Saturday, December 28, 2013

Introducing "Marble!" Number 6 in a Growing Clan

This is the Story of an all-natural home birth...

Well, December 15 came and went without a new baby. It is the old game of Hurry Up … and Wait. How very military of our new youngster! As we went through the week following, I worked hard with the boys to keep laundry up, get the house clean(er) and basically set up so that when the time actually did come things could still run fairly smoothly without Mom and Pop having to be the driving force.

Christmas 2014 picture with The Widmife at Sunday's two-day-old check up
I didn't take the time to look at the list of "things to have on hand for a home birth" that Jennifer Rector, AKA: The Widmife (a title given to her by Buttercup), gave us until around the 17th. (Might be something a little too laid back about my approach for some people's feelings of security, hmmm?) Finally looked at that list and had to go out to pick up a few things. So we hit Target up, and I went to get groceries to make sure we were stocked up. I had only been getting two or three days at a time up to that point - don't ask me why. The impending birth of a child was just not putting much of a sense of urgency on this seasoned Mama.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Waiting (For Baby!) Game

Well, I am at the official "due date" of December 15, 2013, and no sign of baby yet. I have had contractions off and on, but nothing worth taking note of, just the sort that tell me I am forging ahead and that delivery is imminent. I am a no-intervention kind of gal, and do as little as possible when it comes to medical interference in natural procedures. That means no hep-lock iv, no Pitocin, no epidurals, no, no, no, NO, NONONO!!!

Hi, Baby No-Name! See you soon!
You'll look less "creepy" then.
So in the last two weeks of this sixth pregnancy, I reached out and met with a midwife that does home births. I have nothing against the medical establishment, or even military medical folks. They are doing their jobs to the best of their training. I just don't follow the contours of their box and don't want to have to fight that while in labor, nor do I want the White Knight to feel like he has to fight for me when I need him focused on what is going on with my mostly non-verbal cues. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I Hope You Get Everything You Deserve

Join me for a different sort of Christmas tale...

(This actually took place in December, 2012. I am reposting it this year because it is a story that - for the goods and the ills - takes place all over the country each year in some way, about this time. And it's a sweet story and one that blesses me again and again to read.)

About two weeks before Christmas in Washington state (where it is cold and gets darker earlier), a grandma and a great-uncle decided to give a little girl a birthday party. It was a bit late, but that's okay, in a big family "delayed gratification" is an important concept to learn early! They scrimped and saved to let her have her party at one of those party gym places, and invited the whole class. Little Girl was turning eight, and has six siblings and four cousins who live nearby, so the first 10 slots were taken by them; anyone over 15 guests were going to cost extra, but this was a once-in-a-long time party, and the gym was 25 minutes away, so it was anyone's guess at how many were going to come!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Endurance and Prayer

I am part of a FaceBook group that is specifically for people to request, and respond to, prayers for those in their lives - whether personally, in business, or whatever their needs may be. I also am learning to make the knots that are used in our Orthodox (Christian) prayer ropes, and I often wear one on my wrist to fiddle with; when I fiddle with the prayer bracelet, I am reminded to pray for those around me and in my life. 

What do I pray for? Personal needs, health needs, business needs, family needs... whatever comes to mind for a person. And here's the big thing, I cannot complain about anything in my life. My life is not perfect, but it is relatively hassle-free.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Journey of Fifteen Years

Wow, how time flies by. When I was sixteen, I was "sure" I would never have kids of my own. I was too enlightened for that - there were so many kids in the world already who needed love and a family, so I was going to adopt.

14 candles on the cake - but it makes the point
When I was eighteen, I added on the aspiration to join, and remain in, the military for twenty years and retire.

When I was nineteen, I met a guy who was "nice" and who made me laugh - he was the best friend of the guy I was dating at the time. He had always said he would "never" join the military, and especially not the Air Force.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Moms Vs. Dads (In the Mind of a Teen)

Yesterday, Maestro came to tell me about a sort of "Sci-fi Documentary" he had watched. It involved, he said, the idea of Neutron Stars and what would happen if one were speeding towards Earth, and how would we earth-dwellers deal with it.

