructions on how to play. Its fun and it really does help with remembering them. They recommend you take a week between part 1 and 2 of the video lessons. During this time you should use the flash cards and games to practice. The dice game was her favorite by far. I would like you to check out the sample video below that gives you a great idea of what the lesson are like.

Over all we love the program its fun and it really does help. We are still watching the lessons and practicing but its helped Hotrod girl a bunch she is now doing way better with those upper times tables.  I think its well worth the reasonable price tag and I hope you will give it a try too. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

The 2015 Schoolhouse Review Crew Blue Ribbon Awards !

2015 Schoolhouse Review Crew Blue Ribbon Awards
This is it the official end of the 2015 Review Crew. We have all voted for our favorites and if you click the banner above you can view all the amazing winners and you can read post from fellow crew members about how they voted.
Me and the girls really struggled with who to vote for this year we loved so many of the products we reviewed. I think all of our favorites were winners this year. Though I don't think we really had anything that wasn't a favorite we even drew names out of a hat for two categories because we just couldn't decided. 
Hear are the Winners, click the links to read my reviews and other crew members reviews!
Congratulation's to all of this years Blue Ribbon Award winners!
Favorite Reading Curriculum: Reading Kingdom
Favorite Writing Curriculum: Institute for Excellence in Writing
Favorite Vocabulary Program: Dynamic Literacy
Favorite Spelling Program: Institute for Excellence in Writing: Phonetic Zoo
Favorite Grammar Program: Institute for Excellence in Writing: Fix-It! Grammar
Favorite Penmanship Program: CursiveLogic
Favorite Literature Curriculum: Progeny Press
Favorite History Curriculum: Home School in the Woods
Favorite History Supplement: Heirloom Audio Productions: In Freedom's Cause
Favorite Science Curriculum: Visual Learning Systems
Favorite Science Supplement: Ann McCallum Books: Eat Your Science Homework
Favorite Math Curriculum: CTC Math
Favorite Math Supplement: SimplyFun
Favorite Christian Education Curriculum: Grapevine Studies
Favorite Christian Education Supplement: Brinkman Adventures
Favorite Foreign Language Curriculum: Middlebury Interactive Language
Favorite Fine Arts Product: Maestro Classics
Favorite Elective Curriculum: Apologia Educational Ministries: Field Trip Journal
Favorite Audio Drama: Brinkman Adventures
Favorite Video:
Favorite Preschool Product: La La Logic
Favorite Elementary Product: Star Toaster
Favorite Middle School Product: The Critical Thinking Co
Favorite High School Product: Writing with Sharon Watson
Favorite College or College-Prep Product: Freedom Project Education
Favorite Parent Product: Koru Naturals
Favorite Planning Product: Apologia Educational Ministries: The Ultimate Homeschool Planner
Best Resource I Didn't Know I Needed: Homeschool Planet
Best Online Resource: Super Teacher Worksheets
Best e-Product: Home School in the Woods
Just for Fun: USAopoly Kids' Choice: La La Logic
Teens' Choice: YWAM Publishing
All Around Crew Favorite: Institute for Excellence in Writing

Be sure to Follow my blog so you don't miss out on next years Crew Reviews we are going to review some great products and you wont want to miss them!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

What do you do with two kids that hate shoes. I guess I might have been a little lax this summer about making them put on shoes when they went out side. The yard where they play is grassy and I really wasn't all that concerned about it. But now its and its now a bit to cold to be running a muck bare foot. I have now started requiring them to wear boots and socks before heading out doors. They were disgruntled by this but accepted that they must. But then we got some rain and I informed them they could not go out to play in it because it was too cold to be all wet.  I got called a meanie ! a meanie can you believe it my near to prefect little girls said I was a meanie.  What's a mom to do in this type of situation....... then I had the brilliant idea buy them Rain gear so they can play in the rain and not get wet that's what.  I am now Super Mom fixer of all problems! Gotta love it when it works out that way.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Winter Preparations

