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Spelling Time with Lance

Lance made me laugh so hard today (5/27). He made a video all by himself. He propped up the camera on Ethan's desk.
Fun-Schooling Spelling Journal
At the beginning of the video he pushes the spelling journal across the desk and it makes a loud noise so he apologizes but he's so CUTE!

At about two minutes in he accidentally hits himself with the journal, then does a slow motion replay. Hilarious!

And toward the end he tries to show you all more pages by doing a flip through but because the way he held the journal the flipping of the pages didn't flow. Only about three pages "flipped". Made me cry with laughter.

At the very end of him filming I walked in and he didn't know what to do so he froze. 

When we watched the video together we busted up laughing when he tried to flip through the book for the audience to see and only the pages clumped showing only three pages.

My review of the Fun-Schooling Spelling Journal is not nearly as entertaining and Lance's.

Timeline Kit

I'm gearing up for our next homeschooling year and one thing I want to do is make what I call subject baskets or in my case use containers.
Timeline Kit
Sarah's book- Mom's Fun-Schooling Handbook she encourages us mamas to put things in baskets or crates or whatever you have them handy for the kids.

Well we don't have a lot of room so I'm using plastic containers. In this video (under 3 min.) I share what we are putting in our basic timeline kit. Enjoy!

I call this a basic kit because I'm putting only what is really needed. If you have a bigger container or are using cute baskets and crates you can had history & audio books, maps, placemat maps, etc. Get creative.

I plan to grab their kit now and them and work on THEIR timeline. I think it's great when mom gets involved. It really shows the kids that learning is and can be fun! So a challenge to all you mamas, teach by example. Grab your kiddos books, pens, and timeline (or whatever subject) and do some school with them!

Here is a review I wrote about Picturing the Past and Make Your Own Timeline of World History if your interested in reading it =)

Minecraft Mother's Day Special

My 18 year old son Joshua surprised me this Mother's Day (well a few days ago) with a two part episode he made. I thought that it was so sweet!

In part one he had me laughing because he's so funny. He set out to make a garden of flowers with a heart in the middle.

One of the reasons he was a little late with presenting me with the Mother's Day Special is if you play Minecraft (I don't but my kids do) then you know that they have to go out and get stuff. For instance the flowers, well sometimes Josh had to go through swamps and such. It wasn't easy collecting everything. It could take days, so these two episodes were not just made in the 15-20 minutes that he recorded.
In episode two he spends a great deal with putting the heart together. He had me laughing. What I think was suppose to be something smaller ended up being a huge monument. It actually looked nice the first time.

The heart is made of wool so he had to sheer the sheep quiet a few times to collect enough to complete the heart. In episode one, one of the sheep escapes and he had to run "home" to get some wheat and lure it back.

My son kept leaving his doors open too. He would run into the house without closing the door! At one time he went to bed with his front or back door open and his bedroom. A Jelly Bean could have got him (that's what we call the zombies, lol).

My kids are so great, they call the zombies Jelly Beans for their mama. I don't like zombies, we all don't care for them. We are not a zombie kind of family.

I really, really, really, loved this. For Mother's day he gave me a cool non-stick Pioneer Woman pan! He knows his mama! I'm one of those moms that like blenders, pans, and kitchen gadgets. Maybe not a vacuum though ;)

Update (5/27/16): Last night I watched these two videos again with my hubby and we were just cracking up. Josh is so funny. Episode two had me in tears because of the whole monumental heart.

The Thinking Tree Thursday Link-Up

Lance working in his Thinking Tree journal. 
And Lance and Brent completing some Thinking Tree pages.
 Please excuse the blinds. We are slowly making our way around the house fixing the windows that the hail damages. The whole window needs to be replaced. My poor kids are in a darkroom right now.
 Brent completing a page from his journal and Lance working on a Dyslexia Games page.
The Thinking Tree

Fun-Schooling using the Thinking Tree

Fun-Schooling using the Thinking Tree

 Lance being his silly self!
 Here are a few pages from the Asperger's Syndrome journal. They are both working through it but Brent's is the older version. There are no eye therapy pages which is fine because he doesn't need that but it would be fun to see Brent using them, hehe.
Fun-Schooling using the Thinking Tree
 Lance has fun adding body parts to the animals =)
Fun-Schooling using the Thinking Tree
Tomorrow Lance will study the eyes of a human so that'll be interesting.

Here is an object lesson.
Do you use The Thinking Tree journals, if so which one is your child working through?

 If you have a Thinking Tree or Dyslexia Games blog post please link up so others can read all about it. All I ask is you link back, thanks!


