And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Getting Everything in Order (and a Budget Battle Update)

I have had an abundance of posts today! Especially considering it has been so quiet here on the blog the last couple of weeks. November wore me out a bit. It was very busy on the blog so I've taken it easy most of December. Now that we are at the last day of 2015 (how on earth is that even possible?!?!) I wanted to clear out all my remaining blog responsibilities.

It felt imperative to begin 2016 on a clean slate. If I want to succeed in my goal of hospitality for the year, I will need to have my mess in order! I tend towards the organized side anyhow but I'm reinstating my cleaning schedule, tightening up the homeschool schedule a bit, and pondering over our budget for the year.



Our budget was our main goal in 2015 as we sought to be more intentional. We did make some great strides and mid year we were able to purchase a new home. It feels a little like things went downhill after that. Really they didn't but shortly after we moved several things broke. Isn't that how it always goes? Our financial goals weren't all met but we did get in a better groove, and we can't deny we are in a better place now than we were a year ago. As we move forward in 2016, we are going to tighten up our budget again and see how far we can get by this time next year!

In order to truly enjoy opening our home to others I feel like it needs to be relatively clean (thus the cleaning schedule) at all times and we need to have plenty of meal ingredients on hand. Since we are aiming to eat more natural foods (a goal we've worked towards slowly over the past few years), I hope to keep plenty of meat and fresh veggies and fruits in the kitchen.


How is your 2015 wrapping up? Are you running to complete tasks like I am or are you resting easy? Now that my blog work is complete, I need to make some cookies for a gathering tonight!

Girly Workout Gloves #RIMSports


Sometimes having the right gear is just the boost you need to get your workout finished. RIMSports sent me a pair of Women's Fitness Gloves to review. These half finger gloves come in several color choices. I picked purple because it's my favorite!




I really need to get back into a routine for the New Year. I'm ready to let go of the things I've tried in the past and take a new approach to my health. My main goals are eating better (pray I can let go of soda!) and increasing my physical activity. These gloves will protect my hands while lifting weights or hanging from the chin up bar (cause I've NEVER been able to do a chin up!). Maybe next year I will be able to climb the wall in the obstacle course...

These RIMSports gloves are snug and lightweight. They are tough in all the right places with breathable materials in the other areas. They are cute and fit well. I got a small because I have tiny hands. The package included a size chart that I didn't see when ordering on Amazon. According the the chart I should have ordered a Medium. The smalls fit but are a bit snugger than I'd like.

If you are looking for fitness gloves that will cheer you up with a bright color, check out RIMSports!





I got mine free from Tomoson in exchange for review. 

Blood Pressure Monitor for Home Use

Growing up my grandparents always had a blood pressure monitor at home. Boy have they changed over the years! I received an Ozeri Digital Blood Pressure Monitor for review. I have no medical training so I wondered how easy it would be to use and read.


It takes just a minute or two to set up the date and time on the monitor. After that, pretty much everything is audible! This would be great for someone with limited sight. You put the cuff on your wrist and follow the illustration on it to get your arm in the correct position. If you aren't in the right spot, the monitor instructs you which way to adjust! Then in a minute or so the monitor takes your reading. When it is complete, the machine gives you the reading audibly and then lets you know if it is normal, high, or low. How awesome is that! So much easier than the old at home monitors I remember.

If you are serious about taking control of  your health in the New Year and/ or you suffer with blood pressure issues, I would highly recommend this Ozeri BP5K Digital Blood Pressure Monitor. It even comes with a black plastic case for safe storage.


The End of the Dreamtreaders Trilogy

War for the Waking World is the final book in the Dreamtreaders trilogy by Wayne Thomas Batson. Apple was thrilled when it arrived for us to review. She's been waiting for quite some time for this book as she read the first book, Dreamtreaders, way back in June of 2014. She enjoyed the second book, Search for the Shadow Key, at the beginning of 2015.




