Monday, March 31, 2014

Whose "Choice" Anyway?

Wow, just wow! Wanted to share this one:

CAPTIVATED - A TOS Homeschool Crew Review

There is a difficult balance we try to strike when making decisions for our children about how much media-time to allow into their days. This is why I was pleased, in February, when the TOS Homechool Crew was offered the opportunity to review the Captivated DVD, by Media Talk 101.
The "sub-caption" of the movie "Captivated" (which is actually a documentary) is "finding freedom in a media captive culture". I would have to say... that is where I live. My life is full of media

03-30-2014 Menu Plan
Here are my vegan/carnivore blend menu plans for this first week of April.

pizza (out)

barbecued chicken, rice, broccoli (faux chicken patty)
kitchari, salad, bread (p 261)

paleo beef goulash (section with soy crumblies), salad, rolls


black bean chili, salad, corn bread (228)


chicken thighs, rice, Brussels sprouts (faux chicken patty, brown rice)

Hot dogs, beans, cole slaw, chips

Salmon on the grill, asparagus, noodles (spaghetti squash with diced tomatoes, asparagus, white navy beans)


Dinner out (leftovers)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Week 24 - Mother's Journal

Another week down.

This week, in our homeschool, was not stellar -- more like the tortoise, just plodding along. Non-homeschool priorities keep pushing at our home school time. Can you believe it snowed again on Monday (3/25/14)?

Bible - We're trying to read a chapter a day, right now it is a chapter in Numbers and a chapter in John. I'm not sure how it happened, but our daily planner has us two chapters ahead of where we actually are, which means we missed two days of reading somewhere. Now that's not unexpected or surprising, but what is disconcerting is that I can remember maybe one day that we missed, but not two. (I maybe missed one day last week and didn't take note of it...)

We have also been working our way through Mere Christianity.

Math - We have transitioned right now from Algebra I in Horizon's to Algebra I in CTC Math. In general Miner has done really well so far. But one day this week he reported to me that he got a 60 on his work for the day. He has his good days and his bad days. He might do that same lesson on a different day and ace it. So I haven't decided how to approach this day's work. Miner does not like doing stuff over. And chances are this particular material is review for him and he was having a bad day. I'll have to look it over. But what bothers me right now is his general apathy about everything academic right now. I am hoping he is going through a phase, and that I can just wait it out. 

Science - We are currently using Supercharged Science. Again, Miner is not excited about this subject right now. Again, he has his ups and downs. I was able to hook onto a field trip that went to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum's Q'rius program this week. I'll write it up in a separate blog. Miner is all over gems and minerals right now, but not as much earth science. He sat through a class that I was very pleased with, because I'm certain he learned something (as opposed to you go on a field trip and your child is bored because they already know everything that is being presented). Mostly, though, I think he enjoyed the time after Q'rius when we got to go see the gems and minerals section of the museum. We weren't allowed to see the rest of the Q'rius section of the museum at that time, because there were other students doing programs. We could have gone back at 2:00, but we were already on our way home by then.

Our Supercharged Science studies have been supplemented by readings from The Lay of the Land, which falls into "Nature Studies".  We have been supplementing our Science with episodes from Curiosity Quest" DVDs.

Language Arts - Miner is getting a little burned out on Mango Spanish right now, and I don't think he did it much this week. Other language arts skills are currently being hit in an "interdisciplinary" way through other subjects or areas of study, such as our current work on "Victus Study Skills" and Homeschool Adventures "Philosophy Adventure". We work on vocabulary as we go along, such as when we come across a word he doesn't know, when reading Winston Churchill's Birth of Britain for Social Studies, defining it on the spot. Next week we're going to start writing words like these down to define and review later. 

In the literature department we are still working our way through Watership Down, Ivanhoe, The Once and Future King, and The Story of King Arthur and His Knights. We didn't make any progress on Loefwine the Monk, but I still want us to finish it. Ditto Martin Luther

Social Studies - This week we continued our progress through Ambleside Online Year 7. We are, I think, currently mostly on Week 5. These studies have included, this week, The Birth of Brittain and The Book of Bede, which dove-tail nicely with the literature selections.
Miner announced this week, "I hate the Middle Ages." I had to remind him that I gave him his choice of era to study, and he conceded the truth of this. I think (remember above comment on "apathy") he would not currently enjoy any particular era.

