Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Faves: Veggie Pizza

Today I am sharing a quick recipe with you.  It isn't a new recipe.  It isn't one I created on my own.  It is just my quick, easy version of a recipe.  Veggie pizza is one of my favorite snacks to take to gatherings.  I really only make it when we have a carry-in to go to or something like that.  I really should make it more, but I think I don't because I would eat the whole thing.  Anyway I totally cheat on this recipe now because I buy everything pretty much already done and just throw it together. 

Veggie Pizza
1 roll of crescent dough
1 tub of garlic and herb cream cheese (softened)
1 bag of rainbow salad
Shredded Cheese (Optional)

A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Veggie Pizza

1.  Roll out your crescent dough on a cookie sheet.  Press any seams together and bake according to package directions.

2.  After the dough is finished cooking, let it cool for 10-15 minutes.

3.  Spread the cream cheese on top of the dough to make sure it is completely covered.


4.  Top the cream cheese layer with the rainbow salad.


5.  Top with shredded cheese (if you are using it).

6.  Cut into squares, cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

7.  Enjoy!!!

I hope you love this veggie pizza as much as I do.  If you can't find the rainbow salad, you can buy veggies and cut them into small pieces.  Do you have a favorite recipe that you take to gatherings?  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Review of Reading Eggs

One of the things I like best about homeschooling is that if there is an area that your child struggles with, you can really focus on that area until it improves and you can constantly gauge where you are at in that process.  I know that Little Miss loves to read, but she struggles with reading comprehension.  I had already started to tackle this issue this school year when we received a 6 month subscription to Reading Eggs, which is an online reading program to review.  This subscription includes access to all of their reading products - Reading Eggs Junior, Reading Eggs, and Reading Eggspress, along with access to Mathseeds their new math program.  
Reading Eggs*, Reading. Online Reading. Online Learning. Kids Learning. Reading Games
Reading Eggs is an online learning website that is for children 2-13.  This is a wide age range, but they offer different levels of learning to different age ranges of children.  For children ages 2-4, they offer Reading Eggs Junior.  This first steps program has games, books, and videos that build pre-reading skills and help get your child ready to read.  For children ages 4-7, they offer Reading Eggs.  This program helps get children ready for school with self paced lessons.  It teaches phonics, sight words, vocabulary, spelling, and comprehension to help your child learn to read and build their reading skills.  For children ages 7-13, they offer Reading Eggspress.  This part of the program focuses on reading comprehension, spelling, and vocabulary to build your child's reading skills and to help them understand what they read.  Reading Eggs also gave us access to their Mathseeds which is their new math program.  It is for children ages 3-9.  It focuses on teaching core math skills and problem solving skills while being fun and interactive.
Each part of the Reading Eggs that we have tried (we did not try out the Reading Eggs Junior) has started with a placement test.  This test has multiple questions and it determines what reading level your child starts at.  In the parent area you can adjust the reading level that your child starts at or you can reset the placement test so that your child can retake it.  I felt that Little Miss was placed at the right levels after her placement tests.  In the Reading Eggs and the Reading Express there were several different areas that Little Miss could work in.  There were the lessons of course that each worked on different skills.  There was also a reading library with over 2,000 books, storylands, a story factory, driving tests, spelling areas, games, puzzles, English skills, the stadium, avatars they could customize, and places they could decorate.  For everything that the student works on they earn golden eggs that they can use to "buy" decorations, play extra games, and customize their avatar. Reading Eggs offers lots of extras in the parent dashboard.  They have activity sheets that you can print off and take on the go with you.  These worksheets have a small story and then questions to answer.  They also just released Homeschool Guides for Kindergarten through 2nd grade,  These guides list a plan and the specific Reading Eggs programs and lessons that can be used to achieve them.  They would be very helpful if you had a child in this age range.  There are so many ways that Reading Eggs can be used in a homeschool setting.  Right now you can get a Free 4 week trial to the program so that you can try it out for your own family.  After the trial, they offer a monthly subscription, a 6 months subscription, or a yearly subscription for your purchase options.
These show their worksheets and an example of the worksheet.
Little Miss has been loving the Reading Eggs program.  From the moment I got our account set up and logged her in, she took over.  Even though the Reading Eggs portion is for ages 3-7, I did have her do the placement test for this part of the program.  I just wanted to see what it was all about and before she could just play in this area, she had to do the placement test.  She worked through the test with no issues.  She ended up testing out at an age just a little below her actual age.  I expected this because she doesn't always read carefully.  I tell her this all the time, but it was really confirmed for me with this program.  I have had her focus on working in the Reading Eggspress portion because it fits her age range.  This part of the program also focuses on reading comprehension and I know this is her weakness.  Little Miss really enjoys this part of the program.  She has had to work consistently to bring up her comprehension level because this program is thorough and she can't just guess her way through the questions.  Reading Eggspress asks comprehension questions not only about the details of stories, but also about the understanding of grammar and words. I like the fact that it makes her dig deeper and read more closely.  I like it that this part of the program has challenged her because now she is starting to understand that she doesn't always read everything closely, but she is getting much, much better at it.  She honestly likes working on this program.  It is her favorite part of school every day and when I asked her why she liked it so much she said it was because it didn't feel like school work, it just felt like playing a game.  She likes being able to go into different areas of each level and work on different tasks to collect eggs (points).  She also asks me if her scores are going up and I have been able to tell her that on my dashboard, I can see that she is really improving in her reading comprehension and for this I am happy.  Little Miss asked me if she can continue playing Reading Eggs every day even after I write about it and I assured her that it wouldn't be a problem.
They even send out progress reports.  (I blocked out my daughter's real name)
This is a product I wasn't sure if we needed, but I thought why not give it a try.  I am really glad we did.  It has been helping Little Miss with her reading comprehension not only in the program, but also in her other schoolwork as she has started looking for the little details in reading.  It is a program we will continue to use and one that I do recommend for any students that fit the 2-13 age range.  You can learn all about Reading Eggs on their website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.  You can take advantage of the Free 4 week trial by clicking here.  I would also encourage you to read the reviews of my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew by clicking the banner below since we all have kids that are different ages and I am sure we all found different parts of this program helpful.
Reading Eggs

