Author Archives: Melinda Weiser

About Melinda Weiser

I am a sinner, saved by grace. I am on a journey and offer to share my story with the hope that it will bless you. My one desire is to bring glory to my creator. I am a wife and the mother of 6 children, plus two in heaven. I enjoy homeschooling, research, teaching, homesteading, natural gardening, grass based farming, cooking, fresh raw milk, herbs, children, midwifery, and music. I am a writer, biblical mentor, and also work part time in the healthy foods and vitamin business www.weisernaturalfoods.com I have a BSW degree from Kansas State University, and trained professionally as a medical social worker, biblical counselor, tutor, and vocal performer. Thank you for stopping by to read about our homeschool and family life adventures. Be blessed!

Project Passport: The Middle Ages Review

Home School in the Woods offers top notch History based unit studies that kids and parents love!  They recently sent us HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages for our family to review.

Kids love to go on trips.  Why not take the kids on “a trip back in time”?  With this unit study your kids can pretend to take a journey, pack their bags and board a “time machine” right in your home to travel back in history to the Middle Ages.   On this trip, you won’t even have to hear the usual “are we there yet?”  This unit study journey is so much fun!

 

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages

Format: CD or Download (Mac & PC Compatible)
ISBN: 9780984204144
Retail $33.95 Download
Retail $34.95 CD

Suggested grades: 3-8
25 Lessons, Go at your own pace.
Tons of Printables For Parent / Teacher and Students
50 Projects and Activities
Arts, Crafts, Recipes
7 Dramatized Audio Tours

Lessons and Printables

The CD includes directions and masters for over 50 projects and activities. There is a HUGE menu of files.  Also included are Travel Tips, teacher keys, Additional Resources (to enhance the learning), and a Quick-Stop Itinerary. Photos of completed projects, and a three-page travel planner to help the teacher plan the the schedule with upcoming topics and projects at a glance.

Dramatized Audio Tours

Also included with this study are 7 Dramatized Audio Tours.  These audio dramas are fun to listen to and take you right to the action!  What a great way to get your kids right in to the daily life of the past by listening to and take this journey with the “Knight in Shining Armor Tours”.  The tour guide is Agatha and the coach driver is Brian and they will take the kids on various errands and excursions.

Your kids will spend time at a town Festival Day, visit a monastery where they will hear the sounds of Gregorian Chant, or visit the Battlefield of Hastings, and they might catch a glimpse of Duke William of Normandy! Wow!

Topics

There is so much to do on this journey.  It is more than just learning HISTORY!  This trip is filled adventure, exciting events, fun people to learn about, and lots of facts about life from the past. Some of the topics in this unit study include:

Barbarian Invasions
Daily Medieval Life
Class Structure in Society
Towns & Guilds
Science & Invention
Education
The Arts
Church History
Castles
The Crusades
Knights
Vikings
Weapons
Battles
Wars
and a whole lot more!

Projects & Writing & Arts & Crafts & Life Skills

A “Scrapbook of Sights” for storing notebook projects
Creative Writing projects for Lapbook
Souvenir Craft Cards with a dozen 3-D projects to make
A Newspaper “The Medieval Times”
A “Snapshot Moments in History” Scrapbook Timeline
“Postcards from Famous Folks”
Viking Ship
Castle
Puppets
Catapult
Tapestry
Hat
Wreath
Mosaic
Stained Glass
Herb Salts
Rose Water
Coat of Arms
Cooking & Recipes
A “Dining Out Guide”
2 Board Games

And More…

What We Thought

One of the things we like most about homeschooling is the freedom to choose curriculum that interests us.  The curriculum style that interests us the most is unit studies.  It is our favorite method for learning.  Unit studies are our first choice because they are flexible, adaptable, and there is such a huge variety of projects and resources that make learning any and every subject fascinating.

The first step for me after we received our product download was printing the information.  This unit study comes with a huge amount of printables for the kids as well as instructions for activities and lessons.   The mom / teacher definitely needs to be organized and print the lessons out and put them in some sort of a binder or file so you can keep track of the journey and get the supplies and printables ready for the adventure.  Besides mom’s binder, a computer, printer, and lots of paper, each kid also need a binder and a couple of file folders, glue, colored pencils and crayons, scissors, etc.

Our trip back in time to the Middle Ages includes 25 “stops” (1 +/- hour lessons) at specific locations where my kids learn what life was like during this time in History.   We went at our own pace and did 2 lessons a week. We skipped around a bit in the lessons and are half way through at the time of writing this review.  This study should take us about 14+ weeks to complete at this pace, but I plan to stretch it out longer with some additional activities.

Here is a list of a few of the STOPS and PROJECTS we have made so far:

Stop 1: Laying the foundation / packing for the trip.

Create a “Luggage” Folder and Passport.

The next step is to help the kids make a luggage or a travel suitcase, and a passport for the journey.  They will re-use these items in future Project Passport studies you do.  The suitcase helps keep all their papers and projects organized on their trip so they don’t get lost.  Kids can use the completed printables they stored in their suitcase to create a Lapbook at the end of the journey that showcases what they have learned. Another step to prep was to print out the history timeline, news paper, and scrapbook of sights so we were ready to add in tidbits along the journey.

The “prep” work and the first “stop” (lesson) was the most challenging for me as I learned to print out everything and make the “storage” or “foundation” projects of the unit study.  After that, it was easy to look at the organized lesson plans for the day and follow the plan.  The rest of the lessons take about an hour or less to complete.  All of the lessons and project instructions, crafts, and recipes are provided in the unit study and are easy for the kids to follow.

Stop 4: Everyday Life – Family and Class Structure

Firewood & Fence & Farming:

While learning about Class Structure and the Feudal System of land tenants (Serfs and Peasants) working the land for the land owners (Lords), we found ourselves wanting to know more about the daily life of the Serfs and Peasants who raised food.  We have a long way to go yet, but a few of things we focused on so far was “fuel” to cook and heat with, tools, and fencing to hold animals in a designated area.

