World's Greatest Stories - The Prophets!

I can't even begin to tell you how much my boys have enjoyed "The Prophets" in NIV told by George Sarris.  I say my boys, because Mr. Lego nabbed the CD when we got it in the mail and I haven't seen it since then.  I have, however, heard it playing nearly every afternoon during quiet time for the last several weeks.  I have also noticed that the girls have drifted into the boys room to listen as well.  When I asked Mr. Lego what he thought of these stories from the Bible, he answered "Mom, they are great!  You need to buy the whole set!!"  At only $7.95/CD - we will be doing just that.

George Sarris is an accomplished actor, narrator and spokesman.  He also has a way with voices that has kept my boys captivated while hearing God's word.  For some reason, probably because I am *not* a professional narrator or accomplished storyteller, when I read the Bible aloud to the children, they start to drift off.  This hasn't been the case while Mr. Sarris has told the stories of Daniel, Elijah and The Blazing Furnace.  He uses many different voices, some that have my boys in stitches, and background music and sound effects to enhance the recordings.  When I've stopped in the boys room to listen, I have noticed that Mr. Sarris brings out the characters personality with the voices, so you can "hear" what kind of people they are.  I love that these are not paraphrased versions of the best Bible Stories, but read straight from the Bible, word for word.  We chose the NIV version, but the KJV version is also available.  The way Mr. Sarris "reads" these stories is truly amazing though and make you feel as if you are watching the events unfold before you.  The boys favorite story is "The Blazing Furnace", he uses a more distinctive voice for one of the bad guys that the boys find hilarious.  All this means that my children are hearing the Bible, word for word, and they have loved every minute of it.  We also received a sampler CD that contained short selections in both the NIV and KJV, these samples were just as good as "The Prophets" CD, so I feel confident that I will be happy with the rest of the CD's our family purchases!

  These are great for quiet time, car rides and Bible Study.  There are a total of 6 CD's, each running about one hour long.  They contain 23 of the best Bible stories like David & Goliath, Joseph and His Brothers, the Battle of Jericho and stories from the life of Christ.  If you purchase the whole set, then shipping is free.  You can order them online at World's Greatest Stories or by calling 1-888-STORIES.  You can also hear sample tracks on the website so you can see for yourself how wonderful these are!

Don't forget to stop by the TOS Review Crew blog to see what my Crewmates thought of their experience with World's Greatest Stories!

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**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

Vintage Remedies for Kids!


I was so excited to receive "Vintage Remedies for Kids" to review in our home.  Mr. D and I have started to implement many natural health solutions in our home over the past several years - some of them more easily and consistently than others. I am always excited to read and learn more about natural remedies and how I can prevent illness and disease in our family and if we happen to fall prey to something, be able to treat my children in the most natural way possible.  Learning this for myself has been a journey that we've had to learn as we go along, but I want to arm my children with this same knowledge from a young age, so that by the time they are running their own homes it will be second nature to them.  Vintage Remedies has provided and excellent way to teach this important subject of natural health and wellness to our children in an easy to use format.

I always love getting mail and opening new stuff for the kiddo's.  I was completely blown away with how beautifully my books from Vintage Remedies were wrapped!  

I received The Kitchen Herbal as a Thank You for my review of Vintage Remedies for Kids - what a blessing! 

Vintage Remedies for Kids ($25) is a 200+ page spiral book with 3 sections to teach younger children ages 2-6 about health and wellness in a way that is easy and fun for them.  It includes many hands-on projects to hold their interest.  The 3 sections cover: Food & Drink, Health & Wellness and Healthy Lifestyles.  Each chapter (there are a total of 18) has a Parent Section, Read to Me section, Additional Comments, Thinking It Over ( a series of question for the youngsters to think about), Leading by Example and then Featured Projects.  