She had this to say about this final book in the series:

"I like the idea of being able to control things in a dream. I like this final book because the emotions people felt were real in the Rift. It seems like that is really how the world would be if the Rift really happened. I think other kids would like this book because it was easy to understand."


The whole concept of this series was very intriguing. I was curious after books 1 & 2 how it would all come to a close and I think Batson did a great job of wrapping up the series. In this book, Archer is no longer trying to stop the Rift between the real world and the dream world because the Rift has already happened. People are unaware of the Rift because it seems like everything is good. The other two Dreamtreaders are called on to try to stop the Rift because Archer is summoned to court. 


Apple was sad this was the end of the Dreamtreaders story. She is looking forward to reading more Batson books in the future. I received this book free for review from BookLook bloggers. 


Adult Coloring Book with Scripture #WhateverIsLovely

I admit I've jumped on the adult coloring book bandwagon. I've always enjoyed coloring and found it a peaceful exercise. Since I don't have the artistic ability of my daughter, coloring has always been one of my few artistic outlets. I was happy to receive an adult coloring book for review because Apple won't share the one she received for Christmas! Whatever Is Lovely is not only an intricate coloring book, it is full of Bible quotes, hymns, and quotes.


The cover describes it as "a coloring book for reflection and worship". That is a very accurate description. Just flipping through the pages and reading the hymns and verses on the backs of each page is a peaceful endeavor. The act of coloring the little intricate designs certainly allows the mind to slow down and reflect on the words on each page.



My Sunday School class finished all of the Old Testament in 2015. We are going to slow it down a bit as we go through the New Testament in 2016. Armed with my journaling Bible and this coloring book, I feel like I will be able to fully rest in God's word as I read it in a new way. Do you have goals for quiet time and/ or your Bible reading in 2016?


Monday, December 28, 2015

I is for I...




I spent way too much time over the holidays trying to make more storage space on my phone. It seems like everytime I took a picture I needed to get rid of 20 pictures! Now I'm sure all my family thinks I'm addicted to my phone (and I might be) but THIS TIME I was just freeing up space!

I love to decorate early but I cannot wait to put away all the Christmas things as soon as it is over. I'm getting hives thinking about all the ornaments and paper and plates and other red and green items that need to hurry their way back to the attic.

I was impressed with my kids and their level of gratefulness this year. They were truly pleased with every gift. Even after we were mean to them and led them to believe they weren't getting the things they asked for.

I am unimpressed with the state of my children's bedrooms. As grateful as they are for those gifts they really don't need to display them all over the floor.

I am still full from all the food I ate 3 days ago. I refused to eat at one family meal because I just couldn't. My body said noooooooooo!

I don't ever remember a Christmas as warm as this one. I mean we're in Tennessee and Mississippi so we aren't usually having a white Christmas but it has been in the 70s. We've worn shorts this week!

I'm praying for those that lost homes in storms and tornadoes this week. We've been affected by tornadoes in the past, and it's so physically and emotionally draining. I hope you'll pray for those families too.

I'm excited about 2016. I love the feeling of renewal during this part of the holiday season. I hope you'll drop by and check out the chaos throughout the year. I'll have reviews and giveaways and humor and hopefully some helpful advice to share with you throughout the year.


I'm sharing this post on the Blogging Through the Alphabet linky hosted by Adventures with Jude and Through the Calm and Through the Storm. I hope you'll hop over and check out the other "I" posts!


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Monday, December 21, 2015

H is for Hospitality




Hospitality. Some call it a gift. Google says it means "the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers." As I've prayed the last few weeks over 2016, hospitality has come to mind again and again. I believe it is my word of the year! Some years I wonder if I will get a word and other years it comes early and often.

We know many people who are gifted at hospitality. Their homes are always open and welcoming. At times over the years, I think I've been close to achieving that level of hospitableness but there have definitely been seasons when I considered my home closed. Since we moved into this new home, we've had several opportunities to have company, and I've loved it!

