Saturday, August 30, 2014

Happy Labor Day!


Hope you are having a relaxing weekend!

Kids Having Fun at Philpott Lake!


More "homeschool" related posts coming soon. As for now, we will be resting and relaxing before our busy month of September with NVable Items. Check the schedule and come on by and see us! 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Franklin County Virginia Agricultural Fair


We just finished Laura Ingalls Wilder's book, Farmer Boy today. I cried. I can't tell you the last time I cried at the end of a book, but this one did me in! I won't ruin the ending for you, but I will say that things certainly have changed over the years. The character and integrity of ten year old Almanzo was certainly one to be admired and would challenge many young boys today. 

One of my first grader's favorite parts of this book was when Almanzo entered his milk-fed pumpkin into the county fair. My children were on the edge of their seats, caught up in the suspense, wondering if he would win the blue ribbon against all the other entrants! 


County fairs were a big deal back then. Everyone took a break for a few days and head out in their horse and buggys filled with produce, goods and livestock. The community gathered together to spend time with their families, friends and neighbors.


When I heard that Franklin County, Virginia was bringing back the former tradition after forty years, I knew that our family had to be a part! I'm looking forward to good old-fashioned fun, with something for everybody!





WHERE?

Franklin County Rec. Park
Sontag Rd.
Rocky Mount, VA

WHEN?

Wednesday: September 10th 
5 - 10pm

Thursday: September 11th
5 - 10pm

Friday: September 12th
4 - 11pm

Saturday: September 13th
Noon - 11pm

WHAT?

Midway Rides

Dairy and Beef Cattle Show

Music

Hubba Bubba Clown Show

Horse Show

Demonstrations

Contests

Games

Vendors

Barefoot West

True Cadence

Lawnmower Tractor Pullers

The Kings

BMX Stunt Show

and much, much

more!

View Schedule

HOW MUCH?

Adults and Youth Ages 12 and Up
$5

Children Ages 5-11
$2

Children 4 and Under
FREE

Ride and Admission Wristband
For All Ages
$10

So, if you are wondering if we will be entering anything in the fair this year. The answer is, of course! It's all about the educational experience that this can be. And it comes right at the end of our Farmer Boy experience, perfect! They do have some veggies and flowers they grew this year they plan to enter. Great homeschool project! I'd encourage all local homeschoolers to jump all over this opportunity to get out with your family in a fun and educational way! If you are curious as to what you can enter, just check out the list! Stay tuned, as I'll be sharing more with you about the fair in the near future! Feel free to check out the Fair's Website for additional information.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

UberSmart Software {Review}

UberSmart Math Facts Review

To keep up with his math skills this summer, I had my son practice with UberSmart Software. This downloadable program ($24.95) is for Windows based computers. My son has been working with the UberSmart Math Facts program to rehearse his addition and subtraction facts and to begin learning his multiplication facts.    

I currently use Abeka Math for my two boys and have been using it with my oldest from the beginning. Personally, I am a fan of the memorization and the method of teaching used in that program. It encourages quick answers and memorizing of math facts. With my oldest, I used to sit with him and go through flash cards. The curriculum pretty much encourages this every day, I can't say that I was entirely faithful with it, but I would try! The challenge began though when my second son entered the picture. At first I would try to sit them both down and go through he cards. Fail. Obviously, the oldest would answer them all correctly first. Then, I would do half of the cards with one, and then half with the other. It worked for like a day, but the one not involved would always get so fidgety!

When I heard about UberSmart's online flash card program called UberSmart Math Facts, I was excited to try it out and see if this could be incorporated into our schooling! The timing was perfect too, summer. Summer is always a time where parents who take summer break are nervous that their children will "lose" some of their math knowledge. Previously I had schooled year round so heading into my first "summer" with the kids did make me a tad nervous, I'll admit. I was excited to have this program to try so my kids would still be able to work on their math over the summer.

How it works is you will download the program to your computer and receive a code to register it. This means that you can use the program completely offline. Once you download it, the program is on your computer and it is yours to keep. This program works on Windows 7, 8, XP and Vista only. Once downloaded and registered, you can add eight or more students at a K-6 level. 
  
UberSmart Math Facts Review

Once signed up, each student can take a test to see where they fall in the program and what skills they need to work on. My pre-schooler had a hard time finding the keys on the keyboard so she worked on keyboard entry, pictured above. 

With Keyboard entry, basically a number would appear and she would have to type it in. She enjoyed this task, it took a while but when she did it, she liked it. I think she liked the feeling of completing a task. 

