Monday, September 29, 2014

September Update

Life is been full of doctor's appointments for us lately.  It's  not leaving a lot of time for other things to be done.  Being on the road is definitely time consuming but of course, my children's healthcare is more than worth it.

Jackson started Parent Child Interactive Therapy a few weeks ago.  We are doing great with this therapy and have already passed through the first part of the series after 2 weeks of sessions with our therapist.  We are now moving on to the next step which is to give Jackson demands and work on his temper issues, as well as building discipline.  We hope this will help both us and him learn to better deal with our day to day and also help with his breath holding spells. Time will show us if it does or not.

Emma sees the neurologist this week as well.  It will be our first visit.   We hope he will be able to tell us why she is toe-walking since no one can tell us that.  Once this is done, we will move on to repairing her toe-walking.

Last week we ordered Jack a helmet.  Hopefully, it will be done soon and we will be able to use this for both of his therapies.  It will be great for his headbanging as well.

Laycie and Winston are doing great right now.  No issues for them which is wonderful.

That's it for a current update and where we are at with our day to day issues.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Student Logbook {Schoolhouse Review}

My Student Logbook is a wonderful company that provides easy to use logbooks for your homeschooling.  Appropriately titled, My Student Logbook is an amazing way to keep track of your day to day studies.  This logbook is great for grades 2nd and up.  If you've been looking for a way to keep your students on track, this may be it!

My Student Logbook comes in a variety of designs.  Since I choose this logbook to use with my Emmalee, I chose the cover that most reflected her: a beautifully imaged cover with horses standing within a fenced field.  Emmalee loved it!

The cover of her logbook has a special space to put her name and the year which is wonderful for record keeping.  The cover page is paper but there is a wonderful plastic cover over it to prevent the page from getting dirty and help prevent damage during use.  The back cover is a simple black plastic page to help keep the book clean.  The entire book is paper and around the size of an average one subject school notebook.

When you open your logbook, you will find several pages explaining how to use the logbook.  There are examples for both younger students and for high school students so you will need to read through and decide which best fits your needs.  We chose to use the younger students method.  Either method is set up the same way, it's how you use the book that is different.  We did not use the High School suggestions so this review will only reflect the suggestions for use with a younger student.

My Emma is in 5th grade this year and she is a very independent student who likes to keep up with her work on her own.  This is new for her as she's previously been very disorganized as most artists tend to be.  If you have been reading our blog a while, you know that Emma wants to be an artist when she grows up!  

Before this review became available, I had been wracking my brain for a method that would work for Emma to be able to keep track of what she needs to do daily for school and more.  It needed to be a simple planner that was easy to manage.  My Student Logbook appeared to be just what I was looking for and just in time as well!

Emma's logbook arrived and it was very easy to set up.  You simply cut out the first checklist page of the planner and fold it on the already marked lines.  Place the page over the first calender page with the fold going over the notes section and tape it to the back of the notes section so that the checklist covers the notes section of the page.  You do not need to tape it down over the front of the page, only the back.  

Our logbook was not dated and I chose that because we do not always work daily.  Our schedule is often changing so I wanted Emma to be able to have her list of work she needed to complete but not worry if she missed a day or even a week of work.  I simply wanted her to be able to follow and pick up where she needs when she is able to do the work.

I listed her daily work and her chores as well in the checklist column.  In the time column, I wrote how much time I wanted her to spend on the work or chore she needed to do.  These times are adjustable as needed but I did write the maximum amount of time she needed to complete the items so she wasn't dawdling all day.

As she worked through using My Student Logbook, she would put a letter for the day of the week and a number for the date into each of the column boxes so that we knew which day the work was done.  At the top, where the date was supposed to go, we instead listed the month she was working on that week.

We used the notes section on each page to write back and forth to each other.  If she needed to tell me something, she listed it there or if there was something I needed to remember, she'd make me a note.  Same for me to her: if she needed to do something or needed an extra bit of information, I'd write it in the notes column for her.  It worked well for us.

Since we've only been using this for a few weeks, we haven't needed to change our checklist but one day we will need to.  When we do, we simply move to the next calender page and add another checklist to it to start a new section.  We will leave the old checklist in place so that it shows record of what's been done.

Also as you move from week to week, you don't have to use a new checklist.  Simply lift the flap of the checklist and turn the page, then lay the flap back down to work on the next weeks set of boxes.  Easy as that.

We greatly enjoyed using My Student Logbook.  I'm hoping to purchase the other kids their own books very soon.  My Student Logbook is available for $15 for both dated and undated versions and $10-20 for the PDF downloads of these logbooks.  There are multiple covers to choose from allowing you to make each students unique if you choose to do so.