A two worksheets are provided as well as an audio tour for this section. Since we like homesteading and farming, we decided to add more hands on projects learning about how people farmed / homesteaded during the Middle Ages to our study. We will be adding in more learning in this section in the future.  We plan to learn how to build a replica of a dwelling, how to lash boards together, how they started fire with friction, fishing with nets, butchering, growing harvesting storing and grinding grain, growing a vegetable and herb garden, etc.  These are skills that will be invaluable to these kids in the years ahead and help them connect their learning about the lives of people who lived in the past.  Tweaking a lesson here or there is the great flexibility that we love about unit studies.

Since we have been using this study during the months of January and February we focused on homesteading projects from the Middle Ages that were done this time of year.   These projects fit right in perfect timing to our study.

Chopping and gathering firewood and building and repairing fence was a common practice in January and February for the Serfs and Peasants.

January and February was also spent repairing hunting nets and repairing and building traps, sharpening tools, making utensils etc.    So we worked with the kids on learning how to sharpen a pocket knife and we also took the kids to the lake and they made their own small bait traps and worked on their fishing poles when they got snagged and lost their lines.

While researching how the Serfs and Peasants farmed the land, we learned that the most common form of fence used in small scale farming in the Middle Ages was called a “hurdle”. It is built of a “waddle” or woven fence panel made of upright posts and willow (or other flexible wood or vines available) woven in between the posts.   The next kind of fence used the most was hedges and stone fences or walls were also common if enough stone was available.  All of these fences were used to keep livestock in a boundary, either a small pen or a small field that was on crop rotation with livestock.  The fence or hedge held livestock penned in, or it held them out of gardens, graveyards, and orchards.

We could of made a small replica of the waddle fence panels and may still do this, but one of my sons likes to “build big”. Since he did not have the flexible material on hand to weave in and out of his posts he tried another method to make a simple fence panel about 5 feet long made of upright posts.

Of course 5 feet of fence isn’t enough to keep animals in, so this panel would have been combined with several more panel sections to create an actual fence.   These paneled fences would have been joined together to create pens for milk cows, ox, chickens, pigs, and sheep.    He used a small ax to make the panel and it was very obvious to the kids that just creating one panel was a lot of work.  Folks who farmed or homesteaded in the middle ages had to work very hard to do even simple tasks.

Stop 5: Everyday Life – Clothing and Food

Herb Bread:

When making the recipes, you can cook these in your modern kitchen, fire place, or outdoors.   We did some of both. We wanted to try cooking over an open flame/hot coals for a more realistic experience.  It is a lot harder to cook outside, build a fire, prep and cook the meal, bake bread, etc than it is to make this in today’s modern kitchen.   It was fun to try it out both ways.

Pictures of our creating our Herb Bread:

This bread was so delicious!  Some of the kids ate it plain, some ate it with butter, and some ate it with strawberry jam.   My husband loved it too!

Everyone wanted second and third servings of this delicious bread.  The crust and texture of the bread came out amazing!

My son also wanted to try topping his slice of bread with honey.  Every way they tried it, they enjoyed it.

 

Barely Stew

For the stew, we changed the recipe to fit what we had on hand. That is how the people in the Middle Ages did it too.  If they had an ingredient they used it, if not they substituted.  This is a good exercise in helping people to be flexible, content, and make do with what you have on hand.  Here is a picture of what the kids put into their stew.

He ate several slices with butter and then wanted to try it out with strawberry jam.

Outdoor cooking with Herb Bread:

This was another “extra” we added into our hands on learning.  Folks cooked over a fireplace in the Middle Ages.  We decided to make our “Middle Ages fireplace” kitchen in the back yard with some old bricks laying around and cook a few meals listed in the “Dining Out Guide”.

We made the fire place big enough to accommodate two fires or two cooking areas.   Two of the boys made their fires to the best of their ability to see who could heat up their bricks and get their fire just right for cooking first.   These two are competitive.

It was well after dark before we could get the fires to die down enough to cook on.

The kids learned it takes a long time to build a hot fire, heat their bricks, then let the fire die down to hot coals to bake bread.

We did not have a dutch oven pot or any “Medieval pots” to cook the bread in so we improvised with foil and shaped the foil like a pot and a lid.   The kids used the same herb bread recipe we had made in the house, and this time they put it in the foil pot we made and placed it on bricks we put in the hot coals to bake.

This is the finished bread from the outdoor fire.  It tasted delicious, though it looks misshapen or funny!  With more practice, they will be able to shape it better.

We sliced it up and lathered it with butter and some of the kids had strawberry jam with it and it was delicious!  The outdoor fireplace bread tasted just as good as the bread we had baked in the house in our modern stove oven.

We would like to try to create some pots from the middle ages to cook food in again.  We might make some clay pots and try firing them in the fire in the future.

Porridge

This was a common food eaten by peasants and surfs during the Middle Ages.   This is also a common breakfast food my kids are familiar with.  We have it once or twice a week.  It is very nutritious!

Stop 6: Everyday Life : Community

Field Trip Castle:

One of the fun activities in this lesson is to build a replica of a castle. Included are directions to build a castle with sugar cubes.  But my kids wanted to build one that will last and they can actually play with when they are through building it, so we are budgeting out money to buy a hobby brick kit to build one.  We also have a wooden castle the kids have played with for years and the kids often build small castles with Legos.   We pulled out our pictures from a while back when we actually took a field trip to see a real castle.  The kids remember this well and talked about it as they learned about castles in this unit study.

Stop 7: Everyday Life – Crime, Punishement, Entertainment

Jousting and Fox and Goose Game

This section was really interesting to the kids because one of the suggestions is to play indoor and outdoor games: checkers, chess, horseshoes, marbles, dice, board games, capture the flag, tag, games with balls, and physical training activities to become a knight, etc.    They also learned about a competitive game knights and warriors played to prove themselves in a challenge called Jousting.

