Thursday, February 28, 2013

Trim Healthy Mama-Week 2

This is my second week of Trim Healthy Mama.  This week I thought I'd include my workouts too.

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30 Day Shred Level 2

Breakfast- (S)3 Eggs Fried in Coconut oil with Nutritional Yeast and 1 slice of bacon
Snack-(FP) Fat Stripping Frappa
Lunch- (E) Trim Healthy Pancakes w/1/4 cup blueberries, 0% Greek yogurt and sugar free syrup
Snack- (FP) Big Boy Smoothie
Supper- (S) Salmon cooked in butter with Baked Kale S style
Snack- (S) Chocolate Cake in a Mug with a couple small pieces of Skinny Chocolate with nuts


Obstacles XRT Beginner level because I wanted a 20 minute workout

Breakfast- (E) Breakfast Burrito (egg white, salmon, broccoli, peppers and onions)
Lunch- (FP) Fat Stripping Frappa
Supper- (S) bacon cheeseburger in lettuce and buttered broccoli (ate at Applebee's)
Snack-(FP) Choco Pudding (S) Skinny Chocolate

No workout.  I wanted to but Sundays are busy and I took a nap instead.

Breakfast-(FP)Fat Stripping Frappa
Snack- (S) 2 Boiled Eggs, a handful of walnuts and almonds, string cheese
Lunch- (FP) Egg White Wraps with leftover salmon and veggies
Supper- (FP) Loaded Fotato Soup

I made a (FP) Chia Tapioca Pudding today.  I ate the whole thing but not all at once...throughout the day I had some.

Snack- (FP) Egg White Wraps with Light Laughing Cow Cheese, deli chicken and mixed spring greens.  Then a dessert of Tummy Tucking Ice Cream (FP) with 3 small pieces of Skinny Chocolate.(S)

I definitely ate too much tonight.  ugh


30 Day Shred- Level 2

Breakfast-(E) Trim Healthy Pancakes with 0% Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup blueberries, swirl SF syrup
Lunch- (FP) Loaded Fotato Soup (1/2) serving, 1 Joseph's Pita with Light Laughing Cow cheese
Snack- (FP) Fat Stripping Frappa
Supper- (S) Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli on Dreamfields Pasta
Snack- (S) some Cheesecake Berry Crunch on top of (FP) Lemon Mousse

(What a delicious day!)


Went for a run this morning.  I run/walk to avoid injury and because I like it.  I used a 1 minute ratio today and ran/walked for about 25 minutes..with some warm up and cool down walking too.

Breakfast- (ate very late) (S) Corned Beef Hash with 2 fried eggs
Lunch- I didn't eat lunch because my breakfast was so late
Snack- (FP)Lemon mousse with a few raspberries and (S) almonds and a piece of skinny chocolate
Supper- (S) Get Together Salmon (delicious!!), roasted asparagus, steamed broccoli with butter
Snack- (FP)Lemon mousse with a small amount of Cheesecake Berry Crunch, a Joseph's lavash with Light Laughing Cow cheese. (S) I also had a handful of roasted almonds.

I also made some Earth Milk today and had a little bit.  I was planning to make a Green Tea Frappa but never did....probably tomorrow.

20 minute workout I made up including strength, cardio and abs.

Breakfast- (S) I was out and about so I cut up some light cheese into cubes and took a small baggie of almonds and walnuts. I probably should have had some boiled eggs too.
Snack-(FP) Fat Stripping Mocha Frappa
Lunch-(E) Luv My Sweet Potato Lunch...yum!!
Supper-(S) Hearty Red Soup and Marcy's Cheese Bread

No official workout but I did use my exercise ball for a little bit.

Breakfast- Green Tea Frappa (early) Healthy Trim Pancakes (later AM)
Lunch- (E) 1/2 Sweet Potato and about 1/2 cup Greek yogurt with small amount of blueberries and Truvia
Snack-(S) Choco Pudding with a small amount of mixed nuts
Supper- (S) Cobb Salad (out)
Snack- (S) a few small plan pb cookies and some lemon mousse with a bit of Cheesecake Berry Crunch on top

I am very pleased with how this week went.  I have LOST weight this week and this has not happened to me in so long.  I LOVE THM food!

3-in-30 Update

Well, it is the end of my first 3-in-30 challenge.  (Technically 3 in 28 I

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Here's how I did:

Spiritual Goals

Finish my Journible (Proverbs) by writing in it daily (Yes, I finished this book earlier this week!)

Physical Goals

Exercise 4-5 times a week. (Yes! Most weeks this month I exercised more than this.)

Homemaking Goals

Clean out my "junk drawer" (Yes! and I've kept it nice all month)
Clean my closet (huge job....may not finish but want to at least make some headway...this "closet" is actually a small room and long overdue for some decluttering/organizing.) (Unfortunately, I did not get to this.  I worked on it a bit early in the month but totally dropped the ball on this one.)

Overall, I am pretty happy though I wish I had done the closet. I guess it will go on my new 3-in-30 list for March.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

100 Bible Verses in 2013-Week 9

I can't believe we are up to week 9 of learning 100 Bible Verses in 2013 using Robert Morgan's book 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart which I am doing along with a Facebook group started by Shanna at Learning at His Feet.

100 Bible Verses in 2013

I am still enjoying this but don't quite have last week's verses completely memorized.  I have one pretty good and I am almost there with the other.  Here are this week's verses (both from the same passage.)

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Scripture Memory Resources:
Still enjoying Scripture Typer online (free) and the app ($5.99)

photo courtesy of Laura Shrek at

Monday, February 25, 2013

A+ Interactive Math

For the last several weeks we have been using the 4th grade version of A+ Interactive Math by A+ Tutorsoft, Inc. This is an interactive online math program that is also available on CD.


A+ Interactive Math is a comprehensive math program with audio and visual teaching but also has a printable textbook option. (I love options.)  We tried out both. Emma logs on and watches a video lesson which is then followed by an Interactive Question and Answer session.   If she enters her answers on the computer there is an automatic grading system which I can check at any time by logging into the parent section of the account.  If done on paper, I can correct it and add the scores manually.  The automatic scores and manual scores are found on separate pages.  I would prefer for them to be integrated, but it is easy enough to keep track of scores using what is available.

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This is a screen shot of a lesson in action.
The chapters and lessons are found on the left and can be opened with a click of the mouse.
The audio/visual lesson can be played, paused, stopped etc. at the bottom of the screen.
Students can click on the Interactive Q & A button at any time to practice what they are learning.
As mentioned in the caption above, there is an interactive question and answer button that can be clicked during the lesson (preferably after they have actually watched the lesson) that contains multiple choice questions.  Students are required to see/hear ALL of the choices before being allowed to select one. This can be frustrating to the student if they know the answer and they have to wait for all of the other answers to be read.   If the student chooses the wrong answer they will see a sad face with a thumbs down and be told the answer is incorrect. Immediately after that they are shown the correct answer and given a full explanation.   Correct answers get a thumbs up, a verbal affirmation and smiley face. (Explanations are also available for correct answers.)  I like the immediate feedback.

Once the lesson has been completed the student can move on to doing a worksheet.  Multiple choice worksheets can be printed or completed right on the computer.

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The 4th grade program has 16 chapters:

1. Number Sense Review
2. Addition
3. Subtraction
4. Multiplication
5. Division
6. Decimals
7. Fractions and Fraction Operations
8. Number Conversions and Mixed Fractions Operations
9. The Number Line and Number Comparisons
10. Algebra
11. Geometry
12. Time and Money
13. Measurements and Conversions
14. Probability
15. Displaying Data Using Graphs
16. Word Problems and Problem Solving

In the parent section of the program, there is a 32 week lesson plan available.  As you can see below, each week there is a suggested list of lessons, worksheets, tests etc. to cover.  There is a white box at the end of each section but no way to check it off.  It can be printed, but with the dark background I didn't want to use all that ink.  We chose not to use the suggested outline.  I let Emma work at her own pace. The lessons take a little longer than we are used to but, I think this is probably more appropriate for her age level (even if she doesn't think so!) The suggested outline would be handy for those that want to follow a prescribed schedule.

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clip of the lesson plans

Through my parent account, I am able to view the scores for the worksheets and exams Emma has completed. 

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clip of worksheet report

A nice summary is also available for viewing.  All of these reports can be printed for your records.

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I would love to see e-mail reports that could be sent to me on a weekly basis.

A+ Interactive Math also offers a 9-page color reference sheet to be printed for the student.  (very handy), a printable curriculum book, and printable answer keys for tests and worksheets. Parents also can control whether or not their student can access the answers to the problems.

As I said earlier, I like options.  Emma has used both the printable tests and worksheets and the online version.  I like being able to let her just go on the computer to do her math without my help, but I also like being able to print work for her so we can take it with us when we are on the go which we have done.  One of my favorite parts of this program is that we can choose the way we want to do this and it can be some of both. We don't have to choose just one way.

Here is a clip of a worksheet from an addition lesson:
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One thing I would like to see is a larger font and more room for doing work on the printable worksheets.  I don't think it should be necessary to copy each problem in order to work it which really is necessary for younger children that don't write this small.

Here is an overview video.  The narrator of this video is the same teacher in the program.

Overall, I am very happy with this program for Emma.We plan to continue using A+ Interactive Math in place of what we were using prior to receiving this.

I would recommend trying A+ Interactive Math with their free one month trial subscription that you can sign up for at the A+ Tutorsoft website (top right corner...try the online version or download the CD version).

A+ Tutorsoft offers interactive math for Grades 1-6 as well as Pre-Algebra and Algebra.

The regular price for a subscription to A+ Interactive Math is $19.95 (monthly), $49.99 (quarterly), or a full year for $124.99  However, until the end of MARCH you can use coupon code: SPOFFER50 for 50% OFF!


 See what others are saying about A+ Interactive Math on The Schoolhouse Review Crew blog. (Online and CD versions are both being reviewed.)

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Goal Planning Monday

Here is this week's Goal Planning Monday post at Mama Manuscripts. An update on how I did with last week's goals and new ones for this week.

I didn't get much accomplished this past week, but it was vacation and my husband was home all week.  Hopefully I'll do better this week.

1. Write in my Journible every day and review my scripture memory verses each day. (Yes!  I finished my first Journible this morning.  I reviewed my verses almost every day.)

2. Exercise at least 5 days this week. (Yes!)

3. Try to do some cleaning in the closet and maybe in the kitchen.  I have some cupboards that need some cleaning out. (No :( )

4. Taxes....oh how I need to get these done but don't want to. (Ugh..NO)

5. Finish some blog posts. (Yes)

Goals for this week:

1. Start my new Journible (book of John) and continue working on scripture memory verses.

2. Exercise 5 or more times this week.

3. Get back to some Fly Lady!

4. Taxes.  DO them!!

5. Finish and work on some reviews.  Do my regular blog posts.

6. Work on my closet.

If I get these all done I will be very happy.

Menu Plan Monday

This is my second week of Trim Healthy Mama.  I usually only list my plans for supper but I am also going to share the names of recipes I plan to use this week for breakfast, lunch and snacks.


