Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Nathaniel and Wendy's Time4Learning Review

I signed my son Nathaniel up for a free trial of Time4Learning in exchange for a review on my blog.  He really enjoyed it and I was impressed with all of the different games that were available in the different subjects.  We have tried other online learning websites and often the games are repetitive and get boring quickly for Nathaniel, but Time4Learning has varied games with lots of different themes.

I am in the process of picking our curriculum for next year and Time4Learning is high up on our list.  Nathaniel enjoys working on the computer much more than he likes workbooks and he seems to retain a lot when he learns by playing a game.  He is also pretty competitive and enjoys the challenge of being timed.

I wish that Time4learning had an app for iPad instead of having to download the Puffin Academy app to make it work on iPad. Nathaniel loves his iPad and his educational apps like BrainPop and Teach Me 1st grade, and now Teach Me 2nd Grade.  Having an app would make it much easier to navigate for younger children.  One of the things that I love about the "Teach Me" apps is that they require Nathaniel to "write" his answers on the iPad screen.  We have been struggling with him flipping his letters and numbers and those apps have really helped him because the "teacher" on the app has to be able to read what he's written.  Time4Learning is missing the handwriting component and an iPad app might be able to fill that void.

I loved the parental reports and can see how helpful it would be if you used Time4Learning as your primary curriculum.

The cost for the program is $19.95 a month for your first student for elementary age students and $14.95 a month for each additional student in your family.  This is pretty reasonable for what you get but it would be great if you could get a discount if you paid by the year.  It is such a popular program that you don't see a lot of discounts offered for it.  That seems to tell me that parents are pretty happy with it and willing to pay full price.  Our family is on a tight budget and I am always looking for a way to save money!

I hope this review helps you to decide if you want to try out Time4Learning.

I was provided a free month of the program in exchange for a review.  I wasn't paid anything and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Time4Learning.com I've been invited to review it!

I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and forsummer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Disney on Your Side party! Gluten Free Homeschool Party!

Our group, The Powhatan Home Educators, we lucky enough to be chosen to host a party for Disney on Your Side!
It was a pretty exciting day when a huge box showed up on our doorstep!  We opened it up and found a super cool purple suitcase that was filled to the brim with goodies.

Balloons, paper plates, posters, napkins, cups, decorations, printable cards, an iphone case, oh all sorts of fun stuff!
Our homeschool group meets every Friday and it seemed like with all of this awful winter weather, any excuse for a party is a great one!  Yay Disney!  Thank you for inspiring this fun party!
I used the provided cupcake liners and made fun cupcakes.  We have multiple food intolerances and dietary restrictions in our group so it is so tricky to find a recipe that is safe for everyone.  I found a great recipe for Vegan Beet Cupcakes and modified it to be gluten free.  
Here's a link to the vegan recipe:
I altered the recipe by using a gluten free flour mix.  The muffins were so moist and had a vaguely earthy taste but you really couldn't tell that there were beets in them.  The kids wolfed them down!
Beets?  Really?
  So good, you'd never guess that they were healthy!
One of the fun activities that Disney sent with our goodies, was a bingo game.  The kids had a blast playing bingo.  
My Nathaniel wearing his Lightning McQueen T-shirt

Disney resorts were also on the Bingo cards and some of our kids are pre-school aged so we had to describe the pictures and help them a bit.

They got very excited when their favorite characters were called.    But by the end EVERYONE had a BINGO!  
We also had to do a craft, because, who doesn't love a fun craft!?!
I've been collecting empty toilet paper rolls and came up with a fun way to stamp Mickey Mouse. 

I cut some of the toilet rolls in half and then used a rubber band to roll them smaller for the ears.  

Some of the kids were so creative and used the toilet paper rolls in very interesting ways. Love it Evie!

Stamp it!

We put a little paint in yellow paper plates.  We had a lot of yellow because it is Nathaniel's all time favorite color and went beautifully with all of the great primary colors in the Disney stuff.

 We used the flip side of our Bingo cards for our fun project.

The kids had a great time playing with the balloons and dancing.

It was a great party and inspired all of to want to escape this crazy cold and winter weather and head to Disney!  Pack up my Purple suitcase, I am ready for a break from the cold and some fun Disney time.  I've heard that Disney has great gluten free options so it would be a wonderful vacation destination for our family.

Until we can go to Disney, we will have great memories at the fun Disney on Your Side party at our local firehouse.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Upcycled Cashmere Rose Scarf tutorial

I made this fun upcycled Cashmere scarf for my mom.  The pink roses are so pretty and soft and look great with her charcoal grey jacket.

I bought a cashmere sleeveless sweater for $1.98 at a thrift store.  Can't beat that!  Give it a wash to felt it slightly before cutting it so it won't unravel.  Cashmere doesn't ravel much so this just ensures success!  First step was to cut off the 3-4 " of bottom hem for the backing of the scarf.

I cut out wavy circles from the sweater in multiple sizes from large to small.

