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Small House Talk ~ Kitchen

Hi, Friends, last week I did a post about some of the things I'd love, love, to have done to the small house we are currently renting.

This week I thought I'd talk about our move (which happened in 11/18 abouts) and the kitchen.

I probably should just write a separate post about our move but the short of it is went from a 2600sft house to 800sft house. I must say that I'd been interested in downsizing but also enjoyed having a bigger house. 

I would have loved to downsize in our own timing so we could make our little home ours. But life happened and we downsized into a rental that is not ours so we can't do anything to make it ours if you know what I mean. Because we were forced to downsize. We had a financial turn of events where we could no longer afford our house.

In this post, I wanted to share just a little bit of our kitchen. I want to do a full kitchen post soon and eventually do a video but for today I just wanted to share a few things.

I am humbly showing you what our kitchen looks like most days 🙈 lived in with six kiddos (ages 15-21).

We don't have enough room for a proper dinner table so we all eat where-ever which is not what I want so I'm still on the hunt for something that will work for us. But with that said, up until a few months ago, we had an old card table. It was unstable so I'm thankful for the vintage table I found.

I do want to get a nicer tablecloth but that's one that I had. We have one countertop which I call the kitchen wedge (more about that space in another post).

My kitchen is a total work in progress so I'll be sharing updates as we go.

Yesterday I added a few things to the kitchen to help save on space. We have only two drawers. Yup two and they are the original homemade ones from 1959 I believe (again, more on that later. Wait till you see the original sink, would have loved if it was a farmhouse one 🤣).

#smallhouse #smallhousetalk

I bought these little organizer hangy things on Amazon. It's a set of two. I hung one in my bedroom and another in the kitchen. I love the bright yellow. It puts a little sunshine in my kitchen.

Right now I have my salad chopper, collapsable food storage containers, and coffee filters in the pockets but it may change. The collapsible colander I may move that but it works for now.

On the opposite of where I hung the hangy bright yellow things is the fridge. I'm using as much of it as I can. I bought a mesh pencil caddy for our forks, spoons, and small items, I had a pencil holder that I now use for the measuring spoons, and I bought a magazine holder to put magazines in but it was so cheap and smaller than I thought ~ so I am using it for my larger spoons, spatulas, and so forth.

I thought it was pretty cheap but at the same time, it has a big magnet on the back which is great for holding the items I needed it to hold. 

The pencil cady has some good magnets but because I'm using it to hold utensils (only spoons and forks), I put a few magnets under it so it doesn't slide down.

I want to eventually get a magnet strip to hold knives, the scissors, and tongs but for now, those round magnets are working.

I found a post that I wrote back in March. You can see the card table and we use to have the dog kennel thing in the kitchen. I'm so glad we moved it to the living room.

Do you live in a small house?

City Creek Press Inc ~ Review

My 15-year-old son knows most of his multiplication but there are a few of the bigger ones that he just can't seem to get memorized. When City Creek Press Inc. offered the Homeschool Review Crew to review the Online Times Alive and the Times Alive App I jumped at the chance to try it out with my son!

#timesalive #citycreekpress #timestable

We received a six-month subscription of the Online Times Alive. When you sign up you are billed monthly and can cancel at any time.

Here are a few screenshots from the Times Alive App!

#timesaliveapp #timesalive


Times Alive Online uses animation and stories to help your child learn their multiplications from O's to 9's through stories, songs, test, and fun activities all in a fun way.

Your child will first take a pre-test (at the end of the program there will be a post-test). After the pre-test, you will know which facts your child is having trouble with.

Learning through story and song. Your child will listen (and read along if he/she likes) with the story. After they hear the story they will move on to the song.

#timesaliveonline #timesalive

With 8x8=64 if they can remember 8x8 is sticky four they got it! ←(it really sticks are four but I liked "sticky four) The story and songs will help them the child remember along with the visual of seeing the sign in the picture!

After the story and song, your child will be asked if they remember the picture story and then without the pictures.

#timesalive #citycreekpress

Other activities to help your child remember is dragging the story to the box. The program will read everything to the child so your child can read along as well. This is what I love about the program. If you have a struggling reader they will hear everything -they don't have to stress about knowing the words so it's not overwhelming.

#timesalive #citycreekpress

Below is a screenshot of one of the test. You can print the test out if you feel your child will need to practice before the test is taken. You can also print it out if your child missed more than a few to practice them.

What I love about the Online version (they also have the Times Tables the Fun Way physical products!):
  • Keeps track of the student's progress: dates the lesson is completed, scores, & quizzes!
  • Students can stop and resume without losing their place ~ I love programs that allow students to stop in the middle of something and it saves the work.
  • It engages the child. This is great for children who struggle with reading or don't like to read.
  • Pre & Post-test - a great way for your child to see how he/she improved!

