Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson Book Review

Sarah Wilson thought of herself as a relatively healthy eater. She didn't realize how much sugar was hidden in her diet, or how much it was affecting her well-being. When she learned that her sugar consumption could be the source of a lifetime of mood swings, fluctuating weight, sleep problems, and thyroid disease, she knew she had to make a change.

What started as an experiment to eliminate sugar--both the obvious and the hidden kinds--soon became a way of life, and now Sarah shows you how you can quit sugar too:

My Thoughts:

I have a sweet tooth and since January of this year I have cut the majority of sugar from my diet. The first thing I noticed was that I have more energy and I have also lost a lot of weight. The title of this book grabbed my attention.

This is a full colored book that is very pleasing to the eyes. I Quit Sugar is a very easy to read book that is easy to navigate through the pages. There are lots of fun tips throughout the pages of the book.

The Detox portion grabbed my attention. Removing sugar from your diet is not as easy as it sounds. Sarah Wilson recommends a slow reduction of sugar until it is gone from your diet. This is supposed to be an 8 week detox program. There is some good information but, I feel that it lacks in information and may not be a complete detox program to keep someone on track. I think I was looking for a bit more information that explains more facts and such. I got the feeling that she felt all sugars are bad but, was not quite sure her take on it. I feel some types of sugars are beneficial for your body and was hoping that she would touch on certain areas.

There are 108 recipes that are for the most part easy to make. I did try a few if the recipes and was very pleased with them. For some people I feel it would be difficult to obtain some of the ingredients unless you are able to order the items online or possibly have them at your local health food store.

I wouldn’t say that I disliked this book it just wasn’t what I was expecting. It’s a good start for someone needing some inspiration to improve their health and get rid of bad sugars. Thank you Sarah for a lovely book that you have obviously put your heart and your passion on the subject shines through in the book.

You can find out more on her Facebook and Twitter.

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book from Blogging for Books- Waterbrook for free in order to write this review. All thoughts and opinions are mine and were not subject to editing from the publisher.

Junior Analytical Grammar TOS Crew Review


I am pretty excited to tell you about a new grammar program I have been using the last few weeks. Are you familiar with Analytical Grammar? I’ve heard of Analytical Grammar before but, have never taken the time to investigate the program before. I have been using Junior Analytical Grammar with my daughter for this review.
I received the Teachers Book and Student Book set for $39.95. Additional  StudentWorkbook are $19.95. Junior Analytical Grammar is for 4th or 5th  grade.

Junior Analytical Grammar teaches English grammar in a systematic approach to help with language mastery in 11 units. Each unit is expected to take around one week to complete.  Each unit builds on the prior units. 

Junior Analytical Grammar teaches all parts of speech, five sentence patterns, parts of a sentence, and classic sentence diagramming. You will also learn some of the mechanics of grammar like the six comma rules, capitalization, and other vital concepts needed to understand grammar.

In the 11 units you will cover:

Unit 1: Nouns
Unit 2: Articles and Adjectives
Unit 3: Pronouns
Unit 4: Prepositions
Unit 5: Subject and Verb
Unit 6: Adverbs
Unit 7: Patterns 1 & 2
Unit 8: Pattern 3
Unit 9: Linking Verbs and Patterns 4 & 5
Unit 10: Helping Verbs
Unit 11: Conjunctions & Compound Situations

The Junior Analytical Grammar Teacher Book is a paperback spiral bound book.  You will have notes and exercises that are in the Student Workbook along with the correct answers. You will also get an overview of each unit you will be teaching your student. Some notes on correcting test. This is what I call an “open and go” curriculum. I don’t have to do any prep work before hand as the program is laid out nicely all I have to do is read the notes.
The Student Workbook is also a paperback spiral bound book. It is for one student and you will need to purchase another workbook if you have more than one child using the program. 

At the beginning of the unit you will learn the concept that is explained in a very simple manner. The workbooks are black and white with no pictures.

