Monday, November 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday–November 28th


What is it with me posting every other week? You’d think I don’t menu plan around here, yeesh! It was a little different with Thanksgiving thrown in there, but I still had a menu, even for the Thanksgiving feasts (helps me grocery plan, ya know?) Anyway, after all that delicious home cookin’, I’m going for some non-“American” dishes this week

Mix-it up Monday (something new) ~ Dinner provided by Grammy and Grampa, thanks! Butternut Squash Enchiladas
Taco Tuesday (Mexican or Oriental) ~ Potluck Tacos for Fellowship Team. I’m just responsible for the meat :) 
Wow Wednesday (Date night or something like restaurant food) ~ Noodles with Gorgonzola Cheese Sauce and Parmesan Ranch Chicken 
Simple Thursday (Crockpot or less than 30 min prep) ~ Hearty Chicken Tortilla Soup
Favorite Friday (A family favorite) ~ Pizza (Bread machine dough and pick your own toppings) 
Lazy Saturday (leftover buffet) ~ Leftovers
Saucy Sunday (Italian) ~ Baked Chicken Penne

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.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Book Review–Attracted to Fire by DiAnn Mills

Speak Up Saturday

Welcome to Speak Up Saturday! I promised my husband I would only post reviews on Saturdays now because having a review-only blog has never been my intention. However, I really enjoy reviewing products and books, so here’s our compromise :)


From the Publisher:

Special Agent Meghan Connors’ dream of one day protecting the president of the United States is about to come true. Only one assignment stands in her way. After the vice president’s rebellious daughter is threatened, Meghan is assigned to her protective detail on a secluded ranch in West Texas. Unfortunately, working with Special Agent in Charge Ash Zinders may be as tough as controlling her charge. Ash has a reputation for being critical and exacting, and he’s also after the same promotion as Meghan. But when the threats escalate and security on the ranch is breached, it becomes clear this isn’t the work of a single suspect—it’s part of a sophisticated plan that reaches deeper and higher than anyone imagined. And only Ash and Meghan can put the pieces together before it’s too late.

“Christian” fiction is so hit-and-miss. Sometimes its indistinguishable from secular fiction, which I’m always disappointed by. This book, however, was very satisfying. It was not heavy reading, but nice and light. The story was solid, and the characters developed at a good pace.

It’s a basic romance/adventure book, with a good balance of both. The characters were well developed and the dialog and interaction between characters fun and believable. Each character shares where they are in their relationship with God at some point, and the main characters were real in their faith and their struggles.

The story moved at a good pace throughout the book, not stalling to develop the characters, but adding plot elements throughout. I thought the ending was good too, not too fast and not too contrived.

Overall, I liked this book and will be looking for more by this author. I’ve heard that Breach of Trust and Sworn to Protect are both at least as good as this one was. Four stars – I would recommend to others, but I may or may not read it again.



I Review For The Tyndale Blog Network

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product free through Tyndale Media Center Blog Network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

TOS Review–The Reading Game

Speak Up Saturday

This starts a new feature/meme on my blog. I don’t want my blog to become all reviews, so I’ve decided to only post reviews on Saturdays (unless I’m really pressed on a deadline). So, here’s my first Speak Up Saturday.

Photobucket From The Publisher:

The Reading Game is a fast-action memory card game.
It includes a series of six beautifully illustrated storybooks.
The Cards & Books work together to make learning to read exciting and enjoyable.
Game sessions are fun-filled with a winner every few seconds.
After completing the first memory card game, the student has thirty words “hardwired” into memory.
The Skunk story, Book One in the series, is told using only those thirty words.
On completing the series, the student has a reading vocabulary of 180 words.
Almost half of them are among the one hundred most commonly used words in the English language.
The Reading Game was created by “Wordly Wise” author, Kenneth Hodkinson.

Since Kahlen is just at this stage of learning to read, I thought this game would be a perfect supplement to First Step Reading, which has become our main reading program. Kahlen has enjoyed it, but she does get a little frustrated with it, mostly because she can’t move through the words as fast as she would like.

The basic way you play the “game” is memory with the first set of five sight words, using 10 cards total. Once the student has mastered those five words you move on to the next five and so on until you have all thirty from the first set. After the student has mastered the first set, there’s an actual book that they can then read using just those thirty words.

The parts that I do like: 

  • working on five words at a time seems very reasonable to me. Kahlen was able to sound them out the first couple times, then she got better the more times we played.
  • the repetitive nature of the game made it easy to memorize the words instead of having her sound them out every single time.
  • it provides a good break from straight phonics. I have wanted to incorporate sight words, but did not have a good program or plan for what I wanted to do. This has provided excellent structure with a fun model for learning.

