Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jonah

Most of us have heard of the story of  Jonah and the Big Fish. It's quite common actually. If I do a post about Jonah I'd probably be preaching to the choir. But honestly when we think of Jonah what are the first things that come to mind? Well, disobedience for one. When faced with a situation that I don't really want to do for the Lord I usually think in the back of my mind, "I don't want to be a Jonah." Really, I don't because through that story we do learn that God will have his way, despite us. God wanted the people of Nineveh to repent. And sure, God himself could simply turn their hearts towards Him, but He chose to use a man. A man who was called. I also think about how crazy it must have been for Jonah to seriously be willing to jump from the boat once he realized the storm was happening because of his disobedience. Rather than allowing all the people of the ship to suffer he was willing to kill himself? I mean in reality that is what was happening. When Jonah jumped was allowed to be thrown into the stormy waters what did he expect to happen? Heaven to open up or for dry land to appear? Whether he had faith that God would save him or not, it was quite a move on his part. Kind of like the akehdah, which is the Hebrew term for the event when Abraham was about to kill Isaac. At that moment that he had the knife in hand, Abraham was willing to accept the will of God, not fully knowing what it was at that moment.

God doesn't always show us the big picture. The Bible says that "we know in part," (1 Cor 13:9) and I guess he entrusts us with "the part" that we can handle at the time. Sometimes we just need to realize that the storms and trials in life really are sent to us by God to reveal our hearts. Sometimes I just want to change my situation when I need to let my situation change me. Jonah really didn't have a choice. He was called by God to preach repentance in Nineveh. Abraham didn't have a choice. He was commanded by God to kill his son, his inheritance, his promise. In both situations, God provided a way out, but only once they took a step of faith proving their obedience. Jonah's provision was a fish. Nice provision. If I was in the sea and was swallowed by a fish I highly doubt I would be thanking God. Sometimes the provision comes in a form that seems like a curse but is really a blessing in disguise. Maybe it's through that person that you can't stand, but God wants to bless you through them anyways!  So, when your children are giving you attitude problems, or if you feel like all you do is change diapers, all.day.long, don't lose heart, rather let God change your heart and use you for His glory! 

Purex With Crystals Review and Giveaway


Purex plus Fabric Softener and Crystals fragrance has the same great quality as other Purex products. The Dirt Lift Action assures you that your clothes will stay bright, white and clean! It's funny because I really am a big fan of making my own laundry soap. It's easy, inexpensive and  a great skill to teach the kids. But even so, there are times when I like to have a bottle on hand of store bought soap. Purex is a perfect fit for us because it is inexpensive compared to other brands yet it works great!

 If you are interested in trying it out enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win 
3 BOTTLES OF PUREX WITH CRYSTALS!

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Disclaimer: Purex Provided me with a free sample of Purex with Crystals for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Dial Kids Body and Hair Wash Review



When I had newborns I would always use the typical hair/body wash when cleaning my kids. It was so much easier than having to use both shampoo AND a body wash. None of my kids had a whole lot of hair anyways, so it just made sense to use one product. Well, when it comes to bath time I am still that way. I tend to lean towards products that are universal. For a while we would use soap for their bodies and shampoo for their hair but it would always irritate their eyes! I was excited to try Dial Kids Body and Hair Wash  with my five and six year old to see how it would work. They loved it! We received the green bottle, the watermelon scent which smelled wonderful! Formulated for ages 6 and up, it provides 

them with a sense of responsibility while getting the job done! Whether they use a loofah or washcloth, it suds up great and works well!





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Monday, April 29, 2013

Home School In The Woods: Great Empires Review

When I first found out that the opportunity to review 
was available, I jumped all over the opportunity. A friend of mine began using this curriculum with her multi-aged kids and I was excited to give it a try! My oldest is only in first grade so the best fit for us was the Great Empires activity study geared towards elementary aged children. 

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The Great Empires Study can be purchased either in CD format or download. All materials are printed out (craft and activity supplies are purchased separately). 