Reading Journal by Not Consumed (Review)

Not Consumed has allowed me to review a few of their products! I'm excited to share the Reading Journal. Ethan has been using it a few times a week.
Not Consumed Reading Journal Review
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure.
I received a digital download which is great because I can print as many reading journals as I need. I'm normally not a fan of digital books but this one I like. If you prefer though you can purchase a physical book through Amazon.

This is recommended for grades 2nd-6th. Your child chooses the books making it a perfect on "grade" level reading.

What I LOVE about this Reading Journal is it works with any book which is wonderful because your child can choose what he wants to read.

The Reading Journal has 30 lessons that are repeated six times throughout the year. The lessons include vocabulary, summarizing, comparing text to text, and character traits to name a few!

The lessons are great for reluctant readers and those allergic to pencils because all they have to complete is half a page. I love that the lessons were made half pagers because sometimes looking at a full page can be a bit overwhelming for my kiddo. So I really appreciate that Not Consumed has it this way.
At least once a week your child will evaluate content of their book with the Bible! How great is that?!?!

For example there is a Know the Truth activity. Your child will answer the question: Do the facts in this story line up with God's Word? There is also space for your child to write the fact 1 & 2 as well as biblical support. These pages are my favorite pages for Ethan and soon Lance because it has them really look at the character(s) in their book. Taking a deeper look and comparing it to the Word of God.
Our thoughts: Our school year is winding down (we are actually going to take a summer break!!!) so we haven't used it as much as I'd have liked BUT I'm going to add it to their school in the fall.

Ethan has used it for several weeks though and I like that he HAS to read his book, bwahaha. I'm sad to say he doesn't like to read (sigh) so this makes sure he IS reading and not just sitting there with a book in his hands to LOOK like he's reading or read just enough so he could tell me what "happened" (sad I know).
Reading Journal by #NotConsumed
The questions assures this mama that he truly is reading the book. Yes, it might be on Star Wars and Wookies but he's reading. And actually somedays I choose the book (I know, I know) a fun one though. I have many of the Vertias Press, Sonlight, MFW, HOD, books which are INTERESTING and attention grabbers.
Reading Journal by #NotConsumed
I appreciate that Kim (#NotConsumed) didn't make it super girly -yes, mine is in a pink binder but my boys are okay with that (wink). Not hearts and bows but a cute owl with a stack of books (we like owls).

Bottom line; I don't normally enjoy downloads but there are a few that work, this is one. It's great because I can print as many as I need and use it again for another year.

If you are looking for a fun (well as fun as school can get, hehe) ideas to help your child dig deeper with what he's reading, this just might be it. Again, the questions are thought provoking and I love that it's not overwhelming. Half a page!

Kim did a wonderful job with making a reading program affordable, not overwhelming for reluctant readers, and simple for mom (yes, that's a good thing when you have six to teach and/or guide/help).

Kim also has a passion for Jesus and loves providing material to spark the love of Christ in our little people's hearts (or big as I am graduating one this year, ack!) like:FoundationsA Content Heart and To Every Nation as well has some goodies for mom: Single Mom Homeschooling (right now you can get this one on Amazon for only $8!) and #NotConsumed Devotional.

Please visit Not Consumed on Facebook. Twitter, Pinterest and her blog!

Heroes, Heroines, and Tales of Ancient History (Review)

Lance and I have been working our way through Heroes, Heroines, and Tales of Ancient History by Golden Prairie Press
Golden Prairie Press Ancient History Review
We were blessed to receive:
  • Tales of Ancient History Vol. 1 & 2 -two softbound books for a total of 630 pages
  • Ancient History Skits Volume 2
  • Sing Some Ancient History (CD)
  • Listen to Some Ancient History (CD)
  • Additional History Materials CD -this is in a sleeve at the back of Volume 1
I received the physical books and CDs but if you prefer you can purchase the Digital Edition: downloads and MP3. The physical books are printed in black and white. The downloads are full color (really beautiful) you can see samples at Golden Prairie Press.
The recommended age for this course is grades 1st-6th.

What makes Tales of Ancient History so unique is that it doesn't have the child read the text and answer questions. Nope, not this program. Your child will:
  • Cook Up Some History for example in Week 2 your child will make Date Cakes, yum!
  • Listen to Some History via the CD
  • Crafts like make a sling or bow and arrows
  • Act it Out via skits from Historical Skits Ancient History
Your child will also use maps, memorize Scripture, writing assignments, and questions that can be answered orally or you can print worksheets from the Additional Material CD.

