Apple Pie at Homeschool Coop

My kids had a great time making homemade apple pies at the homeschool coop! They love to see friends and play games, but baking has a special place in their heart. They absolutely love to cook (not clean up dishes though), and I think baking is their favorite. When they heard we were going to bake apple pies, the were so excited, it is all they talked about for days.

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They washed and peeled lots of apples.  They peeled the apples with both a hand peeled, and a machine peeler.   For the hand peeler, they stood over the sink and their peelings dropped away as they scraped the peeler against the skin of the apple.  This was a lot of work, and fun to do with one apple, but their arms quickly became tired to do very many this way.   The machine peeler does three actions all at once as the children turn the handle.  It peels, cores, and slices the apple into long spiral slices and is called an Appel Peeler Corer Slicer.  It gets right to the point!  It seriously cuts the work of preparing apples into an easy task of just putting the apple on and turning the handle!

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The kids learned to make homemade pie crust from flour, water, and shortening.  They blended these together with a hand-held cutter.  As they pressed the cutter into the flour mixture, it broke it down into itty bitty pieces like small crumbs.  Eventually the whole thing works into a soft ball of dough almost like play dough.

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Next the kids rolled the dough out on the counter with a rolling-pin.  They placed extra flour on the surface of the counter so the dough would not stick and was easy to flip and turn to roll again.

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When the dough was thin enough, they placed the dough over their pie pan and cut away the excess that hung past the edge of the pan.  Then they learned to crimp the edge of the crust to make it look pretty and also to prevent shrinkage.

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Next they filled their pie shells with sliced apples, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla, salt, and butter.  They rolled out more pie dough, and cut it with a pizza cutter into strips.  They topped the pies with strips of dough and made designs.  Some made a lattice design, others made their initials of their name, or some made hearts and others made butterflies, and one also topped their crust with a crumb topping and more cinnamon and sugar.  They could design the top however they wanted too.

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The pies baked in a hot oven at 375 degrees for about 35 to 45 minutes until they were golden brown. All of the pies turned out beautiful. Each one had a unique personal touch made by the kids.

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I loved seeing and smelling all of these pies baking at once. Thankfully we had two ovens available to bake all of these pies so they could finish about the same time.

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While the pies baked, the kids got all hot and sweaty in the gym. They actually took turns peeling apples, making dough, making pies, etc and the kitchen adjoins the gym, it so the kids played in the gym off and on between turns in the kitchen. This worked out perfectly! Man I wish I had a gym at home adjoining the kitchen! Just imagine all the pies and exercise we could get done!  Ha, ha!  I could go for a double oven baking area too!

Huggies Little Snugglers At Target

Disclaimer: I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Huggies & Target. I received samples for this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating and writing an honest review.

The kids and I recently took a trip to Target to buy Huggies Little Snugglers diapers for a review campaign.  If you haven’t tried Huggies diapers, I would encourage you to give them a try.

HUGGIES Little Snugglers Size 3

 

From One Momma To Another Momma:

I am the mom of six kids, and over the years I have made a lot of trips to the store for diapers.  I can tell you about the good and bad diaper purchases I have made, and the not so pleasant outcomes of choosing the wrong ones. I have too many “sad stories”or “funny stories” depending on your point of view, of cheap diapers that resulted in ooey gooey outcomes, but I will skip sharing the details.

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Huggies Little Snugglers hold up well to everyday use, they hold the contents (poop and pee) in well so it doesn’t end up on my shirt or pants or on my baby’s clothes.   Another great benefit using Huggies Little Snugglers is that they feel dry to the touch and keep the skin dry even after your baby has peed, and thankfully they are soft and have a cloth-like feel for sensitive skin.

Why are Huggies Little Snugglers great diapers?

*You get an extra layer of protection with the GentleAbsorb Liner for your baby’s delicate skin.
*GentleAbsorb Liner draws more mess away from the baby’s skin than other diapers.
*Soft, comfortable, cushiony layer of protection.
*A Wetness Indicator helps you keep track of wet diapers by changing color when wet.
*Pocketed back waistband to help keep in the runny mess
*Adorable graphics that feature Winnie the Pooh and friends on the diapers.
*The Huggies® Leak Lock® protection you can trust.
*They are available in various sizes from Premies up to Size 3.

So from one Momma to another Momma, I can tell you with confidence and lots of experience, that Huggies Little Snugglers are made with quality and you won’t be disappointed using them. I highly recommend these diapers! You can purchase these diapers in Target stores and at Target.com and have them shipped to your home for convenience too.

 

Our Trip To Target

Traveling to the store to pick up diapers and supplies is something our family has done automatically every week for the past 14 years. Fourteen years worth of diapers is a whole lot of diapers!

On this recent trip to Target, we decided to break the whole trip down and make it an educational field trip to take a closer look and build the kid’s understanding of consumer skills in the process for a school project.   This was a great opportunity for my kids to use their Geography, Math, and Consumer Skills to buy Huggies Little Snugglers diapers.

