Thursday, August 16, 2018

Low-Carb Living - Shredded Beef Taco Bowl

So my husband and I have been trying low-carb eating for a few months now.  I have actually been eating this way for over a year, with a few slip-ups here and there.  But Joe on the other hand, just since April.  With all my food alleriges, I do not get to experiment much with my diet.  But Joe though can eat almost anything.  So I have been getting creative with his meals to help him out with "missing" favorite higher carb items.  Some recipes I see online, other meal items I'm just creating from ideas here and there and coming up with my own recipe.  Tonight's meal for Joe is a creation.

Shredded Beef Taco Bowl (low carb)

Chuck Roast
Gluten-free taco seasonings (or your own mixture of cumin, garlic, and onion)

The first thing you need to do is cook your roast in the crock-pot, and coat both sides of the roast with your preference for taco seasoning mixture.  I cooked ours on high for 4 1/2 hours.  Then I shredded it while it was still hot.

That evening I was trying to serve Joe up a low-carb supper, but the kids were eating flour shells and taco rice.  So I thought, let me experiment on a Mexican Cauliflower rice!!

Mexi-Cauliflower rice

3 cup cauliflower rice
Olive oil for sauteeing
Your choice of taco seasoning
1/2 yellow, red or orange sweet pepper
1/4 cup onion, diced
Salt to taste

Sautee all the above ingredients together, until done.  Just before the rice is done, add the shredded beef.  After getting all the ingredients mixed well, serve on a plate.  Add your choice of condiments/toppings.  I choice guacamole, pico de gallo, and a dallop of sour cream.  You could also add shredded cheese if you choose.

Joe said it was great.  You could choose to serve it with a low-carb tortilla shell also.  But there are plenty of carbs in this recipe, without adding extras from a shell.  If you do it right, you can get a healthy dose of veggies with this dish.

Enjoy!  I will try to share more of our concoctions as I go through the low-carb living learning curve!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Julie Polanco - God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn Review

Julie Polanco Books

We recently had the opportunity to review, God Schooling:  How God Intended Children to Learn written by Julie Polanco.  Ms. Polanco does a great job helping overwhelmed homeschool parents to feel more confident in their educational choices for their children.

God Schooling book

If you speak to any veteran homeschool parent, you will soon learn that homeschooling as easy as it sounds.  Parents who choose this educational style are not taking the easy way out.  They face many educational obstacles with their kids.  Some days they struggle to get work completed due to obstinate students.  Some days it is due to the amount of work that they need to accomplish both educationally and family responsibilities they also have.  How do you get it all done?  How do you deal with a stubborn child who is pushing the limits of your patience?  How do you balance being the parent and the teacher?  These are all questions that homeschool families face.  I know over our nine years of homeschooling, I still face new challenges since all of our children are very different in their educational styles.

In God Schooling:  How God Intended Children to Learn, Julie Polanco speaks from her heart and from experience.  Whether discussing her opinion on what is the best motivation technique (which REALLY made me think) to how to handle teaching with various age groups, she gives examples of what worked with her own family and raising her own children.  She also refers back to the Bible, and the advice that we need to be reminded about.  God truly gave us a full list of laws to help us, and we sometimes get so wrapped up in life that we forget that our Bibles are really what we need to turn to for help.

The second chapter on Motivation & Excellence really got me thinking.  I have for years tried various motivation techniques, including money/allowance and treats, to get things done.  But the majority of those attempts have backfired on me.  I wasn't truly teaching my children to be the best they want to be, just the best that I want them to be.  She goes through the rest of the chapter and explains various types of children's personalities and also to force yourself to look at what YOU are doing.  Are you truly setting a good example for your child/family?  

At the end of each chapter, the author has included review questions to really make you think.  I have found God Schooling:  How God Intended Children to Learn to be a read review for me.  It has made me think about the struggles we were starting to have in our homeschool.  I was wondering how I was going to tackle these issues.  I have actually been dreading the start of school because of this.  Now I feel better equipped to take on the challenges that have presented themselves with educational styles and motivation.

Included also is information for families that need help with record-keeping and even suggestions for natural learning with some structure.  I really liked the suggestions that she has given, and they are ideas that anyone can easily use to help their homeschool.

I have several sticky notes with highlighted sections for reminders to help me get started this year.  Even after nine years, we can all use help.  Julie Polanco has now been added to my summer reading list to help keep me motivated and sending me reminders.

God Schooling:  How God Intended Children to Learn is available in both printed form, as well as e-book.  The Ebook is on sale half price through August 22, 2018.

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review God Schooling:  How God Intended Children to Learn written by Julie Polanco.  Click on the link below to see what they thought of this title and how they plan to use it in their homes.

God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn {Julie Polanco Reviews}
Author of God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn and 100 (no and low cost) Ways to Motivate Kids
Get the first chapter of God Schooling FREE when you sign up for my newsletter at the website below.