Stop 13:  Medicine and Disease

Herbal Salt:

“Medicinal” herb salt.

Herbs and super foods were “medicine” in ancient times.  Folks who knew how to use strong herbs and oils and salt survived some of the darkest diseases in history.  Nowadays, petrochemicals are used to make synthetic medicines.

Though it is sad how many people died of the plague during the Middle Ages, learning how to make your own herbal remedy was an interesting lesson to explore.  This is a subject we are very interested in.  We have spent some time in the past learning about herbs used for healing.  We have made elderberry extract, tinctures, various kinds of honey, teas, and several herbal remedies over the years.  This study gave simple instructions for creating an Herb Salt that is just salt and dried herb(s) of your choice that can be used both in cooking and health care.   We made an herbal remedy with oregano, basil, parsley, garlic, and sea salt for this project.  Whenever one is feeling down, you can stir a teaspoon of this into hot water and drink it to restore minerals and act as an antibiotic anti fungal.   You can add a touch of raw honey and lemon juice for even more benefits.  We also rub the herb salt mixture into meat before cooking, or use it to season broth or other foods or put some in your bath water too.

We would like to create an actual “Herbal Apothecary” someday.   We are in the process of learning how to do this.  We have a good start with herbs, salts, essential oils, and dried super foods that ancient people in history knew how to use to support the body.

Stop 22:  Battles, Wars, Conflicts

Catapult:

During this journey, the kids learned about ancient weapons that were used during warfare.  One of those weapons was a catapult.  We built our own catapult variation with the instructions supplied.  We substituted some of the supplies listed.  We built our catapult using twigs, a pocket knife, rubber banks, and hot glue.   It turned out fantastic and worked perfectly.

It is amazing how sturdy this catapult is and how well it works!

Now the boys want to build a big life size model.  Oh boy!

One of the boys also built a Lego catapult.  He had a battle with his Lego men.  This catapult worked very well too.  Do you know how hard it is to find a Lego that was flung across the room?

Swords:

Dad helped the kids make wooden swords a while back.  They had a lot of fun making them.

It was fun to have their own sword and compare it to the weapons used in the Middle Ages unit study.   The 12 year old made a paper hat for a king, draped a blanket on as a cape and pretended he was in a heated battle with the others to protect his kingdom.

Someday they would like to make an actual shield to go with their sword. They would also like to make a long bow and set up an archer range.  They have shot bows and cross bows before.  But they are interested in making their own primitive long bow now.  They have been researching how to make it, but we haven’t built it yet.  I just hope no-one gets hurt with all these battles they like to act out.

Stop 25: Final Stop – Packing Up

Lapbook

Lapbooks are one of our favorite projects.

The Lapbook is the last lesson #25 in the Project Passport Middle Ages, but we decided to put ours together as we went along for the purpose of this review so our reading audience could see it in action.

We are about half way through with the Lapbook at the time of writing this review.

We still have a ways to go to finish this study of the Middle Ages and in addition to the recommended activities, we are adding some “extras” into our study as we find the time.   These additional activities will add a few more weeks onto our hands on learning.  The kids are really enjoying this unit study.

Because this is a flexible unit study, you can go faster or slower and pick and choose which lessons you want to complete.  For example if you speed up to 3 lessons a week, and do all of the lessons, you can finish this study in 8 weeks, or if you slow down and do 1 lesson a week on the journey, this unit study will last a full 25 weeks.   We chose to go at our own pace, plug in the activities we were interested in, added in a few additional ideas we researched, and customized the study to fit best with our family’s interest and schedule.

Check out this video that explains even more about Project Passport unit studies.

Home School In The Woods offers free samples of audio dramas and lessons and much more.  Be sure to check out their free samples on their website.  We love their History Timelines too!  Home School In The Woods is a great resource for homeschool families.   We highly recommend all of the great products at Home School In The Woods.

Homeschool In The Woods

Be sure to check out all of the great products from Home School In The Woods.  And be sure to check out all of the HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Studies series including their latest “Ancient Greece”.  They will have “Ancient Rome” available soon and are adding new products all the time. 

Social Media:

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Homeschool Review Crew:

Be sure to check out what other families on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using Home School In the Woods HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport Studies in their homeschool.

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Love Is Patient

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”  1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Loving others isn’t always easy.  It is hard to love when you are offended.  It is hard to love when you are angry.

I have been praying about how to help my kids solve their disagreements with their siblings in a loving way. Lately a couple of them seem to get on each other’s nerves a lot more.  I have six kids, the older two are heading out of puberty and seldom get into big arguments, and two are younger, but the middle two are heading into puberty and lately argue with each other a lot. After having gone through the “preteen years with the older two already, and now with the next two repeating the pattern, it seems preteen puberty has an affect on tolerance and attitude.

Though we have been teaching them about love, forgiveness, and getting along since the beginning of their lives, I feels sometimes like I am starting over in some way, like they forgot what they knew.  Before puberty, they used to be more patient and kind and generous and gracious in their attitude.  But currently they are easily offended. Right now, one day they are best friends and the next day words spoken by the other person feels like a verbal jab or a put down even when it wasn’t intended that way. So I am in the process of teaching them about loving the other person all over again.

So where do I begin?

Like I said, this is something I have been praying and asking the Lord to point me in the right direction.   This is a temporary phase kids go through as they head into puberty, so I have to give them some simple steps they can take to help them work through their feelings and chose to react to the other person with understanding and giving them the benefit of the doubt and not assuming the other wants to offend them.

Today I am focusing on solving an argument with “Love“.   Love is an action. Loving someone else you don’t want to love, or someone who has offended you requires something from you.   When you love,  it results in growth in your character as you make room to overlook the offense, overlook differences, overlook your own wants and put the other persons wants and needs in front of yours.   Choosing to argue is an option and choosing not to argue is another option.

