This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives raising and educating our children for His glory. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 15th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Literature based approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.

Friday, October 29, 2010

TOS Review ~ Yuck


The girls were so excited when we found out we were selected to review Yuck by Buckets-O- Fun. I didn't realize until experiment day that we did not have the prized Sticky Yuck, but the show mush go on and things got pretty yucky around here anyways.

Just what is Yuck?
Yuck products are different types of slime made from  acrylic polymers.  Yuck is available in 4 different consistencies:

Chunky Yuck: It looks like rock salt when dry and hydrates to the size of machine ice cubes.

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Saucy Yuck: It starts out as a powder and when hydrated has the consistency of applesauce.

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Snowy Yuck: When dry it has the consistency of sugar. When hydrated it looks like slushy snow.

Sticky Yuck: When hydrates it has the consistency of snot.

We received the free sample pack from Buckets-O-Fun and my girls had a blast with the Yuck.  The Saucy and Snowy Yuck became yucky pretty quickly but the Chunky Yuck takes 24 hours to fully hydrate. Because we didn’t receive any Sticky Yuck I will be placing an order and spreading the Yuck wealth with cousins (AJ you’ve been warned :-))

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Madison is not tasting the Saucy Yuck as that would be a bad thing since polymers absorb water, need I say more?

YUCK 009 YUCK 013 Yuck can make for messy fun for birthday, co-ops, youth groups, or  just plain fun.  How about a Yuck balloon toss or Saucy Yuck wrestling? Depending on the amount you need the price ranges from $16-$20. A little bit of Yuck goes a long way. Want to try Yuck yourself? Well hop on over to Buckets-O-Fun and order a free sample and have some yucky fun!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received a sample packet of Yuck in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided .

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review~ 2010-2011 Middle School Planner

MSPLanner I was given a copy of the 2010-2011 Middle School Planner from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine store a few weeks ago to review.  I am sure you know about the Big E-book Planner that TOS sells. Yes, the one with over 600 pages for only $39 it’s a steal and I love it!  Well now TOS is selling a multipurpose student planner so that your children can learn to balance home and school responsibilities.

The Middle School planner is geared towards 7th and 8th graders and since Marie is an 8th grader I was eager to see what this planner entails. The planner allows me to put Marie in charge of her schedule as we transition to more independent work.

This planner allows you to select from a wide variety of forms to fit your students individual needs. Items such as:

  • To-do lists (today, tomorrow, next week . . .)
  • Audio/Visual log
  • Log sheet
  • Marking period planners
  • Wish list (stuff to buy later)
  • Science lab sheets (use to gather all the supplies and record the experiment too)
  • General book reports
  • Chore charts 
  • Loaned and borrowed lists (no more lost books, CDs, DVDs . . .)
  • Important phone numbers and contacts (never forget a phone number again)
  • Address book (from A–Z)
  • Family tree
  • Community service record (college and scholarship applications may require this information)
  • Dates to remember (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, important events)
  • Website login/password reference (handy!)

You get all this and more with any of the TOS Student Planners. Don’t have a Middle Schooler, no problem, TOS has it all covered!  They offer four age-appropriate planners for the different stages of learning at a reasonable price.

I am so impressed with this student planner that I am going to order a Primary and Secondary planner for Mikayla and Madison’s use. I want to teach the girl’s how to effectively manage and organize their time, a life skill that is essential for good performance in school and in life.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   I received a TOS Middle School Student Planner in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided .

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up~ 1st quarter’s done, wk 9

weekly_wrap-up Wow, 9 weeks done and in the bag! We started out kind of rough but now I think we will have smooth sailing. This week we have been able to actually stay at home so that has been really nice. At first Madison & Mikayla were supposed to be off from gymnastics practice on Monday because their level coach was going on vacation, but the top dog, head coach stepped up and said PRACTICE WILL GO ON! I tried really hard not to groan out loud, I was really looking forward to a day off of practice. Nonetheless, I drove them Monday and wouldn’t you know it Mikayla got her front hip circle on the uneven bars. Way to go Mikayla!

