Thursday, August 30, 2012

Speak Up Saturday–TOS Review–Uncover Exciting History

Speak Up Saturday


From The Publisher:

History Is Not Boring!
What is history anyway? It is the story of real people who did real things. For history to be fun for everyone (even those who think they hate history), it must go beyond hard facts and meaningless dates to the real people who made the significant events happen. People like George Washington, who bravely crossed the partly frozen Delaware River to attack the British at Trenton. Stories like that of the bold Americans who bravely fought against the Barbary pirates during the little-known Barbary War show how interesting history is.
True History Is Exciting!
Here are some of the stories in this book:

  •     Discover how the U.S. created the Constitution
  •     Experience the miraculous victory at the Battle of New Orleans
  •     Explore America's expansion west
  •     Uncover one of America's best weapons used during World War II

This book is great for:

  •     History Buffs
  •     Those who want the story behind the event
  •     Adults who want a snapshot view of American history
  •     Homeschool families, either as a read aloud or for students 12 and up

In this 184 page book you will meet some of America's most famous people like George Washington and some of her not so famous people like Daniel Webster. Click here to see the table of contents. There are also four bonus chapters! The first bonus chapter is about famous mothers and the next three are about famous explorers.

This little e-book is packed full of information! Each chapter is short enough to keep a student’s interest, but long enough to provide a brief overview of each topic.

The book does not provide any deep historical study, but I think it is a great overview of the subject it’s trying to cover; American’s Christian heritage. It is 186 pages full of good stories about the history of our nation.

I have a better-than-average background in the basic facts of history as it interested me when I was growing up, and all the parts of this book that I read were accurate.

I think this book would be useful for anyone who is wanting the overview that this book provides. It is written at a middle school level, so it was a bit challenging for me to read as I obviously read at a higher level. That said, I think it fits it’s stated purpose very nicely!


The book retails for $14.95 usually, but is currently 20% off so you can get it for just $11.96! You can go here to order it or go here to see her other books.



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

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Baby Shower…Thank You, Pinterest!

Almost three months ago (already?!?), I co-hosted a baby shower for a dear friend and her new baby son, Oliver. 479450_10150153777449943_1060929277_oThis is her fourth, so we wanted to keep it simple, but I still wanted it to be special. So, of course, I waited until that week to start planning anything ;) Pinterest saved me! I found all the ideas a gal could want or ever dream up, and then had to pick the ones I actually had time to do before the party :) Being the hostess, I didn’t get as many pictures as I wanted, but I did get a few.

Here are a few ideas I used. Some I got from other showers I’ve been to recently, including the one thrown for Shane and I (by Oliver’s mommy).

2012-06-08 Oliver's Sprinkle (1)Name banner (using my cricut and paper I already had). The wolf painting was just on the wall of the venue.


2012-06-08 Oliver's Sprinkle (4)Babies in a blanket (I just used lil’ smokies, crescent rolls, and cheddar cheese)

2012-06-08 Oliver's Sprinkle (5)2012-06-08 Oliver's Sprinkle (6)  Blue Butter Rich Spritz Cookies (L) and Chocolate Crèmes (R) (Scroll down on her post for recipes)

I didn’t get any pictures, but I also made delicious Iced Almond Joy Lattes ahead of time. Iced lattes are so much easier to make than hot ones!! They hold their flavor much better, especially when I used frozen latte cubes to ice it.

Here’s my original recipe for Iced Almond Joy Lattes with Latte Ice Cubes. This recipe makes a 1/2 gallon, so scale accordingly.


For the ice cubes

  • 3/4 cup espresso or very strong coffee
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup coffee syrup in any flavor, I used caramel

For the lattes:

  • 2 cups espresso or very strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate coffee syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond coffee syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut coffee syrup
  • 4 cups milk


  1. Make the ice cubes ahead of time (obviously) by combining all ingredients and pouring into ice cube tray.
  2. Mix all latte ingredients in 1/2 gallon pitcher and store in refrigerator.
  3. Just before serving, put ice cubes into pitcher. When they melt, they do not dilute the drink any and they keep it nice and cold.

Another idea that I used and loved, but didn’t get any pictures of, was a blessings board. Since Oliver was already here, this worked out to put his name on the cards., but you can really do it anyway you like. There are no directions about how to make one on the site I found it on, so I improvised. Remember, this was the week of, and I still have three kids. And no pictures of the finished product :( Imagine with me…


  • Fabric. Any size will do, but about 14” x 14” would probably be ideal.
  • Cardboard. Just a little smaller than your fabric, so about 12” x 12” would be great. I used a smaller piece because all I could find that day was a small diaper box. Use what you have!
  • Coordinating ribbon. About 2 feet.
  • Glue gun
  • Scrapbook paper. 1 or 2 12” x 12” sheets should be plenty. You could use plain paper too.
  • Push pins


  1. Hot glue the fabric onto the cardboard, wrapping around to the back.
  2. Hot glue the ribbon to make a hangar.                                2012-06-08 Blessings Board (2)2012-06-08 Blessings Board (1)

  3. Print scrapbook paper so that it says “Blessings for ____” either putting in baby’s name or just “baby”. I used Publisher to make this Blessings for Baby pdf. I cut the paper in half, so it was 6” x 12”. The tags were each 6” by 3” so that I could fit 4 on a half page. I’ll post the one I used, but it’s a “legal size”. This works for my laser printer, which prints from the middle of the page, but not my ink jet which prints from one side. I just want to give you a visual on what the cards look like, since I don’t have any pictures :(
  4. Cut the paper and fold in half.
  5. Use push pins to attach to blessings board.
  6. Hang somewhere so that guests can write a wish or verse or whatever they desire for the baby and mommy.

