Joanne’s Cafe

About five years ago or so we were visiting my grandma and were going out to dinner. We were tired of Denny’s and Coco’s and wanted something different. We happened to find a restaurant called Joanne’s Cafe that was very close to my grandma’s house. (Located at 1141 North Mountain Ave Ontario California 91762.)  So we decided to try it out. We have eaten there almost every week ever since.
The food is great! Between our family we have tried almost everything on the menu and have yet to find something that we haven’t liked. They have a large variety. Breakfast has all of the great food choices you would usually find, eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, steak, bisects and gravy, waffles, pancakes, hash browns, home fries, and even omelets.
Lunch has great choices as well. Some of our favorites include; the steak sandwich, BLT, tuna or egg salad sandwiches, hamburgers, and a lot more. They have great lunch specials that include a sandwich, drink, and side for a great price. I love their coleslaw, it is sweet and very refreshing. Their seasonal fruit is wonderful as well.  It usually contains a combination of melon, bananas, and oranges. Depending on the season they have pineapple, grapes, and strawberries too all fresh.
Our favorite meal to have there is dinner. I love their steak teriyaki. The teriyaki sauce is home made (and corn free) and is so much better than any I have had before. You get white rice, steak, 2 egg rolls, and a vegetable. Our favorite vegetable by far are the carrots. They are sweet and melt in your mouth. The meal also comes with a choice of soup or salad and desert. It is a wonderful meal and most of the time I have leftovers to enjoy later.
A favorite of my moms is the Fillet of Sole. It comes with the soup or salad. My mom loves their salad, it is always cold, crisp, and fresh.

The fillet of sole is a lightly breded piece of fish that is refreshing. It comes with potatoes, a vegetable, garlic or zucchini bread, and desert. My mom opted out of the potatoes and chose fruit instead.

There are quite a few options for dinner including, Mexican food on Tuesdays, pot roast, pork chops, steak, fried chicken, different salads, honestly there is something on the menu for just about everyone.
They have a few different options for desert, the ones included with dinner are either, ice cream, tapioca pudding, or jello. Tapioca pudding is a favorite among our family.

Not only is the food great but the service is as well. The waitresses are always kind, fast, friendly and efficient. It seems more like visiting with friends than just talking with strangers. Between the great food, great prices, and wonderful service, Joanne’s Cafe is a winner in my book. If you are going to be in the Upland, Ontario, or Montclair area stop by and try it out for yourself you won’t be disappointed.


Using Pinterest to Plan Lessons


I know that Pinterest has been around for a while, but I am still pretty new to it. I didn’t really start to use it until a few months ago when we decided to leave CAVA (California Virtual Academy) and traditionally home school. At that time I had the unit study that I had planned to use for the next school year, and I was bookmarking a lot of sites to my computer. The problem was that I was forgetting what I had bookmarked and the list of sites was getting a little long. So I decided to start using Pinterest to plan ahead. Now that we have started school I have gone back through my pins added things and have a unit study ready for a few different things.

Here is what I did….

  1. I looked at my unit study (The Prairie Primer) and picked a subject that we would be studying. In our case it was Louis Pasteur.
  2. Then I googled the subject with varying words like worksheets, lesson plans, videos, lapbooks, time lines.
  3. I looked at the things that I thought would work well for my learner. She doesn’t like to read and is more of a Kinetic learner, but also learns well with movies.
  4. I pinned the different things that I thought would work well for us to a board dedicated to the Prairie Primer.
  5. This week I came back to Pinterest, finalized my decisions on what we would use and printed things out.

Here are the things we will be using for our short study of Louis Pasteur:

First there is this video:

    This is just an introduction to who Louis Pasteur was.
    To go along with the video we will also use this page as a reference along with the encyclopedia. (AJ loves to look things up in the encyclopedia.)

    We will end our study with AJ writing a little of what she learned on a free note booking page found here.

