Snake Oil Review

Have you ever watched the old time movies, and someone has come to town and is standing on their wagon and talking to a crowd full of people trying to sell them a bottle of potion that is supposed to cure every single problem they have ever encountered? Well by golly, if you bought his bottle of “Fix what ails ya” potion, then you got yourself a real genuine bottle of Snake Oil!

snake oil logo

We had the privilege to play a hilarious game with the same name called Snake Oil by Out of the Box Publishing Inc.

Snake Oil Game box

Snake Oil

Ages 10 to Adult
3-10 players
5 Minutes to learn
20-30 minutes per game
Suggested Retail $19.99

This game is hilarious as well as educational. It’s educational because it has my kids reading and coming up with funny compound word combinations they can “sell” as a “fix what ails ya” potion to some unsuspecting stranger.

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But the twist is,… they have to come up with a sales pitch for whatever random customer is drawn from the card deck.  The customer could end up being a super hero, one green alien, a bride, a sorority girl, or a nerdy geek, etc.

We played the game with 5 players.  So each round of the game had one customer and four venders.  Each vender was given a hand of seven random snake oil cards.  For the customer’s turn, that person drew a random card from the customer card pile.

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It is up the kids to find a way to sell their Snake Oil product while using the various word cards in their hand. They get to pick two of the word cards out of their handful of seven cards and make a compound word to name their product.  Their product is an imaginary special fix all potion that will solve the customer’s problems.

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After they create the product name, they must come up with a sales pitch.  This is the super duper funny part.  How to make a sales pitch to an off the wall customer with your compound word you created from your random cards.

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The “vender” with the best product name and most convincing sales pitch and wins the approval of the “customer”.  When the customer chooses his or her favorite product the “vender” gets to collect the customer’s name card. The player with the most customer name cards at the end wins the game.

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There are so many random word combinations and then put them in perspective to the potential customer needs, it is absolutely hilarious.  Perhaps a geek needs a beach lamp or muscle gum, or maybe an alien needs pony spit or an energy ball, or maybe the super hero needs  and all you have to do is to convince them they need it and to buy it from you.

Youtube Video about How to play Snake Oil

My kids really enjoyed playing this game. This would make a great holiday or birthday gift and to use for family game nights. It would also be a lot of fun to use during a youth group, club meeting, or homeschool coop get together. I can guarantee you it will bring a whole lot of laughs and you just might feel better and perhaps have less ailments after playing, ha ha!!

Social Media Follow
FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/OutoftheBoxGames
TWITTER https://twitter.com/OTBgames
YOUTUBE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYAQiV5S9ZQ&feature=c4-overview&list=UUTEAg1uDVwq0LNxFAwM7N5Q

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Be sure to check out what other homeschool families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought about using this game with their families.

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Purposeful Design Review

” Wow!” is what I want to say to describe the photography and illustrations in Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation by Jay Schabacker.

Purposeful Design

Purposeful Design

Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation
Written by Jay Schabacker
Hard back book
$18.95 (currently 25% off regular retail $24.95)
For all ages

Jay Schabacker has an amazing story to tell. He is both a scienctist and a follower of Jesus. He believes that God is the Creator and he created everything with a purpose. Jay has numerous educational degrees and has worked for NASA, and also in Business Management, Church Leadership, Authored books and curriculum, and taught numerous workshops. But most important of all is that he loves the Lord!

In Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation, he gives us a beautiful full color glimpse of the universe God has created during the seven days of Creation in Genisis.

Book Table of Contents (Abbreviated)

Chapter 1 – The First Day
The Foundation of it All
What Keeps Things Going?

Chapter 2 – The Second Day
Creation of the Atmosphere and Water
Quenching the Thirsty Earth – The “Rain Cycle”

Chapter 3 – The Third Day
Creation of the Dry Land and Vegetation
The Importance of Vegetation and Plants to Humans

Chapter 4 – The Fourth Day
Creation of the Sun, Moon, and Stars
Many Benefits of the Sun, Moon, and Stars

Chapter 5 – The Fifth Day
Creation of the Birds and the Fish
Why the Birds and the Fish were Created

Chapter 6 – The Sixth Day
Creation of Land Creatures and Humans
The Amazing Uniqueness of the Human Being

Chapter 7 – The Seventh Day
The Sabbath is the Day of Rest

Epilogue – Who Made the Cookies?