DOWNLOAD Version: $18.95
CD Version: $19.95

PRINTABLES INCLUDE

~ History Lessons For 14 Great Empires

~ Activity Pages Summarizing All Activities Provided For Each Great Empire

~ Activity Directions Giving Detailed Steps For Each Activity Provided In The Lessons

~ Timeline And Timeline Figures That Tie All 14 Empires Together Throughout History

~ Maps For Each Empire And A World Map To Help With Perspective

The 14 Great Empires
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  1. Ancient Egypt
  2. Ancient Greece
  3. Ancient Rome
  4. Ancient China
  5. Arab-Muslim Empire
  6. Mongolian Empire
  7. Viking Empire
  8. Spanish Empire
  9. French Empire
  10. English Empire
  11. German Empire
  12. Japanese Empire
  13. Russian Empire
  14. The United States of America

What I Love About 
Home School In The Woods

  • Solid History Curriculum: Pictured below are excerpts from our studies of Ancient Egypt, the Vikings and Ancient Greece. We choose to pick an empire and use that as our history class for the week. Each Empire could be done in a week or you can double up the activities each day and fit more in. Since my kids are six, five and two, I chose to study a single empire a week and devote all of our history focus towards that empire. I plan on using this curriculum for history next year since it worked so well for our family!

  • Creationist Based: I am an intense creationist that fully believes evolution is not just a theory but a religion. And that it is a religion that threatens my Christian beliefs. When I look for a curriculum, no matter what the subject is I always have my "radar" on scanning for traces of evolutionist teachings versus creationist teachings. Believe it or not, the concept of evolution is not just in the science books but has become so much a part of people's thought processes that they might not even realize that what they are saying stems from their evolutionist mindsets. "But the things that come from a person's mouth, come from the heart," (Matthew 15:18). As a homeschooling parent this verse holds a lot of weight when it comes to choosing a curriculum. When I am choosing the materials to teach my children I obviously want them to support what I believe. If the author is a Christian, it should show through when they are writing about any subject, And this is the case with Home School In The Woods. While reading about Ancient Egypt the author reminds the students that there is a creator God that gave people the ability to create amazing things and that we are not the ancestors of apes. This may seem like a small thing to some, but to me  it is important that my children understand this in all areas of life!

  • The Timeline:When I first looked into homeschooling my children I was drawn to the timeline concept. I remember seeing a video of a woman who had the timeline up in her "school room" and thought, "I soooo want to teach history that way!" It just makes sense. It puts everything into perspective to understand which Empires existed and what was taking place all around the world at the same time. I certainly didn't learn history in this manner. I just remember having to memorize a bunch of dates and facts. We currently are using a timeline for our history and are studying the Bible. This puts a great foundation in our children and allows them to see what happened and when. Now that we've begun to look at these Great Empires, I am excited to use this program more in depth next year and to place these empires on our timeline to add to what they have already learned! 

  • Consistent Lesson Formatting: As soon as I received the download, I began printing out some of the lessons and put into a three-ring binder. Each of the 14 Empires have the same format, which is why I liked picking an empire per week. The lessons provide plenty of material for a complete unit study, but if you are more on the eceletic side then you might be more like me and add more to your study! That is one of the beauties of this program! It can be used on it's own or simply lay the foundation for your own style of teaching. For example, with the Viking study we went to the library and found age-appropriate books to read throughout the week. The text was a little over my kids heads but we read as much as we could! I also let them watch clips of "How To Train your Dragon" since they loved that movie anyways! I love just embracing a topic and seeing how to engage  my children in it! Each lesson has maps, activities, recipes and more to keep them engaged in  that unit!

  •  Multi-Age Friendly: Certain subjects obviously need to be kept age appropriate when homeschooling. Writing, math, reading, phonics, etc. But when it comes to history and science, I am learning that it makes sense to involve the kids together. I'm finding that doing studies like this helps our day go so much smoother as we participate in projects, reading and activities together! Even the slight age difference between my 6 and 5 year old mean they are at different levels in some areas but that didn't stop Home School In The Woods from working for us. When it came to the maps, the older would be required to do more work but they would all participate in one way or another. Even my two year old was able to enjoy several of the activities!




We love to get messy in our schooling! The painting of pots was a wonderful and practical craft that was used during one of the studies! Now my children have a practical masterpiece that they can use over and over again!


