January 28, 2015

Chemistry for Kids! {Including the awesome Naked Egg!}

We are exploring science and chemistry this month as part of the To the Laboratory theme for Poppins Book Club. As you should know by now if you are a regular reader, I'm not one of those totally hot on science moms. I love the subject and doing experiments, but I'm not really excited about all the planning that goes with it. Needless to say, trying to find STORYbooks that were chemistry themed was challenging to say the least, so I just decided to go the route of finding some good science experiment books to share and have fun with!
chemistry for kids: Our favorite books and experiments
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I was able to find a few great books that are full of science and chemistry for kids. I owned a couple too. We had fun pulling them out and finding simple experiments that could be replicated with them. I'm just going to list them with a brief synopsis about them, so that you can snag them for yourself.

"Why do things float?" "What happens to the food you eat?" "Why is it warm in summer?" These and hundreds of other questions about science are answered in this charming book. Simple, easy-to-read text and lively, detailed illustrations introduce the basic concepts of science to young readers.

We really enjoy having this book in our cabinet. It is very colorful and has a lot of great information and experiments that go with each concept. This one was part of one of our review curricula and we really enjoyed using it and happily added it to our science book collection!

This colorful book is packed with exciting scientific activities, from blowing bubbles to making soft drinks and invisible ink. The experiments are safe and easy to carry out, using ordinary household equipment. They are all carefully designed to help young children explore the fascinating world of the kitchen.

We received this book with our My Father's World 2nd Grade program. It was a definite keeper as it had TONS of great simple experiments and most all are made from standard kitchen paraphernalia.

Chemistry for Every Kid: 101 Easy Experiments that Really Work
by Janice VanCleave
ISBN #0-471-62085-8
Explore the mysteries and the methods of chemistry in this fascinating collection of ideas, projects and activities that teach the basics of chemistry theory and practice--while you have fun! With Chemistry for Every Kid, you can transform your house into a laboratory where you'll learn simple chemistry from a solution of colored water, and the behavior of gases with the help of a pop bottle. You'll also find a wide variety of experiments that can be used at school or for science fairs.

This book is ideal for any home science enthusiast, but especially for the early elementary. Every experiment in it is just 1-2 pages, easy to understand and requires only a handful of supplies--usually 5 or less. It is separated into eight different types of experiments so it's easy to sort through to find something that works for you.

365 Simple Science Experiments with Every Day Materials
by E. Richard Churchill, Louis V. Loeschnig, and Muriel Mandell
ISBN# 1-884822-67-3
The fundamentals of science brought to life in a year's worth of fun and educational hands-on experiments. Easy products for using materials around the house to explore the wonders of science. Step-by-Step user-friendly instructions. Explanations of basic scientific concepts, terms and methods and more than 700 lively illustrations.

I snagged this book at our library and I really like it! It has easy to follow experiments that are similar to the ones from the Chemistry for Every  Kid book. I like the way it's laid out and the illustrations that are included. I am glad this book will be at my access because I see it coming in very handy for future science subjects.

Our Simple Chemistry Experiments

I decided that for this month we would do a series of short and easy chemistry experiments taken from the last two books I listed. I wanted experiments that incorporated chemical changes or just showed really cool lessons. The boys of course were game for anything I had going...

The Naked Egg
Vinegar + Egg = "cool!!!!"
Take one egg. Place it in a jar (we just used a pint jar) and fill almost to the top with white vinegar. Put lid on and just leave it alone to work it's magic! Seriously, this experiment has held the most interest. They went and checked on the jar about every hour and called each other in to note differences. An easy experiment with big bonus points for being really weird and cool.

Baby Britches isn't quite sure about this egg being "naked".

Green Pennies
Vinegar + Pennies makes for some fun.
Shiny Pennies
Not so shiny pennies
The think I liked about this experiment is that it is slow, but has an awesome result. It was interesting that they picked some super shiny pennies that I proceeded to turn "ugly."

