Sunday, June 27, 2010

Blog Walk Week 3

I'm really enjoying getting to know so many of my fellow crew members!  This crew ROCKS!!


Focus Nanette, FOCUS! I’m currently working on my review of the Travel the World E-Book by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and I’m having a very difficult time focusing. Why you ask? Well, I generally have a hard time staying on task in my normal everyday activities. My mind runs none stops and hops around like a bunny on a trail. But, tonight is a bit more challenging than normal, as my hubby and youngest daughter are watching Transformers. This movie is one of my absolute favorites, so I can’t seem to zone the sounds out of my mind. Within the next few minutes I just may give up for a few hours and go watch the movie with them :- ) I know I really shouldn’t seeing as I’ve been so busy this past week and wasn’t home much over the weekend, therefore I have gotten nothing completed (by the way, all the busyness last week and over the weekend was spent with my family). So anyway… Wish me luck!

LOL, see bunny trails… rather than trying harder to focus on my review or giving in and watching the movie, I’m blogging about my inability to focus! Anyone know a good shrink?! Hahaha!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blog Walk Week 1

Since there are so many crew members aboard The Old Schoolhouse Cruise this year (250, if I remember correctly), something called a Blog Walk has been created for us. The purpose of the Blog Walk is to allow all the TOS Crew Members to get to know one another more through our blogs, as well as to spread the word about our blogs and our reviews. So not to overwhelm us, each week 10 blogs are listed for us to visit, comment on, and follow.

Here are the first 10.

1. Alane Abbett's Reaping a Harvest

2. Alexis Green's Pink & Orange Coffee

3. Alina Neuberger's Live, Laugh, Learn!

4. Amanda Bowen's Mrs. Mandy's Musings

5. Amber Hockman's The Fantastic Five

6. Amber Schoessow's Refined Metals Academy

8. Angela Greenwell's Providence Farm

9. Angela Richter's My Journey

10. Angie Wright's Petra School

Go check them out and follow along...I did  

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day :-)

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!!

We spent the day at the lake; cruising on the boat and swimming in the water. It was awesome! It would have been perfect if it wasn’t 95+ degrees outside, but thankfully it wasn’t as humid as normal. My hubby can handle the heat and humidity pretty well. Me on the other hand - not so much. It’s ok though, the sun doesn’t like me either. Haha! I say this, because normally I get burnt very badly even with half a bottle of 50 SPF waterproof sunscreen on. Today was different though - I didn’t get burnt at all, not even a little bit. Sadly, one of my daughters did though, and she had just as much sunscreen on as I did… weird. Thankfully being on the boat makes the heat bearable. Well, as long as the boat is moving or you’re in the water. I’m really looking forward to going out again later this week.

Once we got home we cleaned up, ate, and I decided to do some baking :-) I know – baking in this heat?! No worries, I haven’t completely lost my mind. I don’t generally use my oven. I have a convection oven with a rotisserie that I use ALL the time. I can cook/bake all I want and there’s no competition with the air condition! It’s awesome and I love it!! The only drawback is it’s not quite big enough to cook more than two loafs of bread at a time.

Ok, back to the bread… I have 4 loaves of zucchini bread (made with zucchini picked fresh from a friend’s garden early last night). One of the loaves is almost gone already and 2 are cooling.  Oh, and I have a loaf of banana bread in the convection now. I did cook a lot of bread, but I heard it freezes well, and I always take some to my family, so none will go to waste. The zucchini bread was such a hit that when my oldest daughter walked in from playing with the neighbor kids, she grabbed a slice and her exact response were, "Wow, mom, this is awesome!" Hahaha, I love it! I love when I create something yummy from scratch and my hubby and daughters love it!

