Friday, May 31, 2019

The Babies are Here!

New life on the farm.  I just love when my broody hens get some hatchlings.  Our first hatch day was supposed to be May 30 but one came early on May 29.  Several others followed on May 30.  By today, May 31 we had 5 new baby chicks.  She still had 6 other eggs to hatch.  One was definitely bad (it smelled!).  But the other 5 could still be viable.  She quit sitting them this afternoon.  By this evening I put them under another hen who is sitting eggs.  We shall see what the outcome is.  If they don't hatch within a few days then I will be pretty sure that they are just not viable.  Perhaps not fertilized or something else happened.

Here are a couple pictures of the cuties.  It's always more fun when mom hatches them out.  They end up not being quite as tame, but they generally are hardier than those I buy in the store.

I'll keep you updated on them as they grow.  Can't wait to find out how many pullets we might have.  Don't have any room for any more roosters!

May your day be blessed.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Supercharged Science REVIEW

Remember the saying, "Don't reinvent the wheel?"  Why should you try to come up with an all-encompassing science program when you already have one available in Supercharged Science with Aurora Lipper?  I was so happy to be able to have a chance to review her e-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum for grades PreK to High School.  I received a full year subscription to this online digital product.  Aurora quickly got our account set up and sent us the login information.  I did not have any trouble logging in and getting started.  She has an introductory video available for you to view that explains how to use the program and get around the site.

(Note: This is a screenshot not a link)

There are two ways to use hands-on science curriculum. The first way is to just pick a topic to explore.  The second is by grade level (this is a new feature she is currently working on).

Sample Topics

The full list of topics (20 units) include:
  • New to e-Science?
  • Unit Zero: Overview of e-Science
  • The Scientific Method
  • Unit 1: Mechanics
  • Unit 2: Motion
  • Unit 3: Matter
  • Unit 4: Energy 1
  • Unit 5: Energy 2
  • Unit 6: Sound
  • Unit 7: Astrophysics
  • Unit 8: Chemistry 1
  • Unit 9: Light
  • Unit 10: Electricity
  • Unit 11: Magnetism
  • Unit 12: Alternative Energy
  • Unit 13: Thermodynamics
  • Unit 14: Electronics
  • Unit15: Chemistry 2
  • Unit 16: Life Sci 1
  • Unit 17: Life Sci 2
  • Unit 18: Biology 1
  • Unit 19: Biology 2
  • Unit 20: Earth Science
  • Award-Winning Science Fair Projects
  • Mathmagic
  • Teaching Resources
We chose to use grade levels so that I could easily find the age-appropriate areas for each of my kids.  We used the PreK/K section for Little Bug and my 9th grader worked out of the Advanced Topics which is being expanded for high school students.

Sample PreK/K topics - Physics, Earth Science, and Life Science

Small sample of Advanced Topics (High School) available

There is so much information on this site and Aurora's exuberant personality really helps to engage the kids in what they are doing.  Her passion is so evident in her videos and her teaching style.  I think she does a wonderful job connecting with the kids in her videos.  The homeschool science lessons are geared to be self-guided with little to no adult intervention needed and the experiments generally use everyday items often already found around your house.  The lessons are mainly hands-on with lots of experiments and fun activities.  Most videos run about 5 to 20 minutes long.

There are additional teaching resource links for homeschoolers and a link to a 12-page document about what your 9-12 grade students need to learn. It is important to note that this is a creation neutral curriculum.  It does not focus on creation or secularism and can be used with either a religious or secular philosophy.

12-page guide on what your 9-12th grader needs to know

Another resource I would like to mention is her coverage of keeping a scientific journal.  She has an entire page devoted to the how and why of keeping a journal. I think it is wonderful!  She walks the student, step by step on how to go about keeping one from start to finish with video instruction included.

One of our first lessons and experiments that we tried with Little Bug was the Sensing Temperature lesson.  It helps to explain why water droplets form on the outside of your ice-cold cup.  The drastic change in temperature causes condensation that is observed in the water droplets.  We learned that your skin can detect temperature differences but may not always sense the correct temperature due to your surroundings.

Left finger in hot water, right finger in cold

Putting both fingers into room temp water

Both fingers in room temp water and surprise on how they feel

She learned first hand that her skin was deceptive on detecting the correct temperature of the room temperature water after her fingers had been placed in hot and cold water.  The cold water finger made the room temp water feel warm/hot and the hot water finger made the room temperature water feel cold.  She's really enjoying the hands-on aspect of this curriculum.  The lessons include printable worksheets to fill out and she was able to fill out parts by herself and I helped with the longer explanations after we discussed it.