You have 3 days of exercises, then “playing with words” assignment, a final test for the unit the last day. You can view a sample of Junior Analytical Grammar.

How did I use Junior Analytical Grammar in my homeschool?
Homeschool Grammar
I used this with my 11 year old daughter who is going into 6th grade this year. Bug has lots of learning disabilities and struggles in many areas academically. Grammar is the one area that I feel she has a good grasp of the concepts. She also likes grammar to a certain degree.

I used this 3x’s a week with her. The first day we went over the concept and worked on the exercises. We did more than one page a day so we could finish a unit in 3 days. It was at the most 15-20 minutes a day. The third day we focused on just the final test. 

My daughter is easily distracted and has a hard time with writing due to arthritis. I like the simple approach Jr. Analytical Grammar uses. The pages didn’t distract her and I didn’t have to pull her back in to keep her on track with the short lessons.

 She did have a hard time with the space provided for writing above the sentence. I don’t foresee that being an issue with most kids as the space is spacious enough. I would read the sentence to her and she would tell me the information and I ended up writing it for her. It was very easy for me to adapt to her needs without much effort on my end.

Grammar has been a painful subject for me as I really don’t like grammar and I am still not very good at it. While teaching Junior Analytical Grammar to my daughter I kept thinking, “where was this program when I was learning grammar’? I think I will be learning a lot with this myself-just don’t tell my kids! This was a straight forward grammar program that wasn’t overwhelming and filled with a lot of busy work. 

I am already planning to add this to my son’s schedule in another year. He is much like me when it comes to grammar and I think he will like the straight forward approach without it dragging out all year long. Although I do think I will add the Companion DVDs to finish out this program with my daughter and for my son when he is ready for Junior Analytical Grammar. I think this will be very helpful for me teaching grammar with confidence to my children.

I really appreciated the no-nonsense approach to teaching grammar mastery. The units are laid out nicely and build upon one another in a way that anyone who struggles with teaching grammar can understand and learn grammar while presenting it to your child.

The crew reviewed different products from Analytical Grammar so go check out the other products that are offered from Analytical Grammar.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Mysterious Bee Showing Up at our Watering Hole

This mysterious bee showed up at our watering hole this week. I don't know what breed the bee is. The only thing I know is that it isn't one of ours. It's not an Italian, Carniolan, or a Caucasian Honeybee.  It's head and thorax is completely black but it also has darker stripes.
 Every other part of it looks like a Honeybee. I am pretty sure that it is a type of a bee. The other option is that it is a type of a bee fly. I couldn't see how many wings it had. If it's four wings then it could be a type of bee if only two wings then it is in the dipotera family (fly).
 I just can't seem to find a picture to say 100% what it is.
Do you know what type of bee she is or fly. I've looked online but, I am not having any success locating her.

Poor thing was acting like she was totally exhausted and was tolerating us getting pretty close to her and even picking her up with leaves. She didn't even try to fly off.

 She ended up dying and Bug put her on ice to add to her collection. We will look later and see how many wings she has and investigate it more when time permits.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Our Week Through the Lenses of a Camera

Another week gone by. It's been a hot and mucky week in Kansas.
 Bug at her food therapy appointment.
 She's always willing to try new food with the therapist. This was a hamburger with ketchup.
 Need I say whether she liked it or not. The picture says it all.
 She did love the tortilla which has always been something she likes.
 Our lettuce is now flowering and all of them are in full bloom. Never knew lettuce could be so pretty. The bees are loving it.
 Our last plant in our terrarium. The cactus literally deflated. 
 The kids still want to keep it on the coffee table and later add more plants.
 We went to a park less than a mile from our home and there are bees everywhere. Most likely a lot of our girls forging this rather large park with lots of clover. I'm thinking HONEY!
 Little Man in his last swimming class for the summer. He is now swimming pretty good.
He jumped off the diving board for the first time. He was a bit scared at first. Afterwards he was ready to go jump off the diving board again.
 At the stables waiting for Bug to finish her last horse therapy session for the month. She got to go on one of the many trails at the stable on this gorgeous day. I'm loving the weather today.
 Admiring the potted flowers on the porch of the stables.
 Bug got to ride her old horse Honey Bee as her current horse Rascal has been a bit grouchy today.
 Hopefully an apple will make Rascal feel better. I think he swallowed the pieces whole and forgot to chew.
 He knew I had a few more and was begging. Sorry, boy got to share with the others.
 Diamond munching on his apple.
 Diamond took his time to enjoy the apples. What a sweet gentle boy who actually chewed his food.
 Bug picked me a bouquet of flowers on the trail today during therapy.
We found caterpillars eating our sunflowers. We brought them inside to observe them. We are anxiously waiting to see what kind of a butterfly they will turn out to be. So much fun to watch them change. What an amazing God we have!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Into the Hives for an Inspection