You can try out a free sample of the book before you buy. Don’t forget to also download the free Young Explorer’s Club curriculum (both student and teacher versions) that goes along with the the book too.

Jay is an aerospace scientist and worked on Nasa’s Appollo Moon Project. Through amazing photographs and scientific and biblical truths, he helps us to see the richness of God’s creation as can be understood once a person can see the amazing pieces of the puzzle. For many, it can be difficult to understand how God could have created the universe and created it in seven days. But Jay takes us through the process and shows how science lines up with the scriptures. The photography that Jay shares is amazing. This is a book you will want to leave out on display to share with folks who stop by your home. It is stunning.

How We Used Puposeful Design:

I read through the book with my children.  We spent a couple of weeks learning about each day in creation. There is a lot of science, scripture, and a lot of beauty packed into this book.  We love learning about space and I was very impressed with the space photos.

Purposeful Design planets

I was really greatful for the free downloadable curriculum too. The curriculum broke the book down into teachable units with questions, discussions, and a few activites to further the learning. I printed everything off and stored it in a handy three ring binder for easy use. There were also certificates of completion that correspond to each day of creation in the Young Explorer’s Club curriculum and a final certificate of achievement too. These are nice progress achievments to add to your studnets portfollio.

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I was so impressed with this book that I decided to take it to our Homeschool Coop class. We did a focus on space exploration and studied about the lights in the heavens specifically the creation of the SUN, MOON, and STARS and how they give us light and control the seasons.  We studies the verses in the bible about DAY FOUR of CREATION found in Genesis 1:14-19. This book went with our study perfectly.

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I brought the free downloadable curriculum questions I had put into my binder, and gathered up a few props to go with the book including coloring pages, flash cards, space display, earth and moon in space puzzles, space sensory bin, and more to our class.

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The kids really enjoyed looking at the photographs of space in the book.  They also enjoyed creating their own space exploration to learn more about the amazing universe God has designed.

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Wouldn’t it be cool to visit some of the places in space that God created like the moon? I think it would be cool too to go into space with a scientist who believes in God and understands the scriptures and who is experienced with planets, moons, stars, and galaxies and see all of it first hand.

The kids pretended that Jay was joining them for a space adventure and divided into two teams (5 white astronauts and 5 orange astronauts) to create an exploration all terain vehicals with Legos to explore the moon, and create a space exploration diorama. Kids learn so much more and remember what they have learned when they can use several of their senses in the learning process. Sharing the pictures from the book, putting together a puzzle of the moon and the earth, creating vehicals and pretending we were taking a trip to explore the moon that God created made the learning experience all the more memorable.

I love this book! I would encourage every homeschool family and Sunday School Class and Bible Study group to get a hold of one these books and learn about our amazing Creator and his Purposeful Design in Creation.

Social Media:
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JaySchabackerAuthor

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/Jayschabacker (@Jayschabacker)

LinkedIn: Jayschab

Blog http://www.jayschabacker.blogspot.com/

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Be sure to read how other homeschool families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew used Purposeful Degign in their home.

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IXL Math and Language Arts Review

Does your child need extra practice in their math and language arts skills? Do you wish they could do these practices activities independenantly or perhaps with the help of a tutor-like program from home and you could keep track of their progress so you knew where they needed more practice?

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If this sounds like you and your child, then you will want to check out the IXL Math and IXL Language Arts online programs through IXL.

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IXL is a popular academic skills practice website for grades PreK-12. IXL was one of the first online learning programs I learned about when I became a homeschool mom many years ago and it has continued evolve and be one of the best programs available. IXL is designed to help kids have fun while they learn. Their motto is “Practice that feels like play. Dynamic, adaptive learning.”

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IXL has over 4000 practice skills to help your child improve their math and language skills. It uses Smart Score Technology and adapts to your child’s performance. So it is like having a tutor handy to adjust the questions based on how your child is learning and scoring on the materials. It also has an audio feature that has the option to read math questions to students in pre-K through 5th grades. And best of all, IXL is mobile and can be using on your computer, iPad, or tablet.