    To finish off the study we will watch Old Yeller. I had a pin of the movie, but unfortunately it is no longer available. The good news though, is I found out I actually own it.

    I think these things will make for a great unit study. I plan to continue to look ahead and pin away to keep all of my resources in one place.

No Phone Internet or TV

I signed up to do the ultimate blog challenge, and then of course life happened. I am a few posts behind (5 as of right now) but as long as I am on track by the end of the month it will be fine.

Why am I behind? Well a combination of things really. First I am still staying at my grandma’s house Monday through Friday to make sure she is doing ok on her oxygen. Tie that in with the fact that I don’t have a lap top and grandma has a computer so old that it can’t hook up to the Internet and you can see the problem. I was lucky for the fact that my mom has a lap top and I was able to check in on face book and see what was going on on the world. I also used AJ’s Kindle Fire a little bit. I did end up writing one blog post while at my grandma’s. Unfortunately, a few minutes after I posted the blog  our Internet, TV, and phone all went out. I did all of the obvious things, rebooted the cable box, unplugged and reset the router, nothing worked.

My grandma has Verizon Fios. We have a different company at home and most of the time we get great prompt service. That was not the case with Verizon. I don’t know about you, but I hate when I have to talk to one of those automated computers and give them all of my information. It seems to always take forever.

After telling them I had no Internet, I am told all agents are busy to go online and view trouble shooting tips or speak to an agent via chat. The fact is if I could use the Internet to get to chat, I wouldn’t need to talk to them.  Then it said that the problem had been recorded and that an agent would contact me if necessary. I had no option to talk to anyone and the phone was disconnected. I looked down at my cell phone and I had been talking with the computer for just over 22 minutes and I had gotten no where.

So I called the number back and went through all of the questions again. Finally the automated voice said she was going to run some tests and I ended up being connected to a real person. That of course was after a LONG wait.

So the person got on the phone and I had to give all of my information again. He had me unplug some back up wires and reset some things and then said a technician would have to come out. He started to say there would be a fee. I don’t understand how we would have to pay a fee for a technician if the service we pay for isn’t working. We have had to have technicians come out to our house a few different times and have never paid a fee. Luckily my grandma pays some kind of maintenance fee so there was no charge, but no one could be there for 2 days.

That didn’t sit very well with me because that is basically what my grandma does all day is watch TV. What would she do? I was on the phone for over 45 minutes and still nothing was fixed. Not only could she not watch TV, but we were also waiting for doctors to call us back on the home phone.

Miraculously at about 4am the cable came back on. Later that day Verizon a called and said since the problem had been fixed they were not going to send a technician. As our luck would have it, about an hour after they called everything went out again. So I did everything that the person I had talked to on the phone had said to do the last time and still nothing worked.

After calling again and waiting over an hour, we were told that someone would be out in another 2 days. By this point I was so frustrated it took everything in me to remain calm. After a few minutes of me stating that someone had to come the next day and I was not going to accept anything else, they scheduled someone to come out.

After all of the problems on the phone I hoped that whoever was coming  would be easier to talk to. The gentleman was nice, polite and ended up having to replace both back up boxes. It took less than an hour and everything has been working great since. I just hope I never have to call them again because their phone service is a joke!

A Better Monday

We are back at my grandma’s. This will be the second week that we will stay with her and make sure she is doing ok while on her oxygen. After the horrible week we had last week, none of us wanted to come back. But  we sluggishly drug ourselves out of bed to make it here in time for my uncle to leave for work. As luck would have it they decided that doing road construction on the Monday following a holiday would be a great idea. The freeway was at a complete stop. What should have taken at most 40 minutes took over an hour and a half. The day wasn’t headed to a great start, but we had hope that it would get better.

Surprisingly the day actually went better than I had expected. When we got here we made grandma some toast and coffee and started in on AJ’s school work. Grandma doesn’t agree with homeschooling and has a very bad memory, which causes her to keep getting angry about the fact that she is home schooled over and over again. We have learned from prior days of doing school work that it is better to not mention the fact that AJ is home schooled.  We had to tell a little white lie, and said it was just work she had to finish over the summer.