Friday, October 13, 2017

Stretching My Skills

I have been quite busy lately, but it has been by choice.  I decided to step waaaaaaay out of my comfort zone, push myself, and join a couple of crochet challenges.  I know this doesn't seem like a very big deal, but it has been for me.  I am a mostly self taught crocheter and I have really wanted to step up my game for a long time.  I want to crochet more and learn more stitching skills so when a crochet blog I regularly read announced they were participating in a Holiday Stashdown Crochet Along, it got my brain thinking.  At first I just ignored it and thought it might be fun, but who has that kind of time.  Then I thought more about it and I decided to just jump in.  Looking all around the sites for the Stashdown Crochet Along led me to another crochet blog and she was doing a different crochet-along and before I knew what I was doing I signed up for that one too.  C-R-A-Z-Y, right????  I wanted to stretch myself a little and grow a little that was all, but somehow I ended up stretching myself a lot and I am growing a lot.  The Stashdown CAL (Crochet Along) started first and patterns for that are released on Mondays.  The 12 Weeks of Christmas Crochet Along started a couple of weeks later and the patterns for that one are released on Fridays.  Both of these crochet alongs have me learning new stitches, new techniques, new lingo, and building my already existing skills.  It is like a crochet school for me.  I am truly enjoying both challenges, the creativity of all the designers, and the challenge of finishing projects in a VERY timely manner.  Y'all know I have some issues finishing crafting projects in a timely fashion, but these challenges are curing that.  I am crocheting away in my spare time and I don't regret it.  At first I felt a little guilty spending so much time crocheting, but then I realized if I want to build my skills I have to spend more time working on them and I wasn't wasting my downtime anymore just vegging out to TV or playing games on my Kindle.  Some of the projects have taken me longer than others.  I missed a couple of projects from each crochet along because we went on vacation soon after they both started, but I will make them up at some point.  Would I join another crochet along?  You bet!  It is growing my skills like mad and I can't wait to share what I am learning with you.  If you follow me on Instagram you will see me posting a lot of my projects because they are easy to upload to my Ravelry account (it is a crochet/knitting site).  What do you do to build your crafting skills?
A Glimpse of Normal
My first ever crochet along project.
A Glimpse of Normal
A finished hat for the 12 weeks crochet along.
A Glimpse of Normal
A finished scarf
A Glimpse of Normal
A finished cowl
A Glimpse of Normal
I learned the "Berry Stitch" on this project.
A Glimpse of Normal
This is my current "WIP" - Work In Progress.  I'm learning the lingo.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Review of Brinkman Adventures Season 4 from Brinkman Adventures

