September 30, 2017

Adventures in Meal Planning...A Reflection on the Experiment

Adventures in Meal Planning ~ A Reflection
So here we are. It's the end of the month and that means and end to my 30 day Adventure in Meal Planning. I have been sharing a week by week evaluation, but what is my final take on the experiment?

September 27, 2017

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls...A New Christian Fiction Series for Kids {Book Review}

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls from WorthyKids/Ideals {Book Review}
I am always on the lookout for quality books that aren't filled with smut. This is especially true when it comes to book selections for my boys. So much of the children's literature available--especially for chapter books--is filled to the brim with smut and political agendas. And that's not coming into our house! Thankfully there ARE other options out there. Over the last few weeks, we have had the pleasure of reviewing the first two books in a new children's chapter book series from WorthyKids/Ideals called The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls. I am happy to say that I have found a series that meets my approval for quality AND entertaining chapter books!

About The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls Book Series

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls book series is published by WorthyKids/Ideals of Worthy Publishing Group. This book series is geared for ages 6-9 and is biblical fiction. The series revolves

September 26, 2017

Go West with Captain Bayley's Heir from Heirloom Audio Productions {Product Review}

There is one review product that we always look forward too--the audiodramas from Heirloom Audio Productions! We already were blessed to be able to review In the Reign of Terror earlier this year, but we've been blessed with yet another story to share--this time it's Captain Bayley's Heir, another in the line of Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty!

About Captain Bayley's Heir

In this story from the grand storyteller G.A. Henty, you will journey from the shores of London to the wild wild west during the time of the California Gold rush. You will get to learn the mystery of Captain Bayley's Heir, as well as follow the story of young Frank who, after falsely being accused of theft at his prep school, escapes to America--sure that everyone he loves has turned their back on him. You will get to follow his

September 23, 2017

Adventures in Meal Planning ~ Week 3

Adventures in Meal Planning~ Week 3
Here we are at the third week in my adventures in meal planning this month. As I mentioned last week, this has actually been a surprisingly easy thing to add to my daily routine!

So let's get into how this week played out! dinner at my inlaws house as usual!

Monday ...I tried a new lemony chicken pasta recipe I had been saving. I absolutely loved how fresh and light it was---but other than the chicken itself, the boys gave it a big fat no. Which left me with a massive pile of noodles to eat....LOL

Tuesday...I took the noodles from the day before and the piece of chicken I had left and we went to my mom's house. We combined my chicken with hers, and then dumped my noodles into a pot of marinara sauce. *poof* upcycled dinner! The boys HAPPILY ate THIS dinner. We served it with green beans and bread.

September 19, 2017

Let's Go Geography: A World Geography Course for Elementary Grades {Curriculum Review}

I have always enjoyed studying geography and it is one of the classes I really enjoy teaching in our homeschool. There are many different programs out there for teaching geography, but most focus on just generic things relating to continents, oceans, rivers, and reading maps without a deeper look into the countries and cultures within the continents. This is especially true for the early elementary grades. We recently had the opportunity to review a world geography course with online and offline components called Let's Go Geography. Would this course teach geography more in the style I desire? Join me today as I share our review of this elementary geography course to find out more of what Let's Go Geography is all about!

About Let's Go Geography

Let's Go Geography is a program designed to teach geography to the younger ages by exploring the world continent by continent, country by country. Using videos and hands on activities to teach a lesson over books as the primary resource makes the program more appealing to the young learners and ideal for the age K-4th grade the program is geared for. There are nearly 30 countries taught withing a 36 week school year in weekly lessons. Each lesson is about an hour per week--perfect for the bite sized learning activities elementary kids enjoy the most.

September 18, 2017

Love Bears All Things by Beth Wiseman {Book Review}

I have been exploring more Amish fiction than I have ever before, thanks to the many books coming into my hands through different review programs like The Fiction Guild. One of the books that I recently read was Love Bears All Things by Beth Wiseman. I started it knowing that it was the 2nd book in a series, and I hoped that not reading book 1 first would mess me up.

