Sunday, June 30, 2013

It's the end of the month as we know it...

...and I feel fine.
The WordCount Blogathon

Phew. The Wordathon challenge is over and I did it, I really did it. I think I only missed one day - wahoo! There is another challenge starting for July to continue blogging everyday...hmmm...I'm tempted, but think I need to relax a month before school starts back up full force in August.

So, as June comes to a close, I leave you with this: a wordle of the titles of my June posts:

It's been fun and sparked a new fire to post more, but probably not daily. I was obviously stretching sometimes to come up with something, anything to post before midnight. lol. Thanks to those that read or commented or harassed me when my post was not up early enough (cough *mb* cough). Love you guys - thanks for caring. ;o)

See you in July . . .

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Review: RosieMADE Organic Bar Soap


I am so excited for my first review for RosieMADE products. I recently heard about this company that sells quality products that are homemade here in the US, by women! Love it.

I received two bars of handmade soap from Oregon Soap Company to review: Zesty Lemongrass Organic Bar Soap and Lavender Rosemary Organic Bar Soap, which sell for $6 each.  With T's food dye allergy, we try to avoid colors in our soaps too so this was a perfect review for our family since it is all natural. We have recently started using more essentials oils in our daily lives so I was pleased to find some in these bars too.

When I opened the box, the smell was yummy! I couldn't wait to tear into the box, but it was all packaged so pretty so I acted like a grown up and took my time. I love when companies throw little extra touches in to make you feel like you are getting a gift, and not purchasing things.

We are not used to using bar soap so I wasn't sure what the kids would think but no one has complained! I love that every time we wash our hands, you can smell the essential oils. They are so fragrant - and it isn't getting any less fragrant over time. Every time we wash, it smells lovely! And I was shocked at how well it lathers up!

All in all, I'm loving this soap. My hands feel clean and fresh and I love knowing we are not putting nasty things into our bodies via our largest organ, our skin. Try it out and let me know what you think.

They are giving a special offer to my readers so you can try them out: Receive a free bar of any Oregon Soap Company organic bar soap with a $15 minimum purchase using Coupon Code: SoapBlog {Expires 7/31/13}.

Disclaimer:  As a reviewer for RosieMADE, I received these products, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are mine.

Friday, June 28, 2013

General is in the house

As most of you know, Terrific T really, really, wants a pig. It has been a big issue but the city will not allow swine in city limits. So, when a friend called to see if we would care for their turtle while they are on vacation, he was excited. When we went to pick "him" up and they said they didn't want him back, he was thrilled! Me? I'm warming up to him...haha...

I'm waiting for the weekend for Big Daddy to help set up the aquarium, but until then, he is enjoying his new home in a bucket.

We downloaded a free Kindle book on Turtles and have researched how to care for them.  T is loving having him. He changed his name from "Speedy" to "General" and even made him an office, like all good generals need. He is changing his water out everyday until we get a filter in place and spending hours just hanging with him.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nothing to see here...

There will be no blog post on More2Les today. Please return tomorrow for a new post.

I did, however, get one of my reviews posted on another site today...check it out:

I was thrilled that the vendor asked if he could use it on his site, some quotes on his print book, and on Small Basic's site.   I love knowing that these reviews matter and make a difference. We love getting to do them!

OK seriously, no blog post today. See you all tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - protecting the homestead

Me: "Oh, I'll take pictures for Wordless Wednesday." 
P: "We aren't warless, we are WARRIORS!" lol

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dear Jesus,

P's prayer today:

Dear Jesus,
Please help us to get a foster kid soon and please help the foster kid to be nice. Well, at least the first foster kid to be nice so we don't want to stop foster kidding...the second or third one can be mean.

HAHA! I know God has a sense of humor so got a kick out of that one. Love her!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Some haikus for yous

 We collect these caps;
Some we drink and some we find;
I love how they look.

 What to do with them?
I want to make a cool craft
For Captain C's room.


What's growing out back?
Could it be last year's pumpkin?
We will find out soon.


 What are you reading?
I am refreshing my mind
On classical ed.


What's in P's sammich?
You never know what you'll find.
Cereal today.

Wearing Pappaw's specs,
Being silly as always.
Man, I love this boy!


In honor of this,
I wore my haiku t-shirt.
Yes, I was there too!


Today's Haiku Day;
I hope you will play along;
Comment with haiku.

I may add on more;
As I venture through my day;
Haikus are so fun!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Random, Tired Post

I mustache you to not judge me based on this post. I'm tired, guys, but don't want to skip a post again... so here you go: P and her buddy bowling tonight. 

Aren't they cute? Yep, we are pretty proud!