In today's world it is so easy to find all kinds of things families shouldn't be listening to.  It only takes a few seconds of flipping through the TV or scanning the radio to find shows, advertisements, and segments that are just flat out inappropriate.  I don't want my family's heads filled with this kind of junk which is why I was excited to receive the Brinkman Adventures Season 4 from Brinkman Adventures to review recently.
Brinkman Adventures, Audio Drama, Missionary Stories, Audio Missionary Drama, Brinkman Adventures
Brinkman Adventures is a radio show that you can listen to on the radio, audio CDs, or by downloading MP3 files.  These are true, modern, missionary stories that are told through the eyes of a fictional family, the Brinkman family.  These adventures are produced by Beachglass ministries which is a non-denominational Christian organization.  The purpose of the Brinkman Adventures is to inspire, motivate, and promote the next generation of Christian world changers.

Brinkman Adventures Season 4 that we received can by purchased as audio CDs, but we were sent the audio downloads to listen to.  This season of the show features over 5 hours of high-definition audio.  Each show is full of action, missionary stories, and Christian inspiration.  In this season of the award-winning series we got to hear about the lives of Dr. Nik Ripken, Carl Ralston, Glen and Rita Chapman, and more.  Through these stories we got to travel to Cambodia, the Middle East, Russia, the Congo, and across the United States.  Each story we listened to has an overall theme that honors God.  Here are the stories included in Season 4 along with their theme:
  • A Paradise Lost - God is in Control
  • Remember Nhu - Persevering
  • Aisha's Fear - Overcoming Fear with Love
  • Heart Song - Tenacious Faith
  • The Crashed Kitchen - God Doesn't Make Mistakes
  • Crisis in the Congo - People Over Projects
  • The Mysterious Palm Feller - Confronting Evil
  • War of the Raccoons - Faithfulness in Work
  • The Five Guys - Listening to God
  • Toughest Man - Surrendering Everything
  • Cambodian Quest - Going Deeper with God
  • What Brings Us Together - Glorifying God in Every Vocation
Since we had never listened to the Brinkman Adventures before, we weren't quite sure what to expect at first especially since we were starting with Season 4. The entire family sat down to listen to the first episode.  At first we were a little confused because you are dropped right into the middle of family Bible camp with the Brinkman Family.  Since we have not heard this series before we were confused trying to figure out who was who and what exactly was happening.  Once we did - they are running a Bible Camp, a mega storm is coming, and everything seems out of control, the episode started to make sense.  The message was that even when everything falls apart, God is in Control of it all and He can take care of it.  We discussed what happened in the episode and how we can either give up when things get rough or give it all to God.  We then continued listening to the episodes over the next couple of weeks.  What we heard were great missionary stories that reminded us that it is dangerous and scary, but very rewarding to be a Christian in other countries.  These stories reminded us that there are people in the world who are desperate to know Jesus and there are other people who are willing to give up everything to stand for Jesus.  These stories gave us a chance to discuss what we would do if we were in the same situations as the people and missionaries in the stories.
This kids listening to an episode of Season 4
My kids loved the War of the Raccoons episode.  They got such a kick out of everything that went wrong with the programmed robot, RD.  Little Miss said it was a good reminder to her to finish the projects she starts because she does get sidetracked a lot just like Ian.  I loved the reminders I got from listening to Aisha's Fear and Toughest Man.  Aisha's Fear reminded me that God is with me all the time and I don't have to be afraid.  The episode Toughest Man was a good challenge for me.  I need to remember to be willing to give up everything for God because He will take care of me no matter what.  Hubby really liked the episode Crisis in the Congo.  As a director at his work, he often gets caught up trying to get projects done, checked off, and out the door.  So this episode was a reminder for him to make sure he is putting people first and not overlooking them to get work done.  We enjoyed all the episodes and will definitely listen to them again as I am sure there are little details we missed the first time.