There are 30 weeks worth of lessons. Each week has 5 lessons with the first lesson being Creation of the World and the last being about St. Patrick. 

What makes this program really unique is Amy has set up her history programs where some lessons have a reading section for 1st & 2nd grade and another for 3rd-6th.
What I love is at the end of each lesson all the assignments are listed. There is no separate teacher's manual, yay, I'm always losing those and it makes it hard to flip from teacher manual to student books, so I really, really, like the way Amy set this up. All the answers are in the back of the student text books (again, LOVE that!).

The Sing Some Ancient History includes 9 songs which is about 26 minutes long. I enjoyed the songs but Lance wasn't too wild about them. We listened to them anyway.

I love that Listen to Some Ancient History is included because my kids love anything audio =) some of the readings could have had a bit more excitement but we enjoy listening. I usually have Lance color while listening and we listen together.

Something that I don't find often in an Ancient History programs is the how to pronounce the names of places and people. Many of the names are hard to pronounce and I really appreciate that in the Additional Materials CD there is a pronunciation section. I have listened to it a few times and plan to listen many more times until I know how to pronounce all those ancient names! So I absolutely love that I can hear the names.

And the timeline is awesome. I love timelines and maps included in history programs.
Lance and I are doing this together. Sometimes I use the 1st/2nd grade side for him to practice his reading then I read the 4-6th grade side. For a strong reader I can easily see this as a more independent program with mom close by for help. That's were that pronunciation in audio becomes so helpful because your child can pop the CD in and listen to the names so when they see it in the text they will know how to read it.
I love that Lance is completing geography, creative writing (not all lessons), and having fun while learning history.

Amy has a passion for history and it shows in all her books. We have quite a few of them and own almost all the audio books. Another fun way to learn history is through Amy's Countdown Series. We own a couple of those too.
You can find Golden Prairie Press on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter!

The Thinking Tree Thursday Link-up (Using Ethan's Journal)

This week I grabbed Ethan's journal and completed a few pages. Please excuse my mistakes. I had to get up a few times and wasn't being careful enough to see where I left off, ack, real life mom schooling mistakes!

Sorry for the not-so-good pictures.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.
 I wanted to encourage and be an example to Ethan with completing the History Time and Yesterday's News pages. For the Yesterday's News pages I put news that doesn't really make it on main stream media. I used Voice of the Martyrs magazine for that page.
Our "Movie" Study was on Moby Dick. On a warm and rainy day (wish it was a cold and rainy day :D ) earlier this month we borrowed a movie from my dad.

All these pages are from the Fun-Schooling Journal -Grades 6-8. You can read and see a video comparing the four Fun-Schooling journals HERE.

Do you work in your kiddos journals? If so please write a blog post and share by linking up! Please link up any post that refers to The Thinking Tree and don't forget to link back, thanks!


50 Fun Creative Writing Prompts (Review)

The Thinking Tree has so many wonderful journals, fun supplemental math books, spelling journals, and now writing! No teacher manual or answer key required! Lets your teen be creative and stress-free knowing that her work won't be "judged"!

Tip!  If you see mistakes in her writing, don't point it out!!!! Instead, jot it down in your own mom planner to discuss with your teen daughter later. The whole idea is to create a stress-free environment to keep the joy of writing present.

Too many times we "kill" the joy of writing by correcting and noticing all the mistakes. Instead, notice all the creativity and let your daughter know.

This creative writing journal is just for Teen Girls (but I think if you write the prompt on the whiteboard you teen guys will like them too!).
 I purchased the Black and White one but there is a full color version and the pictures are stunning!
What makes this fun and creative writing journal unique (besides all the wonderful writing prompts), is the author. She's Sarah's 14-year-old daughter (read bio at the end of this post). Talented like her mother =)
This book can be used from 7th grade up as part of your daughter's Language Arts course! Have your daughter use it a few times a week to get her creativity flowing.
When you hand this to your daughter let her know that you will read one story a month of her choosing or if she likes she can share her writing with you but don't make corrections in HER book.

If you see an area for improvement, a missed word, a missing quotation mark etc. Go over it with her IF you know she is not sensitive about her writing, you know it will not cause her to shut down in this area or she's super excited about her story, otherwise, it can wait -save it for later. jot it down in YOUR planner or notebook.
You want her to be excited to pick this creative writing journal up and pour her creativity into it. This is why Sarah encourages us, moms, to not correct every story.
What I love about the black and white version is the space that some pictures have open like the one below. Your daughter can write a verse, quote, or poem to the picture and color parts of it as well. I know my daughter likes to practice her poetry and I'm going to encourage her to write them in this journal.
Another way to use this is right along with our daughters (teach by example). Maybe once a month take your daughter out for a cup of tea or to a coffee bar (my daughter loves going to the little coffee shop down the street), take along her 50 Fun Creating Writing Prompts book, choose a picture, and both of you come up with a creative story. This is something I plan to do with Annette.