The Parent Section is background information to teach you, the parent, more about each chapters topic.  For instance, in the chapter "Foods that are not Real Foods" there are about 6 pages about how to determine if food is "real" food or not.  Does the ingredient list have more things that are unpronounceable than recognizable? Does it look like something you would find in nature?  Is it's shelf life sometime in the next few days or the next few years?  These are all ways to determine if what you are eating is real food or a manufactured version of real food.  While this book is called "Vintage Remedies for Kids", this background information in each of the Parent Sections makes it great for parents who are just beginning to learn about natural health and wellness.  In that same chapter, there is a small section to read to your child to help them determine if a food is a real food or a processed food.  There are questions at the end that are useful for helping your child summarize what he has just learned.  These were great discussion starters in our house.  The next section "Leading by Example" is where the parent is given suggestions on how to make sure that what we are teaching becomes what we are *living* - it doesn't do much good to talk about our children making healthy choices and then eat a candy bar and drink a diet soda for breakfast in front of them.  After reading the different sections, talking about what we'd learned with the "Thinking It Over" questions, we had the opportunity to do a hands-on project or two.  Many times there were options for a craft type project and an opportunity to make something yummy in the kitchen.  We made "real food" collages cutting pictures from magazine of "real food" and "fake food".  Then we made a healthy alternative to a processed convenience food - Hot Cocoa Mix.  This used organic powdered milk, powdered sugar and natural cocoa.  The ingredient list on this homemade Hot Cocoa Mix is a *lot* shorter than any other I've seen and doesn't have any preservatives or fillers.  There was also a suggestion for making an easy cheese by draining plain organic overnight in cheesecloth and then adding your favorite flavoring.  We have done this often in the past and it creates a soft, spreadable "cheese" much like cream cheese.  We have always added raw honey and a bit of vanilla to ours for a very yummy treat!  Generally, this is a much less expensive alternative to flavored vanilla yogurts not to mention that honey is a much better sweetener choice than high fructose corn syrup found in many flavored yogurts.  

PhotobucketWhile this is geared to children ages 2-6, I found many of the kitchen project were equally fun for my older children, too.  My older children were able to help the youngsters with the projects without my supervision - so this ended up doing double duty at our house.  Teaching for the youngsters with an opportunity for the older children to be good helpers!
Vintage Remedies has a full line of books and courses for children through adults.  I have been extremely pleased with the information found in Vintage Remedies and am seriously looking at taking some of their courses for adults. There are many health and wellness books on the market, but I love that Vintage Remedies teaches prevention with a healthy lifestyle rather than just taking pills to fix illness.  Everything I read in the Vintage Remedies for Kids fell in line with things I have read or learned elsewhere.

If you have a bit older children, Vintage Remedies has books for that age group as well.  Several of my Crewmates were given the opportunity to review those books, so be sure to stop by the TOS Crew Blog to see what they had to say about those!!  


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**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

Fractazmic - Fraction Learning Game by I See Cards


Our family received Fractazmic - a new card game from I See Cards to help teach fractions.  According to the website, this game is meant for children in 1st - 8th grades, but in our family only the older children and I played it.  Fractazmic is only $6.95, which I found to be a great value for a fun game to teach a not so fun math concept. I distinctly remember when I was in 4th grade that our teacher re-taught the entire fraction unit because there were so many of us that struggled with the concept.  I couldn't help but think as we were playing this game how helpful it would have been to us way back when!!  


The game is simple enough to begin playing, however adding up the fractions to equal "1" quickly, took a lot longer! The deck is split into three "suits" the Sixteenth suit in red, the Twelfth suit in blue and the Tenth suit in green.  After shuffling the cards and dealing them out, there is a "stack" in the middle and the beginnings of a discard line.  Each player sorts the cards in their hands into suits.  The object of the game is to be the person who completes the most "hands" equaling one within a suit.  The directions were clear and easy to figure out and the game plays quickly.  I don't have the opportunity in my every day life to add up a lot of fractions and this game tested my knowledge.  It was great for teaching the kiddo's and after a bit, they got the hang of it.  This game is a great way to teach adding fractions and recognizing how they work together.  I See Cards also has a free booklet "How to Succeed in Math with Games" that is available on their website


We really enjoyed our experience with Fractazmic.  They also have the games available online and several other great math teaching games, too.  The Crew reviewed their game Pyramath last year and it won "Best Math Game" last year - I think I need to add it to my arsenal of math games, too.

Be sure to stop by the TOS Review Crew Blog to see what my Crewmates had to say about their experience with Fractazmic!

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**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

Schoolroom Pics!!