Well, this post is getting long, and that’s all I can remember three months later! Hooray for baby Oliver! Thanks, Melissa, for letting me throw you a sprinkle :-)


Monday, August 27, 2012

Menu Plan Monday–August 27


As I stated two weeks ago, no menu plan last week because we were on vacation. It was a good week eating out, but we were all glad to be back home and have some non-restaurant food. We did get one home cooked meal while we were on vacay. A friend from back in the day invited us to dinner, and she made a taco bar similar to Chipotle. It was delish! Anyway, this is the last of my August menu plan, and I’m hoping to make a full month’s plan again. However, we might have to wing it for next week as this week is crazy busy!

Here’s what I’m making this week:

Monday ~ Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Lemon Sauce
Tuesday ~ Pappardelle with Snap Peas 
Wednesday ~ BBQ Chicken Sandwiches. As in, dump a bunch of bbq sauce over some chicken in the crockpot and cook all day. Eat on fresh Light Wheat Bread 
Thursday ~ Red Beans and Sausage :) 
Friday ~ Dinner at HuHot, yum!
Saturday ~ YOYO (You’re On Your Own).
Sunday ~ Guiltless Chicken Alfredo

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.


First Day of School

No, I didn’t fall off the planet again. Really. We just went on vacation for a week, and it was lovely. But more on that later…

Today is the first day of school for us! I was going to do “staggered entry” and have Nate start today and Kahlen start in a few weeks, but she was so excited for the first day of school that we’re all starting today :)

2012-08-26 First Day of School (8) edit2012-08-26 First Day of School (11) edit

Hopefully, I’ll soon post about my curriculum choices for Kahlen and my crazy ideas for tot school for Nate. In the meantime, pray for me to keep my sanity as this begins a insanely busy week for me/us!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Speak Up Saturday–TOS Review–I Don’t Have Enough Faith…

Speak Up Saturday

For this review, I received two products: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist and the accompanying workbook both from Apologia Press.

Sample Chapter
Table of Contents

To some, the concept of having faith in a higher power or a set of religious beliefs is nonsensical. Indeed, many view religion in general, and Christianity in particular, as unfounded and unreasonable. Norman Geisler and Frank Turek argue, however, that Christianity is not only more reasonable than all other belief systems, but is indeed more rational than unbelief itself. With conviction and clear thinking, Geisler and Turek guide readers through some of the traditional, tested arguments for the existence of a creator God. They move into an examination of the source of morality and the reliability of the New Testament accounts concerning Jesus. The final section of the book deals with a detailed investigation of the claims of Christ. This volume will be an interesting read for those skeptical about Christianity, as well as a helpful resource for Christians seeking to articulate a more sophisticated defense of their faith.

Sample Chapter
Table of Contents
Introducing Apologia’s first apologetics curriculum for high school students! Based on Norman Geisler and Frank Turek’s best-selling book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, this study will prepare teens and young adults to defend their Christian faith with boldness and effectiveness. During this course, your student will tackle the question of absolute truth, demolish the follies of postmodernism, debunk moral relativism, and march logically and surely toward the inescapable truths of the Christian faith.

I have not yet read the entire book, but I’m looking forward to doing so. Already, within the introduction and first few chapters, I’m intrigued and interested to see the authors flesh out their points. It reminds me a lot of other apologetics books that I have read in it’s logical progression, but is different enough that it is still interesting. The introduction lays out clearly where the book is going, which I really appreciate. I feel like this book would be good for anyone who is willing and able to read it.

The authors make an excellent point in the introduction:

There’s a difference between proving a proposition and accepting a proposition. We might be able to prove Christianity is true beyond reasonable doubt, but only you can choose to accept it. Please consider this question to see if you are open to acceptance: If someone could provide reasonable answers to the most significant questions and objections you have about Christianity – reasonable to the point that Christianity seems true beyond a reasonable doubt – would you then become a Christian? Think about that for a moment. If your honest answer is no, then your resistance to Christianity is emotional or volitional, not merely intellectual. no amount of evidence will convince you because evidence is not what’s in your way – you are. In the end, only you know if you are truly open to the evidence for Christianity.

So, whether you are already a believer looking to deepen your understanding of the truth, or a seeker thinking about the truth claims of Christianity and the Bible, this is a good place to find answers.

