Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Fishy

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Save the Date! 5 Days of Preparing for the Holidays Blog Hop!


Beginning Nov 5, 25+ members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew will be blazing the way into the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with a 5 Days of Preparing for the Holidays Blog Hop, and we would love for YOU to come and join us! 

Everyone is welcome to link up with this Blog Hop. We would love to have you! 

Monday: Decorating — Share your ideas for how you decorate your home for the holidays.

Tuesday: Cooking — Do you have a special menu, recipes handed down for generations, or a day you spend just baking?

Wednesday: Gift-giving — What are traditions for giving gifts? Are they home made? Maybe you have some great shopping tips to share!

Thursday: Arts & Crafts — Thanksgiving and Christmas lend themselves to some terrific craft ideas. Tell us yours!

Friday: Homeschooling — How do you handle homeschooling during the holidays? Do you have specific lessons you teach?

So mark your calendar, start getting those ideas together and come and join us, beginning November 5. 

Blog Hop Rules (we do reserve the right to remove your link if you do not follow these rules)

1. There will be a new linky each day. To add your link, click the button that reads “Add your link” at the bottom of each post.

2. Please link the URL to your specific blog post, not your main blog URL.  For example:
  • Incorrect:
  • Correct:
3. Grab our Blog Hop Button and place it within your post or on your sidebar.

Preparing for the Holidays

Monday, October 29, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - October 29

It's now been about 2 MONTHS since I started eating a plant-based diet!!  I am not very good at sticking with things, and I know I can speak for some people, hubby included, that we are all amazed I have lasted this!!  ;)

I will admit that this past week I did have some processed foods, but for the most part, I think I have been eating pretty clean.  At last check, I lost 6lbs and feel sooooo much better!

I didn't get a chance to post last week so I wanted to list a couple new meals we tried out.

Hash Browns and Black Bean Burgers - We all liked this one and hubby even had seconds and then brought leftovers to work!!

Sausage and Mushroom Etouffee - We really liked the recipe and the sauce was yummy BUT I will never again buy Tofurky!!   Gross!  We ate around the Tofurky.  Suggestions on vegan substitutions are welcome!

Vegetarian Green Chili - I got this from the Publix Grape magazine, so if you have one, it's on page 20.  I halved the recipe for our family of three and we had leftovers.  It's green but it's good!

2 cups long grain rice
1 bunch green onions, chopped (1/2 cup)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used water for sauteing)
2 large green sweet peppers, chopped (1 cup)
3 stalks of celery, chopped (1 cup)
2 12-oz bags shelled frozen soybeans (edamame)
1 4.5-oz can chopped green chiles
3 cups vegetable broth
1 16-oz jar salsa verde (green salsa)
6 cups fresh spinach
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (we thought the flavor was too strong and will leave out next time)
3 avocados, halved, seeded, peeled, and chopped

Cook rice according to package directions.

In a Dutch oven cook and stir onions and garlic in hot oil for 2 minutes over medium-high heat.  Add the sweet peppers and celery; cook for 5 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Add edamame and green chiles; cook for 5 minutes.  Add broth and salsa verde.  Bring to boil; reduce heat.  Simmer, covered for 15 minutes.  Stir in spinach; cook about 1 minute or until wilted.

Remove from heat; stir in cilantro (or not) and two of the chopped avocados.  Top with the remaining avocado and serve with rice.

Blueberry Breakfast Cake - I thought this was yummy, but with most healthy desserts I make, Funny Bunny and hubby would rather just have store-bought goodies.  Doesn't it look good though?!

If you have any easy plant-based recipes I would love to hear them!

Samson's Classroom Review


Samson's Classroom is software for young readers.  Perfect for grades K-5, Samson's Classroom is an online series that helps students become better readers. Students can play engaging games that focus on 3 core building blocks; sight words, spelling, and reading comprehension. 


Sight Words with Samson

Sight Words with Samson is great for beginning readers and will help them master the 224 most commonly used words.  For each word list, there are 5 steps to complete:

1. Study
2. Missing Letters
3. Letter Scramble
4. Spell Words
5. Missing Words


Spelling with Samson

Spelling with Samson contains over 5,000 words you can choose in preset word lists or you can create your own.  Word lists can be selected by grade, topic, word family, or by sight words.  Once a list is selected, the child will then complete 4 steps:

1. Study Zone
2. Missing Letters Karate Chop Game
3. Spelling Scramble with Terrence the Tarantula
4. Crunch Time with Wally the Walrus


Reading with Samson

Reading with Samson focuses on comprehension and includes 4 levels.  Once they read the passages, {and they must read them, there is no audio}, they have several questions to answer.  When the questions are answered, they get to help Samson swing the hammer at the carnival to earn points. 