Membership

Online Membership Subscription can be purchased for either a monthly or yearly subscription for Math, or Language Arts, or for both subjects together. You can purchase the program for one student or for several students too. See the descriptions below for the pricing combinations, and the website has additional information so be sure to check that out and find the right combination for your homeschool needs.

Math

Grades PreK-12
$79 per year or $9.95 per month

Language Arts

Grades 2-8
$79 per year or $9.95 per month

Both Math and Language Arts

$129 per year or 15.95 per month.

Each additional student is only $20 per year (or $2 per month).

How We Are Using IXL:

We were given a 1 year family membership and it came just in time to add this into our daily learning activities for this school year. It has provided us with practice of new skills as well as review of previous skills we have learned. We are using IXL as a supplement to our regular curriculum and practice for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

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The program is easy and fun to do because it is set up in a way that encourages kids natural desire to play and find rewards. My kids like a challenge and they are motivated to fill in their game board with rewards. IXL encourages them to earn awards on themed game boards that are like treasure hunts. Each grade level has it’s own game board with it’s own theme. So when my kids log in to IXL, they get a screen with grade options to choose from. Most of the time we work in our current grade level, but sometimes we go back and practice in a younger grade level for review too.

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There are two ways to access the practice skills once they have clicked on the grade they want to work on. Kids can choose from a list of skills or they can choose to work from a game board.

When they choose a skill to work on from the huge list:

When ever they complete a skill on the list, they recieve a ribbons for progress or a gold medal showing they are done learning that skill. The kids like earning medals and find the list approach to be an easy way to keep track of what they have completed, where to go next, and where they still need more work.

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When they choose to work on a skill through the game board:
Working from the game board approach, it is rewards based and this is my boys favorite way. It is more random, so you don’t know what skill will be required until you click on a square on the board.

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On the game board, the kids uncover the hidden treasures as they complete quizzes and master skills. Awards are fun badges that are revealed on the board. These rewards might be animals, foods, places, and hobbies that kids can relate to and enjoy.

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At anytime kids can click on the awards button at the top of the screen and it will show them their game board with the prizes they have achieved, and empty spaces they still need to fill. Kids can also click on a “? mystery square” to learn what “challenge task” they need to complete to reveal that specific mystery prize. When ready, they can return to the list of skills and select the one (or several) that corresponds with the task or skill or group of skills they need learn so they can achieve the next prize on their game board. Each time a new skill is mastered, a prize is placed in a corresponding square, but what thrills my kids the most is to earn the prize that goes into the “?mystery?” square.

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Kids and parents can easily monitor progress. On the progress / score page, one can learn how much time they spent, how many problems they finished and how many they got correct, and how many overall total points they have earned in the program, etc.

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I can see my kids improve in their understanding of math and language concepts as they practice each skill set. I am also sent an email on a regular basis, letting me know how the kids are doing and what they have achieved.

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It is easy to keep track of my kids progress with weekly emails updates and also by logging in on the parent dashboard. On the dashboard I can see and print various reports and acheivement awards. I can also adjust challenges that I want them to work on if I choose to do so. All I need to do is log in and choose the student I want to review.  IXL is a great supplemental learning program and I would encourage everyone to give it a try and see if it works for your homeschool needs.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

Be sure to follow IXL on their social media links for all the latest news and product updates.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/IXL

Twitter https://twitter.com/IXLLearning

Google + https://plus.google.com/+IXL

Click to read Crew Reviews

Be sure to check out what other homeschool families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about using IXL in their homes.

Crew Disclaimer

This Old Barn Has A “New” Story

I love to drive down the road and look at old barns. They are beautiful to me. They must have such a special story to tell of how they were once used daily and were such an important place on the homestead. I have enjoyed traveling all over Kansas, Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to look at old barns.

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I might replace the name “old” with “historical” as these barns have such a rich history. I believe we could all learn how to apply the wisdom that old homesteads had gained from time and experience, and better our life today, if we could learn about the history of these old barns.

If I ever produced a TV show, I might call it “This Old Barn” or “This Barn Has A Story” or something like that, and travel around and interview old time farmers and learn about their barn’s past. Sadly, just like many of the old barns, the old time farmers are disappearing. It won’t be long and there may not be any of this generation left to tell the stories.