After my first grader took the test, the results said that he wasn't really ready to work on his math facts such as addition or subtraction simply because he needed to work on his keyboarding skills. He was able to figure out the problems, it just took him too long to enter them on the keyboard. And, this is a timed program, so speed is key. I realized after this that he would do better with physical flash cards. Rather than trying to obtain keyboarding and math skills at the same time, I decided to skip this program with him, to ease the frustration.

As for my third grader, this program has been a perfect fit! It is challenging at times for him to stay speedy and type in the answers quickly, but he already is excellent at math and this pushes him to be even better and quicker! I started him out with easy facts and once he mastered those, I would go to harder ones. Now that we are in school again, he is working on his threes times table. Perfect! I simply go to the "learn" section of this program and have him watch the flash cards for the multiplication of the threes. He doesn't need to enter anything at this point, he just watches and learns. Then, I have him go to the "practice" section. It only takes five to ten minutes a day, but I will have him do it right before math class to get his mind working on the same facts that we will be going over! 

UberSmart Math Facts Review

I plan on continuing to use this with my third grader since basically, he can learn and practice his facts quickly and easily while I am working with the other kids on something else. The program is simple and effective for students who already have good keyboarding skills. If not, there is ample opportunity for students to gain speed and accuracy with this program!

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Week in Review: Homemade Tomato Sauce

Yes, we did school this week, it just went a little different than the past two weeks in which we have officially been "in school." On Monday morning I realized that our tomatoes were in abundance so I put aside our boxed curriculum for the day and told the kids that we were making spaghetti sauce! I'm glad my kids like to help in the kitchen or this task would have been a drudgery. Fortunately, it was quite pleasant. I sent the boys out to the garden to pick a few more ripe tomatoes. Then they weighed what we had (on our baby scale turned kitchen scale), a total of 21 lbs. Not a huge amount for someone who does a lot of canning, but for us, it was plenty!

The kids then "washed" and got the tomatoes ready for our handy dandy sauce makerIt's pretty cool. You don't have to hull, peel or blanch, just put it in like a juicer and it separates the skin and seeds out for you!



The kids chopped the tomatoes into quarters, mushed them down, cranked them through and held the bowls in place as the juice went into one bowl and the seeds and skin went into another. 





I then added chopped onion and spices and boiled down for two hours until it was the right consistency. One small jar full was saved for my tasty rendition of chicken parm that evening and the rest filled 5 quart mason jars that I canned in my canner.

While the sauce boiled, my son read aloud from a seed saving book about how to save our tomato seeds for next year. We then watched a YouTube video about the same topic, compared notes and got started with the process!

Later in the week, we took a quick trip to the city and were able to practice our golf skills. Gym class, check! We did end up getting back to the books and both boys aced their tests for the week! A great beginning for a new school year.



How was your week? What did you do?







Thursday, August 21, 2014

Healthy Snack Alternative


As parents it is important to know what our children are eating. Recently, I have been trying to make more meals and snacks from scratch to have more control over what my kids are actually consuming! With more and more parents attempting to provide their children with healthy alternatives to GMO foods we are hungry for healthy alternatives that we can feel good about!


Soy Bites exclusively by Crum Creek Mills are a GMO-free snacks that parents can be confident about. Pack them in a picnic lunch, or set them out in a bowl within everyones reach. Keep them on hand for those long road trips or pack them in your purse on field trip days. Here's a perfect munch food; healthful, convenient, single-served that is great for work, home, school or play.

There are so many ways to enjoy Crum Creek Mills Soy Bites. They're delicious on their own, of course. You can also use them for dipping hummus, light cream cheese, a bit of peanut butter, jelly or whatever else you like. Available in FOUR incredible flavors: Remarkable Rosemary and Garlic, Superb Sesame, Outrageous Onion and Everything! (A scrumptious blend of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, onion, garlic and salt). Try it out for yourself at www.crumcreek.com!




Disclaimer: I will receive the product above in exhange for this review through the US Family Guide Blogger Program. All opinions stated are my own.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Adventure Landing {Review}


Why keep your kids fenced in on such a beautiful, sunny day when you can get outdoors and play some mini-golf? When we arrived at Adventure Landing in Winston-Salem today we saw quite a crowd! Apparently we weren't the only ones who wanted to practice our swing! Fortunately, there were three (at least from I could see) different courses to choose from! We chose a par 2 and got started right away! 

Even with such a crowd, everyone dispersed to different courses so you never really felt like you were on top of anyone, or rushed. Surprisingly, my kids (ages 4-7) didn't get tired throughout the 18 hole course. They just wanted to keep on going! My seven year old was the only one with a hole in one, yeah, I didn't even get one! My six year old just kept on moving through and his favorite part was the waterfall. He was continually concerned the ball would fall in the water, fortunately it never did!