On the same note, we picked this shirt up for $4 at Old Navy this weekend for Captain C who is working on his very own 'stach.

Lol. Ok, Before this post gets any worse, I'm going to end it. 


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Let's read...please.

I love to read. There are times I will get a book from the library one day and stay up until 2am until I finish it. Big Daddy likes to read too, which is great! So why, oh why, do none of our kids love reading? We "make" them read everyday, but I so wish we didn't have to make them. I hear rumor of people having to make their kids stop reading to do other things...I'm not asking for that. Just a happy medium of kids that I don't have to force to read and who maybe even enjoy it.

They do love to listen to audio books. At least they have that going for them. They have listened to just about every audio book available at the library, and some on librivox too.

We are doing the summer reading program at the library and they are all doing their reading, but not loving it. So, when I saw this Kindle for sale for $30 (with the case), I jumped on it, hoping to spark an interest in one of them.

I then started googling for free children's books for it and found tons of them. I love the wifi aspect where I can search on my computer and "buy" them from amazon, and they "magically" appear on their Kindle in the other room. That keeps them from searching and I can pick and choose what I load.

So far, it is working. Both T and P have read several books on it, and C came home from camp today and already asked if I would load some things for him on there. Why yes, yes, I will!

I'll always love paper books, but if this makes them read more, who am I to balk at technology?

This book even had pictures every few pages - yay!

Friday, June 21, 2013


I spent the afternoon with a sweet friend and we got talking about how the words we say make such a huge impact on those around us. It made me think of this song by Hawk Nelson. It's one of my favorites!

I need to print this up and read it daily. I think of this especially with my family, who I am hardest on.

What do your words speak?

Lord, please help my words to speak life and truth. Help me to "not say a word, unless it points the world back to you."

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Classical Conversations revisted

One of my most hit blog posts ever is this one that I wrote a few years ago about Classical Conversations. I thought I would revisit that and update on our personal journey with CC.

We just finished our 6th year of home educating and 4th year of CC.That just seems crazy to me. Where is the time going? CC has been the best thing we have done for our homeschool journey. I truly believe it has changed us from year-by-year homeschoolers, to go-the-distance homeschooler. And I love it.

As I'm rereading my old post, the first thing that jumps out at me is the stats. In my last post, I posted that in 2010-2011 there were 30,000 students doing CC worldwide, 1000ish in OK, and 13 communities in OK. Impressive, right? Well then check this out. Last year there were 48,900 students worldwide with 2000 in OK and 29 communities in OK.  Love it! We have launched two more campuses off of ours for next year and I know we aren't the only new ones in the state. I can't wait to see the numbers next year. It is so exciting to me to think of 50,000 kids earnestly studying to know Him and make Him known. Those are "change the world" numbers right there, y'all!

You can reread the info I posted last time about the classical model and how it all works. That hasn't's classic, after all. So, what has changed? Well, we have moved into a new phase at CC with Captain C - Challenge.

Unlike the Foundations/Essentials programs we have been doing (and continue to do with T and P), Challenge IS a full curriculum. And it is a challenge, to say the least. It is divided into 6 seminars: Grammar, Exposition and Composition, Debate, Research, Rhetoric, and Logic. C just finished Challenge A (7th grade) and did a fabulous job, despite some long days of working. Challenge A is a transition year between the grammar stage and dialectic stage. They still do quite a bit of memory work, but are introduced to more and more dialectic material and even an intro into basic rhetoric skills. It's an exciting year and he grew up a lot this year.

When we started the year, he was coming to me D-A-I-L-Y asking what to do. I would {again} show him his schedule and help him plan his time. This was happening daily, people, until he suddenly began taking ownership of it near the end of the first semester. YAY! We would make his weekly schedule together after class day, dividing up what is due next week day by day. In the fall, it was taking him about 8-10 hours a day to get done. I was complaining to his tutor one day and she didn't see a reason for that. He's a sharp kid, but it was the organization that was adding HOURS into his work day. Each "subject" should take about an hour a day, so 6 hours a day spent on CC work.  All the extra time was in between. Once we got a grasp on that, it went much better. Once he took ownership and moved from subject to subject without coming down to whine that he didn't know what to do next, it got so much better still.

Challenge does take a lot of time, but any good education does. I can't wait to see how he does next year in Challenge B, having this pivotal year behind him.  This year set the "foundation" for the next years of his education, just as the previous years set the "foundation" for this year. That brings me to another exciting thing...the Foundation years. Those years of memorizing and studying are already paying off. He had a good grasp on the world from Foundations, so learning to draw the entire world from memory was easier. He knew lists and lists of science terms, so his biology was easier for him. I'm not going to lie, none of it was EASY, but it was easIER. Make sense? Already knowing Latin noun endings and verb conjugation made Latin familiar when he started it this year. Having three years of IEW behind him in Essentials made his writing in Challenge a breeze, so now he was able to concentrate on the content since he had the skills to write a good paragraph/paper already.

