Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Golden Prairie Press Review

My girls and I have been talking about learning how to sew for a while now. I can sew a little.

We wear aprons around the house all of the time to do our housework and cooking. We have been wanting to make frontier-style clothing, so when Amy Puetz so generously offered her products for review, we got very excited.

We chose to review her Costumes with Character ebook. What a great way to make history come alive. This is exactly what we were looking for. Now remember, we are beginners, so were not able to do as much as we wanted. Here is what we were able to do for this review:


We are still working on getting the sunbonnets finished. As soon as we finish, I will post the pictures. I will continue posting on this. We are planning to make many of the costumes for our history studies.


Costume for Characters comes as a printed book for $29.60. It also comes as an ebook , which is what we reviewed, for $17.56. These sewing books has step-by-step instructions for making accessories for eleven different time periods.

The Chapters are:

          ~Colonial (Pilgrim and Puritans (1620-1700)
          ~Quaker (1681-1860)
          ~American Revolution (1775-1783)
          ~Young Republic (1800-1820)
          ~Romantic Era (1820-1848)
          ~Pioneer (1800s)
          ~Civil War (1861-1865)
          ~Sailor (1865-1905)
          ~Victorian (1800s)
          ~Victorian (1890s)
          ~Turn of the Century (1900-1910)
          ~Tea Party

Each chapter has color instructions to make cuffs, aprons, bonnets, hats, collars, vests, etc. This is a fun book for girls and ladies of all ages.

The Costume with Character Patterns book is on sale for $12.00. These patterns are just on a grid and need to be enlarged. These are full sized patterns from the books.


This product is awesome! A must have for anyone that wants costumes for history. We are having so much fun learning how to sew these and planning our next big sewing project. Here is another picture of my two oldest bugs (with the littlest bug in the back ground) helping me cut up and process yummy pears. The perfect opportunity for them to wear their new prairie aprons. In the near future, I am planning to  sew my to youngest bugs their own aprons so that they can help their mommy and oldest siblings in the fun things we do in the kitchen!

There is also a Back to School sale going on. Now is the time to get your patterns if you are wanting to make some awesome costumes.

Check out what other crew members are saying about Golden Prairie Press.

Disclaimer: I was given the Costume for Characters ebook and patterns free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

cheap cherry pitter....

My family loves fresh cherries. In the past, I use to just cut the cherry in half and dig the pit out. It would be easy if you have a pitter but I don't , so........ I was on a blog the other day and found a very easy and cheap way to get the pit out of a cherry. Can you guess what I an using?

A STRAW! Yep, that's what I said, a STRAW. Can you believe it!

Here is how to do it:

Remove the stem of a cherry.

Take your straw and put it where you removed the stem.

Twist your straw and push it through to the bottom and BAM! Pit is out! It's that easy!

I tried just regular, store bought straws and they worked but are a little flimsy. I purchased some heavy duty plastic cups with straws and they work great. The more sturdy the straw, the easier it is too push the pit through the cherry.

Just a little something I learned from someone else that I thought I would share.

God Bless!

Frugal Family 2013

Linked up to: http://www.benandme.com/2013/01/frugal-family-pot-roast-three-meals.html

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

changes made.....new curriculum......

We are definitely a homeschool family! Our plans have changed. Earlier this summer, I sat down and decided what our school year would consist of. I had it all laid out and knew just what we would start with the day after Labor Day. Well, after alot of thinking and praying, I feel I have been led to change our science and history. Everything else will stay the same as planned. We will continue using our Language Lessons, Words of the Week, and other copywork from Queenhomeschool. The bugs will also continue using Life of Fred and Math for a Living Education for math.

Recently I purchased two new books. The Prairie Primer and The Zoo Guide: A Bible-Based Handbook to the Zoo. These will be our science and history curriculum for at least this semester.

 The Prairie Primer: Literature Based Unit Studies Utilizing the "Little House" Series

The Prairie Primer by Margie Gray is a literature-based unit studies utilizing the "Little House Books" series. There are nine units in the Primer - one corresponding to each nine "Little House" books. We will be using this as our history this year. We are so excited about this. I have also found a Prairie Primer Binder-Builder Lapbook.

Prairie Primer Binder-Builder Lapbook

It is a lapbook done in a binder instead of folders. It covers the first three books: Little House In The Big Woods, Little House On The Prairie, and On The Banks of Plum Creek.

I also purchased a cookbook entitled, The Little House Cookbook. I think I am more excited about this book than the bugs!
The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Classic Stories
For our science, I purchased Zoo Guide: A Bible-Based Handbook to the Zoo from Answers in Genesis. It is a wonderful book that will give your students and children a biblical understanding of creation that refutes the evolutionary perspective zoos so often promote. This book features more than 100 animals. It has beautiful pictures, amazing facts and design features that point to our  AWESOME CREATOR! This will be our science.