“The man replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.’ They also say, ‘Love your neighbors as much as you love yourself.” Luke 10:27

Choosing to forgive and love the other person is what God desires from us. God is love.  He wants us to be gracious, to extend grace to each other and offer each other a helping hand.  He wants us to show pure love towards each other.  When we love others and forgive them we show that we belong to God, that he is our Heavenly Father.

Love is is a choice.  Love is patient and endures.

Be blessed!

Please share.

Boys in the Woods

Well my boys are reaching a milestone in their journey to manhood.  This winter they have been adventuring into the woods to practice survival skills they have learned.  The older three are 12, 14, and 16 and have been learning many survival skills over the past few years.  There is also a an 8 year old and 5 year old following in their foot steps.  They’ve learned how to pitch a tent, make fire, cook food, chop wood, use an ax, use a hatchet, make various knots, use tools, shoot bow and arrows, shoot a shot gun, butcher a deer, catch fish, and build a camp site.

Though they all enjoy being outside, the 14 year old is the most outdoor loving fella of the older three and his passion for nature has inspired the others.  You just can’t hardly keep him indoors.  He decided a few weeks ago that he wanted to start his own You-tube channel with his brothers, and he is still toying with the idea of writing a website.  He would love to write reviews of outdoor gear and tools and trucks if the opportunity opens up.

 

The boys have tossed around a few different names like the Horseless Cowboys,  the Backyard Boys, and Boys In The Woods.  Not sure what the final name will be just yet, but they plan to document their adventures. Some of their adventures are “in the woods” and some are “in the backyard”. Our yard is surrounded by woods, where one ends the other begins.  We also live about 1 mile from a lake where we enjoy fishing and hiking and playing at the park.  Still working on the name.  They decided to do a series called “Backyard Camping”.

His first video was walking the woods to locate the fallen tree he heard crash during a storm.  It was a fun adventure as he came to various fallen trees spread throughout the 8 acres we live on.  He also crossed a small stream and checked water depth along the path after the storm.

A few days later he went back into the woods to scout out a place for a camp site.  He found a couple locations he liked.  We went out and helped him clean up one of the locations, removing several layers of dead fallen leaves and some dead wood that was in the way.

This particular location gets a few minutes of morning sunshine currently as there are no leaves on the trees yet this time of year.  We are not sure if it will get any sun once the leaves return as it is a densely wooded location.  We are concerned about having a camp fire in that location , so for now, he must use the grassy area of the backyard for his campfires where it is safer. That’s one of the reasons he dedicated the series to backyard camping to inspire other kids to get outside and camp in their yard too.

The next video he made was about making a small bait trap at a nearby lake.  We took the boys to the lake to fish and we were able to buy worms, but the bait shop was out of minnows.

So he and his brother decided to catch their own minnows and small bait to fish.  They used a plastic bottle, pocket knife, a few rocks, a worm, and fishing line.  They created a trap to catch minnows and crawdads.

The next video he vlogged about making dry tinder to start a fire.  Then he showed how to use his striker and rod to create a spark to start the fire.

He built a spot to have a fire surrounded with rocks we have laying around in the woods.  They were very pretty rocks most of them being white quartz that is abundant everywhere.   Then he used his tinder and small branches and wood he chopped to create a camp fire.  Next on his camp fire embers he cooked his supper.  He cooked a can of beef noodle stew and boiled water in a steel cup to make chicken noodle soup.

At the end of the day, these boys are learning and practicing great skills for their future.  They are looking forward to their next outdoor adventure in the woods.

 

Please share.

Times Alive Review

My kids are enjoying Times Alive online lessons with animated songs and stories to learn times tables the fun way.   Fun animated stories are a refreshing way to learn and remember math facts.  With Times Alive, it is so easy for kids to master learning multiplication.

Times Alive

Online Math Learning Program

Multi-student use on the same computer.

Retail $9.95 per month.

Additional products are available.

Please check the website for more information.

Recommendations and Requirements:

To use Times Alive online learning program,  you will need:

A computer with internet access
Speakers
A mouse or other pointing device
Video at 1024 x 768 or higher
400 mhz or greater
128 MB of RAM or greater

You can use this program daily for 20+/- minutes.  Some children will move faster and others will progress slower due to variations in skill levels. If you don’t prefer to use it daily, it is recommended to use it at a minimum of twice a week for progress and retention.  However each family can find a pace that feels right for their learning needs.

How We Used Times Alive

This is a “no tears” method of learning math.   My kids don’t like math practice and try to get away with the bare minimum.  If one lesson is all that I have scheduled, then they do the one lesson and nothing more.  I have suggested some days to do additional practice work in our regular math program, but those requests are usually met with grumbling.

Times Alive came to the rescue!   The online lessons, stories, and animated songs in the Times Alive lessons are fun.  The kids don’t complain to add in a few extra minutes of practice learning about math times tables.

We have six kids in our family and they were able to share the Times Alive program on the same computer.  The program is set up for family use and each of my kids can log in and log out and then the next one can use it.  This program worked out great for our family.  The subscription doesn’t allow for use with more than one computer, but it will keep track of all of my kids progress in their own dashboard, as long as they use the same computer each time they log in.


My kids enjoyed reading along with the stories.  Most kids love stories and Times Alive tells silly math stories that makes learning math facts fun and easy to remember.   These stories are filled with goofy characters and it is fun to see the characters come alive in the story and find out what adventure or dilemma they go through and this triggers you to associate the fact and remember it later.

As the lesson progresses, the story lesson is followed by another video with a catchy song that also helps my kids remember the facts they learned in the story.  Then there are interactive games and fun quizzes to engage their interests and these serve the purpose of testing their math fact recall.


There are also progress reports that keep track of quiz scores, dates the lessons were completed, how much time they spent learning, and also summarize their overall learning.


Another thing we really liked about the program is that we could stop and go as the kids needed.  There is no set schedule in the program so we were able to use the program as it fit into our schedule.  Each time they use it, the program keeps track of where they left off, so they could resume the learning the next time they logged in.  I found the progress reports to be a helpful tool.  You have the option to print off their progress reports and use them how ever you wish.  This is a great to put into their portfolio if you desire.

