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2017 TOS Crew Reviews

5 In 2017 TOS Crew Reviews

Cooking Made Easy With Everyday Cooking // A Review

As a busy mom who juggles work, homeschooling and so many other things, I’m always on the hunt for new recipes to incorporate into our family’s meal plan. Over the last several weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to cook some recipes using Everyday Cooking by Everyday Homemaking.

Everyday Cooking

For the purpose of this review, I received the ebook version of Everyday Cooking, which is about 198 pages. There is a spiral bound book available for purchase as well.

Everyday Cooking was created by a busy mom, who at one time homeschooled 8 children. Her recipes are budget friendly, practical and easy to make. While the emphasis is on whole food, this is not a “healthy food” cookbook. Rather, Vickie provides options and substitution of ingredients for many of her recipes. Vickie also gives some great ideas for “do ahead” meal prep, things you can do on a weekend to prepare for the week, such as making a large pot of rice and freezing the remainder in small freezer bags. Another idea is to cook up hardboiled eggs, and bag up cheese and carrots to have on hand for salads during the week. Another great ideas is to double up on casseroles, freezing the extra one to have on hand for the week or another time when you need to pull something together.

Everyday Homemaking

How We Used This Book

When I first downloaded this book, I spent the first week or so reviewing the intro material, looking over the helps sections and browsing the recipes. While there are so many awesome recipes, I just couldn’t make them all.

The first recipe I made was one of dessert. I am a really good cook (or so I’m told), but one thing I need a lot of help in is in the area of desserts. Since we were having company one night, I opted to make the Marbled Chocolate Chip Cheesecake.  I love that Vickie included a way to make this into Mini Cheesecakes, which is exactly what I did. I failed to get a photo of the prep, but the basic ingredients are graham cracker crumbs, margarine, sugar and cocoa for the crust and cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs, sour cream, cocoa, flour and semi-sweet chips for the filling. Vickie even includes a way to make this cheesecake in an electric pressure cooker.

Putting the mini cheesecakes together was very easy. I fear I may have added the wrong amount of sugar to the base, but I didn’t notice. The only thing I did wrong was that I forgot to put the mini-morsels on the top until half way through the cooking time. I thought once I added them on they would melt, but they didn’t. So we just had mini marble cheesecakes with mini morsels on top.

Everyone loved this cheesecake. I was surprised that it wasn’t as rich as I was thought it would be, which made it harder to not eat more than one. The only critique I got from my husband is to put less crust. In other words, I put too much crust on some of them. But overall, he loved it.

The other recipe I made was something my son picked — Dorito Casserole. I knew as soon as I saw this recipe that it would be on my son’s list. He was eager to make and eat this one, consisting of Nacho Cheese Doritos, chili, diced tomatoes, mushroom soup and cheese.

Here is my son prepping this dish:

This cooked in the oven for about 30 minutes. He couldn’t wait to dig in.

And the verdict is:

HE REALLY LIKED IT! He was expecting the chips to be hard still and have it be more like nachos. I had to explain to him that this was a casserole. Overall, he said the flavor was good and he would make it again.

Everyday Cooking is a great resource for busy families. The recipes are simple to follow and budget friendly. We are going to have fun continuing to make and try recipes from this book. If you are looking for a new resource to help you add meals to your menu, check out Everyday Cooking by Everyday Homemaking. And, if you are looking for a great resource to get your family involved in the home, you might consider The Everyday Family Chore System.

Be sure to check out the reviews from other Crew Members for both of these wonderful resources.

Everyday Cooking and Chores Systems for your Family {Everyday Homemaking Reviews}
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0 In 2017 TOS Crew Reviews

Trust Fund Movie // A Review

I love when I find new, family friendly movies to add to our viewing library. As a family we try to sit down a couple of times a month to enjoy a movie together. Recently we had the chance to review Trust Fund from Mapelle Films.

Trust Fund Movie

Trust Fund is a contemporary prodigal daughter story about a young girl who is anxious to live her own life and sets out on an adventure, only to end up running away from the life she thought she wanted, ending up back home in the embrace of a father who never stopped loving her.

The movie is about a young, aspiring writer, Reese (played by Jessica Rothe) who comes from a wealthy family. Her mother has passed away, so it’s just her, her devoted and loving father, Grayson (played by Kevin Kilner) and her older and much more established sister, Audrey (played by Louise Dylan).

