Homeschool Review Crew ~ Why I Love It

What being on the Crew means ...

I joined the Homeschool Review Crew back in 2013. I applied because I wanted to be able to try out new curriculum and products. In 2013, I was able to review over 20 new to me products. It was during that year that I was able to review Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics by Apologia. We have been using Apologia science in our homeschool since we first reviewed them. Another favorite that first year was See the Light. My kids love doing art and it is always difficult for me to find something that all of my kids love.

The following year, 2014, we used a math curriculum that my daughter absolutely loved. She used it for two years and we have now switched her to something else, but she says she loves CTCMath a lot better. We may end up going back to it next year. Also, in 2014, we were introduced to several audio drama presentations. Our favorite has been from Heirloom Audio Productions. We have reviewed 4 of their titles.

After taking a year off, I rejoined the crew this past year and have thoroughly enjoyed being back on the crew. There have been several great products for review this year and we have enjoyed most of them. There were a few that didn't work for us, but overall, we have loved finding about some new to us products that we can continue to use. One of my favorites this year has been MyFreezEasy freezer meals.

One other thing I love about the crew is that the crew is made up of large blogs and small blogs. There are also new homeschoolers and seasoned homeschoolers. They are open to anyone, as long as you have a blog that you blog from on a regular basis. Interested? Check out the requirements here and click below to apply to be on the 2017 Homeschool Review Crew.



Five Minute Friday ~ Mail

Well, I am back for another five minute Friday this week. When I was checking to see what the subject was, I was worried I wouldn't be able to come up with anything to say about the subject. But, when I saw the subject, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. So here goes...

Mail. It's something we expect to be delivered to our house everyday. We never think that there will be a time we won't get mail delivery. What's their saying? Through wind and rain and snow...I'm not sure. I am sure of one thing. When there is a river that runs through the middle of your town and your town is experiencing flooding, you will not get any mail delivery. In fact, I am expecting a package tomorrow. But, I checked the tracking and it made it to West Virginia and hasn't moved yet. You see, I live in Eastern NC where we are experiencing floods greater that Hurricane Floyd. It is one record you do not want to see broken, but it happened. The record broke last night and the river is still rising. The post office where are mail gets delivered is on the other side. There is no way for them to get us, on the south side of the river, our mail. We don't know when the road to town will open back up. We don't know how this will affect the businesses in the path of the flood. The only thing we do know is that we need to pray. Yes, this town has lived through a flood before and was more prepared this time, but that doesn't mean it is easier. Floods are not fun. But, there is One who will take care of His children and He will provide. My five minutes are up, but I just wanted to say that we do have a way to get to a different town (20 minutes away) for groceries and supplies.

Below is a picture of our way into town that was taken yesterday morning.

Update: 10/19/16: The roads have cleared and we received mail for the first time in a week.


MyFreezEasy.com ~ Review

MyFreezEasy.com ~ Review
Have you ever been in a rush or just know you are going to have a busy week? You look at the time and realize you have nothing planned for dinner. Or everything is in the freezer and you have no time to defrost, so you just swing by somewhere and pick up take out for your family. What if you could have some meals all ready to go in your freezer? All you have to do is take it out the night before and defrost it. With a MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership from MyFreezEasy, you can have ten meals made up in just one hour. You will have meals ready in your freezer for those busy nights or weeks.

What is MyFreezEasy?
MyFreezEasy is a monthly plan where you receive eight new meal plans to try monthly.  The meal plans available are the traditional, gluten free, slow cooker, clean eats, 20 meal plan, all chicken, all ground beef, and all pork chops. With the premium plan, which I received, you are able to adjust serving sizes and substitute a recipe in the meal plan.

Are you wondering how you are able to prepare 10 meals in one hour and you have never done it before? With MyFreezEasy, an instructional video is available to watch how to prepare the traditional meal plan. Highlight videos are available for the other plans. There are also assembly details for every meal plan that tell you exactly how to prepare the meals. And to make things easy, printable labels are included to label all of your meals, so you can easily find what you want.

Want to create your own plan? You can, with the premium annual plan. This is a great way to customize and get exactly the plan you want.