My Thoughts:  Funny Bunny is 9 years old so she mainly focused on Spelling with Samson and Reading with Samson.

In Spelling with Samson, she really like the Missing Letters Karate Chop Game and Crunch Time with Wally the Walrus.  Spelling Scramble with Terrence the Tarantula has never worked right for us so she was not able to play it.  Funny Bunny's only complaint with Spelling with Samson was that there were only a couple games to play.  Even though she liked the two she played, she got a little bored after a while because she wanted more of a variety.

I had one problem with it when I created my own word list.  I made a list of 25 words from a pretty popular spelling curriculum.  Of the 25 I entered, only 17 were in their database and I was not able to use the other 8 {which I think were pretty basic words} until my request to have them added was approved.  It is my understanding from the vendor that it could take up to 6 weeks for them to add requested words to the system because of the process they have to go through.  I prefer making my own list, so that time frame just won't work for us.  For those who like the preset lists though, this is a great program!

We both really liked Reading with Samson and I thought the focus on comprehension was excellent!  If you miss a question, the paragraph where the answer is located is highlighted, so you can try to answer again.  I thought the progression of difficulty within the levels was good.

Find Out More:  You can find out more online at Samson's Classroom.  It is just $30 per year for one user and $50 per year for a family.  There are also prices for a classroom, grade level, and entire school, which you can read more about on their pricing page.  If you would like to try it our before purchasing, you can play free demo versions of the games without setting up an account.

My Crewmates are also talking about Samson's Classroom, so you can check out what they think about it HERE.


Disclaimer:  This product was given to Our Homeschool Reviews for free for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor.  I have received no compensation from it and all opinions and experiences within this review are my own.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Purex Plus Oxi Giveaway!

I have yet ANOTHER Purex Giveaway for my readers!!!  This one if for Purex Plus Oxi!

Purex plus Oxi is the most powerful Purex detergent available.  In fact, it works against over 101 different stains!

The three stain-fighting enzymes in Purex plus Oxi each work against different types of stains for the most Purex stain-fighting power you can get. 

It is so powerful that it can even be used to pretreat stains too

My Thoughts:  I LOVE Purex!  I switched completely a while back and we love it!  It's very cost effective and cleans our clothes.  I especially like that the Purex with Oxi can be used to pretreat stains too! 

Find Out More:  You can find out more about Purex Plus Oxi laundry detergent on their website.


Purex Plus Oxi Sweepstakes!!
(Don't forget to enter my giveaway below too!! )

Purex wants to give 1 lucky winner $1,000!  There will also be 250 2nd place winner that will each win $25!  Enter now!



So, here's how TWO readers can win one coupon for the new Purex plus Oxi!  For each comment, you will get one (1) entry.

1. Leave a comment telling me why you would like to win

2. Like Our Homeschool Reviews on Facebook

3. Like Purex on Facebook

4. Follow my blog using Google Friend Connect

5. Follow me on Twitter @OurHSReviews

6. Post about this giveaway on your blog or Facebook

7. Tweet about this giveaway up to once a day:  I entered to #win #Purex Plus Oxi @OurHSReviews #Giveaway ends 11/5

**Remember to please leave a separate comment for each entry**

Contest ends on Monday, November 5, 2012 at 11:59 EST.  The winner will be chosen by  This contest is open to U.S. residents who are 18 or older.  If I am unable to reach the winner by email within 48 hours, an alternate winner will be selected.  Your entry is only valid if you include a way for me to contact you (either an email address in your comment or on your profile).  The winner's name will be obtained and publicly announced.  The number of eligible entries determines the odds of winning.  No purchase is necessary to win and this contest is void where prohibited by law. 

Disclosure:  This product was given to Our Homeschool Reviews for free for review purposes, and I do not have to return the products to the vendor.  I have received no compensation from it and all opinions and experiences within this review are my own.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Butterfly Visit

This beautiful Monarch Butterfly paid our Milkweed a visit over the weekend. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Homeschool Mother's Journal 10-19-12

It's been a month since I posted an update so I have quite a bit to catch you up on.

