Monday, October 23, 2017

Menu Monday for 10/23/17

 I'm very happy this week to be on top of things and getting my week's menu plans posted on Monday!

Last week MyFreezeasy was running a "Make One, Freeze One" challenge that I signed up to participate in. It was kind of a success and kind of not.

To start off with, I didn't get my shopping done until Tuesday and didn't start any MyFreezeasy meals until Wednesday (Day 3 of the challenge). And then there was the fact that I didn't want to make the MyFreezeasy meals she was suggesting, so I had picked different ones. There was also the fact that I didn't want to make TWO of ANYTHING. Every meal I froze was unique, and different from the meals I served. (I'm an affiliate. Please consider clicking my affiliate link above and taking a look.)

I only got four meals frozen because I thought my 4-1/2 lbs. of chicken thighs would work for two meals, but decided that I needed to use it for one. (How much meat is there, really, after you remove the skin and the bones? I don't know...)

So two of this week's meals come from last week's work. I still plan to make and freeze that second meal with the chicken thighs for later, and I'm going to do more freezer meals. It really makes things go easier some days.

Like Saturday morning I got Mongolian Beef cooking in the slow cooker in the morning. I had a memorial service to attend from 1:00-2:30, and then drove an hour to the air port to pick up a friend (took from 2:30-5:00 or so to get home). Then, since dinner was already cooking, I put two more freezer meals together!

Anyway, here are this week's plans:

Saturday (10/21) (Memorial Service):  
Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef, rice, broccoli

Sunday (10/22):
Rosemary Turkey, braised celery, stuffing

Monday (10/23) (podiatrist) (7:00 Scouts):
Slow Cooker New Brunswick Stew, salad, biscuits              

Tuesday (10/24) (3:15 Doctor):
20 Minute Catfish with Parmesan Sesame Zucchini, corn bread

Wednesday (10/25):
marinated flank steak, mashed potatoes, green beans

Thursday (10/26) (CAP):
Slow cooker chicken cacciatori, egg noodles, salad

Friday (10/27):
Date night

Monday, October 16, 2017

Menu Monday for 10/16/17

 Okay, yeah, I'm running late on this post. Did anyone notice? Well, shopping ran late, too. Here's our plan:

Saturday: Subway

Sunday: Chinese food

Monday: Roast chicken, green beans, sweet potatoes, corn bread

Tuesday: orange glazed turkey cutlets, egg noodles, brussel sprouts and leftover veggies from the fridge

Wednesday: Spaghetti and meatballs (I had zucchini noodles), salad and Texas toast

Thursday: Pesto Chicken Bake, rice, California medley

Friday:  Date night (Dinner out)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

MyFreezeasy "Make One Freeze One" Challenge starts tomorrow!

Last October I posted a review of a company called MyFreezeasy. I like them so much I became an affiliate! (Please click the MyFreezeasy link so I can get credit for you!)

Today I get to tell you about a special thing Erin from MyFreezeasy is doing this week on Facebook: a Make One, Freeze One challenge, which starts tomorrow. 

I wanted to embed the Facebook video but can't, so go to the link, watch the video and join us! 

Make One Freeze One Challenge

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Brinkman Adventures Season 4 - A TOS Homeschool Crew Review

Review Crew
 In early September I learned our family would be on this year's Crew to review the Brinkman Adventures newest adventures CD set! 

I was so excited when Brinkman Adventures Season 4 arrived in the mail! 

Brinkman Adventures Season 4 contains four CDs with three episodes per CD, 12 total episodes (Episodes 37-48), for a total of over five hours of listening! Here are the episode titles:
  • A Paradise Lost
  • Remember Nhu
  • Aisha's Fear
  • Heart Song
  • The Crashed Kitchen
  • Crisis in the Congo
  • The Mysterious Palm Feller
  • War of the Racoons
  • The Five Guys
  • Toughest Man
  • Cambodian Quest and
  • What Brings us Together
Below I'll tell you a little about these episodes to grab your interest, but first I wanted to tell you one thing. If you go to The Brinkman Adventures website you can go behind the scenes and learn more about what really happened in each story, meet the actual missionaries and watch behind-the-scenes videos!

So Disc 1, Episode 37, A Paradise Lost, focuses on a missionary retreat the Brinkman family is holding for a huge crowd of missionaries and their families. Unfortunately a huge amount of rainfall causes a dam to collapse, draining the lake. Not only was the lake a main feature of attraction at this retreat site, but in addition the bridge carrying the road in and out of the lake-site was washed out. Folks at the lake are trapped there, and folks not there yet cannot get there. Food supplies are not complete, and the main speaker has not arrived. Listen to learn how the Brinkmans redeem the event and make a wonderful time out of these unfortunate events.

