Wednesday, March 4, 2015

currently {March 2015}

Here's a look at what is currently on my mind . . . 

Dreaming:  of green grass, flowers, sunshine, SPRING

Planning:  South Super Regional FTC robotics competition {Next week}, a September wedding, Camp Sunshine, StudentLife Camp, and Vacation Bible School

Making:  not one thing.  I seriously can't think of one thing I am currently making.  How sad is that?  I'm not the least bit creative these days.  But I am making a tiny little dent in the laundry, so that surely counts for something.  Right?

Baking:  I have an afflicted oven these days so baking is kept to a bare minimum.  The silly thing cuts itself off more than it stays on.  I was successful in making pumpkin bars on Sunday though and they were yummy. 

Watching:  The MainMost and I have been series-binging Call the Midwife and Friends on Netflix.  Talk about good tv.  Call the Midwife is a poignant look at midwifery and family in 1950s London and Friends just makes us laugh.  I highly recommend both.  I've also been watching a Great Courses Anatomy and Physiology set with my daughter.  Interesting stuff.

currently, this month has great potential.

I linking up with Jenna and Anne to share what is currently going on in the world around me.  Join us?  Check back in on April 1st when I share what I'm currently  wearing,  sipping,  wish listing, writing, exploring. Pin It Now!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Schoolhouse Review: Koru Naturals #hsreviews

Koru Naturals Review
Okay, so let's talk.  Lots of my friends are into oils and natural health remedies, and I will admit I've been a little skeptical of some of the claims they make.  But I was willing to give it a try -- actually, I was very eager to try some out when this review came up.  Every once in a while a review product comes along that is just for me.  Okay, so maybe it isn't really just for me, but I pretend that it is.  I don't HAVE to share it with anyone else.  Unless, of course, I want to -- then I can let everyone know how wonderful it is and I can let my children try it out, too.  Koru Naturals is such a review.   A "mommy" review of products that are so wonderful, I even decided to share them with my family.  We (because I shared) were able to try both the AMAZING Koolpurrie Restoring Balm and the Emu Oil.  Talk about spa treatment at home.  

I was excited to try the Emu Oil on my knees and ankles for a theureputic fix.  I must be getting old because they ACHE.  Continually.  And the cold weather is making my bones hurt.  Who knew that Emu Oil could make life better?   We have weird weather in Southwest Mississippi and even in winter the humidity does strange things to your skin.  I was also able to use the Emu Oil for an all-over body treatment in my bath.  My skin is parched and its texture is embarrassing, but the high quality Emu Oil is definitely making a difference.  Just a few drops give me a resilient glow and calm the dry patchiness that overtakes in winter.   I can't wait to see what it does for my summer tan.

And our sweet Finleigh has enjoyed the Emu Oil treatment as well.  Yes, she's a dog, but she's family and her constant scratching from winter dermatitis was about to drive us all nuts.  A few simple drops of Emu Oil rubbed into her back has made us all happier as it relieves her itch and makes her much more pleasant to be around.  

As nice as the Emu Oil is, the Koolpurrie Restoring Balm (made with superior quality Emu Oil and Lanolin) is even more wonderful.  It is the  The humidity is killing me this year.  My skin is as dry and parched as the desert.  Winter winds outside and crackly fires inside are making my skin scream for moisture and healing.  None of my typical lotions were even touching the crazy dry skin on my hands and feet this year and I was hoping that the restoring balm would be my miracle worker.  I've got to tell you, it has done WONDERS for me.  The backs of my hands no longer look like a patchwork quilt of spider webs.  And the balm has been especially helpful for my heels.  I am not near brave enough to show you a picture of my feet (especially my heels), but you can trust me that they were definitely sad.  I mean, cracked up and embarrasing sad.    Last year for my birthday (in JULY), my mom gave me a gift certificate for a pedicure.  Now, there was NO WAY I was actually going to USE it.  I wouldn't dare put my friend through the torture of having to deal with my ugly feet.  BUT . . . I've been working the Koolpurrie Restoring Balm into my feet -- and paying special attention to the dry, cracked areas --and I think I'll be using that gift certificate soon.     It will be flip flop weather around here again before too long (hurry up, sun) and my feet are looking TONS better.