You can find My Student Logbook in the following places online:

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Easy Recipe for a Busy Week {Macaroni and Milk Recipe}

We've been having a really busy week.  Two days of doctors appointments and the kids therapy all in one week.  Plus I'm still playing catch up from our weekend away over a week ago.  Mom's job is never-ending and life never slows down.

When life gets hectic and we don't have a lot of time, we turn to one of our favorite comfort foods for dinner: Macaroni and Milk.  This has been a family favorite from as long as I remember.  It was a childhood favorite growing up as well and also a childhood favorite of my Mom's.  This family recipe has been around for a long, long time.  Best part is that it's quick and easy to make!

Macaroni and Milk

1 lb of elbow noodles
1 stick of butter or margarine
Milk - enough to cover the noodles
Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil the elbow noodles in water until cooked thoroughly.  Drain water.
Over medium low heat, add in 1 stick of butter or margarine and enough milk to cover the noodles. Add Salt and Pepper to taste.  Cook until butter is melted and milk is heated.  DO NOT BOIL as this will curdle the milk and ruin the dish.

This is a quick and easy meal to make when you are out of time or rushed for the day.  We make it when we cannot figure out what's for dinner or we just won't something that's different.  Sometimes we have it for lunch as well.  Refrigerate leftovers to have the next day.  Reheat on low.

I hope you enjoy this meal from our family recipes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner {Schoolhouse Review}

The 7 Minute Life has created a wonderful daily planner titled The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner.  This planner was created to help you learn time management strategies to help you get your day to day tasks organized and to simplify your daily life.

The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner was created for adults.  It's great for Mom's like me who struggle to keep up every day with all the things they need to get done.  I'll be honest, I really needed this sweet planner in my life and it came at just the right time.

I'm a Mom who struggles with my day to day tasks.  We homeschool and we have multiple medical issues in our home so it is really hard for me to keep up every day.  At the time this review popped up, I was feeling really overwhelmed and unorganized with no idea what I needed to be doing each day.  I still struggle with this but The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner has been a huge help to me.

The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner doesn't just provide planning pages for you to complete.  It teaches you how to use those pages to make your life function best.  It talks you through every single part of the planner so that you have better time management skills and make the most of your days.  This is the part that I really needed help with.  In this day and age, it's easy to get overwhelmed and lose track or just let the digital world take over.  When this happens I lose track of time and the things I need to complete.

The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner has helped me to overcome those feelings of being lost and overwhelmed by helping me to develop a quick plan and giving me a place to keep track of all I need to do inside this one planner.  Through The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner, Allyson Lewis reminds us that "every minute of your life is precious".  I couldn't agree more!

Allyson also reminds us that "insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result."  Repeating the same things over and over and getting no where with it is really not helping you to be a more organized, simplified person.  It's just adding chaos into an already chaotic life.

We must clearly identify problem areas, set goals and move towards truly completing these goals to have a less stressful life.  The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner helps to make these things happen in a way that works for you.  It helps you to find your goals and define them.  It helps you to write those goals out so that you can complete them.  You will discover your purpose in choosing and reaching your goals.  Best of all, you will have a daily plan of action that is written down for you to complete.  No more running around wondering what to do: it will all be written out and ready to go for you.

The main step in this process is to write down your goals.  Make plans to make those goals happen.  Then work on those plans every day to achieve the goals you have planned to accomplish.  Once you have reached your goals, you reevaluate to see what needs to happen next.  Then you create new goals to move towards in the next steps of your life.  Easy as that.

The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner is 272 pages in length.  Every thing you need to get your life in control is provided within these pages.  The book begins with an explanation of how to use the planner, then moves on to provide the goal planning pages.  Following these pages are several calender pages to keep you on track.

The bulk of the book is filled with your Daily Progress Report pages which are the day to day pages to keep you on track.  Here you will find everything you need to do for the day, a place for contacts to reach out to, as well as an appointment list, voice mail list and thank you notes to write and keep track of.  There's also an area of encouragement for daily exercise, water intake, eating, reading and reflection for the day.  All your accountability found in one space.

Throughout the book you will find monthly progress reports as well which will help to keep you on the right path.  This helps you readjust your goals as needed throughout the process.  The end of the book also has an area for notes.  There's a nifty pocket in both the front and back cover to stick in a pen or note as well.