Our family recommends that you listen to Brinkman Adventures Season 4 if you are looking for great purposeful entertainment for your family.  We really enjoyed listening to these Christian radio shows and want to check out other seasons of the Brinkman Adventures now.  If you would like to learn more about the Brinkman Adventures you can learn more on their website and on Facebook.  You can learn more about Brinkman Adventures Season 4 by clicking here.  You can also read what my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew learned by listening to this series by clicking the banner below.
Brinkman Adventures Season 4

Monday, October 9, 2017

A Review of the Family Membership from CTCMath

Math can be a tough subject to teach and a tough subject for students to learn.  It is so tough to teach and learn in my home because both of my students learn differently.  This is why I was excited to receive Family Membership from CTCMath to review with my kids and to make it even better homeschoolers can get 60% off + 6 bonus months of this math program.
CTCMath, Math Curriculum, Math help, Math worksheets, Math videos, Math lessons, Homeschool Math, Elementary Math, Middle School Math, High School Math, Geometry, Calculus, Trigonometry, Algebra, Math Games
CTCMath is very user friendly and they have had so much success because of they way they teach math.  Once you get a membership, you get access to all their levels of math, Kindergarten through Trigonometry, so you can pick the grade or area where your student needs to work.  This comprehensive tutorial program features video lessons that are clearly explained and you can pause them or rewind them at any time during the lesson.  CTCMath offers over 1400 animated and narrated math lessons, interactive questions, diagnostic tests, instant feedback to students, and regular reporting to parents.  If you prefer worksheets, you can print off a worksheet instead of the interactive questions.  This program includes separate dashboards for students and parents. In the student dashboard, you can pick your lesson to work on or see the tasks the student has to complete.  In the parent dashboard, you can assign tasks (lessons) for each student, check their progress, see what they have been working on, and set up the passing grade that they need to be able to complete each lesson.   This allows the parent to see what areas the student needs help on or where they are excelling.  CTCMath offers monthly or yearly memberships for just one student or a family plan for up to 10 students at very reasonable rates..  The yearly membership is the best value for your money and is comparable to buying a math textbook.  CTCMath does offer a free trial so that you can see what you will get before you purchase this curriculum.
Buddy's Geometry Sheets I had to print off
Each lesson started with a video tutorial of the concept being taught.  Then the instructor showed how to work several examples step by step.  After the student watched the video, they complete questions for the lesson.  They can complete the questions online or you can print off a worksheet with the questions on it.  If the questions are completed online, the program grades the work for you.  If you print off the worksheet for your student, then you can view the solutions and grade the worksheet yourself using the grading scale the program gives.  There are also short, standard, and comprehensive diagnostic tests for each level for you to use with your student. The tests are available after each topic is completed with in a grade.  CTCMath also includes 3 "game-like" areas that your student can play without realizing they are learning math.  CTCMath states that every grade from Kindergarten through 8th grade is a complete curriculum and for classes beyond 8th grade their program should be used as a supplement.
Buddy loved CTCMath the last time we reviewed it so he was super excited to get one of his favorite math programs to use again.  He has been working on Geometry lessons with CTCMath.  There are over 115 geometry lessons for him to complete.  He watches a video for each lesson and then he completes the questions for the lesson.  Some of the questions he has been able to complete right online, but other times he has to print off a worksheet since the lessons involve graphing items and drawing shapes.  So far he has completed 14 lessons and likes this geometry much better than the other curriculum he was working on.  He feels like CTCMath is easy to understand, the concepts are clear, and he knows that he has to get at least an 80% to pass the lesson.  This means he if the questions are online, he knows right away if he needs to try it again or not.  He is doing great with this curriculum and he plans to use it until he completes all the Geometry lessons they have.
This is one area of the 4th grade curriculum that Little Miss has been working in.
Little Miss has been working on some of the 4th grade math in CTCMath.  She is my hands on learner and prefers a physical workbook to an online curriculum, but she is doing a good job with the lessons she worked on for the review.  She likes the videos and feel like they explain the instructions for the lesson well.  She likes that it gives multiple examples.  She said that she doesn't mind answering her questions for the lesson online, but she feels like she thinks clearer when she has the worksheet printed out.  She likes to have scratch paper to work out problems when she is doing her math and when she does the lessons online she forgets that she has her scratch paper and feels like she has to do everything in her head.  She doesn't mind answering the questions online and most of the time she does fine, but there were a few concepts she struggled with and had to repeat the question part extra times to get her score to an 80%.  The days I printed off the questions for her she did better because she could work the problem right on the paper.  It is just how she learns.  There are over 90 lessons in the 4th grade curriculum and I plan to use this with her as a supplement to her physical math book for the rest of the year.
This is one area where Little Miss can see her grades.
I really like this program for both of my kids.  Even though it doesn't match the learning style of one of my kids, I feel like it helps her think out of the box and it uses a different style of learning for her.  She thinks she doesn't do well at this program, but she really does.  She lets it get to her if she misses one question and then she feels pressured that she has to get the rest right.  What she doesn't realize is that she does this with her physical math book too.  I also like that they can work through extra lessons or if there is a concept they are struggling to remember how to complete, they can go to other levels of math and work on it and then come back to the lesson they were working on.  I like that they can jump around in this program.  I think that overall it is a really good fit for our family and we will continue using it. 
CTCMath
We definitely recommend CTCMath if you are looking for access to multiple levels of math, have multiple children in your home, or you just want a really well-round curriculum for your students.  You can find out more about CTCMath on their website, Facebook Twitter, Periscope, Pinterest, or YouTube.  You can find out more about the CTCMath Family Membership we received here.  You can also find out more about how my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew have been using this product by clicking the banner below.
CTCMath Online Math Tutoring {Reviews}