The parts that I did not like:

  • some of the words seemed contrived to fit into the story, instead of words that made sense to learn first. This was a like and dislike, actually, because I like that she was learning other words so that the story would actually flow, but I don’t know that Skunk would be a word that she really needs to be able to sight read at this point.
  • the numbers on the backs of the cards made it more difficult to review the previous set since it was obvious at a glance which ones went together in a set. I would have liked the numbers to be on the word side with the back just all the same color or with the animal picture only or something more along those lines.

Overall, we have enjoyed this game and will continue to use it as a supplement to our phonics. I think that it can last us all year and maybe even longer than that unless she all of a sudden has a huge jump in her reading ability, which might happen :)


You can purchase the game through their website here for only $24.95. They also have free assessment sheets here for each of the sets of thirty words included as well as the transition sentences that you can use between finishing the card games and having the student read the actual book.


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.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Kindergarten with Kahlen–Thanksgiving and more


Four weeks later…Oh well, I guess I’m not perfect after all ;)

Here’s a little recap of what we’ve been doing. Make sure you check out our fun Thanksgiving activities at the bottom.

Our main curriculum - Tapestry of Grace Year 1:

We’ve been moving forward from Creation through Noah’s Ark. For this activity, I printed two sets of animals. Kahlen cut out one while Nate glued the other one on. Then she had to find the matching one and glue hers near his. Simple for her, but a good way for them to work together.

2011-10-27 Noah's Ark Craft (3)2011-10-27 Noah's Ark Craft (5)

2011-10-27 Noah's Ark Craft (6)

Then we discussed the Tower of Babel and made a Ziggurat with paperboard boxes

2011-11-01 Ziggurat (1)2011-11-02 Ziggurat (3)2011-11-03 Ziggurat Finished (The finished product)

We moved on to the patriarchs after that, but I don’t have very many pictures. We made a travelling table and then had an indoor picnic co-op. We’re also working on an ancient Israelite costume for our end of the unit party in January.

2011-11-09 Traveling Table (1)2011-11-09 Traveling Table (2)

Fun Stuff:

On a whim two weeks ago, we went to the Butterfly Pavilion. I have a membership good through January. It’s about an hour from our house, and we were only there for about 2 hours, but it was still worth it. The kids had fun and so did I. Nate was not happy that he didn’t get to hold the tarantula that they have there, but you have to be three, and he’s definitely not.

2011-11-04 Butterfly Pavilion (1)2011-11-04 Butterfly Pavilion (6)2011-11-04 Butterfly Pavilion (17)


We’ve done a few fun crafts related to Thanksgiving. We’re having a co-op feast on Monday and will have a little lesson about why we celebrate Thanksgiving. To prepare, we made woven placemats (which I don’t have any pictures of, oops) and bonnets/headbands

2011-11-17 Thanksgiving School (3)

One of my friends posted this cute turkey craft, which we did yesterday. Turned out pretty cute, I must say :

2011-11-17 Thanksgiving School (11)

We’re also starting a thankful book. I took a basic composition book and mod podged a piece of fall-ish paper to the front along with their handprints. We’ll write some things we are thankful for inside and then pass it around during our Thanksgiving feast on Thursday and Friday with family. It will be a neat record of what we are thankful for right now. Then we’ll pull it out every year and continue to write things in it. I’ll have to add the baby’s handprint next year, probably on the back cover.

2011-11-17 Thankful Book (2)

We’re still plugging through Math U See Primer, First Step Reading, and Handwriting Without Tears without incident. In math, we’ve started actual addition, which she was very ready for, it’s almost to easy for her :) She’s getting more interested in reading, which I love love love. I’ve gotten her a couple beginning readers from the library which she’s been able to read almost by herself, hooray! We haven’t been stressing the handwriting as much because she gets lots of practice in other places, like her reading book, but that’s going pretty good too. I’m trying to get her to write her name in proper case more often, but she forgets a lot and just writes it in all caps.

I’d love to hear what’s been working and not working for you! Leave me a comment or come link up with me at HomeSchool Creations!

Also, anyone have any great ideas for Christmas Advent? This is what we did last year, and I’m thinking of something similar, but not exactly the same for this year. I got sucked into Pinterest, so you can check out my current ideas there if you feel so inclined. Once I get everything all finalized, I’ll try to blog it in hopes that someone else can use it too :)


Linking up at:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday–November 16th

Kahlen is starting to really get it about reading and spelling and phonics, I love it!

2011-11-15 Kahlen can read!

This says “Kahlen sleeps with a real bug.” “Roar” She did this all by herself with zero help from me. So left-handed to write top to bottom like that :)


Linking up at:

imageBetter in Bulkimage

Home Grown FamiliesTots and Me

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Winner of Prefense Hand Sanitizer

Congratulations to Heather from Marine Corps Nomads

Marine Corps Nomads

She has won the Prefense Hand Sanitizer giveaway!

Go take a peek at her blog if you have a chance, she’s a fellow crewbie from Photobucket


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