Some of these historical barns were used for specific uses like tobacco, or wheat, and some were only for horses or pigs, or a dairy, but most of these historical barns had multi uses on the homestead and housed all sorts of livestock (cows, sheep, pigs, goats, horses, chickens, rabbits, etc.), as well as grains, hay, and various tools and farm equipment all at the same time for the benefit of the homesteaders who lived there. Whatever was stored in them, and however they were used, they were the hub of activity and life on the homestead. They represented the economic stability, and the future of the farm.

This Old Barn

Even though I love these historical barns, when we moved to this homestead, I didn’t like my old barn. It is a complete eye sore and the first thing you see coming up the driveway. Every day, and every time I pulled into the driveway, it reminded me that it was in horrible disrepair that can be seen from the road, that I could not fix it, and I could see no future.

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For many reasons, we did not think “this old barn” was salvageable. It is well over a hundred years old and I wish it could be saved, it’s history preserved, and become useful again. But no one that I have met yet seems to know the history of this old barn as it has not been in use with farming as a way of life, or with livestock, for at least the past sixty years or so. The farm has changed hands several times since then. In the past couple of years, another farmer rented the back field for a time after it sat idle for many years, but he did not live here or use the barn. For the past year that I have lived here, I have been very discouraged about the absence of a story, and the absence of homesteading life in this “old” barn.

The old barn on the Weiser Homestead.

The old barn on the Weiser Homestead.

The problems with the barn are numerous and I couldn’t even begin to list them all. It sits on the property line, adjacent to the neighbor’s fence on the south side, so there is no hope in using it at all on the south side. On that side, the neighbor has a large beautiful fenced pasture that he uses for horses and cows.

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Our drive way is on the north and east side, and there is no pasture area on those sides of the barn that we can use. The only space at all to possibly build a pen is an area about 20 feet wide on the east side of the barn. We could not even imagine how we could raise cows or other livestock on this side of the fence and in such a small area and block the access to the back field, and the lack of a decent barn for shelter.

I have asked my husband about making some repairs to the barn, but he says it would not be cost effective. The foundation is in disrepair. There are places where you can see the old stone foundation, but someone came in and poured concrete over that at some point, and there are places where there are holes. The siding is missing almost entirely on the south side, and partially missing or broken on the other sides. And as if all that wasn’t bad enough, the roof leaks and needs replaced and the gutter, windows, and doors are all missing.

Missing and broken barn siding.

When it rains, snows, or the wind blows, most of the barn is wet and cold because of the leaking roof and the missing and broken siding. And there is no running water or electricity working in the barn, though there was a working water spicket and a light on the lower level at sometime in the long ago past, and these linked underground from the old farmhouse, but both resources broke down and were removed at some point. All new lines would need run from the house again for this resource to be available.

There was a room addition added onto the west side of old barn many years ago, and it was placed on gravel foundation with block on the lower half of the west wall, but the addition was not done correctly and needs completely redone. The wood framework of the barn both vertically and horizontally are termite eaten. The wood flooring on the upper level is bad and needs rebuilt or one could fall through. As a matter of fact, the whole barn needs torn down and rebuilt. It is just one huge eye sore and disappointment for a working homestead.

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I wish we could fix this old barn. But rebuilding the barn is not an option for us at this time. It would take a lot of money to fix it, and we won’t be able to do that for several years as far as we can tell.

Barn stairs

Knowing all these problems with the building when we moved here, we did not have plans to use the old barn as it did not seem like a safe habitat for much of anything, even though it was used for a small scale farm with dairy cows, horses, and hay in the long ago past. There is still old fashion milking stanchions on the lower south side of the barn, and two horse stalls on the north side of the lower level. There is a walkway in between the south and north sides where the farmer who built this old barn walked and fed the animals on either side.

It is certainly not safe now to even store bales of hay in it’s present condition. It seems that we could cause it to collapse under the heavy weight of hay bales, and they would get wet too. We have stored the mower and bikes in the lower barn, on the gravel side where the room addition is, but I don’t even let the kids play in it due to the safety concerns, and they can only enter it with supervision when daddy or I go with them.

This Old Barn Has A “New” Story.

 

kitty on the Weiser homestead.