Saturday, October 7, 2017

My Favorite Things About Fall

Fall officially arrived a couple of weeks ago and I couldn't be more excited.  Fall is my favorite season and I just love this time of year.  Today I thought I would simply share a list of my favorite things that happen in Fall.
My Favorite Things About Fall, A Glimpse of Normal Blog
  • Leaves changing color
  • Warm days
  • Cool, crisp nights
  • Bonfires
  • Hayrides
  • Apples
  • Apple Picking
  • Fresh Apple Cider
  • Sweatshirts
  • Falling Leaves
  • Pumpkins
  • Pumpkin Carving
  • Decorating
  • Trick or Treaters
  • Costumes
  • Birthdays
  • Anniversaries
  • Soup
  • Halloween
  • S'mores
  • Hay Bales
  • Mums
  • Horse Shows
  • Pumpkin Spice Coffee
  • Crochet
  • Fires in our wood stove
  • Fall boots
What are your favorite things about Fall?  Do you love Fall as much as I do?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Review of the Individual Membership from Super Teacher Worksheets

Sometimes as a homeschool mom, I am just too busy to create a worksheet for a subject and I wish for a place where I can just look up subjects and topics to find already created worksheets.  This is exactly what I found when we recently got a chance to review the Individual Membership from Super Teacher Worksheets.  This website offers thousands of worksheets and printables to their members which makes my job teaching much easier.
 Super Teacher Worksheets, worksheets, printables
Super Teacher Worksheets is a website that has printable teaching resources for Kindergarten through 5th grade.  They offer worksheets, reading comprehension stories, spelling lists, holiday printables, math games, phonics worksheets, handwriting pages, writing prompts, articles, and more for just $19.95 per year for the Individual Membership.  Not only do they offer printables that are ready to just be printed and used, they offer a generator tool so you can make your own worksheets, puzzles, and more if you choose to.  They have resources ready to go for math, reading, writing grammar, science, social studies, phonics, spelling, and chapter books.  They even have brain teasers and puzzles ready to go for you.  Super Teacher Worksheets even offers teacher tools like lesson planners, grade books, notes to send home to the parents, desk tags, and more if you teach in big groups or public schools.  They do offer a school license for their site too.  With over 10,000 resources, there is something for everyone who has a student in Kindergarten through 5th grade.
With all of these options and ready to print worksheets, I am sure you can see why this website has quickly become one of my favorites.  Super Teacher Worksheets seems to have a worksheet for just about any topic I am looking for.  Once I got logged into their website, I was able to quickly look through the different subjects they cover because they are all on the left hand side of the website.  Once I decide what subject I am looking for, then I can quickly click on a topic under that subject.  If I want to see more worksheets in a subject, I could click on more worksheets at the bottom of each subject and it would list out even more printables to choose from.  This site is super easy to navigate.  Once I found a worksheet that I wanted to use, I had the option of just printing it right then or putting it in my filing cabinet.  I usually did both.  I would print a worksheet and then put it in my filing cabinet so that I could easily look up the worksheet answers when Little Miss completed it.  The filing cabinet is also where any worksheets I create will be stored.  I've not used the worksheet generator yet because so far I have found everything I have been looking for was already made for me.  I do plan to use this tool in the near future for the Little House on the Prairie series that we have been reading.
This was my filing cabinet on the first day, now it is very full.
Little Miss has been using the worksheets that I have been printing off for her from this website.  We have been using mostly science worksheets so far because we have been studying the weather and animals for science.  She loves going in and reading the science articles on the computer and then I print off only the worksheets for her to save on printing.  Then she can sit at the computer and answer the printed off worksheets so she can reference the articles if she needs to.  So far she has learned about flamingos, dolphins, aardvarks, and the butterfly life cycle among other animals.  I also had her work on a couple of Charlotte's Web pages from the Chapter Books section since we were reading this book at the end of summer.  I wanted her to go over some of the vocabulary from the book and the worksheets for this were really good and had her looking up some words she didn't know before reading the book.  I have my eye on a bunch of other worksheets from this website to use this year in our school and Little Miss really likes working on them so I would say it is a win-win situation.
I use this website almost every school day and I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of it.  There are so many more worksheets that I want Little Miss to work on this year, it is just a matter of fitting them into the right weeks for us.  I would HIGHLY recommend the Individual Membership from Super Teacher Worksheets.  You can learn more about this membership here.  You can learn more about Super Teacher Worksheets and all they have to offer on their website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.  You can find out how my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew have been using this website by clicking on the banner below.  I know I can't wait to read their reviews to find more worksheets for my filing cabinet.
Super Teacher Worksheets