Crew Disclaimer

Branch Out World - Paddington Bear Review - Picture Book Explorers Review

Branch Out World

There are so many educational opportunities for kids just by reading books.  We recently had the opportunity to review the Paddington Bear study guide from Branch Out World which has created a wonderful Picture Book Explorers Series to go with your child's reading.

Picture Book Explorers - Paddington

Paddington Bear - Picture Book Explorers is a picture book based unit study that is meant to accompany the picture book Paddington Bear by Michael Bond.  It is meant to be used with elementary aged children through the age of 10.

If you are not familiar with literature based unit studies, they are very easy to use.  As a parent, you simply read the story daily with your child and the unit study helps you to highlight various educational opportunities that are within the storybook that you are reading.  It really is a relaxed approach to learning for both the child and the parent. 

In Paddington Bear - Picture Book Explorer literature unit study, children are introduced to topics such as migration, science experiments, grammar/writing activities, geography/map reading studies and even math related activities.  It includes all subjects in a 5 day study. 

When you first open up your PDF download from Branch Out World, it is broken down into suggested activities for each day during your study.  Each day you are to read the picture book with your student, and then go through the suggested activities.  I really liked the Parent suggestions at the beginning of the file.  Suggestions on how to make the best progress through were given, including information if you decide to do it over a longer period than five days.  There was even information included on how to keep records for your child's portfolio as you make your way though the literature study.  Extra book suggestions, and a supply list of what you will need for each day is also included.  This helps you to be ahead of the game and not scrambling for a library book or even a can of shave cream when you are working your way though each day.

Each day you as the parent/teacher literally can follow along each days activities, after you read the book with your child.  Everything is laid and and the majority of the work has been done for you!!

Some of the suggestions for geography include finding locations on the globe and even having a printed map of those countries in a small folder/binder, which in turn also serves as a record of your "travels" for your child's portfolio.  There are also lapbook pieces included that you can print for your child to fill out, and worksheets and maps also.  Like I mentioned above....the majority of the work has been done for you already!

Various art activities are included, including drawing suggestions and terminology.  I considered the architecture section to be art.  I actually learned a lot that day about all the different styles.  Instead of just pointing and saying I like that, now I actually know that each style has a name!  Such as Quoins.....who knew that's what the beautiful brick style on the corner were called.

The yeast/bubbles science experiment was fun also!

Caty absolutely loved going through this study, and it gave us a break from the regular book work.  In fact, this study has worked out so well with her, that I plan on ordering a few more to work with her own and give her a more relaxed school year due to her anxiety issues. 

Due to this relaxed approach helping Caty so much, I highly recommend checking out the other studies put together by Branch Out World.  I know that we'll be taking advantage of them over this next year!

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review Paddington Bear from Branch Out World.  Click on the link below to see how they feel about these literature studies and how they used them in their homes.

Paddington Bear {Branch Out World Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, August 11, 2018

"Not" Back to School Ideas - DIY Clipboards

It's almost that time, unless you are year-round homeschoolers.  We take a break from "curriculum" during July and August.  Not a break from schooling though.  The kids still participate in 4H, so we are super busy with projects, camps and art classes finishing projects for the county fair.  They always participate in the county fair baking contests, so that is math also.  We stay SOOOOO busy, most days I feel like I pass myself in our own kitchen.

I thought I would share a couple of the ideas that I am going to be doing on our first day of "not back to school" this year.  Last year I baked them their special chocolate chip cookie cake, gave them some new supplies and also they got new school uniforms -  This year I'm making some adjustments.  I'm down to three kids...homeschooling just three kids!!  So I'm trying to find the balance of Joey not homeschooling and the others still schooling.  It's going to be a learning curve in September.

One of the special activities I'm going to do with the girls and Brayden is to give them the opportunity to design their own clipboards.  Clipboards are an essential homeschool item in our house.  We use them daily.  In the past I have found animal clipboards at various office supply stores.  But this year I am struggling to find cute boards that do not cost a fortune.  So I decided to let them design their own.

I ordered these clear, but colorful clipboards from Amazon.  It was a 6 pack of clipboards for $12.99.

I ordered them various sticker books then, individualized to each kid.  Dover has several inexpensive sticker books for kids.  I ordered these for the girls.


Video Game themed for Brayden (these were $10.00)

I ordered these paint markers for the project also.

I figure the paint will take a day to dry at least.  I can't wait to do this project with the kids in a couple weeks.  They are going to be excited to create their own clipboards.  Plus they can easily adjust their clipboards throughout the year if they want.

Next week, I'll share some more fun things I have planned for our first day "not back to school"!  Here's a post from last year about more of our favorite school supplies.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Smart Kidz Media - Smart Kidz Radio Review

Smart Kidz Radio

There are definitely limited options for children's radio and music.  We recently had the opportunity to review a new project from Smart Kids Media - Smart Kidz Radio.

Smart Kidz Radio

Smart Kidz Radio has been created for ages 2 - 12 that features age appropriate music for children.  The original songs that are being played encourage positive self-esteem, good work and family relationships.  