Even more, although it doesn't specifically say to use it one your face, the restoring balm has helped heal up the dry patches caused by my cold uriticuria and has given a good deal of TLC to my lips and the corners of my mouth.

In a dark and dreary winter of gray skies, gray trees, and gray grass, Koru Naturals has offered quite a bit of sunshine to my life.  I am no longer skeptical and whole-heartedly recommend you give these products a try.  There's even more to choose from than these two that I've been using and I'm looking forward to my next purchase.  I can't wait for more spa treatment at home.  You can find some more ideas about how to use the Koru Naturals products in your home by checking out the following Social Media sites:

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Koru Naturals as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of these and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Koru Naturals Review
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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Roman Roads Media Giveaway

Have you read many of the Great Books of classical education?  It can be quite a challenge, but oh, so worth it.  We have spent much time over the past 5 years reading great literature aloud together.  I want to make sure that my children are well grounded in the classics because I know that it is important to glean all that we can from history.

We so enjoyed reviewing Old Western Culture:  The Greeks (Year One) by Roman Roads Media last year and are looking forward to watching the first section of Year Two The Romans:  The Aeneid now that it has become available.  (Sections 2 - 4 will be available soon as well.  The Historians will begin shipping March 15.)   We've read The Aeneid before and can't wait to learn even more about it from master storyteller Wes Callihan when our videos arrive.  Did you know that it is the most influential book after the Bible?  I'm excited that our videos are on their way now -- and I will be sharing more from them as we watch and study along.  The Aeneid was super important to the early Christians and it has much to teach Christians today.

Why don't you join me on the Great Books Challenge for Parents?  I think we can learn a ton of great stuff together as we study through The Aeneid together.  I am happy to be able to offer a GIVEAWAY for Roman Roads Media's The Aeneid.  Good luck and let me know what you think.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Schoolhouse Review: Heirloom Audio Productions' In Freedom's Cause #hsreviews

Do you long for wholesome adventure that takes you to faraway places?  Are your children young or young at heart? The MainMost and I have long yearned to visit Scotland.   We want to don a kilt and take off across the highlands.  There's adventure in our blood and we've shared that passion with our children.  Although we can't take off on these epic enterprises right now, we can certainly bring them home to share until we are able to travel as we desire.  If your children enjoy historical journeys and you crave character development and faith lessons for them, audio theater is perfect for your home.  

In Freedom's Cause Audio CD Review

We had the distinct privilege of reviewing Under Drake's Flag (a G.A. Henty audio drama produced by Heirloom Audio Productions) last year.  You'll remember that we absolutely LOVED it and were excited to share that another audio drama was in production.  We couldn't wait to spend some time with In Freedom's Cause this year and were thrilled when it arrived for review.  We recieved the In Freedom's Cause Single Package which includes the In Freedom's Cause CD set (2 CDs), a 49-page Study Guide, the MP3 Soundtrack download (which contains beautiful music for the background of any day), and a printable copy of The Prayer of William Wallace (which teaches students how to pray through Scripture and is now hanging in my kitchen).  We have enjoyed listening to the audio drama together and separately and using the Study Guide in our daily school time.

Through 2 1/2 hours of character-building adventure, In Freedom's Cause tells the story of William Wallace and and King Robert the Bruce's valiantly courageous efforts to free Scotland from English control during the Wars of Scottish Independence as seen through the eyes of  protagonists Ned and Gerald.  My 13- and 15-year-olds were held spellbound by the story from beginning to end.  With a cast of characters voiced by actors in some of our very favorite movies (think Billy Boyd of Lord of the Rings "Pippin" fame  and Skandar Keynes -- Edmund, from Chronicles of Narnia -- for starters) the story comes to life and grabs your heart as you listen along.  Fireplaces crackle and sword battles play out to captivate the listener and transfer you  right into the middle of Scotland itself.  All that was missing was our kilts.

We began our visit to Scotland by listening to the CDs straight through on a road trip out of town.  The kids and I were quick to join the chant "for GOD and for Scotland" along with Ned and Gerald as we joined training sessions and practiced sword fighting.  I loved hearing the admonition to stay true to GOD, stay true to your brothers, and stay true to Scotland.  I want my children to be reminded continuosly to stay true.  GOD, Family, Country . . . that's what we strive to teach in all that we do.  Drama that brings history to life and reminds us to keep our hearts fixed on GOD's Word is perfect.