There is nothing like

The conversation started out like this: 

Maestro to Mom: "I watched a sci-fi documentary this morning and it was about Neutron Stars. You're probably familiar with those, but in case you're not it's... " and he went on to explain them in pretty decent detail. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

MLM vs Direct Sales - What's the Difference?

This post is a little about my successes and "failures" in from-home businesses; what works and what doesn't, and why that might be.

I've been in and out of various from-home businesses since I left the Navy in 2001.
  • First I worked with Pampered Chef and filled my kitchen with some great tools that I still use today. When we moved to Maryland, I decided I didn't want to start that over. 
  • I jumped around for a bit earning pocket change doing mystery shops (generally not worth the money for the time spent. Seriously, Folks!) so I tried starting something of my own in 2007.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: French Essentials

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I mentioned in my last review that we are working on French this year and next as The White Knight nears retirement. We have tried workbooks, Rosetta Stone, websites, YouTube videos and other such means to get the kids involved. While a few words stick here or there, nothing of substance stays around for long. Schoolhouse Review Crew offered the chance to look at the online program French Essentials, and I was happy to get the chance to try it out - especially because I can use it with each of the older children and for the entire year. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Away We Go Media

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We are studying French in our house this year; a long-time goal that we're determined to put into play for some future plans. A few months ago, Schoolhouse Review Crew put out word about an online French study program (coming in a review next week); at almost the same time came a chance to read the children's books about Mexico, France, South Korea, and Norway, put out by Carole P. Roman writing for Away We Go Media. I applied for (and was rewarded!) both (yay!)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: VocabularySpellingCity

I have two children with (undiagnosed) dyslexia - and pretty extreme cases. Apparently one of the big indicators of dyslexia is a profound inability to spell well because of an inability to hear the individual sounds - called "Phonemic Awareness". While I wish I had known that years ago before I tried to teach them to read, it is good to be aware of it now - and to look for tools that might help with that. 

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In this case, we are using the online program VocabularySpellingCity to see if it will help increase their spelling ability, as well as to test out where Maestro is at with his spelling abilities, and to get Buttercup started on her journey to good spelling as well. In short: this Schoolhouse Review Crew program offers things to cover the entire family!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Bridgeway Academy - Easy Essay Writing (High School Level)

I have mentioned my struggle with getting certain children to write in the past, and have tried several writing programs - all of them off-line up to now. I've tried co-op classes, in-home books, younger grade levels, older grade levels, and one in-house as part of a junior-high-level-boys-only group (which was a wonderful experience, but I have not seen where he is doing another right now.) On top of that, said now-teenager has expressed interest in going to a brick-and-mortar school for years, so I thought perhaps an online course might be a way for him to try out a classroom situation, while still being home and getting some writing instruction in. Enter the Schoolhouse Review Crew's offer to try out Easy Essay Writing with Mrs. Kimberly Kulp offered by Bridgeway Academy, an online homeschooling group.  

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This program is designed for students in grades 9-12, so Maestro is the only one to fit the bill, age-wise. To be honest I wasn't sure whether he would be ready to take on the responsibilities of an online class. I've been looking at the possibility for most of this year, though and thought this would be a good opportunity to find out how he'd do. Find that part out at the end of the review. Read on to find out how our experience with online learning went!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Diary of a Real Payne

All of my older children have enjoyed books like Wayside School is Falling Down and other such somewhat silly, zany stories that use a lot of imagination in the writing. Eleven-year-old Chef even keeps a running list of his "favorite" authors (Roald Dahl tops the list currently) and is making plans to visit their museums and where they lived some day. This is to say that reading in our house is pretty serious stuff - most especially when it's reading about the Crazy we find in life. And really: What kid doesn't like the silly, make-you-laugh stories? Well, Schoolhouse Review Crew came through again by offering the chance to read and review a book called Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story by Annie Tipton. 

