Saturday, November 30, 2013

Social Media Sophistication

Lisa Nielsen at The Innovative Educator nails it once again. She states that we are crippling our students by NOT teaching them social media. I'd have to agree. I recently applied for a job that required me to research, critique, assess and analyze, create a PowerPoint presentation of my findings, create a movie of the PowerPoint and submit it via a media drop box. While do-able, it was stressful under time pressure.  Throw in living in the outback computer speed, homeschooling, several other obligations both paid and volunteer and it was an interesting week, to say the least.

Otoh, we are quite aware of some of the concerns surrounding social media. Our son's firewall was hacked, graphic porn popped up and his history reflected that he'd been searching porn sites for awhile (which he hadn't). Dr. Dh's geek contacts assured us that porn hackers target those who look Christian in their media habits (the Christian post is ds' main page- so, he was hacked by porn perps specifically because of his conservative media habits. Nice, right?).

Like so many things, it's a delicate balance between sheltering and sophistication. How do you handle social media in your home? (click graphic to make larger).


@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Narnia and the North


I'm a week behind (what's new?!) but had to share some fun pictures. The kids and I went to see a high school rendition of Narnia last Saturday. They first encountered the actors/actresses at a BooksRUs event last Friday afternoon, along with other cool kid stuff, like face-painting. Fun times.
Cub is in none of the pics 'cuase big Bro arranged a Thor movie going event with friends, picked him up, treated him to movie, popcorn and Action on the Big Screen. Big Bro of the Year award, right there. Cub would like ya'll to know that he has the coolest Big Bro evah.(see photo above).
Meanwhile Flower got warm and cozy with the White Witch. We've since watched 2 of the 3 Narnia movies, along with the Hobbit. It was a watching, rather than reading, kind of week 'round here.

This week we cleaned and cooked. I tried to re-create classic food favs with out the basics. I could post a lot on the "Pinterest Nailed It" (as in didn't) boards as a result. Next holiday, I think I'll focus on steamed broccoli, the Turkey (which was organic and butchered 2 days before and was terrific!) and stuff we've already made. Our guests were gracious despite the obviously weird food. Plus, they brought the pumpkin pie! Love that!

I know I said I was about done with reviews. Except for the several more I couldn't resist. Flower recommends:
Simply Put: A Study in Economics by Catherine Jamie. And don't forget to sign up for the awesome give-away!
Speaking of which: Timberdoodle Love - as in $250's worth- sign up here!
Coming up: Devotions from Torah: Genesis and Exodus and Mere Christianity: Critical Analysis

Narnia Lovers Unite!
Narnia lovers

Speaking of which, my amazing blogger buddy, Amy (queen of the Bow of Bronze Launch Teams) has put together an amazing C.S. Lewis resource list in honor of his birthday.
Have you been keeping up with my Nitty Gritty Homeschool Living series? I'm looking for guest posters, so if you have some nitty gritty experience you'd like to share about in the areas of education, health, finances, parenting, faith, etc. lmk! Every Monday, right here!
Paying for College
Don't Be Sorry: Tend to Yourself as Well as Your Family
The Thanksgiving Tree
Hurts and Heartache
The Christmas Decorations came out today. We've devolved to fake tree status due to severe allergies and our fav tree farm making way for suburban sprawl.
We trim everything in garlands and twinkle lights. Our house has icicle lights on 3 stories, making it look like a wedding cake from the top of the ridge.

One for the road, which Feeche's been on a bit lately. Landscaping is over for the season, but not before Feeche spent a couple of weeks on and off lake-side hauling rock, building patios and retaining walls. His bank account is happy. . And so is his Momma, now that he is home a bit more! He has big plans for making big money before spring landscaping starts, along with college classes, but if you want to know more, you'll have to ask him!

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Thursday, November 28, 2013


May the God of grace show you what a blessing you are...
May His joy surround you and make your heart light...
May the goodness He generously gives overflow in your life, both now and always.

He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations. Deuteronomy 7:9

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Simply Put: A Study in Economics- Bow of Bronze Review

Ah, just found a better cover image for the physical book.
Finding affordable, understandable text for complex high school subjects that are required has been a challenge for years. Economics, for our family, at least, has been one of those courses we just haven't found a text that we've loved. In the past we've used a weighty tome for Economics by a well known black conservative. Honestly, the thought of going through it alone, without the help and umph of a co-op/ qualified teacher, was a bit intimidating.  Enter Simply Put: A Study of Economics. It's nice to know that we can get through difficult subject matter without stressing Mom or Student! We took the simple approach: Read, Discuss, Review; slow and steady but clear progress with a work text that is not overwhelming.