We went to the Target.com website and found locations of Target stores in neighboring towns. We chose the store with the closest distance to our home to visit. I printed a map for the kids to follow ahead of time.  From the printed map, they had to identify our house, the Target store in a neighboring town, and the roads to travel on to get from point “A” to point “B”. I had them compute the mileage and estimated travel times for different routes to the store as there is more than one route to get there, but some routes take you on small country roads.

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My oldest son is a gadget guru and wanted to do his geography map work with the live Google Maps App on the phone.  He found he could also get live satellite images as well as a road map and this feature in 3D and this was exciting to him to see landmarks, as well as fields and forested areas on the screen.

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Before arriving, we talked about how stores will place sales flyers and specials at the front of the store to increase sales and offer shoppers a good deal on certain items. I asked the children to observe what sales Target placed at the front of their store. The kids observed that Target has a $1 section of toys and various items at the front of their store and also picked up a copy of their sales flyer. They also noticed that Target has a food court at the front of the store with items like soft pretzels and sandwiches incase shoppers get hungry or need a place to sit down and help them have a positive shopping experience. We did not eat at Target during our trip, but the coffee smelled so good, and the soft pretzels looked delicious! Maybe next time!

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We found the diapers in the diaper section.  I had the kids check out how the diapers were arranged for the shopper to find. They noticed there was a large selection of Huggies diapers and wipes to choose from, and it was easy to find the brand and style we came for. The kids placed the diapers in our shopping cart and we headed for the checkout.

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We placed the diapers and gift card on the moving counter at the checkouts. We were able to purchase our Jumbo Pack of Huggies Little Snugglers with the Target Gift Card we received.

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Checking out was fast and easy. Our cashier was a beautiful and very happy young lady.  She was helpful and asked if we had found everything we came for today.  When she smiled, she made the whole room light up! I was thankful to have such a nice cashier to help us.

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The ride home was quiet. The kids had learned a lot about being a consumer, and exhausted their brains! Besides buying diapers, they each picked out something from the dollar bins. In my sleeping toddler’s lap is his purchase of a package of dinosaurs. We are excited about them because there are two of each dinosaur for matching colors, counting, patterns, and also for learning identification of different dinosaurs. This is a great buy for $1. It was a good shopping experience! Thank you Target, and thank you Mom Central Consulting for this fun review opportunity!

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Disclaimer: I received free product and promotional gift in exchange for writing an honest review. All opinions expressed by me and my family are our honest opinions.

My Student Logbook Review

Are your kids ready to tackle this school year with more independence and determination than ever before? Then give your kids their own My Student Logbook to use.

My Student Logbook Review

We were blessed to be asked to review the My Student Logbook with one of our kids, just in time for this new homeschool year. I am very excited to share this review with you.  It is the first professionally created logbook for homeschool kids our family has used and it is working out great.

My Student Logbook Review

My Student Logbook
A full school year record management system for kids.
For 2nd grade – 12th grade
Retails $15.00

 

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We received a nice spiral-bound paperback logbook that has a clear see through outer cover on the front and a black vinyl cover on the back.   They have many cover options to choose from to make the logbook more personal, and we were given the option to choose any cover we wanted for our review. My son chose the “Planets” cover option for the logbook we received. You can see the planets cover through the see through outer cover which helps keep it nice and offers some additional durability.

My Student Logbook Review

This is the first year I have required my oldest son to keep his own daily logbook / journal for his schoolwork.  I usually hang a list of our schoolwork, chores, and daily routine up on the wall in our schoolroom, and then I give each child a copy to put into their binder. But I don’t make the kids check anything off each day.  Over the years, we have tried check off lists in the past and the kids usually keep up with them for about a week or two and then stop updating them. So it was just easier for my own sanity to do away with that requirement and whatever we get done in a day we do and what we don’t get done then we work on the next day, and I try not to stress over it.  This really helped me keep peace in the home.

My Student Logbook Review

However, my oldest son turned fourteen this summer, and has a whole new maturity about him. When our new homeschool year began this fall, he was ready to tackle this school year with more independence and determination than ever before. Having his own personalized daily logbook, with check off lists and management pages, has helped him be accountable to his goals. What a blessing it was to be asked to review the My Student Logbook! It has been a perfect fit for him. He has now kept up with keeping his logbook updated each day since we started back to school. I am really proud of him.

My Student Logbook

I went through the logbook ahead of time and wrote down each of his classes and his daily chores on the form. Then all he has to do is put a check mark, or a page number (or verse number if it is bible study) on the check off grid. He can fold over the page and use the same origional list with a new check of grid for each week without having to re-write the original list if desired, or if there is a change then he can write out a new list to keep track of. He can keep track of all of his work in one central place. Each day, he opens his student logbook and keeps it near him when he is working on his schoolwork. Then he is able to mark off the work he completes. I have been learning about my own personal time management too through a wonderful personal daily planner for moms, and this too helped me encourage my son in his personal quest to be organized and keep his logbook updated each day.

You child can use this logbook as a scrapbook of their entire year and add it to their academic portfolio when the year is over, or take it a step further and use the recorded information to create professional looking highschool transcripts too.  In addition to the schoolwork/chores log (you can choose pre-dated or un-dated logs for your book),  there are several additional pages in the back for kids to keep track of all of their additional records they have for the year:  “All About Me” favorites (food, places, things, interests, holidays), Prayers, Goals, Memorized Bible Verses, Books Read Log, Events/Field Trips/Presentations/Activities, Test Records, and Year Highlights. The My Student Logbook is available as a spiral bound booked shipped to you, or as a PDF downloadable e-book you can print and bind yourself. Check the website for more information about various versions, covers, and prices.

Check out this video for more information about how to use the My Student Logbook.  There are many helpful tips and be sure to check out their other videos (see the YouTube media link below) for ideas on using the logbook to create highschool transcripts and more.

Be sure to check out My Student Logbook social media links for all the latest updates and news.
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The 7 Minute Life Review

Thankful is all I can say about receiving The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner to review. It is produced by The 7 Minute Life company which helps women around the world manage their daily goals in 7 minutes of prep time a day.

7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review
The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner
Spiral Bound and contains 269 pages.
Cover daily planning for 90 days, as well as other planning forms.
Retails $24.95

MORE THAN A DAILY PLANNER

I am so excited to share this resource with you because it is way more than just a monthly calendar and more than just another daily planner. This is a resource for your tool chest for managing life goals as well as daily tasks to reach those goals.  Plus if you use the free videos and extras that are available, learning this material is like taking a college class with lectures, text, and workbook in time management I would call “Life Management Course 101″!  How cool is that? Seriously, they should offer college credits, or CEU’s for this.

So why would I care about a another daily planner, or focusing on tasks to achieve life goals, or even care to take a course in time management? Because I am always struggling to prioritize and organize what does matter in my life.

STRATEGY TO OVERCOME THE GIANT TIME SUCKING MONSTER!

There are so many little and big things that happen through out the day.  I need to identify and let go of the things/thoughts/clutter that takes away my time and really doesn’t matter in the big picture of life. If all my time, energy, skills, and potential are used on the things that don’t matter, then I am left feeling empty and unsatisfied when the day is through.  If this goes on and on, then in a few weeks, months, years you can definitely feel defeated about my life.

But what if for the next 90 days, I spend 7 minutes of prep time a day to tackle the “Giant Time Sucking Monster” with a strategy taught in The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner, and manage tasks that do help me reach my goals? That is what this planner is about.

The goal of the planner is to equip you with a strategy to make positive change by pre-planning your priorities and tasks in 7 minutes a day. Mental clutter, chaos, disorganization, and a lack of productivity can get anyone off track of their purpose and joy in life. This planner provides women with the process and tools to “Prioritize, Organize, and Simplify” to overcome.

7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review

The process of getting life under control in 7 minutes a day for 90 days involves:

Set your priorities and stick to them.
Learn to avoid interruptions and distractions.
Master the chaos of endless unfinished tasks.
Declutter your mind and your life.
Beat procrastination.
Get rid of stress and anxiety.
Stop feeling overwhelmed.
Have time for the people and things you love.
Live according to your true purpose!

 

This planner is filled with helpful pages to keep you on track. Some of the planning pages / planning sections in the 7 Minute Life Daily Planner include:

Yearly Calendar
Monthly Calendar
Daily Progress Report
Financial Goals
Life Goals
Priorities
Meeting Planner
Notes Pages
Annual Exercise Progress Report
Home Repairs
Annual Projects and Tasks

DAILY PROGRESS

7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review

My favorite page in this planner is the two page Daily Progress Report page. I love it because it is so much like ME! It has places to record my daily contacts, appointments, 5 things I will do before 11 am, a place for unfinished tasks, what I ate, what I did for exercise, water / hydration, sleep, reading, reflection (prayer time), money spent and on what, appointments, thank you notes (birthday, get well, ??) to send, and a place to write down voice mails (or other contacts you need to respond to, like texts, emails, facebook, etc), and an empty place for journaling. All of this is on a two page spread, that lays flat thanks to the spiral binding, for each day. You can easily see the whole day and keep track of what is going on in your life from day to day for a whole 90 days. At the end of each day there is a place to mark if you got done what you said you would (that 7 minutes of prep time where you listed out your plans ahead and 5 things you planned to achieve before 11 am.

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As a wife and homeschool mom of six kids, life is really busy everyday. We get up, eat, do chores, get school work going, take care of multiple ages in different subjects with different needs, keep a toddler and preschooler occupied, and make lunch all before 12 each day. Except for homeschool coop and class days days wich we are gone all morning until 12 or so. In addition to the usual things in our daily life, we have also moved across the country several times so part of our life is still packed away in boxes, we have ran several businesses (Construction, Healthy Foods Store, Healthy Foods Coop, etc) as well as have worked for others, volunteer teaching classes in the community, volunteer visiting nursing homes, and attend homeschool clubs, 4-H clubs and attending church. All of this adds up to a really busy week, busy month, and busy life with multiple responsibilities competing for our time. If I didn’t say it enough, let me say it again, life is busy!

I am definitely not a “type A” personality, so being organized does not come easy to me. Oh…no…I hate to admit it, but I am not organized to the point I want to be in my life. It could be better. I get a lot done just because I am motivated and “jump in and do”, but it is not always because it flows with the bigger picture of our life goals. I am not as organized as I want to be in life. Lately, with school starting and new demands on the schedule, stacks of books and supplies for 6 kids, looking for a new church home, and still having several unpacked boxes, I feel like the clutter and disorganization is about to drown me. It can get overwhelming real fast to keep everything running smoothly and keep the clutter at bay. I try to keep up with activities we are involved in by using a calendar on the bulletin board and it is synced with a digital calendar on my computer, but that is about as far as I have come in keeping plans organized since we moved to a new location last year. I just feel like I can’t get on top of life right now and I am letting go of so many personal goals (personal physical fitness, my desire to write songs, my desire to write children’s ministry curriculum, my desire to complete graduate school, to teach 4H, to teach youth ministry, to teach healthy focus workshops, etc.), because there is no time right now for me to work on them. Life is so busy and everyone needs me constantly that it just doesn’t seem that I have any time to get organized, let alone have an extra 7 minutes a day to devote to planning.

7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review

But with this planner, I am getting a whole new education.  I have been on The 7 Minute Life YouTube channel (see link below) constantly listening and learning about how to better use this planner, and the skills they share to organize my day and my life. This information is invaluable. It has all the “gear” I need to climb my mountain of life and keep my priorities in check. At the beginning of the planner, you are encouraged to write down your “big picture” priorities. There is a list of 75 different things most folks feel are important. You are to check off ALL of those that appeal to you. Then you select ten of those priorities and write them down as your most important focus for your life. This helps you come up with your purpose, and what makes you feel satisfied so that you will know what to focuss your time on.

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Again, I can’t stress this enough, this 90 day planner and the additional free resources that are available, is much more like a life strategy course rather than just a daily planner. 3 months is all it takes to learn and master this new strategy. Learning this strategy is life changing. It is like the way I felt when I learned the method of “how to study” when I took a college level study skills course.  I learned a secret, a key, to successfully take any course in any subject. Suddenly, I had a whole new lease on my determination to master my classes in college, because I knew the key to successfully completing them.  Reading through the 7 Minute Life Daily Planner, completing the steps to establish life goals, priorities, and pre-planning 5 daily tasks to keep me on track, taking one step after the next to accomplish the tasks, is helping me break down my overwhelming to do list and learn what to keep and what to let go of.

This is why I am so thankful. This planner is an answer to prayer for myself, and for many women, to learn how to get on top of the mountain of life. I am thankful that God has placed this key of wisdom in my lap at this time in my life. Thankful to get the “key” to gain access to a wise strategy to organize and prioritize my life, and prioritize my focus, examine what is important to me, and get rid of the rest.

If you need a better way to organize your life and your day, I would encourage you to give the 7 Minute Life company and their 7 Minute Life Daily Planner a try.

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Fit Made Fun Day

Disclaimer: I recieved free products in order to host the LeapBand, Clif Kid sponsored MommyParties and participate virtually with the National Fit Made Fun Day. All opinions expressed here are my own.”

We had a great time joining in to help beat the Guiness World Record for the National Fit Made Fun Day on Saturday September 6, 2014!

We recieved a party kit with ideas and included were 2 Leap Frog LeapBands for kids to use for activities, and three flavors of Cliff Kid Zbar Protein Bars to enjoy during the event.

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We had arranged to have our Fit Made Fun Party at the local park, but we got rained out of our festivities.  I was worried we would miss getting to join in on this National celebration to break the world record of kids all over the USA getting active on the same day.   I thought we would have to reschedule until the following day, and I kept watching the weather.

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Finally by late afternoon, things began to dry out some and we were able to have fun games and activities outside in the yard instead of the park.  Better late (in the afternoon) than never!

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We activated the LeapBands ahead of the party.  I also printed out several games from http://www.leapfrog.com/en-us/learning-path/leapband-party-planning-guide.html with more game ideas, board games, coloring pages, activity cards, and more.

The Leapbands must be registered and activated online ahead of time. The creates access to a dashboard that keeps a cynced record of their activities recorded by the LeapBands.  The process is automatic each time you connect the LeapBands to the computer and allows you to change the settings of when they are active, sleeping, at school, etc if desired, and also recharges the LeapBand so it is full of energy.

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The kids couldn’t wait to put on their LeapBands and get busy following along with the instructions for activities.  They earned Joules for each activity they completed.  Later we connected them again to the computer after we were done using them for the day, the Joules they earned and information about their activities was transferred to their computer dashboard.

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LeapBand is a wearable activity tracker that talks to kids, keeps track of movement, and records their answers to games.  It is kind of cross between a pedometer, a watch, and an activity gaming console all wrapped up in one.  It encourages kids to get active with 50 preprogramed games and activities for endless hours of fun.  It also has virtual pet pals. They earn points called Joules for moving and being active. They can see the points they earned right on the face of the LeapBand. The more points they earn, they can unlock new levels in the games and also earn rewards for their virtual pet pals.

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We had water bottles and Clif Kid Zbar Protein bars on hand for rehydration and energy.  We also made Turkey Pita sandwhiches and had fresh strawberries.  The kid’s favorite snack was the Clif Kid Zbar Protein bars.  They are delicious. We tried the Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Mint, and Peanut Butter.

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Our absolute favorite flavor was Peanut Butter. They taste like a cross between a candy bar and a granola bar.

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But we honestly liked all the flavors. My personal favorite was the Chocolate Mint.  I was surprised how delicious and satisfying it was. Definitely passed for both kids and adults.

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As part of the National Fit Made Fun Party participation with kids nationwide, we spent 10 minutes doing the “Snorkel Dance”, 10 minutes rolling around in the grass making “Grass Angels”,  and 10 minutes playing “Follow The Leader”. We played games like “Frogs on the Lily Pads”,  “Healthy Habits Hunt”, and “Relay Races”. The kids had so much fun doing cartwheels, dancing, and hopping around.

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They made grass angels (like snow angles), did a swim dance, flew around like birds, and before I knew it, they were doing flips upside down on their hands in the grass too.

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They were having so much fun, they decided to take advantage of the little bit of sunlight left in the evening to climb trees and take a nature walk too.

Up the tree with LeapBand.

At the end of the party, everyone received a participation certificate. We had so much fun! We are already looking forward to joining the National Fit Made Fun Day again next year and hope we can help them set the next Guiness World Records!

Disclaimer:  We were provided a party kit with LeapBand and Clif Kid products in exchange for an honest review and for the purpose of facilitating a Fit Made Fun Day party sponsored by LeapFrog and MommyParties.  All opinions expressed are my own honest opinion.

Under Drakes Flag Audio Review

Do you and your kids like adventures?  My kids love adventures and we recently used Under Drakes Flag by Heirloom Audio Productions to take a listening adventure in our van, and in our imagination on the high seas.

Analytical Grammar Review
 

UNDER DRAKE’S FLAG
Audio CD Theater Presentation of Under Drake’s Flag by G.A. Henty
Retails for $29.95 plus shipping
For ages 6 to Adult

Under Drakes Flag is about a famous ship captain named Sir Francis Drake and a boy named Ned who travels on his ship. They have one adventure after the next, and the learning adventures are so fascinating you can’t step away.  The suspense and excitement of these stories keeps you biting your nails, laughing, and learning all the way through.

About the audio production from the website:  “This movie-quality audio theater—recorded in London—features a cast of stellar actors, including acclaimed British actor Brian Blessed, state-of-the art sound design from award-winner Mark Drury (The Chronicles of Narnia audio series), and a stunning music score composed by John Campbell (Lamplighter Theatre®, Focus on the Family Radio Theatre®, Adventures in Odyssey®). Adapted from the book, Under Drake’s Flag, by G.A. Henty”

What we received and how we used it:

We received a two-volume CD set and a small Abridged Study Guide.   The CD’s cover 2 hours of listening divided up between 19 short chapter stories. The chapter stories include: The Opening; The Otter; The Invitation; The Plymouth Harbor; On Board the Poncha; In the Carpenter’s boat; The Voyage in Earnest; The Attack; Treasure and Retreat; Donna Anna; A Lull Before the Storm; The Storm; In Spanish Territory; With The Africans; War with the Spaniards; To The Coast; The Inquisition; Familiar Waters; and Disturb Us Lord.

The abridged study guide includes study helps for each story on the CD’s. For each story you will find: comprehension questions (Listening Well); open-ended questions (Thinking Further); and vocabulary words (Defining Words). There is also a Bible Study section that helps your child understand Godly Character. There is a larger complete study guide available too at www.hentyalive.com/studyguide.

Henty-Inside

We used the Under Drake’s Flag CD’s and Abridged Study Guide for our Sunday learning with our kids. We held faith-based adventures for our Sunday School learning in the van over the course of several Sunday’s and put the CD’s in to listen to while we drove around. The kids pretended our van was a big ship and they too were sailing the seven seas right along with Ned and Sir Francis Drake.

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We are in-between churches right now, and looking for where we FIT IN to serve and fellowship. That concept just sounds strange to me, because everywhere believers in Jesus are, should be a good fit to serve and fellowship, because we are all serving the same Lord. But sadly that is not the case in today’s church.  Sadly we hinder the work of the Lord by wrong attitudes, denominational rules, and looking for differences in people.  We are facing this challenge to learn what God wants from us as a positive opportunity to explore different churches, as well as a great opportunity to lead our own kids in hands on service ministry while teaching them the gospel.  If it is a Sunday that we travel anywhere within an hour of where we live, we put in various bible learning CD’s and faith-based adventure stories for the children to listen to and discuss together.

