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Thursday, November 30, 2017

HORMEL GATHERINGS® Party Trays Review #ad @HormelFoods #hormelgatherings, #partytrays, #alreadyready, #hormel, #gameday, #gamedaygathering, #party, #appetizer, #stressfreeparty, #partytips, #friends, #football, #tailgate

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Disclaimer: I received free product in exchange for my honest review.
Thanksgiving this year was a little bit different for us. We met some of our family in Colorado for the weekend. Our two adult children were there, my sister and her husband, a couple of nephews, one niece, my dad and my step mom for a total of 18 people. We stayed in a hotel and my husband and I along with our kids had a two bedroom two bath suite. We were so thankful that we could all hang out together in our room or the lobby. We didn't have any big plans, but we did a little running around and a few touristy things, but mostly we hung out at the hotel. Nothing about our weekend was like the way we usually celebrate Thanksgiving. We didn't have any of our regular holiday foods.

There are always a few things that happen when my family gets together. We always play a lot of Euchre, talk, giggle, and of course, eat!! This year we did this in our room or down in the breakfast area of the hotel. 

No matter what kind of party you are hosting HORMEL GATHERINGS® Party Trays can make party planning easy. If you are having a dinner and need an easy appetizer, if you are having a game day party, or even if you are just sitting around playing games with your family these ready-made party trays are just what you need. 

HORMEL GATHERINGS® Party Trays come in three varieties. 

The store we purchased our party trays from had the HORMEL GATHERINGS® Supreme Party Tray, and the HORMEL GATHERINGS® Honey Ham & Turkey Party Tray, so we purchased them both. My 12-year-old daughter helped me open them up and display them in the divided tray. The outside plastic tray was taped shut and each of the different items was sealed in their own pouch. Once we had the meat, cheese, and crackers arranged we could snap the lid back in place to refrigerate until it was time to eat. This was also a huge plus for the leftovers. The only thing we needed was something to pick the olives up out of the liquid. Once we were finished eating clean up was a breeze. 

All of our meat and cheese was very flavorful & I loved that the tray was divided to keep each item separated. I tried everything that was included except for the olives. That is one thing that I cannot stand to eat, but my husband loves them. He was very pleased with the taste and quality of the Peloponnese olives. Everyone raved about how easy the tray was to arrange and how great everything tasted. These party trays will be a must-have for our future party gatherings. 


To make your party planning stress-free you can check to see if your local stores carry the HORMEL GATHERINGS® Party Trays.

Disclaimer: I received coupons to purchase three HORMEL GATHERINGS® Party Trays and a Walmart gift card for additional party supplies as a part of the Social Insiders Hormel campaign. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Cake Pops


Morgan recently had a party and she wanted to serve cake pops. Delaney took it upon herself to plan it out. Her cake stand was styrofoam covered with ribbon and silver jewels. She also covered some of her sticks in the same ribbon and the same silver jewels.
Morgan wanted a variety of flavors, so we chose to make lemon cake pops with lemon flavored white chocolate, white cake balls covered in white chocolate, strawberry cake pops covered in white chocolate, and chocolate cake pops covered in chocolate.

Delaney not only designed the set up, she also made most of the cake pops herself. Her sisters and I helped a little, but she did the majority of it herself. I think she did a fabulous job!!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Cousins #cousinsfun

One thing I hate about living so far away from family is that my kids don't get to see their cousins that often. But one thing I have noticed over the years is it doesn't matter if it has only been a few weeks since they were together or if it has been a year they always have a good time.


Of course in this generation, there are so many selfies going on and other cousins trying to jump in making for some great memorable moments. 

Orlando, Pensacola, Indiana, Montana, and Nebraska are all represented here. I think it is so much fun to see them all together and to notice the similar traits that they have even though they aren't around each other that much.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sharon Watson Characters in Crisis Review #hsreviews #highschoolwriting #writingcurriculum

Writing with Sharon Watson
Last year we were introduced to Writing with Sharon Watson when we reviewed Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide. My girls loved it, so when Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis came up for review this time we knew we wanted to be on it.

Characters in Crisis is written from a Christian worldview should last one year for students in the 9th-12th grade. When Worlds Collide and Characters in Crisis do not have to be used in order, either one can be used for any high school grade.