Sunday, October 1, 2017

October 2017 Menu Plan

We have had a busy, busy September.  We went camping a couple of times and started school so I am not quite sure where the month got away from me, but it did.  Now here we are in October and I can't believe the time has flown by so fast.  October has always been a party month for us.  Hubby and I both have birthdays in October along with a couple of other family members.  So it tends to be a little busy for us.  This month we are trying to focus on using up some of the supplies from our pantry and finding some room in our deep freeze.  I am also trying to use my cast iron skillet and cast iron dutch oven more so you will see quite a few recipes that use those pans.  Buddy also has some orthodontist work late in the month to prepare for the last steps of his braces so you will notice a week of soup (better known as soft foods) in our meal plan.
A Glimpse of Normal Blog, October Menu Plan, Menu Plan

  1. Homemade Cheeseburger Soup
  2. Creamy Garlic Butter Tuscan Salmon
  3. Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls
  4. Honey Mustard Chicken, Avocado, & Bacon Salad
  5. Mexican Chorizo Rice
  6. Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Pizza Hoagies
  7. Tex Mex Grilled Chicken Salad
  8. Instant Pot French Dip Sandwiches
  9. Parmesan Meatloaf
  10. Buffalo Chicken Bowls
  11. Beef, Tomato & Acini de Pepe Soup
  12. Quesarito
  13. The Pizza Braid
  14. Grilled Ginger Sesame Chicken Chopped Salad
  15. Shepherd's Pie
  16. Stuffed Pepper Skillet
  17. Skillet Chicken Fajitas
  18. Hobo Dinners in the Dutch Oven
  19. Quinoa Taco Bowls
  20. Deep Dish Pizza
  21. Mock KFC Chicken Bowls
  22. Kielbasa, Peppers, & Potato Hash
  23. Tex Mex Meatballs
  24. Italian Orzo Spinach Soup
  25. Creamy White Bean & Bacon Soup
  26. Lasagna Soup
  27. Stuffed Pizza Bread
  28. Chili Cheese Frito Bake
  29. Foil Sausages and Veggies
  30. Cheesesteak Skillet
  31. Green Beans, Potatoes, & Kielbasa

As always you can find my October Menu Plan board on Pinterest.  There are some extra recipes on there left over from last year's menu plan.  What is for dinner this month at your house?

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Mission Possible: October Decluttering

I don't know about you, but some days the "stuff" in my house just overwhelms me.  I am not a hoarder, but if I am not careful my house will look like I am.  I wish I could tell you that I am a minimalist, but I am not sure that lifestyle fits me either.  What I do know is that if things are not in their place in my house, it starts to spiral downward fast and then I am left with an entire day of cleaning rather than just a few hours.  We are in the process of getting ready for some pretty big renovation projects, gutting the kitchen down to the studs renovation projects, and if I don't get my house in order before these things happen, I might lose my mind. 
A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Mission Possible, Decluttering, October
This all lead me, much to my hubby's delight, to needing to do some decluttering.  What is decluttering?  It is getting rid of the things you don't need, don't love, and don't use.  It is getting rid of the things that get in your way, the things that hold you back, and the things that don't make you happy anymore.  I know I have a lot of things that we moved that we just don't need anymore.  How do I know this?  They are still sitting downstairs in the basement in boxes and I haven't thought of them since I packed them.  So I thought I would take the month of October to start the decluttering process.  I want to spend just a few minutes a day going through things and weeding out the things I don't need.  I recommend doing thing for just 15-30 minutes a day and focusing on just one area a day.  If you can, pick at least 5 things to get rid of.  Some days you will have 5, some days you will have much more, and some days you may not have anything.  I put together a calendar to help you with this process.  You can get that calendar by clicking right here.  Below is a small glimpse of the calendar I created.
What should you do with the stuff you find when decluttering?  Throw away any trash you find, shred or burn any documents you no longer need, and make a couple of different piles.  These piles can be things you need to get back to people, things to donate, and if you choose to things to put in a yard sale or on yard sale sites.  The process of decluttering isn't always fun, but when you are done you will probably feel better.  I know I do.  Please come back and let me know how you did on your decluttering.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

