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Friday, September 30, 2016

Five Minute Friday Collect #fmf #amwriting

This week the Five Minute Friday prompt is Collect.

I'm not a big collector, I'm not really into trinkets or souvenirs. I do have a collection of snowmen that come out during the winter so when I heard the word collect the thing that takes up a lot of space in our home are books.

I am a collector of books. 

Most homeschool families do have a lot of books. We currently have nine book cases in our home and most of them are crammed full of books.
I took a picture of this shelf because I think it is the only one that looks this nice. 

Each of my girls have a book shelf in their room with their favorite books and the rest are downstairs. We have shelves organized by subject and some shelves that are organized by size. That way I can fit more books on each shelf. 

I love old books. We usually buy them at garage sales, the library book sale, and when we started getting rid of our younger books we started visiting our local mini library booths around town. 

Now that my youngest child is almost 12 I have finally started getting rid of books and homeschool books. It is very sad and it will be a slow process, but it is time!! Although I have a few picture books that were my kids favorites and I will probably always keep our Christmas story books. 

What about you? Do you have a lot of books in your home?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Heirloom Audio Productions Cat of Bubastes Review #hsreviews #HeirloomAudio #TheCatOfBubastes #LiveTheAdventure #BringingHentyBack #AudioAdventures

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

As a homeschool mom I have come to love history. My kids and I enjoy when we can journey back in time and feel like we are there, meeting people from past generations and experiencing the things they experienced. One way we can experience this is by listening to the Heirloom Audio Productions and The Cat of Bubastes is their newest audio adventure.
Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes
The Cat of Bubastes takes us back to ancient Egypt where a young prince, Amuba, and his mentor are taken captive and we enslaved by Egyptians. He becomes the companion of a high priest's son because he had taught himself to speak Egyptian. After the sacred cat is accidentally killed Amuba becomes a fugitive and returns to his homeland.

We received not only the audio drama but also extras they have created to make teaching the story to your children easier. We received:

  • The Cat of Bubastes audio theatre CDs~ Over two hours of adventure recorded on two audio CDs.
  • Mp3 set~This is downoaded in two files.
  • Cat of Bubastes E-Book~ This is a copy of G.A. Henty's 350 page book The Cat of Bubastes with colorful graphics added.
  • Official MP3 Soundtrack
  • Printable Cast Poster
  • Study Guide & Discussion~ This 47 page colorful study guide follows right along with the audio CDs. There is a short biography of George Alfred Henty and Moses, lessons for each track on the CD, additional resource list, three bible studies, and the history of The Cat of Bubastes. Each lesson includes a The Listening Well, The Thinking Further, The Defining Word sections and there are maps and further learning boxes throughout.  
  • Inspirational Verse Poster
  • Live the Adventure Letter~ A newsletter that brings Christian History to life through news, articles, and lessons.
  • Behind the Scenes Video~ This MP4 file is over 18 minutes of behind the scenes documentary shows you the cast and how audio theatre is made.

Heirloom Audio Productions uses well known actors and actresses to create audio dramas that bring history to life for everyone. They combine the extraordinary adventures of G.A. Henty with dramatic sound effects to make you feel like you just stepped back in time. The footsteps in the road, the creaks of the doors, the birds chirping in the gardens pull you in and keep your undivided attention the whole two hours.
Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes
The good thing about new audio stories this time of year is we spend a lot of time in the kitchen canning produce from our garden. My girls and I listened to The Cat of Bubastes a couple of times while we were in the kitchen making salsa and spaghetti sauce. It made the time go by faster and no one was asking how much longer we would be in the kitchen. My 11-year-old said this is her favorite Heirloom Audio. She has listened to it several more times by herself and she has her favorite parts and will just listen to them over and over.The study guide is great and really adds a lot to the story. I didn't print it out but we went through it together, taking turns asking each other the questions.

We own all of the Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty from Heirloom Audio and they have all been huge hits here. My family loves the audio drama's from Heirloom Audio so much they are already looking forward to the next adventure to be released. My kids love them for the adventure, the action, the story. I love them because they all have lessons to be learned and in the Cat of Bubastes we see how God's providence is discovered in the character's lives.

Social Media
Instagram @HeirloomAudioOfficial
Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes
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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Five Minute Friday My Kids #fmf #amwriting

Friday is already gone & I didn't get my Five Minute Friday post written. So I'm taking 5 minutes on Saturday to write my Five Minute Friday post and I'm going to watch the time.

This weeks prompt is Five.

When Mike and I got married 26 years ago I wanted two kids, a boy and a girl. I got my boy first and then my little girl. I separated from the Air Force in Japan before Michael was born so I could stay home with the kids and life went on.

