Thursday, October 30, 2014

Clued in Kids Review


     Are you looking for more fun ways to learn with your kids? Our family had so much fun reviewing two educational treasure hunts from Clued in Kids! We tried out the Soccer Hunt and the Thanksgiving Hunt ($5.99 each), but go to the website and check out ALL the fun treasure hunts they have, there are LOTS! 


     Let me tell you a little more about these treasure hunts, you can read Heather's story here about what inspired her to start this company, also Clued in Kids has created a great little animation to show you what it's all about. Basically you have a group of clues you will print off from the PDF. Each numbered clue will give you a location to hide it in on the bottom. The first clue will be handed to the children. The clues must be figured out using the educational puzzles provided.


      Once they figure out the puzzle it will lead them to the next clue. If the clue tells you to hide it somewhere that doesn't exist in your house (for instance one of the Thanksgiving clues was to be hidden in the scarves- which we don't have this far south!)  then you can come up with an activity for the kids to do to earn that clue (jumping jacks, skip counting by 2's, etc)


     We did was the soccer hunt first. Most clues have a soccer theme to them, such as finding a hidden household item in a soccer picture, or figuring out which soccer word completes a word puzzle. I admit there were several here I had no clue how to answer, but there's an answer key to look up anything that you may need help with. Most areas they ask you to place the clues in, will be common in every home, such as "hide this clue in the forks" or "hide the clue in a child's bed". 






     We did the Thanksgiving hunt second. This would be a great one to try in the upcoming weeks. None of the clue answers would require you to be already decorated for the Thanksgiving Holiday, however the clues had a definite fall or Thanksgiving theme to them. 


     At the end of each hunt they ask you to leave a "treasure" in the final hiding spot for your children to find. It can be anything you want to use such as stickers, candy, or even use the hunt at a party and have the gifts be the treasure! We have a reward system in our home where the children earn a marble for good behavior, helping out with a difficult chore, for a special kindness, etc. Once they collect 10 marbles they recieve $1. We used these marbles as our "treasure" and each child earned 2 as their treasure. 



     The age range for these treasure hunts is 4 and up according to the website. My 4 year old did participate, however, if she had been doing the hunt all by herself a lot of the clues would have been too hard for her. In fact, several of the math problems needed to figure out a clue were beyond my 8-year-old's math ability and we had to solve them together. So be prepared to be involved in the hunt as a parent if your children are younger. All of my children really enjoyed doing both hunts and immediately asked if we could purchase more when we were finished.



     Set up for the hunts will take less than 15 min. I would recommend checking your printer ink before doing these, I had one color that was running low and several of the clues were difficult to see because of that. 

     If you would like to try a scavenger hunt for free, sign up for Clued in Kids newsletter to receive the Homework scavenger hunt PDF free! 



Clued In KidsReview


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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Liberty Videos Review


     I was recently given the opportunity to review a movie produced by New Liberty Videos. Out of the 6 videos, I chose to review "A Nation Adrift" because American History is one of my favorite subjects, and happens to be what we are studying for our homeschooling history curriculum this year. This physical DVD retails for $19.95.




         New Liberty Videos is owned by husband and wife, Brian and Marilyn Barkley. Brian Barkley started producing movies 40 years ago with a resume that includes working at Universal Studios in Hollywood. While producing a documentary in the San Quentin prison that he became a Christian. He then began using his producing skills to create faith-based movies.

       I wasn't sure when I received this video whether I would be able to share it with my children (ages 8 and under). They are considered for a general audience, however you are asked to use your own judgment for your family's viewing. For my own family, my husband and I watched it together first, and then decided that there were some subjects, especially in the second half of the movie that were too grown-up for our children at the age they are. However, it was still helpful for my own knowledge of American history as their History teacher! 

 

     A Nation Adrift is 93 minutes long and gives a timeline of America's history, beginning with the first explorers and why they chose to travel here and on through the years up until the present (the movie was produced in 2004). It presents history in a way that wouldn't necessarily have been as easy in ages past, linking what has happened in our history with how we got where we are today. It includes many quotes from both modern and historical figures showing their opinion on subjects maybe you haven't considered before.



     I really enjoyed the video and so did my husband. I think on an individual basis we all know how our experiences, in conjunction with our beliefs, have shaped us into who we have become and why we make the decisions that we do. However, have you ever considered what decisions in our nations history have caused us to develop certain laws and government practices. If we can see where we started, what we've become and the differences in a successful America compared to one that is failing in many ways perhaps we can better understand what is needed to become a great nation again. 