We purchased a zoo membership at the beginning of the summer so I thought what a better way to use our membership! We will use this book, along with a visit to the zoo every other week to study science this semester. I am planning on doing a unit study on a different animal every two weeks. We will take our Zoo Guide, pick an animal and learn all we can about that  animal for two weeks. Within the two weeks, we will visit the zoo and physically see the animal we are studying. How fun is that! Everyone is so excited about Science this semester!
This is definitely a change from what I had planned but I think it's a good change. We want to learn as much as we can but at the same time, we want to have fun doing it.
I am planning on  posting as much as I can on our blog about these exciting and fun things we have planned, so stay tuned!
God Bless!

Monday, August 20, 2012

TOS Review: Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers (Christian Liberty Press)

Christian Liberty Press has a mission to help parents fulfill their God-given responsibility to provide a Christ-centered education for their children. We have used numerous Christian Liberty products in our homeschool. When we were offered to review Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers, in ebook form, I jumped at the opportunity.

Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers is the first in a series of books by Douglas Bond. The suggested grade level is 7th - 10th. It is about a brother and sister, Annie and Drew, spending their summer in England. They start out thinking their summer vacation will be boring but when they befriend an elderly gentleman named Mr. Pipes, they begin to change their minds. Through their friendship with Mr. Pipes and the adventures they encounter, they learn about many famous hymn writers. Writers like Thomas Ken, Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, William Williams and the list goes on.

We really enjoyed and are still enjoying Mr. Pipes. We are using it as a read-aloud. I printed the ebook out and put it into a 3-hole paper folder. The pictures in the book are so inviting. We are thoroughly enjoying this book. We also like the fact that in this book there are hymns throughout written by some of the writers we have learned about. There is a new hymn writer introduced in each chapter.

View a sample by clicking here.

Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers is available in paperback form for $9.89. For this review, we received the book in Pdf form and the cost of it is $8.79. Like I said earlier, this is book 1 of 4 in this series.

Mr. Pipes - Complete set is $38.99.

This is definitely a book to get for your homeschool. I will be purchasing the others in this series, SOON!

See what others on the crew had to say about Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers.

Disclaimer: As a TOS crew member, I received a free pdf copy of Mr. Pipes in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Natural Cleaning on the Homestead

We have been making homemade laundry detergent for a while now. I try to use as many natural products as I can. Here are some of our favorite natural products we use around here. Some of these I have been making for a while, others I have yet to try. Just thought I would share some of these recipes for any of you that would like to make your own natural cleaning products but don't know where to start. These are not all of my recipes. I  got my ideas from others! Thanks!

Homemade Laundry Detergent

4 cups hot  water
1 Bar Fels-Naptha Soap
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
5 gallon bucket

Grate your bar of soap and add it to a saucepan with 4 cups of water. Heat and stir until the soap is dissolved. While heating your soap, add your 1 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup borax to your 5 gallon bucket. When your soap has dissolved completely, pour it into your bucket with the powders. Mix really good and then fill the remainder of your bucket with hot tap water to the top. Let sit overnight. It will be a gel the next morning. Stir it up really good before using. I use 1 cup per load in my HE washing machine. It cleans really well. I use a fabric softener with it to make my clothes soft.

Pre-Wash Spray

1/2 cup household ammonia
1/4 cup baking soda
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 gallon water
Essential oils (optional)

After mixing this solution, put part of it into a small spray bottle to keep handy by the washing machine when doing laundry. Spray liberally onto clothes where needed.

All-Purpose Cleaner

 Fill a spray bottle with 1/3rd vinegar. Top off with water. Add 10 drops of lemon or tea tree oil, 10 drops of GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract) and 1 teaspoon liquid castile soap.

All-Purpose Cream Cleaner

Mix 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup castile soap, 10 drops of essential oil together in a container. Great for sinks, bath tubs, etc.

Heavy Duty Degreaser

Mix in a spray bottle, 2-3 Tablespoons vinegar, 1 teaspoon borax and fill almost to the top with hot water and shake. Add 1/2 teaspoon liquid castile soap and 5-10 drops of essential oils with a few drops of GSE. Great for stove tops and ovens.

Toilet Cleaner Spray

Mix 2 cups hot water, 4 tablespoons liquid castile soap, 5 drops each of lemon, tea tree, eucalyptus and GSE. Put in a spray bottle. Also a great cleaner for countertops in the bathrooms.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Spray toilet with vinegar and sprinkle it with baking soda. Scrub.