I think my loose goal for 2016 will be a casual meal or game night once a month. We have plenty of friends we'd love to catch up with in this way. In my mind beautiful handwritten invitations will make the rounds. In reality I'll probably be texting invites by March! More than planned face to face time in real life, I'd like to be more open to last minute, casual gatherings and drop ins. Do you remember the drop in? They can be inconvenient, but now that it NEVER happens anymore I kind of miss it! 

If you know me outside of the internet, hold me to at least one invitation this year! Remind me that you want to come and hang out. You do want to come and hang out don't you? 

Do you have a word of the year? Have you discovered yours for 2016 yet? I say it every year but WOW time is flying by!


Hebrews 13:2 (NKJV)

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.


Hospitality happens to be the perfect H word for Blogging Through the Alphabet. I'm linking up with Through the Calm and Through the Storm and Adventures with Jude. Make sure you hop around to the other "H" posts this week.



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Friday, December 18, 2015

Edible Crafts with Airheads Candy #AirheadsCrafts

Smiley360 sent us a generous Airheads candy review box with the mission to make an edible craft using the candy. I am not such a crafty person, and I felt a bit intimidated by some of the other crafts I saw online! While our Airheads edible craft may not be a work of art, our end result tasted great and we had a lot of fun!




We decided to make a Christmas tree cake. We used a chocolate cake base with mint chocolate frosting (soooo good!). Once the cake had baked and cooled, we put on the frosting and got to work. Apple and Speedy did the majority of the work decorating this cake.


Step 1: We got together all of our decorating tools and all the Airheads candies. I drew the outline of a Christmas tree with green frosting.

Step 2: Apple & Speedy took turns filling in the tree outline with green frosting. As they worked they also began cutting shapes out of the traditional Airheads and discussing the colors and shapes they wanted to make.

Step 3: We used Airheads Extremes to make garland around our tree. We cut an orange Airhead to make the stump.

Step 4: Both kids really enjoyed making little presents to go under the tree. They also used Airheads Bites as ornamental balls on the tree.

Step 5: They finished the decorating and placing all their presents on the cake. We attempted several times to make a star for the top but were unsuccessful so we used an Airheads Extreme to make a bow.


The kids had such a good time with this mission, and it ended with eating a big piece of cake! Which was delicious. I probably wouldn't have thought of using Airheads to make edible crafts but now I know they work great! The original Airheads are big and pliable so they can be used to make shapes and presents. The Airheads Extremes worked great as lines. Apple said they'd make a great rainbow craft. The bites were just the right size for ornaments, and I know several others on the mission used the circles for eyes and other round objects. We've enjoyed eating Airheads for a long time and now we will be thinking up other edible crafts to make with them!



Monday, December 14, 2015

G is for the Grinch



In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we love to sit down as a family and watch Christmas movies. We try to add to our collection every year or two. Hubby & I came into our marriage with our own favorite Christmas films. My family has always watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and so it is my personal favorite. I usually watch it several times a year and it makes me laugh every single time. We let the kids watch it but we keep a finger on the mute button and fast forward through a couple of scenes. Hubby's all time favorite is A Christmas Story. I had heard of it but never watched it until I met him. Now I look forward to seeing it each year.

The kids have a list that they enjoy. They both love How the Grinch Stole Christmas (both versions). Apple loves The Polar Express (but Speedy greatly dislikes it). Elf is a family favorite too. Home Alone and Home Alone 2 are classics! We even throw in Ernest Saves Christmas. Of course Christmas isn't complete until we've watched A Charlie Brown Christmas. This year my Christmas movie purchase was The Santa Clause trilogy.

I guess this is our Top 13ish picks in no certain order! While watching movies certainly isn't our focus of the season, the tradition of watching these movies together ensures we have plenty of laid back family time. It gives us all something to look forward to doing. We don't usually plan it out or put it on the calendar, when we are home for the afternoon or evening we pick one and pop it in. There are always lots of snuggles on the couch with blankets and usually a snack. It's a peaceful time that gives all of us a little extra Christmas joy.

Do you have a favorite Christmas movie?


