Monday, November 13, 2017

November 13-19 Meal Plan Monday


I have been meal planning for awhile now, so I thought why not share it here! It really saves my family money to have our meals completely planned out for at least two weeks. I am trying very hard to get it to once a month, even if I still do my grocery shopping every two weeks. I will be honest, meal planning is not my favorite chore to do. I get burnt out on trying to find different recipes to keep my people happy. I figure if I can meal plan for the entire month, then all I have to do is go shopping when it comes time. Much more efficient use of my time if you ask me!

I don't use any special planners for this except a sheet of paper, and a blank printable calendar. My calendar is used for notes I may need for other meals, and sometimes looks messy because I erase and move meals around. The first thing I do is write the meals in on the calendar. I will then take a sheet of paper and write down each meal's ingredients. That way when I make my grocery list, I won't forget anything. It may take a bit longer, but I normally have all of the ingredients I need. It also makes me check my pantry and refrigerator for staple ingredients.

Here's a peek at my crazy calendar!


So, here's this week's meal plan. If there is a recipe that I use on Pinterest or elsewhere, I will add the link for it.

Sunday ~ Fried Rice and Eggrolls
Monday ~ Spaghetti with home made sauce and gluten free noodles, fresh baked Italian bread (I make it earlier in the day), and salad
Tuesday ~ Black Beans and Yellow Rice (I do not use the peas) served with salsa
Wednesday ~ Whole roasted chicken with brussel sprouts and baked potatoes
Thursday ~ Orzo pasta with spinach and parmesan cheese It's very unusual for us to have pasta twice in a week, but this recipe looked so yummy, I decided to add it anyway! Also, this is not EoE friendly, but we have other meals in place for Gav that he loves if this happens. It's not often, but sometimes it does.
Friday ~ Chicken Paprikash over rice
Saturday ~ Sloppy Joes with potato salad (I make the buns myself earlier in the day, and Gav eats it on his home made gluten free bread)

With next week being Thanksgiving, I will probably post my Thanksgiving menu separately from our weekly menu.

Ya'll have a great week!

Tasha

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Thinking Like an Engineer from Innovators Tribe ~ A Homeschool Crew Review


One reason I love being on the Review Crew is because I learn about different vendors and products that I have never heard of before. It's even better when they turn out to be a favorite of the kids. We have had a lot of fun with this review of Thinking Like an Engineer from Innovators Tribe.

Finding curriculum that has something to do with my children's interests can sometimes be challenging. Awhile back Gavin had made the comment that engineering and architecture interested him. I knew when I saw this review come up that he would be totally excited for it.

Thinking Like an Engineer is a hands on interactive program taught by Mr. Kroeplin aka Mr. K. Your child will be taken on a learning adventure that includes so much more than just basic information about becoming an engineer. They are presented with self paced lessons, hands on activities, design challenges, and so much more. They get to dive into their creativity and really put their problem solving skills to good use.

This course is designed for grades 6 - 12 and is geared for both girls and boys! I love that because it's definitely a great fit for either. We have currently been only using it for Gavin, but I think when he's done, we are going to let Edyn use it for at least a partial credit in high school.



Thinking Like an Engineer is divided in to six units. They include:

  • Introduction to Engineering ~ In this unit they will learn exactly what engineering is, and they will start to use their problem solving skills in the hands on challenges.
  • Introduction to 3D Design (tools for modern design) ~ this is Gavin's favorite part so far. Your student will be introduced to the engineering design software and will participate in activities and challenges using it. 
  • Engineering Rollercoasters ~ This is another one that Gav is super excited about. Your child will learn about the importance of the design of a rollercoaster, the construction of one, and even how to become a rollercoaster engineer. There are plenty of hands on activities too.
  • Engineering Bridges ~ I personally find this one interesting. Lessons will include discovering different types of bridges and more 3D design work.
  • Nano Engineering ~ Here is all about the engineering the small things. It's a shorter unit but still looks like a lot of interesting and fun lessons!
  • Thinking Like an Engineer (course conclusion) ~ Just a short closing of the entire course.
The course is a combination of videos, text like a Power Point slide show, and plenty of hands on activites/challenges. The videos are interesting and completely engaging for your student. 