After moving to Cheyenne Mike decided he wanted to get out of the Air Force too. He hired on with Union Pacific Railroad and they moved us to Nebraska. As we settled into life here and started homeschooling I wanted more kids.

We ended up having 5 kids, so my Five Minute Friday is about my kids. I love spending my life learning with them and have enjoyed watching my two oldest develop into their adult life.

My favorite days are when I have all 5 of my kids together, which doesn't happen often. Playing games, hanging out, cooking their favorite foods.

I love that Michael and Morgan make a point to have a quality relationship with their three younger sisters. We all cherish our times together & they grow up so fast!!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Kids Email Review #hsreviews #kidsemail #emailforkids Annual Subscription
I can remember a world without the internet and setting up our very first email years ago. Our first thoughts were what are we even going to do with an email account. Now it seems like kids need an email account at a very young age. We recently started using the Annual Subscription from for Alaina's email account. 

Signing kids up for their own email is kind of a scary thing. I know how much junk mail I receive in mine and even with security settings someone can send them things their young minds don't need to know about. It isn't that way with This is the place where you can set up an email account for your child or teen and not have to worry about what they receive because you have control over their account. 

KidsEmail offers an account for teens and for children, and I signed Alaina up for the kids email. She can log into her account and I don't have to worry about what she is going to see. When she logs in she has the option of going to her inbox, writing emails, looking at her folders or contacts, and also her settings. She is able to add people to her contacts and create new folders to help organize her emails, but the only thing she has control over in settings is changing her background. Annual Subscription

The parent account on the other hand is very different. When I log in I have several options to make her experience more secure. 
  • Safety Settings ~ In this section I can make changes for each child or set the same ones for every child in my account. I can decide if she can receive emails from anyone who is not in her contact list, allow pictures, links, bad words, or attachments to be included in the email. I can even have every email sent to my inbox if I want to monitor them all. 
  • Manage Contacts~ I have access to add contacts in her account. 
  • Modify Look & Feel ~ There are 36 backgrounds that can be chosen for the child's account or they can change this from their login.
  • Child Account Settings~ This is basic information about the child and if they have a kids email or a teen email. 
  • Ground Child~ You can ground the child in this section for a certain day or a specific amount of time. 
  • Time Restrictions ~ Times can be set up where the child cannot use their email each day. This can be chosen for each day and will repeat each week. 
  • Blocked Senders~ If there is an email account that you do not want sending emails to your child you can add it here. 
  • Mail Queue ~In the settings you have a choice of approving or deleting each email that may be questionable. 
  • Activity Logs~ The logs kept here are from when each child logs into their account and a section for the whole family if you have multiple accounts. Annual Subscription
Alaina likes having her own email that she can use easily. She already has one email account, but it is used for her Apple ID and she actually gets a lot of junk in it, so she never looks at it. With a KidsEmail account she only gets emails that are from people we know. It is great knowing she isn't getting any emails with bad content or even just a bunch of junk that she has to weed through to find an email from her friends or her sister in Colorado. It didn't take long for Alaina to figure out how to use her account and she is loving changing her back ground and writing in different fonts. I am loving it because I know the people in her contacts aren't sending her stuff she shouldn't be reading or seeing. 

Social Media
Instagram Annual Subscription
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Monday, September 19, 2016

Canning Salsa #canning #canningsalsa

My family loves homemade salsa and I try to can enough to last us all year. My husband and Amber love the first time I make salsa from our garden tomatoes each year and they both want their own bag of chips to go with it. It is like a holiday to them!! Here is the recipe they love:

10 lbs. tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
7 jalapenos (more or less to taste)
2 medium onions
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
4 teaspoons salt

Peel tomatoes by dipping in boiling water for 60 seconds and then dip in cold water. The peel should slide right off. Chop peeled tomatoes & vegetables into bite sized pieces and just heat it until it is hot. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes. Makes about 10 pints.

Salsa Day!! Does anyone else celebrate this holiday?

Friday, September 16, 2016

Five Minute Friday Listen #FMFParty #FiveMinuteFriday

The last couple of weeks some of my fellow bloggers on the Homeschool Review Crew have been talking about the Five Minute Friday blog party they participate in. Kate Motaung who blogs at Heading Home hosts this every week. The idea is to take five minutes and write about the one word she announces on Thursday evening. This is suppose to encourage people to write without spending a lot of time rewriting the blog post, it should only take five minutes. The official rules can be found over at Heading Home.


The word for this weeks Five Minute Friday is listen. For the most part I am more of a listener than a talker. If you ask my friends they will tell you that I am always willing to listen to them when they have problems or are excited about anything and they can pretty much call me anytime. 