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The first book in a still-being-written series, Real Payne is a 192-page story aimed at the 9-12 year old group. The story is built around the imagination of a young girl named EJ Payne, who lives in a small town but yearns for more. How many of us are not affected by a desire to experience life in the patch of grass on the other side of the fence? I find this is especially true with children because they really don't have as much control over their day-to-day lives as they might like.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Several Aspects to Young Living

This is a tiny bit long (when am I not long-winded about something I'm excited over??) but please read and bear with me!

I got thrown into a bit of a cold-water bath the other day. I had a friend call me up to tell me that a woman I had only recently met (and that my friend had met only once or twice as well), had said something about me. This woman was someone I had spent several hours talking to about a wide variety of topics, including Essential Oils. She had even come to my most recent Essential Oil 101 class, and that is where her comments stemmed from.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: The Presidential Game

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Chef loves board games with strategy games being the all-time favorite. When Schoolhouse Review Crew came out with a chance to review a new board game - The Presidential Game - I thought it could be a fun one to try, especially since Chef often has trouble finding people to play some of his strategy games with (Risk, etc.) Though I didn't know much about the game just from the website, it also looked like it could be a fun way to help the kids understand so much of the political goings-on when elections come up. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: PeopleKeys Personality Style Binder

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There are so many personality tests and quizzes out there that it can be hard to know which ones will work to give you information that you can really use. When The Old Schoolhouse folks put up a review opportunity for StudentKeys Binders, I thought it might be a good one to try. Maestro will be 14 in November and one of the things we are working on with him this year is taking control of his own education - helping keep track, set his own goals, etc. And PeopleKeys offered the opportunity to strengthen his knowledge of himself through their StudentKeys Personality Binder.

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Maestro is a little bit younger than the stated age range for the binder - the binder is advertised for high school students, and while technically he will be 14 this year, his birthday is so late that we are having him make sure that all of his "8th grade" knowledge is sound before throwing him into the high school melting-pot of educational ability. Regardless, his reading and other skills are such that I felt it would be a good experience and help him to find his direction in doing such a course. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Greene bark Press: Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again

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With an absolutely fearless two-year-old in the house, it is important to re-enforce certain safety concepts as early as possible. The wonderfully illustrated, perfect-for-the-youngest-kids book Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again, distributed by Greene Bark Press, fell into my lap for a review just as said Mr. Magoo had figured out how to open the storm doors and make his daring escape up the street!

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Doorposts Bible Study Review - Because You Are Strong

I am always on the lookout for Bible study materials that might work within Orthodox Christian Theology without my having to do a lot of adjustment work. A recent review opportunity came across my path and I took it as a chance to look at another curriculum that might fill the bill. Introducing: Doorpost's Because You are Stong: A Study of Godly Strength for Young Men.

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Meditation Monday: On Success and Self-Doubt

All last week I worked on budgets - a budget for our church, one for our home finances that will take us through debt freedom and White Knight's retirement, and one for our time each day. Working on a budget can be a tedious, boring process; or it can be invigorating and give you a means of being inspired to work towards a healthier place in life, and encourage you to see where the gaps and personal flaws may be. I chose to use our various budgets for self-improvement, and as a way to really assess how well I am pursuing those things which matter most in life. 

This quest has led me to consider the following quotes today:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Recipe Day: Eggplant Roulade

I was away in Scotland for  a week and was wonderfully proven wrong by my White Knight. He did not go out to eat every night with the kids nor did he resort to sandwiches or eggs all week. In fact, he came up with a truly delicious way to make the eggplant that came in our CSA/Farm basket that week that even the kids inhaled! (I'd say his cooking was one of the top reasons I married him, but we both lived in a military barracks and so there was no way to test his cooking skills until later - at any rate, he is a fantastic, if messy, chef and I benefit greatly from that!)

The thin eggplant slices are not overpowering in flavor and even come out tasting a bit like lasagna noodles. Put a thin stripe of marinara sauce on top and they might not even know the difference! So, now that I have this fairly simple, mildly time-consuming recipe down, I'm sharing it here for Try a New Recipe Tuesday over at Home to 4 Kiddos, or Encourage One Another Wednesday at Deep Roots at Home - make sure you head over to see what other folks are talking about today!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Meditation Monday: On Praying for Others

I don't know if my idea for "Meditation Monday" will continue or if this is a one-time deal, but it's something I thought of earlier today while on the way to church, and something I'd like to try to continue as I go along. This is the spiritual focus I'll be working on this week. I hope you'll join me as we work towards a healthier spiritual life!

The Scene:

Sunday morning, getting scones together for the kids's breakfast and generally preparing for church. 

An ancient place to pray: The ruins of Melrose Abbey in Scotland
The Events:
  • The general "stress" of making sure everything was ready to head out the door on time
  • Keeping the food from burning
  • The to-do list, coupled with being (roughly six-months) pregnant, and having a still-tired undressed toddler to take care of
  • The blessings of older kids getting themselves ready without too much instruction from Mom. 
Such stress, as you can imagine, takes its toll sometimes. When the old dog peed all the way down the stairs (again!), and the stairs then needed to be steamed before we left, the irritation and anxiety led me to a difficult moment. I had to stop for a minute and just. breathe.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Homeschool Review Crew: Notgrass Co. - America the Beautiful

When I saw the big, thick, heavy (all such negative words when it comes to textbooks) books for this review come in the mail, I must admit my first thought was, This is going to be so hard to get the kids on board - what in the world have I gotten myself into?? But as it turns out, we can throw out the negative words above because, although the America the Beautiful Curriculum by the Notgrass Company are big books, the program includes lessons that are engaging, pretty hands on, and enough to keep a range of ages (at least 8 - 13) occupied on various levels, while incorporating several study topics in together. 

What came in the box... The three books in the back are
full sized textbooks
But I'm getting ahead of myself and my review! I'll give warning now, this review might seem a little longer because I liked it so much, and included pictures, but if you're in a hurry scroll towards the bottom to where it talks about "The Good, The Bad, and the Not-Too-Ugly" to get the TLDR and skip my personal experience with it (*ahem*)... 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Legacy Documentaries - Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura DVD

The kids have been lucky lately - and it's summer time to boot - because we managed to get back-to-back video reviews! As it happened when the Review Staff put out the word about the Almanzo Wilder, Life Before Laura video by Legacy Documentaries, I had just finished reading the book Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and had already decided it would be an excellent read-aloud, so the video dovetailed nicely.

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The book is Laura's retelling of her husband's childhood experiences on the family farm, and the video gives more detail on the man himself. In the book, Almanzo is 8 years old, and a farmer at heart. I loved that the video provided readings from the book, was hosted by Dean Butler, the actor who played Almanzo's character on the Little House on the Prairie TV show (how I loved that show growing up!), and gave interviews by historians who specialize in Mrs. Wilder's work. As an aside, Mr. Butler is also involved with Legacy Documentaries in other ways according to their website.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Recipe Day: Quick and Easy Twist on O'Brien Potatoes

Ahhh... necessity, you've come to help me find a new recipe again, have you? Well, I'll take it, thanks!

I don't know why, but I've fallen out of the habit of going to the grocery store for a week's worth of groceries at a time and have been instead scraping together and making due for two or three days at a time, then going to the store for food to carry us for another three days or so, and by the end, the pantry and fridge are bare, kids and White Knight are going crazy from a lack of "acceptable" snack food (what? You have something against grass??) and even the mice are starving! 