But God clearly had other thoughts about this old barn. He knew what it could be used for without costing us any money to fix it, and a potential we did not and could not see. He does this with human lives too. He sees the potential they have no matter how broken they look. Though they themselves can not fix their circumstances, he can. He knows what they are capable of in their future, and he sees into their future and works out everything for the good of those who love him.

“We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose,” Romans 8:28

Playful kitten in the old barn on the Weiser homestead.

The north side of the barn still has some siding, and the concrete floor inside the lower level on the north and east end of the barn is still usable.  So with a wall for a wind break, and shelter, this old barn could still provide a safe habitat for small animals. It wouldn’t hold up to a cow or a horse as it did years ago, but it may work as a shelter for smaller animals.

The old barn is in use once again and is telling a new story. The barn has become the new home for our five beautiful kittens that were born earlier this summer. It will also house our rabbits for the winter. The rabbits are currently outside next to our chickens, but we will be moving them inside the barn very soon.

Now the old barn has also become a home for a herd of goats on the homestead. We did not seek out this herd of goats. But we found ourself in a situation where someone wanted to give us their goats, plus all the equipment they had accumulated over the years to care for the goats including solar electric fencing, hay feeders, a mineral feeder, a bag of mineral powder, hoof trimmers, a water tank, three calf huts for shelters, and all the hay the goats can eat for the winter.

Goats eating hay in the barn.

The goats were owned by an elderly gentleman who’s grandchildren had shown them in 4H. But now they were grown, no longer in 4H, and had moved away. His health was declining, and he did not want to care for them through the harsh Indiana winters any more.  He got our name through the local 4H goat club leader, and he contacted us several times asking us if we would like to have them.

We discussed the situation several times, and each time our decision was no, we could not get the goats. We could not even imagine having goats again at this time because of the expenses to set them up and care for them properly, etc. It can cost thousands of dollars to buy livestock, feed them and care for their needs year around, set up fencing, and set up shelter for them. Those are expenses we don’t have in our budget right now. We are doing good just to take care of our family and a few chickens and pet rabbits, cats, and dogs, as the last year of our life was a whirlwind of moving a cross the country, job losses, and under employment. How could we even dream of getting livestock?

“Look at the crows! They don’t plant or harvest, and they don’t have storehouses or barns. But God takes care of them. You are much more important than any birds.” Luke 12:24

But God had placed favor on us, and this man who we did not know wanted to give us his goats.  He clearly loved his pet goats and wanted them to have a good home with lots of love and a future.

Pet Goat

The old farmer’s pet goat climbing his fence.

He also wanted to give us everything we would need to care for his animals for the next year, and help make the transition for us to own and care for them as smooth as possible. Though he did not even know us, his gift of generosity was genuine.

Goats at the old farmer's homestead.

Goats at the old farmer’s homestead.

When went to look at the goats, still questioning could we do this or not, it all changed once we met him in person and saw his love for his animals.  Instantly our whole family fell in love with his goats. They were calm and friendly. He had them in a large fenced pasture with access into a barn for shelter.

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So my husband picked up the supplies the farmer wanted to give us on a Saturday, and got busy putting a pen together! The children helped measuring the distance, stake out the boundary, drive the posts, run the wire, etc.  They were so excited to build the pen.

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My husband sectioned off a small area on the lower level of the barn for the goats with some leftover wood scraps and a fence panel we were given, set up the calf huts outside the barn just in case the rain coming into the barn is a problem and the goats can use them as a rain shelter, and he built the goat pen outside to the east of the old barn.

East side of old barn.

He used the neighboring farm’s fence on the south side, the electric fence we were given on the north and east sides, and used the east wall of the barn for the pen’s west side. In the state of Indiana, both neighbors are legally allowed to use a fence that is on the property line. So the neighbor has cows on his side, and we have goats on our side.  Our fence supplies went a lot further because we only had to build two sides for a pen, by using the neighbor’s fence and the side of our barn on the other two sides.

The pen is only as wide as the barn, about 20 feet wide because the other three sides are unusable with a neighbor to one side, and a drive way to the other two sides. That is our only access for our drive way and to the back of the property so we had to leave a lane wide enough to drive through and could not make the pen any wider than the barn.  But the pen came out as a nice long rectangle, and the goats can go in an out of the old barn through the missing door when ever they want, and knowing what little we started with, we are thrilled with it.