I am linking up this post to Blogging through the Alphabet with Adventures with Jude and Through the Calm and Through the Storm. Check out the other G posts:


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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Great Devotionals for the New Year with a Giveaway


My kids have really been enjoying some of the Bible studies we've worked on in 2015. Both miss doing regular daily devotions. They were in such a routine of doing them as a part of their school work. I wanted to get them something to start in January so this was the perfect time to do a Tommy Mommy review!



Max Lucado originally wrote Grace for the Moment for adults. Later Grace for the Moment : 365 Devotions for Kids was developed. With these devotions together, there is a devotion for every day of the year with an adult version and a children's version. The devotions are each so well written and then so well pared down to the child's version.

For example, June 11 is titled "Who's in Charge?" in each book. The adult devo focuses on our personal agenda and jealousy. The child's version addresses the same topics but is focuses on real life issues that kids face. Both version begin with the same Bible verse. Each day the kid's devo includes a "Growing in Grace" section to help the reader take the thoughts of the devotion a little further.

Both kids (8 and 10) have spent some time looking at their version. Both are excited to start this in January, and they don't even mind sharing one book! I'm excited because I know God can really speak to my family when we are all on the same page starting first thing each morning. My version is going right on my desk so I can't miss it each day.

You can see a preview of the adult and kid versions. You can also enter here to win a free copy of each! One winner will be randomly selected after the giveaway ends on 12.19.2015. That winner will receive a copy of Grace for the Moment and Grace for the Moment: 365 Devotions for Kids. Enter now via the Giveaway Tools widget.



Monday, December 7, 2015

F is for Follow

I started this blog way back in 2009. At the time I began it to chronicle our homeschool journey and to connect with friends and family in other places. It has morphed a few times before settling in where we are now. I'd call this my eclectic mix of homeschooling, family, faith, some deals, and product reviews. Some months I feel like I have nothing to say and other months I just can't seem to shut up (sort of like real life!). My little blog is still little by most blogging standards but the growth has been slow and steady all along. I haven't been involved in many of the activities that produce large numbers of followers because I want readers who enjoy reading my posts. Because of that my social media numbers have held steady for quite awhile.

This past week I've worked on following all the new and returning TOS Crew members. You can get a list of some of them on this Meet the Crew post. They'd all appreciate you stopping by their blogs to check them out!


I'd appreciate if you'd check out all the ways you can follow me. Consider it your little Christmas gift to yours truly. {Smiles sweetly.} I try to stay reasonably active on each one.

Bloglovin

Pinterest

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

Google+

If you check the sidebar, you'll also see a Google Friend Connect option!

I've spent some time working to make my accounts "match" a little better. I like matching.

I've added this self-promoting F is for Follow post to the Blogging Through the Alphabet linky with Through the Calm and Through the Storm and Adventures with Jude! {I bet they'd like it if you followed them too!}

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Review: Measure Your Success #ozeri




If you expect to accomplish any goal, you have to go into it with confidence that you will succeed. I always need some sort of measure to determine success so I was happy to receive an Ozeri Touch II Total Body Scale for review. This scale will help you track weight loss (or gain) in the easiest way possible.

Weight Scale

You can measure your weight at any time by simply stepping onto the scale. Maybe you want a bit more? The scale holds up to 8 memory profiles. These profiles use your weight, gender, height, and age to give you a ratio of your body fat, water, bone, and muscle percentages. The instruction booklet includes target ranges for each of those measurements. This really is a total body scale!

The scale also has a tare feature to allow you to zero it out to weight a baby or pet. The scale is flat and easy to store. This is just what I needed to tackle my goals and resolutions next month!

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I reviewed this item in exchange for my honest opinion through Tomoson.com. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

When You Sit Most of the Day #liveinfinitely



I sit at my desk for many hours a day. Between homeschooling the kids and working on the blog, I'm at this same spot most of the time. I wanted to try an exercise ball for sitting to change things up a bit. Live Infinitely sent me one to review.