I enjoy involving Dad in our schooling so when one lesson called for a beef stew recipe the kids were excited to share their creation with him that evening for dinner!


Maps are a simple, practical and effective way to visualize where each Empire took place. 



The above craft was made during the Egypt Study. The children loved not only making their own clay, but writing their name in hieroglyphics! Pictured below are coins made during the Viking Study!



This curriculum was created by homeschooling mom, Amy Pak and was born out of her own experience living "in the woods." Aside from the Great Empires Activity Study that I reviewed, Home School In The Woods also offers Lap Books for children in grades 3-8! Think you might be interested? Check out their freebies and see if Home School In The Woods might be a good fit for you and your family!


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Sunday, April 21, 2013

You Can Bake Bread!



The whole idea of making my own bread used to scare me.
 It was that dreaded word.
T-I-M-E 
I just didn't have it. 
And if you want to make your own bread, it is a necessity. 
I would think about it.
And even tried it once or twice.
But never fell in love with the whole idea.
I mean.
I can just go to the store and buy it myself.
But. 
It is just.not.the.same!

Well, the time came when I had 3 kids, all UNDER the age of 4. 
Yeah. 
Lots of naps, schedules etc, etc.
Which, for me, meant I was home. A lot.
This was about the time I took up blogging, since I was home anyways.
But I also started experimenting in the kitchen.
Making something yummy for my husband to enjoy when the kids were all in bed
started to become a fun hobby.
At the top of the list, still is homemade pita and hummus. 
Yum!
Simple and delicious. Yes, you read that right. Simple.
As long as the fact that you need about 3 hours from start to finish  doesn't scare you off, it really is easy! Easy and inexpensive too! Don't forget to search for online coupons to help you save even more on your materials.

Homemade Pita

3 c. unbleached white flour (or whole wheat if you prefer)
1 1/2 t. salt
1 T sugar
1 packet yeast
1 1/4 c. warm water
2 T Olive Oil

Mix yeast with 1 c. water and let sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix flour, salt and sugar. Add the water with the yeast when ready then add rest of the water and olive oil. Stir together. Once ingredients form a ball knead dough (or use a stand mixer) for 6-8 minutes. When done, place in a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. Cover bowl with damp kitchen towel. Set aside to rise for 90 minutes. When time is up, punch down and divide into 8-10 pieces and roll in to balls. Place on surface lightly coated in flour and cover with damp kitchen towel for 30 minutes. Flatten dough. To cook I use a cast iron griddle on the stove top. You can also use a cast iron pan turned upside down. Place on preheated, lightly oiled pan over medium-high heat. Cook on each side 2-3 minutes each.  


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Beach in A Day


Sometimes you need to just go to the beach. Even if it is five hours away. And only for a day! That is exactly what we did recently. And it was loooong overdue. A family vacation that is. Rather than spending time waiting, and planning, and getting off of work. We took one day, when we had no plans or work, or anything and just drove to the beach. For a day. It was awesome. The kids came back with buckets of seashells, two hermit crabs and a shark egg. My husband and I came back refreshed. I guess it's kind of like the concept of the 20 minute power nap. Even though there are those days you wish you could get a good two hour nap in, sometimes all you need is that perfect power nap and you are good to go! So do it, rather than waiting around for that "perfect" opportunity, just go make something happen and you might be surprised at the results!

Purex Natural Elements Review



Summer is right around the corner so why not celebrate now by giving your laundry a fun and exciting tropical scent! When I first poured the Tropical Splash Purex detergent into my washer I was impressed with both the neon-looking color and the tropical smell!


This detergent is part of the Purex Brand Natural Elements line! This particular fragrance is scented with exotic fruits like pineapple and coconut! It can deliver bright, white and clean laundry with the power of naturally sourced ingredients! The detergent works in all types of washers including High Efficiency. 

What You'll Love
 About Purex Natural Elements

Hypoallergenic
Dye Free
Formulated For Sensitive Skin
Nature Inspired Fragrance
Dirt Lift Action
Available in 50 oz 75oz and 100oz 

Enter To Win! 
Enter the Rafflecopter Below to WIN your own 3 Bottles of Purex Natural Elements!!!!