Petting the nubian goat.

The kids are having so much fun petting and caring for the goats everyday. They water them in the tank we were given, currently with a hose stretched from the house, until freezing winter weather hits our area, and then we will have to put the hose away and carry water in buckets down the hill to them.

Watering the goats

The goats eat hay and grass and powdered mineral, free choice. They do not eat any grain. The old farmer who gave the goats to us said he has never given them any grain and they stay healthier if they are only fed fresh grass, hay, and minerals free choice. YAHOO!

Hay time for goats.

When we were ready and the pen was built, the old farmer delivered the goats to us in his livestock trailer.  Wow, delivered right to our door.  Once again the Lord worked out all the details.  Now the goats are settling into their new home, they are well cared for, loved, and they don’t seem to notice the brokeness of the old barn. They are making a new history here, and the barn once again has a new purpose on the homestead.

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This old barn has a new story! What an amazing blessing! God knew ahead and saw what we did not see. His plans for us, and his thoughts about us are for a hope and a future.

“I will bless you with a future filled with hope—a future of success, not of suffering.” Jeremiah 29:11

If He Had Not Come Review

If you are looking for Christmas stories to read with your children or grandchildren, If He Had Not Come by David Nicholson is one you will want to add to your book list.

IfHeHadNotCome

 

If He Had Not Come

Hard back book.
40 pages
Retails $18.95

This book is beautifully written and brightly illustrated.  It is written for kids ages 6 and older but it is very relatable for both kids and adults of ages.

David Nicholson has re-written a classic story for his children and grandchildren, and for children everywhere to contemplate the Christian message of Christ’s birth.   David is an author, teacher, and missionary from St. Paul Minnesota.   Many years ago, he heard the story written by author  Jan Week’s during a class at church, and began telling it too his children.  One day he decided to re-write the story with full illustrations to retell it to his grandchildren and future generations of children, and decided to write this wonderful book.

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This book is about a young boy named Bobby and his journey to understand the impact Christ’s birth has in his life.  The journey to discover this truth begins when Bobby lays in bed one night and wonders what life would be like if Jesus had not come to the earth.  He had read John 15:22 with his family and the words Jesus had spoken to his friends in that passage would not leave his mind.  “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin.  But now they have no excuse for their sin.” John 15:22

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He falls asleep and dreams about his life in a parallel universe absent of Jesus.  People are mean to each other, and life is dark without light, and there is no joy. Everything he knew before had changed, people, places, and there was no charity in people any more and no hope.  Even his church and the charity organizations like the homeless shelter and the local orphanage was gone.  In his dream he went home and picked up his bible, but it was blank and only read “if he had not come”.  When he wakes from his dream, he understands the impact Jesus has had in the earth and in his own life.  He prays to God for forgiveness and asks Jesus into his heart and dedicates his life to God.

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We had a great time reading this book.  There are discussion questions and a bible study in the back of the book that is helpful for Sunday School classes as well as for the home setting.   The book also lists the steps to salvation through Jesus.  The message of our life with Christ and what it would be like without him is one everyone needs to hear.   Reading this book aloud at Christmas will be a new holiday tradition for us as we prepare to enjoy and understand the reason we celebrate Christmas.

We give gifts to one another because we love each other.  But God loved us first.  God gave us Jesus.  Jesus is the best gift of all in this life.  He can live in your heart if you will believe he is the son of God sent into this world by God to redeem you from sin and eternal separation from God, to a right relationship with God both in this life, and in eternity.

Be sure to follow David Nicholson’s social media links for If He Had Not Come for all the latest news and updates.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/If-He-Had-Not-Come/1543755249189773?ref=tn_tnmn

Click to read Crew Reviews

Check out what other families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about using this book in their home with their family.

Crew Disclaimer

Fascinating Education Physics Review

My oldest son loves science. He was so excited that we were offered the opportunity to review Fascinating Physics by Fascinating Education.

Fascinating Education

Fascinating Education was created by a Dr. Margulies. He is an author, teacher, attorney, and a neurologist and knows the brain and how it functions best when learning information and performing tasks.