Check out this fun video from Times Alive.

 

City Creek Press

Times Alive is created by City Creek Press.  It you are looking for great learning products to boost your child’s learning and retention skills, be sure to check out all of their other great products such as books, DVD’s, Computer programs, etc.  They have been producing learning programs since 1992 and many of their resources have proven to boost student skills and retention above 95% with some post test scores reaching 98%.

Social Media

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

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F35_ZRpRzJI

Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out what other families on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using Times Alive in their home.  The Homeschool Review Crew is a great way to see how products fit into different families with different learning styles.  There is a wide variety of families who volunteer to try out these great products and share their experience.  I hope you will check it out!

Please share.

Food Cart Business Ideas

Homeschool Project Business Ideas

Three of my teens want to start their own businesses.  We are exploring various ideas they have and I thought I would share some of them.

One idea they are putting a lot of thought into is running a catering food cart business.  We thought it might be interesting to share a few different types of simple food carts we found on the internet and some basic business plans in case there are other families wanting to check into this too.

Food Cart Business

We found a variety of food cart business examples online.  There are so many different kinds of “mobile kitchens” .  Some are built into carts, onto trailers, and others are vehicles.  Most of these mobile kitchens specialize in selling a specific food or foods, and they have specific equipment set up for that specific food type.

Mobile Kitchen Carts range in price from $1,000 to $10,000.  These can be push carts, bike carts, or pull carts pulled by ATV, electric bikes, or small cars.  Carts are great for a single type of food such as hot dogs, or burgers, coffee cafe, or lemonade shake ups, shaved ice snow cones.  These carts handle smaller crowds.

Mobile Kitchen Trailers range in price from 5,000 to 100,000.  These kitchens are great for cooking and selling multiple items.  These are great for pizza shops, ice cream shops, fried food shops, and even bbq smokers and catering large events.

Mobile Kitchen Vehicles (usually trucks or vans) range in price from 12,000 to 150,000.  The advantage of a kitchen on a truck is that you don’t need to pull a trailer, so you won’t need as much space to park your business.  Like the trailer, these kitchens are able to handle multiple items and large volume crowds.

Since they would be starting with a small budget, the kids are looking into buying a Mobile Kitchen Cart.  One of the boys wants to sell coffee, and another boy wants to sell hotdogs.   My daughter has also shared that she would like to run a bakery cart to sell cupcakes and cookies.

Shop Trailer

This most versatile set up we found was the Shop Trailer.  It is basically a “blank” canvas to start a mobile food cart business of any kind.  This would work for food and non-food types of retail.  A Shop Trailer could be used outdoors and indoors and would be a great simple set up for “expos” and conventions, churches, fairs, farmer’s markets, as well as just vending along the street in various locations.

Wheely’s Cafe

This Wheelys Cafe is my favorite mobile coffee shop.  They are set up with solar power and wind power making them totally independent for power. You can get them set up to serve various kind of coffee that each require a different type of brewing system.  You can also serve smoothies or have a juice bar.  They also have retail cases for pastries, fruits, sandwiches, etc. and you can get an add on trailer for specialty items too.  One option is a living mobile greenhouse trailer that allows you to serve fresh herbs or greens.

 

We are still exploring more Food Cart ideas as well as other potential business ideas.  The plan is for the kids to run through a hypothetical company with spread sheets for inventory and expenses and profits etc, before they would actually open a real business someday.   This will be an invaluable learning experience.  I am sure they will gain insights and skills that will last them long into their adult life.

Please share.

Potato Mushroom PepperJack Quesadilla

These yummy sandwiches were delicious!

3 Ingredients stuffed inside a toasted tortilla.  How simple and easy is that?This is a great sandwich to let your kids make in the kitchen.

We sauted sliced mushrooms in olive oil until done.  Then removed them from the heat and added a little more olive oil and diced potatoes. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Cover with a lid and cook them until soft.  Then combine mushrooms and potatoes together.  Place a slice of pepper-jack cheese on a tortilla and add the potato mushroom filling.  Toast on each side.  Served with a side of Jalapeno Kettle chips or tortilla chips and salsa and this sandwich is a win win!  Even my teen boys enjoyed it and asked for seconds.

Optional: The only thing I might add next time to my sandwich is a slice of avocado and some spinach leaves or  I would like to have a slice of fresh from the garden tomato would be a great flavor combo with the cheese.

Please share.

Sunset At The Beach

Have you ever watched the setting of the sun at the beach?

It is such a beautiful site.

We spent a November evening on a North Carolina beach watching the sun go down.

The Fall air was cool and crisp, but we didn’t let that hinder our joy.

There is something very special and exciting about being at the water’s edge.

The colors in the sky were beautiful!

The smell of the ocean and the sensation of breathing in the salty air is a completely different experience than our day to day experience.  If feels energizing, like it is renewing something inside the body and the mind.

I could watch the ocean and sky for hours and never get tired of the view.

The sand feels amazing and was cool to the touch.  We collected some seashells along the beach.

We saw a flock of pelicans flying above us.

Even though it was chilly, we decided to get our feet wet.

We tried to catch the waves coming into the shore.

The waves and the pull of the under tow current were quite powerful and knocked us off our feet several times.

One fella didn’t want to get wet.  He said it was too cold.

But the rest of the group was eager to get wet from head to toe even though we only agreed to get our “feet” wet.

Even though the water was cold and the current was strong, I enjoyed getting my feet in the water too.  The waves kept a constant rhythm with perfect timing.

It felt so peaceful.

We enjoyed an evening walk on the beach and walked to a fishing peer not far from where we played.

The sun set was stunning behind the peer.

It gave the appearance of a glowing fire off in the distance.

The fishing peer went out so far and then was blocked at the end.  It seemed as if the peer would have gone further, but perhaps had been lost in a storm.

Even though a major hurricane, Hurricane Matthew, had come through days earlier,  the rest of the peer was still in good standing and many folks were using it for fishing and enjoying the evening.