Based on my height, I selected the 55 cm ball Forever Flex Exercise Ball. This ball comes with a pump and is easy to inflate. You inflate it most of the way and allow it to stretch for 24 hours and then you finish filling it. Once your done it is ready to go. I've used it for a few weeks now sitting at my desk. I can't use it all day but I certainly feel the pull on my muscles after sitting on it for any length of time. The kids keep stealing it away to use it at their own desks!

It is recommended that if your height is close to the range to go up a size. I'm planning to get another one (or two) of these so the kids can use one. When I order again I will probably go up to the next size for myself. I think it would be a bit more comfortable at my desk if it was just a bit bigger.

This ball isn't just for sitting! I've also been using it for sit-ups! I have all hard floor surfaces in my house so it's nice to be off the floor. When you order a Live Infinitely Exercise Ball, they send you a nice Exercise and Yoga Guide via email. I can't wait to try more of the suggested uses for the ball! The new year is coming soon and it will be time to up my exercise game! I'm glad I have this great new addition to my work out gear.

I got this product free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.


Monday, November 30, 2015

Exhale


The holidays are no joke for grownups. This time of year is exhausting (the "e" I almost chose!). It can be so easy to slip into frustration, stress, or depression.

I find this time of year it is super important to take a few extra minutes a day just to exhale. Just time to get a good breath and let it go. Everyone has different methods of relaxing. For me it comes down to a few simple ingredients:

~Coffee....of course! Or some other soothing beverage. Perhaps a Dr. Pepper or hot tea? Those are my back up selections. When it is cold, a warm beverage has such a relaxing effect. Thus the reason Sheldon always offers it to friends in distress!

~Music....a good song or playlist can make a bad day into a good one. I'd love to make some recommendations for you here but that could take awhile. I really love so many different kinds of music. My playlists look like they were compiled by a multitude of people. I will say...my currents favorites are Christmas music (Michael Buble & Pentatonix have some excellent songs) and Adele (because Hello!). Music has a drastic effect on mood so if you are already feeling down, try something peppy! Put on some dancing music and turn that frown into a smile!

~Candle or Fireplace...until recently my only choice would have been candles. I love a happy little candle with an enticing (see another E word!) scent. I always have extra candles around this time of year because I love the fall and winter special scents and because they give me a little joy with each flicker. Now we have a fireplace and I'm quickly becoming addicted to it as well. From the smell of the wood burning to the warmth to the lovely glow...it is a mood lifter and definitely helps me relax.

~Clothing...I was tempted to just put sweatshirt or sweater here but I realized it goes beyond that. Put on some comfy clothes or your favorite raggedy robe. Whatever it takes to feel comfortable. Why sit around in discomfort? This of course is only for times when you are at home...without company...

The real point here is just to take care of yourself this holiday season. Don't lose yourself in the hustle and bustle of Christmas. Find the things you enjoy (pie? fudge? egg nog?) and spend a few minutes enjoying them as you exhale. As you are exhaling, spend a few moments with God in prayer and thank Him for the joy of the season.

I'm really enjoying this journey of blogging through the alphabet! Be sure to check out all the posts here:

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Staying Hydrated #gravgear



Some people don't enjoy drinking water while they run or exercise. I am not one of those people. I find myself needing steady hydration during a workout. I received a Grav Gear Hydration Running Belt for review. This sturdy belt holds two 9 oz bottles of water and has a pocket for carrying other items.


This ain't your mama's fanny pack. This sleek belt fits snug to your waist and is adjustable. It won't swing or move while you are running (or in my case walking fast!). The pocket is designed to be flat but it will hold your phone, keys, iPod, and/ or anything else you need to carry with you. The pocket also has a headphone slot making it easy to listen to music on your jaunt.

I do take jogs alone but many days the kids are with me. We take long walks around the neighborhood or short hikes on nature trails. It is always an argument about who will carry the water. Not anymore! Because the belt holds 2 bottles, I now have one for myself and one for them to share. The bottles are flexible so they can squeeze their drinks out and germs won't be an issue. I like this belt so much that I almost wore it on a recent evening of high speed shopping. I didn't but I could have!