In the area of Economics, we have been working our way through Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? I think this should be a "must read" on everyone's list.

Art - We received the book I ordered for the Ambleside Online rotation. We did the assignment in that this week. In addition, we received Artistic Pursuits: Sculpture Technology - Model, and as soon as we get the supplies in we will be doing work in that. Miner chose to start with the section working with clay. Miner also did a pencil drawing of our clock, and a pencil animation that moves when you flip through the pages.

Music - Nothing stellar this week. Listened to some classical music and some hymns.

Phys Ed - Again, just a little plodding along here, some walks, some Wii fit activities, that sort of thing. It was a very wet week outside here -- lots of mud in our territory.

Health - We did work this week in Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, as well as Charlotte Mason's Ourselves - readings on the "Kingdom of Mansoul".

What's Cooking? I am again pursuing my vegan diet to bring my cholesterol back under control. So, since I am a lonely vegan in a house of carnivores, I have to cook it all. I even regularly cook like white noodles/wheat noodles, white rice/brown rice. Some nights dinner is appealing enough that I cook only one main dish. Monday night it was vegetable/bean soup.
So that was our week. I'll write the field trip up separately soon. Tell us about your week.
This post is (or will be) linked at, and at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Rule #36 - George Washington's Rules

George Washington's Rules for Civility and Decent Behavior, Rule #36, states:

36thArtificers & Persons of low Degree ought not to use many ceremonies to Lords, or Others of high Degree but Respect and highly Honor them, and those of high Degree ought to treat them with affability & Courtesy, without Arrogance.

In modern America we do no have "Persons of low Degree" or "Lords, or Others of High Degree". So, translating the meaning to present-day America, where we are all theoretically on an equal plain, this saying would mean that those in humble positions should not treat persons in positions of honor (I'm thinking President, Governor, Senator, etc.) with inappropriate ceremony, but with respect and honor. Those in positions of respected title should treat others with courtesy and without arrogance.

Monday, March 24, 2014

First Menu Plan for Spring

Here's my menu plan for 3/23-3/29/14:

Baked chicken, stuffing, broccoli (faux chicken, spaghetti squash)


Vegetable/bean soup, salad, bread


cheeseburgers (faux burger), green beans, potato chips


cheese tortellini, salad, bread (gnocchi, sauce, salad)

lemon chicken, rice, Brussels sprouts (faux chicken patty, brown rice)

baked stuffed potatoes (veg. chili)


Salmon on the grill, asparagus, orzo (leftover vegan food from other meals)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Week 23 (Fin!) - Mother's Journal
We had a pretty productive week this week, academically. 

The snow drops were blooming! It was so sad that we never got the leaves up last fall, and that these sweet flowers have brown leaves under them, but at least they're up. They don't last long, so I photographed them.


Can you believe it? So we took a partial snow day.

We still got done Math, Science, Spanish, some History/Literature, and some Geography. Monday was St. Patrick's Day. I'm not Irish, but my grandmother was born in Dublin... (RAF Base, British citizenship). So, we served corned beef and cabbage, with potatoes. We love that meal!

In our homeschool... I review products for The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, and there are a lot of new products percolating in my home right now. We are working with CTC Math, Homeschool Adventure's Philosophy Adventure, Victus Study Skills System, SuperCharged Science, as well as a DVD called "Captivated", and an audio adventure series called "Brinkman Family Adventure".  And on Friday, ARTistic Pursuits arrived. I finished the review period for Mango Languages, but we're still trying to keep up the Spanish.

In addition, I'm working on Ambleside Online's Year 7. We're working our way through so many, many books, mostly in the Middle Ages. We're working on Martin Luther, The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, Ivanhoe, The Once and Future King, Watership Down, Winston Churchill's Birth of Brittain from History of the English Speaking People, Loefwine the Monk, Charlotte Mason's Ourselves, ...and many more. I won't bore you... But we are keeping a busy schedule.

