Sunday, October 30, 2011

TOS Review–Lots and Lots of Fire Trucks


From the Publisher:

If you love fire trucks, get ready for the most exciting collection of non-stop fire truck songs, safety tips and fire fighting action you’ll ever see! From giant hook n’ ladders to spectacular super soakers, you’ll see the biggest collection of firefighting and rescue equipment ever recorded on one DVD – all set to the Award-winning music of family musician, James Coffee!

I’m always looking for “boy”-themed things for my son. Having a girl first, I sometimes feel that he doesn’t get enough things that are classically boy…like fire trucks. So, when I saw this “Lots and Lots of Fire Trucks” from Marshall Publishing for review, I was hoping he would love it! Of course, he’s a bit young right now for a lot of it, but that didn’t stop me.

The video is 30 minutes long. Segments include:

  • Lots and Lots of Fire Trucks
  • Call 911
  • Fireman Jim’s Safety Tips
  • Stop, Drop, and Roll
  • Your Home Safety Plan
  • It’s An Emergency
  • Heroes Brave and Tall
  • Great Big Fire Trucks
  • Fire Trucks In Action

The songs are, in my opinion, cheesy. However, my kids, especially my son, did not agree. They really enjoyed it, and I don’t think I’m the only one who had a song or two stuck in my head for a long time (“Call 911” is particularly catchy).

The book that accompanied the DVD has 124 pages of pictures, interesting facts, and even some poems. I think that I could spend an entire month doing a unit study on fire trucks and firefighters and not get through all the information in this book. Any child who has even a remote interest in fire trucks and firefighters will find this book fascinating!

Marshall Publishing is offering a special on this set right now just for you:

Save $30 off the regular price of $49.95 and pay only $19.95 (plus S&H) on the book & DVD combo by entering coupon code TOSF1 at checkout!

To order, call Toll Free 888-300-3455 or online at

I give this product 4 stars. Although I personally did not like the DVD, my kids thoroughly enjoyed it, which is really what counts!


See what other crew members are saying here


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product free through The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

{embrace the camera}–October 26th

Here I am at 23 weeks preggers and before I got a hair cut. Why do I wait until I want to shave it all off before going to get it cut?!?

2011-10-21 23 Weeks (3)After haircut…much better!!2011-10-21 23 Weeks (10)


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday–First Snow–October 26th

2011-10-26 First Snow (1)2011-10-26 First Snow (5)2011-10-26 First Snow (20)2011-10-26 First Snow (21)2011-10-26 First Snow (16)


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Home Grown FamiliesTots and Me

Book Review–The Scroll by Grant R. Jeffrey and Alton L. Gansky


From The Publisher:

One last dig.  One final descent into the twisted tunnels of ancient Jerusalem.  Will the truth be fund among the treasures that lie beneath the holy city?

   Dr. David Chambers, leading archaeologist, has spent his professional career uncovering the facts in the artifacts. His work sets the standard for biblical research in the Holy Land. But surrounded by the evidence, David has sunk into an abyss of doubt. A painful experience with a seemingly unresponsive God has left him without hope.  The Old Testament scriptures that used to fill his mind with wonder now drive him to frustration. His unanswered questions have ripped him from both his academic pursuits and the love of his life, his fiancĂ©e, Amber.
   An old friend and mentor reaches out to David, enticing him with the riches described in the enigmatic Copper Scroll. Losing ground with his peers, his love, and his faith, David Chambers has a choice to make. Will he undertake one final dig to unlock a secret that could alter the course of history? Do the mysteries of the Old Testament hold the key to the political turmoil of the Middle East?
  In a world where faith has been eclipsed by the allure of doubt, The Scroll offers a different journey: a gripping adventure to find truth worth dying for.

I love this type of story, biblical archaeological fiction, so I was very excited to receive this book from Blogging for Books. The book did not let me down. It was an excellent read. I enjoyed the pace, the characters, and the content.

For a book of this genre to be good, it has to be believable. You have to really believe that the scenario could happen. This story was definitely that. I did not see any inconsistencies with it compared to the Bible or the true archaeological record. The story was well thought out from beginning to end.