I think this is a great way to make The World Your Classroom and what fun (and inexpensive) when using the 50 Fun Creative Writing Prompts. A prompt from the book, "And you thought dragons didn't exist . . ." now your daughter is off to dragon land or maybe a lost island or "A distant relative gives you one million dollars, and a quest to touch the world with kindness . . " what adventure will your daughter go on?!?!
Estera's Bio - Estera is 14, loves to play guitar, enjoys horseback riding, photography, books, journaling, and traveling with her family around Europe.  She is the 3rd of ten children in the Brown family.  She is a missionary in Ukraine and serves with babies and small children as well as evangelistic music and drama.  Estera helps her parents with the Thinking Tree by processing all the orders that come in for Dyslexia Games.  She is devoted to learning the Russian language and loves to organize parties.  With a family of 12, there are many birthday parties.  Estera unschools most of the time, her mom once asked her: "What is your favorite thing?" Estera answered, without missing a beat - "Research!"

See my video review below!

If your child goes to public school this book would be great for summertime. It's smaller than a composition book (and prettier too!) making it seem not so schoolish. Give the gift of writing through the summer in a fun way that doesn't seem like a school assignment.

Homeschooling6 Mom purchased Just for Teen Girls 50 Fun Creative Writing Prompts for her own teen daughter!

All Abut Food - Creative Writing & Research Journal (Review)

All About Food: Creative Writing & Research Journal - A Fun-Schooling Coloring Book is for young and old. It's a great way to get kids learning about the food they eat. We are God's temple and I tell my kiddos we need to be pay attention to what we put in our mouth.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure.
I thought this would be a great addition to my older kids health class. There is an assignment where they are to keep track of the foods they eat and this little journal would be perfect!
This little book is about eight inches in height and can be easily taken along if needed to the library or if running errands. The kiddos can write on the go!

Your kids can get creative with the illustrations and write funny stories; how did the little boy grow apples, where is he taking the box of goodies, why is he bowing (is he bowing for a job well done with keeping his fruit tree alive!)?
Cute illustrations by one of The Thinking Tree's 17 year old artist: Tolik Trishkin, living in the Ukraine.
You are your child can write recipes, research spices, and color the pictures.
I live a low-carb lifestyle and am often telling the kiddos about the nutrients in this food or that (and lack of it in some foods, mainly processed),so this would be great for me to write my findings to share with the kids.

Or even as a food diary to share with one of my boys. Ethan comes to mind. He's always a good sport with trying something new like brownies made with okra! We could do a little study on okra and record our findings.

To see more pages of this fun creative writing and research journal please watch the video below. Lance is giving you a peek inside, enjoy!

Trim Healthy Mama Yummies

I have been enjoying my Trim Healthy Mama foods. This is what I'm having for breakfast today!
Trim Healthy Mama Brownies
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure.
 It's the Cry-no-more Brownies (S) pg. 314 and the Trimmy Light (FP) pg. 430.
Trim Healthy Mama Brownies
 These brownies are so yummy but I will admit my family didn't like them as much as I did. They are good though. If you own the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook try the brownies. Don't let the okra ingredient stop you. I promise you can't taste the okra at all.

The batter does look pretty gross though. I had my concerns but wasn't going to let a little slime stop me from trying this recipe.
Trim Healthy Mama Brownies
The Cry-no-more Brownies want to taste like "real" brownies made from wheat and all the things that are not good for you but it's not there. I think it's more the texture. I will try these again. Maybe I did something wrong.  And my family will like them ;) actually my hubby and Ethan enjoyed them. Again, they didn't have the "real" brownie thing going on but this recipe is super close. I've tried a lots of healthified brownies and these are the best so far. By best I mean taste and texture.