With only one student, much of our work is me reading aloud. That way we both enjoy the stories, and I know the work is done. Miner currently works independently on CTC Math, Spanish, and much of his PE (physical activities). Today he was doing Wii Fit.

Our favorite literature right now is Watership Down. I am really enjoying CTC Math right now. Miner is able to do it independently, and he is doing well. He's hitting a bit of a bump right now in Spanish (where he doesn't remember the words for the phrases they're asking him in English to say in Spanish), but we'll stick with it.
Okay, so you saw our 9-1/2" of snow on Monday. As it was melting, on Tuesday or Wednesday, I got this neat photo of the snow melting down the rail of our side stairs.
Can you believe that this is what my deck looked like today (Friday)?
In our county here in Maryland, the public schools have had so many snow days this year that they might not take their spring break in April. I was already leaning toward skipping the break, so it would be helpful to have the county do the same. Our home school was on break for six weeks this winter, and will have some break time this summer, so spring break is not in the cards.

So, what's going on in your home school this week?
This post is (or will be) linked at, and at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rule #35 - George Washington's Rules

George Washington's Rules for Civility and Decent Behavior, Rule #35 states:

35thLet your Discourse with Men of Business be Short and Comprehensive.

Which, in modern English means:

Let your conversation with businessmen be concise.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mango Languages: Spanish

In January I was delighted to learn that we had been selected to review Mango Languages. We were given access to the Mango Homeschool Edition and had the amazing opportunity to select any of their 60 languages, and as many of them as we wanted to work on. Mango Languages are suitable for ages 6 and up, so this product was a great fit for our family! Mango Homeschool Edition is a new homeschool curriculum to help you teach your child a foreign language of choice.
Have you figured out how to homeschool your child in a language you do not speak? Have you considered using a program that would permit you to homeschool online for the foreign language your child chooses to pursue?

For many years my son has dabbled in French, Spanish and Latin. Earlier in this year we had been working primarily on French (which I am able to teach), and I thought we would be working on French in the Mango program as well. That is where Miner worked during our first week with Mango. Week 2 did not go as we had planned -- lots of snow, and sickness to boot. We got very little school work done, very little Mango. As we started Week 3, Miner decided to try Spanish instead, and he has parked there ever since. Now, many weeks later,

St. Patrick's Day (Week) Menu Plan

So here I am rolling into my first week back at the Carnivore/vegan menu plans. I am still weaning myself off of the meat, dairy and eggs, so be patient with me. I'm still having a bit of dairy, meat and whey (protein powder). I don't consider my cholesterol situation to be dire, and I'd rather use up the stuff I already bought than throw it away... That said, here are my plans for this week. I'll go ahead and list my breakfast and lunch this week, but not all my dinners will show the vegan options. I've got vegan meals frozen in individual packets, and I'll be eating vegan out of my freezer this week for dinner, except that I'm going to allow myself to eat meat on Monday. Love that corned beef...! You'll see a theme emerge on the breakfasts and lunches--I'm easiest to please when it is easy, and I don't have to think (as in, "I wonder what I'll have for lunch today...")

Breakfast: oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts

Lunch: strawberry/chocolate smoothie

Dinner: spinach quiche, rolls, salad

SUNDAY (3/16)
Breakfast: oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts

Lunch: strawberry/chocolate smoothie

Roast chicken, stuffing, broccoli

MONDAY (3/17)
Breakfast: oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts

Lunch: strawberry/chocolate smoothie

Corned beef and cabbage, potatoes

TUESDAY (3/18)
Breakfast: oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts

Lunch: strawberry/chocolate smoothie

Spaghetti, salad, Texas toast

Breakfast: oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts

Lunch: strawberry/chocolate smoothie

Chicken caesar salad, rolls

Breakfast: oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts

Lunch: strawberry/chocolate smoothie

(leftover) Brisket sandwiches on rye bread with sour kraut

FRIDAY (3/21)
Breakfast: oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts

Lunch: strawberry/chocolate smoothie

soup (to be determined), pumpkin muffins, salad

Breakfast: oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts

Lunch: strawberry/chocolate smoothie

Dinner out

Are you wondering about that smoothie that I like so much? The one that keeps me sane even though I'm giving up Starbuck's?  Here's my recipe:

1 cup almond milk (unsweetened, unflavored, 30 calorie kind)
1 tablespoon cocoa (unsweetened kind, I use Hershey's)
1 scoop whey protein powder (until I get it used up, then I'll look for a non-whey kind)
1 handful strawberries
1 handful chocolate chips

I blend this til smooth, and then I take off the removable piece from the lid and pop in ice cubes until it's so thick it's like a Wendy's frosty, or my blender can't take the strain. It's awesome! (It was slightly melted by the time I took this photo.)

 It's more than my huge cup can hold. So I put the leftover in a dish in the freezer and later in the day have an "ice cream" snack as well. (Bedtime works well for this snack for me.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Flip Flop Mama

Flip flop? Seriously? Are we talking rubber sandles? It's 19 degrees at my house this morning, March 13.

So what am I really talking about. It's my never ending, constantly changing diet.

About a month ago I started working to follow the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan. Tuesday I got word that my blood test results from my physical were in. My cholesterol was at 260, and we're not talking high good and low bad, we're talking "it doesn't look good". So I let my doctor know that I've seen elevated cholesterol before, and before she thinks statins I'd like to see if I can bring it down on my own. I told her of my previous journey, so she said we'll redo the blood work in June.

So, with regret I currently leave the Trim Healthy Mama plan and return to the vegan plan to get the numbers in line. Just so you know, last year, when my cholesterol was 243 but the good was high and the bad was low, I was not following a strict vegan diet, just a predominantly vegan diet. I'll be strict until the numbers are good, and then I'll figure it out from there.

One thing I will say for sure, I was not following the THM plan strictly, because I still haven't had time to wrap my brain around it fully. It's possible I wasn't quite getting it yet. So I'm not chucking the book or anything. I am hoping I'll find the time to fully read and understand the content later this year. But this month is not the month.

I didn't get my menu plan posted last week. I won't post it now, because I don't really think anyone cares. This week's menu plan was created based on THM, before I got my cholesterol readings. 

SUNDAY (3/9)
Beef fajitas, spanish rice

MONDAY (3/10)
Roast chicken, stuffing, broccoli

TUESDAY (3/11)
Cheeseburgers, potato chips, brussels sprouts

Chicken pot pie, rolls

Quiche, spinach, rolls

FRIDAY (3/14)
Spaghetti, salad, Texas toast

Roast, potatoes, broccoli

So Tuesday I went ahead and ate my last cheeseburger for awhile, but last night I ate Minnesota Wild Rice soup left over from last week. (Don't even know if I made it without oil, but at least it's closer to vegan than the pot pie was.)

The favorite thing I've gotten from THM is how to make a great smoothy. I take almond milk, protein powder, strawberries, cocoa, and even throw in some chocolate chips (to make it like a java chip frappacino from Star Buck's). I blend that, and then gradually add ice bit by bit until it is just the perfect consistency. It is saving me a lot of money, and is better for me than the purchased one with the bovine milk. For lowering my cholesterol I'll have to cut out the whey protein powder, but that's the only change.

So, I'll report back in June to let you know my cholesterol numbers after the next test. In the mean time my menu plans will have to change from "carnivore/THM" to "Carnivore/vegan". ::sigh::

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Rule #34 - GWs Rules for Civility and Decent Behavior

Rule #34 of George Washington's Rules for Civility and Decent Behavior states:

34thIt is good Manners to prefer them to whom we Speak before ourselves especially if they be above us with whom in no Sort we ought to begin.