Gavin loved working on the challenges. The items you will need are very easy to find, and you will most likely already have it on hand at home. For example, the first challenge that he worked on only needed paper and tape. Easy simple items! I wish I could say that I had all of the pictures from this night, but something happened to my camera and I lost most of them. Gav and his dad work on the challenges together. They REALLY enjoy this type of thing, so I let them take over. The first challenge was a tower challenge. They watched a short video and discussed the tallest tower in the world, the Burj Khalifa. Their design challenge was to build a tower of their own using only 4 sheets of paper and 1 foot of masking tape. The hard part was that they had to make the tower at least 5 feet tall, it had to stand on its own for 10 seconds, and it was to be done in an hour. 





 Their first attempt at cutting it into strips was a close shot, but it failed. It only stood for about 3 seconds at a time. They did some revamping of their idea and finally got a finished product that worked. I sure wish I had the pictures to show you! Anyway, the time and effort they put into it was a lot of fun. It really made Gav dive deeper into the thought process of how to make something work, and if it doesn't work the first time, then keep trying until it does!

This program went above and beyond what I thought it could be. Gav is having a blast using it, but the important thing is he's learning some really cool stuff! This is the type of program that can give your child a taste of something they might want to make a career out of. If you're wanting something fun and different to add to your homeschool, go check out Thinking Like an Engineer OR Thinking Like an Architect from Innovators Tribe. It's well worth it!


If you would like to read other reviews about Thinking Like an Engineer or reviews over Thinking Like an Architect just click the banner below.

Thinking Like an Architect or Engineer {Innovators Tribe Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Knowing when enough is enough

Sometimes you have to take a step back from something in your life and say enough is enough. Whether it's a temporary thing or a forever thing, sometimes you have to take control and just step away.

Unfortunately I have suffered from extreme anxiety and horrid panic attacks for a long time. About 16 years ago, it actually became debilitating for me, and even caused me to become agoraphobic. In case you aren't familiar with that, it means that I didn't want to leave my house. I would have severe panic attacks when I left my house. It was a very rough time in my life for a good two years. After suffering through and barely living life for that long, I just up and decided one day that I had had enough. I made the decision that I wasn't going to live that way anymore, and started making strides to get myself out of the depths and despair of depression. I basically said, "Here ya go Jesus. I'm done trying to do it myself." It's amazing what can happen when you let Him back into your life after you've pushed him away for so long. I still fought the battle, but I wasn't doing it alone. 

Fast forward to now. I am a completely different person than I was 16 years ago, but I still struggle with anxiety. It's not a fun thing to live with every single day, but it is what it is. I have just learned to deal with it rather than let it take over my life like I did years ago. I obviously couldn't do it alone without Jesus and my family. Over the years, I have learned what my "triggers" to anxiety are. Some are pretty strange such as bright and white light places like Walmart, but mainly hospitals. I don't like to be around a lot of people because it will set me off. I need my personal space, and to be able to breathe, so I avoid these situations like the plague!

Lately we have had a lot of sad and crazy things going on in our world. My anxiety has been so bad that I can feel myself getting depressed, and I don't want to go back there. I kept telling my husband that I feel overwhelmed with life. Everything is just a weight on my shoulders and I can't get rid of it. No matter what I do, I feel like I am going to hyperventilate. It's awful for someone like me who deals with anxiety.

Listening to the constant bad news of the world was getting to me. I'm on social media like most of the world, and all forms of it! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, I use them all, some more than others. Facebook was my number one go to. I woke up in the morning and got on Facebook and scrolled and scrolled for sometimes an hour. I would inadvertently pick up my phone while waiting on the kids to do their school work, or sometimes just while I was watching T.V. I was reading things I didn't care about and things that were giving me obvious sadness or anxiety. I couldn't get on Facebook without seeing something awful. I can tell you that 90% of what I was reading from other people was either sad, scary, pure anger, or just plain depressing. Two months ago, I watched so many friends and family lose all they had in Hurricane Harvey. It was awful knowing the heartache they faced after that storm. I followed and looked at pictures day after day. People losing all they had but pulling together to rebuild.