Dr. Margulies

Dr. Margulies has taught neurology to thousands of medical students in his 35 year teaching career and trained doctors to work in neurology. He focuses on interactive right brain methods of learning primordially audio visual methods with questions and answer. He supplements the audio-visual methods with written text. Dr. Margulies is especially skilled to teach science. He has an extensive background and understanding of the brain. He wants to use his knowledge to create programs that inspire the younger generation to pursue science related careers and study of science.

Please check out his ABOUT DR. SHELDON MARGULIES web page to learn more about his qualifications, degrees, experience, books he has authored, and his passions. He is a fascinating person with an incredible amount of experience and insight in many areas. It is so fitting that he would inspire others to learn about science with the creation of Fascinating Education courses.

science courses

Fascinating Education currently offers science courses in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. You can see each coarse outline and free sample lessons from each course on their web site. You can also enjoy using another 5 free lessons on the INTRO page.

 

Physics

The Fascinating Physics course is geared for the highschool student. It is a years worth of physics learning through an online course and includes 15 lessons covering about 160 subjects. It retails for $79.00 a year. Each subject within the lesson has its own learning video, glossary, and more.

lessons

lessonsB

The Lessons titles include:
Lesson 1: Movement
Lesson 2: Vectors
Lesson 3: Forces
Lesson 4: Energy-Work-Power
Lesson 5: Circular Motion
Lesson 6: Fluids and Gases
Lesson 7: Waves
Lesson 8: Light, Part 1
Lesson 9: Light, Part 2
Lesson 10: Light, Part 3
Lesson 11: Electrical Charges
Lesson 12: Moving Electrical Charges
Lesson 13: Electrical Currents
Lesson 14: The Atom
Lesson 15: The Nucleus

You can access a 4 page course outline and see how each subject fists into each lesson.
Physics_outline

 

 

How We Used Fascinating Physics:

We received a one year subscription to Fascinating Physics for the purpose of writing this review. All my kids love science, but my oldest especially loves science. He wants to know the “WHY” of behind every thing. He was really happy to get the opportunity to take this Physics course. Each day he logged in and watched the videos, learned the terminology, and completed his tasks without being prompted by me.

lesson 3

 

He is finishing up lesson three and that is about 18 of the 160 or so subjects. I feel he is getting a good handle on being familiar with the terminology. He takes his time and often repeats the videos to be sure he has learned all of the information. I think learning the terminology is the key to grasping an understanding of the videos.

 

elevator cable

 

I would definitely recommend this curriculum. It is wonderful to have courses on line because you can access them anytime day or night to work on your assignments. I guess I am a bit biased favorite class in school was always science. I want to know “HOW” things work and “WHY”. If you asked me about almost any subject today like cooking, bible, health, gardening, etc. I would tell you the science behind it. That is just me…cooking science, science of health, science of gardening, even science in the bible. I love science. My favorite kind of TV shows are ones that show the science of how things happen like “How It Works” “How Its Made”, “Good Eats”, “Myth Busters”, “Time Warp”, etc. So I am very happy for my son to take this class and I get to glean totally AWESOME Science with him. The only thing I would change is that I would include a lot of science experiments in a course like this. I have not come to any experiments and hope there are some later in his learning adventure.

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Black Bean Taco Salad

Black Bean Taco Salad is an easy quick meal to prepare and has been one of my favorites over the years.  It comes together so fast with fresh flavors and fun textures and is really a treat in the mouth and satisfying to the tummy.

I enjoy this taco salad for lunch or dinner.  It is super delicious and nutritious.  Some suggestions for different diet variations: If you are following a certain diet like Trim Healthy Mama, then you can serve this dish with blue corn chips or homemade baked Joseph’s pita / tortilla crisps / chips.  If you are following a diet like The Fast Metabolism Diet then leave out the chips and instead serve this salad with sliced veggies like cucumbers, jicama, or large wedges of peppers, etc. If you are following a Low Carb Diet, leave out the black beans and chips and serve with low starch veggie slices or just on romaine lettuce. If you are on a Nourishing Foods or Eat Fat Loose Fat plan, add in a spoonfull of geletain powder and a spoonful of coconut oil to your pan while it cooks and serve with full fat sourcream and fermented Pico de Gallo and serve with sprouted corn chips. All of these methods are delicious variations you will not be dissappointed with.