I do sometimes let my mind wander when I should be listening. I hate to admit it but sometimes when my husband starts talking about working on the vehicles or when one of my kids try to tell me every detail from a book they read. There are even times in church I'll start thinking about what I need to get done when I get home. I can even read out loud and not hear a word of what I just read because I wasn't listening to myself. 

I am planning on being a more engaged listener to God, my husband, my kids, my family, and my friends even if I am not really interested in what they are saying. I might actually learn something.

What about you? 
What comes to your mind when given the word listen?   

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Afters Live On Forever CD Review & Giveaway #TheAfters #FlyBy #CDgiveaway

Music is large part of our world, it is everywhere. We hear it at the store, in the car, in commercials, people share their favorites on social media. Growing up I never really thought about the lyrics, but I can hear a song on the radio from 25 years ago and I can sing every word. The words in songs must have some impact on our lives even if we don't think they do. That is why I like music that has uplifting encouraging words. 

The new CD Live On Forever from The Afters music is upbeat and the lyrics are definitely encouraging and uplifting. 

When I was offered The Afters new CD Live On Forever my first thought was do I know any of their songs. My teenage daughter gave me that look......You know the teenager look!! She picked up her phone and played me some songs that I love that are by The Afters. 

Every Good Thing
Light Up The Sky
Lift Me Up

Then I couldn't wait for my new CD that was just released on September 9, 2016. We started listening and after we got to Time Of My Life my 11 year old kept repeating it. It is her favorite and I had to tell her to let the rest of the CD play. There are ten tracks:

Time Of My Life
Wake Up My Heart
Live On Forever
Eyes Of A Believer
When You're With Me

This new album is pop music that is very uplifting and encouraging. When The Afters started to record their new album they had several close friends experience tragedies. Including the band's soundman, Anthony Martinez, infant daughter's death. 

"If any theme has emerged, it would be 'inspiration and motivation,'" Josh Havens (lead singer), says. "Look at the titles we've selected: They reflect themes of 'rise up, get up, God has your back, you're not in this alone.' We thought, 'Let's encourage people and let this be a weapon for people's faith: something they can hold onto.'"

Social Media
Twitter @TheAfters
Where To Buy
Music Videos

The Afters will be touring with the Newsboys this fall to more than 45 cities.

I have an additional copy of The Afters new CD Live On Forever to giveaway to one of my lucky readers in the United States or Canada. I will pick a winner on September 22, 2016. 
Just enter the rafflecopter below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway 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 a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or 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 14, 2016

Canning Spaghetti Sauce #canning #homemadespaghettisauce

Every year I try to can enough spaghetti sauce to last us all year. There have been a few years when we haven't had enough tomatoes and we run out before our garden is ready again. Every time that has happened my kids will not even eat anything I make with store bought spaghetti sauce. The first few years I started canning I tried a few different recipes and our favorite and only one I have used for the last fifteen years or so I found in the Kerr Kitchen Cookbook.

Spaghetti Sauce 
30 lbs. tomatoes
1 cup green bell peppers
1 cup chopped onions
5 cloves of crushed garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup dried parsley
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoon oregano
4 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper

Peel tomatoes by dipping in boiling water for 60 seconds and then dip in cold water. The peel should slide right off. Run peeled tomatoes through a sieve or blender. I use a blender because it is faster & we don't mind the seeds. Saute peppers, onions, & garlic in olive oil until they are tender. Add sauteed veggies & everything else to the tomatoes. Bring to a boil and cook on low until it is thick enough for serving, about 6 hours. Process in pressure canner according to manufacturers directions for 20 minutes for pints & 25 minutes for quarts. Makes 4-5 quarts.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Getting Started With French Review #hsreviews #homeschoolforeignlanguage #foreignlanguage #frenchcurriculum

Introducing Getting Started with French {Armfield Academic Press}
Delaney loves words. She loves vocabulary in English and she loves learning random words in foreign languages. When we were offered Getting Started With French from Armfield Academic Press she wanted to give it a try. 

Getting Started With French teaches beginning French for any age student wanting to learn the language. This course is a self-taught book with access to pronunciations MP3 files for each lesson. It was written to meet the needs of homeschooled students and self-taught individuals who do not have access to a teacher. William E. Linney first wrote Getting Started with Latin in the same manner. Once that was a huge hit he decided to consult other people to help him write Getting Started with Spanish and then Getting Started with French. 