Following our initial visitation, we've spent time re-listening to In Freedom's Cause and pairing each CD track with the appropriate portion of the Study Guide.  The Study Guide can be used for children of all ages with the help of parents or can be used independently as a more in-depth study for older children.  Students are encouraged to use good listening skills and are asked to answer basic comphrensive questions on what they've heard.  Each section further contains questions for short answer that require deeper thinking skills and vocabulary words to define and utilize.  The Eagle Scout and the Princess answered questions together and used the discussion as a starting place for short essays.  They've gotten hands-on practice with our Bible Commentary and pulled out our maps of the world.  History and Scripture are woven throughout the Study Guide and three Bible studies wrap it up.  These are my favorite part of the study.  I enjoy directed Scripture search for my children as they form the basis of their world viewpoint through theology.

I want my kids to know that under pressure, FAITH ALWAYS WINS.  What a wonderful lesson to learn for such a time as this.  Once again, Heirloom Audio Productions has provided us with the highest quality faith-filled adventure that puts you right in the center of the action as you live through the Scottish quest for independence.  Another must-have for your personal library, you'll definitely want to visit these Social Media sites for more information on sharing this lesson of faith with your family through  In Freedom's Cause:



Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Heirloom Audio Productions' In Freedom's Cause Single Package as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

In Freedom's Cause Review
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Faces of a Competition #omgftc #msftc {wordless wednesday}


Relief that Presentation Judging is OVER

Laughter before the Opening Ceremony

Tense Robot Rounds


Hard at Work

Sharing their faces because they make me proud,

I'm linking up today with my fellow Crewbies, Wendy (over at Life at Rossmont) and Karen (over at Tots and Me).  Check out the link up for more "Wordless Wednesday" posts.

Wordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chicken and Rice Soup

I woke up craving soup I've never even tried, but I couldn't get it out of my mind. I googled and found several recipes that sounded yummy.  I started with The Pioneer Woman's Chicken and Rice Soup and tweaked the recipe just a bit to include the things that I had on hand.  I have to tell you, my Chicken and Rice Soup was delicious and lived right up to the expectations I had in my mind.

I used her directions for dicing my onion. {who knew?} and even included her grandmother's yellow food coloring.  But, I didn't have chicken bouillon cubes or pimento and wanted to add carrot for pizazz.  I also only use boneless, skinless checken breasts here -- because the bones kind of creep me out.

My version of Chicken and Rice Soup was definitely a recipe we'll keep around.  We all enjoyed it and thought it perfect comfort food for cold winter nights.  Next time, though, I'll not add the rice until I'm ready to serve the soup.  I'm learning.

Chicken and Rice Soup

1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
Olive Oil
3 chicken breasts
6 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
6 Tablespoons margarine
4 Tablespoons flour
Yellow food coloring
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Cooked rice to preference.  You'll want to cook at least a cup of uncooked rice.  We like LOTS of rice so I used 2 cups of uncooked rice.  I made mine in my rice cooker and then added it to the soup.  You can make yours however you normally do.

Boil chicken breasts in 2 quarts water.  Add Better Than Bouillon base.  Add salt and pepper, to taste.  Remove chicken, cool, cut into bite-sized pieces.  SAVE this broth.  It's your soup base.

Prepping Chicken
Chop onion and saute in olive oil.

Sauteing onion.
Chop carrots, bell pepper, and celery:

I pre-chop and freeze as much of this as I can.

Add carrots, bell pepper, and celery to sauteing onion.   Continue sauteing until all veggies are tender.  Doesn't that look yummy?

Add 2 Tablespoons of butter and chopped chicken.  Mix well and let flavors meld together.  Then add veggie/chicken mixture to chicken broth.

Melt remaining 4 Tablespoons of butter and add 4 flour, stirring continually to form a roux.  Add roux to soup mixture and add 4 - 6 drops of food coloring.  This just makes your soup a pretty color reminiscent of sunshine.  As cold as it is around here, I'm ready for a bit of sunshine.  How about you?

I added the rice to my soup all at once -- but next time I will let each person add it as they fix their bowls.  As you know, rice "grows" in liquid.  It was still delicious, but was a bit thicker than I had planned.