Reese’s father owns a publishing company and is very well off. Audrey, the older sister, works for her father and is somewhat set in her ways and thrives on order. Reese is at a point in her life where she isn’t sure what she wants. She believes she’s fallen in love with a guy she met while recently in Italy, and is anxious to get on with living her own life. When Reese learns that her mother left her and her sister 10 million dollars in a trust fund, she becomes upset that her father has kept it from her. She agrees to work for her father, but as her bills continue to pile up, she decides to take matters into her own hands rather than listen to the advice of her father.

Having just stolen 5 million dollars from her father’s company, Reese runs off to Italy to find the man of her dreams and live the life she imagines. After giving all of her money to her boyfriend, Milo, to assist him in his investments, Reese finds out that her money has been used in connection with illegal activity. Feeling lost and confused, Reese escapes the watchful eye of Milo while on a train en route to an “investment meeting” and calls her father to ask if she can come home. When she lands back in the states, her father is waiting for her with open arms, without judgment and ready to throw a party in her honor.

Older sister Audrey has some things to work through, given that her sister has been accepted back into the family with open arms. She does not agree with how Reese has been living her life, and struggles to love and accept her the way her father does. At one point in the film, Reese and Audrey are sitting at the police station after having turned Milo in for purchasing stolen diamonds. Reese is worried that she too will go to jail because it was her money that was used. But she is told that “no evidence can be found against her” and that “she is free to go”. I liken this to how Christ sees us when we come to Him, with all of our sin an shame. He sees no evidence against us, wipes us clean and frees us from the sin of the past.

This was truly a wonderful story of a father’s unconditional love for his daughter and a daughter coming to realize what real love is. There was enough adventure and a bit of suspense to keep me interested. The film is very well made and all of the acting is superb.  We really enjoyed it.

Take a moment and watch the trailer below.

If you are looking for a family friendly movie to add to your collection, check out Trust Fund from Mapelle Films. It received the dove seal for ages 12 and up, and for younger children when watched as a family together. There is even a downloadable study guide for small group discussion available.

Be sure to click the banner below to read what other Crew members thought of this film.

Trust Fund Movie {Mapelle Films Reviews}
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0 In 2017 TOS Crew Reviews

Grade 8 Lightning Lit Set From Hewitt Homeschooling // A Review

When you have a child who struggles with reading comprehension, it’s important to find a curriculum that will not only increase that child’s desire to read, but help with the reading comprehension issues as well. We have found the Grade 8 Lightning Lit Set by Hewitt Homeschooling to be just what we needed to finish our school year strong in both literature and comprehension.

 Lightning Literature and Composition Pack Grade 8 with Stories and Poems

About Hewitt Homeschooling

Hewitt Homeschooling has been providing literature based programs for children in grades K-12 for over 30 years. Their curriculum saves parents time by providing clear objectives and lesson plans while also providing enjoyable and meaningful lessons for the student.

For the purpose of this review we received the following from the Grade 8 Lightning Lit Set:

  • Teacher’s Guide
  • Student’s Guide
  • Workbook
  • Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages
  • Treasure Island (the first literature reading)

The Teacher’s Guide not only explains the program, but contains a Weekly Planning Schedule, Discussion Questions, answers to the Comprehension Questions and Workbook Answers.

The Student’s Guide contains the following sections for each piece of literature read:

  • An Introduction to the Reading
  • A Focal Point for the Reading
  • Vocabulary List
  • Comprehension Questions
  • Literary Lesson
  • Mini Lesson
  • Writing Exercises

The consumable Workbook contains several different types of activities for each lesson, such as story analysis, crossword puzzles, word searches and more.

I have to admit that I was a little overwhelmed by it all, as our son has not been prepared for anything this comprehensive before. Although he’s technically going into high school this Fall, he is more at the upper elementary / middle school level when it comes to reading and writing. So I decided we would take it slow and focus on those things that would challenge him, but not be too overwhelming.

Using the Weekly Planning Schedule, I had my son work this program about 3 days a week. Our first literature reading was a story from the Stories and Poems book entitled A Crazy Tale. We read this story out loud together, and then we worked through the corresponding lessons in the Student’s Guide and Workbook. I basically had to hold my son’s hand through this lesson, as it was unlike anything he’s done before, having not had much opportunity yet to analyze literature. We spent most of the first week discussing the author’s purpose in both fiction and nonfiction and how to tell the difference.