There are 281 pages divided into 172 lessons in Getting Started with French along with a section on how to use the book, general advice, pronunciation guide, and an answer key. New words and concepts are introduced gradually in each lesson and there are exercises to review material from previous lessons. New vocabulary words are printed in bold type and hard to pronounce words have their description right there or you can always listen to the MP3 file and look in the pronunciation guide in the back of the book. 
The first few lessons start out discussing pronunciation, articles, gender, and the 'r' sound. After that the student starts learning vocabulary to be able to form sentences right away. Grammar is discussed throughout the book a little at a time and there are French expressions discussed that are known around the world. In the exercises the student has words to translate into English. To make the lessons a little harder they can also try and translate it back to French. 

Since this book is self-explanatory, self-paced, and self-contained I decided to just give it to Delaney (age 14) and see how she did. After the first few days I heard her working on her French vocabulary out loud and each day she began speaking a little louder and a little clearer as she gained more confidence in what she was saying. We received our book while we were still officially on summer break and Delaney started using the book several times a week. Once we got started in our new school year she has been using it every day and is already on lesson 34. She has been using a notebook to take notes in, write all of her new vocabulary words in, and the answers to the exercises problems. She has been using a pencil in her notebook, but the vocabulary words and other important things she writes in pen so that it will jump out at her if she is looking for something she previously learned. 
Delaney is my child that loves to write. She has also included in her notebook random Fake For Fun French Letters. She writes a letter to Pierre from Lori and then she replies to the letter. She writes it just as if she were writing to a pen pal, but she uses as many French words she knows and fills in with English words when she doesn't. Each time she has written one of these letters she has used more French words. 

Delaney really likes using this book. She was surprised at how much she is learning when the lessons only take a few minutes a day and are very easy for her. She didn't need any help figuring out how to use the book, or what was expected of her. The directions are very well written even when talking about grammar usage. This book is great for a beginning French student and one we will keep around for easy reference.  
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Getting Started With French

Introducing Getting Started with French {Armfield Academic Press}
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Thursday, September 8, 2016 Review #hsreviews #CHSH #homeschool #homeschoolresources

Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}
Over the past 20 years of homeschooling there have been times I have looked and looked for just the right thing to use, an additional worksheet, unit study, notebooking page, or a book list. Now finding those additional items for school is so easy with having access to CHSH Download Club from

The Christian Homeschool Hub offers over 50,000 downloadable pages and educational material for grades PreK-12. It is free to be a member and you will have access to all the freebies or you can subscribe to all the content for $25 a year. They are constantly adding new items to the Hub so the best option is a one-time fee of $99. If you have several kids in your homeschool or if you are just starting out you will get your money's worth. Just yesterday there were three new downloads added.  
I found the best place to even begin looking at the content was in the Download Catalog. The content can be searched by topic, category, or key word in the search option, or you can look through the download catalog by subject, grade or month. There are bible related resources, foreign languages including American Sign Language, arts, music, crafts, language arts, math, science, social studies, health, electives, fun page, lapbooking, and notebooking units. 
There are also calendars that can help you plan around daily events, holidays, and observances. They contain information from history people and events. You can click on each topic and add it to your own Google calendar if you don't want to use everything that is listed on the main one on the website. 

We are studying American History and Government in school this year with two high school students. The first place I went to was High School American History section and I found American Government and American History Part 1 & 2. I downloaded those files along with the answer keys. Next I checked out the reading lists and literature guides and plan on using several of those in the near future. Since my girls are learning Spanish I had to check that section out too. There are charts and flashcards for the colors, months, numbers, vocabulary, phrases, games, and puzzles. 
American Government contains two downloads, one for the student and one for the teacher. The course is divided into 10 units and the student file is 278 pages long and the teacher file is 111 pages. It starts with the structure & function of our government, how our government is set up, domestic and foreign affairs, our personal involvement and so much more. The appendix contains The United States Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, The Articles of Confederation, and the Bill of Rights. There are plenty of charts to give students a visual of what is being discussed and plenty of vocabulary. 

American History contains four downloadable files. Part 1 & Part 2 plus the teacher guide with answer key for each. Part 1 is 489 pages and covers Before the New Nation to 1940. Part II is 443 pages and covers 1924 to Present. There are a lot of maps, pictures, and vocabulary words throughout both parts. At the end of each unit there are practice questions and charts to be filled in. The appendix contains The Mayflower Compact, The United States Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, The Articles of Confederation, The Bill of Rights, and The Presidents of the United States.
We study history together in our homeschool, so I been using American History & American Government with all three of my girls. I downloaded the PDF files on my iPad mini and only printed the pages that needed written on. Although we already have a curriculum for American History this could very easily be used completely on its own. American Government is also very in depth and we are using it as a stand alone curriculum. 