This belt is available for purchase through Amazon and would make a terrific gift!


Friday, November 27, 2015

My Favorite Black Friday Deals 2015

This post contains affiliate links and referral links.



I want to give you a list of my favorite Black Friday deals (for today 11/27/15) that you can redeem right from the comfort of your home! Some of these end today and some are good for the whole weekend. Please refer to each individual website or offer for all the details.


Ebates Coupons and Cash Back


Start by opening an Ebates account! Ebates is the place to get money back for almost every online purchase. As you shop you can use an Ebates link for up to 12% cash back for purchases. Please use my referral link to start your account: http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=YuMGvY79uobN0J%2FaUcZOjw%3D%3D&eeid=28187. Plus you will get a welcome bonus! Black Friday means double cash back with Ebates! Today's offers include 10% back from Macy's and 8% back from Kohl's!


You can get your family registration to Teach Them Diligently and save $10!!!! Please use my link to redeem your offer. https://teachthemdiligently.net/iaffiliates/idevaffiliate.php?id=285 In 2016, TTD will be in 3 cities and this unique convention is fantastic for homeschooling veterans, homeschool newbies, and Christian families. You can read all about my experience at TTD 2015 in Nashville.


Maestro Classics is offering up to 70% off with free shipping. 3 of their CDs are only $5 today! My kids fell in love with their version of The Nutcracker when we received it to review recently.


Great Products is offering 50% off all their Homeschool Christian T-Shirts. Everyone in my family owns at least one of these fun, humorous shirts. Be sure to use code SAVE50.




We have fallen in love with Grapevine Studies since reviewing their Old Testament Level 1 study. You can get 30% off their Birth of Jesus Study as a Black Friday/ Cyber Monday special! Take advantage of this offer using my affiliate link: http://grapevinestudies.com/product-category/studies-by-topic/birth-of-jesus/?ap_id=247mama.




HEDUA is offering a FREE 2015 Homeschool coupon book! Get it by clicking the image above. Today you can also save 50% on their 2015-2016 Well Planned Day planners! This is one of my favorite planners and you can get the deal by following my affiliate link: http://hedua.com/cart/index.php/wpd/2015-school-year.html?acc=ad972f10e0800b49d76fed33a21f6698. They are on day 3 of 6 days of deals. Sign up for their emails to get access to the rest of the special savings!

Educents is always offering fantastic freebies and great deals. Today through Monday you can get free shipping and an extra 10% off using my link,  http://www.educents.com/daily-deals#247mama, and the code GIVETHANKS. Educents is also offering a free coupon book! Make sure to get yours here: http://www.educents.com/black-friday-coupon-ebook.html?utm_source=Bloggers-Affiliates-Combined+List&utm_campaign=ccd3a21006-affiliate_bfcontent_11.27.15&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_7ffaade220-ccd3a21006-81746669&mc_cid=ccd3a21006&mc_eid=cc5aa8f59a#247mama.


If you use Homelife Academy, you can preregister your kids for the 2016-2017 school year for 25% off. This deal is good through Monday. You will also be entered into a special prize giveaway! This is the biggest sale HLA offers, and I take advantage of the huge savings every year!

Doorposts is offering the Parenting Pack for 50% off! This pack includes 2 charts and a checklist to reference and with the discount it is only $9!


Unlock Math has become a new favorite for Apple since our review. You can get $50 off the annual purchase using my referral link: http://unlockmath.refr.cc/GX5LDXH. This all online math program is great for PreAlgebra!

Check back here because I will post more deals as I see them! Thank you for supporting Carter Chaos blog by using referral and affiliate links included in posts.

Monday, November 23, 2015

D is for Delicious



My dad's favorite treat was peanut butter fudge. It became a tradition to make it for him for every holiday. It was never too much trouble because I love it too! As far as I know everyone who has ever tried it has loved it. So of course I still make it for my family even though my dad is no longer with us. I made my first batch for the holiday season today, and it came out perfectly!