sun eygpt 096Mikayla wrapped up her trial run of TOG Egyptian study and it was great! I think this program will fit really nicely for all the girls next year. This week we made our salt dough map of the Nile River, which we are currently letting  dry out. Mikayla has also decided to be the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti for Candy Day and she also earned her Rank patch and her first red jewel at Awana on Sunday night, awesome possum!

oct. misc 006 Madison is also flying through her TNT book at Awana. She has already earned her first level dog bone. This week Madison informed me that she no longer wishes to do her Sonlight Core 3 History because she wants to work on the Prairie Primer and Little House series with Mikayla. After picking my jaw up off the floor and much prayer, I have decided to just put the Core 3 away and combine them. It will be much easier on me and I found a neat resource for combing some of the novels from Core 3 with TOG for next year.

ay-botanical gardens 008Math and Science are going really well for Marie. She is plugging away at Algebra 1 with great success. I am so glad that I was able to purchase the Saxon Dive CD for both her and Madison for lesson instruction.  Marie also  excels in science and has scored a 95% or better on her first 3 module tests! Way to go, Marie!!!

jelly beans GS END of Sept 2010 076Montana is doing so great at learning her letters. She is very adamant right now about writing her name. This stems from her Awana Cubbie leader sending her home with the wrong paper. She talked about that paper the whole week and kept telling us she was taking it back because it was not hers! Funny thing is she can almost spell her last name with the letters she has learned because she already knows how to make an “A”, so she has been writing Caffe on her papers. These past nine weeks she has learned the letters, L, F, T, H, E, and  C. We had two review weeks and the week she was sick she didn’t do any formal schooling. She loves being a Daisy Girl Scout and singing the Make New Friends Song,

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My McKenzie is B-U-S-Y, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! She is growing and communicating now through sign language, love it! She also has learned the art of climbing which is not all that fun for me since she loves to climb on the school room table and date stamp herself and the table. I plan on officially starting her Itty Bitty Tot School in November.

We have a week break next week for me to plan the next 9 weeks and get Candy Day costumes done. Did I ever mention I am the queen of procrastination. My goal is to be done by Thursday night, well see. This morning the Lt. and I went running, something I haven’t done in a long time and it felt really good. I was sucking air so hard at the end  but I finished and I almost lost my pants in the process. Note to self, don’t wear big sweat pants. I have lost a dress size since giving up my soda addiction so that is super sweet. I am hoping to be pre- baby size by the new year. I am also planning a school room redo so stay tuned for the new look within the next few weeks. That’s all folks, how was your week?

Head on over to Jaime's, she is hosting the Weekly Wrap Up this week while Kris is away at Relevant.

TOS Review ~ Brill Kids Little Reader


When I found out I was selected to review Brill Kids Little Reader program a few weeks ago I  was a bit apprehensive.  Never in my life have I thought about trying to teach my baby to read. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the whole program.

What is Little Reader?

The website describes it as follows:

"The Little Reader software curriculum will guide your child in a systematic and progressive fashion over a 12-month period from sight-reading single words, to sounding out groups of words, to reading complete stories. During that time, your child will see over 3,000 words in more than 140 subject categories"




      What do you get with the program?

Little Reader software installation disc
2 Content discs with 12-month, ready-made curriculum
Lifetime usage of the learning system
2 Brill Kids Presentation Binders
40 Customizable Flap Cards
20 Customizable Flash Cards
160 sheets of word and picture prints:
Content Printouts for 8 core categories
5 Little Reader Storybooks
2 Weekly Lesson Planners, one for each semester
10 Sheets of Sticker Labels for playing the labeling game
"Everything you need to know about teaching your baby to Read" booklet
Teaching with Little Reader" booklet
Brill Kids Loyalty Points

The Little Reader program sells for $149 for the Basic and a Deluxe version is available for $399. The software we received included a one year (two semesters) format that will expose your child to over 3,000 words. You can choose  to personalize lessons for your child by adding pictures and voices from your child’s life to the flashcards.  For example, for the word “eye” you can add a picture of your child’s eye, or Mommy or Daddy’s  eye.  You can also choose to record Mommy, Daddy, Grandma or anyone else saying the word “eye”. 

