Friday, March 27, 2015

Lord Heritage Homeschool Office (TOS Review Crew)

My next review is for the Home Educator, not so much the Home Educated.
Lord Heritage offers the HomeSchool Office, an all-encompassing organizational tool for the use of home educators everywhere.

The HomeSchool Office utilizes a pattern of schooling with an underlying Biblical basis.
You might notice an anacronym spelled out in the tabs across the parent dashboard:

After "Home" and "Team" you'll see the heart (or if you will, the POWER) of the program:

Plan Where you enter in the basics: Subjects for each student, your Yearly Schedule (blocking out the dates that you will be schooling, and noting free dates on the calendar), A Master Schedule (the basic hourly schedule for the week), Projects that you might be planning for the year (Including materials and cost), as well as a place to plan your schooling budget. Pretty comprehensive!
Those who are Type A, schedulers may really enjoy using this part of the program. The ability to enter and list every little detail is something that highly organized people will appreciate.

Order Allows you to view your Calendar in a monthly, weekly, or daily format, and to create daily and weekly "To Do" lists as well as schedule events, reminders, etc. (I personally had a difficult time utilizing this portion of the "office" but I'm sure it has to do with my pencil and paper organized brain... I don't use the "Calendar" function very well on my iPhone either~ )

Work  Similar is function and form to the "Order" Calendar~ this is the area that your students utilize, similar to the learning portals so many schools use these days~ access their scheduled assignments and lists.

Evaluate This is the place to keep track of attendance (Particularly helpful in some of the more restrictive states), as well as grades, which is useful for end of the year evaluation and ties into transcript purposes.

Report Does what it sounds like it does~ uses the information entered in to create a "report card" and/or transcript.

You can view some larger, more full page screen shots/Sample Pages on the Lord Heritage website.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
My Thoughts : 
I can see that this would be an extremely helpful program for someone who is/does any of the following:
  • Type A
  • Easily understands Electronic Organization
  • A Large Family Homeschool
  • Uses a Traditional Curriculum
It may be a little less useful to:
  • Well, Type B would probably apply here... ;) 
  • The Pencil/Paper Organized
  • Those who use self-paced curriculum, either online or offline, as those are difficult to "schedule,"  and many of the online curriculum don't necessarily use "grading" but rather "mastery" of a topic. 
  • Eclectic home-schoolers and/or un-schoolers, who don't tend to "Schedule" a lot of their time (However, this may be a useful tool for these same groups, as it might help nail down the work that they are doing in a more concrete way~ just have to be creative in its use).
Truthfully, it was not a good fit for us, as we fall much more into the second list above. However, it could be well worth your time to take advantage of the 30 day free trial to check it out and see if it is a good fit for your family. 

Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say, as their experiences and opinions very likely differ from mine. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wordless... (Kind of...) because it's the first Wednesday in Spring!


After all my snowy Wordless Wednesday posts...

When we think nothing is going on, can't see any progress, MAJOR work is being done!

Linking up with
Wordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Musical Nuggets for you (YouTube and "art" Style) Take 2

Returning to the concert fan art (Drawn by my eldest)/ favorite songs posts...


From his new album (releasing April 7, 2015) ~ a gorgeous new song...
You may have heard it on the radio~
if not, I assume you will... 

Note from Chris on this single: When I sat down to write "The Maker" I just wanted a reminder that the Creator of everything not only created me, but also loves me. It blows my mind when I Stop to think about the One who spoke the universe into existence, who parted the Red Sea and who rose from the grave, is the same One who lives inside of me. I know we go through a lot in this life, trials and joy and everything in between, but how awesome that through it all, we can say: "I love The Maker, and The Maker loves me." 


This is a great song in and of itself, and the story behind it is just amazing!
We heard it when we saw her in concert last fall.
You can read her interview with New Release Tuesday to hear it for yourself.

Fun Fact~ Eldest gave Unspoken copies of her artwork on cardstock...
When they were done signing autographs for the evening,
Ariel came up to her to ask for *her* autograph with big sharpie
(She had already put her artist signature on it, so that was really sweet!) 
Again~ These fellows are just fantastic songwriters
with a great sound and message.
Bonus! Their mp3 album is on sale on Amazon right now!


What are some of your favorite artists? How about favorite songs from THESE artists? Are they the same as mine, or different?


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing Casserole

This is a yummy and pretty easy recipe~ I've given a few options to help you control exactly what goes in your meal.

  • 8 chicken breasts
  • Large box of Bell's Stuffing
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup** 
**Make your own cream of chicken soup mix

  • 1/3 c powdered milk
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch or 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 or 3 shakes of ground pepper
  • pinch of basil
  • pinch of thyme
Combine dry ingredients together and then whisk till smooth with
  • 2 and 1/2  cups of chicken broth*** 
***my favorite out of a box chicken broth
  • 1 to 2 Trader Joe's Concentrated Chicken Broth packets (Or 1-2 tsp boullion, etc...) and 
  • 2 and 1/2 cups water
To assemble the casserole:
  1. Mix the sour cream, water, and cream of chicken soup (Or mix)
  2. Lay out 4 chicken breasts on the bottom of a large crockpot
  3. Sprinkle 1/2 box of stuffing over the top
  4. Pour half of the soup mixture and spread it so the stuffing is covered
  5. Repeat the layers and sprinkle with shredded cheese on top. 
Cook on low for 6-8 hours
(If halving the recipe, cook for 4-6 hours)

Serve with homemade (or canned) cranberry sauce, and green beans or broccoli for a yummy dinner.