Next, my son worked through a few of the workbook pages assigned for this lesson, which centered around author’s purpose.

My son was very excited to begin reading Treasure Island, which we started mid-way through week two. About three days a week I had him read the assigned pages, read the corresponding lesson in the Student’s Guide and complete assigned workbook pages. These lessons were all about analyzing setting, identifying bias, and analyzing literature.

Our main focus with this lesson was to read the book slowly, focusing mainly on learning new vocabulary and discussing the reading using the comprehension questions for each chapter. My son did better when we read the book out loud and discussed it orally.

We haven’t yet completed most of the writing assignments for this chapter, because I wanted to make sure my son had a firm understanding of the literature first. We hope to complete the majority of the writing assignments for most lessons over the summer.

Final Thoughts

As a parent of a child who struggles with reading comprehension, I appreciate what Hewitt Homeschooling has to offer. I know that as we continue to use this curriculum, my son will grow in his love and understanding of literature, as well as gain assistance with his writing through the varied exercises in the workbook. I am confident my son will be a better reader and writer from using this curriculum.

If you are looking for a comprehensive, literature-based program for your child, be sure to check out Hewitt Homeschooling. While I had the opportunity to review the Grade 8 Lightning Lit Set, other members of the Crew review various other levels. Click the banner below to read more reviews!

Hewitt Homeschooling {Reviews}

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0 In 2017 TOS Crew Reviews

Unlock Math // A Review

Math is our least favorite subject in our homeschool. First, because I feel somewhat incapable of teaching it to my 9th grade boy, and secondly my son has struggled with match concepts since the 7th grade. Finding a math program that will give him confidence and the ability to master concepts has been our goal. My son is finally getting math using UnLock Pre-Algebra by UnLock Math.

UnLock Math pre-algebra
UnLock Math is an online math curriculum designed to reduce math anxiety and build confidence.  They currently have programs for Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry. What makes this program unique is that it is taught using short videos that engage, explain and entertain. Besides the teaching videos, the lessons provide:

  • Advanced Assessment
  • Immediate Feedback and Fully Explained Solutions
  • Your Child Will Only See One Lesson At A Time
  • Unlimited practice
  • Unlimited Review
  • Gradebook and Progress Reports

Let’s take a closer look at the UnLock Pre-Algebra Course.

The UnLock Pre-Algebra course breaks the math concepts down into bite sized pieces so as not to overwhelm the students. The first five units review concepts that your student should already be familiar with.  There are 16 units in this course covering 130 lessons. The entire course takes about 9 months to complete.

UnLock Math
I had my son work the lessons about three times a week, completing about 2 lessons each day. The lessons took about 30 minutes to complete on average.

How It Works

Both the parent and student are given access to the course through a login and password. Once on the dashboard, the courses are listed on the left hand side. In order to access a course, the student clicks on the rocket to the right of the course title in order to launch the course.

Once in the lesson, there is a short objective listed, followed by a “road map” that shows the student the path to successfully completing the lesson.  Each lesson has the following components:

  • Warm Up:  Reviews concepts previously learned to review
  • Video: A short video of the lesson (no more than 10 minutes in length)
  • Practice Problems: Problems that relate to the lesson covered in the video.
  • Stay Sharp: Problems from previous lessons
  • Challenge Yourself: A challenging question to test the student’s knowledge
  • Reference Notes: A PDF of the video lecture.

The road map for each course looks like this. As you can see, it’s very easy for the student to know exactly where to go along the lesson path.

UnLock Math
Once the lesson is launched it shows the Daily Lessons, Review on the left and Quizzes and Tests on the right. The lessons that show a blue “unlocked” lock are complete, and anything with a purple lock is yet to be completed.

As  a parent, this information is so helpful. Due to my work schedule, I was able to log in each day to see what my son had completed. Not only could I see what he accomplished each day, but I could check his continued progress through a snapshot on the dashboard, by accessing the grade book or via a progress report which I could see at any time. I love how the grade book gives you the ability to switch between numeric, percentage and letter grades, as my son loves to see letter grades, while I prefer percentages.