How did I use (and am using) MyFreezEasy? And what do I think about it?
I looked through all the plans when I received them, but decided to make my own plan by using food I already had on hand. For September meals, I chose lazy lasagna bake, classic spaghetti sauce, fully loaded taco meat, slow cooker teriyaki pork tenderloin, and slow cooker taco soup. I have never made any freezer meals in my life, because I have always been intimidated by the thought of it. I also didn't know exactly how to put things together. MyFreezEasy is just that - easy! Everything that you need to do is written out for you. You are able to print a shopping list. Then, when you are ready to start preparing, you are given assembly directions and told what you need to precook. Then, it tells you how to assemble each meal. It was very easy to do and didn't take me more than an hour to do it.

I put together my ten meals the weekend before my son started drivers ed. We only have one car and I was going to have to take my husband to work in the morning, take my son to drivers ed at 3 PM, pick up my husband from work at 5 PM, and finally pick up my son at 6 PM. My husband's work and the school where my son took drivers ed are each 15 minutes from our house, but in opposite directions. So, that meant, I was not going to have a lot of time to prepare dinner with all the dropping off and picking up I had to do. MyFreezEasy came in handy several of the 10 days (of drivers ed). It was easy to take the pork out the night before, defrost, and place in the slow cooker in the morning. Really, it was easy to just grab any of the pre-made meals out of the freezer the night before to defrost and either be cooking in the slow cooker or ready to put in the oven that night. Our favorite meal was the lazy lasagna bake. We had salad and garlic bread with that and it was so delicious. We did have a flop, but I think it was because I cooked it too long. I put the teriyaki pork in the slow cooker in the morning and set the timer, but when the time is up, my slow cooker turns to keep warm. I thought that would be okay, but it burned the sauce and was very salty. I should have turned it off when the time was up and taken it out of the slow cooker. Overall, we have loved everything else. I already have my October meal plan downloaded and ready to go.

I definitely give MyFreezEasy 5 stars!

MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}

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Test ~ Five Minute Friday

Today, I think I am going to try something new. I've seen many posts about five minute Friday, but was never sure how to start. Yes, I know the directions are to just write for five minutes, but I kept thinking that I couldn't do it. Well, now I am going  to give it a try. The prompt for this week is test.


There are several things that come to mind when I think about the word test. There are tests in school. Sometimes God will put us through different tests and trials to draw us closer to him. But, the one test that has been on my mind the past few weeks is the driving test. My 14 year old started his drivers ed last month and has just completed his 30 hours of classroom instruction., He will now have to do 6 hours on the road instruction in order to pass drivers ed. When he has completed all of the instruction, he then (around his 15th birthday) will get to go to the DMV and (hopefully) pass a written and driving test in order to have a learner's permit. While I am still not ready for him to drive, I am praying that he passes the test on the first try. He has all the instruction and knowledge he needs to pass the test, so he should be able to ace it. Just as when we are going through tests of our own, God has given us all the instruction and knowledge (Bible) we need to get through the test.

And stop.

Well, I made it and it was fun. Be sure to visit Kate's blog- five minute friday to read more blog posts about tests.

Five Minute Friday


Everyday Education ~ Review

My oldest son has just started high school this school year. I have been trying to help him find ways to learn how to do his best writing. We have used other writing programs in the past, but it seems like nothing has been sticking with him. We have been using Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers from Everday Education, LLC the past few weeks. There is a lot of information, but I have seen some improvement in his literature book report writing.

Everyday Education, LLC is a small family owned company that was started by Janice Campbell in the early 2000's. She had her son design the website as a place for her to post articles and books and it has been built upon ever since.

Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers is a 420 page book that is divided into two parts. The first part of the book is an introduction to essays and arguments. The second part of the book is an introduction to usage and style. Some sample pages from each section are in the picture below.

The first section of the book instructs on how to write different types of essays. It shows the student how to set up outlines, how to write a good opening paragraph, and how to use key terms. The first section has ten chapters of over 200 pages. Some of the chapters include the following:

  • Arguments: Some Simple First Principles
  • Deduction and Induction
  • Organizing the Main Body of an Argument
  • Paragraph Functions
There are also several samples at the end of the first section. Here the student can see how everything is put together into one great essay. 