Here are the recipes if anyone would like them... Zucchini Bread and Banana Bread.  I did make a few changes to the recipes.  For two of the loaves of Zucchini Bread I substituted -
  • ½ the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour
  • ½ the sugar with the equivalent to 1 ½ cups Splenda
  • omitted the nuts
  • cooked at 350 degrees for 40/45 minutes
  • drained the shredded zucchini by placing it in a towel and pressing out the access water. This step is important; or the bread will come out too wet. At least that’s what a few of the reviews said :-) 
For the other 2 loaves of zucchini bread I used -
  • whole wheat flour rather than all-purpose flour
  • Splenda rather than sugar
  • I also added 1 cup of water rather than 1/3 cup. The whole wheat flour made the batter very dry and adding the water helped greatly. You could use the 1/3 cup water and not pressed out the access water from the zucchini and it should to good moisture wise. I had already pressed the access water out before I started the 2nd batch of batter.
As for the Banana Bread, the only changes I made were substituting the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour.  Everything else stayed the same :-)

The Banana bread is almost finished.  I'll try to remember to added a couple pics later.  Now it's movie time with the family - Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian  My girls have already seen it and they absolutely loved it!  Oh boy, my house smells of popcorn! Can you smell it? YUM!!   
Have a great night everyone!!  

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Practice run :-)

The time is fast approaching and the countdown will soon begin.  All TOS Crew Members are required to complete a practice review.  We’re able to choose between 2 different items to review and if we really want to, we can choose to review both items.  This is the one and ONLY time we get to choose what we want to review.  I’ve chosen one so far, but I have until Tuesday to decide if I want to review both.  I’m thinking about diving in head first and tackling both.  What do you think?  Next week we’ll receive the chosen items and due dates will be posted. Then in mid July all the crazy, fun, madness officially begins! I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me and the other 249 crew members!!  I’m so excited!!  Stay tuned :-)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Busy busy day...

Wow, I’ve had a very productive day. Made a few much needed phone calls, returned some emails, cleaned the house, finished most of the laundry, and played a few board games with my youngest. Oh yeah, we also did a few science experiments :-)  I love days like this! Later tonight I’m going to try to work on my blog and read through some friends’ blogs. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

E-Book Review - Help Lord, I’m Getting Ready to Start Homeschooling My High Schooler!

This is one of the two reviews I wrote for The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew tryouts...

     When the Lord first placed homeschooling on my heart, I was pretty nervous. Although I knew I would follow His direction, I still had many worries and concerns flooding my mind. I though for sure I must have misunderstood Him. Homeschool, are you kidding me I can’t do that. Where do I start? What curriculum do I choose? Will I be doing my daughters a disservice by pulling them out of pubic school? How do I teach them things I have forgotten? What will my family and friends think? These thoughts consumed me. However, I trusted God; knowing His plan for our lives is far greater than mine, and I followed His directions. We are currently in our third year of homeschooling; my oldest is completing 6th grade, while my youngest is completing 4th grade. As we got into the swing of things and my nervousness subsided.

Well, a few months ago I came to the realization that high school is right around the corner for my oldest daughter and my need to begin preparing is now. This has reignited all those crazy time consuming thoughts with incredible force. I’ve been in constant prayer for direction, guidance, and wisdom.  That’s when I stumbled on the E-book “Help Lord, I’m Getting Ready to Start Homeschooling My High Schooler!" by Homeschooling with Heart – The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. This book is truly nothing short of an answer to my prayers. Page after page is jam-packed with amazing testimonies from mothers who have successfully homeschooled their high school students and walked out unscathed. This is one E-book you definitely need on hand. Click here here and purchase it for only $12.45.

The mothers wrote about such things as the importance of focusing on our children’s strengths rather than their weaknesses. Remember God created us all very unique from one another. We all learn differently, have different interests, and skill levels. Therefore, we need to embraces the positive and the weaknesses will strengthen. About how to organize your student’s studies, how to alleviate some of the stresses associated with homeschooling by giving tips on how to organize your day so everyone knows what is expected of them, and so much more.

I love when I’m reading something and that little light in my mind glows creating a ‘ah ha’ moment. Well, one mother’s tip did just that for me. She wrote about the importance of including your student in their curriculum choices. As adult we like having many choices about things in our lives, and our children are no different. By allowing them to play an active role in what curriculum they will use, may energize your children into wanting to learn more.

While a few mothers wrote about specific curriculum that worked for them, I had hoped to see a bit more. There are so many curricula available to the homeschool community the choices can be very overwhelming. I always find it incredibly helpful and enjoyable to hear from others about what has and hasn’t worked for them. However, Help Lord, I’m Getting Ready to Start Homeschooling My High Schooler!” has a vast amount of great information, useful tips, resources, scripture, and encouraging words to help parents just like you and me successfully homeschool our high school students. At the end of the E-book there’s a fantastic list of resources given by the authors, which include books, magazines, CDs, websites, a few curriculum choices, as well as scripture. A couple of the authors have also provided their email addresses and/or their blog addresses.