We enjoyed this recipe so much there were ZERO leftovers for lunch the next day.  I almost didn't even get a picture of the finished product.  Whew -- good thing I did.

Mmm, Mmm GOOD

I'm joining with my friend Lisa over at Home to 4 Kiddos.  Jump right over and try a new recipe today.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Schoolhouse Review: IndoctriNation #hsreviews

There is no doubt that Christianity is on the decline in America.  It's a crazy world we live in and as a nation we have purposefully separated ourselves from the original ideals and plans laid out for us by our Forefathers.  I am a product of the public school system of a different era.  I remember daily prayer and devotions led by teachers over the intercom in elementary school and junior high, but by high school that was forbidden.  Students led short moments of reflection and teachers hid their Bibles.  Where we used to pray together before our days began, we now had a time of silence after roll call.  It may have started as a simple exercise in semantics, but it stuck.  I knew that I wanted something different for my children.  I wanted something more.  For us, the answer was to home educate our children.  
A few years ago, a friend shared a copy of the book, IndoctriNation:  Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America with me.  As a Political Science major and eternal optimist that good triumphs over evil, it was an eye-opening read and I was excited to have the opportunity recently to watch the movie of the same title by Great Commission Films.  I was interested in seeing the book come to life and I was super-impressed with the "cast" of characters -- men and women of integrity who were willing to share their hearts and convictions on camera.  IndoctriNation takes the viewer on a school bus tour across the United States exploring the current public school system and visiting the history that brings us to today's educational system.  A homeschool "field trip" that examines the norm and exposes the truth behind the closed doors of the local schools, IndoctriNation is a must-view for Christian families -- and those who care about America's children.  This 102-minute DVD is spellbinding and thought-provoking and has provided much fodder for discussion with my 13- and 15-year-olds.
IndoctriNation DVD Review

So, why would I desire to watch a movie about the public school system and why would I deem it necessary to share it with my children?  I think most will agree that there has been an undermining of parental authority and personal responsibility in recent years as we "train" our citizenry to rely more and more on what the government can provide.  Instead of taking the easy way out, I think it is only prudent that we examine what is and what can be and I find no safer venue for my children than home.

IndoctriNation is an important movie for all Americans to watch.

1.  Because I work with students from public, private, and homeschool settings through ministry, I desire to understand what is going on in the world around me.  Students spend a vast majority of their time in a school setting.  Informed citizens NEED to understand what students hear once they enter the school doors.

2.  As a homeschooling mom, I want to be aware of what the friends of my children are hearing.  These are the very ones who will be making laws and shaping the futures of my grandchildren.  I want to make sure that they are being taught truth -- and not watered down versions of politically correct history.  Education is a $565 billion expenditure in America.  That's OUR tax dollars at work.  Don't you want to know how YOUR MONEY is being spent?  We simply must stay informed.  It is our responsibility to our children.

3.  Christians are called to be LIGHT in a world of darkness.  School systems reflect the values of our society.  There has to be more.  IndoctriNation provides hope that there is a better way.  As I watch this movie, I am reminded of the freedoms and liberty we have as a homeschool family.  

In a nation where 90% of Christian families send their children off to public school and give the job of raising the character of our children to someone else, it is time to re-evalutate the norm.  From an inside-the-system view, IndoctriNation reminds us that our Founding Fathers were convinced that a successful America must be virtuous.  Virtues were once taught through GOD's Word instead of character curriculum.  The Honorable Howard Philips shares that government schools are doing their best to train students to be servants of the state.  Is this what we want?    It is the responsibility of the parents -- not teachers -- to raise up a generation of Christ-servants.  Do you want your children to believe the things that YOU believe or do you want them to believe the things that the world believes?  Schools cannot do what homes MUST do.

IndoctriNation serves as a great wake-up call to America.  Even the very best schools are inundated with the will of the government.  Be aware of what your children are involved in daily.  Serve on committees, be a presence, pray, pray, pray.  Ask GOD to help you discern how your child should be educated.  If you are the least bit frustrated with what passes for education today, watch this movie. Do you really want your child used as the tool to reform the school system?  

You can find out more about IndoctriNation through the following Social Media outlets:

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review IndoctriNation by Great Commission Films as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

IndoctriNation DVD Review
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