In my life this month…  

Wow, okay, so many things have happened this month!  Let's see, I'm still working on eating a plant-based diet and you can catch up on that here at Menu Plan Monday.

October 10th was my 1-year anniversary with Thirty-One!  I am still loving it, and although I thought having an endless supply of purses and bags would be the best part, it isn't.  I have really enjoyed making new friendships and spending some time with wonderful ladies!  And I love that I can use my business to help others.  A friend recently had a fundraiser for a local family and we were able to raise $300, all while shopping for friends and family!  I feel beyond blessed!

Oh, I got a new cell phone, an LG Optimus Elite!  I've had an archaic phone for a while now, so I'm excited to be a bit more connected!

In Funny Bunny's life this month…  
I mentioned earlier that Funny Bunny started American Heritage Girls in September.  Last week she spent two hours volunteering at our local Farmer's Market with other girls in her troop to raise money for Wreaths Across America.  They did such a great job!  I am very happy that she will get many opportunities to volunteer and help others!!  Monday night she will be earning her Joining Badge! 

Two weeks ago she had another piano recital.  She played "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" and a duet with her instructor of "Pumpkin." {Not sure if that is the exact name of it, I think it is a Russian song.}  Oh wait, I researched it and it looks like the song comes from the Russian ballet Chipollino.  After reading the synopsis, I want to see it!!  She is currently working on the song for the Radish now.  :)

This weekend she will be dancing in our local Fall Festival with her Dance Company.  She will be performing in two dances and she is so excited about it!  They have practiced very hard for this!!

In our homeschool this month…  
We have accomplished a ton!  We are on Unit 14 in Heart of Dakota's Preparing Hearts for His Glory.  My goal is to get through Unit 20 before Christmas break, and I think we can do it. 

Funny Bunny just finished reading Betsy-Tacy and started Junonia and A Triumph for Flavius.

And she is finishing up Unit 3: Birds of the Earth in Christian Kids Explore Biology.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

American Heritage Girls

A new American Heritage Girls troop started in our area last month and Funny Bunny joined, along with about 50 other girls ages 5-18.  If you've never heard of them, American Heritage Girls is a Christian scouting organization.

More specifically, they are a Christ-centered character development program dedicated to the mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community, and country.

American Heritage Oath:

I promise to love God,
Cherish my family,
Honor my country,
and Serve in my community.

We are loving our troop so far!  Since it is a brand new troop, there are some kinks to work out, but the girls are so sweet and well-behaved!

Next Monday night is their joining award ceremony and so they have been working on completing all the steps to receive the award.  Funny Bunny is in the Explorers group, which is for grades 4-6 and they finished up their lapbook last night.  She is excited about next week and we are very proud of her!


Monday, October 15, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - October 15

Today is the start of WEEK 7 of eating a plant-based diet!  I started on September 3rd and I'm still truckin' along!  I thought I would post a re-cap of my favorite sites and meals today.

Favorite Websites:
Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Chocolate Covered Katie
The Engine 2 Diet
Peas and Thank You

Favorite Meals:
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili
Burritos with Spanish Rice and Black Beans
Bok Choy and Baked Tofu Stir-Fry in Ginger Citrus Sauce
Garden Vegetable and Bean Soup
Pizza Crust
Chocolate Chip Blondies

If you have any easy plant-based recipes I would love to hear them!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: God's Creation

Monday, October 8, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - October 8

Today is the start of WEEK 6 of eating a plant-based diet!! I have lost 5 lbs, and except for the dairy-filled, decadent dessert that hubby and I shared on our dinner date Saturday night, I've eaten no meat or dairy.

It really hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be.  After the first week, which was slightly torturous, especially around day four and five, it became much easier. 

Oh, and a friend passed on a GREAT site last week!!!!  It's called Chocolate Covered Katie, the healthy dessert blog.  You have got to check it out!!  There are hundreds of healthy desserts that include no oil or dairy!

I made these Chocolate Chip Blondies from her site and everyone LOVED them!!  I probably used less than a 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, which of course, do contain dairy, but I knew the family would like them better.  And the next time I buy chocolate chips, I've recently read that Ghirardeli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips contain no milk, so I will be getting those.  Just fyi.  ;)

OK, so here are our dinners for this week:

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili (family favorite)
Classic Minestrone
Burritos with Spanish Rice and Black Beans (family favorite)

Last week's results:

Quick and Easy Potato Soup - Don't think we will make this again.  It was kinda thick and gritty.