I’ve taken a lot of awesome insight away from this E-book, but one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to always trust that God is ultimately in control and as long as we pray, trust, and obey, He will work everything out as He sees fit. He created our children and he wants the very best for each and every one of them. I no longer have the incredible fear of homeschooling through high school as I did before reading this E-book.  Reading so many testimonies of mothers just like me has helped me to see it’s not as scary as my mind once made it.

So, if you have a future high school student or you are currently homeschooling your high school student, go to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and for $12.45 purchase "Help Lord, I’m Getting Ready to Start Homeschooling My High Schooler!"  It’s an amazing E-book full of encouragement and guidance.

Gaming Systems

Gaming systems... you name it, there out there and year after year companies continually come out with what they deem to be the “New and Improved” or “The Next Best Thing.” There’s the Nintendo DS, Nintendo DS-Lite, Game Boy, Game Boy Advanced, Play Station (PS), Play Station 2 (PS2), Play Station 3 (PS3), Game Cube, X-Box, X-Box 360, Wii, and so many others I’m sure I’ve missed.

You can go almost anywhere and you’re certain to see a child with a gaming device in their hands. My girls were no different. There was a point in time that whenever they had the chance you where sure to see them with their games in hand, whether it was a hand held game system or one connects to the television. One of the games they play often is called, Mario Cart. They are continually linking up with one another or anyone else around that also has a DS-Lite. My husband and I have had to put limitations on how often they use them and recently implemented the rule that no games are aloud in the stores. If we’re walking through a store and they’re playing their games then they aren’t listening to my voice, nor are they watching where they are going. They have on occasion bumped in carts, the end shelving units, clothing racks, and even a person a time or two.

I can remember when my husband and I first discussed the option of buying a game system; at that time it was the X-Box, I had very mixed feelings about whether I wanted my girls to have one or not. However, I very quickly saw the positive aspect of having them. In our family these gaming system have increased our family time, improved team work, increased the importance of sharing, and are even from time to time in our classroom. Yes, the classroom! They can be very beneficial in the learning new things, as well as, sharpening skills they already have. There are an abundance of different games for all gaming systems that promote learning, such as cooking, caring for pets, learning new sports, music, math, science, history, english, writing, drawing, and so much more.

So although my girls drive me nuts sometimes with their fascination with their DS-lites or ask repeatedly to play one of the other games systems, I’m thankful we have them available to us and in our home. And like anything else in life – all things in moderation.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Saying good bye :-(

This past Friday, Kayla and I attended the bridging ceremony for our Homeschool Girl Scout troop. It was great to share in fellowship and fun, while honoring all the girls who worked so hard this past year to earn so many badges.

Generally a bridging ceremony is to bridge the girls who have completed one stage of Girl Scouts to the next; Daises to Brownies, Brownies to Juniors, Juniors to Caddett, etc… This bridging ceremony was extra special, as our troop was ending many years together as a Girl Scout troop and beginning many years together as an American Heritage Girls troop. This ceremony was bitter sweet for Kayla and me, because we won’t be returning in the fall to be part of “new” troop. When we lived in the city it was very easy to be part of everything that went on in our troop. However, 1 ½ years ago we moved 1 ½ hours away from where our troop meets. We have continued to make the very long commute, but we have decided it is time to stay close to home and enjoy what is available to us here. We are blessed with an amazing homeschool support group right here in our town; well the next town over, but a lot closer than the city is.

Our troop is a very large troop broke up into levels. Dasies/Brownies meet together in one room, Juniors meet together in another room, and Cadettes/Seniors meet together. Each level has its own leaders, co-leaders, and mom helpers and we all follow the curriculum for our individual level. We all come together before our meetings for the flag ceremony and prayer, and attend many troop wide events together. So, as you can see we have a very large family whom we will miss very much.
Thankfully Kayla and I will get to see the rest of the Juniors one more time as a group in July. The girls are in the process of earning their Bronze Award and we have one more trip to the Ronald McDonald House to conclude their requirements and official earn their awards.
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