I've been doing a bit of sorting and organizing in an attempt to avoid studying for finals, so I thought I would post some pics before it gets all messy again! We are going to paint the basement and the trim during Winter Break, so I'll post another set of pics in January!  I am so blessed to have a walkout basement and dedicated area for our school supplies and books.  Our main area downstairs is a long narrow room that we have divided into two areas - the school area and the family room.  I'll take you on a tour going clockwise around the room!  You can check out my post from August for some before pictures!

First stop - the computer desk!  We had a family heirloom roll-top desk, but it was not very conducive to working, so Mr. D found this perfect solid oak/wrought iron desk at a thrift store for me.  I love it!!  I actually don't use it nearly as much as the kiddo's these days, but it is perfect for them to be able do their math and other computer work and have an area to write!  The door to the right is our craft/baby/stash everything that doesn't have a home room.  The thread (that is broken) is for artwork.  I'm going to replace it with picture hanging wire over winter break.

Next up are the toy bins, morning board and timeline!  I bought the 10-pocket chart at Mardel during their back to school sales for our timeline pieces.  It works great and takes up much less room.  The morning board is for Mr. Fix-It and Miss Paya.  I'll post more detail about it later this month.  The bookshelves hold all of the easy readers so they are easy to find and the toy bins are for Little Bit to stay occupied while we are working on school!  

Next up is the school table, the All About Reading posters and the *ah-mazing* bookshelves Mr. D built for me!  Our school table is our old dining room table and is plenty big enough for everyone.  The shelves (which need re-organized again) - well, I can't even begin to tell you how incredibly thankful I am to be married to a man who not only was able to build the shelves, but willing to do so - as they were *not* as easy as I had thought they would be.  Bless his heart - he is such a trooper and does just about anything to make this mama happy!!  I am going to re-sort them (again) over Winter Break.  They are starting to get a bit unruly and unorganized!  I need to do a major de-clutter, too, and get rid of more things that we just aren't using.  There really isn't a reason to keep holding onto things I know I won't use (unless maybe I *will* use it, ya know, someday with someone...right?!)

Now, for my favorite part of the room - the window that lets in tons of natural light.  There are two more windows on the other side of those bookshelves on the family room side.  I did the chalkboard a few years ago - I painted on at least 4 layers of magnetic paint and then another 3 or so of the chalkboard paint.  It is 5ft. wide and 3ft. tall!  Except the chalk dust, I love having the chalkboard and the kids love it (especially the chalk dust!) Mr. D is going to trim it out when we paint over break.  (Is is just me or is our to-do list over break getting kind of long?!)  The timeline is from Classical Academic Press (it's a neat reference piece with cool pictures) and the maps are also from them - they are from their bible study program and are perfect for the ancients that we are studying!  Then, you can see the dollhouse and barn (from when I was a girl), the play kitchen (thank you, Guidecraft!) and the steel storm door with AAS tiles! And then another 8ft. of bookshelves.  These provide the dividing piece between the family room and the school area.  They are also in desperate need of some culling and organizing.

So, that is our school room!  After living in a tiny home shared with my Mother-In-Law (love her!!) and having a rolling cart and a few feet of bookshelves, this room is a dream come true for our schooling area!

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Pitsco Education - Medieval Machines Pack


If you have a houseful of boys like I do, then you can imagine the excitement level that was reached when we opened the box from Pitsco Education!!  Our family received the Medieval Machines Pack ($21.95) to review.  The Medieval Machines Pack consists of a model catapult, a trebuchet and the Siege Machines book.  


I can't think of anything much cooler than building model catapults or trebuchet's, unless of course you are attending the Punkin' Chunkin' and can build the real deal!  My kiddo's had a great time building the machines!  Miss J, Mr. Fix-it and Mr. Lego helped Mr. D put them together.  They did a great job getting it figured out, but the adult supervision was necessary to make sure they were getting the pieces put together properly.  Since you need to use a strong glue, putting it together correctly is really important. The directions to put together the catapult and trebuchet were easy enough to follow, although following the pictures was easier than reading the directions!  ;-)  The models are made from a lightweight Basswood, which at first didn't seem like it would be strong enough to create a model that would work, but we were pleasantly surprised by how well they work and how well they've held up!  My kids have put these models through their paces and they are still going strong!  Little Bit even got in on the fun!