Water Climber
This experiment is super simple (water, bowl, paper towels, cup) but it shows a great lesson in how water "climbs"--and thus how roots and stems provide water to the leaves.

The water climbs from the mug, up the "wick" and then deposits water into the bottom of the bowl...this will continue until the level of the bowl is equal with the level of water in the mug. This was pretty cool, but I think using a colored water would be easier to see--especially for photos.

Rainbow Ink
We had to do this one in two tries. For the record, Dry Erase markers do NOT work. Fortunately, though I couldn't find a plain old black Crayola marker ANYWHERE in this house, we did find a green one and were able to make it work with it. Little Britches wants us to try it with a black one as soon as we can find one. A great lesson in color mixing.

It was hard to see, but it separates into blue and a bit of yellow at the top
Salty Scribbles
Painting words with salt water and then drying them out to see the salt letters is fun, right?

Okay okay. I have to admit, they were less than impressed with the result of this one, though I did puzzle them when I put their papers in the oven. But since it appears they failed to use enough of the saturated salt water, their letters were a bit lackluster. To the point where Baby Britches told me to throw it away since he couldn't read his name any longer. So be forewarned. LOL.

Sinking Gel...that wasn't.
We attempted to an experiment adding alum and ammonia to a small glass of water thus creating an insoluble gel. It failed. We tried twice. We think we were just using too much water. It called for a baby food jar and I thought a small glass would work. Nope. Next time definitely need a baby food jar. Lesson learned here was that experiments are a lot of trial and error...and a lot of error sometimes.

There were a lot of other cool short experiments that I think I will incorporate each week as I can. These books provide simple ones with little preparation and on-hand supplies. Three keys to my success when it comes to doing experiments with the boys! I hope you will consider these books the next time you are looking for fun chemistry experiments to do at home!

January Giveaway

Ultimate Gruffalo Giveaway! Every month the Poppins Book Nook group will be offering readers a chance to win a brand new storybook or product that ties in with our theme for the month. This month one lucky entrant will win the Ultimate Gruffalo Giveaway. The winner will enjoy twice the magical enchantment in the double feature of The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child! The beautifully animated films based on the best-selling books are now together on DVD from N Circle Entertainment! And the fun doesn’t stop there as they will also win a storybook of the Gruffalo and Gruffalo themed plush too!

Entrants must be 18 years or older and reside in a country that receives U.S. Postal mail. This giveaway is brought to you by the company Enchanted Homeschooling Mom who is owner and founder of the Poppins Book Nook and this month’s prize bundle will be sent to the winner directly from this month’s sponsor N Circle Entertainment. By entering this giveaway you are also acknowledging that you have read and agree to all of the Rafflecopter terms & conditions as well as Enchanted Homeschooling Mom's disclosures found here {http://enchantedhomeschoolingmom.org/disclosures/}.  Just enter the Rafflecopter below to win:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ready to See More?

The wonderful bloggers that participate in the Poppins Book Nook are:

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God's Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy's Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ My Bright Firefly ~A Mommy's Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~Where Imagination Grows ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A Peace of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am  ~ Simple Living Mama

Do you have posts relating to chemistry or science AND reading? We'd love to see them!

We are pretty excited about next month's theme for Poppins Book Nook...PoEtRy! It ties in perfectly because we currently doing a Poetry unit for our literature studies and having a blast! 

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January 26, 2015

Poppins Book Nook for January...almost!

It's the last Monday of January and that means that it's time for a new theme for Poppins Book Nook! 
This month's theme was To the Laboratory, with an emphasis on science and chemistry! I really had a challenge with this theme since it didn't match anything we were studying, so it's taking me a bit longer to pull my post together. So while you wait for it to arrive a bit later today or tomorrow, make sure you snag the FREE PRINTABLE lapbook page and bookmark that goes with this month's subject! 

Remember that every month we have a new lapbook page to share as you explore books within each subject, and you can find them all by visiting Enchanted Homeschooling Moms blog page!