The workbook is written for high school students and you can tell, it doesn’t really provide any thought provoking questions, more just provides reading comprehension questions. If you have a hard time remembering and processing what you’ve read this would be a good resource. However, for me, it would just be time consuming busy work. Again, though, I think it has a place.

This set is 4 star material. The book is well thought out, yet easy enough to read. The workbook would be great for the correct audience.


The book retails for $16 and the workbook is $33 from Apologia Press.



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

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

{Share The Love} Adoption Fundraiser


A friend of mine is having some raffles this week to help raise money for their adoption! There are some awesome packages and entries are only $5!

You can read more about their story here! There’s also a very moving post by my other friend Robin about the Messers story here.

{Share the Love} Adoption Fundraiser

5 Packages and 3 Individual Items:

Adoption Fundraiser Giveaway: Boy Package.

Adoption Fundraiser Giveaway: Girl Package.

Adoption Fundraiser Giveaway: Home Package. (including a Picture This! Calendar Kit from yours truly)

Adoption Fundraiser Giveaway: Fashion ONE Package.

Adoption Fundraiser Giveaway: Fashion TWO Package.

Adoption Fundraiser Giveaway: Bubble Quilt.

Adoption Fundraiser Giveaway:  Primary Colored Quilt Package.

Adoption Fundraiser Giveaway: Jenn Eileen Photography Package.

Go check it out! And after wiping up the drool (heehee), email Liz with your donation/raffle entries!


Monday, August 13, 2012

Menu Plan Monday–August 13


I actually have not dropped off the planet, at least not permanently. I had a yard sale at my house last weekend, so last week was taken up by the prep of that. It didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped, but the stuff is no longer in my house, so that part is great. Anyway, I did manage to plan out the meals for all of August, and I’ve been mostly sticking to it, hooray! We will be on vacation next week, so if I posted the “menu plan”, it would be pretty boring (Monday – eat out at …, Tuesday – eat out at …), so I won’t be posting one ;)

Here’s what I’m making this week:

Monday ~ Sweet and Sour Meatballs from Our Best Bites Cookbook with Brown Rice and Steamed Broccoli. It was delicious and pretty easy too, swell. 
Tuesday ~ Lentil Stew and Chicken 
Wednesday ~ Homemade Pizza 
Thursday ~ Asian Turkey Burgers I keep planning to make these, but not quite getting there. Maybe this week… 
Friday ~ Chicken Cordon Blue, also from Our Best Bites Cookbook
Saturday ~ YOYO (You’re On Your Own). We might be in the mountains already, but it hasn’t quite been decided yet. If we’re not, it will be a good time to clean out the fridge of any leftovers or other random food from the fridge.
Sunday ~ Our first official day of vacation! In the morning, I’ll be running the Warrior Dash at Copper Mountain, then we’re headed to Colorado Springs to play all week, hooray!

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, August 12, 2012

TOS Review–Math Made Easy ~ Addition

Speak Up Saturday

We were sent a copy of Addition Teaching and Learning Made Easy from Math Made Easy from The Old Schoolhouse Crew.

Here’s the basics from the publisher:

  • Children learn the addition and multiplication facts without counting on their fingers
  • Mastery of facts in 6 weeks
  • Only 36 facts to memorize

The addition package is primarily for children in the 1st-2nd grade range, but has been used with successfully with some kindergartners and special needs kids of various ages.

Kahlen is not quite ready for this book, she’s still grasping the concepts of addition and not really ready to start memorizing addition facts (we fell a bit behind in math because of the birth of Shane, oops). So I have to base this review on my perusing the book and how I think it would work for us.

Honestly, this book doesn’t really do it for me. It seems very forced, too much like class busy work. It just doesn’t match my homeschooling style, I guess, which leans much more toward unschooling with a bit of classical education thrown in for good measure. While I agree with the premise of the book, that it is extremely important for children to memorize the basic addition and multiplication facts, I think there must be a better way than one worksheet after another with a bit of flash cards added in.

If you feel like you or your child works well with worksheets and flashcards, however, I would think this book would work great for you. I don’t feel like there’s anything inherently wrong with this system, I just don’t feel like it’s a good fit for us.


Each set, either addition or multiplication, sells for $24.95 and includes the following:

  • Lesson Plan overview
  • PreTest
  • Six Weeks of Daily Activity Sheets
  • Post Test
  • Games
  • Flash Cards



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

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday–Olympics

Watching the opening ceremonies2012-07-29 Watching Olympics (4)

Kahlen and I are a bit obsessed. I’ve been going to bed well past midnight all week because the prime time show is until 11, and then I have to finish my nightly chores (you know, like sweeping up the gallon of food from under the table…). I’ve been letting Kahlen stay up way too late too, but she loves to watch them! She keeps asking me which one she should compete in ;)

Here’s links to some great printables and activities for young kids about the Olympics:

More pictures to come of our completed activities :)


Linking up at:

imageBetter in Bulkimage

Tots and Me

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