The characters had depth and developed over the course of the story, which I also appreciated. The only quasi-negative thing about the characters was that it wasn’t very hard to figure out who the “bad guy” was. However, that did not really detract from the story, only the supposed mystery of who was creating the conflict.

The epilogue was also interesting and well-thought out. It was a realistic view of what would happen should the riches described in the fictional scroll ever be found.

I give this book 4 stars. I plan on reading it again sometime, which says something given the sheer volume of books that I have on my “to read” list :)




It would be a great help to me if you would please rate my review. I get the chance to review more books based on my rating, and there are cool contests and such. Thanks!!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tasty Tuesday–Polish Pierogies

Tasty Tuesday

Welcome to another week of Tasty Tuesday here at The Young'ns!
There’s a recipe index under the food tab above if you’re ever looking for a recipe I’ve already blogged.
Every Monday, I plan on trying a new recipe. If it goes well, that’s what I’ll be posting on Tasty Tuesday. If not, I’ll post a tried and true (i.e. something I don’t have to think about too hard) ;)

I got it in my head the other day that I really wanted pierogies. We used to make them when I was a kid and then hubby and I got them occasionally from Schwan’s (but they were waaaaaaay to expensive!). So I had to go find a good recipe that would satisfy what I was looking for and what hubs would be expecting when I said pierogies (and BTW, he says it funny because he grew up eating some polish food due to his heritage). ANYWAY, I searched Food Network first and found these babies, thanks to Emeril Lagasse. I would not rate this recipe as easy, seeing as you have to make the dough, and the filling, and cook them two ways. However, they are tasty, and the recipe made enough to freeze a full second meal for another day plus leftovers for Tim’s lunch today. The filling and dough proportions came out just right too, no leftovers of either!

Polish Pierogies


For the pierogi dough:
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 5 cups flour (will be trying 1/2 white 1/2 wheat next time)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
For the filling:
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound soft farmers cheese (I bet mozzarella would work in a pinch)
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 whole egg
To finish:
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves (Didn’t have)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (Or if you’re my husband, maple syrup)


For the dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, flour, butter, 2 whole eggs, egg yolk, 2 teaspoons salt and olive oil. Knead the mixture into a soft dough. Divide the dough in half and cover for 10 minutes. On a floured surface, roll each half of the dough into a thin circle, 1/4-inch thick. Cut the dough using a 3-inch circle cutter. For the filling: Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a saute pan, render the ground beef for 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper-lined plate. In a mixing bowl, combine the cheese, ground beef, shallots, garlic, green onion and egg. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of each circle of dough and fold over. Press and seal into half-moon shapes. Use a little water to seal the pierogis. In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pierogi for 8 minutes, or until they float. Remove from the water and drain. In a saute pan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Sear the pierogi for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown. Remove from the pan. The pierogi will need to be sauteed in batches. Arrange the pierogis on a platter. Garnish with parsley and serve with sour cream.

To freeze, I cooked through the boiling step, then placed on a baking sheet in the freezer. Once completely frozen, I put them in a gallon ziplock bag for later. Then I’ll just defrost them (probably in the microwave) and pan fry them in butter.

Sorry, got so excited that dinner was ready, I forgot to take a picture. Maybe when I cook up the other batch…


Linking up at:

Beauty and Bedlam

Monday, October 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday–October 24th


I’ve been menu planning, really. Just not blogging it. It’s been a little looser plan, which has mostly worked. Especially since some nights, I just cannot fathom cooking. I’m guessing it will be that way until Roo is much much older.

Mix-it up Monday (something new) ~  Polish Pierogies. I’ll post the recipe if it’s any good :) 
Taco Tuesday (Mexican or Oriental) ~ Spaghetti Potluck with our discipleship team. I’m bringing Light Wheat Bread and cookies 
Wow Wednesday (Date night or something like restaurant food) ~ Southwest Chicken Burritos
Simple Thursday (Crockpot or less than 30 min prep) ~ Out for date night to DP Dough. Got a Living Social voucher, hooray! 
Favorite Friday (A family favorite) ~ Orange Chicken Stir Fry
Lazy Saturday (leftover buffet) ~ Leftovers
Saucy Sunday (Italian) ~ Parmesan Ranch Chicken

So, what are you having for dinner this week?
Link up at Menu Plan Monday over at I'm an Organizing Junkie or leave me a comment!