Catherine Jaime has written both Simply Put: A Study of Economics  and Simply Put Teacher’s Key. Ms. Jaime is the mother of twelve, ten of whom have graduated, and currently homeschooling a 10th and 12th grader. She is also the author of over thirty books, both fiction and non-fiction. Her undergraduate work is from the Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and she has taught in grades K-12 with an emphasis in economics and government. In other words, Ms. Jaime has a lot to recommend her and her writing.

This is a soft cover work text, covering 36 short, easily digestible chapters- just 1 to 4 pages in length, that include review questions. There are 8 appendixes, a mid-term and a final. This is a one semester, high school course, which can be adapted to Jr. High. Doing just the book will count as 1/2 Carnegie unit (1/2 high school credit), averaging 2 lessons a week. You can easily expand this to one full high school credit by adding additional resources such as The Wall Street Journal, Ideas on Liberty, The Economist, etc. Ms. Jaime includes an entire page of resources in the Bibliography. The text includes black and white pictures, simple graphics and bolded vocabulary words. While this is an easily accessible economics study, it is by no means simplistic, and covers the basic terms and concepts that your high school student will need to know.

I love the way that Ms. Jaime begins simply and builds on that to introduce the complex. Supply and Demand, obviously, show up quite early in the book, but again, in Chapter 31, under "Price Gouging" they make their appropriate appearance yet again.

This study is coming from a fiscally conservative point of view.
Everything, in short, is reduced at the expense of foregoing something else. (Hazlitt);
I, however, place economy among the first and most important republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared. (Jefferson); we saw in the Standard of Living lesson, inflation is often the cause of significant drops in standard of living, (Jaime).
If you are looking for justification for trillion dollar debt, socialized programs or run-away spending, you won't find it in this book. Jaime recommends The Freeman, which will give you a taste of what her Economic pedagogy is all : The Freeman: Foundation for Economic Liberty (you can download  PDF of the current issue free).
I first assigned Cub (8th grade) to read two chapters a week and to write out the review questions. After2 chapters he begged asked to do this together, with my reading aloud to him, having him narrate the chapter, and answer the review questions verbally. Which we did, and was fun, because, of course, lots of discussion ensued, which is the heart and soul of a great high school education. This book is chock full of food for thought. Cub understood the concepts but real life application was the stretch. He is widely read and keeps up politically, he still has one foot in the concrete operations stag and an other tentatively in the formal operations stage. This book stretches beyond concrete operations in that it challenges the student to apply a philosophy of economy.

Simply Put Teacher’s Key is simple and straightforward, and includes only 4 sections:
National Budget Activity
Free Trade in Action: An Economics Activity
Economics Mid-Term Answers
Economics Final Exam Answers

The 2 Activities sections included are an excellent hands-on way for your student to experience the power and impact of economics in their life, country and world. Both are designed to be done in groups, but could be done individually if necessary. Both will make the world of econ come alive for your student in a way that just reading about it won't. I remember doing mock-trial with in a co-op several years ago and how differently the kids responded to the information when it was played out, versus simply read about and discussed. These activities will make the world of national and personal economics come alive for your students.

Have I mentioned how thrilled I am with this curriculum? It's accessible, even for those with a rudimentary understanding of economics. It builds from simple to complex; reiterating basic economic vocabulary throughout. It teaches from a fiscally conservative stance. It is do-able in a semester, or easily expanded to a full credit course, depending on the needs of your student. It is affordable. It's a winner.

If you would prefer to purchase the book in digital format, Simply Put: A Study of Economics is also available on Currclick. listed with a sale price of $6.99, regularly $16.00.
In addition to the amazing give-away, I have one Student Text and Answer Key to give away to a Golden Grasses reader! Simply "friend" GG- through email, networked blog, or google and leave a comment saying you did so.
Bow of Bronze Launch Team

Bow of Bronze Launch Team Disclaimer Graphic
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@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Timberdoodle Mega Give-Away!

As your holiday celebrations begin in earnest, how would you like to win $250 in gift certificates from Timberdoodle Co.? Our very own Bow of Bronze Launch Team has teamed up to bring you this very special giveaway to help celebrate the launch of Homeschool Encouragement. Timberdoodle Co. has long been a standing favorite in the Homeschool community, and with good reason! You can surely finish your Christmas shopping through Timberdoodle with this prize money, or you could use it for much needed Homeschool curriculum. Homeschool Encouragement Giveaway