Disclaimer: Purex Brand Provided me with a sample of Purex Natural Elements Tropical Splash detergent in exchange for a product review. However, all the opinions expressed here are my own.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sale Camel Review


I enjoy the layout of the Sale Camel deal site. On the right is a list of your daily deals with items ranging from stylish cell phone cases to men's wetsuits. Popular items are on the top of the page with fun accessories such as beanies and trendy sunglasses. My favorite feature is their LOCAL DEALS section. What I like about this is that I actually found a deal for my obscure tiny city. Usually with local deal sites it takes me to the closest large city in my search. I was able to find a local restaurant with a deal for $6 off of a $15 meal! Other features include internet coupons and links to their latest blog posts which includes freebies and giveaway posts! FREE SIGN-UP at SaleCamel.com.

This is a paid post through Pay-Per-Post and Sale Camel All opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

ABeCeDarian Company Review

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 ABeCeDarian Company provided me with a wonderful package of materials to help get my five year on track with reading!  
I've tried three other programs this past school year and none of them really seemed to go at the pace that he needed. I primarily used Student Workbook A1 and the accompanying Teacher Workbook. This program is geared for Kindergarden and First Grade.
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My son is a tactile learner and was itching for a curriculum that keeps him active. This program does exactly that! Each lesson allows for interaction between the student and the teacher  providing simple yet effective activities to help the student learn, while having fun. You can begin your lessons according to the level where you child is at by taking a placement test. I chose to start my son right at the beginning with lesson plan A1. Even though my son knows how to write most of his letters, his main focus has been on uppercase letters. The beginning of lesson A1 focuses on lowercase letters, so this was a great way to work on handwriting skills. The style of handwriting in this program is similar to Handwriting Without Tears in that they use two lines rather than three. The difference is, the top line is dotted. What makes this program unique is that it focuses on letter sounds above letter names. They actually recommend teaching your child letter sounds before ever teaching them letter names. 
That is something I had never heard before or thought of. They suggest that this will prepare the child for reading. This thought process needs to be kept in mind (I would often have to remind myself) while teaching the student each lesson. Instead of saying, "which letter is first in the word cot," I would have to ask, which sound is first. Fortunately, the teachers manuals are scripted to help each lesson go smoothly. The program provides a download for "letter tiles" that they suggest you print out and laminate to use with many of the lessons. I already had letter tiles on hand, so that is what you see pictured here! We would use the letter tiles to practice letter sounds and sound out words. The hands-on activity is something my son looks forward to in his lessons! 

The lessons also provide plenty of of opportunities to not only practice reading skills, but writing as well. Each lesson would provide an opportunity for the student to practice sounding out the sounds to each word in a creative way. my son loved the concept of "turtle talk" where he would have to say each sound slowly like a turtle as he read each word. it made the task simple and he wouldn't feel rushed when learning a new word. Frustration can be common when teaching a student to read and this program eliminates the frustration by moving at a slow pace by struggling learners!

 The Teacher's Manuel also provides a section with creative and easy ways to teach how to correctly write your letters.
Throughout the unit spelling practice was provided. At the end of the units I used, spelling tests were administered for the child. They were simple, easy and appropriate for the my son's current level. I love the simplicity of it yet the sense of accomplishment that it gives the child at the end of the unit!

Spelling Practice


 ABeCeDarian Company Price List



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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Altrient Review

Altrient C and Altrient ME are dietary supplements that you add to a cool drink such as water or juice. I personally enjoy it with orange juice. It is a liquid supplement that comes in a foil pouch that is to be mixed in with a drink and consumed on an empty stomach at least 15 minutes before eating.
This formula consists of B vitamins with traces of minerals and cinnamon extract to help your body burn fuel more effiently. It claims to unleash energy from the foods you eat giving you more energy.

Provides you with 1,000 mg of vitamin C to help boost your immune system.