After we discussed the results and what had happened I helped
her fill out the longer portions of the worksheet answers.

The amount of material in the Advanced Topics (for High School) section is phenomenal.  Many of the videos are short and to the point (which is critical for my struggling learner who doesn't do well with long distance lessons).  In the Physics section alone there are over 500 videos within 50 sections that cover 14 chapters of material.  It is recommended to cover 1-2 sections per week to complete the material within a year.  Subjects covered under the Advanced Topics include:
  • Physics
  • Chemistry and Chemical Reactivity
  • Astrophysics
  • Biology Overview Course
  • Electronics
  • Alternative Energy
Over 500 videos in 50 sections covering 14 chapters

If you are using or have used Apologia science there are sections covering the experiments for AP Physics, Physical Science, AP Chemistry, Chemistry, Biology, and Advanced Biology.

There is even a Test Practice section that prepares you for the AP test, ACT, CLEP, SAT, and DSST tests.

There is just so much curriculum available.  While the curriculum is pricey, be aware that you have access to ALL of it for the grade levels you purchase so if you have a multi-student household the price suddenly isn't so steep.  I am a little sad that it is probably too pricey for us to continue after our year is up, but perhaps we can fundraise because what the kids are learning is wonderful!

We give e-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum for all levels, K-12 a thumbs up!  You can connect with Aurora and Supercharged Science on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, and YOUTUBE.

Please also be sure to check out the other reviews from my fellow Crew members by clicking on the graphic link below.

e-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum {Supercharged Science Reviews}
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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Ducks Again!

So the ducks are doing well.  They are growing so fast.  I had posted a blog for Memorial Day.  It published and I even remember seeing the confirmation in my email not to mention that I checked it online once it posted.  Well, somehow it is all gone.  I did not get any notices on any copyright infringements, it is all just gone.  I feel like I am in the twilight zone.  I guess I will never know what happened.  Just enjoy these silly ducks and I'll be back with a regular post soon.

Blessings to you today!

UPDATE:  Mystery solved.  The Memorial Day post accidentally posted to another blog I am working on. Ooops!!  Here is the post:

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

God is Better than Princesses BOOK REVIEW

If it's pink and has anything to do with princesses then it's a go for Little Bug.  She was so excited to read this book.  God is Better than Princesses is a wonderful little book from Christian Focus Publications whose books "reflect our conviction that God's Word is reliable and Jesus is the way to know him, and live forever with him."  I received a hardback copy of this 48-page book for ages 0 to 6. It is a nice quality book with sturdy semi-gloss pages and adorable illustrations.  The author, Sarah Reju, is a pastor's wife and homeschooling mom of 5 kids.

Little Bug couldn't wait to get her hands on this book.  It was such a good fit for her because of her adoration for princesses.  It reminds her from A-Z that no matter what, God is Better than Princesses.  Princesses may be wonderful, powerful, and rich, but God is still better than all of that.  I like that the story gives 26 examples (26 letters of the alphabet) of how God is better than princesses by going through the alphabet.  Each page has an event that encompasses a word that begins with whichever letter you are on and then follows up with a scripture reference.

Each page has a word (K for "kingdom in this example) that begins with 
the current letter of the alphabet and then a scripture to follow.

The book is recommended for ages 0-5 for a read-to-me book, and ages 5-6 for a read-myself age.  I think this is a perfect book for ages 2-8 and I don't really agree that it is rated for ages 5-6 as a read myself book.  Little Bug just learned to read but not all children are reading by age 6. I actually think that is a little early to me.  There are plenty of big words so it has definitely increased her vocabulary (which I of course like!).  If you have a little one who loves all things "princess" then this would be perfect!  It's also a good enough story that any child would enjoy it, princesses or not.

It's a fun story that does a good job at reminding her that through all the beauty, glory, status and power that we see in princesses, God is better than all of it.  Books with a focus like this one for instilling God's word are always welcome in our home.  The scriptures that are included on each page help to give her a good biblical foundation of how and why God is better.  It helps to remind her that no matter what, God is who she should look to for all of her needs.  It has been the perfect book to add to her nighttime storytime with her daddy before bed. Of course, we have also read it during the day since you just can't get enough of reading about princesses.  She loves the Bible and the theme and story of the book delighted her.  She really enjoys reading scripture and seeing it on every page helps to reinforce God's word in her life.  The only thing I wish they had done differently was to capitalize the words "he," "his," and "him" when they refer to God.

God is Better than Princesses is a welcome addition to our library and we give it a thumbs up.  The font is good and easily readable, the illustrations are adorable, and anything with sound scripture is a win in my book.

You can connect with Christian Focus on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, and Instagram.  Please be sure to check out the other reviews on this book and several others by this publisher by clicking on the graphic below.  Enjoy!

Big Bible Science, Elizabeth Prentiss, God is Better than Princesses,  God is Better than Trucks. {Christian Focus Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, May 18, 2019


I have wanted ducks almost as long as we have had chickens (5 years now).  It would seem an easy solution to just get them and throw them in with the chickens, but after much research, I have just not been convinced.  Ducks can be really messy and water and chickens just don't mix well.  A wet run and/or coop can be toxic for chickens (coccidiosis and just unhealthy conditions in general).  I have just not been convinced it is good to run them together when you are unable to free range them.  In a closed coop/run area I just didn't see it being a good thing.

Fast forward to this past Monday and a friend of mine called me up and said they needed to rehome their niece's pet ducks that they had gotten for Easter.  I initially said no but I would call around to some of my friends.  It didn't take many minutes of thought and I messaged my husband about the ducks.  He said sure!  Uh oh!  I quickly tried to figure out how it could work and where (which pen) would I put them in. Meet Rosie (Pekin) and Allie (Rouen).  It's been an interesting ride and there are still lots of details to work out, but they seem to be doing just fine for now.  Pretty much everything is kind of temporary right now so the future will be interesting.

They are growing so fast.  It almost seems like they grow more feathers every day.

I set them up a separate pen within one of my chicken runs because they are still babies (about 4 weeks old now) and the chickens were picking on them,  My rooster in that run is young and a little skittish about the strange new roommates (LOL). They are growing so quickly that I moved them out of their tiny cage to an extra large dog kennel today for locking them up at night.  During the day they can run around their area and I have usually been able to let them run with the chickens supervised each day.  Boy, do they love their water!  It's so fun and comical to watch them.  Be watching for more updates.  Sure hope they are both females (duck eggs!).

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Nothing Book REVIEW

"Nothing can separate you from God's love!"  That pretty much says it all.  What a pleasure it was to review Nothing by Natalee Creech from WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group.  I received a jacketed hardcover copy of this 32-page rhyming book suggested for ages 4-7.  It is based on the scripture Romans 8:38-39.

Little Bug absolutely loved this book.  She loves anything about God and this was such a perfect book for her.  I loved how it continually assured her that not only is God's love everywhere but His love and grace are with you wherever you go, even when you make mistakes.  The rhyming adds to its charm.  It is a nice, quick read perfect for a bedtime story.  She reads during the day and has a special bedtime storytime with Daddy in the evenings before bed.  This is now added to her list of favorite books.

The pages are a nice heavy duty glossy finish and the illustrations are wonderful.  Joseph Cowman's passion for illustrating are evident in his whimsical and fun illustrations.  It is obvious that author Natalee Creech loves to inspire through scripture. I would like to find more books from this author.  Any book that can instill scripture into my child and speak to her heart is on my "A" list.  The lyrical flow of the story is fun to read and the pictures help to draw her into the story.  Little Bug is in kindergarten and has recently learned to read.  She really had fun working through this book and learning some new big words.  She especially liked that "God's love is everywhere"  and "Nothing can separate you from God's love."  She chuckled at the funny pictures and commented on the character's expressions.

We really liked Nothing by Natalee Creech and give it a double thumbs up.  It will definitely delight your 4-7 year old and if you have an early reader they can read along.  If you desire to instill scripture and God's love into your child then this is the perfect book for you.  It really drives home that even when they have bad days or make mistakes, God is still there, He still loves you, and His love for you is not based on your behavior.

You can connect with WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group on FACEBOOK, PINTEREST, and INSTAGRAM.  Be sure to check out the other reviews from my fellow Crew members on this book through the graphic link below.

Nothing (Nothing Can Separate You From God's Love) by Natalee Creech {WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Irises in Bloom

I just love irises!  They are so beautiful and elegant.  They are also VERY hardy which is pretty important for me!  I need the kind of bulbs that can overwinter well.  I do not like to dig my bulbs up and replant, too much trouble!  Many years ago I was able to get a bunch of irises from my mother-in-law and I have enjoyed them immensely ever since.  I have several different colors including several shades of purple. I had acquired and planted some cannas a year or so back and I failed to dig them up before the winter and I lost them.  I was so sad, cannas are also very beautiful.

These are planted outside of the chicken yard to help beautify it.  I will be transplanting more in the near future.  We have been landscaping around the chicken pens and I will be so happy when it is finally completed.  It has been a work in progress and some days are better than others!  One of my other absolute favorites is evening primrose.  I used to have a really good batch of it in my front flower beds, but over time other things have choked it out.  I am working on getting it re-established in some of my back flower beds.  I am also going to try to get some established in at least two of my deck planters.