Its officially getting cold in our neck of the woods. We fired up the outdoor wood furnace this week. With winter comes the clearing of brush and the trimming of trees and bushes. The girls are getting excited about tapping the maple trees. This winter we will be building a bigger garden bed out of rock collected from the local landscape (aka the hill behind the house). Our current raised beds are made from recycled boards and there just is not enough room to grow everything that me and the girls want to grow. So this winter we will start expanding. Me and the girls will collect rock and build a stacked rock garden bed. It will most likely take all winter to get enough rock to make the bed. But once its done I think It will work quite well. This will be our first experience building a rock structure with out mortar. If you have any tips we would love to hear them.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

GrapeVine Studies Old Testament 1 Level 1 Review

Grapevine Studies Review

I am sad to say this is my final Crew Review for 2015. I am how ever proud to announce that its a great product from GrapeVine Studies  ~ https://GrapeVineStudies.comMe and the girls have been working with the Old Testament 1: Level 1 Creation to Jacob. We received the digital download for this book. It comes with a teachers edition and a student work book. The student workbook is around 73 pages and it contains 12 lessons.  Its basically a chronological study of the characters and events of the Old Testament  from Creation to Jacob and get this you use stick figures to do it. Cool Right! Stick Figures are right up my alley. I cant draw a lick. By the end of the level your kids should be able to recite around 10 memory verses and draw the beginning of the Old Testament timeline. 

Grapevine Studies ReviewThe teachers book is great it covers both level 1 and 2.  Its very easy to teach from and its well laid out.  It gives you some teachers goals and student goals to strive for. It even has little pictures so you can see what your kids should be drawing.  The teachers book does have some color what you read to the kids is in green. The stick people are also colored so that you can tell the kids which color to use when they are drawing. I don't have a colored printer so I emailed GrapeVine Studies and ask if it was OK for me to just save the file to my Ipad and use it from there. They said that was fine, and it has worked out really well for me. I printed out the girls work books and put them in a three ring binder. Its simple and works well for us and I can file it away when they are done. 

The Student work book starts out with a Timeline. We had so much fun doing the drawings. Although I think the girls figures were much better than mine. The girls were already a little familiar with this portion of the bible as they had covered it in Sunday school a few weeks ago.  How ever they said GVS (that's what the girls call it) was way way better, they actually ask if the Sunday school teacher could get it for class.  Each lesson has drawing pages for the student to do. Then it has lesson review questions, a student drawing page where they can draw their favorite part of the lesson and an area to write a verse. At the end of the lessons there is a timeline review and a memory verse review. 

The lessons have been taking us around 20 minutes or so. We do them about three days a week. The girls like to take their time drawing the pictures. You can see a sample of one of the girls timeline drawings on the left. As you can see they are fairly simple drawings to make. Which is perfect so that the younger kids can work in the same lessons as ones that are a few years older. This is a big time saver for me since I only need to teach bible study once that day and I don't have to plan a separate lesson for the other child.  Although we did not use it GrapeVine also offers a traceable version of this student book. Which would be perfect for kinder and pre-k kids.

I have really enjoyed the simplicity of teaching this Bible study. The teachers book makes teaching the lessons flow smoothly.  For the age range of this level 1 book I feel that it covers this part of the Old Testament nicely. Its not over their heads and yet it give a fair amount of information.  The girls are so excited to hear the lesson and do the drawings that it has been a real pleasure to use. If you take a look at the image below you can get an idea of the different levels and age groups they are designed for. I am looking forward to trying out the next level.

Grapevine Studies Review

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Periscope: @Grapevine Studies

 I want to encourage everyone to click the Schoolhouse Review Crew Banner below. Other members reviewed different levels and I would love for you to see what they have to say about it. 

Grapevine Studies Review

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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Eat Your Science Homework Review

We have been eating our science homework. Really we have! If you don't believe me check out Ann McCallum Books  at Me and the girls have been having so much fun with the Eat Your Science Homework book. The book sells for about $16.95. Its basically a book packed with edible science projects that help you kids under stand science in a hole new way. With this book me and the girls turned out kitchen into a laboratory and our food became our science experiments. Cool Right! Well we though so. 

