Wednesday, December 7, 2016

One and done

Just like that, Asher turned one on November 16th. Yes, this post is late- but better late than never! Here's the traditional birthday video below, I can hardly believe a year has past.  It seems like just yesterday he was cuddled under last year's Christmas tree.
As I reflect on this past year with this third boy of ours, I have nothing but abundant thanks for every precious day passed. It's true you know, the more babies you have the more you realize that they don't keep! I can say without regret that I have truly hugged this babe tight and savored up every chunky bit of him.
At one year old, Asher Elliot is silly, thoughtful, content and loved. He is a people person and has the BEST smile. His disposition is somewhat serious and laid back most of the time(thank God for an easy baby!) and that makes his dimples all the deeper when he smiles and laughs.

His favorite food is anything cold and sweet, most recently a vanilla frosty from Wendy's. While he isn't as into the television, he does love Elmo and has started to become interested in turning the pages of his board books. Other favorite interests include bathtime and any kind of ball. More than anything though, he loves and is adored by his brothers. Nothing beats spending time with the big boys-little do they know they are all each other's best gift!

We are so thankful for you sweet Smash, happiest birthday love!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Once-a-Week Unit Studies by Homeschool Legacy

If you are a fan of unit studies, you will love using the historically rich and engaging Once-a-Week Micro-Studies from Homeschool Legacy. These compact unit studies are so easy to sprinkle on top your regular homeschool routine, and really help to bring history to life. 
The Once-a-Week Unit studies are very low maintenance and yet so much fun to incorporate into your homeschool day. I love that they are intended for the whole family to enjoy together with great read aloud suggestions and user friendly activities. Whenever I come across materials that embody the whole idea of the "one room schoolhouse" I wholeheartedly embrace it-Homeschool Legacy offers just that. The Unit Studies are designed for 2nd through 12th grade and to be used-you guessed it-just once a week! Similarly, the Once-a-Week Microstudies are geared towards 1st thru 8th graders, to be used in 3 separate 30 minute lesson times. 

Since we love learning about the presidents, my boys were excited to review the Once-a-Week Microstudy "Cooking Up History with the Founding Presidents." Who knew that Thomas Jefferson helped introduce french fries and creme brûlée to America? Thank you Mr. President, much appreciated!
This interesting study on our founding fathers came in a 21 page downloadable packet, and covered cooking through the lens of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. We especially enjoying baking up a delicious cherry pie in honor of George and Martha Washington! Cooking is a great hands on activity that you can do while talking about history. In my experience it's always a plus to give my boys something productive to do with their hands as they hear-helps to focus that fidgeting!

Aside from favorite foods, this unit study also did a great job providing a biographical sketch of each president, included links to videos, explanation of language words, and other fun facts.
I also have to note that these "grab and go" easy downloads come at a great value. The Once-A-Week Micro Study we reviewed is only $12 and is available in paperback OR conveniently as a digital download. Other titles in the Unit Study series include:
  • Christmas Comes to America
  • Birds of a Feather
  • Knights and Nobles
  • Lewis and Clark-from Sea to Shining Sea
  • Victoria and her World
...and so much more! You can get ready for Thanksgiving by adding the Once-A-Week Microstudy "Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims" by Homeschool Legacy to your schedule!

Connect with Homeschool Legacy on social media:
And, read more reviews from the crew by clicking on the banner below.
Once-a-Week Studies {Homeschool Legacy}

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The State Fair 2016

The sights, the sounds, the smells...nothing comes close to the NC state fair! A hallmark of Fall, we were all excited to go to the fair this year and eat our share of kettle corn and cotton candy. As usual, it was an experience.

Over the years we've built up our own tricks and trades of the infamous North Carolina state fair. We know where we park, have our favorite fried foodie stands, and by now have developed our own family fair route of sorts. To avoid the crazy crowds, we go during the week and midday. However, as much planning you can put into a traditional outing like this, there are some things you just can't control and don't plan for. This year, it was the near 90 degree weather in October. And so, we took home pink faces for souvenirs!
Asher's first fair!
...because it's tradition.

Future pilot?? I wonder...
Mother Nature was a new addition this year
In ride news, the boys rode their first roller coaster this year. Chris said they were probably the most terrified pair on that kiddie coaster, which made their reward all the sweeter. If asked they will say that was their favorite part of the fair, and that it was "SO COOL!!!!!"
The carousel will always be my favorite ride.
 Last but not least, our traditional family photo at the hush puppy mill. We started taking this picture over 9 years ago on one of our first dates to the fair. Suffice it to say, it has changed a lot!

Another fair in the year we will not miss the ribbon fries or pig races. Always something to look forward to. :-)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service, a Review

Educeri.....Educeri a division of DATAworks offers lessons for grades k-12 in a wide variety of subjects available with the Educeri Lesson Subscription Service. For those multi sensory learners out there, using a tool like this helps to reinforce and explore concepts in a new way.
Educeri Lesson Subscription Service Reviews
There are over 1000 ready to teach lessons available with the Educeri Lesson Subscription Service. As an example of the variety provided, here is a screen shot of a simple search I put in customized to our homeschool. That is, first grade + language arts. 
As a mom to a first grader, I loved that the lessons are very colorful and utilize fun characters and bold prints to visually engage the student with whatever concept he/she is working with. 
Educeri Lesson Subscription Service Reviews
Organized by grade level and subject, lessons are easily navigated by teacher and students alike.  Also, each lesson comes with an easy to download handout to print for extra practice. This is a huge bonus for those of us who are more tactile learners, and can be helpful for the younger ones who aren't using the computer as fluently. 
Educeri Lesson Subscription Service Reviews
Most lessons are presented in what I would refer to as "slideshow" style, and are very colorful. While there is no audio provided, the concepts are easily laid out for the teacher to dictate. If your child is older and reading fluently on his own, the lack of sound is probably less of an issue. Here is a screenshot below of an example of a slide in the "Blending Sounds" lesson. You can see that the dictation style makes it easy to clearly communicate the concept with your student. 
Overall I did enjoy using Educeri and would recommend it as a reliable resource to have at your fingertips when you need to fill in a quick lesson plan. The variety of subjects offered over all grade levels and easy at home or on the go access-plus printable materials- makes this a great homeschool tool.
Check out Educeri...Educeri a division of DATAworks on social media at the links below:
Twitter:   @educeri
And, to see what the crew thought, be sure to read more reviews by clicking the banner below.
Educeri Lesson Subscription Service

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

MyFreezEasy-a Review

Freezer cooking has always seemed pretty intimidating to me. Enter the MyFreezEasy Freezer Meal Plan Membership. When I saw that the Schoolhouse Review Crew would get a chance to review this online program, I jumped at the chance to up my meal planning game. MyFreezEasy brings freezer cooking to your kitchen and offers a variety of recipes for all taste buds.
Learning to meal plan and freezer cook is such a valuable skill to hon in the kitchen, and will prove your friend many times over in those busy seasons. Plus, it saves time and money! Like I said, the freezer cooking part has always left many questions swirling through my head and so I never fully tackled it.  Back when I was very pregnant with my #2, I made a few "beginner" type freezer meals since I knew cooking would not be at the top of my priority list after baby boy made his entrance. Once our meals from friends slowed down, it was so incredibly nice to simply pull out a meal, thaw and throw it in the crockpot. Fastforward four years, and I am finally getting back into the idea thanks to MyFreezEasy. Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}
If you're a visual person like myself, MyFreezEasy offers lots of videos on their website to help you better understand the art of freezer cooking. In these "how to" style videos you will learn the secrets of freezing food and thawing it.  

Erin Chase, the brains behind this delicious operation, has done a wonderful job organizing and presenting all of the meal plans and recipes on her website. Each new month offers a pre-designed meal plan that offers 5-10 recipes to make 10-20 meals. Each plan includes the recipe, grocery list, assembly instructions and labels in case you choose to freeze for later. If you have special nutritional needs, modifications are also included to make meals gluten or dairy free. 
Plans include:
  • Traditional Meals
  • Gluten Free Meals
  • Clean Eats Meals
  • Chicken Only Meals
  • Ground Beef Only Meals
  • Slow Cooker Meals Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}
How it works is simple. Prep(you can't get out of that!), freeze, thaw, and eat-voila! Instructions are clear also that you can simply prepare and enjoy, the the most "bang for your time" comes in the freezer cooking. In about an hour the goal is to make up to 10 meals to stock your freezer with-think about it ladies, you could spend an hour making just one meal!

If you know me at all you'll know I'm not the most adventurous eater and can be sort of picky about food. While there is a TON of variety offered here, I just found a handful of recipes that I liked and were different enough from what our family usually eats. That is not to say that someone else wouldn't love the "all chicken plan." With the premium membership, you also have the ability to "create your own" meal plan, and that was especially helpful to me. Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}
The MyFreezEasy Freezer Meal Plan Membership is $95 a year or $10 monthly, and includes a bonus side dish cookbook. Happy cooking!
To connect with MyFreezEasy on social media, see the links below:
Social Media Links:
And, be sure to click on the banner to check out what the rest of the crew thought. Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy} 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Happy Fall Ya'll!

Hello blog! As per usual, I am woefully behind on keep things up to date-I blame motherhood...and Netflix. Fall is here, and we are loving the crisp morning air and pumpkin cheerios. I can hardly believe that October is upon us so soon-it happened overnight! To start, we bid farewell to September with our fourth annual Brother's Day celebration. It was Asher's first and the boys were so excited to welcome him into this fast growing Scott family tradition of ours.

This year Brother's Day included the delicious Duck Donuts, our traditional cookie cake, Mellow Mushroom and more-yes, it quickly turned food themed lol! Otherwise we got to read to dogs at the library, exchanged lemurs for gifts(inside story), and the big boys went to the movies to see "Secret Life of Pets." Sugar + animals=win win. The day was topped off with an afternoon bike ride since Bennett had just gotten his new bike the day before, and it was perfect. It's our goal that these special days will make for lifelong memories and serve to knit these boys closer in brotherhood and friendship. I hope too that every September 17 beyond our four walls will bring them back together to do something fun and grand and adventurous, because that's what you do on Brother's Day. 
Things are chugging right along on the school front. Since we homeschool year round, we have already had our first track out and are now hitting the books again. Today we talked about R-changed vowels, drew jack-o-lanterns,  solved word problems, watched videos online about erosion and the letter Q,  read about King Sargon of Akkad and Snoopy the flying Ace(a la Charlie Brown) and more. Truly, these are precious days.

We are in two different co-ops here, and have already had a fun field trip to the fire station with one. I may have to dub October "community helpers" month as we are also visiting a recycling plant and the police station this month. A few days after visiting the firestation, Evan was asked to create a town in his geography class(with our church co-op). I smiled as he told me that he named his town "FireWest," as I knew immediately from where his inspiration came. I am also always humbled by these kind and brave men and women who take the time to encourage and educate our kiddos. Thank you Cary Fire Department!
Our other co-op meets weekly at our church and both boys have really come to look forward to seeing their friends on Wednesday mornings. Speaking of church, we are grateful to have found a new church home and have been so encouraged taking membership classes there. The boys have made fast friends and so have we-this has been an immense blessing in this transition from Wilson to Morrisville, and we are so thankful!
As we turned the page to October we had some unfriendly germs visit. I'm not sure from where they came but rest assured we've a small battalion of OTC meds to fight them off with. Bennett had the worst of it and was hit with strep and a side of Scarlet Fever. No typo there-Scarlet fever, what?!! Thankfully it turned out to be a mild case, and we know now to be very proactive if he ever catches strep again as his special dna is more prone to those types of crazy complications. I should also note that all of this transpired in a hurricane. Over the weekend Matthew swept up the coast and his NC hard with massive flooding and devastation. Though our immediate area did not experience as much flooding, we lost power for almost two days. To loose only a freezer full of food in the midst of such loss of life and property, we are continually thankful.

In other news, did I mention that Fall is here? This afternoon it was 66 and sunny outside. It was just perfect, and I look forward to embracing the outdoors a little tighter in the days to come.
The raccoon hat has returned! It will be a sad day indeed when these boys are too cool for animal hats. Also, this one is closing in on 11 months!
With a wedding around the corner, the state fair, births, birthdays, homecoming and Halloween, I know the rest of October will fly by. In the spirit of enjoying the everyday moments, I'll leave you with a snapshot of the big boys. What are they doing you ask? Here they are, in all their glorious naivety, trying their very best to "blow up the house." With a bike pump...#Ican'teven

Friday, September 16, 2016

Double digit boys

Today Mr. Smoosh himself turns 10 months! In case you didn't know, these first double digits are a huge mile marker in the mommy world. He has 4 teeth, a distinct taste for ice cream, and is entering that mobile and mischievous stage with gusto.

Here's a sweet glimpse of all three boys at 10 months, dare I say Asher is slowly but surely taking on his own unique look. Here's a blast from the past.

Evan at 10 months...
Bennett at 10 months...

Asher at 10 months...
Only two more months to the big "1!"

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Exploring the stars with Apologia-a review

We were so excited to get our hands on Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition from Apologia Educational Ministries to review. I have long been a fan of Apologia, and knew from the start of our homeschooling journey that we would eventually use it for our science curriculum. After exploring this new Astronomy course with my first grader over the past few months, we are happy to join the chorus of praises and sing that it not disappoint! 
Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review
The new and improved  Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition is part of the Young Explorer series and is geared towards students grades K-6. For this review we received:
  • Student textbook
  • Note booking Journal
  • JR. Note booking Journal
  • Audio CD
Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review
The sturdy hardback textbook offers an in depth astronomy course complete with beautiful, breathtaking photographs. As you learn and "explore creation" through astronomy, Apologia is faithful to point to its creator and teaches from a biblical center and worldview. What I also appreciate about the textbook is how fluidly it reads. While incredibly comprehensive, its conversational style reads with the ease and enjoyment of a living book.  This top quality textbook includes 14 lessons and covers the sun, moon, each of the planets, stars, space travel and more. I really enjoyed the small "think about this" excerpts within the chapters-they make for great talking points with your kids! 
Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review
Because we love all things multi sensory, the audio CD element was an awesome addition. It is a complete and engaging reading of the textbook by the author herself, Jeanine Fulbright. We casually (and by casually I mean on the way to the grocery store) listen to the chapter readings of the CD after we've read the textbook and completed any related notebooking activities and/or experiments; in this way the audio reading acts as a last layer to further "seal" the information.

The student activities were also huge hits with both of my boys. They are easily outlined and you can complete most experiments with the help of common household objects. Most importantly, they are FUN! One of the first ones we did was to create an original mnemonic device to remember the names of the planets. Of course we came up with all kinds of silly sayings, and ultimately landed on "Master Velociraptor Evan Matthew Just Sat Under Noodles." #SixYearOlds. :-) It's safe to say my kids were pulled in from chapter one. More than that, they were excited to start learning about astronomy. Below is a picture of Evan standing under our next project, a balloon model of the solar system. 
Since my kids are younger, I read aloud the from the textbook before moving to journal time. We primarily used the "junior" version of the notebooking journal, which is perfect for for those younger kiddos.  It's a wonderful and well done complement to the student text and Evan really enjoyed the journaling in it. Both notebooks are BIG(300+ pages) and boast a variety of fun, full color activities to reinforce the lessons. The copywork, crosswords and coloring pages were right up our first grade alley. We also enjoyed making the "mini books." And for mom, a suggested schedule is included in the notebook for ease of planning. 
Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review
You can view sample pages of this notebook HERE.
Apologia has put together an excellent science cirriculum in Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition. If you're looking for a comprehensive, competitive and Christ centered science curriculum-this is it. It presents science and astronomy in a way that captures your attention-both in it's engaging text and gorgeous photographs- and inspires students to learn more. Without a doubt I will continue to use this book beyond the time of this review.
To read other reviews on this homeschool science curriculum, click on the banner below:
Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Review
And, be sure to check out Apologia on social media at the links below:
Twitter: @apologiaworld