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I believe Under Drake’s Flag CD’s were a perfect fit for our bible study learning with the kids, because they are mobile (use at home, on the road, or anywhere at any time), they teach Godly character, and show how God is always with us and will help us when we turn to him. We decided to spend every other Sunday visiting a local church (also visiting churches on Wednesday nights), and the other Sunday’s listening to faith-based programs and “doing something” (Mathew West has a great Christian song called Do Something that our kids love), to put our faith in action in a hands on way to meet the needs of others. Basically we want to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a lost and dying world. Some people may judge us for this decision, to serve outside of the church building on a Sunday, but we believe it is the right decision for our family at this time. Isn’t that what missionaries and traveling Evangelists do? Isn’t this what Jesus did? Did he only sit in the temple and hear bible stories, or did he go out and do something and be the answer to people’s needs? Didn’t Jesus say to go out 2 by 2 and tell everyone about him? Didn’t he say to meet the needs of others by feeding them, visiting them, encouraging them, and more? As we seek the Lord in raising our children, this decision seems like a powerful way to show our children faith in action and what we as the body of Christ need to be doing. Our faith must be courageous and go beyond the church building and into the towns and cities and places people are living if we are truly to be the salt and light in this world.

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This opportunity to be mobile, and use Godly character building audio CD’s like Under Drake’s Flag, has allowed us to encourage our kids to reach outside of our comfort zone, and the four walls of the church building, to trust God and touch the lives of complete strangers. The kids are learning to trust God for the needs of others to pray with them, feed them, and meet some of their physical needs in a tangible way. Some folks we have met are homeless and some are not homeless. Some have given us their address and we have been able to maintain continued correspondence with them and sent them things they needed through the mail too to further their faith. Traveling from place to place in a moving vehical, listening to faith building stories and adventures, really enhances the kids excitement.

The kids were so excited to listen to every word of these stories. They were on the edge of their seat the whole time as Ned experienced one faith building adventure after the next. That is how real life is, one faith building adventure after the next, trusting God all the way to meet your needs and take care of you. With these Heirloom Audio Productions CD’s your kids will follow along on exciting adventures, learn exciting historical facts, learn exciting new vocabulary of historical sailors and pirates, and build an exciting faith.  With Under Drake’s Flag your children will learn right along with Ned to trust God in all things.

Exciting Adventures

Some of the fun, dangerous, yet faith building adventures Ned has with Sir Francis Drake include a shark attack, a shipwreck, he experiences fierce battles on both land and in the sea, and he comes face to face with the Spanish Inquisition.  How scary right?  But Ned allows God to  use each of these experiences to grow his faith.

Exciting History

Sir Francis Drake lived from 1540 to 1596.  He was considered by others as a hero in England but a hated pirate in Spain. He captured 93 Spanish ships as he traveled the globe.  He had a strong faith in God and allowed God to guide him on his journeys and in his conduct.  He helped England defeat the Spanish navy’s invasion of English waters.  He was the first ship captain from England to travel across the world.  Also Queen Elizabeth had Sir Francis Drake knighted which was a huge honor.

Exciting Vocabulary

There are all kinds of words used on this adventure that make it even more of a unique experience your kids will love. Some of the new words my kids learned about include: flag ship, Spanish Inquisition, penance, mainmast, yardman, constellations, soul, leverage, recant and so many more.

Exciting Faith

What excited me the most is how Ned grows from an inexperienced young boy into a young man through all of these challenges he faces on his journey, and how he puts his faith in God instead of being afraid.  It truly is a tale of faith, strength, and courage as much as it is a fun listening adventure.

About G.A. Henty
G.A. Henty authored the book Under Drake’s Flag. He lived from 1832 to 1902 and authored over 122 books. G. A. Henty was very athletic and adventurous, and he loved to travel the world and experience it first hand. He wrote historical fiction stories and his writings bring history to life with great details interwoven from his own experiences visiting those places.

Be sure to check out the website for more options on ordering and also follow them on Facebook for all the latest news and updates.

Under Drake's Flag Reviews
 

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Essential Skills Advantage Review

My, my, my… the online curriculum options just keep getting better and better.  We were recently given the opportunity to review Essential Skills Advantage and it is AWESOME!

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Essentials Skills Advantage (ESA) is designed to help kids in K – 6th grades build and strengthen foundational Language Arts and Reading skills. ESA retails for $9.99 a month for a premium membership of 24/7 unlimited advertising free access.

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You can try out a free trial of the full version before you buy to see how this wonderful program will work for your family. ESA has just started a free version too that is sponsored with advertising if you don’t mind the ads popping up while learning. For a limited time, you can use the coupon code TOS50 and receive a 50% discount on the full advertising free Premium Membership version, and with your discount your cost would only be $4.99 per month as long as you remained a member.

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By strengthening their “essential” skills, and building a strong foundation, kids can learn to master any other curriculum. ESA has over 20,000 learning activities and teaches 38 phoneme sounds, progression from phonics to complete sentences, 220 English words to help your student master the English language that make up to 70% of the words we use in our daily life, learning the meanings and comprehending the outcomes of stories they read, and grammatical rules of spelling.

