TOS Review: NotebookingPages.com

Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews

My kids and I have enjoyed notebooking and lapbooking since we started homeschooling. I think that using creative notebook pages are a great supplement to any curriculum as they allow you to explore topics in further detail. They are also great for unit studies! For this review, I was excited to check out the Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership from NotebookingPages.com.

Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews

The Lifetime Membership offers thousands of notebooking pages in a variety of subjects including fine arts, geography, history, science and even holiday and seasonal pages. Suitable for all ages, the pages would be easy to use with children in multiple grades. For my oldest, he liked the fact that the pages didn’t contain “little kid” illustrations, since he is now in high school and doesn’t want to do kid stuff anymore.

Since we were already studying Australia for our geography program, we started with the geography notebooking pages. The menu allows you to download a zip file of all the pages in a unit, or choose individual pages for a specific country. For Australia, we had pages to record basic facts like the population, climate, capital etc. as well as natural resources, geographical data and more. You can also print maps of the countries as well. In addition, the site offers USA state study pages.

In science, we dove into the study on plants. I really like how this one was set up because you can choose the level of activity for your child. For younger kids, you could allow them to color in the labeled illustration of the parts of a plant. For older students, they have blank diagrams to label, with and without a list of terms, as well as pages where you can write down what each part of the plant does. So, if you wanted to do a unit study on botany using a specific curriculum with multiple children at once, you could print the pages suitable for each child and have them work on the same topic at their level. There are many other science topics to study including dinosaurs, reptiles, and astronomy.

 

The fine arts pages offer a selection of composer and artist studies, and we thought these were really cool. We started with the study on Van Gogh, because he is one of my favorite artists and I have several prints of his work in my house. The pages were very well done, offering a space to record Van Gogh’s birthdate, a short biography, and thoughts about the pieces of his work you studied. The site also offers a set of prints for each artist listed that you can use for the study if you want. We used a combination of the prints included and the ones I have in my house. You could certainly do a web search for other prints as well. The notebooking pages include the large, segmented lines for younger students and the same pages with regular lines for older students, so again, you could easily do this with multiple ages at once. Other artists available include Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, and Leonardo DaVinci among others.

A variety of blank notebooking pages are available if you want to create your own study on a specific topic as well. I think NotebookingPages.com is a resource I am going to use again and again as my son goes through high school. And for less than $100 it is a great bargain for everything you get.

To learn more, connect with NotebookingPages on social media here:
Notebooking Pages on Facebook

Notebooking Pages on Twitter

To see what other members of the crew thought of this resource, click here:
Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews

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Menu Plan Monday 6/27/16

 

It’s the last Monday in June and we are officially one week away from our annual family vacation. Every year we go up to the mountains in NC to get away from it all and I am so excited. This week is going to very busy, with all the vacation prep I need to do! So, I’m going to try to go with simple meals for the week.

Monday: Chili Mac Casserole

Tuesday: Caesar Pockets with fries

Wednesday: Sofrito Chicken

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Pizza

Have a great week and thanks for stopping by for Menu Plan Monday!

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Chili Mac Casserole

This is a great one-dish meal for a busy night. It is very filling and makes a lot, so I like to serve it when my boys have friends over. The yummy flavors make it a hit with teenagers, and it’s “grown up” enough for my hubby too!

Ingredients:

2 cups elbow macaroni (I like to use Dreamfields Pasta because it fits with my lower-carb diet)

2 lbs. lean ground beef

1 medium onion

3 garlic cloves

1 can diced tomatoes (undrained)

1 can chopped green chiles

1 can tomato paste

1 can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)

Adobo seasoning

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

2 cups shredded Mexican Cheese

Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside
  2. Chop the onion and the garlic.
  3. Add some olive oil to a large skillet and cook the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, until they start to soften.
  4. Add the beef to the skillet and sprinkle with Adobo seasoning to taste. Cook until no longer pink and drain.

5. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans, green chiles and spices. Stir to mix.

6. Fold the pasta into the skillet.

7. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and pour the macaroni mixture into the skillet.