If you want to get started on visiting the other co-host's while you wait for my post to go live, here is the list to get you started!

The wonderful bloggers that participate in the Poppins Book Nook are:

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God's Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy's Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ My Bright Firefly ~A Mommy's Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~Where Imagination Grows ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A Peace of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am  ~ Simple Living Mama

As I said, I will be back either later today or first thing tomorrow with my post for this month, so make sure you check back by!
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January 25, 2015

The Broken Shell~ A Lesson in Brokenness, Beauty, and Strength

Dawn has broken on a beautiful day here at the ocean. I've come to refresh my weary spirit and to refuel my tired soul.

So begins the beautiful book My Beautiful Broken Shell by Carol Hamblet Adams. I love the words in this book. They are tender reflections of hurt and hope sharing a truth that in the hands of God, there can be profound beauty and strength in our brokenness. I have a special connection with the ocean and shells, as they got me through one of the toughest times in my life, so the message of this book and it being inspired by the broken shells along the beach, resonates with me.
The Broken Shell: A Lesson in Brokenness, Beauty and Strength

Hidden Beauty

Have you ever noticed that when combing a beach for shells, we regularly inspect what we find for perfection? How many times have you eagerly found a shell hidden in the sand and dug it up, only to discover it was cracked or missing a piece. We will usually sigh and toss it back out to sea, don't we? We will walk by the big cracked scallop shell to reach for the perfect sand-dollar. In fact most people would rather not pick up ANY shells than one that has a flaw. Why? At what point have we become programmed to overlook the beauty and strength of even a cracked shell? 
Why do we only find value in perfection when it comes to shells?
Have you ever watched children hunting for shells? If you've ever been to the beach I'm sure that you have, even if you've never done it with your own children. Taking my boys shell hunting is one of my favorite things to do at the ocean because hunting for shells using THEIR eyes is a totally different experience. My oldest (age 8) enjoyed doing this while we were in Florida this past fall. We would walk and suddenly he'd stop and eagerly point to a shell. He'd squat down and dig into the sand with his agile fingers until he could pull it out. It was usually just half of a shell. You know. The kind that we (as adults) simply throw back down. But he pulled it out. Turned it over and over in his hand. And just as I found myself saying "that one's broken, let's keep looking." He smiled and said...

"But mommy, look!"

And he'd flip it over to show me that it wasn't just a plain old charcoal gray scallop...no, it was inlaid with the most beautiful mother-of-pearl on the underside. So beautiful and so mysterious with the cloudy rainbow of colors. 

"It's so beautiful, mommy! I don't care that it's cracked! I want to keep it!"

And in that moment, I heard God speaking to me. 

There is beauty to be found even in brokenness. God doesn't look at our flaws, our cracks, our plain old charcoal gray barnacle covered exterior. God looks into our hearts. He sees what no one else can. The mother-of-pearl beauty hiding underneath. 

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Yes, we as people are broken. Oh how many of us have chips and cracks of all kinds and shapes. Going back to the book, the author states (referring to a broken shell):

This shell is people who are hurting...people who have lost loved ones...people who are frightened or alone...people with unfulfilled dreams...

Is that you? Can you relate? I know that I sure can.

Hidden Strength

Just as my son showed me the value in a broken shell because of what was hiding underneath, the author points out something else that made me think deeper...

This shell has had to fight so hard to keep from being totally crushed by the pounding surf...just as I have had to.

Broken shells are put under the same stress as the perfect ones we find. But they were able to make it to the shore even with their cracks and flaws. The very things which would have made them more susceptible to being crushed by the ocean and turning them into the very sand they are resting on. But they didn't. They weren't crushed. They were STRONG! 

It is possible to be strong even when we are cracked. To withstand the pounding surf of this life, even with everything going against us. 

Turning back to the words from the book...

Broken shells are shells that have been tested...and tried...and hurt...yet they don't quit. They continue to be. Thank you, Lord, for the great strength it takes to simply be...even when I hurt so deeply that there seems to be nothing left of me.