For those of you with younger kiddos and idea to help your child ~ have the child draw a comic strip of the story or just the scene. You can even make a book of the stories once done.

Lance used the App and the online version for the purpose of this review. The App was a lot easier for him because he could use it on his phone anywhere/anytime. When using the online version (which is what I prefer) he would have to borrow my computer.

If using Times Alive five years ago the online version would have worked best for us so it's really what works for you all with either the App or online. For me myself I like the online, for the kiddos, the App.

My son Lance used this three to four times a week and is finally memorizing the multiplication tables that have been hard for him like 8x8 and 9x7.

He's not too fond of the animation but I think it's because he's older and has played games on his Xbox that aren't so "cartoony"

One tip! Remember the name you use to log in otherwise you will have to start from the beginning again if you forget (um, yeah, ask me how I know, 😄)

Click the graphic below to read more Times Alive Reviews!!!!

Online Times Alive {City Creek Press, Inc. Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

End of the Week Check-In (House Talk)

I am still adjusting to living in an 850sft house. The couches have piles of stuff, there are boxes piled in one corner, and we don't have a dinner table that will fit us all. The kitchen is so small.

I was hoping by now that I'd be able to share pictures but I'm too embarrassed with all the clutter. We have been living here since 12/18 so about 10 months.

There are some major updates I'd like to do. Here is a list:

  • New kitchen counter (yup! we only have one 🤣) actually a new kitchen corner would be nice as the sink is the original one and it's pretty gross. I can clean and scrub it but it still looks dirty.
  • Kitchen and hallway floor ~ the laminate floor is at least 10 years old and looks pretty ugly as well.
  • New bathtub/shower ~ like the sink, the bathtub needs to be replaced.
  • New windows ~ at least three windows don't open because they are so old. The other windows have been replaced though.
  • New roof 
  • Outside needs to be painted
  • Add a door so we can access the big backyard without having to go around from the front.
  • Boys bedroom ~ walls can be redone.
  • Add central air and heat.

Some smaller, not major projects I'd like to see done:
  • Two windows need screens
  • Add more shelves
  • Screen door for the front to let in fresh air and more light.
I think that's it for the small list of things. I can't think right now as I have a headache. I just took some Advil.

With school, it's been crazy. Some of my homechooling things got lost in the move. We had to put a lot of stuff in storage (I also got rid of tons of stuff ~ like 40 boxes of books!).

I was hoping to be the mom who minimalized her stuff and had an uncluttered small house but it hasn't happened yet.

I need to clean the house and add a few pictures. For the past few years (like 4-5yrs.) I've had problems with uploading pics to my laptop or desktop computers from my phone. They never want to connect with each other. It makes it hard to add pics to my blog post because it's time consuming.

I have to upload them to Facebook, then download them to my computer before adding the.

Easy Grammar Plus ~ A Review

This coming homeschool year I was thinking about purchasing Easy Grammar Systems for my two youngest. They are now in high school and I feel they need a refresher. One of my boys hasn't had much grammar so I thought to myself, "I need something that can be done daily, doesn't take hours for my son to figure out, and it has to be thorough." That's when I got to thinking about Easy Grammar.

#easygrammarplus #easygrammarreview

Easy Grammar Plus kinda fell in my lap! I was one of the chosen (ha, sounds funny) to review it via the Homeschool Review Crew! I received Easy Grammar Plus Teacher Editions (all 663 pages!).

Why is the book over 600 pages? This is because it has the student pages and the answer key.

Easy Grammar Plus is typically used for 7th grade but is a non-grade level meaning it can be used through high school (and even college or mom can use it too!) This is what I LOVE about Easy Grammar Plus, there is no grade on it, no number, so if you have a high schooler using it, you don't have to put a big ole sticker on the number (win-win)!

Easy Grammar Plus is written at a fourth-grade level, this is done on purpose so your student can concentrate and focus on the grammar and not hard words. I love that about the program, your child doesn't have to "think" about the words mean or have overly complicated sentences that will take their attention away from grammar.

Easy Grammar Plus has the student memorize prepositions. Wanda C. Phillips has found that 99% of the time the prepositional phrase doesn't have anything "important" in it like the subject, verb, direct object, predicate nominative, or anything important as Wanda Phillips states.

Here is a sentence that Wanda Phillips uses. Once the students know their prepositions and understand that a prepositional phrase ends in a noun or pronouns they can cross them out as shown below. Notice how easy it is to find the subject and the verb now that all the prepositional phrases are crossed out.

Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house, we go.

Easy Grammar Plus teaches more than crossing out prepositional phrases and finding the subject & verbs. Your student will learn about:
  • Predicate Nominatives, Predicate Adjectives
  • Verb Tenses: present, past, future, perfect, progressive
  • Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
  • Noun Determiners
  • Gerunds
  • All about Adjectived
  • All about Adverbs
  • Punctuation
  • Capitalization
  • and Letters
Before starting Easy Grammar Plus there is a preassessment test. It is eight pages long. Once it's corrected it's suggested that you not show the student, store it, and at the end of the program have the student take the post-assessment. This is to show the student how much they learned.

I like how Easy Grammar Plus does not confuse the students. For instance on page 41 which is still at the beginning of the program (I think it's day 26 with using the actual workbook). The student will learn about adverbs but you are not telling them that the word 'in' (preposition) is then an adverb (please see photo below)

#easygrammarplus #easygrammar #easygrammarreview

It shows that the word 'in' cannot be a preposition because there is no noun or pronoun following it. You don't have to use the word Adverb yet, just let him learn that it's not a preposition (still with the familiar) and later in the program Adverbs will be taught.

Throughout the program, your child will have reviews and test. At the end of each unit, if you are finding that your child is not mastering (you'll know with the testing both unit and cumulative) then do not proceed to the next unit. Go over the parts that your child has not mastered before moving on.

I used this with my 15yr. old son Lance and it has worked out really well for us. I started by having him take the pre-assessment. I actually took it out of the book so he did not see the results as suggested by Wanda. We took three days on the pre-assessment.

With the Easy Grammar Plus Teacher Edition, you can either copy the student pages or have your student write in the book. I chose to have Lance write right in the book. For me, copying each page (which would be close to 300 is a lot and made more sense to write in the book).

At first, I was going to have him memorize all the prepositions before starting the book. Easy Grammar does have BINGO templates to be copied making it a game to learn the prepositions.

#easygrammar #easygrmmarplus #easygrammarreview

But because my son is on the older side we skipped the memorizing the whole list. Instead, I tore the Prepositions page out and used that to cover the answer key page on the left so he had it with him for each lesson.

I figure it's like have the times tables answers available when doing math. Instead, he has the prepositions available. I also had him read over the list a few times a week and on Fridays, I'd have him write as many prepositions that he could remember on the more blankish pages in the book.

This really worked out great for us as he was learning them along the way and I found that he was spotting them without having to reference the preposition page. This may be because he's older and/or once he understood what a preposition was he naturally spotted them.

#easygrammar #easygrmmarplus #easygrammarreview

One more thing that might have helped was I told him, "Think of a house with prepositions around it" and say, "to the house, in the house, around the house, etc." and that seemed to help. It's how I learned them in school and still remember seeing the handmade poster my teacher had hanging above the chalkboard.

The first few lessons I sat with Lance through most of it and we did the lessons together. I would put the lines through the prepositional phrases, underline the subject once, and verb twice. Then once we got halfway through the page I had him do the "work", ~toward the end I let him do the rest on his own.

Once he got the feel for it ~I'd go over the concept, do a few of the sentences with him, then let him do the rest. Later I would correct his work and the next day we'd go over what he missed.

To help him remember that a prepositional phrase ended with a noun or pronoun, I'd write it on the top of his paper.

#easygrammar #easygrmmarplus #easygrammarreview

I'd do this with each new concept.

#easygrammar #easygrmmarplus #easygrammarreview

Easy Grammar is working out for Lance and he will continue using it. As he continues through the program I am sure he will do more and more on his own but because he doesn't have a lot of grammar under his belt and because I need a refresher I am sitting with him for part of the lesson.

Speaking of a refresher, Easy Grammar does have a program for moms (which I have but it got lost in the move 😞)

In fact, I purchased the Student Workbook for another son who will start Easy Grammar Plus as well.

 Have you used Easy Grammar System? Let me know in the comments!

Easy Grammar, Daily GRAMS & Easy Grammar Ultimate {Easy Grammar Systems Reviews}

Connect with Easy Grammar System:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EasyGrammarSystems/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Easygrammar
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/easygrammarsystems/

Crew Disclaimer

BetterRhetor ~ College-Ready Writing Essentials™ a Homeschool Review Crew

My 19-year-old daughter was blessed to use College-Ready Writing Essentials™ course from BetterRhetor that we got from the Homeschool Review Crew!

What we received: College-Ready Writing Essentials™ ~ Full Package Course.

The skills learned from this writing course will apply across curriculum it will help with writing history papers, science, composition, English, and so forth.