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Both kids and parents can keep track of progress. Kids are encouraged to progress and can earn virtual silver and gold stars and printable certificates to keep them motivated to learn.

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I have set the program to allow each child to work in their current grade, plus work on lessons that are a grade below and a grade above for both review and additional challenge. Both the kids and I are pleased with their progress.

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ESA is online, but is designed to appeal to all types of learners including visual, auditory, and kinetic learners and works well for on level learning, remedial practice, and is also flexible for those with learning disabilities. The majority of kids can learn to master the essential skills with ESA.

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I usually have the kids spend 20 to 30 minutes each day doing a spelling, reading comprehension, and vocabulary activity each day on the ESA curriculum. They have their own dashboard on ESA and can choose from several options: vocabulary, spelling, reading comprehension, word puzzles, fill in the blank, grammar, and so on.

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Once they have completed their lesson they can see the stars they have achieved by answering correctly. Most of the time, the program will not let them progress until they have answered the problem correctly. This method allows them to make mistakes, but also ensures they have learned the correct answer before moving ahead.

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All of my kids love ESA and can’t wait to get on the computer each day. I have them work on two or three assignments per day. It is quick and painless (no whining, no drama, and no tears), and lots of fun. With six kids all waiting for their turn, and excited about their schoolwork, I just wish we had more computers in the house! While one is on the computer the others are doing book work or hands on learning. But even though they have to wait on each other and take turns, they stay excited and motivated to for their opportunity to do their online learning programs. I am thankful!

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You can follow ESA on their social media links and learn more about the product, news, and updates too.
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Oh My! Chocolate Chip Cookies!

This is not your ordinary cookie! Oh no, no, no! These cookies taste like…OH MY!

These are a delicacy! They are so good and crispy on the outside, gooey and chewy on the inside! With just a surprise of CHOCOLATE on your taste buds! Everything and more that your mouth desires in a chocolate chip cookie! Oh my!

Oh My! Chocolate Chip Cookies!  by Weiser Academy

Oh My! Chocolate Chip Cookies! by Weiser Academy

Now let’s talk about healthy! These are healthy as well as delicious. Think I’m off my rocker to call a good tasting cookie healthy?  Do you think to have healthy food you have to give up great taste and texture? Nope! Think again!

I know what you are thinking, you have eaten too many hocky pucks labeled cookies and had too many “healthy” cookies crumble in your hands before they get to your mouth, or worse taste like a cotton sock stuck in your throat once you got them in there!  Yeah, I hear your pain!  I know because I have been there, done that, in the name of getting healthy.  You know what I mean if you have used specialty flours to bake with and your cookies came out to dry or gritty!  It makes a person want to say goodbye to cookies all together.

So to reach my personal standard of a “healthy food” category for my family, I try to find foods that meet these criteria:  First and foremost, the ingredients need to be natural.  Can I get an AMEN?!  Did God create them, or were they created in a manufacturing laboratory?  Even if God created them, did some scientist invent a way to alter them, or spay them with poisons to kill off pests?  If they are not a natural product, and they were not raised by a natural process, then forget using them.  Second, they need to be nutrient dense.  They must have a diverse spectrum of nutrients to benefit the human body.

Here is a run down of why these cookie ingredients are healthy foods:
Spouted flours are gluten-free, low carb, phytic acid free, enzyme activated, power house flours
Healthy Free Range Eggs from chickens that roam the land in search of insects and green grass produce Omega 3 rich eggs and have more vitamins and nutrients in them than store-bought eggs.
Quinoa flour is also gluten-free, contains balanced plant proteins, and is high in minerals like calcium and iron.
Almond flour is gluten-free and contains fiber, vitamin E, and more.
Flax meal is high in Omega 3 fatty acids
Butter from grass-fed free range cows is rich in CLA, Vit D, Vit A, essential fatty acids, and numerous vitamins and minerals.
Aluminum free baking soda is alkinalizing to the body.
Sea salt is rich in a whole spectrum of minerals.
Oats help to lower blood pressure and assist the vascular system.
Chocolate has antioxidants that help the body fight free radicals and cancer.
So for all of these reasons, these cookies are a healthy food.

I have altered these gems, to lessen the stress of gluten on the body. I am making them gluten free by using sprouted flour. With a few tweaks, I have increased the protein, amino acids, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, and omega 3 fatty acids from a regular chocolate chip cookie and the amazing thing is you won’t know the difference. Seriously you cannot tell and your husband and kids are going to love them and your body will thank you!

Oh My!  Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oh My! Chocolate Chip Cookies!
Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups sprouted wheat or spelt flour (or use all natural wheat or spelt flour)
1 cup quinoa flour
1 cup almond meal flour
1/2 cup flax meal flour
1 1/2 tsp aluminum free baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups gluten-free quick oats
2 – 3 cups chocolate chips (your choice depending on your preference: semi sweet, dark, skinny chocolate, sugar-free, dairy free, etc.)