Monday: Crockpot Alfredo Chicken, Roasted Asparagus, Dreamfields Pasta

Tuesday: Hearty Red Soup and S bread for me, regular sourdough for everyone else

Wednesday: Get Together Salmon, Broccoli, Potatoes (for the kids)

Thursday: Dinner out...something kid friendly for the kids

Friday: Fooled Ya Pizza (cauliflower crust)-regular pizza for the kids

Saturday: Cheeseburger Pie with salad or buttered veggies

Sunday: Leftovers

Breakfast: Trim Healthy Pancakes (2), Cookie Bowl Oatmeal, Corned Beef  Hash and Eggs, Serene's Steamed Omega Sensations, Chia Tapioca Pudding, Fat Stripping Frappa

Lunch: Loaded Fotato Soup, Egg Wraps with Deli Chicken and Salad, Sweet Potato Lunch, Tuna Wrap, Better than Chef Salad, BLT Salad

Snacks: Choco Pudding, Lemon Mousse, Fat Stripping Frappa, Mouth Watering Meringues, Skinny Chocolate, Cheesecake Berry Crunch, Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies, Roasted Eggplant Dip

Link up your own menu plan at  (Or just find great ideas from other bloggers that share their menus.) This week is found here.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Homeschool Mother's Journal

It's been a few weeks since I've linked up with The Homeschool Mother's Journal.  We had a power outage with Blizzard Nemo and I fell behind on some things.  Glad to be back this week finally!


In my life this week…

My husband is a public school teacher and this week he was on vacation.  So, for us this wasn't a school week.  My routine has been thrown off a bit and I haven't accomplished much of anything.  I have also been consumed with learning all I can about eating the Trim Healthy Mama way.

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Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

This month the commuter train is free on Wednesdays so we drove to the train station (about 40 minutes away) and took the youngest 5 kids on the train to the city and went to the mall.  We all had a good time and for 4 of the 5 it was their first train ride.  FUN!

My favorite thing this week was…

This may sound silly, but my favorite thing this week was getting a new blade and gasket for my blender.  It's 22 years old and has been leaking from the bottom for quite some time (years).  Someone told me that I could get a new gasket and it turns out they had them right at Walmart!  It actually appears to have been a problem with the blade and not the gasket but at any rate.  I have a new bottom for my blender and I don't need to buy a new one!  Yippee!!

My kiddos favorite thing this week was…

I'm pretty sure it was the train ride...oh and ride up and down the escalators at the mall.  They love that.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

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My "baby" girl, Sadie.
Link up your own Homeschoool Mother's Journal post.

Trim Healthy Mama Giveaway

Gwen over at Gwen's Nest is giving away a Kindle copy of Trim Healthy Mama.  This is the eating plan I am now following.  I was thinking of eventually writing a review on this book (I probably still will at some point), but Gwen has written a VERY thorough review complete with a downloadable quick start guide and weight loss chart.

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Head on over and check it out!  I am loving this plan. (contest ends March 1, 2013)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Stick With It Saturday

If you haven't already seen some of my other posts then you might not know that I have decided to leave Weight Watchers and eat the Trim Healthy Mama way.  This week I got back down to my lowest weight. (95 lbs lost)  I was just glad to see that number again.  I'm enjoying learning this new way of eating.  I carry my book with me everywhere...or almost everywhere. If you're interested in what I'm eating you can read this post.

Workouts for the week:

Sunday: Rest.  First day of no exercise in a couple of weeks.  I even took a nap!

Monday:  Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred moved up to level 2 today. I was dripping sweat but it was easier than I expected.  Love this workout. (Day 11 of the 30 days)

Tuesday30 Day Shred MUCH more difficult on Day 2 of level

Wednesday: No workout.  Busy day.

Thursday30 Day Shred This was rough but not as bad as Day 2.

Friday: 30 Day Shred This workout is brutal.  :)  (4 days down 6 to go)

I visited a chiropractor for the first time ever.  I have had muscle pain in my back for months.  She was absolutely wonderful.   I have tightness in my sacroiliac joints (I had no idea that it wasn't normal for that part of my body to hurt when pressed) quads need strengthening (30 Day Shred has to be helping with that!) and my hamstrings are REALLY tight.  She gave me an amazing massage and a TENS treatment.  I go back on Tuesday for my first adjustment.  I was so apprehensive about going to my first visit and now I can't wait to go back.  I am convinced she is going to help me.  I should have gone sooner!

Today: Obstacles XRT (I haven't done this in a while.  I like it.)

Goals for the upcoming week: Eat the Trim Healthy Mama Way and exercise 5-6 times this week.

Link up your own diet/exercise post over at Sam's Noggin.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Leaving Weight Watchers

Last week I hit the cancel button on my Weight Watchers account. I  made the decision to "move on" from Weight Watchers.  Recently, I was discussing this with a friend and said that it felt like quitting and she said, moving on isn't quitting.  So, I am not quitting, but moving on to the next phase of my weight loss and  healthy living journey.  In the beginning, I was only on the weight loss journey.  As I get closer to a "normal" weight, I realize that I do not want to just be thin.  I also want to be healthy and FIT.  I thought I'd share a few of the reasons I've decided to make this change.

The first reason I have decided to move on is just the sheer cost of the program.  The monthly pass is  $42.95 a month.  While I have enjoyed the program, I can't justify spending that kind of money every month until I get to my "goal" weight.  It causes me to focus ONLY on the scale.  It doesn't matter that I workout and my body changes...all that matters is a number on the scale.  Since the first of the year I have been at a plateau.  While I realize this can happen.  I don't feel like paying $43 a month while I see no results.

In recent meetings, my leader has spoken about how exercise can "hurt" you on the scale.  She said she doesn't recommend anyone hire a personal trainer while they are trying to lose weight because it can work against you on the scale.  In the beginning, (I've heard her say this before) this did not bother me.   I lost a lot of my weight without exercising.  At this point though, I do not want to be discouraged from doing what I know is good for my body.

I have only recently begun to feel this way and it's probably because of some things I read online, but I feel like Weight Watchers is always trying to sell me something.  For instance, my last meeting was about weighing and measuring things and they had us trying out the digital scale.  It seems like a great scale, but I felt it was more a sales pitch than something designed to help me.  (I already have a digital scale anyway.)  Not only that, but most of the food that is sold in the meeting rooms is junk.  Popped snacks, "granola bars" which are nothing more than glorified candy bars, instant oatmeal and shake mixes etc.  It is all very overpriced and just not healthy or needed.  I have purchased some and even enjoyed them but it's not the kind of thing I want to be eating on a regular basis.

Before going to Weight Watchers I lost 65 lbs on my own.  Clearly I did not NEED Weight Watchers to lose weight.  However, I'd recently been feeling that I wouldn't be able to succeed without them.  This just plain is not true (I hope!)  :)

Another reason I want to stop Weight Watchers is actually one of the reasons I was attracted to it in the first place: Zero Points fruits and vegetables.  This is a big part of the program and I love both.  I was finding that I wanted to eat more fruits but really it was more than the recommended daily amount.  I asked at a meeting if I should count them at some point.  The answer was no.  So, I either needed to eat less of them or eat as many as I wanted and not count them?  It didn't make sense to me.  You are encouraged to eat all of your points.  If I had a choice between a piece of fruit or a 3 point Fiber bar (glorified candy bar). I didn't have to choose. I could eat both.  Wouldn't it be better to just eat a piece of fruit and go to bed with less points than the recommended amount than to eat both? That part of it just wasn't making sense to me.

I am not without a new plan however.  I started Trim Healthy Mama last week.  If this doesn't work I "could" always go back to Weight Watchers, but at this point I don't see that happening.

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I don't want to post this without saying that Weight Watchers was a great help to me over the last 10 months and I'm not sorry I's just time to move on.

100 Bible Verses in 2013- Week 8

It is now Week 8 of learning 100 Bible Verses in 2013 using Robert Morgan's book 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart which I am doing along with a Facebook group started by Shanna at Learning at His Feet. I usually post earlier in the week for this but I've had some other stuff going on and no time really to blog.

100 Bible Verses in 2013

I continue to enjoy this challenge!

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Scripture Memory Resources:
Still enjoying Scripture Typer online (free) and the app ($5.99)

Linking up with Ben and Me.

photo courtesy of Laura Shrek at

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Trim Healthy Mama Week One

This week I received my copy of Trim Healthy Mama in the mail.  Amazon was rather slow getting it to me but it did come a day sooner than I expected.  I thought I would blog about my progress as I go.

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Friday, Day 1 (February 15) I've only had the book for 2 days so I'm sort of winging it and trying to learn as I go. I made this an S day so I didn't have to worry about how much time between meals.

Breakfast S- Serene's Steamed Omega Sensations (so delicious)
Lunch S- Creamy Vegetable Soup with a bit of cheese
Snack S- Skinny Chocolate (I think I could get in trouble with this.  It has a bit of an aftertaste but it doesn't bother me at all.  This is SO good.)
Supper S- Fooled Ya Pizza (a cauliflower crust pizza-yum!)
Snack-  S-a piece of Skinny Chocolate and Zucchini Fritter (OK but not my fave)

Saturday -Day 2

Breakfast E-Steel Cut Oats with blueberries and 1 tsp. Truvia
Lunch E- Trim Healthy Pancakes with 0% Greek yogurt and Polaner All Fruit (Delish!)
Snack E-Crispy Roasted Garbanzos. (Yum)
Supper- E-All Day Lentil Soup (another delicious meal)
Snack-E-broiled grapefruit (surprisingly delicious)

I was so hungry when I went to bed that I felt sick.  I ended up getting up and having a Joseph's pita with a wedge of Light Laughing Cow cheese....which tasted delicious!  I highly recommend it as a snack for anyone.  It was recommended that I do a few S days in a row (this was in the book and someone gave me this advice on the Facebook group.)

Sunday-Day 3

Breakfast S- Serene's Steamed Omega Sensations
Lunch FP- Konjac noodles (also ate a piece of Skinny Chocolate while waiting for that to cook)
Snack S- 1/2 serving Lindt 85% dark chocolate
Supper- tuna in a Joseph's pocket with celery sticks

Came home from church SO hungry. We got home after 8pm.

Snack- S Joseph's crackers, cucumber and tomato salad with balsamic vinegar and EVOO
1 Easy Peasy Cinnamon Muffin and the other 1/2 serving of dark chocolate.

Again I was very hungry late at night (should have gone to bed earlier I think) so I grabbed another muffin.

Monday- Day 4

Breakfast- S-2 Easy Peasy Cinnamon muffins with a little butter
Snack- 1/2 cup Greek 0% yogurt with some blueberries, 5 almonds and Truvia
Lunch- cucumber and tomato salad with EVOO/balsamic/salt and pepper and chicken salad in 1/2 Joseph's pocket.  I put a light Laughing Cow cheese in the other half. (One square of dark chocolate.)
Supper- Hearty Red Soup (this is a ground beef, cabbage soup) YUM! and golden flat bread
Snack-small amount of skinny chocolate right after supper and a little more in the evening

Tuesday- Day 5 (back down to my lowest weight which I haven't seen since early Jan. YAY!)

Breakfast- 3/4 cup Greek yogurt with blueberries a half handful of slivered almonds and Truvia and one Easy Peasy Cinnamon muffin
Lunch- Hearty Red Soup and a piece of Golden Flat Bread (and a small piece of skinny chocolate)
Supper- Salad with dressing, parmesan cheese, some walnuts and almonds and a piece of chicken; also ate some kale chips -ended the meal with a piece of skinny chocolate
Snack-skinny chocolate and a cake in a mug

I was hungry before bed so I ate an Easy Peasy Cinnamon Muffin

Wednesday- Day 6

Breakfast- Blueberry Cottage Porridge (edible but not my favorite...but I'm not really a cottage cheese fan)
Late Morning Snack- 3 boiled eggs, baby bel cheese, 1 measured serving of almonds
Late Lunch- All Day Lentil Soup
Snack- Choco Pudding
Late Evening Meal- Hearty Red Soup (I love this soup) and I had some skinny chocolate and a little more pudding

Thursday- Day 7

Breakfast- Cookie Bowl Oatmeal
Lunch- Hearty Red Soup and a piece of Golden Flat Bread
Snack- Choco pudding (small bowl) and a few nuts
Supper- Caesar salad with grilled chicken
Snack- Cake in a mug and small piece of dark chocolate

So here I am at the end of my first week and I've learned SO much.  I LOVE this book and almost every recipe has been delicious.  I haven't lost any new weight yet, but I feel like this plan is very freeing.  I hope to blog more on this in the very near future.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Goal Planning Monday

Here is this week's Goal Planning Monday post at Mama Manuscripts. An update on how I did with last week's goals and new ones for this week.

How I did last week:

1. Write in my Journible every day and review my scripture memory verses each day. (Did this!  I love my Journible.)

2. Exercise at least 5 days this week. (Yes- 7 days!)

3. Spend 15 minutes decluttering my closet each day. (Ummm nope)

4. Start the taxes. (nope)

5. Read out loud to the kids. (a little)

6. Finish 3 reviews and post by the weekend. (I posted the reviews that were due.)

7. Work on my Flylady Zones 2 & 3. (unfortunately no)

Goals for this week:

My goals are small for this week.  My husband is on vacation this week so I don't expect I'll get too much accomplished AND I've just started a new diet and I'm learning the ropes on that and trying some new recipes.

1. Write in my Journible every day and review my scripture memory verses each day.

2. Exercise at least 5 days this week.

3. Try to do some cleaning in the closet and maybe in the kitchen.  I have some cupboards that need some cleaning out.

4. Taxes....oh how I need to get these done but don't want to.

5. Finish some blog posts.

I think that is all I will attempt this week.

Flowering Baby Pre-school Curriculum

Flowering Baby, LLC is a delightful preschool curriculum in five levels for ages birth through five year olds.  Though I received all five levels of Flowering Baby, we focused on the Three to Four year old curriculum and some of the Four to Five year old curriculum.


Flowering Baby Curriculum was written by Martha Saunders and her mother, Carolyn Schulte.   Carolyn was a Kindergarten teacher for over 30 years and has spent the last 12 years doing therapy with children birth to age 3.  The original curriculum was written for Martha's then three year old son. It has since grown into this full preschool curriculum .What they have come up with is a detailed day-by-day curriculum to use with children from birth to age 5.  It is easy to use, a lot of fun and beneficial for the child.


What I love most about this curriculum is that it is so flexible. I liked to look at the week and see what we should be doing and then try to check off each thing during the week (not necessarily on the suggested day, but when it fit into our schedule). I could set some time aside to do all of the activities or just try to hit on them throughout the day (which is more likely to happen here!)

I also love that everything is planned out right down to what books to read, fun activities to do, music to listen to etc. I am a sucker for book lists and the book lists in Flowering Baby are excellent, as are the music selections.

In the 3 to 4 year old program (and the 4 to 5 year old program) there are 2 guides.  One is the monthly curriculum guide and the other is a theme guide.  The monthly guide has 115 pages and has an introduction, suggested websites, a list of books to be read throughout the year, a CD list as well as a supply list.  It is broken down month by month with daily activities.  Each month also has a supply list for that month and a breakdown of the books to be used for that month by category, music for the month and a list of holidays for that month.

Next you will find a list of daily activities to complete with your child. There are between 10 and 13 days of activities for each month (more activities are in the theme guide so there is plenty to do each month).  You can see an entire month of this curriculum at Flowering Baby.(scroll to the bottom)  Here is a small sample from one day:

Day 6:
ABC’s: Using a book your child knows well read it again today. Skip a page or leave out something important. Does he notice? Does he know what was missing?
Math: Select two objects that are similar in at least one respect but different in another. Example: an orange and a basketball are both round and orange but not the same size and used for different purposes. Discuss with your child what is similar and what is different about the objects. Then select two different objects and have your child explain the similarities and differences to you.
Discrimination: Gather a variety of objects from around the house. Ask your child to identify them based on appearance, color, shape, or physical characteristics. Some examples are: apple, ball, stuffed animal, shoe, book and plate.
Physical: Today’s physical activity is fun – it is all about laughing. Laughter is so wonderful for our emotional state, relaxes us and increases learning function. Sometimes in life we get so focused, so busy, we forget to just be silly. Today is about being silly. Make funny faces, tell jokes, play fun games or sports that you enjoy (we like balloon ball where we hit a balloon around the house), look at funny pictures. Use your imagination and laugh today.
Social: Discuss emotions and the value of feelings today. I discuss a variety of emotions (happy, sad, angry, and surprised) and give examples of each. Children learn better when there are emotions attached to what they are learning.
Self help: Let your child dress himself today and observe if he knows to get the proper items of clothing (underwear, pants, shirt, etc) and if he can dress himself correctly (shirt facing forward, socks on correctly).
Composer of the month: Mozart. Listen to music composed by Mozart, don’t expect your child to sit and listen to this, just play it in the background while he plays or while you are in the car.

The monthly guide also includes several appendices.  One is a worksheet of questions for naming things, another has recipes for playdough, another is for Learning Through Stories which gives questions and an activity for 15 different popular children's books. (wonderful!)