I loved the contrast of the peer and the evening sky and ocean waves.

You could sense the determination of this peer to withstand whatever the elements of nature could beat it with.

The structure seemed to rebel against the constant waves, the salty air, and the gusts of wind.

The setting sun was gorgeous!  It peered through the dark clouds sandwiched between the sky and the water.

This experience reminds us of what it might of been like at the beginning. The bible talks about the beginning.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.”

Genesis 1:1-10

Looking away from the sun, in the opposite direction, the sky and the water seemed to be a reflection of each other, a matching blue that seemed to go on forever.

But looking towards the sunset, the colors were vibrant and seemed layered like a rainbow that had been deconstructed.


Sitting above the waves, felts as if we were sitting on them.   Resting on the benches of the peer was a special experience. 

The peer puts you out on the water, away from the shore.

Though you are sitting still, everything around you is in motion and has a rhythm of it’s own.  Everything is moving with a beat, the water, the sky, the salty air on your face, and the sound it all makes has a nourishing rhythm that feeds the soul.

All your senses are enhanced and focused on the beat, the soothing sound of the moving water and the amazing colors of the sky.


After we watched the sun set, we walked up the beach a little bit further for some food.  Later we came back outside to watch the beach in the darkness.

We sat on the steps of a small gazebo looking out over the water.  It was so peaceful.

A long way out, there was a small twinkle of light from ships on the water. 

We could also see the lights of the fishing peer reflect on the water.

But otherwise, we could no longer depend on our eyes to understand our environment.  We could not see the sky, and we could not see the water, we could only sense they were still there in the darkness.

Instead of using our eyes, we tuned our ears to the sounds of the night.  All we could hear was the familiar sound of the waves hitting the beach in a soothing rhythm.  It was peaceful.

The older kids and I wanted to stay outside all night, but the younger kids and daddy were getting sleepy, so it was time to head inside.  Bedtime seemed to come too quickly, yet we welcomed the end of this day feeling relaxed and renewed.

We definitely want to experience the sun setting on the beach again soon.

Please share.

Schoolhouse Teachers

If you are looking for curriculum, or help with lesson planning, or just want a helpful time management resource, you might want to try SchoolhouseTeachers.com  They sent us a  Yearly Membership to review.  

Whether you want education courses (preschool through highschool), or you just want some resources for managing your household more efficiently, they have something for everyone and you can get started for just $1. Be sure to check out the website for special offers too.  They currently are running a great sale for 50% off their yearly membership.

 

Schoolhouse Teachers.com

Online Education Resource

300+ courses

Preschool through Highchool

Resources for Teachers

Resources for Parents

Yearly Membership – Premium Access

Our Thoughts about SchoolhouseTeachers.com

I spent some time looking around this website and planning several of the courses they offer in our curriculum for the remainder of this year.  I am impressed with the huge variety of resources available at SchoolhouseTeachers.com.  

We have 6 kids and they range from preschool to highschool.  We have a child in preschool, first grade, third grade, sixth grade, eight grade, and tenth grade.   Having a resource like this with something for each one of them, all in one place, and for one low price, is a huge blessing!

There are no additional textbooks required.  The classes are an online format and video format.  They offer printouts with various classes and you can print as many as you need.  Some classes may suggest additional reading materials that can easily be found online or free at a local library. They offer lots of planning resources to coordinate your classes and materials so you can plan your days, weeks, months out as far as you want to best meet the needs of you and your family.

We can choose a class based on the grade level or based on the subject matter.  We are not locked into selecting a class and we can change the class at any time.  There are 300 classes and we can choose one class, two classes, or we can do all 300!  There is only one small fee and our entire family can benefit.  This is such an amazing opportunity to learn what we want when we want.

I love everything they offer, but I am especially fond of the support they have for parents just getting started and for veteran homeschool parents of highschoolers.   They walk you through the homeschool process at each stage and grade level.  They have help for families with children of special needs too.

Some of the supportive benefits of using this program with my older students for me as a parent of older are: Portfolio Assistance, Tracking Courses,  Report Cards, A Scheduler, and help creating Transcripts with lots of tips and suggestions.

Another resource that I am so excited about is the menu planner.  They have recipes organized for months at a time.  Not only can I use them, but I can also use these to motivate the older kids to plan and fix meals too.

My younger kids are excited about all of it.  This resource opens so many fun classes for them.   They are excited about the art classes, unit studies, guitar classes and Spanish.   My oldest is excited about the science classes and foreign languages he will be able to complete for his highschool credits.

I am thrilled will be able to do these classes together from the comfort of our home.  I don’t have to hop into the van and run them to lessons here and there which takes a lot of time and extra resources.  I am also excited we can go at our own pace.  We can log in when we want and stop when we want and each class will keep track of our progress no mater how fast or how slow we go.

Check out this short video clip to hear first hand from another homeschool mom about how easy it is to use SchoolhouseTeachers.com with her family.

50% Off Special Offer:

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is running a 50% off special offer until January 15th.   LOCK IN NOW at the $9.95/month rate so that you save 50% on the NEW regular price that will go up the 15th of January to $19.95 /month. Even at the full price, this is such a great deal the whole family will benefit from using!  And if you just want to try it out, you can get started for $1.

Social Media:

Be sure to follow SchoolhouseTeachers.com on their social media links for all the latest news on resources, course updates, and special sales offers.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SchoolhouseTeachers/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TOSMag/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tosmag/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/118111005169451277551/posts

 

The Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out how other Homeschool Review Crew families used SchoolhouseTeachers.com in their homes.

 

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Banana Nut Yogurt Sundae

This is a nutritious, fun and easy to prepare snack or desert for kids.  It makes a fantastic breakfast too!

 

Kids can be picky eaters.  Setting them up for success with good nutrition is key to maintaining good health.  Including a variety of foods, like yogurt, fruits, veggies, and nuts in their daily routine lays a great foundation in good nutrition choices.

