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Friday, December 30, 2011

Homeschool Spanish

My girls are very imaginative, they love to come up with characters, plays, and stories. Some days they are animals, characters from books, characters from the stories their dad tells them at night, and they each have a made up fancy name for the times they are at elegant restaurants. Since we started using Homeschool Spanish they have come up with new scenarios. They now each have a Spanish name and use what little Spanish they know with each other.

Homeschool Spanish is a curriculum for the whole family. Their motto is to Relax, Enjoy, Aspire, Learn Spanish. Dr Williamson-Cora developed the curriculum to use with her own children because she didn't have time to sufficiently plan using other foreign language curriculum. She is French professor and wanted something that her kids could communicate with after learning it.

We received a download that contained the Curriculum Book, the Activity Book, the Daily Curriculum Guide and the Audio Files for the program and sells for $59.95. You can view a sample of each at their website.

  • The Daily Curriculum Guide contains a 48 week lesson plan. There is a column for prep for each week along with a plan for each day. It includes activities that your children will enjoy like creating board games, putting on puppet shows, and playing regular games using Spanish words instead of English. I think that the plan is very easy to read and follow. Even if your children are younger or older it would be very easy to extend or shorten the plan as needed. We tried staying right on target but with holidays and so much company it didn't always happen.
  • The Curriculum Book  is 105 pages and is divided into 10 units. Each unit is divided into a general category such as greetings, food, sports, etc. The units are divided into sections with new vocabulary words, phrases, tips & ideas to help teach the new words. Some units also deal with grammar.
  • The Activity Book contains word search, crossword puzzles, dialogue completions, cryptograms, matching, and other fun activities and is 179 pages long.
  • The Audio Files are actually 2 sets of recordings. There is one set for the Curriculum Book with 32 recordings and one set of 18 recordings for the Activity Book. Both books have a picture of a speaker where you should listen to an audio recording. The dialogue is written word for word in each book.


I am using Homeschool Spanish with all three of the girls. Amber (age 10), Delaney (age 9) have been completing all the worksheets and activities while Alaina (age 7) listens to the audio conversations and just repeats what her sisters tell her while they are playing. The program is very easy to use with very little preparation time. The program is taught in a conversational way by learning words that we use everyday right from the start. This made it very easy to remember and to use throughout the day. We all listened to the audio and then talked about our new vocabulary words and used them with each other. Amber & Delaney would then complete the worksheets that went along with each lesson. Some weeks we worked on Spanish everyday but with company for the holidays some weeks we did fewer days. With this program it was very easy to change our schedule and the girls actually remembered what they had learned even after a couple of days of no school.

There are several options when purchasing the curriculum. The download starts at $49.95 or $59.95 with the curriculum guide. The hardcopy is $89.95 and $99.95 with the curriculum guide. They will be offering a high school supplement soon.

Sail over to the TOS Crew blog to read what other homeschool families thought of Homeschool Spanish.
As a member of the TOS Crew I received the download version of Homeschool Spanish free of charge to use with my children in exchange for my review.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Purex Laundry Detergent Review & Giveaway

Unless you are one of the lucky few who can afford to hire a housekeeper we all have to wash our clothes and at my house this in never ending. I try to make this household task as pleasant as possible by choosing a laundry detergent that works and has a wonderful scent. As a Purex Insider I would like to introduce you to the New Triple Action Purex.
The R&D scientists have come up with a new formula, but one that will continue to stand up for it's name.

The new formula is now available and comes in 6 different scents. After the Rain, Lavender Fresh, Original Fresh, Linen & Lilies, Lilac & White Lavender, and Free & Clear.

My 7 year old daughter has a thing for smells, she loves to smell perfume, air freshener, hand soap, and yes even laundry detergent. She thinks the stronger the smell the better. I would have to disagree with her. I like more subtle scents, the kind you can smell but not over power you. That is part of the reason I like the new Triple Action Purex with the Mountain Breeze scent. It leaves your clothes feeling clean and smelling clean for half the price of the leading brand.

Since I bought my high efficiency washer I have made sure that my detergent was safe for my washer. The new Purex is safe to use in all machines.
I just found out that you can get a free laundry app for your Blackberry or iPhone, iTouch, or iPad. Now there is no excuse not to get those stains out.

Starting early in 2012, Purex will be offering free samples of the new Triple Action Formula at
I have some great news. I have 3 coupons for Purex Triple Action detergent to giveaway to my readers, 3 lucky people will win 1 coupon.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The World's Greatest Stories

If we are going to be in the car for very long or if we are going to be cleaning for awhile the girls and I like to listen to audio CD's to make the time go by faster. They like to listen to any story but I like to have good stories that they can learn from that is also enjoyable. The World's Greatest Stories gave us both.