We went to the garage and finished quite a few lessons. She did two math lessons, a reading skills lesson, writing lesson, logic lesson, and worked on her lapbook about bears. She was able to do all of that in a few hours while my mom was in the room with grandma. Right now we are only doing a partial school day. Come September we will be back to a full schedule.

I was so happy to start the school week off well. Although I don’t like lying, we will continue to tell her that it is just homework to be completed over the summer whenever she asks. I see no point in defending our choice to home school over and over when it is not something that I can or will change my mind about. It is amazing how much smoother the day went when grandma was not in a bad mood. I hope that she will begin to accept our help and that we will have more days where she is not angry and mean.

Monday went fairly well now  just hope the rest of the week follows!

Learning the States and Capitals

One thing that we will be focusing on this year is learning all of the states and capitals. I never liked learning about history or geography when I was in school, so I always try to make those subjects fun for her to learn. When I came across this video I knew it was something she would love. She did, I hadn’t even planned to use it for a few months but once she heard it she wanted to learn it.

We have been listening to this song for a few weeks off and on and she has almost memorized the entire song. She now knows all of the states and capitals, but sometimes messes up the order. I am amazed at how quickly she is picking it up.
Another fun way she is practicing  the states and capitals is from online games like they have at  There is such a variety of games that she has yet to get tired of playing them. We use flash cards once in a while to help study but we make it into a game to see who can name the capital first.
I think it is amazing how many free educational resources there are to help make learning fun.
We took the summer off from practicing. About two weeks ago she started listening to the song again, and now she has the entire song memorized. You can see it on the blog face book page here.

Pop Tarts are Healthy?

The other day when we went shopping AJ declared like she does a lot of the time, “I am going to stop eating junk food and eat healthy foods only.” She actually eats fairly healthy and loves fruits and vegetables. She loves candy and sweets though and would eat them all the time if I let her. As we were shopping she handed me this box of Pop Tarts and said, “These are healthy, will you buy them for me?” I laughed so hard. Then I asked her why she thought that a pop tart was healthy. She went on to tell me how it was made of real fruit so that meant it was healthy.

Indeed the box did say it was baked with Real Fruit. That statement of course was followed by an *. So I took that moment to explain the meaning of the little sign. We then looked all over the box and finally found out that the filling is made with equal to 10 % fruit.

We then looked at the long list of ingredients which included corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and sugar. Then we looked at the nutrition facts and learned that for just 1 pop tart it was 38g of carbohydrates, 200 calories, and 16g of sugar.

After reading the box completely I asked her if she still thought the Pop Tarts were healthy. Her response was, “No, but the box made it look like it at first.”

We went on to talk about how in advertising they put what they think you want to know in big writing and make sure it is visible. Where the information they hope you skim over or that they don’t wish to advertise they put in smaller writing and make you look for it.

I love those times when life gives us the chance to learn about something that I hadn’t even thought about.

The Little Things

We came home today after spending 4 days with my grandma, I was never so happy to be home. Being away from home and having to walk on eggshells has really taken a toll on our family and helped me realize how important it is to live in the moment and appreciate the little things in life.

AJ was finally able to play and be a kid today. She could dump out her toys without being yelled at because she is too loud, and she wasn’t called a baby for playing with toys. (She is only 10) She could laugh and giggle and snuggle with me. She could go into the kitchen and get a drink without 20 questions about what she is doing and remarks about how she better not break anything.

I could finally have the fan on without a constant battle. I was able to COOK! Cooking has never really been something I liked to do and lately I have complained about having to cook and be in the kitchen all of the time. That being said, it was so nice to go into my kitchen and cook something without being yelled at because I might break something.