Our thoughts on the program

I used this program with my 13 month old, McKenzie. She loved her computer time and enjoyed watching the screen. It’s recommended to implement the program twice a day, which I found to be rather challenging these last few weeks. But you know what, after using the program for about a week and a half she started signing and pointing more, something that she did not do beforehand. She hasn’t said any new words, but the signing has increased and she is communicating which is great for everyone!  For now I think we are content with just exposing her to lots of real books, but I will definitely be looking to Brill Kids when we start transitioning to more talking and less signing.

Do you want to give it a try with your baby or child? Sign up for a FREE 14-day trial and test it out for yourself! There is also a download for  free teaching tools, such as activity sheets, flashcards, and power point presentations to use with your baby or child. Be sure to check out what my TOS  crewmates had to say by going to the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received a copy of Brill Kids Little Reader software in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided .

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It’s coming…

it’s almost time for the 12 days of handmade CHRISTmas hosted by Edie @ Life in Grace. I loved all the project ideas from last year and we even  made and gave away a couple of dish mats.

Head on over and grab a button and be entered to win your own dish mat.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Can you guess…

Mikayla has her Candy Day costume picked out. Can you guess what she is going to be?

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The Egyptian Queen Nefertiti.  She is really loving the Tapestry of Grace three week Egyptian trial, and I am over the moon about it too. Her interest in history has peaked and she is wanting to do her history first thing in the morning.

Yesterday we practiced putting on the makeup and doing her hair. This weekend we will put the finishing touches on her crown and get started on her dress.  

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I think we need a brighter shade of red for the lips, what do you think?  This picture is from December 2006 as we were gearing up for the new cheer competition season. Isn’t she so cute, our little Superstar.

She loved the hair and makeup session and got into the Queen role rather quickly. I asked her to fold up the linen napkins and she looked at me and replied: “Queens don’t do laundry.” Oh my!

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Wordless Wednesday

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

TOS Review ~ Read, Write & Type

tf_logo45 We had the opportunity to review Read, Write & Type by Talking Fingers, Inc. this past month, and let me just say, Mikayla had a blast playing this game and defeating the evil green blob, Vexor! I loved it too because she was learning a new skill, typing, at the same time. Who would have thought a program could teach reading, writing, and typing at the same time? Well, I am here to tell you that Read, Write & Type by Talking Fingers, Inc. does!


Read, Write & Type Learning Systems  is an exciting interactive computer program that builds reading and phonics skills while children learn to write and type.  Children in grades K-3 help to defeat Vexor  who tries to steal the letters with the aide of colorful talking hands, Lefty La Dee and Rightway McKay.  Lefty and Rightway help guide the student through 40 different levels of play.  The program also includes games and activities that help build speed and accuracy, a place to type a story, and games to practice beginning sounds. All these activities build phonemic awareness, blending skills, and the ability to sound out and type words and sentences.

This program has two different options for purchase. For $35. you can purchase a five-year home license to the online version. This is only good for one child, but once that child has passed through all the levels their progress can be archived so that another child may play as long as it is within the five year time frame for the license.  For $79. you can opt for the CD-ROM version and receive additional bonus material including an activity book with stickers, a laminated keyboard, and 18 leveled readers.  With the CD-ROM version you are able to use it with multiple children for as long as you wish.

read writy and type 001Mikayla thoroughly enjoyed this program and frequently requests to play it. If you are looking for a excellent all around program this may be a good fit for your family too. Check out what my other crewmates had to say about this program here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received a copy of Read, Write & Type online software in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided .

Friday, October 8, 2010

Week in Review ~ Week 7

We did accomplish some things this week even though I feel as though we did not. It was an eventful weekend with a trip to the ER for Montana and then I ended up getting the flu Monday evening. Tuesday I was out for the count on the couch. We had a teacher in-service day and the girls went to Walnut Grove for the afternoon. I am just now starting to feel better, however when I look at the mountain of laundry that needs to be done I get nauseous, but I am blessed to have daughters who accumulate so much laundry so I wont complain, too much :-)

I had plans to start Mikayla on the Egypt 3 week free trial of Tapestry of Grace, but it didn’t happen. I did however get to look around the TOG website and start to get a feel of the program. I think this program is going to be so helpful for me as we make the switch next school year. Marie, Madison, & Montana are continuing on in their respective Sonlight Cores, but I have already stopped using Mystery of History for Mikayla, it just wasn’t working for us.