The World's Greatest Stories are actual, word for word, Biblical accounts. The storyteller is very dramatic and brings bible stories and characters to life with only music and sound effects added to God's Word. There are 6 volumes available for $7.95 a piece in either NIV or KJV of the Bible. If you purchase all 6 CD's together you will receive free shipping.

We received a sample CD and volume 1-The Prophets. The sample CD contains a short selection from each of the stories as well as some general information.
The Prophets CD contains 5 stories:
  • The Blazing Furnace
  • The Handwriting on the Wall
  • Daniel in the Lion's Den
  • Elijah and the Prophets of Baal
  • The Prophecy of Jonah
The stories are very dramatic and my girls thought that the storyteller sounded a little weird in a few places but they still wanted to listen to them again, I think Daniel and the Lion's Den is their favorite. I really like that they are taken straight from the Bible, so many Bible stories that are retold add things that are mere speculation. You can tell that George W. Sarris really enjoys telling stories and he does a great job in keeping everyone focused on the story.

George W. Sarris has been telling live Bible stories since 1985 in churches, conferences, schools, retreats, and camps with audiences from several to several thousand. He has been a spokesman for radio and television commercials and films for companies such as AT&T, IBM, American Express, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Sprint, and Honda in Boston and New York City for 30 years.

Sail over to the TOS Crew blog and read what other members thought about the World's Greatest Stories.
As a member of the TOS Crew I received a sample disc and volume 1 The Prophets from the World's Greatest Stories free of charge to use with my children in exchange for my review.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Magazine Christmas Trees

These cute little Christmas Trees are impressive and are very cheap to make. I usually find old magazines at our local library that are on the free table. Thicker magazines give you a fuller tree.
They make wonderful Holiday decorations, gifts for friends and I have handed them out to people when we go Christmas Caroling.

Supplies Needed
Magazines (any size)
Spray Paint (any color)
Glitter (any color)

1. Open magazine and bend binding backward up and down the spine.

2. Fold top right corner of page into the center of the magazine.

3. Grab the top right corner of the page you just folded and fold into the center. You will have a point sticking out the bottom of the magazine.

Repeat on every page.

 4. Fold pointed corner in between both folds.

5. Repeat on every page. Your tree should then be able to stand up on it’s own.
6. Spray tree with spray paint in a well ventilated area.
6. While paint is still wet sprinkle with glitter.
Let dry and enjoy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Amber is a very determined hands on learner. She loves to craft, build, bake, cook, and even work on cars with her dad. I wonder where she gets that?? But unlike me she will read the directions. The UPS guy doesn't come to our house until around 6:00 pm and on the day we received our box from PITSCO we lost her for the rest of the evening.

We received the Medieval Machines Pack and it includes a Trebuchet Kit, Catapult Kit, Mass Plates, and the Siege Machines book along with some clay. This kit is a Pitsco exclusive that is manufactured at their facility in Kansas and retails for $21.95.

The first night Amber (age 10) put the Trebuchet Kit together. It came with everything we needed except the super glue which we already had. Amber likes to do things on her own until she absolutely can't figure it out on her own. I sat with her while she completed the Trebuchet and she didn't need help until she was ready to tie the sling. The next day she assembled the Catapult without any help. The directions were very detailed and easy to follow.

The 31 page Siege Machines book explores the science, technology, engineering, and math of medieval siege machines. Although this was mainly Amber's project she had to make sure that we all knew the history of siege machines that she had learned from the book. We covered History, Math, and Science all in one. The activities cover Tension and Torsion, Mass and Distance, Metric Conversion of Length, Calculating Averages, Elasticity, Prediction, Force and Motion, and Weights vs Wheels.

This Siege Machine Unit was very educational for the whole family and it was so much fun. The girls used clay and other objects laying around the house in the machines to knock down walls built with their math manipulatives and to see whether the catapult or the trebuchet would throw the farthest. When their big brother was on leave from the Army he even had to get in on the action.

PITSCO Education combines hands-on activities and a student-directed learning environment in core courses and career skills in science, technology, engineering, and math. After 40 years of innovation they now serve more than seven million students a year.

The Siege Machines are available in other kits and there are many other items at the PITSCO store that we have added to our wish list. They offer race cars, aerospace, structures, robots and so much more starting at $10.95. Amber is really wanting a hot air balloon now.

We would definitely recommend PITSCO for great hands on learning.

Sail over to the Crew Blog and read other Crew reviews.
As a member of the TOS Crew I received one set of 2 Siege Machines from Pitsco Education to use in our homeschool in exchange for my review.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Greetings

The Christmas Greetings for 2011 from The Old Schoolhouse magazine is free to everyone. Take a peek and see how homeschool families celebrate Christmas. Make sure you look at page 74 & 75 to read my greeting and see my recipes.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ARTistic Pursuits Elements of Composition Grades 4-6

One thing my girls ask to do every day during school is art. They love to draw, create, and craft just about anything. I had heard some very good things about ARTistic Pursuits so when the Crew had the opportunity to review their art curriculum I knew we wanted to try it.