Here you can see all of the layers stacked on each other. 

Then I sewed the layers together to make the individual roses.  The smallest circle I folded a bit to hide the stitches and to make them look full and ...well.....rose like!

Here it is on me for a test run!

I took the bottom on the sweater with the hem and cut it off.  This was a size small sweater but it was just about perfect for the length of the scarf.

I hemmed the other side for stability.  Because I had washed the cashmere before I cut into it, it was already felted so it wasn't going to unravel but the cashmere is so soft that the hemming adds some structure to hold the roses in place.

After sewing all of the roses in place.  I tried to get them close enough that you couldn't see the cashmere below so that it looked nice and full.  You may need to sew the bottom layer of rose in multiple places so that the roses don't "flop" down.

Pretty sure I am wearing a thrifted cashmere sweater with this cashmere scarf!  I do adore thrifted cashmere!

Registration for The Gluten Summit Follow up, "Now you know, where do you go?" is now open!

Registration for the follow-up webinar for The Gluten Summit is now open!


The “Now That You Know, Where Do You Go?” webinar will tell you what to do with the information learned during The Gluten Summit about gluten-related disorders. More specifically, it will answer such questions as:

  • What tests should I take to see if I have a disorder?
  • How do I convince my doctor to order the tests?
  • Could it be gluten? Or dairy? Or another food triggering symptoms?
  • When should I take the tests?
  • How do I get them?
  • How do I interpret the results?
  • What if my results come back positive for a gluten-related disorder?
  • What testing options are available outside of the U.S.?

Not everyone will take the same route, so Dr. Tom O’Bryan of theDr.com will cover the step-by-step instructions for as many paths to diagnosis as possible!

DATES: January 30 - February 2, 2014
TIME: Begins January 30,10:00 A.M. U.S. EST, available 24/7 through February 2
LENGTH: 90 minute audio with video

You don’t want to miss this FREE, online event available
from January 30 - February 2!


See you there!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Currclick's "Pay What You Want Sale"

Now through July 29, 2013, Currclick is offering a Pay What You Want Sale" on thousands of their lap books and unit studies and audio books.  You can pay 10 cents or $1 or $5, it is up to you.  It is an amazing bargain.  I spent the majority of today going through the over 1900 different units and found 50+ to buy.  I am set with a ton of themed units for holidays, special interests and some just good 1st grade school work.  Nathaniel and I looked through and he picked out some great units on Steam Engines, Trains, Motorcycles, Abraham Lincoln and Puppies and I picked out units on Holidays, our home state of Virginia, Botany and history.  We even got some audio books to listen too.  We've not really done that before so I am interested to see how he does with that.

After paying by Paypal or credit card, Currclick sends you an email with the links to your units and you just download them to your computer.  I usually print just certain pages to save ink and paper and we do all of the reading on our computer.

Hope you get some great deals while this amazing sale is going on!  Thanks Currclick!  I am such a huge fan of your company!

Yay! Currclick is having a great sale!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Easy Gluten Free Polenta Croutons

Anyone who regularly cooks gluten free foods for their family knows that it sure takes a lot more time than just ordering a pizza or stopping by McDonalds on your way home from work.  For my family, going gluten free isn't an option but a medical necessity so all of the time put in is worth it.....but it does get exhausting sometimes.  So I was very excited to develop an easy,  fast way to make croutons.  Not as fast as opening a box of Pepperidge Farm Croutons but much faster than making gluten free bread and then making croutons.  And so very good.

Plus they are so yummy that I couldn't stop eating them plain!  At least 1/4 of them never made it to the salad.  

I was inspired by this recipe Polenta Croutons by Learning to Eat Allergy Free  The croutons looked and sounded yummy but.....there were a lot of steps...... and I'm tired........ and after making croutons, I still have to make dinner and then pack lunches....you know how it is!  

I had bought a package of precooked Ferrara Pronto Polenta a few weeks before and hadn't used it yet.  Ta Da!  Inspiration!  I decided to make croutons out of my precooked polenta and it worked out great.

I laid down some parchment paper on my cookie sheet and then I sliced the polenta and then cut it into small cubes.  I drizzled the polenta with olive oil and then seasoned them with salt, pepper, parsley and dried basil.  Oh my, so good.  They shrink down as the liquid is cooked out of them.  Stir them every few minutes so that they cook evenly.

I cooked the Polenta cubes at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes.  The length of time will depend on how big you cut your croutons and how crispy you like them.

We adored the croutons and I had about half a batch left after our dinner, even after my sampling!  So I threw the extra in a zip lock baggie in the fridge for a day or two.  At our next meal, I threw the remaining croutons back in the oven for a few minutes to crisp them back up.  Still yummy and very snackable.  Crunch, Crunch, Crunch....what?  I shouldn't just eat them by the handful?  

Oh so pretty with my father in law's beautiful lettuce fresh out of the garden.    These turned out so good that I am going to be on the lookout for an organic precooked polenta so I can make them often.  


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