8. Cover with aluminum foil and and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

9. Uncover and add the cheese and bake for another 10 minutes until cheese is melted.

10. Serve with some bread and a salad.

That’s it! Thanks for stopping by.

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Menu Plan Monday 6/20/16

Welcome back to another Menu Plan Monday! It is a warm June this year and we have been spending a lot of time in the pool. We’ve also been heading to the tide pool at the Inlet for some fishing. Keeping my kids busy is one of my top priorities in the summer. I like to see them doing things rather than sitting around playing video games. I’ve also been having them do some cooking once a week so they can learn some basic culinary skills. This is our menu for the week:

Monday: Baked Italian Chicken with Southern Green Beans

Tuesday: Tacos (cooked by my youngest)

Wednesday: Skillet Pork with Rice and Tomatoes

Thursday: Spanish Meatloaf

Friday: Spaghetti (cooked by my oldest)

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week.

 

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Southern Green Beans

When I think of Sunday family dinners, my nana’s green beans spring to mind. They were a tradition for me growing up as a kid. She cooked them for hours on the stove and they were so delicious! I decided to make some myself this past weekend for my family and they loved them!

Ingredients:

2-3 lbs of green beans

6 slices of bacon

salt

pepper

garlic powder

water

2 chicken bullion cubes

Directions:

  1. Cook bacon in a skillet and set aside to drain.
  2. Wash and trim the green beans and place them in a large pot.

3. Season the beans with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.

4. Add the bacon grease to the pot.

5. Add enough water to cover the beans.

6. Cut the bacon into 1/2 inch strips and add them to the pot.

7. Add the chicken bullion cubes to the pot.

8. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 3 hours.

9. Add more water and seasonings to the pot as needed during the cook time. (I like to check the pot every hour and taste the beans to gauge my seasonings).

10. Serve when most of the water has cooked off.

These are the perfect side dish to a pot roast or roasted pork loin. And it makes plenty to serve a crowd. Enjoy.

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Menu Plan Monday 6/13/16

Welcome back to Menu Plan Monday! Summer is in full swing here now and myself and several members of the Homeschool Crew shared some of our favorite recipes in the Crew Round Up last week. It includes some of my top recipes for barbecues and the beach! This is what’s on our menu from this week:

Monday: Pepper and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken

Tuesday: Crunchy Onion Steak

Wednesday: Baked Tacos

Thursday: Lasagna Soup

Friday: Barbecue with friends

Thanks for stopping by, see you next week.

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Crew Round Up: Summer Recipes

I love summertime, and not just the slower-paced days and outdoor fun, I also love summer cooking! This week’s Crew Round Up is all about summer cooking, and these are some of my favorite things to make this time of year.

 

Salads: What’s easier and more delicious than a summer salad for dinner? And you can’t forget side salads to bring to those cookouts! These are some of my family’s favorite salad recipes for summer:

  1. Bean Salad: this is a quick and easy side dish suitable for any party, or serve it as a side for burgers!

2. Avocado Tomato salad: If avocados are on sale at the store I buy them and make this for lunch!

3. Mexican Chicken Salad: this is honestly one of my favorite dinners to make when we go on vacation. I use a rotisserie chicken from the deli, so it requires no real cooking. Plus it makes a lot and the dressing is delicious.

4. Caesar Pockets: Make these and pack them in the cooler for lunch on the go, or serve them with some chips as a light dinner.

Grilling: what seems more like summer than cooking on the grill? Now, I made a lot of these steaks in my skillet, but you could easily adapt the recipes and grill them outdoors or on an indoor grill pan!

  1. Citrus Steak: the orange marmalade in this marinade gives the steak a yummy, tangy flavor!

2. Crunchy Onion Steak: My hubby loved the crunchy topping for this steak!

3. Tuscan Steak with Beans: Simple and tasty!

Crock Pot: When it’s just too hot to heat up the oven (which it often is in Florida!) I turn to my crock pot for dinner!