If Facebook was making me less than happy, just as those other triggers, then why don't I avoid it in the same way? I have come to realize that not only am I inundating myself with all of this sadness from Facebook friends, but I follow every news source that has ever been. I literally couldn't get away from all of the bad things going on in the world. For some people it's just another day, but for people like me who suffer from anxiety, it's hell.

Sunday morning right down the road from me was the worst mass shooting ever in history in our very large state of Texas. It shook me to my core when I heard about it, just as Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, 9/11 and most other tragedies have. It was all over the news, and because it was in my backyard, it was being talked about among my neighbors and in my local groups. It was devastating, and it was very real this time being so close to home. Monday when I got up, I started reading stories, because I'm going to be honest, I'm not going to just pass them up like I should. People like me should not be reading an every second account of what happened. It makes me physically ill. While I should be down on my knees praying for these people, I'm too caught up in how it's making "me" feel and that's just selfish and wrong. I need to step away from the news and reading what happened, and focus on flooding heaven with prayers for the families that have had to endure this tragedy. I can't do that while I'm inundating myself with sad news stories because of how it effects ME. I had to make the decision to stop making it about me and step away.

I'm mainly talking about Facebook because it's the one that is not good for me, at least right now. I don't get anxiety from Instagram or Snapchat. I never feel overwhelmed on either one of those platforms. Stepping away from Facebook is freeing to me. I can concentrate on what's important. I don't have to live with my head in the sand, but I can also make the decision to take myself out of a situation that is hindering me from living my best life.

Sometimes you don't even realize what you're doing to yourself. While Facebook has become a constant in most people's lives, it doesn't mean it's always a good thing for everyone. For some of you, this makes no sense because it doesn't convict you like it does me. Right now, I feel that God is leading me away from Facebook, whether temporary or forever, because it is not edifying to my spirit. It is not giving me peace in my heart so it has to go.

So sometimes, you have to step away from the things of the world that are breaking you down. You have to be obedient to what God is doing in your life, and if it means getting rid of something that is as easy as Facebook, then why wouldn't you want to? It's almost embarrassing that I would continue to let something like Facebook knowingly continue to depress me! Hello!! lol

I'm not sure whether it's temporary or forever. I just know that right now, I need to focus on so much more than what's going on in Facebook land. Like my best friend says, please bring back 1983! I agree with that so much! There is no privacy anymore, at least not like it was back in the good old days of a time before social media lol!

If you are battling with something that is not edifying to you, or is bringing you down, I encourage you to take a step back and look at it carefully. Is it worth your time and effort, or do you need to say enough is enough?

Love and Blessings,
Tasha




Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Thin Stix Creativity Pack by The Pencil Grip, Inc. ~ A Homeschool Crew Review


I always get excited to be able to review any kind of art products, but these are some of my favorites. This time around, we were able to review the Thin Stix Creativity Pack by The Pencil Grip, Inc. and we love them! We have reviewed these a couple of times before, and they never get old!



What did we receive?

Like I said before, this time around we got whats called the Creativity Pack which is 24 of the Thin Stix! It has all of the colors including:

  • 12 Assorted Colors 
  • 6 Neon Colors
  • 6 Metalix Colors
What are Thin Stix?

If I were to describe Thin Stix to someone I would say it's a combination of a marker, a twistable crayon, and tempura paint. They are some of the neatest art tools that I have ever seen. They actually are a tempura paint, but there is NO water needed, AND they dry in 90 seconds! An art tool that is mess free? That's almost unheard of! 

Another thing that I love about using Thin Stix is that you can use them on almost anything! We have used them on canvas, wood, paper, card stock, and even aluminum foil! You can see that review and project here

How did we use them this time around?