My Experience
You know how when you go to the doctor or fill out a form of the medical variety they always ask, "are you allergic to any medications?" Well, for me, the answer was always no. But then again if I think about it, another word for medication is drug. The definition of drug is, "a substance that had a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body." There is a drug I used to take, caffeine. And that drug is a stimulant, no doubt abut it. Now, as for allergic reactions to this drug. The definition of allergy is, "a damaging immune response by the body to a substance." 

When I consume caffeine, in any manner whether coffee, chocolate, or what have you, my body reacts very negatively. I tell people I am "allergic to chocolate" and they look at me weird. But I have quite intelligently come to the conclusion that when I take caffeine, there is a direct negative response from my body.  Some people would say similar things concerning red or blue dyes in artificial food flavorings. It does not mean they are bad for everyone, just some. 

With that said, I miss caffeine. Seriously. I am a mom of three young children, whom I homeschool. I remember when they were the ages of 3, 2 and a newborn. Those were the days that their energy was high and mine, not so much. I lived off of caffeine and could literally not make it throughout the day without it, (that should be the first sign of a problem right there, addiction). I always knew in the back of my mind that if I would just eat right then I would have all the energy I need. Which is true. We honestly do try to eat healthy in our family, lots of fruits, lots of greens, limited sweets, etc. But even when we try to eat our best, we have to think about our past. All the junk that we may have fed ourselves in the past may have messed us up. Truly. 

I just learned recently that if you start taking herbs for the first time (in large quantities) then your body won't know what to do with them and won't absorb them. That is a huge problem. The way herbalists address this problem is providing you with a "tincture." My understanding of a tincture is you take the herb and mix it in a solution that you drop under your tongue. This gives it the opportunity to go directly into your bloodstream.       

Now I know nothing can replace healthy living and right eating. The  natural fiber and such that come from eating raw foods are irreplaceable. But, if we as a society are willing to take a drug to cure the pain from unhealthy living then why not take nutrients taken from these foods and place them directly into our bloodstream. Seriously. We will literally inject poison into our bodies for a quick fix but are often scared to try something deemed "natural."


These Altrient products work in a similar fashion to an herbal tincture. You take it in your drink and the highly concentrated nutrients go to the places in your body where they are needed most. And as a living example, I can tell you, it works!

I personally received both the Altrient C and Altrient ME and was immediately drawn to the Altrient ME which claims to provide "more energy." Since I gave up caffeine, that is exactly what I needed! The first time I took the Altrient ME I immediately saw results. 


 $39.95 for one box of 30 Altrient supplements

It was kind of eerie. I had the same exact feeling of energy that I used to feel when I took caffeine. The only difference was, I kept waiting for that "crash" that I was so used to with caffeine, and it never came. Honestly. It never came. I feared that I wouldn't be able to sleep that night because that was a problem that I always had with caffeine, even if consumed early in the day. I slept like a baby and woke up the next morning refreshed and ready to go! I was amazed at the results, it really worked!  


Disclaimer: Altrient provided me with the above product for this review. All opinions expressed here are my own.






Buffalo Chicken Casserole

One day I was craving some Buffalo chicken dip and still needed a plan for dinner that night. I looked at the ingredients I had on hand and found a delicious recipe for a casserole with similar ingredients to the dip! I made this for some visiting relatives over the weekend and they devoured it. No leftovers in this house! 

The recipe below serves 8-10 people so for a smaller family just cut the recipe in half

Ingredients

~ 4 Large Boneless Chicken Breast
~ 1/2 Bottle Ranch Dressing (10.5 oz)
~ 1/2 Bottle Franks Red Hot Sauce (add more to your liking)
~ 10 Ounces Mozzarella Cheese (shredded)
~ 6 Ounces Colby Cheese (shredded)
~ One Cup White Rice (cooked)
~ One Cup Broccoli (can be frozen
~ One Cup Corn (can be frozen)
~ 2 Packs Cream Cheese (8 oz) (softened)

Directions

Fill large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add chicken and reduce heat to medium high. Boil 20 minutes or until cooked all the way through. Drain and wait until cool. Shred chicken and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, combine ranch, softened cream cheese, mozzarella cheese and hot sauce in large bowl. Add corn, broccoli, rice and chicken. Pour into greased casserole dish and top with Colby cheese. Cook in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or when it bubbles.