Now, my four year old didn't quite understand the whole "not using your hands" thing and kept picking up the ball and placing it next to the hole to hit it in. Cracks me up.


Some Things to Know Before you Go

~ They prefer that you golf in groups of 4
~ No more than 5 swings per hole

On our drive home the kids were already asking to go back! Definitely a fun family outing! Maybe next time we will give the bumper boats or arcade a try!

Disclaimer: A big thank you to Adventure Landing and US Family Guide for free passes in exchange for this review.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kombucha Revolution {Book Review}


What exactly is Kombucha? After reading Kombucha Revolution, I have come to the understanding that it is basically fermented tea. And not just any ordinary tea but in the first sentence of this book, the author calls it the "elixer of life" to detoxify the body, help with digestion and focus the mind. He even states that it reverses the symptoms of cancer. A bold claim? Maybe. But I could certainly be convinced. The closer man gets to nature and the elements of it's creation, the better it is for the body. God created tea leaves and there are healing elements within them. Actually, in our house, we turn to herbal teas before the medicine cabinet on any given day! So, it has been interesting reading about Kombucha and this whole new aspect of tea brewing!

This book introduces the reader to the history of Kombucha and the author's experience with it. Seventy-five recipes then follow including different infusions and preparations of the mixture. The only reason we haven't given any of these recipes a try is because similar to Keifer Grains or Sourdough Starter you need a starter to produce Kombucha, SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). I'm sure one of these days we will order some online or come across someone in our circle of friends that might be ever so generous to give us a "baby" SCOBY from one of their batches!

This revolutionary drink is certainly something to look into and I look forward to adding this book to our ever growing library of recipe books that we hope to tackle one day!



Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions stated are my own.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Wizzy Gizmo (Review)

 For summer entertainment, we recently received a CD from the Wizzy Gizmo company entitled Audio Drama One: Who Created Everything? by Chris Del Aguila and Justin Cummins. 

Wizzy Gizmo Review
$14.99

This audio CD is a 22 track recording sharing in song and story about the Creation account in Genesis. Rather than each track containing an episode, all tracks of this CD are one complete story with songs that in total lasts about an hour!

Beginning with an intro song (with sort of a Value Pac/ Ghoti Hook feel to it,) you are introduced to Wizzy Gizmo. The story begins with the professional sounding narrarator introducing you to the kids of Sunnyville during their summer vacation. 

You are first introduced to Eli, the new kid in town who meets friendly neighborhood kids who then whisk him away to meet the eccentric inventor, Wizzy Gizmo. This guy loves to invent all kinds of creative items such as spoons that can fence and toasters that can dance, (my kids got a big kick out of that one!)

The main point of the story is centered around Wizzy Gizmo's most recent creation, Gizmo Vision. This invention takes any book you have and creates a lifelike reality instead a bubble. The charecters can then hear, see, touch and feel whatever is experienced in the story!


Wizzy Gizmo Review
Their first venture goes back to the very beginning of time. They travel through each day of the story of Creation. Beginning with day one they experience creation in action! From darkness to light to the creation of the birds and fish, the children see firsthand Creation as the narrator reads the account from Genesis for the listener.

My kids were certainly captivated by Wizzy Gizmo and his interesting inventions. They laughed, they sang, they replayed the song "Mango" a gazillion times while dancing around the room wildly. Sometimes the narrator would speak in rhyme, certainly capturing the attention of my four year old and  the older ones as well! This is geared for children ages 4-12 but I saw it more of a fit for kids ages 4-8.

Dispersed throughout the story are different songs for your entertainment. I also love how they mention dinosaurs several times throughout the account!

For those reading who are concerned about what doctrine your children listen to, this CD promotes the trinitarian doctrine.

Once the story is over, there was a song reinforcing the days of creation with a Third Dayish tune. Then a "Giz Quiz" is presented with questions such as 'whose image were we made in'?

Finally, the CD ends with several tracks of songs and sound effects. Personally, the music presented on the end of the CD are not something I would generally play in my home, but thats just my preference.

Listen to a sample on their website and check it out for yourself!

If you plan to buy for yourself or a gift, you can receive up to 10% off your order when you share about Wizzy Gizmo on the web! 

Follow Wizzy Gizmo: 

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Adventure Landing {Winton-Salem}

 Are you looking for something fun to do with the whole family? Adventure Landing is The Place to Play! They have something for everyone, from kids to adults so the whole family can enjoy all of the excitement that Adventure Landing has to offer. Adventure Landing is pay-as-you-play, so you can enjoy one or all of their attractions! 