The second part of the curriculum is the Theme Curriculum Guide.  You are encouraged to do two of these per month.  Themes include each season, musical instruments, dinosaurs, aquarium and arctic life and many more.  Each theme guide has approximately 6 days of activities.  There is a suggested schedule of themes to use for each month but you can choose the ones you want to do in any order.

This is a short sample from the Rocks and Minerals theme guide:

Day 1:

Read a book on rocks and minerals.

Go rock hunting. Take a walk and collect rocks of different types, shapes, sizes, colors. Then wash them off and compare each. You can use a magnifying glass to get a better look. Save the rocks for tomorrow. Discuss the characteristics of each.

Day 2:

Read a book on rocks and minerals.

Using the rocks you collected yesterday, ask your child which is his favorite. Then try to determine what type of rock it is. Draw a picture of your favorite rock. Remind your child to notice the slight differences of color and line in the rocks.

Day 3:

Read a book on rocks and minerals.

Research and determine a few different types of rock that are common where you live. Try and determine if you have found any when you went rock hunting or find a picture in a book or on-line. Tell your child a few characteristics and the name of at least two of the common rocks.

Day 4:

Read a book on rocks and minerals.

Using the rocks you found and some tools have fun breaking them up to see if they look different inside. This can be messy so you might want to do this task outside on the sidewalk. Wear goggles to protect your eyes and depending on the type of rock this is likely a job for the adult.

Here are a few of the things we really enjoyed:
 A trip to our local aquarium as part of the Aquarium and Arctic life theme:

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Making a Healthy Foods collage (the kids absolutely loved this...I never think to do things like this.)

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Decorating a star fish with fruit loop cereal. (another activity they loved)

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There are so many more things we have enjoyed doing from counting Cheerios, to making a triangle on the floor with tape to walk on, reading LOADS of books, listening to a wide variety of music styles and on and on.  We are really enjoying Flowering Baby and I would highly recommend it.  It is available as a pdf or on CD.  I would prefer a physical copy.  If you are like me you will want to spend the time and money to print the guide out and bind it.  If you like just working from your computer screen then you don't need to worry about it!

The Four to Five year old program is extremely similar to the Three to Four curriculum and can easily be used simultaneously.  The books are often the same though more books are listed for the Four Year Olds, the some of the activities are also more advanced.

You can view a full month of each level by scrolling down on each of the following pages:
Birth to One
One to Two
Two to Three
Three to Four
Four to Five

Here is some basic information about the other levels that I received, but did not use for the purpose of this review.

Birth to One is 87 pages and includes an introduction with book and music suggestions.  It is then broken down by what to do for each age.  There are 27 days of activities for birth to one month, 65 days of activities for ages one to three months, 64 for ages three to 6 months etc. up to twelve months.  The 2 page appendix includes words to rhymes and songs to sing with your baby.  Visit the Birth to One page for more details and samples.

One to Two has 99 pages and includes an introduction, supply list, book list and CD list of what is needed for the year.  Then each month provides 20-25 days of activities to do with your child. The appendix for this level contains rhymes and songs and a couple of playdough recipes.

Here is a sample from the 17 month old section:

Day 6: 
Certain aromas build brain power. Today have fun with some spices. Make herbal tea (cinnamon, peppermint, chamomile or similar) and then drink and enjoy. Just make sure the tea is not too hot. 
Listen to “Beethoven” today, for at least fifteen minutes. 
Day 7:
It seems laundry is a never ending household chore. So, get your child to help. At this age there is not really much he can actually help do, but he sure will feel proud that he “helped” out. I would dump the clean load of whites on the bed and have him sort them into like piles. Ask him to put the socks in one pile, the underwear in another and the t-shirts into a third pile. 
Recite “Baa, Baa Black Sheep”. 
Read Runaway Bunny
Day 8:
Learn more about water and the different forms it can take. Always be extra careful with your child when water is involved and monitor him carefully. Pour some cold water into one bowl. Pour warm, not hot, water into another bowl. Put ice cubes into a third bowl. Put crushed ice into a fourth bowl. Let your child feel and play in each bowl. Talk about what he is feeling and the differences he might notice. 
Play “Wee Sing” CD today. Enjoy and sing along.
Two to Three has 159 pages and includes an introduction, supply list, book list and music list that is needed.  Each month also breaks down exactly what you need for each month.
By the time your child reaches three he will have learned at least eight shapes, ten colors, the alphabet, counting to ten in English and Spanish, heard dozens of books, completed science projects and several fun physical activities, enjoyed a wide variety of music and understand about the community helpers in your town.   --from the website 
Each month has 20 days of activities.  Here is a sample of a day for a 31 month old.
Day 17:
Language: Sing the ABC song. Roll out and form Play-doh into letter ‘Y’. 
Math concepts: Count backwards from 10 - 0. 
Song of the day: Yankee Doodle. 
Story of the day: Gingerbread Baby. 
Science project: Clouds are important to our environment. Clouds are made up of millions of tiny droplets of water and they come in all shapes and sizes which produce different kinds of weather. Go outside today and observe clouds. Ask your child to describe the clouds he sees, if you are lucky and the cumulus (big white fluffy) clouds then you can try to find something in the clouds. You might use your imagination and think the cloud looks like a bird, or a fish, or even an ice cream sundae! If you wish you can take along construction paper and crayons and have your child color a picture of what he sees. Or, if the weather does not permit you can use cotton balls and blue construction paper and have him glue on clouds. He can glue them on full and puffy or stretch the cotton ball out to represent (cirrus) long wispy clouds. 
Other: Have your child work on squeezing today; this will improve his gross motor control. You can use kitchen tongs for this activity. Gather various items of different sizes, shapes and weights for him to practice picking up with the tongs and moving into a bowl or box. For added difficulty you might work on fine motor skills and have him use tweezers and pick up small things such as beans, cereal or small toys.

