TOS Review: Heirloom Audio Productions

With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review

Sometimes you just want to sit back and be entertained, and forget that you are learning. That’s why I was excited to review With Lee in Virginia from Heirloom Audio Productions. The audio drama features an all star cast that includes the likes of Kirk Cameron, Sean Astin, Brian Blessed, Chris Anthony, and more. Set during the Civil War, the story focuses on teenager Vincent Wingfield, a Southerner who joins the cavalry of Northern Virginia and finds himself fighting alongside well-known generals like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

I have reviewed other audio dramas from Heirloom, and I have always been impressed at their first-rate productions. With Lee in Virginia is no exception! We listened to the CD during our family trip to North Carolina, and my whole family was soon caught up in the drama. First of all, this is one review my husband always looks forward to. My family loves history, and Heirloom makes it so exciting. The actors make the characters absolutely come alive, and the story, script, and sound effects get you so caught up in the action, you feel like you are actually there in the story!

We felt like we were fighting along with Vincent during the battles, and we felt for him when he lost his friends. We sympathized with him when he got caught and sent to a prisoner camp in the North, and cheered when his faithful servant came to rescue him. A faith-filled and righteous young man, Vincent got in trouble for coming to the aid of a slave who was being mistreated by a neighboring plantation owner, but Vincent even went so far as to help the slave escape from his master, even though he was risking his own life, reputation, and home to do so. Throughout the story, you see Vincent struggle with the idea of slavery, and what he reads in the Bible, and through everything he faces, Vincent works hard to stay true to what he believes.

I don’t want to give away the whole plot, but I will tell you that this is one exciting adventure that will make a great addition to any Civil War unit study and is fantastic for the whole family. In addition to the CDs (which ran around two hours of listening time) you get downloads of a study guide, soundtrack, poster, MP3 version of the audiobook, a printable copy of a quote from Robert E. Lee, and a beautiful color version of the GA Henty novel in eBook form.

The study guide includes background information on GA Henty as well as info on Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. There is also a map that shows the division of the states during the war, the location of major battles, and other places of importance in the story. The audio drama itself is divided into sections, or chapters, and the study guide follows these chapters. Each section has questions that ask listeners to recall events from the story, and then questions that challenge them to go deeper and think about things like character’s motives and the consequences of their actions. Sometimes students are instructed to look up verses in the Bible and apply them to a situation in the story as well. There are also vocabulary words related to the story. The study guide ends with a Bible study that we did as a family.

I found the study guide to be very helpful for the story. If you have younger children, you could do all of this orally. For older students, you could certainly assign some of the questions as written work.

The cost of the 2CD set for With Lee in Virginia is $29.97, or you can get the MP3 download version for just $20.00. I continue to be impressed by Heirloom Audio Productions, and I look forward to what they release in the future. To learn more about this adventure, connect with them on social media here:

With Lee in Virginia on Facebook

Heirloom Audio Productions on Facebook

Heirloom Audio Productions on Twitter

Heirloom Audio Productions on Google+

To see what other members of the Crew thought of this product, click here:
With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review

Crew Disclaimer


Spinach, Bacon, and Bean Soup

This is an easy soup recipe that can feed a family of four twice. Best of all, it doesn’t use a lot of expensive ingredients!

2 cans Cannellini beans
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
Chopped rosemary leaves (I used about 2 stalks worth)
1 bag spinach
1 pack bacon
2 chicken bouillon cubes

1. Cook bacon in skillet until crispy, set aside on paper plate to drain and cool.

2. Cook onion, celery, and garlic in same skillet until onion is soft.
3. Transfer onion, celery, and garlic to large pot with half of the drippings.

4. Wash and drain the beans and add them to the pot.
5. Chop the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and add it to the pot.
6. Add enough water to the pot to at least 1/2 inch over the beans.
7. Season with salt and pepper and add the chicken bouillon cubes and rosemary.
8. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

9. Rinse the spinach and add it to the pot, cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the spinach is wilted. Serve.

We ate this for two days, and my boys still wanted more. You can serve it with bread or a salad to make it a complete meal! Thanks for stopping my. Check out more new recipes here:

Menu Plan Monday 7/27/15

It’s the last week of July, which means my birthday is right around the corner! Next week will be party prep as we have family coming to visit. School starts at the end of next month too. It seems like summer is flying by! Our menu this week is a mix of simple favorite:

Monday: Chile Pork Casserole

Tuesday: Mexican Pizza

Wednesday: Pork Ragu

Thursday: Leftovers (I love cook once eat it twice meals!)