Here is a closer look at my son’s progress report. First is a snapshot giving his overall percentages for what has been completed so far.

By clicking on a linked lesson, you are provided an overall progress report for that particular lesson. It looks like my son is avoiding the challenge questions for Unit 2. We will need to work on that.

One thing I love about this program is a student can do a lesson as many times as he wants and only his best scores are recorded in the grade book.

Our Thoughts

As a parent, I love this program. My son isn’t so stressed about doing math, and this course makes it easy for him to work independently, at his own pace, and gives me the capability of checking in on his progress without having to ask him. My son likes the program because it explains things well and he’s not left confused.

Whether you are looking at a complete math program or just a little extra math help, give UnLock Math a try. We were fortunate to have been able to review UnLock Pre-Algebra, but other Crew members reviewed UnLock Algebra 1, UnLock Algebra 2 and their newest program, UnLock Geometry. Just click the banner below to read all of the reviews.

Pre-Algebra, Algebra and Geometry {UnLock Math Reviews}
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0 In 2017 TOS Crew Reviews

Adventures Of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Best Selling Book Series // A Review

This past year, we studied American History in different formats — textbook, audio, video and movies. Because my 8th grade son struggles with comprehension, we look for fun and interesting ways to help him to absorb the material and have fun learning at the same time. We were so excited for the opportunity to review the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series from Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh.

Adventures of Rush Revere

About The Series

The Adventures of Rush Revere series is written by Rush Limbaugh and his wife Kathryn Adams. The books follow Rush Revere, who is very passionate about teaching history to his students at Manchester High School. One of the methods he uses is time travel, and together with his talking horse Liberty, he makes learning history fun.  The suggested age range for these books ages 8-12, but my 13 year old son is enjoying them, and I am sure they would appeal to younger children as well.

For the purpose of this review, we received all five books in the Adventures of Rush Revere series. I was very surprised when I opened the box and found these beautiful, hard cover books wrapped tightly together with a lovely silk bow.

The five books in this series are:

  • Rush Revere and the First Patriots
  • Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims
  • Rush Revere and the American Revolution
  • Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner
  • Rush Revere and the Presidency

These books are written in such a way that they bounce back and forth between history and the present day. The lessons learned through their time travel adventures help the students with their modern day challenges.

These books are filled with illustrations and images of real people, places and historical documents from American history. Here are some examples:

My son has read the first three books in this series.  He really enjoyed them because he said they were fun to read and were a great way for him to learn American History facts. Here are his summaries of the first three books.

Book One – Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims

In this book, we travel back in time with Rush, Liberty and students Freedom and Tommy. We join the Pilgrims on board the Mayflower in the year 1620 and travel to Plymouth Rock, where we celebrate the very first Thanksgiving. We learn about what the travelers of the Mayflower experienced while on their long journey such as where they slept, what they ate, whether or not they struggled with sea sickness and other things. Some of the Americans we meet in this book are William Bradford and Squanto. This is an important book to read first because it introduces you to the main characters throughout the entire series.

Book Two – Rush Revere and the First Patriots

In this book, we travel back in time with Rush and Liberty to Boston in the year 1765 and experience the events leading up to the American Revolution. There was much unrest as the people are unhappy with the rules that are being imposed upon them by King George III. In this book we meet Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Paul Revere. This book is full of action and suspense.

Book Three – Rush Revere and The American Revolution

In this book we travel to the year 1775 to experience the battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill, and meet up with George Washington, Dr. Joseph Warren and Paul Revere. We also experience Cam’s (another student) struggle as his father, who is in the military, is deployed to Afghanistan. Cam deals with depression and is also being bullied. There is one historic event that helps Cam to see his father’s service in a new light.

There are two other books in the series which my son has not yet read and I’ve only skimmed through. In Rush Revere and the Star Spangled Banner the crew travels to Washington DC, visiting the National Monument and the White House. In Rush Revere and The Presidency, we travel back in time to find out the makings of a good president.

There is a lot of information, including study guides for each book, activities and quizzes, at The Adventures of Rush Revere Education Depot.

Our Thoughts

Overall, my son really enjoyed reading the first three books. I didn’t have a problem in getting him to stay focused on his reading, which I normally do. These books are an engaging read and full of excitement and adventure.

Be sure to click on the banner below to read the review of other Crew members.

Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series {Reviews}
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