I have enjoyed playing with my dog and just relaxing. I am actually looking forward to cleaning up the house my way tomorrow. To be able to sleep in and make breakfast and not have to answer to anyone. I am looking forward to spending time with AJ tomorrow where she is treated like a person who has thoughts and opinions not just someone who is in the way and makes too much noise.  She is a great kid and I know that all of the issues going on with my grandma are hard on her as well. I hope we can have a few nice days.

Our freedom will only be short lived as we will have to go back to grandma’s on Sunday night, but I plan to enjoy the simple things in life while I can.

5th Grade

This is the first year I will be straight home schooling without CAVA, here is our curriculum plan.



  • Key to Decimals
  • Key to Fractions
  • Key to Percents
  • Kumon Multiplication grade 3
  • Kumon Division grades 3 & 4
  • Multiplication and Fraction puzzles
  • Free worksheets from various web sites like this one.

This probably seems like an odd choice to some for math. I couldn’t find a math program that I fell in love with so I decided to mix and match a few things. I have been looking for a good math curriculum since November because I didn’t care for the math program that she was using with CAVA and every time I kept getting drawn back to the Key to series. AJ is very good at math and really enjoys workbooks. I like that each topic is broken into smaller workbooks and that there are worked examples for each lesson. This math takes one topic and covers it from the basics to an advanced level. While using this math program she might not be learning exactly what her peers in school are learning but by the time she finishes middle school she will have studied most of the same topics. She will be doing the Kumon books because she has not yet memorized her multiplication tables. She can do multi digit multiplication with no problem if she uses a chart, but I want her to become very comfortable with both multiplication and division. These books provide a lot of repetition which I am hoping will get those times tables to stick. Since there is more to learn in fifth grade that fractions, decimals, and percents, I will also be using some free worksheets to make sure that other topics are covered as well.


Writing is an area that AJ struggles with a little. After looking at quite a few programs, we decided to give Writing Strands a try. It looks like it will be a very good fit. She has already completed the first two lessons and didn’t complain at all.


Language Arts and Literature:

We will be doing the Prairie Primer unit study. Throughout the study she will read the entire Little House on the Prairie series along with biographies, and other books. I like that it is using real literature to learn from instead of little stories that don’t hold AJ’s interest. We are looking forward to starting Little House in the Big Woods soon.

We will also be using workbooks from Flash Kids that cover reading comprehension and reading skills to make sure all of the major topics are covered.

As of now we will not be using a specific grammar program. The Writing Strands program covers some grammar and the Prairie Primer touches on it as well. Once we get into our routine with school we may add in a grammar program, only time will tell.


History will be studied using living books. We will be doing lap books, reports, and projects to go along with the different areas that we will be studying. Some topics we will learn about are….

  • Presidents
  • Railroad
  • Reconstruction
  • States and Capitals
  • State History
  • Indians
  • John Brown & Harper’s Ferry Rebellion
  • Logging
  • Louisiana Purchase

and a lot more.


Science will also be studied using living books. Here are some things we will be learning about:

  • Properties of Fire
  • Rust
  • Simple Machines
  • Sound Waves
  • States of Matter
  • Telegraph
  • Water Cycle
  • Heat
  • Electricity
  • Bears
  • Birds
  • Owls
  • Fish
  • Breathing and lungs
  • Systems of the body

and a lot more. She will do a few lap books along with science experiments. Science will definitely be hands on this year.

She will be using the Flash Kids Problem Solving book again this year. We really liked it last year. It is a very colorful and fun workbook that she enjoys doing. She will also do logic puzzles, mazes, and word games that I have found for free online.
She will continue with Spanish for You
Art will also be covered by the Prairie Primer some things she will do include:
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Sewing
  • quilting
  • bead work
  • candle making
  • manners
  • cooking


For the first time we will be doing a Bible study. It will be covered by the Prairie Primer as well. It will cover a lot of character qualities and include some memory work. I think it will go well.