Bok Choy and Baked Tofu Stir-Fry in Ginger Citrus Sauce - This was really good and we will make it again!

Garden Vegetable and Bean Soup - Funny Bunny didn't like the cabbage so I think I will make it with less next time.

If you have any easy plant-based recipes I would love to hear them!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Costume Supercenter Review

Are you still looking for that perfect Halloween costume?  Funny Bunny picked hers online at Costume Supercenter and so can you!  Even with only three weeks left, you still have plenty of time. 

Costume Supercenter has brand new 2012 Halloween costumes and they have a ton to pick from!  They have 10 categories to make searching simple.  And within each category you can narrow your search down even further.  For instance, under Girls Costumes you can search for Biblical/Religious, Disney, or even Disco.  

After what seemed like hours of searching, Funny Bunny finally decided she wanted to be Hermoine from Harry Potter.  The Hermione Kids Costume includes a black robe with Gryffindor emblem and front clasp.  We received exactly what was promised and the material of the costume was a lot nicer than I expected!

Right now you can take an extra 15% off all kids costumes priced $25 or more using promo code ZOMBIE15 at checkout. Or you can get Free Economy Ground Shipping on orders $49 or more. 

Find Out More:  You can search for your favorite Halloween costume at Costume Supercenter.  They also offer free shipping both ways on all size and costume exchanges!

Disclosure:  This product was given to Our Homeschool Reviews for free for review purposes, and I do not have to return the products to the vendor.  I have received no compensation from it and all opinions and experiences within this review are my own. 

And the Soft Scrub Winners Are...

Comment #83 - Jayme said...I would love to try out the upside down feature of these bottles! I am always battling my cleaner bottles!  AND Comment #7 - Dealsfan32 said...I follow you on twitter

I used to pick the winners and I have already notified them via email.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Soft Scrub Giveaway via Our Homeschool Reviews!   

Box of I.D.E.As. Review


Box of IDEAs is designed to get kids off the computer and around the table.  It is great to supplement your current curriculum but can also be used for homeschool group activities, summertime learning and as a break from the normal routine. 

I love their acronym: Ideally Dynamic Enrichment Activities.  We really don't have enough of that around here at our home, and I suspect many other families don't as well.  We are always trying to get the reading, writing, and arithmetic completed, it leaves not much time for anything else, so I was excited to try this out!

Each Box of IDEAs includes 10 or more modules with exercises, is easily portable, and is packed with interesting topics and activities.  Topics available for purchase include:  Salt, World War II, Eleven, Quilting, and Laundry.  Topics coming soon include:  Mystery, WWII Kitchen, WWII Pearl Harbor, WWII Innovations, Olives, Pine, Cemeteries, and Pigs.

When our Box of IDEAs arrived, we were ready to get started!  We received the Salt Box, and it was overflowing with activity modules which included:

The History Of Salt
The Science Of Salt
The Salt March
The Salt Of The Earth
Need For Salt
Preserving With Salt
Too Much Salt
The Wall That Salt Built
Where Salt Lives
The Language of Salt

The modules can be used in any order and all the activities are complete and ready to use, so we looked through all the contents and decided the first thing we would work on would be the Preserving With Salt module {because it includes a board game}!!

The contents of the Preserving With Salt module include:

An Introduction, Extensions, and Websites
Food Safety Math Worksheet
24 SALT Cards
Preserving by Salt Game Board
Game Markers

It was a fun game and we all really learned a lot, even hubby and myself!!  We got more than one wrong for sure!

Things I love about Box of IDEAs:

*  All modules stand alone and most need no additional supplies.
*  Each module is in its own bag with a label with its contents.
*  Many of the modules have fact cards which are part of an activity but can be used in many other ways. 

My Thoughts:  I think Box of IDEAs: Salt is well worth the money and would definitely prefer the physical box over the PDF because there is no additional work and everything is included.  Each bag comes with an information sheet and instructions and they were all very easy to understand and complete.  I think this would be a great supplement to any curriculum.

Find Out More:  You can find out more online at Box of IDEAs or on Facebook.  The Salt {Physical Box} is $79 and you can also get the Salt PDF Download for just $49.  Extra Student Modules are just $4.  This kit is geared for ages 9-16. 

My Crewmates are also talking about Box of IDEAs, so you can check out what they think about it HERE.


Disclaimer:  This product was given to Our Homeschool Reviews for free for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor.  I have received no compensation from it and all opinions and experiences within this review are my own.