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}
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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.