All this to say....the system works. Don't slight yourself or your kids and cut things out. Yes, it's hard. But there is much to be said about doing hard things. If you are just beginning in CC with a 4 year old, or beginning with a 10th grader, dive in. Learn WITH your kids. Don't be afraid to not know an answer. Heck, I direct the campus and still have to look things up daily. The information is out there - don't be scared of it. And also, dive in to your community! Really. You are not only hurting yourself and your family if you sit on the outskirts and just show up on community day, you are hurting your community. Volunteer, take initiative, be thankful. It takes a LOT of outside time from the directors and tutors to make CC the amazing experience it is and a little help is always appreciated. We are so blessed on our campus with an abundance of helpers. I have heard from several other campuses that that isn't the norm. Honestly, I think I take these families for granted because they are SO good. If there is a need, there are normally several people jumping in to fill it before I can even finish identifying the need. We are blessed!

I love our CC family so much. We are losing many families this year as they venture out to start new campuses, which is bittersweet. Bitter because of the loss for us but sweet for all the new families we will be able to reach at our campus and theirs. CC is growing by leaps and bounds.

I ended up rambling here. I tend to do that when I talk about CC because I just start going and can't stop. Do you have any questions? Are you in a CC community or interested in one? I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Family Portraits

I might have to amend my post on my favorite apps! The kids have been playing and taken approximately 2 million photos this week with an app called Photo Booth that came free on the iPad Mini. I started playing with them last night and we were laughing so hard we were crying. 

Without further ado, since this post is supposed to be wordless, here are some of my faves: 


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Good-bye Soda, Hello Kefir!

First things first - Yes, I missed yesterday's post. Honestly, I was just tired and didn't want to think. We had the privilege of keeping a friend's 3 week old baby all weekend and loved every minute of it, but I'm not used to feeding, burping, changing around the clock so yesterday, I slept.  It was worth it! Thanks to the ONE person who noticed...and called me on it. Love ya.

So today, I'm going to post about our newest adventure at the E house: kefir water! I sometimes jump on random bandwagons so thankfully started this while Big Daddy was out of town for two weeks so I didn't get any grief from him. Three summers ago (man that seems like yesterday!), I started making/growing/drinking kombucha. We definitely felt the benefits, but it was, well, weird...and tasted pretty gross. So when the same friend that started me on that, was talking about kefir, I ignored her. Then I heard others talking about it and how good is it and decided to suck it up and give it a try.

With slight anxiety, we "borrowed" some kefir grains from that friend and called another friend and got the scoop on what to do with these little things that look like the lining of a diaper after it got wet. Yum.

I was so nervous to attempt this, and really had flashbacks of kombucha gone bad. But I'm here to tell you, and I wouldn't lie to you, this stuff is the bomb!  I don't understand it and honestly don't need to. What I know is I put some sugar and water in with those kefir grains, cover it for a day or two, then strain it and put some juice in with it and let it sit another day or two, and we have carbonated goodness that everyone begs for. And it is packed full of probiotics. Win-Win!

I have found numerous sites with the details on how to make kefir soda so I'm not going to bore you with that it!...but my favorite site so far has been the Cultures for Health site.Check it out. She has videos and Q&As and all the real info.

I'm a simple person. I just know that this:

 Plus this:

Equals this:

 That two days later turns into this:

Then we basically lather, rinse, and repeat!

We like it so much that I had to research how to make more, more, more! So I know have rotating jars since I just let the first bath ferment for one day and the second batch for two. Pretty much, we drink two jars a day. I also found that using the mason jar lid was not letting it carbonate, so I started putting a baggie over the jar before screwing the lid on and we were back in business.

The kids favorite juice is Pomegranate/Blueberry 100% juice. We have tried apple and it is ok, but they like the other better. I have some cranapple in there to use next. We tried putting raisins in there, because I read that makes it taste like Dr. P. It doesn't. It tasted like straight up beer...and we don't like beer so ended up tossing that one. I had just made a small 1 cup sample to see if we liked it. We also liked adding a little vanilla and it tasted like cream soda. Really. There are lots of ideas for different combinations to keep the variety.

So there you go...a peek into my weirdness. Can we still be friends? I won't make you drink anything funny, unless you want to. :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

I have been blessed with a wonderful father of my own, a great father-in-law, a fantastic father to my own kids, and a completely perfect heavenly Father. Who could ask for anything more?