We went into the hives awhile back to make sure all is well. The gentleman with me is a former beekeeper that goes to our synagogue and he had bees a long time ago. He's always asking about the girls so we invited him out to go into the hives. He was pretty excited.
This is Bolt.
Look at the white comb.
 It's jammed packed with honey and brood. The girls have been busy.The edges of the frame with the pure white is the capped off honey.
 All the frames are looking good.
 This is one of the older frames that came with the nuk. It was looking really good also. They have honey here also to feed the many hunger little ones.
 Bolt now has two honey supers. Just maybe we will have a small honey harvest. This hive is super fast with everything she does. Bolt which was so aggressive at first is now our calm hive.
 Anastasia had a malfunction with some frames in her honey super. We had to put a new box on her. We will most likely have to give her some of Bolt's frames next time I go into the hive.Too bad, maybe that is why our gentle hive turned a bit cranky. She is pretty slow with building up. 

The good news is that both brood boxes look amazing with lots of capped honey on the edges and lots of brood. Hopefully that will be enough to keep strong.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

TOS Crew Review-Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms


There are so many books on the market for homeschoolers that help to encourage us in our homeschool journey. Honestly, I try to stay clear of them as they make me feel inferior in my homeschool journey. It makes me feel like I am failing my kids because I don’t do certain things. So what grabbed my attention with Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms?

It’s been a hard two years for our family and I am tired and burned out. I have a lot of respect and confidence for Apologia Educational Ministries and the resources they offer have never disappointed me. I received a physical copy of Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms for this review.You can buy a copy from Apologia for $15.00

Are you just starting your homeschool journey? Maybe you’re a veteran homeschooler. I fall in the veteran category. Flourish:Balance for Homeschool Moms is for us moms who are just starting or a veteran homeschooler.

Flourish is a very practical and heartfelt book to help us homeschool mammas who need to be realistic with our time management and how to succeed in making our household run smoothly.
Mary Jo Tate is a veteran homeschool mom of four boys. She is a single mom with a home business out of her home. Mary Jo certainly has a busy life that needs balance.

There are 16 chapters that cover varies aspects of how to Flourish in our busy lives:

1.         An Invitation to Flourish
2.         Change Your Mind to Change Your Time
3.         The FREEDOM Toolbox
4.         Where Did My Time Go?
5.         Aim High: Setting Goals
6.         What Do I Do Next?  Seven Essential Planning Tools
7.         We Interrupt This Program
8.         It’s Time For An Attitude Adjustment
9.         Oxygen Masks and Monkey Bread Days
10.       Training Your Children
11.       Making Memories
12.       Managing Your Home
13.       All of Life is Learning
14.       Solo Act: Flourishing as a Single Mom
15.       Home Business
16.       Moving Ahead

The first chapter starts out with a self-evaluation questionnaire. 

After each chapter you are given a task to evaluate what you learned and to take action. Don’t we tell our kids to put in action what they have learned and yet we mammas seem to miss the boat in that area.