Thank you Brenda E. for the bones of this recipe.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sending my not-so-little-anymore girl to Guatemala

My Eldest child is heading out of the country without me... She's heading to Guatemala for a week of working with children from a small village at "spring camp" (vs "summer camp"). Should be a far cry from the snow we've had this winter...

This is a huge leap of faith on her part, as well as our own~ trusting that God will provide the funds, and keep she and her fellow travelers safe. It's always interesting, stretching beyond your comfort zone. ;)

So~ what has she been doing in preparation?
She has applied herself mightily to learning some Spanish via our Library's Mango Languages program.
She has also had to send out support letters to friends and family (it's never fun asking for money...).
And we came up with a fundraising idea which uses her artistic talents! She drew a design that incorporates the country of Guatemala, it's children, flora, and Scripture.
which has been translated to a t-shirt fundraiser

If you'd like an original artwork t-shirt, AND would like to support a good cause, 
we would definitely appreciate your supporting her trip. 

If you are interested in using Bonfire as a fundraiser yourself, please consider using our referral link when you create an account...


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Koru Naturals~ a little Emu oil?? (TOS Review)

Now for something NOT curriculum or strictly homeschool related~ Members of the TOS Review Crew received a variety of products from Koru Naturals for Review. Everyone was sent a bottle of Emu Oil, and one of the following: 

I was most pleased to receive the Koolpurrie Restoring Balm, as I was very curious to see how it would work on my 14 yo son's very dry and cracked hands. Every winter it is a fight to keep his hands moisturized and smooth.

You can see how terribly dry and cracked they are in the before photo, and how much better it looks in the after photo. They are a little red simply because he had recently rubbed the balm in, but you can see that the cracking and scabbing on all of the knuckles, and the extreme dry skin around his thumb looks much better! 
Before Koolpurrie Healing Balm
After a few weeks of Koolpurrie Healing Balm

Now as boys are boys, he's not terribly consistent at putting cream or lotion or balm on every day, but he did remember *most* days to use the restoring balm in the morning and the evening. Side note~ the "before" photo was when he was using other moisturizers on a similar basis~ he wasn't just ignoring his hands for them to get in this condition, so the only thing that changed between the first and the second photo was what he was using. 

One of the most important things when hands are in such a dry, cracked state is that whatever goes on not sting, and the Koolpurrie Restoring Balm fits that profile. 
Middlest appreciates that there is no specific "Scent" (feminine or otherwise) that he might be allergic to. He has also noticed that the balm doesn't make his hands feel cold when he puts it on, like traditional lotions do. The size of the balm container is very portable, and easy for him to toss in his backpack for day trips, and because it is a balm and not a lotion, he isn't worried about it leaking out all over everything. 

On to the Emu Oil~ This jar contains straight Emu Oil from New Zealand. While not recognized in the US by any overseeing organization, it *is* recognized by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia as a traditional Australian Aboriginal natural oil. The oil is refined but not clarified, which allows it to retain the vitamins, minerals a naturally occurring Omega 3 and Omega 6 Essential Fatty acids. It is non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic. It is recommended for extreme dry skin, blemishes, and dry scalp among other uses.

My daughter and I applied it a couple of times to our scalp/hair before we showered~ Eldest as a treatment for dry, itchy, flaky scalp, and me more for dry, thin hair. We both felt a difference. She felt an improvement on her scalp. My hair, which is beginning to thin even more, as well as developing a little coarseness as more gray hairs appear, felt much softer after applying just a few drops to my hands, and running them through my hair about 10 minutes before showering. Note: we do not use shampoo, only conditioner, so depending on your hair care routine, your results may vary.

I also used a couple of drops on my dry "T" zone, and have noticed a cessation of flaky skin there.

A third use for the oil~ my youngest tends to get red, dry skin around his mouth (lip-licking and perhaps a little drooling when he sleeps?), as well as red dry skin around his nose with his latest cold and much nose-blowing. I have used a drop of oil around his mouth and on the sides of his nostrils before bed, and in the morning there is MUCH improvement.

One more note about the usefulness of Emu Oil~ a number of years ago when my daughter broke her nose and had a gash requiring 15+ stitches across the top, the doctor recommended using Emu Oil on it to lessen the scarring. Sure would have liked to have Koru Naturals Emu Oil back then to try out! (Side note... scarring was minimal~ the doctor who stitched her up did a great job!)
I have also heard Emu Oil recommended as a moisturizer/topical burn remedy for cancer patients going through radiation treatments.

I am always on the lookout for all-natural useful remedies, and in this instance, Koru Naturals delivers with their Emu Oil and Lanolin products.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say, especially if you are interested in the other products I did not receive~ the Lip Balm, Shampoo and Conditioner and Lanolin Cream. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to allocate your budget.

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