This giveaway has not been sponsored by the Timberdoodle Co in any way - rather this lovely team of bloggers has come together and each contributed towards the prize. We are so pleased to have the support of our amazing readers, and this is one way we can bless you in return.
Amy at Homeschool Encouragement
Lisa at Our 4 Kiddos
Lisa at Tales of a Homeschool Family
Laurie at Our Abundant Blessings
Jennifer at Thou Shalt Not Whine
Becca at C Family of Six
Cynthia at Cynce's Place
Lisa at Golden Grasses
Tara at This Sweet Life of Mine
Michele at Family, Faith and Fridays
Marcy at Ben and Me
Gena at I Choose Joy
Ellen at Grace Tells Another Story
Lisa at Our Simple Kinda Life
Kim at Natural Beach Living
Heather at Marine Corp Nomads
Monique at Living Life and Learning
Penny at Knee Deep in Grace
Kristi at The Potter's Hand Academy
Amy at Amy's Wandering
Miranda at The Pebble Pond
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NItty Gritty- Paying for College

Many homeschooling parents have concerns about paying for their student’s college education, or even being able to get their student into an excellent school to begin with. Many are unaware of the options available to their student for earning college credit in high school. This is no fault of the parents, but can be attributed to a lack of information available to help understand these methods.

My journey started at 15 years old, when I began taking exams for college credit. I learned many study skills under the direction of my academic coaches at Collegeplus, a company that provides academic counsel for homeschooled students/graduates and other individuals who want to earn their bachelor’s degree with little to no debt and in a short time frame. I never entered a classroom, and most of my studying was done at home, my library, or a local coffee shop.

            Shortly after I began taking these exams, many of my friends and family began to ask questions about my methods of earning college credit. Did I have time to socialize when I was working so hard to pass a CLEP exam every 2-4 weeks? Would I have trouble getting into a college after graduating high school? Would my diploma (or the Bachelor’s degree that I was earning) be accepted at any decent learning institution after I graduated? At times, my parents and I would grow weary of answering these questions. We had to put up with them for almost three years before I graduated this past Spring. The fact is, the methods that I have used to earn my bachelor’s degree or SO unorthodox that many people have trouble accepting them as legitimate. However, I can assure you that I have always had a rich social life, my diploma was accepted at Thomas Edison State College, the regionally accredited institution where I hold my bachelor’s in communication, and I had absolutely no issues getting into a Master’s program shortly after turning 18, where I am now studying towards my Master’s in Divinity. I say none of this in order to lift myself up on a pedestal, because these achievements are largely due to those who have coached and encouraged me along this process. However, I do want to let homeschooling families know that the path that I chose for my undergraduate education was 100% legitimate, and did not leave me lacking in any of the necessary skills that I would have learned if I studied in a classroom setting for four years. Also, the perks to getting into a graduate program with no student loans at 18 years of age are worth considering as you decide what steps your family will take as far as your student(s)’ college education is concerned. As for my current college studies, I feel that my past education has prepared me for my current study, and I am enjoying campus life with my friends and professor’s in and outside of the classroom. The current experience is very different from my prior college experience, but I didn’t experience culture shock after moving away from home, even though many of my friends and some of my family probably expected me to because of my homeschooling background and distance learning choices.

            One last word on distance education: Over a decade into the 20th Century, with increasingly fast-paced social environments and more competition than ever in our global workforce, it becomes important for a student to take as many educational and financial shortcuts as possible in order to get ahead professionally. The majority of Americans have massive amounts of credit card and student loan debt, and distance education makes it easier for a student to avoid these pitfalls before settling down and raising a family.

These are a few of the reasons why I have written an ebook, How I Earned my Bachelor’s Degree by 18”, which explains how I used these methods to graduate with my bachelor’s degree before I ever received a high school diploma! In the book, parents and students will learn about CLEP, DSST, and other credit-by-examination programs that lend themselves extremely useful to homeschooling students looking to earn college credit while in high school. I also walk students through some of the study skills to develop and tools to gather before setting out on this journey.

My ebook, available on Amazon and in PDF format, is a valuable resource for any homeschooling student or parent who is uncertain about the options that they have available to them.

~Calvin Lyman
The Homeschool Grad

Calvin Lyman lives in Granbury, TX with his family. He is currently attending Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond, OK in pursuit of his M.A. in Ministry. Calvin has three younger siblings and enjoys spending time with his family and friends. He also thinks that bow ties are cool.

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Blue Ribbon Week

School- the LIST. Books, workbooks, DVD's, CD's and on-line stuff. We are rocking our little homeschool world after months of being tossed by turbulence.
No individual reviews this week, but the Grand-Poombah TOS Review Crew Blue Ribbon Awards were announced.
And yet another amazing give-away, valued at over $150, in anticipating of the
Devotions from Torah: Genesis and Exodus reviews and launch.
Stay tuned for Weeding Out the Wheat, Simply Put: Economics (with another amazing give-away!), and Devotions from Torah reviews coming up soon!