I have a recipe index, just for recipes that you can find on my blog. You can also get to it by going to the food tab above. 


Sunday, October 23, 2011

TOS Review–Educating the WholeHearted Child

Wow. This book is dynamite. So much so, it’s a bit overwhelming to try and read cover to cover. I tried, I really did, to read the whole 350+ pages, but I just couldn’t quite get it all in before the review was due. I’m glad that I get to keep it so that I can go back and read the rest of it!

Anyway…what is this book about? Why is it so dynamite?

PhotobucketFrom the publisher:

God did not forget to include "school" in his biblical design for raising children: home education is a natural expression of all that God intended for parents and their children. Clay and Sally Clarkson's Educating the WholeHearted Child is about rediscovering God's original design for the family. What you'll find in this book is a homeschooling model that makes sense. It's an approach that is based on sound biblical principles of nurture, discipleship, instruction, and learning. Newly revised and significantly expanded, Educating the WholeHearted Child is about much more than homeschooling; it is about life. Effective Christian homeschooling must begin with the sure foundation of a Christian home, and the Clarksons' uncomplicated, common-sense approach to life and learning will provide you with the tools you need to experience God's abundant blessings for your family.

Educating the WholeHearted Child covers topics such as:

  • Learning to Be at Home with Christ
  • Shaping Your Child’s Heart to Live for God
  • Living and Learning Together at Home
  • Understanding Your Child
  • The Study of the Basics
  • The Study of Living
  • Keeping the Vision Alive
  • Keeping the Home Together
  • A full list of resources ranging from books to forms.
  • and much, much more.

You can see the complete Table of Contents and a Sample Chapter.

The book covers so so much about homeschooling, discipleship, and just being a Christian parent raising children for God. It’s not just about one specific topic, but many. It starts with an excellent and comprehensive set of reasons to homeschool your children and be content in being home with your children. Section 2 is the overview of what home education can look like in your home, which is where I really started getting new-to-me information. Section three covers the practicals of how to implement their education model. The last section covers some more practicals of running your home and keeping your perspective. At the end are some extremely useful forms for keeping track of school, book reports, chores, and more.

It was interesting for me to read the first sections and realize that although I was homeschooled for slightly different reasons (my parents are not believers), a lot of the same principles were implemented and this was back when “home school” meant classroom-type learning at home. My home schooling education was so much different than just classroom learning, and it provided a much better and well rounded education about life and academics than others that I knew. Looking back to that time and looking forward to educating my own children, I am very grateful for my homeschooling experience. That said, the first section of the book was less impacting for me than the practical sections because 1) I have already made a firm, unshakeable commitment to homeschooling my kids and 2) I don’t look at homeschooling as anything remotely comparable to the classroom experience or education, which is a lot of what they were talking about and against in the first section.

The second and third sections had a lot of practical help for homeschooling and also for raising your children to follow God. There is even a part about different personality types and how they relate to learning and teaching.

So, what do I think about this book? I love it! If I were a parent that had not yet decided if I was going to homeschool, I would definitely read the first 100 pages. If, however, I was solid in my decision already, I would start with section two and come back to read section one later, after I had read the rest. clip_image001

Educating the WholeHearted Child ($22.00), by Clay and Sally Clarkson is available from Apologia Education Ministries.

See what other crew members are saying here


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product free through The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Kindergarten with Kahlen–Creation (ToG Week 4a)

Kindergarten with Kahlen

My poor neglected blog…I really want to be posting a recap of our school week every week, but so far it hasn’t happened. I have all the pictures taken and ready, but the blogging just has been a low priority lately.