The selections for Crisis are A Journey of Her Peers, Frankenstein, Silas Marner, Much Ado About Nothing, Sense and Sensibility, The Hobbit, other short stories, and an autobiography of the students choice. It includes a physical book for the student text, the Teacher's Guide, Quiz and Answer Manual, there is also a Novel Notebook available as a pdf, and online quizzes.
Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis

The text is a 293-page softcover book and it contains an introduction and a chapter for each reading selection. A Journey of Her Peers, and the short stories are included in the text and it recommends purchasing a specific version of each book. It has been very beneficial having the correct version because the textbook uses specific page numbers and it saves a lot of time and frustration of trying to hunt for what you are looking for. Each chapter contains a section for before reading the book that includes a suggested reading and homework plan, information on the author, fun facts, and other literary information about the book and each chapter. After you read the book there are questions and activities to choose from. The passwords for the online quizzes are also included here.

The 174-page Teacher's Guide is also softcover. It starts with a section written to the teacher about the course, how to grade the students work, and the course objectives. There is also information on how to use Characters in Crisis alone or in a group whether it is a facebook group or a book of the month club. The remaining part is the answer key.

The Quiz and Answer Manuel is just what it sounds like. It is a 53-page softcover book with the quizzes and answers. This book gives you the option of completing the quizzes on paper or if you use the online quizzes you will not need to use these quizzes.

The Novel Notebook is a free 86-page pdf download. The colorful pages include questions about the books, journaling questions, and character maps. Some of these questions have correct answers and others are opinions.

Delaney was so excited when I told her we were getting Characters in Crisis. The books used in this curriculum are not something she would have chosen to read on her own so I wasn't sure if she would want it but she said she liked When Worlds Collide so much that she wanted to use this course as well. Plus she is my writer and she has been forcing herself to write out of her comfort zone so she thought this might help her. Delaney really likes the section in the text that you read before reading the book. There is so much information about the story and the author that makes her want to read the book. She started with A Jury of Her Peers and then moved to Frankenstein. There are a lot of activity choices for A Jury of Her Peers including further research, create artwork, music, rewriting the story, and more. Of course, Delaney chose a writing activity for this one and she probably will for the rest of the books.

The text is written directly to the student and Sharon also includes step-by-step directions on how to grade their work. Delaney does feel that she not only this is not only a great literature course, but she also feels it helps her in her writing and developing her characters.

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Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis {Writing with Sharon Watson Reviews}
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Kutless Review & Giveaway #KutlessAO #FlyBy

We have been a fan of Kutless for a long time. I love What Faith Can Do, Better Is One Day, and Shut Me Out. I was so excited to hear they have a new album! Kutless wanted to create an album that would engage the Christian community so they used a collection of rock and worship songs of both original and cover tracks that are true to who the band has been for 17 years. Alpha/Omega has ten tracks including a new version of Strong Tower and the radio single King of My Heart

Your Great Name
Your Strong Tower
King Of My Heart
Cornerstone
You Are Love
Great Are You Lord
Your Love Awakens Me
Shepherd Of My Soul
Gave It All
No Wonder

We have been enjoying not only the beat and music on this album but also the lyrics. Kutless uses words that we can all relate to and gives me encouragement throughout the day. I love this quote from Jon Micah Sumrall and I am so glad he still has this vision. 

 “We really believe that music can make a difference in people’s lives,” shares Jon Micah Sumrall. “Music is an incredibly powerful tool that can break down walls and allow us to communicate a message of hope to people who may not listen otherwise. We are still recording and performing because we really do believe it makes a difference. We hear stories all the time from people who share with us how a concert or a song has radically impacted their life, and it’s these types of testimonies that keep us going year after year.” 
  

 We aren't the only ones that enjoy Kutless. The band has 12 No. 1 radio singles including Strong Tower, What Faith Can Do, and Carry Me To The Cross. The band has had 12 No. 1 radio singles across all formats including their major hits "Strong Tower,” "What Faith Can Do" and "Carry Me To The Cross.”

I have some great news. If you live in the continental U.S. You can win a copy of Alpha/Omega from Kutless. Just enter the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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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 on the same blog, 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.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Sushi California Rolls #kidscancook #recipefun


 Alaina is entering the recipe contest our local paper hosts every year. She has been trying to decide what she wants to enter. She loves California Rolls, so she is thinking about entering those. She does a good job rolling them and they are yummy!



 She has some leftover crab and avocado, so she decided to make up her own little appetizer. I'll share her little secrets latter after she decides what to enter.