You need:

3/4 c butter
2/3 c evaporated milk
3 c sugar
2/3 c peanut butter
13 oz marshmallow cream

Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Once it is melted stir in evaporated milk. Then add all 3 cups of sugar. Stir, stir, stir. Once it begins to bubble you really need to start stirring as you let it boil for 5 minutes. You arm will feel like it may fall off....keep stirring! When the 5 minutes is up, cut off the heat and stir in your peanut butter. I prefer crunchy but creamy will work as well. Once the peanut butter is melted, grow a third arm because you still need to stir as you add in the marshmallow cream. Once it is all melded together and feels like you are sticky from head to toe, pour the yummy sugary goodness into a pan. This corningware dish that was my grandma's is my vessel of choice but you can go with metal or glass. The size just depends on how thick you want your fudge. Then it just needs to sit for a bit to solidify. Cut into squares and serve to the people you love! It is very sweet but oh so DELICIOUS!

I am blogging through the alphabet with Through the Calm and Through the Storm and Adventures with Jude! Check them out and find all the other D posts for this week.
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Monday, November 16, 2015

The Results are In

Last week I gave you a rundown of some of our favorites for the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blue Ribbon Awards. Today all the winners were posted and you can check them out on the Schoolhouse Review page. We enjoyed all the reviews we were able to do this year. 

2015 Schoolhouse Review Crew Blue Ribbon Awards


Many of our favorites made the list! Some of the ones that were voted into a top spot (that I didn't include in last week's post) were:

Favorite Grammar: Institute for Excellence in Writing: Fix It! Grammar
Grammar was a tied category for us but Fix It! was in our top two. 

Favorite Penmanship Program: CursiveLogic
We voted for CursiveLogic, and Apple is still using it! 

Favorite History Curriculum: Homeschool in the Woods
Apple and Speedy voted for this study. We stepped away from it for awhile but both have recently asked to pull it back out. 

Favorite Christian Education Curriculum: Grapevine Studies
Grapevine Studies was our last review item for the Crew for 2015. This was another tied category for us but Grapevine was in the top two!

Favorite Middle School Product: The Critical Thinking Co.
Apple voted for The Critical Thinking Co. with no hesitation!

It was so much fun to vote for our favorites. We were blessed to try over 35 new (to us) homeschool (and personal) items from the Schoolhouse Review Crew this year. I'm so excited to let you know that I was selected to participate in the Crew again in 2016! I can't wait to see what fun things we get to test next year!

You can see all the award winners on the Schoolhouse Review Crew website and if you scroll down there is a linky for posts like this. Be sure to check out the other Crew members' choices for the 2015 Blue Ribbon Awards! 

C is for Change

Sometime around year 2 or 3 of our homeschool journey I found that Apple operated well with a set of 5 plastic drawers. She had a drawer for each day of the week to keep all of her books and school work. When she finished an assignment she would put it into the next day's drawer. She was much younger at the time and rarely did a subject every day. Over time as we've adjusted this system as needed and Speedy eventually received an identical set of drawers.



Amazingly enough all children are not the same. After a particularly difficult few days, it was clear some adjustments needed to happen. Even though some of the things we do in our school day are things we've always done, some of them weren't working. I should have seen it coming. I've regularly needed to adjust and change things for one student. However I don't like change so I guess I just avoid. Avoid. Avoid. AVOID! Until I can no longer avoid.



So last week we made some changes. Now one student has a whole new organization system. Rather than use the big drawers (which had just become full of nonsense) this student now has a basket with a folder or notebook for each subject. The drawers are gone and there is just this small wicker basket in the space. Said student is thrilled with the system and I really am praying this is a step towards independence for this child. 

It's only been a few days but so far things are working well. Rather than put all completed work in one basket this student is putting completed work back into the subject folder. Now everything is in one place and the pupil seems pleased with the streamlined method. As you can see, the other student is still quite happy with the drawers system, and that is okay with me!

How do you organize your homeschool?

This post is linked up with Through the Calm and Through the Storm and Adventures with Jude.
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