When I started writing my review of I found something else my 11 year old daughter has been asking for. Her Sunday School teacher had given her a journal that has pages to use for note taking during church. She only has a couple left and wanted me to find her a new one. Guess what? I found four different pages to download that we can print and put in a binder. 
Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}
I anticipate using so many things from the CHSH Download Club. I'm going to read other reviews from SchoolHouse Review Crew members to see what they found to use in their homeschools.

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Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}
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Apologia Astronomy Review #hsreviews #apologia #astronomy #homeschoolscience

Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review
Apologia Educational Ministries is our favorite source when it comes to science curriculum. Alaina has been using Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition and she thinks it is her favorite science class she has taken. 
Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition is the new and revised edition of Apologia's award-winning astronomy course. Students will see God's great wonders using the Charlotte Mason method. The course tours the universe by starting with the sun and planets then explores the galaxies, nebulae, and the black hole. We received four components of this curriculum and there is now a science kit that can be purchased to supplement the course.
  • Student Text ~ This is a hard back book with beautiful colored pictures throughout. There are 216 pages divided into 14 lessons. The lessons vary in length, and they all contain activities to make science real to  K-6 grade students. The text is written directly to the student and contains a lot of colored photos and text boxes. The text is very engaging and shows the majestic power of God. There is a complete supply list for each lesson and the answer key included in the appendix. The supplies needed for the activities are all very common household items. Looking ahead at the entire list the only thing we will need to buy is 2 plastic bottles and I'm sure the kids will not complain about drinking a soda to get those.
  • Notebooking Journal ~ This spiral bound journal is 336 pages. The front of the book contains a suggested daily schedule for each lesson. There is plenty of space for the student to write everything they are learning from the text and what it means in their lives. There are also colorful mini books, scripture copywork, vocabulary review, review questions, and a place to document the activities.
  • Junior Notebooking Journal~ This journal covers the same things as the regular journal, but is recommended for beginning writers. The crossword puzzles already have a few letters filled in, and there are pictures to color instead of pages for the student to write down what they remember like the regular journal has.
  • Audio CD~ This is a MP3CD which can be listened to from a computer or a MP3-compatible CD player. It is a recording of the complete course read by Jeannie Fulbright, the author of Exploring Creation with Astronomy. This is perfect for children who are slow readers, or just like to follow along in the text while they listen.
  • Book Extras ~ There are extra materials available from Apologia that enhance this Astronomy course. There are links to biographies, satellite trackings, images of planets, articles on how to choose a telescope, and even careers in Astronomy.
  • Astronomy 2nd Edition Science Kit~ This is brand new and has only been available for a week or so, and it is currently 15% off. We did not receive this, but it looks wonderful. It contains a Science Kit Guide and all the products (except food items) you will need to complete the activities in the Astronomy text. The supplies are clearly labeled with each activity number so you can just grab it and get started.
Alaina is 11 and has been using Apologia Astronomy for her homeschool science curriculum. Normally we study science and history together and I just require more from the older two girls than from  Alaina. She was thrilled to have a different science book this year than the other girls, and of course they are using Apologia Exploring Creation through Biology, 2nd Edition. 
Alaina has been using this every day for school, she loves having the Suggested Daily Schedule at the front of her Journal, so she can check off every thing she has completed and it helps her to stay on track with her work. The Notebooking Journal is just right for Alaina. She still loves to make lapbooks, but I think she needs to start writing more than what she does when she is coloring, cutting and glueing in her lapbooks. That is one reason we both love the Notebooking Journal that goes with the text book. There is a good mix of writing and mini books that she can cut and glue into her journal. She still loves to color and since we also received the Junior Notebooking Journal she has been coloring the pictures included in it. 

Although Alaina has been reading the text herself everyone wanted to listen to the audio CD at least for a little bit because they have seen Jeannie Fulbright's name on their science books for years and they all wanted to know what she sounds like. The recording is very well done. Jeannie speaks in a clear voice and she sounds like she really enjoys reading the text.
This is the activity for Lesson 1. Alaina loved blowing up her balloons to make her solar system. In her Notebooking Journal she recorded what she did and what she learned from this activity. She loved the mnemonic that was included in the text book and enjoyed making up some of her own. 
We have used so many products from Apologia over the years and we have the Field Trip Journal that is an ongoing journal. We will record any Astronomy field trips we take this year in this journal.

Astronomy has been a huge hit with Alaina this year and she wants to work on it first thing in the morning. I know she has been enjoying it and learning from it, because she gets excited over things she is learning and wants to tell everyone.

Social Media
Twitter @apologiaworld

Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Review
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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

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