The second section of the book is an instruction guide to style and usage. This section is the grammar part of the handbook and has nine chapters with over 200 page. Some of the chapters from this section include the following:
  • Basic Punctuation
  • Modifiers, Gerunds, Infinitives
  • References and Bibliographies
  • Basic Format for Essays and Research Papers
At the end of the second section, there are several pages for the student to use as they are writing - a visual guide, the six sections of an approach paper, eleven things a paragraph can do, and a rubric for writing evaluation.

During the review period, I printed off the different chapters that  I wanted my son to work through. I had my son work through both sections during this time also. He has a good grasp on grammar, so we didn't spend as much time on that section as we did on the first section. He is actually using Excellence in Literature: Introduction to Literature this year for his literature course. He was having difficulty forming the essays he was to write, so this review came at the perfect time. Working through the Handbook for Writers has helped him tremendously with his writing and has helped him while working through his literature course. He is able to see how to put the essay together and use the right words to make a good essay. I have also read through several of the chapters, so I would know how to help him with his writing. There is a lot of good information in this book and it is a book that he can use during the rest of his high school years and also use while he is in college. We both like this book very much and I plan to use this when my younger children get into the high school years. 

Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}

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If You Were Me and Lived In... ~ Book Review

Carole P. Roman Book Review
*This post contains affiliate links*

There are two things that I really love and those two things are American History and books. So, I was excited when the opportunity came up to review books on American History. Also, my 8th grade son is studying U.S. History this year, so I knew these would be great books for him to read. This review of If You Were Me and Lived In...The American West (Volume 7) and If You Were Me and Lived In...Colonial America (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 4) is brought to you by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com. They also generously included If You Were Me and Lived In...Ancient China: The Han Dynasty and If You Were Me and Lived In...Viking Europe.

About Carole P. Roman:
Carole is the author of several children's books which includes the Captain No Beard Series, If You Were Me and Lived In...Country Series, If You Were Me and Lived In...Ancient Time Series, and several more books. She began her writing as a dare from her son. As a former teacher, she combines her teaching and her love of exploration and interest in the world around us in her books.

If You Were Me and Lived In...The American West is a story that takes place in 1843 of a journey on the Oregon Trail. The book is written as if a twelve year old child were telling the story.  The story tells about the difficult journey West and how little supplies your mother had packed. The book also lists several Indian tribes you would have met along the way. Your family made it and your father built a house and in the spring you planted the fields. And the books also tells about one room schoolhouses and small towns in the West. The illustrations (by Paula Tabor) in the book are also great. They help bring the story to life. The story is forty-two pages long with the words on the left side and pictures on the right. This book is a fairly easy read for children and also lists some famous people from the American West and has a glossary of words.

If You Were Me and Lived In...Colonial America is the story of what it would have been like to come over to America on the Mayflower. The story gives some history prior to 1620 about life in England. This story tells about the hard winter the Pilgrims faced when they got to Plymouth. It tells how they overcame that and was prosperous the following year. It also mentions the Indian tribe that helped the Pilgrims. The book also describes how the children lived in Plymouth by helping with the farming and being taught at home. This book is 52 pages long and is full of information. There are also two pages at the end that lists some famous people and also a glossary. The illustrations (by Sarah Wright) were well done also.

I had my son who is studying U.S. History read through these books. He enjoyed reading through them, even though he is 13 years old. He learned a few things that he did not know. Since my other kids like books, my 6th grade daughter read through these books and my 5 year old enjoyed looking through the pictures. These books have a lot of fun facts and are an easy read. They make learning history more fun.

We also received If You Were Me and Lived In...Ancient China and If You Were Me and Lived In...Viking Europe, but we did not use those at this time. They are quite a bit longer (68 pages) and go more in depth about the time period. I will use these with my children when they are learning ancient history. I read through them and they have a lot of information that is very useful.

Overall, we all love these books by Carole P. Roman. We have reviewed several of her other books and they have all been great. Click here for another review .We love them!

If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}

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Menu Plans ~ October 3, 2016

Our menu for the week (in no particular order):

~ Spicy Chicken Crunchwraps (like Taco Bell use to make)
~ BBQ Pork (Eastern NC Style)
~ Vegetable beef soup with rolls
~ Chicken Alfredo with salad
~ Hamburgers

And as always, leftovers for one or two nights. Click on the picture above for more menu ideas.



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