Purchase any of the 5 levels of Flowering Baby individually:

Birth to One $30.00
One to Two $30.00
Two to Three $30.00
Three to Four $38.00
Four to Five $38.00

or you can purchase the entire five year Flowering Baby curriculum for $132.00.

Get a 10% discount on any order by using code Blog10 upon checkout.

See what others are saying about Flowering Baby, LLC on The Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.


disclaimer: I received all five levels of Flowering Baby, LLC in pdf format in exchange for an honest review

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Stick With It Saturday

Workouts for the week:

Sunday: Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred and Leslie Sansone's 5 Really Big Miles

(I ate more junk that I should have and wanted a nice long workout to compensate for some of it.  When I first started losing weight some of the moves on the Leslie Sansone workouts were not even possible for me.  I can do this workout with ease now.  It is an encouragement to see how far I’ve come and a challenge to take it even further.)

Monday30 Day Shred (Day 6)

Tuesday:  25 minutes running/walking at 30 second intervals and Jillian Michael's Kickbox Fast Fix       (upper body workout )

Wednesday30 Day Shred (Day 7)

Thursday:  30 Day Shred (Day 8)

Friday:  30 Day Shred (Day 9)  (Started Trim Healthy Mama today.)

Today: 30 Day Shred (Day 10)...moving up to level 2 next week..I hope I can do it.

Goals for the upcoming week: Eat the Trim Healthy Mama Way and exercise 4-5 times next week. (I actually want to do 6 days but my husband will be home all week so my routine will be a bit different.) I hinted at some changes I thought I might be making and this week I decided for sure to leave Weight Watchers and start Trim Healthy Mama.  I hope it will jumpstart my weight loss.  It wasn't an easy decision but hopefully it's the right one.  I am working on a blog post about why I made this decision.

Link up your own diet/exercise post over at Sam's Noggin.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe

Desperate: Hope for the Mom that Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson is one of the best mothering books I've ever read.  It is the ideal book for new mothers and seasoned mothers alike. Each chapter begins with a letter from Sarah to Sally followed by Sally's reply. Then the authors take turns writing about each topic from their different perspectives.   Sarah is a mom with young children while Sally's children are already grown.

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At the end of each chapter, Bible study and journaling questions help you to evaluate yourself. Every chapter also has a QR code and website address to a short video with the authors that correspond to each lesson. The book ends with a wonderful Q & A by Sally.

The book has 14 chapters and 221 pages (print version). The chapters are divided into three sections: 1) The Dream Life...Altered 2) Getting Real About Mama-Hood and 3)The Redeeming. It's just the right length for busy moms. Chapters are meaty, but short enough to read in one sitting.

A favorite quote of mine is from Sally Clarkson:
 "I believe there is no 'one right way.' God calls each of us to seek Him, to look for His wisdom and to follow where He calls us by faith, and it will be a different story for each family, marriage, and individual mom or day." 
We need to look to the Bible and to God for our direction and not to the many voices telling us what to do.  I struggle with perfectionism so I really liked what Sally has to say about this as well, 
"Living by performance always kills our souls because none of us are perfect mothers, and we will fail in some areas, so we need to live by God's approval and mercy to feel His grace."

One thing I really loved for more experienced moms was a call to help the younger moms as is Biblical.  It is a reminder to younger moms to not forget what it was like to be a mom with young children and for those of us who are older to lend a hand to them.  

I found this book to be encouraging and uplifting, yet challenging at the same time.  Many parenting books leave you feeling guilty and overwhelmed. Desperate does the opposite.  Both authors are transparent and offer hope and encouragement.This is a must read for all Christian homeschooling moms.  Don’t miss it. (I've already started re-reading it.)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Read Aloud Challenge

Well thanks to Blizzard Nemo this week was not a total loss like the last one was.  This week, I not only read some great picture books to the younger children we also read parts of several other books.

In the late fall, I started reading At the Back of the North Wind.  We are about 80% of the way through this book.  I don’t love it but I am determined to finish it. We read some of this even before the storm and we’ve continued a little at a time.

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On the day the storm started, my daughter Emma received a belated birthday present from her oldest sister Rebecca.  She sent her the entire set of Little House books.  So I started reading the first book as well. (Becca took all of the ones we had (they were hers) when she moved to NY so it’s great to have a new set for the younger kids to enjoy.)

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We also started reading The Princess Bride but since I hadn’t read it before I wasn’t really comfortable with where the storyline was going so I stopped reading it out loud.  I am going to try to read it myself though to see what I think.

We also read a bunch of picture books...mainly snowy ones. :)

Want some reading inspiration?  Visit Footprints in the Butter for this week's challenge to see what others are reading.

Chocolate Swirl Banana Bars (or cake)

I've had this recipe for many years.  I believe it was from a Taste of Home magazine.  My kids LOVE this recipe.  I've been buying extra bananas just so I can have some extra, ripe ones to make this for them.

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1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups mashed banana (about 3 medium)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking power
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cocoa

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla.  Beat until thoroughly combined.  Blend in the bananas.  Combine dry ingredients (except the cocoa).  Add dry ingredients and mix well.  Divide batter in 1/2.  Add cocoa to 1/2.  Spread Cocoa layer on the bottom of a well greased 9 x 13 pan then spread the banana layer on top.  Swirl with a knife.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until bars test done.

(I prefer to make this in a Demarle silicone Bundt pan.  I place the plain layer on the bottom followed by the chocolate layer on top. I don’t swirl it. When it comes out of the pan the chocolate ends up on the bottom.)  Either way it will be delicious!

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I’m linking up with Try a New Recipe Tuesday. If you like to try new recipes you might want to check it out and find something new to try or share one of your own!