We received ARTistic Pursuits for grade 4-6 Book One The Elements of Art and Composition. This 88 page book by Brenda Ellis is $42.95 and is divided into 16 Units.
  1. Space
  2. Line and Shape
  3. Texture
  4. Value
  5. Form
  6. Form using Value
  7. Local Value
  8. Contrast
  9. The Shapes of Natural Forms
  10. Edges
  11. Balance
  12. Rhythm
  13. Overlap
  14. Depth
  15. Proportion, the Face
  16. Movement
This curriculum can last a year by doing 2 one hour classes a week. Each unit contains 4 sections Building a Visual Vocabulary, American Art Appreciation and History, Techniques, and Application. This book wants the student to observe the things around them & to focus on one element of art at a time.

We love this book, I used this curriculum with all three of my girls ages 6, 9, and 10. We spent more time on art during this review than suggested so that we could get farther into the book. This book is non-consumable and there is an art supply list in the front of the book. I read the lesson to them and then they spent time drawing. My 6 year old daughter's pictures didn't turn out as nice as her sisters but she didn't have any trouble following the directions or getting the concept that was taught and I will have her repeat the book in a few years. The girls loved looking around the house or outside to find the objects suggested in the lesson. It is so nice to have Art Appreciation included in the book. Brenda Ellis does a great job explaining the concept we just learned in paintings or drawings by other artists. She also includes information about each artist. This book is written so the child can read and complete the lessons on their own and my older girls will probably finish the book this way.

The book also includes work done by former students. I really like this because it gives my children the opportunity to see how other kids draw instead of always seeing artwork from a professional. If you give your children number or letter grades there is an Evaluation Sheet in the back of the book to help.

I decorate birthday and wedding cakes from my home and I pipe or draw pictures on a lot of my cakes I do this by using a sharpened wooden dowel or an icing bag. I use the very same concepts taught in this book with my icing and I have picked up some great pointers from this book to make my decorating even better. It also showed my girls that the elements of art can be used with any medium.

Sample Pages

As you can tell from the sample pages the student is taught the proper way to draw, how to sit, hold the pencil, and erase. Paying attention to details are very important.

ARTistic Pursuits was created by Brenda Ellis and they offer curriculum and art packs for preschool through 12th grade. Brenda has a very unique way of homeschooling her children.

The TOS Crew members reviewed different books from ARTistic Pursuits to give you a glimpse of a wide range of their products. Sail over to the Crew Blog to read the other members thought about ARTistic Pursuits.
As a member of the TOS Crew I received Grade 4-6 Book One The Elements of Art and Compostition free of charge from ARTistic Pursuits to use in our homeschool in exchange for my review.

Gratitude Challenge Day 30

Today is the last day of the 2010 Gratitude Challenge. I missed a couple of days but I am very Grateful for Brenda hosting this again. It is such a blessing to think about things we are thankful for every day.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cooper and Me Review & Giveaway

Christmas is my favorite time of year & one thing I love to do in the winter is curl up on the couch with my kids and read stories together. I love story books that teach my kids something while we are reading.

We have been enjoying Cooper and Me and the Winter Adventure! This cute little book is about Bella and her dog Cooper. They can't wait to go sledding but they wander a little to far from home and a snow storm sets in and it becomes difficult for them to find their way home. This story teaches kids the importance of making good decisions and gives them a lesson of how to be prepared in case they get lost.

Each Cooper and Me book has a free Reading Guide, coloring and activity pages to go along with the book. When you purchase a Cooper and Me book you get a free download of the theme song.

My girls really like the Cooper and Me books because they are about a dog and they are co-written and illustrated by a young girl. My girls love to write stories so this has been a big encouragement to them. We liked Cooper and Me and the Winter Adventure just as much as we did the original Cooper and Me book.

Cooper and Me and the Winter Adventure retails for $12.99 and they will donate $1 of every book sold until February 2012 to the Lustgarten Foundation. The Lustgarten Foundation ensures that 100% of all donations go to pancreatic cancer research.