Some chapters that spoke loudly to me:

Chapter 4 is about, “Where Did My Time Go?” This was hard for me as you are encouraged to keep a time log of your week every 30 minutes. Sigh- this is not my style doing this kind of stuff. I have to say it was very helpful to see all those little things that I do and I could see why I’m feeling like my-to do list is not getting done. I NEED a better plan! After seeing it ALL on paper I can see a clear picture of needed to manage my time better.

Chapter 5 “Aim High: Setting Goals” I am not one who likes to set goals. This was tough for me. I did it and found that it’s not so bad!
The book also has some customizable planning forms and some assignments to do to help you get your life back. There are also a few chapters for single moms and families who have a home business also. I took notes in the business section for managing my time with Bug and her beehives. Soon we will start to sell some of the goodies from the hive.

I love that the book is filled with scriptures and quotes that are very inspiring and fit the theme of the chapters.

A favorite quote of mine from Flourish is:

“If God has called you to homeschool your children, He will provide the strength, patience, grace, resources, and time to do it.”

I truly believe that God has called me to homeschool my children. Lately, I need to be reminded that God will give me strength, patience, and the time to do it all.

It’s time a re-evaluate our schedules and it’s a season for change. I am an organized freak and I run a pretty tight ship. Lately, it has not been working and yet I am still trying to do the same thing I have been doing the last few years. That should be a red flag that this is a new season in my life and I need to re-evaluate our schedule.

Homeschooling is not an easy road. I honestly think I had more time when I worked outside the home. Homeschooling is truly a 24/7 lifestyle. Being a mom, teacher, nurse, chauffeur, cook, housemaid, and that is just the short list. It’s exhausting and I am feeling it. I love to help and serve others and with my husband being in the ministry it keeps use extremely occupied. My schedule has been spiraling out of control the last two years. 

To get started: I downloaded and printed out the forms. Then I worked on the many forms when it was a given task in each chapter.

Remember, I told you that this has been a brutal 2 years in our home. I have a daughter with special needs and a lot of things have changed with her health. We have been at the brink of a feeding tube to some ugly arthritis flare ups and that’s just the short list. This last year we have went from having 4 weekly appointments to 7 weekly appointments. That is not counting regular Dr. appointments, homeschool activities, and other things that come up. Our homeschool has been done on the road, in the hospital, or at our appointments. To top it off I had surgery and West Nile in the last two years. Needless to say I am tired and and fizzling out.

Time to look at my schedule and evaluate my time management:

One of Bug’s therapy appointments got canceled after 8+ years due to insurance saying no more. Her therapist was astonished and suggested that I appeal it. I am not going to as I have peace for the first time that it’s going to be okay. We will re-evaluate this therapy every three months to see if she regresses. It’s in God’s hands and he will open that door if needed. She has come a long way in this area.

The other appointment is food therapy which we do every week for 30 minutes. The appointment is a good 30 minute drive each way. I go to the same location for another appointment every other week for her so I am going to have food therapy scheduled for every other week so we are there for an hour and half every other week. That gives me a full day! Why didn’t I consider that as an option before!

I also need to learn to say no at times and to put my family first. I can't do it all. I am no good to others if I'm exhausted. My family also needs some R&R. We actually set aside a day in the evening recently for this. It's been helpful to catch our breath and to spend time with family playing.

That is just a few of the things in our schedule that I had to do a reality check and find some balance so I can Flourish and not feel like I’m on the brink of sinking. I am glad I was able to read the whole book and I am sure I will be pulling it out from time to time to re-evaluate my time management and for some much needed encouragement.

Obviously, Flourish: Balance forHomeschool Moms has been a big surprise for me. I thought I would just read the book and gleam a few things off of it.  I needed to be inspired and encouraged. I needed to stop and evaluate my time, set some realistic goals, and be content with those unexpected things that come our way. Life is so precious and it’s time I follow my daughter’s example and stop to smell the dandelions more often. Thanks Mary Joe Tate for a wonderful book that is full of realistic and practical advice.

You can follow Mary Jo Tate on Twitter or on her Facebook page.


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