What I believe is meant here is that we should, as stated in scripture (Philippians 2:3 NASB -
3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves .) Consider others as more important than yourselves. I don't know that at this time George was considering Philippians, but I imagine he had been taught the concept.  
The other part of his quote, "especially if they be above us", etc., relates, again, to the era in which George lived. Before the United States became its own nation, we lived under British rule, where people had certain social standing and knew where they stood as compared with those they were associating with. One knew if one was with another who was "above" them in the social heirarchy.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Victus Study Skills - A TOS Homeschool Crew Review

In homeschooling, for the many years that I have done it, I have come to realize that I am not very good at helping my students (children) learn study skills. For that reason, I was very glad when I learned that I had been selected to review the Victus Study Skills System   product. Victus Study Skills System sent me their Victus Study Skills System Student Workbook and their Victus Study Skills System Teacher Edition to use with my son, "Miner".
The entire Victus Study Skills System only takes about two weeks to work your way through, doing one lesson per day. After that, you can work with your student to help him/her stick to using the tools and methods they have been taught. After all, it takes at least 30 days of regularly doing something mostly daily for it to become a habit. We want our students to learn these skills, to acquire these skills -- to use these skills!

The Victus Study Skills System starts with helping you and your student understand what his exact learning style is, whether he is a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner. My son, Miner, totally pegged out as an auditory learner, with visual coming in second. What this means for him is

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Rule 33 - George Washington's Rules

Interpreting George Washington's Rules for Civility and Decent Behavior, Rule 33 states:

33rdThey that are in Dignity or in office have in all places Precedency but whilst they are Young they ought to respect those that are their equals in Birth or other Qualities, though they have no Public charge.

When I read this rule, while considering the way things were in about 1750, I consider the English kings, and how one might become king at the age of 8, for instance. So if a child is appointed king, or a young man attains an office of vice-president in a business, or a young man becomes a Senator or Mayor, while he is certainly due respect, he should also respect those around him with more experience, even though they may not hold the title that he holds.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March 2014 Folk Song

The Ambleside Online Folk Song Rotation has designated the folk song selection for March, 2014 to be "Down in the Valley". Below are the lyrics and two selections from YouTube for your enjoyment. One of the video/music selections is Burl Ives, because I have such fond memories of his singing from my childhood in the early 60's. The second video selection is from "Andy of Maybury."

 Down in the Valley
Down in the valley, the valley so low
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow
Hear the wind blow, dear, hear the wind blow;
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow.
Roses love sunshine, violets love dew,
Angels in Heaven know I love you,
Know I love you, dear, know I love you,
Angels in Heaven know I love you.
If you don't love me, love whom you please,
Throw your arms round me, give my heart ease,
Give my heart ease, dear, give my heart ease,
Throw your arms round me, give my heart ease
Build me a castle, forty feet high;
So I can see her as she rides by,
As she rides by, dear, as she rides by,
So I can see her as she rides by.
Write me a letter, send it by mail;
Send it in care of the Birmingham jail,
Birmingham jail, dear, Birmingham jail,
Send it in care of the Birmingham jail.
Roses love sunshine, violets love dew,
Angels in Heaven know I love you,
Know I love you, dear, know I love you,
Angels in Heaven know I love you.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Motivated Moms - A TOS Crew Review

In January I was delighted to learn that the Review Crew would have the opportunity to review one of the Motivated Moms Ebooks or the Motivated Moms iOS App (with full year server access). Each Motivated Moms planner gives a house cleaning schedule designed to help moms incrementally work through housekeeping tasks in a thorough, organized fashion. The goal is to get everything done without getting overwhelmed. I was delighted to be selected to review one of the Motivated Moms Ebooks.

I selected a planner that has each day on its own page, and also includes a suggested Bible reading for the day. It turns out I am not actually reading the Bible suggestions that are listed each day, but having them on my daily page is still helpful as it reminds me to read where I am each day (which is currently in Luke). The planner is for the full 2014 calendar year.

When I received my planner in January (by electronic download), I immediately

March 2014 Hymn Study

The hymn schedule for March, 2014 on the Ambleside Online Hymn Rotation is "Lord Of All Hopefulness". This is the best version I found, but I love that the singers in the other versions have a beautiful Irish lilt to their voices...

Since I like doing two songs each month, for my second hymn I will be doing "Blessed Assurance":