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. 
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