The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner comes from The 7 Minute Life.  It's softcover with a vinyl coversheet to help keep it clean..  It's spiral bound so it lays flat when in use.  This planner costs $24.95 and comes with a 100% money back guarantee.

You can also find The 7 Minute Life at the following places online:

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Homeschool Movie Club: Dolphin Tale 2 Curriculum {Review}

A Dolphin Tale 2 came out today and we could not be more excited.  In preparation for this movie's release, we were given the chance to take a look at the Dolphin Tale 2 Homeschool Curriculum that goes along with the movie from the Homeschool Movie Club.  This curriculum far surpassed our expectations!

Homeschool Movie Club's Dolphin Tale 2 curriculum begins with a introduction video to the movie and curriculum.  Following this introduction are 5 lessons jam-packed full of learning material to go along with the movie.  Each lesson includes a video and a PDF of information which can be printed and easily followed along.  There's also an answer key and a bonus curriculum for the movie from Classical Conversations as well.

Each lesson of the curriculum covers a different aspect of learning about Dolphins.  Beginning with anatomy, differences in their living in the wild and in captivity, and more.  Each of the PDF's provides coloring pages, games, information and so much more about Dolphins and their care.  

Homeschool Movie Club has made learning about Dolphins easy by providing a thorough curriculum plan all in one place.  This is a curriculum that the whole family can enjoy together, young and old.  It's a great bonus to go along with viewing the movie.

The Homeschool Movie Club also has curriculum for other great movies available for free through their website.  You can find curriculum for the following movies: How To Train Your Dragon, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, The Blind Side, Ramona and Beezus, War Horse and Little Angels.  Each of these available curriculums are just as wonderful as the Dolphin Tale 2 curriculum.  Homeschool Movie Club is a wonderful asset for learning through movies at home.

As a bonus for this review, we have a great Dolphin Tale 2 set to give away to one lucky reader.  This set includes a great Dolphin Tale 2 T-shirt in blue and one pair of Dolphin Tale 2 sunglasses.  What a great way to spread the word of this wonderful movie with others!  If you'd like to win this prize package, then please leave me a comment telling me who the Dolphin lover in your family is and why'd they'd love to win this prize!

This giveaway will end on Friday, September 19th at 8pm.  The winner will be notified as soon as possible.  

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Heirloom Audio Productions: Under Drake's Flag {Schoolhouse Review}

Heirloom Audio Productions provided the Schoolhouse Review Crew with the opportunity to review their 2-disc set of Under Drake's Flag: The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty.  This wonderful Audio Theater set is not one to be missed and is great for everyone 6 to adult.  My younger children also enjoyed listening along to the story.

Under Drake's Flag takes us on an adventure with Ned Hawkshaw and his good friend Gerald.  These two journey alongside the pirate, Sir Francis Drake as he sails the seas and teaches them history and Biblical lessons they will never forget.  In Under Drakes Flag, these young men learn to have a faith like no other, even in the face of danger.

Under Drake's Flag is approximately 2 hours in length and jam packed with action during the whole listening experience.  The audio effects are amazing and will capture your attention from the very beginning.  Brian Blessed plays the voice of "George" G.A. Henty, Jonny Scott is Ned, Danny Philpott plays Gerald and Francis Drake is played by Ian Cullen, not to mention many more actors and actresses who pull this great drama together for our listening pleasure.

My children really enjoyed Under Drake's Flag.  We enjoyed the fact that this story brings to the forefront one of our favorite aspects of the sea, Pirates, all while capturing historical events, facts and also teaching us Biblical lessons like character, morals and so very much more.  This two disc set provided a solid and enchanting way of learning about these things all in one place.

Along with the CD set, came a study guide, both with the discs and a long guide via PDF file.  Either or both of these guides can be used to expand the lessons in Under Drake's Flag.  It simply depends on the needs of your family as to how you use them.  A brief study on Pirates or expansion of the Biblical lessons provided in the story would also be great to go along with this program.

The study guides ask questions that really get listeners thinking about the lessons of Under Drake's Flag.  It gets them pondering how the characters felt, what they thought, how they got through each part of the adventure and faced things they never thought they would.  There are also defining words shared that help build vocabulary expansion.  These can be defined and discussed then used for copywork, vocabulary and so much more.  There is so much you can use these guides for in expanding this program to fit your educational needs.
Another great little thing that was provided with this program was a copy of The Prayer of Sir Francis Drake from 1577.  This was awesome to read and see included in the set.  Such great words and a reminder that we should all pray daily.