College-Ready Writing Essentials™ Course uses proven instructional practices and teaches strategies, skills, and concepts based on years of research and evidence that are most essential for college writing.
BetterRhetor includes 25 lessons that walk your child through each step. The program includes worksheets that they can download and print or use the enable editing to type their answers.

Annette loved that models and examples were included. These were very helpful.


As your student works through the program they can see how much they progressed, which lessons they completed and still need to do.

After the student reads through the lesson, example, and model, at the bottom of the lesson there is a link to the downloadable worksheet(s). There is usually one or two. Some lessons may have more.

This course teaches your student how to create a well researched, evidenced-based argument, persuasive essay. 

This course is more content-based teaching than teaching the mechanics of writing. Your student should know how to write sentences and paragraph and know the basics of putting their thoughts together on paper.

The end goal is to write a research-supported persuasive essay ~ three to five pages, 800-1200 words, which sites three credible sources.

Lessons included:
Lesson 1 ~ Overview
Lessons 2-11 Planning
Lessons 12-19 Drafting
Lessons 20-24 Revising
Lessons 24-25 Finalizing
Bonus Resources ~ Guide to Culture of College Academic and Key Terms

My daughter really enjoyed this writing course. It challenged her and she had many discussions with her dad about the topic she chose.

Her goal was to get three lessons done a week. Some of the lessons had more than one activity sheet and others required her to take more than a day to complete. 

"Base an argument on fact instead of opinions or feelings, the reason is you have a standard. With feeling, you have no standard" ~ something Annette told me while working through the course. She'd come up to me and tell me things she's learning which I thought was neat that she was excited to tell me.

College-Ready Writing Essentials Worksheet

One thing that was a little difficult for her was she learned how to write with the five-paragraph format with writing an essay, I believe that's what it's called, where she would have the introduction, body, and conclusion. It was hard for her to pull away from that but she did say that this course guided her in what they wanted via instruction, asking questions, and giving examples.

Overall BetterRhetor ~ College- Ready Writing Essentials Course was a winner because it's preparing her for college-level writing, it's helping her understand what college-level writing is.

My daughter picked a tough topic to write about too~ her topic: The Minimum Wage Debate but she's working through it with the step-by-step instructions using BetterRhetor.

Click on the graphic below to read more BetterRhetor reviews!

College-Ready Writing Essentials™ {BetterRhetor Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Mom and Daughter Weekend

Life has been crazy stressful lately so it was really nice when my daughter suggested a weekend getaway! She booked a hotel for just the two of us. We counted down the days!

The hotel that we stayed at had this phone and it looked haunted. Like if it rang and you picked it up, your whole life would change, bwahaha

It was in the hallway where you wait for the elevator!

Of course, we had lots of coffee! And look a paper straw. That straw was messed up. I had to turn it upside down because air was getting through the top.

I stayed low glycemic.

I'm going to have to come back and add the rest of the photos!

Once Upon a Book Club for August

Once Upon a Book Club is one of my favorite monthly book boxes!


This months book was The Turn of the Key ~ a thriller suspense type of book. It wasn't too spooky which I'm glad about.

It's about a young lady named Rowan. She applies for a nanny job that pays a lot of money. Way more than a nanny salary. The catch is the old house is "haunted" but there is no spooky demon type stuff.

My only dislike of the book is the four-letter "f" word is used at least once every other page and instead of saying "Oh, my goodness" or "Oh my word" they use God's name. 


The gifts are high quality and things I'll use with the exception of the neckless. I don't know what I'm going to do with a necklace that has an R on it. I would have liked it to be something that all the Once Upon A Book Club subscribers could use. Maybe like a heart, a fake pearl, just something different. What am I going to do with a big R, 🤣


I mean, look at the size of the R. It's beautiful but just not something I will keep (sigh).


The note was the first gift to open and it had the pink cable thing that you can use for multiple devices. I really liked that. It's pretty.


Can you guess what's in this box? With Once Upon a Book Club, the gifts correlate with the story. On page 213 a flower and a mug where mentioned.


And the quote, "Kindness is as kindness does" is from the book. Do you all hear Forest Gump, that's what it reminded me of 😂

There was also a letter as one of the gifts from a character in the book.

So what exactly is Once Upon a Book Club? It's a monthly subscription box that brings your reading experience of the book to life! How, by adding little post-it notes in the book on a certain page that tells you when to open your gift. The gift has to do with something in the book. 

For instance, with the mug and purple flower, there was a scene where Rowan the nanny picked up a flower and placed it in a mug. That is where the post-it not that had written you can open your gift.

It's a pretty neat subscription box. The box that everything comes in is so gorgeous!