Forbrain Review #hsreviews, #forbrain #ADD #ADHD #sensoryintegration

Forbrain Sound for Life LTD
When my kids were little I would sometimes have them record themselves while they were reading so they could play it back and listen to themselves. I wanted them to hear how they pronounced their words, their inflection, and so they could learn to read out loud properly. There are so many times we need to read aloud in front of other people and this should be a pleasant experience for the listeners. I know I have listened to adults read out loud that could benefit from hearing themselves. We recently received Forbrain from Sound From Life LTD that can make hearing yourself easier than using a recording and replaying it.  
Forbrain Sound for Life LTD
Forbrain is a headset that uses your voice to boost your brain. It actually gives your nervous system a sensory workout. Your voice is transmitted through bone conduction by using the audio-vocal loop. The Bone Conduction Transducers sits on the temporal bone right in front of your ears. The high-quality microphone picks up your voice and it travels through the Dynamic Filter before reaching the transducers. The Forbrain comes with the headset, charging cable, exercise booklet, extra microphone covers, and a nice sturdy case.  

This headset can be used for anyone ages 4 and up. It can help with pronunciation and speech difficulties, lack of confidence, voice quality, rhythm difficulties, or singing out of tune. By using this product for just a few minutes each day it can help with concentration and memory. 
We have been using our Forbrain headset a couple of different ways. Alaina (age 12) has been using it while working on her memory verses for Sunday school. I think it helps her remember them a little better and it has really improved the way she recites them. She has been paying attention to how she says them and making sure she pronounces every word correctly. The other girls (age 15 & 16) have been using them while they practice the piano. Not the whole time, but they have a few songs they like to sing while they practice them and it has really helped them to hear how they sound while they are singing. Of course, I also had to try them out. My kids think spelling words are fun and we continue to work on spelling words until they graduate high school. I have been using the headset when I give them their spelling words. 
The Homeschool Review Crew has reviewed this product before and I thought it was something we didn't really need, but I was wrong. I am glad that I opted to review them this time around. Although we don't have any major speech or attention difficulties it is the little things we pay attention to in life that can go a long way and could make the biggest differences in some areas of our lives. I think being able to speak and read out loud correctly is one of those things we need to be able to do well in life. I think my adult son could benefit from these also. He is a great speaker and loves to speak in front of people, but he tends to get excited and talks faster and then he begins to mumble. The next time he comes home for a visit I will have him try them. 

This product is also recommended for people with ADD, ADHD, or other sensory issues. Crew members tried Forbrain with their children of different ages and learning abilities so make sure you read their reviews also. 
Forbrain Sound for Life LTD
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Forbrain {Sound For Life Ltd Review}
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Friday, November 10, 2017

Writing a Novel #teenscanwrite

I can't believe it is already November 14, this month is going by pretty fast. November is also National Novel Writing Month. The idea of this is for you to write a novel in one month. I have never tried to do this, but Delaney is participating this month. She has so many stories in her head and she is always writing. She is absolutely loving an excuse to write as much as she can. Of course, she tries to use it to her advantage to get out of her chores. I'm not sure how many words she has written or if she is halfway through, but it is a fun month for her.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Innovators Tribe Thinking Like An Engineer Review #hsreviews #Engineering #STEM #Architect

Innovators Tribe
Some of my kids have always known what they want to do when they grow up and some of them don't have any idea. I think it is a good thing to explore many options before choosing a career. My oldest son has gone back to school to become an aeronautical engineer. He will call and talk to us about a lot of things and I wanted my younger girls to understand a little more about engineering so we have been using Thinking Like An Engineer from Innovators Tribe.

Innovators Tribe offers Thinking Like An Engineer, Thinking Like An Architect, and Thinking Like A Carpenter will be coming soon. Both courses have around 30 hours of work and can be considered a 1/4 credit for high school. 
Thinking Like an Engineer
Thinking Like An Engineer is an online course that offers video segments for the lessons. There are hands-on activities, design challenges, downloadable exercise journals, and design software. It is divided into 6 Units and an additional Unit on Thinking Like An Innovator. It comes with a download of the 123D Design software that allows you to create 3D designs using realistic materials. 

All three of my girls (ages 12, 15, & 16) and I  have been using Thinking Like An Engineer. Unit 1 is an introductory unit that explains what engineering is and lists different types of engineer careers. There are a couple of activities to help you get to thinking like an engineer would. These activities use just paper and tape to build a tower and a base to hold as many books as you can. There is also an activity for building a water filtration system. Unit 2 is where we started getting into the 123D Design software. The challenge for this unit is to design a piece of furniture using the software. 

This activity we were to use one piece of paper and two feet of masking tape to build a base one inch off the ground to hold as many books as we possibly could. When we first heard this my girls thought it would be silly and wouldn't hold very many. After working together they figured out a way to hold more books than they thought possible. Although we might have been at an advantage because I have decorated wedding cake their whole lives and have stacked them pretty high. 
They cut their paper in 1" strips to match the width of the tape. Then they rolled the pieces small enough so they could wrap them all with the 2' of tape they were allowed to use. 