The apple mint continues to thrive everywhere and the chickens enjoy eating it too.  I just love it and it makes some of the best tea!  I have also successfully made some yummy apple mint jelly with it.  I will be dehydrating a bunch of it very soon hopefully for future tea and other uses I find for it.

What's new in your garden or flower beds?  Do you have favorites or unique plants?

Friday, May 10, 2019


I always enjoy ordering goodies from The Critical Thinking Co.  Sometimes the kids don't think it is always so fun, but the quality of learning can't be beaten.  When I had the chance to review their Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 it was an easy "Yes!"  I received an electronic copy of the 209-page book.  I was easily able to download and print the book out.  It is an interactive download so you could fill it out on the computer, but this can be tricky and doesn't work so well for us.  I then used my binder to bind it into a nice book for my 9th-grade son to use.  It is recommended for grades 8-12+.

My son is a struggling learner so he has not taken any testing yet and this is just the perfect book to continue his practice that we have used other programs for in the past.  Of course, he was less than thrilled to have yet another resource in this area, but he will be grateful when it is time for his testing and he doesn't struggle so much due to the wonderful practice he has had.  This book will definitely help him prepare. It helps him build his vocabulary that will help his comprehension in critical reading.

Sample Vocab Word List


Sample extras throughout the book for deeper immersion of the stories covered

The lessons consist of stories that help your student with concepts in language arts, literature and humanities.  Concepts learned include:

  • Literary
    • Characterization in literature
    • Idioms
    • Puns
    • Jargon
    • Irony
    • Euphemisms
    • Aphorisms
    • Allusions
    • Theme
  • Rhetorical
    • The art of persuasion in speech and writing
    • Using the extended simile to write a poem
  • Historical
    • The Renaissance
    • Renaissance Artists

More sample extras including Puns and Literary Jargon

There are 20 lessons plus 5 reviews. There is an answer key in the back of the book.  The reviews occur after every 4 lessons (32 vocabulary words per review).  Each lesson consists of 9 words with 85% of them coming from the current PSAT or SAT word lists. Each list focuses on a part of speech such as nouns, verbs, or adjectives.  They include pronunciations, definitions, other word forms, and a sample sentence.  There are 6 parts (A-F) to every lesson.  They include practice with synonyms, idioms, and phrases.  The workbook pages mostly consist of fill in the blanks.  There are word lists included helping with the choices.  Some other activities include a story challenge (choosing the right word to fill in), word scrambles, and completing a sentence using the underlined word to show you understand what it means.  The reviews also include crossword puzzles and multiple choice.

Sample workbook fill in the blank

Sample Story Challenge
Sample Word Scramble

Working through the lessons by completing one lesson per week is one way to use the curriculum (there are actually 6 parts per lesson) but I think in the future going forward we will split it up and do a lesson every two weeks since this is just extra practice right now for us.  That schedule would probably only work to get through the material in one year if you continued through the summer (which we tend to do on some items).  By breaking it up into two weeks we will be able to cover 3 parts per week (instead of every day) and allow him to really work with what he is learning so he doesn't try to complete it so quickly and miss out on the purpose of the curriculum.

Sample review page - Crossword (with error)

I really like the way the lessons are laid out and feel that it helps your student get good immersion into the words and gives them a chance to get good comprehension and retention of the words. The activities involved cause your student to really think about the definitions and allow them to practice using the words in sentences and stories to get better comprehension.  I could tell when he didn't really pay attention to the definitions because he would have more difficulty completing the lessons.  By learning the synonyms and other ways the word can be used (i.e. idioms and phrases), it really causes deeper thought and again, a better comprehension of the words.

We did find one error so far in the first review.  One of the words is missing, 9 across, and has no definition in the hints. We can see what the word is from the answer list in the back but had no way of really knowing what that word was other than just guessing.  Errors happen, no big deal. I really like the layout of the book and feel that it will definitely help him in preparing for his test.  I give it a thumbs up!

A special gift to my readers, a coupon code!  You get FREE shipping plus 15% off any size order by using the code TOSCREW19 (expires 12/31/19).  Enjoy!

You can connect with The Critical Thinking Co. on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, YOUTUBE, and INSTAGRAM.

I recommend you not only check out Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 but also the reviews on other books from The Critical Thinking Co. from my fellow Crew members by clicking on the graphic link below.

Critical Thinking, Math, Vocabulary & Writing Skills {The Critical Thinking Co. Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer
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