Breakfast this morning was one such situation. Potentially useful breakfast items included...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Homeschool Review Crew: Brainfood Learning, Fascinating World of Mammals

Like so many other brick-and-mortar raised schoolchildren, I have fond memories of entering the classroom to see the old movie projector set up, to get to sit back in my seat in a dark classroom and hear the soft whir of tape moving through the big metal machine as the screen lit up in front of me... Movie days in class were special - and changed as I got older, of course - by high school, we watched the increasingly rare images move across a television screen instead of one that pulled down; the whirring tape was replaced by the clicks and hums of a VCR machine. The experience remained an enjoyable one. 

When I saw that I could provide a similar experience for my homeschooled kids, I had no thought of turning it down! Our first video was provided by Brainfood Learning, and was the title The Fascinating World of Mammals, which retails for $14.99. 

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Kids being kids, they settled in eagerly for some screen time (not as rare in our house lately as it should be perhaps, but they are eager even when it's educational at least), and requested pop corn or a snack to go with it. (Hmmm... I don't recall popcorn being part of my own childhood movie day experiences... but I digress.) The Fascinating World of Mammals is not a full-on documentary, but is a series of ten shorter clips. The video was split into ten animals: beaver, kangaroo, moose, dolphin, lion, giraffe, elephant, bat, chimpanzee, and bear. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Recipe Day: Easy Homemade Stewed Tomatoes

Every time I read something new about foods and the FDA, it gets a little scarier. The not-so-latest, but hardest habit for me to break, has been buying canned tomatoes. Going to dried beans from canned was not so bad, just required a bit of pre-planning; getting rid of most canned vegetables was not remotely difficult because they tend to be overcooked and mushy; but darn those tomatoes in a can! They're just so handy when making homemade spaghetti sauce and soups.

Then I came home from Scotland - long story for another time, but a great trip nonetheless. And found myself faced with a half-bushel of just ripened tomatoes and nothing to do with them. We sliced them for several days, we diced some, we did everything but make tomato pie! And still had a bunch. There is a first time for everything, so I decided to skin and juice them and stew them up for other projects.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Homeschool Review Crew: TeenCoder Java Homeschool Programming

Maestro has been talking for a long time about learning to write his own code and build a website for his magic business. When Homeschool Programming was offered as one of the options for review, I was pleased to find that I was one of those picked to check out the course. There are four courses available through Homeschool Programming, and Maestro and Chef were able to try out the TeenCoder Java Course, geared towards 9th - 12th grades. I know Chef is not quite there yet, but thought I'd let him give it a go anyway, just to see how he would do.

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 Java Programming is a one-year course consisting of the Programming portion in the first semester, and the Android portion in semester two. When combined with the extra reference materials a student should be able to take the AP Computer Science test at the end of the program. As far as technical specifications go, we run Macintosh computers only by this point and the Java program was compatible with a Mac running OS 10.5.8 or above. Mine runs on 10.7.5 - so not the newest version out there, but new enough to stand on its own.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Homeschool Review Crew: Book: Couponing Made Simple

When I was in Scotland last week (for another blog post), I got a text message from my wonderful White Knight. It said:
Spent another $100 at Kroger - hopefully will get us most of the rest of the way through the week... I don't see how we keep them alive with the amount they eat.
And another said,
I let the two oldest order their own food at lunch today. I will NEVER do that again!
Seeing messages like these from my husband, is it any wonder that I would jump at the chance to review a book called, Couponing Made Simple: Simple Steps to Successful Couponing by a lady named Christi the Coupon Coach?

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Young Living Big Announcement - and a Drawing

New Premium Essential Oil Kits with Young Living

Today is the first day that Young Living's new Premium Kits are available for purchase! That is HUGE news because the new kits include a home diffuser as part of the kit, as well as several sample packets of oil for you to share with your friends!

Truly, I write this on my way out the door to the airport but I am really excited about the contest I'm running and so I'm setting this up now (from the airport - got interrupted before) to post on Monday morning.

