Friday, April 2, 2021

Gluten Free Carrot Cake


I am always on the search for great tasting gluten free cake recipes. This Easter I wanted to make a carrot cake. I started googling hoping to find a good recipe and I stumbled upon a WINNER!! 
I use King Arthur Measure for Measure Flour Blend. I also did not use the carrot
Purée. I instead used the full 3 cups of shredded carrots. The cake was so moist and 
delicious! I will most definitely be filing this recipe away for use again. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Sugar Cookies

 I used Easy Sugar Cookies to make our sugar cookies. I am a huge fan of allrecipes. After making the cookie dough we added the food coloring and then put the dough into the fridge for 1 hour. We then had fun making rainbows, flowers, etc. 

St. Patrick's Day

 "I live for my God to teach unbelievers, if I am worthy,

even if some people hate me." 

St. Patrick

Did you know that the clover is most often three leaves and is said to stand for: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
Saint Patricks Day is steeped in Christianity.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Everyday Education


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

Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers from Everyday Education  is a high school through college level writer's handbook that is a reference guide for writing essays as well as a refresher on punctuation, style, and usage. The handbook is 420 pages in length. I received for review a PDF copy to download. I would normally try to print out the material, but I decided against it due to it's length. You can also purchase this in a paperback version. 

Part 1: Introduction to Essays and Arguments includes:
  1. Arguments: Some Simple First Principles
  2. Setting Up the Argument: Definition (1)
  3. Definition (2): Defining Key Terms
  4. Deduction and Induction
  5. Organizing the Main Body of An Argument (I)
  6. Organizing the Main Body of An Argument (II)
  7. Paragraph Structure
  8. Paragraph Functions
  9. Writing Argument About Literary Works
  10. Sample Outlines For Essays and Research Papers
  11. Critical Approaches to Shakespeare 
  12. Some Criteria for Making Literary Evaluations
Part 2: Introduction to Usage and Style
  1. Phrases, Clauses, Sentences
  2. Words
  3. Basic Punctuation 
  4. Pronouns
  5. Parallelism or Parallel Structure
  6. Modifiers, Gerunds, Infinitives
  7. Clarity, Logic, Structure
  8. References and Bibliographies
  9. Basic Format for Essays and Research Papers
  10. Keyhole Essay Graphic 
It is pointed out in the beginning pages of the handbook that "to construct effective arguments in the modern western world, one must, first and foremost, have an understanding of the rules of reasoning. The major aim of an undergraduate education in all disciplines is to develop such an understanding in students." 

Part One is written in a way that students can follow with plenty of examples as well as exercises and opportunities to write based on what they learn in various writing genres. 

Here is the beginning section of Deduction and Induction. 

5.1 General Comments

We have already reviewed the most general characteristics of deduction and induction. You should therefore remember that, simply put, deduction begins with a general principle upon which we all agree and applies that to a specific case; induction, by contrast, starts with a collection of observations, measurements, research results (in short, collections of facts) and moves to a general conclusion from that collection of data.

The handbook uses many exercises to solidify topics discussed. One such activity is in the form of brain teasers that the student works through. The exercise is not to get the correct answer but to think about forms of reasoning to resolve difficulty. Another exercise is in recognizing potentially useful thesis statements. Students rate statements using a scale provided.  

Part Two is NOT an exhaustive reference. Students should reference other resources while writing in addition to this one. "As you will discover, writing is an art, not a science, and different handbooks will provide different emphases, depending on their audience." 

If you remember anything from your formative years it is that the CLAUSE is the basic unit of writing. A clause is made up of two or more words that contain a subject and a predicate. This second section is a great refresher for students. Many examples are given for each section such as,

2.25 Contractions or Omissions

The apostrophe also commonly indicates the omission of a letter in a shortened version of a word (e.g., do not, is not, they’re, we’re, he’s, and so on). Since these forms are not usually appropriate to a formal style and since the inexperienced writer commonly confuses them with other expressions, it is often better to avoid entirely this use of the apostrophe. In for- mal writing, keep the use of the apostrophe to indicate omissions to a minimum.

6.5 Use of the Superlative Form In the Comparison of Two Items

Do not use the superlative form of an adjective or an adverb when you are comparing only two items.

Of these two women, Nora is the strongest.

Since only two items (people) are involved in the comparison, use the comparative form of the adjective.

Of these two women, Nora is the stronger.

I had my daughter who is a senior in high school read through a majority of this handbook. She is both an avid reader and an aspiring author, and she is actually currently writing a book. She has taken literature courses throughout high school that have required quite a few papers. She has also been taught grammar from her aunt, who is an english professor throughout middle school into high school. Needless to say, she knows grammar inside and out! My daughter's take away from the handbook was that it was a great handbook for students needing help with writing and grammar. When I signed up for this review, I was hoping that this handbook would have been more on an advanced tool for my daughter's writing needs. Unfortunately, according to my daughter it was stuff that she had already learned knew and knew by heart. With that said, my daughter is NOT MOST STUDENTS. I definitely think that this handbook is a wonderful tool that will help many students. I know that this will be a great resource for some of my younger children in the coming years. I love the following quote.

You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you.
And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke. 
Arthur Polotnik

Be sure to read what my Fellow Crew Members had to say about Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers. 

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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

The Reading Game


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

The Reading Game, 2nd Edition from Allsaid & Duun, LLC is a memory card game for ages 4 and up. The Reading Game was created by Kenneth Hodkinson author of Wordly Wise. Using a game style approach children will learn 180 sight words utilizing memory card games, picture flashcards, and storybooks that make learning fun! The 180 are taken from the Kinder through 1st grade Dolch Word List. 