Friday: Dinner out

Thanks for stopping by for Menu Plan Monday! See you next week.

Chile Pork Casserole

This is a simple and quick recipe that my family of four just loves. And it requires only a few ingredients, so it’s easy on the pocketbook too!

1 lb. ground pork
2 cans whole green chiles
1 packet fajita or taco seasoning (I just use whichever is in my pantry)
3/4 cup water
1 beef bouillon cube
6 tbsp cream cheese
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexican blend, whichever you like)
chopped cilantro for garnish


1. Brown pork in skillet and drain.
2. Add taco seasoning, water, and beef bouillon cube to skillet and simmer for 5 minutes.

3. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray.

4. Slice chile peppers down the center and fill each one with a tablespoon of cream cheese.

5. Place the chile peppers on the bottom of the baking pan and put the ground pork on top.

6. Cover with the cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

That’s it. A very easy, and yummy, meal. Thanks for stopping by, make sure to check out other new recipes here:


Menu Plan Monday 7/20/15

My boys are lamenting the fact that summer is already almost over and are trying to squeeze all the fun they can out of what’s left. That means a lot of late dinners as they stay out swimming, fishing, and hanging at the beach until it starts to get dark. So, I’m trying to keep my meals simple, or at least keep them in the crock pot so we can eat quickly, when they do get home. Here’s what’s for dinner at our house this week:

Monday: Creamy Cheesy Chicken

Tuesday: Hawaiian Pork

Wednesday: Tacos

Thursday: Lemon Shrimp

Friday: Burgers on the grill

Thanks for joining me for Menu Plan Monday! See you next week.

TOS Review: Home School in the Woods

Home School in the Woods ReviewHistory is one of my favorite subjects, but I love to make it interesting! When we first started homeschooling, we used products from Home School in the Woods to study American history, so I was really excited to get to check out their Project Passport World History Study: Renaissance & Reformation for this review. The product comes as a CD or download with everything you need for a complete history study for your family! The suggested ages for this study is for grades 3-8, which allows you to use it for multiple ages at one time. When we used the American history studies before, I used it with both of my boys (they are about three grades apart). This time, I used this one with my 8th grade son.

Home School in the Woods ReviewNow, the first thing you have to understand about Home School in the Woods history studies is that they are chock full of information and activities. In fact, they are so full, that they can seem a little overwhelming at first. Fortunately, they are very well structured to make them easy for you to use. Renaissance and Reformation is set up as a “travel plan” with students going on a journey through time, where they explore important moments, places, and people of the time period. The travel planner lays out each stop very clearly, with detailed directions of what happens at each lesson. This is very helpful for the parents.

In addition, activities are broken into categories that include things like lapbook activities, timeline, reading, notebooking, and more. In general, this program is designed to take 6-12 weeks, but I think if you had younger students, you could definitely stretch it for even longer, For us, working on history about three days per week, we could spend 1-2 weeks per stop, depending on how many activities there were. However, if my son found a stop particularly interesting, and I wanted to flesh it out with some additional reading from our library, a stop could last up to three weeks.

Lessons include a text that you can read aloud with your child (or print out and have your child read for themselves). We like doing history together, so I just read it off our computer. We always start each lesson with the reading, then move onto the other activities from there. For the lapbook activities, you need to print the bases onto some type of cardstock, because you want them to last. I picked up a pack of cardstock cheap at a local store. Other papers are printed on regular paper. Some of the printing does need to be double sided. I know some people take their CDs to a local store to get everything printed there, but I prefer to print what I need each week on my computer.

For many of the activities, it is also a good idea to have a steady supply of scrap paper on hand as well as markers, glue, and crayons. For the timeline and student notebooks you need binders. The author includes covers for parents and student binders that you can print out and have students color if you want. My son wanted to leave his black and white, because he’s not so into coloring anymore! The nice thing about Home School in the Woods is that you can totally adjust for each child. If your younger kids want to color, let them, if your older kids don’t want to, that’s fine too!

One of my son’s favorite activities from this study was the newspaper he got to create. It’s a printable paper with all sorts of creative headlines based on events from the Renaissance that allow kids to show what they know as “reporters” from the time period. The cool thing is, rather than writing a dry sort of history report, they can make it a little more fun!