Under Drake's Flag from Heirloom Audio Productions was so much better than I truly expected.  This audio theater drama will be added into our collection and listened to for many years to come on trips and at home.  I look forward to listening to more audio dramas from Heirloom Audio Productions in the future.

Under Drake's Flag is available for purchase for $29.95 for the 2-disc set that I received.  You can also purchase a digital MP3 download of this set for $20 if you'd prefer.

To read more reviews of Under Drake's Flag from Heirloom Audio Productions, please click on the banner below!

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Fall is Coming! {Caramel Popcorn Ball Recipe}

Falls coming.  I can smell it in the air.  The plants are changing and the pond is showing the early signs of the season's change. 

This is my favorite time of year!

Fall brings us out of the house and into the world again.  Summer in the South gets awfully hot, y'all.  We tend to hibernate behind closed doors with the air conditioner keeping things cool.  So when that weather starts changing, we head out the door and spend as much time in the coolness as possible.

In the Fall, we do field trips to places that we greatly enjoy.  The beach for walks, the state parks to see what we can learn and the Zoo when we are able.  Anywhere that brings learning and fun, combined into one!

Fall is also the beginning of our favorite Holiday season: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We love these holidays and love to share them as a family.  The holidays lead us back to the kids birthdays, which is a season all in itself when you have 8 kids to love.

One of our favorite things for Fall are Caramel Popcorn Balls.  This was a childhood favorite of everyone who knew my Momma.  Every year she'd make up a big ole batch of Popcorn Balls to take to our school events and everyone loved them.  Momma doesn't make them much anymore but it's still something we enjoy when we are able to.

The recipe is really simple and easy to make but it does make a sticky mess and can be HOT, so be forewarned before you attempt to make these gooey goodies for your own family and friends.

Caramel Popcorn Balls

4 T. butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup (Momma prefers Karo)
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
6 qts popped corn

Combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan.  Stir well.  Bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat.  Add in the condensed milk, continuing to stir constantly.  The mixture will become a soft ball when it reaches around 236*.  Stir in the vanilla at that point.

Pour this mixture over the top of the popped corn, stirring to coat all of the popcorn.  Lightly butter up your hands to prevent the sticky, gooey mixture from sticking to you.  Shape the caramel popcorn into balls that are about 3 1/2 inches in diameter. 

You can wrap these up in cellophane or saran wrap to keep them from sticking to one another or to anything else for that matter.   Tie them with a cute ribbon and add a label for the Holiday to make them a gift!

One thing Momma always did was add in food coloring to make these festive colors for the Holiday.  Halloween the popcorn balls were always orange, while at Christmas she used red and green.  She'd add the food coloring before pouring the mixture onto the popcorn balls and after adding the vanilla.  If you are using two colors, then half the mixture and the popcorn so that you can make half the batch one color and half another color.

I don't have a picture of these since we haven't made them in a while but I promise they will be hit around your home for the Holidays just as they are around ours!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Weekend Adventures

The past few weeks have been so busy for us.  Two weeks ago was Jack's 2nd birthday.  Last weekend was a trip to Florida to photograph a wedding.  There's been no slowing down.  Thankfully, the next few weeks should be a stopping point.  Nice and slow to get things done.

The wedding was beautiful.  The Bride and Groom's love truly showed through every single moment.  It was such a wonderful thing to see.

The weekend went great except for the rain.  But even the rain could not drown out the love from these two or their family.  It also did not stop our weekend fun.

The kids didn't make this journey.  It was an adult weekend, seeing old friends who I haven't seen in quite some time, spending time and introducing them to new friends.  We enjoyed our time together and made memories we will never forget.

We visited the Original Ron Jon's in Cocoa Beach and walked to the shore just to say we'd been there.  We considered tattoos while adventuring as well.  Then we went home and talked, joked and laughed until the wee hours of the night.

We ate great food, and rode to see Harley's, visiting Daytona Beach and the biggest Harley store we've ever seen.  We picked up souveneirs to remember our adventures, cute baubles that will help us to remember it always.  And we will remember the times and the memories made.

On the way home, we stopped in Savannah to see Bass Pro, do a small bit of shopping and to the Savannah Harley store to see their collection.  We didn't find a bike but we did find lots of fun things to view.

We finally made it home and I know I for one was exhausted.  I slept through last night and most of the day today.  The kids were thrilled to have us back home.  I was thrilled to be home as well because I missed them all terribly.

Today I have lazed and loved on my babies.  The trip was fun and I greatly enjoyed the family I have missed but there is nothing like seeing my babies and spending time with them.  I'm thankful for the love they give me and that I was deeply missed.

That was our weekend... how was yours?


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