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About the Book

Love Bears All Things is the second book in the Amish Secrets Novels by Beth Wiseman. This novel continues the life of Charlotte Dolinsky introduced in book one, My Brother's Keeper. This book takes place several months after the conclusion of book one. There are four primary characters in this book: Charlotte Dolinsky, Jacob King, Daniel Byler, and Annie Byler. Charlotte is a 28 year old English woman who just got dumped by her boyfriend. Still trying to process the rejection and grow in her fledgling faith, she suddenly gets a phone call from her Amish friend Hannah King that Hannah's brother Jacob has run away from home in Lancaster, PA. Charlotte promises to do what she can to help Hannah--but is still shocked when Jacob shows up on her doorstep in Houston. He's decided to explore what it means to be English even though it means living his fiance Annie Byler behind in despair. But he doesn't realize that Charlotte's life has fallen apart and is getting evicted from her home--yet she does her best to encourage him to come home. She finally decides she needs a new start herself, and heads up to Lancaster to try to sell the house her recently departed brother left her. Jacob doesn't come with her though--which puts animosity between Charlotte and Jacob's fiance Annie who is SURE Charlotte was encouraging him to stay. 

The book's plot has a main focus on Charlotte and how she deals with her past and feeling of brokeness--while trying to decide what she's going to do with her life. Ironically, she finds friendship in Daniel Byler, Annie's older brother. But he's Amish and she isn't, so she knows it won't work between them romantically no matter how wonderful it would be. Together she and Daniel work to help Jacob and Annie get back together, all the while she tries to understand the power of redemption and learn what it means to have God as your Father who won't let you down. 

My Thoughts on the Book

I think that certain aspects of Love Bears All Things would have been easier to understand had I read book one in the series. So much was referenced to Charlotte's previous time in Lancaster County, that I had to just piece together the information. Was it 100% necessary to read the first book? No, I don't believe so. I think this book gives the reader enough to understand. 

I think the book does a good job of showing how we are all imperfect in our lives, no matter what we think. The emotional ups and downs of Charlotte are very familiar I'm sure to those in similar situations of abuse, rejection, and trauma. I think the author handled it very well.

The book covers out of wedlock pregnancy, drug addictions, depression, and more--not something you think you would find in any old Amish story. The author keeps her characters real and I appreciate that. There isn't a red ribbon to tie everything up into happily ever after when it is done either. 

Love Bears All Things earns 4★
All in all, I think this book was interesting and it does make me want to go back and read book number one now. I would probably pick up book #3 Home All Along to see what happens next in this story.

by Beth Wiseman

Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich {Book Review}

Imagine...The Great Flood by Matt Koceich {a review}
Because I myself enjoy Christian Fiction, I have been curious to discover if there was anything in Christian Fiction that my boys (Ages 7 and 11) would enjoy. Enter Barbour Publishing and a new book Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich, geared for children ages 8 to 12. I hoped that we would be able to discover an exciting new series as we reviewed this book as a family.

About the Book

Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich is the first release in an all new series from Barbour Publishing. The series will bring to life epic Bible adventures in a way to allow kids to imagine what they would be like.

September 16, 2017

Adventures in Menu Planning ~ Week 2

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Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

Week two of my 30 days of Adventures in Meal Planning and it's time for an update. Okay--so now we are more than half way in and I can confess something...

This experiment is going GREAT!

Seriously. I am just shocked at how low key this is! I thought it was going to be a big hairy ordeal and I would regret embarking on this experiment. But it has been so simple! I think the simplicity comes from the types of recipes I picked, and that I didn't micromanage breakfast and lunch. With keeping my focus on dinner, it has allowed me "freedom". So here is how this week's menu went...

September 13, 2017

Educational and FUN Children's Books by Carole P. Roman {Product Review}

Educational and FUN Children's Books by Carole P. Roman (a review)
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We are a literature loving family--especially when it comes to picture books. I love it when I can use picture books to help expand our homeschool studies. I recently reviewed several books by Carole P. Roman including If You Were Me and Lived in... the Middle AgesIf You Were Me and Lived on... MarsRocket-Bye, and One to Ten: Squirrel's Bad Day. Each of these is not only very colorful and kid friendly, but they are very informative and teach a lesson about something.