The girls have enjoyed all the experiments in the book and we have done most of them. The Sedimentary Pizza Lasagna was just there favorite so I decided to show it off for the review.
The girls also happened to be learning about the earth when this book came in. We had just started a unit on rocks and how they are formed. To be honest the girls were a little board with my explanations and pictures. So I brought out the Eat your Science Homework book. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the Sedimentary Pizza Lasagna. I though what could be more perfect! I of course handed the book off to the girls. They did some reading discovered the recipe and we got to work. I set out the ingredients for them and let them go at it. While they were working I took the chance to go over the lesson that was in the book adding to it and explaining further where I thought I might need to. It was a huge hit and the girls made this wonderful pizza Lasagna to demonstrate how sediment is made. It was a blast and they made a huge mess but the lesson stuck. Its been well over a month since we made Sedimentary Pizza Lasagna and the girls still remember the lesson.

We have actually made it for dinner a few times since it was so yummy. Each time they make it they tell me how everything starts out as separate layers and then as heat and pressure are applied they begin to melt and mix together. We recently did some digging in the back yard and the girls found some sedimentary rock and came to PoP to explain how it was made. 
The book its self gives a lesson then an experiment made of food. Everything you make is edible. We had most of the ingredients already in the house. You can also download a teachers guide from the website. I found it to be a great bonus to the Eat your Science Homework book. Its got some great tips and bonus lessons the go with the Eat Your Science Homework book. The pictures in the Eat Your Science Homework book are great. I wish I could draw that good. The lessons in the book are wonderful. They had just the right amount of details for the girls age levels and they were fun at the same time. The girls understood exactly what it was telling them the first time. I probably could have done with out all the extra explaining because the lesson did such a good job. The book also has a great glossary in the back. The girls have been learning to use one so this was a great find. The book also includes a safety in the Lab section that has kitchen safety rules. A science review area and an index. The girls have had so much fun with Eat Your Science Homework they want all the other  Eat Your Homework books. Be sure to click the banner below and check out all the other Ann McCallum Books

Ann McCallum Books Review

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Monday, November 2, 2015

The Brinkman Adventures: Season 3

Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review

Today I want to tell you about Brinkman Adventure 
Me and the girls got our first experience with an audio adventure. We were sent The Brinkman Adventures: Season 3.  The girls were not sure what to expect with this one they had never even heard of an audio adventure. I how ever remember my parents talking about the old radio shows when they were kids. I have even heard a few of the old recordings so I knew what to expect. 

We dropped into The Brinkman Adventures: Season 3Season 3 covers episodes 25-36. It contains 4 Cd's and 5 hours of audio adventures. In this season the Brikman family returns to tell more missionary stories and adventures. Everything from smuggling bibles into a country where they are illegal, to being threatened by wolves. They travel all over the world from Ecuador to Kashmir, Alaska even Africa.  The Brinkman Adventures are based on a real live family. The names have been changed but the actors and actresses play themselves. Many of the events are based on real events that have been embellished a smidgen. The Missionary stories that are told are based on real Missionaries from around the world and their experiences while doing their work.  

Brinkman Adventures Season 3 ReviewI was a little worried the program would be confusing since we were dropping into season 3. But it was very easy to follow and it was exciting. The first time we played it was in the car. It takes us an hour to get into town what better time to hear an audio adventure right. Basically the kids couldn't get away from me and they would have to give it a chance. At first the girls were like mom what is this. I made them be quiet and listen for a little bit, soon they were drawn in to the story. When we got home they kept asking what happened next. I made them wait for the next trip into town. Soon the girls were asking to go places just to hear what was happening next. We have been listen to the adventures a few times a week when we need to go some place.The car is proving to be the best place for us to listen and really take in the lessons and the stories. We often pause the Cd so that we can talk about things that happened to the Brikmans.

The quality of the audio recordings is very good. The voices are clear and easy to understand. They use such expression and feeling when telling the adventures that it pulls you in and makes you feel as though the wolves are really chasing you. In a world of overstimulated kids. The audio adventures are something unique to experience. It requires the listener to turn on there imagination. There are no pictures to look at there is no video. Just an exciting story told by an amazing family. By leaving out the visual aspect the girls turned to their imagination to create the image of what was happening in the story. I have taken the experience to the next level by asking the girls to listen to an episode and then draw what came to mind while they were listening.

We have really enjoyed Brinkman Adventures Season 3. I would love to get some of the earlier episodes so we can catch up on what happened before season 3. Everyone should click the link below and see what the other Crew members are saying about The Brinkman Adventures: Season 3.

Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review

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