Thursday, January 23, 2020

Win a One Year Ultimate Membership to

Remember how I talked about all the cool features of in my review? There are over 460 online course and more than 450 videos with the flexibility to create your own custom education for everyone in the family. 

Right now, the Homeschool Review Crew is giving away THREE ultimate memberships to!

Win a One Year Ultimate Membership to

The giveaway is open to anyone 18 and older anywhere in the world! It ends January 26 at 11:59 EST, so make sure to head to head to the Homeschool Review Crew blog now to get your entries added to the Rafflecopter. 

Happy learning!

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Hink Pinks #2

Were you able to solve all the hink pinks I posted last time? These riddles are great for the whole family. You can make them super simple for the younger crowd such as *cap that was sat on or more complicated for the logophiles like *bovine war.

See if you can solve those along with 10 more hink pinks that the kiddos and I created!

1. steamy cooking dish

answer: hot pot

2. fake Skywalker

answer: Anakin mannequin

3. elderly fungus

answer: old mold

4. buffed butt

answer: shiny heinie

5. incorrect lyrics

answer: wrong song

6. high barrier

answer: tall wall

7. swirling marine animal

answer: swishy fishy

8. humorous rabbit

answer: funny bunny

9. inexpensive vehicle

answer: cheap jeep

10. pointy instrument

answer: sharp harp

*  flat hat, cattle battle

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Thursday, January 9, 2020

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

It's appropriate that we're starting a new year with the Homechool Review Crew with a review of another branch of The Old Schoolhouse® Company. is a complete online curriculum for preschool through 12th grade. We received the Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership to use with our family.

The Old Schoolhouse® Company began nearly 20 years ago when its owner, Gena Suarez, started selling used curriculum. From there, she started a newsletter which eventually evolved into the top trade magazine for homeschoolers, weekly newsletters with wisdom and encouragement, a blog packed with articles, forums filled with tips and a place to ask questions, SchoolhouseTeachers which is the curriculum side of the company, and, of course, the Homeschool Review Crew where I have the opportunity to review many curricula and resources.

We have had experience with SchoolhouseTeachers for many years. Because the site offers a huge variety of subjects, I always check there first when I'm looking for something to supplement our learning. For instance, my son used it to learn guitar, my daughter completed lessons on drawing, the whole family enjoyed watching Drive Thru History, and more.

Most recently, my oldest has been using the site for his Algebra 2 course. The class has 36 weeks of lessons with everything accessible online. There is a suggested lesson plan; the Algebra 2 text book with lesson reading, practice problems, homework, and unit tests; and a solution manual. All of the components are PDF files, so you can choose to print the materials or download and use on the computer.

While we could print everything, it wouldn't be practical as there are well over 1,000 pages. My son uses the PDFs on the computer and then records his answers in a notebook. He has no problems using the materials and can easily find his way through the site.

One feature that is helpful is the option to create bookmarks. I can bookmark any courses so they all appear in one place for my kids. For instance, if I chose to use SchoolhouseTeachers for our full education, I could bookmark each class for my kids and put it in their specified collection. That way, they don't have to try to remember each course, and I can see them all at a glance, as well.

Finding classes for your students is a simple process. You can search either by grade or by subject. All the core classes are offered along with many other electives and arts. Many home economics classes, web-based learning, photography, architecture, money management, fitness and nutrition, devotionals, and more. The subtopics are alphabetized within each main category. With 463 online courses, there is something for everyone.

There are also more than 450 videos included in a membership. Of course, most of the videos supplement the academic classes, but there are plenty that appeal to adults, too. Marriage, missions and persecution, and parenting are included along with apologetics, foreign languages, history, math, various electives, holidays, science, kids entertainment, and more.

I appreciate the ease of the Algebra 2 course and how much money I'm saving by not having to purchase textbooks and answer keys. Looking through the options again, I can't wait to get my other kids started on new courses and see where our learning takes us!

If you're looking to create a full custom education, supplement a few classes, or even just for some fun learning, is a fantastic resource for homeschoolers.

Now through the end of this month, you can purchase an Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership for only $99 with code ONLY99. Lock in that rate now and gain access to every subject for every grade for every student in your home.

You can connect with and The Old Schoolhouse on the following social media sites:

You can see more of the classes offered on by reading the reviews on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

Online Homeschooling For the Whole Family { Reviews}
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Monday, January 6, 2020

Chex Mix

Our family loves Chex mix. It's a crunchy snack that has something for everyone. One kid gobbles up the pretzels, another reaches for the mini breadsticks, and they all know to hand Mom the rye chips (unless Dad gets to them first). 

As much as we like the convenience and flavors of the premade bags from the store, we prefer to make it at home. What we lose in convenience, we gain in cost. In just over an hour, we have a big batch of homemade goodness that costs far less than its store-bought counterpart. And it tastes better, too!

Though my version is sadly lacking my beloved rye chips, it adds in new favorites of bagel and pita chips. The problem though? Now the whole family fights over the same favorites! 

The recipe is very versatile and can easily handle ingredient changes. Cheese crackers, goldfish, mixed nuts, Cheerios, oyster crackers--use whatever you'd like, just have approximately 16 cups of snacks.

This Chex mix is simple to make, cost effective, and a family favorite!

