Friday, August 11, 2017

More About Mae

I introduced you to our new wonder pup, Mae, earlier this year in this post.  I have to tell you that she is the sweetest dog we have ever had.  I have loved every single dog we have ever had in our home, but Miss Mae has truly just captured our hearts.  She is a rescue dog and I have a new place in my heart for rescue dogs.
A Glimpse of Normal, Mae, Rescue Dog
Mae was bought as a new puppy by a couple.  They surrendered her to an animal shelter because she chewed things and she had accidents.  To me this is just being a puppy, but if you have never raised a puppy before it would be frustrating.  The animal shelter she was given to works with a vet tech school a couple of hours away from us so that the vet tech students can learn.  The vet tech school then works to get the animals adopted by the staff, students, and friends/family of the students.  This is how we got Mae, we know a student in this program.  When the student we know heard we were ready to get a dog again, she said, "I have the perfect dog for you."  We were looking for a dog that could be active with us, but then turn around and chill out with us too.  The dog had to be excellent with kids and not be afraid of strangers (we love to have friends over).  We were looking for a medium size dog.  Those were pretty much the basics of what we were looking for and to us the breed didn't really matter.  So after talking to our student friend, we filled out our application.  Then we got the call to come and meet Mae.  Oh my goodness, she walked in the room, walked up to the kids and licked their hands.  She then quickly made friends with the kids and she loved on hubby and me too.  We found out that she is very patient, she loved people, and she was so good she would sit in the classroom as the vet tech students were having class.  She just loved being near people.  There was one other person scheduled to meet Mae and the vet in charge of the program ultimately got to decide which home was the best choice for Mae.  Of course you already know that we got the phone call to let us know, we had a puppy to bring home.
Bringing Mae home was a little bit of an adventure.  She did not really care for her first big car ride and spent a good 30 minutes of the ride in my lap, glued to me.  We finally got her calmed down and sitting between the kids.  She was okay as long as they talked to her.  Her first couple of nights were rough as she adjusted to being with us.  She just wanted her people close to her all the time.  She still does love to have her people close.  Most of the time when I blog, I have a blogging assistant who lays right by my computer chair patiently waiting for me to finish.  She brings her food over to where we are eating so she can eat with us.  She loves to lay in the living room where she can see us all.
We quickly figured out that due to Mae's background, she spent most of her early life in a cage/kennel/crate (whichever you prefer to call it).  So she is just learning to play.  She won't really chew on toys except for one.  The other toys she has she pulls the fur off of them, but won't play with them.  She also chews the fuzz off of tennis balls and she will go to it if you throw it, but she isn't interested in fetching it.  She has learned new tricks and she loves getting rewarded for being good.  She can sit, shake, stay, and sit up pretty.  Mae is very obedient and for the most part stays close by us when we are outside, she does have her determined moments when she gets on the trail of a chipmunk or the geese, but those are rare.  She responds to commands and knows where she should be.  She likes other dogs and has become good friends with Liberty and Tucker.  Mae loves her peoples and is definitely loved by us too.  I am sure there are days that Mae gets loved on too much, if that is possible for a dog.
Mae is so well behaved and mellow.  She goes with the flow and is adjusting well.  She still gets a little worried when we go away, but every time we come home it reassures her that she is staying.  If you have ever thought about rescuing a dog, I would encourage you to check out the dogs available to rescue.  Our rescue dog is loyal, loved, and sweet as can be.  .

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Review of No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials

Algebra can be a very tough subject for kids to learn.  Buddy just finished Algebra I this past school year, but I am always looking for ways to keep this subject fresh in his mind since he will need the skills he learned for other math classes.  This is why I was very happy to receive a copy of No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials to review recently.
No-Nonsense Algebra, Algebra, Homeschool Math, Math Essentials
No-Nonsense Algebra is a textbook style book that is designed to help students master essential math skills.  Each lesson begins with an introduction which explains the topic for the lesson.  The introduction also has helpful hints for students to remember when solving the problems.  Next there are several examples that show exactly how the problems should be worked.  Then there are exercises for the students to complete so that they can practice what they have learned.  Finally there are some review problems that review concepts that have been previously covered.  There are 10 chapters in this book and at the end of each chapter there is a chapter review which you could use as test if you would like to.  There is also a final review that covers the contents of the entire book.  The 10 chapters cover:
  • Necessary Tools for Algebra
  • Solving Equations
  • Graphing and Analyzing Linear Equations
  • Solving and Graphing Inequalities
  • Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities
  • Polynomials
  • Rational Expressions (Algebraic Fractions)
  • Radical Expressions and Geometry
  • Quadratic Equations
  • Algebra Word Problems
When you purchase this book for $28.95 you also get access to free online video lessons.  They have a video for every lesson in this book and the videos are clear, concise, and helpful.  This textbook can be used in a variety of ways.  It can be used as a main Algebra curriculum, a supplement to another Algebra curriculum, or as a review if your student has already completed Algebra.
We used this textbook as a review tool since Buddy has just completed Algebra I this past school year.  He did well in Algebra I, but I figured that review over the summer couldn't hurt before he takes his next math course.  When we first received this book I had him complete a couple of lessons from Chapter 1.  I wanted him to review working with integers and the order of operations.  I thought these were both important topics for him to look at again.  He read through the introduction and examples so he could be reminded of what these concepts were all about.  Then he completed the exercises.  Even though this book is meant to be used as a textbook, I had him use it as a workbook and I let him write in it.  After that I had him skip around in the book and cover some of the lessons with concepts that were harder for him when he took Algebra I.  When I found a lesson that I wanted him to work on, I used my access code that comes with the book and logged in so that he could watch the corresponding video.  The videos are very well done.  They are easy to understand and the examples are very clear.  They show you step by step how to do the problems and tell you why it works.  I also had Buddy complete some of the lessons in the later chapters so he could review the concepts he learned towards the end of the year.  We will continue using this resource for review to keep Buddy's Algebra skills fresh.

We liked No-Nonsense Algebra and we would definitely recommend it.  As a parent and teacher, I feel like it is thorough enough that it could be used for a math curriculum while at the same time being used for a thorough review for those who have completed Algebra I.  I liked that the book is so thorough and well explained and that there are the videos to go along with the lessons.  Buddy liked that this book was to the point.  There weren't long, drawn out explanations so the lessons were easy to understand and took 20 minutes or so to complete since he was familiar with the concepts already.  You can learn more about Math Essentials and all the course they have to offer on their website and on Facebook.  You can learn about the No-Nonsense Algebra we received here.  As always you can see what my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew are saying about this textbook by clicking on the banner below.
No-Nonsense Algebra {Math Essentials Reviews}

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Review of Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! - Level 3 Set from Greek 'n' Stuff

Little Miss has shown an interest in learning a foreign language for awhile now.  She has been trying to learn Spanish, but like all young kids she tends to get bored with it.  I knew she needed a break from this foreign language, but I wanted her to continue to learn some foreign language.  This is why I was excited to receive Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! - Level 3 Set from Greek 'n' Stuff to review with her recently.
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Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! - Level 3 Set that we received includes the student workbook, a "Full Text" answer key, and a pronunciation CD for levels 3 and 4.  The consumable student workbook has 36 lessons.  The lessons are designed so that your student works on a page in the workbook each day.  This means that you could use this for a full school year if you worked at their recommended pace.  It also includes an appendix which has flashcards for your student to practice with, a copy of the Greek Alphabet, information on the vowel sounds, information on verbs and nouns, and more.  The "Full Text" answer key we received is just like the workbook, but it has the answers filled in.  It also gives a recommended teaching schedule, teacher tips, and some translation walk-throughs that are helpful.  The pronunciation CD has a Greek Alphabet song on which is very helpful for hearing how the letters should be pronounced.  It also features word pronunciations for many lessons.  The tracks are clearly marked for which page number they match with.  Greek 'n' Stuff recommends this Level 3 set for upper elementary students through adults.  Even though you may have never studied Greek before like us, you can start here because the first part of the workbook is review from previous levels before they jump into new material.  The workbook and the "Full Text" answer key are available for just $21.95 each and the pronunciation CD is available for $10.00.  Since these products are consumable, you need a workbook for each student.
Little Miss was curious and excited to start this review.  She was excited to learn a language that no one else in our house knows.  I started her off with lesson one which starts by reviewing the Greek Alphabet.  She really liked learning the letters and the unique writing of Greek.  These pages had her practicing saying the letter name while writing it and she did a good job learning them.  Spent about two weeks working through the alphabet pages and the review of the alphabet pages.  I wanted to make sure she took her time and actually learned the letters instead of rushing through.  When she got to lesson three, she started learning Greek words.  She really liked the "new" way to write man and brother which were some of the words she learned in that lesson.  She also liked making up the flashcards so that she could practice her new words when she wanted to.  She worked at the pace of a page a day which took her about 10 minutes or less each day, but it had her full attention while she was working on it.  She just finished up lesson four and will pick up the lessons again when our school year starts.
Little Miss really enjoyed learning Greek.  She said she felt like she was learning a secret language since the rest of us do not know Greek.  She has been sharing her new words with us and making us guess what they mean.  I like this set from Greek 'n' Stuff because it is easy to work through for my 4th grader, but she is really learning at the same time.  I appreciate all the teaching tips in the answer key because I wouldn't have an idea without them.  I also really liked the pronunciation CD that we received.  It helps me know the correct pronunciation so I can tell if Little Miss is pronouncing the words right.  We definitely recommend checking out this product for learning Greek.  

Greek 'n' Stuff offers many products in addition to their Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! series.  They offer Bible Study books, other Greek levels, and courses in Latin.  They are definitely a great resource for homeschool materials.  You can learn more about them on their website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.  You can learn about more about the Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! - Level 3 Set we received here.  I would also encourage you to check out the reviews from my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew by clicking the banner below because we did get to review different products this time.  I know I will be reading them because I am interested in some of the Bible Studies for my kids.  
Teach Me Some Greek {Greek 'n' Stuff Reviews}

Friday, August 4, 2017

Summer Series: Crochet 101 - Part 6

I hope you have been following along this summer with my series on Crochet 101.  I have been having fun sharing my knowledge with you, although I am by no means an expert on crochet.  I am still learning and picking up tips all the time.  I think that is what I love about crochet, you are never done learning and you can always try something new.  This leads me to teaching you some other basic stitches so that you can do other projects too.
A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Summer Series, Crochet 101, Half Double Crochet, Double Crochet, Treble Crochet, Beginning Crochet
First up is the Half Double Crochet Stitch - This stitch is in between single crochet and double crochet height wise.  It is pretty, easy, and works up fast.  It is not as tight as single crochet and not as loose as double crochet.
1.  Yarn over.
2.  Insert your hook into a stitch

3.  Yarn over.
4.  Pull back through the stitch - you should have 3 loops on your hook.

5.  Yarn over.

6.  Pull through all the loops on your hook.

*Chain 2 chain stitches at the end of each row when using this stitch to get the right height for the next row.
Half Double Crochet
Next up is the Double Crochet Stitch - This stitch works up pieces so fast!  It is a favorite of mine because you tend to see progress faster using it.  Once you get the hang of it, you will fly along in your work with it.  It tends to have a little more give and leaves a little more space in projects, but is very pretty.
1.  Yarn over.
2.  Insert your hook into a stitch.
3.  Yarn over.
4.  Pull back through the stitch - you should have 3 loops on your hook.
5.  Yarn over.
6.  Pull through 2 of the loops on your hook.
7.  Yarn over.

8.  Pull through the rest of the loops on the hook.
*Chain 3 chain stitches at the end of each row when using this stitch to get the right height for the next row.
Double Crochet
Last is the Treble Crochet Stitch - This stitch is also called the Triple Crochet Stitch.  It is a taller stitch and works up very fast.  It is pretty easy once you get the hang of it.  It tends to leave more space between stitches and is looser than other stitches, but is a great stitch if you need some height in your project.
1.  Yarn over TWICE.
2.  Insert your hook into a stitch.
4.  Pull back through the stitch - you should have 4 loops on your hook.
5.  Yarn over.
6.  Pull through 2 of the loops on your hook.
7.  Yarn over.
8.  Pull through 2 of the loops on your hook.
9.  Yarn over.
10.  Pull through the rest of the loops on the hook.
*Chain 4 chain stitches at the end of each row when using this stitch to get the right height for the next row.
Treble Crochet (Triple Crochet)
That is it.  Those are all the basics I can think of for now.  Hopefully you can take these basics and create some cloths, scarves, small afghan, etc.  Do you have any questions?  Have you enjoyed this series?  I am going to work up some more crochet posts for fall and see what I come up with.  Thanks for hanging out with me this summer and I hoped you learned something.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Review of In the Reign of Terror from Heirloom Audio Productions

Last year was the first time we were introduced to audio dramas and since then we can't get enough of them.  Our favorite audio dramas are from Heirloom Audio Productions and I can tell you that we were very excited to receive their latest title, In the Reign Of Terror, to review.  We have not spent much time studying the French Revolution yet in our school, so I thought this might be a great way to introduce it.
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Since we have reviewed products for Heirloom Audio in the past, we knew we could expect a quality audio drama that not only captures our attention and but it also keeps us on the edge of our seats.  As a homeschool parent, I have come to really appreciate this company because their priority is bringing real history to life for their listeners and they strive to tell the stories of true Christian heroes while teaching strong moral values.  Their audio dramas are based on the popular book series The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty.  His books are filled with themes of bravery, loyalty, family, and happy endings while featuring moral values like loyalty, courage, honesty, and perseverance.  Since Henty’s books are filled with such great themes and morals, you can see why Heirloom Audio would base their audio dramas on this series.  They make it easy to complete their mission which is “to engage the listener’s imagination by taking them back in time and immersing them in a great Christian story “  because their audio dramas captivated us from the opening lines of score to the ending credits.
Like I already mentioned In the Reign of Terror is the story of the French Revolution.  The French Revolution was a period of 10 years when the people overthrew the monarchy and took control of the government.  There worst part of the revolution is known as the Reign of Terror and it occurred when Maximilien Robespierre, became a representative of the common people.  The common people were being mistreated and he fought for equality, voting rights, and the end of slavery for the common people.  He did not want any opposition to the revolution so he created the "Terror" Laws.  These laws that were passed made it possible for anyone suspected of treason could be arrested and executed.  This lead to the death of thousands of people including nobility.  This audio drama is the story of Harry, a young man from England who is going to live with and serve an aristocrat family.  He faces many trials while serving this family who is being persecuted just because they are part of a noble bloodline.  You have to listen to this audio drama to see how it all plays out and to find out if Harry can save any of the family he works for.
There are several options for purchasing this audio drama which contains over 2 hours of entertainment and education.  You can purchase it as a physical 2 CD set, which we received for just $29.97 plus shipping and handling.  You can also purchase it as a MP3 download for just $19.97.  You can also get access to many bonuses, extras, and a study guide for this audio drama (and others) by joining their Live The Adventure Club.  This is a new way to access all of their bonus material they offer and right now they are offering a 3 month trial of it, plus their latest adventure for just $1.  After the trial period you would pay just $24.75 every three months.  The Live The Adventure Club is packed full of extras for listeners, teachers, and families.  Heirloom Audio productions generously gave us access to this club so that we could access all the bonus material for In the Reign of Terror.  It was through this access that I was able to download the study guide and the script for this audio adventure.  I love having access to the study guide so that I can discuss the parts of the drama with my kids.  I usually use it as a reference to make sure they know what is happening in the drama since it has questions you can ask for each chapter of the audio drama.  The study guide also has vocabulary words, deeper questions for further thinking and research, and "Expand Your Learning" sections that give history details related to the story or recipes that coordinate with the story.  There is also a section for Bible study in the study guide.
The entire family enjoyed listening to this audio drama.  It arrived the day before my hubby had a business trip so he took it with him on his drive and listened to it.  He came home telling us how much he enjoyed this story and he said he could definitely picture all that was happening in the story.  He told me he missed his exit from the freeway because he was listening so intently.  The rest of us listened to it soon after that.  We found the story very entertaining as well and it was educational for us.  We had a hard time finding a spot to stop the story for a break so that I could make sure the kids understood what was going on.  It is too exciting to try and stop the story in the middle.  My son had been following along and understood, but I did have to explain more of what was going on to my 8 year old just because she didn't know anything at all about the French Revolution and my son who is older has at least read a little bit here and there about it for school.  So it ended up being a good starting point for us to do a little more research on the French Revolution and talk about equality, slavery, and why people would revolt.

Our whole family definitely recommends listening to In the Reign of Terror from Heirloom Audio Productions.  You can find out more about In the Reign of Terror here.  You can learn more about Heirloom Audio Productions on their website, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram.  Please be sure to check out all that Heirloom Audio Productions has to offer.  I know we will be checking them out to see what other series we can use this year for school.  My friends on the Homeschool Review Crew have also been reviewing this audio drama, so make sure you read their reviews by clicking the banner below.
In the Reign of Terror {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August 2017 Menu Plan

I am pretty sure this summer has just flown by and I am not quite sure where all our time has gone.  I can't believe it is already time to think about back to school, fall, and upcoming holidays.  Stop the world!!!  I just want to enjoy what is left of summer.  My goodness!  I guess that means we have been having fun since we didn't even realize how fast August hit us.  This month we are getting ready for going back to school, getting ready for some more camping, and just enjoying the last days of our summer break.  So it is a good time to only have a few new meals and go with the stand-by of our favorite meals.   Here is what is for dinner at our house this monrth:
A Glimpse of Normal, August Menu Plan, Whats for Dinner
  1. Stuffed Pepper Soup
  2. Sausage and Peppers Pasta
  3. BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad
  4. Pizza
  5. Chicken Mexican Haystacks
  6. Out to Eat
  7. Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers
  8. Green Beans, Potatoes, and Kielbasa
  9. Lemon Butter Chicken
  10. Black Bean Tostadas with Cilantro Lime Sauce
  11. Stromboli  
  12. Buffalo Chicken Bowls
  13. Jambalya
  14. Sushi Rice Bowls
  15. Bacon Cheeseburger Cauliflower Casserole
  16. Seriously Delicious Taco Salad
  17. Fireman Bob's Spicy Sloppy Joes
  18. Fooled Ya Pizza
  19. Chicken Burrito Bowls
  20. Taco Soup
  21. Quinoa Bowls with Hummus Vinagrette 
  22. Meatball Parmesan
  23. Adobo Chicken
  24. Poorman's Beef & Broccoli
  25. Pizza Soup
  26. Grilled Salmon with Lemon Dill Sauce
  27. Stuffed Burgers
  28. Walking Taco Casserole
  29. Italian Meatball Soup
  30. Beef Stroganoff
  31. Slow Cooker Carnitas
As always you can find my menu plan on my August Menu Plan board on Pinterest.  If you don't follow me on Pinterest, while you are there looking at my menu board take a moment and follow me.  What is for dinner at your house this month?  

Friday, July 28, 2017

Summer Series: Crochet 101 - Part 5

I have not forgot you, if you have been following along on my Summer Series, Crochet 101.  I got a little busier the last two weeks than I expected and had a hard time finding the time to sit down and write up a proper post for the project for this week.  But I am here now and we must proceed.  In Part 3 of my series I taught you the chain stitch and in Part 4 I taught you the single crochet.  Now it is time to put it all together and make a simple dish cloth.
A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Summer Series, Crochet 101, Part 5
Supplies Needed:
J Crochet Hook (6.00 mm)
1 Skein Lily's Sugar and Cream Yarn (My skein is Hot Blue)
Yarn Needle

Stitches Used:
Chain Stitch - yarn over and pull through (you don't typically count this in your stitch count)
Single Crochet - Insert hook into stitch, yarn over and pull through (there should be 2 loops on your hook now), yarn over again and pull through both stitches.

1.  Make a slip knot and then chain 26 stitches (this is 25 stitches plus your turning chain)
2.  In the first stitch from the hook, make a single crochet.  Continue all the way across until you get to the end of the row and then chain 1 stitch.  You should end up with 25 stitches, plus the stitch on your hook which is your turning chain.  This is row 1.
3.  Single crochet all the way across and chain one to complete your second row.  (25 stitches)
4.  Continue step 3 until you have 26 rows.
5.  Using the chain stitch on row 26 (this is the stitch you would use if you were going to create row 27), fasten off your work. I loop my yarn through to create a new loop and pull the old loop tight.  Then I repeat it one more time to knot my work.  Cut the yarn from the remaining skein.  (I only used about 1/2 of a skein for my dish cloth, but I do crochet tight.)
Here is my chain one of the last row.
I pull the yarn connected to the skein through my chain stitch. 
I pull the original loop tight.
I repeat that process.
I pull it tight again and it knots off my work.  I cut it off from the skein.
6.  Using the yarn needle, thread one of the loose tails of your work into the needle.  Then I just weave my end into the dishcloth using the needle.  I tie it off and snip off the extra.
I thread the needle using the tail from the end I cut off.
Using the needle, I weave in the end.
You can barely see where I weaved in the end.
I tie it off to the work and cut off the extra.
 Here is my finished dish cloth:

Do you have any questions?  I would love to see how your work turned out if you made a dish cloth.  Next week I will be back with a couple more stitches for you and to wrap up my summer series.