How does it work?

This learn-to-read program comes with six fun illustrated storybooks: skunk, snake, bear, penguins, unicorn, and zebra. Before your child is ready to dive into each book they will play a series of word-matching games. Each game has six stages. Each stage contains five new words. After the first two matching games students are tested using a captioned picture flashcard. This continues throughout games 3-6, two games and then being texted with a picture flashcard. Each consecutive picture flashcard will have words from the previous levels. After game 6 is played and the student successfully has read the appropriate picture flashcard then they are ready to read their FIRST BOOK! Each story builds on the words previously learned. Anyone can play the game with the student so long as they can read all of the words in the books. Most often this will be a teacher, parent or tutor. But maybe an older sibling may want to help a younger sibling learn to read. Extra resources such as summative and formative assessment worksheets, class recording sheets, ideas on themed topics for class discussion on the storybooks can be found on the Educator's Page.

Each matching game consists of 10 cards, or 5 sight words. 

Each stage has 6 levels. 

Here is the front of one of the Picture Flashcards.

Here is an example of the Skunk level Picture Flashcard. 

Another Picture Flashcard, Penguin Level. 

All of the Picture Flashcard levels. 

The Storybooks

An example from the Skunk Level. 

An example from the Unicorn Level. 

At the end of each storybook is a list of the sight words learned 
for that level. 

After looking at The Reading Game I thought that it was a very creative way to introduce and help children learn sight words. Having taught my six children to learn to read I am all too familiar with the difficulty that sight words can pose. I think that this may have been beneficial for some of my children as they learned how to read while some of my children would have been rather frustrated. With that said, I always say, what doesn't work for one child may be the PERFECT FIT for the next child. If you came to my house you would see just that browsing through my homeschool shelves. I would definitely recommend this program to homeschoolers and educators alike. I am a fan of Wordly Wise so knowing that this was created by the same person gives it great credibility in my book. My sure to read what my Fellow Crew Members had to say about The Reading Game. 

Do you want a copy of The Reading Game for yourself?
Head on over to the Homeschool Review Crew Blog to 
enter the giveaway! The Crew will be giving away FIVE of
the games!!

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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Hamelin Stoop ~ The Ring of Truth


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

Hamelin Stoop ~ The Ring of Truth  from 12 Gates Publishing is the third book in the series by Robert B. Sloan. This book is quite long at 627 pages. In this third book Hamelin, who is the main character, returns to the orphanage in order to return a lost princess back to her land. He suspects that Layla may be the lost princess of the Land of Gloaming.  Hamelin is trying to get Layla back to the other world and back to her father, King Carr. The Chimera will not make the task easy. In books one and two Hamelin is deceived and betrayed by those who should be caring for him. This continues into book three. He can truly never trust anyone in his life as they always seem to hide information from him. In this book Hamelin fights evil forces between two worlds. Chimera gives his agents the go ahead to torment and throw Hamelin off his path as he continues to search for his parents. So much is going on in book three. It is definitely worth the read. Be sure to see what my Fellow Crew Members had to say about the book. 

Here is a link to Books 1 and 2 of Hamelin Stoop that I reviewed back in 2019. 

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Starry Night ~ A Timberdoodle Review

Timberdoodle has in their Art section a fun puzzle entitled Starry Night Pixel Puzzle. The puzzle is a 2,408 piece Pix Brix puzzle intended for ages 6 and above. Using your fingers or the included PB tool to pick up the pieces you will create one of Van Gogh's most famed works of art. "For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars make me dream." Vincent Van Gogh. 

The puzzle includes:

  • Starry Night template 
  • PB tool
  • 2,408+ puzzle Brix
Each color is bagged separately. There are eleven colors that make up Starry Night. At the top of the template all colors used are shown and their respective abbreviations such as, Light Orange is LO. Not all of the colors will have abbreviations. 

Working with the template to create Starry Night

The PB tool is really helpful. You use the tool to pick up and slide the bricks 
together. My daughter did say that the PB tool worked best with the black 
puzzle Brix. With the rest of the colors the puzzle Brix did not stay on the PB tool for 
carry over to the puzzle itself. Often times the pieces fell of immediately or before you 
got to placement. This was a major flaw. 

My 20 year old daughter who is an artist decided she wanted to work on this puzzle. 
She is currently in school working her way to become a Physicians Assistant and 
this was a perfect brain break for her. 

Here is a close-up of locking pieces together using the PB tool. 

Making progress...

Continuing to make more progress...

We had an issue with some of the Medium Blue pieces being dirty. 
As you can see in the below picture, it is kind of gross. 

Starry Night is coming into view!

My 12 year old daughter decided to get in on the puzzle action. As you can see
she is having to hold the blue piece because it will not stay on the PB tool. With that aside, 
isn't the picture cool!

My daughter is really enjoying putting together this Starry Night, Pix Brix Puzzle. 

Drumroll...May I present Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

The finished product is very sturdy! You can hold it and wave it and it doesn't move. That
is how stiff it is. The colors are vibrant and the finished piece would be perfect for displaying 
on a bookcase, hanging on a wall, or just about anywhere. 

Here is a close-up of what the puzzle Brix look like. 

We decided to display our Starry Night on our bookshelf. 

This puzzle was definitely a winner! Both of my daughters said that
they would love to do more puzzles. They also said that they would 
like to just have a big tub of Brix to create. 

Confetti Eggs