Adding nuts (for those who are not allergic) is a great way to boost nutrition. There are so many different kinds of nuts to choose from.  The most popular nut used, peanut, isn’t even a nut but is actually the seed of a legume.  But there is a huge variety of nuts and seeds that are seldom included in the standard American diet for kids that are great options.

A few of the nut and seed varieties to try out with your kids are:

Cashews

Almonds

Walnuts

Pecans

Macadamia

Coconut

Hazelnuts / Filberts

Hickory Nuts

Hemp Seeds

Sunflower Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

Pine Nuts

A fun way to get nuts like walnuts in your kids diet is putting them into special treats like a sundae.  If you grind the nuts, they hardly know the nut is there.   Walnuts have a stronger taste and most kids don’t usually choose to eat them on their own.   If I leave out a big bowl of nuts of different varieties, my kids would eat all the cashews! Next they might finish of the peanuts.  Then the rest of the nuts would sit there until Dad and I ate them.   So to get more variety of nuts into their diet, a sneaky banana nut sundae piled high with lots of yummy ingredients is a win win!

Walnuts are great for brain food.  They also help to purge parasites from the body.  They contain essential fatty acids that are needed by the body

Banana Nut Sundae

Set out your ingredients out on a table or counter and let the kids fix their own sundaes.

Yogurt

Banana

Nuts

Optional: Syrup, berries, chocolate chips, chocolate covered nuts, ground nuts, whole nuts in the shell that they must remove before using, nut butter, ice cream, angle food cake, cookies, pumpkin cake, etc.

We used vanilla yogurt,  ground and halved walnuts, bananas, chocolate covered peanuts, and chocolate syrup.  I also set out some grapes and nut butter covered pretzel crackers in case they wanted to experiment with some other ingredients.

 

Desert:

We have made similar treats for desert too. This is a fun and delicious way to eat nuts and eat healthy!

Similar ingredients with pecans and whip cream.

Substitute angel food cake for the yogurt.

Serve as a fancy desert for company.

We also made homemade nut butter with a mixed nuts.  We ground some smooth and some chunky and mixed it together for a delicious spread for our pretzel crackers.

You can add mini chocolate chips and these will taste like Reese Peanut Butter Cup Pretzel Treats!  Even Daddy likes these treats!

Please share.

The Beginner’s Bible

The Beginner’s Bible from Zonderkidz is a great way to encourage children to listen and read Bible stories.  We were sent The Beginner’s Bible for review and I was very excited to receive this new updated version with bright 3D art work and fun illustrations to use in our home.

  The Beginner’s Bible

Hardcover Book

512 Pages

90 Brightly Illustrated Bible Stories

Retails for $16.99

Additional discounts up to 50% for bulk purchases

Recommended for Kids ages 6 and under (Read Aloud)

Easy Read for kids 7-8

But also great as an easy reader for older kids and ESL too.

The Beginner’s Bible was first released in 1989, and has sold over 25 million copies in the past 27+ years.   25 MILLION!  That is an amazing testimony of how this wonderful gem, filled with timeless wisdom, is to share with each generation of children around the world.

Why Use An Illustrated Bible For Kids?

There are many reasons to use the bible in your home.  It is so important to incorporate the truths from the bible in raising children.  It is Father God’s love letter and instruction manual to all of his children, young and old.   Using an illustrated Bible helps kids “picture” the events and people they are learning about.  I like this illustrated version because it simplifies the learning for younger children without taking away from the message that God put there for us to learn.

In addition to advice and instructions in the Bible, you also read about the fascinating lives of the men and women who lived during the time it was written.   Reading the Bible actually causes your faith, and your children’s faith, in Father God and his son Jesus to grow.  The bible helps you see how consistently faithful God is and how much he loves us.  It shows you the ups and downs in people’s lives and how God brought them through the good and bad experiences that people live through.

The bible teaches us how to handle good and bad experiences we go through in life and how to trust in God who hears our prayers and helps guide us everyday.  The bible gives us values to live by called a biblical worldview.  People still go through good and bad experiences today and we need God more now than ever.  The bible tells us about his only begotten son he sent to save mankind from their sin and eternal separation from God.  Jesus paid the price so that we can spend eternity with God if we will believe, love and obey his teachings.

A few ways we can incorporate using The Beginner’s Bible with kids in our every day life:

  • Read aloud by parents, grandparents, and older siblings.
  • Read along for beginners.
  • Independent reading for beginners.
  • Circle Time, Quiet Time, Bed Time
  • Story telling.
  • Retelling the stories using additional props such as  Legos, Crafts, Puppets, Diorama, Costumes, etc.
  • Homeschool Projects, Home, Bible Study, Get Togethers, Sunday School
  • Create Lap Books, Note Books, Timelines, etc.
  • Writing Practice as children copy the story onto their own notebook pages.
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)

The Beginner’s Bible Experience In Our Home

We have been using The Beginner’s Bible since the beginning of having children in our family.   Let me see…that is over 16+ years!  We received our first copy as a gift when our oldest was born.   We have purchased a few more copies over the years.  Our current version is still on our bookshelf and has lasted through lots of little hands, quiet times on the couch, and several moves across country.  This illustrated bible for kids has been a family favorite of ours for many years.   We have six kids and each one started their Bible learning with The Beginner’s Bible.

We have made it a priority to spend time reading in the bible each day.  Our younger kids listen to bible stories being read to them and our older kids read the bible themselves and also read to their younger siblings.

Once a week we set aside time for the kids to retell bible stories they have learned.  They can choose any props or make crafts or use Legos, etc.  The older boys also like to make Lego stop motion movies to retell the events in the bible stories.

Sometimes we turn the learning adventure into a Unit Study and spend an entire month on a specific theme such as “forgiveness” or “Ancient Egypt” or “the miracles of Jesus” etc. This is a great way for the kids to learn hands on and practice sharing what they have learned with each other and also share with daddy when he gets home from work.