  1. Pineapple Pork: a sweet and tangy twist on barbecue!

 

2. Sofrito Chicken: so easy and good, with plenty for leftovers!

3. Pork Tacos: A great meal for a crowd!

4. Cheesy Tortellini: In the mood for some pasta? Try this!

How do you like to cook in the summertime? Let me know in the comments! Make sure to check out more summer recipes from the crew here: (goes live 6/10/16)

Summer Inspiration

 

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TOS Review: MaxScholar

MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs Review

Although we take summers off from official school, I am always looking for ways to incorporate spelling, vocabulary and other subjects into our curriculum that are easy and painless, especially for summer learning. Spelling in particular is one area that my youngest son still needs a lot of work (even as a middle school/high school student). However, doing an additional paper and pencil curriculum on top of our regular work is often met with complaints, while computer-based learning meets much less resistance. For that reason, I was excited to check out the MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs from MaxScholar.

I received a MaxGuru subscription, giving my son access to variety of programs to help build his reading, vocabulary, spelling, and even geography and music skills. We started with MaxReading at an 8th grade level. The program begins with a pre-test that assesses comprehension and reading skills. After completing the test, students do regular activities at their level, progressing through levels as their skills improve. Lessons are short and manageable, perfect for my restless boy. He also found the topics interesting, with a lot of them being related to pop culture and people he recognized (in his words, he wasn’t reading a bunch of “boring, irrelevant” stories). We did daily practice with this three days per week, which we will continue through the summer. I really like the fact that MaxReading automatically adapts to your child’s reading level without you having to do anything.

MaxWords is a phonics-based program that again, offers multiple levels for students. Students at the older levels can practice syllabication, Greek and Latin Roots, and more. The syllabication activities also allow students to build their reading fluency with a timed reading. I really liked the Greek and Latin roots part of the program which teaches kids a variety of roots and then offers multiple games and activities that allow them to really work with the roots until they understand them.

In addition to phonics, vocab, and reading, students also get to practice reading skills in the context of reading about people and places. In MaxPlaces, students can explore a number of countries by reading a short passage, highlighting important parts of the text, and then answering a series of questions about what they read. It’s setup is much like the reading portion of the program, but this gives kids a chance to learn some geography and history. We were already studying Australia, so this was a great addition to that. I really really like the highlighting because, as a former English teacher, I find that older students often have a difficult time discerning what is important in the text. Many times I had students who would highlight entire paragraphs! Being able to pick out the most important parts of a passage will help later on when students need to take notes and write research papers!

 

MaxBios is set up the same way, but in this portion of MaxScholar, students learn about famous people like athletes, musicians, historical figures, people in business, etc. Again, my son was just excited that even though he had to do “work” at least he got to read about people from this century if he wanted to!

MaxMusic offers a chance to build grammar and music skills in a really fun way. It provides lyrics from songs from current and famous older artists, and asks students to identify parts of speech, recall words, and even gives them a chance to play the song on a virtual piano. This part was probably the most fun for my son, and I can’t overlook the fact that he was having fun while practicing grammar, a subject that usually results in a LOT of stress, arguing, complaining and tension for the two of us!

 

If you look at MaxScholar and think it’s only for younger children, let me tell you, you are wrong. They have tons of age-appropriate activities for older kids too, and they also offer a ton of games on top of all the other stuff! My son built his vocabulary while playing hangman, and would sometimes log on just to play if he got bored. They also offer an App for smartphones so you can access MaxScholar on the go!

If you are looking for a fun way to work in some learning activities and supplement your curriculum I would definitely recommend you check it out. It’s a great way to provide some extra practice on important skills, or, like I said, use it as a summer program. To learn more, connect with MaxScholar on social media here:

MaxScholar on Facebook

MaxScholar on Twitter

MaxScholar on Pinterest

MaxScholar on Google+

MaxScholar on LinkedIn

MaxScholar on YouTube

To see what other members of the crew thought of this, and the other programs we got to check out, click here:

MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs Review

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Menu Plan Monday 6/6/16

Welcome to the first Menu Plan Monday of June! Summer is in full swing at our house! My oldest son graduated high school last weekend, and we had a wonderful time celebrating with the family. Now we are all looking forward to enjoying some lazy days in the summer sun. Here is our menu for this week:

Monday: Sloppy Joe Casserole

Tuesday: Smothered Pork Chops with Red Beans and Onions

Wednesday: Spaghetti

Thursday: Baked Pesto Chicken

Friday: Tacos

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

Sloppy Joe Casserole


My family loves Sloppy Joes, but I’ve been trying to find ways to cut carbs and calories, and this casserole is easy to make and provides all the delicious flavors of the traditional sandwiches.