In addition to notebooking, other activities include recipes, music, and other things, but keep in mind, you do not have to do everything listed. The beauty of studies like these is that you have the ability to pick and choose what works for you. I would highly recommend this history study to anyone studying this time period. They also offer similar studies for Ancient Egypt and The Middle Ages too. The cost runs from $33.95 to $34.95 depending on whether you want a CD or a digital download.

To find out more, connect with Home School in the Woods on social media:

Home School in the Woods on Facebook
Home School in the Woods on Twitter
Home School in the Woods on Pinterest
Home School in the Woods on Google+

See what other members of the crew thought of this and the other studies we got to check out here:
Home School in the Woods Review

Crew Disclaimer

Menu Plan Monday 7/13/15

We are back from our vacation and returning to normal life. I have a pile of laundry staring at me right now, and I need to go to the grocery store, so I just got done planning our menu for this week.

Monday: Stuffed Zucchini

Tuesday: Mexican Shepherd’s Pie

Wednesday: Sofrito Chicken (crock pot recipe)

Thursday: Pork with Red Wine Sauce

Friday: Chicken Caesar Salad

Thanks for stopping by for Menu Plan Monday! See you next week.

Italian Stuffed Zucchini


I love zucchini. However, my hubby is not a huge fan. So, I try to find ways to sneak it into our menu without making it too obvious. I decided to try stuffed zucchini after my friend said her family loved it. I figured since I was mostly just using the outside of the zucchini and I was filling it with yummy meat and cheese it had to be a hit!


3 medium-large zucchini

1/2 lb. ground beef

1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage

2 cups spaghetti sauce

1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

1 small tomato

Grated Parmesan

Salt and Pepper

Italian seasoning


1. Brown the hamburger and sausage in a skillet and drain.

2. Sprinkle the meat with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste.

3. Add the spaghetti sauce and simmer for about 5 minutes.

4. Slice the zucchini in half and scoop out the inside.

5. Chop the tomato.

6. Spoon the meat mixture into the zucchini halves.

7. Top with the chopped tomato.

8. Layer each one with some Mozzarella and Parmesan.

9. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

I served this with a Caesar salad and some garlic bread, and my whole family enjoyed it. While my hubby is never going to be a huge zucchini fan, this is at least one recipe that allows me to include it on our regular menu without a fuss!

Check out other new recipes here:

TOS Review: CursiveLogic

Handwriting. Aside from math it has to be one of my least favorite things to teach. Especially with my youngest. He tries. He tries really hard. But its just so difficult for him. Print has been excruciating, so I figured maybe we would move onto cursive. For this review, we got to check out the CursiveLogic Workbook from CursiveLogic.

CursiveLogic differs from other handwriting programs in its organization. Students learn letters based on their shapes. In cursive, four basic shapes are the blocks for the whole alphabet. By grouping similar letters together, the program makes it easier to understand the process. I found that this worked well for my son, and it made a lot of sense to me. Rather than learn letters in alphabetical order (which really seems pretty arbitrary when you think about it), you practice making the same shape with similar letters, allowing you to really master the movement. It makes sense.

Another thing that made a lot of sense to me about CursiveLogic is the way they get students started stringing letters together from the very beginning. I remember learning cursive letters in isolation with all those “tails” on the end. And then only learning to connect the tails to form words with other letters later. The problem was, it made my writing very clunky as I almost went back to relearning how to make the letters to begin with! With CursiveLogic, students string letters together from the very first lesson.

The program also uses specific colors for certain shapes, making it easy for kids to immediately recognize the shape and make the connection with the movement in their minds. By the end of the workbook, my son was moving through the lessons in no time. He was really proud of himself by the time he could write his name smoothly and evenly! There is also an easy verbal chant students repeat as they do the movement associated with each letter. I think the combination of verbalizing, using colors, and moving their hands targets all the different modalities, fully engaging kids, helping them to really internalize what they are learning.

The workbook itself is well laid out and easy to use, and the method is very easy to understand once you get started. We broke the lessons into a certain number of pages per day, and I would go over the lesson with my son and then just observe him as he worked. I think how you break it up really depends on the age of your child and how they do with handwriting. My son, although he is older, is easily frustrated, so we took it slow, doing a few pages a day. But because I feel this program is very effective, I don’t have a problem taking longer to go through it. The workbook costs $29.00.

To learn more about this program, connect with CursiveLogic on social media here:
CursiveLogic on Twitter

CursiveLogic on Facebook

CursiveLogic on Instagram

To find out what other crew members had to say about this program, click here:
CursiveLogic Review

Crew Disclaimer