The next episode, #38, Remember Nhu, is an example of why my daughter loves Brinkman Adventures so much -- B**** loves the real missionary stories! B**** is an adult and lives out of state. She was so excited we were getting Volume 4 of the Brinkman Adventures, and she hasn't heard them yet because I needed to write this review before passing the CDs along to her. She is waiting anxiously!

Episode 40, Aisha's fear, is another true missionary story. Taking place in a Muslim land, it is the story of Christians reaching across the culture gap by sharing the love of Christ, resulting in individuals embracing the message of the gospel in spite of and in the face of very real persecution.

Disc 2, episode 41, is about the underground church in a land hostile to Christianity. It began with Dmitri wanting to teach the Bible to his son, and his wife sat with them. Word got out, and neighbors asked to attend. Soon the house was bursting at the seams with folks attending the Bible lessons. Then one day the government authorities knocked on the door and, ultimately, arrested Dmitri for his illegal "church". It is an amazing story, and wonderful, because it conveys to those who don't know what it has been like for Christians in persecuted countries. It reminds me to be thankful for the freedom we have to worship where I live.

Episode 41, The Crashed Kitchen, involves Kate and her dad traveling to Africa together. Kate goes on a mission trip with he dad. Kate's job is to write up entries for the blog about their trip. I love that this story, too, is based on an incident that really happened. Kitchens in Zambia were separate buildings, and a fairly new driver pushed the wrong pedal and crashed into the kitchen! There were injuries, but less than there could have been, and God used the event to create an opportunity to reveal himself to villagers!

Episode 42, Crisis in the Congo, is about Glen Chapman working with Kate and her dad to take the Jesus Movie to a remote village to show it to the villagers. This involves a day-long bike trip to the village to make a landing strip for the powered parachute to land, and then biking back from the village, loading the powered parachute, and using the plane to make multiple trips to the village since the plane can only carry two people at a time - the pilot and one person, plus another trip to carry the equipment.

These adventures involve dodging an angry hippo, an accident that destroys someone's kitchen, dealing with the scary reality of the village witch doctor, and dealing with rain pouring down on the showing of the movie after all that effort. Listen to learn the ways God comes through to make his presence known through these trials and difficulty.

Episode 43, The Mysterious Palm Feller, involves a missionary compound in Africa and conflicts that arise with the local witch doctor. There is also an underlying theme of ways the missionaries are trying to educate and promote sustainable life in the area, to teach villagers the importance of considering the local flora and fauna. Methods previously used by local people had included deforestation, burning and cutting of plant life and total wiping out of animal population in areas, which had been threatening the well-being of the African lands. There is also a mystery that gets solved related to palm trees being toppled during night time hours.

Episode 44, War of the Raccoons, transitions to a story involving a robot, some troublesome raccoons, and some pet koi fish. There was no particular transition, but we're back with Mrs. Brinkman and other Brinkman kids. This is on Disc 3, and also on Disc 3 there is a sub-story of a relationship between Michelle Brinkman and her relationship with a young man named Anthony. Dad Brinkman does not seem ready for this to be happening, even though Michelle is old enough to marry.

Episode 45, The Five Guys, revolves around a factual missionary story that has been fictionalized. Jack Brinkman and Nik Ripcan are touring European countries to meet with pastors on a trip that has been planned for months. Everywhere they turn their planned meetings are thwarted. Pastors have been arrested, others have sudden "schedule conflicts" or other reasons why they cancel appointments. Meanwhile Jack and Nik are being pursued by a European doctor who is asking them to meet with him immediately (and this has been going on for a month). They finally meet with the doctor and find themselves in a situation that sounds like it comes right out of the book of Acts, and God is in control of all their steps! They encounter five guys, and you just have to hear the story!

Episode 46, The Toughest Man, has Nik meeting "Armeer", the European doctor from episode 45. The doctor reveals a horrific history of personally killing over 100 people as a special agent doing what he believed was his calling to serve his god.  Then "Armeer" tells how Jesus came to him in a dream and relates a story that is similar to things that happened in the book of Acts. The story is based on a true account, with some literary license.

Episode 47, Cambodian Quest, takes us back to Nhu from Episode 38. Carl goes back to visit Cambodia taking Mrs. Brinkman and Kitri to help with some issues at Nhu House. This is a fictional tale used to present actual people and events in a manner intended to convey truth.

Episode 48, What Brings us Together, is a sweet wrap-up to this volume of Brinkman stories. It is based on a true event that occurred in the family these stories are about, even though Brinkman is not the actual family name. Go to Brinkman Adventures Season 4 to learn more!

I have so enjoyed listening to Brinkman Adventures Season 4. My son thought the acting in "Paradise Lost" was overdone and unrealistic, but he doesn't have much experience with teen-aged girls up-close and personal. My daughter is anxiously awaiting her turn to listen, and I hope you are, too!

Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew also reviewed Brinkman Adventures Season 4. To read more reviews please click the link below.Click to read Crew Reviews

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Monday, October 9, 2017

CTCMath - High School - A TOS Homeschool Crew Review

Review Crew

In September I learned I had been chosen to review CTCMath! I was glad I'd been chosen because this was one of the few review products that my son asked for!