The Thanksgiving menu is planned. Our Crewbie friends are bringing yummy stuff, including mini-pumpkin pies. We are pie people. Apple pie is de riguer for every holiday and sometimes just because. Lots of veggies and as many different olives as I can find.
"The primary purpose of Social Studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world."
"Education is the transmission of culture." -Will and Ariel Durant.
Visit com
I've been reading Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly. A rousing good romp through Ancient History.

 I love this list: 20 things the rich do every day. I do many, not enough of some and a couple nada. But it's a good starting place, and I realized reading the list that there are some areas that I just need to make better time for.

We're getting a group rate at the local workoutRus place. Can't wait. Especially since it's getting cold and windy and snowy out there. Too cold to walk outdoors and I can't go fast enough to get a sweat going. Elliptical machines and my knees actually get along. And weight machines and I, oddly enough, have a terrific working relationship.
Add in cabbage salad for lunch and my 2 quarts of green tea a day. Just call me wonder woman.
@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Devotions from the Torah Give-away!

I love ancient literature and history- it's probably my favorite time period to study. And while some folks avoid the Old Testament, between my love of ancient lit and our Messianic leanings, I've read and studied it over and over. I'm currently reviewing two new books; Devotions in Genesis and Devotions in Exodus in a series by Nicole Hallbrooks Vaughn, titled Devotions from the Torah. These are thought provoking devotionals that delve deeply into the original Hebrew, historical context and major themes of the books I'll be doing a complete review in just a few weeks so check back on Dec 2!

The Devotions from the Torah Launch Team is excited to help Nicole celebrate the release of the first 2 books in this series -- Devotions from Genesis and Devotions from Exodus Part One -- with a special giveaway of incredible books, several of which will enhance your study of the Torah! This giveaway is a $160 value!

We would like to thank the following companies for their generous sponsorship of this giveaway! Be sure to stop by their websites to say thank you!

Home School Adventure Co.
Knowledge Quest
Great Waters Press

To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. One winner will be selected and announced by noon ET on December 5, 2013. U.S. residents age 18 and older only please. Other Terms and Conditions can be found in the Rafflecopter.

Here's what you could win!

Devotions from Genesis by Nicole Hallbrooks Vaughn
See for yourself how Genesis, the book of beginnings, is not just ancient history and that the Word of God is still alive and timeless. Nicole Vaughn’s Devotions from Genesis will take you on a journey from the garden of Eden to the courts of Pharaoh in Egypt, allowing you to see your own hurts, struggles, and joys through the lives of patriarchs from Adam to Joseph. You will gain insight into your heart and more importantly, insight into the very heart of God. One day at a time, you will be reminded that you are not alone with these Devotions from Genesis.

Devotions from Exodus Part One by Nicole Hallbrooks Vaughn
Devotions From Exodus Part One will take you from the bondage of the children of Israel to their freedom. The children of Israel were set free from their bondage in Egypt, and they had to learn how to live in this new freedom. As you study through these first twenty chapters of Exodus, you will see that after God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt, he still had to get Egypt out of them. Our deliverance in Christ is no different. God delivers us from the world, but he still has to get the world out of us. We, like the Israelites, are learning to live in this freedom.

Philosophy Adventure: Pre-Socratics (digital download) by Stacy Farrell
Philosophy Adventure™ is designed to help students 6th-12th grade cultivate and defend a biblical worldview by teaching them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately as they explore the history of ideas.

Philippians in 28 Weeks (digital download) by Stacy Farrell
The Bible is banned in many countries. Countless believers have sacrificed their freedom—and many, their lives—to spread the message of God’s love and salvation contained within its pages. Are we exercising our freedom responsibly. Memorize the entire book of Philippians in 28 weeks!

A Child's Geography: Explore the Holy Land by Ann Voskamp
Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey...your family probably hears or reads about these names frequently. In an increasingly complex world, it is vitally important that children learn to see the world through their Creator's eyes. As we explore the Holy Land you and your family will delight in incredible, mysterious landscapes, hidden wonders and beautiful peoples - all created in God's image.

A Cry from Egypt by Hope Auer
Have you ever wondered what life was like in ancient Egypt? As an Israelite? And a slave? Want your children to understand the Bible is history? Adventure, excitement, love, and faith come together when Jarah and her family fi nd themselves at the culmination of four hundred years of history.

Purposeful Planning by Phyllis Sather
Do you need a plan to keep your family moving in the direction the Lord is leading you? Perhaps you don’t know where the Lord is leading you. Phyllis takes you step-by-step through the process of planning a time together for your family to help determine the path the Lord is choosing for each area of your life. Her family has followed this format for over 12 years and has found that it provides the compass they’ve needed to plan and stay on course.

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Country Kids and Kittens

We have more kittens, thanks to Mae ; ).
They are adorable and playful and well loved.
Our older cats are only mildly amused by the intruders.

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

TOS Blue ribbon Awards 2013

For those of you who will be sharing about the Blue Ribbon Awards on your blogs -- here is the graphic. 

The post will go live tomorrow at 9AM ET.

It's been a wonderful year working with the  Old Schoolhouse Review Crew. We've been introduced to amazing new products, been re-introduced to old favs and had a blast schmoozing with talented and amazing folks around the web, too!  Our family did a slew of reviews- over 40- and learned a ton. And now we've voted to bring the best of the Crew to you!

The Blue Ribbon Awards have been revealed!

Language Arts -One of my favorite subjects. IEW is always a winner in my opinion. Awesome product, awesome company!

Favorite Reading Instruction Curriculum: Logic of English
Favorite Handwriting Curriculum: Handwriting Without Tears
Favorite Writing Curriculum: Institute for Excellence in Writing
Favorite Language Arts Curriculum: Moving Beyond the Page
Favorite Language Arts Resource: Fundanoodle

Social Studies and History- We love most anything related to this area! God's World News deserves special mention. We haven't connected with this company for years, and are we glad we have again! Totally terrific news source that will get your kids thinking, considering and wondering why!

Favorite Social Studies Curriculum: Notgrass Company
Favorite History Resource: YWAM Publishing
Favorite Social Studies Resource: God’s World News
Favorite Science Curriculum: Apologia Elementary Science
Science- You know I live with Science nerds (NOAA is a home page, y'all) and I do love tech but I'll never be accused of being a techno-head. So glad there are amazing resources for Mom's like me! With  particular shout-out to Supercharged Science. LOVE this company!

Favorite Science Resource: BrainFood Learning
Favorite Elementary Resource: Apologia Elementary Science
Favorite Technology Curriculum: Homeschool Programming
Best Online Resource: Supercharged Science

Math -Everyone can use a little help here, right?
Favorite Math Curriculum: Math U See
Favorite Math Resource: Math Rider

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Foreign Language and Fine Arts - So many cool new products out there. See the Light (art history, art technique and a great project all in one!) and Gryphon House were 2 of Flower's favorite things this year.
Favorite Foreign Language Curriculum: Homeschool Spanish Academy
Favorite Fine Arts Curriculum: See the Light
Favorite Fine Arts Resource: Gryphon House

Bible Book Summary Card Sample
Bible/Christian Ed Resource - Both of these products are fantastic resources for homeschools, churches and co-ops!
Favorite Christian Education Curriculum: Bible Study Guide for All Ages
Favorite Christian Education Resource: God’s World News
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By the Age and Stage - IEW rocks, but you knew that, right? College Prep Genius is good stuff for anyone with a Jr. High Schooler or older and Picaboo Yearbooks are an affordable, fun way to record your student, co-op, or group experience!
Favorite Preschool Resource: Flowering Baby
Favorite Middle School Resource: Institute for Excellence in Writing
Favorite High School Resource: Institute for Excellence in Writing
Favorite College or College-Prep Resource: College Prep Genius
Favorite Parent Resource: Picaboo

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The Best of the Best - More cool stuff that will enrich your life, educate your kids and make you smile (cause homeschooling works!)  

Best Online Resource: Supercharged Science -Supercharged Science should be superstar science!
Best E-Product: Homeschool in the Woods -as always beautiful maps and great information!
Best App: VocabularySpellingCity -Vocabulary/ Spelling City, after a rocky start I'm a die-hard fan
Best Resource I Didn’t Know I Needed: IXL -IXL- makes math review fun; and for some kids, that's a work of art!
Best General Homeschool Resource: Circle Time  -Kendra Fletcher is a genius, making how to organize your life, homeschool and kids do-able in a way that is simple. Love this resource!
Best Book, Novel, or Magazine: God’s World News - let me reiterate; Love Trax, love the on-line info, love the magazine. GREAT stuff. As Cub says, "It's like The Economist from a Christian perspective.
Best Children’s Book: Barbour Publishing - Diary of a Real Payne. This was a real delightful read.
Best Game or Toy: Chess House
Best Hands-On Resource: Apologia Elementary Science
Most Adaptable Resource: Apologia Elementary Science MP3 anyone? Brilliant move, Apologia!
Most Family-Oriented Resource: Apologia Elementary Science
Kids’ Choice: Chess House
Teens’ Choice: The Presidential Game -fun times for the political animals in your house (or those who should be).

All Around Crew Favorite: Apologia Elementary Science

Check out more great Blue Ribbon Award Wrap-Ups from my fellow Crewbies!