Antibacterial Cleaner

In a spray bottle, mix 1 cup water, 5 drops tea tree oil, 5 drops lemon oil, 5 drops orange oil, 5 drops eucalyptus oil and 10 drops of GSE. Spray onto surfaces and wipe with a damp cloth.

Scouring Powder

Mix 1 cup salt, 1 cup borax and 1 cup baking soda together. Sprinkle onto surface and clean. Just mix equal parts of everything. Can make a big batch and store in an airtight container.

Hope this is helpful !

God Bless!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

TOS Review: Vocabulary Spelling City

As a member of the Homeschool Review Crew, the kids and I were recently offered to try out a one year premium membership to Vocabulary Spelling City.

Spelling City Premium Membership price is $29.99/year for up to 5 students.

For inquiries, contact sales@spellingcity.com

In the past, I have used this site to make and print spelling lists for my bugs. We only had access to the free resources on the site. When we were offered this opportunity to review with the premium membership, I was excited!

With the program you can choose a pre-made list or make one up on your own for your children. I, most of the time, make my own lists. I try to use words each week on their lists that we are studying about.

There are many choices to choose from in the pre-made lists. Here are some examples of what you can choose from in the teacher resources section:

*Dolch-Sight Words*
*Geography Lists*
*Literature Word Lists*
*Math Vocabulary*
*Monthly Holiday Lists*
*Multiple Meaning Words*
*Phonics Word Lists*
*Sample Word Lists by Grades*
*Science Vocabulary*
*Social Studies*
*Sound Alike Word Lists*
*Word Abbreviations*
*Word Family Lists*

Click here on Dolch Sight Word List 1 of 2 - 1st Grade to see a sample of this list.

Vocabulary City contains over 42,000 words. It has teacher training videos, free printable handwriting worksheets, free teaching resources, twenty-five games to play online or to print: Alphabetical Order, Unscramble, Parts of Speech, HangMouse, Crossword Puzzle, Word Search, and Vocabulary Test.

It also has a free forum and newsletters.

The games are fun and each and every bug I have never complains when I remind them that it is time to go to the computer for Vocabulary Spelling City. My only complaint would be that some of the word lists are a little long, 35+ words,  in my opinion. I  feel that is a lot of work for one week, at least for my family and our homeschool. I was able to split the lists with no problem. I would highly recommend this product. It is a very affordable teaching tool. The fact that it allows me to personalize my lists to the particular needs of each and every bug, makes me happy. I am planning on getting the app for my phone so when we are out and about, they can still play all of the fun games and learn at the same time. We will continue using this product and when my subscription runs out, I will definitely renew. It is  WELL worth the $29.99 per year for up to 5 students. Good investment!

See what other people on the crew had to say about Vocabulary Spelling City by clicking here.

Disclaimer: I received this item for free in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

Friday, August 10, 2012

This Week in History-----A TOS Review

I recently was able to try THIS WEEK IN HISTORY from A Thomas Jefferson Education. It is an online resource to teach students different events in history for each day on the calendar year. It also delivers a weekly lesson straight to your email inbox. How wonderful is that!!!! For just $9.99 per month, you can log onto tjed.org and click "This Week in History" and obtain numerous resources to specific events that happened in the upcoming week in history.

Each week I receive an email from Rachel DeMille that sets up each date for the upcoming week. Very helpful if you like to be organized in your homeschool. Under each one of the dates are listed at least one, if not more, events that occurred in history on that date. Then under that, there are all kinds of links listed from websites to visit, books to read and many, many activities to do. It's amazing! There is even a This Week in History Archives. If you missed a day, you can look that day up in the archives and see what happened on that specific day.

One of our favorite days was July 24. You can go here and see this weeks events between July 19 - July 25. On the 24th, in 1847, it tells us that pioneers cross the plains to settle the west. Well, this period in history is one of our favorites. So, we decided to do a few things on this day. We completed a couple of worksheets that are available from a link on the website. One entitled Pioneer Life Vocabulary and one entitled Pioneer Life Alphabet Activity.

That same day we prepared a pioneer supper. We made Chuckwagon Beans and cornbread. We even used our grain mill to grind fresh corn for the cornbread.
Here is our chuckwagon bean recipe from backwoodshome.com.

Chuckwagon Beans

1 16-ounce bag of dry pinto beans
9 cups water
Two large onions, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar or molasses

Wash the beans and heat them along with 6 cups water until they boil for 5 minutes, then turn the stove off.  Let them sit for an hour. Add three more cups of water and boil it all again. Now add everything else, stir it up and cook it for another hour.

This site makes learning history so much fun.

I do know one thing, we will use this source all year long in our homeschool for learning and enjoying history. I am planning to pick two events per week for us to work on in our homeschool. We might do more if we can fit it into our schedule. We LOVE THIS WEEK IN HISTORY!