Currently, we have been listening to Smart Kidz Radio on my laptop while working on art projects.  We have had zero problems just streaming off our laptop.  The songs are very cute and I really do like the various themes.  Suddenly we are singing along to a song about helping out with chores and living peacefully in our family "by thinking before you fight".  Little words of encouragement happen between songs.  The one segment reminded children that even when    It's kids music, but not "too kiddyish" was Lydia's response.

We listened to songs about what do to when you are bored, how to treat your family (since they really can be your best friends), how to help out others, and so many more learning experiences. There are over 1,000 original songs that stream 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The user interface was very easy to use:

We just hit the Play arrow when we wanted to listen and a pause arrow would pop up in it place, and then we could pause the station play when we were ready.

There are even audio book podcasts available to listen to:

We really thought Smart Kidz Radio is a great new concept.  It will be available for other portable formats, you will soon be able to easily download the apps onto your kids electronic devices, and know that they are listening to quality entertainment with good values.  

If you have younger children in this age range, I encourage you to check out Smart Kidz Radio.  It's a budget friendly option for families.....and I really found it much better to listen to than some of the kid's songs series that my older kids used to be obsessed with....anyone remember the big purple dino???  Smart Kidz Radio is so much easier to listen too.  And the audio book podcasts are such an awesome added bonus for our family.  This was one of the girls favorite things, they love audio books.

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review Smart Kidz Radio.  Click on the link below to read how they enjoyed the materials presented and used it in their homes.
Smart Kidz Radio Homeschool Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Northwest Treasures - Dinosaurs and the Bible Video Course Review

Northwest Treasures

As a Christian, how do you answer your child's questions about dinosaurs?  We recently had the opportunity to review Dinosaurs and the Bible video class and Taking the Mystery out of Geology from Northwest Treasures.  What a great concept, so glad we were able to review this.

Dinosaurs and the Bible Online Course

Teaching Geology can be challenging.  The force behind Northwest Treasures was sharing their finds/rocks at homeschool conventions.  People were requesting that they create a curriculum, and Northwest Treasures was born.  Northwest Treasures teaches from a Biblical view, with evidence showing that we live on a young earth and the Great Flood really took place.  Geology really lays a foundational basis for many other science studies, so a good understanding is vital.  Northwest Treasures makes this possible for parents, and makes it fun for the kids too.

Dinosaurs and the Bible is a 6 week video course, that you can complete at your own pace.  Each of the six lessons runs approximately 18 - 21 minutes long, so great for short attention spans.

The videos are presented in a lecture style, but in more of a slide presentation that includes pictures to make it easier for the kids for attention span and to understand.  They can see charts and pictures of what they are listening about, kind of like having a library book read to them at times.  Which I think is wonderful, because this worked great for our kids as we worked through the course.

At the end of each lesson, there is a printable set of comprehension questions for your student to answer.  These can be used in multiple ways.  You could use them after you watch the lesson, or when working with special needs kids like we do, we used the questions during the lessons.  So as they watched we would pause the video and discuss the questions or have them fill in the answer to the questions.  I do not give them "tests" over material, so this helped them write it down immediately while it is fresh in their mind.  When you have finished all six lessons, there is a comprehension test of all six lessons that is available.  An answer key is provided for each set of questions and also the final test.  These questions and test are made available for easy download in PDF format.

Dinosaurs and the Bible is packed full of information.  I had never heard of most of the people that he discussed during the videos.  They were well-written and kept in line with Biblical teachings.

Dinosaurs and the Bible can be used by students in Grade 5 and up.  And it's a very budget friendly option for families.  When you purchase, you get six months access to the six video lessons.  Plenty of time to complete the materials provided.  They recommend a 6 week time period, but since we are on a part-time schedule, we did 2-3 lessons a week and finished in just under 2 1/2 weeks.  You can really adjust it to your families needs.  If 20 minutes is too long for your child (and we all know that is possible), the VIMEO player is very user friendly, and you can pause, stop and start when you need to.  Although we found it didn't save where we were, so we would guess about where we were if I forgot to write it down.

Lesson 3 - Dinosaurs and the Bible, The Great Dinosaur Rush from Patrick Nurre on Vimeo.

You can purchase an extra fossil pack from Northwest Treasures that was specifically created for the Dinosaurs and the Bible online class.  

We have enjoyed the Dinosaurs and the Bible class from Northwest Treasures.  I am so happy to see a class that centers around Biblical teachings and not trying to discredit the Bible.  Science and the Bible do go together, and Northwest Treasures helps parents out in this area.  I am planning on signing up for more of the classes from Northwest Treasures for the boys.  They also offer a high school level geography course as well as a wide selection of geology courses that center around some of our country's greatest national parks.  Their curriculum ranges from pk through high school.

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to view the Dinosaurs and the Bible video course, as well as two other courses.  Click on the links below to see how they used these programs and what they thought about them.

Online Geology Classes{Northwest Treasures Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer