Monday, September 22, 2014

Autumn has Arrived! Pumpkin Muffins, Acorns,


In honor of Autumn and seasonal changes...

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins (mini sized), from a recipe shared by my friend Celia on the Five In A Row Forums YEARS ago, and check out the size of those Acorns! WOW!

Celia's Recipe Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins (With a couple of changes)

This is a "Tripled Recipe" which used a whole can of pumpkin
I'll list the regular recipe and in parentheses I will place the tripled recipe. The tripled recipe uses one whole can of pumpkin mix.

In a large bowl combine:

5 cups Flour
2 1/4 cup Sugar 
1 bag Chocolate Chips 
3 tsp. Cinnamon 
3/4 tsp. Salt 
3 tsp. Baking Soda

In a medium bowl combine and whisk until smooth:

6 large eggs 
1 can Pumpkin Mix ( I used plain canned pumpkin~ next time I'll add Pumpkin Pie Spice to the dry ingredients) 
1 1/2 cup MELTED butter
3/4 cup Milk
2 tsp. Vanilla 

Fold liquid ingredients into flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just blended.
*Note~ I mixed the liquid ingredients in my Kitchen Aid and then added the dry ingredients 1 cup at a time until incorporated

Place liners in muffin pan cups and spray to make easier to remove, then fill each cup 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees.


If baking without liners, let them cool on a rack for 5 minutes before attempting to remove them from the pan, so that they come out in one piece. :) 

A tripled batch makes about 8 dozen mini sized muffins (I baked 2 pans-worth today, and put the rest of the batter in the fridge to bake later).

What is one of your favorite things to do to "welcome Fall" ? 

Greek and Latin Roots with Dwane Thomas~ FUN times (and learning, too)!

Word Up! The Vocab Show from Compass Classroom

Compass Classroom offering a new course in Greek and Latin Roots
With one of our favorite instructors, Dwane Thomas of Visual Latin 
Download 2 free lessons now and/or order with the special introductory price of $9.99

These look like so much fun! :) 


Friday, September 19, 2014

Nuggets of Gold for Talk Like A Pirate Day

Ahoy thar, and all me duty to ye matey's! 
Today be Talk like a Pirate Day. 
If ye'd care to join the carousin', read on.

(Quick disclaimer~ I am not in love with the concept of pirates, but it is a part of history, and the old Sea Salt vernacular could apply to many ship's captains, and adventurers, pirate or not. In light of that, and in honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day...)

Treasure Island is available on Kindle for free... offers some interesting resources... (Parents~ don't let your youngsters loose to wander this site, and maybe just pull links from this page) There are a number of interesting options for the youngest pirates all the way through high school.

Here's a page with some coloring pages, mazes, dot-to-dots and more Busy Bee Kids Pirate Printables

DLTK  pirates has a nice selection of coloring pages and pirate related word tracing pages

Disney has some Jake and the Neverland Pirates coloring pages, crafts and activity books (including a backyard leaf treasure hunt... cute!)

Lucy Learns had a bunch of printables~ mazes, spot the difference, ship and flag coloring pages, Pirate history, and more... the site seems to be defunct, but you can still pull up some of the mazes if you search Lucy Learns Pirate Maze... (your mileage may vary on this one...)

1+1+1=1 has a great list of links has lesson plans that focus on pirates (Venn Diagram ideas and more)

Talk like a Pirate Tips from Mango Languages*:

Make sure to add extra Rs onto lots of words when speaking like a pirate. This will happen a lot at the end of words ending in a vowel, like when to turns to ter. Just remember, a pirate's favorite letter is ARRR!

Keep in mind that a pirate usually doesn't change the form of, or conjugate, the verb to be. If you want to sound like a true buccaneer, avoid using am, is or are! (The ship be founderin'!)

Pirate Cultural Note: The phrase Shiver me timbers! is thought to come from the feeling of shock from a ship running aground or being blasted by a cannon.

Pirate joke: Why does it take pirates so long to learn the alphabet? Because they can spend years at C!

Side note: The Schoolhouse TOS Review Crew reviewed the homeschool edition of Mango Languages spring of 2014. I was not on that review, but you can check it out here. TOS Mango Reviews
*these tips were taken from the Mango Languages app that my Library offers

I be hopin' this add ter yer carousin and

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My 9th Grader has a plan! (My Student Logbook Review)

My Student Logbook  is a small homeschool company that grew out of one family's need for organization in their homeschool. I'm a little organizationally challenged at times, and unfortunately that has been handed down to my children to one degree or another, so I was pleased to be sent the dated My Student Logbook to help us in our quest for order. It is the perfect time for to start out with something new for my 9th grader as he starts high school.  We chose the "Freedom" logbook, as that seemed to be a theme that he would appreciate. There are 9 cover options, that should suit either boys or girls of a variety of ages (Butterflies, Dinosaurs, Sea Life, Jets, Rainforest, Freedom, Planets, Golden Vines, and Vintage Map). 
Here's a video that shows you the features of My Student Logbook, and how to set it up. If you can, take a minute or two to watch it,  and then I'll detail some of my favorite features below. 

One of the nifty features of this particular log book (for me, at any rate), is the "Checklist page" that you can see on the left side of the book in this photo. This is where any and all subjects, courses, or activities that are done on a regular basis can be listed. The nifty comes in because this page is used every week, which eliminates the tedium of re-writing those subjects down every week. I'm all about economy of motion, so that suits me just fine! 
When the checklist is flipped back, there is space for specific directions for each course for that week. So far I have not used the "time" column on the checklist page, but have had my son list the amount of time that he is spending on each subject in the actual checkbox for each day. The little triangle that I've colored in on the top right corner of some of the boxes indicates that those are things that must be done this week. Next week some of those blank lines may be assigned as we add in new subjects the first few weeks of school.

This is one of my favorite ways to use this, as I can see where he is slacking off a bit, or perhaps spending too much time on one subject. I can also use it as a tool to help him see that he isn't really spending as much time on school work as he thinks (in comparison to time spent on distractions). ;) 

So far, I have been very pleased with the ease of using this as a lesson planner/record of work done. My son is also very happy with it. He loves knowing exactly what needs to be done before he can get outside (usually to go fishing). He also likes having explicit directions for each subject, and a record of where he is. Apparently the first day we used it, as he went outside, he declared to his older sister that he *loved* his Student Logbook, so I can't ask for much more than that! 

As I am faced with the task of putting together a transcript for his sister (a senior this year!), I am wishing that I had a tool like this when she started high school. My Student Logbook has a great page on keeping/creating a high school transcript (much of this information is included in the front of the Logbook. 

Pages for keeping more records in the back of the logbook (after the main body of the logbook) include: 

  • All About Me
  • Prayers and Goals
  • Bible Verses Memorized
  • Books Read 
    • (With space for estimated hours and subjects)
  • Events, Projects, Field Trips, Presentations, Activities 
    • (With space for estimated hours and subjects)
  • Test Records
  • Year Highlights

If My Student Logbook sounds like a resource that could be of use to you, I hope that you consider checking their website out more thoroughly, and/or connecting with them on on Facebook and YouTube

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
  • Company: My Student Logbook 
  • Product: My Student Logbook (Freedom Cover)
  • Ages: 2nd grade through High School
  • Price:
    • $15 Printed version
    • $10 Single Use PDF
    • $20 Family License PDF
Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say, as they used My Student Logbook with younger or older children, and in dated and undated versions. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.

Click to read Crew Reviews
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Treasury of Bible Stories (Review and Giveaway)

I don't know about your house, but in my house we go through Bible Story books with regularity, as they are a nightly staple. As a result, I am always looking for a new option, so I was extra pleased when Propeller Consulting sent me the Treasury of Bible Stories for review (And a copy to give away, too!).

This Bible story book is written in rhyme that will catch the attention of most children. Youngest was very pleased with the rhythms of the stories, and likes the illustrations. Here's a trailer for the Treasury: 

My thoughts:

  • 20 of the most memorable stories in the Bible
  • Catchy rhymes that usually make sense
  • Colorful illustrations

  • Absence of some key stories (like Creation...?)
  • A couple of instances where a little more poetic license taken than I cared for (In the above photo, the soldiers at the grave "decided to pretend they were dead"... which just hit me wrong). 
By and large, I think this is a nice addition to a read-aloud Bible story collection, particularly if you understand that it is more of a dramatic retelling of the stories, and you won't be caught by surprise when you run into those bits of poetic license. ;) Now that Youngest is reading on his own, this has transitioned into a daytime read as well...

Propeller Consulting, LLC has given me a copy to give away (Nice item to tuck away for a Christmas Present??) Please wait for the Rafflecopter to load. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Train ~ Bulletproof Picasso Album Review

I had no idea what to expect when I agreed to review the new album BulletProof Picasso, by the group Train, as I'm not a major pop-radio listener. I had very high hopes, considering that Train has been nominated for a Grammy 8 times, and they have been "heralded as a standard bearer of riveting, roots-based pop around the world."

Their most recent album, 2012’s California 37 spawned the hit “Drive By,” among other songs, a multi-platinum single that reached the Top Ten in 13 countries, adding to the prolific Train set-list which already includes multiple hits:
“Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me)” *Grammy winner
“Meet Virginia” 
“Calling All Angels” 
“Hey Soul Sister” (the #1 hit and biggest selling single of 2010) *Grammy winner

I can say from a general point of view that Train has a fun feel. However, with my particular worldview, lyrically the songs are hit and mostly miss for me, content-wise.
  1. Cadillac Cadillac ~  A little more driving sound than I care for (The video has a cute baby dancing, which doesn't quite jive with the "theme," and I'm not fond of songs that use "d@*&" in their lyrics")
  2. Bulletproof Picasso ~ Didn't love this one even though it has a nice indy-pop feel (uses the word *he##*  ~ again, I don't like swears in the songs I listen to) 
  3. Angel In Blue Jeans ~ Made me think of Hugo Montenegro ~ I really like the feel of this song, but once again, not thematically a family friendly song, which is one of the major things I look for in the music we listen to in our home.
  4. Give It All ~ Oddly reminiscent of Michael Jackson? Nice open feel for portions of it. Content-wise~ "I'd give it all for one more night with you" ~ could be heartfelt for someone who has lost a loved one, but not a message that I want playing on my home stereo, due to other potential connotations. 
  5. Wonder What You're Doing For The Rest Of Your Life ~ Fun, boppy tune~ very catchy little ear-worm.
  6. Son Of A Prison Guard ~ Not a happy song... 
  7. Just A Memory ~ I like the feel of this song but it is really a sad commentary on today's society... ("Come back before you're just a girl I used to know") 
  8. I'm Drinkin' Tonight ~ Another Hugo Montenegro feel (more swearing, and a clearly negative message... "been walking the straight line too long." I didn't realize that was possible...??) 
  9. I Will Remember ~ Leading phrase "Did you ever do Drugs?" I couldn't get past the first 5 lines or so... :/ 
  10. The Bridge ~ This is a bridge that I prefer not be crossed... double entendre ? 
  11. Baby Happy Birthday ~ I had high hopes for a happy song, but it's about someone who missed his "baby's" (aka significant other?) birthday... and "Don't you know that I wish that I could be someone else... someone to depend on..." 
  12. Don't Grow Up So Fast ~ This is one of the best songs from a message POV, the only one that I can say is almost on target with where my family is coming from ~ pretty much the only ballad on the album. It is still a sad song~ "you don't want to know what I know yet" gives the message that the future is not something to look forward to, which is not my perspective, but I do agree with the message to today's girls to not grow up so fast. 
If Train's Bulletproof Picasso sounds like something you want to check out, you can visit Train on the web  at their website, on TwitterYouTube and Facebook.
Bulletproof Picasso can be purchased directly from iTunes or Amazon.


Disclaimer: I participated in the Train Bulletproof Picasso album review program as a member of One2One Network. 
I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own.

Friday, September 12, 2014

"P" is for Peace (Charlotte Mason Inspiration #22)

"P" is for Peace

I like this notion/reminder~ that Peace *is* like a River, not stagnant~
It is flowing, cleansing, changing, molding and making a deeper, richer path in our lives~
That is the kind of peace that I wish for our lives.


Win a $250 Family Fun Night With Popcorn and Ice Cream Goodies!

Looking for a fun giveaway? Look no further! Imagine tucking away this awesome package for your favorite family for Christmas!  Kids Activities Blog is launching a brand new giveaway worth $250 in prizes celebrating family fun, and I'm happy to share the opportunity with my readers! 

It is in celebration of their new book, 

Win A Whole Ton of Family Fun!

From Kids Activities Blog:
We are giving away:
  • 101 Kids Activities That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever!
  • 8 Piece Ice Cream Bowl Set With Spoons
  • Junket Ice Cream Mix
  • Cuisinart Slow Churn Soft Serve Ice Cream Dispenser
  • Popcorn Scoop
  • 100 Popcorn Bags
  • Theater Popcorn Kit
  • Vintage Kettle Popcorn Maker
These are all FAVORITES for family fun!

Enter to Win

The giveaway runs from now until 11:59 CST on September 22, 2014Simply use the box below to enter to win this prize pack worth $250. This contest is open to North America only due to shipping costs. Each entry helps spread the word about the fun we have here at Kids Activities Blog...and we thank you! $250 Family Fun Night Popcorn and Ice Cream Goodies Giveaway From Kids Activities Blog

Kids Activities Blog has a ton of activites, crafts, recipes and more, with a huge variety~ from simple to a little more complex, and I've gotten a few ideas from there myself. If nothing else, pop over, check it out, and enter the giveaway. You've got nothing to lose! :)


Friday, September 5, 2014

Shea how soft it is... (Review)

I am always on the lookout for natural products to use in my home, so I was very pleased when #Adovia Mineral Skin Care sent me a 1 lb tub of Raw Shea Butter from Cleopatra's Choice  from Africa, 100% Organic Grade A  pure, raw, unrefined.

Having never used pure shea (only having seen it as an ingredient), I wasn't sure what to expect. When my Amazon order came in, it was in a plastic tub similar to those found at the deli, with all the information on the lid.

My initial impression was that the shea butter was very... fragrant ... in a not entirely unpleasant way, just rather unexpectedly strong in an earthy sort of way. Apparently it is normal for good, natural shea butter to be strongly scented, and most products that use raw, organic shea mask the scent with essential oils. The scent was not a problem for me, as my main intention was to use it on my dry rough summer heels and feet in general~ far from my olfactory sensors~ However, the rest of my family wasn't quite as excited about that nutty, earthy scent on arms/elbows and hands, so we haven't used it widely just yet. 

Right out of the container it really does look like a tub of butter, with a similar texture to refrigerated butter (but at room temperature). I do plan to order some essential oils to add to the shea butter, whipping it to make a creamier texture for regular use, and possibly making some of my own body butters, combining with coconut oil and other natural ingredients. 

As far as quality, I have nothing with which to compare, but I can say that using it at night on my horribly rough, dry "summer" feet has made a difference, and my feet are much happier (softer and smoother) than they were before the shea butter arrived. 

Shea butter is a non-clogging, deep moisturizer for skin, containing Vitamins A, E, and F, and I look forward to seeing how it affects my son's dry skin, and my husband's psoriasis, once I have it properly scented. I love being able to use natural ingredients, avoiding all of the additives that are so unnecessary and often harmful, but so commonly found in many body and skin care products. 

If you have any questions, or suggestions for use, please leave a comment below! 


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Swan-Like I Glide.... a chapter or two a day...

Just popping in a quick post on some of my favorite read-aloud chapter books~ 
These make excellent "Reader" gifts if you are looking to add quality children's literature to your home library or to a friend's home library. 
(Note: I am linking to a variety of paperback and kindle versions, depending on my preference and/or availability for a particular title, and there are titles that span a number of ages, for family reading time)

I hope you find something new and interesting for your school-year or lazy days of summer reading times! 

Elementary Reading Lists



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