If you would like to enjoy history lessons like we are, go here and subscribe.

To see other reviews, go here.

Disclaimer: I received a full subscription from tjed.org in return for my honest opinion and review.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Math Made Easy Review

As a Schoolhouse review crew member, I had the opportunity to review Multiplication Teaching and Learning Made Easy from MATH MADE EASY. It was written by Glenda Brown James for the purpose of teaching you child to master their multiplication facts in just six short weeks.  The elimination of early learning of 0's, 1's, 10's and 11's narrows the math facts down to only 36 facts to be learned. These facts are divided into 6 weeks of study, introducing six facts per week.

The book is a spiral-bound workbook that consist of three different parts: worksheets, games and flashcards. There are three lesson plans in the front of the book, a multiplication pre-test and a multiplication post-test. The weekly guide sheet lists the six facts by week.

There are five worksheets to be completed per week, one for each day. There are also multiplication reviews for each week.  Through this review, we learned that this book is reproductible for the use within the immediate family. A big plus for large families!

Also included are three games that are to be used to reinforce the facts your child/children are learning. Two of the three games recommend laminating certain parts. I don't have a laminating machine but I have a friend who suggested using clear contact paper. It worked like a charm! AND, there are perforated fact cards labeled by the week in the back. I also used the contact paper on these.

How we used the product and our thoughts:

I had my 11 year old bug use this every day, the way it is recommended and the first thing she said to me was, "Mom, this is by far the best math book ever to learn my facts with." I was soooo excited and relieved. It is definitely a new way to learn and teach multiplication....an old subject. She has been enjoying and eager to see what each day holds. The worksheets are very fun and at the same time, educational. I highly recommend this product for learning your multiplication facts.  She is learning her facts and enjoying it at the same time. JOY!

Pricing and other products:

The Homeschool Multiplication Package can be purchased for $24.95.

They also have a Homeschool Addition Package for $24.95. I will definitely purchase this for my upcoming Preschool and Kindergarten bugs.

Click here to see what other crew members had to say about Math Made Easy.

Disclaimer: I received Math Made Easy - Multiplication free, in return for my honest opinion and review.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Schoolhouse Review: Create Better Writers

I had a chance to take a look at and review several products from Create Better Writers. It was a new curriculum for our homeschool. We have never used any kind of writing curriculum in our homeschool so I was a little nervous.

These were the products we received for review:

          .......1. The Homeschool Writing Action Plan
          .......2. How To Teach the Paragraph
          .......3. How To Teach the Five Paragraph Essay

I printed each one of these ebooks and put them in a binder. We were not provided with the full writing program but I can see us purchasing it and using it in our homeschool in the near future.

Before we began "How to Teach the Paragraph", I read through the Homeschool Action Plan.

 It is broken down into three parts:

                    Part I    - Summary of the Steps
                    Part II   - Pacing Charts
                    Part III  - The Road Map 

I liked the Road Map part because it provided sample worksheets and lesson plans.

How to Teach a Paragraph is recommended for Grades 3 and up. It will teach your students, in one simple trick, how to master the paragraph. After learning that, I was amazed how quickly it was for the oldest two bugs to feel confident in their writing skills. Even though they pretty much know how to write a paragraph, we are still planning on taking our time with these lessons.

How to Teach The Five Paragraph Essay contains a step-by-step plan on teaching the five paragraph essay. It was easy to move right into this and as of right now, they are still working on this lesson.

Our goal is to complete and master a five paragraph essay before Christmas. This writing program is very easy to teach, so I feel confident that after completing this , my bugs will be able to successfully write a five paragraph essay and become successful writers. Another plus to this program is that it gives homeschool parents a single writing program that can be used with multiple grade levels simultaneously.

Prices for Create Better Writers products:

          ~~~Complete Writing Program ebook (download version) is on sale for $54.80. 
                The Soft cover is on sale for $59.00. You can view the complete program
                here.  Both versions come with How to Teach the Five Paragraph Essay ebook
                for FREE.

        ~~~The Five Paragraph Essay ebook (download version) is $17.95. The soft cover is
               $19.95. You can view these here.

         ~~~How to Teach the Paragraph comes as ebook only and is $7.99. It is free with the
               purchase of the Five Paragraph Essay book or complete writing program.
               You can view it here.

         ~~~Home School Writing Action Plan ebook is $15.95 and the soft cover is $19.95.
               You can view them here.

They also have a couple of bundles that can be purchased also.

Read what other crew members had to say here.

Disclaimer: I received How to Teach a Paragraph and How to Teach a Five-Paragraph Essay free, in exchange for my honest opinion and review.