Have you ever felt that depth of hurt? When you were just so weighed down that even the thought of putting one foot in front of the other was too much to bear? What got you going? What gets you moving? Who gets you moving?

The author gives a clue...

If anything is still left of me or my loved ones, then that is enough to grab hold of...to keep me going...to thank God for.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit He saves.
Psalm 34:18
In my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from His sanctuary; my cry to Him reached His ears. Psalm 18:6
When I am at my deepest hurt, with the waves of life pounding me and threatening to bust me into a million pieces, God will help me make it onto the shore and into the sunshine. And though I am broken, He still sees the beauty. Because He made me. And He has chosen me to belong to Him. So I cry out to Him. I give Him my flaws, my brokenness, my imperfect self and I ask Him for the strength I need to get through...

this minute,
   this hour,
       this day,
          this week,
              this month,
                  this year,
                     this life.

And He responds.
He always does.

But I've learned that more often than not, His help and gift of strength comes not from taking me out of the ocean, but from being able to ride out the turbulent currents and crushing waves. I will still make it to the shore with His help, and I might still be cracked when I get there. But the pounding and slamming against the sand and the power of the surf, has now made my mother-of-pearl beauty become polished, smooth and oh so lovely. He created in me greater beauty by helping me through my brokenness. 
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Though my cracks never completely disappear (for they never completely go away you know), I recognize that every time I conquer the surf, I have gained lessons in life. Perhaps my journey led me to greater compassion and love, increased patience and kindness, deeper meditation and faith --things I would have never had if I had been lifted from the ocean instead of allowed to roll in the waves. 

It's just a fact of life that perfection according to the world's standard is unattainable, and we kill ourselves (whether in spirit or body) trying to achieve it, instead of accepting that we are going to be imperfect as long as we are in this life (James 3:2 comes to mind). We don't want to accept brokenness or failures as normal and we try to hide our sufferings from others to maintain our own perfect image. But we are surrounded. You are surrounded. I am surrounded. Surrounded by broken people. People who need the comfort of others who have shared experience, people who need the very same strength of the Lord that we ourselves draw on to get through every day. 
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28 
My book's conclusion holds these comforting words.

As I look at my beautiful broken shell, I see that it has nothing to hide. It doesn't pretend to be perfect or whole...its brokenness is clear for everyone to see.

Lord, help me realize that I am not the only one hurting...that we all have pain in our lives. Help me remember that in my brokenness I am still whole and complete in Your sight.

Broken yet Beautiful...Fragile yet Strong

Just as my son treasured that broken shell for the secret beauty it held, so also God treasures us. The trials we experience test us just as the pounding waves of the surf test the strength of those shells. We get cracks and dings, but they only show how much we have accomplished and what we have been through. The strength we have gained. Our weaknesses made us stronger because we were forced to rely on God to supply our needs. 

Don't get me wrong, we are instructed to seek perfection by God, but it's perfection in and through Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4:13, Colossians 1:28), NOT the world. We come to Him in our brokenness and know that He will help make us whole. We don't need to hide our flaws or imperfections from the One who made us. He didn't reach out and call us because we were perfect.
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29
The next time you go to the beach, take a second look at the broken shells. Remember that they too were made by God...they too have a story about the journey that brought them safe on the shore...and they above all teach a lesson that in brokenness there is beauty and strength. 

Thank You, Lord, for all that I learned from my brokenness...for the courage it takes to live with my pain...and for the strength it takes to remain on the shore. ~Carol Hamblet Adams

By Carol Hamblet Adams
ISBN #978-0736908702

January 23, 2015

Random Five on Friday~ 1/23

The Pebble Pond

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1. I can't believe that we are already near the end of the first month of 2015. Seriously. We are at the 23rd day of this month! February will be here in the blink of an eye. Our January was so busy and we had things going almost every single week! I was hoping for a more calm February...but with a last minute purchasing of airplane tickets to fly back to Washington State to visit my family the beginning of the month, a peaceful uneventful February appears to be slipping away.