THM Trimtastic Cake
The Trimtastic cake pg. 296, wow! Pearl and Serene nailed it on this one. It looks like cake and taste like cake. It's soooooo good! My whole family loved it. My Sis-in-law even brought her own greased pan over once when she found out I was in the process of making this and doubling the recipe!
THM Trimtastic Cake

THM Trimtastic Cake
This cake is made in the food processor. I have a Ninja one my dad bought me last year for Mother's Day. I haven't used it much until now. In one week I've used it at least a dozen times. I make the Gelatin Whip pg. 375 almost daily.
THM Trimtastic Cake
I've made this cake three times already! I don't even add icing to it because it taste so good naked, haha!
THM Trimtastic Cake
I purchased some of the Trim Healthy Mama baking blend so I can compare my recipes with a homemade baking blend that I found searching the internet. In the picture above one side has the THM official Baking Blend and the other side is my homemade one. I found it here.
I've used both and can't tell the difference.
 I also made the Chocolate Truffle Cake pg. 302. It was good just not as good as the Trimtastic Cake.
Trim Healthy Mama
  I didn't frost it because I wasn't so sure about the mint frosting. What I did was for each slice I cut it and put the mint frosting on that way just in case the frosting wasn't to our liking would still have the cake.
Trim Healthy Mama
Nobody liked the frosting. Not even me. I still have it in my fridge because I don't want to throw it out. I mean I used my expensive gelatin, gentle sweet, and coconut oil to name a few ingredients. But it is yucky and I don't mean to be disrespectful to the THM ladies. I tasted it again just now before writing this and, yeah, I'm going to have to toss it. I might try this again but make the Espresso Chocolate version. Just not the mint.
Trim Healthy Mama
I love the E pancakes made out of oat meal that is ground into flour. These are some of my favorite pancakes. They look enough like "real" pancakes to me and taste yummy. I'm not sure why but this time around (in the new THM cookbook) they are not sticking. When I made them before (when the first THM book came out) I always had trouble flipping them. Not sure why it's much easier now. I don't think the recipe has changed but I'll have to check.
This is a single serve mac and cheese dish using the Konjac noodles or Not Naughty Noodles. It's so yummy. I've made this twice and just love it! I watched a video on this one. There is a family serve one in the cookbook. With this one I cooked in butter, added salt, pepper, onion & garlic pepper, some cream cheese, and a bit of cayenne pepper, oh, and some cheddar cheese. The second time I made it I added a laughing cow wedge (Queso Fresco) to spice it up a bit more. So yummy, try it!
Simple easy snack of Greek Yogurt and berries, sweetened with stevia. This was so good and so easy. I caved and bought 0% Greek yogurt but I love it with full fat Greek yogurt too.
The Collagen Berry Whip is a must try if you own the THM Cookbook. It's so good. I've tried it using blueberries too because blueberries are cheaper than raspberries. Using blueberries help the budget when you are making this for the family. When it's just me I use raspberries :)
After watching the video of Pearl & Serene making the truffles pg. 384 I had to make this recipe. I mean Serene was eating two at one time, taking a bite from one then the other! They are good but not what I expected. I was expecting a super-yummy truffle taste and texture. Like Sees Candy truffles. These are great and I will try them again. Maybe I just need to make them a few times to get that truffle taste and feel.

Or maybe I should have made them round. I was being lazy and just using my candy mold. When they are soft, like fridge soft not frozen (there are two steps- freeze then that in the fridge) you are suppose to make them round.
 I love the Thin Thick because it uses okra too. Serene is on an Okra kick in this book. In the last one it was more of coconut oil/flour kick. My own little observation. Okra is her secret ingredient in some of the recipes. Who would have thought to put it in a shake and/or brownies! Pretty sneaky.
My absolute favorite sipper is the Singing Canary. I make this almost daily for my hubby and me. Even Ethan is now drinking it.
I use a tablespoon of this Ginger Juice in my Good Girl Moonshine (GGMS). I might up it a bit to two tablespoons.
I've also used these in my GGMS. I purchased these almost a month ago and am barely drinking my second one. They are good but between my regular GGMS and the Singing Canary and make stevia sweetened tea I haven't found the need to use these too much. Sort of like when I buy my Zevias, they last me a long time. A 6-pack of Zevia can take over a month for me to finish or not just depending on my mood :)

I don't know what it is but the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook is the one I always reach for. I have many other low-carb and/or Paleo type cookbooks but this one (and even before with the older THM book) I always seem to reach for.

Maybe it's the easy to make recipes. I love that lots of their goodies can be made in the blender and/or in the food processor without having to use three different bowls.

Maybe it's because the ladies have large families and know that we mamas don't have time to do all separate bowl using, haha. I don't know but again, it's my most used cookbook.

And that's it for now. I need to jump in the shower and get my day going. The kids and Lupe are working outside fixing what the hailstorm damaged. I need to get this kitchen cleaned up!