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Nitty Gritty -Don't Be Sorry : Tend to Yourself as Well as Your Family

As I listened to Dr. Phil one afternoon years ago when the Sweet Peanut was a baby, I remember he spoke about his mother. He had been angry with her for focusing so much on her family and not enough on her own health. She died early and left a devastated family behind. We didn’t have a television at this time (still don’t) and this was back when you could catch a couple of tv stations on the radio. I didn’t listen to Dr. Phil regularly but happened to tune in this day. I don’t remember anything else about the show but I remember thinking that I was going to make sure and take care of myself. To be there for my family as long as humanely possible. I feel like God helped me keep this promise early on because in my mid 20’s my body decided that soy was an evil ingredient. Overnight I had to remove it completely from my diet and bath and body products. No easy feat in the 90’s. No more fast food restaurants, convenience foods, most snacks and candies, and even most makeups. Oh woe is me! I was devastated but it was all for good.
For Lisa at photo life-expectancy_zpsda8db57e.jpg
That kick in the behind sent me halfway to a much healthier diet. In my 30’s people wondered how I looked so good and so much energy. Now don’t get me wrong. Just because soy was gone didn’t mean I wasn’t getting my share of sweets and goodies. I’ve always liked to bake and cook so I would just cook up my own. They might have been a little better for me because they lacked the fillers and additives but fat is fat and it can all catch up with you. So I still had halfway to go. It wasn’t until my 40’s that I to start on the other half. Until then just eliminating soy and being myself had been all I needed to keep looking like a 20 year old and have as much energy as a kindergartener. But almost immediately after the big 4-0 it started to really matter what I ate, how I exercised and the amount of sleep I got. And now I had a family to look after too! I had changes to make and I knew it.

Growing up with a grandmother who got a monthly vitamin delivery and whipped up soups in her Vitamix and with a mother who shopped regularly at the health food store when it was still tiny and owned by the people who lived above it. I knew where I wanted to turn for long term health. Slowly I did things like eating more fruits and veggies. Then cut out coffee altogether. While that took a while to get out of my system the I wouldn’t go back. I also drank more water. Ate less homemade pizza and used more ground turkey. Little tweaks here and there that made a difference. It’s not been easy and I’m still tweaking here and there but one of the best things we can do as busy moms is take care of ourselves. No matter how busy your family will thank you for it.

As a mom I know how easy it is to get so involved in the day to day cares of the family that you put yourself on the back burner. I’ll eat later, you say. I don’t have time to work out, you think. Yes I feel bad or I’m in pain but I’ll think about it later. I’m too busy right now. Most recently I’ve had to make sure I keep up with my own health as my days became busier than ever. I realized how quickly, when things got harried, I was ready to drop everything that I knew was good for me and just go with what was easiest. For me I know that means suffering in the long term so I had to reign it in. That meant being prepared and creating a healthy, on the go breakfast instead of, heaven forbid, going without. It meant, go on and take those vitamins even though you have to slow down and eat something to do it. It meant saying no when I was so used to saying yes. And finally accepting help from others when I was so used to going it alone. So what are some other things you can you do to make sure you keep in good health when the days are rough and busy? Well everybody is different. Has different needs and different situations but I’ll tell you how I’m trying to do it.

Make it a Family Affair The best way to keep me on track is to make it a family affair. If I eat it they do too. Early in my marriage my husband would chow down on his soy filled foods while I had my own diet. Now that doesn’t make sense anymore. Financially and time wise. Health in our family is important. Since we don’t eat out but about once a year food is a big focus in our home. We watch cooking shows, try new dishes and cook together as a family. Meals have plenty of veggies. We started juicing (kids and all) last year and we grow our own veggies in the summer. We live near a u-pick farm and grocery shop weekly at a local produce store. Vitamins play a big part in our health and we notice the difference with them. We all keep each other on track and our 8 year old daughter seems to have a great affinity keeping a healthy lifestyle.

Don’t Let Bad Days Derail Me I’m one of those strange ones that enjoys exercise. But as I get older I have less time for it. Gone are the days of hour long workouts. As much as I like my Firm videos I don’t have the time for them anymore. I had put down the weights and stopped exercising altogether but then rediscovered Denise Austin. Her short workouts made me realize I could keep fit in just 20 minutes a day. And then later on I discovered T-Tapp. Only 15 minutes her workouts are detoxing and provide many more benefits than just a fit body. I’ve also discovered I don’t HAVE to exercise everyday. Keeping a more relaxed workout schedule means I’m less likely to miss my days. And with the past few busy months we’ve had I haven’t missed a beat. It’s easy, when the kids come along, to focus so much on them that you don’t realize you need some focusing too. I’m realizing, as my daughter grows, that she’s watching everything I do. She’s also learning from what I do. I want her to learn to take care of herself too.