This meal comes together fast and takes less than ten minutes to throw together if you keep a batch of Pico de Gallo in the fridge or freezer and canned beans on hand for quick meals.  If not, then it will take you about another five minutes to chop those veggies and throw in the pot.  If cooking beans from scratch, you will need to plan ahead and soak them overnight and plan to cook for an hour on the stove the next day before using in this recipe as dried beans should always be soaked for at least seven hours and drained before cooking to neutralize the phytic acids.  This truly is a fast food meal.  I like to make a batch of Pico de Gallo ahead and keep it in the fridge and some in quick meal packs in the freezer for fast meals when I don’t feel much like cooking or making a big mess in the kitchen.

The best part of all in making this meal is that my kids enjoy it and they don’t complain about eating it, and that makes the effort of putting this nutritious meal together for them so worth it!

Black Bean Taco Salad

 

 

Black Bean Taco Salad

Ingredients:
1 cup Pico de Gallo (fresh or frozen). Check out my Pico de Gallo recipe at the bottom of this post.
1 can black beans drained and rinsed.
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder or a fresh clove of garlic minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
1/4 cup shredded cheese

Optional (for crunch) serve with:
1 cup tortilla chips or 1 cup sliced raw veggies

Directions:
In a pan heat the Pico de Gallo on medium heat until the onions are tender, add in beans, garlic and spices till heated through and no moisture from the veggies remains. Scoop the taco filling onto plate and serve with lettuce, cheese, and tortilla chips. Add sour cream or guacamole if desired.

Nutrition Data: Calories 415; Protein 25 g; Fat 11 g; Fiber 20 g; Carbs 58 g; Sugars 8 g; Vit A 6105 IU; Vit C 42.2 mg; Vit K 66.7 mcg; Calcium 303 mg; Iron 5.4 mg; Thiamine .6 mg; Folate 610 mcg; Magnesium 159 mg; and so much more. This meal is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidents and is very nutrient dense. Data figured for the taco salad filling, plus lettuce and cheese, but without the optional chips or raw veggies.

This basic meal is very versatile. You can serve the taco filling in crunchy taco shells, on tostada shells, or inside soft tortillas too. It works for tacos, burritos, and enchiladas if you just change up the sauce or shell you are working with. I also love to add in already cooked rice for a delicious meal of rice and beans or to also fill a variety of shells. The kids love to add the taco filling, rice, cheese, and crunchy corn chips inside a soft tortilla shell for their own homemade version of FRITO BURRITOS from Taco Bell. If you want to use the taco filling as a dip, then just blend it in the blender until desired smoothness or chunckiness and serve with veggies or tortilla chips or spread on the inside of bread or tortillas for variety to sandwiches. Also for a creamy mexican soup, after blending the taco filling, this it with water or milk (real milk, almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, etc) and reheat the soup on top of stove, then garnish the soup bowl with sour cream, or more Pico de Gallo when serving if desired. This basic recipe is very versatile and you can get a lot of different meals from it.

Homemade Pico de Gallo

1 medium chopped onion (red or white)
2 medium chopped tomatoes with seeds removed
1 small chopped jalapeno with seeds removed
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or 2 Tbsp dried cilantro
1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt

Toss everything together and store in fridge or freezer and use for adding to meals (tacos, burritos, eggs, soups, etc.) or as a garnish. Pico de Gallo is basically a fresh salad made from uncooked salsa. It is traditional in Mexican cooking, comes together quick and easy and makes meals POP with flavor and texture. I highly recommend keeping batches of this awesome food in the fridge and freezer for various uses. I love to make quick breakfasts by adding a few tablespoons of Pico de Gallo in a skillet, sauteing with chopped spinach and then piling all of that inside a delicious omelet. The best omelets ever!!! If desired, you can also ferment Pico de Gallo in a glass canning jar for one to three days on the counter, and then for another week or so in the fridge before using just by adding in 2 Tbsp of liquid whey when preparing a fresh batch. It will turn out similar to Kimchi (Kimchi is a raw fermented Asian spicy salad) but without the cabbage and red chili peppers. It is amazing what you can do with ferments. The Lactobacillus in the liquid whey helps safely ferment the veggies and activates lots of enzymes and good bacteria that are beneficial to the digestive and immune systems. Whether you eat it fresh, cooked, or fermented, Pico de Gallo is YUMMY!!!