2. My class last week on essential oils was a big success! We ended up with a guest list of about 55 people and had a great amount of interaction as we shared ideas and information on essential oils and other products. If you are interested in diving into the essential oil world, I can recommend two companies that I enjoy using: Mountain Rose Herbs and doTERRA. I have been given a few Young Living oils and really enjoy them, though I am not as familiar with the company. 

3. Mmm. Dinner was so good tonight. I tried a new marinade. No recipe. Just something I threw together. I had picked up a new seasoning rub at Costco...I think it's called a Smokey Mesquite. We love mesquite here so I have a few different ones. I did some red wine vinegar, worchestshire sauce, olive oil, water, tobasco sauce and a couple tablespoons of the seasoning. I mixed it up good and then poured it over some boneless chicken breasts in a ziplock bag. I find the marinade really seeps into the chicken this way as I can moosh the chicken into the marinade with my hands. I let it sit for about 15 minutes before grilling. Yes, it was SNOWING but I was grilling. That's just how I roll. LOL!

4. Some of you know that we've had some issues dealing with my 4 year old (aka Baby Britches) and chronic constipation. It's been a 2 year battle, but we are finally (I think) past the worst of it. He's been doing so much better and...has actually willing sat on the toilet and been successful with bowel movements! This is massive and huge. He hast hated the toilet up until last week. For some reasons someone finally said the right thing to make it click and he is willing and able and actually goes. The pediatrician told us last year that she believed he would out grow his troubles. That it was 80% personality causing the problems...ie. he was stubborn. LOL. It looks like she was right because he's night and day different. I am just beyond thankful that something finally reached him. I also started him some pure organic aloe vera juice every other day. I have read so many things on how excellent this is for maintaining a healthy digestive system and for overall health. It was also so much better for him than the nastiness of Miralax. Between the aloe vera juice and the essential oils I've been using, I think we are finally making GREAT strides to have this be something in our past.

5. I can't wait to share with you how we finished out our Lightning Literature unit on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We have been enjoying being beta testers for the third grade program and Little Britches has enjoyed every single book that we've done so far. But I can safely say that this book has been his favorite...hands down. We took pictures of our Wonka party that I will share when I put it all together in a blog post--hopefully next week. I highly recommend the Lightning Literature units by Hewitt Homeschooling. Right now they have programs for 1st and 2nd grade with a 3rd grade one in the works (which we are on the beta team for). They also have junior high and high school level Lightning Lit packets too. Seriously. If you are looking for a complete language arts curriculum, consider Hewitt Homeschoolin's Lightning Literature.

I am sorry that I haven't been as chatty this month, but it's been kind of crazy. Next week I should have a couple posts besides my normal weekly Friday post, so stay tuned!

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January 17, 2015

Random 5 for Friday...on the weekend!

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1. It's been a crazy week. I started a week long essential oil class on Monday and I've been posting things for it every single day and because you can't pre-schedule the posts, that required WAY more computer time than I normally spend. But it has been very successful and informational and was well attended at nearly 60 guests.

2. My mom is visiting and she likes my kitchen gadgets. She's "trying out" my new dishwasher so she can decide if she wants that model for her own. She also fell in love with my chopper. I have this one...but she's decided she wants to buy this one. We like it too, so if it works well, we will be upgrading.

3. I enjoyed a lovely trip down to Prestonsburg, KY today. We just love driving down into Southern Kentucky. There are so many things of beauty. Even on this cold winter day. Seeing the frozen waterfalls on the side of the road made even the barest landscape shimmer.

4. I received ANOTHER seed catalog today. Yes, I'm addicted. Yes I NOW have FOUR of them. YES I will probably buy something from each of them. LOL. It's the picking and choosing that is the hardest for me. This year I'm still planning on expanding my herbs and flowers...and those can be the hardest to pick out!