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  Kemi Quinn is a wife, mother, church musician, and amateur cook. She loves to read about how women kept home in time’s past (aka Vintage Homemaking). She blogs over at Homemaking Organized
@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Reading, Watching, Listening

School this week was guided by my high tech list on a sheet of paper.
Still loving IXL and Vocabulary/Spelling City, Prescripts and Learn Math Fast.
The kids also started memorizing VP Bible cards. 5 times through a day.
Perplexors, Logic Links, Biology, Economics
We threw in some drawing, reading, Story of the World CD's, hanging outside with the kittens ('cause it's back to gorgeous fall weather)  and tons of reading.
Story of the World CD's - MUST HAVE's for anyone who wants to really know history.
I've been a reviewing fool:
Massive Give Aways: Book Basket and Audio Library
Click above and Sign-up!! These are both chock full of terrific things to read and listen to!!
Reading, of course, it's what we do:
Saving Leonardo,
Roman Mysteries,
Weeding out the Wheat.
Trying to keep my blood pressure under control, despite the news.
Common Core architect and College Board President David Coleman recently joined a public forum to discuss “the next America.” Uh-huh.
Want to know more? Check this out - a beautiful response to Common Core by a youngster.
The Dishwasher is fixed. Two service calls in a week, 5 total. It's finally draining.
Happy, happy dance. We've dug out from under the dishes.
We are reveling to the sound of the water draining as the washer runs.
Swish, Woosh, Woohoo!1
Feed your inner nerd.

Watched 42 this week. A beautiful and powerful film about baseball great Jackie Robinson.
So many wonderful faith and life applications. He was a true blue hero.

I've heard mixed reviews about Enders Game. Have you seen it? Whatdya' think?
Waiting for The Book Thief; that I might actually have to go to the theater's for..

What have you been reading, watching, listening to?

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

At Home in Dogwood Mudhole- TOS Review

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Franklin Sanders from At Home in Dogwood Mudhole is the author of The Moneychanger Newsletter and has recently released his first in a series of three; At Home in Dogwood Mudhole, Volume One: Nothing That Eats. Sanders recounts the move he and his wife, children and grandchildren make as they go from city-dwellers to country homesteaders, recounting good eats, dawgs, re-enactments, family, faith and farming. This is, ultimately, the story of  a family that went back to the land, lived to tell about it and now want to tell you about it with humor, panache and the location and phone numbers of good restaurants along the way.
The book contains four sections: Leaving Memphis Five Miles at a Time, Living in the Country Changes You, Learning Curve, and A Real Farm, with each section containing several "chapters." The book is 378 pages long with a lovely, glossy, 4 color cover. Also included are 25 photographs and maps, further creating the feeling that you are being invited in to a rousing good family reunion with Sanders and his extensive array of relatives and furry friends.
This book is comprised of a series of newsletters published by Sanders over the course of a several years. He talks about people and places that folks that readers of his newsletter might be familiar with, but readers of the book, because the scope is broader, might not be. This lends itself to the homey, conversational style of the book. Think James Herriot, Southern-style, recounting a series of real life vignettes.
Sanders weaves his faith throughout, "John Calvin said, 'Ignorance of the Providence of God is the cause of all impatience.' as he relates his challenges with clover growing in a chapter titled "Agrarian Worries." Speaking of failures and near misses with faith in something bigger than the immediate is really a hallmark of what this book is about. Sprinkled throughout you'll find scripture, quotes and poems. If you are a collector of good words, you'll appreciate the fact that Sanders is too.
Another major theme is Sanders politics; including Y2K preparation, money and, of course, the Civil War. I found the War conversations off-putting as he hammered the "Northern Aggression" one too many times for my taste, insisting that the Civil War had nothing to do with anything but economics. A bit beyond simplistic and I would have been fine letting it go if it wasn't re-played. I'm sure this had to do with Sanders involvement in historical re-enactments (which I am all for and love, including his descriptions of his family involvement in them) but to completely ignore the Emancipation Proclamation and the entire issue of slavery (which was partly, but not solely, an economic issue) colored my view of this book.
This book doesn't fit neatly into a genre per se;  it's not quite memoir, not quite biography, not quite how to, not quite devotional. Basically, what you'll find here is Sanders down home, corn-spun wisdom. I'll be sending a copy of this to my Gram for Christmas, who was born on a homested in the south and loves the thought of country farm life surrounded by family and critters. If you do too, add this to your list of "to be read."
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The cost for the book is $22.95 for the paperback.
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 @Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Grab Your Exit Buddy

Name that Movie... these 2 are Roam Schooling today. Packed up the computer, nook, school work, assignment sheet, the camera (stop action counts as school, right?!), lunch, water bottles and as many snacks as they could find in our sugar, dairy, gluten free organic kitchen and went elsewhere to do school for the day.