I hope I have more to report next week as we start wrapping up our first quarter soon. Check out what others have said on Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly wrap-up.

TOS Review ~ Digital Frog International


Have you ever wanted to go on a field trip to the Rainforest? How about the Wetlands or the Desert? Well I am here to tell you you can! All without having to don your galoshes or filling up the canteens to quench your thirst in the desert. How you  ask? Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Head on over to the Digital Frog International site and check out the array of digital field trips they have to offer.

When I first heard I was on the list for Digital Frog International I got excited. Would they be sending us the virtual frog dissection??? How cool would that be, I love biology! But we received something even better, the Digital Field Trip Series with 3 virtual field trips to the Rainforest, the Wetlands, and the Desert. And we don't even have to leave the comforts of home.

Each DVD software features the following components:

  • An interactive map
  • Definitions for every word and pronunciations of scientific words
  • Ability to bookmark favorite screens
  • Online updates

The accompanying teacher's guide includes teaching suggestions, lesson answers, and graphic resources for K-3 activities all in a digital format allowing you to print directly from the CD. Also included is an extensive student workbook that makes an excellent study guide while on your trip.

Right from the start you are taken into the trip and ready to navigate the series.

The Rainforest


“Experience the tropical rainforest of Belize with 28 virtual reality posts from deep in the forest and even up in the canopy. Other topics covered include rainforest types and mechanisms, an interactive dependency web game and a botany primer."

The Wetlands DigitalFrogWetlands

"Explore wetland ecology with a virtual field trip to a wetland in southern Ontario. Includes wetland types, bog formation, plus detailed sections on photosynthesis, food chains and webs and nutrient cycles."

The Desert


“Five deserts of the southwestern U.S.—from the saguaro cacti of the Sonoran to the sand dunes of Death Valley—are brought to life in our biggest field trip ever. Try your hand at building your own desert, learn about landscape formation and in-depth sections on adaptations and homeostasis.”



The Digital Field Trip series is a hybrid disc—so basically you can run the same disc on both Macintosh and Windows platforms.

System requirements:


Windows 2000, XP, Windows 7 or Vista (32 bit) (some features may not work in the 64 bit version of Vista)

  • 32 MB of RAM (64 or more recommended)
  • 75 MB of hard drive space for QuickTime


  • Mac OSX 10.3.9 or later
  • 30 MB of available RAM

DigitalFieldTripSeriesHomeschool pricing: 

Depending on what your looking for the pricing ranges from $40 - $125.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time spent trekking through each of the field trips. Getting a up close, hands on look and being able to explore was fantastic. I can’t wait for next year when Marie will be in 9th grade biology and we get to explore the Digital Frog 2.5 dissection. I would recommend these trips for anyone looking to enhance there studies. To check out what my crewmates have to say, click here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received a copy of Digital Frog International software in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided .

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

TOS Review ~ LanSchool


Have you heard of LanSchool?  I hadn’t either until I was offered to review it.  Basically it is a classroom management program that allows you to see and control what is done on multiple computers throughout your home.


LanSchool enables you to network all your computers to the “teacher computer” and see what your students are doing. The teacher computer is capable of remotely controlling student computer. You can also send messages to the student computer, or limit access to programs or the Internet, and much more. One fun feature is that if you catch your student on the computer when they are supposed to be doing something else, you can blank out there screen with or without a message.

LanSchool’s website describes there program with these words:

“Teachers today are faced with the challenge and opportunity of using technology to teach. Computers are amazing educational tools, but they can also be a huge distraction to learning. The Internet, instant messaging, email and games are a constant temptation for students.


LanSchool v7.5 removes these distractions so you can teach more effectively. No classroom management solution is simpler to install, easier to use or better suited for teaching in a 21st century classroom.”