Stay cool during these final summer days and get splashed in their Bumper Boats! Practice your putting skills on their Miniature Golf Courses or perfect your gaming skills in the Family Arcade. Adventure Landing specializes in birthday party celebrations. They Go BIG for Birthdays! 

I grew up in a city, so mini-golf on the weekend was not an out of the ordinary occurrence. Well, now that the closest cities are about an hour drive, Mini-golf and the such are just rare treats on occasion! 

Even though the official school year has begun the weather is still outdoor activity worthy and I plan on taking advantage of it as much as possible!

Adventure Landing is affordable family fun...so close to home! Also, Receive an exclusive coupon from the USFamily Guide Network!


Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post thanks to USFamily Guide and Adventure Landing!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Family Camping {Blue Bend, WV}

West Virginia is only a hop, skip and a jump away, yet our family had not yet ventured over the border to see what camping experiences it had to offer! (Though we had heard the rumors.) The familiarity of routine had set in, and even though we thrive off of camping trips, the extent of our camping had been limited to our backyard (or if we REALLY wanted to 'get away' we might head to the campground a few miles down the road!) So, when our friends suggested that we load up our van full of a weeks worth of necessities and head over with them to their favorite WV camping spot, Blue Bend, we jumped at the chance! I guess we just needed a little motivation. Certainly an experience to write home about and totally satisfied this homeschool mom's dream school-cation.

 Wading in the creek for hours.

Letting the kids (young AND old) catch and cook crawdads for lunch!


Scenic rides through the mountains.

 Finding out from the locals fun landmarks such as this cool covered bridge!


 Fishing, swimming, campfires, rain, lightening, threat of tornadoes (never mind). All and all, it was a relaxing and entertaining (and of course educational) week with family and friends!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Peel and Stick Washable Labels



My kids started school last week and the public school kids in our area began today! Whether your kids are homeschooled or go to private/public school, staying organized is always key! Right now, Thrift Schooling readers can save 20% on Label Daddy labels for all your Back to School needs! Label Daddy is a great solution for labeling your belongings! Remember to label all clothing, sports equipment and other personal belongings your kids bring to sports, camp, day care, and other places. Label Daddy labels keep your child's belongings from getting lost or mixed up with others.

These labels are super durable peel-and-stick washable labels. They are washer/dryer and dishwasher safe and UV resistant! Label Daddy labels are also fun and attractive. You design your own labels! Pick from tons of colors, sizes and logos, including Marvel characters, MLB, NBA, and NHL team logos. There are other sport and fun logos to choose from also!  Their exclusive laminated coating gives labels an extra layer of protection! These labels are made in the USA and shipped directly to you worldwide.

Save 20% on your entire Label Daddy order. This is the best discount available anywhere! Use code USFAMILY20 at checkout.

 Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post through the USFamily Guide Blogger Network.

Schwan's Home Delivery



Most of us have seen the Schwan’s truck at some point in our lives driving up and down the streets of our neighborhood. But has one ever turned down your driveway and delivered food right to your door? 


For over 60 years, Schwan's Home Service has provided superior frozen foods with convenient home delivery. Why not give it a try? Maybe you just had a baby and would love some easy meals delivered to your doorstep. Or maybe a family member has just been released from the hospital and some quick meals are needed to feed the family in an easy and convienent manner.

Schwan’s foods are flash frozen at the peak of freshness and flavor. Choose from USDA Choice meats, wild-caught seafood, flavorful skillet meals, Grade A fruits and vegetables, plus our heritage ice cream, distinctive desserts and much more.

 



 For family members with special dietary needs, the following options are available:

- No gluten ingredients
- Vegetarian
- No sugar added
- Heart healthy
- Low calorie
- Low sodium choices

Schwan's offers weekly specials, coupons, online hot deals and new customer special offers. Join the Schwan's Rewards program and earn 5% back on every online purchase, to be used on a future order.

100% Guarantee! Love It or Return It! If you're unsatisfied one of our products - for any reason - we will gladly replace it or provide a refund.



And, Thrift Schooling readers can save money on a first order of Schwans Home Service! Simply use the coupon code below!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post through the USFamily Guide Blogger Network.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

This Week's Journey


Sigh. A week ago I shared a post of all the upcoming goodies I was planning on blogging about this week. Um, I think only two of them were actually fulfilled. Sorry. Even though it was a great and quite fulfilling week, it was extremely busy. Let's just say that last night, once my kids were all in bed, I followed shortly after, I was 
ex. haust. ed!!