There are 90 stories in this illustrated Bible.   That is over a year’s worth of stories if you focus on learning one new story a week.   Or complete it in a year if you read two stories a week.  If you want to go faster, you could read this in 90 days if you do one story each day.  You can go at a pace that works best for your family.

Another great way to use The Beginner’s Bible with your kids is to include the free printables and games on The Beginner’s Bible Website (recommended for kids 12 and under).   Perhaps you can print them off as you read each story or print them off ahead of time and make a folder with the printables for each story and build a story unit study.   You can also add more materials to your folders as you find additional resources.

Since we love making unit studies with stories we read, we are using two to three related stories each week.  It will take us about a year to do the entire book at this pace.

Jesus Rescues the Lost Unit Study

Be sure to check out a story I posted using The Beginner’s Bible called Jesus Rescues the Lost Unit Study.  Unit Studies are one of our favorite ways to learn.  They are cross-curricular and subjects (math, history, art, science, language, etc) follow a theme, they are hands on,  and they help children retain what they have learned. 

We took advantage of all of the free printables and suggested activities, including the FREE sample curriculum lesson plan called “Jesus Rescues the Lost” and created our own unit study.  These resources are made especially for The Beginner’s Bible and help kids understand the stories and truths even more as the activities engage more of their senses (listening, coloring, drawing, eye hand coordination, decision making, etc) in a hands on way.

The “Jesus Rescues the Lost” Lesson Plan suggested reading three of the stories from The Beginner’s Bible “The Lost Sheep“; The Good Samaritan“; and “The Lost Son” , watching  the lesson video, a list of several “Bible Verses” to read from a regular Bible, and a “Memory Scripture Verse” for the kids to memorize, as well as a helpful “Teaching Point” to focus the lesson on.

The lesson plan provided me with a master supply list for activities, and suggested optional supplies for craft projects (we made sheep puppets and a shepherd staff), printouts, and a skit for the kids to act out with props, and a take home family page.

This was a lot of fun for the kids.  You could spend a week on this lesson, or take three weeks while focusing on understanding one story each week.

Noah and the Lego Ark

Check out another story I posted using The Beginner’s Bible in  Noah and the Lego Ark .

We used The Beginner’s Bible and Legos as a way to retell the bible story of Noah.  That story includes more fun ideas on using this children’s illustrated Bible in fun hands on learning ways.

More Learning Fun

After reading the stories in The Beginner’s Bible, my kids love to watch the animated videos by the same company.

You can find these on “youtube.”  There is also an APP from their website for these stories, games, and videos for your smart phone.

The videos are a great way to reinforce the learning.  They are entertaining and engaging.   We set aside time to fix a snack like pretzels and apple slices and my kids sit down to watch the bible stories.

Check The Beginner’s Bible website and youtube for more details on fun ways to enhance the learning.

The Beginner’s Bible

Website & Teaching Resources

Please check out The Beginner’s Bible website for wonderful FREE resources to compliment your child’s learning and enjoyment using The Beginner’s Bible.

They have free printouts for coloring pages, word puzzles, mazes, online learning games etc.  Print as many copies as you need and create your own folders filled with fun learning projects to go along with the bible stories.

Free Stuff From The Website To Use With The Beginner’s Bible:

  • Coloring Pages (40+ printable coloring activities)
  • Drawing Pages (I loved these!)
  • Read Together Sheets (print and bind these for an additional story book)
  • Writing Sheets (practice writing letters and numbers)
  • Place Mats and Posters (so many uses!)
  • Book Marks (everybody needs book marks!)
  • Mazes
  • Paint Online
  • Online Games, Quizzes, etc
  • Word Puzzles Printouts
  • Matching
  • Videos
  • Recommended Bible Story Reading Schedule for the year.
  • APP for your phone or electronic device with stories and activities.

They also offer 2 lessons for free from their curriculum kit:  “Creation” and  “Jesus Rescues the Lost” .  I would encourage you to get a copy of these free lesson plans and see how easy it is to use this illustrated Bible in your learning adventures.

If you want to purchase the complete lesson plans, they are available for an additional purchase on the Zonderkidz website and are called “The Beginner’s Bible Curriculum Kit”.  After using the free lesson plan they offered, I think this would be a great resource.  It would make it simple to use The Beginner’s Bible as a curriculum and the lesson planning work is all done for you.

The kit comes with a hardback copy of The Beginner’s Bible and a DVD with a year’s worth of lesson plans including 30 teaching lessons that incorporate the 90 bible stories, and a DVD with 28 animated video stories, fun activities, and lots of additional classroom use ideas.   There is also a family take-home page for each lesson for kids to share with their parents and to further the learning at home.

The Beginner’s Bible Is Fun For Kids

The Beginner’s Bible is full of faith building stories and fun illustrations to enhance the learning.  It is a wonderful gift for your children and grandchildren, classrooms, and kids clubs.   Zonderkidz also offers resources in English and Spanish, I can Read Books, The Beginner’s Bible Deluxe, The Beginner’s Bible For Little Ones, The Beginner’s Bible Curriculum Kit, etc.  as well as additional resources on their website.   I think using this children’s Bible is a an essential piece for teaching young children about the stories and people of the Bible.   Every page is filled with full-color illustrations that retell 90 Bible stories in a fun and engaging way.

Our younger kids love the bright colors of the illustrations in this children’s Bible.  Looking at colorful pictures helps keep their attention whether they are listening to it as a read aloud, or if they are reading the stories for themselves.  It is a great way to include Bible learning in our home and incorporate into our homeschool learning too.  I am sure they will continue to use this treasure this illustrated Bible for many more years to come.

AWARDS

The Beginner’s Bible was named the 2006 Retailers Choice Award winner in Children’s Nonfiction.

Social Media

Be sure to connect with Zonderkidz on their social media links for all the latest news, special offers, and resources to further the learning.

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/zonderkidz

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/zondervan

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/zondervanp/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zondervan/

The Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out how other families on the Homeschool Review Crew used this product in their homes.

Please share.