Well with it being fall I really wanted to do something with pumpkins. I actually thought of buying pumpkins and letting the kids decorate them with their Thin Stix, and it would have worked beautifully, but at the end of the day I know my kids. They would have "painted" or Thin Stixed that pumpkin until there was no Thin Stix left lol! I decided that we better just stick to some good old card stock.

So we grabbed some card stock and our Thin Stix and went to town! I decided that we would have a quick lesson on gradient, so that's how I had them color their pumpkins.

First I had them draw a pumpkin using a pencil. I told them it could be tall and skinny, short and fat, or somewhere in between it didn't matter. 

Next they started coloring them in. They used yellow for the top, and then transitioned to orange, and then finally red. 




After they finished coloring in the pumpkin, they drew curved lines so that it took on a 3D effect.


I let them color the sky and grass however they wanted. 



This was their final pictures!

This was a super quick and easy project that they loved doing. As you can see from their pictures, Thin Stix do not lack in color at all! They are so vibrant and will make any project pop. Doing a project like this with Thin Stix works well because you have to kind of layer the colors. The fact that they dry in 90 seconds makes it extremely easy. They dry completely too! 

I have read that you can even add a little water to them after you color/paint with them, and it will give you a water color effect! We will be trying that very soon!

I highly recommend the Thin Stix Creativity Pack by The Pencil Grip, Inc. for not only homeschool activities, but they would also be great in schools, daycares, churches, or anywhere you want to have mess free art! With Christmas coming up, they would also make wonderful and affordable gifts. The ideas with them are limitless!


Be sure to follow along on Social Media!


If you would like to read other reviews, just click the banner below.

Thin Stix Creativity Pack {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}


Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

No AC/Rhett and Link/Austin

October has been a crazy month. It honestly feels like it's been a full year, a full 365 days, since October started. On the evening of October 5 our air conditioner went out. That's a problem in Texas because it's still hot here in the beginning of October. We have one of those wonderful home warranties. They did the job, but the customer service was very poor and it took a solid three weeks to be able to get our AC repaired. Three weeks of everyone living downstairs, including two dogs and a hamster, with two tiny window units.

During our time of no AC, we took the kids to see their favorite YouTube stars, Rhett and Link, in Austin. It was a wonderful day, but it was very long. We waited in line to get in for four hours, and it was hot. It was well worth it because we ended up on the third row. The kids were excited and the smiled spread from ear to ear the entire time.

Here's some pics from our day.



















Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Sex by Design from Abby Ludvigson ~ A Homeschool Crew Review



If there is one subject that can be stressful to discuss as parents with our children, it's sex. Add in the fact that we are trying to teach them to lead a lifestyle that involves purity, and it becomes more than just a talk about the "birds and the bees." We have had the chance to review a home study course that helps you tackle this sensitive subject called Sex by Design written and taught by Abby Ludvigson.

We have a very open floor when it comes to talking about sex with our teenage children. I have always said that I want them to feel comfortable in coming to us with any questions that they might have. Teaching them to wait for marriage and backing it with Biblical support is something that a lot of parent's are faced with. Right now we have a 16 year old daughter who is just starting to date so this topic has been at the forefront of a lot of conversations lately. Abby Ludvigson helps parents approach this subject because she not only teaches about it, she has lived a life of purity herself.

Who is Abby Ludvigson? Abby is an urban missionary who had a strong desire to understand the issues youth are faced with today. She is also very passionate about living out the life of purity for herself, and to be a role model for today's youth. She understands what it's like to wait for your true love and the trials that come with that. Abby decided to design a curriculum to support and encourage parents of teens to help them along with this important topic.

I know as a parent that this can be a sensitive topic. Every day our children are exposed to sex. It's on TV, all over the Internet, in books, and certainly talked about in their schools. As parents, we want to make sure our children are prepared for this as they come into their teen years. We want them to have a plan before they are put into situations that require them to make what we call adult decisions. With Abby's help, we can put a plan in place, and hopefully arm them with knowledge to help them focus on purity and feel prepared.