I miss my buddies.

Check out my current amazing give-aways worth hundreds of dollars: Book Basket and Audio Library!

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

French Essentials- TOS Review

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French Essentials offered us a Full Access Online Program (one full year, all modules, of their French lessons) to review. French Essentials is a complete language program that you download to your computer. It includes tests and quizzes, games, vocabulary, on-line flashcards with audio and culture. There is a placement test to ensure that your student starts at the level that best suits them. The program is easy to access; you simply download the modules and the lessons, read the lesson, listen to the quick demos and do the homework.
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The program is divided into modules; the modules correspond to grade level. To date modules 1-5 are available, with modules 6-10 available soon. Each module is broken down into lessons. The lessons are delivered via written exercises, audio and video, making this a good choice for any family with multiple learning styles.
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This is the screen shot of the download area. Once you log in, you need to download the lessons.
Each lesson will include a down loadable file, printable worksheets for each lesson, answer key and checklist. Once you've downloaded the lessons, they are yours for life. Perfect for a large homeschooling family or for those who are going for mastery.
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This is the Cultural area. You can look around and discover various aspects of the French culture. I really love this aspect of the program. Language is really a reflection of culture and in order to really grasp the language, one must have some understanding of the culture.
There are many pluses to this program
It's self paced.
It is affordable.
It's comprehensive. The parent's don't need to know French in order for this program to be very effective.
The lessons are short and clear, taking 15-20 each, easy to fit into a busy schedule
Lessons are complete and ready to go once you have downloaded them
Downsides to the program
We experienced constant audio difficulties. Very, very frustrating to both of my kids, especially for my get er' done boy.
The lessons felt "baby-ish", moving slowly, the animations felt juvenile and the "owl" instructor was cartoonish.
We spent quite a bit of time downloading the material. This wouldn't have been a problem in the late summer if I was prepping for the year or if we didn't live in the country where "high speed" translates into medium speed at best. I felt a bit behind even as we started.
For my both my 5th and 8th graders, who have had worked another language program for a year, the pace and the content of the lessons felt simplistic.
All of that being said this is a simple, cost-effective way to learn a second language, even if you, the homeschooling parent, don't know it. Go here to try sample lessons or take a placement test.
Available for grades 4-12. $69.95/ module or $149.99 for the complete program.
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@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Nitty Gritty: The Thanksgiving Tree

To kick off my regular new, every Monday Nitty-Gritty series, Mary Kate has put together a beautiful project- the Thanksgiving Tree. I really love this. Even when we are deep into the nitty-gritty of living, there's still something to be thankful about. Mary Kate ramps it up with a lovely holiday decoration.

A Thanksgiving Tree is a great holiday craft that will allow our older kids to express their gratitude in an artistic way, and also bring about a wonderful feeling of togetherness and thankfulness on Thanksgiving day!
Handmade ornaments- fabric coated foam balls, paper pilgrims and Turkey, clay leaves, etc.
A small inexpensive tree that can support ornaments
Holiday lights for the tree (optional)
Permanent markers
A small basket
1.      In the days before Thanksgiving, create handmade ornaments to place on the tree.  These can be basic ornaments that you bejewel and sequin, foam balls coated in fabric, or paper pilgrims, turkeys and Indians, clay leaves, cornucopias, etc. Pinterest has some fantastic homemade seasonal ornament ideas! 
2.      Make enough ornaments for every guest that you will be having over around Thanksgiving (plus some extras for unexpected guests!)  Each ornament should be big enough to write “I am very blessed.  I thank God for _________.” 
3.      Fill in each ornament with the sentences above, leaving the last part of the sentence blank for your guests to fill in.
4.      Set up the tree in the entry way, and place the ornaments in a basket next to it.  Include several permanent markers as well. 
5.      Finish off the tree with lights, or even a homemade garland/banner that says “Give Thanks” if you want to!
6.      As people arrive, ask each guest to take an ornament from the box, complete the sentence and hang the ornament on the tree.
7.      Encourage guests to take some extra time to look at the other ornaments on the tree as well. 
8.      Additionally, you could take photos of your guests next to the tree, or as they place their ornament on the tree.  You could even have group photo around the tree and share it with your guests later! 

What wonderful memories this activity will create – for you, your kids and your guests! If you create a Thanksgiving Tree, please let me know! I'd love to see pictures ;)
Mary Kate Warner is a regular blogger at Christianity Cove - You can often find her writing about Christian Motherhood, Homeschool Teaching, Bible Study and Sunday School Activities, Faith and inspiring children to love God.

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!