A Review of The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls from Worthy Kids/Ideals

We love good fiction books here in our house and they are even better if they are good Christian fiction books.  This is exactly what we received when we were recently given The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls from Worthy Kids/Ideals to review.  This book series is recommended for children ages 6-9 for reading levels grades 1-3 or beyond.
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls, Secret of the Hidden Scrolls, Hidden Scrolls, MJ Thomas author, MJ Thomas kids books

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls is a series of two books (so far) by author M.J. Thomas.  Mr. Thomas wrote these books for his son when he was searching for books that would teach about the Bible in a fun and imaginative way, but could not find any.  Book One is The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning (Book #1) and Book Two is The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls:Race to the Ark (Book #2).  They are available to purchase on both Amazon and the Barnes and Noble website.
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning (Book #1) is where we meet Peter and Mary.  These siblings, along with their dog, Hank are visiting their Great-Uncle Solomon who is an archaeologist.  The kids are not looking forward to their visit, but soon Great-Uncle Solomon begins to share about his adventures with them.  He tells them how he found ancient scrolls at a dig site near the Dead Sea.  These scrolls are the key to proving the Bible is true, but they can only be opened by the chosen ones.  The chosen ones will be able to travel back in time to the events of the Bible.  Of course Peter and Mary are the chosen ones, but they first have to find the scrolls.  Then they are transported back in time to Creation and even though they get to see God create everything, they still have to figure out the mystery in the scrolls and solve it.  If they don't solve the mystery, they will be stuck in the past and not allowed to return to present time.
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls:Race to the Ark (Book #2) features Peter and Mary, along with Hank the dog, on another adventure from the hidden scrolls.  They have no clue what to expect when they hear the lion's roar, but Great-Uncle Solomon hands them a bag of things for their adventure.  This time they are taken back in time to the days of Noah and the flood.  As Peter and Mary start solving the secrets of the scroll they begin to help Noah prepare the Ark.  Their task is not easy because of course people want to stop them on their adventure.  This story is all about trusting God just like Noah had to do.  Will they learn that they can trust God for everything?  This is the lesson they will have to learn if they want to make it back to present time.
Little Miss really enjoyed reading these two books.  They were easy for her to read all by herself since they are recommended for grades 1-3, but I had her read them aloud to me so that I could hear the stories too.  These fun adventures kept her attention and kept her wanting to read more.  I had her read at least 2 chapters a day, but she always begged to read more.  We were able to chat about how the books were different than and the same as the actual Bible stories they discussed.  We were able to chat about how these books were just fiction and Little Miss knew that they were just for fun reading.  She told me that while it was fun to imagine that these stories could be real, she knew that the only real stories were the ones from the Bible.  She also hopes that there are more books in this series so that she can read them too.  As a parent, I am happy that she was able to read these books because they are good, clean books for her to read.  I don't have to worry that the books are filled with anything bad or anything that she shouldn't read.  She knows they are just make believe and she knows that she can turn to the Bible to find the real story.  I also liked that in the back of the book, the author tells you exactly where you can find the actual stories in the Bible.