The kids ( was all me, but I'm giving them credit since he is their father and all...) got Big Daddy an iPad Mini for Father's Day. He is traveling more with work lately so this will let him Face Time us each day, and also keep us with us more on Facebook and Instagram. Plus he wasn't never going to catch up to me in Candy Crush Saga if he didn't get something to play it on! We gave it to him on Friday so we would have time to teach him how to use it all in case he gets called away again this week (so far he hasn't - yay).

Here is the first picture we took with it. Love him, these kids, and our family!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Review: Geography I from Memoria Press

 photo mp_header_zps9aa8d9dc.jpg

I was very excited when Memoria Press came up as a vendor for review since we are choosing to give our kids a classical Christian education and their stuff fits in perfectly. Memoria Press is a wonderful, family run company, that sells quality products. We received their Geography I set, which sells for $48 and includes:

Geography I Text
Geography I Workbook
Geography I Teacher Guide
United States Review Student
United States Review Key, Quizzes, and Tests

Geography I (recommended for 4th - 8th grade) covers the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. We just finished Cycle 1 in CC about the time we received this, so we started with the Middle East and Africa as review of what we studied last year. I'm so excited that Cycle 2 covers Europe and then Cycle 3 is United States. This one set covers all their geography for all of their Foundations years - score! By the end of the course (doing 2-3 countries a week), the students should be able to identify all the countries and capitals on a map. We used the globe for this to help keep it all in perspective.

Here it is!

 The student text contains a two page spread about each country and  includes a map of major cities and landmarks, and info and interesting facts such as population, language spoken, climate and their flag. There is a section in the back of the book that has all the flags in color too, which is nice so they can copy. This book is not consumable, which is great for us since we repeat each cycle twice.

The student workbook goes hand in hand with the text. Each country gets one page that includes a blank map (that matches the one in the text) and places to record info from what they read in the text. There are numerous pages for review work in there too. These are consumable so we will have to buy a new one next time we go through this. Thankfully it is only $11.95 to buy on its own!

The teacher's guide is really just an answer key, with the addition of quizzes and tests at the end. There is one page at the beginning of all three of these geo books that explains how the program works though. The "teaching" in this set is the student text so don't skip that! While you can't copy anything in the student workbook, you are allowed to copy the quizzes and tests, and even encouraged to make multiple copies for more review.

Copying from the text to the workbook.
Then on to US, this is always our favorite part of the world to study since it is more familiar. The student workbook is only 25 pages long, but will last the whole year! We didn't do this one yet, but did look through it and are excited to do it in Cycle 3. They divide the US into 8 regions and each region is studied in each of the 4 sections with increasing difficulty. I wish I had this book last time we did Cycle 3 in CC. I was piecing together work to help them learn the states and capitals but I really like how this is laid out. The Teacher's Key is almost 100 pages. The first 25 are duplicates of the student workbook, with the answers written in, and the remaining 75 are quizzes and exams to help retention. This set is only $12.95 and a great resource for US geography! I'll be picking up an extra student book ($5) before we get to Cycle 3 so T and P can both do it!

So, how did we use this? Like I said, it is targeted at 4th grade and up. T just finished 4th, but P just finished 2nd. However, I like to do as much together with them as I can. We did this two or three times a week, one country each time. I let them choose which countries they wanted to do each day, since the order doesn't really matter, except for quizzes, which I'm just waiting until we finish to do. We finished up North Africa first and moved on to start the Middle East. T and I would read the passages out loud and they would find the countries on the globe. We had already studied all of these this past year and have a map of each of them that they used for their memory work, so we pulled that out too and traced them on there since it was familiar. I loved how this reinforced what we are learning. P was able to copy the info from the maps to the student workbook and fill in the basic facts, then T would help finish any she missed and fill in the fun facts. C also jumped in on our lessons because he just finished a year long geography study in Challenge A and is drawing the world, free hand this month. He had lots of good input and enjoyed taking the lead on their lessons when they would let him. lol.

I think that this is a great addition to your homeschool day. Geography is often overlooked but such an important part of a classical education. You save about $5 by purchasing the entire set at once, but if you need to break it up, the individual prices aren't bad at all.  If I wasn't purchasing the entire set together, I, honestly, probably would skip the Teacher's Guide to the Geo (but get it for the US!) and make up my own quizzes. Since I did this with the kids each day, I was able to look back at the student text and find the answers with them as we went. While I agree with the 4th grade and up recommendation, I think that with help, like we did, it can work for younger kiddos too.

Check out what other Crew members had to say about Geo I and Prima Latina.


 photo Disclaimer2_zpsff718028.gif