5. I am a night owl. I am not a morning person, but once I get up, I AM functional. Even without coffee. But I don't like it. It is easy on the other hand for me to stay up until 1am or 1:30 without even drifting off. Thankfully my whole family is a night owl family. I don't know what I would do if one of the boys had been born an early bird. LOL

Well, even more things lined up to review! We will be starting our reviewing this week on two of the products and we are looking forward to it! NEITHER of them is homeschool related...which is pretty fun too! Okay, well one kinda is. But it's not a curriculum or anything.

I hope you have a lovely week! I hope to check back in tomorrow or mid-week to actually share something of "purpose" instead of just my randoms. It's been a crazy week I tell you. CRAZY!

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January 8, 2015

New Year, New Adventures

Long time no see? It's been what? Since last year? LOL! Seriously though, I hope you ALL are having a good 2015 so far. I just wanted to check in to share a few of what's coming up for the rest of the month. 

First off, I have a couple recipes headed your way. A Soft Gingerbread Cookie that I created by tweaking a Soft Molasses Cookie when I discovered I didn't have all the right ingredients. The result was an absolutely delicious soft cakey cookie that was just addicting! I think I ate 5 as soon as they came out of the oven! Anyways, I have the recipe written up, I just need to write up a post to go with it to share my photos and SUPER easy steps.

The other recipe is for some delicious Oven Fried Potatoes that are perfect for when you are craving french fries. Being oven fried, they are MUCH healthier for you, and frankly a lot tastier. My mom shared the recipe with me and I had forgotten how delicious and easy they were. The first time I made them for my in-laws, my father-in-law devoured them. Took 3 helpings. And then I found out he loved them as a breakfast side as well! They are definitely a big hit here and I hope that you will like them as much as we do. 

I also am getting ready to host a week long Medicine Cabinet Makeover event on Facebook. I am leaving the settings public so you my readers can find it if you are interested...but I will be changing that come Monday January 12th (2015) as soon as the class starts. So if you are interested in finding out how you can revamp your medicine cabinet and swap things out for alternatives options like essential oils, essential oil products and/or homemade versions of your most used products. The event starts on Monday January 12th and will run through Friday January 16th (2015). There will be a LOT of information shared, a few giveaways and samples! I hope that if you will come and join us!

I have already been notified of at least one of my new products for our new year with The Old Schoolhouse Review crew. I've signed up for a couple more that look pretty awesome and have peaked ahead to see the partial list of what is in store for us. Many popular names in the homeschool world are there (Memoria Press, Apologia, Institute of Excellence in Writing (IEW), etc. ) as well as some other companies that are new to me and maybe you as well, but I am so excited to share everything with you! I'm hoping I can find some real treasures like we did last year!

Did you read my year end summary yet? I put together a list of the top posts for each month last year so you can see what kind of things were the most popular among my readers. It's a lovely mix of this and that, and includes many of my favorite posts I've shared this year.

And I've signed on for another year of being a part of the enchanted Poppins Book Nook Book Club--we have had a lovely time this last year, sharing books and activities around a monthly theme and we are gearing up for another year! This month's theme will go LIVE as usual on the last Monday of the month...and this month's theme is "To the Laboratory!". I'm still working out what this is going to translate into for us book and activity wise, but I've got several things..on the back burner. (wink)

Last but none the least, it's starting to be that time...when you start ordering your seeds for the new gardening season! I have four...yes FOUR heirloom, non-GMO seed catalogs that I'm lusting over right now. I am really looking to expand my herbs and flowers this year to help bring in some more pollinators for our garden. I am also looking forward to being adventurous in some of our vegetables this year. I am eager to share how things are going in my planning and what I've got my eyes on--so my Adventures in Gardening series will be kicking off for 2015 again soon.

Lots of goodies in store and it all begins this month! So stay tuned and make sure you join my email newsletter so you don't miss any announcements or new posts! You can also (as usual) find me on my Farm Fresh Adventures Facebook page. I always love seeing new faces there!

Have a simply excellent remainder of your week and lovely weekend! Stay warm!