If you want a fun book series to read, we definitely recommend The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls from Worthy Kids/Ideals.  You can learn more about the two books in this series here.  You can learn more about Worthy Kids/Ideals on their website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  As always you can check out what my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew thought of these books by clicking the banner below.
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls. {WorthyKids/Ideals Reviews}

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Review of Captain Bayley's Heir from Heirloom Audio Productions

Audio dramas have become a family favorite in our house, especially the ones from Heirloom Audio Productions.  Their latest audio drama is Captain Bayley's Heir and we couldn't wait to listen to it for our latest review.  Like the other audio dramas we have heard from this outstanding company, Captain Bayley's Heir captured our attention from the very second it started until the moment it ended.
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Since we have reviewed products for Heirloom Audio in the past, we know that we can always expect a quality audio drama that not only captures our attention and but it also keeps us on the edge of our seats.  We have come to really appreciate this company because their priority is bringing real history to life for their listeners and they strive to tell the stories of true Christian heroes while teaching strong moral values.  Their audio dramas are based on the popular book series The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty.  His books are filled with themes of bravery, loyalty, family, and happy endings while featuring moral values like loyalty, courage, honesty, and perseverance.  Since Henty’s books are filled with such great themes and morals, you can see why Heirloom Audio would base their audio dramas on this series.  They make it easy to complete their mission which is “to engage the listener’s imagination by taking them back in time and immersing them in a great Christian story “  because their audio dramas are so captivating.
Captain Bayley's Heir is the story of Frank, Captain Bayley, Harry, and the adventure of going west during the gold rush in America.  At the beginning of the story we see that Frank an 18 year old young man is willing to risk his life to save others, but at the same time he has a sense of adventure that sometimes gets him in trouble.  He saves Harry's dog from drowning in icy water and becomes good friends with young Harry.  He learns that Harry was adopted by a couple when they found Harry's mother dying in the street only Harry doesn't know any of this.  Frank finds this fact very interesting as his uncle Captain Bayley has always been in search of his long lost daughter who ran away with her husband that the Captain didn't approve of.  Before Frank can think much more about this situation, he gets falsely accused of a crime and decides to flee to America from England.  It is while in America that he meets new friends and decides to travel west with them in search of gold.  This story is action packed with gun fights, Indians, storms, and family reunions.  It is also the story of forgiveness and grace.  I could go on and on about it, but I don't want to give away any endings.
There are several options for purchasing this audio drama which contains over 2 hours of entertainment and education.  You can purchase it as a physical 2 CD set, which we received for just $29.97 plus shipping and handling.  You can also purchase it as a MP3 download for just $19.97.  You can also get access to many bonuses, extras, and a study guide for this audio drama (and others) by joining their Live The Adventure Club.  This is a new way to access all of their bonus material they offer and right now they are offering a 3 month trial of it, plus their latest adventure for just $1.  After the trial period you would pay just $24.75 every three months.  The Live The Adventure Club is packed full of extras for listeners, teachers, and families.  Heirloom Audio productions generously gave us access to this club so that we could access all the bonus material for Captain Bayley's Heir.  It was through this access that I was able to download the study guide and the script for this audio adventure.  I love having access to the study guide so that I can discuss the parts of the drama with my kids.  I usually use it as a reference to make sure they know what is happening in the drama since it has detailed questions you can ask for each chapter of the audio drama.  The study guide also has vocabulary words, deeper questions for further thinking and research, and "Expand Your Learning" sections that give history details related to the story or recipes that coordinate with the story.  There is also a section for Bible study in the study guide.  I love the extra tidbits of information and history that are given in the "Expand Your Learning" sections like the important names of the gold rush, the explanation of Victorian Money, and what life was really like in the gold fields.  I plan to use these little extras for deeper study of the American West later this school year when Little Miss studies the gold rush more.
We first started listening to this audio drama in the car on the way to piano lessons and gymnastics, but we quickly found out that we didn't like starting and stopping this CD because there was too much action.  We brought the CDs inside and sat down to finish listening.  Then I asked both kids questions from the study guide to check for understanding.  They knew the answers immediately.  Both kids have declared Captain Bayley's Heir their favorite Heirloom Audio drama so far.  They loved the story from the beginning to the end.  I will use it again a little later this year for Little Miss as she will be studying the Gold Rush for history.  My hubby was bummed that he didn't get to listen to this with us, but he said that he can't wait for his next long trip so that he can listen to it.

Our whole family definitely recommends listening to Captain Bayley's Heir from Heirloom Audio Productions.  You can find out more about Captain Bayley's Heir here.  You can learn more about Heirloom Audio Productions on their websiteFacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Instagram.  Please be sure to check out all that Heirloom Audio Productions has to offer.  I know we will be checking them out to see what other series we can use this year for school.  My friends on the Homeschool Review Crew have also been reviewing this audio drama, so make sure you read their reviews by clicking the banner below.
Captain Bayley's Heir {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}