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
3 stalks celery
2 garlic cloves
1/2 onion
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 tbsp. vinegar

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 eggs
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup half and half
2 cups shredded cheese

Directions:

  1. Chop the celery, onion, and garlic. Brown with the meat in a large skillet.

2. Drain the meat, then add the vinegar, mustard, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper.

3. Simmer for 10 minutes then add in half of the cheese and allow it to melt.

4. Spray a pie pan with cooking spray and add the meat mixture to the pan.

5.  Top the meat mixture with the rest of the cheese.

6. Whisk the eggs, yogurt, and cream together in a bowl and pour over the cheese.

7. Bake the casserole at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

I served this with a salad (for me) and some rolls for my hubby and boys so they could still eat it as a sandwich if they wanted too. It was so yummy!

Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy!

 

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TOS Review: Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner

Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 ReviewI don’t know about you, but I love paper and pencil planning. I know a lot of people like to use digital planners or stuff they can download and print, but, just like I enjoy reading physical books and magazines, I LOVE having a printed planner to write it. So, I was really excited to get to review the Hey Mama!Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 from The Old Schoolhouse.

First of all, the planner itself is beautiful. The spiral binding is really strong, which is important because I hate when the spirals wear out while you’re using something. The color scheme is gorgeous too, and it’s full of great pictures. It offers full calendars for 2016-2018, which are really useful for planning out your school year in advance. I like to go in and circle all of our breaks, holidays, and other days off before I start planning the year so I can get an idea of the time frame.

It also offers calendar pages from July 2016 through 2017. I really rely on these to keep track of everyone’s schedule, from my hubby’s work days, to church commitments, to homeschool group days and birthdays. The blocks on the page are large, so you can record a lot of different things, and there is a blank space on the side where I like to keep track of my reviews for the month.

You can further break down your planning with the weekly schedule. These pages have blocks for planning for up to five people. On Sundays, I break out the planner and fill in the boxes for myself, my kids, and my hubby. I write down any appointments/commitments we have that week, my oldest son’s work schedule, and also what is on the menu for each day. That way, every morning, I can check the planner and know exactly what needs to be done.

But that’s not all the planner has to offer. Each month, you get a beautiful devotional message, as well as a place to record notes for the month. The planner is also loaded with useful information for moms like how to care for a cast-iron skillet and how butter churns work. I look forward to reading these and they usually make me smile.

Another page that I find really useful is the curriculum planning sheet and goal sheets. These allow you to record your planned curriculum for the year, as well as goals for each child in several areas including academics, spirituality, physical goals, life skills and more. I find that plotting out my goals for the year before I get into shopping for curriculum and planning out our days helps me to focus.

Now that I have one graduated high schooler and another who is in high school, I also really appreciate the transcript page as well. This allows you to record high school credits, which is so important. Trust me, you don’t want to have to put together a transcript from scratch when your child is about to apply to college. There are also pages to record attendance, books read for the year, and more. At the back of the planner they also offer some awesome reference pages that list things like the Presidents in order, a timeline of inventions, a list of writing prompts, and the states and capitals.

If you love physical planners as much as I do, you don’t want to miss out on this one. Even though we just finished school for the summer, I am already excited about planning for next year! To learn more, connect with The Old Schoolhouse on social media here:

The Old Schoolhouse on Facebook

The Old Schoolhouse on Instagram

The Old Schoolhouse on Twitter

The Old Schoolhouse on Google+

To see what other members of the crew had to say about this planner, click here:

Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 Review

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