All of this would be cool enough, just for the fun factor, but the included Siege Machines book kicks this activity up a notch!  The book starts out with a brief introduction of the Siege Machines and an extensive description of their use in history.  It talks about how the Greeks were the first to combine science and engineering needed to create new weapons of war and then how they were used in later years around the world.  It was fascinating to learn about.  We are studying Medieval history next year and these will be great to get back out again for our studies!  The rest of the Siege Machines book discusses the science and math that is needed to use the catapult and trebuchet and gives many different experiments!  One experiment that was given (and easy to do) is to take different weights of clay balls and then measure the distance that they flew!  It was neat to see that the balls all flew different distances and then we discussed why this happens.  There is also another experiment where you use different size rubberbands to give the catapult more or less throwing power.

We have loved the opportunity to build the catapult and trebuchet models.  The materials are all good quality and the models are made in the USA in Pittsburg, KS.  That isn't too far from my neck of the woods so I am happy to be able to support a more local business.  I've been spending some time on the PITSCO Education website and have a pretty long list of things I want to get for the kiddo's in our homeschool! 

Be sure to stop by the TOS Review Crew Blog to see what my Crewmates thought of their experience with PITSCO Education!!

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**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

Amazing totally mindless crockpot meal....

I was recently reading blogs and came across a great sounding mexican chicken crockpot dish and immediately had to try it out! And, of course, tweak it just a bit....

Salsa Verde Chicken and 2nd Day Chicken Tortilla Soup

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 jar salsa verde
2 cans corn - drained
2 cans black beans - drained and rinsed
a couple of tsp. fajita seasoning or cumin, oregano, salt & pepper to taste.
1 8 oz. package cream cheese - wait to add until about an hour before serving
1 32. oz. can chicken broth - hold back for next day
2 small cans diced green chilies - hold back for next day
monterey jack cheese - hold back for next day
extra can of corn and/or beans (drained and rinsed) - hold back for next day

Put the chicken, salsa verde, corn, beans and seasoning in the crockpot and cook on low all day.  About an hour before serving, add the cream cheese to give it a creamy sauce and break the chicken into bite size pieces.  I served it poured over rice and it was a huge  hit.

This made a *lot* of food, so we had quite a few leftovers - maybe 4 cups or so.  I decided to up-cycle them into soup today.

In a stockpot - pour in leftovers, extra corn or beans if you want it, green chilies, and the chicken broth. I threw in some more seasonings, too.  Stir over medium heat until heated through - serve with a dollop of sour cream and crushed tortilla chips and shredded monterey jack cheese.  This was soooo good - the chilies gave it a bit of a kick, so I think I'll add those to the first dish next time.  The creaminess of the broth was reminiscent of a corn chowder, but not as heavy. All in all - this one is going in the permanent "what's for dinner?" file!  I love cooking once and getting two totally different meals.  I'm going to try to freeze the leftovers next time so I can bring them out at a later date as soup.

Let me know what you think of it!

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I love productive kitchen days!

We have been crazy busy lately, hence the reason why my blog looks like a Homeschool Convention Vendor Hall with reviews instead of anything about what else we do in our daily lives.  Finals are next week, so I am hopeful to have a chance to get a *lot* of blogging done and scheduled over winter break.

Some things that I have been taking pictures of, but haven't yet posted :

Breakfast Yummies like Fraffles, Golden Delight Pancakes and Pumpkin Muffins.
Cuneiform Sugar Cookies
Pyramid Building
All About Reading pre-Level 1 fun with Miss Paya
Field Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
Feasts of Tabernacle (how is it possible that we have been home from that for nearly 2 mos. already?!)

Today, however, I went to the grocery store and picked up over 20lbs. of ground beef on sale with extra $2 off coupons.  I had to come home and do something with it, so I have spend the last 4.5 hours making:

12 lbs. of browned ground beef with garlic and onions.  This will be great for spaghetti sauce and tacos!
4 Baked BowTie Lasagnas with a cream cheese filling instead of ricotta - Yummo!
48 BBQ Meatloaves baked in muffin tins.

This little project has been a most excellent diversion from my previously scheduled activity of the day: studying for my algebra exam!  Now, girls are working on a homemade mint project, boys have been playing outside because it is gorgeous here today, Little Bit is napping and now I must make a cup of coffee and get back to Algebra!

I will be back soon with recipes and pictures!

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