Two versions are offered, one for the home and one for schools. The home version can be installed on up to 3 computers at one time. The price of the  Home Version Sign-Up  is $99 and it includes  access to updates for 3 years.

I think LanSchool is a great program and we enjoyed using it for our review,  but I do not see a need for it’s use in our homeschool.  I only say that because we do not use a computer based curriculum and my girls are not on the computer during school hours. However, if you are looking for a program to help monitor the use of computer time and content then I highly recommend LanSchool for your family.

To see what my crewmates thought of this product click here.


I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received a copy of LanSchool software in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided .

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Teacher in-service…

teacher inservice 002

Today we had a teacher in-service while I am battling a fever. Last night I felt as if I was breathing fire with my high temperature. McKenzie is on the mend with her runny nose but  Montana is still under the weather with her bronchitis, more to come on our ordeal in the ER late Saturday night/early Sunday morning.

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

ER trip

 ER Montana 009

Can I just say that I am not a fan of ER’s, period! Montana and McKenzie have both been battling a cold since Wednesday. McKenzie was just a yucky green discharge from the nose and a little cough here or there. Montana however, got the full deal, croup cough, runny nose and she lost her voice by Friday evening. By late Saturday night, just as we were about to start family movie night I noticed she was having trouble breathing.  That all too familiar wheezing sound was coming through her little barking cough.

So off we went to our local ER. This was our very first trip to this ER and prayerfully our last, I will drive the extra 20 minutes to the Naval Hospital as long as it is not life threatening. Yes, it was that bad!

The night started off with the receptionist having an extremely bad attitude with everyone who crossed her path. It was very clear that she did not want to be there on that Saturday night and she was taking it out on everyone who needed care.  The triage nurse then proceeded to tell me that my child had a fever of 100.6. Okay!?! She didn’t have a fever when I left my house 20 minutes ago nor at any other time and that is not a high fever at all. And if your that concerned with it then give her a dose of Tylenol.  Then she went into a whole speal of whether or not she had asthma. I politely explained to her that Montana does not have asthma, my oldest daughter does so it runs in our family. Marie was diagnosed with asthma and pneumonia so I was concerned. She could care less.

So, we proceeded to sit in the waiting area with all the other people needing care. There was lots of commotion, loud voices of mothers yelling at there young children, drink throwing etc. After about an hour and a half of waiting the receptionist called me back up because she needed to check me in, WHAT!!!??? Why have I been sitting here unchecked in???  I should have left right then and there, but it was 1045 P.M. at this point and Montana was sleeping.

ER Montana 014

We waiting another half hour before being called back into a room, where our nurse left us in a frozen tundra of a room for over an hour! Montana was so cold that I had her bundled in the thin sheet and gown that was provided, but because of her fever (that she still had no medicine for) she was sweating buckets. Me on the other hand, I was a popsicle. I fell asleep and banged my head on the wall.ER Montana 005

Long story short, Montana ended up having to have two nebulizer treatments to get her oxygen levels stable and a chest x-ray. The x-ray showed no signs of pneumonia, for that I was grateful. She does have bronchitis though so she is on a round of Amoxicilian to fight off the germs. What an eventful night!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

We’ve been Bean Boozled…

jelly beans GS END of Sept 2010 002We got this package of Jelly Belly beans last year after McKenzie was born from our dear friends the Morgan’s. We sure do miss those guys! Well, it’s taken us that long to get around to tasting them.

jelly beans GS END of Sept 2010 001

The package has a caution warning: “These jelly beans may look alike but they could not taste more different from each other. Think you can tell them apart? WE DARE YOU!”

As part of our family night tonight each person picked a bean.  

Rotten egg or buttered popcorn?

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rotten egg!


black licorice or skunk spray?

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black licorice, yummy!


Ear wax or Cafe Latte?

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Cafe Latte!


Cafe Latte or ear wax?

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ear wax!


Top banana or pencil shavings?

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Top banana!


moldy cheese or caramel corn?

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jelly beans GS END of Sept 2010 020

moldy cheese, YUCK!!!

We only did one round of beans but we have plans for the extras for Madison’s upcoming 10th birthday.