Sex by Design is made up of multiple components, but the three main parts are the video series, the Parent Edition, and Teen edition books. Abby is very open with parents about what is being taught, and that she isn't trying to replace them, but support them. She gives parents a video to watch beforehand and tells you that the first thing you should do is watch her videos and get a feel for what the program is about.

The curriculum is broken down into seven segments or topics.

  • Segment 1 ~ Plan Ahead: Living Pure in a Sex Saturated Culture
  • Segment 2 ~ Counting the Cost: Every Decision has a Price Tag
  • Segment 3 ~ Dating: Doing Relationships God's Way
  • Segment 4 ~ Sex: God's Purpose and Plan
  • Segment 5 ~ Modesty: God Cares What I Wear
  • Segment 6 ~ Pornography: Its Deception and & Steps to Get Out or Stay Out
  • Segment 7 ~ Secondary Virginity: Running Back to God
Some of these topics may seem a little intimidating, but honestly Abby is very sensitive in how she covers each topic. This program is not meant to be something that is taken at a fast pace. Abby wants you to take time to cover each topic in depth and really dig in to it. There are two approaches to it. You can do a run through of all topics and then go back through it a second time and dig deeper. Or, you can take the approach we are, and take it slow on the first round, digging deeper into topics that you feel are most important as you go. 

We have worked through the first two Segments. We are still actually on Segment 2 because I feel it's a very important topic. When we sit down to have a lesson, we first talk about what is going to be discussed, and then we watch the video. I love the videos because the teens get to hear Abby herself teach each topic. Like I said before, Abby does a great job in covering the topics in a sensitive manor, but also really grabbing the teens attention.  

While watching the video, Edyn likes to use the Film Outline in her book to take notes. This gives her something to look back at for quick references. The book even has a full Film Script that she can go back over and read again if she needs to. We then move on to the Follow Up/Discuss It questions. This is where you can really dig deep and foster some great conversations with your teen about the subject that is being discussed. The next part of the segment called Personalize it is where your teen can take what was being taught and apply it to their life. They can take some time to themselves and work on the Bible study that Abby includes in the back of the book. It even gives them time to really read, apply, and memorize some of the scriptures that are in the book to apply it to their lives. Lastly Abby has a section called Apply It. There are additional resources added in, and even other books that Abby suggests that follow along with the topic at hand. 



Here's a little overview of what we've done so far. In Abby's first Segment she talks about planning ahead. She wants teens to have a game plan before they are put into difficult situations. She talks about when she was 12 and making a personal pact with herself to live a life of purity. She even took steps to make it more concrete in her life such as signing a purity pledge, getting a purity ring, and even having a special picture frame for her future husband. Edyn had already started this process herself, because she too at a young age decided that she wanted to live a life of purity. She has a purity ring that she wears daily, and it means a lot to her. It says True Love Waits, and it's a constant reminder to her WHY she wants to wait for marriage. 

The second Segment is all about the cost of having sex before you're ready. Abby covers topics such has pregnancy, STD's and even the emotional toll sex can take on you if you're not ready. One of the things that has embedded itself into Edyn and Gavin's mind is the "Sexual Exposure Chart" that Abby shows. This chart gives you numbers and what it looks like to have multiple sexual partners. It's pretty scary to see it like that. Every decision that's made involving sex can have a consequence whether good or bad.

The five Segments following continue to talk about important topics in a teen's life. I am looking forward to digging into the next one because it talks about dating someone with the same values and sticking to your convictions. 

Sex by Design has been a very welcoming curriculum, and couldn't have come at a better time. Taking the time to talk to our teens about the importance of waiting and living a life of purity is so important in this day and age. I love having the support from Abby Ludvigson in the form of this program to help the discussion move along a little smoother, and help me to give my teens the knowledge they need to live the life that God designed for them. 


Be sure to follow along on social media!


If you would like to read other reviews, just click the banner below!

Sex by Design {Abby Ludvigson Review}


Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Time at our favorite park...



We love to take a day and head out to our favorite park! It was a beautiful day today so we decided to ditch our books and get out into nature!









This next series of photos is me trying to get them to look out at the water...you can see how well it went.