School has been going really well for the most part. We’ve been able to keep on schedule (a tad modified because of vacation) and have enjoyed the challenges of kindergarten while trying to keep the tot busy. Good thing he’s a sleepy head and I can usually just put him down for a short morning nap while we focus on school. If that doesn’t work, then we do some school while he naps in the afternoon. She doesn’t really need a nap anymore the majority of the days. I can still get away with having her do room time for up to two hours if I need a nap (growing a baby is tiring!), but we can also just do school for that time if we choose. 2011-09-20 School in jammies (1)

As we progress into “real” school instead of the preschool that we’ve been doing, I am more and more pleased with my choice to homeschool and the methods that we’re using. I realize that when I was homeschooled, we did so much that was not “normal” even in homeschooling circles. It never felt like public school recreated at home. It was school, sure, but not some rigid, overly structured thing that took over our lives instead of being part of our lives…okay, more on that in my Educating the WholeHearted Child review.2011-09-14 Denver Zoo (6)Enjoying the zoo on a "school" day.

Anyway, here’s a peek into our schooling so far. Some of this is actually from this week and some is from weeks prior.

Our main curriculum - Tapestry of Grace Year 1:

We are sticking with the plan of using Tapestry of Grace at half speed. So far, we’ve mostly been talking about Ancient Egypt, but we have just moved into Creation and will move through Genesis from here. Year 1 focuses on the books of Moses.

One of the projects we did for our creation week was to make a creation book. I actually don’t have as many pictures as I though for this week. Here’s the first day:

2011-10-12 Creation Book Day 1

For each day, she had to copy my words as well as glue something down like this light/dark or for day 4, we had a bunch of clipart of birds and fish as well as a large blue paper for the water. (I’ll look for my documents and hopefully post them…I think they’re on my old drive that was starting to crash so I replaced it)

It was a big task, but she did great. It did take us all week, though.

We’ve also mummified apples:

2011-09-20 Mummifying Apples (4)

Made a salt dough map illustrating different land forms:

2011-09-02 Kahlen's Continent (1)

Made a salt dough map of Egypt:

2011-09-29 Egypt Map (2)

And excavated a pyramid:

2011-09-29 Pyramid Excavating (3)


We started out using Explode the Code and The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading, and it was working okay, but then I got a product for review from TOS which I like much much better. It’s called First Start Reading, and I’ll be posting my full review soon. In the meantime, know that we have really been enjoying it and will continue to use this as our primary reading/phonics curriculum for this year.2011-09-29 First Start Reading

Math – Math U See:

We whizzed through the first 8 lessons of MUS, but we did every worksheet anyway, just so she would get the practice writing her numbers and doing as the paper asked her to do. We’ve now completed lesson 9, which was about place value of tens and units. This one was challenging for her, and we spent a long time on it, but I feel like she finally got it and it was worth it to spend this time since so much depends on her really understanding this concept.

Handwriting – Handwriting without Tears:

Overall, we’ve been liking this program. This is definitely the part she likes the least, but I feel very strongly about her having good handwriting, so she just has to do it. Because she doesn’t enjoy it, we’re not very far into the book. But I don’t have a schedule or a specific goal in mind, we’re just going to work on it and get where we get. She was going to do it with daddy every evening, but that wasn’t working for a variety of reasons, the biggest one being she wasn’t in school mode by that time of day and it was extremely hard for her to concentrate. 2011-08-29 Handwriting (2)So, we’ve incorporated it back into the main part of the day, and it works great. The other thing that I’ve found that works for her is to give star stickers for the ones on each page that are perfect. Depending on her mood and level of frustration with that letter, I sometimes will give her stickers for ones that she tried hard on but are not very pretty.

Other Stuff:

We still haven’t found a good Spanish program or rhythm for piano lessons, but with the work that we are doing and life circumstances what they are, I’m okay with that. I will be reviewing a Spanish Jr. program soon as well, so if I like that, we’ll go with it.

That’s all I’ve got right now, I’m really going to try and be more faithful about posting a recap of our week going forward. It’s fun to be able to look back and see what we did, so it’s just as much for me as anything!