We have a full year ahead of us but I am excited and think the year will go well. I thought long and hard before I purchased the curriculum that I did and hope it all works out well for us.




Well today is the second day of the blog challenge. We have had quite a hectic day. We have had to stay with my grandmother because she had to be put on oxygen and she can’t be by herself. She is a very independent person and hates to be told what to do, but because she can’t remember what she is told we have to remind her things. I could deal with the bad memory, the millions of questions, and the old fashioned way of thinking, but the last two days have been hard. She doesn’t want to wear the oxygen and wants the heater on even though it is over 100 degrees out. She thinks AJ should just sit and be quiet all day, and doesn’t want anyone in her kitchen. Frustrated would definitely be an understatement! She keeps telling us that it is her house and she can do what she wants but because she has to have the oxygen on there are things such as cooking that she cannot do.

She doesn’t want to accept help but if she doesn’t she will end up in a nursing home, which no one wants to happen. I love my grandmother very much and want to help her as much as possible but I am kind of at a loss as of what to do. It isn’t fair to AJ to be expected to be a child who is seen and not heard. We are giving up our life, freedom, and all of our free time to take care of my grandmother and it is not being appreciated. In the last two days she has kicked me, tried throw a chair and glass at me and punched at me. I pray that God gives me the strength to continue to help her. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

May and June

I haven’t blogged very much the last few weeks except for a few reviews. I have wanted to blog but life just keeps getting crazy. I have been so busy, but would like to get back on track. So I decided to try another blog challenge. This looks like it will be a good one because there is not a list of things to write about. The challenge is simply to post 30 times in the month of July, and I think I can do that. While I was unable to complete the last challenge I tried, I plan to do my best with this one. If you are a blogger sign up here.
So what have I been up to???
In a simple answer A LOT!
May was a busy month full of doctor appointments, my birthday, AJ’s birthday, grandma’s birthday, Mother’s Day, a gymnastic meet, and a few other things.
AJ’s birthday went very well. She turned 10, it feels like just yesterday I was teaching her how to read and now she is ten, boy does time fly. The day started off with her opening presents, then we went out to breakfast with grandma.
A little while later we headed to gymnastics. She had an inner squad on her birthday and she did very well. After gymnastics AJ and her friend were able to go to John’s Incredible Pizza. This was the first party that she has ever had.
We normally spend our birthdays at Disneyland, but because my leg and foot keep getting worse that wasn’t an option this year. They had a great time together.
The next week we had grandma’s birthday and a Meet. We took grandma to Knott’s Berry Farm for lunch to celebrate. She likes to get out of the house and it was a nice change. AJ did amazing at the meet. She got a rainbow ribbon (9.0 and above) for the first time on the bars. She was so excited. It was great to see her hard work pay off. She also received a rainbow ribbon on the beam and floor, and a 8.9 on the vault.
The next week she had a birthday part to go to. It was a sleepover party, but AJ didn’t spend the night. She had a blast playing with her friends and making new ones.
The following weekend June 1st she had another meet. ( I said we were busy) That meet didn’t go as well for any of our girls. The meet was late in the afternoon and it was hot. I don’t remember exactly what ribbons she got but I think it was 1 rainbow and three pink (8.5 – 8.9).
After a month of weekend activities she still had one more party. This time it was a water slide party at the neighbors house. She was there all day. They had one of those huge blow up water slides that is made look a jumper and for almost 5 hours straight the kids kept climbing up it and splashing down. She slept well that night.
Just when I thought she was done, she was invited to a play date with another friend from gymnastics.
The two girls went to color me mine and each painted a ceramic animal. It was a nice day and I was able to meet a few new people as well.

We have had a busy last two months. My leg hasn’t cooperated very well and it has been frustrating that I can’t do the things I need to. AJ has done quite a lot but I hate the fact that we can’t do more because I am in pain all of the time. I am thankful that a lot of the things she has done recently do not require me to walk more than just a little bit.

I know this was a long post I think I am basically caught up now.