Chex Mix
4 ½ cups corn Chex cereal
½ cups rice Chex cereal
4 cups bagel chips (I make my own--super easy!--but you can buy them, too.)
2 cups pretzels
1 cup pita chips

3/4 cup butter, melted
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

1. Add first 5 ingredients to a large bowl.
2. Mix remaining 5 ingredients and pour over contents in bowl. Stir gently until everything is coated.
3. Spread mixture onto 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake at 250° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove Chex mix from baking sheets to cool completely. Store in an air-tight container. 

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Saturday, December 21, 2019

Dog and Cat

Alyssa has been writing short stories since she's been old enough to write. There are partially filled notebooks throughout our house with her works--full stories, portions of chapters, ideas jotted down. Sometimes she shares her tales with me, and every time I'm impressed. The girl has a knack for storytelling.

A few days ago, she said, "I think it would be cool to have a book published. Do you think I could do that one day?"

It reminded me of a story she wrote a couple years ago. She was 9 at the time and casually handed me a sparkly purple notebook. She was composing a collection of short stories called Crazy Tails that featured cats and dogs. Cute, right? I finished reading a story and couldn't help but notice the air of an Aesop's fable. Just like those timeless stories, hers too has a moral woven into its words.  

"Dog and Cat"

Once upon a time, there was a dog and a cat. The dog and the cat were best friends. The cat shared his milk and the dog shared his bone. But the meow of the cat bothered the dog and the bow wow of the dog bothered the cat. So when a witch came to town, the cat and the dog had her make them sound the same. They argued about whose sound they would do. So the witch cast a spell that made the cat and the dog both bow wow for a day then both meow for a day.

When the cat woke up to meow and bow wowed instead, boy, was that cat startled! So all day he didn't speak. When the next day came, the dog woke first and went to bow wow, but meowed instead, he didn't speak all that day. 

When the next day came, the dog didn't mind the meow and the cat didn't mind the bow wow.

What a lesson in friendship! We don't have to like every habit or personality trait of our friends, in fact, we probably won't. I don't even like everything that I do, so how could I possibly expect to like everything in others? 

The dog and the cat learned to overlook the irritating quirks of their friend. It's a good reminder to us not to allow little things annoy us, but to show grace, patience, and acceptance. The lesson was taught by my 9-year-old.

Do I think she could publish a book one day?


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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Hink Pinks

The kids and I love solving hink pinks! These simple rhyming riddles are fun to decipher and even more fun to create. They make both the creator and the solver exercise their brains, so they're great for the whole family.

So what exactly is a hink pink? It is a short riddle with a pair of rhyming words as the answer. For instance, an overweight feline is a fat cat. Fun, right? I love grammar and plays on words. Hink pinks help me pass on that passion to my kids, ha.

A couple years ago, the kiddos and I made a list of our own hink pinks. I pulled out the list today for them to solve. It was a race to see who could answer first! Even the almost-five-year-old played along. Hink pinks are fun for everyone!

Here are a few that we created. See if you can answer them!

1. sugary dessert

answer: sweet treat

2. weird primate

answer: funky monkey

3. white extinct animal

answer: albino dino

4. furry fantasy flier

answer: hairy fairy

5. crippled coin

answer: broken token

6. tarnished tiara

answer: brown crown

7. aggressive denim

answer: mean jean

8. floral strength 

answer: flower power

9. carrying case for sofa

answer: couch pouch

10. deceased pencil

answer: dead lead

Now you can make up your own hink pinks and continue the fun!

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Monday, November 25, 2019

My Parents

I was looking for a specific memento today. I had a good idea where it was, but wasn't certain of the exact box. I climbed under our basement stairs in the alcove that we use as storage and began removing boxes one by one from the shelves. As I took off each lid, I was taken back to my childhood. Pictures, awards, letters, trinkets--these were windows to my past. 

I brought up one of the boxes to share the memories with my kids. In it were a few of my old Awana books (why did I even keep them?). I had told the kids how different the books were from the one that they use now. Today I showed them. We read stories I had written, laughed at silly poems I composed, and realized that once-upon-a-time I wasn't too bad at drawing (when did that change?). 

Tucked deep into the box was a handful of loose stationery dated July 10, 1995. I was 13 years old and wrote this poem for my parents:

I Love You

If I could have one wish,
I'd tell you what it would be.
It wouldn't be gold or diamonds
Or money just for me.

I'd wish for the great parents
That I have today
For they always make me happy
And turn the sky from blue to gray.

My parents love and care for me
And that to me is kind,
And if I look for better parents,
I could never find.

I love my parents very much
Although it might not show.
I wanted to tell them how I felt,
but how I did not know!

I tried to pick Mom flowers 
And for Dad some macadamia nuts,
But whenever I touched the roses
All over my hand I got cuts.

I thought to help around the house
And do some extra chores.
I could vacuum, dust, mop, and clean,
And then wash all the doors. 

But what I wanted to do for them
Was something that would last much longer
Just to show them that my love 
Was ever so much stronger.

The idea finally hit me,
And I knew what to do.
I would write them a poem
that said, "I love you!"

I decided to share it here, not because of my rhyming skills, ha, but because all those years ago I wanted to give them something that "would last much longer." It's been 24 years, and though I had forgotten about the poem, my feelings are the same. 

My parents truly are the greatest. Now I get to see their love toward not only me, but my husband and 5 children, as well. Selfless. Giving. Loving. 

We are beyond blessed. 

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