The picture here is the newest Premium Everyday Essentials Oil Kit. The most visible change is that with the old kit, new customers and distributors received a coupon for $30 off of a Young Living diffuser; with the new kit, the diffuser is included so you can begin using your oils for aromatherapy and other airborne-based applications right away

Friday, July 12, 2013

Taking on the Controversies that Arise with Young Living, MLMs, and Other EO Companies

Today on FaceBook, my sister-in-law tagged me in a link asking if I had heard of it. I had, and posted an answer in reply not only to that link, but also to a few statements made in the comments below. Then I decided I'd put my answer here and address some things I've heard more than once in just the six months since I began using and telling others about Young Living, and changed my original answer because I realized that I had helped in the hijacking of someone's paid-for ad, since there were SO many others who were using it as a platform to talk up Young Living.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Homeschool Review Crew: Classical Conversations Handwriting

Homeschooled children are frequently thought (known?) to be the exception to many of the plagues that come through modern-day schooling, but good handwriting seems to frequently get overlooked in both worlds. Try passing poor handwriting off to a Papa who does beautiful calligraphy work, though, and you'll find yourself doing some serious writing practice! Because my handwriting is legible, and decent, but not necessarily what old-school folks would call "great", I was pleased to have the chance to review the Classical Conversations PreScripts program.

We received the paper-book form (as opposed to the online/"e-" edition) that covered cursive handwriting and art lessons. The book is not supposed to be copied for use with multiple children but is supposed to be used once and then a new book should be ordered for each child. The books cost $12.99, and so aren't too expensive if you're only purchasing one or two.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Guest Recipe: Irish Car Bomb Tipsy Cakes!

This recipe was made up by a young lady in our church and they are awesome! They are for adults only because of the alcohol in them, but they are not so super strong that you can't drive after having one. Just enough to give a taste - in fact, her mom suggested that next time she put in just a bit more. Either way, they are delicious and of her own design, so all credit for this recipe goes to Rebecca Simerick - and thank you for sharing with the rest of us (we moms with five kids appreciate it!)

These have ingredient lists for the cake part, the filling in the middle and the icing, so it looks like a longish list, but I see that there is a lot of overlap, so don't let it scare you. To simplify things, I'll include an overall shopping list at the end.

~ Irish Car Bomb Tipsy Cakes ~

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Recipe Day: Fresh Peach and Berry Cobbler

We have been getting a boatload of super-tasty, super-ripe, do-something-with-them-right-now peaches
from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture/local farmer style co-op) lately and have had lots of fun eating them straight from the basket. But after a while you get some that are not quite ripe but you still want to do something... peachy with them. This morning for a special treat we decided to make a super-easy

Peach-Mixed Berry Cobbler

oh so yummy! If it wasn't breakfast, we
would have added ice cream... 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Engaging Kids in Community Service Work

One of the challenges in having five children in a wide range of ages - 21 months to 13 years in my case - is that it can be hard to find outreach and volunteer opportunities to do as a family. It is not easy to find places that will allow us to take a 21-month-old to "help" work!

Over the years we've become pretty creative in helping our children learn to reach out and contribute to the world around us and to our church. We've also learned a few things along the way…

Today I have a guest post over at A Dusty Frame - I hope you'll join me there and see some ways that our family has found to get a multitude of ages involved in volunteer and community service work. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Beyond the Page

 Ahhh... Summer.... A time of swimming pools, picnics, playtime, and school review time. Wait, what? "School" anything and "summer" shouldn't go together, right?? Not in a homeschooling house! (And increasingly "regular"-schooling families who don't want their kids to forget everything over the course of three months' break. In our house and many homeschool families, we're taking the time to look at what we did last year, where are the gaps, and what can we improve on.