100 Bible Verses in 2013-Week 7

It is now Week 7 of learning 100 Bible Verses in 2013 using Robert Morgan's book 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart which I am doing along with a Facebook group started by Shanna at Learning at His Feet.

100 Bible Verses in 2013

This week was a real struggle...but one with good success.  It took some practice but I was able to memorize Joshua 1:8.  I still need to keep reviewing it so that it will "stick".

Last week I mentioned using Scripture Typer online (free) and I'm really enjoying it.  I also purchased the app for my iPod touch. ($5.99 and worth every penny) 

The verses this week are Deuteronomy 6:6-7.

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Other scripture memory resources:

Linking up with Ben and Me.

photo courtesy of Laura Shrek at

Monday, February 11, 2013

Menu Plan Monday


Monday: Homemade sourdough rolls and leftovers

Tuesday: Turkey meatloaf, mashed potatoes, vegetable

Wednesday: Chicken (pan-seared or grilled), noodles and corn

Thursday: Spaghetti and bread

Friday: BBQ pork chops, baked potatoes, broccoli

Saturday: Corn chowder and rolls

Sunday: leftovers

Link up your own menu plan at  (Or just find great ideas from other bloggers that share their menus.) This week is found here.

Apologia Anatomy and Physiology

You know you've found a good curriculum when your child asks "Can we do science now, Mom?" and also asks to bring their book to bed with them. For the last 6 weeks, we have been using Apologia's Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology. This is a 3-part review since we received the textbooknotebooking journal, and the MP3 audio CD.


In our many years of homeschooling, we have used several of the Young Explorer Series of books by Jeannie Fulbright.  I think this is my absolute favorite.  (Probably because I am more interested in anatomy and physiology than in plants and animals, but that is just me.)

The textbook is a beautifully bound, hardback book with 265 high quality colorful pages. Though all of the books in this series are appropriate for kids aged 6-13, this book is recommended for grades 4-6. However, I really think this would be suitable for junior high as well. The book is divided into 14 lessons that take about 2 weeks each to complete.  There are so many activities, projects, experiments to do that you could easily stretch this out if you wanted to.

In the front of the book, you will find a 3-page supply list that is handy for planning your lessons. So far we have been able to easily obtain supplies we needed either from our home or in local stores. You can read more about how to use this book and see the lab list here.

We have been using this book several days a week by reading the book and doing the activities as we go.  I haven't really had to spend any time preparing (other than to be sure we have the supplies we need.)  It has been so easy to just open the book and go. It makes life easy when the curriculum is easy to plan for.

In the first chapter on cells we had fun making an edible cell.  Even though Emma is the one using this book the kids ALL enjoyed this one since it was jello and candy!

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Another experiment involved putting slices of apples in cups with a variety of different substances.  It was interesting to see which ones preserved the best as we learned about embalming.

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Try This! activities are sprinkled throughout the chapters.  They are often quick demonstrations or activities such as checking reflexes or figuring out how much your muscles weigh.  Experiments that require more time are also included.  You can choose to do some of the activities or do all of them.

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This series of books uses notebooking (with or without the companion notebooking journal) and narration.  They are also written from a Christian, young earth, Creationist point of view which we thoroughly appreciate.

The book also comes with a password to access a course website that is loaded with links for every chapter. It also includes blank notebook pages and a field trip website.


Prior to this review, I wouldn't have considered buying the notebooking journal. It seemed expensive and I would have figured I could just do my own notebooking pages.  However, I cannot say enough about how much I love the Notebooking Journal   I believe it is worth every penny.  This is a spiral bound book that is just packed with all kinds of notebooking pages, crossword puzzles, copy work and more.  Here are a few sample pages:

There are pages for students to draw and write fascinating facts for each chapter.

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Questions for each chapter:
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Scripture copywork pages in both manuscript and cursive.
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Mini-books to be made are at the back of the journal and can be glued into the proper chapters as they are completed.
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This next one is my favorite.  Students make a personal person.  There are 3 skin tones to choose from.  First cut out the body and print a picture of your student's head to glue to the body.  Then there are overlays of all of the systems to place on the person.  I set the skeletal system to the side so you could see that it is separate.  I LOVE this!

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The MP3 Audio CD is a very handy tool. Sometimes I don't have enough time to read lessons to everyone, sometimes it is nice to have someone else do the reading, sometimes it is nice to let the kids listen to their lessons as they fall asleep (nice review!). These are all ways you could use this MP3 CD. The author, Jeannie Fulbright reads the book. She is very pleasant to listen to and we have enjoyed using this. I really haven't even been reading the book to Emma. She likes using the CD. It pops up on my computer screen like an ipod and every section of the book has its own track which is SO nice. (One thing to note is that the recording is slightly different from the book but we haven't had any issues with this at all. So far the differences seem to mostly be in the first chapter.)

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A clip of the player on my
 computer screen

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A clip of the player showing the multitude
of places you can access in the chapters.
Very convenient!

There are samples from the textbook, notebooking journal and the mp3 CD on the website.

Purchase Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology
Textbook  $39.00
Regular Notebooking Journal  $24.00
MP3 Audio CD  $29.00

A Junior Notebooking Journal for children not yet writing well is also available for $24.00. (Some crew members are reviewing these as well so be sure to check out the other reviews if you are interested.  I know I am!)

Here in our house, we love Apologia.  If you are not familiar with the company I suggest you head over there and see all they have to offer from elementary science to junior and senior high science, Biblical worldview curriculum,  online classes are much more!


See what others are saying about Apologia's Elementary Science on The Schoolhouse Review Crew blog. In addition to the book I reviewed, Zoology 1, 2 and 3 are also being reviewed.  Check them out!


disclaimer: I received Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology textbook, notebooking journal and mp3 CD in exchange for an honest review
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