     This video has a decidedly Christian perspective on the history of our country, and while I do believe it would be important for anyone to watch, it would appeal most to Christians in it's content. It's focus throughout the movie is God's sovereignty during decisions that effected our nation, and how we as Christian citizens can help to turn the focus of our nation back to Jesus Christ during this time of our nation being Adrift.

     New Liberty videos have many other selections to choose from. You can read the other crew members opinions of the following videos by clicking on the green "Click Here to Read More Reviews!" picture at the bottom of this page.



 Anthem for a Nation


 Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls

 Teaching Origins Objectively

 The Forbidden Book

 Warriors of Honor





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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Some of Our Favorite Lego Activities

     Do you have someone at home who just can't get enough Legos? Me too! Here are some of our favorite Lego activites from around the web! (You know, other than just playing endlessly with them) Many of them have an educational spin on them, because that's just how we homeschool mom's roll...

     All of these ideas (and more) are Pinned over on our Lego Projects board on Pinterest, which is a great way to keep track of them all (and future ideas we find online!)





Our first Lego idea that we loved was Lego Ice Exploration from Dayna over at Lemon Lime Adventures. 



 The basic idea is to freeze a mini fig in ice and then have your child figure out how to remove them. A few tweeks we added to our own excavation project. We didn't let the ice fully freeze. My daughter who wanted to try this is only 4 years old. I was sure she would have a hard time waiting, or chopping away at the ice, so we only let the ice half freeze- the added benefit being it only took about an hour in the freezer before it was ready! I also had my daughter use actual Lego tools to remove the mini-fig from the ice. 


That's a mini plastic axe she's using =)

She also used some rock salt we had and learned about how salt can melt ice faster. This was a great sensory activity. She even enjoyed playing with the ice well after the Mini-Fig had escaped. Dayna also has a great idea for Lego Calm Down Jars that you should really go check out as well! 



Our second activity was a Color your own Mini-Fig free printable from Mary at Homegrown Learners. We love coloring in this house, especially something open ended like this that gives the kids the opportunity to branch out and make it unique! 




Which, of course for many boys leads to Mini-figs holding axes and flame-throwers ;)



Our next project was a Lego Marble Run from Octavia and Vickey.com This became a bigger project for us since we didn't have a large Lego board, so we had to puzzle one together from our various small boards.



We also had no marbles so ours was a small Styrofoam ball run, which doesn't have the same ring to it but was equally as fun! This is such a great idea and really forced my big boys to be creative and think through the next step before each new path could be completed.



     It also was a great lesson in patience as several of our original ideas didn't work out so we had to disassemble and try again! 

The final idea we tried out was the Lego Catapult from Science Sparks.com This was another excellent idea for making the Legos more educational! 



     The first catapult was functional, but not strong enough to be pulled back without falling to pieces. So we had to talk about reinforcing and how we could make the whole thing stronger. 

     We enjoyed finding some new Lego ideas and I hope you did as well! We have some more Lego ideas in the works including my son's idea for making up some Lego comics! Be sure to like us on our Social Media to be the first to know when new posts are up! (Right hand top of the page has all our links)
















Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkin Carob Cookies

Some of the links in this article are "affiliate links" , which means if you click on one and purchase something I receive a small compensation, Thank you! This is disclosed on the top of every blog post in accordance with the FTC regulations for bloggers.


       I like recipes that do more than just taste good! Especially with children, who can be picky, it's so important to find ways to incorporate healthy foods into their diet everyday! 
     
     This particular recipe is inspired by keeping their little tummies healthy. The star ingredients Pumpkin and Carob and both excellent sources of fiber. In addition, pumpkin is high in vitamin A and has vitamin C, calcium and iron as well- all excellent when you are sick or to keep you healthy. Carob is even higher in fiber than pumpkin and also has iron, calcium and several trace minerals. It is also considered a "pre-biotic" which, in the simplest terms, means in feeds the good flora in our guts. (click that link if you would like a more detailed explanation). 



     Carob is particularly useful in cases of diarrhea. Lets not get too technical about it since this is meant to be a recipe post, but we all know that this is a common problem in children particularly and can cause serious concerns if not stopped quickly. In my experience, carob is one of the FASTEST and easiest ways to quell an over-excited stomach. 
Some of the other ingredients such as coconut oil, oatmeal and flax seed are all helpful in building up an upset gut and providing key nutrients for the body. I do not include conventional sugar in this recipe, even the less refined variety, because if you are fighting illness it's best to avoid sugar. The pictures have a light sprinkling of demerara sugar on top for better picture quality, but that could be skipped unless you are quite sure your children won't eat this without some extra sweetness, in which case I say add a little sugar, it will still have lots of healthful properties even with a little sugar- but try them without it first! You may be surprised how much you like these!