Alaina wasn't sure they could get any more stacked so she wanted a picture before they fell. She is 4'11" so she wanted to try to go higher than she is tall. 
And they made it. The paper pieces were still holding the books up off the floor, but their tower was starting to sway. So they figured the paper could have held more books if they had some sort of center support.

My oldest son would have loved this course and if he wasn't so far away he probably would have watched it with his sisters. My girls may not want to be an engineer, but this course is showing them how to think like one and see things around them a little differently.

Members of the Homeschool Review Crew received Thinking Like An Engineer and Thinking Like An Architect to review. My daughter that wants to be a real estate agent really wants to check out Thinking Like An Architect so I'll be reading some of those reviews to see if we want to use that course next.
Thinking Like an Architect or Engineer {Innovators Tribe Reviews}
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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Thin Stix Creativity Pack Review & Giveaway #hsreviews #KwikStix, #temperapaint, #kidsartsupplies



The Pencil Grip, Inc.

We were introduced to The Pencil Grip, Inc. a little over a year ago and their products quickly became my family's favorite art supplies. We absolutely love the Kwik Stix solid tempera paint sticks and our newest package is the Thin Stix Creativity Pack.

Thin Stix Creativity Pack
The Thin Stix Creativity Pack comes with 24 tempera paint sticks. These are solid tempera paint sticks that dry in 90 seconds. They are thinner than the original Qwik Stix tempera sticks. The Creativity Pack includes 12 assorted colors, 6 neon colors, and 6 metalix colors. They are great to use on multiple surfaces including wood, canvas, cardboard, and even paper. They are mess free allowing children as young as 3 to paint with no mess and ease of use anywhere around the house or on the go for older children. This 24 pack is normally $24.99 but is available at BJ's online and in-store at a discounted price of $19.99 for a limited time.

The Thin Stix are solid tempera paint and you do not need water to use them. You just remove the cap, twist the solid paint up and create your artwork. We have a countertop in our family room where we are supposed to do school and our craft projects, but we tend to all be in the same room no matter which one it is or what we are doing. By using Kwik Stix to paint with Alaina can be in the living room with the rest of use while she is painting without having to worry about water getting spilled or paint getting on the carpet. There is absolutely no mess involved.
Alaina is my crafty child. She loves anything that has to do with art or crafts. She wanted to come up with something creative to do with her tempera paint stixs so she decided she would decorate her laundry hamper. At first, she was concerned that it would smear right off, but they dry so fast she didn't have any problem painting it. The paint went on very smooth and turned out great. Once it dried it didn't wipe off but because it was a slick surface we decided to spray it with our art fixative just in case.
Alaina decided she wanted to do zebra stripes on the ends. She used all the normal colors except brown and white.

On the side, with the holes, she chose to paint little hearts in between each one. The original Kwik Stix would have been too fat to make the tiny hearts, but the Thin Stix worked just fine.

She uses her tempera paint stixs to make cards or just to paint pictures. She will even take these in the car if we go on a road trip. Who would have ever thought you could paint in the car with no mess.

The Pencil Grip, Inc. offers a variety of school and office supplies including pencil sharpeners, stickers, paper clips, and of course pencil grips.

~~~Giveaway~~~
The Pencil Grip, Inc. has offered me another Thin Stix Creativity Pack to giveaway. Just enter the Rafflecoter below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Thin Stix Creativity Pack {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}
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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Apply for the 2018 Homeschool Review Crew #hsreviews

There are so many things going on at The Old Schoolhouse right now. The Homeschool Review Crew is taking applications for 2018. There is a survey that can lead to a giveaway if 1000 people take it, and there is a giveaway for a brand new red Vitamix.

First of all, do you homeschool? Do you have a blog? Then you may want to apply for the 2018 Review Crew. I have been a part of this group since 2010 and my family has really enjoyed it. If you have any questions I'd be happy to answer them for you.



There is also a survey about SchoolhouseTeachers.com. Have you used it? Have you heard about it? It makes no difference anyone homeschool parent can enter the survey. You will automatically receive some free goodies in your email and if 1000 people complete the survey there will be a giveaway for an Instapot. Now, who doesn't want one of those?

How about a new Vitamix? I'm sure everyone could find a use for this. I'm thinking smoothies, blended coffee drinks, and homemade peanut butter. You can enter this giveaway and then Tweet about it every day for additional entries.

Building Character Round Up {and Weekly Homeschool Link UP}

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

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