The books are new releases. There are two books to choose from, young adult and adult. You don't know what the book is until you open the box. On the Once Upon a Book Club website, they do give you a summary of what the book is about so you do have time to skip that month if you think you won't like the book.

Watch my unboxing! Use my referral code to get $5 off your first box! 

Back-to-Homeschool Sort Of

Today I made some yummy waffles that I found online from A Reason for Spelling blog, how funny is that. Well, maybe it's not funny but I've never found a recipe on a curriculum site before. The blog's name is actually A Reason to Homeschool!

I used my mini waffle maker. It's the only one I have. I figured small house - small waffle maker. Naw, just kidding. My waffle maker is packed. When we moved we were only supposed to be here a few months to maybe six months tops, but you know how that goes.


I miss my large one but this little one actually works really good! It makes Lego-my-eggo size waffles. We used it to cook one egg too.

I love this photo of Ethan and I. I love that he still likes to take selfies with me and just sit on the couch and talk.

I ran out of make-up, not that it makes that much of a difference so sorry about my big mug in your face. Eeeks, those bushy eyebrows (I take after my grandpapa!).


I'll be having an Easy Grammar Plus review coming soon! I'm really liking this one. I used this with Josh a long time ago so I was happy to get this one from the Homeschool Review Crew!

Easy Grammar Plus; Teacher's Edition

Students learn grammar faster and easier when they're actually writing and editing texts; this hands-on approach to grammar is just one of the reasons why Easy Grammar is so successful. Utilizing the prepositional approach, students memorize prepositions to then eliminate from sentences, making finding the noun and verb much easier. Concepts are reviewed and introduced throughout the school year; this, accompanied with reviews helps to ensure engaged, mastery learning for all students. This comprehensive workbook covers nouns, verbs, common mistakes (fragments, run-ons, etc.), phrases, clauses, adverbs, pronouns, interjections, conjunctions and the other major aspects of grammar. Tests and answers included. 679 pages, softcover. Grades 7 & up.

Ethan's Government Course

Exploring Government, 2016 Updated Edition--Curriculum Kit

The Notgrass Company Exploring Government curriculum is a one-semester (half-credit) high school course that covers the government of the United States from its beginning to the present with a special emphasis on the Biblical pattern for government and the U.S. Constitution. Students will learn about federal, state, and local government and become better equipped to understand our country's government as they learn about contemporary issues facing our nation today.

The Exploring Government textbook includes 75 lessons. At the beginning of each unit, an introduction, list of books used in the unit, project literature assignments, and any additional assignments are laid out; these overarching assignments are broken up into daily tasks given at the end of each day's reading.

I need to write a little more about what we are doing for high school. What are you all using?

Mid-Week Check In ~ The Heat!!!

It has been so hot here in TX. In fact yesterday (Wednesday) we had to leave the house from 12:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M

We went to lunch at Chick-fil-A. To save money we usually get water instead of a soda (better for us too), only get a sandwich, and a large waffle fry. It came to about $20 for four of us. It was only Annette, Brent, Lance, and myself.

The temperature was just perfect. Not too hot or cold. It was just right. This mama bear was HAPPY!

Lance ordered extra pickles. When his sandwich arrived it was picture perfect! Look at that yummy-ness!!!! I had five waffle fries and the Original Chicken Sandwich but only at one slice of bread.

After Chick-fil-a, we headed to the mall. Might as well get some exercise. At the mall there is a Books A Million (BAM) and I found some books for super low prices!!!

Child of the River
The Wizard of Once
These Shallow Graves
The Book Speculation

All but the Child of the River were hardbacks for $25.86. Score!

I also stopped at the CorningWare store to get some lids. I bought one of each size for a total of $20.00ish. Eeeks, things sure add up!

Around 5:00 P.M. we went to Costco for dinner. Cheap, cheap, I say. I ordered a Ceaser Salad.

In California, my two boys Caleb and Ethan went to Magic Mountains with their cousin Aaron.

I miss my boys. Look at those smiles. While we are melting in the TX triple-digit heat, they were enjoying the beautiful Southern California weather. I'm glad they are not here for the hottest month of the year.

#owlcrate #happymail

Earlier this week I got some happy mail. This OwlCrate box was one of my favorites!!! I just had so much fun opening it. You can see my unboxing. It's actually two unboxings because Beacon Book Box had the same exact book!!!!

Having two of the same book actually worked out because Annette wants to read it too, so my sister MaryEllen, Annette, and I are going to do a buddy read.


This week I also received an Atlas Coffee map! How fun is that?!?! Now I can track my coffee.

With this heat, my Happy Mail has been a fun distraction.

What have you been up to this week?