Pumpkin Carob Cookies

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened (if you prefer you can just use 1/2 cup coconut oil and eliminate the butter or vice versa)
1 egg
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup whole wheat flour (sprouted if you have it)
1/2 cup unbleached white flour (you can eliminate this an just add whole wheat if you would prefer, this will give it a little more familiar texture to those use to store-bought cookies)
1/3 cup carob powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup demerara sugar for sprinkling (optional)



Directions:


  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Combine butter, coconut oil and coconut sugar in a bowl whip together to combine.
  • Add egg, vanilla, flax meal, salt and pumpkin puree, stir well.
  • In a separate bowl, combine both flours, carob powder, oatmeal and baking powder. Stir to combine well.
  • Add dry ingredients to your wet ingredient and mix to form a stiff cookie dough (add walnuts if you choose here)
  • Scoop out on a parchment lined cookie sheet, flatten each cookie with a fork. (Sprinkle with Demera sugar if desired)
  • Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

    All four of my kids really enjoyed these cookies. In fact, my youngest son enjoyed them so much that he had a melt down when I said he couldn't come back for thirds!  I hope you'll try it with your children too and let me know the results! 

I am a blogger, NOT a medical professional . Nothing written on this blog is meant to be considered medical advice. Not meant to treat, cure or prevent any disease as according to the FDA regulations.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Apologia Educational Ministries iWitness Review

     Why do you believe what you believe? What evidence do you have that it's true? These are important questions in our family and I was so excited to have the opportunity to read this series of Christian apologetics books from Apologia Educational Ministries, written and designed by Doug Powell (MA Christian Apologetics, Biola) . The three books in the series are iWitness Biblical Archaeology, New Testament iWitness, and Old Testament iWitness. Each book costs $14.


 photo iWitnessPin.jpg
     
     These iWitness books are written in a quick-read or "coffee table" book format that gives you the option to read a long section, or just a short one, and still learn something new. The pages are filled with colorful and interesting pictures that relate to the text, such as pictures of the caves in Qumran near the  discussion about the Dead Sea Scrolls. These books are intended to be read by ages 11 and up, however our oldest son is not quite 9 and we enjoyed reading them allowed together during our evening devotions as a family.


 photo iWitness.jpg
Apologia Review


In the first book, Biblical Archaeology, Doug Powell talks about the stories of the Bible, such as the Flood and the Exodus and gives several historical finds that coincide with each story. We learned many interesting stories that I hadn't known before. I've always enjoyed ancient Egyptian History and so the part of the book which discussed which Pharaoh could have been in power during the time of Moses was fascinating to me. My spine tingled as I read of excavations at Jericho that showed that the outer city wall had fallen against an inner retaining wall (was that the distant sounds of trumpets I heard?) 




Apologia Review
In Old Testament iWitness, Powell discusses the books of the Old Testament, how were they chosen, how long have they been considered together to form a book, and is there evidence outside of the Bible for the historical events they describe. We found it interesting to learn some of the many ways that the scribes used to make sure they copied the text accurately such as making a grid, counting the words, and throwing out the copy if one inaccuracy was found. Again there are many fascinating pictures on each page that go along with the writing, and give you a little insight as to where or who they are talking about.

Apologia Review
     In New Testament iWitness, Powell discusses how the books of the New Testament were chosen, why others were rejected and what evidence we have of these books being the ones used by the early church. He also gives a brief history of the early church fathers, what books they specifically mention as being inspired by God. There is a section discussing some of the books that were not chosen to be included and why, some being outright heretical and others merely acceptable for worship, but not considered meant for the universal church.
 
     We found these books to be extremely interesting. All of the children (other than the baby) wanted to be standing next to the reader to see the pictures. The pictures inspired great discussion about the subjects. Our children were technically "too young" for these books, however we found the writing to be understandable by at least our older two boys (ages 6 and 8) with just the occasional word that needed further explanation.  In my opinion, these books are great for children and adults alike, even if you had no children in your home but were interested in Biblical History from a Christian worldview, you would enjoy these books. If you, or your child, have a difficult time with books with lots pictures (think "scrapbook" feel) or varying text fonts, including many with a "handwritten" fonts, then this book may not be for you. We were pleased with the engaging fonts and scrapbook-like picture/text format. We found a lot of information that we didn't know and certainly these books would be a great starter to inspired further study into the subject of Christian Apologetics.