Now through December 15, 2011 you can get free shipping on orders of $25.00 or more at 
Promotional code: COOPERBLOG

Cooper and Me was illustrated by 11-year-old Alexa Peters and co-written with her mother, Monique Peters. The idea was inspired by Alexa's own experiences. A talented young artist and writer, Alexa wanted to give back to others in a meaningful way through her art. Starting at a very young age, Alexa created illustrated stories about her daily experiences, and from the pages of her sketchbooks came the idea for her first book, Cooper and Me.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 28

Today I am very grateful for my sisters. I have 4 and there have been times in our lives when we haven't gotten along. Ok.... a lot of times!! Escpecially while we were growing up. There have been times when we spend hours talking on the phone and there have been times when we don't talk for a couple of months. One thing I know for sure is that they will always be my sisters and if I ever need them they are only a phone call away.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 26

Today we put up our Christmas Tree and it always makes a huge mess all over the house. So I am very thankful for leftovers. My family loves Leftover Thanksgiving Soup. Every year after Thanksgiving we put all of our left over thanksgiving dinner in the crock pot to make soup. I put everything in it: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, noodles, and stuffing. Sometimes I will add a little water if it is to thick.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 25

Today I thankful for deals & shopping with friends. We had so much fun shopping the after Thanksgiving Day sales. We went out at 9:00 last night got home around 2:30 am and then headed back out at 4:30 am. I came home at 7:00 am and didn't get up until 10:30, I'm so glad my kids like to sleep in. I was able to get everything that was on my list (I can't tell you what I bought because someone in my family might read this). So excited!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 24

We have had company all week so I didn't get my gratitude post written yesterday. My husband, kids, and I went with my dad, my sister & her kids to the bowling alley yesterday. After that we went swimming at their hotel pool, and then we had church last night. We had so much fun. Today they all came over and we played games this morning and went for a walk after we ate. Morgan got home last night and we got to spend the day with her too. So today I am thankful for the time I got to spend with my family.

I'm sure I will be thankful for shopping tomorrow. I can't wait to see what deals I get tonight and in the morning.

Thank you Brenda for hosting the 2011 Gratitude Challenge.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 22

Today I am thankful for games, it is so much fun to have people over to play with. Today we played Euchre, Wits & Wagers, Scum, and Liar Liar. My dad, step mom, one sister,  two nieces and two nephews are here visiting from Indiana and we had so much fun playing games today.
Thank You Brenda for hosting the 2011 Gratitude Challenge.

Oatmeal Dinner Rolls

My family loves to eat homemade bread & I love to make bread. These dinner rolls made with oatmeal are my family's favorite and everyone who I make them for loves them. I serve them for everyday meals, holidays, potlucks, and I even served them at my son's wedding. I also make them into bread bowls and they are great with cheesy potatoe soup or beef stew.

Oatmeal Dinner Rolls or Bread Bowls

2 cups water
1 cup oatmeal
3 Tablespoons butter
1 package of yeast
1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 3/4 – 5 1/4 cups flour

~Bring water to boil add oatmeal and butter. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool  to lukewarm.
~In mixing bowl dissolve yeast in warm water and add the oatmeal, sugar, honey, salt and 4 cups of flour and beat until smooth. Add enough flour to form soft dough.
~Knead 6-8 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover and let rise until double in size about 1 hour.
~Punch down dough and let rest 10 minutes.

For Dinner Rolls:
~Divide dough into 18 pieces and shape into balls. Let rise for 45 minutes.
~Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes.

For Bread Bowls:
~Make 9 balls the size of a large gumball. Divide the remaining dough into 9 large balls. Place the small ball on top of the large ball using a dab of water to adhere them.
~Let dough rise about 45 minutes.
~Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes.
~Using a serrated knife cut downward into the roll (kinda like a pumpkin) to make a lid. Scoop out the middle of the roll and fill with soup. To serve place lid on bread bowl.

Homeschool Review Crew Winter Cooking Inspiration

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 21

Coffee is my number one favorite drink when I'm cold or when I'm not cold. My second favorite drink when I'm cold is the Celestial Seasonings Gingerbread Spice herbal tea. Yummy!! I am thankful for the quiet time of night when everyone else is in bed and I can actually enjoy my Gingerbread Spice tea without anyone drinking it or adding sugar to it.

Thanks Brenda for hosting the Gratitude Challenge.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 20

I love it when I actually plan ahead and figure out what we are having for lunch on Sunday after church but sometimes I wake up Sunday morning and I haven't thought of anything. Today was one of those days. So after I got out of the shower I cooked a pound of hamburger put it in the crock pot with a can of corn, a can of green beans, water, beef bouillon, Italian seasoning & pepper. As soon as we got home from church I added a package of egg noodles and it was ready by the time we all changed our clothes. It is so nice when lunch is over and cleaned up before 1:00, it gives us more time to enjoy our afternoon. I am very thankful for my crock pot. 

Thanks Brenda for the 2011 Gratitude Challenge.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 19


This is my second year as part of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. It has been such a blessing to be part of such a great group of homeschool moms & dads. It just amazes me that so many people from around the world can come together to make everything happen. I am very grateful to be part of this group and for Brenda Emmett and Heidi Strawser who put so much time and energy into this program. I almost forgot we also love getting new product to review.

Thank You Brenda for hosting the 2011 Gratitude Challenge.

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