One are that we've mentioned is science for our oncoming 8th grade Maestro, and reading comprehension and speed with Bruiser. When the information for Moving Beyond the Page listed that the review material would include a science program for older students and the possibility to use a reading/literature program for a younger student, it was the perfect fit for me to shore up both areas of study in our kids.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Distilling Essential Oils for the Purest Result: Young Living's Process

Not too long ago, there was a discussion on a FaceBook group I'm part of that discusses the occasional differences found in some of Young Living's Essential Oils. While I have not ever had a problem with my oils, because others might, I decided to put the company response here on my blog. This one refers specifically to Young Living's Peppermint Oil. One thing about Young Living Peppermint is that it truly smells like mint - as in, the stuff I grow in my garden - and not like the stuff you find in a piece of candy. IF you're using another company's mint oil, take a minute and compare it to see which it smells like. If it smells like candy, you might want to reconsider your oils... 

Here is what the home office said about the Young Living Distilling Process and all that our oils go through before reaching you at home:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Movie Review: Man of Steel - How Does it Rate for Families?

For a short housekeeping issue - I turned off the requirement to put in a Captcha image in order to leave a comment. I am bringing that back, but hope it won't stop you from adding your two cents. With it off I got more comments, most of them SPAM. Thankyewno. So it's going back on today!

I can't put the "official" Man of Steel logo, of course, because it is copyright protected - for all I know so is the movie title, but I hope they'll forgive my use of it, since it's really hard to do a review of something (even an unofficial review!) without using the name of that thing! Anyway, for Father's Day, the White Knight wanted to take the Crew to do something fun, but it was a truly hot, above-90-degree day, so Busch Gardens was NOT at the top of this Pregnant Mama's list, so we headed for the cool dark of the movie theater. 

We considered a couple of options and settled on Man of Steel (as I'm sure you've guessed by now) because it seemed most likely to appeal to the spread of ages we have going with our kids - 2, 4, 8, 11, and 13 now. The long and short of it: The movie was enjoyed by everyone, but (as other reviewers have said), sometimes it seems like they used action scenes (and long ones at that!) to replace having to focus on character or plot development. If you have seen the earlier movies from way back, and know the history line of Clark Kent in those flicks, then you'll be okay, but just jumping into this one, it can be difficult to follow.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Recipe Day: Fish Broth (and why we use it!)

I know - Fish Broth?? Why would anyone want to make fish broth?? -  but bear with me here. We are Pesci-vegetarians, and I've begun to make fish broth from home because it provides much needed minerals that help support growing bodies and growing bones. Most notably: magnesium, iodine, calcium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and other trace minerals. But why are we making fish broth? Well, these minerals can help strengthen the bones and - more importantly - teeth in our bodies. 
The veggies in the latest batch of fish broth
I have three boys now with brittle teeth - especially those four in the front at the top. They crumble away.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Down Memory Lane: Ways to Preserve Memories

One of the things I work on from home is helping families preserve memories through family history and memoir books. While I was going through the last of the boxes in the garage, I re-discovered some old tip booklets I wrote in 2007. I am going to start putting the articles on the blog here, one or two at a time, in hopes of helping others preserve their memories before the people involved are gone or before the memories fade altogether. This is the first of those articles. I hope you enjoy them, and would love feedback!
an impromptu ice cream break after chasing down the truck!

Simple ways to preserve the memories in the moment... 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Homemade, All-Natural Peppermint Patties

Thought I'd put the recipe for making your own, homemade peppermint patties on here since I put those pictures up once before. I'm still working on making them "pretty", but for now we're going with "tasty"! I looked this recipe up online and found a few that I liked but I didn't like any entirely. Most of the other recipes called for chocolate chips, extract, etc. and I wanted to use cocoa powder, and essential oils, which I'm more likely to have in my house already.

The finished, perfect-tasting all-natural Peppermint Patty!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Science Naturally

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About seven years ago, I stumbled across a homeschooling math book called One Minute MATH Mysteries. It was a gem and I have used it for three of my five children to give fun, short breaks to their math curriculum. When the Homeschool Review Crew put out that they had a review coming up for a One Minute SCIENCE Mysteries book, I was really excited and hoped I would get picked to review the product for Science Naturally! 

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