To help me stay on task and actually provide you with a semi-interesting post aside from reviews and giveaways, (which are fun in their own right!) I have decided to join up with the The Homeschool Mother's Journey, at least for this week anyways! (I don't want to make anymore promises!!) This way you can see a small glimpse into our week and if you click the link above, you can see what other homeschoolers have enjoyed (or battled!) throughout the week as well!

IN MY LIFE THIS WEEK

I canned veggies from our garden. For the first time! Yup. On our way to self-sufficient living. Let me tell you that it is a process. Our goal certainly is to grow enough food on our property to last us throughout the year without having to go to the store. Yes, we have a looooong ways to go. But tilling and preparing the ground in this crazy Virginia red clay has been painstaking! But finally, after getting the soil ready for the past few years we finally had an abundance this year, and a little left over to actually bust out our pressure canner. Tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and yellow summer squash to be exact. Not a whole lot, but enough to at least get the basics down! And there is still plenty growing out there, so this is just the beginning!

IN OUR HOMESCHOOL THIS WEEK
We officially started school this week! This will be my first year officially teaching all three of them. Yikes. This homeschool thing sure is a lot of work. Worth it, but a lot of work. The kids were excited about starting a new "grade" but then when they saw the work expected of them for this new year their spirits deflated a bit. The attitudes started. And the classic, "why does the pre-schooler get to play while I'm doing all this work!" Sigh. Overall, the week went well, we all survived and I can see what I think is working and what I need to tweak. 

I REWARDED MY KIDS THIS WEEK BY
Overall the kids adjusted well to the new routine. So one day I let them rent the Lego movie as a treat. They were surprised, and so was I. Simply because I actually watched it this time and saw some things I didn't really like. Hmmm. Why am I so picky when it comes to what I let my kids watch?

PLACES WE'RE GOING AND PEOPLE WE'RE SEEING
I love weddings! And this week I'm attending a wedding of a friend's daughter. Yeah. That's showing my age. My first wedding where it's not a peer but the child  of a peer! Wow, I'm getting old!

You know, I LOVE comments! 
I'd love to hear about your  week in the comments below!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Glideware {Review and $200 Amazon Giveaway}


Last year, I introduced you to a brand new product in the making, Glideware. At that point, the company was only in it's beginning stages. Now, only a year later, Glideware has grown leaps and bounds. After an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign, Glideware was able to raise the funds needed to get their product into production and into the hands of the consumer.


Recently, Glideware has been showcased in Kitchen and Bath Design News Magazine, listed as one of their creative storage solutions. Glideware was also featured in Builder Magazine and even Bob Vila listed it as one of 10 New Kitchen Products to Make Your Life Better! And I will tell you from experience, that this product does in fact make your life better! Seriously. Look at how I stored my pans in my Pre-Glideware days. How sad.


And now? I can access my pans with ease. And yes, those are CAST IRON pans. I wasn't sure at first if this product would hold my heavy duty cast iron collection, but actually, it works wonders! The problem I always had with these pans was the weight. Having them stacked on top of one another was clearly not ideal and trying to lift the top pans to get to the bottom one was not good for my wrists! Having Glideware installed in the cabinet right next to my stove has clearly saved time and reduced frustration when working in the kitchen. I use these pans pretty much every day, so having an easy storage solution has made my cooking experiences run more smoothly. The fact that the pans are hanging separately and not touching one another helps to keep them in pristine condition. If you are storing stainless steel or non-stick pans, then using Glideware will help prevent them from from scratching one another. For me, I've noticed that it helps prevent rust on my cast iron pans since they aren't touching each other. 

When you order your Glideware unit, you will receive what is pictured in the far left photo. All you will need to install your Glideware unit is a simple screw gun. Ours was installed in a matter of minutes! Once your unit is in place, you can attach the seven metal hooks. I like that the consumer can place the hooks themselves so they can space them out according their own particular needs. In my case, some pans are wider than others so I like the option of moving the hooks back and forth as needed. 



For $199 you can make life at home a breeze!

Whether you simply want to give your old kitchen cabinets a makeover as I did or if you are working on a remodel, consider making room for Glideware, you'll be glad you did!

Glideware has graciously offered a $200 Amazon Giftcard to one of my readers! Simply enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win! 





a Rafflecopter giveaway

US and Canada Only
18 years and Older
Winner has 48 hours to Respond


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sneak Peek

This week is going to be fun! Just wanted to clue you in to some of the goodies I have in store for you this week!

- $200 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway
- An Easy Pots and Pans Storage Solution
- Two Children's Book Reviews
- First Day of School Ramblings
And more!

Stay tuned for an exciting and busy week! Not only am I starting school with the kids this week but I'll be busy on the blog as well, hope you enjoy!!!