Wet Ingredients:
5 medium free rage eggs
2 cups healthy saturated fat. I use grass-fed butter (or 1 1/2 cup butter plus 1/2 cup coconut oil).
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups of sweetener of choice. I like to use a sucanant sugar. It is highly nutrient dense. But I also use a stevia erythritol blend to make these cookies a whole lot easier on the blood sugars. You choose! If you want to keep these cookies more like a traditional chocolate chip cookie, try making them with 1 1/2 cups of sucanat and 1 1/2 cups evaporated cane juice.

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Method:
Mix healthy fat and sweetener together until light and fluffy. This takes 3 to 5 minutes with a mixer. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix gently and set aside.

Mix flours, baking soda, and sea salt together and stir lightly with a fork to combine. Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients. One cup at a time of the flour mixture, and blend until mixed before adding in the next one.

Add in oats and chocolate chips.

Drop by spoonful onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees until done. Remove pan from heat and let cookies cool on pan for 2 minutes, then remove to a wire cooling rack for about 20 minutes until completely cool and store in an air tight container.

Happy Kids Songs Review

We have been having fun finishing out the end of summer and getting started back to school with a review of Happy Kids Songs.

Happy Kids Songs Review
 

 

Sometimes my younger kids are impulsive and not so happy. Happy Kids Songs has a lot to say about our attitude and how we treat each other. This is a great tool for parents to teach younger kids about behavior and focussing on the right things. This product is geared for kids 4-8 years old, but I had my 2, 5, 7, 9, and 11 year olds do the activities and had the 14 year old assist as a teacher’s helper. He helped me set up a play list on the computer and print off worksheets and organized the craft materials. This way I was able to include all 6 of my kids in using this product. We all can use some lessons in how to be happy, no matter what age.

Happy Kids Songs was created by Dr. Mac who is the song writer of the wonderful TV program for kids called Jay Jay and the Jet Plane from PBS Kids. He is a talented song writer, accomplished musician, child psychologist, school consultant and has won numerous awards for his talents and skills. He has won the iParenting award, Teacher’s Choice award, The National Parenting Center’s Seal Of Approval award, and many more.

Happy Kids Songs currently has 8 Volumes to choose from. Each Volume contains 5 songs, and retails for $4.95. The lyrics to each songs help your kids develop good character trates, treat others the way they want to be treated, and become happy people. For this review, we received three Volumes as a download, pdf lyrics and worksheet for each song (download), and a physical workbook /songbook was mailed to us for this review.

Vol. 1  Friends And Sharing
Retails $4.95

 

Happy Kids Songs Review
Songs include:
Sailing on the Seven Cs; Everybody Wants to Find a Friend; Sharing Friends; Happy as Happy Can Be; Together

There are a few YouTube Videos of some of the songs being made, some interviews with Dr Mac, and a couple of music videos too. Here is a video of the song Together from Volume 1 Friends and Sharing:

Volume 6 Happiness and Attitude
Retails for $4.95

Happy Kids Songs Review
Songs include:
Shake It Out and Dance; Who Knows What’s a Kudo?; I Don’t Understand; Be Good to Yourself; Better Together

Volume 7 Manners and Character
Retails $4.95

Happy Kids Songs Review
Songs Include:
H-O-N-E-S-T-Y; The Magic Word; Quirks; The Golden Rule; Six Little Kids

Songbook / Workbook Happy Kids Songs Workbook: Hands On Activites To Build Character, Social & Emotional Skills
Retails for $12.56

Happy Kids Songs Review
The workbook has over 100 lessons.  It includes all the lyrics and worksheets, coloring pages, and lesson plans and activity ideas for all 40 songs in the Happy Kids Songs 8 Volumes.

Our family has enjoyed sitting together at the table and listening to the songs, learning the lyrics, coloring pages and completing corresponding activities (word puzzles, coloring pages, arts and crafts).

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We downloaded the songs to our computer to listen to at home, and also burned them on a CD so we can take them on the road in the van too.

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The workbook has all of the song lyrics organized by Volume at the front half of the book with a corresponding worksheet. In the second half of the book, it has lesson plans also organized by Volume.

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For me, the workbook was indispensible and very easy to implement. You just find the lessons for the Volume you are listening too, learn the lyrics, do the activity sheets, and optional activities and arts and crafts.

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The kids really enjoyed making crafts while listening to the songs. Here they are making a friend puppet.

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Happy Kids Songs products are great! Kids enjoy using them. The songs are catchy and easy to remember. They are handy for adults because they have everything organized in the workbook and come with a license to re-produce the lyrics and coloring pages and worksheets, and you can use them in your family or group settings with multiple students. This makes them a great option for Sunday School, clubs, and Homeschool Coops too.

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Be sure to follow Happy Kids Songs on their social media links for all the latest news and updates.

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And be sure to sign up for the monthly news letter and receive a free song of the month and other special information. Samples of songs and more are also available on their web site.

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