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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review & Giveaway–Prefense Hand Sanitizer

Generally, I’m not a fan of hand sanitizers. I think they kill off too many of the good germs along with the bad ones. HOWEVER, I have kids and we go places and it’s fall which means there’s lots of sickness going around. And with Nate still in diapers, I’m not always at a place where I can wash my hands right away.
Enter Prefense.
Prefense provides safe, all natural, alcohol free all-day antibacterial protection from germs for 24 hours or up to 10 hand washings.
Prefense is Non-Toxic and Safe For Kids!
Contains soothing botanicals that softens your hands to prevent drying, redness and chapping.
For everyday protection, whether at work or play, Prefense will safeguard you and your family against today’s superbugs.
Because our "one spray lasts all day", our hand sanitizer only costs about $.08 per day, compared to $1.20 per day with traditional hand sanitizers.
I really like this product. The kids like it too. It foams as it sprays out instead of that drippy, slidy goo that is common with “regular” hand sanitizers. The pump dispenses just the right amount. After you get it rubbed in, it isn’t sticky and doesn’t smell. I like the size that I received as well, perfect for my purse or diaper bag. And at only $6.99, it’s very reasonably priced.
You can find Prefense on Facebook and Twitter. You can purchase Prefense Hand Sanitizer and Wipes either at their website or on Amazon (especially if you are part of the Amazon Mom program and get free shipping!)
Prefense gets 5 stars from me, it’s an excellent product!
And now for the giveaway…
Prefense has an 8oz bottle of their hand sanitizer for one of you! That’s 640 applications in one bottle!

Sponsored by
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product through in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Women of Faith Denver. Thanks, BookSneeze!

Wow, has it been two weeks already?!? Where does the time go?

Anyway, two weeks ago, a friend and I had the privilege of going to Women of Faith Over The Top conference at the Pepsi Center in Denver, thanks to BookSneeze and Thomas Nelson Publishing. It was my first time, and I really enjoyed it! 2011-10-01 Women of Faith (6)

We got to hear from so many different people in such a short time! Starting on Friday, we heard from Patsy Clairmont and Andy Andrews, then we snuck in a quick trip to Ikea and had Swedish meatballs for dinner before the evening session and Andy Andrews again, Brenda Warner, and ending with a concert from Mandisa. 2011-10-01 Women of Faith (2)(Patsy Clairmont)

We made it to our hotel at 11, slept quick, and checked out by 7:45 to make it back for the first session on Saturday (after stopping for coffee and yummy breakfast sandwiches from Panera, of course). We heard from Lisa Whelchel, Patsy Clairmont, Karen Kingsbury, Sandi Patty, and Marilyn Meberg. Not to mention a concert from Amy Grant and great worship and drama from the Women of Faith team.

2011-10-01 Women of Faith (3)(Amy Grant)

There was also several presentations from World Vision about sponsoring a child; man, I’m glad we already do, because I would have walked out of there sponsoring one if we didn’t! (And that wouldn’t be a bad thing…)

Overall, I left feeling very encouraged. There were a ton of stories told, each with a different point to apply to my life. I was very glad that Patsy Clairmont did a recap at the very end, because I don’t know that I would have remembered anything.

The only part that I was disappointed with was the talks by Andy Andrews. I’ve reviewed two of his books through BookSneeze, and was not really impressed with either of them. I get a better idea why now; it really seemed like he was preaching prosperity gospel, which I do not agree with. at. all. He left out the most important parts of our story, God, and focused on effort and works and the blessings that God can provide. That said, though, everyone else told great stories of what God had truly done for them during hard times and good ones. I especially enjoyed the stories from Brenda Warner and Lisa Whelchel. Both of them are excellent speakers, and I think I’m going to get my hands on Lisa’s new book, Friendship for Grownups.

Would I go again? Probably. Because my church offers conferences every year, it’s a bit hard for me to justify the cost. I did definitely enjoy it, I just really have to think and pray about it before committing my time and resources, especially since next year at this time, I’ll have a 6 month old baby!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received tickets free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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