About Carole P. Roman books

The If You Were Me and Lived In...Historical and Cultural Series books are designed to take your family on a travel through time to visit the cultures and civilizations around the world and throughout history. The newest books in her series are designed to introduce students to

September 11, 2017

Exploring The Bears On Hemlock Mountain with Progeny Press {Curriculum Review}

The Bears On Hemlock Mountain E-Guide by Progeny Press {a Review}
We incorporate a lot of literature into our schooling, and I love it when I can introduce the boys to classic literature. I also appreciate it when I can find an online resource that helps me take our reading further with a literature guide. One of the best selling publishers for literature curriculum, is Progeny Press. I have already had the blessing to review two of their E-Guides (Miss Rumphius and Mr. Popper's Penguins) with my boys, and was happy to review the The Bears on Hemlock Mountain E-Guide with my youngest son.

About Progeny Press

Progeny Press is known for their high quality literature study guides throughout the homeschool world. Their mission statement makes it clear why--they want to help children think clearly, to understand literature, to turn to the scriptures for truth and values...and to enjoy doing it!

September 9, 2017

Adventures in Meal Planning ~ Week 1

Adventures in Meal Planning
Tada! It is officially the end of my first week of Adventures in Meal Planning as part of my four week trial period. If you have only just found me, you will probably need to go back read my first post (Adventures in...Meal Planning?D) to get an idea for the reason of this new experience. But anyways, here we are three days in. Thus far, things have been going well. But hey. It IS only one week in. (snort)

Here is recap of how the week went...
Monday night as planned, we did have the hamburgers--just that my mother-in-law made them and served them at her house.

Tuesday morning, I had pancakes on the docket for breakfast, and I am happy to say that we did enjoy Back to School Pancakes! I even remembered to set out the chicken for the Italian Chicken and Rice dinner I had on my menu for that night. We ended up serving this dish with sauteed squash and garlic toast. The recipe for the Italian Chicken was pretty good--but needed more seasonings the next time I make it. It was very reminiscent of Parmesan Chicken--but with a bed of rice instead of noodles.

Wednesday night Hamburger Stroganoff was planned, but I was called by my in-laws and asked to come join them for dinner again--they were trying out a new deep fryer. So that meal I had planned is pushed back to enjoy a day next week.

Thursday night was an open meal--and I got in the mood for soup! So I whipped up a batch of our favorite Vegetable Beef Barley soup, which gave us enough for several meals in the future. Yum!

Friday, I had already changed the menu from Chicken and Noodles to a requested Fried Chicken dinner. We were honoring my dad and husband that night--they shared a birthday earlier this week on the 5th. So since they have requested one of my specialties, I just swapped the menu chicken for chicken. I expect to move the Chicken and Noodles night to a night next week.

And tonight, we enjoyed a get together with church brethren for our annual fall spaghetti feed.

So as you can see everything worked out pretty much as I hoped! It wasn't much different from a normal week except I actually knew several days in advance what I was going to eat. I didn't buy anything extra for our meals this week, though I did borrow rice from my mother-in-law.

I do have a lot of leftovers. Which I think I'm going to freeze for future meals! So this may work out fantastic for me in future nights when I don't feel like making even what I have planned.

So that's the report on my first week. We will see how week #2 goes considering we will be 100% back into a full school schedule--which definitely affects what we eat during the week.

September 6, 2017

Exploring Creation With Marine Biology from Apologia {Curriculum Review}

Exploring Creation with Marine Biology from Apologia~ A review
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I love the ocean. It's my favorite place to vacation at. I really enjoy learning all I can about the ocean and the life it holds. Our favorite documentaries include the ones exploring our vast seas. I recently had the chance to review the newly revised Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set from Apologia Educational Ministries--and by I, that's what I mean! Because this a high school course, I chose to review this curriculum myself!

About Marine Biology from Apologia Educational Ministries

Apologia Educational Ministries is a best selling publishing company in the homeschooling world. They are especially well known for their amazing science curriculum which is written from an Intelligent Designer point of view. They offer a full line of elementary science options, as well as full credit lab science courses for the high school level. One of their most popular courses for the high school level--and newly revised!-is the Marine Biology course.