Some Crew members were given a Single Membership for a year and some were given a Family Membership. I requested a Single Membership because only one of us would be working consistently on the program during the review period. I had a previous account with CTCMath with a Family membership, and I was surprised and delighted when CTCMath just added 12 months to my Family Membership. Thank you, CTCMath!

I knew that during this review period my son could not commit to using the product three days per week (which is why I could only request the Single Membership). I was permitted to review the product as the student myself. I want to emphasize how important it is for any parent to considering having their own student account -- for most of us, we still need the Math work ourselves if we are going to help our students!

The high school courses in CTCMath are not intended to be a complete curriculum. They are wonderful, though, and there are many different ways to use them. As a parent, I like to start at the beginning and work my way through from beginning to end. For the student, as a supplement to the coursework, you might find areas where CTCMath presents topics in a different order than your main curriculum, or at a different rate of speed.  You might open each section as your student reaches the topic in your main curriculum, or you might use CTCMath sections only where your student is struggling. Or if your student is advanced, might even use CTCMath as your main material, and then use the tests from your other curriculum to "test out" and document that your student has comprehension of the section. I could easily see switching back and forth between those last two methods!

I did one day of CTCMath using my son's account, looking at Geometry (which is the Math course my son is taking in high school this year). Then I realized that I needed to stick with one account (my own) and not switch between accounts, or it might look to the vendor like I wasn't using the product as often as I had committed to. 

My next CTCMath log in I used my own student account, and for my own coursework I had planned to work on Calculus. Since I got an "A" in Calculus I in college, I thought this was safe.

Each course has the option of starting with a "Diagnostic Test" for the student. I did the diagnostic test in a previous course, but not this time. If I've done the previous course, I find it trying on my patience to take the diagnostic test. If I am a little rusty, I'll score poorly on a diagnostic even though I've studied the material and just need some review. And if they ask me certain questions I should know and don't ("Which statements are true of a Rhombus"), I'll look like I should go down an entire level! I usually figure if a student has completed Algebra I they're ready to progress to Algebra II or Geometry.

The Calculus lessons are divided into Part 1 and Part 2, and Part 1 begins with a review section. 
Each lesson begins with a video. After the student watches the video, the student pulls up a worksheet to practice the concepts covered in the video. 

The student can work directly from the computer, or the worksheet can be printed out. Sample worksheet:
What was different for me on this CTCMath course was that the student is supposed to complete the worksheet and then self-check the answers against an answer sheet:  
and then enter the student score:

The answers are to be a percentage, which means the student has to determine what percentage is correct. This is difficult to do because there is no indication as to weight per question - Q1 has 7 problems and Q2 has four. Are they weighted equally? Do you give partial credit? My son would not likely take time for figure out the percent for 10 right out of 11 questions...

So I worked on Calculus for weeks, but often I'd watch the video one day but not finish the worksheet until the next (because it was difficult, and frankly, I wasn't ready for it). I knew I was in trouble when I had to graph equations to the number plane. 

Graphing (1)(b) was difficult - I could see that it was a parabala hitting Y at "2", but don't really know why, or whether I should know how to graph the parabala exactly...
(1)(c) was worse -- I had no idea how to graph it. And looking at the answer did not clarify it for me.

I knew I was in over my head. Time to switch back to Geometry. I had done part of the beginning Geometry on my son's account, but did them again. I like the lessons where the student enters the answer and the program indicates correct or incorrect problem by problem.

The above type of question annoyed me because I read and answer too quickly and get it wrong because I only see "Choose ALL of the quadrilaterals" and I miss "and circles." Then I get the answer wrong... I learned to slow down.

The student can't lie to the parent about time spent on the program because it keeps track of everything! I found I had logged in much less than I realized because it was taking me two days to get certain lessons done. It doesn't look as good as I had expected:

CTCMath also sends a weekly report to the parent. The weekly report shows my efforts in a better light, because it does not show only what was completed but rather shows how often I logged in and was working on the material.
Pardon my black outs for privacy...

I can't tell you enough how much I have loved working with CTCMath this month. It has been "tweaked" and is very intuitive and east to work with. There is still room for improvement on the student entering their own grade. It would help if each problem indicated how many points it was worth in a way that the points add up to 100 - then the student could more easily determine their score on a worksheet.

I really love CTCMath and encourage you to give it a try. There is an option for giving a student account a trial, and there is an offer for getting a 6-month subscription for 60% off.

I may not have made it clear, so I'll say it here - CTCMath has courses from Kindergarten to Calculus. The lower grades constitute a complete curriculum and the high school courses are supplemental lessons.
Try the Free Trial and let me know what you think!

Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew also reviewed CTCMath. To read more reviews, click the button below:

CTCMath Online Math Tutoring {Reviews}

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