Apologia Review
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Herbal Discoveries: Rosemary and Sage Hair Rinse


Some of the links in this post may be "affiliate links" which means if you click and then purchase something I receive a small compensation, Thank You! this is disclosed on the top of every post in accordance with the FTC regulations for bloggers.


     Here's my second Herbal discoveries post I'd like to share with you! I'd like to tell you about an easy Rosemary and Sage Hair rinse that we use. It's great for softening your hair (much like a conditioner would do, but a lot less chemicals!) and also may help with your dry or itchy scalp.

 photo HairRinsePin.jpg
    
     Nothing could be simpler than this recipe! Mostly what you need is a little patience while your herbs infuse into your vinegar! But before we get to the recipe, lets talk about why I chose these two particular herbs.

1. They are readily accessible by anyone who has access to a Grocery store. I have both of these herbs growing in my own yard and I am blessed to live in a place where both of them can survive year round! (I do cover them for the occasional freeze) At least in the US, you should be able to find both of these herbs in your vegetable aisle. Fresh is always better, but if dried is your only option, then it's better than nothing!
 
2. Both Rosemary and Sage are excellent for your scalp. They both have been known for being a help for dandruff as well as having antibacterial and antiviral properties. Rosemary in particular has some properties that may help increase circulation as well.

 photo hairrinse2.jpgHere's how you make it. Choose how much you would like to make. This Herbal vinegar will keep well, I chose to make a full gallon. This is NOT the time to use your more valuable raw Apple Cider Vinegar. The more typical store bought kind is fine in this circumstance.  





 photo herbalhairrinse1.jpgWhatever size you choose, you'll want a similar sized glass container. I'm using one of those large pickle jars from a wholesale club store. Fill it 1/2 to 3/4 full of your herbs. This may be a reason to choose a smaller sized container if you don't have it growing in your own yard, since it would be pricey to purchase as much herb as I am using here. If you find that you enjoy this hair rinse as much as we do, you may decide to purchase some of the herbs yourself and grow your own! Fill the jar with your vinegar and put on the cover.

 photo hairrinse5.jpg      Store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight (I put it in a lower cupboard). You'll want the herbs to soak in the vinegar for at least 2 weeks, more time will not hurt though, I tend to leave mine for at least a month. You should try to regularly shake or turn the jar a little to make sure all the vinegar is well infused with the herbs.






     When it's ready, strain the herbs from the vinegar and discard them. (Still great for your compost pile or if you don't have one, place them under a tree or bush in your yard.) Now your vinegar is ready to use! You can shampoo your hair as normal, we like to use a shampoo bar ourselves such as this one. To use the rinse, it's nice to have a squeeze bottle like this one pictured, but it's not essential.

 photo hairrinse6.jpg      You want to dilute your vinegar to be about 50/50 with water. After you wash your hair pour the rinse over your head. I like to do this with my hair forward, especially if I've just shaved my legs. Vinegar on legs that have just been shaved DOESN'T FEEL GOOD, just take my advice on this one. ;) I pour it on my head, being careful to avoid getting it in my eyes, squeeze it through my hair.

 photo hairrinse3.jpg
      You can rinse with water immediately. Your hair will feel softer right away! If you have a condition like dandruff you may want to leave the vinegar on longer or even not rinse it off. The smell will be slightly stronger, however by the time your hair dries the smell will be mostly gone.



     Some other potential uses for this vinegar:
  • it would make a decent bug spray, especially if you add some lemongrass or citronella essential oil to the finished product. (Do NOT ingest if you added either oil) 
  • It also would help as a non-chemical solution if you had a bug infestation on a plant. Spray the plant well with the infused vinegar and when the bugs are dead wash the plant off with a hose.
  • Certainly, as it is, could be used for and oil and  infused vinegar salad dressing! Sage is NOT recommended for nursing mothers as it can lower milk supply. A little may be okay, but a large amount should be avoided.

          I hope this herbal vinegar is helpful for you and your family! I am happy to try and answer any non-medical questions  you may have and I'd love to hear about it if you try it yourself!


In case you are interested these shots were taken with a CanonPowerShot  SD 1200

 
All medical advice should be asked of a medical professional. I am NOT a medical professional. Not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease according to the FDA.